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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9 Beta NOW AVAILABLE!]
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:00 am 


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Good to be playing this one again. A couple quick thoughts:

- I seem to recall that my biggest issue with the game the last time around was visibility, and this remains the same: I tend to lose track of enemy attacks frequently, against both the background and my own firepower. Which is a bit tragic, since I really like the look of the game in terms of aesthetics, but I'd definitely look into at least giving the player more options in terms of perhaps making enemy bullets flashier, desaturating the backgrounds, etc. to make things easier to sort out on the fly.

- Perhaps it's just my playstyle, but the lower the movement speed I'm using the more gimped I feel; granted, there are plenty of bullets to weave through, but all the same I struggle to both collect gems before they scroll offscreen and position myself to attack enemies before they can unload too much (or get out of the way of certain non-weavable attacks) when on a slower configuration, especially if I find myself stuck with a weapon ill-suited to the area. Definitely get a larger sampling of opinions before acting on this, though.

- Might already be on your to-do list, but a bit more clarity in the tutorial as to the specifics of scoring might be warranted; off the cuff I have no idea how the "perfect" bonus works, nor is there any hint as to the "use bombs for score" thing you mentioned a few posts up, and I'm sure there's more than that at work too. Off to the side, apart from the requisite moment of invincibility, do you get anything for collecting a weapon powerup for the weapon you're already carrying? It feels like it ought to be worth at least a couple of gems or something.

- The hotfix addressed a bunch of the technical issues I experienced with the previous build, but I did experience one rather nasty bug: after finishing the second level and exiting the results screen, the game suddenly jumped to the spider boss of the third level, where I'd lost my last life the previous run; there was no music and no player character onscreen, the boss and his minions just kind of scurried around doing their thing. None of the buttons I pushed seemed to do anything, so I had to exit the application.

Still a lot of fun, though: I like the presentation and experimenting with the different weapons and branching paths. I know story isn't a priority (and shouldn't be), but I can't say I'm not a bit curious about the game's world and all the Hindu mythology references and such; I'm interested to know more about how everything came to fit together, even if said insight isn't included in the game. Keep up the good work, and glad to see you back in action.
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9 Beta NOW AVAILABLE!]
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:25 am 


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@BulletMagnet - Thanks for the feedback!

Re: visibility, I'm going to try and make a few adjustments to things. One issue I noticed on my end was the number of colorful explosions and excessively bright backgrounds that I made, so I'l try a universal color balancing/redrawing of enemy projectiles and BGs. Also BPzeBanshee said my enemy density was a bit too high...

Re: player speed, that's actually a tough thing for me to balance out but I'll experiment with increasing player speed slightly and shrinking the hitbox a tiny bit. Originally the intent was to give slower configurations higher firepower, but it seems to have backfired once I increased enemy count in later stages.

Re: Tutorial. Actually yes, I do plan on creating a demo section to make things easier to grasp, although it's going to take quite a while to put together. But for now I'll just update the in-game manual to contain the new scoring mechanics for quicker reference.

EDIT: I should remember to put this in the manual, but the "Perfect" bonus is awarded after completing a level with your point items at max capacity (500). This bonus increases exponentially with each level completed, but it won't be awarded if the player bombs too much and finishes a level with less than 500 point items (you can bomb for free if your shields are active though, which depletes the shields instead of the point items and grants a x3 multiplier bonus).

Re: Stage 3 boss area glitch. My bad, I enabled a persistence feature by accident which is causing Stage 3 to not revert to default values after exiting. Will fix soon and add the new manual entry as well.

Re: presentation. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed this! There's a lot of stuff I want to add to flesh out the tale more without being intrusive on gameplay; I was actually inspired by the original Rocket Knight Adventures presenting its entire story without any dialogue using engine-based cutscenes, as well as Einhander's level-by-level account of the Selene invasion.

But suffice to say I focused more on worldbuilding in Papilio based on a) some real-life world events in the late oughties (probably a bit too sensitive to post here but it involves some rather grisly acts of violence in India), b) Tolkien's "On Faerie-Stories" and c) me seeing Thunder Force VI's lousy attempt at worldbuilding and thinking to myself "what a waste of a good opportunity. Also that traditional Mongol script is wack" which is why most of the bosses from stages 6-8 have Mongolian names instead of Hindi ones (the airships from stages 5-8 were relics from a war waged by ancient civilizations).
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9 Beta NOW AVAILABLE!]
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 11:39 am 


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Copypastarino from my bulk email and devlog published yesterday, but here's some patch notes for the current version of Papilio:

A quick update has been made to Papilio following some feedback and bug reports over the start of the weekend, which includes the following changes:

