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Space Cactus Canyon - beta


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#26 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:52 PM

After some thorough playtesting on real hardware, I've released beta version 2.1 as an addition to my original post.  I've added the functionality where the player can choose to continue the game upon its completion, automatically moving to the harder difficulty (if not already there).  I'm viewing this as a release candidate.  I'm still interested in people's opinions and feedback, though at this point I don't really have room for any new features.

 

There are still a few niggling bugs that have happened basically once, so it's really hard to trace them.  But I'm curious if anyone has had a similar experience.

  • StanJr, as noted above, got an instance of the game kicking back to the title screen instead of the "game over" screen in Difficulty A.
  • Once I got a sound that hung until I completed the level.
  • Once--out of easily a thousand times--I got trapped in a canyon with no path to the water.  (There was a path, but it was too narrow for my poor cactus to fit.)

I can't hunt any of these down in the code, so alas they might remain.  But they seem pretty rare and ultimately I don't think they detract from the game in any appreciable way.

 

So, try playing version 2.1, and let me know what you think!  In the meantime, in anticipation of nearly completing the coding on this project, I crafted a 3-D version of Space Cactus, shown below.

 

Space Cactus in 3-D!


#27 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:52 PM

There goes the rest of my work day.



#28 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:19 PM

Ok.  Haven't played as much as I would like, but here are my first impressions:

 

I love it.  I love being able to continue my game at the higher difficulty level.  I also love the surprising amount of challenge that comes from starting the higher difficulty level with whatever water you had left at the end of the first round, instead of starting with a full refill like I expected.  Makes that first level (second time around) much more challenging.  I have not been able to beat it all the way through yet.  The best I can do is the speed demon bandits in area 3.

 

I am noticing that I lose the vast majority of my lives on area 2.  There are far more tight gaps possible with the shooting bandits and I often find myself on the losing end of a shoot out.  I'm working strategies thought to combat that.  First and foremost you can trigger their shooting without being in the line of fire.  Sadly they are also not in your line of fire, but that can help in gaining an advantage in the fire fight.  I lose the rest of my lives in the final area with the shooting/chasing bandits who can take out walls.  Not sure if that helps you get a sense of balance or any other insight, but thought it worth sharing.

 

Not major issues with any of the changes.

 

Tiny, tiny nitpick:  I don't think you need to award the 100pts for getting the water refill in the dream sequences.  Smart players are going for that (first) instead of treasures and just getting more water is more than enough reward for that feat.

 

i've never had a dream sequence redrawn due to the lack of path to the goal.  Do the dream sequences use a different drawing routine or is it just due to the lack of enemy sprites?



#29 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:54 PM

Ok.  First major issue:  At the victory screen after the first play through, if you do not hit the button quickly enough, the game reverts to the title screen and pressing the button starts a new game instead of advancing you to the next level of difficulty.  I found this out because I got to the victory screen, was interrupted by a text message I had to take and when i got back (maybe 1 minute?) I was on the title screen and my game was restarted.  Is there a way to hold it on the victory screen until the button is pressed, like the screen prior to the dream sequence?



#30 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:17 PM

Got my first unwinable canyon today.  Easy Difficulty, first level, gap was small enough for chasing bandit, but not for my cactus arms.



#31 chavert OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:51 AM

I love this game. Thanks



#32 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:56 AM

So glad everything is working well.

 

Tiny, tiny nitpick:  I don't think you need to award the 100pts for getting the water refill in the dream sequences.  Smart players are going for that (first) instead of treasures and just getting more water is more than enough reward for that feat.

 

Yes, I agree completely.  I've actually been meaning to take those points out, but now I'll actually do it.

 

 

i've never had a dream sequence redrawn due to the lack of path to the goal.  Do the dream sequences use a different drawing routine or is it just due to the lack of enemy sprites?

 

It's the same drawing routine, but there's no check to make sure the paths make sense, as there's no end goal to get to.  Once in playtesting I got one of those double canyons which aren't connected (and sadly most things I wanted were in the other canyon).  It's a bummer when that happens, but since it's a bonus round, I don't feel quite as worried about it--luck of the draw, I guess.

