Small BE:P Update

So I’ve finally had some time to work on Brave Earth: Prologue. I haven’t touched the game since ROFLcon and basically got back to doing this earlier this week. Instead of getting right back into content, I decided to make some bigger changes first. Most of this is without any context for you guys though. I’ll be talking about stuff you haven’t been able to play with so it might be hard to say why these changes matter. Either way, you guys keep asking for updates, so have one.

The Jump

Naomi’s jump has always been contentious. I really like the jumps of the old Castlevania games, but they didn’t go over well with everyone. I wrestled with this a bit and thought about making jump control for all characters be an adjustable switch in the options like Castlevania rebirth, but instead I decided to just change the jump. Naomi now has limited air control. She can’t control the height of her jump, but she has some control over her momentum. This is also rolled together with a general speed increase. Where as Naomi previously ran at a plodding 60 pixels a second (1 pixel every ‘tick’ of game logic), she now moves a whopping -66 pixels-, due to a staggering 0.1 increase in her walking speed! That sounds silly, but it’s … 10%, which is enough to make Naomi feel a tad faster on her feet. It also increases her jump distance. Now, none of you have played the game, so there is no frame of reference here, but generally what this means is I’m moving a bit away from “Castlevania” and getting a bit more actiony. A bit more speed and air control means I can make later parts of the game harder in a way that still feels fun.

Also, Naomi is in no ways “mobile”. She cannot turn around in the air line Sinlen can. If you start with a forward jump and hold the opposite direction really fast, Naomi will just barely overcome her forward momentum by the time the jump finishes. Basically, jump distances can almost be seen like this.

Jump Forward (than hold back immediately): Jump roughly one tile forward.
Jump Forward(than release): Jump two tiles forward.
Jump Forward(and hold): Jump 3 tiles forward.

You basically are fighting momentum when you try to change your air velocity. If you wanna have some idea what the jump feels like, imagine the NES Batman jump, but only like 40 pixels high and with no startup. So anyways the hopes for these changes is that Naomi will feel more responsive to players without actually compromising the need to be careful and plan jumps while also giving me a little bit more wiggle room in terms of design space. Hopefully this will be Win Win Win.

New animations

Over time, most of Naomi’s sprites have been changed to some extent.

Here you can see her sprite I made early on, followed by the one I had through most of development so far followed by the current one, which came with these images I posted on twitter months ago. I’ve also added lots of cool secondary cape animations, such as when she’s jumping or stops walking. I also changed what happens if Naomi mashes Attack

(for the old comparison, go here)

This doesn’t increase attack speed, but it does make consecutive attacks easier and looks nicer. It does sorta remove an element of timing (though you do sorta have to time the button press to do it perfectly), but we’ll see. If it proves problematic, I can add recovery frames to make it work out a little better.

Other Stuff

I’m updating the HUD. Not a ton, like some of the mockups that some people made on Twitter — I like keeping it clean and simple, but there is some compositional errors that make it look kinda butt. I’m also messing around with the levels to tweak balance and probably am going to add a few new enemies soon. Now, you guys haven’t seen a ton of enemies, so it doesn’t matter much, but you at least have some idea what I’m working on!

Also my Music Guy, Necrophageon is about to pin down some finished tracks, which really should finish the ‘tone’ of the game.

13 thoughts on “Small BE:P Update

  1. Sounds like some smart changes, and that new animation looks really nice.
    I do have a question though. Is the final game going to be made of completely original art assets, or are you borrowing stuff here and there? From the images I’ve seen, it looks like there’s a fair amount of Castlevania 3 looking terrain.

  2. There are definitely some inspired elements, but it’s all “original”. It really depends on your definition, really.. I mean things like the black mountains with hills are used in like Shatter Hand too for example. The NES is sorta like a “Simpson’s did it” scenario with pixel art. Now some elements are allusions (the ubiquitous castlevania ‘block’, the stairs…). Basically, everything is going to look like something and if it’s going to look like something I’m leaning toward Castlevania.

    That said, I’m open to suggestions. I’m not going to change anything just to change it, but if someone says “changing this to something that resembles castlevania less might look cool” I might try. Are there any particular elements that stand out to you as too Castlevania-y?

    It’s especially problematic because Castlevania 3 is one of the best looking games that still mostly uses 16×16 assets, while most later games rely on more macro-tile combinations which I don’t wanna get into.

