Sunday, August 25, 2013

8-26-13 - Magic Meter Usage and Fire Power Select

In today's this morning's update I'd like to go over the usage of the magic meter and the three ways you will be able to select your fire breath powers.

The magic meter functions like most magic meters resembling that of the ones from Zelda but with a slight difference.

throughout the game you will be able to collect four magic upgrade jars each one increasing your magic ammount by a whole bar. These four jars will be displayed above your magic meter and according to how much magic you still have, the jars will show either full or empty (this would resemble the health meter from the metroid prime series)

The meter has already been put in place and it already also has its usage. currently certain fire breathing powers use the magic meter such as Magic Breath, Ice Breath and Spark Breath . And there may be some items that may put your magic meter to use too.

Speaking of fire breath powers, I've added the convient feature where you can toggle which fire breathing power you want by tapping the secondary left and right shoulder buttons on your gamepad (or the left and right alt buttons on your keyboard)

You can also select your power by tapping numbers 1 through 5 on your keyboard (1 is for your default fire breath, 2 is for ice breath, 3 is for magic breath, 4 is for spark breath and five is for the dragon blade) think classic Doom here with the gun selection method. ;)

Cureently I am in the process of building an inventory screen where you will be able to also select your fire power as well as your in game items as well as a few other things you'd normally see in an inventory screen. Also, I must brag, the in game's hud looks rather spiffy! Wish I could show you guys what this stuff looks like, but I already swore to not reveal anything until my birthday on October the 8th... So I ask that you be patient. I'm at least updating the blog here about the progress. so be happy with that ;)

Anyway, that's all I've got for this update. We just finished having a birthday party here at my apartment for my cousin... the place is a disaster and I'm sleepy as all heck. :P I'll post more for you guys later so keep checking in!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

8-21-13 - Multi-Directional Control and Different Types of Firebreath

I've just finished applying the mechanics for multi-directional aiming, no longer will you be limited to the default left/right fire scheme of old.

I've borrowed this new system from the Metroid series (Super Metroid and the two GBA Metroid games) where you press and hold the left shoulder button to aim diagonal (up and down and in the direction that your looking) or aim directly up while standing still. This should make killing certain enemies or destroying certain objects from a certain angle much easier.

The aiming system does kind of vary depending on what the situation is:

When crouching:
- if left shoulder is being pressed and according to the direction the player sprite is facing you automatically aim at  diagonal up direction (when facing left you face upLeft ; when facing right you face upRight)
- when the left shoulder button is not being pressed you default to left and right directions.

When climbing a grate or a ladder:
 - if left shoulder is being pressed, climbing is halted and the player engages in aiming mode enabling you to aim before firing. In this mode you are able to aim in six different directions: (left, right, Diagnal:(up-Left, down-Left, up-Right, down-Right))
 - if the left shoulder button is not being pressed, directions are defaulted to left and right only. And also you cant shoot while in the process of climbing

When climbing/sliding on walls or hanging on ledges:
- depending on which way the wall is facing (left or right) the player would be limited to 3 different aiming angles. Example: if the wall is facing right then you'd be limited to aiming left or when the left shoulder button is being pressed, you may select left or diagonal(upLeft, downLeft). If the wall was facing right, it would be the same, only with it being in the 'right' direction

When moving across monkey bars:
- while not pressing the left shoulder button, the directions default to standard left and right
- while pressing the left shoulder button and depending on the direction the sprite is facing you automatically aim at a diagonal down direction (if facing left, you face downLeft ; If facing right you face downRight)

When swimming in water or in lava:
 - When the left shoulder button is pressed you will be able to aim diagonal (upLeft, downLeft, upRight, downRight)
- when the left shoulder button is not being pressed then you default to left and right directions


I'm still in the process of applying fire breath to this new aiming system. And since I'm in the process of doing that, I've taken the opportunity to work on different types of fire breath (Spike will learn new fire breathing techniques throughout the game. You will have five different types of fire powers to collect which would come in the form of a magic scroll (or Fire Scolls as I call them) or in the final weapons's case, an actual sword) Here's what I have in mind so far... (keep in mind, I'm still brainstorming on these and nothing is yet final. Feel free to give me your input on these.)

Fire Breath [default]
This is the fire power that you start the game out with. And its Spike's average green fire breath which acts as a standard weapon in the game. Also it would be used to light torches in dark rooms and destroy item blocks.

Ice Breath
With this fire power you would be able to turn certain enemies or objects into ice cubes which you then could use them as platforms or carry them around the current map area and place them wherever convenience. Ice breath would also be used as a weapon that would instantly kill certain fire based enemies (they wont become ice-cubes, but rather just explode upon impact). Ice breath does require the use of your magic meter though, so use sparingly.

Magic Breath
Magic breath does twice the damage on enemies as your standard fire breath. It also travels farther (as far as the edge of the screen) and it can destroy certain 'magic' blocks. Also, like fire breath it can be used to light lanterns in dark areas but with an added bonus: in some rooms, hidden 'ghost' platforms are revealed when lanterns are lit with the magic flame. And when this fire collides with a wall or other types of obstacles, it splits into four smaller projectiles and fly out in four seperate ways. But like the ice breath, magic flame also requires the use of your magic meter. Again, use this sparingly!

