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Thread: (WIP) 404: Past Not Found - Devlog-only page now up on GameJolt!

  1. #21
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    It's heeeeere!

    The playable demo is now released!: http://gamejolt.com/games/404-past-not-found/172472

  2. #22
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    Very enjoyable HGF,
    I just made my way to the extravaganza zone and blasted that last bad guy
    (in normal mode, of course )

    That "invalid ID" thing was really fun and unexpected,
    liked the tech touch of it all, with the computer text scrolling down
    and the jokes with the shop guy teleporting around

    Fights are also interesting, mixing strategy and action at the same time. Cool.

    The only thing I would suggest considering to modify, as a player, is some different solution for encounters.
    I never loved "invisible" encounters much when wandering around maps,
    and since yours seem to be "predetermined",
    you could maybe place some monsters-token in the stage that would trigger the fight when met,
    and also think if they could be made moving >> avoidable, maybe hard to avoid
    and/or make the "needed encounters" (monsters dropping some relevant objects) unavoidable

    Within this solution, some "hidden" monster popping out from a crate could still make for an unexpected "invisible" encounter if needed.

    But I guess you have already considered other solutions,
    and "invisible" encounters may be something that fit your whole plan better!

  3. #23
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    Very enjoyable HGF,
    I just made my way to the extravaganza zone and blasted that last bad guy
    (in normal mode, of course )
    I highly recommend you play through it on harder settings now: The attacks get MUCH trickier to dodge on them, and enemies dish out quite a bit more damage to boot.

    That "invalid ID" thing was really fun and unexpected,
    liked the tech touch of it all, with the computer text scrolling down
    and the jokes with the shop guy teleporting around
    I had the feeling that was going to catch people off-guard.
    Technohgin is pretty good at illusions, if you're wondering what's up with all that craziness that happens there, FYI.
    I would say to not spoil it for anybody (for the first few days or so of the demo being out), but nobody else seems to be playing the game, so I don't think it matters too much, really. Besides, it's unlikely that the people here will care, unlike the people on GameJolt.

    As for the more humorous moments, did you ever try using the same elevator more than once?

    Fights are also interesting, mixing strategy and action at the same time. Cool.
    That's what I was hoping for; Glad to hear it worked!

    The only thing I would suggest considering to modify, as a player, is some different solution for encounters.
    I never loved "invisible" encounters much when wandering around maps,
    and since yours seem to be "predetermined",
    you could maybe place some monsters-token in the stage that would trigger the fight when met,
    and also think if they could be made moving >> avoidable, maybe hard to avoid
    and/or make the "needed encounters" (monsters dropping some relevant objects) unavoidable

    Within this solution, some "hidden" monster popping out from a crate could still make for an unexpected "invisible" encounter if needed.

    But I guess you have already considered other solutions,
    and "invisible" encounters may be something that fit your whole plan better!
    Ah, the encounters. I actually wouldn't necessarily mind making them visible, but I don't want to make very many of them optional, especially in the first area. Later areas might have split-paths which effectively make certain encounters avoidable (technically there is already such a thing in the first area, even if it's hard to notice). However that's more of a choice between two different encounters rather than being able to avoid the encounter at all.

    The big upside of this system? It effectively eliminates the requirement to grind: It's still an option by abusing save point mechanics, or by fighting overworld random encounters, but theoretically, just playing through the game will get you upgrades once you really start needing the extra fire-power, for the most part. On that note, the plan for overworld random encounters is to have them spawn in the outside-of-towns overworld area, and then to have the areas inside of towns be completely safe from everything but fixed encounters (and even then, most/all of those will be indoors).

    So, quick question: Would making (at least some) of the fixed encounters visible be enough for you? Or do you feel that the option to avoid encounters entirely is actually the more important aspect there?

    Anyways, thanks for playing! I'm glad to hear you liked it for the most part.

  4. #24
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    I'm talking about my player experience of the past,
    I've never thought very much about this in "developer" terms actually

    In most commercial games I found "random encounters" a bit annoying,
    say one: Final Fantasy 7
    whenever you wanted to gain experience and go for fights,
    you had to wander around hoping for some monster to meet your path,
    on the other hand, all times you were in need for some relief, or had to rush to a location,
    hordes of bloodthirsty sprites blocked your steps making it a distressful experience!

    At least, this is how I felt it

    It's also bit unrealistic: it's very unlikely for an encounter to be completely unexpected
    you generally "see" the monster approaching (so you may choose your tactic, evade, fight, other..)
    and I've felt them as unfair - my well trained party got ambushed so often they seemed like rookies

    Plus, you don't know "who" you will meet - so you can't plan a strategy to face a monster of a particular kind, etc.

    Always in my gaming experience,
    having this happen sporadically is fair, you can be ambushed at times,
    say like wandering monsters in D&D, they could pop out from the shadows just around the corner.

    But it could be like 1 random out of 10/20 encounters.
    Having them always random is a bit distressing (always imhge - gaming experience).

    If you can see them, it feels a bit more realistic and less "unfair",
    maybe you can have some chance of escaping if you're good enough,
    and you can plan some strategy for the particular foe etc.

