Everything you ever wanted to know about the hack/engine:

A QUICK NOTE: I will no longer be posting updates on the Castlevania Dungeon Forums. Please check the blog here for all updates.

This post in particular is LONG, but will answer a LOT of the questions I have received about the engine in general. Things like gameplay, characters, weapons, concepts, etc. This post will be all about things planned for the engine, so feel free to glance thru it.

With my classes over for the next 2 months, I will actually have some free time to hopefully get a bunch more coding done towards the engine. For the last few months in my free time (which was very minute) I have been ripping sprites from SOTN, and coding in animations, including some of the multi-object enemies like stone rose, red slasher, diplocephalus, etc. that use primarily code to animate themselves (about 35 enemies total are done).  This has been a serious learning experience for me, and has helped me greatly in learning how to code the engine. I plan to continue pulling out sprites and setting up the offsets, hitboxes, and animations during my downtime at work as I have been doing, but I also now have free time to actually sit down and think about what should be in the engine, why, and then code it.
My biggest concerns for the engine when doing this is not “how hard is it to code something” (I figure that since I managed to code the hell that is wolf, as well as the mist, I can do ANYTHING lol) but instead I ponder things like “does this weapon/move have a good & unique use for the character,” “will including this make this character better than the rest,” “is this something the fans will miss if I take it out” and “can this be abused to make the game much easier than it should be.” These are things that I CONSTANTLY have to take into account when figuring out the characters and their sub weapons, special moves, familiars, relics, etc.
I also have to think heavily about the game’s systems; things like damage calculations, healing items, equipables, etc.. SOTN is over 15 years old, and a lot of the systems Konami used back then. are just plain outdated now. So here are some changes I have planned:
  1. New setup for resistances: enemies either take normal damage (1x), are weak to it (1.25x) or very weak to it (1.5x), strong (0.5x), immune (0x; rarely used), or absorb(+0.5x; this would be very rare).
  2. Possible elements: fire, ice, lightning, dark, holy, and spirit. There will be a few other ones (explosive, holy water, dive kick), but those would be rarely used and unique to 1-2 attacks only. Weapons will be either strike, cut or pierce (though this doesn’t matter much since VERY few enemies will resist physical attacks, with the exception of ones with armored status; more on this below).
  3. What about stone, poison, and curse? these are now status effects. Poison subtracts a set amount of life from an enemy for a set # of times. Curse slows an enemy down for a set amount of time. Stone petrifies an enemy; either forever, or once for a short time. And let’s not forget about the stopwatch too. I also added in 4 other “statuses:
    • Armored: existed before, but was just lame. It makes some attacks bounce off an enemy. Also most cut/pierce attack weapons (with a few exceptions) do reduced damage by 25-75%, and most others attacks do 10-20% less damage. This can be destroyed with an armor breaking move (each character has at least one). An example of something that can do this: the club weapons critical art. PLEASE NOTE: armor status is a separate entity from the defense stat for enemies so this won’t work on everything.
    • Critical Blow (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH CRITICAL ARTS; more on that soon): in SOTN you will notice that a  lot of enemies have a pain animation they go into when hit. This could be done over and over and made the game easy. Most of them now RARELY go into this. That is where critical blows come into play: they send an enemy into their pain animation. This doesn’t work on all enemies; and when it does it still CANNOT be used over and over infinitely. But this could save your skin if for example red slasher is about to stab you and kill you, and you knock him out of the attack. An example of something that can do this: Alucard’s uppercut critical art.
    • Purify: this is a rare one; I can only think of two enemies that would be vulnerable to this: red skeletons, and wraiths. Both are enemies I have set up to keep coming back to life. When hit by this status, then killed, they just do NOT come back. This is of course something that is rarely used in attacks, or it would defeat the purpose of having the resurrecting enemies in the first place. And YES BTW…. I did already duplicate the effect from POR for when a red skeleton dies. It was too neat looking not to. ;)
    • Paralyze: this…. might be hard to explain. Normally when you hit an enemy, a small amount of stun is done to it (which I reduced quite a bit from SOTN, since the amount in it is WAY too much). There are also some enemies that are immune to this stun (hippogryph for example). This is basically another type of stun, that can work on some enemies who would be immune to the normal kind. It also keeps them in place for longer. Of course, something like this is used rarely, and I can only think of 2 things right now that would use it: one is vibhuti (YES, that is the right spelling, lol), the other is the neutron bomb (which is a crash type attack now). I may also make some ice attacks use this, but for balancing reasons I am not sure yet.
  4. Elements and how they are taken into account for damage: It makes no sense that you cut an enemy strong to fire with a flaming sword, and HEAL it, or do almost no damage. It’s a SWORD! The flames might not work, but I’m sure that the gaping wound you would leave in it would NOT tickle, lol. I redesigned this in a manner so that if you are using something like a club, sword, knife, etc. while the element attached to it can do extra damage, it will NEVER detract from the damage of the weapon itself. UNLESS, the enemy is strong to physical attacks (if I use that it will be VERY rare), in which case then the element attached can either result in the attack doing half damage, or if weak to it, extra damage, thus negating the physical attacks defense.If an enemy is IMMUNE to physical attacks (I could think of maybe ONE enemy that would use this only) then the element attached is irrelevant.
    Of course, that is for a weapon that lets say does some kind of elemental damage too as part of its attack, but generates no extra separate objects. If a weapon emitted flame objects (for example), the weapon itself might do physical with fire attached, but the flames it produces would hit separately and be just magic only. Thus you can inflict normal damage with the sword, but those flames might still do less damage (or more).The point behind this? Keeping time you used to waste switching equipment and weapons to a minimum. This means less trips to the menu and more fun action platforming time.
