May 3rd, 2012, 04:03 PM
Our next project is...
Now that the end is in sight for Dirk Dashing 2, it seems everybody wants to know what our next big project is?
I was planning to announce this in the May newsletter, but it made the newsletter too long and stole a bit of the thunder from the big Dirk Dashing 2 announcement. So I decided to save it for June's newsletter. Except that it's too exciting to wait another month to tell you...
So those who follow my blog will get to hear this news before everyone else!
Our next project is a major update for Dirk Dashing 1. Recently I played a bit of DD1 to troubleshoot an issue that a player reported, and it was painful for me to look at (because the graphics are SO MUCH better in DD2). So I've decided to allocate one month (after DD2 and its strategy guide are done) to improve DD1 so it looks and sounds more like DD2!
Here's what you can expect:
New graphics! I plan to reuse the nice, cel-shaded character art from DD2, add shadows beneath the characters, repaint a few background art pieces, and maybe add some lighting effects. Mike, the comic artist I hired for DD2, has already started working on a new comic intro page for DD1, a new comic ending page, and a new promo image. To whet your appetite, here's the new promo:
Improved audio! I plan to reuse the interactive audio engine from DD2. There's less music in DD1 than DD2, so by tying it to the game's action and key plot points, this will help keep the music from becoming too repetitive. I've already talked to Jesse about recording some new ambient loops for various DD1 locales to fill the times when there's no music playing, and we'll be reusing sounds from DD2 (like Dirk's jump sound, footsteps, conveyors, etc) for consistency between the 2 games.
As for the gameplay itself, that won't be changing much. If I try to bring back Dirk's new health system, inventory system, dart gun, or other DD2 improvements, it will drastically upset the game balance, requiring much more time than I want to invest. I think I'd rather leave the DD1 gameplay alone and invest that time in a new game.
Still, there are a few tweaks I would like to make. First, I would like to add animation to the items that Dirk picks up, so they float or spin like those in DD2. Second, the collision checks are much tighter and better in DD2, so I'll port that code back to DD1. Third, one thing I missed immediately when I replayed DD1 was the ability to knock out enemies by jumping on their heads. So I will definitely make that ability available in DD1.
I think these improvements will help bring the game up-to-date with the sequel and hopefully generate some fresh sales, especially from new customers who discover Dirk Dashing 2 and have never played the original.
May 4th, 2012, 05:53 AM
Awesome!!! How about adding the ability to replay levels? I really like that about Dirk 2.
May 4th, 2012, 05:57 AM
That's a good suggestion. I'll have to see how difficult it would be to implement it.
I know I had to add code in DD2 to discard stuff after replaying a level, to keep the user from replaying easy levels to build up ammo and health (which destroyed game balance in later levels). I'd have to solve the same problem in DD1. Might be too much to bite off for this update, but I'll take a look for you...
May 4th, 2012, 06:13 AM
I just stopped in for a quick check, and saw this delightful news! I really like the graphics in Dirk #2, they're so much better than Dirk #1. I'm glad to hear #1 will be getting a facelift!
It's probably more work than you want to do, but it would be nice to have an extra level or two to explore. Or maybe add some new areas to existing levels.
The other think I like about #2 are the arcs of goodies. Most arcs only have 5 items, and it's easier to get them. #1 has 6 items per arc in a lot of places, and for a long time I found it frustrating to try to get all 6 in one jump, until I realized you had to start your jump not from the start of the arc but directly under the first item. That's probably a lot of work to fix too, but that might net you some more sales.
May 4th, 2012, 06:16 AM
Ah yes! Thanks, Thurmond, for reminding me about that!
May 9th, 2012, 03:30 PM
I second Thurmond's suggestion for some new levels or areas to explore! It will make it more fun to replay!