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July 29, 2014, 06:46:49 AM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsJack the Reaper - SNES-inspired platformer (New demo and trailer)
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Author Topic: Jack the Reaper - SNES-inspired platformer (New demo and trailer)  (Read 90945 times)
Rakugaki-Otoko
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« Reply #495 on: April 21, 2013, 07:10:49 PM »

Thank you, everybody, for your support and encouragement!
I appreciate it a lot.

@beetleking22, thank you very much! My goal is actually to have it seem like a Super Famicom game. And I'm glad my biggest influence, Kirby, has shown through. (The Super Goemon games were all amazing too, and I do draw some influence from them as well)

@ashpd, the demo is very outdated. I would suggest waiting until I put up an updated one (very soon) which will have a lot of problems fixed, and there are some things that make the game a bit less difficult, though it's intended to be an difficult game.

Also, as an update, I've been prepping the game for a new demo that I'll be putting up as soon as it's at a point where I'm comfortable with it.
I've also been working on putting in a ton of new graphics, sounds, music, and even fixing old things that I've been meaning to fix.
For example, earlier in this thread there was a complaint about the inner forest backgrounds being too bright, which I agree with, so I've redone the forest background graphics:



If you've seen the old screenshots, you may also notice in these ones here that I've added more detailed leaves to the foreground trees as well (don't worry, I've darkened the "behind" foreground trees so that the "in front" foreground trees stand out more. It was after these screenshots were taken.)

as an added bonus, I remembered I have an old soundcloud account, and I put this up for you all to listen to. It's just one of the newer forest BGMs in the game: https://soundcloud.com/rakugaki-otoko/spirit-of-forest/s-ldup5
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« Reply #496 on: April 21, 2013, 07:24:26 PM »

Had a feeling someone would mention Goemon, the poster looks reminiscent of it
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« Reply #497 on: April 22, 2013, 09:44:48 AM »

Go go Rakugaki-Otoko
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« Reply #498 on: April 22, 2013, 09:54:04 AM »

Taking some time aside to work on something in the game that's been suggested to me before. Finally thought of a way to make it work correctly, and I've already got the sprites done for one of them, shown here.


Almost reminds me of my favorite side scroller of all time, the N64 "Mischief Makers".
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Rakugaki-Otoko
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« Reply #499 on: April 23, 2013, 04:16:47 AM »

@HernanZh: Wow, thank you for the adorable fan art!
@DAISHI: Is it because of the Clancer-like face mask? Regardless, I always loved and still own Mischief Makers. It might have had some subtle influences in my designs.

Anyway, I put a new demo up!

Check the first page of this thread for the updated download link. (Check the date, it's been updated today)
I hope the people who have played previous versions will find that I've been doing a lot of hard work to improve the game in every way!

New things I can think of off the top of my head:
  • music
  • more sound effects
  • lots of new special effects
  • fixed tons and tons of bugs
  • tweaked lots and lots of things that needed tweaking
  • lots of refurnished backgrounds
  • more new cutscenes
  • etc
Now, if you keep playing, you'll find that the demo ends at a certain point. Also, any bonus exits you find will be un-enterable. This is because it's a demo, and I realized that I really shouldn't be showing the entire game already before it's even officially out.

I'm sorry for the long wait.

If there are any bugs or anything that causes the game to malfunction, please bring them to my attention as soon as possible, so I can correct them.

edit: I'm sorry about the sloppy way I put the files into the zipped folder. You have to have all of them in the same folder for the game to function properly, and when I do release the game officially, I'll be using Gamemaker's built-in function that allows it to include files that only appear when the game is running.
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« Reply #500 on: April 24, 2013, 02:56:50 AM »

I'd like to extend a significantly big thumbs up towards the changes in the forest backgrounds - it looks solid. Very good improvement. It's really nice to see how everything has improved over time. You're good at this, dude! And very inspirating - I think this game thread has been one of the most inspiring things I've seen on tigs in years. Like, I actually dreamt about browsing tigsource and looking at new screenshots and getting really jealous/fired up.

And then it happened for real like right now! Anyways, great job on the background change.
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« Reply #501 on: April 24, 2013, 09:34:09 PM »

I cannot wait for this game to be released completely, I'm holding out on playing it until then. I want to play it all for the first time when I can beat it.
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ashpd
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« Reply #502 on: April 25, 2013, 01:49:21 PM »

New demo is great! Looks like the second shop is the last point, but... It's a demo Shrug.
By the way, there are few strange things. "Saving the game" costs 300$ and it's pretty... well, a lot. I think it would be better to make this price lower (100-150$, for example). The other way for saving is green location on the map, but after revisiting them the game will be saved again. Is that some special trick?
And there are no description about abilities in the shop. At first I thought they were free and spent all my money (blue dragon is really hard Wizard).
P.S. And one more thing. Atlas (the evil copy of Jack, I guess) in older demo is incredibly hard Crazy. I spend two hours trying to kill him, but... Well, I need more patience Ninja.
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« Reply #503 on: April 25, 2013, 01:59:53 PM »

I'm just here to say that your game looks great and you're rebuilding my faith in freeware games with each post.

