The Mezunian

Die Positivität ist das Opium des Volkes, aber der Spott ist das Opium der Verrückten

An Ocarina of Time Review in which I Agree with the Conclusion but the Writer Disagrees with the Conclusion

Sometimes the internet is full o’ these delightful absurdities, & I consider it my life duty to register them.

A blog named “The Nocturnal Rambler” wrote an article that lists numerous flaws with Ocarina of Time, including 1s I’ve mentioned, such as how terrible Ganondorf’s characterization is, how terrible the overworld map is, how characters ne’er shut up, how this game’s full o’ padding, & how all o’ its good stuff was already done by A Link to the Past. He also adds points I didn’t think ’bout, such as how square the dungeons are… though, to be fair, that applies to all the earlier Zelda games, too.

O, & this article was posted on April 1. & ’cause that wasn’t ’nough ( which, to be fair, since internet is an international thing & April Fools… I don’t e’en know how far that reaches. ¿Do UK people celebrate it? I’m guessing most o’ the world doesn’t ), the author specifies that it’s a joke & that he considers Ocarina of Time “perfect for its time”, while acknowledging that his criticisms were “at least halfway valid”.

I loved the response to that, too: “Next time don’t tell the truth when trolling. Every complaint you had was valid”.

Posted in Video Games

shitty-ass haiku

Mezun wrote this while searching for images related to haiku in the Google Images prefecture. He addressed this to some o’ the poems by young westerners he ran into, who subscribed to the orokaburushitu school o’ haiku that uses minimal imagery & subtlety & usually involves meta commentary ’bout how the writer is just writing 17 syllables without thinking.

Just 17 whole
syllables makes a
shitty-ass haiku.

Posted in Haiku, Senryu y amigos, Poetry

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 7 – Bowser’s Secret Sea

World E: Deserted Skies

Lab of the Mirage ( revisited )

Music: “Revenge of Meta Knight – Halbert”, Kirby Super Star

Yes, e’en this world’s lab’s secret exit involves flying.

The reason for my clumsy playing is that I just started using a real SNES controller & was getting used to it.

  • P-Switch level count: 27 / 45
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

World I: Bowser’s Secret Sea

I was a’least wise ’nough to hide the water levels ’way in a secret world that doesn’t give you anything for beating it.

Sea of Secrets

Music: “Underwater Tunnels”, Wario Land II

Nice awkward tiling o’ the bottom row o’ the background.

Not much to say ’bout this level. It’s not terrible — it’s just not terribly creative. It’s just a bunch o’ places where you need to dodge Urchins & swim round Electros. As the bonus ending shows, this level does reward you for noticing alternate routes.

Speaking o’ which, that brings up a point that annoys me: while I play rather clumsily in this video, when I was playing up to the part o’ the 2nd route, I did so well & smoothly, making early cycles with Urchins & squeezing through Electros with minimal movement. But I didn’t start recording till I got to just before the secret path, since it’s not as if I expected that to happen.

Also, that the “multiple paths, right path is 2nd-to-last” is a “puzzle” I’ve done a’least 1 other time, & probably mo’. It’s hilarious ’cause it wastes a li’l bit o’ the player’s time, & nothing else. Actually, to be fair, if the answer is this consistent for a few times, it does make for an OK puzzle in terms o’ challenging players to learn & remember. I did remember it ’cause it’s so common it’s solidified in my mind; I only intentionally took the last path to show it off.

The lack o’ P-switches & my foggy memory leads me to believe this was extensively remade late in development.

  • P-Switch level count: 27 / 46
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

S.S. Devil Koopa

Music: “Jib Jib”, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

For some reason I reference a lot o’ Japanese Mario names like Teresa ( Japanese name for Boo ) & “Devil Koopa”, which is actually what Super Mario World calls Bowser @ some point. I think I found it exotic, like how I always found the inaccurately translated enemy names in Super Mario RPG exotic.

The silver P-switch is a nice reward for exploring. I didn’t e’en know Boos turned to silver coins till I made this level. I also like how the dynamic o’ the 1st room changes if you take the key with you. As you can see, I couldn’t control myself worth shit & careened into every obstacle I could — but still didn’t die thanks to this level babying me & giving me plenty o’ powerups. The only problem is that savvy players would probably think to take the silver P-switch with them only to ne’er find a place they need it — ’nother flaw caused by my o’eruse o’ P-switch puzzles.

Speaking o’ which, the 2nd area has a needless blue switch, presumably to force the player to explore the left area on the top deck, where they can find a bunch o’ empty space & a single hopping Koopa.

That’s OK, ’cause it turns out my memory was wrong: I thought the ship went straight down, preventing you from swimming under everything, @ certain points, like just after the keyhole alcove. Turns out I changed that & allow you to straight swim past everything. Guess that was to give the player a back-up in case they stupidly waste the P-switch without getting rid o’ the brown blocks.

I have no idea why Luigi’s fiery palette is messed up in this area. ¿Does he e’en have a different palette scheme in this area? Other than the fiery palette being his normal palette, everything else is the same. ¿Why does this exist?

You’ll also notice the water surface tiles choppily jutting into each other when the open surface meets the surface in front o’ the ship. No matter how much I tried, I could ne’er fix that problem. I don’t think I could e’er figure out the frame speed o’ the original surface.

& our reward for this secret exit is… a warp to the middle o’ the forest for some reason. Makes me wonder if this route would make for better speedrunning — as if anyone would be masochistic ’nough to speedrun this gem.

  • P-Switch level count: 28 / 47
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 14
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Sea of Classics

Music: “Underwater Theme”, Super Mario All-Stars ( Super Mario Bros. ) ( Same )

Now we get some truly shitty level design: an obnoxious maze with cliché references to the original Super Mario Bros., glitchy turn-block graphics, & a P-switch. I love how I didn’t e’en go all the way with the classic references: the music is from All-Stars & the end has the Super Mario World goal post, not the flagpole. It’s the only level with the goal post, too, so that means that if one’s stupid ’nough, they could use this level to get the bonus level that otherwise is defacto edited out. I’d be interested to see how glitched that looks.

Also, the outlines on everything is wrong: it’s dark gray when the original Super Mario Bros. obviously used pure black.

The 1 interesting point ’bout this level is that it’s while copying the graphics from Super Mario Bros. that I learned that the clouds & bushes are the same graphics, just with different palettes.

  • P-Switch level count: 29 / 48
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 14
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Shroom of Seas

Music: “Underwater Theme”, Super Mario All-Stars ( Super Mario Bros. ) ( Same )

¿Do I have déjà vu or did I not also see this message somewhere else? Considering how many messages are just stupid jokes, it amazes me that I couldn’t come up with ’nough messages that I had to stoop to repetition twice. Truly these were here just to give me a reason to have mo’ multiple exits, since it’s not as if I could’ve made level layouts mo’ creative than a straight line to the end. I mean, we already saw what kind o’ bizarre shit I come up with when I don’t just use shrooms with that warp star to the middle o’ a forest shit.

