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First demo release

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Decided it's time to release the first playable demo.

LINKY LINKY LINKY.

It's in an NSIS installer, but I can't figure out how to do an All Users/Current User option in the installer at the moment, so it only installs for the current user.

W, A, S and D to move. Click and hold left mouse to fire and stick the grapple to light-coloured walls. Release left mouse to release the grapple. Don't touch the tar with Pod or the grapple or you explode.

When grappling, A and D to swing left and right and W and S to extend/retract the bionic arm.

The game will probably start in 1024x768 but if you press Escape and click Graphics, there are some options in there to tinker with.

I'd be particularly interested to hear from people with widescreens about how it runs. You have a "Lock to aspect ratio" option in the graphics options that will try to draw to the largest possible 4:3 area in the middle of your screen but I don't have a widescreen monitor so I haven't been able to do a real world test.

Hope you like the GUI for the options. Took bloody ages to write.
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Works like a charm here. [smile] I have a widescreen (16:10) monitor so needed to set it to 1680×1050 to stop it looking stretched, but once that was done it looked fine. Plays well and I do like the GUI, so well worth the effort. [grin]

If you're after specs, 32-bit Vista Business, Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, Radeon X1300 Pro.

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Original post by benryves
Works like a charm here. [smile] I have a widescreen (16:10) monitor so needed to set it to 1680×1050 to stop it looking stretched, but once that was done it looked fine. Plays well and I do like the GUI, so well worth the effort. [grin]

If you're after specs, 32-bit Vista Business, Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, Radeon X1300 Pro.


Thanks.

So if you had Lock Aspect Ratio set to Yes and a widescreen resolution, it didn't centre a 4:3 box in the middle of the screen? It was supposed to.

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To clarify; in the default (1024×768) resolution, ie a 4:3 one, it appeared stretched horizontally. By setting it to 1680×1050 (a 16:10 resolution) the game appeared centred as it should.

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Sweet! Pretty cool so far.

My biggest complaint is that the level was too small. I really wanted somewhere to go, so I could develop a nice tarzan/spiderman-style rythm. [smile]

It seems like the metal cable shoots out a too slowly. Right now, it's (too) difficult to get the cable where you want it to go when you are moving quickly.

Also, and maybe this is just a personal thing, I'd like to be able to move faster. I tried just looping around a floating island, going faster and faster, but my speed maxed out at a really low level [sad].

Lastly, I felt like the game may have been zoomed in a little too far. It might get hard to see where you're going once you pick up some speed.

Of course, I realize this is very much a work in progress, and you probably have stuff like this in mind already.

Keep up the good work! Get us some more levels!

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Original post by benryves
To clarify; in the default (1024×768) resolution, ie a 4:3 one, it appeared stretched horizontally. By setting it to 1680×1050 (a 16:10 resolution) the game appeared centred as it should.


Ah, gotcha. That would be your widescreen stretching for the 1024x768 I guess. That sounds like it is working as expected.

Cheers for clarifying.

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Original post by extralongpants
Sweet! Pretty cool so far.

My biggest complaint is that the level was too small. I really wanted somewhere to go, so I could develop a nice tarzan/spiderman-style rythm. [smile]

It seems like the metal cable shoots out a too slowly. Right now, it's (too) difficult to get the cable where you want it to go when you are moving quickly.

Also, and maybe this is just a personal thing, I'd like to be able to move faster. I tried just looping around a floating island, going faster and faster, but my speed maxed out at a really low level [sad].

Lastly, I felt like the game may have been zoomed in a little too far. It might get hard to see where you're going once you pick up some speed.

Of course, I realize this is very much a work in progress, and you probably have stuff like this in mind already.

Keep up the good work! Get us some more levels!


Thanks for all the constructive comments.

This is just a single test level at the moment - there shouldn't be any major restrictions on level size so larger levels are in the future.

It's been pretty hard to get the speed balance right to be honest. The current limits are the best balance I've been able to find. I also originally wanted you to be able to spin round and round to build up speed, but it turned out to be a bit more tricky than I thought.