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« Reply #504 on: April 26, 2013, 01:19:12 AM »

@Jad, Thank you very much, I appreciate that my efforts are acknowledged.

@ashpd, Saving the game is going to stay at at least 300, because you're not supposed to be able to save very often. If you were able to save as often as you want, it would be too easy. If you really want, you can just play on easy mode -check the options on the title screen- and it will save after every single stage, and there will be more health pickups throughout stages. Ah, the shop ability descriptions havent been put in yet, I've been putting that off to work on other parts, and it slipped my mind. It will be put in by the next demo, dont worry. Atlas is just an ordinary skeleton, and not a copy of Jack. Atlas actually has bones and most of a body. and yes, he is very difficult, and takes timed dodging, evasion, and patience to defeat him. The best advice I can give is to observe his attack pattern and learn from it.

@Schoq, Thank you, for the compliment. That was one of the reasons I started making this game in the first place, believe it or not.

Thank you, everyone, for the feedback and comments, they're helpful and appreciated
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« Reply #505 on: April 27, 2013, 06:39:43 AM »

Saving the game with the $300 is easier if you just grind up on a easier levels since money stays with you when you exit the level via normally or by exiting out. Though personally the only real use of saving is either to make sure when you game over you can go back fresh, or 'save state'.
edit: just reached the demo end and have to say you improved the water graphic mechanics last time I played. though having play through normally I found that normal mode isn't that hard as many say it is. While the level design and invulnerable enemies placements are treacherous the demo's bosses are a cake walk I went back and saw if it's possible to beat them with just the default weapon and sure are. so pretty much all problems that made the game hard early on was solved... kinda still wish for a way for jack to pan the screen up or down.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 08:52:45 AM by Rumrusher » Logged
Rakugaki-Otoko
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« Reply #506 on: April 27, 2013, 07:53:44 PM »

New screenshot showing the stage/cutscene I'm working on now.



That's not outer space in the distance, rather the opposite.

Also to note. I don't know if anyone really noticed, but Eclipsus's sprites looked very underdeveloped and incomplete. I'm not sure why in the world I would think that they looked ok like that, so I spent yesterday tweaking every one of her sprites to match my concept art of her. She almost looked lifeless before the edit.


Also here is some (presumably) never before seen concept art for her.
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« Reply #507 on: April 27, 2013, 08:13:12 PM »

I already gave you feedback on that screenshot, but I gotta let you know I love this as well. I really like the rework you did. Smiley
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« Reply #508 on: April 28, 2013, 05:40:13 PM »

Just got to Sharpened Sticks, which is apparently the end of the demo. I had some good times, and some very, very bad times, owing to the points below:

PERSISTENT GLITCHES:
Most of these are carryovers from earlier demos, but I don't know which are oversights or to-dos.

-Upon starting the game, Jack can appear with only one soul slot on his HUD; gathering further souls will stack their combo effects up to three souls. Pressing A or S will eject one of the souls at random, and often two at a time, stacked inseparably upon one another. Transitioning to a new screen fixes the glitch, but ejects two of the souls automatically.


-As in previous builds, running into the sides of certain blocks can cause you to become trapped, rapidly performing the landing & falling animation w/dust cloud. This can be fixed by backing up and normally isn't a problem, except when it occurs in auto-scolling levels like Power Surge.

-Pressing Continue upon starting up the game can still drop you directly into your last level, rather than the map screen. This is not fixed by restarting the game.

-Sometimes, the "Q to skip scene" prompt does not appear during cutscenes. This sometimes makes them unskippable, other times not.

-Even after changing the difficulty to Easy, the game defaults back to Normal each time I restart the game. Considering that quitting the game is the only way to return to the main menu, this seems like an oversight.

-Easy difficulty is EXTREMELY unreliable. Levels such as Wide Open Spaces, Stampede!, Dog Paddle and Slightly Bumpy do not save after completion on Easy difficulty.

-The purple cyclops' tackle ability is terrifying and a great game mechanic, but its ability to knock loose your powers can cause some strange behavior, such as Jack retaining visual aspects of powers or becoming frozen in the red-X'ed 'HIT!' pose for several seconds.


