Exoder - Devlog - LAUNCH PARTY YAAY!

  • Hero Shot

  • And with that, Exoder's soundtrack is complete. As a side note, the sound effects are also complete. There is still quite a bit left to do but I'm inching closer and closer to Exoder's completion. Exciting and stressful times.

    https://soundcloud.com/vincent-guff/exo ... old-breath

    https://soundcloud.com/vincent-guff/exoder-ost-illusory

    https://soundcloud.com/vincent-guff/exoder-ost-surface

  • Very nice audio and visuals!

    How do you put out checkpoints? I tried Lb (and like all other buttons), but count figure it out... It might be worth it to make a controller with arrows on the "controls screen".

    I usually jump directly in and try all of the buttons. When I first tried the dash button nothing happened, because I didn't press any direction. I think it might be worth it to have some kind of sound anyway, just to let the player know that the button does something. Or just have the player dash in the direction you are facing.

    I will try I more when I know how to put out checkpoints

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  • risto

    First you need to be far enough away from the current checkpoint, which is signalled by the visibility of the checkpoint icon in the bottom right of the HUD (if it's visible you can pop a checkpoint).

    Then you have to stand still and HOLD the checkpoint button for a few seconds until the checkpoint pops. So it's not just a simple matter of hitting the button, you have to really commit and find a peaceful spot in order to lay down a checkpoint.

    There is an audio cue when you are charging up the checkpoint, but the final build has a visual cue as well.

    There are definitely nuances and details that aren't properly explained in the short "controls info" screen so maybe that needs some updating.

    Thanks for the feedback : )

  • Just wanted to share some gifs from the first level of the near final build of the game.

    There's a bunch of new effects in place now, as well as a bunch of tweaks since the demo.

    Most things are invisible behind the scenes stuff like what determines the odds for the item drops, but some are more obvious like how scoring has been scaled down (since it will stack through the entire game) and the jewel limit has been doubled.

    Streaking shadows, death 'splode and gleaming UI.

    Checkpoint visual cue.

  • Good stuff

    First you need to be far enough away from the current checkpoint, which is signalled by the visibility of the checkpoint icon in the bottom right of the HUD (if it's visible you can pop a checkpoint).

    How far away exactly?

    I made a gameplay recording here, but seems that I never get far enough?

  • The exact number is greater than 1,500 pixels away from the current checkpoint in order to pop a new one. For context, the entire level is 17,000 pixels high, so there are plenty of chances to lay down checkpoints. It doesn't take long to reach the first threshold.

    Your video isn't working for me, but here is my own walkthrough of the demo if you are interested.

    https://youtu.be/L4YOkv0Gjwc

    Pretty sure I drop some checkpoints during this.

  • I missed to make the video public but it should work now.

    I watched your gameplay video, very long level I hardly got halfway to the point where its possible to drop the first checkpoint. I don't know exactly how hard you want the game to be, but I usually get surprised of how much new players struggle with a game in the beginning.

    I usually enjoy challenging games, like super meatboy, dark souls, or hollow knight, but in these games you usually don't have to replay so much when you fail, I guess the checkpoint system is inspired by ori and the blind forest? It works great in that game because you can inch your way forward with checkpoints if you need to, or save up the mana for power attacks.

  • Wow the audio and even more so the visuals on this thing are insane

    In a good way lol

    But I had such a hard time actually playing through the demo not so much because of the actual game's difficulty, but because the keyboard controls and ambiguity of how checkpoints work made it feel so taxing to try and play

    Brilliant work graphically and atmospherically, but yeah like some others said in the comments keyboard controls could definitely use some work, and checkpoints need to be explained somewhere along in there

    Best of luck moving forward with this project :D Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  • risto

    Thank you for that video, it was very informative and gave me a window into how a new player would approach the game and the hurdles they might face trying to figure out the game's more difficult to explain mechanics.

    I've played through the demo so many times and am so connected with what the game expects from me that I kept thinking while watching your playthrough "Why isn't he bouncing off projectiles to create shortcuts?" Then it dawns on me, why would he know that stuff? Ha.

    I think I'm going to create a "How to play" tutorial level and make it accessible from the main menu in the final build. I'm pretty anti-tutorial but it really doesn't make sense to just leave new players completely in the dark, and a playable separate area that explains the basics would probably be a big help to new players.

    As for the difficulty, the Demo is actually quite a bit harder than the final game, I'm not trying to make a super meat boy type experience. Things will be more forgiving (at least in the first level, which the Demo represents) in the final build. Also, the Demo is almost a year old now, and there have been a lot of tweaks to the raw mechanics in the player's favour.

    On checkpoints; I have never actually played Ori, and when I came up with the idea for dropping your own checkpoints I thought "Boy I sure am smart, no ones thought of this yet!". Little did I know, it had been done. Oh well. : )

    The intention is quite different though. I don't like the idea of inching through a level, not worrying about dying because you'll just respawn very close by. I want you to feel like you're drowning, always keeping an eye on the bottom right, hoping for the flash of the checkpoint indicator to bring you sweet reprieve, and when it does it's like a gasp of air and you can relax... but NO, now you have a choice to make, where to pop the checkpoint, where is safe, what is safe, can you ever really be safe?

