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Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar Weekly Update Sun 28th Feb 2010 12:25pm

Category: Weekly Updates

This is the second-to-last Weekly Update I'll do before my girlfriend gets here and we both go away to live in a cave or whatever for five weeks, apparently... Exciting! The next one will likely be on a Saturday...

MARDEK 3 is coming along surely, but slowly. There are still a lot of things to do, as you can see if you've been looking at the long progress bar thing with its 300+ tasks (of which I've done about a third). I've only done the EASIEST ones so far and many of the remaining ones are difficult or time-consuming.
I'll try to do as much as I can in the next week, but it's unlikely I'll get it ready for sponsorship and finalisation and stuff...
What I may have to do is work on it during those five weeks I'll be with my girlfriend, then start releasing it properly when I get back...
I don't know whether or not I'll have reliable, fast internet access when I'm away. I've been looking to see whether there are any libraries or internet cafes or anything nearby (since the rented place we're staying at doesn't have any connection at all), and it seems there are, so we'll have to use those, but it'll be inconvenient... If it's easier than I think to get to the library, then I might be able to release it when I'm away... Uh, I'm not sure yet. Let's just wait and see!
So, uh, MARDEK could either be out in one month or two or something. Longer than I'd like, yes, but I need to make it perfect!1

I've been thinking about what to do after MARDEK is finished... I wrote a long news article ages ago going into detail about my intentions, and I intend to largely stick with it. What I had first though after MARDEK 3 was work on *Raider*, but I'm wondering whether I should even BOTHER...
The first two didn't do so well, stats-wise, so it's an embarrassing thought to approach a sponsor again for the third, fourth and fifth episodes. And yet I don't want to seem like I never finish anything, or to let people down who want to see the others...
So, what I've been considering doing is just releasing all five as one big thing, BUT what I might do is completely redo the first two levels... They are long and difficult as it is, taking at least ten minutes to play through. Some of you may prefer it this way, and I probably do too, but it's just not appealing, it seems.
So what I might do is instead make each episode have two or three SHORT, easy levels each; maybe levels about a minute or three long, sort of like the length of levels in games like Mario maybe? (The early, sidescrolling ones, that is; I've never played any others...) I've been doing some research, looking at level maps from certain types of games I have in mind, and using them as a guide for how long levels should be... (For example, [this], from one of my favourite games, apparently - the first WarioLand for the GameBoy - which is MUCH shorter than the ones I've been making!)
If I make the game have shorter, easier levels, then perhaps it will be less unappealing? What do you think, people?
Actually, what was it you liked or disliked about Raider? If I'm to 'remake' it, in a way, like this, I want to make it as good as it can be (I say 'remake', but I don't intend to change the engine except for minor tweaks).
It won't take a whole lot of TIME to do; I could probably make three short, easy levels a day since all the graphical and code-related resources are already made.
Oh, and I'd make the bosses easier too.

I want to get Raider out of the way so then I don't have to worry or think about it anymore, and I can get on to using ActionScript 3 without having to abandon or one day return to any ActionScript 2 projects (except MARDEK)...
I don't know when I'll work on it though; 'whenever MARDEK is done'.

Something else I was curious about is whether I should sell some more music...
Currently, there are just the two soundtracks for sale, and sales from those have basically completely died down now. I know it's because they're soundtracks from old games, and I'll get more sales from the MARDEK 3 OST, when MARDEK 3 itself is out, but I liked getting money from them and I'm wondering whether I can sell any more of my compositions similarly.
But would anyone buy them? I was considering selling stuff already uploaded to the site, possibly in compilations, but it might not have much appeal. I had in mind things like Nocturnes, Rambles, miscellaneous pieces like 'Space Yokels', etc, or I could do albums of games like Beast Signer or FHO (I'll do a Raider one when the game is fully done). I get the impression there'd not be many sales there...
But what I was also wondering about was composing entirely new stuff and uploading it ONLY to the shop, rather than adding midis to the site here... But would people even BUY it, I wonder? I assume most people just listen to like... those trendy 'stone and roll' or 'black death rape metal' genres these days, and as such my own, uh, genre of compositions wouldn't be particularly desirable... Hmm.
Anyway, it's worth a try. When I get the time and motivation, I could try composing and compiling a short album of new tunes and putting it up for sale, then seeing what the reaction is like. If it's successful, I've found a new form of income, and that makes me hopeful, but if is' unsuccessful, I'll spend my time just making games instead, I suppose.
64 comments

 

64 Commentson 36 roots

DeNovo`s Avatar
Rating Orb E β DeNovo 24 United States MelancholicSanguine 244C 201F
7 years ago | (2)
Regarding RAIDER:

There's an uneasy compromise you're going to be left with; you can either make the "hard" parts optional, or reward the player in other ways, such as additional power, slowing time, double-jumps, air-dashes, wall climbing... etc. I do feel like Raider's controls are a little on the simplistic side, especially since there's a heavy emphasis on platforming and not combat in the current two episodes.

