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Friday, March 8, 2013

Rktcr: Beta One

A productive week has elapsed since my release of the Rktcr's Beta Zero. I am pleased to be able to release Beta One to testers. In this post, I'll highlight the changes this week of effort has brought to Rktcr.

Overall, my todo list is shrinking and rktcr is getting better. I need to balance my time between refining graphics and gameplay and building new levels and sprites. This week skewed somewhat to the former, and I hope to skew my next week of work somewhat to the latter -- it would be great to get some costumes on those other two characters, for instance.

Challenge Files

The biggest change this week is the addition of three filing cabinets of challenges to the lab. A challenge is a special level where the goal is to grab all the gems; it stands alone, disconnected from the world.

Thus, challenges are good for highlighting basic skills and maneuvers. Indeed, the left cabinet contains twelve fresh zones that cover everything I could think off offhand.

Here's a quick playthrough of all the basic challenges:

The challenge filing cabinets also store zones that were too difficult or orientation-biased to feature in the main game. I've included four such zones in beta1, but I expect the number to grow:

I've also reserved a filing cabinet for challenges that, quite frankly, I'm not sure are possible. Maybe my testers will have better luck:

Gameplay Refinements

I also slightly refined the gameplay on two points. These aren't big changes, but they make the day-to-day a bit more pleasant.

First, portals only open when the vehicle is entering or leaving a portal, or when the left mouse button is held down while the pointer is over a portal. This avoid a lot of visual clutter, while still allowing you to check (with the mouse) where you are headed.

Second, I added the ability to instantly rewind to the portal the vehicle entered through by double-tapping backspace. This can help avoid long stretches of holding the rewind key when you realize your current approach to a zone isn't working. It also adds a nice symmetry to travel: going forward is enter (to path select), enter (select path), enter (travel); going backward is backspace-backspace (rewind to portal), backspace (travel back).

Graphics Refinements

The level win and lose markers were glaring and contained duplicated information. They also used a different sprite loading system, which I wanted to factor out in favor of having all my artwork be SVG. So they are gone, replaced by simple pictures.

Also, disruptable platforms and gem shields are now tinted in the wave-making pixel shader. This eats two fullscreen draws, but framerate doesn't seem to be suffering on my (admittedly high-end) development machine.

Et Cetera

  • Team names and progress shown in menu.
  • More graceful gfx mode setting, included windowed fallback.
  • Default res is now 1280x720.
  • Set the window title to "Rktcr".
  • Now works without e_levels (might save some first run startup time).
  • In-game sound is now muted during cutscenes.
  • Engine sound no longer plays when rolling time forward at exit portal.
  • Include partial paths in the ticks/gems summary.
  • Recalling now properly resets journey info.
  • Fixed bursts showing as gems in overlay.
  • Adjusted the styling on the zone 'choice'
  • (Probably) Fixed a tricky race condition in the audio system, which could cause a crash when leaving the lab to go to the team menu.
  • Added more claims (this means better world gen).

1 comment:

  1. I watched the two videos. My main comment is I'd be concerned that you and your other Ph.D. testers may make too hard of challenges, or engine controllers that are too hard to control. I would try to make the controls as simple and intuitive as possible for non-gifted users. Best luck, Connelly