 

Ok.  First major issue:  At the victory screen after the first play through, if you do not hit the button quickly enough, the game reverts to the title screen and pressing the button starts a new game instead of advancing you to the next level of difficulty.  I found this out because I got to the victory screen, was interrupted by a text message I had to take and when i got back (maybe 1 minute?) I was on the title screen and my game was restarted.  Is there a way to hold it on the victory screen until the button is pressed, like the screen prior to the dream sequence?

 

I'm still struggling with this conceptually.  In theory, a game is supposed to kick back to the title screen after twenty or so seconds once it's over, and I imagine some people might want to just relish in their victory.  I can definitely lengthen the time, but I also think I want it to kick back at some point.  I'm thinking about how Super Mario Bros. handles this, which is you get the winning message, credits, and then the title screen with the opportunity to play at the harder level.  I definitely want people to be able to continue if they so choose, but I'm not sure I want to force that path.

 

Got my first unwinable canyon today.  Easy Difficulty, first level, gap was small enough for chasing bandit, but not for my cactus arms.

 

This is going to irk me just enough where I want to fix it, even though it's rare.  The good news is I think I know where the issue lies (I don't have the code with me at the moment).  I'll try to fix this, as it's a show-stopper in my opinion.

 

Thanks, as always, for your thoughts!  I'm excited to get this finalized soon!



#33 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:33 PM

Fantastic!  My only thought on the end screen/continue issue is that the player can hit RESET to start over or FIRE to continue, so I don't see the conflict as strongly as you do.

 

Going to fire up the ol' cactus again later tonight!  Thus far I have gotten to the EXPERT area 3.  LOVE the challenge.

 

:spidey:



#34 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:12 PM

Going to fire up the ol' cactus again later tonight!  Thus far I have gotten to the EXPERT area 3.  LOVE the challenge.

 

I just uploaded a version 2.2 of the beta to the main page.  I haven't had a chance to test it thoroughly, but I believe I've solved the issue of rarely getting a slot the width of one pfpixel that you can't fit through.  If this suddenly seems buggy, just revert back to 2.1 and I'll delete 2.2.  But since you're planning on playing it tonight, I figured you could try the new version and maybe everything will work the way it should.

 

I haven't dealt with the victory screen issue, but that part should be easy. :)



#35 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:13 PM

I love this game. Thanks

 

Thank you!  I've really enjoyed working on the project.  It's been gratifying to see people enjoying it.



#36 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:37 AM

2.2 Beta notes:

 

 

Twice tonight I got canyons with with narrow gap, BUT they were never the only path to the water.  There was always a wider path to the water.  So hopefully that issue has been addressed with this update.

 

I am noticing about a 15% increase in redraws, but that's a fair trade off for removing the unwinable canyon problem.  It's funny, I've played this game so much now, I can reliably identify which canyons are going to be redrawn before the VCS does.

 

I am also noticing some new, interesting canyon layouts and some of them where the open space occupies only about 60% of the playfield, leading to some smaller canyons.  However, I have also noticed that these canyons tend to have more open space to move.

 

Game play balance is still good and I'm still losing most of my lives in the shooting bandit canyons.  I am in love with the shooting-down-walls bandit canyons.  Those are the most open to versatile strategy.  Great mix of level types!

 

More play time tomorrow, so if I see anything screwy, I will let you know.

 

:spidey:


Edited by StanJr, Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:39 AM.


#37 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:39 AM

Discovered for the first time this morning that you can accumulate more water than your starting amount, meaning that if you play it right you can stockpile water for later levels and not have to worry so much about running out.  Very helpful.

 

Much more successful games this morning.  Made it to the shoot-down-walls bandits in EXPERT, twice.  Had a harrowing encounter with a speed demon bandit who chased me into a dead in and crushed me!  Love it!  Those guys are blindingly fast.