Another key thing to consider, is that in your level design, your rooms traditionally serve only one purpose; there's almost always exactly one challenge, and a daunting one at that, but the goal is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible with as little damage. These are excellent for time-runs, but the lack of alternate paths with risk/reward balances, hidden items or hard-to-reach chests reduces the inherent value in each room. Often in the Megaman and Mario series, there's some portion of a level that you can't get to, not because there's a switch you need to flip (although that's a valid option), but because you need a skill, or an item, or some degree of dexterity to reach that area. I'm not sure what you have in mind when you design levels, but it feels like your emphasis tends to be "amount of challenges present in room," whereas most game designers these days don't design levels based on "how can we make this as challenging as possible?" so much as they think "how can we make the player pull off something cool and feel good about it?" This does come in the form of particularly challenging sections that feel like an accomplishment to pull off, but at the same time it also comes in many other forms; doing the right thing, finding the "smart" way around the level instead of the hard way, recognizing, and obtaining hidden treasure, or defeating opponents that pose some level of challenge, are all good ways.

I'm not entirely sure how you could simply "fix" Raider by modifying the levels; if you were to take out the challenge, I don't actually know what else is left in the game that makes it stand out, gameplay-wise. Platformers often include puzzles, such as things you have to shoot or hack at to progress forward, as alternative challenges to "do this this exact way or die."

Honestly... the most effective thing, I think, would be to make "normal mode" respawn Arkus wherever he dies, floating down from the sky on a platform and invincible until he jumps off it, or something, until they run out of lives, at which point the player continues from a checkpoint. Easy mode would therefore always spawn in-place, and hard mode would be the difficulty which you would enjoy playing the game at. Anything more would require overhaul of the engine as we'd need to really delve into what sort of experience you intend to create with the games.
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
7 years ago | (0)
I am sort of going for an overhaul sort of thing, though, since I'm not satisfied with how the game is right now. How it is as released is actually a simplified version of my original idea for the game, so what I might do is try to go back to the original plan, which shouldn't be all that hard now since all the difficult bits are already done (engine, music, graphics, etc)...

I was going to explain more here, but I'm going to write a news article about it instead.
shadowgokustar`s Avatar
Rating Orb shadowgokustar 16 United States PhlegmaticCholeric 134C 38F
7 years ago | (1)
-- I was just thinking, What if you had a semi-transparent link in one of the corners of the game, and it shows the potential buyer the music track for that game, and you can put some of your independent pieces on the bottom of the songlist, and then add the same thing to your other MARDEK games, along with Raider and whatnot. That way, people might be attracted to the extra music, and if they like the music enough to click the link (which would probably say something like "Download music from this game HERE") then they would probably want to buy it, right? Just a suggestion.
Capulet`s Avatar
Rating Orb Capulet 16 United States 3C 5F
7 years ago | (7)
Mardek III: Coming Fall of 2013!

yeah, I said it.
Hookshot`s Avatar
Rating Orb Hookshot 15 Canada 13C 11F
7 years ago | (0)
Heh heh, yeah, but it'll be like the Super Smash Bros. Brawl of Flash gaming because it will be so awesome, however long release dates have been pushed back.
Weople`s Avatar
Rating Orb Weople 16 United States CholericMelancholic 23C 10F
7 years ago | (1)
Mardek's progress has gone by pretty slowly but I guess it's for the best. The last hurdle in game making always seems the hardest especially if you find a glitch that forces you to change most of the game. I'm glad you made that list of what needs to be done because it shows your actually progress and not 97% complete. I hope you have a fun time with your girlfriend even though I would have you rather stay I shouldn't be so selfish, so have a good time.

I should have posted this on the last news article but maybe you should post your soundtrack advertisements on other sites or you could put the advertisement for the soundtrack in Mardek 3 which could also boost Mardek 3's popularity.