I want to emphasize: your reward for beating this secret world is a fucking shroom. A fucking shroom with a message that’s a copy o’ ’nother & randomized item blocks that don’t e’en seem to work & aren’t worth e’en 10 coins.

Next update will be e’en shorter, & hopefully mo’ prompt, since it’ll just be a li’l clean-up & build-up to the true final world.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games


bee sting heat

leaching all water

ice bucket bent o’er

spilling why bothers

When I’m depressed,

I think o’ birds nests.

That’s not e’en a metaphor.

When life gives you limes,

squeeze them into fun shapes.

Don’t look undercover for the meaning, my friend:

look, I’ll give it to you right here.

Beach-scuttling crabs —

nothing wrong with that.

It ne’er scrutinized you;

look, but leave it ’lone.

When I’m distressed,

I think o’ worms in chalky dirt.

Not everything great rhymes with “vest”.

When the earth gives you worms,

pet them,

’cause worms are actually quite friendly.

cola polar bears

& blue cheese dressing;

Chef Webster’s best summer leaves

get my blessing.

The sun’s cured your cold —

here now, have some sniffles;

& the hand’s already havocked

by lukewarm morning bristles.

¡But that was the good part!

You didn’t e’en finish your chicken.

¿You didn’t like your chicken?

Can’t e’en eat chicken right,

so the stale blinding silence eats you.

Only the cat can forgive your sins.

Only it has the calm to forget.

You boarded your doors gainst the blizzard for years;

but in the summer thaw the clear cubes melt to tears.

The Joe Man is back.

Posted in Poetry

An Ocarina of Time Review in which I Agree with the Conclusion but Disagree with the Reasons

In ’nother entry in my long list o’ counterarguments to the idea that right conclusions equals right arguments, we have a critical review o’ Ocarina of Time which is stupid. Actually, to be fair to Ocarina of Time fans, most critiques o’ Ocarina of Time are as dumb as the praise it gets. I don’t know if I live in some alternate reality where what’s fun & good is different from everyone else, but it seems like no one can say anything sensible ’bout Ocarina of Time.

Anyway, this review starts by wasting paragraphs hyping / apologizing for how controversial his opinion’s going to seem. I was a’least courteous ’nough to wait till the end when everyone already left in seethes, & my hyping was mo’ creative ( read: insane ).

In the 3rd paragraph he finally gets to the main reason:

Well, I suppose the biggest reason is the most obvious: It’d outdated.

Fuck me… God damn it, Ocarina of Time fans: ¿are you so obsessed that you’ll create astroturf blogs full o’ strawmen? ’Cause I’m quite certain, “Duhr, it’s ol’, so it sucks” is exactly what Ocarina of Time fans make fun o’ critics as saying.

And I know what you’re gonna say, and I’m going to stop you. Yes, it’s a seventeen year old game. Yes, it was influential in the time it was made. Yes, a lot of modern gaming has been shaped by what this game did and, during the time it was made, it had no equals.

& I’m going to stop you & say, no, none o’ that is correct, & only the 1st was right @ some point.

I particularly love the “during the time it was made, it had no equals”. “¡This game that sucks had no equals @ the time!” Seems that your “Ocarina of Time is a Terrible, Terrible Game” was a “terrible, terrible” attempt @ a bit o’ false clickba — ¡God damn it, it’s ’nother fucking website I’ve read whose title is nonindicative o’ its actual content! ¡Stop wasting me time with this shit!

Anyway, we’re already “in too deep” into the anus, so let’s keep digging. ( ¿What the fuck does that mean? )

That is all very much true… if I was playing the N64 version. Which I’m not. I’m playing the 3DS version that, as far as I’ve been able to tell, changes nothing but the aesthetics and graphics of the game. Everything else stays the same… Which is in the game’s detriment, not its favour. Because while it set forth a lot of good things, it really doesn’t hold up well today.

So… ¿the 3DS game is worse than the N64 version ’cause… it only improves its graphics & keeps everything else the same? ¿Improvement & equality = worse? Usually people criticize reviews ’cause they have some subjective opinion on what is “fun” that they disagree with; my favorite are the reviews that are wrong due to basic fundamental logical flaws.

I think this reviewer’s mainly trying to say that both versions are bad today, but that the N64 version was good back in 1998… which contradicts “That is all very much true… if I was playing the N64 version”, which says that, if he were playing the N64 version now, it’d still be good. If that sentence were excised, he’d a’least have an internally-consistent argument. I’d still argue that that’s bunk: there are plenty o’ ol’ games that are still great today, e’en better than newer games. For example, every attempt to modernize Yoshi’s Island has always been vastly inferior — e’en in graphics & music — to the 1995 Yoshi’s Island. That game hasn’t aged an ounce.

Mo’ importantly, ’course, I disagree with his claim that Ocarina of Time “had no equals” back in 1998 & wish this were a praiseworthy review so he could perhaps elaborate — O, wait, they wouldn’t elaborate on that either. “Ocarina of Time was unmatched” is an argument you take on faith, nothing else.

Let’s ignore his rambling paragraph trying to defend gainst strawmen idiots who try to argue that anyone who complains ’bout Ocarina of Time must suck @ it. A simple, “Anyone who makes such an asinine argument is too dumb to argue with” would’ve sufficed. That said, I don’t think I’ve read that 1 yet, — mostly just wishing for people’s deaths & calling them “trolls” — & am bewildered by it, since Ocarina of Time isn’t exactly Battletoads. I think the problem would be less, “it’s too hard for me” & mo’ “it’s too hard for me to not fall asleep”.

Well, lets start with the story, or the lack thereof.

Let’s start with the lack thereof o’ sense in this review.

¿Lack o’ story in Ocarina of Time? O, mercy, modern gamers, ¿how art thou so? & you’re my age or older, too. ¿You think Ocarina of Time didn’t have ’nough story? “¿What the hell? I only had to mash the A button for, like, 5 minutes straight. Final Fantasy XIV would’ve been a’least 2 hours”.

Take Link, the player character that we get to name ourselves.

“¡I hate being allowed to have some semblance o’ creativity & being able to control aspects o’ my character! It’s almost as if I’m s’posed to be controlling this game or something”.

He has no personality… at all. He is a complete blank slate. Now on the one hand, this is suppose to be the point. We’re suppose to impose our own character onto him… but this always struck me as somewhat lazy story-telling.

Well, then it’s a good thing this is a game & not a novel, or that might be problematic. “It always struck me as somewhat lazy that movies used pictures to get round having to think o’ ways to represent their story in textual form”.

Rather than create a protagonist, they just pretend that we’re the protagonist and leave it at that.

