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Almost a month since my last update! With school in session and work being… work, I’m admittedly not getting a lot done. But I did hammer down some pretty important stuff that I probably should have foreseen being a necessity a while ago.

 

Mainly, story. And character designs. You know, those things I started this game thinking I wouldn’t have to do…. well, the idea of Hysteria Star has grown in my head, and while it’s still silly and open to whatever I want to throw at it, I’d really like to have a narrative for players to follow. I don’t think this is going to add a lot more development time to the game, though, since I’ve been re-imagining how that narrative is delivered, and I think the result will be a more appealing way of delivering more story where I need it to be.

 

Before, the idea was to have some simple drawn cutscenes with slight motion play out a story at the beginning and end of each ship’s Story Mode campaign. Nothing super special, but fairly engaging. The problem with that is timing and animating visual elements in those cutscenes could be a bit of a chore seeing how I’ve set up the engine, and two cutscenes is a fairly time-consuming way of delivering almost no story at all.

 

So, the plans have changed! I have been working for a week or so on character designs and the galaxy that Hysteria Star takes place in. What I have nailed down right now is three races, two of which are warring with themselves and each other, and the third of which is almost completely wiped out but they’re all “chill, bro,” ya know. I’m spoofing some elements of various space games, keeping things lighthearted but still telling a pretty intense story about a galaxy on the brink of self-destruction. The story will be told in mostly talking-head-o-rama, (maybe more than heads) but I’m still working out how I want to do that. I’m still planning on having cutscenes where they’re needed, but these simple chats can fill in a lot of the necessary story in between (and within) levels.

 

I’ve also made some changes to how story is delivered based on what ship you use. Now, each ship has a pilot, and some ships may have the same pilot. You will actually play the game starting out as a human space soldier marine badass cooldudelady of space and meet spacepilots of the other two races to play as in the next two sections of the overarching story. The way I’m planning it, each of the three is a part of the main storyline, and each starts where the last one left off. So, starting out you have two ships to choose from and the human pilots both. The story is tied to the pilot, so you get the same story (just different level layouts) with each one, and once you beat the human’s story, you unlock a ship (one for free, and probably more that you can buy with points) piloted by the guy you met in the first part, then after his story, you get the “final” ship and pilot. So it’s a 3-part story at probably an hour per part. That’s on paper, anyway. In theory, playing through a story mode campaign in Hysteria Star should take about as long as playing through the main game of Starfox 64.

 

There is one other thing I should mention, though this isn’t related to the story. I’ve been having some technical problems with Game Maker Studio and changing resolutions. By all means the scripts I was using should have worked but it simply wouldn’t change properly. (or at all. Like, literally mathematically impossible stuff was happening. If I let it detect my monitor’s native 1080p and change the game to that it worked, but if I entered any other number to change to, INCLUDING 1080p, it failed. Despite the fact that after checking a billion times, it was literally the same numbers going through the same way) I hate to let this game be anything but my best quality, but between working with high resolutions on low-tech hardware and the functions for screen resolution zonking out on me, I’ve decided the best bet is to stick to 720p. It eliminates a LOT of headache and having to test everything and create two versions of every asset in the game, and it will also help lessen the footprint of the game on your phone’s memory card (or massive computer hard drive) a lot. It also means it’s running a lot smoother. I have the opportunity to get it running on lower-tech devices and make it flashier overall here, and it still looks great running fullscreen on my monitor.

 

So I guess you could say I’m not just lazy for laziness’ sake, but I was FORCED to be lazy.

In any case, it means a more stable game. Downscaling also helped me realize the game actually plays fairly well with ships being much larger on the screen. I’ll have to play with ship size and a lot of things to get it tuned right, but it’s looking and playing fairly good right now. The addition of story is also helping to inform some of the level designs, too. I had the mechanics figured out before, but I’m really starting to “get” the whole thing now. It’s really too bad things are going so slow lately. Earning a living, learning and making a game is never easy. I hope next time I can have more than just a wall of text to share.

 

 

PS. I mentioned in the last update a little thing called “play points”. I realize that’s complicating things too much. So, here’s how it works: you play through levels, earn your points, etc. You get bonuses for various accomplishments and you can earn achievements which will unlock ships, collectibles, cheats, etc that can be purchased in the shop. But you don’t earn a separate, arbitrary currency to purchase things you’ve unlocked. Nope, when you finish a story mode campaign (or anything that earns you points, really), your point total at the end is added to your overall point total tied to your profile. It’s those points that you can spend to use your unlockables. So, beyond leaderboard trolling, getting high scores is great for unlocking content faster. Not only do you get more achievements, opening up more items to buy, the points you earn also let you buy those faster.

