Iros

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Jubatian
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Re: Iros

Post by Jubatian » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:03 am

I checked the game out, a bit unforgiving, but seems nice so far! :)

There were two things I noticed in particular.

One is that occasionally the game slows down when there are many sprites on-screen. Guess sprite blitting can not finish before the next frame. Does the game really need to be 224 pixels tall? Likely at 216 pixels it would fit, or maybe Mode 3's blitter should be improved which is possible with some unrolling. Frameskipping could also be a solution, but such a technique usually isn't something simple to implement. You could also apply the simpler kernel boost hack to get about one and half sprites worth of extra VBlank time (it is on my fork of Uzebox, a little left behind, but should merge with the current kernel without trouble).

Another is that the player has a limited number of shots (or rather bullets on screen), which is a bit awkward. Maybe somehow it could be improved for a better experience (enhancing sprite rotation to deal with more bullets in need, or maybe just not drawing the farther player bullets while they still have their effect).

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L4rry
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Re: Iros

Post by L4rry » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:02 am

nicksen782 wrote: noticed that the background music would stop after a while and not restart.
I've never had this happen before. I'll look out for it though, thanks. Perhaps an issue with the emulator you are using?
I'd appreciate if anyone else can flag this as well if they come across it.
D3thAdd3r wrote:this game is unforgiving on the difficulty
Yeah I think it's becoming clear it's a bit too difficult. I think the biggest issue
is that the end-of-level bosses charge you and then you die as soon as they touch
you and then you have to start over. I'm considering letting physical contact between player
and boss be non-damaging. The superior shot of the boss should be enough of an advantage.
This alone could balance things out quite nicely.
D3thAdd3r wrote:I found 1 game breaking thing, which is on the second level if you move your ship all the way to the bottom of the screen and stay there, and at the end of the level do not destroy the last enemy and move all the way to the right of the screen(staying on the bottom). The enemy will perpetually scroll from one side of the screen to the other, but you will not be able to back the ship up to shoot it so basically the player has to start over
Good catch! I'll put this on my bug list.
D3thAdd3r wrote:On the 3rd level I think at the first volcano there is an enemy on the right side of the screen as you approach. If you stand at the right distance, he will hop to the right and loop back around to the left of the screen(or maybe just his sprite but not his logical coordinates, as I just walked past)
You mean the Scorpion teleport feature? :mrgreen: Thanks! On the list too.
D3thAdd3r wrote:it seems a bunch of bullets come from no where quickly across the screen up high.
This is a symptom of a long standing issue I've had in the game. It usually rears it's head at start of levels
or boss fights. I suspect it has something to do with the way I move sprites off screen, which is one of the first
things I do during level loading and boss fight initialization.
Artcfox wrote:Also, on the very last level, destroying the portal in the middle we lost the ability to shoot.
Good catch. On the list!
Artcfox wrote:Look Dad, I stole the boss's darts that shoot up!!
She gets it! :D That's a nice bonus of god mode I didn't anticipate. It most certainly
is a great developer tool.
Jubatian wrote:You could also apply the simpler kernel boost hack to get about one and half sprites worth of extra VBlank time
Thank you. I will have a look at this. Any bit of extra juice will help.
Jubatian wrote:Another is that the player has a limited number of shots
This becomes less of an issue as you progress through the game with faster shot speeds. But I like some of your suggestions.
I'll see what sticks. More shot sprites might be a problem. I initially allowed 4 simultaneous but that was one sprite too far. I ran into RAM limitations at the time (early on during dev, might not be an issue anymore. Also I would prefer not to rotate player sprites If it can be helped). Since then the 3 shot limit has become part of the game design.

Thanks everyone for the kind and helpful comments! I will address the major bugs and balancing issues over the weekend and
hopefully have a new and improved build by Monday.