That’s ’cause we are the protagonist. That’s why we push those buttons on the controller. This is a game. God, no wonder he sucked so much @ this game: he didn’t know he was s’posed to actually be doing the stuff himself. He just stared @ the TV with bewilderment. “¿So this whole thing is just the 1 text box, & nothing from the protagonist himself? Hardly Shakespeare”.

Now, true, Pokemon does much the same. Pokemon has a blank slate protagonist, leaving the player to implant their own personality. But, in that game, it works because the player character isn’t what we’re playing as. The player character is the one who gets us from A to B, yes, but the actual ‘playing’ part of the game comes from the Pokemon themselves. The Pokemon take centre stage, not the player character.

No, I think in “that game” ( or, rather, many, many games ) it works ’cause those games have actually interesting gameplay that is, unfortunately, interrupted by inane text, whereas Ocarina of Time doesn’t have any actual interesting gameplay. Surely this reviewer isn’t going to try telling me that he liked the Pokémon games ’cause he found Pikachu’s personality so compelling. “It truly tugged my heartstrings when he said, ‘Pika Pika chu’ — truly the greatest quote in all English”. Pokémon are interesting ’cause o’ what they do, the different strengths & weaknesses & strategies one can develop with them, which should contrast with most modern RPGs, which just give you pre-made characters with li’l customization, wherein most battles are just mashing A till you win, with a few healing spells when some #s get too low.

The fairy in Ocarina of Time sure has a personality. Same with the owl. Plenty o’ the characters in Ocarina of Time have personality — they’re just all annoying. The fact that Link shuts his trap is a blessing. Though I’ve heard plenty say, “I wish that damn fairy would shut up”, I’ve ne’er heard anyone say, “Gee, I truly wish I knew what Link was thinking now”. Probably ’cause we’ve learned from material like the CDi games or the cartoon that it’s usually something stupid. Think o’ how much mo’ entranced in Ocarina of Time I’d be if every so oft Link interrupted the great music with, “Well, ‘scuuuuuse me, princess” ( though now I wish someone would make a rom hack with voice clips from the cartoon & the CD-i games, ’cause that sounds hilarious ).

If anything, I’d say the fact that Link was silent made for mo’ interesting interactions & mo’ nuance — something that is viciously lacking in modern games. Link’s reaction to Ruto’s come-ons being just a horrified expression is much funnier than if he spouted out, “O, gawd. ¡What a bummer!” like god damn Bubsy the Bub.

But even if we ignore that, and look at the character themselves, the Pokemon protagonist is still more interesting than Link because the Pokemon protagonist has less personality. Which sounds conflicting, but let me explain.

I’m just sitting back in my bed with my arms folded with an expression o’ deep anticipation.

Actually, to be fair, he does offer some great criticism o’ Ocarina of Time’s story:

But even if we ignore that, Link has no motivation for his actions. He shows no interest in the story at large. He is given no reason to save Zelda and the kingdom. He is given no reason to care about what is going on. Without the lead character getting interested in the drama, how am I suppose to care?

I was going to make fun o’ his comparison ’tween Link & the main character from Pokémon games; but, yeah, the main characters in Pokémon do have mo’ believable motivation. E’en the villains have better motivation. Team Rocket may be shamelessly evil, but they’re just a average cynical, corrupt gang. ¿But how do I take seriously the idea that if Ganondorf takes control o’ the mystical McGuffin known as the Triforce that the world becomes infected with magical evil juice, ’cause “evil”. That’s the most inane fantasy tripe that only children write anymo’. Anyone who has e’er read any notable fantasy literature & actually likes that genre would be appalled @ the kind o’ mindless, outdated tripe — outdated as in “things literature stopped doing since the 50s” — video games are still spewing.

O, & hey, he has mo’ actually right criticism:

This is probably the game’s biggest flaw in the story-telling. It prefers to tell the audience everything that they need to know, rather than show them.

Mountains of text sprouting exposition in order to build up a story, rather than letting the story unfold in a more visually interesting way.

The entire plot revolves around the player collecting McGuffins in order to advance the story, but with little reason to care about what is happening.

My only question is, ¿how was this good in 1998? I ’specially find this funny considering his comparison to Pokémon ’cause the 1st Pokémon game came out before Ocarina of Time. Ocarina of Time apparently had no equals, but it clearly had superiors. The fact that any Pokémon game e’er beat Ocarina of Time in storytelling is the most damning critique you could give a game wherein storytelling is its primary “strength”.

But, phhh, ¿who cares ’bout “motivation” or the inanity o’ “magic causes it”? Ocarina of Time is “epic”, man, & that’s all that matters in my superserious storytelling.

But then we’re back to nonsense:

[I]t was revolutionary for when it was made. Which, once again, is true…

I ask ’gain: ¿how is Ocarina of Time revolutionary in terms o’ gameplay? That stupid fucking Z-targeting? Nobody fucking cares ’bout that. I don’t think video gaming would’ve gone the way o’ pogs if glorious Zelda hadn’t been there to gift us with the genius invention o’ not having to bother with aiming by holding a button down.

Take the ‘auto-lock’ camera function. From what I can tell, this was the first game to really do it.

What you can tell is wrong. ¿Have none o’ you idiots played Super Mario 64? ¿Is this some obscure gem that only few have played? It had auto-lock. Indeed, it had a better camera ’cause it gave you much mo’ control o’er it, like letting you shift it left & right. Super Mario 64’s camera has everything Ocarina of Time has & mo’, & it came out 2 years earlier.

I’m not going to judge his complaint that Ocarina of Time’s autolock is useless, ’cause he doesn’t elaborate. He just says it sucks & that he ignores it.

I’m mo’ interested in this critique:

It ends up being a very dull button-mash that ends with wild flaying since it’s hard to target anything.

¿Ocarina of Time makes it too hard to hit things? It has auto-targetting: the game babifies things for you. I’m the kind o’ person who thinks that NES games or shitty modern games that try to emulate shitty NES games are too hard, but e’en I think having the game aim for me is babifying. The only exception I can think o’ is when the camera is too fucking close to see anything round you, like with the Keese; but the only reason the Keese are a problem is ’cause they’re too far out o’ range for the Z-targeting to work & so far ‘bove you that you can’t see them, so they can just swoop down & smack you without you e’en getting a hint. But that’s a problem with the camera, not the Z-targeting. If anything, Z-targeting feels like a crutch for a bad camera.

Well, the biggest and most pressing problem is that the game never bothers to teach the player anything of any use.

God damn it, ¿why are you doing this to me?

The game ne’er shuts up. It constantly tells you how to do everything, no matter how obvious. I’m surprised the game doesn’t outright start with a text box that says, “To close these text boxes, press A”.

Now I know the modern complaint when it comes to modern gaming is that there’s too much ‘hand-holding’. The game makes everything incredibly easy so that even the worst player knows what they need to do.

Wait, ¿what? You just said that the game makes it too hard to figure anything out.

