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Revontuli

Dragon's Cache - Vs. Puzzle Drop Game [WIP] - First Beta Released!

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Default '4 gems' playing 'Score' mode.

 

Observation during gameplay with the above settings:

Levels 1-3 - Easy peasy with a very mild ramp-up.  Great for beginners and getting feet wet.

Level 4 - The 'real' challenge started.

Level 5 - Start feeling luck factoring significantly (75% Skill / 25% Luck).

Level 6 - Feels like a split 50/50 skill to luck ratio.

Level 7 - Invert Level 5 (25% Skill / 75% Luck).

Level 8 - 100% Luck - Not a snowball's chance...LOL.

 

Revontuli, you do perform wonders with graphics and music (Needless to say programming).  Thank you for sharing this with the community.

The shimmering jewels is really a nice and beautiful touch.

 

Pure subjection here, but honestly wasn't a fan overall of the background melody at first - almost bothered me, can't put my finger on what about it though.  Became a moot point as it did grow on me.  By Level 6, I was nearly enjoying it; however, I would be lying to state I'm not hoping for either 1 of 2 things:

 

1.  A different melody for each level.

or/and(?)

2.  Melody selection at start of game.

 

Your public releases of D. Descent, and now D. Cache have been delightful.  Seriously, out the gate, both present and play impressively.

 

DCACHE_20200208.PNG.6ff838649da0fbb0d342eea9691e8f3c.PNG

 

 

 

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Looks great! Would be neat if similar to Chetiry where you can pick no music and have 2 or 3 tracks to pick from. When will this be a cart release?!!!  😁

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10 hours ago, Revontuli said:

How many gem types? :) I still struggle with the full 6!

Levels 1 & 2 only with the full 6.  It's a humbling game option. 😁

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Could it be possible there be 20 or 30 random tunes that could play or too much cart space? 

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The music format is pretty compact, but 20 or 30 songs... that's a lot of music to spend time to compose. I spend a couple days working on the Salvo music, and that's just one song.

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Hi Rev

 

plays very well...no bugs till now 😁

I like the music.

Maybe.....adding some bonus objects?

 

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Good game. Gameplay is great and graphics looks nice. :thumbsup:

Are CPU-opponents planed, for a 1-Player Battle-Mode? This would be great, because often no second human player is available and then the player can battle against CPU-opponents.

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3 hours ago, Jinks said:

Could it be possible there be 20 or 30 random tunes that could play or too much cart space? 

I think being able to select from 3 tunes like in Tetris would be fine... and there also can a be separate battle theme for the 2 player mode...

Edited by DragonGrafx-16

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3 minutes ago, SlidellMan said:

I have to admit, that was pretty good for what it is.

Not meaning to be offensive but what does that statement mean?? 

 

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Thanks to everyone for playing, it's great to see the feedback!

 

For music, I might do what the classic Gameboy Tetris does (and what some folks have already suggested) and have 3 possible tracks of music to choose from, plus a "no music" option.  I admit I'm still not 100% on board with the current track, but I'm also not 100% sure what I'm looking for, so having some choice in the music will likely help things.

 

16 hours ago, Trebor said:

Observation during gameplay with the above settings:

Levels 1-3 - Easy peasy with a very mild ramp-up.  Great for beginners and getting feet wet.

Level 4 - The 'real' challenge started.

Level 5 - Start feeling luck factoring significantly (75% Skill / 25% Luck).

Level 6 - Feels like a split 50/50 skill to luck ratio.

Level 7 - Invert Level 5 (25% Skill / 75% Luck).

Level 8 - 100% Luck - Not a snowball's chance...LOL.

 

The ramp-up in speed as you get through the levels in Score mode might be tweaked, as it's something I'm also not 100% happy with - the trick is to find a combination of frame/pixel speed that doesn't give you strange motion artifacting or stuttering as the gems drop.  Level 9 *is* admittedly ridiculous, but it's the same speed as Level 9 in Tetris (that is, the exact same speed as holding down on the joystick).  