  • Fixed a major error occurring in Stage 3 due to the level having been mistakenly flagged as a Persistent Room during editing, which prevented it from resetting its values on exit
  • Fixed a fatal error when attempting to start a 2 Player game owing to a variable check oversight in the Player 2 object, which caused the game to crash
  • Fixed a minor error involving the screenshot numbering variable not being recognized and saved correctly on startup and upon exiting the game, causing it to revert to 0 and any future screenshots to overwrite earlier ones
  • Increased player character flight speed for all Wisp types
  • Updated the keyboard rebind algorithms to correctly detect invalid keys (currently, only F9 and Esc cannot be bound)
  • Updated the in-game manual to reflect the new scoring mechanics (see pages 7 and 12 of the manual accessible from the Title Screen for more info)

In addition, I have also updated the Free Demo to be compatible with machines running Windows 7, 8 and 10. The new demo also features the first 4 stages as well as Rank Off mode. Barring any emergency hotfixes, this will be the final version of the demo.
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9 Beta NOW AVAILABLE, v0.4 Free Demo Update]
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:46 am 


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Hotfix (04/08/2019)

A quick update has been made to Papilio which includes the following changes:

  • Fixed a fatal error that caused the game to crash when destroying the Stage 4 boss' plant mound instead of its main body
  • Fixed a minor error regarding the Stage 2 boss death animation not displaying the correct sprite
  • Increased the damage and size of the Fire Wisp's red powerup bomb
  • Adjusted some backgrounds in Stages 1 and 3 to be less saturated. This is the first step in a series of graphical recalibrations for better visibility.
  • Fixed the Fire Wisp's Level 3 red powerup beam to stop bouncing off enemies and solid obstacles repeatedly

In addition, I have also updated the Free Demo to accommodate the above fixes.

COMING SOON:

  • Currently working on the True Last Boss. Players will only be able to access her by beating the game on any mode without continues.
  • Working on new music to replace the placeholders for stages 5, 6 and 8, as well as Survival Mode.
  • Working on the new EX Bosses for stages 3-8, as well as possible indicators for their triggers.
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9 Beta NOW AVAILABLE, v0.4 Free Demo Update]
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:02 pm 


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Hotfix (04/19/2019)

A quick update has been made to Papilio which includes the following changes:

  • Removed an erroneous variable check that caused the game to crash when encountering the bosses of Stages 6 and 8 if the player has successfully unlocked and defeated the EX form of Stage 2's boss
  • Getting a Game Over, returning to the Title Screen from the Pause menu or finishing a game (whether in Training or any of the standard game modes) will now correctly reset the variables used for unlocking the secret EX boss forms
  • Collecting Weapon Switch pickups now grant +25 weapon power to make it easier to power up your shots
  • Removed smaller enemy explosion particles for better screen visibility

In addition, I have also updated the Free Demo to accommodate the above fixes.

Some real talk however: I've recently been mulling over making a huge change to the game's Rank/dynamic difficulty setting. To break it down, the current system works as follows:

  • Killing enemies, collecting gems and gaining extra lives increase Rank, with Extends giving the biggest Rank burst.
  • Bombing, getting hit (with force field active) and losing lives decrease Rank, with the latter giving the most reduction and dramatically reducing it even further if you're on your second-to-last life.
  • At Ranks 4-7, enemies will drop more point items than normal, with midbosses and endbosses dropping big point icons worth 5x the normal (green) ones. At Ranks 7-9, all enemies will drop big point icons.
  • However, most enemies will begin firing suicide bullets (semantics aside) at the player by Rank 7, not to mention gaining faster shots, bigger spreads and in some cases unblockable projectiles.

My original idea was to take Garegga/Batrider's infamous Rank system and try to make it more rewarding, but given some of the feedback I've received regarding the game's difficulty (screen visibility, enemy and bullet density, lack of player shot power, etc.) it seems all I've done is create a monster of a frustrating loop. I wanted something that would allow a player to intentionally make it challenging for more points and at the same time make it possible for them to dial it down a notch as needed so as to keep runs from going haywire.

One of my ideas was to lower the rank scaling (say, 1-5 instead of 0-9), readjust the rank gains and losses and rebalance the enemy aggression to make the difficulty actually feel dynamic as opposed to an inevitable descent into literal bullet hell like a Garegga run with mismanaged Rank inflation, but I was curious as to what other people thought about it?

EDIT: To clarify, the current iteration is highly similar to a Yagawa game in which it's easy to ramp up the dynamic difficulty by being careless, but very hard to reduce it to manageable levels without a lot of risks. Given how hard the game already is, it might not be ideal, and it somewhat goes against my original plan for the game's accessibility level.
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9 Beta NOW AVAILABLE, v0.4 Free Demo Update]
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:14 pm 


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Well, you have included a rankless mode or two for those who don't like messing with it, so there's that to consider. As far as retooling the existing system goes, at a glance the main way your system mimics Garegga's is that, while there are ways of lowering it, there's really not much of a practical way to stop it from increasing in the first place - just playing "normally" will raise it pretty quickly. In Garegga's case, this essentially encouraged a particular and counter-intuitive play style (don't hoard bombs/lives, don't max out your weapons early, don't shoot all the time, etc.) which is unique and engaging once you understand how it works, but requires players to 1) Want to play by such an unusual set of rules, and 2) Be able to stick with the game long enough to get used to its quirks.