Now on the one hand, this is a valid complaint.

¡It’s your own complaint! ¡You can’t judge your own judgments!

Games are designed to provide some challenge, so taking away that challenge is a major drawback.

¿Says who? ¿Insecure people who need to be showed they can do something that a lot o’ other people can’t do, regardless o’ how li’l benefit it gives to anyone else? Mario Paint wasn’t challenging, but it certainly wasn’t garbage.

Halfway through this paragraph, I’ve realized that that sentence way back when he said “the game” he wasn’t referring to Ocarina of Time, but some newfangled game, & he was trying to contrast Ocarina of Time to those games & trying to defend modern games & their incessant tutorials.

Now, as the webseries Extra Credits pointed out, Portal is almost 90% tutorial. They teach the player something, make sure the player knows it, and makes it so that the player can’t move forward until they’ve mastered it. Most games do this, to some extent. They teach the player something and make sure they know to do something before moving on.

The difference is that good games don’t have tutorials but intuitive design. Though I would agree that not punishing the player too much for the crime o’ making mistakes would certainly mitigate the feeling that one needs tutorials. This is the kind o’ strength a game like Mario Paint has: it doesn’t need a tutorial, ’cause it doesn’t need to worry ’bout whether you know how to play it the “right” way ’cause it doesn’t punish you for anything: it just gives you its tools & says, “Go crazy”. It’d be nice if mo’ games were like this.

Now isn’t this true of Ocarina of Time?

All right, now I’m confused ’gain: ¿weren’t you arguing that Ocarina of Time doesn’t teach ’nough?

They teach you how to use your sword, throw a bomb, etc.

’Cept you just said @ the beginning o’ this long paragraph, “the biggest and most pressing problem is that the game never bothers to teach the player anything of any use”. Apparently slashing your sword & throwing bombs has no use in this game where you slash your sword gainst the vast majority o’ enemies & use bombs to solve most puzzles.

And on that level, that’s true. They teach you how to do that much. But then they leave a lot up to unintuitive and counter-productive thinking.

Then the true flaw isn’t “doesn’t teach ’nough” but bad level design.

[A] good example can be found in the Shadow Temple. In order to proceed, you need to use an arrow to shoot a bunch of bomb plants, causing a structure to fall. […] Only problem is, the game has at not point explained that this is possible.

Here I’d have to defend Ocarina of Time: basic logic tells you that if you shoot bombs, they blow up. If anything, the game would be worse if the arrows just went through them like ghosts. Compared to the kind o’ tripe adventure games o’ its era had, Ocarina of Time was quite generous. I mean, I praised the original Zelda as better than Ocarina of Time, but expecting you to shoot an arrow @ bombs knowing that they’ll blow up is better than guessing that “disliking smoke” means it’ll die if you put bombs in front o’ its face or that “grumble grumble” means, “¿Could you please give me some meat? I’m terrible famished”. Hell, that game has maps that outright lie to you & pretend that certain rooms don’t exist.

Well there is one last flaw that sticks out like a sore thumb […]

I thought everyone found “sticks out like a sore thumb” laughable e’er since the Irate Gamer mumbled it in a review.

Sorry: proceed.

[…] and drags the entire game down beyond being saved: Every time you die you get sent back to the start of the dungeon with only three hearts.

I wish I could make fun o’ this or defend him or say something interesting, but… eh… Yeah, it’s annoying — but hardly makes a game “terrible, terrible”. He should be glad the game didn’t force him to replay dungeons ’cause he lost too many lives.

Restarting the player with only three hearts defeats any need to hunt out more hearts, since they’re always going to end up being depleted anyway.

“It’s not like I can get mo’ hearts by breaking all those pots everywhere or cutting all that grass that mysteriously grows in dungeons”.

So the option is either to press on and hoping to find more hearts, or using a potion (though, given how far away the nearest store is to the dungeon entrance, it’s just as much hassle to go back and refill the potions as it is to just press forward and try not to die).

“¿Why can’t Link just call Amazon & have them deliver potions to him right in the dungeon? ¿How backward are these Hyrulians?”

Neither are very good options, since they force the player to waste time doing busywork before they get back to the part they were at.

“The part they were at” being “wasting time doing busywork”, since that’s the bulk o’ Ocarina of Time’s gameplay.

But this mechanic, the sending the player back to the start with only three hearts, is by far the worst part of any game I’ve ever played.

¿What? ¿“[A]ny game I’ve ever played”? I can’t e’en think o’ what game to tell you to play to change your mind, since there’s too many.

It kills the pacing stone dead, leaving me wondering whether I can be arsed slogging through the same tedious garbage in order to get back to where I was.

“This tedious garbage was perfectly fine when I only had to do it once”.

If you hadn’t had ’nough o’ this reviewer filling paragraphs with, “Bring on the hate”, or whatever, well… I am.

It’s annoying, ’cause it seems clear this guy just got frustrated @ this game & vented his anger, rather than providing the kind o’, ahem, mo’ cool-headed, high-level critique that I did.

All I have left to say is, if these were his problems & what he thought were strengths o’ Ocarina of Time, I’d be curious to see his opinion o’ Super Mario 64 or any NES or SNES games. Presumably he hasn’t played many o’ those games, ’cause if he did he’d see that Ocarina of Time wasn’t nearly as “revolutionary” as he thought & its frustrating points weren’t special for it, either.

Posted in Video Games

Let’s Code a Crappy 2D Platformer Like Millions o’ Other People on the Internet & Lose Interest & Give Up Only a Few Months In, Part XXIII

Sleet Streets

¿Remember when I said I was working on a snow level full o’ slopes in my last update? This wasn’t that. When I wrote that I had 2 ideas for snow levels: a mountainous snow level full o’ slopes & tricky jumps & a city / snow level wherein you had to collect presents. @ 1st I was going to have the former be a 1st-cycle level & the latter be a 4th-cycle level; but then I decided that the city / snow level seemed like it’d be much easier, so I switched them & ended up working on “Sleet Streets” ’stead.

There’s so much to talk ’bout, I don’t e’en know where to start. I actually had to program in quite a few things for this level — the presents & the corresponding goal being the most noticeable. ’Twas also the easiest: I simply had to add a variable, a function for adding to that variable, & a function for checking the value o’ that variable to the inventory; make a block component & goal that deals with adding & checking for presents; & draw to the inventory based on it. A change you may notice is that I got rid o’ the word “OFF” that was always there, e’en though it isn’t used in any level yet. I’m changing the inventory so it’s mo’ context-based, to minimize clutter. Hardly any levels will use on / off switches ( so far none do ), so there’s no point in putting there in most o’ them. Similarly, while not shown in the video, going into a different level won’t show the presents counter; only in that goal will it show them.

