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Messages - CHz

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VVVVVV Levels / Re: DSS Ideal X (v2)
« on: September 23, 2011, 04:22:38 pm »
Oh hey, what's happening here? Thanks, guys, and thanks to Terry for featuring!

1. At the left end of the Either/Or hallway, it seems like you're trying to use the disappearing platforms to force the player to go out on the route they didn't take coming in. But the player can just kill himself to make the platforms reappear. I can't think of any way to fix that off the top of my head, but maybe you can.
Yeah, I knew that when I used disappearing platforms. The only way I could think of to force that room to be one-way while remaining enterable from both sides was to use some scripting & layout mojo, dropping in some gravity lines and/or warps and clearing them appropriately based on which side you enter.

I decided that was too much work, so my official position is that if you want to play the exact same rooms over again instead of taking the bend and trying something new, that's cool. Either way you're passing through the same number of rooms, so it's not a shortcut.

You can also change the route by just leaving the room from the other side and doubling back. Works with the crossover room too. Doing something about that also fell into the more-work-than-it's-worth category. I'm fine with just leaving it up to the honor system.

2. Since you let the player go back to get any missed trinkets, I would have liked to have some sort of hint as to what area they were in. I had only missed one, but I wasn't about to play through the whole game again in search of it.
Sounds good, especially since there's no map (although this level does some sleight of hand that would mess with an automap). I'll see about whipping something up.

VVVVVV Levels / Re: DSS Ideal X (v2)
« on: August 21, 2011, 09:05:44 am »
(picture of Friend or Foe)
I would definitely recommend the path Sendy suggested through that room. The title is referring to the moving platforms! (Hint: very foe.)

Eheh... This is actually my SECOND not favorite room. This was okay. I think it was pretty challenging, but...

Catalytic Converter looks a bit more intimidating than it really is. Just take it slowly! Each pit has a couple of safe areas you can stand in to plan your next move, and there are only three enemies you need to pay attention to at any given point: the two moving horizontally and the one inside the next pit.

My favourite sequence is probably the whole "Either / Or" "Cross Over and Continue" etc group of rooms. Very elegant design there IMO.
Thanks! That was my favorite subarea gimmick, which is why I ended up giving that area my favorite BGM.

That area was originally supposed to be one way: enter at the bottom and leave from the top. The idea of making it bidirectional came after I decided on having a crossover room in the one-way version, so designing that latch to work from both sides was a pain. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, but I really wish there were a six tile wide disappearing platform so that you didn't have to edge quite so close to trigger it.

If you don't mind my asking, did you find those two and not attempt them / give up, or did you not find them at all? (I basically just want to know if I was as sneaky as I thought I was being.)

VVVVVV Levels / Re: DSS Ideal X (v2)
« on: August 20, 2011, 11:48:30 pm »
i beat the level, it ends with you talking and then just a black screen and i can flip and hear me flipping and i accidentally did something that made you go through your monologue again
Bizarre. I can make it display that message only once pretty easily, but as for the real problem, I can't replicate that at all! :victoria:

I was having some problems with a script in that room earlier: some lines of dialogue would just not display. I think there may be issues with scripts that are too long, since it worked fine after I shortened it. Not sure if that's related at all to what happened to you, since that sounds quite a bit worse. I'll poke at it a little more and see if I can figure anything out.

VVVVVV Levels / Re: DSS Ideal X (v2)
« on: August 20, 2011, 10:57:00 am »
Alright, I reduced the number of enemies in Power of the Press and Beeline and spaced things out a little more, so that sequence should hopefully be a little easier. It's supposed to be a step up in difficulty, but not as much of one as it ended up being. It's only the second area, after all!

Also, I adjusted Gravitation by removing one of the gutters and spreading the remaining three out. That let me increase the conveyer belts by two tiles apiece (4 -> 6), so there's more room for maneuvering down there.

More importantly, I swapped it with a room from the final area. I like Gravitation, but it's too hard for that point in the game and fits in a lot better with the tenser levels in the final area. The room I switched it with, Wandering Ghosts, always seemed to me to be too easy for the final area, so I think the swap makes both areas better. I may make some changes to Wandering Ghosts later based on what you guys think, because stacked moving platforms can be finicky, but I think there's enough margin of error there to keep it from being too frustrating.

I also made some other minor changes that make this better enough overall for a second release. I updated the link in the first post and added a full changelog, if you're interested in the gory details. Or you can just download it right now!

Thanks to everyone for the comments so far!

VVVVVV Tech Support / Re: Version 2: Report bugs here
« on: August 20, 2011, 10:32:43 am »
It seems that some of the enemy types have slightly smaller hitboxes than others. Is that intentional?

When I say "smaller," I'm talking microscopic: like one or two pixels. Small enough that you'd never notice unless you were intentionally trying to break a level.

Unfortunately, I was intentionally trying to break my own level, so I found out that, for some enemies, you can do this!

