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  Victory! 08:25 PM -- Sun April 29, 2007  

Medusa's Lament is complete. I'll upload a more downloader-friendly version to the Gamelets page in time, but for now if you want, you can get the contest entry version right here (2ish MB). It's got a weird creepy song, horrible sound effects (neither my microphone nor my sound editing software work on my new computer!), and, um, instructions. Unzip and play! I am off to relax after a hard-working weekend.
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  Way new looks! 03:46 AM -- Sun April 29, 2007  



Look at all that! As you can see, the crows have gotten fat on Medusa's garden. The game is essentially done now, minus dozens of hours worth of polish. Like for example, the ability to get hurt (frankly, I think it will become nearly impossible once I add that, but then I'll just need to tweak speeds and such), and some sort of score. The background there has 7 layers which scroll independently, so as you climb up, you sort of reveal more. It would've been fun to have surprises to reveal as little rewards for getting far, but it's just a plain old landscape. Maybe I'll add a goat on the mountain if I get time. Looks pretty good in action though.

I'm done for the night... I could sure use a break. Then I have tons of time tomorrow to hit the finish line. One thing that really needs work is the collision detection. Right now you can only gaze at the birds' feet properly. The rest of their body is made of reflective feathers.
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  Better 09:28 PM -- Sat April 28, 2007  



Well, she's still spitting rather than gazing, but look at how her head is attached to her body! Thanks DrPetter, for helping me figure out the conundrum of cosines. And the only real major technical feat in the game is done as you can see - the crows stack! Actually, it's pretty morbid, like I'm standing on a heap of dead bodies. But they're not. They're statues. Remember that! Statues that were living creatures moments before, but hey, I'm Medusa. Now I'm off to do major artwork. The artwork is going to have a big impact on gameplay at this point, since the first thing I'll be doing is making those crows be fat crows, about 3x the size. That will get you climbing much more quickly. It took about 5 minutes of play just to get as high as I am in this shot, and I'd like to be scrolling the screen up ever skyward. I'm gonna have a bunch of layers of parallax scrolling in the background to make it interesting, so I better get on that.
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  Slow progress 07:59 PM -- Sat April 28, 2007  



Medusa's most serious lament is how her head is disconnected from her body and upside down. That's the huge problem I'm having - working out how to render the rotated sprites properly. I gave up on it hours ago and have decided to live with it for now.

Her secondary lament is that her eyebeams seem to shoot out of her shoulder. That's less of an issue. Her final, and intended, lament is that there are crows messing up her garden! So she is zapping them into stone, eventually. Then somehow, via some code I'm not sure how to write, the crow statues will stack up, making a mountain for Medusa to climb. Your score is the highest you reached before dying. You can die from being hit by a bird, hit by a falling stone bird, or falling off your mountain once it's tall enough.

Right now, none of that is in. Birds just show up and you can zap beams all over the screen, to no effect. And your head spins around. You can also run around and jump. These are all temp art, of course, on the off-chance I actually finish (which worries me greatly with these technical problems!), and have time to put in real art.
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  Medusa's Lament 01:51 PM -- Sat April 28, 2007  

I struggled all night to come up with an idea, then as soon as I hit the pillow, it came to me. I had lots of ideas before that, but they were all either too hard to do in time, or the building the level aspect would lead to one simple and obvious 'right way' that would be no fun, or both. But in bed, it all came together. I almost got up to get started, but eh, sleep is nice. So it's now morning, and time to begin

MEDUSA'S LAMENT


I trust that just from the title you can see how this game will involve "building a level" as you play! I begin!
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  LD48 begins! 12:05 AM -- Sat April 28, 2007  

The theme is "Build The Level You Play". This was my own suggestion! Hooray for me! Too bad I now have to make a game of that theme. I actually had an idea which inspired me to suggest it in the first place, but it feels like an idea that really only applies to a big game, can't be done justice as a little 48 hour job. But, time to think about it and decide!
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  Reboots 10:57 PM -- Thu April 26, 2007  

Well, it's been a busy week, through no fault of getting things done (interpreted properly, that says I haven't gotten much done). My new computer has arrived, and all week has been spent getting it set up for proper use. Just now I've run one of my own games for the first time, and it went swimmingly! A new computer is an interesting time, to upgrade things and change how things are done. I'm trying out this new Getright Pro instead of merely Getright, because it has this feature where you can compare a folder on your computer to one on your website, and auto-copy things in either direction until they are the same and current. That'll make web updates kind of handy, if it's fast. I'm also looking forward to finally installing the latest FL Studio, which I have been several versions behind on for a long time.