The main mechanic I added was the ability to create a block background layer, which is used all o’er in this level. If the tiled map file has a 3rd layer, the game makes a MapLayer that is a list o’ blocks like the normal blocks, but they’re drawn in the background ( though ’bove all other backgrounds ) & they can’t be interacted with. This made having the buildings on the slopes much easier & allowed me to make Autumn appear ’hind the snow on the slopes but still appear in front o’ the buildings.

The other big thing I added were the snowman & large snowboulder sprites. The former are wildly predictable & can be hard to dodge — ’specially when coming back out o’ the sewers. Originally I planned to have them throw their snowballs upward, arcing back down, but then I decided that was less fun to dodge, as ’twas mo’ likely that they’d just go o’er your head, anyway. The snowmen still have no animation, though, which I probably should’ve changed ’stead o’ wasting time adding animation to some background portrait. The snowboulders are incredibly simple: they just hurt you when they touch you & are affected by gravity & blocks, which on slopes make them naturally fall down. Their graphics are also simple: just a single image that rotates based on how fast they’re moving. Their collision is buggy, though: you’re s’posed to be able to stand on them safely, but a lot o’ the time you’ll get hit anyway, probably from scraping gainst the corner o’ their hitbox while going upward. Also, if they run into you when you’re to the left o’ them, they’ll oft smash you inside the ground blocks. It’s easy to pop out, though, & it actually makes a great effect.

A minor effect: background & foreground layers can now have alpha, which was done so I could have the transparent fog in the sewer section. I have concerns that it may be too hard to see down there, though.

Most o’ my time was probably spent making the graphics, as I wanted it to look nice. The problem is there are always mo’ details I can think o’ to add. Right now I remembered that I ne’er made wall scratches to add variety to the plain flat background o’ the inside sections.

I do wonder ’bout the placement o’ this level in the 1st cycle & its difficulty. It’s not too hard, but it can be quite easy to be killed by the snowmen, the penguins in the sewer section, or the falling snowboulders. The problem with the last is that you’re going uphill & the camera doesn’t leave much padding ’tween Autumn & the top o’ the screen when pushing gainst the camera limit simply ’cause there’s not much vertical space. Thus it’s easy to get ambushed by a snowboulder. My main tactic is to hold the W button to keep pushing the camera upward as I go up, but that’s awkward & sometimes my jumps don’t jump ’cause I can’t push on that key hard ’nough with my hand sharing Z & W.

While the level isn’t that hard — probably still easier than “Cotton Candy Clouds” just before it — it is so far the longest level, which makes death mo’ frustrating, & thus makes the level feel mo’ difficult, which is what matters. My goal was that it was s’posed to be mo’ an exploratory adventure than a challenge. Many o’ the challenges in this level, such as the trick floor in the 2nd building or the tree-climbing section, are meant to be safe to fail. However, I don’t think the snowmen & the penguins fit in, ’cause they’re actually quite dangerous. On the other hand, they add something to a level I fear may be a bit too empty. This is why I added plenty o’ health, including an infinite health box ’tween the 2 snowmen. My goal was that they would act as simply a training ground. I s’pose it still isn’t much harder than “Cotton Candy Clouds”, & it is near the end o’ the 1st cycle, so may a slight rise in difficulty isn’t too bad. I myself didn’t have too much trouble in my 2 runs, but keep in mind that I’ve been testing these levels o’er & o’er & have internalized much o’ it ( & died a lot mo’ when 1st playing ). The point is I want to avoid forcing players to redo a bunch o’ stuff repeatedly ’cause o’ simple mistakes. While I expect players to die a few times in the previous levels, my goal is for players to die a lot fewer times in this level, thus making the level length not so daunting.

An obvious solution that I’m sure someone would bring up is to add a midway point. I’ve still refused to add 1 to this game, not ’cause it’d be hard ( it’d be trivial ), but ’cause my goal is to have these levels be short like Super Mario Bros. 3, which also didn’t have midway points. The problem is that in practice I don’t think I’ve succeeded in that. I actually looked through Super Mario Bros. 3 maps as I’ve done a few times for ideas & was struck by how much shorter its levels are than I remembered — & how much shorter they are than my levels. ¿How long does it take to beat an average level in Super Mario Bros. 3? I know the average time for my levels is like 30 seconds to a minute. 30 seconds was what I targeted for the average, but a think many levels go higher than that. The 1st level takes a’least 40 seconds, & mo’ likely a minute ’pon 1st playthrough; “Mart Cart Madness” takes ’bout a minute, ’less you take the shortcut, in which it takes ’bout 30 seconds; & this level takes a’least a minute, & 2-3 seconds ’pon 1st playthrough.

Then ’gain, I also plan to have far fewer levels than Super Mario Bros. 3, — I plan to have ’bout 40 levels — so perhaps having longer, in-depth levels isn’t so bad. I think the reason why my levels tend to be longer is ’cause I want to mo’ deeply explore my level gimmicks, & I just find that impossible without taking the time. Super Mario Bros. 3 level design was simpler, so there wasn’t as much a need to explore mechanics like not being seen by enemies or a mine cart that can bounce back & forth.

I’ve also oft thought ’bout how midway points might affect gem & time scores. ¿Should I save what gems they’d collected or require players to beat the challenges without dying? ¿Do I save the time they had or find some other way to keep players from death abusing to easily get a lower time score? If I do make it so that players have to beat the level without dying to get a challenge, ¿how do I keep them from accidentally getting a midway point & having to beat the level normally just for ’nother try @ a challenge? I don’t want to make the challenges a specific level mode, ’cause I like being able to beat the challenges on 1st-playthrough; making players play a level multiple times e’en though they can accomplish everything the 1st time is annoying padding, & that’s the kind o’ cancer on modern gaming that I particularly want to avoid.

Trying to add a midway point to this level would be particularly troublesome since it’d have to keep track o’ what presents you collected, which meant either doing some hardcoded nonsense with the presents ’stead o’ the current method o’ using simple blocks or save every map’s block data for each level’s checkpoint ( which I’d have to do, anyway, if I decided to save gems collected ), which might be a memory burden. I know premature optimization is the root o’ all evil, but there’s a difference ’tween making messy code just to make a small time save that’s probably not needed vs. the instinctual aversion to messy code that has a likely potential to be immensely inefficient. I have a lot o’ lenience with this game, since it’s a very low-tech game for high-tech platforms, but that still doesn’t mean I have infinite memory; & I have run into slowdown problems. This is probably ’cause I haven’t been doing much premature optimization &, quite the opposite, this project is hilariously inefficient, not the least o’ which ’cause sprites are a messy clump o’ many variables that most sprites ne’er use — but still pay for.

