Author Topic: Afterlife 3: Legends of Rickard Bronson (a freeware roguelike platformer!) v1.12  (Read 8751 times)

jim

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This is a very fun game! Right up my alley. Challenging, unfair, and keeps you coming back for more.

Ryan

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This is a very fun game! Right up my alley. Challenging, unfair, and keeps you coming back for more.

Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it. :)

Ryan

jim

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I can't stop playing this... really addictive, and it comes in 7 minute bite-sized chunks.

I do have the requisite observations and stray suggestions, if of interest:

1) The flashing screen has sent me to the hospital twice with epileptic seizures (BTW what is your address? I have to mail you a bill.)
2) I would like to be able to collect coins midair, especially because they often sink into lava otherwise.
3) Searching for hidden doors might be more fun if instead of hitting ESC, selecting an option, and hitting enter, you could just hit a single key while playing. Searching for hidden doors is currently an instantaneous action from the gameplay perspective. What if, instead, searching "froze" your character for a few seconds? I see problems with mid-air searches, but regardless, I don't see a reason to penalize the player with extra keystrokes that interrupt the frenetic action of the game.
4) I like the lore and want more. It would be nice to know what items do before you use them... but there is also something to be said for experimentation.
5) I've gotten as far as the Dark Future Zone and it seems like most monsters have an essentially random movement pattern. I'd like to see more behavioral variety. As it is, combat is like playing Street Fighter II versus a 5 year old child - they have no idea what they're doing, but occasionally they get a hit in because they are so unpredictable.
6) The child of a plumber and a hedgehog? Genius!

Ryan

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I do have the requisite observations and stray suggestions, if of interest:

Of course. :)

2) I would like to be able to collect coins midair, especially because they often sink into lava otherwise.

Actually, there was a trait that allowed treasure to be caught mid-air prior to the 1.6 update, but I removed it as it didn't seem especially useful. In fact, it became a little awkward when it was activated, as it was quite easy to collect items in the heat of combat and not be sure what had been picked up. One possibility which has occurred to me would be a new item which attracts coins when equipped. It's on my "to-try" list for the next update. ;)

3) Searching for hidden doors might be more fun if instead of hitting ESC, selecting an option, and hitting enter, you could just hit a single key while playing. Searching for hidden doors is currently an instantaneous action from the gameplay perspective. What if, instead, searching "froze" your character for a few seconds? I see problems with mid-air searches, but regardless, I don't see a reason to penalize the player with extra keystrokes that interrupt the frenetic action of the game.

I completely agree with this (actually, it was one of the changes I considered in the last update) - I don't want to add any further keys to the game, but I intend to move the "search" option to the weapon-change menu so it can be selected quickly without pausing in the next version.

4) I like the lore and want more. It would be nice to know what items do before you use them... but there is also something to be said for experimentation.

Yep, I wanted to go for a little of the Rogue-style experimentation when an item is first discovered, but with uses which can be learned over repeated plays (a lot of the intended balance of the game is for experience and exploration to overcome initial difficulty - it is a roguelike at heart, after all!)

And there is also one item which can be used to find the uses of other items... ;)

5) I've gotten as far as the Dark Future Zone and it seems like most monsters have an essentially random movement pattern. I'd like to see more behavioral variety. As it is, combat is like playing Street Fighter II versus a 5 year old child - they have no idea what they're doing, but occasionally they get a hit in because they are so unpredictable.

Absolutely: more nuanced AI would definitely be cool to experiment with in a later version. The current attack patterns are a mixture of random and scripted movements, which is partly a hang-over from the first Afterlife game (which is the origin of the engine the game is based on) - and also just because it's tricky to write good attack AI for enemies in procedurally generated environments. Expanding on things like this would be great to play with in future though, assuming there's enough interest in the game. :)

6) The child of a plumber and a hedgehog? Genius!

Don't believe everything you overhear in a tavern... ;)

Ryan

Ryan

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So, another update!  :D

After several months of work, I'm very happy to announce the release of Afterlife 3: Legends of Rickard Bronson version 1.7, a massive update featuring a huge amount of major revisions and new content, including entirely new missions and even a whole new Zone for Rickard (and Raymond!) to explore!

