Thursday, June 6, 2013

A game without music?

(Below you'll find some information about the game mechanics)

We are working on changing some things in the menu, as well as changing stuff on the HUD and lots of other minor stuff.
(all of this basically according to feedback from our testplayers, so it took some time until we had the feedback to work with)

It seems that we'll also implement a "very easy" mode, so less skilled people can enjoy the game, too.
(the game is originally intended to be played on "normal", while "hard" is for those people who think it's too easy)

Other than that... what does a game feel like, if it doesn't have any music at all?
Well it's... weird...
So yes, we are currently working ourselves on doing some music of our own.
(since we have a tight budget)
But this will take some time, since we haven't done it before.

Basically this means:
We have absolutely no idea, when the demo version will be released.
It might be next week, but it might also take another 2-3 weeks.
(well we are working on the graphics and CGs, even the stuff that isn't in the demo... but as long as we don't have any music, we thought it would be better to not release a demo, because this time, we want to show what we can really do, and we want to present it as good as possible)

I noticed I haven't talked about the game mechanics yet.
So lets get to it.

Game mechanics:

Basically in this new game, you play as "Sheyla".
She's some kind of agent (actually she's an assassin), and she takes on various kinds of dangerous missions.
In this case she's on a mission to take out several dangerous demons.
Before she can kill the final boss, she has to take out 3 different bosses first.
In the "full version" you can select the several area's and play them in whatever order you see fit.
You can also replay every stage as often as you like, since there are HP and SP upgrades hidden in the levels, it's possible that you have to replay some stages, if you don't want to miss them. 

Sheylas main weapon is her gun.
You can load 3 types of bullets into it:

First of all the "regular" ammo, you've got unlimited of it.
But it doesn't do anything special.

Then there is "armor piercing" ammo (AP), which is especially effective against armored enemies.
It also pierces several enemies in a line, so it's good against enemy crowds.

Last but not least, there is "high explosive" ammo (HE), uppon contact it explodes, doing AoE (area of effect) damage.
Since the explosion stays for a brief moment, it even hits enemies that run into it.
Damage wise this is the strongest ammunition in the game, but don't waste it on weak enemies!

After beating one of the bosses, you'll unlock 1 of the 3 special bullets for each ammo type.
It's a charged shot with special attributes.
They are also needed to gain access to some of the hidden areas in each stage.
So if you haven't got the necessary special shot the first time you play a stage, you might have to come back later.
(special shots are not unlockable in the demo version)

I should also mention, that you can shoot upwards.
You can't move while doing this (this is intentional).
This might seem weird to some people, since Sheyla is pretty agile at everything else.
(I somehow felt that shooting upwards shouldn't be "always" possible, well, there are only some occasions where shooting upwards makes any sense at all)

Bullet time:

Sheyla has the ability to slow down time.
This effects everything else, except Sheyla and her own bullets.
So this skill gives her a significant advantage in nearly every situation.
(basically it slows everything down to 50% of it's original speed)
There are several points in the game were you should use this skill in order to get past enemies more easily.


The game has a lot of commonly known platformer aspects.
For example moving platforms, platforms that crumble away if you step on them etc.
It does NOT have any "death traps", instead of this, there are several "traps" that reduce your health over time.

Sheylas main abilities are dashing and walljumping, and you'll have to use both of them a lot.
Dashing is a fast move, and it also makes Sheyla "smaller" (as it is in some Megaman X games).
This enables her to dodge some attacks, as well as dashing through narrow passages, where she doesn't fit in while moving normally.
Dashing is also necessary to jump further.

The walljump I decided to use might feel unusual to some hardcore gamers, but I decided on a relatively simple to use walljump.
Walljumping "actually" never fails, and it needs no special timing or skill to execute.

The only "rules" (and this might be the "odd" thing) that apply to walljumping in this game are:

- you can only stick to a side of a wall ONCE, you have to switch wall sides after this, or you have to land on solid ground
(this means, you have to jump from left to right, right to left etc. you CAN'T stick to one side only)

- you stick to a wall about ~1 second, after this you'll fall down
(you can't stick longer than ~1 second to a wall and after falling down, you can't stick to a wall again, unless you land on solid ground first)

- if you fall "too fast", you can't stick to a wall
(if you fall down for ~2 seconds, your falling speed is too high, and you can't hold on to a wall anymore)

Aside from these simple "rules", walljumping is always working.
(and yup, those "rules" are necessary to not make walljumping too easy, because then Sheyla could climb up anywhere... and I didn't want this to be possible in this game)

I'm currently thinking about making changes to this system... but actually it works out pretty well.
And changing anything would mean to change quite a lot of stuff.
(it's not impossible... but since it works out as intended, I think it would be a pitty to do changes, if it's not required and if the majority of people like this kind of walljumping)

Well I guess it depends on the feedback I get after releasing the demo version.

This time the game also has "continues", which means, you'll have to lose all continues in order to get a game over.
But you can also switch the continues off, so you'll instantly lose once your HP hits zero.
(this is only recommended for experienced players, or if you like to see all the CGs pretty quickly)

Other things worth mentioning:

Most enemies don't damage you, if you touch them!
(but there are some who will... slime monsters and certain others, but they are a minority and they are not included in the demo)
But if you run into attacks/bullets, you'll obviously take damage.

CG scenes have effects (flashing etc.) and lots of text, but no sound effects.

There are several secret areas throughout the game.
If you're paying attention, you can find some extra ammo or continues.

Basically you can dodge anything that comes at you, it just needs some skill to do so.
(or the use of Sheylas bullet time skill)

Well, I hope that we can present you a fully working demo version with music soon.
If everything goes according to plan, you'll get one completely working demo version, instead of some beta-pre-version of the game.

If you have any questions regarding the game, controls, or anything else, please feel free to ask.