    Anyway - this is a "problem" I have in general with this kind of approach,
    and seeing that lots of games do this, maybe few other people find it distressing!

  5. #25
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    I'm talking about my player experience of the past,
    I've never thought very much about this in "developer" terms actually
    Okay, that makes sense. Not very many people have tried making an RPG before, and some people haven't even thought about it.

    In most commercial games I found "random encounters" a bit annoying,
    say one: Final Fantasy 7
    whenever you wanted to gain experience and go for fights,
    you had to wander around hoping for some monster to meet your path,
    on the other hand, all times you were in need for some relief, or had to rush to a location,
    hordes of bloodthirsty sprites blocked your steps making it a distressful experience!

    At least, this is how I felt it
    I think you'll be glad to hear that, assuming I go with me current ideas for the random encounters, the actually randomized random encounters will be almost 100% avoidable, aside from the occasion where you get cornered/surrounded in a way where you can't maneuver around them. I think Zelda 2 did a similar thing, if you want a way to picture more-or-less what I'm talking about. So hey, at least you'll be able to avoid some encounters.

    Oh, and don't worry about not getting enough encounters, either: The randomized encounters will also probably be pretty common, though probably not as common as, say, Mega Man Battle Network. Seriously, the encounter rate in those games were ridiculous.

    As for the non-randomized encounters, the buildings that can have fixed encounters at all will be rather obvious and pronounced. For example, buildings such as random shopping malls likely won't have fixed encounters for the most part, but buildings like old warehouses and villain-owned factories are pretty much guaranteed to have at least a few of them. Because of that, I can only imagine that the player will be able to properly prepare for them outside the first area.

    Also, if there's a fixed encounter you want to grind off of, then as long as there is a save point in the room, you can do that easily enough. If there isn't a save-point in the room, then it's likely that there is an encounter that you aren't supposed to be grinding off of in that room.

    It's also bit unrealistic: it's very unlikely for an encounter to be completely unexpected
    you generally "see" the monster approaching (so you may choose your tactic, evade, fight, other..)
    and I've felt them as unfair - my well trained party got ambushed so often they seemed like rookies
    I think it makes sense that, in the inside areas in this game in particular, they can surprise you by, say, hiding under specially-designed floor tiles which can be moved mechanically (e.g. they can slide open), and then having the enemies pop out from said floor tiles. It especially makes sense for the turrets, since that was kinda the whole idea. They can also probably surprise you by teleporting inside the room because you set off a sort of silent alarm by passing through an invisible detector laser.

    That being said, certain non-boss fixed encounters may become visible encounters rather than invisible encounters anyways. It's something I'll need to think about, since there are probably reasons to leave them invisible, but it's certainly something I'll consider for certain encounters.

    Plus, you don't know "who" you will meet - so you can't plan a strategy to face a monster of a particular kind, etc.
    That's what the mid-battle weapon switch in this game is for: It lets you change your whole move-set to better fit whatever you're fighting.
    The thing is, the mid-battle weapon switch wasn't even a thing for a time, but then I realized that the exact problem you're mentioning could be an issue, so I decided to implement the mid-battle weapon switch.

    Always in my gaming experience,
    having this happen sporadically is fair, you can be ambushed at times,
    say like wandering monsters in D&D, they could pop out from the shadows just around the corner.
    I pretty much explained this one earlier, but I'll summarize it here: This is more-or-less what's going on for the hidden encounters, though done in a somewhat more sci-fi way.
    To re-list some specific examples, though; Things such as floor tiles with turrets under them, enemies teleporting in because you passed through an invisible detector laser, and other things along those lines are all possible explanations for the hidden encounters.

    But it could be like 1 random out of 10/20 encounters.
    Having them always random is a bit distressing (always imhge - gaming experience).
    Due to the abnormal way this game is going to handle encounters, combined with what I've already said, I'm not sure how much this even applies here, due to the encounters being fixed rather than random, combined with the random encounters being visible for the most part. *shrugs*

    If you can see them, it feels a bit more realistic and less "unfair",
    maybe you can have some chance of escaping if you're good enough,
    and you can plan some strategy for the particular foe etc.
    Yet again, I think I've already explained this while explaining an earlier one.

    Anyways, I hope I've clarified how the encounters are going to work a little bit. If you still don't understand what I'm going for with the encounter system here, then I may have to make a somewhat longer demo for the game once I've made more progress on it.

  6. #26
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    Happygreenfrog, you're a kid, right? How on earth do you know so much about games that are older than you? Megaman this, zelda 2 that... You're like an encyclopaedia

  7. #27
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    @Volnaiskra

    Well, for starters, I'm not that young: I played the Shareware version of the Windows port for Raptor: Call of the Shadows fairly close to when it was first released. However, since I was so young at the time when I first played it, I don't remember exactly how old I was, so I can't say exactly how close to the first release it was. Actually, I think the Windows port of Raptor: Call of the Shadows may have been released the same year I was born? I kinda forget for sure, but I'm a bit too lazy at the moment to go and actually check. However, what I will tell you is that I'm 17 years old, which may or may not be properly reflected on my website at this exact second.