If you want to give players the option to play more "normally" without being penalized, you might want to consider tying rank more closely to the scoring mechanics or some other "optional" feature of the game, like some of the later Cave titles do. Or, if you really want to cover all the bases, include two different "ranked" modes, one like I've just mentioned (the rank only goes up if you take deliberate actions to raise it and score higher) and another similar to what you have now (rank is always building and must be actively controlled just to survive), though I certainly wouldn't demand that kind of workload, especially considering how long you've been working on this, heh.

At some point I'm going to have to knuckle down and do a "weapon review" of all the different shot types (assuming you want one) - in the meantime, one suggestion I'll tack on is a bit more "documentation" as far as the branching stages and other "below the surface" features. Don't get me wrong, I rather like how it's not all spelled out for you from the get-go, but at the same time a few more hints as to what's out there might keep one's curiosity percolating. One small addition I'd like is specifying "stage 2-A" or some such indicator on the high score screen to better show where you've been, so you can at least have a few puzzle pieces to try to put together.

EDIT: Also got the following crash error on Stage 2:

Quote:
___________________________________________
############################################################################################
FATAL ERROR in
action number 1
of Step Eventen_f02_turret
for object char_papilio_final:

Variable <unknown_object>.<unknown variable>(100290, -2147483648) not set before reading it.
at gml_Object_char_papilio_final_Collision_309
############################################################################################
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
stack frame is
gml_Object_char_papilio_final_Collision_309 (line -1)
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9 Beta NOW AVAILABLE, v0.4 Free Demo Update]
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:41 am 


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BulletMagnet wrote:
As far as retooling the existing system goes, at a glance the main way your system mimics Garegga's is that, while there are ways of lowering it, there's really not much of a practical way to stop it from increasing in the first place - just playing "normally" will raise it pretty quickly. In Garegga's case, this essentially encouraged a particular and counter-intuitive play style (don't hoard bombs/lives, don't max out your weapons early, don't shoot all the time, etc.) which is unique and engaging once you understand how it works, but requires players to 1) Want to play by such an unusual set of rules, and 2) Be able to stick with the game long enough to get used to its quirks.


All good points to be honest, although I feel the part in italics is the real rub. The current Rank system was originally an experiment to see if I can pull off a real time dynamic difficulty system that automatically increases in small amounts and it somehow stuck, but the original iteration was "balanced" only for the first four stages of the game--which were all that I had at the time of implementation. Now that I have all levels in barring the TLB, the ugly side began to show.

What you described re: the more recent Cave games was what I had in mind. I remember DFK Black Label having such a system for when you enter Hyper Mode, but I need to read up on the specifics. Since Papilio doesn't really have that right now, probably the closest I could implement is a system whereby sacrificing your force field to bomb would also increase enemy aggression on top of giving you a multiplier, increasing your fire rate and causing your shots to generate point items on hit, and bombing again or getting hit during this period would consume your gem stock (when bombing), remove the multiplier and return enemy aggression to normal levels.

BulletMagnet wrote:
At some point I'm going to have to knuckle down and do a "weapon review" of all the different shot types (assuming you want one)


Actually, it would be greatly appreciated, thank you. :D I'm currently toying with them and trying to see how each weapon could be made more competitive without resorting too much to nerfbats, but as of the current build my own personal verdict is as follows:

  • Most generally useful weapon: Red Wisp + Blue Powerup (homing shots/bomb, generally worth having given that enemies can come at you from all sides)
  • Second most useful weapon: Green Wisp + Blue Powerup (sawblade rings, they slow down on contact with enemies and continuously deal damage until the enemy is destroyed or they run out of durability. Moderately strong, can cover a wide area and can even bounce off solid surfaces. The bomb is also the longest lasting one in the entire game, albeit hard to use as it mirrors your character's movement)
  • Most overpowered weapon: Green Wisp + Green Powerup (floating mines--they absorb smaller bullets on contact, their explosions cancel out even most mid-sized bullets and the mines are stupidly strong when used to point blank)
  • Hardest weapon to use: Blue Wisp + Green Weapon (lightning shotgun--the lightning is strong and can destroy smaller bullets, but the weapon has a slow fire rate and needs to be fired semiauto at point blank to speed it up which makes it dangerous. The bomb, on the other hand, used to be able to one shot the first boss until I nerfed it. Might buff it again though)
  • Second hardest weapon to use: Red Wisp + Green Powerup (basically the napalm missiles from Viper Phase 1 except they orbit your character until they reach the maximum number of missiles allowable onscreen, at which they will all launch directly forward. The missiles themselves can destroy small bullets, and if fired semiauto they will launch forward one by one in a cone spread. Strong, but counter intuitive; the mechanics were taken from the Bubble Gun in Cave Story)

BulletMagnet wrote:
in the meantime, one suggestion I'll tack on is a bit more "documentation" as far as the branching stages and other "below the surface" features. Don't get me wrong, I rather like how it's not all spelled out for you from the get-go, but at the same time a few more hints as to what's out there might keep one's curiosity percolating. One small addition I'd like is specifying "stage 2-A" or some such indicator on the high score screen to better show where you've been, so you can at least have a few puzzle pieces to try to put together.


