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Thanks @-^CrossBow^- & @sramirez2008 for the feedback (as usual!)

 

The piston/stamper/block behaviour is expected as of the current version.

 

As you guys and James noted, you can enter the piston area where the piston sits (piston is the internal reference in the code but I like stamper too :) ). As as soon as the block starts its downward motion, it becomes "live" and boom you are dead but not until the "live" is triggered which is why you can fly up there. I do plan to add extra checks there to ensure you can't enter the area. My plan is to make it so that you would bump off the bottom of it, in a similar way that you bump off of the sides in this build. I think this should resolve that particular issue and prevent an "unfair" death due to getting stuck in the piston cavity.

 

Added to the tweak and fix list :)

 

Regarding the pattern enemies. They do indeed pause and wiggle and things like that (on the horizontal screens). The new pattern system means the behaviours of these enemies can be more flexible with minimal overhead. Right now the patterns are mostly plain, moving up and down or left to right with not much else going on. That will change as I get some time to work on elaborating the patterns.

 

Sprites popping in at the bottom : that's a feature bug :P 

 

The idea is for those enemies to warp or pop in, then move (in some cases) rather than always just conveniently appear from off screen. It's not 100% working as intended yet and needs a bit of tinkering. I did encounter a situation in my own testing where they appeared and just sat their stubbornly refusing to move. I think this is similar to the point noted by @sramirez2008 where they appeared, waited then moved. This might happen if the code that reads the pattern or place in a pattern that a particular enemy is at, gets "confused" because one of the counters or timers didn't reset.

 

Also added to the tweak and fix list :)

 

Thanks a lot for the feedback guys, it's really valuable and helpful.

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1 hour ago, Muddyfunster said:

piston area

Lol! Piston sounds much better. Sorry to have referred to it as a Stamper.:dunce:

 

1 hour ago, Muddyfunster said:

My plan is to make it so that you would bump off the bottom of it, in a similar way that you bump off of the sides in this build.

Thanks. Since we’re currently able to bump off the sides, I was expecting (similar behavior) to be able to bump off the bottom. 

 

1 hour ago, Muddyfunster said:

Regarding the pattern enemies. They do indeed pause and wiggle and things like that

I like their updated behavior and sprites. 

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First and foremost - W4 (BIOMASS DARK ZONE) DEMO - I know it's only three screens, but whoa...the colors and the following eyeballs!  The graphic design gives me an Alien/Gradius/Contra combo vibe.  Love it.  Cannot wait for that world to be completed.

 

While I still rank 'Kish-Necropolis' as being my favorite, having a Greek Mythological ambiance, I have a strong feeling Biomass Dark Zone will take the top spot.

 

Brightened things up with color selection - toning down the red - for 'Kanika', definitely for the better.  The areas "pop" a bit more now.  I like it.

 

What is awesome about the newly designed enemies, first encountered in the Boom Cupboard, is they so much remind me of the enemy satellites from the arguably obscure Cosmic Cruncher (Vic-20).  They just need their 'arms' to pulsate...lol.  Regardless, they have more personality than the prior attacking ships, a very nice upgrade.

 

Although I haven't had the opportunity to play as much as I would like, what I can state with a measure of certainty respecting gameplay balance, currently, it is very well executed.  I'm not feeling frustrated with difficulty, but no cakewalk either.  Progress is made and I'm properly punished for being sloppy or rushed in my approach, while being met with a fair challenge as I make my way through.  None of the enemies or switch timings feel ridiculous tough, yet at the same time, there is a nice measure of skill and patience that also has to be exhibited to an extent.

 

The couple of ammo replenishment crates is a nice new touch.  I don't recall coming across those in the older builds, and just what is needed for the secondary weapon/missiles.  

 

No cheap hit detection encounters were experienced from this recent (Alpha 35) build with the Wasp - so maybe it's that - or something else, nonetheless, the ship does seem to handle better than ever.  Super smooth and responsive. When in an open area, swooping around, the ship glides and responds excellently, though at the same time is nailing those tight spots, doing so almost elegantly; close enemy encounters are left at just that - close calls this time around.

 

A beautiful build, which I look forward to devoting more time to...Did I mention I cannot wait for that Biomass Dark Zone to be completed? :-D

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Quite exceptional Muddy, and an OST in there to boot! I like the home HUD, it's very reminiscent of those old Origin/Sierra games.

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This game is badass 

On 3/24/2021 at 9:20 PM, Trebor said:

No cheap hit detection encounters were experienced from this recent (Alpha 35) build with the Wasp - so maybe it's that - or something else, nonetheless, the ship does seem to handle better than ever.  Super smooth and responsive. When in an open area, swooping around, the ship glides and responds excellently, though at the same time is nailing those tight spots, doing so almost elegantly; close enemy encounters are left at just that - close calls this time around.

