Monday, December 31, 2007

In Preparation for Demo 2


Showdown Academy has certainly come along way as a fighter, and I've got big plans for it in the future. I thought I'd post a blog or two before Demo 2 hits off for its public release.

Since palette swapping isn't within our reach, I've decided upon an alternative for alternate colors at the time being. The effect is called "blending", and we go through a few (quick) steps to apply it. We leave the original sprite on the screen, take a copy of that sprite and colorize it (fade it) to another color. Then, that copy is turned transparent and overlayed ontop of the original during gameplay. While not as pretty as alternate colors, it takes all of the load of vs Same Character problems off of my shoulders... for now.

Also, as you can tell from that screenshot, hitboxes are now always visible. I'll add an option to turn them off in the final of Demo 2. Future releases may make off the default.

I've been adding extra sounds, sprites, and graphical effects into the game. Hopefully they'll be a nice extra touch.

Pushback from hitstun and block stun have been major focus points for me lately. I've improved them a lot, I had to completely rewrite some of the main areas of the pushback script, but its been worth it. Juggle physics and reactions have also been up there, but still have a long way to go. Bouncing during knockdown has been added, and sweeps have been fixed. When a move causes knockdown states to occur, any move following will continue to result in a knockdown, no matter the normal reaction. Gravity during knockdown has been improved over my previous attempts as well.

Another item of notice is attacks, both characters have gained new ones, as well as many moves being improved upon. Many changes have been made to strengthen or nerf various attacks to hopefully bring balance back to the game. From my point of view at the game's current stage, Aroon seems to have stepped ahead of Jiro. It seems every time something new is added the characters fluctuate. Example:
Jiro seemed ahead by a long shot for a while, but then I nerfed his s.LK (which tended to result in long hitstuns and infinites) and gave Aroon a new s.CK (a fast, close-in knee strike) and moved his old push kick to back+CK. This, along with the new Dash Attacks put Aroon ahead of Jiro... as far as I can tell.

Oh yeah...

Dash Attacks are performed by pressing both kick buttons during a Forward Dash 4 Animation frames into the dash. This makes them have the exact same timing as a Dash Jump, but they are a little more difficult to perform than your average special move due to both kicks needing to be pressed at the EXACT same time. Special moves give quite a bit of room for button presses, as do throws.

I plan to focus on character selection after a few more tweaks and bug fixes. This will require an entire rewrite of how key/button presses are checked. The good thing is this will give me room to add in custom control setups, since the buttons will no longer be hard coded into each character (Aroon as P1 and Jiro as P2). Demo 2 won't have AI as Demo 1 did, because I've got more important things to focus on. It looks like there won't be any more than Aroon and Jiro in the next demo either... I hoped, and I tried, but that will have to wait until a later time. If I have time, the Guard Gauge may come into use too, but I may wait to see how the game is played by others first.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Yet Another Progress Update...


Been a lot of work going on, and it definitely hasn't been a waste of time. I've fixed a lot of really small bugs that have made the game unplayable in the past... but this certainly doesn't mean that they're all gone. I'll slowly be fixing them as new features get added into the game. Many bugs have been fixed just because something new has been added. The biggest fix: Can hold Up to jump now rather than just press, and blocking no longer causes a permanent stun (as it did in an unreleased demo).

Many more small changes have been made to tighten up Aroon and Jiro move and ability wise, some of which include: Aroon's arsenal allows him to get in quickly despite his very un-agile movement while Jiro can wait and get in fast when the time is right. Jiro can wall jump, Aroon cannot. Jiro and Aroon have very different dashing abilities, and their jumping and walking is now just slightly different. Aroon's Forward Knee and Air Forward Knee combinations make him a very hard opponent to close in on. Aroon has a brand new Fireball as well.

Jumping is much more smooth and accurate now, as part of the code has been rewritten. Some of it still remains to be rewritten in a later update... however it won't be done anytime soon. I've started work on character select, but have no idea when it will be complete.

The biggest new addition however, is damage. Attacks now do REAL damage, and there are two damage scaling systems in the game. System 1 is a life scaling system, which decreases the amount of damage your character does as your opponent's life goes down. System 2 is a combo scaling system, which decreases the amount of damage as the number of hits in a combo increases. So far these two systems seem to keep damage in-check, and the high damage game play really seems to keep things fast paced.

I'll keep working, hopefully that mid-late January release date doesn't come too soon.