In terms of the speed of the arm, you do get used to it once you've played it for a bit. This game is quite tricky (my girlfriend and my non-PC-game-playing friend are the only two people that had played it until now and they were both hopeless) but once you get the hang of it, it is quite satisfying to play.

Unfortunately zooming out would involve making smaller graphics for everything as 2D sprites look rubbish when scaled by Direct3D. I would have loved to have done a GTA1/2 style camera that zoomed out the faster you went, but it makes the images look rubbish.

You may be right about the zoom being too tight though. I might think about dropping the map block size down from 48x48 to 32x32 or 24x24 and redo the Pod sprite.

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Everything worked flawlessly on wide screen (1680 * 1050) here.
My specs are Vista 64Bit, Intel Core 2 Duo Q6600, GeForce 8800GTX
Can't really comment on gameplay 'cos there isn't much to do yet, although I'm really looking forward to play a level with goals etc.

Also, I'm pretty sure you know this but at the moment while swinging arm hides behind the tar pits.

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... d3dx9_36.dll was not found

I don't have the time to download the latest DirectX - so I'll get to test the program itself tomorrow perhaps. Until then, it might be an idea if your installer could warn me if I have missing dependencies [smile]

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The demo plays great, and the GUI is pleasing to use. The tar pits look fantasic in motion. I had trouble controlling the arm length while swinging above the arm because I'd intuitively press up to extend upwards, but that's the retract button. You have a Worms-style ninja rope kind of thing, but you could make the arm length dependent on the arm angle and the direction of the keys pressed.
Quote:
It's been pretty hard to get the speed balance right to be honest. The current limits are the best balance I've been able to find. I also originally wanted you to be able to spin round and round to build up speed, but it turned out to be a bit more tricky than I thought.

I'm struggling with getting the feel right for my project, too. I'm convinced its one of the hardest things to do, so I hear you loud and clear. Good work so far!

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Original post by Gylis
Also, I'm pretty sure you know this but at the moment while swinging arm hides behind the tar pits.


Yeah, it's solvable. I was originally going to have the claw be able to go inside the tar so I'm drawing the tar on top, but since I abandoned that (for the reason you've discovered), I just need to change the draw order.

Thanks for the heads up - I'd forgotten about that. [smile]

Quote:
Original post by rip-off
Quote:

... d3dx9_36.dll was not found

I don't have the time to download the latest DirectX - so I'll get to test the program itself tomorrow perhaps. Until then, it might be an idea if your installer could warn me if I have missing dependencies [smile]


Oops. Actually, I might just uninstall DirectX and download the earliest version of 9 that I can find. Not really sure how to get NSIS to warn you about the dependancies.

Quote:
Original post by sneakyrobot
I had trouble controlling the arm length while swinging above the arm because I'd intuitively press up to extend upwards, but that's the retract button. You have a Worms-style ninja rope kind of thing, but you could make the arm length dependent on the arm angle and the direction of the keys pressed.


I hear what you are saying although that hadn't occurred to me when I was playing it. I'm not sure if it would be less confusing or not really. If you were retracting while swinging and you passed the horizontal angle with either up or down held down, it might be a bit weird that you suddenly changed direction.

Thanks to everyone for all the comments. Plenty of food for thought.

[RANDOM ASIDE]
While trying to assemble all the above quotes into Notepad (and also while trying to click buttons on Facebook yesterday) I'm coming to the conclusion that Google Chrome Beta is buggy as hell. For some reason copying text started failing when I got as far as sneakyrobot's response.

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Nice demo! It ran smoothly and the GUI is nice and clean. I found it was a bit awkward to control the arm (extending and retracting) but I suppose that's something you learn to do as you play the game.

I recommend that you make the menu options select only after you have released the mouse button while still over them. Since most menus work this way, users would probably be expecting the same thing from your game.

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Original post by VBStrider
I recommend that you make the menu options select only after you have released the mouse button while still over them. Since most menus work this way, users would probably be expecting the same thing from your game.


That's a good point. I'll implement that tonight.

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