Tidalis:0.418 Beta Release

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Notes From The Producer: May 25, 2010

The story is coming along well, the new levels are some of the best we've had yet, and the networking continues to progress although there is nothing visible to show for that yet (networking is kind of an all or nothing thing as far as visibility to players go). We also added one new game mode, two new special blocks, three new items, and made a number of revisions and bugfixes.

As I'd hoped, the networking isn't causing a halt on all other code-related updates being released, so that's great news. The networking is partially implemented in this release, but it's so isolated that it doesn't affect the game or our ability to do updates. That's a nice change of pace from the multi-well play, well scaling, and various of those other "big gap causing" updates.

Enjoy!

--Christopher M. Park

New & Updated Levels

  • The adventure levels are now complete up through level 62.
  • The first five during-adventure story cutscenes have now been added to the game (levels 2, 3, 5, 6 and 9).
    • If you already played the levels in question but want to see the cutscenes, you can click on each level, see the cutscene, and then exit instead of actually playing the level.

New & Updated Art/Music/Sound

  • The graphic effect for the grid in Line Clear and Light-Up modes has been improved.

Gameplay Additions

  • A new Solitaire game mode has been added.
    • Blocks don't fall into the well except when the player uses the fast forward button. This mode is won by dropping a certain number of blocks (which increases by action difficulty) into the well.
  • A new Scrambler item has been added.
    • Scrambles the direction arrows of the blocks all throughout a well.
  • A new Insta-Streams item has been added.
    • All streams in the chosen well will move at a near-instantaneous rate for 30 seconds.
  • A new Molasses-Streams item has been added.
    • All streams in the chosen well will move extremely slowly for 30 seconds.
  • A new Sick Block special block has been added.
    • Halves the score of any chains that include blocks next to this block. When at least two blocks being cleared from a single chain are next to this block, this block turns into a cured block. If only one block from the chain is next to a sick block, then an entire row of blocks will fall from the top of the well. Can only be destroyed by dropping out of the bottom of the well.
  • A new Cured Block special block has been added.
    • When at least two blocks being cleared from a single chain are next to this block, this block gives that chain a 10X score multiplier and then turns into a sick block. Can only be destroyed by dropping out of the bottom of the well.
    • Cured blocks cannot be directly enabled as a special block in the Custom Game interface, but Sick blocks can and Cured blocks are thus accessible in custom games by converting sick blocks to cured.

Gameplay Updates

  • Jumping Bean mode has been updated so that it no longer allows players to trigger streams at any time. However, even when you cannot trigger streams you can still trigger blocks to jump, which actually makes it significantly easier to create jumping-based chains.
  • In non-water-mode, bubbles now no longer go through their formation animation, and they (and water fish) also drop down from the top of the well like any other block, rather than coming up from the bottom of the well.
  • Highlighting a tile in line-clear mode now gives 1 point.

New Level Editor Features

  • Added "Crystallization" clear type option to block clearing objectives, for blocks cleared via the crystal item or the crystallizer special block.
  • Added Item Frequency subwindow to Level Editor, which controls the frequency of embedded items in randomly generated blocks (both for the randomly generated initial well population if any, and blocks which fall during play). Unused frequency (meaning the totals not equaling 1000) is the chance of a randomly generated block not having an embedded item at all.
  • Blocks that are placed in the level editor in non-puzzle modes will now retain their position before the other blocks are placed in the well. Only once all the other blocks are seeded into the well will the blocks "settle."
    • Additionally, there will be no "holes" seeded into the well on or below the level of any directly-placed blocks.
    • These two changes help to ensure that the position of the starting blocks in non-puzzle specially-designed levels will remain as expected on play.

Misc

  • The Scene definition xml format now supports ThemeOffsetX and ThemeOffsetY attributes on the Scene Segment nodes. This allows for more dynamic scene backgrounds to be created in the smaller viewport that is being used for cutscenes.
  • Added Achievement display to both the "everything I've earned" window on the adventure map (though the achievements are not per-adventure, though there will probably be some of those later) and the "what I earned in winning this board" window right after winning an adventure level.
  • Previously, blocks that were part of a chain were immune to eaters, pit monsters, and a number of item effects. That allowed for some exploits for fast-clicking players, so this has been changed so that all of the above is generally now able to destroy or alter blocks in chains.
    • However, in addition to the above, now if a block in a chain is killed, it no longer reduces the overall "number of blocks in the chain" count for the chain it was a part of. The score of the final chain will be a bit different, but otherwise there is no effect of killing a block that is in a chain.
      • Regarding the score differences, specifically:
        • Normally the "base # of blocks" in a chain is 1, or else 1 + the number that were in the prior chain of a combo.
          • Now, the number of blocks that were killed while part of that chain are also added to that "base # blocks" count.
        • Blocks that were killed are not directly scored as part of that chain. However, since they do contribute to the "base # of blocks" count, they are therefore increasing the score of all the other blocks as if they were there.
        • Therefore, the net effect is if the lowest-valued blocks in the chain were removed for scoring purposes, resulting in a lower score but not a hugely lower score.
  • Streams now automatically disappear if they go above the board, unless there are blocks up there (in which case it can go a little higher than the highest block before disappearing automatically). This is particularly important for trampoline mode.
  • The eater defense mode now shows its loss condition as a visible Special Loss Objective.
  • The buttons along the bottom of the main menu now wrap onto a second row on really small monitors.
  • The bigger gold buttons for things like the main menu, play menu, etc, now compress and align themselves appropriately so as not to overlap other buttons and to avoid overlapping the title graphic if at all possible on the given screen resolution.

Bugfixes

  • Previously there was a bug that could cause the game to be lost when a block fell into a column that had one or more dying blocks in it, which should have thus let the loss be avoided. Fixed so that these unfair losses should now be avoided.
  • Settings and Stats buttons don't show if there's an actual window showing on the menu.
  • Draggable windows now can't be dragged into a position where you can no longer drag them back.
  • Fixed a bug in the last version where floatable blocks would get stuck in hardfall on the bottom row of the well.

Internal Programming Notes

  • The logic for chain color merging is now based on the ChainColor of Chain. This should be more correct than the prior method, but we should watch out for potential bugs since it is a change.
  • The Chain class has been moved into its own file instead of being in Enums.cs.
  • The Networking Server and Client wrapper classes have been ported over from AI War, and have been converted to work in a new non-GDI threading environment.
  • The Networking wrapper classes have also been converted to work with all binary data, rather than string-based data.

Tidalis