While I'm standing on the extreme edge of that platform, that vertically-moving enemy to the right harmlessly goes up and down. I didn't try it with all enemies, but it worked with those disc ones and the triangle ones. The square ones with diagonal stripes and the corrupted squarish ones, on the other hand, killed me every time.

VVVVVV Levels / Re: DSS Ideal X
« on: August 19, 2011, 11:57:38 am »
difficulty spikes at Power to the Press/Beeline.
I think I agree; some of that is pretty fiddly even for me. That's a sequence I came back and made adjustments to a few times, but maybe not enough of them.

i suffered through that but quit out of desperation when i saw the screen after that
So you didn't try it? Just checking because, despite its looks, I don't think Gravitation is terribly more difficult than the Press/Beeline sequence. 100% just my perception, though. I've thought about trashing the conveyer belts from that room altogether, but never did because I felt it was manageable even with them.

(That room also used to be way harder. There were even enemies going along the bottom at one point. That was highly moronic.)

Thanks for the brief thoughts! It's hard to get a feel on a level when you're the only one playing it.

VVVVVV Levels / DSS Ideal X (v2)
« on: August 19, 2011, 09:56:40 am »
Hi! I finally overcame writer's block and finished my level!

It's 10x10-ish. It's not terribly hard, so despite the larger size as far as custom levels go, it shouldn't take that long to run through. The GOAL was to go middle-of-the-road with the difficulty, somewhere in the same ballpark as the original game's, but I may have undershot it in some areas and overshot it in others (the split corridor and final area in particular). Lemme know if you hit a room that unreasonably socks you in the face.

There's kind of a stock plot in there, but it's pretty loose and not a whole lot is explained. It was more of a shell for me to play with pacing and scripting. Feel free to fill in the gaps with your favorite sci-fi tropes!

Here are some pictures, if that's your kind of thing:

Okay that's enough stalling, linky time: > download this sucker < (version 2).

If you're still here, here are couple of known issues:

Out of Phase is more aggravating than I intended it to be. There's a timing difference between moving platforms bouncing off walls and bouncing off the bounding box, which is why there's that gap on the bottom to keep everything synced. Sucks really hard to land on that shelf. Also, I'd like it if the vertical platform were four tiles over to the left so none of the paths overlapped, but that's only possible at the moment by adding walls, and that would screw up the design.

Missile Command falls victim to the moving-platforms-in-a-warp-room bug. The ghost platforms shouldn't make the room any easier, but they might mess with your first flip.

Also here is a changelog for people with lots of free time:

Version 2
  • Easier: Power of the Press/Beeline, Gravitation (well, I think so at least).
  • Swapped Gravitation and Wandering Ghosts.
  • Three of the trinket rooms used to lock you in, so there was no way to exit until you got the trinket. They're supposed to be optional, so that's no good. Added a way out to each so you can bail out at the beginning if you want.
  • Added a hint to Moat about hitting the R key to respawn if you fall while trying to cross the gap in Crossing. There used to be spikes there if you wanted to suicide, but it's better this way.
  • Swapped the enemy types of Crossing and Exchange and moved Crossing's right gate enemies a little bit. Turns out that, if you were pixel perfect, you could flip up from Moat, land on the exact corner of the ledge, and sneak by the enemies!
  • Sprinkled in a few extra sad faces to some exchanges. Emotion is good!

VVVVVV Levels / Re: Dimension 333333 by Sendy
« on: August 14, 2011, 11:29:13 pm »
Interesting... I don't find it the hardest, but I've had a LOT of practice maneuvering on conveyor belts in tight spaces. I'm considering making the pit wider, if nothing else. And I may give the player more time to react at the checkpoint on the next screen by adding an
extra platform.

About the You Always Hurt part... I was wondering if I made that too easy, actually... I chipped away at the spike walls a fair bit in here and Inversion Plane Crash... Hopefully other players will report their experiences and give me some guidance on this issue.
You Always Hurt the One You Love was definitely difficult, don't get me wrong. I did die a bunch there, and I think it fits in with the very challenging final area well enough without needing to be made harder. I just picked it as an example because it seemed like it was supposed to be more difficult, but didn't end up being for me. I'd say I'm weak when it comes to finely-tuned conveyer movements, so it could just be me.

VVVVVV Levels / Re: Dimension 333333 by Sendy
« on: August 14, 2011, 04:24:35 am »
All in all, a pretty fun and very challenging level. If you'd like some final stats from someone on their first play: 1:53:49, 793 deaths (100%).

I swear half of those deaths came in You're On Your Own Now. That room seriously seemed harder than the rest of the level put together: the first two corners around the stationary enemies were a pain, getting in and out of the conveyer pit hurt a lot, and in the next room you have to have quick reflexes to make it to the checkpoint. I'm curious if anyone else had the same perception of that room as I did. (I died there more than on the You Always Hurt the One You Love sequence.)

