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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:04 pm 
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I figured it might be time for a proper thread for the continued, full version of Project Blue.

Where we are at the moment as of December 2018:
-Most assets are done. Maybe missing a song, definitely missing a boss, perhaps a few other objects.
-The final area is being designed. The 3rd needs a bit of work.
-Lots and lots of difficulty tweaks left to do.
-Final wrapping, polish and programming tidbits to be done.

On a playthrough there's 8 boss fights spread across 4 areas. Each area is up to 64 rooms, although not every area is exactly 64 screens. But basically, there's some ~250 rooms to beat. I guess you could say there's 8 stages, separated by bosses, music, and subtle theme differences, though the tileset is shared between each pair.

We hope to launch the game on kickstarter in Q1 2019. By then, the game is meant to be fully playable, maybe even finalized, so we can go for a quick physical release.

Here's some screenshots from the background art and animation guides. Taken from various stages in development.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:52 pm 
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Looks very nice! Will be interesting to see the final product in action.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:03 pm 
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Thanks for the update! It looks great, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:34 am 
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The water looks a bit dangerous to epileptics.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:52 am 
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Thanks, guys! And thanks for the warning, calima. The palette was changed after the GIF was made to a brighter (less contrasted) one that felt less straining to me. Hopefully that's better. The booklet should probably include an appropriate health and safety page.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:11 am 
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looking fantastic btw. Will you consider to have an famicom (japanese) version of your game once you launch kickstarter campaign?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:43 am 
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Looks great!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:40 am 
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@calima

I don't know about epileptic sensitivity but in the case of another game that I was testing, Trophy, there was a scene where the complete screen was covered with a fall and even though I'm not, I was feeling dizzy after watching for a few screen so the speed of the animation and how much it cover the screen may affect normal people too.

In that screen only, it only cover a little bit so it may be fine.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:31 am 
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That artwork looks great. The backgrounds make me think of a TMNT game done with Metroid mechanics.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:13 pm 
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It's beautiful. Definitely up there with the likes of Shatterhand and Batman. You've outdone yourself again, FrankenGraphics.

As for the water animation, maybe slow it down just a fraction? Or maybe make the bands wider/noisier, but there's only so much you can do with a 3-step palette cycle.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:56 pm 
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Making it slower improved the issue in the affected screen we had.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:12 am 
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Thanks everybody for the encouragement! It means much. :beer:

I've slowed down water to take 5x3 frames for a full cycle, as opposed to 4x3 as before. That still looks like flowing but is less nauseating. 6x3 looked too staggered. So at least for this tileset, 5x3 felt like the goldilocks rate.

In other news, Toggle Switch is done with all the programming. We're just polishing the levels and preparing for the campaign at this point.

At the most general level, features include three game modes:
-Normal (you probably want to play this the first time)
-Hard (changes the actual layout a bit and will assume a bit more pre-knowledge of how the game works).
-Custom (allows players to load up and play to 4 areas/256 screens' worth of user created content, with the help of a level editor/patcher we'll provide).

My next update will include release date etc for sure!

Some screens i'm currently working on:
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Blue thin line indicates inWater bounding box.

Posted a few more sneak peeks on my blog and over at nintendoAge.

modology wrote:
looking fantastic btw. Will you consider to have an famicom (japanese) version of your game once you launch kickstarter campaign?

I don't think we've talked much about it up to this point. My understanding is that appropriate homebrew cartridges/pcb:s are a bit troublesome to find, but i'll do a bit of research. Else, i'd suggest getting the ROM and putting it on a famicom everdrive as a makeshift solution.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:51 am 
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Updating the first map from the compo. Some sample rooms:
Image

idk if any of you saw the PRGE demo version but a major difference between it and the compo entry is that the map format changed. Before it was:
256 tiles
256 2x2 metas
256 2x2(2x2) meta-metas

Then it was:
256 tiles
256 2x2 metas
up to 1024(!) 2x2(2x2) meta-metas

shared between up to 64 rooms on a map.

Which helped bring more individual nuance to each room. Though, after completing most of the looks for all the later areas in the game, i was a bit shocked to look back at how monotonous the first area suddenly felt in comparison. Although i had filled in some of the new meta-tile space available for the first map at an earlier point, i hadn't seized the opportunity to make more out of the hardware tilespace and 2x2 meta-tile space to reflect this increased possibility for variation. And, admittedly, when i drew the first version of the that tileset, i had no experience working with dictionary compression like this.

So, i went back and replaced any unused, underused or uninteresting tiles on the tile plane, and threw out a bunch of stuff from the 2x2 array that didn't do enough difference. I was able to get a little bit more out of the room palette sets. More importantly I had mostly relied on a soft property bit that lets the game assume that if something is using palettes 0 and 1, it is solid, and if 2 and 3, it is "air". With the inlcusion of a few new material types, i made the new ones either always solid or always air. The result is a more colourful and varied. So there's a balance between being able to reuse the same tiles as both far background and solid foreground, and being able to use palettes more freely.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:43 pm 
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Are you generating all the metatiles by hand or do you extract them from completed levels?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:54 pm 
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I'm curious what your thoughts are. :o They're done by hand - so levels are mostly* built from metatiles, rather than metatiles built from free-form drawn levels. Though this has been done with the visual aid of a map editor that toggle switch wrote specifically for this game - we've also split the underlying challenge design beneath the graphics half and half, for the record.


*My process is basically drawing 4 screens' worth of mockups or so in NESST, then rebuild those on the map. That's a bit painful, but then i have a foundation to base the rest off, and add meta tiles as i discover that i need them. Usually they (the original mockups) end up in the area in some form or shape, but with some details changed or compromised once the tile usage is compared to the amount of detail or unicity. It's not necessarily so that a metatile is a good metatile if it is reused a lot. I often find that the lesser used metas are the ones that give rooms character.

Also, the intial mockups aren't necessarily great level designs, so they often need to be altered to get interesting. I guess they become ingrained with the intent to demonstrate and try out the tileset, which can be in conflict with actual challenge design.

Near the end of each map design, i find myself pushed against the 2x2 meta limit a lot (stretching 256 2x2 metas across 64 rooms is something i found a though job). It then becomes a day or two of negotiating what metas i can remove without too much compromise, and how i can justify it by making more use of the new additions instead.

If i'd do that differently, i'd make maps either shorter (so i get more headroom per "stage" which would allow me to work a bit quicker and more creatively/less technically) and increase the number of maps. --or, expand the 2x2 meta array. But for Project Blue, we have 2 diffuclty settings, each containing 4 maps, up to 64 rooms each (the 3 first maps are *precisely* 64 rooms. The 4th is not quite done). Music changes on certain checkpoint as if you've entered a new stage, and the visual composition changes a bit as well as you progress through each map, but each map/area still shares the same set internally. The hard difficulty is mostly derived from the normal one, but with changes done to the general layout, placement of objects and sometimes also path-taking between rooms.

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