As well as focusing a lot on overall game balance with this update, I've also heavily revised the handling and response of combat mechanics - especially the Deadly Hunting Umbrella, which should now be far more accurate, consistent and intuitive to control, though more limited in its overall power; a change which I feel really makes for more skilled, enjoyable combat, especially combined with the ability to head-stomp enemies as part of combo attacks, leading to fast-paced decision-making in tight situations! (As a result, I'd recommend that existing pros take a refresher on DHU-use to get used to the new controls - the Target Tower and The Last Stand minigames are a great place for this!)

Additionally, as discussed with jim above, the Look Around option now appears in the weapon-change menu, and there's a new balloon upgrade available which magnetizes the basket, so that dropped coins are attracted to the balloon rather than needing to be picked up from the floor!

Not to mention new and nasty hazards such as dark levels, collapsing rooms and toxic fumes... (As always, a full list of changes is available at the game's history page!)

On a personal note, I think this is very much the best, tightest and most balanced version of the game I've yet released, and should hopefully be a big step towards making it closer to the game it deserves to be - but of course, please do play and see what you think!



Anyway, have fun, and of course, if you have any comments, thoughts, questions, suggestions or other feedback, please do post below to let me know! :)

Ryan
« Last Edit: February 01, 2014, 04:03:21 PM by Ryan »

dscreamer

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Just tried the game for the first time. I've been playing for an hour or two now, and having a lot of fun. Here are my thoughts so far:

-I haven't reached the 3rd level yet, but I'm getting better at handling enemies, so I'll get there soon.
-The tutorial was nice, although I didn't feel ready to handle enemies when I first encountered them in the real game.
-The most difficult part of the controls so far has been throwing bombs from the balloon. I just can't get them to go anywhere. (Dropping them downward is fine. Throwing the umbrella is fine. Throwing bombs on foot is fine. It's just throwing them from the ballon that I can't do. I gave up and popped one of the tutorial balloons on foot. )
-The UI could use a few enhancements:
  -In the trait screen, left arrow could collapse the current branch in addition to right arrow expanding it.
  -The trait branches could be colored to indicate whether you can afford anything in that branch.
  -Some quick-start options would be very helpful: A way to skip the pre-level chats, and maybe a "Try again with the same item" choice.
  -If the engine allows, a way to change keybindings in-game would be great.

That's all for now. I'm going right back to the game - I really am having fun with this. Thanks!

Ryan

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Just tried the game for the first time. I've been playing for an hour or two now, and having a lot of fun.

Glad to hear it. :)

-The tutorial was nice, although I didn't feel ready to handle enemies when I first encountered them in the real game.

The first few releases of the game actually had three separate combat tutorial stages, but people generally seemed to feel like that the training felt too long, so it now has just the one "live" combat stage, covering all the basics. It's a tough thing to balance, because with all the various weapons and attacks to play with, combat could have a whole tutorial of its own! :P

-The most difficult part of the controls so far has been throwing bombs from the balloon.

There's certainly a knack to this (using the balloon's upwards momentum to "toss" the bombs where you want them to go is the technique to go for!) - it's a skill people who've played the first Afterlife game would be familiar with, but hopefully there's plenty of time to practise at leisure in the game, as it's a very useful but rarely "vital" skill (since you can usually hop out of the balloon and get to things on foot, as you've discovered! ;))

  -In the trait screen, left arrow could collapse the current branch in addition to right arrow expanding it.

I believe it does. Unless you mean while the category name isn't currently selected? I suppose I could consider implementing that. In the meantime, the Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys all function in that menu, to move around more quickly. :)

-The trait branches could be colored to indicate whether you can afford anything in that branch.

Sensible idea. I'll note it. :)

-Some quick-start options would be very helpful: A way to skip the pre-level chats, and maybe a "Try again with the same item" choice.

I'm not so keen on the latter, as it's relatively quick to skip through pre-game options and dialogue anyway, and I don't think games are generally so short that the delay between retries is a nuisance...

-If the engine allows, a way to change keybindings in-game would be great.

That would certainly be possible - and I suppose potentially useful, as it may be handy for new players to be able to alter the controls as they discover how to use them. So yes, I'll add this to my notes as something to try. :)

That's all for now. I'm going right back to the game - I really am having fun with this. Thanks!

