External Lightning and Throwing

Just a short update today as it has been a busy fortnight. Firstly, some housekeeping. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve taken to streaming URR coding (and answering game questions etc), and also streaming Dungeon Crawl and a few other games, on my Twitch channel. I’m planning on streaming a lot more both coding and games as time goes by, and I’ll be announcing these only on Twitter (since I don’t want to fill up the Facebook page or anywhere else). I’d also appreciate some feedback on whether people are interested in seeing me do more gaming with the stream, more coding, or a mix. Briefly, on the first for example, I’m currently playing Crawl a lot – which I’m reasonably good at, and have several wins for under my belt – and will soon be playing the original Deus Ex for the first time. If you’re interested, let me know, or check by the channel. I’ll normally be streaming from any time between 12am and 12pm GMT, depending on what else I’m doing.

Now, onto the actual update which, as promised, is pretty brief (though what it describes is pretty significant!). Firstly, you can now throw items. Doing so brings up a crosshair, this time yellow (the ‘l’ook function is white, whilst the ‘g’rab function is orange), which also produces a “tail” behind your cross hair which shows you whether or not your throw will reach its target, sections of which will light up red if you’re trying to throw it through something you can’t. You then press enter, and the item soars across the map (some items spin whilst flying, so a torch will display as ― / | \ whilst flying) and hits whatever. I’ve also enabled a system for a message to display both when the item hits something, and when it lands, along with any other effects. For instance, you might get “The torch hits the wall”, or “The torch lands on a fire trap”, or “The torch hits the wall and lands on a fire trap” if you aimed the throw at or beyond a wall, it hit the wall, and then comes to land on whatever is below it. Additionally, some objects now set off some traps. Anything passing through a tripwire (not over a tripwire – it must land on the tripwire) will set it off, and heavier objects landed on pressure pads will set them off. You will also soon be able to ‘u’se branches to, rather than just throw them at traps, prod a trap in any square adjacent to you. Bear traps cannot be set off by something as light as a branch landing on them, but they will be triggered if you push down on the trap with one manually. Naturally all of this need will need balancing in the future once I know how much the player can carry, the scarcity of items, etc, but I’m just focusing on the mechanics for now. Below are two pictures of valid and invalid throws:



Secondly, torches now produce lighting whilst they fly! It is a very, very cool effect, and means you can now throw torches into the darkness to see what’s ahead, if so inclined. There will be very little in the current release that you might need to do that for, but in later versions it will be of much more use in certain situations (though you’d always run the risk of alerting people up ahead). The image below should give a vague idea of what it looks like, but I’ll try and produce a gif of it at some point.

Torch Throw

My next objectives are making sure all the interactions between objects and items on the map a) are correct and b) give correct messages whether in or out of sight, working a little more on tripwires so they spawn correctly in some unusual map situations, and finishing off the trap graphics, around 70% of which have thus far been done. After that I’ll be working on the ‘m’ake menu for combining items (for example, constructing torches), and then I’ll be moving onto the second big part of this release, which is health, damage and healing items. Well on track for releasing 0.4 before the end of this year! I’m also going to start producing much more detailed changelogs from here on (akin to something like Crawl) since there’s always a lot of tweaks and minor new features I end up fitting in.

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16 thoughts on “External Lightning and Throwing

    • Haha – I’m going to be doing more DC:SS for a while, and I intend to play the original Deus Ex for the first time ever in the coming few weeks, but then I think Volgarr is probably next on my list. I wish I could set a particular time I’m going to stream, but because I have a lot of academic work to get on with in the next few months, whenever I feel in a mood to work (regardless of time), I have to prioritize that : (, and coding/streaming just fits in the Other Times.

      • Good choices. Have you played LaMulana?
        It’s also along the lines of “tough but fair” but it manages to do it for both action and puzzles. The original is a freeware game but you need a translation patch.

        The remake costs money but is a supremely quality piece of gaming with a proper translation too.
        Sadly the trailer for the remake has lots and lots of in horrendous ‘Engrish’ all through it which might be very off putting.

        You should give it a look sometime as the level design is very interesting and the way the puzzles integrate with the world ranges from simple to mind-bendingly clever.

