Reflex – Dev Diary 68

Some more visual improvements and tweaks for this weeks development diary of Reflex.

The intro animation for the AR logo has been tweaked a little more to make it more streamlined, and I’ve also added the Game Maker Studio logo to the end so that I can qualify for inclusion in their ‘Games Made with GameMaker Studio’ section.

I decided to take another look at the world select screen. I felt that it just wasn’t giving off the right look and, it seemed a little disconnected from the level select. So I went back to my Affinity Designer document for the UI interfaces and had a play around.

Above you will see the previous world select screen (don’t pay any attention to the old space station image, this has been replaced). One of my concerns with this layout is the information section on the right. On some resolutions (2K, 4K) the area seemed to be dwarfed by the image on the left. It just felt a little clunky.

And here’s the new look world select. As you can see I’ve opted to go straight to the full-screen world display. The text is larger and centred. At the top, there’s the world name along with the statistics for the number of levels completed and the number of star ratings achieved.

Under the description text, I’ve added 5 pips that represent each of the worlds. A padlock displays inside the ones that haven’t been unlocked yet. And, below that is the select button and the next and previous world buttons. The select button now transitions directly to the level select instead of needing to wipe the screen – this makes everything feel a lot more connected and immediate. I’m a lot happier with this version and hopefully, I won’t be making any more alterations to this part of the game.

My play tester mentioned something rather interesting last week while he was testing one of the multi-floor levels. He wanted to redirect the missile from the second floor back to the first floor. This wasn’t something I’d ever thought of, and it wasn’t something I actually wanted the player to be able to do. So, rather than having the missile just explode if it attempts to go back up, I’ve added 2 new door objects. The first will automatically close when the missile passes it which prevents the player from trying to return. The second one is extremely important for the multi-floor levels; these levels usually have objectives (destroy reactors, etc) on each floor. Previously if you attempted to leave a floor without destroying all the objectives the level would fail immediately. Again, this is not something I wanted to happen. So now there is a door near the sub-level ext that only opens once the objectives on the current floor have been completed.

World 5 levels are now in the pre-test phase. This is where I run through them checking the lighting positions, checking that they can actually be completed, and working out the most optimal timing for the level so that the 3 star is challenging but achievable if everything is done right.

I’ve added an additional piece of music to the game; this piece starts playing when the level timer gets below 30 seconds. It’s to make the player tenser as the clock starts beeping.

Finally, I had another look at the lighting for the game. Last week I added a level light that would illuminate the entire map and a bit of the area around it. This washed out some of the shadows in places and I wasn’t entirely happy with the results. This week I had a look at changing the ambient lighting so that it’s not pitch-black on the edges. This worked out a lot nicer but it did expose a couple of the world backgrounds that have awkward seamless repeats. These have now been replaced with textures that aren’t immediately obvious that they repeat over and over again.

This was quite a lot of stuff to get through but I feel that it is a big enough update to push to the Steam release channel. I just need a few more days to make sure everything is looking great and working well and then I will release the update. This will likely be the last update for the year as I always like to take a week or so off around Christmas time.