And thanks to you for playing, and for the comments - I'll look forward to seeing you make an appearance in the scoreboards! :)

Ryan
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 05:54:39 PM by Ryan »

dscreamer

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A few more notes and thoughts as I stop playing for today:

-I found what seemed to be an area I couldn't escape. I jumped down without a balloon, tried max-height jumps, tried searching in several spots, and didn't find a way out. (although I don't know exactly how searching works - I didn't think it was directional. I assumed it covered the entire visible screen.)
-Am I supposed to figure out what the items do myself? I didn't see anything about them.
-I still like the music. One bit sounds a little like Doom.
-The score tally should be skippable, too.
-There's a typo in one of the death messages: despatched -> dispatched.
-More minor stuff: You could have a "submit personal bests only" option.

Ryan

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-I found what seemed to be an area I couldn't escape. I jumped down without a balloon, tried max-height jumps, tried searching in several spots, and didn't find a way out.

For several reasons, it's always possible (though not especially common in earlier levels) to find places which are escapable only with some manner of flight (or other transportation...), so it's a good idea always to keep your balloon nearby if you don't have another item/skill allowing you to fly/levitate/teleport etc. - and there are also some places you can encounter which are deliberate traps, and several ways to maroon yourself through bad forward-planning. ;)

This is a good time to use the "Abort Mission" option in the in-game menu, which lets you fail the current mission with your life intact, and without needing to restart the whole adventure (just so long as your good reputation with the Brotherhood permits it...)

I don't know exactly how searching works - I didn't think it was directional. I assumed it covered the entire visible screen.)

Searching finds anything within line-of-sight of your character in any direction. :)

Am I supposed to figure out what the items do myself?

Yep. ;)

Experimenting with items to discover their usage is a roguelike tradition I decided to stick to - but most items are quite easy to figure out in Afterlife 3 though (and there's also an item available which explains the use of other items if you can find one...)

I still like the music.

Thanks! :)

-The score tally should be skippable, too.

You can hold down the return key (or your jump/attack keys) to speed through the countup more quickly. :)

-There's a typo in one of the death messages: despatched -> dispatched.

Actually, both spellings are correct, to the best of my knowledge. :)

(I tend to prefer the former when using it - as in this case - in the terminal sense, for some reason...)

-More minor stuff: You could have a "submit personal bests only" option.

I could, but it would somewhat undermine the Best Totals scoreboard, which ranks players by the total of their submitted scores (often a better measure of a player than their top single score, I think). :)

You can also click usernames on the online scoreboards to view all of their submitted scores - it stores the top seven submitted by any one player (which is the same number as are stored on your local scoreboard, of course, so it's worth submitting all of your scores!)

I also wouldn't want to deny players the opportunity to submit scores that aren't in their personal (that is to say local) top seven, as it's entirely possible for situations to arise in which this would be undesired, such as playing on a friend's computer, or when you may have achieved seven good scores while outside of internet access for some reason, thus leaving you unable to submit further scores until you better them (which would be a little frustrating! :P)

Ryan
« Last Edit: February 02, 2014, 05:57:50 PM by Ryan »

dscreamer

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-I found what seemed to be an area I couldn't escape. I jumped down without a balloon, tried max-height jumps, tried searching in several spots, and didn't find a way out.

For several reasons, it's always possible (though not especially common in earlier levels) to find places which are escapable only with some manner of flight (or other transportation...), so it's a good idea always to keep your balloon nearby if you don't have another item/skill allowing you to fly/levitate/teleport etc. - and there are also some places you can encounter which are deliberate traps, and several ways to maroon yourself through bad forward-planning. ;)

This is a good time to use the "Abort Mission" option in the in-game menu, which lets you fail the current mission with your life intact, and without needing to restart the whole adventure (just so long as your good reputation with the Brotherhood permits it...)


Ah, okay. I've been playing almost entirely without the balloon (once I figured out that you recovered 1 heart between levels and nothing else).

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-The score tally should be skippable, too.

You can hold down the return key (or your jump/attack keys) to speed through the countup more quickly. :)


I gave it a try. It could be faster. (like, instant)

Quote
-There's a typo in one of the death messages: despatched -> dispatched.

Actually, both spellings are correct, to the best of my knowledge. :)

(I tend to prefer the former when using it - as in this case - in the terminal sense, for some reason...)

