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It seems every update takes me longer than the last to get around to… I apologize for the tardiness, I guess it’s a good thing I’m not doing monthly updates still, though. I wouldn’t have much to show this time if that were true.

 

Honestly, there’s not much to say with this one. I haven’t gotten to work on Hysteria since spring semester kicked in, and it’s really in high gear right now so I’m really wishing I had more time lately. But I did make some progress earlier in the year.

Last update, I mentioned points and combos. Well, I’ve added them in and made a few interesting changes to the usual formula.

When you destroy an enemy, the combo counter goes up by 1 and begins to fade out over 3 seconds. Once it fades completely, the combo is reset to 0. Higher combo levels, as you might expect, multiply the points you earn, but getting hit also eliminates your combo.

Now, here’s the fun part: Destroying an enemy gives you no points. The only way to gather points is to snag the little floating whatevers the enemies drop, or the bigger floating whatevers that also give you other cool stuff when you pick them up. When you grab one, you renew your combo, just like when you destroy an enemy. You’re reset back up to 3 seconds before the combo expires, but you don’t gain combo counter levels by picking them up. Just points.

What this mechanic does is adds an extra facet to the gameplay. It’s not just something more to pay attention to, but it makes it possible to design levels without a constant stream of baddies at all times, but still giving the player the chance to keep up their combos during those dry spots. It also makes things a bit more interesting. Do you grab the points now, or wait until they’re just about off the screen and see if you can get a higher multiplier on them?

 

Another few changes I’ve made, I also mentioned in the last update. I’ve simplified player health a lot, to the point where it’s feeling much more oldschool, but in a good way. I’ve also tightened up the movement a lot. Next, I think I’ll be focusing on specials, tuning up the level start and death sequences to actually reflect how the game is supposed to play, and throwing in some graphics on-screen. I need to get some simple interfaces going so it’s not just a really cheap test level.

 

So, who’s to say when I’ll be updating again… I sure hope it’s sooner rather than later, and that I’ll have a lot more to show off. Really, though, the foundation is starting to take shape. Given some better sound design (oops.. my bad) and visual assets I think I could have something I’d actually be willing to throw out there and see what people think about it. I’m still a long way from something I’m really willing to let people play, but I still think there’s a lot of life left in Hysteria Star, and I’m moving ever closer to a Hysteria I think people might really like.

Well, here’s hoping, anyway…

Laziness, thy name is Bit

Another update, another slowness thing. I have gotten some things done but again, the game itself feels nowhere closer to completion than it was before.

 

What I have done, though.. that’s interesting, right?

Well, I’ve done some work with the menus and overall style of the game’s interface, for one. Interface tends to be something I waffle about on so it’s good to have something to play around with long before I need to implement it and realize I hate how it looks.

I kind of hate how it looks already.

 

You’ll notice I’m using two different styles here. The characters are cartoony, rather silly and not very realistic, and contrast a bit with the smooth shaded and un-lined ships. I don’t think this story could possibly be told with any less cute a style. And come on… it’s ME we’re talking about.

 

Last time I updated, the game was actually in an unplayable state, where I was working on optimizing and implementing new systems and various things that will make future work on the game much quicker and easier. Well, that’s finished and now the game is back and better than before! Still very minimal, content-wise, but I haven’t gotten to the point where I can just start churning that out.

 

I still have a lot to work with to get the gameplay tuned up. Points and combos/multipliers are not yet implemented, and I’m thinking of ways that I can simplify things down a bit. I feel player health is a bit high where it is now, and that might cause the game to get more to the hectic side of things rather than the fine-tuned precision play I’m looking for, and the movement system… both button movement and how speed upgrades work, needs heavy tweaking. I could always start throwing ships and movement patterns and craziness at it and seeing what sticks but I find it very important to stick the basic mechanics in place before moving on and focusing on content.

 

And now… for the fun of it, a glitch:

Dude... you should fix that.

I posted my last screenshot what… three updates ago? Sadly I don’t have any actual new  ones but here’s one for fun from early November. (yes, the background a lot better now. See the ship select screen thing!) A little slip-up in the repetitive fire code in the drones caused them to, instead of firing a 3-shot burst over about a third of a second, fire a shot every single step. The effect was really cool, but I think it was also cool to note while this crazy wave of doom swept over the screen, destroying all in its path, Game Maker still withstood that immense blow at 720p, not dropping in framerate.

