August 25th, 2012, 03:49 PM
Dirk 1: Grenade Launcher Changes
One of the biggest coding changes in the upcoming special edition of Dirk Dashing: Secret Agent involves the grenade launcher.
Previously, the grenade launcher worked like other gadgets. When you picked it up, it activated immediately, allowed you to use it for about 30 seconds, and then went away. While it was active, you could see Dirk holding it while he was running, jumping, etc. It used the same stun gas grenades that you could throw when you didn't have the grenade launcher, so essentially you had one pool of ammo to use for both throwing and shooting. Here's what it used to look like:
With Dirk's new inventory, you can pick it up (along with other weapons and gadgets), carry it with you, and use it whenever you want. But I wanted it to work more like the dart gun in Dirk Dashing 2, so you can easily switch between weapons. So I needed to make some big changes.
The new grenade launcher has its own ammo supply. That was a much easier solution than trying to modify the inventory system to share the same ammo as the grenades. So I've added some special gas shells for it, which are sprinkled throughout the levels (essentially replacing some of the grenades). Picking up a shell adds one shot to the grenade launcher. Picking up a grenade launcher adds 3 shots. You can see the new shells here (and Dirk is carrying the new grenade launcher):
Like the dart gun in Dirk 2, you can't see it until you shoot. When you shoot, Dirk quickly whips it out and fires. If you start running again, Dirk puts it away - you can no longer see him carrying it while he's running.
I kept the grenade launcher's recoil action, so it still propels Dirk backwards when you shoot it. This is necessary to keep the gameplay balanced in Dirk Dashing 1; otherwise, the weapon is too powerful for the enemies in the game. But I did make a few tweaks. If you shoot it while you're in the air, the recoil action now takes gravity into account. And if you land on ice, or shoot while standing on ice, Dirk's momentum will keep him sliding backwards after the initial recoil action finishes. I'm also thinking about setting up some situations in the new levels where you'll have to use the recoil action to get to certain ledges.
I think players will find the new grenade launcher feels very much like the old one. It's been retooled to fit into the new engine's paradigm, but it still plays very much like the original. It's still fun to see Dirk's expression when he shoots the grenade launcher and the recoil kicks him backwards, and the new gas shells work the same as the grenades did in the original game. But the great thing is that now you can use it whenever you want, and that's a lot of fun!