I've also been thinking of doing this, but given my limited space on the results screen it may take me quite a while to figure out how to put it together. As of the current version 5 out of 8 stages have branching paths (Stages 2-6), but only one has an alternate endboss (Stage 3).

Quote:
EDIT: Also got the following crash error on Stage 2:


Thanks for finding this. I put in a system to differentiate between enemies you can collide with and enemies you can ride safely, but some of the old enemy objects somehow eluded the change which is why the debug report displayed "unknown" variables being checked.

EDIT: some extra info
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9 Beta NOW AVAILABLE, v0.4 Free Demo Update]
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:54 pm 


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Papilio v0.9.2.5 has been released!

MAJOR CHANGES:

  • The True Last Boss can now be fought! Clearing the game without using any Continues will allow you to face her within an extra stage.
  • A major balance pass to Dynamic Difficulty! Whereas the old system caused enemies to become more aggressive by firing faster shots more rapidly, the new system causes enemies to change their attack patterns depending on the current Rank level instead. In addition, both enemy attack patterns and shot trajectory randomization have been greatly reworked, (hopefully!) making avoidance easier.
  • Changes to weapon balancing! Certain player weapons (Ice Wisp + Green Powerup, Fire Wisp + Blue Powerup and Gale Wisp + Blue Powerup) have been strengthened and given extra mechanics to bring their damage output more in line with the other weapons.
  • "Standard" mode and "Rank Off" mode have been switched around. "Standard" now disables the Dynamic Difficulty altogether, while "Rank Off" is now "Dynamic" mode which incorporates the Rank system. This was chosen to allow newer players to ease themselves into the game.

OTHER CHANGES AND BUGFIXES:

  • The player characters will now be teleported back onto the screen if they happen to have been pushed out of the camera's viewport by a solid wall, and rendered invulnerable for a short period to allow player(s) to safely reposition themselves.
  • The Player 2 character object possessed uninitialized and erroneous variables which caused the game to crash; these have since been fixed.
  • The Stage 6 upper path background has been redrawn to keep it consistent with the background seen during the first portion of the level.
  • Certain enemy projectiles have been redrawn for better visibility.
  • Sound effects have been added to certain enemy attacks, but especially for bosses.

EDIT: Please be advised that it will take me quite a while before I can reflect the applicable changes in the Free Demo, as it still uses the pre-balancing version of the game (and possibly contains a fatal bug when attempting to initiate a 2 Player game--my apologies).

EDIT 2: Also, friendly reminder that there's still one last free game key to be given away, so please feel free to PM me if anybody wants it. First come first serve basis only!
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9.2.5 Beta, now with True Last Boss!]
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:44 pm 


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So yeah, since you retooled the weapons recently, I guess I'm running out of excuses to put off the personal weapon rundown I promised about 500 years ago:

FIRE/RED - Straightforward shot with some piercing ability; the latter feature is handy, but its raw power strikes me as a little lacking. On the flipside its bomb is lengthy and quite useful, so maybe it's a bit less of a purely offensive loadout than the other red ones.

FIRE/BLUE - The Thunder Force "hunter", handy homing ability and decent power (though you need the front shot to hit as well for the most damage), one of the best "all-around" weapons. Bomb is rather meh, but its other advantages make up for that.

FIRE/GREEN - The game's closest thing to a charge shot: requires a bit more button tapping to release partial salvos, but IMO that makes it more versatile and engaging to mess around with, and the splash explosions have great coverage. IMO the bomb's power doesn't quite make up for its limited area of effect.

GALE/RED - Kim's swords from Shikigami, and a personal favorite armament; the short range and weak bomb are easily outshone by their huge "tickle" damage potential, piercing characteristics and versatility.

GALE/BLUE - Buzzsaws which can bounce off the edge of the screen and do "drill" damage to larger enemies. Another good all-rounder, thanks to respectable power, great coverage (extra thanks to the gale wisp), and a long-lasting bomb.

GALE/GREEN - Fun fun bouncy bombs! Being able to nudge them around is a neat idea, and they've got the power to back up the extra effort too; I almost wonder if a better player than me could semi-break the game with them. The spread shot and bomb are on the weak side, but it's a fair tradeoff.

