May Dev Diary: StringZ pt. 2

It’s the last Saturday of the month again, wait no, It’s the first. I should have really posted this last week, but it felt a little early so here we are. Regardless it’s time for my (slightly) regular monthly dev log. As always, I’ll discuss what I’ve been up to, what’s new & what’s next. Let’s get into it…

Minimum menu’s

I started the month with one of the easier tasks. Basically, I had 3 screens in game, pause, death & win. I set it up like that because it was easier just setting screens active, but I thought it would be more efficient to cut that down to one reactive screen. So, I deleted two, renamed the remaining & pieced it all together. It may have been a waste of time, especially deleting the old screens, but it’s now easier to work with and update.

Level ratings

Next, I went for something a little more important, scoring. Currently it’s setup so you reach a certain kill target then you can escape. Which is how you progress through the levels but there needed to be more. So, I added a 3-star rating, originally, I had planned there to be six rating criteria (half a star each) but I decided to keep things simple (ish).

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You now receive one star for simply finishing the level alive, another for doing that within a set time limit (speed bonus) & a final star for collectables. Naturally I also added some simple collectables to the levels, the idea is there’s 3 picks to collect (bronze, silver, gold), all 3 will bag you that extra star with a bonus reward!

The star system is not fully finished, it all works it just isn’t dynamically displayed. Say you get two stars; two stars appear on the level select screen/end screen & your reward is added but nothing shows you what the reward is. Basically, it needs a little more feedback, but the functionality is there.

Powers!

We have power!!! To start off I updated the song bar which you may have noticed on twitter. But now there’s a reason for its existence, when full you can harness the power of music, strum a sweet solo & kill all the zombies in the area. Like this:

nuke2.gif

It’s not really a power, more an ability & It’s a little OP at the minute, but it adds more reason to play your music (not that we need to be attracting more zombies!).

That isn’t the only power we have though… These random power shacks also appeared in every level:

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You need a key to get in (wait keys?), but these activate power ups. So far there’s only one (speed boost) but now that works it won’t be too much trouble to add the rest.

Supply drops

You can now order supply drops from the safehouse, these will appear in the next level you enter (endless or normal). Dropping precious keys, occasionally a new costume & because it’s nice you get a little cash back (spare change). Of course, what it drops is random, I also made sure it spawns in a random spot each time.

dropzz.gif

When I first started you could just buy one at a set price & It dropped whatever it wanted. But I thought it’d be more fun to pay what you want for supply drops, the more you spend the better the drop. I didn’t go too crazy with this idea but instead added tiers. You can buy a cheap supply drop that might drop one key and a very little bit of money or you upgrade a few tiers & get more keys, more money & better chances of a costume!

I should note this is all in game money you earn from completing levels & waves. You won’t be spending any real money don’t worry! The in-game money will probably be picks, i just used a $ sign for testing 😛

Endless mode

So, what happens once you complete all the levels at a 3-star rating? Endless mode has been introduced this month too. I started by copying the level select screen & making a button that transitions between the two. You can see that here:

switch.gif

Nothing spectacular for now but it’s a start. Currently when you get the first star (complete a level) you unlock that level in endless mode. A decent reward for a single star no? Anyway, once I had the screen, I had to get endless mode working. The plan was to copy each level & change how it plays but that means 2 of every level, again not efficient, I don’t like that. So, I loaded the same level & coded my way to a different game mode.

Endless mode is wave based; you have a kill target that increases each wave. The reward also increases each wave, but you must escape to receive it, die & you lose it. Once you reach the kill target the zombies die and there’s a break. This gives you time to prepare & escape if you’re ready for it.

The mode isn’t perfect it still needs a little work, but I had fun throwing all this together^ Highlight of the month.

Problems

Most of the problems this month was bug related and most of the time they’re easily fixed. This last week I haven’t had much time to work on the bigger features so I hacked out as many bugs as I could. Up until now (so long as it wasn’t game breaking) I’ve just been collecting them but since I had limited time, I decided to exterminate a few now.

Bug

Some I didn’t even know I had, I let my cousin play & he tried using the nuke inside the power shack (something I hadn’t even thought about). This led to a thousand other problems I didn’t know I had until I fixed them!

Sadly, bugs were not the only problem this month. Firstly, my health is not so great atm, wish I could tell you more, but the doctors have told me nothing so far, I’ve just had a lot of tests & appointments. Hopefully it’s nothing serious anyway & I try not to let it get in the way but getting better is keeping me busy… On top of that I also had a few breaks which isn’t really a problem (because sitting at the beach was sooooo needed!!) but it did put me a few days behind. However, I’m back at it & making progress.

Final problem, I know I’m as sick of them as you! But this is more a secondary problem. My team, or the people I’ve acquired to help me do the art & music have also had some personal issues this month. I wont talk about them, it’s not my place but it’s worth mentioning as it has slowed progress a little.

Upcoming

So, what’s next? Well pretty much all the functionality is in-game now, there’s still bits to refine but it’s almost there. That means the goal now is improve & expand the current content. There’s still a lot missing, currently there’s only 5 levels (a couple being placeholders). There’s barely any art assets & no music yet. Over the next month I’ll try prioritising all the important stuff & getting it as close to finish as possible. Another month or so like this one (without issues) & it’ll be finished in no time!

Sorry if this post feels a little rushed but there was so much to talk about! You can tell I’m a coder not a writer… Anyway have a great day!

Cya next post!

 

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