Wednesday, January 30, 2013

About the demo


I'm back from my vacations, ready to start with the summer months (almost no work at the studio, lots of free time for AM2R). Before I move on with the new stuff, I want to mention a couple of things about the demo that I didn't cover before, FYI.

AREA 2
The general layout follows the original game, and deviates a bit in a couple of places. The revisions regarding level design were about filling some empty places with relevant content, and making the confusing pipe navigation more streamlined. The water jets were pretty much a necessity, since spiderballing up a 2-screen tall pipe is NOT fun at all.
At one point there were going to be "water fountains" outside the facility, used to reach the ceiling for a possible hidden item. But the water columns looked out of place, being in the outside. (And the code making Samus hover over the water stream was pretty messy)

ARACHNUS
Poor Arachnus, he went by 3 major revisions. He started as a clone of the Fusion one, and it was pretty boring. Then he gained most of the attacks he has now, but he was much tougher. He took damage only with bombs, so players who didn't master the Charge-Bomb technique were pretty much screwed. Then I added the spikes, and added the bounce action. I had to tone down his attacks a couple more times, since I developed most of his moves using a very generous loadout. I use different equipment presets, simulating players having found different amount of items until getting into that fight (I call them loadouts). Since I tested most of the attacks using the Varia, when the test players found Arachnus, they constantly died.
Not only that, but the only save near the place was the first save you find in the area (in the middle of the facility). After all that trouble, I find Arachnus quite enjoyable now (and challenging).

AREA 2 BREEDING GROUNDS
They were pretty much like the first area ones, but with some more tedious platforming. After testing a couple of Alpha battles with Hi-Jump, Samus bumped her head too often against the ceiling, affecting the flow of the fight (or ruining your escape attempt). So, I made that part from scratch, using a lot more vertical space. It still has some tedious platforming (Mostly on the lower right one), but it's part of the challenge.

METROID AI
Since they have a little more movement variety, and those parameters can be adjusted for each fight, balancing them was pretty tough and time-consuming. Their behavior, more unpredictable than before, can frustrate speedrunners at first, but they still have some exploits and patterns left.

FOOTSTEPS
I have to thank Kousoru for the idea. Even if I didn't use his suggested method, he did inspire me to add the footstep sounds for different floor materials. I had to cut the footstep sounds a lot, since Samus runs really fast (or at least, her footsteps triggered too frequently). The first set of sounds was a mess, they overlapped a lot. It took a few tries, but it's sounding nicely now.

TESTING
Hemse was again the main bug hunter, along with Sabre and Falcool, they reported about 100 issues. Those were cataloged and prioritized into 60 issues, some of which are still not fixed. The rest of the testers gave feedback on the general player experience, and helped making Area 2 a little less cryptic. The path to the hi-jump was hidden like in the original game, and players felt really frustrated fighting the later Metroids without it.

Right now I'm adding the last set of features to the engine, like 3 save slots and a new activation method for the SpiderBall, among other things. The idea is to release an update soon, containing these improvements, so they can be enjoyed by you. The next demo update will contain almost all the basic system elements of the final game.


Also, there's been reports of several problems of the game not running correctly on Windows 8 PCs. It's a bug in DirectSound. If I manage to move the sound samples to be played back with Caster, the problem should disappear. This time I'll test the game on Win 8 machines.

After that, the rest of the game contents will be revised, since most of the engine features are working nicely, I can focus solely on completing and polishing the rest of the areas. The first 2, featured in the demo, give a nice idea of how polished and varied the rest of the game will eventually be.
I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, that you read about this "polishing" phase more than a year ago. Now you're seeing and playing the results of that work. It takes time.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tomate tu tiempo amigo, espero fiel y con ansias como siempre
Larga vida a este gran proyecto!

saludos desde chile

Anonymous said...

Great game, really like how everything was coming together. Only problem is the size of the game window on screen, although I know you can't change that.

Matthew Merritt said...