Anyway, everything is all new and shiny (extra shiny - it's Vista! Which is something of a concern for many reasons, but hey, I need to be testing on Vista anyway) and quite exciting. My favorite part is that it's a laptop, so now I can carry around all of my work wherever I want. No need to copy over whatever I want to mess with and realize I can't do this or that (such as work in 3DS Max). Everything there is to do is on the laptop. I've got it set up as a regular desktop in the office though. Then I just pop out a couple cables and walk off wherever my work takes me. Usually that's to the living room to hang out on the web while watching TV. I'm nothing if not productive and cosmopolitan.

The bad news is I bought World Of Warcraft. Amazon was having a deal (slightly worse deal now, but still $15 off!) where you get both the game and the expansion for $30, shipped free. Since the expansion alone is supposed to be $40, I couldn't turn it down! I won't be signing up my first month of money wasting yet, though. I'm saving it for some sort of occasion. Perhaps the end of Titan Tunnels? Nah, probably not that long! But the future, at any rate. It can sit and tempt me for now (well, not yet - it hasn't even shipped yet).

That's life in the big city. Still getting set up, but I'm gradually running out of things I need to copy and install. Oh! And there's a 48-hour contest this weekend! So once I have this set up, I can inaugurate it with a 48-hour bit of game development. Should be excitotastic as always!
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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland: Titan Tunnels 04:55 PM -- Thu April 19, 2007  


This is obviously not an in-game shot. But it's what I worked on all day yesterday! This is the definition file for the magical properties that items can have. So let's talk items.

I'm completely redoing how items work in this game. First of all, I also finally decided I needed to know exactly what the items were yesterday, so I worked it out. Here's the complete list of different equipment types. Note that each type has a unique way it can be upgraded. So have a look-see:

Axe - Provides Damage and Speed. Upgrade by applying Sharpening Stones you find. Each one applied has a chance of raising your Attack Boost by 1% (more on Boosts another time, but as you can guess, Attack Boost is a percentage increase to damage). The more Sharpening Stones that have been used on an Axe, the less likely they are to work. Eventually you reach a point where it just doesn't upgrade anymore. You decide whether it's worth it to keep trying more stones on the same Axe in the very slim hopes of an upgrade, or if you should save them for another Axe in the future.

Parka - Provides Armor and Stamina. You can find Patches with different bonuses. They mostly boost Armor, Stamina, Life, and Resistance. Stitch any one you like into a Parka. Stitching in a new one destroys the old.

Amulet - Provides Magic and Spell Power. There are springs underground sometimes. Bump into one and you can dip your Amulet into it. It gives the Amulet a random power (things like +5% Nature Magic damage, etc). So any time you find a spring, you can gamble that it will give you something better than what the last one did. New dippings replace the old. The deeper you go in the dungeon, the more powerful the dippings tend to be, but it's still totally random which type you get.

Glasses - Provides Searching and Magic. Searching is the odds of finding hidden stuff around you as you wander. Makes sense for glasses! You upgrade these the same way you used to - sticking in lens pairs.

Belt - Provides Resistance and Life. The higher your Resistance, the less time you are poisoned, stunned, or frozen for (but the deeper you go in the dungeon, the more your Resistance is decreased, so if you don't raise it, you're going to suffer longer!). You upgrade Belts by Bucklecrafting! What is that? You do it with the Junksmith menu. There are two buttons now. You put your selected junk in, and you either push the Junksmith button or the Bucklecraft button, to make random equipment or a random buckle. The buckles pick a random magical power to add to your belt (random, but always the same - 3 Gears will always provide the same power, but I can't tell you what that power is until I try it!). That makes buckles a very nice thing to have.

Boots - Provides Mobility and Stamina. Note that Life, Magic, and Stamina now all have 2 items that boost them, so you can get higher than you could. Mobility on Boots is going to replace the Mobility talent. Get better boots to move faster. Boots have an odd upgrade scheme. You find Left Soles and Right Soles. You can't put a Left Sole into your Boots until you have put in a Right Sole. That's because Right Soles are not good, they're bad! So it's an interesting combination. You get to decide what penalty you suffer in exchange for which bonus you get. So if you are a warrior, you might take -10% Magic in exchange for +10% Damage. Deeper in the dungeon, you find less harsh penalties and better bonuses.

That Left/Right Sole thing is my little protest. Everybody knows sinister means left, and everybody always puts good on the right side. I'm putting it on the left. I'm left handed! And dang if this new wireless mouse I just got isn't right-handed, and really awkward to use! In the picture they showed a neutral mouse.