  5. Sub weapons/limited use items: there are NO more limited use items (ex. shuriken, bommerang, pentagram). 95% of them are now sub weapons or crashes. The only ones I have so far omitted are the monster vials (we have enough bats as is, the skeleton one is like a shitty axe, and the merman one was just……. useless). The rest have been divided up between the characters (more on that below). Sub weapons can level up now BTW, and they do so pretty quickly.
  6. Healing items and status curing items: how annoying is it to keep going in and out of a menu to equip then use these? How about when you had a fairy waste one and you didn’t need it? Both of these things SUCKED. So what did I do? First simplified what you have: potions, high potions, super potions for healing HP, antivenom and uncurse for status effects, and heart refreshes for hearts (now a pickup only like normal hearts but they restore 20; bye bye LONG animation). MP restores MUCH faster now, so there is no manna prism. Second, I set it so you can only have 9 of each (except high/super potions: you can hold 3/1 of these only.) Lastly you now have 2 options to use these:
    • You can still go into the menu and instantly use a  healing item it by clicking on it as needed.
      Or better yet:
    • You can set up something in the menu that will let you auto cure poison and curse (if you have the items), and also something that will heal you instantly and automatically when you get below a certain % of life or hearts. You can also choose what order to use the healing items in (in case you first want to use potions for example).
  7. Having unique colored capes: you now can choose one of 2 options in the in game menu: using the colors of the cape you are wearing, or a unique one that you pick yourself.  And yes, other characters besides Alucard have this too (though the color changing parts may not necessarily be a cape). This means you can be wearing the twilight cloak and get the boosts from it, but still have your bright blue colored custom cape.
  8. Relics & Moves: less relics. Period. And you get most of them & your moves earlier in the game so you can enjoy them sooner. You will need to use them more strategically too if you want to survive. I limited overpowered ones, and strengthened weak useless ones. Due to how fast MP recovers now, it will be limited to use for critical arts, backstepping, the charging move (ex. teleport, frenzy whip), high jumping, dive kicking, healing moves, familiar specials, and a handful of other things. This means that Alucard’s spells are now either sub weapons or crashes, so that he doesn’t have a HUGE edge over other characters.
  9. Weapons, armor, helms, etc.: I have gotten rid of all the redundant trash (there were literally 40 swords that use the EXACT SAME ANIMATION). Some weapons are now just for critical arts, some went to another character, etc. I will be setting these up so each weapon/armor/helm is an upgrade over the previous one (with a few rare exceptions). I will also be putting in an auto equip system, so that when you get a better item, it is automatically put on (this feature can be turned off). I also intend to change a lot of the accessories to actually have unique and powerful effects. This will also greatly cut down trips to the menu.
  10. Familiars: no longer have 99 levels; they may have 3-5. And they do much less damage. They also have specials that you can use on command. Maria’s are the strongest since she relies on them more than other characters.
  11. The HUD: needs to be changed. The old one is ugly and won’t work. I have already gotten one or two submissions for this, and while their makers did great work, I just wasn’t feeling them. I am open to suggestions here.
  12. In game pause menu: same as the above. Anyone who wants to try their hand at this, let me know. I already have 75% of it done, but will need someone to help with a design for the monster encyclopedia.
  13. The map: will be changed slightly. I will now have some kind of indication on where revealed items (meaning if something is in a wall, you have to break the wall “revealing” it) are that you have missed similar to metroid zero mission.
  14. Experience, Leveling up, and stats: I intend to put in a LOT less life max ups, and add in MP max ups. I also will have little pills sitting around to boost yours stats by +1 (str,con, int, lck, and the new mnd stat) that you will be able to find. Instead of gaining levels with exp it can be used to bring up your 5 stats, or familiars, and whatever else I implement however you chose. So you can basically customize your character to hit really hard with attacks, but have a low defense, or make one that does quite a bit of damage with subs. This would be similar to circle of the moon’s many extra modes. Each stat WILL have a cap for balancing purposes though based on what stage you have reached.
  15. Stages and Lives: yup, there will be a stage system in the game. You will have lives, and there will be pitfalls and other instant death traps. You will see crumbling and spinning platforms, and a bunch of other classic Castlevania traps. There will be checkpoints, and saving still, but it will be different. And yes, you will still be able to explore the castle looking for rare stuff and replay beaten areas.
  16. The librarian: going back and forth to the library would be annoying. Instead I plan on making a shop menu pop up after each stage is beat as well (once you find the library card, which will be given to you the first time you visit the librarian). Most items will also be sell-able, and he will have better stuff as the game goes on. The bestiary will be accessible from the start menu instead, as will a music test. I am unsure, as to whether any boss strategy vids will be done at this time, as now we have youtube for things like that.
  17. Enemies and Bosses: there will be new ones. Most old enemies will also have new attacks and quirks. Bosses will all have new moves and patterns.
  18. Enemy drops: I mentioned what I call a guarantor system before; this means basically after killing an enemy a certain # of times you are guaranteed a drop. But this only happens once. If you grab the drop, and you want more of it, it’s all about luck grinding again. This will save people HOURS grinding for that one item that just wouldn’t appear. Also, the game will auto save your drops, in case the power goes out, or something else accidentally resets your game, or you just plain die.
  19. Scoring and an in game timer: yup! I’m taking it back to old school. These will both be in game as well just like the old Castlevanias. And yes, there will be a ranking system based on performance. This will hopefully add even more replay value to the game.
