Thursday, April 20, 2017

About ready for sending out the closed beta of Build 2.20 of DQ1 Remake

I'm on the cusp of sending out the closed beta of Build 2.20 of DQ1 Remake to beta testers, and I have to admit this build stops shy of including a lot of content I wanted to add because, frankly, I have so many game balance concerns at this point I don't want to add a ton of new areas and content before I have that resolved.

Several fixes over 2.10 include:

1. Scripting fixes for the minigames to resolve some crash issues.

2. Hopefully have removed all traces of the original crappy dialouge system code.

3. Code/resource bloat has been trimmed as much as possible, frame rate should be better overall, no more lag spikes.

4. Some further balance fixes to enemies and some random steal skill crashes should also be fixed.

5. Implemented some code meant for use in later builds, but only partially, most is dummied out for now because I don't want to totally enable some scripting code without finishing more content that would require it for stability reasons.

6. Have attempted some preliminary streamlining and optimization of all resources included in the game for it's eventual "gold" release. Many soundtrack files still need looping and I've still got some resources that aren't used but are retained in case any code still calls for their existence, this will be addressed later.

I also admit after a certain point I have not extensively tested some content and it's functional but not complete because I want a good idea about balance issues first before doing anything ambitious or polishing any rough spots.

Once I have made sure all the essentials will functional as advertised more or less and that no major showstopping bugs remain, I'll be packaging the current build and sending out the closed beta to testers.

Friday, April 14, 2017

DQ1 Remake Build 2.20 Resource Delay

I've had a bit of a snag as I have been hunting down custom resources for the bonus dungeon areas of my game. Since the assets required some custom editing and some mix and match optimal use in VX Ace (and it took a few tries to get it to look right), I've had a bit of a delay, but most of the graphical side is far behind me.

The music is now my remaining concern. I wanted custom music for this section to emphasize how much difference there is between the bonus dungeon and the rest of the game, much like how the Culex bonus boss in Super Mario RPG just stood out due to is dramatic clash with the rest of the game.

My biggest issue has been hunting down resources that were available for use that fit the theme, and I've finally found some worthy candidates, hope to have my music score picked out and ready to go soon.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DQ1 Remake Build 2.20 Scripting Changes Update

One of my goals for DQ1 Remake Build 2.20 was to eliminate all the source of lag spiking noticed in earlier builds, and I discovered what caused most of it.

The user interface code was loading a lot of external assets by default. It looked nice, but unfortunately the code was very inefficient, and the lag spikes were caused by how poorly all that extra information moved in and out of memory.

To fix this, I tossed out the old interface for items/skills/equipment/shops and redid it using simpler code. I also removed some scripts that were loaded into memory but weren't doing anything.

The results have been incredible, with framerate issues hammered down to nil, the improved scripting shows more tactically useful information, and a lot of load bloat is gone, meaning the game starts much faster.

This does have a gameplay change in that only one accessory can be equipped, not two, but I consider this an improvement for game balance, as two accessories of certain types could be  a bit overpowered.

This will require players of the older builds start a new save, which is unavoidable, but the trade-off of a far more stable game with much smoother FPS is more than acceptable from where I'm standing.

This will push back my ETA only a little more than I planned, since most of these changes proved very easy to implement, I just need to test some edge case scenarios to make sure no game crashes happen.