Spark Breath
This is a more electrified version of fire breath. That being said, this fire power can be used to stun certain enemies, or turn on power to certain electric powered devices in the game. This fire power also uses the magic meter... And I'm still thinking of other uses for this power, if you have any suggestions, let me know :)

The Dragon Blade
I've mentioned this final weapon in other blog posts before (specifically the mini-game posts from several months back) and I've been brain storming on how such a weapon could be used. I rather liked the sword weapon in Cave story, and I also liked how in most Zelda games, you throw a magical mimic of the master sword while at full health. So I've decided to use the dragon blade accordingly... This is the most powerful fire power in the game, in that it literally makes the other fire powers a bit useless. It does not require the use of the magic meter, and it does four times the damage as the standard fire breath. When equipped, it still takes the form of a sort of fire breath, but with a mimic image of a dagger within the flames (the way I visualize this, it looks kinda cool, so trust me on this...) This weapon will not be showing up in demo 5 however. It is strictly reserved for the final game. It still deserves a mention here though. :P


That's all I have for now. I'll keep updating as things progress! Also, I'm still looking for more volunteer testers. It wont be long for the first engine test release, so sign up while you still have a chance!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Update: 8-16-13 - Blocks and other VERY Important News!!!

For the past couple of days I've been busy revamping the code for item blocks (those blocks that you shoot and they occasionally drop items and stuff). they look better graphically, and they have a few slight improvements as far as their existence goes. Recently I thought it would be an interesting idea to include the mechanic of head bumping these blocks [Mario-style] as well as ground pounding them [also Mario-ish] which would also get you the items inside them. Its not a neccesary mechanic, but it kinda does look neat.

Also I've been adding the functionality of other types of blocks. As mentioned in recent blog posts there are some blocks that you'd need certain ability charms to get past. So far there are only three of these types of blocks.

 - bomb block: when a bomb explodes in its vicinity it too would explode, and if there are other bomb nearby they too would activate causing a chain reaction of sorts. [this was actually featured in the old engine before I quit on it]
 - lizard block: You can only get past these tiles by performing a crouching slide. They will vanish temporarily and then reappear when the player sprite isn't overlapping it.
- anvil block: Performing a ground pound on these blocks would have the same affect as a crouching slide would have on the lizard blocks.

Of course, getting past these blocks would require having certain items in your inventory. Bombs for the bomb blocks, the lizard charm for the lizard block, the anvil charm for the anvil block and so on...

Last (but probably not least) of the block types are the boxes.

There are two types of boxes and both of them take the visual appearance of wooden crates. there's the small box and the large box.

the small box, you can pick up and carry around in the current map [this also introduces the new mechanic of being able to carry certain items/baby ponies/etc]. You will also be able to push it when not carrying it and then when need be, you can use it as a platform.

the large box would obviously be too heavy to carry around and therefor could only be pushed. And like the small box, it can be used as a platform.

Both box types can be destroyed and in a few different ways:
 - if they fall in lava
 - if they fall on spikes
 - if they fall from a long distance
 - exploding a bomb in their vicinity 
 - they cant however be destroyed by your fire breath (yeah, I know, screw logic. this is a vidyagame!)

Destroying boxes can also result in them dropping certain items. So its not all a total loss.

Other News:

Ive recently been in contact with someone who wants to help me get my game featured in an upcoming convention [I wont go into full details without their permission]. Because of this recent achievement I've been set with an actual deadline for Demo #5.

The demo will need to be finished by the first of November (giving me plenty of time to get things done) and will be released on the same day as the convention.

Because of how important this event will be for the project I would like to make the engine as bug free as humanly possible. This would of course require some help.

For those of you who recently volunteered to bug test on the mini-games. I'd like to enlist you into the testing team for Demo 5 [with your permission of course]

I would also like to enlist new help for testing. So if your interested please e-mail me: with the header: "Demo 5 tester"

I will be releasing bug test demos periodically to everyone on the testers list right up to the final release of Demo #5

Also, for everyone not involved with the testing: I will launch a production stream sometimes around my birthday [October 8th] to showcase most of the accomplishments so far and give you a preview of what to expect from Demo #5

More news to come. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

8-11-13 - Engine Reboot Update: Ability Charms and Lava

Got some more accomplishments over the past few days that I'll be touching up on in this update:

For a start, I have added functionality (and visuals) for lava pools in the game. Its not just a fall in and get hurt/death scheme here. As mentioned before, Spike has the ability to swim around in it and when he's acquired a certain item, he has full control and movement in it like he would with water.

However, a bit different than the water mechanics here.. While without the item for water, Spike can swim unharmed at the water's surface, Spike when without the item for lava will rapidly lose health while swimming at the lava's surface.

