Give my game a try

Discuss technical or other issues relating to programming the Nintendo Entertainment System, Famicom, or compatible systems.

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smkd
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Post by smkd » Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:07 pm

Thanks everyone

When I first played (c64) thrust , etting a feeling for the controls was rough and the keyboard wasn't helping out at all. I quickly learned that playing this with a pad is so much more bearable than keyboard controls, it just adds a whole layer of difficulty to it.

Development time was fairly quick, I think I started sometime last month, or the one before? I never keep track. I knew what I wanted out of the game and everything came together pretty quickly.

Flicker I suppose is from the rapidly alternating lines of light and dark when scrolling. In an emulator (wish I had h/w to test on a NES) it's more noticable when the aspect ratio isn't 4:3 and I'm not using NTSC filter.

The difficulty was kind of hard for me to guage because if you're constantly playing the game you develop it becomes hard to play it from a new player's perspective. At times I thought it was too easy but I tried to keep that issue in mind.

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blargg
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Post by blargg » Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:21 am

Nicely executed. This style of game is fun because basic control is the main challenge, but you've got to be paying attention to obstacles and shots while you fight momentum and gravity.

Occasionally I lost track of the front of the ship since the only visual sign is a slightly more acute angle. Perhaps the thruster side could have a double-thick line, to suggest the thrusters?
BMF54123 wrote:The only problem I have is that the backgrounds flicker like mad when there's any movement
Yep, since it uses alternating horizontal lines, it's very sensitive to the vertical scroll rate. Different rates will cause them to jump up and down at various rates.

smkd
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Post by smkd » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:22 am

thanks.

I've had the ambigous front end pointed out before, where the guy suggested that the tip be colored differently. I passed on it, but that idea of making the base of it thicker does a great job I think. I updated the chr in my rom with that.

I've darkened the terrain since that seems to make the flicker not so apparent, but is it too dark? It's not something I paid much attention to, but the issue is there.

http://smkdan.eludevisibility.org/other/rom.zip

As far as names go, I am thinking a cheap acronym; STING:

Somewhat
Thrust
Inspried
NES
Game

I'll just call it that if I don't think of anything else.

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Bregalad
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Post by Bregalad » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:41 am

The difficulty was kind of hard for me to guage because if you're constantly playing the game you develop it becomes hard to play it from a new player's perspective. At times I thought it was too easy but I tried to keep that issue in mind.
That's fun, because your game is really way too hard in my opinion. It's allright if it gets insane later, but having to do more than 20 tries before passing the very first level is really discouraging. Ideally you'd start with a couple of easy levels, and get the hard stuff for later (this is what I'm planning to do for my game). The first levels should be here so that the player thinks "wow" and fall in love for your game. The latter levels are to make the player a hard time, but since he already fell in love he can't just give up so... oh yeah we all know that.
Useless, lumbering half-wits don't scare us.

smkd
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Post by smkd » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:57 am

Originally the second level was going to be first, but I put a simple introductory level in there instead. Once you get a feel for the physics, the first level is a breeze but otherwise it's going to be a pain. I know the first time I got into this genre it was terrible for me but eventually I came to be pretty decent at it. I can complete all the levels without much trouble, but I know the later ones will be a challenge regardless (particularly #5 because of the gimmick thrown in there).

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blargg
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Post by blargg » Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:26 am

I was thinking broken double lines to indicate thrusters. The left one adds a solid line inside the ship, then removes some of the original outer line. The right adds them outside the ship. The main difference is in how pointy the bottom corners are. Both fit within the force field.
Image

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Roni
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Post by Roni » Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:26 am

yes, level 2 already looks insane, but i would never have known without watching the demo

Near
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Post by Near » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:11 am

Yeah, even abusing savestates and trying hundreds of times, I can't get past this spot in level 3.

Image

And really ... when you can't beat a game with savestates, you know it's way beyond too fucking hard.

Don't get me wrong -- It's a very impressive, awesome little game. But with such an insane difficulty curve, it literally takes 100% of the fun out of it. It just causes frustration to play it. Even if I were to eventually beat it without savestates, the sense of accomplishment wouldn't compensate for the time and stress needed to beat it in the first place.

smkd
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Post by smkd » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:04 pm

@blargg: right, I originally did it just to indicate the back end of the ship, but that actually fits alot better. Some of the detail is lost in rotation (using rotsprite from sonicretro) which I tried to add back. I think it looks a bit better than the last one anyway. New GFX are in the same ROM link.

@byuu: It looks as if you're trying to pass the level without shooting anything (I can see a little bit of the turret on the bottom). In my play throughs, I never try to cross a protected path, I always kill the enemies before advancing. It seems too hard otherwise.

The overall idea I'm getting is to add some easier 'buffer levels' at the beginning. Small linear stuff with little threat to make the difficulty curve a bit more reasonable. Level #1 can be pushed up to level #3 and I can stick some simple levels in there. I think it would be viewed as hard because this isn't a common type of game from what I am seeing so it would initially be quite hard?. On the NES, I only know solar jetman.

Near
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Post by Near » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:33 pm

@byuu: It looks as if you're trying to pass the level without shooting anything (I can see a little bit of the turret on the bottom). In my play throughs, I never try to cross a protected path, I always kill the enemies before advancing. It seems too hard otherwise.
... you can shoot? Oh. Well that would explain things. I take back my comment, then :/

Lord Nightmare
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Post by Lord Nightmare » Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:26 pm

Idea: there should be a trophy if you get through the game without shooting. and it should be possible to do, just very very difficult.

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Near
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Post by Near » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:12 pm

Okay, beat it with savestates. Second loop last level gets crazy. It's extremely hard to hit things below you ... spinning to hit them sends you in a freefall that you can't recover from. I just had to dodge the bullets for those. And those blue things require a ton of hits to kill >_<

This is really cool for a hobbyist game, though extended play gives me mild subjective vertigo.

Might I suggest a "YOU WIN" instead of "GAME OVER" for clearing both loops, though? :P

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clueless
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Post by clueless » Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:43 pm

Anyone going to do a tool-assisted speed run? I'd like to see the game played, but I totally suck at these kind of games.

smkd
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Post by smkd » Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:11 am

when i kill enemies directly below in the second loop i descend on them with the force field on. Otherwise you have to rotate fairly quickly all you fall and crash.

I might fit in a congratualtory screen between the game over for that too.

In an extremely frustrating incident, the bug in the OP is still there. The nametables are updated per 16pixel rows, but there's a 0.05% chance or something that it will not update a given row. I have absolutely no idea what causes this and staring at the code is not going to help me out here. I tried to grab a tracelog, but I spent the last 2 hours save state whoring and hoping that the bug rears its head again so I can actually replay it as the bug occurs and view the steps leading up to the glitch.

e: scratch the complaining, I just found the FCE all in one with movie recording and debugging.
Last edited by smkd on Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

ccovell
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Post by ccovell » Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:19 am

This is really nice, but an annoying bug keeps popping up: the shields come on at odd moments, like when I'm not even pressing down. I tried this again, and the shields came on when I tapped the A button... there must be some kind of joypad-reading bug.

I'm testing this in a PowerPak on my Famicom.

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