My only complaint was the Spinning with it echo-ing. Sounded like bones being grind-ed. So thankfully you added a option to turn it off. Honestly if it just didn't effect the Spin Jump sound, it would be perfect. Everything sounds so perfect in the area, except that.

Personally I couldn't find the ARACHNUS boss. Guess it is optional. But I seem to remember seeing someone ask about a missile tank near it, and maybe it was, maybe it wasn't the one I found.


I am just thankful for your time you have spent in this awesome, remake of the most awesome Metroid game, besides Super that is. haha

Anonymous said...

Doc, good thing that you had vacacions, you deserved them for the hard work you put in AM2R, the Demo is amazing, proof of the enormous polishing you have been doing, I'm looking forward for updates of the proyect, no matter how much time it takes to be completed, just waiting to see the marterpiece that AM2R is.

Anonymous said...

So, besides the update to the current one, will this be it for demos? We already have a nice large chunk of the game playable, the engine is pretty much done, and the game seems to be pretty late in development now. I feel going any further in the game with the demos would start getting kinda spoilerish for the final release.

Also it would be nice if you gave us another rundown of your overall progress with the game. About what % is finished at this point?

iamli3 said...

all sounds good to me , i loved how catch you off guard difficult ARACHNUS was , i ALMOST died my first time fighting him , made the battle really intense , and better ai is better ai for the medtriods , however i really didn't find myself enjoy their auto dodge mechanic that activated most of the time after you hit them with a rocket , cause not only is it difficult to get yourself in a position to be able to hit them to begin with , but then they auto dodge in such a way that leaves them in an even more difficult position to hit , and for whatever reason i couldn't get them to activate it with anything other than another missile (sometimes after a bit they would forget they had it but most of the time not) , just forcing you to waist so much ammo , i was constantly running out not because the metroids took a lot of hits or because i was missing a lot but because they have a feature that forces you to waist more missiles than you need to , not exactly a fun thing in my mind that could perhaps get some looking at.........

Kevin Schwab said...

@Anonymous
Do you mean the window size?
You can use fullscreen.
If thats what you mean.

Jack Witty said...

Awesome! I'm stoked everything is shaping up. The point of polishing is that one can choose how shiny their metaphorical precious stone will be, and the degree of completion and polish will reflect your tenacity.

The7thGuest said...

Very Nice !

Im following the Project for so many Years now, and its still Progressing, its true i was not able to run the last demo, very good on Windows 8 and im glad you mention it.

It Runs also in Full screen , which is not bad, however i may have do do some research in the Forums to get my Xbox Gamepad running.
I got a old Wingman hiere, too but im not sure if this stone age Hardware works good on Win 8, Keep up the Good Work & Thank you

Chris

netsendjoe said...

Good work Doc. I can't stop my excitement over this project. If you haven't considered it, you should really use this and see if Nintendo won't hire you on.

Bruno de Oliveira Menezes said...

You shouldn't make another demo. The last demo had 2 bosses and the Varia Suit already. If you make another demo with more, when you release the full game, it'll be just a little longer than the last demo. Relax, take your time and release the full game when you can.

The game is perfect to me, much better than I could ever imagine. I only suggest you to make an easier control, like A,S,Z,X as main buttons, Space as select and Enter as start. The noise when Samus jumps and roles in the air is too loud too, and we jumpo all the time. You could make it less loud. About the lava, I think the sound could still be a little louder.

The AI of the game is perfect! Each alpha metroid seems to have its own behaviour and reactions, the fights are very impredictable now.

Congratulations for your job. And when you finish the job and release a trailer on YouTube, why don't you introduce yourself and your collegues on video? We are becoming your fans.

Anonymous said...

take your time cause hard work and creativity needs a lot of time so drink a huge glass of milk and take it easy.

Anonymous said...

Good job, keep it up!
We know it takes time, just do your best!

Anonymous said...

I find the bug fixing part of game design to be one of the most fun parts, especially after tiling everything for so long. You have some great bug testers for finding so many issues at once, when I ask my friends to help me bug testing they go as lazy as possible and it takes way longer than it should.