  20. The Arena: NOT the Colosseum stage; but a collection of challenges, extra bosses, and other things that just don’t make it in game. You might even see some reverse castle areas here, and some boss rushes.
  21. A new 2nd castle: yup. All new areas.Anyone who thinks making the 2nd half of the game a reversed version of the first was brilliant, doesn’t truly have a grasp on why Konami did this or is just in denial. It was a cost, time and resource saver for them, and the beginning of what I call their “lazy age.” The ideas I have for stages here as follows, but these are open to change as needed and I will gladly take suggestions for things to put in here:
    • Sky Walkway: a series of aerial platforms and break away ledges. You will acquire bat mode here, and then have to negotiate traps as the bat to get thru here; all while being chased by the massive darkwing bat.
    • Muddy Tombs: a mix of CVIII’s swamp, and underground tombs. You will have to deal with tons of toads, wakwak trees, mudmen, ghouls, slimes, mummies and other horrors in an attempt to get to the tomb of the twin Akmodan mummies.
    • Garden of madness: green horrors everywhere! Stone roses, skeleton farmers, venus weeds, and other plant life abound. Mandragora’s can make your life VERY unpleasant here, as can the elevators found within it’s walls. At the end of it all you still have to deal with Medusa, and she isn’t happy you made it thru her garden.
    • Cursed Prison: a forsaken place, with torture chambers that have deadly equipment, and cells filled with the remains of their victims. The halls are lined with flesh experiments, the worst of which is the Creature itself.
    • Skeleton Cave: a cavern made of bone and rocks. Skeletal enemies abound here, and it is rumored that the remains of zombified dragon are found here. One can assume that Death is well aware of this fact as well, which does not bode well at all.
    • Ghost ship: a series of abandoned ships, and underground caverns & temples. This will be one of the rare areas of the game where you get to walk around underwater a bit. Be careful not to drown in the process. And then there is the fact that you will have to face yourself in a battle to the finish at the end of it all.
    • Center of evil: the dark halls where Shaft performs his rituals to revive count Dracula. Powerful enemies reside here, and shaft himself will venture out to ensure that you never make it to your goal. And even if you do, you still have to overcome death itself if you want to get anywhere near Shaft and his master
    • Treasury (extra): a place filled with wealth beyond your dreams. One can assume that this much money is guarded VERY well.
    • ?????? (extra): Galamoth calls this place home, and you just stepped right into his turf. IF his minions don’t tear you limb from limb, you still have to deal with their master. Good luck.
Now that we have talked about the game itself, let’s talk characters, starting with our main star, Alucard:
  1. His personal sprite sheet is 100% done. I might need a frame or 2 for the wolf’s pain animation, but otherwise he should be done. It would be nice to give him better “slashing” animation for swords that involve a combo (same for knuckles), but that is optional and something to do MUCH later.
  2. Weapons wise he will have knuckles (the critical art will be an uppercut similar to blue knuckles but with a new animation), knives (unlike other cut weapons, these aren’t reduced in damage; it’s critical will be the holbein dagger’s attack improved), spears (javelin toss will be the critical), great swords (rune sword will be the critical), clubs (armor basher for a critical), and swords (valmanway slashes/firestorm for the laevatin[sp?]). I was going to include new katana types, but they would be just extra, and fairly pointless and instead have given another character long swords. He will also have several other extra critical arts that were in the original SOTN.
  3. His sub weapons are the shuriken, boomerang, stopwatch, hellfire, summon spirit, pentagram (low damage, inflicts curse and stone status), bat fire (bat mode only), and wolf’s howl (wolf mode only). I am considering giving him a new black lightning sub, but this is still up in the air and probably not going to happen since Richter has the agnea aleady.
  4. His Crashes are Tetra spirit, dark inferno, Power of sire, Sword Brothers, flaming razorang, crescent moon, and flaming stars. I was also thinking of giving him another crash: either blood cross, or demonic megido but as of now there is no point.
  5. Alucard moves quicker now, but his form changes are limited in some areas, so he can’t abuse them. The wolf is much quicker, has a double jump, can bounce off some objects, can charge, and has a better attack. The bat is quicker, and better attacks, but the form change time is limited (so is the wolf, but not as much). Getting hit once no longer knocks you out of a form change (though the bat takes extra damage).
  6. two of his familiars do not need to be equipped: the fairy automatically can still make you resistant to elements (if you have the resist item needed), can point out some secrets, and still uses the hammer, but with auto healing being possible and extra lives her other moves are useless and omitted. The bat only appears in bat mode, and spits smaller bit fireballs with you.
  7. You can select between a sword and demon familiar (see 3 characters down for who got the ghost). The sword still has it’s spinning attack, and the higher level attack is now a special. Upgrading him teaches sword brothers, gives him a holy edge, and eventually makes him the ultimate great sword. The demon learns more specials as he levels up (thunder spear is now dark element BTW). When you use his special, he will pick whichever one will damage the enemy the most based on it’s defenses.
Now for Richter:
  1. Thanks to Moon_man a.k.a. bullockDS (and his girlfriend, who has been a huge help to him), his new sprite sheet is about 90% done. He will need several new animations including a double fisted strike, animations for punching combos, whip swinging, and for his 3rd weapon set (see below), but other than that he is mostly done. I will also need new whip animations for his different whips, as well as animations for his 3rd weapon set.
  2. Weapon wise he will have knuckles & the tonfas (better than Alucard’s; the critical art is pummel which is the original one from SOTN), whips (the critical art is a critical blow with the whip that can be spammed, similar to Johnathan’s from POR), and combat crosses. These will be similar to in Mirror of fate; meaning you will have a long range horizontal attack, and a more vertical one; though they will be  quicker and longer range than whips, they are weaker and not as good as them defensively. It’s critical art will be the Chain Saw move from LOS.
  3. For sub weapons he will have the usual: daggers, axe, holy water, cross, stopwatch, bible, rebound gem, and agnea. However, there will be 2 ways to use each one. An example of this would be the blue holy water wave, and the green one that stays in place but lasts longer and does more damage. Another one would be the classic bible, and the SOTN one that encircles you.