Ryan

Apparently this is a UK/Australia spelling that I've never encountered.

Also, I found what seems to be a bug: If you've used all of your various jumps, double jumps, and umbrella jumps, you can't grab hold of a ladder as you're falling. (Might only happen once you're fully in the 'falling' animation.) This has killed me a few times now.

It would be really nice to be able to Look Around quickly, too - just let me wrap around that menu to the bottom so I don't have to scroll past the items. It gets worse as you get more items.

Thanks for reading. (I've almost reached the 2nd boss now.)

Ryan

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I gave it a try. It could be faster. (like, instant)

:P

Also, I found what seems to be a bug: If you've used all of your various jumps, double jumps, and umbrella jumps, you can't grab hold of a ladder as you're falling. (Might only happen once you're fully in the 'falling' animation.) This has killed me a few times now.

Ah, yep, that's exactly as you've guessed: if you've fallen far enough that your character's flailing around wildly, you can no longer grab at ladders etc. It's a hangover from an earlier version in which there were some more specific traits which alleviated the effects, but to be honest, it's probably a little unfair now, and I should probably change that. I'll make a note. :)

It would be really nice to be able to Look Around quickly, too - just let me wrap around that menu to the bottom so I don't have to scroll past the items. It gets worse as you get more items.

I keep thinking the same thing myself while playing, and never get around to doing it. I'll try to add it for the next version. :)

Thanks for reading. (I've almost reached the 2nd boss now.)

Thanks for posting. And good luck! :)

Ryan

Ryan

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So, a little something for the weekend! :)

Following on from the v1.7 release earlier this month, I'm very pleased to be able to announce the release of Afterlife 3: Legends of Rickard Bronson version 1.8, another major update with new gameplay revisions, new content, new bosses, improved game balancing, new artefacts and traits to aid adventurers upon their quests, and even a useful new unlockable feature... ;)

This version also makes quite a few changes and improvements to the interface and menus, including (as discussed with dscreamer above) the ability to edit the controls from the in-game menu, the ability to skip the final score countup when slain, colour-coding for categories in the traits list (and the ability to use the left key to jump back to a parent category), and several other things, including some heavy revisions to the shop menus in the Emporium, and more useful in-game information being displayed in general. :)

Download: www.rjbsoftware.co.uk/afterlife3/download
Changelog: www.rjbsoftware.co.uk/afterlife3/history

Thanks, as always, to everyone who's been kind enough to make suggestions and report bugs since the last update - and of course, please do feel very welcome to post below with any further thoughts! Enjoy! :)

Ryan

dscreamer

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Nice! I had an hour or so to play this version tonight, and here's what I jotted down as I was playing:

-Escape might work for the end-of-adventure count, but it doesn't work for the much slower end-of-level count.
-I realized that holding down enter (instead of tapping) bypasses the pre-level screens very quickly, so I'm no longer bothered by that.
-I like the new shop and earlier access. It'd be nice if your current gold updated onscreen after each purchase.
-Is it by design that you lose all your jumps when hit by an enemy? (I could be wrong, and it only removes bonus jumps during a multiplier, but it has the same result, usually a 2nd point of damage as you hit the bottom. I'm pretty sure this is by design anyway.)
-I wonder if any of the hidden items or abilities lets you re-deploy the umbrella to float after closing it. (like mario's cape)
-It's a heck of a change list, much of which I didn't understand (because I haven't been to those parts of the game). The one thing (besides the gold tally) that I'm missing is the ability to wrap to Look Around.
-I think the "no secret passages" message box suffers from a combination of being too big and lasting too long. Sometimes a monster flies in suddenly and you can't see where you are.
-I think I'm glad for the slight speed reduction. Those wraiths still move plenty fast for me.

Early spikeballs and catapult might let me finally reach the 3rd stage. Anyway, thanks! I'll probably play more sometime this week.

Ryan

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-Is it by design that you lose all your jumps when hit by an enemy?

Yep - once you've been hit, you need to land before making any further actions, which does sometimes lead to nasty situations (such as being knocked off the edge of something and then falling far enough to take fall damage as well!)

I sometimes enjoy extravagant ways to kill Rickard while playing almost as much as amusing ways to kill enemies. :P

The one thing (besides the gold tally) that I'm missing is the ability to wrap to Look Around.