So anyway, the chart in the picture is the spreadsheet of magical powers items can have. Notice the big string of poison ones. Say you find a magical axe on the 9th floor of the dungeon. Notice the MINLEV and MAXLEV columns? 9 is within the valid range for both Icky and Diseased. So you might get either a Diseased Axe or an Icky Axe. The difference is in the EFFVAL column - Icky poisons for 1 second, Diseased poisons for 4. The money column indicates how much money they add to the value of the item. The last column contains which items the magic can be found on - only axes can be Icky. A "PF" in this column indicates that the magic is a prefix. Other magics, like Sickness and Sneaking, are suffixes. That means you can get an Icky Axe Of Sickness (since it can have both a prefix and a suffix). A "RARE" in the FLAGS column means a Rare power. It of course only occurs rarely, and it also can only be found on Rare Items. See below. There are three "Of Defense" powers (the same 3 powers exist for every skill in the game, which took a long time to type in!). One is a regular +1 to the skill (for Defense, it can be on Parka, Boots, or Belt). That can be found at any level. Then there's a rare, valuable, and only found very deep power of +2 to the skill. Lastly, there's the also rare power that can be found anywhere, which is a +1 to the skill, but it can be on any item type. So you'll never get a +1 to Defense on Glasses, except on a rare pair of Glasses.

Here are the different tiers of item quality:

Normal - An item with no magical power.

Magic - An item with either a prefix or suffix, but not both.

Enchanted - An item with both a prefix and suffix. More rare than Magic items, of course.

Rare - An item with a special name, randomly generated. It has 3 prefixes or suffixes, but luckily since it has a random name, it doesn't have to find a way to fit those prefixes and suffixes into its name. Rare items can have stats up to 15 instead of 10, but each plus beyond 10 is exponentially less likely. A 15/15 would be a miracle to find. You can't upgrade these items with the upgrades mentioned above. They are what they are.

Artifact - A handmade item with a special name and up to 4 specifically chosen powers, including powers that other items simply can't have. It may also have stats of any value I feel like giving them. You of course can't upgrade these!

So with the benefits of magic items in 6 slots instead of 3, and the new Boosts to be discussed later, you're going to be a lot more powerful in this game than in Loonyland 2. As a result, I'm going to have to beef up the enemies! The tricky part comes in with the various things you summon and Clockbots. Those things will need to be upgraded so they can survive and be useful, but they could end up overpowered in the early game as a result. Balance is hard!

Last thing: notice how it's in a nice spreadsheet? These files will be accessible to the end user. Mod away! It's specifically set up (like LL2CE, as you'll see when that is eventually available) so that you can copy the files and make a mod of your own. Then when you start a game, you choose which mod (or Original) to play. You'll be able to make your own powers and artifacts. I'm trying to figure what else can be modded and how, but most things would just take too much work to set up to be moddable. Monsters are one idea, but probably the hardest one of all. On the plus side, changing them to a moddable format would actually make their code simpler and less likely to have hidden bugs. On the minus side, they would be less unique and different from each other in behavior, and it would be weeks and weeks of work to get them working again.
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  The CE CD is here! 10:06 PM -- Wed April 18, 2007  

Well, it's here for me anyway. I finally got my sample copy of it, everything in it checks out fine, it looks pretty, so I ordered the first run of CDs for you! It will probably be another 2 weeks until it's actually up for purchase, because the printing has to happen (claimed to be 5 days), then the shipping to the warehouse (claims 3-7 days), then the guys at the warehouse have to actually notice it's there. This last has been something of a sticking point in the past, so fingers are crossed that it will work out quickly this time.

Wanna know how it looks? Good, because I spent a long time taking really blurry pictures before I could finally come up with one that looked right! Actually, here are two. The top one shows you what the whole package is like (yes, it is very simple! I like it that way, besides it being cheaper), and the bottom one has a much cleaner shot of the actual CD. Still blurry though. Don't know why I couldn't take unblurry pictures! This camera used to work nicely.


In theory, the hole in the CD is supposed to be the titan's mouth. It kinda looks like he got his teeth knocked out instead.
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  Sneak Peek: Loonyland: Titan Tunnels 09:35 PM -- Mon April 16, 2007  


I'm showing another set of spells! Thought that would be nice, since it is the only new thing there is to show these days. About 95% of what I'm doing is straight-up design at this point. So I said I'd talk Charms and Curses, but let's get this shot out of the way first. Here are some highlights:

You know the first four spells. Then Possession summons a ghost that immediately seeks out an enemy to possess. It stays in him (making him your ally) until it runs out of time, or the host gets killed. If that happens, it finds a new host to occupy. So it's like mind control for a fixed duration, of assorted different enemies. It can't possess bosses.

Curse Of Doom deals with the aforementioned Curses, surprisingly enough. It makes a big hex on the ground that removes all Charms from any enemies that are on it (keep reading to learn about Charms), and also curses them all with Weakness, making them do 50% damage for a while. That can be quite handy!

