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HOORAY!!!!!!!!

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Hey everyone, its been awhile.

Well, I've been constantly telling myself that I have to write a good long journal update, but I always either get distracted, or have homework or something to do, but not today!!!!

We've been planning to release an update for the past week, but technical problems kept coming up, so we weren't making very much progress until yesterday, when I finally reached our next milestone, having a working Menu system.

The Menu System
The menu in Angels 20 works almost like a website. Each menu screen is a "page", with it's own button definitions, buttons can either link to other "pages", or invoke special actions such as starting a certain level(during which the menu goes into a 'sleep' mode), exiting the game , saving , etc. It's a pretty easy to use system, and I've been able to change button locations and background images in seconds.

Explosions
Alot of people have commented on the game and told me that the weapons just lack the "boom" that one would expect them make, so Mark and I set out to remedy the problem. I wrote a simple little class called Explosion, which pretty much stored the x/y position, and animation state of an explosion sprite. Mark then drew a simple explosion animation and we plugged it into the game. Initially, it looked like shit, but after mark made a new explosion image, and I sped up the animation timer, it really looked kickass (as you can see in the screens at the end of this post). The cool thing about the explosions are that they can be scaled easily, so different weapons can produce different sized explosions. All in all, awesome[grin]!!!!!!

Mission Parameters
We wanted to be able to have unique mission objectives for certain levels, and now we can! Expect at least one of the missions in the update(thats right you guys get to choose now[grin]) to have an objective besides killing everything in it.

4 Levels of Destruction
A couple weeks ago, we added a feature to A20 that allowed tiles to have 2 visual states, undamaged, and damaged. Well, we didn't think that was enough, so Mark drew up some more destrution levels, and now we have a total of 4 levels of destruction on every tile, as illustrated in the screenie below.



It's really fun to go around blowing all the tiles up multiple times, and it looks really good with the explosions in there now, although its been really draining from my development time[wink].

The Bad News
Of course, for every good thing that happens, something bad must happen so the universe evens out. The bad thing this time happens only when I try and load a new level after I've already played a different one. The way I had originally planned or this to work was that when you loaded up the first level in your game "session", the game would load everything it needs for any possible level, then, when you load up a different level, the objects and assets are rearranged, so now you have a new level, but there wasn't any new memory allocations to deal with, so the next levels load really fast. Unfortunately, this is a real pain in the ass to get working, and it's the sole reason why you guys aren't playing the updated version right now. I'm really cracking down on all the problems, so it should be fixed soon (maybe by tomorrow), and then I'll upload the newest version for you guys to screw around with.

New Controls
We messed with the weapons controls again, so now you can fire both your guns, and your secondary weapon at the same time. The changed controls are:

CONTROL: Fires Secondary Weapons
SHIFT: Switches flight modes
SPACE: Fires Guns

It's kinda hard to get used to, but I'm adjusting slowly, hopefully it won't be as hard for you guys (I've played it waaaaaaay too much).

A Screenie Album from the update
Here are some shots from the latest stable build I have:

Cool Title Screen


The Demo's Main Menu


The First Mission Briefing


Blowing Up Huts (Cool Explosion)


Crashing into the Ground


About to get impaled by a SAM


The Screen I've Seen Too Often Lately


Well, Let us know what you guys think, we'll try and get the new version working and in the GDS before the weekend, so get your fingers and flying goggles ready!!! Talk to you guys later!!!


Angels 20 Feature WorkList
-An Actual Front-End Menu
-A Map of the Level on the HUD
-Good MIG AI
-Destructable Tiles
-A checklist of enemies on the level
-Repair Trucks that actually have to stop to repair stuff
-Ground Vehicles that can shoot at you
-More weapons (ie. Napalm, Cluster Bombs, etc)
-Fully Automatic Gun
-Forward Supply Bases
-More mission parameters (ie. timelimits , targets , etc)
-Random HUD Stuff
-Improved Level Editor
(Almost Done!!!!)

Dont Forget To Try Out The Newest Version Of Angels 20


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Wow those updates look incredible!
However, how do you know when a building is destroyed? On the screenshot with the 4 states of a building i'd think the building is destroyed when at the second state.

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Monkeyget, I'm pretty sure that the game 'sees' the tile as being destroyed after the first level, so if we put in a "destroy the headquarters" mission you would only have to bomb the headquarters tile to it's first destroyed state in order to complete the mission

Jnz86, Thanks for your kind words on my artwork, although in-game Thomas still has the animation running backwards...

-Mark the artist

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Thanks for the kind words guys!

@Monkey: Eugn is right, the tiles are labeled as destroyed after they drop from their 'OK' state down to a lower one, the addiional damage states are just there to look pretty[grin].

@jnz86: Yeah, its pretty cool looking in motion, Thanks!

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