Messianic said...

Doc, If you are looking to add any bosses to the game you haven't thought of yet I have some amazing ideas. If you are interested email me @straightstreet07@aol.com

Also could you add a "Veteran" mode of difficulty for those who find the current demo (outside of Arachnus) far too easy?

Stephen Moellering said...

All I ask is that you keep us up to date. At least one update a month, 2 would be better if possible. So long as I know the final product is still coming, I will wait with great anticipation.

Keith Smith said...

It works for me in Windows 8. I just tested it again. The only thing I wish is for a higher resolution and widescreen support, but I'm guessing that's an issue with game builder.

Talyn said...

Good luck. Take your time and release an awesome final product. The music is friggin awesome; very Metroid Primey. Keep up the good work.

V said...

Nice job, man. I'm blown away by what you have accomplished every time I visit your blog, which is often.

Daniel Quan said...

Hola Doc!!! hace tiempo no comento... pero déjame decirte, que esta nueva entrada de blog me dejó con la boca abierta! me encanta cómo se ven hasta ahora los 3 slots de guardado, me gustaron las batallas contra los Alfas en el demo y ni hablar de los propulsores de agua! espero que sigas así. Tómate tu tiempo y continúa con esta gran hazaña. Saludos desde Honduras, de un seguidor tuyo n_n

Matthew Merritt said...

@Bruno de Oliveira Menezes

All I can say is turn off the echo sound, that seemed to fix what you were implying about the spinning being to loud.

As for how many bosses.

Metroid Alpha
Not-sure-what-to-call-the-hallway-one
Arachnus

We only really have 3 'bosses'

Haven't even seen Betas, Gammas, Zetas, Omegas.

Personally I would like up to Betas atleast.


And to who was talking about the dodge back. Really they aren't that hard to hit. And if you hit them with a Missile then they will remember the damage and auto block once or twice. If you time your shots right you can angle shot then straight shot and it will dodge back into it. Fun and neat little implement.


I would personally think that newbies to the game would like the original flavo(u)r of difficulty, but us vets, like this new and improved.


Again the SoundEffects part of it, I just wish it didn't effect the Spin attack seems to out of place. I understand it is suppose to give the feel of being in a cavern, and the depths of it.


As for the rest of the updates, Loved it.

I see we made it up to level-3

Maybe add a special room that is quite difficult to get to as a special bonus room to fight a Beta Metroid. but don't have the counter let you know about it. or have it seen from the mini map.


And a Update on what you have completed would be beautiful to see. with all the percentages. Again, beautiful work DocM

Geefunker said...

I am glad to see a new post, and glad your vacation went well. I had a lot of fun playing through the demo.

I did have a bug, in all the logs in game, there were horiztal lines going through the words in the logs, but nowhere else in the game.

I don't know if you know of the bug so I thought you should know, no matter what I did for the settings, I couldn't find on that fixed it but I wanted to play the game more.

Lilith Geisler said...

I suppose it ran smoothly for me. I didn't run into the same problems as everyone else did. Other then a rebinding issue with start. This game is awesome, and I will wait for its completion. I also didn't have a problem with the boss. I think I lost once, which isn't uncommon to happen to me in a new metroid game to lose to a boss. After I figured it out it wasn't too hard. I found the Varia suit right away and long found that boss because, as a metroid player, I wanted to explore everything I possibly could.
The difficulty for me was alright. The Hunter Metroids are a bit tough at times but I didn't have too much problems with them.
Also. Where can I get the music for this? It sounds Amazing! Especially in area 2!

Histrionic said...

Found this remake after just ordering the game for my GBC.

I'm loving the mobility of Samus compared to the first, and having to create a new strategy for the Alpha Metroids.

Great work so far! Keep it up!

Hemse said...

That save file system sure looks sexy!

Keep up the good work! :)

Alexis said...

Greetings from argentina

First for all you are doing a great job with this remake and im very impatient for the full release.

