Tuesday, June 6, 2017

DQ1 Remake Beta 2.20 halfway done with beta testing

I'm taking a lot more time than usual to verify this DQ1 Remake build is ready for release before taking it out of closed beta, for three reasons:

1. This build will be the very last build where any scripting changes occur. The engine will be essentially complete after this build.

2. Per the first reason, this will allow the remain builds to proceed much more quickly, now that any remaining scripting work is over.

3. I now have a roadmap for eventual "Gold release per the first two reasons, as outlined here:

Beta 2.20: Everything just shy of the final dungeon of the normal route done.

Beta 2.30: Normal route finished, finished all the basics of the true route path.

Beta 2.40: True route ending implemented.

Gold Release: Assuming nothing goes horribly wrong. This version will receive any last minute polish, bug fixes, and will be the definitive build.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Another progress report on the DQI Remake 2.20 Closed Beta

After getting some more bug reports about Garinheim, I had to fix a lot of buggy tile collision issues, including being able to walk through certain portions of houses, being able to hop stair well where you shouldn't, and other wall clipping weirdness.

I should have fixed all of this.

I also got a complaint about how it looks how some landings make it look like the character is walking on the landing railing, not the floor, and I tried to fix this the best I could, but the tile art and the fact I have a 2D engine make some of this perspective weirdness unavoidable, and since I had to pay for the assets I used for the Garenheim town art, I'd have to contact the artist or someone with the same DLC pack I paid for who would be willing to modify it, as my own art skills are not that good.

I also made a few minor overworld map adjustments, nothing major, just shaved down the Hauksness and Rimuldar overworld areas a little bit.

I'm still awaiting more bug reports, but while I await them, I did make a minor story change.

Sarah is supposed to be a soldier who was detached from regular duty for personal reasons to help you, but because she's not officially on the clock, she can't use her authority as a soldier to help you until she resumes her regular post. I was informed I didn't make this entirely clear, so I extended her introduction a little and gave the player a choice to tell her you're okay with that and just grateful for the help or that you find it disappointing, both of which will modify the relationship value system I built in to the game a little bit.

I might as a few more of these altered dialogues in other areas as well, but this is the only one I've done out of necessity so far.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Closed Beta 2.20 of DQ1 Remake Continued Feedback

Got some more feedback on my closed beta and it looks like I have some more bugs to fix:

1. Seems I still have some remnants of the old dialogue system in place, need to purge that.

2. Fixing a small frameskip bug in town when picking up vegetation and eggs.

3. Complaints some music and SFX are too loud, will fix by cutting their level by 50% across the board.

4. Fix the bank, has some old code that causes graphical issues.

I plan to meticulously fix as many bugs before releasing this build, as I want the game as mechanically solid as possible before implementing the normal ending, final dungeon, and any content beyond that.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Closed Beta 2.20 of DQ1 Remake Feedback

I've already gotten some feedback from beta testers, and I've already fixed a lot of issues regarding UI problems, including screwed up text and number displays.

I reverted the player menu back to using the classic row format instead of the column view to fix a few more issues, but this is merely a cosmetic change.

Fonts had to be resized in several places for optimal display, and aside from a harmless "flash of unstyled content" glitch (the first character in the menu will briefly have their name and the "level' marker turn bold, then normal text), the menu is now free of UI problems, and the glitch is quite harmless for now, so I'm leaving it as a low priority to be fixed in later builds.

I have also begun experimenting with how to integrate content from DQ1 in any possible sequel, since I did have one planned, and I'm pleased to say my experiments with how to port content for us have proven quite successful, so any possible sequel, should I make one, will be able to incorporate areas from the original game in full (barring changes explicit to the sequel of course), which would be a great improvement over how most areas from the original DQ1 were greatly abbreviated in scope in DQ2.

Once beta testers finish getting back to me Beta 2.20 will enter public beta, and work will begin on the next build, in which the endings will be implemented, or such is the idea at this time.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

About ready for sending out the closed beta of Build 2.20 of DQ1 Remake

I'm on the cusp of sending out the closed beta of Build 2.20 of DQ1 Remake to beta testers, and I have to admit this build stops shy of including a lot of content I wanted to add because, frankly, I have so many game balance concerns at this point I don't want to add a ton of new areas and content before I have that resolved.

Several fixes over 2.10 include:

1. Scripting fixes for the minigames to resolve some crash issues.

2. Hopefully have removed all traces of the original crappy dialouge system code.

3. Code/resource bloat has been trimmed as much as possible, frame rate should be better overall, no more lag spikes.

4. Some further balance fixes to enemies and some random steal skill crashes should also be fixed.

5. Implemented some code meant for use in later builds, but only partially, most is dummied out for now because I don't want to totally enable some scripting code without finishing more content that would require it for stability reasons.

6. Have attempted some preliminary streamlining and optimization of all resources included in the game for it's eventual "gold" release. Many soundtrack files still need looping and I've still got some resources that aren't used but are retained in case any code still calls for their existence, this will be addressed later.

I also admit after a certain point I have not extensively tested some content and it's functional but not complete because I want a good idea about balance issues first before doing anything ambitious or polishing any rough spots.

Once I have made sure all the essentials will functional as advertised more or less and that no major showstopping bugs remain, I'll be packaging the current build and sending out the closed beta to testers.

Friday, April 14, 2017

DQ1 Remake Build 2.20 Resource Delay

I've had a bit of a snag as I have been hunting down custom resources for the bonus dungeon areas of my game. Since the assets required some custom editing and some mix and match optimal use in VX Ace (and it took a few tries to get it to look right), I've had a bit of a delay, but most of the graphical side is far behind me.

The music is now my remaining concern. I wanted custom music for this section to emphasize how much difference there is between the bonus dungeon and the rest of the game, much like how the Culex bonus boss in Super Mario RPG just stood out due to is dramatic clash with the rest of the game.

My biggest issue has been hunting down resources that were available for use that fit the theme, and I've finally found some worthy candidates, hope to have my music score picked out and ready to go soon.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DQ1 Remake Build 2.20 Scripting Changes Update

One of my goals for DQ1 Remake Build 2.20 was to eliminate all the source of lag spiking noticed in earlier builds, and I discovered what caused most of it.

The user interface code was loading a lot of external assets by default. It looked nice, but unfortunately the code was very inefficient, and the lag spikes were caused by how poorly all that extra information moved in and out of memory.

To fix this, I tossed out the old interface for items/skills/equipment/shops and redid it using simpler code. I also removed some scripts that were loaded into memory but weren't doing anything.

The results have been incredible, with framerate issues hammered down to nil, the improved scripting shows more tactically useful information, and a lot of load bloat is gone, meaning the game starts much faster.

This does have a gameplay change in that only one accessory can be equipped, not two, but I consider this an improvement for game balance, as two accessories of certain types could be  a bit overpowered.

This will require players of the older builds start a new save, which is unavoidable, but the trade-off of a far more stable game with much smoother FPS is more than acceptable from where I'm standing.

This will push back my ETA only a little more than I planned, since most of these changes proved very easy to implement, I just need to test some edge case scenarios to make sure no game crashes happen.