ICE/RED - After all this time I STILL don't have a bead on exactly how adjusting the pod angle works for this one. :P The splash bombs are the main source of power, which is fine, though it does feel a bit weird at first that the DDP-esque frontal laser weapon isn't, heh. Bomb is a good balance of power and coverage. One complaint is that the splash explosions frequently distract from enemy fire.

ICE/BLUE - The standard spread shot, which can do more damage if you get in close. Bomb seems purely defensive. Quite solid, though you need to be directly in front of targets to do more than a pittance to them, and getting in close to "shotgun" enemies tends to be risky due to the ice wisp's slow movement speed.

ICE/GREEN - Probably the most purely defensive setup in the game: power is still low, but the addition of rear-fired grenades makes keeping the screen clear much more manageable. Also well-tailored to the ice wisp's speed, as the idea is to sit back and outlast enemies rather than rush in and speed-kill them.

Overall the weapon balance is much improved from a few revisions ago, and makes the slower wisps a great deal more feasible, though I still consider them a bit disadvantaged considering how many attacks, particularly later on, you absolutely need to anticipate to get clear of in time. While we're on the topic, enemy warnings seem increasingly inconsistent the more I play; on quite a few occasions very quick assaults have come with zero notice.

In other news, the frame rate has been acting weird on my (non-gaming) setup; much of the time before now the game would consistently run in the low 50's, but lately it's been jumping to 60 more frequently, or seems to have been. I'll also note that the efforts to make enemy shots more visible has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated, though again, it seems inconsistent; the pesky bat enemies, for instance, shoot flat orange bullets in stage 4, but flashy neon ones in 5. Is that intentional, or just work that still needs doing?

I should also ask if there's any point to speed-killing bosses instead of milking their attacks for gems; I don't think you get any sort of bonus for it. I might have mentioned this before, but if you want to encourage players to test themselves defensively with major enemies, you may want to include mid-stage route changes that only activate if you kill neither boss; you might even put in some sort of bonus for those who wear them down evenly and manage to kill both in rapid succession before one flees.

Keep up the good work. :)
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9.2.5 Beta, now with True Last Boss!]
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:28 am 


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I just tried the demo. Wow, this is a very polished game. Reminds me a lot of deathsmiles. The sprites are really great, the music fits the theme well, and the controls are tight. I'm definitely not very good at the game, I'll have to practice some more.

Edit: bought a copy, thanks for all the hard work.


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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9.2.5 Beta, now with True Last Boss!]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:07 pm 


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@BulletMagnet - Thanks for the feedback! This is actually what I needed, it was rather hard to play around with weapon balancing. I'll try to address some of your assessments here (spoilered for length, there are some links in there though--board formatting seems to be preventing them from being seen on my end):

Spoiler: show
Quote:
FIRE/RED - Straightforward shot with some piercing ability; the latter feature is handy, but its raw power strikes me as a little lacking. On the flipside its bomb is lengthy and quite useful, so maybe it's a bit less of a purely offensive loadout than the other red ones.

I was actually afraid to make this weapon stronger after I decided to change the primary shot from a thinner DDP beam to a piercing version of the fire pulse laser from Thunder Dragon, since it might potentially break the game via multikills. The pulses can't pass through solid walls however. I might revisit this one again since the coverage is indeed quite poor anyway so as to break the balance, so I think it could use a slight bump up.

Quote:
FIRE/GREEN - The game's closest thing to a charge shot: requires a bit more button tapping to release partial salvos, but IMO that makes it more versatile and engaging to mess around with, and the splash explosions have great coverage. IMO the bomb's power doesn't quite make up for its limited area of effect.

Do agree that all of the Green powerup bombs need to be tweaked. The original idea was to make Green a "hard to master but f@#$ing worth it" kind of weapon, which somewhat extended to the bombs for better or for worse; the Ice/Green bomb used to be able to oneshot the first boss with the right positioning, for instance (I think it could still take out half its HP if you position yourself correctly). But you're right in that they feel underwhelming compared to the others.

Quote:
GALE/RED - Kim's swords from Shikigami, and a personal favorite armament; the short range and weak bomb are easily outshone by their huge "tickle" damage potential, piercing characteristics and versatility.
IS IT MIGHT? :P

But seriously, I have to admit that the bomb didn't live up to my standards either. Now that I know a bit more about GML wizardry I might be able to rework it to be closer to the original inspiration, Lord willing.

Quote:
GALE/GREEN - Fun fun bouncy bombs! Being able to nudge them around is a neat idea, and they've got the power to back up the extra effort too; I almost wonder if a better player than me could semi-break the game with them. The spread shot and bomb are on the weak side, but it's a fair tradeoff.
Oh man, this thing was also a hard one to mess around with but I'm glad you liked it! :D The whole concept was based off of Spanky's aerial mines, but made stronger to compensate for how hard they were to use. They also are the most broken weapon in the whole game right now--if you pointblank with the mines they will easily destroy any boss AND nullify almost every projectile they come in contact with at the same time.

