I should start writing these news article things regularly... So, uh, here is one!
Over the last few days, I've been getting a LOT done on MARDEK!
As I may have said elsewhere, I've been remaking the engine for chapter 3, because the code for the old one was just annoying to work with, and I got various complaints from Flash about lack of memory when trying to export the game as an swf since it was so poorly put together... I'd been using a version of the same engine which I'd written when I was first learning ActionScript YEARS ago, then used for Fig Hunter, then changed a bit for use in a 'Yalortian Game' which never got finished and which most of you have never seen, then changed a bit more for Deliverance (though the graphics were entirely different to Fig Hunter, the underlying code was much the same), and changed some more for MARDEK... So I was using this patched-up, old code which was originally written when I was completely inexperienced anyway.
So yes, that was difficult to work with, so I decided that the best thing for me to do was remake everything almost from scratch.
This only includes the code and menus though, mainly. The aspects of the game which you SEE and play are the same; just built more neatly 'behind the scenes'. But it's taken a long time to make all these changes which won't be readily apparent to most players, anyway...
But I just finished 'remaking' chapters 1 and 2 yesterday!
This is great, because the thought of "ugh, I have to go over stuff I've already done and remake it" was off-putting for months, preventing me from working on MARDEK 3 at all (whenever I opened it to work on it, I saw what I had to do before even getting to working on the Chapter 3 stuff, and just procrastinated...)
Now I'm back to working on Chapter 3 content, so it might not be long before I'm done!
I'm aiming for a release date of sometime before the end of the year, but there's still a LOT to do, so I don't know how much I'll miss that date by.
But just know that it's not taken more than a year so far while I've been WORKING on it; definitely not! It's taken that long because I've NOT been working on it... Other chapters after this one will have the new, neat engine for me to work with, so I won't take anywhere near this long to make them.
(I've made half of the content of chapter 3 already, but I made all of that within a month after finishing chapter 2 and haven't made much, if any, progress since...)
Anyway, there are some 'minor' changes that I've been working into this new version of the engine, such as:
- New look for menus; they should hopefully be smoother, more user-friendly, and less buggy.
- SAVE POINTS. Apparently I don't care so much about what people voted for on the poll; gamers do not make good designers from what I have heard. I would assume that most people also assume that the placement of save points would be irritating or something; it would not be. They'd be wisely placed, like at the start of a dungeon, in the middle - usually at a crossroads - and before a boss. They also serve as Healing Crystals, so this is probably a change for the better; you'd no longer die after playing for ages only to discover that you hadn't saved in ages because you'd forgotten to; Save Points placed conspicuously in your path would remind you. You'd also be warned of things like the Saviours Battle by the presence of a Save Point.
- Damage and HP formulae are significantly changed. Characters have almost twice as much HP now, and the damage that they deal is now modified by level; it wasn't before (which is why as Level 50 Heroes, Mardek and Deugan still did such small amounts of damage).
- I've added three new music tracks to chapter 2...
- And I've also changed some bosses somewhat, which might make them more or less challenging... Some bosses can summon allies now, for example. (Such as Moric, the Necromancer, summoning undead minions in battle, which is something I wanted to add in the initial version but didn't have the motivation or time or something.)
There are also more changes that I plan on adding, like switching party members in battle, but I've yet to get around to that.
There may be issues with saving, however... The new code stored data differently, so it couldn't load old files. I'll try to make a thing which, when you first play the game, converts your saves from the old version into new version saves, but it still might be recommended that you play through chapters 1 and 2 again anyway. It will NOT be necessary though! Just recommended... Especially since there are some changes to them.
In all future releases, the game will include all chapters up until that point. It's a lot easier to make things this way. So eventually, the game will be one single 70+ hour long RPG thing, which you could play from start to finish in the same file, probably... o_O
(I wonder how many years away that'll be though? TWO at most, I hope!)
I'm going to try to focus my attentions on MARDEK for the time being, ignoring any other projects, until chapter 3 is finished. It's been far too long since I've released anything that I've been able to get MONEY for... o_O
So, uh, this is bad news for people who are waiting for Beast Signer or FHO updates, I suppose... But knowing me, I'll likely change my mind about this in a week anyway and get back to those. I really cannot predict the future!
I'll try to stick with this though. I REALLY want to get MARDEK 3 finished so then it doesn't look like I'm abandoning the series.
Oh, and there are still a lot of things I need to change or add on this site... Browser compatibility, for one thing. Oh how I hate that people use obsolete hardware or awkward software!
I've got to change the Games page a bit too, and, uh... something else, I think...
But anyway, if there is anything that you really want to see added or changed in MARDEK for the later chapters, it would be interesting to hear it! Even though I likely will not consider it because most GAMERS do not seem to realise that their ideas are not in the game already for technical or balancing reasons, or because they don't fit or make sense or they're stolen or they're genre changes or, uh... et cetera.
"Change the battle system to something else entirely" is not a viable suggestion, by the way, because it would be too drastic a change.