Keep working hard of this and soon your fans including me finnaly can play the final game.

bye bye =D

Froyton said...

I just want to say:

I've been following this project for a couple years and I think it's amazing. You are making a game that feels exactly like it was made by Nintendo and that's just awesome. I always look forward to reading your blog posts to see the progress you're making.

Keep up the excellent work, but don't feel like you owe us anything. This is your personal project and it should be fun, and we're just lucky that you're sharing it with us.

I don't know if you have any interest in developing an original game, but if you did I bet you could do great on Kickstarter, using this as an example of your abilities.

Anyway, you rock and I wish you the best of luck!

Anonymous said...

This is the most "Metroid" feeling game since Zero Mission. Your devotion to this project is reflected in the professional grade quality of the product. You have captured the way a metroid game is supposed to feel; fast paced and intense.

This game balances the fluid and easy controls with a ramped up challenge that immerses the player in the high flying combat that fans have come to expect. The attention to detail is impressive, such as the little bob you do when you hit the ground or the bits of frozen enemy that fly all over the place. Also, just a personal preference, but I enjoy all of the wall jumping opportunities you provide, especially in area 2, which means this game will be a speed runners dream come true. Such is a rare gem in the slow paced games on today's market.

What you have here is the beginnings of a game that could easily rival any game Nintendo could produce, if not surpass. The best part is that this game doesn't look too far off from being finished.

It is a joy to play even in this early state and brings the metroid nostalgia on in full force. Great work.

purplecowadoom said...

You're like the Wright Brothers of Metroid, only there's only one of you. Unlike the Wright Brothers, if you released the game now, it might "fly" to some extent, but "piloting" would be difficult and I imagine it would also definitely "crash" at some point. Take that last metaphor however you want.

Milton Hardy said...

I agree with the recent post i personally suggest making a story that happens after metroid fusion since chronologically that's the last in the series

Besides in that no complaints but more power to you if you ever consider the idea i can only but imagine many others ideas of a story after fusion

Any thoughts?

Spike said...

I personally enjoyed the demo and the challenge and I am glad to hear you will not change that. I am also glad you take your time polishing because that is what makes a good game great. You Sir are da baus if I may say so. Thank you :)

Zaxvo said...

I'm guessing this is a no, but are you planning on releasing for Mac OS X?

Anonymous said...

I am always impressed with your work doc but back Arachnus i do like the difficulty and updated fighting style of the one in fusion, maybe a solution would be to increase the room size? It seems quite cramped with the spikes on the wall

VeganWithaYoYo said...

Doc, I've been following the project since the first tech demo was released (finished a Master's Degree, medical school, and a year and a half of residency in between, if I've got the timing right!), and it's been great to see how things have progressed. I can't wait to see the demo with all of the engine features added in.

I do have one question: will we ever see the old tech demo, Confrontation, and Confrontation 2 maps with the final version of the engine? Maybe as special features in the finished game? There's a lot of nostalgia there, and I'd love to replay them in a more polished way.

Thanks either way for all you've done, Doc!

Anonymous said...

Awesome, so awesome! I love coming here now and then and seeing updates. :) To be honest, I'd be fine if this project took another 5-7 years. :D (okay, maybe not really) But like everyone says, take it easy, take your time, and complete the Metroid game YOU want to complete. Thank you very much, See You Next Update!

-Arnold

Lee Evans said...

Really digging the work so far! Keep it up!

dekutree64 said...

You are so lucky you haven't been C&D'd by Nintendo yet :)

Might be wise to go into "stealth mode" at this point, until the project is complete.

Anonymous said...

Don't jinx it! And they are aware of it at this point. Doc has no desire to make dime off of this, so the project continues and will continue.

Oscar Lara said...

Good job friend, I enjoyed play the demo I really wan to see this remake finish keep doing your best

sebastian j said...

I LOVE YOU (NOT IN A GAY WAY, IN A GAMER/CREATOR KIND OF WAY)

Daniel Altman said...

Dear developer.
WOud you kindly make a port for Android? It´ll be fine!!