        • I have played La Mulana quite extensively. I actually have a blog entry about it half written (along with a bunch of others…), but I agree with 50% of your comment. It is tough, which is good, but I don’t think it’s fair. Long story short, I think most of the puzzles are simply too unclear – not “this is difficult to work out” unclear, but “there is no way to work this out without just trial and error” unclear, and I think that’s very poor design. I think there’s a world of difference between promoting experimentation, and promoting trial and error, and sadly the game almost always falls into the latter category. In most cases I found you can’t even figure out what the puzzle is without just trying things at random until something clicks, and some areas – like the… Sky Disk?… don’t even tell you what they’ve done. You rotate the Sky Disk, but you then just have to wander at random until you find out what it changed. Or you solve Puzzle X, but the outcome of Puzzle X might be anywhere in the game! That’s not difficult, that’s just stupid and needlessly obscure. Once the puzzles are clear, I agree that some of them are very interesting, and some of the puzzles, though unclear, work very well (I particularly like “Meditate beneath Wedjet”, or whatever it is, rather than using the plinth in that room), and it definitely has some interesting level design, but overall I found/find it very disconnected, very trial-and-error based, very unclear about whether you’ve actually got a solution, and if so, what exactly it solved. I love the ambition of the game, and some segments really deliver, but some segments fall out of “challenging” and into “needlessly unclear and frustrating”. However, I am intrigued by La Mulana 2… but LM1 is not something I intend to play again.

          I really, REALLY enjoy watching it in a speed run, though.

          • I generally (but not *always*) found that there were clues about where things happened. For instance with the Sky Disk. If you’ve been following the whole tale of the giants then you know which statues are which and also which giants did specific things under Sun, Moon and Stars. So knowing what has changed is reasonably obvious.
            However there are clues everywhere in the game and clues related to other clues etc. So it can be really confusing if you haven’t been somewhere important :/

            Thanks for replying.

          • Ah – see, I knew a lot of puzzles I might have not found clues for had clues, though I didn’t know the Sky Disk does. Nevertheless, it is possible (and very likely) to get to the Disk without having that information, *even if* you’ve read everything you’ve come across at that point. But honestly, when it became clear that you could get yourself trapped in that area in the Temple of the Sun without the Holy Grail, and the Grail was the only way out, I just decided the developers had clearly paid no attention to thinking about the routes through the game and where you could/couldn’t even up with particular items or pieces of knowledge. I see no issue if you should have to explore, but the game seems to demand you explore every possible region before every single puzzle, a possibility made even harder because of the lack of clarity. Similarly, I like this kind of Metroidvania game, but a big part of me thinks it would have benefited from “less freedom”, so that clues and puzzles are much more tightly coupled.

  1. Are you playing DC:SS with an existing character or are you rolling a new one? I lost hundreds of chars across many versions but never actually managed to win the game. I’ll gladly watch a fresh run from someone who successfully grabbed some runes. Will post a twitter note when you’re going to stream?

    As for Volgarr, I hope for a C&C styled post when you spend some time with this game, it’ll be fun to read 🙂

    • Damn, I wish yesterday’s had recorded then (Twitch had changed it so you have to opt-in to automatic archiving, and I was not aware). I’ve got two characters going atm – a HoPr who I took from 0->3 Runes last night, and a TrBe who’s standing on 1 Rune at the moment. I’ll try and take a character from start to finish on stream too, as I’ll no doubt start some more characters as time goes by. Also, from what I’ve seen of Volgarr, that’s got to be very possible. The level design looks difficult and interesting (which are the two metrics by which I judge the value of a game)!

      • Could you tweet your DC:SS streaming plans a little earlier than 1-2h before streaming (especially those 0 to completion runs)? I always miss them :/

        The last stream I watched, was your orc Gonorrhea. You must have a lot of respect for your characters 😉

        • Sure, I’ll try to tweet it earlier in the day if that would be helpful : ). I normally tweet when I’m starting, but I wait about ten minutes for a few people to turn up before I begin. Today, for instance, my intention is to start a coding stream very shortly (once I stop coughing pathetically). Also, ha – I do enjoy giving my characters daft names, though I also try to take names from chat. I’m running a Troll of Xom at the moment, which has been interesting, but at least he isn’t dead yet. Either way, I normally stream a game between 8pm and 12pm GMT (when I stream), so those are the times to check!

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