Quote:
ICE/RED - After all this time I STILL don't have a bead on exactly how adjusting the pod angle works for this one. :P The splash bombs are the main source of power, which is fine, though it does feel a bit weird at first that the DDP-esque frontal laser weapon isn't, heh. Bomb is a good balance of power and coverage. One complaint is that the splash explosions frequently distract from enemy fire.
I think the explosions could use a bit of recoloring. As for the pods, they can only be adjusted when you aren't firing; moving forward will narrow their trajectory, while moving backwards will spread them out. They're kind of a bastardization of Stuck's bomblets, except the pods are fixed. As for the DDP laser, I'll increase the frontal shot power a bit.

Quote:
ICE/BLUE - The standard spread shot, which can do more damage if you get in close. Bomb seems purely defensive. Quite solid, though you need to be directly in front of targets to do more than a pittance to them, and getting in close to "shotgun" enemies tends to be risky due to the ice wisp's slow movement speed.
This weapon is actually somewhat problematic for me; it's the very first weapon I came up with (EDIT: actually it was the default shot during the second prototype phase; the original used a weapon swap/combo system similar to Gunstar Heroes) since the game's prototype days, and was originally a tap-burst fire weapon similar to the main shot in Cho Ren Sha. As it stands, it also feels like the most lackluster weapon in the entire game IMHO. I'm glad you found it solid though.

Quote:
ICE/GREEN - Probably the most purely defensive setup in the game: power is still low, but the addition of rear-fired grenades makes keeping the screen clear much more manageable. Also well-tailored to the ice wisp's speed, as the idea is to sit back and outlast enemies rather than rush in and speed-kill them.
The short-ranged shotgun blasts can also clear away smaller enemy bullets, but if you can point blank (edit: and tap-fire) with this weapon (the fire rate is limited by the number of small green spreading bolts onscreen) it's actually only second to the Gale/Green shot combo in terms of damage. Had to go through a lot of rebalancing though. :P Also another weapon for which the bomb can use a redesign.

Quote:
In other news, the frame rate has been acting weird on my (non-gaming) setup; much of the time before now the game would consistently run in the low 50's, but lately it's been jumping to 60 more frequently, or seems to have been.

That's actually my fault. :p The older version had an oversight wherein the score multiplier displays weren't being properly removed from memory, causing them to accumulate as a level progressed until there were simply too many of them--which in turn caused the game to chug. The current version promptly deletes the multiplier objects after fading out, which is likely how you're getting the 60fps spikes.

Now that you mention it, there's one last UI element I need to add for when the x3 bomb multiplier is active.

Quote:
I'll also note that the efforts to make enemy shots more visible has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated, though again, it seems inconsistent; the pesky bat enemies, for instance, shoot flat orange bullets in stage 4, but flashy neon ones in 5. Is that intentional, or just work that still needs doing?

Good point, actually. The idea behind that was to vary the attack patterns at certain Rank intervals; for instance, most enemies will switch up their projectile types and patterns above Ranks 3 and 7. In the stage 4 bat's case, it will fire orange shots below rank 3, but will switch to a double pincer pattern between ranks 3-7 that uses a different projectile. I'll just make them the same projectile type for consistency in these cases.

Others use different bullets entirely, for instance at Rank 3+ the blue wasp enemy switches from a small arrow bullet to a large arrow blast that can't be blocked by the wisps without the Aura powerup.

Quote:
I should also ask if there's any point to speed-killing bosses instead of milking their attacks for gems; I don't think you get any sort of bonus for it. I might have mentioned this before, but if you want to encourage players to test themselves defensively with major enemies, you may want to include mid-stage route changes that only activate if you kill neither boss; you might even put in some sort of bonus for those who wear them down evenly and manage to kill both in rapid succession before one flees.

This is a good point. I don't really have a bonus for speed killing bosses, although that could be addressed with the existing systems I have in place. For instance, extra enemies will appear if you speedkill both midboss encounters in either path of Stage 3, a cue I took from Cho Ren Sha's stage 1 secret. I could also throw in extra score based on how much time is left when you kill the boss.

Re: the mid-stage route changes on timeout, I coded the levels to continue towards a default path if both midbosses survive. Right now the only two stages wherein killing either midboss would result in a different path are stages 2 and 3; stage 5 depends on whether or not the player destroys the broken ship hull past the first bouncing wheel enemy ambush, and stage 6 depends on whether or not the player decides to time out the antigravity core midboss.

EDIT: It's possible to kill both of the twin midbosses in Stage 2 by the way, but impossible to do so in Stage 3 because the remaining midboss will be made invulnerable if the other dies. There's no extra bonus to be had for killing both twins in Stage 2 though, so that's another idea to consider.


