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  Sneak Peek: Happyponygate 05:51 PM -- Thu April 10, 2008  

Still doing artwork, having done up a couple of bullet graphics today. That may not sound like much, but after I did a couple bullets that require actual 3D models (one of which required a complete set of animations, hmm what could it be!?), I set to work on one that is based entirely in code instead. I always like to be all secretive, but it's so fun and exciting that I must share!

You see, originally, one of the weapons was the Licorice Laser. It's a homing red laser beam (yes, in video games, laser beams can home in - try Forgotten Worlds sometime). That's not really that exciting, just a constant stream of damage to one target without you doing any aiming. But last night, I had an epiphany of obviousness. Probably it helped that I had just played Ratchet 3 and got to flail around with a Plasma Whip, but I got to thinking for whatever reason, and the result is:

The Licorice Whip!

How did I not think of that name originally!? Now, it's still technically a laser as you can see (and you can also see that it is coming out of the H.R. Puffencrush at the moment), but it functions... well, not like a whip at all, but like something weird. It's very fun to use. It heads toward your cursor, so you can whip it all around the screen, and as shown in the picture, it doesn't just follow it in a straight line, it swoops all around like a rope. It looks infinitely better in motion, but for now you have to settle for pictures. It also looks a lot less angular in motion, quite sinuous in fact (unless you move really fast). It's quite jiggly too, more like a jello whip than a licorice whip, but that's exactly how I wanted it. I spent an hour tuning the numbers until it was just jiggly enough.

In the left shot, I've been swirling the cursor in circles, so the whip is making rings that pulse down the line, much like spinning a rope in real life. And speaking of ropes, the whip is not just some abstract beam, it's a physical part of the world, hence the right-hand shot - I have roped a tree! It's actually pretty hard to wrap it around things, and it can slip through, but it achieves its desired purpose: you can't hit guys through walls with it.

So in the end, it's pretty much the same effect as the original idea - you can hold it on a badguy to constantly do damage, but it's way more fun this way, and you can really cover a lot of the screen with it if you flail it around wildly. It's mesmerizing. You know you've got a good weapon when it's fun just to swing it around without any badguys. And I suspect quite a few players will do exactly that when they first get this weapon, so I am very happy with it.

This whole thing turned out amazingly well on almost the first try. That's the kind of thing that makes me enjoy making games. So much nicer than the things that never come out right at all...
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