-Like before, exiting a previously-beaten stage or dying in an unbeaten stage back to the map can cause the game to save.

-Selecting Continue upon starting the game, the game spawns Jack into a new screen deep into a level (akin to a modern-gaming checkpoint), rather than the map or beginning of a level.  

FEEDBACK
-The dandelion bombers and their payload are often obscured by foreground tree brush in the levels which they appear. Consider making them appear in front of any foreground obstacles, and prevent such damage out of nowhere.

-Just a thought: for the Japanese translation, it might be good to localize the text within the cutscenes, like the "CRASH!" in Eclipsus' flashback.

-The fact that enemies can still damage you by walking over you while burrowed with the Shovel Ability makes its combo powers, such as the Bullet+Shovel or Shovel+Boomerang, utterly useless. Not sure if this is a glitch.

-What determines which abilities are available in shops? Abilities like Shovel and Bomb do not appear, despite my having used them in a half dozen levels already.

-In Riverbank Stomp, some of the crustaceans can come at you from angles too high to jump over and too low to duck under, while trying either causes the current to push you against a cliff too high to go back onto. You have no choice but to take damage.

-Like previous posters, I'd appreciate the ability to pan the screen up and down while standing. In situations like the one pictured below, there are enemies over the cliff I'm on, but I have no idea what or where they are, so all I can do is take a blind leap and pray I don't take damage. Similar games like Jazz Jackrabbit scrolled the screen up or down by holding the duck/look up button for a few seconds.


-This Bellum Crista in Ancient's Playground spawns stuck between the ledge and the ground carving, causing him to rapidly jiggle back and forth. Consider just having him stand still.


-Finally, my chief complaint stems from many of the obelisk levels (and the whole game, to a degree) relies on platforming like this to cover vertical distance:


I spent the better part of ten minutes just getting up this makeshift stairway. There were no enemies or auto-scrolling, so I wasn't in danger, but sections like this just highlight how stiff and flat-out not fun the platforming in this game really is. There's no finesse in it, like games with floatier jumps might allow; I just have to tap the direction key until Jack's on the very edge of the platform, then jump and hope not to smash my forehead on the block above.



Look at that. I'm stuck. I dropped down a single tile's height from the block on my right, and now I have to leap down amidst two invincible Drill demons I can't see, then hike all the way back to this section.

Jack the Reaper's most enjoyable moments come similar to Mega Man's, where you find a power combination perfectly suited to tackling a tough enemy, or swapping/ejecting powers on the fly to adjust your attack to an enemy's range or attack pattern. It does not ever come from meticulously pecking at the X key to stumble across platforms narrower than Jack's own body. It might be 'hard', sure, but it drags the level's flow to a complete halt, and becomes Jack's defining hallmark in player's minds.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 06:23:37 PM by godsavant » Logged

Rakugaki-Otoko
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« Reply #509 on: April 28, 2013, 07:05:56 PM »

Thank you for the extensive and indepth feedback, I really appreciate the effort put into finding and telling me about these concerns. Now for my responses:

-Upon starting the game, Jack can appear with only one soul slot on his HUD; gathering further souls will stack their combo effects up to three souls. Pressing A or S will eject one of the souls at random, and often two at a time, stacked inseparably upon one another. Transitioning to a new screen fixes the glitch, but ejects two of the souls automatically.
I have had this glitch brought up to me once before, and I think I've gotten it fixed, it all had to do with a big glitch dealing with saving in the shop, from what I know, and I'll continue testing to see if I can recreate it or if it's been solved.

-As in previous builds, running into the sides of certain blocks can cause you to become trapped, rapidly performing the landing & falling animation w/dust cloud. This can be fixed by backing up and normally isn't a problem, except when it occurs in auto-scolling levels like Power Surge.
Ah, this has been a persistent problem for myself, programming-wise, since I have no idea why it's caused. It obviously shouldn't happen, yet it does. I'll have to keep looking for a way to fix this. Any specific places that this occurs where it does cause a big problem? I can do a cheap fix for those, at least.

-Pressing Continue upon starting up the game can still drop you directly into your last level, rather than the map screen. This is not fixed by restarting the game.
See my answer for that first glitch, the problem causing them is supposedly related.

-Sometimes, the "Q to skip scene" prompt does not appear during cutscenes. This sometimes makes them unskippable, other times not.
Ah, that would be my fault for being forgetful and not putting that prompt in a cutscene, I'll look through each of them and see which ones I've forgotten to place in. my bad.