  4. His crashes are the same as before with the exception of the rebound gem ( I will be modifying it to NOT be so useless) and stopwatch (ditto here).
  5. Since the characters move faster, he no longer has a dash. But he does have a full move set now and specials. For blocking he uses Cyclone whip (coincidentally this is very similar to the one MIG used in his awesome game; great minds DO think alike) and can brandish his whip. He also has two types of MP similar to LOS: one for healing and defensive moves which recovers slow. And one for attacking that restores really quick, making Richter an offensive beast.
  6. He doesn’t have familiars. Instead he can use one of 4 stats boosts: one that increases the power of normal attacks and martial arts moves. One that increases defense and increases his blocking gauge slightly. One that increases sub weapon damage and lowers heart costs slightly. And lastly, one that raises magic defense and makes him heal more HP from healing moves. These normally stay on constantly, be he can also use a booster special to increase their effect for a little MP.
  7. Richter’s game WILL have a story.
Now for everyone’s little favorite blond vampire hunter, Maria:
  1. With the amount of sprites she has in both the DXC version, and the saturn one, added to the custom ones LASUNDER made for me (thanks a ton again man), she should be about 97% done. I may need a new animation for her magic shots attack from the saturn version, as well as one for when she uses fencing swords, but that’s pretty much it for her. I WILL NEED animations for her new attacks themselves though; this includes bows and arrows, and different flying animals, etc.
  2. Weapon wise she will have fencing swords which have the shortest range but do the most damage (these act similar to the one’s soma uses, but quicker; the critical art will be the one used for the rapier and werebane in SOTN originally), flying animals which are just like her white owls in the dxc version, but also include stuff like the chakram and heaven sword (the critical art will be swarm, which is similar to the dual heaven sword special in SOTN), bows and arrows which do less damage the further from you the arrow hits (it’s critical will be triple arrow, which fires straight up and rains downward if you are on the ground, or fire downward at a 45 degree angle in the air), and magic bracers/firearms; these act similar to her magic blasts in the saturn version, and are a kind of shooter mode (the critical art will vary for these).
  3. For Sub weapons she will have the bird, turtle shell (acts like a divebombing attack if used in the air too), cat, dragon, stopwatch, music book, egg (heavily changed) and a fairy (acts kind of like the one in LOS).
  4. For crashes she has the 4 from DXC, and also a new one for the music book that acts like her version of 1000 edge, her egg one from drac x, time stop, and a new one called Aurora Borealis.
  5. She also has a full move set now, and uses either the turtle shell to block (costs hearts) or turtle familiar which becomes a shield. Though since she is mostly long range she has the smallest # of specials. But that is also because of………..
  6. Her familiars being so useful. They each have a powerful special move, and their normal moves are just as useful. Including an exploding fireball, Tiger scratches, a shield, and lethal icy breath. For specials they have explosion, chain lightning, rock riot, and a move where seiryuu circles you; making it a kind of stone circle special.
  7. Her game WILL have a story.
Last but not least, we have a character that I have wanted to see get a full game for some time. The Axe Armor Captain:
  1. He still needs just about all of his animations. Haven’t even touched him yet.
  2. For weapons besides his usual axearmor voulges, I was planning to use great axes, warhammers (these would be swung the same way hammer shakers swing them in OOE), utility weapons (gurkha, drill, razor disc, etc.), and longswords (these would act similar to the original great swords in SOTN, but with more speed, and wider slash. For critical arts: shockwave (similar to the one Serio has in his game), giant’s axe (similar to shanoa’s heart using special), ball and chain (similar to heavy armors/plate lords or Johnathan’s from POR but improved), a charging forward move for utility weapons, and a spark that creates a whirl of blades for long swords (originally from Katanas). I am open to suggestions here though too.
  3. For sub weapons: bwaka knife, axe, bommerang axe, stopwatch, rock/dynamite/bomb, iron ball, stonewall defense, and vibhuti.
  4. for crashes he will use shield rod spells; armageddon (dark), ethereal beam(skull), salamander(fire), petrifying rays(medusa), twin edge (knight), and summon axe armor(axearmor). Other shields would just give him an elemental defense boost for a limited time (way better than the one the fairy can give Alucard). He also uses a neutron bomb as a crash too.
  5. I have already figured out what most of his move set will be. He will still have puppetmaster doll, but it is now a special. I am also considering give him a moving crouch similar to Simon in CV4 instead of a slide. I am also thinking about giving him some form of wall climbing similar to grant from CV3 but using a grappling hook; but this is still up in the air. He also has the best shields and blocking ability, and is able to walk around with a shield up like Alucard, but with more vertical range to them.
  6. So far I want to give him the ghost familiar, that would be used as a special move to curse enemies, and drain a small bit of life. I am also thinking of giving him a black panther familiar, whose special could be a wind shield around him similar to the one in POR and DOS, since his specialty is defensive abilities. Possibly a saintess faimilar that could have attacks similar to Sypha, but I am unsure here. I am open to suggestions here that would more fit his theme with being a knight for familiars/boosts.
  7. I have NO CLUE how I could give him much of a story; maybe just a few silent cut scenes here and there.
PHEW! That was one HELL of a long write! But I think I covered just about everything I could think of that I have planned, or already worked on. Although this list sounds HUGE, a lot of this isn’t that hard to do; just time consuming.
I also know that a lot of this stuff sounds different from the original SOTN, and might even scare some people that I will “ruin” it. But the fact is that the game is 15 years old and needs an update. One that will make it even more fun, and mix old school Castlevania, with the metroidvanias, as well as throw in some fun new surprises. If any of you have doubts of my ability to do this: just play the demo. It speaks for itself I hope. :)

