Tidalis:0.903 Beta Release

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Notes From The Producer: July 2, 2010

This new version includes the new Living Stone special block, and two new game styles: Shuffle and Block Swap. All three of these are riffs off of a new "block swapping" mechanic that we've added in. We hadn't planned on doing more special blocks or game styles before the official release, but I saw Ixiohm's suggestion for the living stones today and thought that sounded like a great way to spice up the end of the adventure with some new-at-the-very-end blocks. And from that mechanic, the idea for the two game styles was born.

There are also numerous improvements to the networking once again, as well as many refinements to the matchmaking service. These two items are pretty much 90% complete now—still a few rough edges, mostly around stuff like adventure mode in the networking side of things (the adventure map and cutscenes are not yet synced over the network, but will be). So have at it if you enjoy network play for things like this, and let us know if you find any issues! :)

--Christopher M. Park

New & Updated Levels

  • Adventure levels 101-102 have been added, 97 and 99 have been updated.

New & Updated Art/Music/Sound

  • The simple (and kind of ugly) basic credits window has been replaced with a scenic credits cutscene.
    • An awesome new Credits music track has been created for this scene.
  • The following themes have seen visual updates: Cavern, Jeweled Palace, Fishing Village Night, River.
  • The rain animations have been visually polished.

Gameplay Additions

  • A new Living Stone special block has been added.
    • Stone blocks don't allow streams to pass through them, and can only be destroyed by clearing all the blocks under them so that they fall through the bottom of the board.
    • Living stone blocks are particularly tricky because they will move to the side every 10 seconds if there is a block next to them that they can switch places with.
    • Thanks to Ixiohm for suggesting.
  • A new Block Swap game style has been added.
    • When you click a motionless single-direction color block, it will try to swap positions with a motionless block directly next to it in the direction its arrow is pointing. You can rearrange the board to a heavy degree with this.
  • A new Shuffle game style has been added.
    • In this very challenging mode, motionless single-direction color blocks will all try to swap every 30 seconds. They move in the directions of their arrows, just like in block swap mode, but all of them do it at once and you don't have control of the timing.
    • If you're planning moves, it's very important to note that blocks move in order of left-to-right, starting at the bottom of the well.

Gameplay Updates

  • Because of the confusion this could cause in edge cases, Streams are no longer ever allowed to go off the top of the board, even if there are blocks higher than the board.
  • Because of the confusion this caused (and potential game slowdowns), in Zen and Light-Up modes blocks that become stacked above the board for any reason (usually water) now automatically explode rather than just getting stacked very high. These blocks don't count toward objectives when they disappear.
    • Thanks to RCIX for reporting.

New Level Editor Features

  • In the theme editor, it is now possible to define at what layer the cutscenes will be drawn. This allows for cool effects with foreground elements being drawn in front of cutscene elements.
  • The level editor now supports a "Random Block" that allows for direct placement of random blocks.

Misc

  • Bubbles no longer move at all during dying animation.
  • Blocks with fire-on-death-by-adjacent-chain behavior (ice, fire, crystalizer, mainly) that affect adjacent blocks now apply that behavior more consistently when they are both being cleared by adjacent chain AND adjacent to another such block that is firing its behavior. Now the adjacent-chain-clear has priority so those gray-area blocks will now all activate and clear rather than be affected by another activation and perhaps not clear (or perhaps get crystallized itself, etc).
  • More networking updates:
    • Now when a player tries to load a game board during a networking session, instead of just playing the board immediately it shows a detail screen about that board to both players, and allows the other player to accept or reject the request to play that board. The requester can also cancel their request.
      • If a request is rejected or canceled, a message is popped up on the alternate party's screen, and the game goes back to where it was before the request for both players.
      • If a request is accepted, then the game loads the board immediately and play commences as it previously would have.
    • When a level is loaded for play, all open windows are closed. This prevents some problems that could previously lead to desyncs and other flow issues.
  • Finished implementation of no-positive-handicaps filter on find-internet-games.
  • Implemented more meaningful match scoring system for find-internet-games.
  • "Puzzles" have been renamed to "Brainteasers" for the sake of clarity.

Bugfixes

  • In previous versions, you could not use items on remote wells during network play. Fixed.
  • Previously, cutscenes would fail silently if they could not open. Now an error message is displayed temporarily onscreen.
  • Weather effects are now drawn in front of cutscene elements (aside from text), as you would expect.
  • Fixed some bugs with premature game overs when the entire board was under water, and with blocks hitting a rising stack and being pushed above the board.
  • Fixed bug where using an item to place a special-block-that-cannot-survive-on-the-bottom-row (glass, stone, etc) on the bottom row would result in it getting stuck there. Now should properly fall or die, etc.
  • Fixed bug where direction-locked was not showing on pre-level screen or in-game help on boards that could have blocks in that state.
  • Fixed bug in display of direction-locked icon in pre-level screen.
  • Animated weather is no longer shown for themes when static backgrounds are enabled. The fact that it previously was was in error.
  • Made "get blocks cardinally adjacent" computation a little more lenient because it was being too strict when checking for neighbors of a falling block.
  • Fixed bug where a block falling on an eater that was still partially in the top row could cause a loss even though the eater was still falling. It will still cause a loss if the eater is stopped (by a turnip, generally).

Internal Programming Notes

Tidalis