Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lame / Move On Reader

I don't have anything this week. I plead three-day houseguests and the need to entertain them, two days of illness following the departure of three-day houseguests, and the rest of the time spent going to job interviews and not getting jobs (plus the freelance jobs I still have going on, plus trying to quit smoking out of economic necessity in the last few days.) Despite all of that I could have worked on the game for a fucking hour--an hour!--, but I didn't, which is lame and horrible. But sometimes it goes like that.

Here's a comic page at least:

Sorry, gang--I'll try to make another post in a couple of days with something, at least. The next two items on the agenda are (still) to fix the save/load system and to finish up all of the story sequences. It's such a small amount of work to finish this up and move on to the polishing stage that it's silly not to have done anything this week.

To everyone who is working on/has worked on Demon Lord Adventure III art: you are radical, even radical to the max. You beat this old sinner at his own terrible game.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If I only had a lever, enough money to buy food, a few more hours and a place to stand

Posting this early because I started to fall asleep while coding/testing, jesus. If I can stay up until 8:30 I can get back on a normal schedule. I can get all the stuff done I n eed to get done and I can have a good life one day.

Here's what's done: all text is written and in-game, except for ten lines RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SCRIPT (they sort of go around a puzzle sequence and I haven't figured out the puzzle yet because I'm stupid) and except for the final scene, which I'm saving. It's okay; it needs another draft or so. Right now the textbox count is something like 490, according to the logs, which is pretty okay I think.

I did some more frames on Cass--he's almost done except for the back side which for some reason is really hard on him (it's the weird scarf/surplice thing he wears.) I did a sprite for Illcup and the Sheriff as well since I was tired of using generics for them. You can see here if you squint:



The sheriff one in particular needs work because I tried to make his face all lean and scary and Texan and he just looks like a weird dwarf or a child or something. I wanted him to look kind of weak around the shoulders, weaselly, horrible, and he just looks like an eight-year-old. Jesus. At least the pixel cowboy hat came out pretty rockin'. I can't even draw those things freehand

What else? Some fence tiles to get rid of the horrible placeholders:


And the save/load system. Jesus. I can save and load one game with no problem and no obvious data loss. I'm falling asleep trying to get the actual UI set up--I wanted to wait to post this until it was all done so I'd have rad screen shots and stuff. Instead I have this:


It doesn't do anything and it doesn't even display right. Whatever. Whatever!

Whatever is no way to finish a game. This is so stupid; I should be further along with this by now. I wanted to have all of the cut scenes blocked out, only waiting for special frames to be made to finish them off. I did manage to smooth out some rough jumps in the early ones but this is the next Big Looming Thing.

One day I'll know where the money's coming from and I'll have enough to like--go out to eat sometimes, like in the old days. Until then we're stuck with ourselves

(Oh: and Syn is angel. For Demon Lord Adventure II, go to here. If you're on the forums which I have to assume everyone here is because who else is gonna read this crap, you know that sprites are being made for the inevitable 3. I want to start diving into the battle system but patience, patience makes the plot grow golder--not until this Chapter I (of six! Christ--they'll get easier at least once all of this system/engine stuff is over) is done, or at least thick in testing.

I played the opening ten levels of Dragon Warrior to get some idea of how the stat progression works and what makes it work. It's pretty impeccable: the first like six levels of that game are you trying to go from dealing 1-2 damage to enemies to 3-4 damage to enemies. The game "jumps" from Slimes with 3 hp to ghosts with 7 to Magicians with 12 really gracefully, smoothing the HP gap by giving you the HURT spell at the right moment and increasing your range just enough to justify the huge jump up to Skeletons with like--35 hp or whatever, just beyond the Magicians' borders. It's such a tedious game but it's so completely masterful. I messed with the stat growth tables some in response--I'll probably even make them more brutal soon, make it so that you can only raise 3 stats at level one and raise the requirement for all stats. It'll help with this horrible scaling problem has, where the north end of the map is just another world altogether difficulty-wise compared to the south end of the map. I don't like it but for some reason I have to have five enemies on that map; they spread out; so sue a brother

