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The Slipstream (Beta)


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#1 RedTribeLink

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 08:12 PM

The Slipstream

By RedTribeLink

FULL BETA DOWNLOAD LINK BELOW


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(I apologize if images are not centered properly)

DESCRIPTION:
In the land of Glenridge, there lay a tear in space called the Slipstream.  Whatever brave or foolish soul entered into it did not return.  For years, it laid dormant, until it began unstable and monsters began to emerge from it.  They began attacking villages, kidnapping people, and throwing them into the Slipstream's vortex.  Join Hirota as he makes a one way trip into this phenomenon in order to save his best friend and grandmother.
 
FEATURES:
- 8 various realms to explore
- A unique elemental combat system
- Challenging obstacles and puzzles
- Leveling and upgrades
- Four difficulty levels
 
DEVELOPMENT HISTORY:
The Slipstream was originally created for the 2015 Two-Week Contest.  It was received very well and people overall seemed to enjoy it.  Because of this, I wanted to expand the game further.  Originally, I began making a full second half of the game in order to continue the story.  This resulted in having more level-ups and more upgrades than in the original.  However, I began to feel very limited and wanted to do more with the continuation than what I was able to do in the same game file as the original content.  Thus, I ended up leaving it for awhile and was unsure of the future of the game.
 
I knew I wanted to release all the major changes and improvements I made to the original content, but I just didn't know how I wanted to go about it.  It wasn't until recently, I finally decided that I would attempt to make an actual sequel of the game in order to finish up the story.  This gave me the motivation to finish fine-tuning this game and giving a definitive version out to the public finally.
 
And so, what you see before you is the full beta of the main story of Slipstream.  Because I already had enhancements to the levels and upgrades due to trying to make the sequel into this game, I decided I'd also make a postgame for this.  It's still being worked on, so unfortunately it could not be featured here.
 
Some things that have changed since the original version:
Spoiler

 
 
FINAL REMARKS:
Whether you've played the original contest version or are new to this game, I hope you enjoy it!  Thank you for reading and playing!  Feedback is appreciated.
 
DOWNLOAD LINK (PLEASE PLAY IN ZC 2.5.2):
https://expo.purezc....m Expo 2017.qst
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#2 NewJourneysFire

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 08:22 PM

Going to stream this quest right now, check me out at:

 

http://www.twitch.tv/newjourneysfire



#3 NewJourneysFire

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 09:33 PM

Great demo, the only thing that kept me from voting it a 5 is your poor use of tiles (half-hammer peg as a step switch) that caused me to spend a good portion of my playthrough trying to figure out just what to do. I've also noticed a few instances where secrets are a bit cryptic this way. The aquatic bombs was found at the end of a path after you kill a bunch of enemies, some people being new to the area might actually easily overlook that they pressed two switches to reach this dead end. I would have had the item clear for people to see, or something to hint that it is there.  Other than that, I really love the direction of this quest.

 

Sometimes unfortunately, you almost gotta make your secrets almost a little too obvious because things can be so easily overlooked. Which is funny because this is a quest that has cracked walls, the which is the cliche polar opposite of some of your more cryptic secrets. lol 


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#4 RedTribeLink

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 11:35 PM

Thank you for playing through the quest! Yeah I can see how there can be some confusion on those parts, so I can understand what you mean. But I'm glad you enjoyed it overall! I'll have to watch the VOD later.

Any LP or video play through of this is definitely more than welcome! Being able to watch someone else play it can really go a long way into figuring out what needs to be addressed.

#5 Avataro

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 10:37 AM

What a great quest. :D I'm liking it even more than I did before. So the quest is complete, yeah? I'm stuck in the watery town right now (unable to find anything). Maybe I'll have to backtrack

 

Some more criticism:

I agree with what NJF has said. The triggers should also play a secret sound and not trigger secrets silently. xd

In the screen with the first bosskey, the pushable rocks have transparent lines when you push them. Change them to solid black in the tile editor to fix that.