It also seems my Wii broke. :,(

It’s still turning on and making noise like it’s alive, but it doesn’t output anything to the TV and my Wii remotes won’t connect to it or even manually sync. I guess I’m getting a Wii U sooner than I wanted, but it may be a while yet before I can get back to Skyward Sword and Xenoblade. And The Last Story literally just came in the mail today. T_T I really hope I can get my save data and digital purchases back…

It was a good run. I waited in line for 12 hours for that Wii and paid my dues to get it. It’s been a good companion but nothing lives forever. You shall be missed…… Wii…. *taps playing in background*

 

But not all is terrible in the game world. I killed a ton of people and uh…

right. Spec Ops was also pretty disastrous.

 

Not in a bad way, though! It was an amazing game. I’m not much for war shooters because there’s no real meat to their gameplay, no way to be skilled enough to take on a challenge like a no-hit run or something. There’s challenge there, but it seems so arbitrary and out of control. There’s just not a lot to it, really. But Spec Ops: The Line took it all, from the gameplay mechanics to the story, and copy-pasted it and turned it on its head, using the same tropes and mechanics to drive home some really heavy-hitting points. You will feel terrible playing this game. You will likely grow bored of the gameplay. And it will highlight so much of what’s wrong with these modern war games, so much of the terrible things that happen under the banner of war, and so much of what should make these games laughable while showing the horrors of what it’s really like out there for a soldier.

I think for once I can say a video game has positively NAILED the kind of narrative and dialogue that is possible only within the interactive medium. This may be the closest I’ve played to a video game that digs as deep as a really good movie. You can say all you want about how Heavy Rain or Uncharted are like long movies, but this is something else entirely. It’s deep and emotional, it’s conflicted for good reason, and it involves YOU every step of the way. From making major decisions in the moment through gameplay to how the mechanics and context of the game (including you, in your chair, holding your controller, playing the game) give it depth, it’s simply brilliant. I’d hate to spoil a single moment after about an hour in… it’s a short game but one I can hardly recommend enough. If you only ever play one modern military shooter, make it Spec Ops.

Just a short post for anyone who hasn’t seen this one yet and might want to. It’s my first Youtube video, a timelapse showing my process for making a 3D model in 3DS Max:

 

I know this isn’t the kind of 3D model you would use in a game, and I know I did a few things wrong, but hey. How often do you get to see a timelapse of someone’s 3D modeling workflow?

I hope you like ponies. Or baby dragons. (disclaimer: there are no ponies in this video.)

 

Game development is a tricky business. When you start out, the goal is to plan out as much as possible before you really dive into a major effort, because the losses can be great when you really dig into asset building and coding something that turns out to be not what you eventually wanted anyway. As the game starts to form and you can actually play it, and as you get ideas from other places, you can start to question older visions of mechanics and design, so much that you reinvent how the game is going to play.

In a sense it’s inevitable. No vision is perfect on paper AND in practice. It’s important to keep sight of a more general, overall goal such as the feelings you want to drive home, the experience you want the player to have. Any time you are thinking of adding or changing the mechanics, first consider what  you’re trying to accomplish with them, and what kind of gameplay and feel you’re likely to create with that addition. With a cohesive goal backing up every decision throughout the process, you’re much more likely to end up with a game that feels solid and well-planned, even though it’s changed greatly from what you had in mind from the beginning.

Uh, don’t let that scare you, because Hysteria Star is still a shoot-em-up. It’s still tough. And it’s coming along great. Lately I’ve had some inspiring thoughts about how to handle special attacks, money collecting for powerups, how the player earns points and what upgrades can and can’t be.

It’s gonna be a great game.

First off, the flow of the game as a whole is very important to me. There are currently 4 playable ships and I plan to have many more, most of them unlockables that you get by beating the game with other ships and on higher difficulty levels. I’ve chosen to make not only multiple separate level designs for higher and lower difficulty levels, but also entire unique campaigns for every playable ship. There will be some 10 or so level types (various backgrounds and walls, enemy types, obstacles, mechanics, etc) to make use of, and each campaign may go through them in a different order, with different layouts. Enemy and obstacle placement should be designed with that ship’s capabilities in mind. Higher difficulties could specifically target a ship’s deficiencies and force the player to adapt to new play styles. There are a lot of possibilities, and the fact that each ship has its own level set made specifically for it means that balancing all the ships against each other shouldn’t be such a big concern. (in single player, anyway. Multiplayer may run under a different set of rules.)

