Monday, November 3, 2014

Back into Production

After the last update, no critical bugs have appeared. Looks like the transition to Game Maker Studio was a success.

I switched my focus to contents production again. Both work and some personal things have consumed most of my free time this month, but I managed to get some progress going on Area 4. Some features and assets in that area are being revamped. It's not going to be as complex or big as Area 3, but it has it's own unique moments. I'll be posting some screenshots once I have the new tiles and backgrounds in place.

Area 5 (the new, original area) is also under progress. In collaboration with the sprite artists, we are in the process of turning the place from a barely functional place where you find items, to a location with the purpose and personality that other areas have. This is mostly planning new features and special game mechanics, under the limits of what can be done with the engine.

I would like to thank all the awesome people who provided feedback during the last couple of demo releases. The game is very stable now, and it runs very well on Linux also. Your feedback helped a lot to finish the transition to the new engine.
BTW, people having trouble running the game on Windows XP, try making a shortcut to the executable, and add "-software" at the end of the target field. It helped in some cases.

I'll be posting some screencaps of new contents soon.
Have a good week!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

AM2R Demo Update - v1.34

One of the benefits of working with Game Maker Studio, compared to older versions, is that I can build updates much more easily. This means I can do bug fixes and release updates more often than before.
This is the first update, tackling some issues you reported these last couple of days:


NEW IN THIS VERSION
- Built without the YoYo Compiler to ensure WinXP compatibility
- Music files are now available in the package for customization
- Updated health pickup sprites
- Fixed music crossfades playing part of the wrong track
- Fixed collisions of spiked plants in Area 3
- Fixed missing keycodes on the keyboard settings screen
- Fixed music not being played if you enter the sound options with volume 0
- Fixed very low music volume resulting in glitchy playback

If you had trouble getting the demo to run in Windows XP, you should give this update a try.
As always, feel free to report any bugs or make any suggestions here or at the forums.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

AM2R Demo 1.33 Released - Huge update

Finally, after more than 2 months of hard work, this is the biggest overhaul the project ever had.
The project has transitioned to Game Maker studio, giving the game a huge performance and stability boost.




NEW IN 1.33:
- Ported the entire project to Game Maker Studio
- Many features rewritten from scratch
- Plenty of small bug fixes
- Faster loading times
- New graphic options include fixed screen scaling and window size presets
- Some tweaks in the level design
- Torizo fight was balanced
- Spiderball can now be activated with any of the aiming buttons

You'll also the Linux version in the download page. This was tested on Ubuntu 12.10, feel free to give it a try on other versions / distros.

Also, a very talented graphic artist / 3D modeler has joined the AM2R team. We're in the process of producing the soundtrack album cover right now. I'll be updating the soundtrack links to include the cover, and post the cover here as soon as it's finished.

Feel free to share your thoughts about the update, or your experiences with the Linux version here or at the forums.
Have fun!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

AM2R Soundtrack 1.33 Release - Looking for an artist

SOUNDTRACK RELEASE

I dedicated this month to 2 things primarily: Fixing all the bugs that started popping up in the Game Maker Studio version of AM2R, and to give the soundtrack an update.
Since I'm not using the Caster extension anymore, I now use the built-in audio functions for music playback. This means I have to change the overall volume of every track. This is a good opportunity to actually do a proper mastering work, after tweaking some instruments on some songs.

AM2R Soundtrack V1.33
DOWNLOAD
MP3: MediaFire - Mega - MyFlare
FLAC: MediaFire - Mega 

Now, the soundtrack is not finished, the current tracks will be eventually improved, and more tracks are going to be added as they are finished. That's why I'm including a version number with it. This one corresponds to the upcoming demo update, that will feature all the speed optimizations I'm working on right now.

The only thing missing is the cover art...

AM2R IS LOOKING FOR A TALENTED PHOTOSHOP ARTIST!!!!

If you...
  • Have talent at digital painting
  • Want to contribute with AM2R to achieve worldwide fame and glory (*)
  • Are capable of being part of a team of passionate people, and wish to work accordingly
* Results may vary, we might not reach fame and glory

Then this is your chance to expand your portfolio with some awesome Metroid art.
For now, I'm looking for someone that can provide a cover for the Soundtrack Album. 
Once the cover is done, I'll be reuploading the soundtrack including it. If everything goes well, the artist might be drawing artwork for the intro and ending cutscenes of the game too.

If you're interested, please visit THIS forum thread and post some of your work. Links to Deviant Art are ok. Having Metroid artwork on your portfolio is not necessary. If you wish to show mockups or sketches for a potential AM2R Soundtrack cover, go ahead. Just keep in mind that your work might not be chosen.

I'll be making the selection in about a month from now, so please, spread the word.

PROGRESS

The Game Maker Studio version of the game started showing plenty of small bugs. Some are tiny details that require small tweaks, others are consequences of the poor coding skills I had 5 years ago, and need some more work. Performance wise, it's a lot better than the currently released demo. 
And to make things even better, Nommiin/Decayed was kind enough to provide a license of the YoYo Compiler. Actually compiling the project boosts the performance a lot. It's about twice as fast.
This means the upcoming demo update will run faster, smoother and (hopefully) without the speed issues some users experience today. You'll be able to play in older computers, and to actually record your playthroughs without much slowdown.
All of my time is being dedicated to have this update ready as soon as possible. Once it's released, AM2R will officially have lived through 4 different versions of Game Maker (the project started on Game Maker 6).

As always, comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

AM2R runs on Linux!

Since the last demo update, I started the transition to Game Maker Studio. There are plenty of changes in the way variables are initialized, the order of code execution, etc.
Many features need to be redone from scratch, and many unexpected issues are still appearing. This was also a good opportunity to rewrite ancient code, remove workarounds and do things the proper way.
As of now, the contents of the demo are accessible without crashes.
Also, I was able to compile the project using a virtual machine running Ubuntu:


It's running at a steady 60 FPS in a VM, so performance using real hardware should be even better.
I had to remove all the extensions and DLLs that were used, and replace their functionality with native GM code. The music engine is in the works now, along with some other features.

So, what does this change of compiler mean for you?
- The performance is a lot better, there's no random slowdown.
- It loads really fast
- Possibility of ports to other platforms
- Faster development time

What's next?
Once I complete all the missing features, I'll release a demo update.
It'll have the same contents, but using the new engine. It's also very likely that an official  Linux build of the demo will be released too. A Mac build won't be available yet, since the export process isn't as straightforward as the Linux one is (it requires and actual, physical Mac).

About the rest of the game, even if this change took most of my time, I was able to advance a little bit with the overall level layout of Area 4. Some rooms were redone to showcase the abilities acquired in the area, and sand was added to the side tunnels.
Don't worry, it's not as annoying as the original was.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.