Dev Blog – Rebuilding the Dark Cave

Hi friends!

Last week I gave the brief history of where Vidar was before I started showing it in the summer of 2014, through the Kickstarter and today. But what I didn’t talk about was how far I had gotten before I found Becca to do the art. As it turns out, in addition to the Ice Cave puzzles, I had also made some serious progress in the Dark Cave, including designing puzzles, programming mechanics, plugging into the puzzle-spawner, all that jazz. However, all those ages ago I had assumed so many things that are no longer true. Things like wall height, or switch size. So the process of getting this second biome ready has been focusing not on building the Dark Cave, but rebuilding it with new art and new lessons learned.

Before May, I hadn’t touched the Dark Cave since May….2014. There are a lot of weird vestigial limbs and development curiosities, and no shortage of me relearning my own code. Mercifully, it’s going faster than I had anticipated. When I started this month I had set it aside to do all of the puzzle maps in the Dark Cave. Those are already done. I assumed June would be for bug fixing the puzzles. The first two rooms in the Dark Cave each have one option in each puzzle slot already. So we’re making really good time on this biome, which is good since the other two biomes will be done from scratch once I get to them!

In the Dev Notes below I mention something weird about changing Pull switch spawning. I thought after all this time I just had switches finished already – you see them all over the Ice Cave (including in the first screenshot below). When they spawn in the Ice Cave, they are actually 3 tiles high – two for the switch, one for the base, which is where the player stands when pulling them. In the Ice Cave, I found a few instances where they needed to be only one tile high. I quickly slapped something together to handle those corner cases.

Of course, as soon as I reach the Dark Cave this system isn’t perfect. All of the switches in the Dark Cave are invisible until you light a nearby torch or lantern. Those were all designed assuming a one tile high switch. So I thought “ok, no problem, I can use the hack I made in the Ice Cave again.” Except then it looks super-wonky. After some experimentation, turns out I needed two-tile-high switches in the Dark Cave. Woof. Rather than continue to jerry-rig things ad hoc, I went back and gave each switch a height parameter so it knows where to spawn and how tall to be. MUCH cleaner than what I was doing before. Always learning!

This week I also made a few changes to the Pre-Alpha, including incorporating the rest of Becca’s spooky ghost sprites. Now when they gab, you’ll be able to tell clearly which ghost is saying what. Which makes the conversations between them that much easier to follow.

Without further ado, some patch notes:

Pre-Alpha 1.0.2

  • Added new graphics for the ghosts Geraint, Matti, and Aonghus have been added; now all ghosts in the Ice Cave have unique sprites. This requires a new save file.
  • Changed the graphic for campfires. This requires a new save file.
  • Fixed a bug where Erik’s “Almost there!” gab could be immediately preempted by a random gab.
  • Fixed a bug where a ghost could spawn in the middle of a puzzle in Ice Cave 5a.

Ghosts

Developer’s Build 0.1.2

General Changes

  • The light around the player in the Dark Cave is now larger, to prove more visibility
  • The Dark Cave necessitated a slight structural change to how Pull switches are spawned.  I’ve made a pass through the Ice Cave puzzles and all relevant switches should be adjusted, but you might experience bugs going back to the Ice Cave where Pull switches are spawned. Email me if so!

Map Changes

  • Wall height changes in Dark Cave 1
  • Extended the length of the ropes for the shortcuts in Dark Cave 1
  • Parallaxes in all Dark Cave maps are now correctly tile locked
  • Fixed tile passability issues throughout the Dark Cave
  • Fixed the shortcut door in Dark Cave 1
  • Replaced the broken rope shortcut in Dark Cave 2 with a door shortcut
  • Made a few changes to the lightbridge shortcut in Dark Cave 2 for easier map visibility
  • A pink gate no longer spawns in the top left corner of Dark Cave 2
  • Fixed the barrel in the Music Torch room
  • Text related to the Music Torches will properly show up above them
  • The table in the Music Torch room now has correct pathing
  • Entering Dark Cave 3 will now no longer crash the game

Dark Cave 14

Puzzle Changes

  • Modified puzzle 33 to conform to map changes in Dark Cave 1
  • Color coded puzzles 34, 35, 37
  • Implemented “blue based” torches – torches which are activated by switch instead of by standing next to them are shown with a blue base instead of the typical brown one
  • Puzzles now correctly spawn in Dark Cave 2
  • Puzzle 36 (the dog puzzle) has been fixed: (1) switches have been moved to a place where they are accessible; (2) switches and doors are color coded; (3) torches are bluebased, and will correctly show as lit when the first switch is pulled; (4) camera movement has been added to indicate where to go on completion; (5) camera will no longer set once the puzzle is completed.
  • Fixed switch height in puzzle 37, 39
  • Removed two of the wolves in puzzle 39
  • Activating the switch in puzzle 39 will no longer crash the game

Dark Cave 13

Misc.

  • Deleted a few old maps and graphics to save a little file size
  • Text for refueling your lantern now appears above the barrel instead of at the bottom of the screen
  • Added a hover icon above fuel barrels
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