So, the ships themselves are very different, and that’s possibly going to change in a bigger way. The core mechanics are still the same – ships auto-fire their main weapon (in touch mode only: controller/keyboard controls have a normal shoot button) and you only control movement and the ship’s special attack. I’m opening up the possibilities for specials a bit, by making them recharge over time and making it possible to have single upgrades rather than multiple levels of upgrades for two separate factors. I still plan on having a ship or two which use specials as their main form of attack, with their main weapon being… less useful, for various reasons. Another fun factor I’m adding in is combos. I love a good combo system, and I think with the right design, I can make that fun here. You rack up combos by destroying enemy ships without letting too much time pass between kills. Getting hit or waiting too long naturally resets the combo, which as you can probably guess, multiplies the points you earn and gives you a few other benefits. You may have to let enemies stay on the screen longer to keep holding out on a combo, or even use a special to grab a quick kill when you know you won’t make it in time.

But I was thinking… what use are points, aside from something to gloat about in the leaderboards? That’s when a little inspiration struck: rather than collecting item drops from enemy ships to get money to spend on upgrades between levels… points ARE money. By racking up higher points, you give yourself more to work with in buying upgrades. You can become more powerful and perhaps earn more points because of it. This also adds an extra factor to high score-seekers, though. Since you directly spend your points on upgrades, and any upgrades you have at the end of the game are refunded for 1/2 their value, AND since you get point bonuses for certain accomplishments during a level (like 100% kills or not getting hit), anyone looking to get a good score may have some tough decisions to make. More spending might get you more points from bonuses, but if you are stingy with your spending, you could earn more in the long run for your trouble. Bonuses are also given at the very end, meaning you could get rewarded for a no upgrade run.

High scores are great and the added challenge and replay value if you’re trying to top the leaderboards is potentially through the roof… but there’s still more. As you play, you unlock stuff. New ships, crazier difficulty levels, cheats, etc. Pretty basic, right? But the unlockables need to be purchased with play points after they’re unlocked, so you can use them. And you earn play points for your achievements and how well you do overall. No, this is not a real money scheme thing, but here’s how I plan to monetize this game, if I can: The game itself is free. You can do everything that’s initially unlocked, meaning 3 or 4 ships and the standard difficulty levels, and multiplayer if available. There’s nothing stopping you from grabbing high scores and earning play points and unlockables. But, you can only use those play points when you pay to unlock the “full” game. (something like $5, I imagine) So, there is literally no difference between playing the full game and the free one, with the sole exception that unlockables are for the full game only.

Best money-making scheme ever? No, probably not. But I’m not here to make money. I’m here to make games, and the best thing I can ask for is to have people enjoy them. So if free means it gets in the hands of more people, I’m all over that. Maybe if it comes to it, I can have ads pop up in the menus and when you pause the game. But if I EVER even consider letting ads stick their noses into your gameplay like Angry Birds or something, I deserve all the hate mail I get…

So, I promised screenshots last entry, and I plan on sticking to that. A word of warning: the game really isn’t in a state I want to show. This is going to look pretty No Me Gusta. Lots of mechanics are still not added and it’s very much still in a prototype phase. It looks alright, but I’m still using a lot of prototype-y stuff, placeholder sprites and such. Lots of effects still aren’t fine-tuned to what I want them to be, and plenty more simply aren’t even there yet. But here’s Hysteria Star upscaled to 1080p:

(click for full res)

Probably the most obvious thing here (aside from the placeholder tiles that are nothing like what I plan to have in my maps) is the lighting system. For whatever reason, I decided to make all the wall objects here emit their own halo of light. You can easily see the red lighting on the player ship from the enemy fire. There isn’t much light emission from player shots with the Gatling Star here, but others shoot brighter. Explosions especially have a large effect, and tend to light up everything around them. One thing I plan on changing is the size of the light halos. It’s nothing advanced like a 2D bump/normal map sort of thing, so the key to making it more believable will be in how I handle the size and emission levels from each light source.