Couldn't say it any better.  I just played through the worlds again, with the sole purpose of taking in the amazing visuals.  This game reminds me of how amazed I was when I first saw Uncharted: Drakes Fortune on the PS3.  I couldn't believe how good it looked.  Now fast forward to E.X.O. and its the same level of amazement with the Worlds that have been created for this game.  It just gets better and better.  Looking forward to the next ROM (no pressure).🙂

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On 3/25/2021 at 2:20 AM, Trebor said:

First and foremost - W4 (BIOMASS DARK ZONE) DEMO - I know it's only three screens, but whoa...the colors and the following eyeballs!  The graphic design gives me an Alien/Gradius/Contra combo vibe.  Love it.  Cannot wait for that world to be completed.

 

While I still rank 'Kish-Necropolis' as being my favorite, having a Greek Mythological ambiance, I have a strong feeling Biomass Dark Zone will take the top spot.

 

Brightened things up with color selection - toning down the red - for 'Kanika', definitely for the better.  The areas "pop" a bit more now.  I like it.

Thanks @Trebor!

 

The Dark Zone definitely takes inspiration from Alien & Giger, Gradius, Contra and of course the original Cybernoid games. While I moved away from a conversion very early, I still wanted a nod to Cybernoid and also many other games. I did the eyeballs on a whim, they featured in the 16 bit versions of Cybernoid but didn't follow the ship. I only made them follow the ship for a bit of a laugh, but it just seemed right so I left it in. I actually had tentacles and stuff but ran out of ROM so not sure whether they will make it into the level.

 

And yep, palettes in general have had some work (and still some to do on the NTSC palettes from watching James's stream).

 

On 3/25/2021 at 2:20 AM, Trebor said:

No cheap hit detection encounters were experienced from this recent (Alpha 35) build with the Wasp - so maybe it's that - or something else, nonetheless, the ship does seem to handle better than ever.  Super smooth and responsive.

I'm really pleased by this feedback. A few other folks have also commented that this seems better than the last demo. There were also some minor tweaks to the control code with the idea of reducing the occasional "jar" or "jerking" movement of the ship. I'm glad they are being felt in the gameplay, especially the collisions.

 

Thanks for the feedback and kind words :)

 

 

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1 hour ago, sramirez2008 said:

This game is bad

Couldn't say it any better.  I just played through the worlds again, with the sole purpose of taking in the amazing visuals.  This game reminds me of how amazed I was when I first saw Uncharted: Drakes Fortune on the PS3.  I couldn't believe how good it looked.  Now fast forward to E.X.O. and its the same level of amazement with the Worlds that have been created for this game.  It just gets better and better.  Looking forward to the next ROM (no pressure).🙂

Thanks Steve, appreciate the feedback and the kind words. With E.X.O. I wanted to make a game that was probably more at home on the SMS or NES or maybe even Genesis, with the presentation, cutscenes etc that I wanted to include. I saw that as a good challenge and I'm just pleased (and relieved!) that folks like what I came up with. Feedback from you and other members of the community is quite motivating (not to mention helpful finding bugs and tuning gameplay!). Remember, the Wasp would have no engine trail if not for @-^CrossBow^- ! 🕹️👍

 

Regarding the next demo, that might well just be a standalone demo of one of the boss fights for folks to try out. I want to spend a bit of time this next couple of weeks getting the demo of Bernie out as that's really close to testable code (my 7800 workflow is a bit odd to be fair) which will constrain E.X.O. coding directly. That said, there really isn't a huge amount of coding to do on E.X.O. mostly it's about building the rest of the worlds and integrating them. The engine is pretty much done, bar a few tweaks here and there. I'm pretty confident about being done by the Summer.

 

@OldStyle & @SlidellMan Thanks for the comments  - regarding the OST, @Synthpopalooza takes all the credit there. His orchestrations are fantastic. The real World 2 music will fit that world much better than the placeholder (which is world 5's music).

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Well I should be able to devote more time to E.X.O. builds now that Wiz's Dungeons is nearing completion. 

 

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Just ran the game on A7800, and have to say that playing the game with @Synthpopalooza's music makes it all the more enjoyable. To tell you the truth, Muddy, I beat the first two levels. It's too bad that Curt Vendel died last year; I bet this game would have been amazing with the finished Expansion Module.

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9 hours ago, SlidellMan said:

Just ran the game on A7800, and have to say that playing the game with @Synthpopalooza's music makes it all the more enjoyable. To tell you the truth, Muddy, I beat the first two levels. It's too bad that Curt Vendel died last year; I bet this game would have been amazing with the finished Expansion Module.

 

Glad you enjoyed the play through.

 

You really need to "hear" the game on real hardware to do the tunes justice. POKEY emulation, especially with some of the techniques Bobby uses to get some of the unique sounds, do not always play well on current emulators unfortunately. You would need a Dragonfly to enjoy the tunes, at least until a physical release :) 

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On 3/26/2021 at 11:42 AM, SlidellMan said:

Just ran the game on A7800, and have to say that playing the game with @Synthpopalooza's music makes it all the more enjoyable.

