I have some great, amazing, terrific news for you all!
I am working on Raider again!!!1!1
I bet you're all giddily orgasming in your favourite pair of pantaloons at the mere mention of that heart-stoppingly fun game, and you're GLAD that I'm not focusing every waking moment of my life on MARDEK 3 because you all love Raider so much!!
Uh, anyway, though, I probably AM going to get back to Raider... But before sending me a slew of angry death threats, please listen to my reasons for this.
I'm certainly not giving up or ignoring MARDEK 3 so close to its supposed release or anything. I'm still working on it, but what I still need to do on it is relatively trivial and tedious; I can easily finish all that needs doing before sponsors decide on something, or even if I don't finish everything on my To Do List thing, I could essentially release it as it is now and it'd be fine. So consider it 'finished' but I want to 'polish' it more; that's all that the progress bar shows.
The main reason it's not been released yet is because the sponsorship process takes a while. I've been essentially sitting around twiddling my thumbs waiting for decent offers (when I've already worked as much as I can bear on the game that day, anyway), so I think I may as well use my time productively while I wait.
I've still not decided on whether or not to charge a fee; I probably don't want to for multiple reasons, so let's hope I don't 'have' to. I'll wait for word from sponsor-type people before making an educated decision.
So let me repeat: MARDEK 3 is 'finished' and it's just a matter of time decided by people other than me before it's out. I am not delaying it or giving up on it at all.
Now that that's out of the way, uh... Raider. Yes. That lovely, charming platformer that you all adore with all your hearts; my greatest masterpiece that people are neverendingly BEGGING me to release the remaining episodes of! Oh, how many emails I get saying "forget about that stupid MADRAK 3 thing or whatever, and give me more Raider or I swear I'll slit your throat off". Oh, how many.
I explained my plans for what I want to do with it in news posts a while ago, but since I can't expect everyone to have read them, I'll go over it again.
Since the first two were essentially failures, I don't want to go down the same path three more times like I originally intended to.
Instead, I'll have one big game with all five 'episodes' combined... And I'll be doing away with the nefarious precision-related difficulty in favour of more *fun*. I want it to be a game that people can enjoy, rather than one that they'd love to hate or hate to love or whatever.
I also want to keep on board the old, surely deranged masochists who liked the first two; that is, I want this to appeal to people who never liked the other two as well as people who for some unfathomable reason did.
Ideally I'd make it challenging but still fun, rather than simperingly easy. I don't want a complete change of concept, but rather 'improvements'; I'll be using the existing engine for the sake of speed anyway rather than rewriting a new game from scratch.
There are several major changes:
- Instead of there being five huge levels, one per chapter, there are now five 'zones', each with several shorter levels each. This means that you can approach the game in manageable chunks rather than having to devote too much time to go from start to finish. Hopefully this will increase the appeal for casual players and reduce the stress of dying.
- These levels are marked by nodes on an old-fashioned 'node map' so common to console platform games in the good old days, which are appealing to me. Something like this: [LINK]
- Some levels would have multiple exits; that is, exploring a 'zone' isn't necessarily about just going through levels in a linear order. You could, for example, go through level 2 to get to level 3, but rather than level 3 leading directly to level 4, it contains a switch which floods level 2 with water, and using that water, you could swim to previously inaccessible parts of level 2 and find the second exit which leads to level 4. I've seen this in other games like WarioLand (one of my favourite platformers ever for some reason), and I find it very appealing.
- As well as the zones, there'll be a 'world map' of sorts, consisting of a sort of grid representing space, that you navigate in your spaceship. It uses the same sort of perspective as my RPGs. You'll be able to manually fly between different sectors and fine different zones, but also optional levels on asteroids, perhaps floating space stations with shops, things like that. It'll add a hopefully interesting exploration element to the game.
- Sometimes, you may even need to leave a zone before finishing it. For example, you may find that level 4 of zone 1 is not possible to beat because it's full of ghosts which your weapons can't harm, but an NPC may tell you that there's a blaster somewhere on some asteroid that can harm ghosts, so you'd have to set off through space to find it, then return. I like things like this myself, so hopefully others would find it exciting rather than tedious.
- There may even be *space battles* in the space grid mode thing. You could encounter ships of other pirates or 'police' or something, which you'd have turn-based combat against, possibly in a tactical format like Final Fantasy Tactics, the old FHO demo thing, etc. I don't know for sure about this though; I don't want to get the game too bogged down so that I spend too long on it; I've learned that that's a big mistake.
If I did, though, you'd probably be able to upgrade your ship's parts or something.