The background is still little more than just an upscale from my 480×800 version. It looked better at that size, but not so much at 1080p. I have plans for backgrounds and tiles, though.

(image is just a mockup, not screenshots)

Before, I planned to use more of a tileset system, just making tileable sprites and having the level generator look at which ones are on corners, top, bottom, sides, etc and place the right tiles. But tiles can get very boring and repetitive, especially considering how many 32×32 sprites would fit on a 480×800 screen. I tried doing a mixture of 32×32 and 64×64 tileable sprites, but coding that to work right would get messy in a hurry. What I chose to do instead was to go with a more “painterly” look for backgrounds and sprites. No more aliasing, no more pixel details, but a lot more depth and variety. I’m still kind of learning as I go and figuring out what works and what doesn’t, but I’m pretty happy with how it looks so far, and when I factor in lighting, I think it’s going to look great in motion.

Ship sprites have made a massive transformation with this new style, too. Shading and color depth as well as overall detail (of course) have been improved vastly. The “floating” effect on the shield was initially an accident, but I’m a big fan of how it outlines the ship better while still being disconnected from the sprite itself. It also doubles as your “health %” indicator, so it ups visibility and makes for a good, quick reference on how badly you’re dying. Color is an important factor in the overall design, but that’s something I’ll go into more later on.

Also, as a follow-up to my last update, LMMS turned out to suck also, crashing more and more often as I went until I couldn’t do anything with it. After re-remaking the Hysteria theme in some 4 separate programs, I finally finished it in an awesome program called MuLab. Unlike everything before it, MuLab has actually survived through two tunes and two WIP pieces without any glitches or problems. When I have the money to throw I’ll be getting the ultimate version of that, and I can continue with more music-making. I’ll be making a Bandcamp page for music hosting, so when I have some more solid stuff I might start putting things up there.

It’s been a short summer for me, but a lot has happened. I’m moving a lot slower than I want to in getting this from prototype to something more resembling the final game. I’ll still do my best to get more work done alongside school and work now that classes have started, so hopefully my next update WON’T be coming around in November or something.

Whatever does (or doesn’t) happen, I’ll keep you all posted! :>

I don’t plan on doing a nice, big update at the moment, but it’s coming up. I definitely have been making progress in a lot of areas, and I’ve gotten back into the coding in a major way. I’ve been updating the game to look good on all screen sizes small and large, rather than just scaling up from the smartphone size when it’s played on an HD screen. I have some serious boosts in mind for the systems that can handle it, which might mean there will be some nifty graphics options to play with for those who might not have the most capable phone or computer. Still lots of placeholders all over the place, but the HD-ification is looking great in motion. Perhaps this next update will be the first time I show off screenshots!

 

Yeah, short post. But after two Mondays without updates I don’t want to leave everyone hanging with just a Games I’m Playing post. If you’re interested in 3D modeling, I have something in the works that I’ll hopefully have up on Youtube soon enough, so be ready for it!

 

Today, you finally learn about my love for puzzle games.
And awesome first person dungeon crawlers. ❤

Yes, I’m a hardcore gamer. It’s no secret that I love to die a lot. To me, getting game overs during the first dungeon/area/tutorial in a game is a really good sign that I’m going to have a good time. I always take on the highest difficulty level available, and overcoming immense challenges is one of the biggest rewards I know in gaming. Knowing this, I’m sure you would guess that my favorite genre is action, right? Lots of baddies, all willing to give their lives for the ultimate purpose of killing me? Or maybe I love shooters. Tons of targets, bullets flying all over, give me an arsenal of a dozen or so guns and let me run around and unleash hell while rockets and fireballs dart by, inches from my face? Or maybe i’m a strategist, and there’s nothing I love more than to pit my own wits and ability to think and react on the fly to an ever-changing battlefield against a nearly perfect computer foe?
Actually, no. While I love all sorts of games in almost every genre out there…

My favorite is puzzle games. (Oh… did I mention that the first sentence was spoilers? Well…..spoilers!)
There is no genre out there that gets my juices flowing (eww) more than puzzle games. (and occasionally rhythm games, but they’re a different variety of juice entirely.) When things get intense, when the action speeds up, when combos are building and my thumbs are flying as fast as the game can handle, that feeling is just amazing. I love a lot of games in the puzzle genre, but some of my favorites are the ones that really heat up. Tetris is good, but it was by far the best in Tetris DS. Meteos is my favorite puzzle game ever. (just PLAY IT. It’s awesome. Get a DS if you don’t have one, and you can get it really cheap.) Bust-A-Move is a solid one, most of the time. Lumines is a beautiful and addictive yet deceptively simple puzzler that I continue to return to… but one that I’ve been addicted to through the course of some 4 iterations I’ve played to death every time now, is the classic match-3 game, Pokemon Puzzle League, AKA Pokemon Puzzle Challenge, AKA Puzzle League (DS, it was seriously hard to go back to buttons after this one… also if you’re taking notes, almost every one of my favorite puzzle games was amazing on the DS, which is also my favorite game system. Coincidence? :P), AKA Tetris Attack.

