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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:15 pm 
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For the black out of the screen, I can understand why it is done now. Since the game uses VRAM, the pattern table for the background needs to be loaded between maps change (which is almost always). So it's not the map loading the cause but filling the pattern table. If the screen was up while filling it, it would show some artifact.

To make it less flashing, there could be one thing you could do. Instead of blanking the complete screen, you could:

- Erase the map area to black during vlank without force blanking
- Load the pattern table data (doesn't have to be during vblank)
- Load map data during vblank

This way, it would make the screen transition a lot smoother. The status bar would always be shown: only the map area would be changing. I don't know how much impact for loading but that would remove the flickering.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:28 pm 
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The room loading routine is set in stone. It is as fast as I could make it. If I combine steps, pointers become erroneous and the wrong attributes can get written places... Other issues such as the game just stopping were present, hence why it's spread out.

Basically, this is the way it does a room:
-Makes pointers to the room and tileset
-Decodes the tiles into the right BG tiles and writes them to the screen over 3 frames. I use 256 bytes of memory to store the tiles
-Writes the new data to CHR RAM over 2 frames.
-OPTIONALLY writes the new sprite CHR.
-Writes the attributes

All in all, it's done over 11 frames. This was the fastest I could get without crashing or errors.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:51 pm 
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Sivak wrote:
All in all, it's done over 11 frames. This was the fastest I could get without crashing or errors.


I was curious and I now see the reason. You had to make a compromise to make the game work properly and there is nothing wrong with that. Most people will not even care about that detail. Just as a programmer, I just wanted to know the why behind it.

That was the only annoyance I had with the game, except for the difficulty level but there is nothing that can be done about that ;) In general, the game is quite good for a home brew effort. The music and art looks very japanese to me and this is what got me interested in the first place. too bad I cannot stand the game style and cannot enjoy it like I expected. One thing for sure, it is faithful to IWTBTG for the game design. I guess I'm not part of the new generation of masochistic players :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:05 am 
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In fact, this game is probably easier than Contra.

In Contra you are killed in 1 hit, but you seem to forget most non-boss enemies are also killed in 1 hit from you. Even bosses are defeated quickly. I beat Contra without the 30 life code several times, and I got pretty far in Battletoads, but I weren't able to pass the first part of Sivak's game before being seriously pissed off.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:27 pm 
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(Hi. I lurk here.)

I've been keeping tabs on this game for a while, and I must say I'm rather impressed with the demo. I've played through it twice so far, and it feels quite polished. Aside from a few minor complaints, I feel like it could be passed off as a commercial title.

Unlike most of the other posters here, the difficulty didn't really bother me because the game doesn't have very many cheap "gotcha" deaths. When you enter each screen, you usually have ample time to see and analyze your threats (which act in a deterministic manner) and decide how to react. The real difficultly lies in developing the muscle memory (or having the reflexes) to get past the obstacles. Compared to IWBTG, this game is quite tame. The most trouble I had was with the boss. The first time I fought it, it took me the better half of an hour to beat it. However, on my second playthrough, I managed to beat it on my first try (yes, I was as shocked as you are).

Also, since this game has infinite continues and well-distributed save points (so far), I'm going to say that, by default, it's easier than Contra 1 and Battletoads.

Anyways, now to the questions:
- Every time I look at the HUD I have to remind myself the coordinate display is not a clock. Can you please change that colon to another symbol, like a dash or comma (don't forget about changing the item's graphic too)?
- Do you have any estimated release date (or something along those lines)?
- Do you mind if I link to this from other forums?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:06 pm 
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RT-55J wrote:
[size=9]- Every time I look at the HUD I have to remind myself the coordinate display is not a clock. Can you please change that colon to another symbol, like a dash or comma (don't forget about changing the item's graphic too)?
- Do you have any estimated release date (or something along those lines)?
- Do you mind if I link to this from other forums?


