Look! I’m keeping true to my word. This must be my first bi-weekly update ever.
Since I last posted, a few fundamental changes have been made to the game.
It’s a little ridiculous to be making these sorts of changes so far into development, but me and Dave felt they were necessary. Me more so though.
One of the commenters on the last news post mentioned something along the lines of having civilians follow you around instead of just giving them a gas mask and leaving them to jump up and down like some early 90’s crusty, blissed out on E and dancing their way into oblivion.
Hmmmm said “The game looks awesome! But is it possible for you to add an option that makes the people follow you...”
Well, the initial idea was that you’d lead them to safety, but I decided that it would be too unreliable/difficult to implement, and there was a possibility of enemy interaction being further complicated, so I passed on the idea.
The alternative though was to hand out gas masks to civilians and let them fend for themselves. Having implemented this, I realised it looks a bit silly and makes very little sense. It’s also not very satisfying handing out gas masks.
So, we decided that civilians will follow the player and to save them you had to lead them to an elevator.
The other big change, which hasn’t yet been properly implemented (I’m in the middle of it right now), is that the gas will act completely differently.
Currently you have a timer at the top of the screen and when it reaches 0 gas starts coming up through the floor. Pretty simple. It decreases your health until you die.
The delay of the gas is a real problem. If the level is big, then you have a massive delay... If you play the game perfectly, you’d probably avoid any sight of gas!
Not very exciting is it? So I came up with an exciting solution. Instead of a long delay and having the gas all come at once, we’ll have it so that a single block of gas appears at the stairs you come up from at the start of a level, and it will slowly spread through the level as time progresses.
The gas cannot penetrate through walls or closed doors, creating little havens and moments of relief. Like I said, it’s not fully implemented yet so I can’t report on whether it’s a success, but when it is, it will definitely make the game a lot more tense and exciting than it currently is. Hopefully it won’t create a new set of annoying little problems.
The bad thing about these changes is that a lot of levels will need quite a lot of tweaking, but on the other hand it will also allow a larger variety of levels.
Not to mention the increased strain on the processor with the gas... Actually that is a very big problem. The only way I can show the gas graphically without slowing it down to an unplayable frame rate is by showing little specs of gas, rising up into the air and dissipating. Considering that at any one point you’ll have well over 100 particles moving about, it’ll be no surprise if my computer can’t handle it.
Because Flash graphics are drawn with vectors instead of pixels, it doesn’t lend itself well to particle effects.
If I was using the new 3D capabilities of Flash it wouldn’t be a problem, but that would require a lot of learning and a lot of rewriting, and creating graphics/animations in pixel form would be a massive headache.
Screw it. If it lags it lags. There will have to be options to decrease the particle rate.
And here’s a quick video I made to demonstrate the people following you and being led to safety.
YouTube didn’t like the music in the last video, it told me the video would be blocked in some countries, so this time round I used a song I don’t think youtube will have a problem with. Yes, you guessed it, it’s Japanese heavy psych Gods, Les Rallizes Dénudés.
The song is 夜、暗殺者の夜 (Night of the Assassin) if you’re interested.
More updates coming soon.