 

11 hours ago, AW127 said:

Are CPU-opponents planed, for a 1-Player Battle-Mode? This would be great, because often no second human player is available and then the player can battle against CPU-opponents.

A valid question - I thought about what it would take, but a CPU opponent would be tricky to program, both to fit within the memory/performance of the 7800, and having a decent AI player system that knows how to play the game to begin with.  The game is already hitting some of the boundaries of what I can do in terms of graphics and CPU cycles-per-frame.  I might do some more tests to see what I can get away with, but I'm afraid I can't make any promises.  

 

I'm curious if anyone has tried the 2-Player modes with someone else - I'm a little concerned about how the game performs, as 2-Player is when the game is under the most stress.  I'm also curious how the battle mode rules work out, since it's a new system that I still might adjust.  The changed rules might take some getting used to, but I think there's some interesting potential strategies that can be devised.

 

For a cartridge release, this is the same situation as Dragon's Descent, as I don't yet have a good way to test what I have on a physical 7800 - I'm talking with folks (and a few people on the forums are helping out testing the game on their own setups - thanks!) about possibilities.

 

I glad folks are able to play - It's fun to try and fill a niche for the 7800, as it feels like it could use some more puzzlers!

Edited by Revontuli

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13 hours ago, Revontuli said:

 Level 9 *is* admittedly ridiculous, but it's the same speed as Level 9 in Tetris (that is, the exact same speed as holding down on the joystick).  

 

Pardon my ignorance here, but are the space and size ratios in relative proportion to Tetris as well? 

 

Dragon's Cache pieces seem considerably larger than what is found in a game of Tetris; thereby, more challenging to work with when traveling at the same speed, covering the same distance, whether moving the piece horizontally or swapping gem order.

 

In conjunction with the above, under Tetris, the shape of the pieces varies, not always occupying the same vertical space, unlike the pieces in Dragon's Cache, which also may impact how quickly the vertical space fills.

 

Would speed comparison(s) against "Columns", where piece shape, size, and space proportions are the better fit over Tetris, be more appropriate? 

 

*EDIT:

Respecting the availability of slots running horizontally for pieces to occupy, in Tetris there are 10, in Columns there are 6, same as Dragon's Cache. 

 

Running vertically, there are 20 rows to fill in Tetris until it reaches the top, Columns contains 13 rows, and Dragon's Cache there are 12 rows.

 

With the above in view, perhaps Dragon's Cache should match Columns speed, if not a tad bit slower (~8%)?

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13 hours ago, Trebor said:

Pardon my ignorance here, but are the space and size ratios in relative proportion to Tetris as well? 

13 hours ago, Trebor said:

Would speed comparison(s) against "Columns", where piece shape, size, and space proportions are the better fit over Tetris, be more appropriate? 

My apologies, I meant more as a relative speed to actively "dropping" the gems using the joystick.  At the higher levels of Tetris, the difference in speed between the blocks passively dropping and holding "down" on the joystick are basically nil.  I haven't done a full pixels-per-second comparison of the block beyond a simple initial eye glance and muscle memory.

 

Oddly enough, the gems in Columns, if anything, drop even faster at the highest levels on the Sega Genesis version (I refreshed my memories looking at YouTube, it's pretty crazy seeing high level longplays) - in that version, the gems almost instantly drop, and you generally have to rely on "sliding" the gems and rotating them in the fraction of a second grace period they give you before the gems "settle" into place.  It's almost a different game if you get to that point.  I'll admit I'm not adding that particular dynamic, as it can get a little kludgy, and I can see it adding a ton of bugs I'd be hunting down for ages :P

 

You are correct that Tetris is generally "taller" in having more blocks, but Columns has its own set of quirks.  In some ways it's simpler, as all the gem pieces are vertical.  You don't have to worry about "overhangs," or voids appear in Columns like you do in Tetris, and being able to chain can make some pretty epic comebacks.  

 

In both Tetris and Columns, strategy for the higher levels turns into looking at the next block and anticipating where it should go, instead of reacting to the current set of falling gems/blocks that are onscreen.  You literally have to be one step ahead of the game.