-Eh... I don't know. I thought the colon was fine. I guess I'm used to it.
-When it's done. 8) I am working on the ending to the game, however. Hopefully in September. I need label artwork too.
-Link away!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:27 pm 
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Thanks for your answers! :)

Sivak wrote:
RT-55J wrote:
- Every time I look at the HUD I have to remind myself the coordinate display is not a clock. Can you please change that colon to another symbol, like a dash or comma (don't forget about changing the item's graphic too)?

-Eh... I don't know. I thought the colon was fine. I guess I'm used to it.

It's not that big of an issue now that I'm used to it. I just found it a bit distracting when I was first playing, and thought that other people might feel the same way.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:03 pm 
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It's pretty nice for what it is, a homebrew demo. I do agree, the difficulty does seem a tad unfair. I am thinking primarily of the stupid pink ball right after the screen with the snail. (above the tree) I guess I was able to put up with some of it, having played alot of very punishing games and still enjoyed them (Metal Slug 3 and DoDonPachi come to mind) but in those games it's at least somewhat more fair. They make your hitbox smaller and enemies aren't so crazy fast.

Having extra lives and re-spawning on the same screen would make it a much more enjoyable setup, instead of having to either 1) use save-state constantly, or 2) spending alot of time replaying all the old sections over.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:58 pm 
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I think I'm in a unique position here to comment about game difficulty because:

1) When I was younger, playing the NES like all of us, I SUCKED at video games and beat very few of them.

2) In the last couple of years I learned true discipline and perseverance, and applied these virtues to old NES games such as Castlevania, and developed a taste and a tolerance for dying hundreds upon hundreds of times to learn how to play a difficult game properly.

Having gone through that experience with Castlevania and some other classic NES games recently, I can say I found the difficulty of this game demo comparable to the old classics, making it fit in quite well. I played this on my PowerPAK on my real NES with no savestates. Plays great. I found it rather addicting after a while. I now think of difficult platform games more as puzzles, since most enemy behavior is deterministic. What pattern of movement or timings is required to progress? It requires analytical thought.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:55 pm 
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I thought the that room with the two 3-way shooting aliens was much tougher than the first boss. Although that room Right After the 3-way aliens with the two balls killed me way too many times.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:47 pm 
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ZomCoder wrote:
2) In the last couple of years I learned true discipline and perseverance, and applied these virtues to old NES games such as Castlevania, and developed a taste and a tolerance for dying hundreds upon hundreds of times to learn how to play a difficult game properly.


Oh yeah, I'm way past the freaking-out-because-I-died stage. It's funny because now I feel so "zen" when I play games. It's like I start to laugh when I keep dying rather than get angry. It makes me way better at games now!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:58 pm 
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I agree. I guess I started to develop that kind of attitude playing games like Metal Slug, especially the third one. If you haven't played it you haven't learned just how fast you can get killed off by a game.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Dwedit wrote:
I thought the that room with the two 3-way shooting aliens was much tougher than the first boss. Although that room Right After the 3-way aliens with the two balls killed me way too many times.


The key to getting past the two bats is to take out the second bat just as you're landing on the ice cube. I went batty mad figuring that out!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:58 am 
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Until you're 10 hours into a game and you get sent back to the beginning because of something you missed 5 hours ago. NetHack anyone?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:26 pm 
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I love this game. It controls and looks great! I think the level design is great too. Each room is like a little puzzle of its own.

I thought it was really hard at first, but like others have mentioned going through the rooms multiple times really builds your muscle memory. I can breeze through the early rooms now, and have even optimized how I run through some of them for speed.

Still haven't beat the boss yet. I have his pattern down I just haven't managed to hit him to 0 without making a mistake yet. I've been playing with the keyboard.

Like others have mentioned, I'm also bothered by the double black screens that happen when you jump up to a new room and fall back down immediately. Would it be possible to add in an invisible floor when moving up a screen that would give you a moment to look at the new room and jump to a ledge? Like silent, invisible ice blocks that only show up when entering a room from the bottom.

Great work!

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