    For the most part, however, the reason I know so much about so many of those old games is because some of those games have actually aged pretty well, so I actually have gone out of my way to buy several of them on Wii and Wii U Virtual Console, and the occasional PC re-releases of some such games (e.g. Mega Man Legacy Collection, because even though I owned Mega Man 1-6, the new features sounded like things I would rather like, and, well, turns out, I actually liked them), so I've actually gotten to try maybe 75-90% of the games I talk about on here. The nice thing about Virtual Console is that rare old games, such as most NES Mega Man games, and such as Pulseman, are still rather cheap. Another thing that lets me play old games is that me and my siblings actually bought a used PS2.

    Notably, a few of the PS2 games I have are actually decently rare, despite the (relative to a rare game) low price they go for these days due to a surprising lack of demand. Mainly, Mega Man X7 sold poorly at release due to (relatively to other Mega Man games) poor reviews from critics, which eventually spread to poor reviews from players... strangely, though, I actually find some people back when it was first released saying was that it was actually good, which is nothing short of incredibly strange when you consider what Mega Man fans say about it now. Anyways, so it sold rather poorly (from what I can tell, it only sold about half a million worldwide, and even that might not quite be right), and as a result of there being literally no demand, it's really cheap to get used to this day. Mega Man X8, on the other hand, is a bit expensive for a PS2 game, with the disc alone going for $20, and getting it with the case and manual goes for about $40 last I checked. For a PS2 game, that's pretty expensive, but for a game where quite a lot less than 1 million copies were ever even made from what info I can gather (and that's worldwide copies made, FYI), it's not that bad of a price.

    Another things that helps is that a lot of older DOS games are freeware nowadays, so it's pretty easy to find places to legally and freely download them. Some great examples of that are both One Must Fall 2097 and Tyrian 2000: Both of them games that the developers could have easily kept selling, but they didn't. Notably, One Must Fall 2097 was released as freeware at a time when most people could actually still run DOS games on their Windows computers, whereas Tyrian 2000 took quite a bit longer due to how long it took for Tyrian 2000 to get released... it was released late 1999, hence the "2000" in the title.

    I would say something new about my game, but I can't think of anything to say about it, so I guess this post will just be a bit off-topic.

  8. #28
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    I asked him the same question Volnaiskra,
    it feels surprising for aged gamers of the late eighties like us seeing such a confidence with our classics
    (hgf knows more about megaman than Capcom themselves )

    I'm glad "new generations" find those games still appealing, they shaped up my entertainment at the time,
    and the very very few times I play some game now there's still nothing that feels on par
    (fusion-games excluded, of course )

    @ hgf:
    All clear about encounters!
    Curious to see how things will shape up

  9. #29
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    I was a commodore 64 kid, so I don't know anything about games like megaman or zelda. So whenever HGF talks about that stuff, I feel like the kid in the room I don't think I'd stand a chance against him in any kind of retro game themed trivia night!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by schrodinger View Post
    I asked him the same question Volnaiskra,
    it feels surprising for aged gamers of the late eighties like us seeing such a confidence with our classics
    (hgf knows more about megaman than Capcom themselves )

    I'm glad "new generations" find those games still appealing, they shaped up my entertainment at the time,
    and the very very few times I play some game now there's still nothing that feels on par
    (fusion-games excluded, of course )
    Yeah, lots of those games were legit good. Some of them, such as the original Super Mario Bros., haven't aged as well (which is admittedly understandable given how it basically started the platformer genre), but others, like Super Mario Bros. 3, have aged significantly better, even if the graphics aren't as good as they could have been (as is evidenced by Mega Man games). And pretty much anything good from the 16-bit era or any good 2D games from the 32-bit era are about as good as I feel 2D graphics need to be, sort of like how the PS2 is really as good as 3D graphics need to be.

    Good examples of this include:

    Pulseman: pulseman-gen-ingame-29877.gif
    Mega Man: The Wily Wars: gfs_74304_2_31.jpg
    And, if we're including DOS games, Tyrian 2000: tyrian-pc.png

    Seriously, who needs graphics better than that? Tyrian 2000 does an especially good job by including fancy effects like semi-transparency and a distorting fire background at some points in the game.

    I was a commodore 64 kid, so I don't know anything about games like megaman or zelda. So whenever HGF talks about that stuff, I feel like the kid in the room I don't think I'd stand a chance against him in any kind of retro game themed trivia night!
    Not if C64 games are included. Don't get me wrong, I know a few things here and there about those games, but it's pretty hard to get one's hands on them nowadays from what I recall (mainly because of the Commodore 64 itself), so not only have I not played any of them, but I also haven't bothered looking up quite as much about them.

    @ hgf:
    All clear about encounters!
    Curious to see how things will shape up
    Good to hear! I actually have a few ideas for specific encounters which may become visible, so you may see a few encounters of the sort in the next version, even if most of the encounters are going to remain invisible in general.

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