 

I'll still probably tweak the speeds, but the high levels on most of these block drop games get pretty intense.  Partially because they're almost meant to force a game over - if you achieve an play equilibrium at the highest speed in Tetris or Columns, you could probably coast indefinitely (the champion players practically do, even at these crazy speeds - I saw some of the Tetris finals at PRGE 😲).  Dragon's Cache has a fairly low score ceiling (5 digits), and with the main way to get higher scores being combos, it's a little tricky to walk a good line of score balancing.  If folks were getting 99999 points out the gate, I'd likely have to do some re-calibration :)

 

It's also worth noting the levels/speedup only applies to the Score modes - the Race and Battle modes don't have it, and rely on the clock or the other player as a primary pressure.

 

Thanks again for the feedback - there's still a lot I'm thinking about!

Edited by Revontuli
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This looks awesome, I bet it will sell a ton in the store.  Everybody loves puzzle games. 👍

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1 minute ago, CPUWIZ said:

This looks awesome, I bet it will sell a ton in the store.  Everybody loves puzzle games. 👍

Agreed!  I love puzzle games, and there aren't enough of them!  Especially on the 7800!  :D

 

 ..Al

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Hoping that this awesome looking game can get a one player mode vs AI. I don't really have anyone that would play against me. And I am betting most people also have that issue. Either way I am excited for this one! 

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Updated version - letting you choose between three music tracks (two from Dragon's Descent) - I'll also add a link in the original post:

 

DragonsCache_2_9_2020.bas.a78

 

Oddly, I seemed to get a glitch error when I relied on variable "rollover" - I assumed that a variable would go from 0 to 255 upon subtracting 1 - This was implementing the music select menu option.  This seemed to cause a crash sometimes, and when I "catch" it and keep the variable from going below 0, the glitch seems to have gone (although anyone playing please let me know if you get any sort of crash!).  I'm pretty sure it's using memory I'm not using anywhere else, although that's the only explanation I can think of.

 

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2 hours ago, RevEng said:

It should definitely just rollover from 0 to 255, without a problem. :ponder:

That's what I figured as well - it was just an odd glitch that only came in when I added this fairly simple feature (selecting music), and *seemed* to go away when I added another line to clamp the value to 0.  It makes me worried something else is going on - this is also more of an open call for folks to let me know if the title screen glitches between games or as they select the music tracks.  I've had similar issues before with the random gem queue, where it seemed certain variables were intruding on others in RAM.  Changing what part of the RAM I used (even though I was pretty sure the current RAM addresses were fine) seemed to fix things.  I'd just shrug, but it's something I'm curious to see if others experience...

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While I don't have any insight on your particular issue, I just want to say that I think it's generally worth taking the time to investigate the cause of crashes. If you just make changes to keep it from happening without knowing the underlying cause, then the issue may come back to bite you later by manifesting in a different way. 

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10 hours ago, Karl G said:

While I don't have any insight on your particular issue, I just want to say that I think it's generally worth taking the time to investigate the cause of crashes.

Certainly - I'm trying to narrow things down to see what the specific problem is.  The fact that this was a new glitch after adding a small amount of code gives me a good place to start.  The previous bugs seemed to come from not re-initializing variables when starting a new game.  That said, the glitches are often hard to reproduce, and might rely on different emulators/computer setups, so I'm wary/curious to see what others experience.

 

[EDIT:] playsfx is now a current suspect (mainly since it's the only thing in this area of the code that acts like a subroutine) - glitches seem to happen when I spam the music track selection with the button/left/right on the joystick, and it doesn't seem to glitch when I take out the sound effect.  Indeed, a scrambled sound effect starts the glitch, which leads into a glitched main game straight from the title screen.  I'm wondering it sound priority or some other element would be corrupting the memory or returning to the wrong place...and are there perils in playing too many overlapping sfx that would cause this behavior?

Edited by Revontuli

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Are you using double buffering? This reminds me of an issue I had where occasionally 7800BASIC would need to jump out of a subroutine to run all of the usual things it does each frame, but once it returned to my routine it had changed a few temp variables I was using.

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