Zarnok Fortress will have a variety of features in order to make the game speedrunner friendly. As events like AGDQ increase in popularity, now is a good a time as any to implement some simple design decisions which complement the time-limited nature of Zarnok Fortress.
Initial testing has yielded valuable feedback for Zarnok Fortress. While the game is still in a pre-alpha phase the tutorial was the first level I built and as I've mentioned on previous occasion, I've since completely redone it. The level itself will stay in the game, it just won't be the first one the player encounters.
I've never formally introduced the inclusion of Hard Light, Glass Light, Terminals and Power Conduits. They've been programmed in the game for a while, but their appearance wasn't complete, so I tried to crop them out of photos whenever I was taking them. While the visuals will still be updated again before release, I feel like now is as good of a time to talk about them as any.
The Terminal at the bottom-right is connected to the Hard Light wall blocking the player
Today's update comes a little early because tomorrow (January 22nd) I will be participating in the Global Game Jam and won't have the time to write this post. After the weekend's jam, I'll include a link >here< to the finished Jam Game.
As of last week, I had already begun production on levels, and while they still lack any sort of polish, I figured I could at least share the current state of the Tutorial level because it will change so significantly as a result of play testing.
Oh so many Pipes. Over the course of this last week, the tiles for Zarnok Fortress have been finalized, so I can start creating permanent levels instead of the temporary decoration I've been doing thus far.
I started by filling a Template Room with a Background tile. The Space background will be drawn behind this layer, and man did it take long. So long that I came up with the idea of using Sprites and scaled objects instead, which is a similar solution to this week's other large endeavour; Pipes.
Pipes will act as a visual indicator for connected systems. Basically, activate a Terminal and it will send power down a pipe to unlock a door, or activate a Light Bridge, etc. Perhaps more interesting are Power Conduits which must be shot with a laser to temporarily charge a system. Get ready to double time it across a Light Bridge before it shuts down or race to a bridge before it shuts down.
Obviously elements such as these show up rather often in a game, even if they are just to be used for the sake of decoration. To make it easier to add them to a game, I wrote a 200+ line script for a System that will draw the pipes. Thanks to GameMaker Studio's Room Editor, Objects can be scaled freely. Based on a scaled square sprite, the System I wrote traces the edges of the square. Then I added functionality to offset the start / destination points so that the Pipes could have unequal beginning and end points. Lastly, I added cases for simple 90 / 180 degree pipe systems.
Until next week!
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It's going to take me at least a month to stop writing 2014 when I date my sketchbook entries. Yes, Zarnok Fortress development continues on into 2015! Although it was a previously mentioned feature, here's what it looks like to kill a Zarnok Robot. Every enemy breaks apart into the various components they're made of. While they are animated in Spine, those parts are not accessible as normal Sprites in GameMaker, I had to re-export the bones and add them in.