Perhaps as a way to make up for “Sleet Streets” not fully succeeding @ being an easy going exploratory romp, I made the gem & time challenges much easier than most other levels. In the video on my 1st runthrough you can see I easily get the gem challenge; if you go everywhere in the level & don’t miss too many gems, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get it. Meanwhile, in the 2nd run, e’en though I make a bunch o’ mistakes, I still make the time limit with a few seconds to spare, as opposed to the very 1st level, wherein you have li’l room for error. I didn’t e’en have to edit this video, unlike some o’ the previous, ’cause I was able to do the 2 runs on my 1st try.

The Future

I may either do the “Sherbet Slopes” or the next level after “Sleet Streets”, the 1st pirate level, depending on what I feel like doing or what I have ideas for. I may end up working more on a bunch o’ graphics — I have no graphics for pirate levels yet, for instance — & take a while before I finish the next level I do.

Level Themes

For those curious, here’s the level themes I have planned:

1. City
2. Forest
3. Mines
4. Desert
5. Sky
6. Ice
7. Pirate
8. Sewer
9. Factory
10. Castle / Palace
S. Special

& these are the levels I plan to have for each theme ( levels completed highlighted in red ):

Steam Engeenius

CityBlueberry BurroughsStormy StreetsRooftop Rumble
ForestWasabi Woods*Bough DownFreaky ForestWindy Woods
MinesMinty MinesCurse o’ the Ladder-Splayed CavesThe Minus Touch
DesertDry, Drought DesertDesert DarePepperoncini PyramidCold Comfort Canyon
SkyCotton Candy CloudsValue ValhallaHoot ChutesCrying Lightning
IceSleet StreetsFrigid FrigatesIce MinesSherbet Slopes
Pirate Ship-2-Ship IslandsBanana Beach
SewerPorcelain DreamsSoupy Sewers
FactoryWarm Up
Castle / PalaceDonut DungeonGolden Gear SolidCastle Chamsby
SpecialMart Cart MadnessMaybe I’m a Maze

* Now with the map I have in-mind, I’ve thought ’bout renaming “Wasabi Woods”: since the o’erworld doesn’t take place where Boskeopolis is ( which makes this game’s name a hilarious misnomer ), but in some other island, it doesn’t make sense to have a forest there names the same as the forest next to Boskeopolis. I’ve thought ’bout naming it Worcestershire Woods as a reference to some dumb series o’ microfiction I made for ¡Mega Microstories!

I wanted 10 ’cause that’s a nice even number, but as everything else, I’ll probably fiddle with it o’er however long I keep this project going. In particular, I thought ’bout having a mountain world, since the “mountain” theme is important to Boskeopolis Stories ( after Boskeopolis proper & Wasabi Woods, Mustard Mountains is probably the most prominent landmark ) & it’d make a smoother transition from desert to sky; however, I’m not sure I have many ideas for mountain levels. I did think ’bout making 1 desert level — “Desert Dare”, a level I’ve already made before but still haven’t bothered to put back in — a mountain level to leave mo’ room for a train level I wanted to do.

O yeah, I also wanted to do a volcano level. No, I think I could think o’ ’nough levels for a mountain theme. So the themes & levels I just listed are already outdated.

Other themes I might want, but don’t know if I have ’nough ideas or if I want them ’nough to include them ( I don’t want too many themes ):

  • Carnival / Fun House / Amusement Park / Casino ( I’m seriously thinking ’bout this 1 )
  • Space
  • Laboratory
  • Something Halloween-themed ( like the Pumpkin world in Super Mario Land II )
  • ¿Swamp? ( Probably not )
  • Toyland
  • Basement / Attic
  • Subway
Posted in Boskeopolis Land, Programming

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 6 – King Koopa Kastle

World A: Valley o’ Bowser’s ( revisited )

¿Have I mentioned that I loved making you go back to the start @ the end ( well, the end o’ the main game )?

King Koopa Kastle ( revisited )

Sorry the video’s so long. I forgot to edit some parts @ the beginning, such as the boring walk through the o’erworld all the way to Bowser’s Castle. Feel free to skip ‘head to ’bout 8 minutes if you’re busy.

Music: “Bowser’s Castle ( Second Time )”, Super Mario RPG

Ugh. I forgot what a pain this level is — made e’en worse by recording errors that made me have to redo a bunch o’ it, which is why the footage is so uneven. I don’t know if I mentioned it yet, but my method for taking footage is odd: I record Zsnes videos & dump them as avis. This normally is mo’ stable in that I don’t need to worry ’bout rendering mess-ups happening while playing; but on rare occasions Zsnes somehow makes an input mistake @ a point, causing all footage hereafter to be desynced & messed up. This usually leads to an hour o’ footage wherein Luigi keeps entering the level & jumping right into spikes. @ 1 point our rogue Luigibot e’en decided that he was sick o’ this level & decided to hop round randomly in “Ghosts ‘n Goblins”. Can’t blame him too much.

I should admit here that my original mortifying death to Bowser was part o’ that. Most would be thrilled to have a ‘scuse to cut out such embarassment, but since I had a dumb joke to make, I decided to reenact my failure & edit it in. If you look @ said footage, it may look as if I’m making obvious mistakes… till you see the winning footage where I was trying to win & see me make some o’ the same mistakes — just not ‘nough to be killed. I have no idea how I managed to beat all the stuff in the Green Switch but apparently have trouble gainst Bowser.

If you’re curious why I keep insisting on keeping a Mecha Koopa round after the 1st round, e’en going so far as to kill a Mecha Koopa when I only have 1 left & still 1 hit left, it’s a silly speedrun strat ( not e’en the full 1, either ) to make the 2nd, harder section faster & easier. Despite fucking it up so much in the failed attempt ( as I reenact here ), you can see that I still attempt it in the winning run — though a’least I succeeded that time.

Some o’ the deaths in the 1st section are also reenacted. It seems disingenuous, — & I take the authenticity o’ footage ’bout electronic toys with the same seriousness as war photos in major newspapers — but I’d say it’s mo’ honest ’bout the actual experience I had playing the level, which is what I wanted to show. The fact that I lost the footage doesn’t mean that the stuff didn’t happen.

As an easter egg, throughout the level I hid a bunch o’ secret mushroom blocks. I can’t remember if ’twas 30 or 50 I put in, but I could only remember where a few o’ them were, & a few others I found by surprise. I can only guess that the secret mushroom block @ the end o’ the thunder section being solid black, appearing when the screen flashes, was intentional.

This level’s difficulty is incredibly imbalanced. The 1st room is the hardest; past the midway point is a joke. ’Twas annoying, ’cause in my 1st recording I got to the vine ( ¿why are there vines in a castle? ) section quite quickly, only to die in a dumb way by going o’er the ball-&-chain’s block & nudging the top o’ the block with my feet just ’nough to lose my grip o’ the vine & careen right off. After that, it took fore’er to e’en get back to that section. Compared what comes before, the vine section & everything hereafter is easy.