Regarding Raider maybe you should have powerups that are given to the player if they kill a certain enemy or if they find them in a crate. One could shoot rockets the other could shoot faster, just to add some diversity. Or maybe you get powerups at certain points in the game that you keep but you can only have 1 active powerup at a time or something.

anunnakianu`s Avatar
Rating Orb anunnakianu 15 United States PhlegmaticSanguine 6C 1F
7 years ago | (5)
Heh heh... black death rape metal. What about RAP.. and HIP-HOP. ...black death rape metal
Musicologist`s Avatar
Rating Orb Musicologist 22 Saudi Arabia CholericSanguine 35C 0F
7 years ago | (4)
I just have one small suggestion about finishing the Raider series. How about giving it facelifted menu and a new name ? I mean if you're worried about people not playing it because of its reputation, then doing so might help you avoid that ? Anyways you already said you might change some stuff about it, like making it easier and adding some of Raider Zero's RPG aspects. So a new name actually sounds (to me) like a good idea. I think that It will give you another chance with the "Hmm this looks like a nice game" response from players, as opposed to the "Raider ? Hmm .. Oh no I hated the first one noway I play this !!" response. And when the player loads the game he/she will see a different Raider than the one he/she knows and might just enjoy this one much more than the previous two.

Anyways it's just a thought I felt like sharing with you. Hope everything works out for the best with Raider !
Tama Yoshi`s Avatar
Rating Orb Tama Yoshi 18 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric 68C 33F
7 years ago | (1)
As I said before, there is no point in adding RPG elements since the game itself is straightforward. But seeing as RPG elements are undoubtably recognized by the casual gamers, it still does sound like a good idea. The whole question being HOW do you increase your character appropriately?
In the first place, I think that even straightforward games can have RPG elements, or upgrades. A SHOOTER is exactly that (it's totally different from a platformer, but you see the point).
So in theory, you could use upgrades in order to counter-balance the growing difficulty in Raider. But for that, you WOULD need to remove the "OMG I FALL IN THE HOLE ~ DEAD" events. I'll say it honestly: Pixel-perfectness sucks. Ever heard anyone (Or the AVGN) say "This is so annoying, because you have to be RIGHT on the edge when you jump!"? Yeah, pixel perfectness sucks. In Mario, how many times do you die because you fall in the hole? NOT THAT MUCH! Instead, you die because you're hit by a bullet bill or a hammer bros (Damn hammer bros).
I also said that a good way of increasing the difficulty was to shorten the life bonus. Seeing as the life drops randomly from monsters, you might want to change that. The only games that I can recall doing that are RPGs and A-RPGs. Zelda included. I'm not exactly sure why it's like that... Maybe because the levels aren't straightforward, thus meaning that you can't put health bonus there and there, because the player may as well not go and pick them up.
Also, another thing, classic platformer-shooting flaws are that the gamer can only shoot in one direction. I think it might come in handy.

That said, if one really wants to put upgrades in raider, one needs to figure out what. It could be the gun spread, like, the distance the bullets go before disappearing. It could be the gun strength. It could be anything, even things that could potentially break the game, like jump height or walking speed or health or shield (to protect from projectiles) or defense (unlike health, you don't need more life pick-ups to get full life...) anything else?
Archey`s Avatar
Rating Orb Archey 17 Brazil MelancholicCholeric 37C 8F
7 years ago | (2)
As soon as I CAN, I will buy all soundtracks, they are awesome, and makes me remember of those great games. I donīt know from the rest, but I think that selling OSTīs of all your games is a great idea, maybe not for the sales, since they arenīt impressive, or something, but for the sake of choice or something like... epic... giving the "customer" or fan, everything you can is really important these days (coming from someone who brought the collection edition of all games I really enjoyed playing, like Bioshock, which contains the original soundtrack, and great stuff for fans) .

I canīt see WHY people dont like Raider... I mean.... Itīs free, there is nothing more appealing from a game made from Pseudo, free and difficult.... well for me.
RedTheFighter`s Avatar
Rating Orb RedTheFighter 15 United States SanguinePhlegmatic 31C 0F
7 years ago | (5)
So. First things first. Working on Mardek. (Or is it all capitals? Like MARDEK? Or maybe both? O.o ) Over what I'm assuming is supposed to be a vacation. With your girlfriend. Yeah, that doesn't sound too smart to me. If you're really going to do that though, I'd recommend working on the game only when you have absolutely nothing else to do. Because that might lead to your girlfriend thinking 'He like his game making more than me', which could lead to her breaking up with you, then probably a game making delay due to possible depression. Or something. Though, heck, I could be completely and totally wrong because I don't know your girlfriend.