Chances are, you’ve played it or something very much like it. Blocks slowly lift up from below and you can swap any two left and right of each other. You make them disappear by matching 3 or more like-colored blocks in a line, and any blocks without something below them will fall. You can use this to make another match after something falls, creating a “chain.”
The gameplay is very simple but the game gets intense, especially if you’re like me and your instinctual reaction to a mostly-empty screen is to hold L/R (automatically pushes up another layer of blocks onto the screen) until the screen is almost completely full. It puts you much closer to the edge of failure, but the chances for getting chains to go off and the potential to give you more time/blocks to work with to continue chains as they’re running can mean big points, or a big attack against your opponent in a versus match.

Interestingly, I’ve never played Tetris Attack before this. It’s the first iteration of the Puzzle League formula, and as a result its wrinkles are really starting to show. As someone who invested 120 hours into the Gameboy Color version (Pokemon Puzzle Challenge) and conquered every insane challenge of it and the N64 game (Pokemon Puzzle League), I knew almost immediately that a few things about the base mechanics felt a bit… off, in the SNES game.
I guess it’s to be expected of the earliest version of the series, but after the insane AI I’ve gone up against and the awesome amount of stuff to do in the newer games, completely annihilating hard mode and the unlockable “hardest” mode with no problem after spending about 1 hour with the game left me wanting more. Also, it uses passwords. PASSWORDS IN A SNES GAME. WHAT.
Okay, enough geeking out about puzzle games. It’s time for a shiny new dungeon crawler!
Legend of Grimrock. Okay, there’s not much bad I can say about this game. It’s a first person dungeon crawler, but it does some really interesting things. Movement takes place entirely on a grid. You can only move and look around one space or 90 degrees at a time. You go in with a party of four, each character standing in 1/4 of a square. Characters in the back have to use long-range weapons or magic, but they also avoid the majority of attacks simply by having two bodies in front who take all the hits. Unless you get stupid and stare at a wall while a spider chews on your mage and rogue. Which isn’t much of a viable tactic, but I won’t stop you from trying.
Combat and movement actually happens in real-time in this game. At first, I thought it was strange and unnecessary. Most games like this back in the day had turn-based movement. Why restrict actions to a grid if combat is real-time? Well, it turns out it’s actually a great combination. Your 4 characters each can do actions on a cooldown timer, taking a certain amount of time before they can act again based on what they did. They can equip items in each hand for quick access, giving you a total of 8 actions between all your party members. It’s fairly limited, but in a good way. It makes you really think how you will use skill points and who will be able to use what items/weapons. And when combat inevitably rolls around, your pre-planning plays a large part in how well you do. But almost just as cool is how important constant movement and strategy in a fight is. The restrictions of the grid become both your greatest weapon and your very quick downfall, especially playing on Hard, where you literally can’t win by standing in place and exchanging blows.
By moving just before an enemy attacks, you can avoid their attack animation. You can dodge fireballs and escape from the path of charging ogres. I can almost imagine it’s possible to beat the game without taking a single hit. Against one enemy, it’s easy to do, and you can quickly throw in attacks as the monster tries to keep up with your movements. But when more than one join in the fight, things can get awesomely hectic. You need to stay on the move to avoid getting cornered, and if you’re careless an enemy will quickly block your escape route.
But that’s just combat. The whole package is something much bigger/better. There are traps and secrets all over the place. There are puzzles and cryptic messages. There’s a lot of mystery. You will probably miss a ton of stuff on your first time going through, until you look up a FAQ and find massive areas you never even knew existed. For what it is, they really crammed a lot in there. And they definitely used every ounce of potential to be had in their level designs. There’s a lot of really good stuff, there.