@bobasaurus - Thank you for supporting the game! :D I'm glad you enjoyed it, I'm working on some new features which hopefully should be ready by the end of next week.

A small announcement: itch.io sent me an email this monday notifying me of an upcoming summer sale event beginning on June 21 and ending on July 1, 2019. During that period I will be giving Papilio a discount, so please stay tuned for more announcements. :)
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9.2.5 Beta, now with True Last Boss!]
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:15 am 


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Location: Frying over a jungle and saving the nature
Papilio is on sale until July 1, get it while it's hot!

Also, pushing for the EX boss addition + enemy wave and weapon / bomb rebalance update next week.
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9.2.5 Beta, now with True Last Boss!]
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:58 pm 


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Location: Frying over a jungle and saving the nature
Backlog of emergency updates since the last two days:

New Features

  • Stages 3 and 4 now have EX bosses! The method for unlocking them will be a mystery for now, but in case you aren't prepared for the ones in Stage 3 then make sure not to kill the midbosses too quickly. ;) (not yet available in the Demo version)

Changes and Bugfixes

  • One of the smaller enemy types was referencing nonexistent variables during its attack phase, which caused the game to crash and exit. The errors have been resolved for both the paid full version and the free demo.
  • Fire Wisp + Red Powerup and Ice Wisp + Red Powerup both received minor increases in damage output for their frontal shots.
  • The second midboss of Stage 6's upper path has been rebalanced; it will now fire much slower bullets than before, making it easier to avoid its spread shots.
  • Both the Stage 1 and Stage 4 bosses were causing the game to crash on timeout due to erroneous priorities on parameter calls caused by deprecated code. These have been fixed, and now both bosses will correctly time out and allow players to progress.
  • The hidden midboss in Stage 2's upper path originally had the ability to pull the player characters close to itself while firing its beam attack. However it has been reported that this vacuum effect persists even after the boss is defeated, resulting in broken player movement for the remaining levels. Since the boss' ability could not affect players using mouse control, the old vacuum property was removed and instead replaced with an expanding laser that is bigger than the original beam.
  • The "Default Controls" section of the in-game Manual screen now displays PlayStation / Xbox Controller button designations instead of "Button 1", "Button 2" and "Button 3" to make it easier to understand. Seriously, what on earth are Buttons 1, 2 and 3 anyway?
  • The "Dynamic" Mode menu item could not be clicked with the mouse when in 2 Player Mode; this has now been fixed.
  • In Survival Mode, one of the large carrier enemies spawns at a very low point on the screen, causing the pair of armored drones it releases to get stuck in the ground. Its spawn point has been raised slightly to compensate for the presence of the solid floor.
  • The player initials in the name entry screen were positioned too low on the screen which caused them to clip into the other UI elements; their display height has been adjusted accordingly.

Demo-exclusive changes:

  • The 2-Player game mode menu had several broken items that were referencing nonexistent or disabled rooms, causing the game to crash. It has now been brought in line with the 1-Player game mode menu, which disables Survival, Asuratva and Training Modes altogether.
  • The emergency teleport feature used to forcibly return out-of-view characters in the full game has been imported to the demo version.
  • The aimed spread shots used by certain enemies originally had a randomized arc trajectory. This randomizer has been removed to bring the demo in line with the full version, which has a uniform aimed spread shot.
  • Some of the shot sprites used in the free demo for both players and enemies have been updated to reflect the changes in the full version.

Known Issues:

  • There is a strange bug that occurs when certain enemy objects are deleted after exiting the viewport, causing the game to crash. As this issue is very hard to replicate, it will take some time to uncover the cause.
  • Similarly, there is a very rare glitch that causes the game to crash when using the Fire Wisp + Blue Powerup homing shots. I am still in the process of trying to uncover the cause, but for now there is a workaround in place that hopefully deals with the issue.
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9.2.5 Beta, now with True Last Boss!]
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:52 am 


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Location: Frying over a jungle and saving the nature
It has been brought to my attention that there were several glitches in the game that proved fatal, either causing the application to crash or freeze. Below is the changelog for the emergency hotfix:

Major Fixes:

  • A pair of enemy objects were mistakenly referencing uninitialized variables while targeting the player character(s), thereby crashing the application. However this error did not immediately become apparent as it did not trigger uniformly for every user. The oversight has been discovered to have been present in several more enemy types, and it has now been addressed across the board.
  • The menu for rebinding keyboard and gamepad inputs was causing the game controls to lock up after choosing the "Reset All" option; this was due to a flag not being properly re-initialized after choosing to reset the controls to the default values. Said variable is now regularly initialized after choosing "Reset All" and no longer freezes the game controls.
  • Choosing to rebind the second player controller erroneously called a dummy object which had a missing variable call in one of its events, thus crashing the game, The option now properly calls the actual rebind controller instead of the dummy object, but the offending variable in the dummy has also been altered accordingly just in case.