However, I am definitely going to need a little help too. The biggest thing I need help with is coding graphics effects in game maker (I could use an adviser/tutor with those), and sprite making (I definitely need some people to do this). Unique stage layout ideas and things are always welcome too within reason. Normal coding is NOT an issue for me 90% of the time. Keep in mind too that I am willing to offer people decent pay for good help, as long as the person is reliable, and willing to put as much heart into their work as I try to do.

P.S. if you think this post took forever to read, imagine how long it took me to write it. O_o lol

Posted in General, Player Character Info (Alucard, Maria, Richter, etc.) | 21 Comments

Update 12/2/14: current donations amount, and the next new boss being sprited!

Well since my last post I have been hard at work finishing off my semester and working on the engine in between. Luckily my last final is tomorrow, and then I will have a month off to work on it more. Since the previous post some more people were generous enough to donate, which  I want say thank you for!
 
Donations since previous update: $60
Total Donations towards sprites: $130
 
Coding wise, I did several new things that involved me learning all new features in Unity. This of course, slowed my progress down some. Here is a partial list of some of the updated stuff:
  • fixed some bugs here and there (mostly due to mecanim not updating instantly in Unity when changes are made to it)
  • tweaked alucard’s hanging from the roof animation after a high jump to be cancellable by a dive kick or his charging move.
  • Completed the combo system that will allow you to cancel a fist/knife attack with a sword/club attack, then that with a spear, then that with a sub, then a critical, then lastly a crash or special.
  • Increased the speed on fist/knife attacks
  • Made a couple of tweaks to the screen render to make the game look even more hi-res
  • implemented special move controls (tapping forward twice, tapping back then forward, double tapping down, and charging up then doing a fireball motion which probably won’t even be used). As you can see I kept all of them VERY simple and easy to use.
  • I actually tweaked the controls some so that now you have 3 attack buttons: one for fists/knives, one for swords/clubs, and one for spears.
  • The following critical arts controls were implemented along with Alucard’s animations for them: valmanway, shield rod, blue knuckles, Holbein dagger, marsil, and javelin (all ground and aerial versions)
  • The following special moves controls were implemented along with Alucard’s animations: black lightning, astral slash (teleport slash with alucard sword), soul steal. These are all ground moves only.
  • Alucard’s slide was also coded in using the new wolf sprites I had made by my artist; this required making 3 different animations, and then testing them all on different slope levels to ensure that everything still looks good at all times while using blend trees.
  • Added in the wolf object, to be a child object under Alucard. This object then has 2 more child objects: front half and back half. Which then each have yet two more child objects separated into body and legs categories, with their appropriate objects as well. This took quite a bit of studying on my part of the original SOTN to figure out how to set it up properly.
  • the slope detection code was done for the wolf; this is used to know whether the wolf is on a flat surface, going up/down slope, coming off an up/down slope etc. and angle him properly. This sounds easy, but was a pain to get working properly and involved in short, getting the normal of the surface we are standing on, checking distance to a slope vertically or horizontally based on the type we are on, positioning the back legs vertically and also checking to see that they are on a solid enough. Thankfully, it was much easier to do in Unity than GM.
  • Setup some attacks (spear weapon, subs, criticals, etc) to transition from their aerial version, to the ground versions when you land instead of cancelling like fist, knives, swords and club attacks do.
  • Condensed all of Alucard’s character sprites onto one master sheet, and re-setup any necessary animations due to this.
I also  came up with a novel way of having crashes take one button, yet you can do any of them. Which I have always wanted to do, since I want to keep your trips into the menu at a minimum! By holding the crash button first, it then checks for input from any of the other 7 available buttons (Attack1, jump, special, attack2, attack3, block, evade). Based on which one is pressed it will do one of the crashes. If the crash button is just released, it will also do one. This sets it up so that ANY crash can be used quickly and easily (up to 8, which is all I’ll need), without having to switch between them, and at any time. This will be done before the next update.
 