I'm not making any sense any more. Next week I'll do better.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Better days with a girl like you

This week was kind of a slack week--I spent a lot of it working on other things, some of them for money, and otherwise not being at home hacking away at this stuff. I did get my hour in, though, and crossed off a couple of annoying things-to-do, and fixed some bugs as well. Here's shots:


The final cave is all linked up! You can now walk it from the beginning to the end and back with appropriate warps and all! There's one bug remaining caused by me trying to do Fancy Stuff with one of the warps, but 9 times out of 10 it works okay. This means that we can now walk from the start of the game to the end of the game, always a point I like to be at.

Not that it looks like--pretty or anything. This is my Breath Of Fire moment. You remember those caves in Breath of Fire where you went down three or four identical little "switchback" floors before you got to the actual cave? This is that. I love that--it's so demoralizing


Here's a guy who hangs out in the cave.


Here's another guy who hangs out in the cave. This one is the boss of this chapter. He is fearsome, but you can't fight him yet--I just dumped all of his text into the game.

The other big thing is that the Pray command for Cass works. Let's check out the different responses we can get when we pray to an angry God of Death for assistance!


This is what happens when we pray too often. If you're wearing the L.Pendant, you take damage. If you're not wearing it, the God of Death stops your heart.


If the God of Death likes you a little bit, here's what happens. The text is first-draft and really stupid. I wanted to write "death relaxing his grip!", but thought I wouldn't have enough room. So I figured "death relaxing!" was equally understandable. The final version is going to be like "You think death is happy or something"


I love it when movies say shit like "The perimeter has been compromised"


This is more what you hope will happen.

The actual code for the different prayers was pretty easy to put in, all told--the problem was setting up the whole architecture for whether or not the gods are smiling on you. It seems like it works pretty well, though. I may increase the penalties for using Pray so that it doesn't just become like a magic points system, where after you pray once it doesn't matter how much karma you have stored up: you're back to Square One with your god. That should help to balance out the fact that these attacks are way more powerful/useful than I really want. I want you to have to scrabble in terror every moment of your life in this game until you figure it out.

I also fixed some odd bugs, juggled some equipment stats around, made the DetectorRing accessory do what it's supposed to do, and put in a few extra equipment management functions so eventually I can solve the "equip multiple copies of the same item" problem. It's not a hard problem to solve or anything; I just really do not want to do it yet for some reason. I messed around with the evade/dodge bug I created last time but didn't get anywhere as far as solving it. It's a matter of making the numbers work out right; it's something I'll worry about just before testing pretty much, when I'm constantly changing all of the .dat files like twenty times forever.

The version number is 0.41 now because the battle system, barring warts and enemy commands (and, um, better animations), is done. Enemy commands are going to be irritating, particularly the "drag other enemies into the fight with you" part, but not too irritating I hope. That .1 is there to boost morale around here, since technically I shouldn't push it past 0.4 until the BP manager is completely done--but I've made all the maps and linked 'em up and put lots of story in, so whatever! Almost all of the story text is at least formatted for the textbox parser and all but one scene is in-game--at this point I'm going to have to spend a week or so just fiddling around with entity movement and things like that to finish it off. I don't actually know how much system code I have left to write beyond:

- a Zelda 3 "jump down" function (only used in like four places maybe)
- block pushing (probably can skip this if need be)
- Saving/loading (almost done)
- Make the BP Manager automatically store BP toward certain stats and level those stats up automatically at the end of fights (easy; just haven't done it)
- enemy commands
- map spells usable against random entities
- minigames (the jail game and the horse cave stampede game--I have no idea whether these will be horrible or okay)

And of course there are the known code improvements that need to be made:
- fix the fucking inventory bugs once and for all
- menus are still glitchy and help text doesn't work most of the time
- map spell targeting ring is jittery
- status conditions are still suspicious; lots of testing required
- title screen
- I don't even know; jesus

October: god. Late October. At least I think there are more things on the done list than on the remain-to-be-done list.