Other minor fixes:

  • Both the Stage 8 "normal" final boss and the True Last Boss were erroneously generating the same background object being called by the Stage 2 boss on timeout. This call has been removed from both instances.
  • (Full Version Only) Reduced the particle trail effects for the red lock-on enemy projectile and the spiraling orb projectiles to better improve screen visibility, especially during the Stage 3 lower path EX boss, Stage 6 battleship/boss and Stage 8 boss.

Known Issues (please read!):

  • At Rank 7 and above, the brown-colored attack hornet in Stages 6 and 8 fire beams instead of projectile bursts; however it has been discovered that these beams are capable of drastically slowing down the game's performance especially on older computers. I am currently looking for a more efficient alternative to the beam's behavior.
  • The second player controller does not seem to be detected correctly at times, making it impossible to rebind. As I am also working on a means to correctly display controller button values on the rebind menu as opposed to their default Windows numerical designations, I will attempt to address this at the same time.

A big thank you to the testers who brought these issues and more to my attention.

Also, here's a video of v0.9.3.0 in action.

EDIT: formatting
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 Post subject: Re: Papilio [v0.9.2.5 Beta, now with True Last Boss!]
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:00 am 


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Location: Frying over a jungle and saving the nature
Version 0.9.3.2 Changelog (copied from the itch.io store page)

A new version of Papilio has been uploaded with some minor balance changes for certain parts of the game, as well as bugfixes for several bosses and player actions. In addition, I have an announcement to make at the end of the changelog, so please keep reading.

Bugfixes:

  • Several bosses and minibosses were failing to time out correctly, causing the game to either soft-lock and prevent progression or crash the game entirely; this oversight has been addressed The list of bosses in question are:
Code:
- Stage 5 boss (game crash due to erroneous variable checks being called on timeout)
- Stage 6 boss (failure to transition into the next level after timing out)
- Stage 8 boss (same as above)
- Stage 9 boss (same as above)
- Stage 5 midbosses (level does not progress at all after timing out)
- Stage 8 midboss 1 (same as above)

  • In addition, timeout behaviors were added for the following enemies:
Code:
- Stage 6 second midbosses (both upper and lower path)
- Stage 7 midboss
- Stage 8 first midboss
- True Last Boss

  • Killing the Stage 3 boss' snake and wolf turrets as soon as she spawns caused the game to crash due to the boss object failing to detect them during that particular phase. This has been remedied.
  • One of the Stage 8 boss attack patterns was erroneously referencing a nonexistent object, causing the game to crash. This oversight has been removed.
  • Dying while the Fire Wisp + Red powerup bomb (flame salamander) is active causes the game to crash due to the player object being removed, leading to the bomb instance failing to find a proper target coordinate. A workaround has been implemented to prevent this issue.
  • Defeating the True Last Boss failed to generate a final score tally due to the game not generating the end-of-level cinematic controller, causing the game to lock up. The controller has been added to the score tally screen upon completion of the TLB fight.
  • One of the small drone enemies continuously fired a near-unavoidable stream of large bullets at Rank 7 and above due to a timer miscalculation . This has been fixed.
  • The Gale Wisp has proven quite problematic with certain transition mechanics:
Code:
1) Holding down any of the two Fire buttons during an end-of-level transition to the score tally screen while possessing the Gale Wisp will cause the orbs to remain onscreen during score tally.

2) Related to this issue, holding down the fire button with the Gale Wisp as the player character is pushed out of the screen by an invisible wall will cause the orbs to remain at the location where they got stuck as long as the fire button is held.

3)Both issues have been resolved; however, as the coding for the Gale Wisp coordinates are variable, both wisps will be teleported on top of the player character's coordinates, causing them to be centered on the character before snapping back into position. I will be looking into this issue more in the future to find a better solution.


Demo-exclusive changes:

  • The Player 2 character was referencing an uninitialized variable, causing the game to crash. This has been fixed.

Changes:

  • Additional enemies were placed into certain areas in the following stages to increase the difficulty:
Code:
- Stage 5 (the bottom of the shaft at the starting section)
- Stage 6 (the start of the upper path)
- Stage 8 (after the two red-colored rocket launching insects appear)

  • The Stage 6 upper path midboss has received a difficulty overhaul due to how easy it was to kill.

Announcements:

Due to some real life concerns, I will be taking a short break this coming week to focus on some tasks, as well as to plan out my next few updates for Papilio. I apologize for the inconvenience. In the meantime, please feel free to send me an email regarding any bugs that you encounter and I will do my best to address them.

A big thank you to the tester(s) who helped uncover the above issues, and many thanks to those who supported me during the sale.
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--Papilio v0.9 Beta now on itch.io! (development thread)--
Xyga wrote:
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