  3. Be careful with “partial momentum jump physics”; frequently this ends up feeling more unresponsive than castlevania style “full momentum physics.” That style of jump is part of the reason I can’t stand the NES Batman. Also this jump loses the ability to move one way and attack another that the CV jump has; CV never makes you use it, but Strider (arcade) shows that some cool stuff can be done with it.

  4. As for the jump unresponsiveness, I feel you on that. I think this jump feels pretty good and testing as been positive. Of course with anything though, it’s not going to work for certain people. But who knows. Just know this is on my mind.

    I haven’t played the arcade Strider in awhile, so I forget how the jump and attacks work, but the NES castlevanias only allowed you to do that with that weird, glitchlike reverse jump. If you mean that, you can totally do that in BE:P (and it’s easier) During the early moments of a jump, if directional hasn’t been pressed, you can press one to jump forward at full velocity. This was mostly to prevent people from trying to jump up on a platform and just painfully neutral jumping over and over again (i’ve seen testers do it soooo much). Cool side effect was that you can do a backward jump and since you can’t turn around in the air, you can attack the opposite direction your moving. Even that aside, just doing a neutral jump and then gliding back while attacking is useful too. Perhaps not in the way you meant, but I figured I’d share that.

  5. Holding back while jumping to attack in the opposite direction (without doing anything to your momentum) is a Rondo of Blood thing. It’s pretty fun to use strategically, especially in combination with Richter’s backflip. Something to consider, although it’s definitely not the only way to go.

    Naomi’s new walk cycle is great, by the way. Her stiff posture looked kind of awkward before; the way her entire upper body leans forward now, with her sword arm “dragging” behind, looks much more natural.

  6. The changes in animation are weird. It’s like….. the old animations had flaws, obviously, but they were also appropriate for what the game was going to be and the rest of the art stuff and the whole style of the game changed. I think the big tell was when I first started updating Naomi’s animations because they didn’t look as good Sinlen or Trevors or [redacted]. With all the little changes I’ve put in recently, things are really sorta coming together.

  7. After playing Batman a bit more (I’ve been playing it a lot lately, I’ve been working on a review of it for another site), I think as long as you put in some sort of animation that starts playing as soon as I hit a different direction on the stick mid-air, things will be fine. One of the problems with Batman in this regard is that if I hit another direction, there’s no animation, so I get literally no feedback until the jump arc changes, which makes it feel god-awful laggy.

    I don’t know what kind of animation you can really have for “change your momentum mid-air”; humans aren’t monkeys, we don’t have tails, so we’re not able to do that in the real world; but if you can come up with one, it could make a *huge* difference.

    Strider’s air control works like that of most Capcom arcade platformers of the era, as well as apparently the Dracula X games (I thought the NES Castlevania games worked the same way, but it’s been about a year since I last played through the first one and about 6 months since I last played through CV3, so I guess not)- you can change facing in mid air to attack enemies that come at you from behind, but you can’t change your jump arc once in the air. Black Tiger would have probably been an example closer to what you’re doing, but Strider was just the first one that came to mind (probably because it’s by far my favorite of Capcom’s platformers from the ’80s, and also because it makes you use that technique a ton to survive the later levels).

  8. Haven’t played Batman, jumping system reminds me of La-Mulana. Which is good enough, there’s still plenty of occasions in that game where I went “*jump* nonononoNONONOOOOOOO FUCK YOU BATS!”.

    Man, I hate the goddamn bats.

  9. If the bats aren’t annoying enough and you’ve already got that subtle up-and-down motion in their movement, you may need to make Naomi’s attack a bit more “narrow”, provided that the hitbox matches the sprite if you don’t want to turn them into full-on Medusa Heads.

    Also, you should totally find a way to work in those rage-inducing flying skulls from the second loop of Castlevania 3 into your game.

  10. They’re not Bats in the CV sense, there more like bats from Zelda 2 which make them closer to a CV1 Bird analog.

  11. Looks promising

    I wonder how this type of jump will feel in gameplay. I’m always skeptical when I hear about momentum in jumps. Generally I’m not a fan of this, but there are games where it doesn’t bother me at all. Well, I’ll see about that when you are finished I guess :)

  12. It’s not momentum like say, Mario momentum. Like, it’s not slippery, nor do you need to run up to speed to get distance or anything. The best way to think of it would be “Castlevania with some degree of directional influence.”

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