    And now you've waited too long and a projectile has hit you and you've lost all progress, or The Wanly eats your checkpoint and chooses for you where the checkpoint spawns, like life, if you don't make decisions in life, life makes them for you.

    The Wanly is life, or death, or something, it's a metaphor for something. Maybe.

    ...Anywhoo, thanks for the input

    AySquirrel

    When you boot up the final build you'll be greeted with this screen.

    So yeah, Gamepad is defiantly the expected interface for the game. I wouldn't even know how to make a twitchy, tense, 2D platformer work well with keyboard controls, they're kind of a token control option in the game. Everything was optimized and built around a Gamepad being the controller.

  • Np

    Save states and quick saves have been around for some times but Ori is the first game I saw that made it a mechanic in the game. But the mechanic will be quite different in different genres, so it feels different in your game. There's still a lot more takes on custom checkpoints to be explored!

    I think the static noise makes it different because when you place a checkpoint you get a limited number of tries before you get swallowed. It might be tricky to decided on the speed it moves, might work to have it slow down or speed up depending on the distance between the player and the Wanly? Also might be tricky to decide on the exact distance on how much you have to progress to be able to place a checkpoint. Might work to instead have some spots the player has to pass through that can be place in the level. In that way you can make some areas shorter and harder, or longer and safer, without having the same number of possible checkpoints on both.

    When I played Ori inching forward with checkpoints was really the last resort. It takes a lot of time to regenerate checkpoints, so I would usually just get restless and try to complete it anyway But I think its good that it was there because it make it possible for more people to play the game. I don't think the exact same system would work in your game, but it might work to have a mana meeter which can be used for both checkpoints and a powerful attack, or a healing spell? so that there is a intensive to save up, but also some flexibility.

  • Just got a chance to try this on the Scirra arcade, really love the visuals and attention to detail. Feels like old school Kid Icarus, I am surprised it doesn't have more people playing it.

    Visual FX are great as well, it's really a good example of what the Construct engine can do.

    The only feedback I have was the difficulty, the game is really punishing! Not a bad thing if that was your intention, but it might be nice to have a couple of early levels be a little simpler and slowly ramp up the difficulty.

    Nice work!

  • There is a secret level in the game, the entrance of which only appears if the player has completed a specific task in a few of the earlier levels, a task I will keep purposefully vague, though it will probably be pretty obvious once you find it.

    This level is unlike any other in the game. It involves navigating downward through a set of different puzzle-like routes, avoiding these red, whispering, formless entities which move in erratic patterns, or slowly chase you, or stand perfectly still.

    Touching one will end the level and kick you right back to where you were in the previous level. There are no do-overs. If you mess up once the entrance will disappear (technically you could just quit and reload the level but let's pretend the stakes are really high).

    Also notice there is no HUD, no powers, no health, no time limit, nothing. Just a pure test of platforming, avoiding and navigating.

    Getting to the end will net you a healthy score bonus and permanent access to three of the game's power-ups for the duration of the playthrough.

    risto

    I experimented with different systems and set ups with the items (checkpoint system has remained largely unchanged), one of those experiments involved a kind of item economy governed by a bar(mana) or value which you would increase by picking up collectibles and then spend it on items (or health) with each powerup costing different amounts based on their importance.

    But in the end it just felt like an added layer of needless complexity to what was a pretty simple idea, and instead I just tweaked the usefulness, duration and odds of getting certain items and greatly increased the amount of health regained by getting an item. There is even a health item drop now which completely restores all bars of health so a lot of the cruelty from the Demo has been greatly softened.

    I will expound on this in a later post, but I've decided to add (in fact I already have) an easy mode to make the game a lot more accessible for new players. There will be some... punishments for using the mode though. One of the differences between easy mode and normal mode will be the distance required before you can pop a checkpoint.

  • I've added an optional tutorial area which will be accessible from the main menu. It goes over the bare basics of what the game expects of you, teaches you how to doge through enemies, bounce off enemies and deflect shots.

    It also lets you play around with power ups and teaches the player how checkpoints work before ending.

    Easy Mode.

    In my continuing attempts to keep the game's difficulty reasonable and accesible to new players, I've added an Easy Mode.

    Easy Mode has a couple of big differences from Normal Mode.

    First, the game CANNOT be completed in Easy Mode. You can play the game all the way up to the final level but instead of playing through the game's final bosses you will be brought to a screen which tells you that "practice is over" and asks you to try Normal Mode to see the end of the game.

    Also, your score doesn't count in Easy Mode.

    The other big difference is that the Double Jump, Super Deflector and Wave Super powerups are permanently enabled in Easy Mode. This is a huge mechanical advantage and makes the game much easier to play for new comers.

    I Also wrote a new song for the tutorial level because why not.

    https://soundcloud.com/vincent-guff/exo ... oom-closet

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