February 20th, 2012, 04:52 PM
Ok! I finally have a design for Chapter 4-5!
This one was challenging to design, because it takes place at a skyscraper construction site. I've wanted to build such a level for a long time... 1) because I think it's a neat setting for a platformer, and 2) because it lets me use some of the machinery that I haven't been able to use much, like the conveyor belts, saw blades, flamethrowers, etc. It also gives me an opportunity to bring back the falling hammer from Dirk 1. I spent a lot of time building these mechanical devices into the game, so I want every opportunity I can get to use them!
Anyway, the design was challenging because skyscrapers are made of rectangular sections of girders, which isn't very interesting from a gameplay standpoint. When I tried designing it to look like a typical skyscraper, it quickly turned into a boring layout. And when I tried to make it more interesting, I ran into problems - like girders that I needed in particular positions that had no structure to support them (so they were free-floating), which didn't look realistic at all. There was also the problem of what to do with the vertical beams that supported the weight of the structure above - how does Dirk get around these things if they come up through the beam he's running on?
After doing some investigating on Google about how skyscraper girders are connected, I came up with a way to solve some of the problems. The vertical beams don't always split the horizontal beams... they can be riveted on either side of the horizontal beam (either in back or in front). So that solved a lot of my architectural dilemmas, and I was finally able to create a design I'm happy with!
I have some new art I need to draw for the girders and other graphics, but I'm still hoping to have this level done by the end of this coming weekend! Stay tuned!
February 21st, 2012, 12:40 PM
Just wanted you to know you aren't posting into an empty electronic void. We're out here, quietly drooling and waiting.
What was it that TRON said? "I don't wanna bust out of here and just find a bunch of cold circuits waiting for me..."
February 21st, 2012, 12:54 PM
Thanks, Shawn! I appreciate your note!
I finished all the new artwork for Chapter 4-5 about an hour ago, and I've just started building the level. It will probably take a few days to finish it. The next beta update should be available this coming weekend!
February 24th, 2012, 10:40 AM
Chapter 4-5 is done! After lunch, I've got some tweaks to do, and then I'll start the builds for Dirk Dashing 2 v0.8!
At that point, Dirk 2 will be officially a bigger game than the first! The original had 30 levels, and Dirk 2 v0.8 will contain a total of 31 levels. And I still have 9 more to go!
March 9th, 2012, 06:18 PM
Since the v0.8 release, I've been busy updating my other games to fix various issues that have come up in the past couple of months. I should be finished with that job tomorrow, and next week, I will begin working on the concluding chapters in Dirk Dashing 2!
Jesse informs me that he is close to finishing the last music tracks. One of the tracks he is doing is a rescore of the Dirk Dashing theme from the first game, so it better matches the new music that he has produced. I'm really excited about this. I plan to use this track for two key levels in the game, including one of the final boss battles. Jordan Davis, who composed the music for Dirk Dashing 1, has been kind enough to supply us with the original guitar track and rhythm guitar track that he did for it, and Jesse is going to see if he can reuse it for the revised version. I think that will be pretty cool if he can pull it off!
March 16th, 2012, 04:20 PM
Dirk began his assault on the final Conquertech factory today!
I started building Chapter 5-1 this morning. I meant to start this earlier in the week, but that was before I discovered a bunch of broken affiliate links and out-of-date prices for the third-party games in my catalog. So I needed to spend a few days fixing all the game pages first. I finished that last night.
Anyway, I've got about 1/4 of the architecture built for Chapter 5-1. The level has one huge outdoor map and a couple of smaller indoor maps. I'm working on the outdoor map, which contains the outside of the factory complex. The complex consists of a front yard of sorts, several buildings, loading docks, catwalks, and an underground storm drain system. The map is pretty big, but that's because the different buildings are spread out over a wide area. So far, I like the way it's coming together! I might have to post a screenshot in my April newsletter...
March 20th, 2012, 03:19 PM
I'm still working on Chapter 5-1. The large outdoor map has taken quite awhile to build, but it is almost finished. I had to fiddle a lot with the lighting system to get the effect that I wanted. Some areas of the map had to be pitch-black dark, which meant I had to drop the ambient lighting to zero. That wreaked havoc with the graphics for other parts of the map that were lit, as well as the AI for Dirk's enemies who suddenly couldn't see him when they should have been able to. I think I've got most of the kinks out, but I still have some adjustments to make to the AI.
Chapter 5-1 also introduces a new gadget, so I need to spend some time building it. And I have to set up a little scenario in one of the rooms where the Dirk must use the new gadget (so that the player learns how to use it). I envision this gadget being used a lot in the Part 5 levels, so it's important to get all the details right. I just wish perfection didn't take so long!
March 23rd, 2012, 03:31 PM
Chapter 5-1 is finally finished! And I've got the AI working correctly now when the ambient lighting is dropped to zero. As I mentioned last time, there are areas of this level that are pitch-black dark. So the night vision goggles are going to play a big role in this level, which I think is good after playing through all the daytime levels in Part 4. In fact, it will be very difficult to complete this level without using night vision goggles. I just hope I've provided enough of them throughout the level...
I still need to spend some time polishing Dirk's new gadget. It works well, but I think I can tweak the special effects to make it look even better!
March 27th, 2012, 04:42 PM
Dirk's new gadget is looking pretty spiffy! I spent part of the day tweaking it, and it's looking pretty good. I'm tempted to tell you about it, I really am, but I'm going to save the surprise for the April newsletter!
Meanwhile, I've got a design for Chapter 5-3. I skipped ahead a bit, because that level makes extensive use of Dirk's new gadget, and I'm eager to see it in action. I've been creating a lot of huge level maps lately, so I decided to make this one a bit smaller. This level will have a single medium-sized map. It might not sound like much, but I packed every nook and cranny with fun things to do!
April 6th, 2012, 03:38 PM
After a week off, it's back to work on Dirk Dashing 2. I made some great progress today - I started building Chapter 5-3, which I had designed before my break. The architecture is all finished, and I'm already starting to fill up the lone map with goodies and bad guys. I should be able to finish this level tomorrow morning, and then start designing the next one.
Jesse has provided me with new sound effects for Dirk's new gadget (which you can read about in my April newsletter), and I've got those integrated into the game. It sounds great!