That said, I think the 1st room is the best part o’ the level. I like the mazelike nature o’ the level, & some o’ the jumps are tricky — ’specially the jumps round the Thwomps. My only problem is I think the section under the Thwomps is needless padding. It’s unlikely that if you fall from the Thwomp section you’ll land on solid land — I ne’er did, a’least — so it might as well just be a bottomless pit.

1 note I will make ’bout the video is that despite all the idiotic mistakes I made in what must’ve been mo’ than 3 dozen attempts, including the lost footage, I didn’t once get hurt by the shell the Blue Koopa kicks @ you that you need to bring to the Ball-&-Chain place.

The cloudy section before the vine section is so empty & pointless that I actually forgot ’bout it when I was 1st writing this till editing the video ‘bove. I wish I sped it up in the 2nd run, since it’s far too boring to watch a 2nd time & the video’s already way too long. Sorry.

After the midway point is mixed. The autoscrolling section actually isn’t that bad. Forcing the player to duck & let the edge o’ the screen push them past the spikes @ the start is clever ( but goes on a bit too long ). It’s also why I had to change the safe way to leave this level @ the beginning I mentioned in the 1st part, as the sprite that makes you leave the level by touching the edges o’ the screen for some reason propagates to further subscreens. Other than that, I actually felt pressure to keep up with the screen, rather than in most autoscrollers wherein you spend most o’ your time waiting ( “Donut Plains 2” & “Valley of Bowser 2” come to attention ).

The thunder section looks nice, but has mediocre level design. It has some o’ the most uncreative jumps in a video game: here’s a bunch o’ rows o’ vines, & here’s a bunch o’ cloud platforms that all look the same. Actually, I take back what I said ’bout the section looking nice: the thunder effect looks nice, but the clouds look way too bright & tacky. In these red levels like this & “Sea of Sangre” I turned way too many things red that didn’t look good red.

The water section looks nice, & is a nice callback to the original Super Mario Bros., but is brainlessly easy & mostly just a slow slog, ’specially through those tunnels with the Fish Bones.

The final tower climb has no puzzles you haven’t seen before. It does have the hopping statue sprite, which doesn’t appear anywhere else in this hack; but it oft doesn’t spawn for mysterious reasons. This hack was ne’er good @ sprite management; everyone would always tell me to apply some patch, but none o’ them e’er did anything. This was ‘nother edit I forgot to make: there’s a part where you’re climbing up the vine to the top where a hopping statue finally appears. I wanted to have a word balloon pointing to it that said something like, “Hey, sorry I’m late”.

I have no idea why Peach’s dialogue’s letters are glitchy in some places. I don’t remember that happening before.

Also: no credits. ’Stead, we get yet ’nother Mushroom — ’cept this 1 gives you powerups for free & has the most useless message box in the game. The reason for the lack o’ credits is that, ’cause o’ how I edited the graphics in this game, they became glitchy. Also, it wouldn’t be too accurate, since some o’ the vanilla Super Mario World enemies like Magikoopa or all but 1 ( ¡Spoiler! ) Koopa Kid don’t show up & custom sprites like Birdo or Beezo obviously won’t show in the credits. But moreo’er, the game would end without letting the player save, & I always hated it when games didn’t save you beating the final boss; & this hack was, über alles, ’bout me avoiding all those tropes in video games that I always hated as a kid like not saving beating the final boss or lives & game o’er.

  • P-Switch level count: 27 / 45
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

We’re only 3/4ths through the levels, though. We should still have ’bout 4 or mo’ posts left.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games

My Mindless List o’ Rules You Must Follow to Write Great Literature

As usual, these rules aren’t going to be based on any empirical evidence or anything resembling a science o’ “good literature”, however one might define that, but be just a bunch o’ assertions I puked out in 10 seconds. As I do so, I’ll make sure to reference a bunch o’ books I’ve vanity-published on Amazon with schlocky Fabio covers on them, which should prove my point, since no bad writer has e’er had anything published, & “appeal to authority” isn’t a thing.

1. Write random.randint( 200, 10000 ) words a day

As we all know, quantity is quality.

’Ventually you’ll be able to stitch together a book from this garbage, & in this literary environ o’ “dump all my shit onto Amazon”, that’ll work great. After all, it’s the sucker reader who’s too dumb to know they can get Shakespeare & the English languages’ greatest classics online for free that has to sift through all this shit, not you.

2. Write said words @ the same time, in the same pretentious coffee shop

In conjunction with the previous rule, the less convenient your means o’ writing is, the mo’ you’ll be able to trick yourself into thinking you’re a serious worker, e’en though you’re still not producing anything o’ any worth to soceity.

3. Write your rules for writing in curt, simplistic demands

This will totally convince readers & not make them want to punch you in the face through the screen in annoyance.

Also, make sure you tell readers they have “no ’scuses” not to follow your advice, like a lack o’ actual evidence o’ its quality. This is mathematical proof.

4. Use the same language everyone else uses

Nothing turns readers off mo’ than anything new. After day-after-day o’ hearing the same cliches like “turns readers off” that have lost all meaning, nothing gives them mo’ joy than to hear this same mediocre-minded speech in the literature they buy in the hopes o’ ’scaping dull reality. But a’least now they’ll get to see a spunky teen fight off dystopian tyrants & Ancient Greek mythological creatures while spewing hashtags, LOL.

Don’t e’en think ’bout touching such dirty concepts as internal rhyme, alliteration, or similies, or your reader won’t take your made-up stories seriously.

5. No, you can’t e’en use these things in poetry anymo’

¿’Cause who e’er cared ’bout playing with language in poetry?

Only cliche Marxist drivel from someone too dumb to have e’en read Das Kapital & choppy, navel-gazing pretentiousness for you, son.

6. Base your novel round simple ad-lib sentences like, “A rogue physicist goes back in time to kill the apostle Paul”

This shows that you’re thinking ’bout what’s truly important: marketing slogans. Everything else can be padded in like compost in a fast-food burger.

7. Don’t worry ’bout being original

As mentioned constantly, readers are utterly sick o’ originality. ¿Somebody else already made a successful trilogy out o’ “average teen fights gainst evil dystopian totalitarians by dressing in fancy costumes”? ¿What’s that? ¿You mean there’s multiple series ’bout that? ¿What’s 1 mo’? If the market’s proven that people’ll buy 1 book ’bout that, surely they’ll buy mo’, e’en if they have much less creativity.

8. Ne’er use semicolons

I just don’t like them, OK.

9. Carefully plot out your book & write the beginning after the end

That way things won’t happen as natural outcomes o’ what happens before, like in silly realistic worlds, but acts as if ’twas conspicuously planned out by some author deity. It’s not as if you can go back & rewrite the beginning, anyway — once something’s written, it’s set in steel.

10. When writing rules, make sure you talk with faux tough-guy language like you’re some schmuck on Shark Tank

Make sure you talk ’bout “nailing pitches” & making “slam dunk proposals” so as to emphasize that you care purely ’bout gouging suckers who don’t know any better rather than anything resembling a creative process.