Deathberry Pie is a very new concept. I've thought since the beginning that it would be fun to have a spell that replaces your fire button with some sort of fireball shooting (so while it's active, you do that instead of throwing/swinging axes). So here it is! You throw evil Deathberry Pies as long as you have this spell on. It's the only spell in the game you can turn on and off at will, be casting it. It costs no magic, but you are charged a small amount of magic for each pie you throw. The last fun thing about the pies is that they increase in damage as you beat guys with them, resetting to normal damage if you take too long between kills. So they encourage a very intense playstyle, trying to keep beating on guys so you don't lose your power level. They are the only thing besides swing attacks that can get critical hits as well (the Critical skill has been updated to indicate this). I did that because I wanted to have more ways to boost the power of your pies, since it is just one isolated skill. But of course the usual Spell Synergy also applies to them, so points in any Death Magic skills help too.

Soul Swallow is an Army Of Darkness reference. Note the description - now that the spells are broken into whole sets, I don't need to use the last line to tell you what kind of magic it is! So I was able to mark off Grab Spells there. This is also a unique skill, the only one in the game that affects your max stats. Got that idea from Guild Wars. It lasts a long time (10 seconds per level), which is good, because otherwise it would be hard to benefit. It doesn't heal you or anything, just raises the limits, so you have to fill up to those limits by other means. As an added bonus, it has a Soula Cola type effect! Not mentioned due to lack of room (and since you'll notice it when it happens) is that the enemy whose soul you borrow becomes "Soulless" (a Curse, see below) permanently. What does that mean? Permanently stunned. Poor guy.

Resurrection is a really simple passive skill - it grants a random chance that each enemy you kill might come back as a Bonehead. It costs some magic when that happens, but it's a lot cheaper than summoning them directly. You need points in the Bonehead skill, or this does nothing at all.

Inner Power is also passive. It gives you the ability to cast spells when you don't have enough Magic. The only minor caveat is that it costs you Life instead. Raising the skill increases how much Magic you can squeeze out of each point of Life.

So there's the Death spells. Enjoy! Now about Curses and Charms. Each creature (player included) can have up to 3 Charms and 3 Curses on them at a time. If you get another one, it replaces the one with the least time remaining. Other than being in separate lists, there is no functional difference between a Curse and a Charm. They are both time-limited effects that do something to you for a while. Of course, as the names imply, all the Curses are bad things, and all the Charms are good.

Weakness as mentioned above is an example of a curse. It makes you do 50% damage for a while. I'm going to convert a lot of the existing spells into Curses or Charms too. For example, Ignite is now a Curse. The only way that affects the game is that when you see an enemy's life meter, you'll see which Curses and Charms he has via little icons (I'm also going to add the monster's level, I think it's nice to see that), and of course the feature that if you try to put a 4th curse on the same monster, one of them will go away. Plague is also a Curse, which is interesting, since it's cursing yourself! That can have a nice effect, if you are fighting a nasty group of cursing enemies. You can remove one of their curses by casting it. Of course, they could also take your Plague away by dumping curses on you. Other curses include Persuasion (and Possession - the same curse, in fact), the blindness caused by a Blinding Trap, and Lightning Rod.

Examples of Charms include Heat Shield, the Extra Soul charm that Soul Swallow grants, and the invincibility that Restoration gives. Speaking of Restoration, it now heals for less than it used to, but it cures you of all Curses. There are a fair number of different ways to heal now, so Restoration is meant to be focused more on cleansing.

Poison, freezing, and stun are not curses. If I had to name them, I'd call them "conditions" (another bit of theft from Guild Wars, there). They are functionally identical to curses, in that they have a negative effect on you for a time, but they don't go in the curse list, so it is possible to be poisoned, frozen, stunned, and cursed in 3 different ways, all at the same time.

As you can guess, all this stuff means that enemies and traps will be dishing out vile curses left and right. Well, maybe not, but they will be cursing you in various ways at various times. Some will be able to Charm their allies in various ways to annoy you. You'll also meet special Charmed enemies. They have 2 Charms on them from birth - one random one (like extra strength or armor or something), and another called Charmed. Both are permanent (unless you strip them via Curse Of Doom! "Charmed" is not removable, however, which you will be glad for). "Charmed" doesn't do anything except make the monster worth double XP. That's my equivalent to the "Champion" monsters in Diablo 2. Just a little twist to make things more exciting.

Disclaimer: I should point out that everything you read here is entirely probably not going to be in the game in the end. I want it to be, but unlike you, I've seen the inside of my design process before. Many many times. So I know that I dream big, and it doesn't all get in. So take it all with a grain of salt. I hope to have all this stuff, but don't count on anything. This painful knowledge is the price you pay for getting to see the game all through design and development.
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