Stuff Under the Header


Something Different Instead

Edit: (Oct. 16, 2013) There probably won't be a new post this month. DT3 is still being worked on all the time though. For the next week or two, I'll be going back through chapters 1-7 to fix up a lot things I need to address. Mainly the Gate C revamp that really needs to happen. There's another level before it that no one really made much mention of. It wasn't hated or liked, but personally I loathe it so it's going to be destroyed and replaced with something else much better and more memorable. It had a boss fight with it which no longer fits, though I don't want to remove that one, so it'll be moved to another location while a new boss will be put in the new place. The fun thing about the new boss is it was the first 'boss fight' type of thing to be made for the DT engine before it was even DT. Of course behaviors and some code will have to be altered to make it work for DT's current state. Displaced Cyborg was the first boss made for DT1, but it wasn't the first test subject.

Edit: (Oct. 1, 2013) I love using Comic Sans, mainly because it upsets people for some explainable reason. Forgot to mention, I will be unavailable between Oct. 5-8 as I'll be at the Captivate Conference.

So... this post was originally going to be a rant (was even going to have a disclaimer) about how I dislike modern gamers. Instead, I'll just talk about something else, because I'm sure my thoughts on modern gamers, or rather the words I'd use to describe them, are well known anyway. I've been in a very bad mood lately. It's not my life (things are fine), it's just the world pissing me off more than usual. Probably best to keep that anger away from this blog.

Before getting into DT stuff; My bird had been gone for over a month until she suddenly showed up yesterday. She flew down and landed next to me, awaiting the usual routine as if she had never been away. It was really good timing as that was one of my bad 'I hate everything' days.

Item Hunters
First up, I like being able to find everything in a game. The completionist in me wants to see that 100%. (Assuming I like the game enough.) So lets look at a screenshot.

For Gate 3, it shows I have 26/29 items left to find. So exactly where are these 3 items? That Gate level was huge, broken up into 7 different areas. Where do we even begin?

I'm sure for you completionists out there, this could be a frustrating task. Exploration is fun, but sometimes a little clue is nice. Gate 5 has 40 items split up among 5 major areas so... yeah. Something new has been added in. After a Gate is completed, a terminal will appear at the Gate's exit portal that will display a bit more information for the player.

The source image isn't busted like what is being displayed here. o_O

Okay, now this narrows it down a bit better. Personally, this gives me more hope of being able to at least find where the other items are, getting to all of them is a different story. Every Gate will have this aside from Gate 4. If you remember from the demo, the level select screen already displayed this information for the player.

Another thing returning is the Item Finder from DT1. This time though, it's not just given to the player. It's an optional unlock that takes a bit to get. It doesn't play a sound this time, instead, Chao will display a treasure icon in her little word bubble upon entering a map if there's something there. And like DT1, it will not locate hidden maps, so it can't always be relied on.

Other DT Stuff
The last week has been almost nothing but bug fixing, tuning, and changing some things that were problematic. Things are running and playing better now. Yay!

Amnesia: Machine for Pigs
If scary things don't make you shit yourself and you like horror games... well why haven't you gotten this if you haven't already? To say too much about it would be somewhat of a spoiler, so I'm just gonna say it was a very engaging experience going through this. Personally I didn't find it quite as scary as the first Amnesia, but it is definitely a lot more disturbing. I found the story and writing more engaging than the first and in some cases, the monsters felt scarier. They aren't as visually horrifying (well you're not supposed to be looking at them, but w/e) but I found some of the situations were scarier than what was in the first game. And that's it, any more and it'll go into spoiler town. If you liked the first game or Silent Hill 2, I highly recommend Machine for Pigs.


Because Video Games

Blog intro paragraph goes here...

Making DT3 and Video Games
One of the best, and sometimes worst, things about developing video games is how much they change while they're being developed. It's a highly unpredictable and volatile process where 10 bugs can pop up out of nowhere, and fixing 2 of them causes those 10 original bugs to turn into 17 bugs. Oh wait, that's not what this section is about...

I prototype a lot of stuff and always recommend it to anyone designing games. Even if you know you're not going to use something or follow through with an idea you have. If you want to see how it works, and given that it won't take too much time, do a quick prototype. It helps to see some of the flaws and strong points of your idea. Wait, that's not quite what this section is about either...

While I love prototypes, I feel that they aren't always enough. Sometimes you just have to see your ideas play out in the game proper. Games evolve and change as their developed. In DT3's case, with its original idea of the 7 Gates, each granting both characters 3 sets of abilities. (Plus that Mario one.) There was the melee oriented set, the ranged set, and the more quirky set. And in hindsight, it could still work, but it wasn't until seeing the first 2 sets from each character play so well together that it made the 3rd feel very out of place. I won't go into that here as there is another blog post that went into that already. I don't think any amount of prototyping would have assisted in getting to this change. The way the project has played out feels like it just begged for the change to cut out the 3rd set. Sometimes, you just have to put in the time to make shit to see how it really works.