Sprite wise, here is a preview of the newest one being worked on by my sprite artist; the Wyvern:wyvern colorAs you can see I chose to keep the original purple color from DXC, but had the artist make him MUCH more detailed and monstrous than the original. This is a rather large sprite, so it is taking him a bit longer to complete the animations, but I have to say that the amount of detail he has put into it thus far is truly amazing.  (and thus means that I will have to pay more for him too of course; have to keep my artist happy). 
 
 
 
The animations that I am having made are:
  1. Flying
  2. Spitting a fireball
  3. Charging horizontally in the air
  4. Turning in the air during flying
  5. A swooping and grabbing move
  6. Flying horizontally across screen breathing flames (similar to the wyvern in CV: Curse of Darkness)
  7. A move where he charges a huge blast, and fires it at the ground creating a fireball spitting geyser temporarily.
  8. Flaming wing beat attack (behaves similar to its dragon flame attack in Rondo and DXC)
  9. Death
I thought of initially having it land and having ground attacks too, but he already has 6 attacks as is. Which I felt is enough for him since it makes you have to use all of the moves available to you at the early point in the game when you encounter him. Anymore would have been overkill. I may however have him land as part of his death animation.
 
Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!
Posted in Player Character Info (Alucard, Maria, Richter, etc.), Sprites (enemies, items, candles, etc.) | 11 Comments

Your donations at work: new sprites shown inside!

First off thanks A LOT to everyone who donated! Every bit does help!
 
The total donations I have received since putting up my initial post: $70!
 
I know that several people said they would feel more secure having a running tally of how much I’ve received and what I’ve done with it, and I think that is a VERY reasonable request. Especially considering how many thieves are out there. To wit, I will be putting up these posts every so often when I get a few donations in and have new sprites to show off.
 
The newest one that was just fully completed: alucard’s new wolf form! The animations created:
  1. Idle
  2. idle-panting heavy
  3. idle-lip licking
  4. idle-growling
  5. walking
  6. dashing
  7. jumping
  8. double jumping (he actually curls up a bit for this one; it has to be seen to be believed!)
  9. sitting
  10. crouching
  11. biting
  12. wolf charge
  13. falling back off a ledge
  14. turning around
  15. standing pain (yes, getting hit in wolf form won’t knock you out of it now)
  16. crouching pain
  17. aerial pain
  18. new heaven sword attack; on the ground
  19. …. crouching
  20. ….. and in the air
Total Cost: $220…. and worth EVERY PENNY IMHO. Credit goes to Mario Santos for being such a talented and diligent artist!
 
The same artist also edited two animations for Alucard that I had made a while back: his jumping/falling spear ones, and the ani for when he uses summon spirit on the air. These cost about $25 total as well.
 
Here are two animated gifs showing off the wolf; one for idle, and the other for his new jump. I also included a pic of Alucard and his old “robotic” wolf form for comparison’s sake. (please excuse the water mark and blur applied to the ani’s)
Alucard Wolf Compare5 wolfjump-finaldemo wolfidle finaldemo
Once he is coded into UNITY (I had GM written here before by mistake) I will then be showing a video of him too. For now I am finishing off all of the code for Alucard’s human form first though. Wolf will be next after it.
 
Next up on the list: WYVERN!
 
As usual feel free to make any and all donations to esco1979@cfl.rr.com via Paypal.
 
BTW I try to send everyone a quick thank you email when they do, but sometimes for the oddest reason it returns an undeliverable mail error. So if you don’t get one, don’t think I forgot you. And know that I really appreciate the contributions more than typed words on a page can say.
 
Stay  tuned for more updates, including one very soon showing off the collision engine in Unity including moving platforms, vanishing platforms, slopes, jump through platforms, spinning platforms, water, quicksand, Alucard’s animations, and his new attack cancelling system, that allows for combos, etc.
Posted in candles, etc.), items, Sprites (enemies | 28 Comments

DONATIONS NOW OPEN! Also a video of Pazuzu, Cyclops, and the color rotation/palette shader in use!

Well, I said I would never do it…. and I meant it with all of my heart. But the fact is paying for sprite work gets expensive fast! Just for Pazuzu & Cyclops alone I have easily spent over $500 of my own money! And with being a student, and a parent this would just get too pricey for me too fast to handle by myself. So I have opened up a paypal account, where anyone who wants to help out can send any and all cash donations.

The account is found under esco1979@cfl.rr.com. Please note that the email address is only for the paypal account that takes donations, and will not receive incoming messages.

Any and all donations would be really appreciated, but I have to ask everyone who wants to help to please try not to make it less than $5-$10 if possible. The reason is because less than that sadly wouldn’t help since one animation set can cost around $300. I really hate having to even do this, but the fact is that I just couldn’t afford to keep having new sprites done without getting a little help here.

ALL FUNDS WILL GO TOWARDS SPRITE WORK AND NOTHING ELSE!!!! I WILL REGULARLY BE SHOWING VIDS & PICS OF WHAT IS DONE AS WELL, AND ONCE THE SOURCE TO THE ENGINE IS RLEASED ALL SPRITES AND ANIMATIONS WILL ALSO BE MADE PUBLIC FOR ANY AND ALL USE!