The SFX for enemies purple magic shooting is too loud. The SFX for turning lava solid is way too loud. (love the hammer SFX though ^^)

 

Lemme know if you want me to help you out with fixing any of that.


Edited by Avataro, 05 November 2017 - 02:44 PM.

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#6 RedTribeLink

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 12:11 PM

I'm glad you liked it!  The main part of the quest (which you see here) is complete, however I am adding some postgame content for the database release.  For where you are stuck:

 

Spoiler

 

Hmm.  I'll work on the triggers being a bit more obvious.  I do have a script that'll trigger a SFX when the button is hit, I'll just have to move it over to this quest.  Also, wow, I forgot to fix those rocks  :doh: haha.  I didn't realize the SFX were that loud.  That should be an easy fix, but I'll definitely let you know if I need some help lowering the volume on them.

 

Thank you for your thoughts!


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#7 Eddy

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 01:55 PM

This was quite well made, as great as the 2-week version from a while back I'd say, probably even better. I had a lot of fun playing this, especially with the cool weakness system with the 4 different types of enemies. The areas were all very unique and had their own cool little puzzles, and I especially liked the boss fights. I can't really think of anything to critique about, other than re-iterating the fact that the floor switches in some areas probably shouldn't use hammer peg tiles. Other than that, this quest is really good! Easy 5/5 from me, looking forward to checking out the post-game stuff when that gets done!


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#8 NewJourneysFire

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 04:37 PM



#9 Avataro

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 09:57 AM

I love what you did with the like like enemies. Also the final boss kills me a bit too fast. Not sure how I can beat him.


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#10 RedTribeLink

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 01:28 PM

Thanks!

 

Tips on the final boss:

 

Spoiler

 

Hope this helps!



#11 Lüt

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 09:30 AM

This was definitely one of the more inventive quests I've played.

I like how you tie your story and location together without throwing either in the player's face. Some designers endlessly ramble on with their dialogue, or find every unnatural way to highlight their "unique" setting, but this avoids both without neglecting either.

The enemy strengths/weaknesses system took a little getting used to, but once I'd tried one of each weapon against one of each enemy, it snapped into place rather quickly. To that extent, this is one of the very few quests where I feel the A+B selection system genuinely works well, along with Legend of Lana DX and TRIFORCE.

I found the difficulty progression to be quite even throughout the quest. Apart from a few random madhouse rooms, it was a steady ramp up that never strayed too far from a consistent and dependable formula. And to be clear, I love a good madhouse every now and then, but only if you're well equipped - 6 "hearts" is pushing it for a few of these areas, especially if there's that stray unfathomable person who chooses the life-to-magic upgrade rather than the magic-to-life upgrade, and who would probably also choose the red potion rather than the heart container in the original game.

(For reference, I played on Difficulty I.)

The designs looked nice and the layout flowed very well - in fact, so well that it should have occurred to me far earlier that all the individual areas were actually part of the same physical map in true metroidvania style. The size of each sector was about right for what it was (though "sector" sounds more like a sci-fi word than a fantasy word), and they each provided good stylistic variety without overstaying their welcome.

I do agree with some comments from NJF and Avataro. Hammer pegs as step switches is counter-intuitive for anybody who's ever pounded a hammer peg, and Zora's fireball shot sounds like a cannon being fired from a warship (which is oddly amusing to me since I used to think the Zoras were submarines when I first played the game). By contrast, the hammer smash sounds like a palm hitting water in a bath tub.

Regardless, it was generally nice to play and fun to explore.

BUT!

There's always room for improvement.

So here's a few notes and observations I've made while playing, of things that I think could stand to be looked into in one way or another:

- No-monster flags -

This is a big issue in a lot of quests I play, and no less here.

Enemies set to spawn at random places in compact rooms often get stuck in locations they shouldn't, or wander to out-of-reach areas for extended periods of time, so it's important to assess your screens with this in mind and put flag 96 / 97 anywhere you don't want any enemies / ground enemies. I can tell you've already done a bit of this by ground enemies not appearing on unreachable dungeon ledges, but I think a number of screens still need further refinement.

