Level 2 has been entered! I’ve been totally ripping through it the past week, replacing just about every graphic we had and sorting out each scene to make it play solid and bug-free. I’m very pleased with the entry!
Archive for Last Chance to Reason
So Indiecade had some problems with their submission forms, giving us an extra couple of days to fine-tune and get more new graphics done. Great! I can’t wait to get it submitted.
I’m also pumped to start working on the rest of the game. It’s been so long since the start of this project (maybe nearing 3 years now) and it’s gone through so many iterations that now that it’s in the state it is, I really want to see how it’s all going to fit together. There are a lot of concepts and functions of the game engine that aren’t explored fully in this first level, Upload Complete, I’m itching to see it unfold in the levels to come.
There are around a dozen tracks, meaning a dozen full levels totaling at least 40 minutes of gameplay. This does not include parts that aren’t set strictly to the music, for example ambient free-roams and possible looping sections – and even that may bring total time to a little over an hour. The key will be in the replayability…
The game engine allows any part of a level to be altered in real-time, and the triggers can vary greatly. They can be as simple as being closer to top or bottom of the game area to determine if the level goes upwards or downwards in the next section. Triggers can also be complex, and depend on what happened earlier in the game, a whole combination of factors, and goes right down to affecting the game ending. The scale of changes can also vary a lot, from the aforementioned game ending changes right down to what formation a group of enemy drones takes to attack you. This should all create a visceral experience that flows seamlessly, and always tests your ability to adapt and survive.
It’s old-school shooting action with a twist on classic linear progression.
Quite a lot has happened since the last post, so here it is!
First off, we’re entering the demo level in Indiecade, with the deadline for entering being the 20th – only 4 days to go! That’s not to say we’re not ready, the level is completely playable so I’m down to tightening it up, making tweaks where they’re needed and even revising a few elements.
The main cause of the revising is the fact that we now have a dedicated artist working on the graphical assets, Francis Coulombe, and you can find his site here. He has nailed the style and feel we’re going for and progress is steady. I can’t wait for it to get it all in the game, and the stuff that I’ve already replaced is looking badass.
Doesn’t this rock? This guy replaces the swarming heads, so in the game you’ll be seeing big groups of these guys flying at you, trying to smash you to pieces.
I thought what we had looked really great, but Francis is going to boost it all to a whole new level!
Also just finished is a functional main menu, with all the basic options such as control configuration and volume levels. Not a big update, but the main menu is often the first impression of a game, so getting it right is definitely important. The full game will contain more options to customize how you start a game, as well as save file management. You can read a little about the possible customization options in an earlier post here.
That about covers all that’s been going on here! More posts to come soon, especially before or around the Indiecade deadline.
You may have seen the Boss already from the very first posts of this blog. Evan has been updating the Boss graphically and it’s looking sweet! I’m now on the final 40-50 seconds of the song, which includes the inevitable fall of the Boss. Here’s what I have so far to start it off:
At this point, you will have already been fighting for a while – though from a further distance. This is where things start going downhill for our Upload Complete Boss.
I’m getting sick of calling him ‘Boss’, any ideas for a name?
Now that pretty much 95% of Upload Complete has been laid in place (and is totally playable), I’ve been going back through a number of other scenes and improving them, making them more interesting and engaging. There have also been some updates to the general engine, giving better performance overall.
Speaking of performance, Level 2 should be able to run on even the slowest of computers. The rig I’m using for testing isn’t the fastest of things, my rule of thumb has been if I get a drop in framerate on this, then something needs to change to make it more efficient. So far this has proven effective on any other computer the game has been tested on.
If you’re interested, here’s what I’m working with – Intel T2300 ~1.66ghz (dual core), 1gb ram, GeForce Go 7800 256mb. Kind of a benchmark for the lower end that can run Level 2. Running it at a steady 60fps is extremely important, any less and things get thrown out of sync and scenes can actually (play-wise) be much shorter!
DevLogs should be coming up a bit more frequently now, as I’ve worked through some pretty tough issues. Now I’m blitzing through, leading to more Log-worthy material!
Recently I’ve been putting a lot of work into the Boss of Upload Complete. All his main attacks are finished, and the sequence itself is laid out, prepared for any details that will come.
Testing it myself, I know the attacks, I know what’s likely to come at me next. For the first-time player it may not be so easy, but I don’t want it to be impossible to survive for those who don’t know the patterns. I’m hoping for a semi-readable fight, that requires skill more than anything to overcome. Being the first Boss it definitely wont be as intense as Bosses in future levels, but it’ll still be a challenge.
In addition, many other scenes of the level have been tightened up, and a scene has been added granting the player a Weapon Upgrade! Given what comes at you after the Upgrade, it will be a very welcome gift. For the demo, a number of other Upgrades/Updates may be handed to the player simply to give a taste of what’s to come in the full game.
The difficulty may also be ramped up for a more hardcore experience in the demo. Upload Complete is basically the ‘tutorial’ level, but that’s not to say it wont throw the player into the deep end (even in the real game version, it’s not going to be a walk in the park). Intensity is a running theme through the whole game. I mean… listen to the tracks LCTR have up on their Myspace, how can a game with that music not be intense?
I don’t know about you, but I’m pumped.
It’s been a while, so here’s a little more info.
This is a fairly simple topic, but it’s still very important. The Game Mode will often dictate how you play in order to succeed in the game, and present you with the most basic methods of challenging yourself.
First, another important yet simple feature needs to be explained – Death. When you die, you explode into particles, and reform within about a second. Nothing stops, the level continues on, you get a short period of invulnerability where you can still fire your weapon. Instant respawn.
What happens as a result of death is where the Game Modes come in. What we have planned is to have two sets of lives. The first are your ‘Reform’ lives, how many times you can die and respawn immediately. The second set are you Core lives – once you run out of Reforms, you lose a Core life, and instead of respawning on the spot the entire level is restarted with full Reforms again. Losing all your Core lives results in complete defeat – Game Over.
Now, whatever Game Mode you choose will affect your basic number of Core and Reform lives. For example, a medium mode might give you 8 Reforms and 4 Core lives, whereas Sudden Death gives you nothing, and a Casual mode would give you unlimited Reforms. Perhaps a mode with unlimited Core lives would prevent getting Game Over, whilst keeping challenge with a limited amount of Reforms.
There’s a lot to mix and match, so it might end up with the Start Game screen displaying a list of options to modify the game – you specifically set how many Core and Reform lives you want, as well as a few other options. Perhaps this ‘custom game’ mode would be unlocked the first time you complete the game. In fact, I would like to hear some input on this matter, so feel free to comment!
Although the lives system forms the bulk of Game Modes, there will be other variables, though I’m not too sure what at the moment. Also, there should be completely different Game Modes that don’t follow the main narrative/song structure – such as a Boss Run mode, or maybe a totally randomly generated mode, since the engine does allow for that!