Beta Report #3
We've had a break from these. What's going on?
Hello again to another War Ender Beta Report, where I let you know about how things are progressing War Ender's beta. In the last blog we took a break from that to talk about new features coming to the game. Ah, but you may have already predicted that where there are new features, new bugs soon follow. Well, it may not surprise you to know that your prediction is entirely correct!
Like the previous beta reports, we'll start with some numbers. Bear in mind that these numbers will be coming from May 25th (the date of the last beta report's publication) to as of this writing, and so it might seem a bit bigger than the others because of the extra time. So with that in mind, when you add bug fixes, small tweaks, mechanical changes, and even Steam integration (more on that in a bit!), it all comes up to 118 items completed. Aww, I'm feeling proud of myself.
Okay, so you noticed I mentioned Steam integration. That should give you the impression that this game is getting pretty close. At this point it's mostly just doing polish work and getting ready to update the art. I didn't do a whole lot with Steam integration beyond getting some achievements put together. As of now, there's a total of 16 achievements that you can unlock while playing the game on Steam. And don't worry, these aren't the kind of achievements where you unlock them by simply starting the game. These will be unlocked by clearing bonus levels, defeating the final boss, and and clearing certain levels under a specific time limit.
I may add more achievements as time goes on, but for now these are a few that you can look forward to. In addition to Steam integration I've been making sure the new bullet time mechanic works as intended. You wouldn't believe how many times I would discover objects not obeying the laws of bullet time. For example, in scrolling levels the camera wouldn't stop with bullet time, which could cause a problem in the trickier parts of these levels. Other times certain boss items may not adhere to the bullet time, resulting in unfair hits. It still needs a little testing, but I think I've taken care of these issues and every object should properly obey the bullet time effect now.
There was another bug I found pretty early on when implementing the bullet time mechanic. You may have noticed that Red leaves a trail of clones whenever bullet time is active. This is done primarily to help the player figure out where Red is after dodging. That and I think it looks kind of cool. But before I got this working properly, Red would dodge and then maintain his dodge pose for the rest of the level. That alone is a pretty funny image, but then you have to remember that Red's sprite fades a bit whenever dodging is active. The way I had the code setup forced the alpha in Red's sprite to go back to normal only after dodging is complete, but after bullet time is in effect.
Well, due to a mistake, this would result in a static "dodge pose" Red that was also somewhat faded! In other words, it looked like Red was a ghost flying around the level! A ghost with a gun, mind you. That's a pretty scary ghost to be confronted with. This time, I made sure to record because I found it so funny. You can see this bug in action in the below gif. Thankfully, that was the only major bug found over the last several weeks.
To recap, the two major works between the last beta report and this one is the Steam integration and the bullet time mechanic, both presenting their own unique challenges. Steam integration in particular proved much more difficult than I would have anticipated, but this is my first time getting a game on Steam after all. Speaking of Steam, I guess you may be wondering if there's any news on a release date. Well...
I'll say this. Getting things set up for Steam Direct taught me that there's certain waiting periods one must undergo before they can publish War Ender to Steam. Not knowing about this beforehand, those waiting periods will force me to push the game back a bit further than originally planned. A few blogs ago, I talked about early July being the latest the game will release. Well, Steam is forcing my hand and thus I must push it back to a later date. The good news is I'm still looking at a July release date, it'll just be closer to the end of the month. I invite you to come by this website two weeks from now. On that day, a dev blog will go live proclaiming a release date for War Ender.
Stay cool! (No really, it's hot out there. At least where I live.)