The general theme is, you want the reader to want to punch you in the head while reading your work as much as possible.

11. If you’re on Something Awful, you have to talk ’bout how much you love Cormac McCarthy, & if you’re on TV Tropes, you have to lavishly praise Terry Pratchet & call him by a stupid name.

It’s law, fineable for up to $500.

12. Warhammer 40,000 books are some o’ the greatest sci-fi literature

Seriously, 1 guy @ Reddit claimed this was the case in some thread. Let’s all point @ him & make fun o’ him for his crime o’ holding odd opinions.

Meanwhile, no Asimov, no LeGuin, no, uh… I actually don’t read that much sci-fi, so I wouldn’t know who else.

¡O! ¡Ray Bradbury! He did sci-fi, & some o’ it was quite great, like “All Summer in a Day”. Too bad his most popular novel was kinda crappy. Seriously: the fact that that dystopian hand-me-down gets so much attention & not his October-themed stories or Something Wicked this Way Comes or Death is a Lonely Business is a greater crime than that guy who listed some crappy Warhammer 40,000 books as the best sci-fi.

You know, that reminds me o’ this 1 site I was reading that had this same dipshit advice so they could peddle some mindless advice book, & the idiot was praising fucking Issac Asimov for writing that amazing story. After screaming @ the monitor, I was thinking, ¿How the hell do you expect me to trust your advice on writing when you can’t e’en tell the difference from the guy who inspired the “Laws of Robotics” & the guy who always bitches ’bout how technology is ruining the world & how photographers gotta get off his lawn, they can’t steal his house’s soul, god damn it?

I’d post a link, but I can’t find the article, ’cause I think the person replaced all her posts with the same advertisement. Might as well get straight to the point.

13. The only 2 important literary lenses for writing are “plot” & “marketing”

14. Just get a degree in business

Since you clearly despise writing as anything but a chore you can pimp out as a marketing tool, you might as well do so in a way that’s much mo’ profitable.

15. Don’t fucking do it

The secret reason you spend mo’ time reading ’bout Pokémon glitches is ’cause it’s actually mo’ enjoyable than puking out 400 words o’ day o’ mindless busywork.

16. Get a real job, asshole

I’m serious. I know ’twas cute when we said that chapter book ’bout Pikachu & Squirtle was great when you were 7, but you’re 26 now & they’re hiring up @ Burger King.

Posted in Literature Commentary

Let’s Code a Crappy 2D Platformer Like Millions o’ Other People on the Internet & Lose Interest & Give Up Only a Few Months In, Part XXII

O’erworld, Part II

What I’ve accomplished since the last update:

  • This isn’t totally related to the o’erworld, but as I was fooling round with my program I noticed the game would crash. I love how on the very day I bashed the hell out o’ the most beloved video game on the internet I learn that my own magnum opus is a buggy pile o’ shit — & e’en the cool bugs, like letting you reach the Spirit Temple @ the beginning while still a kid. During my long, in-depth look @ my code I found a bunch o’ memory leaks — some deep into the graphics & game engines & the sprite code. Since I would check my program in valgrind now & then, I don’t see how these managed to stay so long — how I could go so long without realizing that SDL_GetBasePath needs to be freed.

    However, I found that what caused the game to crash wasn’t related to that @ all, but the o’erworld ( which ’splains why the crashes hadn’t happened till now ). ’Twas caused by the same problem that constantly strikes me: I forgot to initialize a member o’ a class. To be specific, I forgot to initialize the gfx_ pointer in the OWTile class for tiles that aren’t the animated water tile ( & thus don’t have any animated graphics ). I’m used to unique_ptr, which automatically initializes to nullptr; but these use a raw pointer ’cause the water tiles are s’posed to passively share a unique_ptr owned by OverworldState. Thus, half the time the check for nullptr would fail, e’en though the tile has no real animated graphics, leading to wacky undefined behavior. This ’splains why sometimes the map would become corrupted in random ways, such as when Spiral Island spontaneously flooded once.

    &, no, don’t tell me to use shared_ptr for, well, shared pointers, as that’s pointlessly wasteful o’ precious memory & not needed if you just have a designated owner. I need to save my wasted memory on better things, like dynamically loading everything & keeping STD strings everywhere. The true lesson is to check valgrind more oft. Thankfully, I have just now & am assured that there are no memory leaks, nor have I found any random crashes. These are the problems most dire, as they can literally make a game unplayable.

  • Anyway, after all that, I finally got the o’erworld & level-select screens integrated. Now the level-select is accessed through a menu screen in the o’erworld that’s suspiciously similar to the in-level pause screen, as if I just lazily copied & pasted. & now, ’stead o’ giving you a list o’ all the levels, the level-select only shows levels you’ve been to, & selecting a level takes you to that spot on the o’erworld. My inspiration for keeping the level-select as an extra menu & having it warp you to the o’erworld spot was from the GBA remake o’ Super Mario World, wherein this mechanic was immensely convenient.

  • Saving & loading are now compatible with them. All the loading code was cleared out o’ the level-select state, where it wasn’t needed, & ’stead the OverworldState was given it. In addition, I added data for which levels you’ve been to & the most recent level you’ve been to, so that when you reload the game your level-select isn’t glitched out ( “?????” for already-beaten levels, for example ) & so the game places you on the level tile for the last level you’ve been to ’pon loading the game.

The Future

Someday I’ll get round to programming in that shop.

Also, I’m working on a snow level with plenty o’ slopes that’ll hopefully go well. The slope physics are still awkward, though. 1 thing I’ve realized is how odd the speed-capping works: it’s a simple speed cap wherein if you go faster than the cap, your speed is set to the cap with no gradual slow-down ’tween the speeds, & your top speed is based on whether you’re running ( holding the run button ). So if you jump forward while running & then let go o’ the run button, you’ll suddenly go much slower ’cause the halved cap brings your speed suddenly down. This in itself isn’t too bad: after all, you can turn round & move back while in the air, & that’s completely unrealistic. What made Super Mario Bros. so revolutionary was the way it threw ’way all the rules o’ real-world physics to maximize fun. But this also applies to slopes: you’re sliding or falling down a slide, how fast you go relies on whether you’re pressing the run button or not, which, I dunno, feels awkward. That’s a case wherein I think the break from reality went too far.

Also, though I haven’t felt anything jarring ’bout it, I’ve noticed that the ice physics should make everything mo’ wonky than expected. See, all ice physics do is decrease traction so that you slow mo’ slowly when stopping. But this applies to all movement, including upward & downward movement & flying enemies, like the bees that move up & down ( but not the circling bees: their movement is some custom algorithm that completely ignores the typical sprite speed & acceleration variables ).

Download sloppy source code, ¡now with 100% fewer spontaneous segmentation faults!

Posted in Boskeopolis Land, Programming