In Hang Tough, the fact that the moving platform bounces back on the right side before hitting the wall killed me. There's no way to know its path ahead of time, especially since it does bounce off a wall on the left side, so I was waiting for it to cross the vertical gravity line and come back before I landed on it. Turned out it never does that, so I ended up holding back for too long and eating spikes. :[

I was mostly okay with the checkpoint stinginess. I'm not going to demand that every level be exactly like the original game, because that would be boring. My problem with the checkpoint placement is that it felt uneven. It was weird playing an easy room like Piggy in the Middle, which has three checkpoints, and playing a sequence like Tool Assisted Run – Double Barrelled – Style Over Substance Squared – Sudden Epiphanies, which is four unrelated challenges without a checkpoint.

Going through multiple rooms without checkpoints is easier to stomach when the rooms seem logically like parts of the same whole. Two examples from the Red Zone: the sequences starting at Possible Mode Unlocked and Cruise Control. Cruise Control's three rooms are some good tension: "will I make it through this spike gauntlet?" Whereas with Possible Mode Unlocked, it just seemed unnecessary that after such a difficult room, you have to mill around outside for a little bit, including getting past one room with enemies, before you can save. It's kind of an abstract and subjective complaint, but that's also sort of what I mean by unevenness.

So those are my design complaints. I put the summary that I liked this level at the very beginning because I really did! Loved the relatively complex hub, and the individual rooms were neato. This is also probably the best looking custom level I've played so far. The use of level elements like conveyer belts to liven up areas of walls was great. More people should experiment with this.

A couple of minor polish issues: the second room in the Blue Zone is missing a name, and I noticed some lines of dialogue with blank lines at the end. I believe they were in the terminal before the Green Zone, the first terminal in the room beyond the heart, and the ending sequence.

VVVVVV Levels / Re: "Golden Spiral" by Rox
« on: August 11, 2011, 10:49:09 am »
Well that sucked 377 deaths and a half an hour of in-game playing time out of my life. Whee-ha!

What made Step Aside suck for me wasn't so much the enemy misalignment, but having to make it through the spike gauntlet before even being able to get up there. It was infuriating getting down to the bottom, waiting for the enemies to get just right, and then flipping into spikes on the way up. :victoria:

Infinite Possibilities and And Beyond were kind of flukey to me too. In Infinite Possibilities, what got me were the small blocks ending the gravity lines on the left and right edges. I'd land on one without realizing it, throwing off the bounce timing, and then I'd ram into an enemy with my face. And Beyond is great, except for how the two enemy pairs with the gap in the middle are right up against the gravity lines, so you can actually be killed from the other side if you bounce while one is directly beneath/above you. It was hard enough making it past the enemies without also having to worry about landing wrong.*

All that said, I'm pretty sure the room I died the most in was none of those, but Feel the Rhythm. Just could not consistently time the very first gravity line crossing at all.

Definitely a lot of tightly-designed challenges here. Love love love Swing on the Spiral in particular.

*: Eventually I figured out a super neato path through And Beyond that negated all that. With the right timing, you can flip into the first track while holding left, fall through the gap into the second track and switch to holding right, and make it past everything without ever having to correct your course!

VVVVVV Levels / Re: Soul Searching
« on: August 08, 2011, 10:38:27 pm »
It seems everyone except me is finding this bug relating to "The Letter L." That's embarassing, but even if that were fixed, I shouldn't have all of my players dying before reaching the checkpoint in "No Flip Zone" and getting sent back to the first area. I have more to fix than just the scripting bug.
I'm not sure why everyone else is dying in The Letter L One Time, but my death was intentional. Killed myself on purpose because I wasn't finished checking out the first cave. (For some reason, I thought that warp token was just a blockade and would spit you back out in the same room.)

VVVVVV Levels / Re: Soul Searching
« on: August 08, 2011, 08:26:28 am »
The shock/delay idea was very clever. Well done, sir.

It's possible to bypass pretty much the whole level by killing yourself in The Letter L One Time before you hit the next checkpoint. You'll end up back in the first cave with flag 3 set. That wasn't intentional, was it?

If you want to fix that, my suggestion would be setting it somewhere along the bottom of No Flip Zone on or after the checkpoint. (You'd probably have to add a new flag if you do that, since I noticed you're also using that flag to display the message in The Letter L One Time just once.)

I just wanted to say that that Kraid entrance pic looks fabulous. Really great conversion to the VVVVVV tileset.

Have you given any thought to how to direct the player? What I mean is, the items in Metroid give you a natural sort of order: "I got the bombs, so now I can go back and break those blocks," or "I got missiles, so now I can open that door," etc. Whereas with VVVVVV, since it's just trinkets and gravity lines, it turns into "I got another trinket, so now I have to go back to every place where there were gravity lines and see what opened up." Seems offhand to me like it could get pretty drudging if you don't have original game's map memorized.

That said, the original Metroid was all about getting hopelessly lost and having to backtrack five thousand times, so it could be kind of fitting after all!

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