Plus, an awesome little thing… your characters all have little portraits, which you can choose during character creation OR if you’re like me you can make your own and import them! 😀 I’ve been playing through with a team made up of my own OCs, and it’s just so much more fun to play that way. I love adding in that sense of personality and character interaction (I just naturally do that when I play games like this. Link has a voice and character in Link to the Past, Isaac actually interacts in ways other than “yes/no” in Golden Sun, etc, etc) to a game that otherwise doesn’t have any.

 

Also, bonus round: Guild Wars 2!
It’s amazing and my Charr is a fine piece of rogue.

That is all.

 

Call it work, call it the eight or so music programs I’ve installed on my computer just trying to find one that works and does what I need, call it the rampant crashing, call it finishing art for my friend’s RPG finally, call it Guild Wars 2 beta, call it laziness or whatever you will. Monday is a terrible day, anyway. Just ask Garfield.

But I think the last few weeks have been pretty sparse on the details. Not a lot to show, not a lot to say… It’s nice to have updates out every week but lately I haven’t made much progress and I realized since I have a job and a life (wait… actually, I don’t), there won’t always be anything to update every week.

So, for now, I think the best option is just to update Whenever I Feel Like It. Which should be less often than weekly, but more often than monthly.

Anyway, on to actual game stuff news:

Samplitude is dead. It started acting up and I realized that while pirates are cool, I’m not cut out for the gig. Sorry, but I’m not paying $1000 to make some music. Especially with the program crashing like it does. (which may have more to do with running Windows 8 CP and not having a sound card OR any clue what I’m doing than the program itself being bad, but still…) I chose to give LMMS a second shot, and it’s actually performing fairly well this time around. It’s going to be an interesting experiment to see how well I can make music of my own. My plans for the sound design are the same as ever – a retro/techno mix. So very synthetic sound, upbeat and maybe a bit quirky, with plenty of bleep and buzz. This is something I’ll have to play around with when I actually get to implementing sound and music into the game. Making sound effects is… also interesting. So far I’ve been sticking to the retro side on sound effects, but I might see what else I can do to give the game more of its own unique style.

There’s this video about juice I was linked to on the You Tube. It’s about something I’ve noticed in a lot of amateur indie games, and something I often forget is fairly important to have in a game. You can’t replace fun with juice, but that doesn’t stop a lot of games from going there. Definitely a good video to watch even if you’re not a developer. Juice is a sort of abstraction but it’s what separates Lumines from the original Tetris. By adding in that factor and really pumping the game full of it, you go from something mechanically fun to a true experience, even if you change nothing about how it plays. It’s also something my game needs a good dose of. It’s still very early and I’m just one person, but I won’t let that get in the way of making this the best game it can be.

I’ve posted this now. It’s up to you to not let me get away with a juiceless game.

So next update comes When I Feel Like It. Not Monday, that’s for sure. I’ll probably have a lot more to show and say, though.

Whoops, didn’t plan this one out well.

I don’t have a lot of time to write this one before I have to go, but if I don’t do this now, I’ll be making another Tuesday Update again. I PROMISED! (or maybe not)

 

Okay, so actually this week I did more work on a game that’s NOT mine than I did work on my own. I basically finished the final stretch of art assets my friend needed for his 3DS RPG called Linked Destiny. He’s been a bit more quiet about the game online than I have been about mine, but you can see his Deviantart here: http://lexusx.deviantart.com/ It’s been over a year since I last got a taste of the game, myself, but with the assets in good shape maybe soon I’ll get another try. I’m always talking with him about the game and it sounds like it’s shaping up really nicely. I can’t wait to see the results of our effort on that one. 🙂

 

But as for Hysteria Star, there’s not a lot to report this week other than: ARMS. LIKE. NOODLES!!!

Really, work has been (almost) literally trying to kill me all week so I’ve been spending most of my time just trying to recover. I slept 14 hours one night! (NEW RECORD!) But I did look into more music software. Reason got me absolutely nowhere because it apparently has issues with Windows 8 and that happens to be what my computer is running, but I’m learning to use Samplitude now. I’m not sure yet if it’s what I need but it does at least appear to have all the technical goobles and whatchits I need to make pretty sounds for your ears to listen to sometimes.

Well looks like my time is about up, so let’s hope my tiny arms can handle another work day. LET’S-A GO! (Like it? It’s my new catchphrase, which I just made up. I think it’s pretty catchy.)

