Flame Sword #18: The Little Things

THE LITTLE THINGS

More sprites have been added to the game so it’s time to show them off. A lot of little details have been added to the game, things like conveyor belts, dancing spikes, the one way platforms and drop through one way platforms all have sprites, so they were given more attention over the past week. Even after posting the original one minute video on Twitter, people still found other issues that I have enhanced for the video above. Watching this video, I can still spot tweaks that need to be made, such as when breakable objects land, they too should create the puffs of dust.

Conveyor belts have worked since the second week, but as of yesterday they now push down in a basic way. Over time other issues accumulated such as the player’s landing animation and run stop animation would get stuck on conveyor belts causing the player to stand still. Someone suggested the top of the conveyor belts dip and it was easy enough to make a prototype of that look, even if it will take a while to make them truly dip beyond having a modified sprite.

When enemies fall into spikes, they die and would constantly bounce as they explode. Now they hit the spikes and stick without any death bounces. The sprite for the spikes changed and they have more of a crawling effect to draw your attention to the danger. Originally the spike animations were far slower, but thanks to feedback from Twitter, they move faster and they’re far more dangerous looking. Barrels now explode on impact of spikes, just as enemies do. You can see that barrels still have the default breakable object splits.

The big boxes always had sprites that were smaller, but stapled onto big white objects. When a box would land on the player or an enemy, the boxes would never burst into pieces as they should, but now they do and the big boxes in general burst into a lot more pieces.

While I’m talking about little tweaks, the bloom has been toned down a lot and what you see above is the new, subtle bloom. I’d rather have it overblown to make it look different and dreamy, but this is a good compromise for a feature that doesn’t always blend well with bright pixel art.

Walking on top of barrels or breakable objects in general has been fixed. The player could always walk on them, albeit a bit glitchy looking. Enemies could only walk left, but never right on them. That’s been fixed and the cause was the fact every object is falling, even when it’s not. That’s gravity for you.

CHEAT CODES

To keep the little tweak train rolling, the cheat codes tweak the game in little ways. I’ve thrown in my cheat code console to make the game easier to test. It’s a basic console that lets you type in cheats. By you I mean me. A lot of my games have the same console. The console is nice to instantly have full health, wipe the enemies, toggle between having enemies and not having enemies. Anything is possible, as long as its programmed in.

Beyond those standard cheats, there are other quirky codes for testing, because someone on Twitter commented that they lose sight of the player amidst all the explosions. So now there are codes to give the player an outline, change the explosions to be less of a spectacle, and even a method to change the color of the sky. It is easier to put in these cheat toggles than make it happen through the settings. If the more players need these things, they’ll be added into the ever growing list of settings. It might get to the point where there needs to be categories in the settings menu.

SPAWNERS

I don’t think that I’ve ever shown off spawners specifically. Spawners have existed since the second or third week. They will infinitely spawn any object such as enemies, collectables, and platforms. It is as simple as putting an enemy or platform onto a spawner, which will then put the enemy into holding where it goes unseen. Then the spawner uses that object as a template to spawn a clone every X seconds. Spawners can be tied to what I call strength squares that have strengths 1 – 10. In this case, the 1 – 10 are the amount of seconds between spawns. In the video above, the majority of enemies drop from the sky every 3 seconds, while the last enemy that drops into the vertical shaft is spawned every 4 seconds. The barrels get dropped in every second.

There are various spawner types, some allow for an enemy to be spawned after its killed. Spawners also trigger a repeat sequence of ten or so seconds when you first enter a room. That way a room with platform spawners already has the platforms active and ready for the player rather than having to wait.

For sanity reasons the enemy spawners are a bit subdued. They can still infinitely spawn, but they only allow X enemies in the room or screen. This prevents dozens of enemies from clumping together into an unstopable force. Having conveyor belts and enemy spawners has always been an interesting combination and in the game there are a variety of large scale rooms that turn into mazes of moving foes and moving platforms.

For those wondering about platforms, spawners will send a platform going in its projected direction. When a platform goes too far out of the room it disappears. So anything too far above and poof it’s gone. The player or anything on it drops.

1K TWITTER FOLLOWERS

You set your goals, you meet your goals. I am happy to report that I hit 1K followers over the weekend. It’s an even bigger deal when I was stuck at around 200 followers for a full year. Apparently this genre and style blend well together to get attention and followers. I appreciate every follow that I get, and I’m always aware that Twitter followers are not the end all, be all, but it’s a perfect place to start for quick feedback when you ask questions.

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