Saturday, October 15, 2011

Succumbed to Temptation

I changed the text.  Read the post below if you don't understand.  I had missed a step, too, when I was talking about the process I had to go through to upload the video to my website.  Audition saves the file at like 34,000 KB which apparently is too big for Flash to handle and so it freezes up.  So once I've adjusted the audio for fades in Audition I have to reload it in MovieMaker and save it again so that the file will only be 12,000 KB.  Here's the new text readout for the first credits screen:
And, just like I predicted, because I went in and fixed this I found another text part wrong.  On the following section, it originally said, "'The Legend of Zelda' and all contents wherein are wholly owned by Nintendo."  At first I thought "contents" should be just "content."  "Contents" is correct, but "wherein" is supposed to be "therein."  I had it this way on my website but everywhere else I was using the wrong word.  So I went in and changed that everywhere as well. 
I went on YouTube and uploaded the newer version with these two changes and also placed it on my website.  My website has the MovieMaker version and YouTube has the Audition version, which is slightly better in terms of audio and visual.  Unfortunately, once you've loaded something to YouTube you can't re-upload a newer version of the video.  You have to delete the video and make a new upload which results in you losing all view numbers and comments.  So things like demo reels, which are constantly updated, shouldn't be loaded to YouTube.  I can see why they do this because without having a moderator check each and every video update it'd be easy for someone to get a lot of views on something and then change the video to something completely different if they wanted.  Fortunately (somewhat), since I loaded the original video to YouTube it had only received 25 views so I'm not missing too much in that department.  19 people have gone to my site and downloaded the game.  Hopefully both of those number will pick up.  Here's the link for the new version of the game trailer:


P.S. - The issue I mentioned in my last post about BlogSpot/Blogger is resolved, too.  The new updated version actually places pictures where they should go and is running awesome.  I'm so glad they listened to my idea.  :P

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Must... Resist... Temptation...

I wanted to keep track of how many people download Zelda SoDak from my website so I had to find a piece of code to link with Google Analytics. Once I found it and initialized it, I had to wait for Google Analytics to confirm the code. That officially happened about an hour ago today. I tested the material and saw that my download click was marked in Google Analytics so the only thing left was to post the trailer on YouTube for the masses to see. Unfortunately, as the video was uploading, my OCD kicked in and I noticed something I hadn't before:
In MovieMaker, the "Games" is on the same line as "Armageddon." For some reason, once you create the .WMA file it changes the layout of the text. I had caught this on another scene and fixed it before going through the audio recording segment. No idea why I didn't see this one until now. I really want to fix it because it bugs the daylights out of me but doing that is far more trouble than it's worth. If it were just a simple matter of changing the text size in MovieMaker it would be done but I have to do that and then take the new saved file into Audition to sync the audio. Placing the soundtrack in MovieMaker makes the trailer freeze at the beginning for some strange reason. Plus, chances are I'd catch something else I'd want to fix and end up taking another month just patching the trailer. Unless I'm really bored sometime it's staying as is. Here's a link to my YouTube account:

Also, I might have mentioned this in an earlier post, but Blogger (BlogSpot, whatever) is really annoying when it comes to inserting pictures. The pictures get placed at the top of the post instead of where the cursor is and then when you move it around and readjust everything, even though it looks fine, just like MovieMaker it decides to throw in a ton of extra blank lines for no apparent reason. It takes more time than necessary to fix this.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Zelda SoDak is Gold

After two years of work, Zelda SoDak is finally complete. Technically it took two years but theoretically it only took 6-7 months. As you know if you read my previous posts, work was going very well and all the levels were complete by Christmas 2009 except for the final one, which was completed by February the following year.

At the end of February, I started a new job at Eagle Creek in Pierre, SD, making databases with Siebel for large companies. This set me back because it limited the amount of time I had to properly test everything. Since I wanted others to do the testing for me, though, I didn't mind this. However, as the months went by, no one was giving feedback so I ended up testing the game by myself. I didn't test as often as I should have. Some reasons are explained in the Postmortem, which can be found on my website.

Every time I played through the game I found things that needed to be changed. This post is going to go over some of those things just so you can get an idea of what's been going on:

- Technical
o Cave/Dungeon entrances weren't working
o Tiles weren't places properly (Bomb a rock and a grey tile appeared meaning the door hadn't been placed)
o Sound effects weren't working (special markers hadn’t been placed)
o There was a version of the Gohma I had in the game that wasn’t beatable unless you had Golden Arrows. They aren’t in the game so neither is the Gohma.

- Aesthetics
o This was a big one. As you can see in the original map, this area was wide open (black squares represent the section you can see on the television). There are Moblins in here you can just walk past and not have to fight. It didn't make for much fun. So I added in more rocks to not only make it harder to get through but also to make it look better. There are a couple of other areas that have a similar problem when playing but they didn't really bug me and it looks good on the map so I left it.

o Enemies got added/removed in different locations.
o A tree was added in front of the entrance to see the Old Woman to force the player to get the candle beforehand.
o The color of water was different from one tile to the next on the same square.
o Two warp zones were too close to each other which didn't make sense gameplay-wise so one of them and Level 7 swapped places.

- Editor Shortcomings
o There’s a checkmark in the editor you can select to make enemies reappear on certain game squares. This didn’t work so I had to make it so that on every square the enemies always reappeared. This was the only way to get multiple Zoras on the screen at the same time constantly among other things.
o In the original game, there were rooms in dungeons that were completely black. In order to advance you had to get the candle to be able to see. As you can tell from the screenshot, it doesn’t always work. If you were to use a moveable block, the tile that appears underneath it would be visible. Blocks are visible. Traps are visible. Sometimes the darkness doesn’t even take affect until you are leaving the room. In certain cases it works fine or good enough but in examples like this it just wasn’t worth it.
o A whistle you obtain to kill Digdoggers is also able to clear a lake and reveal a staircase. The lake’s disappearance animation doesn’t work in Zelda Classic so I didn’t bother even using it.
o Enemies wouldn't reappear when they should, including bosses you hadn't beaten. You could hit a boss a couple of times (or if there were multiple bosses in the room kill just one) and if you then died, when you returned to the boss room all bosses were destroyed. Not much of a challenge. This was fixed by the ‘Enemies Always Reappear’ checkmark and if you killed the boss they stayed dead.
o Enemies would disappear when they shouldn't – the Red and Blue Bubbles in particular. If a Red Bubble hits you, you can't use your sword and have to find a Blue Bubble to undo the paralysis. For some odd reason, Blue Bubbles would decide to take a break and disappear randomly, leaving you swordless. I ended up taking out these two enemies and putting in temporary paralysis Bubbles instead. (One area still has them and since I activated the ‘Enemies Always Reappear’ checkmark it seems to work fine – hopefully.)

There were some other things that got fixed but these were the major ones. There is still an exploit that is in the game I found at the 11th hour (pretty much literally). I decided to keep it in for a couple of reasons:
- First and foremost, it won’t break the game.
- If you’ve played the original Zelda before, chances are you won’t think about doing it – I didn’t until last minute.
- It will make the game a little bit easier but not enough to warrant taking it out. If anything, people might find it helpful if they deem the game too challenging.

With that, Zelda SoDak is officially complete, finally. It’s been a long run and the one thing I’ve learned is the benefit of having others playtest for you. Hopefully that will happen in future games. Head over to the Portfolio section of my website to read the Postmortem and download the game.