 

:spidey:



#38 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:25 AM

I've really been enjoying this game. Great concept, looks amazing, controls are fabulous and the gameplay is spot on. Playing version 2.2 fort he first time, something odd happened. I got to the screen pictured, which was essentially unwinnable due to the position of the circled shooter. Instead of trying to go by him, I ran into him. The collect water sound played and I moved on the the next screen. I haven't been able to get it to happen again though.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Space_Cactus_Canyon_beta_2_2.png


#39 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:44 PM

Did it cost you a life, when you ran into him?  

 

That is an unwinnable situation.  Not had that one yet.



#40 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:09 PM

It didn't cost me a life. I was actually on my last life, so the game should have ended.



#41 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:46 PM

Confirmed.

 

On any of the shoot-down-walls bandits canyons, if you contact a bandit it will give the "collect water" sound, not subtract a life and progress you to the next level instantly.  However, this only seems to work once.  Subsequent contact with bandits kills you as normal.  

 

Weird.  Nice find Kaeru!


Edited by StanJr, Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:01 PM.


#42 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:23 PM

I tried playing a few games on my work computer (don't tell my boss) and couldn't get the bug to work. Every time I touched a bandit in one of those canyons I would lose a life and start that screen over.  This was playing with Stella 4.5 for Windows. I'll have to try again at home and see what version of Stella is on my computer.

 

I did get an "unwinnable" bonus level. Not being able to get the extra shots made the next round more challenging.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Space_Cactus_Canyon_beta_2_2.png


#43 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 1, 2017 10:24 AM

Instead of trying to go by him, I ran into him. The collect water sound played and I moved on the the next screen. I haven't been able to get it to happen again though.

 

Good catch!  I've been out of town for the past week, and still won't be back for a few days, but I'll dive in upon my return.  I think I know what's causing moving to the next level rather than death when you touch a shooter.  I think I just need to fine-tune the coordinate checking.

 

I got to the screen pictured, which was essentially unwinnable due to the position of the circled shooter.

 

That indeed looks unwinnable, but unfortunately there's nothing I can really do about it at this point.  The game checks for sufficient horizontal spacing but not vertical spacing.  I'm simply out of room in the code.  I was happy to see that StanJr never encountered it.  So, unfortunately, once in a very rare while this might occur.

 

I did get an "unwinnable" bonus level. Not being able to get the extra shots made the next round more challenging.

 

Yes, these will happen, also unfortunately.  There's no efficient way to check that the paths to all six items are clear.  I've gotten one or two of these myself.  I wish they didn't happen, but for a bonus level, and since they're sufficiently rare, I'm willing to live with them.  The struggle all along with this game has been trying to use these random elements while still making the game playable.

 

Thanks for the reports!  I'll update a new version that resolves the first issue when I can.



#44 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 9:09 AM

Ok!  I've fixed the collision issue.  Turns out I was spending some code trying to figure out which particular shooter was hit when ultimately the game did nothing with that information.  So, now it simply sees if it's a collision with anything but water and, if so, routes you to the death sequence.

 

Version 2.3 is uploaded at the top of the post.  Any other comments or bugs?  Going once, going twice ...

 

Thanks again to everyone.  The game is so much better due to all the comments I've gotten.



#45 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 2:24 PM

Well, something's not right, because I'm not losing any lives.  Completely ruins the balance of the game, but I finally made it to the end of the second round! :P



#46 bjbest60 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 6:55 PM

Ack, uploaded the wrong file.  The new one should now be correct.  Amazing what changing one number in the code can do.



#47 WIZZARD77 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:22 AM

I finally got around to trying out 2.3 and it crashes on my Harmony cart when the maze finishes drawing. The first time it will resest to the title screen I press the button again and it draws the maze then black screen.



#48 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:47 PM

I've been playing a while now, and don't see any issues thus far.  



#49 WIZZARD77 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:42 PM

I cleaned contacts and the system thinking maby it was a connection issue but still crashing. What I did notice is that it draws the maze then the bandits and then crashes or resets to the title screen. Sometimes it will cycle 5 or 6 times, sometimes just once before it black screens. Ver 2.2 worked perfectly. Unfortunately I deleted ver 2.2.



#50 chavert OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:25 AM

The last version don't work for harmony card.






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