from the grave

Welcome back.

Well, after the release of the alpha 2 version, some testing has been done about bosses and other weird attempts. After few days, Mike Dailly announced his temporary stop coding, because he had to build up the nowadays successful label YoYo Games: a company which stands entirely on his own shoulders can’t share any useful time with the hobbistic projects.
Sad but true, that has been the hurlde that put the project in permanent sleep.

Almost other 5 years passed, and still we don’t see any far light for XeO3. Nonetheless, spitefully of its global stagnation, there’s something that moved inside silently. Here follows a list of what you’d never seen/known about this further dark age.

  • charpadwalkers’explosion: the walkers have their proper explosion animation, a little piece of graphics I’m proud of; walkers would have been next in the todo list…
  • blog post in 2012: the project worth to be restarted even just for the fact that in 2012 people still talk about it;
  • charpad conversion: even FatMan, author of the original XeO3 Level Editor, is active on it, and under request, he coded a tool which converts the dedicated files of his editor to the most used CharPad; editing would have been easier and easier by now, see the picture on the right side;
  • new panel: new decorative elements have been added to the last panel you all have seen in the test releases, and now several more colours have been used too; here’s a little reminder about the evolution of the panel:panels_history
  • let’s try the 2nd level: just to see thing are moving in some ways, XeO3 has been compiled keeping the attack waves of the test level, but with the proper music, the colour palette, the new panel and some slices of graphics coming straight from the 2nd level;  a symbolic tiny background animation is displayed too, a simple little bubble in what should look like a water puddle:

Mike stated the chance to pass all the code to another coder with better time to spend on. Ok, it would be a change and would be rather possible, but personally I would prefer to wait again (again!) for a miraculous moment of spare time to spend from the Mike’s side.

At the moment, no promises can be made, but I can say to all of you that I’ll never leave alone the XeO3 project, and that I will be ready and 100% on it if a lucky restarting will occur.

XeO3 is not dead yet.


alpha v2!

After a week of discussion, hints, chitchatting about both minimal dedicated trimmings and shmups guidelines in general, here comes a slightly improved version of the test demo!

Some of the perceptible changes here:

– the game is much easier overall;

– dropped coins are easier to pick up, with a longer on-screen time, a higher arc and now they follow the scrolling, preventing the next baddies of the same wave to instantly overlap them;

– changed drawing priority between enemy bullets and player’s shots, resulting in a much cleaner output;

– hitting the walls and the baddies now produces an alarming metallic friction sound fx;

– fixed a bug about dead+game quitting;

– paths and bullets now continue to move when the player dies, and the panel are recharged (not cleared).

the day before

In the end, time comes: XeO3 Test Demo (Alpha1) will be released tomorrow Friday the 13th of June 2008.
The test level has, yeah we’d said before, its own map, one type of baddie only, no pickups, plain (advanceable) shot only, no big bosses, no minor features yet. But the general gameplay is there, and you can play it and contribute to the project, modifying the attack waves and sendign us feedback about how it is, how it’s missing and all the rest.

You know, me and Mike are a run-in duo, and a quick session of testing’n’fixing helped to clean up any issue, like shots stopping enemy bullets, obstacling coins, invincible turrets bases and so on. Even though it’s far to be the real game, I’m surprised and…yeah proud too, looking how frantic and funny is the gameplay itself! Shooting rows of baddies in order to jump under the coins cascade risking your own shield energy gives you satisfation, yay!

Ok, 24 hours from now…

back again

A seasonal stop usually leaves to make place for a seasonal restart. Mike has decided that the moment has come. We’re back on the track.

Well, to be precise, he is back on the track: we’d left the project when it should reach the release of a test suite, in order to let the players’audience adjust the difficulty level. To achieve that, Mike was facing his most frightful demon, in the shape of…yes: attack waves’design. I have to admit, it’s a good reason to get a healthy pause.
About me, and strictly my own tasks, after the improvement to the walker sprite, I was blocked by the instances: there is no urge for a 2nd level’s boss (which seems to be a harder job too), I still can’t do anything useful for the 2nd level’s background animation, due to the well known current limitations, we’re so far away from the usefulness of a 3rd level’s tune…what to do?

So Mike’s back, and he quickly achieved some targeted features.
First of all, we had to change the panel’s colors, because a most extended use of the videoram color would need a different contrast, because I implemented that colour as the midst luminance one. This change allowed to have a blue shield bar on the left, and a weapons powerbar on the right, which’s splitted in two regions: if the player completes his money bag while the powerbar is in the green region, he improves his weapon, and the powerbar fully recharges; if in the red region, the powerbal is refueled only.

And now, for a nasty feature we all have both waited and feared: now the alien baddies shoot at you!
We have 8 slots for enemy bullets, so why don’t spread this between turrets and baddies too? Now reaching the end of a level starts to become very difficult, because certain tunnels full of turrets and rows of enemies are now panic!


the giant is sleeping…

…till a new beginning, once again, yes.
RealLife© got Mike in the middle, and when it arrives, it arrives and you can do very little to revert.
We’re still alive, and we shall finish it! Oh Death take me tonight if I’m speaking sham (ouch).

Meanwhile, I stared at the walkers, and I thought they’re crap! So, in a hour free at work, I did few changes in the overall animation, transforming an icy eyeblinking machine in a bully mechanic seeker. Look at the images, on the left the old version, on the right the new one.

test suite is coming!

167! I fulfilled a whole sprites pack! Hey it’s a goal!
Yes, beside adjusting some little refinements and chitchatting about how things have to work, I bagged all the needed in order to have a baddie capable to appear exactly in the dead angle of your eye, making the most with the infamous pods: they now appear from the shadows.

It’s a 7 frames further consumption, the blank frame is the last one, #167, which will be used for several other nice features.

Of course, having a filled sprite pack doesn’t mean that’s will be the final sprites set for the level 1, but now I know I can build up one. To complete a good sprites showcase, I also reversed a couple of baddies, in order to have left-to-right attack waves too.


Ok, what now?
Well, we told you we’re pointing to have a test level. This mainly means we only need code about weapon system, and baddies’ attack waves. And we’re very close to complete all of this!
But hey, wait a moment: why loosing time and gray matter in order to get closer to the player’s whises regarding the baddies’ habits, instead of allowign the user himself to built insert and play his own enemies’paths?
So, that’s how it comes the idea to release a sort of…mmm..XeO3 Test Suite! With this one you will be able to draw your nastiest groups of attacking baddies, then compile the script in order to autoembed into the test level, hence play it! You will watch the stuff, finally, and everybody could contribute to the final version offering his best waves.

Making use of a large approximation in order to have yielding worktimes, we can assume we’ll release XeO3 Test Suite (or how the heck it will be called) before xmas 2007. Well, I really hope “a lot before” but let’s talk serious and secure. So wait for it, it’s coming!