Secondly, Raider. As I believe you've said many times, your games are an art to you. It's your choice whether or not you want to continue them or change them, or not. But, uh, if you want my opinion, continue the series, and don't change it. Don't consider it a failed project, because it isn't. I'd say the Raider games are pretty good, they remind me of the game I Wanna Be The Guy, but with a bit of a MegaMan theme to them, or something. I dunno. My opinion probably doesn't matter too much on that aspect since I've barely played them, because after I Wanna Be The Guy, I've had my fill of challenge. XD

Lastly, music. If I had the money, I'd buy almost anything you released. And I might have the money soon. So, uh, yeah. I hope you do begin releasing music that way, though a good idea would be to include previews of each track, so people know what the music is and such. I'm not sure if you'd be able to do that, because I'm not a programmer man like you, but, uh, yeah.

That's all. I guess.
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
7 years ago | (5)
I personally refer to MARDEK the game in capitals to differentiate it between Mardek the character...

My girlfriend and I know eachother very well and we've talked about basically everything, including my games, for the years we've been together, and she's been one of the beta testers for MARDEK 3. She knows how I feel about her and the game, and is not the time to break up with me over some desire for attention or something... It's also a five week trip, and the last three we've had included a LOT of time wondering what to actually do to pass the hours, so this time she's bringing a laptop and I'm bringing my computer, so we can get a feel of what it'll be like living together.

I judge Raider's success by its stats, like rating, number of plays, money earned, etc, and in all of them it is not an utter failure, but it's not the sort of success I'd like either; it's very lower-end mediocre. The second did like ten times worse than the first, showing that people played the first because it was new, and didn't play the second because they disliked the first. Changing it is the most profitable idea.

The music site I've been uploading to already includes a 'preview' of each track.
RedTheFighter`s Avatar
Rating Orb RedTheFighter 15 United States SanguinePhlegmatic 31C 0F
7 years ago | (0)
Ah, I see. I have been enlightened. Or something. Thanks for explaining that, though. Always kinda wondered about it.

That's good. I've just heard of many lady-types who've broken up because they think their man-type is completely and totally addicted to the computer (Which many are, sadly enough.) and they break up with them because of it. But that's pretty cool that she understands that and such. =o

Huh. I didn't even take profits into it. In that case, I agree with you, changing it would be the best idea. Hope it does much better with them new changes that you're gonna implement.

No, no, but I mean, like a 30 second preview in the middle of the track or so. From what I've listened to, it's the entire track, it seems, though I could be mistaken. Basically, give people a taste of it, but not the full version if you are, or whatever. Giving people the full version to listen to allows people to get it using a fancy technological nerd-type-thing which I shall not elaborate on unless you want me to tell you via PM because some people may use it to get free music. And the way I know probably isn't the only way, too.
But, then again, as I said, I'm really not sure if there's any way to change that... And now doubting that it is since I now know it's a separate website.
Qazerowl`s Avatar
Rating Orb Qazerowl 15 United States MelancholicCholeric 272C 16F
7 years ago | (4)
I would buy the music if it sounded more "realistic". Right now, most of the music I've heard seems, fake. You can tell that it's not being played by real instruments. If the midi, "things", were of higher quality, if would buy all of the CD's.
Also, you should release the OST before you release MARDEK, you may make more sales.
Tama Yoshi`s Avatar
Rating Orb Tama Yoshi 18 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric 68C 33F
7 years ago | (3)
I think that's the whole point of midi instruments. It never sounds as great as real instruments... And somehow, it rarely sounds as great as other digital instruments. How do you call those songs in SNES games? They aren't midi, but nor are they "real".
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
7 years ago | (4)
Technically they are midi (basically all game music is, even in modern games for the latest consoles); it's just that they use different sounds for the instruments, since all midi is is data telling the computer the time, duration, pitch, etc to play various wave samples for. Change the samples, and you change the sound drastically. I have several 'soundfonts' that allow me to change the sound of my own midis, but I prefer them using the one I have used.
wester`s Avatar
Rating Orb wester 19 Sweden MelancholicPhlegmatic 63C 12F
7 years ago | (14)
probably going to get flamed by any way. This must be an conspiratorial fist black mesa now fighunter.com bouth have pushed back theres release date from October-December to mars or latter.
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