The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]

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Offline egomassive

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The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« on: January 04, 2012, 10:00:16 »
She awakens to the plea of a machine. It's dying. Take a key. Turn on a sub-machine. Repeat. Sounds simple enough.

Originally created for a level competition on these forums, this level resurrects the four keys for four challenges of increasing difficulty recipe. Only now, it's seasoned with seamlessly integrated custom objects and original graphics. Served with a side of original music by our own Ultigonio.

Download The Dying Core 7.8 MB


Spoiler: Legal (click to show/hide)

Edit: 8Jan2012: Version 1.1 released. Adjusted music volume, corrected spelling and some minor design changes.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 05:58:48 by egomassive »

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Offline Talps

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2012, 12:15:22 »
Yay, great to finally play the full version!

Well you've already heard a lot of my opinion, but yeah, this is a great little level. Some of the changes you've made since we tested have made it a little frustrating in places (particularly in the last level) but overall it's very good; nice to finally see those cutscenes! (Still have only slightly more idea what was going on though).

Only found two of the toasts so I'll scour for the others later on.

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Offline Ultigonio

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2012, 14:06:53 »
If there's one thing I particularly enjoyed about this level when you first released it, it was the level design.  Very well put together, I felt.  It was nice to see everything as a whole, finally--the custom objects and scenes and all of that.  As Talps, one only kinda' has somewhat more of an idea of what was going on than before--but I guess I kind of got spoiled already because I had to make the ending tracks.

You know... I kind of wish I could experience it all for the first time again.  I really did enjoy that level design, it was unique and interesting and not terribly convoluted, either.  I'm a fan of good platforming, and the difficulty curve is also well-done, which is nice. I'm sure the last sub-machine would have been way more irritating had I not been through the darn place several times already.

Also, I'm really glad I signed up to do the music for this project.  I tend to gather up experience as I go, so making these huge, 4-6-minute-long tracks was definitely a new experience; they still remain some of my longest pieces (and some of them my favorites) that I've made, and this is the first specific project I've ever composed for that has been fully realized!  Seeing the final product and playing through it helped me see what I did right and wrong--balancing is one of my issues.  In any case, your level was great inspiration for me.  My only regret...
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

Anyway!  Enough rambling from me.  Excellent level, excellent work!  And thank you for the opportunity, Egomassive.  You know I'd gladly take up another one.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 14:09:33 by Ultigonio »
Indefinitely Held Off:
Pouring
Complete:
This Level Plays Itself!

My SoundCloud

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Offline egomassive

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 18:00:11 »
About the story: I was inspired late in the development by student KS projects, the goal being to create a story driven KS level without dialogue. So, I ripped out most of what little dialogue existed and instead tried to use graphics for all the messages. The story is vague to the point of being pretentious now, but I hope it gives the player a bit of a puzzle to work out after the journey is over. Feel free to discuss the plot in this thread -with spoiler tags of course. Your thoughts may help me see what ideas need reinforcement and allow me to make better games in the future. Thanks.

@ Talps: I thought I made the last part easier since the final feedback from testers. Hmm... I actually surprised myself last night when I downloaded, installed, and tested the release version. I didn't die once in the last section. I guess I've played it too many times to give myself difficulty feedback.

@ Ultigonio: Is the last part still that hard for you? If you're not getting through before the song ends then the problem isn't the song length. It's the difficulty level. I guess I ought to look at it again and see if there are more improvements that can be made, however it's an innately difficult formula.

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Zydragazum

Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 19:24:40 »
This is an incredible level! This was done the way a platformer should be done. The level design is nice, and like Ultigonio said, the difficulty curve was very appropriate. Ultigonio did a very good job with the music, especially with the track for the purple level. The bonus goodies also made the game a lot more amusing and rewarding other than just treating the player to a plain ending cut-scene. Five stars.

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Offline LordMarzog

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 04:57:54 »
This is a fantastic level Egomassive! I loved it from beginning to end. It was really fun. I loved the look of the place. Each area used the same sort of tileset, yet with different color schemes thus preventing monotony.

The only gripe I have is the umbrella challenges in the purple area. But that's more of a personal preference than an actual problem. 

The music was wonderful by the way. It gave a kind of Atari/retro video game feel to it. All in all, great job!
Run the Gauntlet: Prologue | Run the Gauntlet: Part 1 I'll add more interesting stuff here when I have more interesting stuff to add. (duh)

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Offline sergiocornaga

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 09:40:13 »
Very nice! I was surprised to see so much of the text go, I'd be interested to hear more about the student KS projects that inspired this change.

Great work on the soundtrack too, Ultigonio.

Spoiler: 'bug' (click to show/hide)

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Offline Widget

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 13:54:40 »
A phenomenal level, as I knew it would be  ;)

I didn't play the early version when it was available and I'm really glad I didn't now as it was so fresh and exciting. Thankyou very much for creating this, it was an absolute joy; and a thankyou to Ultigiono for the music aswell, it's a perfect fit.

The only specific detail I just have to mention is that I was really impressed with the way you dealt with the retracting spikes. I've always quite liked the idea of them over static spikes but they tend to just be a roundabout way of slowing down the player, your solution offers the best of both worlds.

Edit: Oh! Seems like I missed some things on my way through.
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 14:45:40 by Widget »

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Offline egomassive

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 17:47:45 »
Thanks to all for the complements. I'm really glad to see The Dying Core being received so well.

@ sergiocornaga: Doh. I forgot to spell check again. I was debating personification and toastification, but metaphor seems like the best word to me.

@ Widget: I usually don't like hidden spikes myself. They tend to make for trial-and-error game play. In my efforts to use only robotic type enemies I was pretty much forced into inventing a better way to use them. Since the demo was released I've seen the same usage in the Dark Sea 2 demo. I don't know if one inspired the other or not, but I'm hoping to see fairer use of spikes everywhere from now on.

Spoiler: More @ Widget: (click to show/hide)

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Offline Talps

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 19:46:50 »
I've tried to be fair with the use of pop-out spikes where I can. In 'Petal's of a Dying Flower' I put them in places where they'd appear before the player encounters them so they were forewarned. In other levels I've put them on different-coloured blocks to normal land so they're recognisable. But you did them very artfully here, Ego. Making fair use of object like those that jump out at the player makes for fun and interesting designing.

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Offline egomassive

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2012, 20:08:06 »
I didn't mean to say the hidden spikes have never been used well before. Different colored areas are also good indicators after they're learned. (Fore warning the player is also a good method, but it's a hard technique to master.) I feel that some indication, weather visual or audible, ought to accompany anything hidden especially if it can kill you. In this application, I've actually turned them into un-hidden spikes, so there are no surprises at all. You don't have to go to this extreme to be fair to the player. I guess what I'm getting at above is I hope future level designers will see what a difference the blatant visual clues make compared to none at all, and hopefully adapt that knowledge to their own style.

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Offline Widget

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2012, 20:30:44 »
Re: egomassive:
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

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Offline GrayFace

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2012, 20:12:34 »
Yay :) The cutscenes are very cool.
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

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Offline egomassive

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2012, 00:36:52 »
I feel I should mention that a lot of changes were made after the last round of beta testing. The mistakes that have been found thus far weren't in the game, so all the fault lies with me. Thanks GrayFace, a beta tester, for your profound observation ^there^. That's some truly outstanding game breaking.

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Offline Talps

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Re: The Dying Core [challenge/hard/medium]
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2012, 02:31:57 »
Thanks GrayFace, a beta tester, for your profound observation ^there^. That's some truly outstanding game breaking.

You're quietly contemplating killing him aren't you? :P2