For those of you who would like to see what I have so far I have included 3 videos below so that you see the level of quality that is going into the new sprites! One is of the Cyclops, the other is of Pazuzu/Leviathan (and includes the new boss coffin), and the last is a video of the color palette/rotation shader being used in Unity. This allows me to perfectly duplicate all of the special color and palette effects from the original SOTN.

PLEASE NOTE: the Cyclops and pazuzu vids are ONLY to show off their animations; this means there are almost no flames, particles, dust, projectiles, or other such effects shown as of yet. But they will be done in game to make these look even more amazing!

All sprites were done by Mario Santos; a very skiled artists who has been a HUGE help to me.

The shader was done by jonne_nathan; a very talented programmer who has helped me immensely!

For those wondering, the next sprite on the list to be done is Alucard’s wolf form: Alucard Wolf Compare5The reason it is being redone is because the old one looks robotic, and has a TON of issues from a programming perspective as well. I will not be redoing any of alucard’s other animations.

OTHER PLANNED ONES: new bosses/enemies like Wyvern, Behemoth, Dullahan, Final Guard, and also additional Animations for existing enemies/bosses like Blue Robed Death, Slogra, Warg, Plate lord, Akomodan, Medusa, etc. Also animations and full weapon sets for player characters like the new Richter, Maria, and Axe Armor Captain!

Cyclops Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPwkwRWwc6M&list=UUkDftMVgdC8Fpwbb-PtYp2A

Pazuzu Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8TIdN_igDM&list=UUkDftMVgdC8Fpwbb-PtYp2A

Color Effects Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAkwZKJSAZw&list=UUkDftMVgdC8Fpwbb-PtYp2A

Posted in Sprites (enemies, items, candles, etc.), Videos | 26 Comments

UPDATE: 8/16/04 – GM/Unity, donations for sprites, progress and some new boss sprites:

Well, its been several months since I’ve updated this blog. And while I’m sorry for any of the riots, fires, looting, and acts of suicide committed by women who threw themselves to their deaths in a fit of sorrow due to this, the fact is I’ve been busy enjoying my summer too much to update here! However, with University classes starting up again, I will now have a lot less social time going on, which means more updates on here for all of the fans of my project!!!!

The other HUGE reason behind the lack of updates has been this: for some time now progress on the Engine has been going MUCH slower than I wanted it to. And that is for one reason: GAMEMAKER! With the constant buggy updates, all of the internal glitches they call “intentional features,” and how just absolutely counter intuitive their system for debugging and testing is, it has majorly impeded my progress! It had gotten to the point where I was either a)going to have to abandon the project until GM improved SIGNIFICANTLY and fixed all the issues or b)I was going to have to find an alternative engine to use.

I will save you all the suspense  and tell you up front there was NO WAY in hell I was putting my engine on hiatus; that’s how things get abandoned and it just wasn’t an option to me! So instead, around Late May I picked up Unity3d and begin the gargantuan Mandingo cock sized endeavor of learning it. And I haven’t been happier since!!! It’s 2d features new as they are, are truly amazing! I spent several months experimenting and learning a lot of things in the engine. Including how to setup the camera, mecanim animations, learning a good amount of C# to code with, the different commands and features I had available to me, etc. It truly is an amazing program, and like a dream come true for me compared to hacking it in MHS, or coding it in GM!

In short, YES THE RUMORS ARE TRUE, I HAVE MOVED THE ENGINE OVER TO UNITY3D!! In fact, I have managed to not only code in all of Alucard’s animations, and basic weapons, but I have also coded in the graphics for over 15 enemies, one new boss, countless effects and attacks, and I have even had someone VERY talented create a shader for me that allows me to change color palettes, and duplicate the rotating color effect from SOTN (a HUGE thanks to him for this!) And all of this got done while taking into account that I had to actually learn Unity and experiment in it, work, gym, daddy time, going out, etc. It is truly amazing how much quicker Unity lets me get things done easily, efficiently and very bug free compared to GM. I will never, EVER go back to GameMaker, and I wish Unity had implemented 2d features so much sooner!!!!!

I am now in the process of learning collisions, and becoming more acquainted with CG shader coding, as well as the particle systems in unity! Not only will knowing these things let me do a LOT more for the project on my own, but they will also help me in my real life studies when it comes time to start working on getting some certifications!!!

In other news, I have found a very reliable, and VERY talented sprite artist who managed to so far remake:

  1. The Cyclops (50%complete)
  2. Pazuzu/Leviathan (done!)
  3. The Boss Casket from CV3 (done!)

The new sprites can be found on my deviantart blog here: http://esco1979.deviantart.com/

Next up on the todolist will be the Wyvern! With that being said though, just getting pazuzu’s animations all done cost me over $250!!! That means that this is going to get very pricey VERY fast. So even though I never wanted to do it, I will shortly be making a post directing people as to where they can send donations to assist on offsetting the cost of getting these sprites done!!! Believe me when I say that any and all donations will be VERY appreciated!

First however I intend to put up a video showing several of the new animations done! Just so people can see that the level of quality that has gone into them, and confirm for themselves that the sprites will fit in with the others from SOTN! As they saying: seeing is believing!!!

Stay tuned for that info, along with any other updates here, & on the Deviantart blog!!! Thanks again to all of the fans of this project!!!!! It really is great to see how many people are really looking forward to this!

