Tidalis:0.414 Beta Release

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Notes From The Producer: May 20, 2010

Yesterday we released water mode, and we had it down to one known issue at the time of release, but today that issue list climbed to 10 fairly significant issues with it. I said this was the most complex mode we've yet implemented, and it was definitely bearing that out. At any rate, all of the known issues with water mode are now fixed with this new version, and in general that mode has been rebalanced and even extended a bit. It's definitely coming into its own, and feels a lot better now in practice; one issue with the mode as it was yesterday was that it was incredibly difficult, which has been fixed today. It's still more challenging than the basic mode, but not so brutal now.

The other big new feature today is the in-game help, which gives context info for... everything on the screen at the time, but in a concise windowed format. This combines the best of contextual help with index-based help, and the result is something that makes it easy to look up just what the heck that block/item/button/whatever does, if you're not familiar with it or are rusty.

The new Temple music theme is really cool, and much more fitting for the temple (while keeping the same awesome melody from before). And we've got three new items, the ability to see old cutscenes via a history index in the adventure mode, and a number of other smaller tweaks and fixes.

Pretty cool release, if I do say so!

--Christopher M. Park

New & Updated Levels

New & Updated Art/Music/Sound

  • The Temple music theme has been updated.

Gameplay Additions

  • New Sponge special block.
    • When it falls into water, it sucks in a row of water and dies, lowering the overall level of water in the well. It cannot reduce the water level below 1.
    • Used in puzzles and Water mode only.
  • New Feather item.
    • Forces the chosen well to work like Featherweight mode for 30 seconds (gravity is much lower, and streams tend to float upwards).
  • New Barbells item.
    • Forces the chosen well to work like Graviton mode for 30 seconds (gravity is much stronger, and even affects streams).
  • New U-Turn item.
    • All streams in the chosen well will come out backwards compared to where their arrows are pointing for 30 seconds.

Gameplay Updates

  • Water Fish now automatically die when they are out of water. They also fail to suck up any water when they die outside of water.
  • Walls are now destroyed by blocks trying to rise up through the bottom of them. This typically happens when water forces blocks upwards, or a block enters through the bottom of the board, etc. This applies to the special-block type walls as well as the board-reshaping walls.
  • Water Balloons now pop based upon being "hard falling" (like glass), rather than based on adjacent chains clearing.
    • Unlike glass, it is also now possible to pop water balloons by having another block "hard fall" onto them.
    • "Hard falling" is when the little wind lines appear out of the top of a block, which is triggered when the block directly below the to-be-hard-falling block is removed.
  • The ratios of "overriding" special blocks in the water mode are now: 14% Water Fish, 22% Water Balloons, 28% Bubbles, and 36% Sponges.
    • Other special blocks are still applied based on their normal separate logic assuming that no "overriding" special blocks are added instead.
    • There are now significantly fewer of the "overriding" special blocks spawned in the water mode.
  • There is now an 8-second formation animation that plays when a bubble block is being added to the well. This gives players a chance to react to them, and takes some of the randomness out of playing with them.

New Level Editor Features

Misc

  • Added Cutscene History button to bottom right corner of adventure map screen.
  • Added Help button on the bottom-left of the screen while playing, which brings up a screen displaying all elements currently involved in the current board, all of which display tooltips when you move the mouse over them.
  • Previously, it was really unclear that there were 5 and only 5 item slots. Those are now visually always shown (that space was unused anyway), which makes it a lot more clear what is going on. When the slots are empty they show as 25% opacity, though, so as not to be visually overwhelming.
    • Thanks to Ixiohm for inspiring this change.

Bugfixes

  • A new recursive method, ShiftUpwards, is now used to move entire stacks of blocks upwards. This cleanly prevents any blocks from ever being stranded exactly on top of one another in the manner that was possible in the last release.
  • The way in which the "min filled rows" count is calculated now includes the water properly. Thus in water levels too much us not dropped onto already-high columns that are high simply because of water level and bubbles.
  • Fixed a couple of bugs with how blocks spawn around walls and other existing blocks that were previously on the board before the "random starting blocks" were added.
  • Fixed an unhandled exception relating to emission statues.
  • Fixed a minor bug with the tooltip of the Water mode.
    • Thanks to RCIX for reporting.

Internal Programming Notes

  • Converted many trivial properties to public fields.
  • Formation Animations are now fully supported.
  • Cleaned up some of the animator disposal calls to make better use of pooling.
  • The method by which random block positions are calculated for adding them to the rows is now much different, taking into much better account the positions of existing blocks.

Tidalis