Once you've gained the item for lava Spike would be able to hop into the lava harm free and swim in it with full control. Also the lava will turn slightly translucent revealing hidden paths that  Spike can go to as he pleases. I thought this was a nice little touch to the game's engine and it looks pretty cool too! :)

Concerning items themselves:

I've set it up where Spike will need to collect Ability Charms throughout his quest in order to be able to do certain physical acrobatics and stuff. There's just five different charms here:

  - Lizard Charm
This charm will allow you to slide (and kick off of walls) as well as the ability to perform a slide kick while crouching on the ground. The slide kick could be used as an attack on certain enemies, and its also used to temporarily remove special tiles with the lizard icon on it (some of these tiles may be hidden in the main tileset via Metroid style)

  - Pegasi Charm
With this charm, you will be able to perform a double jump. Useful for reaching high and hard to reach places. Or transcend nasty death-pits that are too wide to cross with just a regular jump.

  - Anvil Charm
This charm will enable you to do a ground pound while in the air. While in 'flight' simply tap the down button and Spike will quickly pound the ground. I've considered using this also to temporarily reveal hovering ghost tiles when the  ground is pounded. The ground pound can also temporarily remove special tiles with the anvil icon on it (also potentially hidden like in Metroid)

 - Water Charm
As explained before, this charm will enable Spike to submerge himself into the depths of lakes. He can swim freely, up, down, left and right (with the ability to perform a swimming thrust in either of those directions). But while doing this your air meter will come into view and Spike will start to lose breath. So be sure to return to the surface asap!

 - Lava Charm
As already mentioned in this blog post, this charm will be that special item that Spike needs in order to swim harm free in the lava. the controls are similar to swimming in water and this charm allows Spike to see through the lava (as mentioned, the lava goes transparent while Spike is in it) revealing the secrets beneath the surface. But again, the air meter will also reveal itself and Spike will need to resurface to regain his breath.

currently the functionality of each of these charms are already hard coded into the engine. You cant yet collect them visually but I have a debug system that turns on and off their flags as I need them. I'm curently working on the visuals for these items and hopefully in the next day or so I'll have the system finished where you can collect them in the game instead of having to debug them into existence :P

More to come soon!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

8-8-13 - Engine Update #2: Swimming mechanics and weapon usage

So far so good! Work has been a steady flow for this project. I'm accomplishing something each night, whether it be the fixing of bugs or progression on the engine itself.

Since the last update I've added the swimming portion of the engine. Spike can now submerge himself in water!

The engine takes a likeness to that of Wario Land 4's swimming mechanics. The directional keys move Spike around in the water (up down left and right) and when he's not moving at all he simply floats back up towards the water's surface.

There are also currents that push Spike around when your in that general area.

As a notice, I should add that Spike wont have this full control under water until he acquires the water stone which would allow him to hold his breath underwater for a certain period of time. Without the stone, Spike would simply stay at the water's surface (for an example of what I'm going for, observe the water mechanics of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. When in the water you stay at the water's surface until you acquire a special item that would let you go completely under.)

This engine will also apply to lava. Only that when you don't have the fire stone, the lava would simply hurt Spike (yea, I know, in the show Spike can wade around in lava like its nothing. My excuse here is that this lava in the game is a bit special. as in enchanted. The fire stone would cloak Spike from the harmful magic that enables the lava to hurt him.)

Other things I'm thinking on at the momment, and I would like to get some opinions:
I've decided that instead of having Spike spit fire projectiles, I should actually give him a wand at the beginning of the game which would allow him to shoot magic projectiles. This would allow me to add certain weapon upgrades Metroid and Megaman style.

He could still use his fire breath, but I'm still debating on how to include it. Perhaps if you hold down the fire button for a short amount of time he'll stand in place while blowing forth a steady flame (see Kirby's Dream Land: flame power).

If anybody here has any ideas or opinions on the matter, please let me know. I'll keep you posted as things progress. And hopefully soon, I can start posting up some media. There's a few good reasons I'm not posting up any now. :P

Sunday, August 4, 2013

8/4/13 - Spikes Quest Reboot Update

despite the lack of updates here on the blog, I have actually been very busy working on the reboot engine.

the past couple of weeks have been a realprogression on the project. Not only is it as complete as the old engine, its a vast improvement!

You can now:
 - jump kick off walls
 - climb certain wall tiles
 - ground pound
 - slide while crouching
 - move along the ceilings (via monkeybars)

there's also new obstacle types for the tiles themselves, including new slope angles and the tiles needed for the new abilities listed above.

I'm still finishing up on the tile collisions (nearly finished) and I'll be moving along to other things such as swimming, enemies, new active platforms and a map navigation system similar to the 2d  Metroid games.

At the rate I've been going, I'm hoping to have Test Demo 5 (yes, I'm still calling it that despite the reboot) ready in a month from this posting.

Anyway, before ending this update, I'd like to ask everyone here. Are you guys still with me despite the lack of activity on this project in the past year? if you are, please let me know. It would totally boost my confidence if there are still people interested in this game. :)

Thanks in advance!