All of this sidesteps the fact that I was supposed to be working on graphics this week. I didn't touch a single pixel this week pretty much. Here's what I did instead:


This is from Demon Lord Adventure Tutorial II, which is done--I just can't upload it to for some reason, and it's like 200K too large for my terrible free web hosting service. Hopefully it'll be up there soon: in the meantime go play through the first one, if you haven't!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The sweet intoxication of the rose

Last week's goals were just to make tiles, maps, content up to the end of the game. I am pleased to report that we are CLOSE. How close? Why, let the screenshots tell you!


New desert tiles--pretty close to final, I think


The first of the game's level-up trainers--I think this is funny


A new map, looks like the old maps except for the night retrace effect. Check out them stats


Maybe we can all agree with this! Also from the new map


Trouble brews in a story sequence! Also features a new incomplete sprite


The final new map of the game. It's obviously incomplete but it's totally laid out. Still needs to have the zones hook up with one another and all.

All of the story is also written, except for the very very last sequence (maybe like--three textboxes long, but I want to save it for last.) Most of it is in game as well, although I still need to make the entities run around and act emotional and stuff. Once the last map is hooked up and all of the story text is in, I can send the game off to the music man and that's that for that.

Other things done: most crucially, the Knack command works!


That doesn't really look so hot in the screenshot, but it's cool in game, take my word. Knacks are mouse driven and detect hit locations on the enemy, forcing the battles to slow down a bit so that you can target. Right now they're only really useful against one or two enemies but by the end of the first chapter I want to have Knacks be like--the basic command you go for in the first round of every fight. That's mostly going to be a weird balancing issue but we're way closer to having it work than we were last week.

I also threw out my old status condition system and coded a shiny new one. So far two status conditions are in the game and seem to be working, though for some reason the AI handling doesn't react to one of them as it should. I'm probably going to just leave it for now until I've got more of the basic work done.

Plus I added a chance to dodge to the game so that your EVA stat actually does some good. And boy, does it do good! It does so much good that it's essentially impossible for enemies to land a blow on you ever even if you're wearing no armor and have never raised your defense stat past 3. This is obviously a problem but I'd rather just leave it like that until I have all of the maps/story stuff hooked up, since it makes it way easier to test and I need to rebalance everything anyway.

Plus I fixed all of the remaining extant game-killing bugs in the battle system and debugged the equipment system. The only irritating thing left is the weird in-battle item menu behavior, but it's not going to be that hard to fix, comes the time.

So we can bump the version number up to 3.9, just shy of that critical .4 where all of the battle functions work. I still have to finish building Cass's Pray command--some of the basic variable-manipulation functions are in, but I haven't quite decided on exactly how to track the crucial variables. And I still need to throw in a few more status conditions.

After that: .5 is finishing up the system code, which at this point basically means the save/load functions and some debugging on the items/equipment side of things. Saving and loading is almost done--it could be done right now if I was confident that I wasn't going to have to add anything else to the party variable structures, but I'm not confident of that. .6 involves all maps/story/sprites being totally ironed out, tiled, in the bag. (Even though you can almost walk the game from start to finish there's still a crazy amount of work to be done on tiles and sprites.) .65 puts the little mini-game stuff in (grue's new totally awesome collision trigger should make one of those like--ridiculously easier than I thought it would be), and I think after that it's all just testing and balancing until release.

It's so horrible how these projects seem so simple when you start them and then you realize how much work they actually entail. I think it's still moving at a reasonable rate, though, and that barring disaster we can pull off testing by October.

As for that other project--I've only done a tiny amount of work on it since last week. It comes in three parts; the first is done, the second is half-done. I'll probably just release parts one and two once they're done and then save the third. I toyed with the idea of just releasing part one, fuck it, but it's actually kind of terrible and useless at present. Oh whatever I'm uploading it; look for it in a couple of hours.