Where Is That Thing You Were Working On Several Weeks Ago Now?

Okay, I’ve held off publishing this post for two days now, time to stop writing and actually do it.

(But there just this tiny little thing I want to ad-)

Nope. We’ve live. Wait, who are “we”? I’m talking to myself again. Anyway…

On this episode of Where Is That Thing You Were Working On Several Weeks Ago Now?, or W.I.T.T.Y.W.W.O.S.W.A.N.? (“Witty Woss Wan”?), we have a gander at Rise & Fall. You know, the thing I worked on as part of the team Robots Mashing Keyboards for the ROM Game Jam. (Oooh, that thing.)

Quite a few things have been added or changed since the ROM Game Jam prototype. The biggest change is the inclusion of jump-through platforms (i.e. platforms that can be passed from below but not above). The original prototype only had completely solid platforms, but to have a greater number and density of platforms in the level, my team decided that we need to have jump-through platforms as well. Seeing how something like this should be Game Programming 101, I should have learned how to do a long time ago, but never did until now. Still, I had to learn it from the source code of this demo by Bill23. Even then, it took me two attempts to get it working right. Other changes are relatively minor, such as adding mercy invincibility, or bug fixes. We will also be changing up some the graphics and adding more levels before the playtest session at the ROM on October 19.

During the development of Rise & Fall, I had encountered the weirdest glitch I’ve ever seen in all my time using GameMaker, even weirder than the ones I’ve seen while working on Gonna Catcha. Furthermore, I don’t think it was (entirely) my fault:

It looked as though GameMaker didn’t rebuild the asset cache after I deleted some objects from the project, so the game ended up drawing the wrong sprites and even creating the wrong objects (i.e. the projectiles seemed to have been replaced with experimental wall section object I had been working on). Clearing the asset cache and rebuilding the game once more fixed everything.

Speaking of Gonna Catcha, nothing visually interesting has happened with it since the last update, so no video or screenshots for you. However, I did completely overhaul how the game handles round progression, now incorporating the NPC speed multiplier I talked about last time. Alright, that another task down for Gonna Catcha, what left? I really should make a list of these things.

Copyright © Quadolor Games. All rights reserved.

They’ve gone to plaid!

Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival and also various other full moon-related holidays in other parts of the world.  I thought it would be appropriate to post something about Gonna Catcha today because:

Mid-Autumn Festival –> harvest festival –> harvesting of souls –> psychopomps –> Pohena and Donum
Full moon –> werewolves –> wolves –> Pohena and Donum

Actually, I lied; this has nothing to do with any holiday, it’s just a coincidence. Anyways…

A week ago I posted a video of gameplay from the playable alpha of Gonna Catcha, and since then I’ve gotten some useful feedback and suggestions. One of them was the to increase the speed of the spirits and pretas as the game progresses. I thought this was a good idea, so I did just that: put in some code that allows the game to scale the enemy movement speeds:

16x speed is the maximum the game can handle; any higher will cause the spirits and pretas to break free from their imprisonment of the maze and shoot off into oblivion. However, anything higher than 2x just becomes too difficult and frustrating to play (even 2x was pushing it for me).
With this, I now have two ways of increasing the difficulty of the game:

  1. Increasing the speed of NPCs, and 
  2. Increasing the number of NPCs required to be captured and avoided in a round.

With the former, I think I won’t have to rely on the latter as much to scale the difficulty as the game progresses, I can ramp up the latter much quicker and make the early rounds less boring.

P.S.  On a serious note, today is also a sad day with the passing away of former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24160150
As someone who started gaming on the Famicom and Game Boy and now the owner of a Wii U and 3DS, this news hit me hard. May he rest in peace.

Great, now I feel awkward for publishing this post today.

Copyright © Quadolor Games. All rights reserved.

Alpha demo gameplay video thingy

The part of my brain that comes up with clever titles is out of office today.