Yes, the music is awesome and adds alot!

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Little update.

 

The "first lift" of world 3 was completed this week, so all of the screens are now built, integrated and fully navigable from start to end. Right now I'm working on building out the hazards and engine code triggers.

 

Couple of examples - no hazards.

 

image.thumb.png.c10cc588ad8f979ffdc0860676a51b03.png

 

image.thumb.png.aa6b0f23e50fdc7f75c86e1d705c8636.png 

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The Forest Moon of Kish is shaping up excellently.  Thank you for the progress update!

 

Admittedly, I still have not achieved obtaining both items and the artifact in one session from both easy (Kanika) and medium (Erus) playable worlds under the current public release.  Though each world has been 'conquered' individually. 

 

Need to put in more practice (patience) and time.  :D

 

Looking forward to the next release!

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I am playing this game for the first time, easiest planet/mission, latest version 35, on my dragonfly, and after awhile, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, my whole screen goes lime color and the sounds freezes with some sort of buzz. Anyone else ever have this issue or know what might be going on?

 

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What were you doing when it crashed? (idling, shooting, changing screen?) 

 

Did you manage to see what screen you were on ? (they all have names).

 

 

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The first time it crashed I had the game paused after playing 5 or 10 minutes because I left to eat lunch. When I came back it was lime color. 2nd time I was on one of the early screens of Kanika when it happened. The third time it happened just now, I got to Abydos screen I think and died, and started back at the beginning screen. Left it sitting there and left the room for 5 or 10 minutes to do something, and when I came back my screen was lime green again. Maybe my system is unstable but only with E.X.O. ? 

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Seems to be unstable somehow. From the last lime green I powered off the 7800 and powered on again (left the dragonfly powered on) and restarted the game and in the middle of one of the first 5 screens it locked up lime green again.

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Well this sucks. I tried a different 7800 (RF only, horrible looking video) and E.X.O. seems to play fine on the dragonfly without locking up so far. It seems its my 7800 with the audio and video upgrades that I had Crossbow install that seems to be unstable with E.X.O. when running on dragonfly. I'll have to test it with other games on dragonfly. Previously it worked fine powered up for weeks at a time with Vikki and Rikki and never had any issues. In fact this is the first time I ever had issues with that 7800. Oh well...

 

 

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@john_q_atari Thanks for checking on another console. It does seem as though it's the modded console that's the causing the issue.

 

I was a bit surprised by the frequency of the issues you noted. There have been quite a few folks testing E.X.O. on a bunch of different console variations and no-one reported anything like the issues that you have unfortunately experienced.

 

I've run some tests this evening as you never know right? I've had the same build you have running without issues. I played 30 mins on my PAL7800 then left that idling while I did the same on the Mister Core for NTSC 7800. Not so much as a blip out of place on either.

 

I'm no expert on 7800 modding but I guess someone might be able to guide you on that or what might be causing your modded machine to snarl up.

 

Thank for flagging it, even though it does seem like a false positive.

 

 

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A little more work on world 3, - adding in some hazards. Liberal reuse of the World 2 Lava assets for some brown nasty gunk. I tried green gunk but with the background foliage it was too much green. The brown seems to work. 

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, john_q_atari said:

Well this sucks. I tried a different 7800 (RF only, horrible looking video) and E.X.O. seems to play fine on the dragonfly without locking up so far. It seems its my 7800 with the audio and video upgrades that I had Crossbow install that seems to be unstable with E.X.O. 

Please reach out to me so I can help with this in some way? I've not had these issues with mine or any others that I've done that I've been told about. Then again, I'm not sure I've had mine sit idle that long on that game before. But I will give that a try.

 

You know what? I'm sending you a PM.

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3 hours ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

Please reach out to me so I can help with this in some way? I've not had these issues with mine or any others that I've done that I've been told about. Then again, I'm not sure I've had mine sit idle that long on that game before. But I will give that a try.

 

You know what? I'm sending you a PM.

To be clear to everyone, I do not think the mod caused an issue and I in no way intended to imply that I think because my console was modded was the reason I was having an issue. I love the mod and the work Crossbow did on it for me. I have 3 7800s and in my own mind, I identify which console is which by "the console that was modded" as only 1 of my 3 were, and that is the only console I use, and this was the first time ever I ever had something behave unexpectedly. Probably its something wierd with the 7800 board itself or the chips in it. I will follow up with Crossbow in PM.

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I played a few rounds of Alpha release 35 last night and didn't have any issues at all on my console. I also just left my ship sitting there in one spot on the 3rd world for like 2 hours and came back to it and it hadn't locked up or anything and was still sitting there waiting for me to take control of the ship.

 

 

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