- I'm probably going to re-introduce RPG-like mechanics like in Raider Zero... sort of. Or maybe more like in Zelda games, where you have a certain number of 'hearts' (or green bars in this), which increase after beating bosses, finding 'pieces of heart', etc.
- You'd also be able to get new armour, swords and blasters. Everyone loves upgrades! Perhaps they'd have 'elemental' affinities too, like a fire sword that melts ice, or the aforementioned ghost-disrupting blaster.
- On the Zelda theme, I may introduce some kind of puzzle-related tools which you'd be able to use to unlock new places or move in different ways. This would add more opportunities for secret exits in levels and would hopefully add more interest to the game. Hopefully!
Again, though, I don't want to add too many features or else the game will take too long to make, and I want to get it done quickly (in a month or two).
- I want to give Arkus far more interesting movement capabilities. Currently you can move, jump, shoot, slash, climb ladders, and that's about it.
I want to add abilities that make it *fun* just to *move around*, and which make movement feel more fluid and so on. I don't want people to have to struggle with 'the controls', and no more ladder jumping absurdity either!
The last point is something that I want to work on first. I'm going to make and upload a demo thing which would just be Arkus in a room, which you can move around in but with no particular purpose, and then I want to tweak it based on player feedback to the point where it's interesting and enjoyable just to move around.
I'd add new moves and tweak old ones. I'd change how jumping feels (smoother, more air time, etc), how walking works (perhaps less 'solid' and more 'fluid'), and things like that.
I'd need ideas for new moves that aren't too complex though, which would have some conceivable use (that is, no backflips 'because they're cool'; it'd take ages to do and serve no obstacle-related purpose).
Currently I have in mind the basic double jump, as well as a wall jump/slide like in the Megaman X games (that is, jumping at a wall would cause you to start gradually sliding down the wall, giving you an opportunity to jump off).
These new abilities may or may not end up being available from the start; I may end up making them acquirable from bosses or something.
(Hmm, or maybe bosses will give 'magic spells' or weapons, like the wraith giving a lightning one which could be used for puzzles as well as combat.)
So yes. Raider. Hopefully I can turn it from some gruelling wreck into a genuinely enjoyable game, with your feedback, people!
Keep in mind that while I appreciate all feedback, just because you have an idea doesn't mean it's a good one. It may be too difficult to implement (which is usually the case; you can think of something easily but it could take days to code), or it might just not fit the style I want from the game. So if I 'ignore' or refuse your suggestions, please don't take it personally! D:
I'll get to working on that simple 'room' thing now and then I'll upload it and link to it from here. I'll then continue to update it as I make changes, and I'll list the changes here.
EDIT: Here's the 'room' to play around in: [LINK]
You can also explore space (though there's nothing to find) and see what I mean by the 'zone maps' thing.
EDIT: Significant updates!
I've been redoing much of the movement code from scratch. Because of this, you currently can't use the sword, blaster, ladders, signs, etc in the demo thing, and you can't duck either.
I have, however, hopefully made jumping nicer, and added some new manoeuvres!
- Run using the SHIFT key!
- Double jump!
- Execute *wall jumps* by timing a jump as you briefly 'cling' onto a wall.
These things all still need tweaking to perfection; I am aware of many movement issues at the moment. I'll continue to update the demo as I make progress.
ANOTHER EDTI: Some silliness with a 'blur' thing that is unlikely to remain in the current state its in in the final version (I may use it for some purpose, but currently it's just there because it was trivial to do and I was curious about watching the trajectory of jumps and so on). I've also fixed some bugs... and added a long area to sprint around in. It's amusing to jump over a HUGE chasm with a sprinted double jump that you'd have had no hope of surpassing in the old version! It gives the potential for such 'fun' levels, hopefully!
YET ANOTHER EDIT: I've changed Arkus' sprite! Gasp!
There are also other minor changes. Now, if you wall cling on a an 'edge' rather than a 'wall', and jump off, you jump up and onto the ledge rather than horizontally away.
I've also added water, but it doesn't work yet.
AND ANOTHER: Slopes! Such a minor thing that players probably wouldn't care much about (they're very 'background'), yet they took the better part of a day to get them functioning at all, then even longer ironing out problems, and I still don't think I've eliminated them all...
I added these because I'm aware that wall clinging would be a pain; with a lot more (ungrabbable) slopes in levels, this annoyance would hopefully be lessened or removed. It also adds more interest and was an interesting technical experiment for me (I've wondered for a while if I had it in me to get slopes working in a game that's coded around square blocks).
You can also shoot and use your sword now, sort of, though it's ridiculous and very sloppily added; I'll refine it so it's actually *sensible* tomorrow, probably.