In-game HUD will be my next priority after code tweaks, getting points/combos in , and more gameplay things that will be a big deal. I really hope I can get off my fuzzy butt and just get to it, now. I’ve been faster than ever at churning out art and it’s all lately been for non-Hysteria stuff.

 

Maybe with the new year will come a new, more productive me.

 

*apocalypse*

And everyone died. The end.

Well, in all honesty I should have expected this. I took on work and school and commissions all at once. There’s no reason I should have been able to do it all AND a game at once. I even have another game project with a different group underway. There’s just no time to do it all.

LOL NO I’M STILL WORKING ON HYSTERIA STAR. DON’T WORRY!

I’ve dropped work (I don’t need you, Walmart!) but I really need to catch up on life a bit before I can really get back into Hysteria. But I am still making progress… however slowly it may be. This weekend marks the first where I’m not working 16 hours, so that’s just 16 more I can spend on the game!

It’s actually rather embarrassing how little progress I’ve made since the last post. Hell, it’s embarrassing what a simple state the game itself is in after all this time. It’s a slow crawl but more and more the game comes to life in my mind and more and more it takes the steps necessary to becoming a reality. The newest additions to the game plan? A complete overhaul of the spawning and level loading system and basically how all the data is setup.

This one really makes me feel smart. Since the beginning, the plan has been to generate levels from .bmp image files, with each pixel marking a square in the invisible grid that makes up the level. Originally, the plan was to have several level types and have a script read each differently, so only certain enemy types would appear in each level. But why make a bunch of different scripts? What if I want one background or another music? What if the music changes? What if I want some of a different enemy type for one level?

That thought led me to something much better. Each pixel holds an R, G, and B value, from 0 to 255. What if most enemies in the game are just instances of the same object, with some thirty values that completely change its appearance, attack, movement, and much more? What if a big array of values holds all this data for every enemy in one central location, and I use one of the color values to determine which set of values in the array is taken when the enemy spawns?

Wait.. why not do the same for the player? And powerups? And scenery?

This simplifies things SO MUCH! Without sacrificing the ability to do a lot of vastly different things with player ships, mechanics, enemy types and everything, I can make it much easier to access and change their data without the possibility that I might break something else, and without having to dig through a million different things to find what I need.

Yes, the last couple months has been a big learning time for me, as I’ve been mostly backtracking on my old code and improving things. I’ve learned the importance of defining constants in a nice list which I can access later. I’ve learned how great object-oriented programming can really make things when you have a lot of similar-yet-different things in your game. Yes, here I am coding my second game and I’m still making newbie mistakes early on. But after tearing through old stuff and improving it a lot, I’m almost back where I left off. Well, that and I have a lot more concepts figured out.

So, the plan at the moment is 12 playable ships, 6 main ones and 6 side stories. That’s two ships per pilot in the main story arc, giving you a little extra choice depending on your preference. As for the game-changers, the six side-stories will be among the most different in terms of how they play… also their storylines will be about 95% more ridiculous.

One thing I’ve been doing lately is looking back at the games I take my inspiration from. I find it really important to look at the different kinds of play styles other shoot-em-ups offer, and look at how that differs from what I’m doing. I like for players to be able to recognize what kind of game this is and know what they’re getting into, but I don’t want my game to fall in the same pitfalls I feel those ones do.  Being original is an important point to me as well, because the last thing Hysteria should feel like is “been there, done that”.

Interestingly, playing these games has mostly had the effect of making me wish they played more like Hysteria. Why aren’t the enemy bullets as bright as my own? Why isn’t there any color coding on enemy shots so I know what to avoid more easily? Why is there never any warning before something fires a bullet at my ship? Why is the movement so twitchy? Why do tiny mistakes like tapping the wall set me back half the level and lose me my hard-earned powerups? Being punished for failure by having to repeat a section can be annoying enough but losing your upgrades often means you’re more likely to fail again. You’re not racking up points or having fun at that point… you’re racking up frustration! This is one of the things I’m going to be hitting hard as Hysteria gets further into development. Remaining a positive and fun experience even in the face of a big challenge should be the focus. And even when it isn’t, there should be ways for players to lessen the strain on themselves when it’s just too much to handle. I know as well as anyone how great it feels to overcome a really tough challenge and come out on top, but there are times I wish I could just say enough is enough and the game would let up a little.

Well, I’m sure Hysteria will be better than that… if I ever get the thing finished. BIT WHY U SO SLOW~

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.

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.

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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