For example, this enemy consistently getting stuck in a bush:

slipstream-expo-005.png

You've got the bush set to function as a secret so that it disappears when the player kills all enemies, meaning you're probably using flag 16 on it. If that's the case, I would suggest a special bush combo with an inherent flag of 16 so that you can place the no monster flag on the main screen, along with any others you may have. Further, you could also remove standard bush->next functionality, if you haven't already.

More commonly, you'll see enemies getting stuck in single-tile spaces like these:

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Less commonly but more annoyingly, enemies will appear on short single-tile paths that are necessary to take, and in this case, pop up just when the player is about to step into the warp:

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But next, you've got this Pols Voice here:

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I realize those things like to jump across all kinds of odd places, but this instance is particularly odd-looking since, at other points in the quest, the player can fall into those slipstream tiles, indicating they're supposed to act like pits for any non-flying thing that may land on them. If you're using something like Mero Pits for those tiles and flag 97 rather than 96 is required by the script, I'd suggest simply making non-pit versions of the slipstream tiles for places like the above where falling into the pit is irrelevant since the player has no access in the first place, then put flag 96 on those.

And finally, screens like this with flying enemies:

slipstream-expo-021.png

Above all else, there were countless screens like that where I spent minutes waiting for flying enemies to come within range. Even holding ~ to speed the game up could take over 20-30 seconds to bring these things within range. This was further compounded by most ranged weapons only firing in a straight line, the boomerang being one of the last items the player can get, and all of them requiring "ammo" of some kind to use. Please guide these things within range with a generous helping of flag 96s.

- Push-puzzle traps -

Sometimes the players can trap themselves in puzzles using pushable objects:

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I realize these aren't game-breakers since you start the player with Farore's Wind at no magic cost, and it's true that it doesn't take too long to return to them from the start, but they're still avoidable nuisances, so hopefully it wouldn't be too much hassle to address them.

- Use sensitive warp gates -

Unless this specifically breaks your gameplay at some point, standing on the upper half of a warp tile without being warped looks silly, so change the combo type to sensitive warp so that the tile warps the player no matter what part of it they stand on:

slipstream-expo-007.png

- Check spelling -

s / "decieve" / "deceive":

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s / "decendant" / "descendant":

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etc.

- Transparent "Blacks" -

When classic tiles were imported to the default sets, apparently nobody differentiated between which black colors should be solid and which "black" colors should be transparent, so every black color defaulted to transparent. Avataro already mentioned the pushable rocks, but it's especially true for Outlands Dungeon overheads, and possibly other sets depending what tileset you're using (looks like Instrumentality, which I'm not overly familiar with), so check all your overhead and pushable tiles to be sure they're properly blacked-out. For reference, I use the last color of each palette for consistency's sake, unless it's already dedicated to a specific purpose.

slipstream-expo-017.png

- Misc -

This rooms resets if the player strays too far from the bottom path going to the other side:

slipstream-expo-015.png

I'm guessing the ice block is some kind of monster? And it has the enemy-carries-item flag enabled? In which case, is there any chance you could make it a no-return monster without messing up the player's ability to reach the key?

Then, due to 8-way movement making Link exceptionally fat, there's no way to free these traps while facing upward without getting hit, in which case I simply hammer the bottom blocks and take that hit instead:

slipstream-expo-016.png

Next, this text tells me I can have double defense when down to 6 HP:

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...but, what is 6 HP? Did I miss a message telling me how to determine HP numbers? The life gauge only displays orange dots, so is each dot 6 HP, or are they standard heart container equivalents with 16 HP? I assumed each dot was 6 HP, because if they were the usual 16 HP, then 6 HP is one heck of an arbitrary number for double defense to kick in at - not to mention, rendering the item negligible at best.