After some thought, I’ve decided to make the Gonna Catcha playable demo a closed alpha for testing purposes, as I think it’s still too early for me to throw the game up on the internet for open testing.  As a consolation prize, here is a video of the playable demo in action:

So what else do I need to do to move this game from alpha to beta?  Well let’s see…

  • More rounds. Which maze the round takes place in and the number of spirits, rocks, preta and bonus items (in bonus rounds only) in it are manual determined by me for each round, rather than determined by some algorithm. Even though the game will have 256 rounds, I’m only going to create round data up until a certain point, then either start repeating the last few rounds or randomly generate round data to fill in the rest.
  • Co-op mode.  It might have modified round data compared to single-player mode to balance the game.
  • Attract mode. How else will you know how to play the game?
  • High score table
  • Controller support
  • Bug fixes and code optimization.  Even when I thought I’ve squashed most of the major bugs in the game, a new challenger appears:

And here are the features that would be nice to have, but not entirely necessary:
  • CRT shader. The game is setup up to use it, but it’s no longer a required feature to me anymore.
  • Demonstration cutscenes. Whether or not I need these will depend on how much info I can cram into the attract mode.
  • Bezel art. Artwork to put on my virtual arcade cabinet.
Well, looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me. …Wait, haven’t I already said that before?
Copyright © Quadolor Games. All rights reserved.

New and improved blog design!*

I took a small break from game development to redesign this blog. It might not win any awards, but at least it’s better than the largely default theme I was using for this blog until now.

Also, I have a new mascot/logo for Quadolor Games. If you haven’t noticed it, it’s the rabbit thing in the top left. I’ve nicknamed it “Quadbunny”. I actually like how it turned out, as graphic design isn’t one of my strong points; I just know enough Adobe Illustrator to get by. I’m also surprised that I didn’t just stick with the very first design that came to mind like I usually fear I would do (Quadbunny went through at least eight revisions before reaching this final design).

Quadbunny’s red-yellow-green-blue colour scheme is a throwback to an older unused logo when Quadolor Games was still Quadricolour Games. And the reason Quadbunny is a bunny is because, well, I like bunnies, especially ones with Dutch markings:

My second choice would have been a Hotot rabbit, a.k.a. eyeliner bunny:

* Actual impressions may vary. See newspaper for details. Limit one per customer. No refunds.
Copyright © Quadolor Games. All rights reserved.

A revelation

Alright it’s a new day, let’s fire up GameMaker: Studio and playtest Gonna Catcha to see what needs more work for a playable demo version.

Hmm, everything seems to be in order, no major bugs that I can see. Let’s play it again just to make sure.

Nope, nothing. Hmm, any unimplemented features I need to implement?

New mazes? No, I already have two, which is good enough for the demo.
Extra life system? Nope, I already did that. Extra life at every 20 000 points.
Combining the double and long shot items in one “Power” item? Did that too.

Well, how about bugs? I know there were a lot of them that I needed to get fixed.

Losing lives in a bonus round? No, I changed that. Now you just skip to the next level if you die in a bonus round, no lives or powerups lost.
Aha! The powerups weren’t being carried in between rounds, let me just- wait, no, that’s been fixed too.

You know what, I’m just going to read over my changelog…

… Uh huh… Bonus rounds no longer increment round counter … … Donum can now pass through stunned evil spirits and preta… … fixed a bug where the shelter/jail would show that there are spirits inside when it was empty… There has to be something that’s not done. Maybe a tiny graphical glitch, or- or a character not behaving as the should, or-

… …. …

Wait a minute, … I think I might have actually done enough for a playable demo…

OH NOEZ! What am I supposed to do now?! It’s pandemonium! Now is the perfect time to panic!

Source unknown.  OH NOEZ!

One hysterical episode later…

OK, so I guess I should be showing off my playable demo now. Give me a little time and come back a bit later while I sort this out.

Copyright © Quadolor Games. All rights reserved.