-Even after changing the difficulty to Easy, the game defaults back to Normal each time I restart the game. Considering that quitting the game is the only way to return to the main menu, this seems like an oversight.
Hmm. That would be a big problem. What do you mean here, that it defaults? If you start a game on easy, then save and quit, and then continue, it should still be on easy when you continue, regardless of what you see on the options, once you start a game, it shouldn't ever change again. When you continue, do the map stages actually change back to their normal colors, or are they still all yellow?

-Easy difficulty is EXTREMELY unreliable. Levels such as Wide Open Spaces, Stampede!, Dog Paddle and Slightly Bumpy do not save after completion on Easy difficulty.
That sounds like another oversight on my part. I believe I know what the problem is here, and I'll fix it immediately, shouldnt be too much of a big deal to correct.

-The purple cyclops' tackle ability is terrifying and a great game mechanic, but its ability to knock loose your powers can cause some strange behavior, such as Jack retaining visual aspects of powers or becoming frozen in the red-X'ed 'HIT!' pose for several seconds.
Ah, I know what could be causing the retaining of the visuals, could you tell me which abilities that's occurred with, to help save me the time of having to search through all possibilities? Also I somewhat understand why Jack sometime's freezes, but I've been stumped on how to fix it, I'll try out some things to see if I can get that under control.

-Like before, exiting a previously-beaten stage or dying in an unbeaten stage back to the map can cause the game to save.
Same as the first one, I believe.

-Selecting Continue upon starting the game, the game spawns Jack into a new screen deep into a level (akin to a modern-gaming checkpoint), rather than the map or beginning of a level. 
and once again, related to the first problem.

FEEDBACK
-The dandelion bombers and their payload are often obscured by foreground tree brush in the levels which they appear. Consider making them appear in front of any foreground obstacles, and prevent such damage out of nowhere.
Ah, that's a good idea, I've just changed that so that they're always in the foreground now, never obscured.

-Just a thought: for the Japanese translation, it might be good to localize the text within the cutscenes, like the "CRASH!" in Eclipsus' flashback.
This is a possibility, just for humor's sake.

-The fact that enemies can still damage you by walking over you while burrowed with the Shovel Ability makes its combo powers, such as the Bullet+Shovel or Shovel+Boomerang, utterly useless. Not sure if this is a glitch.
Hm, I'm not sure why I allowed enemies to hurt you while burrowed, that seems like a dumb idea in hindsight. It's probably so that you can't burrow/drill under entire stages to skip past everything, but if you do that, it'd be on you. I'll be fixing that right now.

-What determines which abilities are available in shops? Abilities like Shovel and Bomb do not appear, despite my having used them in a half dozen levels already.
It depends on which big bosses you've defeated. Once you beat a big boss, several shop abilities are unlocked. Obviously, after beating the 5th boss, the entire shop is available. But in this demo, you can only beat big bosses 1 and 2, so not much is available.

-In Riverbank Stomp, some of the crustaceans can come at you from angles too high to jump over and too low to duck under, while trying either causes the current to push you against a cliff too high to go back onto. You have no choice but to take damage.
Hmm. Maybe I can make it so that you can attack them to push them out of the way, or knock them around. They'll still be impervious, but it would take some of the stress out of dodging them, especially in the small underwater tunnels I assume you're talking about.

-Like previous posters, I'd appreciate the ability to pan the screen up and down while standing. In situations like the one pictured below, there are enemies over the cliff I'm on, but I have no idea what or where they are, so all I can do is take a blind leap and pray I don't take damage. Similar games like Jazz Jackrabbit scrolled the screen up or down by holding the duck/look up button for a few seconds.
Don't worry, I've taken this criticism to heart, and I'll be finding a way to implement that in the next demo. It's a good idea, and I'm sure it would be appreciated by everyone.

-This Bellum Crista in Ancient's Playground spawns stuck between the ledge and the ground carving, causing him to rapidly jiggle back and forth. Consider just having him stand still.
For some unknown reason, some Bellum Crusta get stuck on platform edges, I'm not really sure why this happens, but I think I know a way to get that fixed as well.

-Finally, my chief complaint stems from many of the obelisk levels (and the whole game, to a degree) relies on platforming like this to cover vertical distance:
[rest of complaint]
I understand your frustration, and I apologize for it. I agree that that isn't good, and I already know of a fix that would work without me having to restructure any stages in a big way. What if those platforms were all able to be passed through from the bottom, so that you never had to worry about hitting your head above? I think I'll replace every single instance of that situation with pass-through-able platforms to avoid this frustration in the future.

Thank you once again for the detailed and non-sugarcoated criticism and feedback, it helps me to see things that I probably had not noticed before and fix them so that you, the players, have a better experience playing my game with as little frustration caused my my mistakes, rather than the player's.
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