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF~

Sorry about the late writeup. I just started my new truck unloading/stocking job a week or so ago because I was getting tired of eating out of other people’s garbage to survive, so I don’t have the time or energy I usually do to get things done, sadly. 😦

But! I can still show some thingies and talk about stuffs. That’s always exciting!

-I’ve been playing around a bit more with the logo, now that I have more of an idea of what I want to do overall. It’s not often I have to design these, so I want to mess with different ideas until I get something I’d like to stick with. For now this is my favorite version.

Ouya console. Just got announced today with their Kickstarter, and I’m impressed. I’m “If I had $700 I’d be throwing it at my monitor” impressed, even! Maybe it’s a bit too early to be 100% sure or maybe it doesn’t have everything I need, but I’m definitely already making plans to port to Ouya. One feature that really excites me, something I can’t really do on the smartphone version, is multiplayer. This could mean simultaneous multiplayer for 2-4 players for the Ouya and PC versions. Something else I really like is how they will have free demos for every game on the system, so you can always play something for free before you have to decide to drop money on it. That is excellent, and definitely something I’m behind.

 

-Another of my level concepts, playing with visual design and colors. I like the idea of making the enemies in this level all generally glowing blue/red. It gives a very bright and defined set of obstacles, and the color coding also helps you easily see where something is trying to kill you. 🙂

 

So not a lot of progress this week, but there’s some cool stuff anyway. I’m still looking for a music program, but this week I’ve been less active in that area. I’m still waiting on access to GM Studio so I can continue working on the game proper. Soon… soon.

 

That’s Metroid: Zero Mission. On GBA. Little King’s Story is on the Wii. Today’s theme seems to be revisiting games from my past, actually. These are ones I’ve played and loved before, and I’ve gotten back into them recently.

There’s not much to say about Metroid: ZM. It’s one I’ve played a lot in the past and I’m coming back to it with the help of emulators to enjoy it again and try some playthroughs I’ve never tried before. I don’t think I’m up to the 100% in less than 2 hours ones, but 15% completion was a fun challenge. Zero Mission really cuts into the heart of what I love in a Metroid game. It’s how you can play it a billion different ways. It’s how you get further into the game and discover that some little shortcut or hidden passageway could allow you to access an area before you’re “supposed” to. That freedom to go BEYOND what it seems the developers intended, even though it’s so smartly designed that you can’t possibly get yourself stuck or in an inescapable situation… that’s just beyond awesome. The game itself is only the surface, and it’s designed in such a way that playing around within the game, cleverly finding paths that you “shouldn’t” get into, getting items before you normally would, are all hugely satisfying, even if the reward isn’t great.

It’s also a little worrying, in a way. Modern games seems to put so much into cinematics and beautiful assets and a well-crafted story, that a GBA game knocks them out of the park in terms of how well it’s designed and how the overall package holds up in terms of gameplay. Zero Mission is still beautiful in its pixelated details, perfected down to every last corner of the map. It’s truly inspiring. Really makes me want to get back to The Outer World. But I know I can’t… not yet, anyway.

The other one today is Little King’s Story. I tend to gush about this game a lot, because it’s just SO GOOD. I beat it maybe a year or two back and I loved everything about it. I can’t believe I let the cover turn me off of this one for a while. By all means this looks in every way like a kids’ game. Or something easy. Trust me, it’s neither.
Well, you could say it’s a kids’ game, but there are some really deep messages in there, some surprising themes they cover, and some really emotional moments, all under the guise of this cutesy game about a little kid who found a magic crown and became king.
And also, it’s not an easy game by any means. There’s a ton of challenge to be found after an hour or two in the game. Right from the first enemy you face, you’re shown that all-out attacking will get you slaughtered quickly. And bosses don’t play nice, even from the early parts of the game. You must strategize, move around, get defensive, take risks, and think things through or the game won’t be doing you many favors.

The bosses are all so interesting, too. There’s 8 of them, I think, and each one is MASSIVELY different, using the base mechanics in radically different ways. The boss that turns the stage into a pinball table with a fat man as the ball and your army as paddles is the best ridiculous idea ever.

I started playing again lately to try out the unlocked Tyrant mode. I might have started this right after beating it but the last boss stomped me so many times I just had to give it a rest. The new difficulty makes the game insane. It should really just be called Everyone Dies Mode or something. Of course, being me, I LOVE IT.

I don’t think I could have gotten away without talking about some of my favorite games. I guess this post was bound to happen. 🙂

 

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