Ah, yes - I ended up deciding to leave it as it is after playing with it. The reason is that I quite like the fact that it feels like a natural disadvantage of carrying lots of equipment that it's slightly more awkward to change weapons quickly in the heat of combat. I imagine Rickard rapidly trying to rifle through a backpack looking for a timebomb as he dodges incoming fire. :)

And this is also the reason for...

-I think the "no secret passages" message box suffers from a combination of being too big and lasting too long. Sometimes a monster flies in suddenly and you can't see where you are.

...This. I think that "looking around" is something that would sensibly only be done when not surrounded by enemies, as carefully examining nearby walls would naturally take Rickard's attention away from possible threats. The box covers a large part of the middle of the screen, which is a little like Rickard being temporarily limited to peripheral vision while his attention is focused elsewhere. ;)

-Escape might work for the end-of-adventure count, but it doesn't work for the much slower end-of-level count.

Ah, I'll consider tweaking that in future perhaps.

-I like the new shop and earlier access. It'd be nice if your current gold updated onscreen after each purchase.

You're quite right: that would be a good idea. :)

-I think I'm glad for the slight speed reduction. Those wraiths still move plenty fast for me.

The game now runs at a speed just about half-way between its previous speed and the speed of Afterlife: Rickard's Quest - I always wanted to run the game more at this speed, but the timing routines I was using until the previous update just weren't accurate enough to do it reliably. I think it definitely works better at the slightly less manic rate! :)

Quote
-I wonder if any of the hidden items or abilities lets you re-deploy the umbrella to float after closing it. (like mario's cape)

If I were to add something like this, I think it would be better as a default ability rather than an upgrade.

Anyway, thanks! I'll probably play more sometime this week.

Good luck! :)

Ryan
« Last Edit: February 16, 2014, 11:18:32 AM by Ryan »

dscreamer

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-Is it by design that you lose all your jumps when hit by an enemy?

Yep - once you've been hit, you need to land before making any further actions, which does sometimes lead to nasty situations (such as being knocked off the edge of something and then falling far enough to take fall damage as well!)


That makes sense. It's pretty harsh to remove the ability to grab ladders too, though.

Quote
The one thing (besides the gold tally) that I'm missing is the ability to wrap to Look Around.

Ah, yes - I ended up deciding to leave it as it is after playing with it. The reason is that I quite like the fact that it feels like a natural disadvantage of carrying lots of equipment that it's slightly more awkward to change weapons quickly in the heat of combat. I imagine Rickard rapidly trying to rifle through a backpack looking for a timebomb as he dodges incoming fire. :)

And this is also the reason for...

-I think the "no secret passages" message box suffers from a combination of being too big and lasting too long. Sometimes a monster flies in suddenly and you can't see where you are.

...This. I think that "looking around" is something that would sensibly only be done when not surrounded by enemies, as carefully examining nearby walls would naturally take Rickard's attention away from possible threats. The box covers a large part of the middle of the screen, which is a little like Rickard being temporarily limited to peripheral vision while his attention is focused elsewhere. ;)


This...actually makes sense. If the game paused while you were doing these things, I would be absolutely against it - it would just be UI cost - but since the game doesn't pause, it works.

I've been playing more this morning:

-Time bonus seems to vary a lot. Is it based on the estimated difficulty or level size? I completed a level in under 45 seconds and the bonus was only 30, while I often get 90-120 for taking 2-2.5 minutes.

-I don't think I mentioned this before, but the particles being drawn to the portal is just perfect. No explanation needed, no blinking arrow on the HUD.

-On a tactical note, I finally figured out how to beat White Wraith Stan. I didn't figure out how to beat it without losing my balloon, yet.

-I unlocked the target tower and finally got to one of the world leaderboards. (5th place!)  The music is great.

-Finally, I encountered a strange bug, or pair of bugs. I found a chest generated directly above a pipe, so I couldn't use that entrance at all. I wanted to look for another entrance and see what would happen if I exited from that pipe. I found another pipe. (It had 3 skulls on it, if that matters.)  I went down the pipe and the screen started scrolling, all the way to the bottom of the screen. When I reached the bottom of the level, I died.

I think that's all for now. I'm still playing without the balloon most of the time (since I'm so bad at fighting in it) but I've started looking for situations where it's safe to use. Thanks again!