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L4rry
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Re: Iros

Post by L4rry » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:36 am

Some tips on dealing with the end of level bosses with the existing builds:

For planets 1, 2 and 3 lie prone in the middle of the screen without firing until the boss is almost on you. Then fire. He will react by jumping over you and walk to the edge of the screen with his back turned. Turn around (stay prone) and let him have it! Stop just before he turns around. Repeat.

For planets 4 and 5 don't shoot the boss when he is coming towards you. Jump over him. He will continue till the edge of the screen with his back turned. Shoot him in his thieving back! Till just before he turns around again. Then hold off on shooting and repeat the process.

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L4rry
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Re: Iros

Post by L4rry » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:27 pm

I've implemented some fixes and created a release based on community feedback. The latest release (v1.1) is linked in the original post along with the list of fixes. I list the fixes here as well for convenience:

- Easier difficulty by allowing physical interaction between boss and player.
- Fixed game breaking bug in space stages when in bottom right corner.
- Added Jubatian's kernel hack for extra cycles.
- Swapped A and B buttons.
- Fixed sprite teleport bug on volcano stage.
- Improved demo mode (slight redesign of first section of first stage).

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L4rry
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Re: Iros

Post by L4rry » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:57 pm

Some more fixes applied. Latest version is v1.2.

- Fixed missing player shot after final level.
- Fixed sprite storm at start of boss fights.
- Fixed grammar error.
- Demo space mode now takes the ship a little higher up.

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D3thAdd3r
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Re: Iros

Post by D3thAdd3r » Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:58 pm

I got through the game! The later levels are really good, and it shows a lot more of the game's personality than being stuck on the first couple levels not being able to pass. I resisted the urge to play the god previously. All the new stuff I just saw is well designed and I like the variety of level locations. The boss at the end was quite a surprise 8-)

It didn't notice any bugs, and I got through with 4 lives left. IMO it is a solid and polished game at this point. I wonder if it could be a bit harder actually, now that so many lives are not lost on the bosses(I did not die on any boss with my new strategy, just the one hit things during the levels). I do not think I would have lost any extra lives if colliding with the boss did 1 damage. But I would have been very close to dead a couple times in that case. The last boss could do multiple points of damage, or even 1 shot kills, and I think it would still be reasonably beatable. Perhaps..I guess it depends on how the difficulty is perceived by other players.

For the demos do you have any plans to record human input for playback? It can be done with quite small space using something that is basically RLE on padstates and frames held. That said, I think the attract mode is fine right now, I just don't have much else I can think to suggest.

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L4rry
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Re: Iros

Post by L4rry » Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:31 pm

D3thAdder wrote:I guess it depends on how the difficulty is perceived by other players
It's hard to judge at this stage for me. I can also play through fairly easily now. Not sure if it's because
of playing experience and game knowledge or really just too simple. But I think I would rather have it a bit easy then frustrating.
D3thAdder wrote:For the demos do you have any plans to record human input for playback?
I have a larger plan to play with the SD card and machine learning. It's a field I'm really interested to study
and want to use Tank Fu as a platform for that. A part of that strategy would involve recording, exporting and playing back player input. If I can make a success of that, I can apply it to Iros.

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Jubatian
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Re: Iros

Post by Jubatian » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:32 pm

I looked in Mode 3's blitter and did some optimizations on it. Maybe it could help this game to run at full speed (topic is here, currently the optimizations are published on my fork of Uzebox until some of you try it with games where this improvement matters).

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L4rry
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Re: Iros

Post by L4rry » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:49 pm

Jubatian wrote:I looked in Mode 3's blitter and did some optimizations on it. Maybe it could help this game to run at full speed (topic is here, currently the optimizations are published on my fork of Uzebox until some of you try it with games where this improvement matters).
Thanks! I'll give it a go, see if it helps.

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Jubatian
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Re: Iros

Post by Jubatian » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:46 pm

I checked it out already by cloning your repo and adding the modified kernel (without the kernel boost hack): it feels running smoother especially at the space shooter. For the best result, get the Mode 3 boost, then merge the kernel boost over it, and use that kernel with the game.

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