 

Posted in General | 17 Comments

Teleporter Room: completed (video included)

Just like the title says; this is just a quick video of the teleporter room in my engine. You will notice that Alucard goes from a room with a horse face in the background to another room with a horse face in the background. This is not a mistake, due to how teleporters are now used in the engine and how there is a stage system implemented.  The other teleporter rooms will be used in game for their own counterpart teleporters. (NOTE: there is no sound in the video)

On a quick side note: I love how the superior additive blending in GM over the psx makes the arms on the statues in the background appear to glow slightly as the screen is whited out. Adds a small, but more realistic touch to it.

Posted in General, Videos | 28 Comments

New video up: The Castle Entrance

Just like the title says.

3 quick things:

  1. There is no sound in the video
  2. There are no enemies and the boss is not placed into the stage yet; these will all be programmed later all at once since many enemies will be used in multiple stages. All unique stage objects for this stage were included however.
  3. The gfx artifact in the teleporter room is from the video; it does NOT appear in game. If the vid seems slightly choppy or the colors are off some I assure you it is just the video itself and that the game runs perfectly.

Long story short: I managed to duplicate the intro to the entrance stage after MANY PAINFUL hours. This thing was WAAAAY worse than the regular 8+ layer parallax background in the stage. It involved:

  1. 4 repeating sprites for the forest then a unique sprite to end it for the line of trees  in the VERY background
  2. 3 differently scaled lines of trees of different heights; with the closest line of pine trees actually not having much of a pattern.
  3. Bushes that seemed randomly placed
  4. A foreground line of trees that get further spaced apart near the end, and come in 2 shades with varying heights, and slightly varying x positions.
  5. The front most fore ground of large trees which is similar to point 4 above, but they were set up in a way where for most of the intro you see the tree from the other foreground first, then the one from this line come up in somewhat of a pattern
  6. 2 owls with varying scales, darkening, and movements, and then there is my ABSOLUTE favorite tiny little ANNOYING detail:
  7. The 8 fucking leaves that pop out with the second owl.
  8. And lets not forget the drawbridge and all its angling sprites, along with the background gfx in the gap. The drawbridge was several sprites and actually required a unique sized slope tile to ensure it looks like the player is actually running down it (along with using various other different size slope tiles)
  9. Not to mention disabling the way the views normally follow Alucard, and setting him up to move on screen right, jump right, slide into the next room, etc. etc.
  10. And then there is the usual sky and lightning effect, plus the background wall at the end.
  11. Oh yeah almost forgot…. the little bugs on the closest foreground trees that show up (bet you thought I missed that little detail). ;)

…………….loads of fun. >:(  But its over now thankfully! This video will hopefully give you a good idea of the level of quality that is coming in this game. I had to throw in a few transitions here and there for the video so as to NOT give away any secrets. But you still get to see most of the stage and even get to see the spinning platforms, water effects, and the new falling boulders hazard.

Also note that in the room where you stop in front of the fountain and notice gates have risen on both sides that this if where the boss fight will take place. Just saying because I know it seems kind of odd how that just happens.

On a side note: with my classes picking up steam and projects becoming due, tests coming up, etc. for the next month or so if I don’t update too much, hopefully you all can obviously understand why.

I am also still looking to hire spriters, so if anyone is interested please feel free to message me here.

Posted in General, Videos | 18 Comments

FAN FEEDBACK WANTED: Seeking new CV tracks to include in the engine.

Seeing as how the second castle used the same tracks over several times, and that some stages will now have 2 tracks due to their length, this means that I have PLENTY of room to put in a bunch of new music. But rather than just picking what ever music I wanted, I figured I would ask the fans for some feedback here.

FIRST OFF HERE ARE THE RULES. READ THESE BEFORE COMMENTING OR RISK GETTING BLOCKED:

  1. Your comment must include the name of the track, along with a link to listen to it, AND a link to download it. If these 3 things are not included for ANY reason, your comment will be erased with no warning or response.
  2. The tracks must be up to a quality standard that will match the other ones in SOTN. This means no NES/SNES/GENESIS quality music.
  3. The track MUST BE a Castlevania track.
  4. None of the tracks can be remakes of ANY of the music currently in the PSX version of Symphony of the night as ALL of the tracks there will be used still and I do not want duplicates. Remakes of music not in SOTN are DEFINITELY welcome though of course (ex. taking a SNES track and remaking it to PSX quality).
  5. Don’t waste my time and yours suggesting PC engine Rondo of Blood or Saturn SOTN music; I obviously have heard both of those suggestions a 1000 times already.
  6. If I like the track and intend to use it, I will reply to you and let you know. if I do not respond, it means I have no intention of using it.
  7. You are only allowed ONE POST, with only up to THREE songs at most. There wasn’t a limit to the # of songs before (you should all know not to spam me though), but after only 6 hours this was getting ridiculously out of hand. This way everyone gets a fair chance. NO EXCEPTIONS; break this rule and all your posts here go BYE BYE.

Feel free to suggest the tracks you like in your comment. I WOULD ESPECIALLY LIKE TO SEE SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR SOME OF THE CREEPIER MUSIC IN THE CASTLEVANIA SERIES (since ironically there doesn’t seem to be much of it). With the HUNDREDS of Castlevania remixes and songs out there, I am looking forward to seeing what you guys all come up with.

Posted in General | 30 Comments