Seemingly small things can be huge. Jerry's Megaman attacks all have a slight refire delay to remove point blank spamming. I've done it plenty of times during playtesting, ShadowSonic did it in his last LP video of the DT3 demo. Slaix spammed missiles in a bosses face to make incredibly short work of them. Point-blank spamming breaks a lot of things. Part of the reason there's a projectile limit (such as only 2 arrows allowed on screen or 3 X-Buster shots) is to remove such exploits. So, Jerry's Megaman refire delays have been extended to all projectile weapons, including Claire's Daggers and Holy Water. It's not a big delay, just enough to remove the above issue.

Controller Support
Gamepad controls are now built into DT3. That's really all that needs to be said about that...

A Common Idea I Like
I seem to really like cat and mouse scenarios as Gate F has a map where the player will be chased around while they find various points of interest. Said thing is invincible OF COURSE and will use the black magic of A* pathfinding to always find the most efficient route to the player. The map is question is somewhat maze like where the player can open and close routes. While the cat of this scenario is slightly slower than the player, it's often best to be as far from it as possible, or in some cases, close off a route at the last second to grant you just a few more seconds away from it. Also said thing gets slightly faster the more points of interest the player completes; Because reasons!

I know I said I'd have a video explaining some of my boss design methods on the next blog post... I guess I lied. It's still going to happen, but I want to finish up a few things in the project before I go into another video. If I do the video now, I'll probably end up rushing it and I don't want to do that.

There's something else I was going to mention in this post, but brain farts have occurred...



Pink Journal

Edit: (September 11, 2013) Gamepad support is IN. It's not fully implemented yet, (It doesn't work with the UI stuff at the time of this typing) but it works awesomely for the character control. I even fixed up the control code in the process and made it more efficient. Even better is GM can detect the exact controller that's plugged in, so if I want to get really fancy, I can have the UI change along with the connected controller. For example, if an xbox controller is plugged in, the UI can show (A) or (X), etc, where a Logitech would show a (1) or (3). I don't know if I'll go back to DT1 and DT2 to add this in, but rest easy knowing that DT3 will have full on gamepad support built in! No more 3rd party software to get your stuff to work!

Once again the seasons are changing and the bird flocks are moving around, so a lot of the birds I interact with are moving with their flock. A bit less bird action, but since this is when all the grackles migrate down here, there will actually be more of them... a lot more.

DT3 Things Getting Done
It's a good and accurate section name. Gate 5 and all its troubles, yet interesting development findings is done. (Well has been done for roughly a week.) As the tweet says, I like how it ends. Most of my attention is now on its extra Gate, which have all been renamed to 'Nightmare Gates'. Since Claire got shafted on her first exclusive optional level, she gets it again. This time in the form of an ice based level with full on physics changes (slippery, but makes the dash a beast) and player controlled (and timed) moments of low gravity. If you've followed the tone of the previous optional gate bosses, it's pretty easy to figure out what this one is.

I'm also looking to get gamepad support built directly into the game so players won't have to use third-party software to get their controllers to work. I'll be borrowing Jeremy's controller that he has since the one I have is very unreliable when it comes to testing how things feel. I'm planning to let the D-Pad and left stick (if the controller has it) both control character movement and will see about tuning the left stick to feel right for that if that's what players prefer. The right stick, if I'm able to, will control Chao.

After Gate F is finished, which won't take very long, I'll probably move back to fixing up Gate C.

Game Dev Harassment
This is something that's gotten some attention lately, it's not new, but with the rise in social media, it's gotten a lot worse and more frequent. Here's two articles on the issue. One Two

It's sad, disgusting, disrespectful... it's a lot of things wrong. It's wrong when a developer changes something as small as 0.1 seconds on say, a gun reload time, and he/she recieves death threats from their players. It's wrong when developers don't want to interact with their players because these players are self-entitled twats who spew nothing but vile comments at them. I see it happening myself (not to me, I've had it good, though my audience is small, but I'm thankful that my audience gives me constructive feedback when they don't like how I've designed something instead of telling me I'm ) on various places throughout the Internet. Within the Planetside 2 forums, there's tons of disrespectful comments toward the developers. I stay away from those forums aside from patch notes these days because it's just angering to see how much negativity is there. One of the game designers during their most recent Friday Night Ops (which is a thing the devs do most Fridays where they highlight certain players, or Outfits(guilds) and play along with them, ask them questions and all that) mentioned this negativity being one of the reasons they choose to interact with the players in other places most of the time. (That being Planetside Universe, THE fan site for the game, and reddit.)

This guy here talks about why Call of Duty is made and changed the way it is and presents it in a very well done manner. I recommend checking it out. The reason I mention this here is simply to help raise awareness of this issue as it has become a big problem lately.

In closing, I found a hard covered pink journal completely new. It was just... there. I now use this for drawing up level designs and concepts, among various other DT related works, and probably non-DT stuff in the future. I don't know when, but soon(TM) I'll be posting a video on some of my methods for designing boss fights. Let's hope I can control the speed of my speech and not derp up the video quality. The odds are not in my favor.