Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fixing exploits and fine-tuning controls

New Build is up here!

So, in my files, I have this as week 52 of Sunday is the Deadline, which I think must be taking into account all the times I've missed a week on this blog, since really, I started this blog on 3/15/2015, so I'm about 6 weeks over the 1 year marker here. So, 6 weeks missed, give or take, over a year. Not bad. I'll try to do better for next year, of course!

Pierce is looking better, though still needs a lot of work. This week I managed to reduce the ability to instantly kill enemies. The exploit was brought to my attention while I was watching a friend play. She moved really close to the enemy, to the point where she was almost touching it, and then charged forward. The shield was created, but the player was able to pass right through and kill the enemy anyway.

I tried several times to keep this from happening. I tried instantiating a trigger which would push the player away. No dice. I tried the same thing, but directly changing the player's position instead of applying force to the player. This also didn't work. In addition, the trigger was clumsy. It needed to hang around for a certain duration to be readable by the player, but needed to destroy itself quickly enough that it didn't interfere with the player if they were charging from an acceptable distance.

I eventually realized that the enemy already knew the position of the player at the time that the player began their charge. With that information, I was able to have the enemy see if the player was charging from too short a distance. In that event, the enemy repositions the player as subtly as it can, while instantiating the bounce wall just between the player and the enemy. You can still kill an enemy with a direct charge, but it is much, much more difficult now.

Briefly, I thought about having enemies kill the player upon contact, like the kill walls do. I decided that that would be a bad idea. First, it doesn't actually keep the player from using the exploit, just makes it slightly harder to pull off. Second, and more important, I really don't want players to be afraid to charge enemies. Having them die when they touch enemies, and then asking them to successfully charge through enemies seemed like an unintuitive thing to teach.

Finally, I fiddled a lot with the parameters on the player controller. It's been a long time since I've done that. I have a better understanding of how this game should work now, though, and I think it's in a much better spot. You should feel a lot less floaty now. The player should also feel slightly slower, which should actually make charging feel a lot better!

For next week, I plan to keep fixing stuff, and maybe add one more level.

And as always, the charging-up noise is by Javier Zumer. I am using and modifying that asset under this license.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Just one new level this week

The new build is up here!

Just one new level this week. I let myself get distracted early on in the week, and I was unexpectedly sick and busy the latter half of the week. I also found out I accidentally deleted the level and had to remake it just now!

But enough excuses. I'm happy with what I made this week (it replaced the old level 16) though I'd like to see if I could continue to improve it. It's a bit unintuitive, but I really like how the projectiles shot by the enemy give you clues on how to solve it. It's also a little hypnotic, in an aesthetically pleasing sort of way, just to watch the projectiles bounce around and be redirected by the boost plates.

As always, charge-up sound effect is by Javier Zumer. I have used and modified it under this license.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Two new levels, zeroing in on feel and progression

New build is up here!

Wow, we're already up to 50 weeks of "Sunday is the Deadline!" I wish I could say that I'm doing something special for the big five-two, but I don't know what that would be other than releasing this game, which is nowhere close to being done.

This week I worked on levels. I deleted two and added two, both in the latter half of the game. I'm thinking more about which features work better when mixed together, which features have more or less design space to them. Movement, switches, and timers obviously have more. I like the boost plates, but perhaps they're not worth including after all... They do have interesting interactions with enemy projectiles though, which I'll investigate further.

I'll continue to add and subtract levels like this, mentally noting certain improvements I'd like to make for the next couple of weeks. I already know I want to make the enemies telegraph where and when they'll shoot even better, and get your charge line to properly indicate where you will go when you travel through walls.

If I were devoting as much time to this as I was when I was making a game a week, I'd no doubt be done with this by now. My life is kind of full right now though, which is a good thing.

As always, the charge-up noise is by Javier Zumer, and has been modified by me. I'm using it under this license.