Speaking of shops, this one displays the introductory story dialogue when I press L to buy an item that I don't have "money" for:

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It seems impossible to avoid falling on a spike when picking up the boss key in this room due to the hold-up animation causing temporary loss of control while still being pushed downward:

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This stairway is rather lengthy for one where a projectile-shooting enemy spawns directly below it nearly every time:

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Also, argh:

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Because of traditional screen item configurations, having a key hidden on the same screen as a sword that's already been picked up will be counter-intuitive for most players (despite me finding it rather quickly I guess):

slipstream-expo-022.png

And of all the rooms to not enable "enemies always return" in, the one above this room is it:

slipstream-expo-023.png

Thanks to all the cracking floor tiles, I had to go up and back down to get the boss key, which had become inaccessible from the extensively cramped combat, only to have to redo the entire room. I forget if there were even shutters despite doing the room twice, but I wasn't going to risk it to go back up and take a shot of the actual room in question, so you get one the room below it instead. I wasn't aware 4 standard enemies could be a considered a madhouse until I played that room.

Finally, because extended fire trails are aggravating and dramatic boss music playing in empty rooms after the boss is defeated sounds silly, I'd suggest using the Fire Trail Reduction and Enemy Music scripts. For Fire Trails, 356 is my go-to duration - about 6 seconds, rather than the standard 11. And if you do have Enemy Music used elsewhere (I forget if I heard music change at one point), then I'd highly suggest using it in the boss rooms too.

ANYWAY!

Despite what looks like a flood of complaints, I really did enjoy this. It looked nice, had a good flow, areas were about the "right size" for what they were, provided unique combat scenarios, and the multiple difficulty settings enhance its accessibility and replayability. Pretty sure I'd play this again for the full version when it comes out.


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#12 Avataro

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 12:01 PM

To be fair, you can just ignore flying enemies that are not within your reach. And please don't use sensitive warps, they feel pretty weird imo. If even 1 pixel of Link touches the warp it warps you. I much prefer the normal, half-tile warps that every quest maker uses. The rest I can agree with :)


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#13 RedTribeLink

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 05:39 PM

Lut, thank you so much for the detailed review!  It is very much appreciated!    It's really cool to hear that the story and gameplay compliment each other.  I'll try to see if I can address most of the things you've pointed out.

 

No Enemy Flags:

Yeah, there does seem to be a few places I could put them.  I was actually completely unaware of the one issue in the desert, so thanks for pointing that one out.  Same could be said for the one in the gardens with the Life Scroll and enemies on the stairs.

 

Sensitive-Warps:

I'm not a fan of sensitive warps for the same reason Avataro mentioned.  I would rather deal with ZC being goofy with regular warp tiles than play with super finicky sensitive warps.  And I believe there are a few spots where it would make things much more annoying.

 

Transparant Blacks:

I've always kinda seen the transparent effect on the Outland dungeon doors to show that it's old and decaying, but that might just be me.  The rock one I've already fixed in my main file.

 

Misc:

Ice Block: I was actually thinking of doing this a few days ago, so I guess you read my mind lol.  Thank you though for bringing it up.

 

Spike Traps: Yeah...ZC does make the spike puzzle a bit finicky.  There are ways that you can turn yourself around and not let it hit you (Which granted is not the smartest design decision).  I am trying to think of a way to make it to where it doesn't do that (or just coming up with a new solution to it)

 

Shops: 6 HP does mean 6 Heart Containers.  I just called them HP since they aren't technically "Heart Containers" in this game.  I can see where the confusion can come in this.  (And for anyone curious as to why I even mention that it doubles defense at the max health, there are more Containers in the postgame).  Also, AAAAAAAAA I guess your life flashes before your eyes when you can't afford anything lol.

 

Water Boss Key: It's meant to be grabbed from the right side.  I should probably add a spike on the left side so there is no making that mistake.

 

Sword Key: My logic for that is that there wouldn't be a point to putting a random snippet of land on its own if it did not have anything.  I can't really think of any other way that could be addressed.

 

 

 

I think that's all I really can say, but thanks again for doing this!  It's really helped a lot!  :)




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