Monday, April 7, 2014

New Demo Released - Metroid Speedrun Marathon

Next Saturday, the awesome people at Speed Demos Archives will be hosting a Metroid Speedrun Marathon. The cool thing about this marathon is that AM2R will be featured, along all the official Metroid games. The event will appear at the frontpage of Twitch.tv, professional speedrunner Dragondarch will be speedrunning the AM2R Demo v1.3.

Here's the schedule, and the Twitch Feed that will be streaming the event.
I'll do my best to attend, so feel free to drop by the stream chat.

So, you don't want to watch the new demo on a stream because of the spoilers?
We can fix that:



New in this version:
- Acess to a new area
- XInput support for XBox 360 controllers (Includding triggers)
- Improved button hints in-game
- Centralized menu control with dedicated buttons
- Redone lighting engine
- Aim Lock
- Analog walking
- Morph Button
- Many engine improvements and optimizations

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Menu controls, and demo release date

I know the DLC joke couldn't match last year's, but I had a lot of fun writing it.
Too bad I couldn't make a screenshot of the cat launcher in time...

Anyway, the new demo is almost ready for a release.
The miniboss of Area 3 had several revisions, and it's still being tweaked during the final playtest sessions. As usual, as things get fixed and features are added, other things break. Sometimes it feels like a never ending loop. But things look pretty stable nowadays, just a couple of (hopefully) simple bugs left to fix.

I know I entered into a "feature lockdown" to focus on the contents, but there was a feature that was requested a lot: Centralized menu controls. Now, first time players might find the subscreen controls a bit confusing (almos nobody reads the commands at the bottom of the screen), so I limited all the actions involving menus to 2 dedicated, customizable buttons.
This is a small detail that makes things much more intuitive.

Anyway, as for a release date... I will have a definitive date soon.
I'll post much more often as things develop, so please check back next week.

Thanks for following the project, and for all the awesome support!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Store Updates

The final testing phase of the new store system is almost over. After yesterday's stress test, the servers seem to be stable enough to handle the load of the release day. Also, there were some changes in how the currency is stored. Now, instead of paying directly for items, you can buy "Galactic Federation Credits" that can be used to redeem the items, be gifted to other players, or bid at the casino area.

Also, the in-game store has been finally added. You won't have to minimize the game and visit the store page each time you run out of missiles. Now the entire AM2R item store is available from the pause menu. Right now all the support crates that contain the items spawn at the landing site, but there are plans to expand the drop locations. 

Bear in mind that the current store screens are in-development, there will be a better looking background and a bigger selection of items.
Speaking of items, Reserve Tanks were added. These add 100 energy each, and are a permanent upgrade, available from the start of the game upon purchase. You can buy up to 10, and they stack with the normal E-Tanks. This ensures that the game will be accessible to people who aren't skilled at Metroid games, and wish to have a better starting loadout. 
Also, my accountant came up with a brilliant idea. To make the optional contents even more optional!So, if you don't enjoy the first two areas, there's no point of making them available for free.
Also, both suit upgrades and the special VIP suit are even more optional than before, being accesible to the people who acquire the "AD Removal Premium Pack". 
This awesome pack also gives you a great 5% discount on all the hints/puzzle solutions. Now all the frustration of not knowing how to get that dodgy Missile Tank is a thing of the past!

Now, the good news. During the first 24 hours after the release of the new demo, the game will be fully playable completely AD free. And as a bonus, Hard Mode will be free during the first day. 
You'll be able to enjoy all of these new features within the next few weeks, when the new demo is released.As always, positive comments, and product suggestions are always welcome.

Edit: Thanks to the massive success of the new features, I'll be considering your awesome suggestions for more cool items. Post what weapon / item or feature you want to see in the game (along with an estimated price, of course).
The top 3 people who suggest the coolest entries will receive a FREE season pass!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Playtesting and debugging

Finally, the playtesting phase for the upcoming demo started. There were several playtest sessions, some of them in person, with good old friends, some of them remote.
These sessions were really useful to detect some level design issues, along with some serious balance problems with the miniboss of Area 3. There will be more sessions later on, but for now I've been fixing most of the recently found issues.
There were a couple dozen bugs that appeared because of the new control options, too. Even if they're pretty solid there were a couple of minor bugs here and there that went by undetected until now.

I also spent plenty of time on sound design of existing objects. There are new ambient noises in certain rooms, along with dedicated impact and death sounds for robotic enemies.

Al that's left to round up the contents of the upcoming demo is:
- Finish and balance the miniboss
- Finish the music tracks of the new areas
- Test and polish everything

This was a lengthy process, but right now the priority is to have, on release day, a very solid and polished game. As there's more content on each demo, the production and polishing process takes longer each time.
Scripting wise, this new area was the most complex so far. Hopefully the rest of the areas will be relatively simple to finish and test, compared to this one.

If everything goes well the new demo should be out in 3 or 4 weeks.
Until then, I recommend that you play the original Metroid 2, and get a feel of the third area.
As always, comments and ideas are welcome.

Monday, February 3, 2014

New features preview


So, these new features will give you even more options to customize the way you control Samus. Morphing with just a button can give you a lot more versatility, specially when using analog sticks. For those with analog controls, Samus can walk if you push the stick halfway towards a direction.
And the coolest, and potentially most useful, Aim Lock. Holding the Aim Lock button will force Samus to aim in a specific direction, and walk instead of run. This makes some of the harder Metroid fights more interesting, since you can now strafe and position your shots better.

These features have been in development for quite a while. Now that they're working properly and bug-free, they are officially a part of the engine. You'll be able to try these out on the upcoming demo.

And last but not least, Decayed, an awesome AM2R fan, donated a Game Maker Ubuntu Export Module license. This means that, whenever the project is migrated to Studio, a Linux port will be very likely to be developed.
My gratitude to this great person, he's starting his own project, so make sure you visit his webpage every once in a while.

As always, your thoughts, comments and suggestions are welcome.