Tidalis:0.990 Beta Release

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Notes From The Producer: July 13, 2010

This version has been dubbed "release candidate 1." The expectation is that there will be one more release after this one, and that will probably then be our "official release" version. But we'll see how things go.

This version has a lot of goodies in it, including the new PDF game manual, polished cutscenes, ranked boards, Steamworks compatibility for Windows (but you need to wait until this comes out on Friday on Steam to make use of it), and a number of tweaks and fixes. Our known issues list is at practically zero, and there are no known issues with the networking components of the game at this time.

Very close to the end! We are indeed excited. :)

--Christopher M. Park

New & Updated Levels

  • 1 new brainteaser has been added.
  • A great many brainteasers have been tweaked in at least a minor fashion (mostly themes being set).
  • The adventure map has been greatly updated as far as where its hidden secrets go, and there are now vastly more hidden secrets in place.
  • Fixed a bug with level 85 having an improperly named node in the adventure map.
  • Almost all of the cutscenes have had tweaks and fixes, and the ending in particular has been polished a bit.
  • 4 new hidden cutscenes have been added to the adventure mode.
  • Nine "Ranked Boards" have been added to the Puzzles section of the menu. These boards will have their own specific leaderboards on Steam. The boards are as follows:
    • Basic Ranked
    • Bumpers Ranked
    • Graviton Water Ranked
    • Items Ranked
    • Jumping Frenzy Ranked
    • Negative Score Swap Ranked
    • Solitaire Ranked
    • Special Blocks Ranked
    • Zen Ranked

New & Updated Art/Music/Sound

  • Tweaked the visuals of the volcano theme.
  • The cavern no longer uses the fancy water effect it had before, but it now runs without lag even on middling and older hardware, and uses 5x less video memory. It was the only theme to use so much vram, so now it's well within the bounds of what the other themes use.
  • The display of the adventure map on very small resolutions is now cleaner and more sensible (before the bottom row of stuff was hanging over the board a bit).
  • Cutscenes now ignore the "use static backgrounds" flag, as the animations are needed for proper display of the cutscenes. This shouldn't adversely affect performance on any machine otherwise meeting the system requirements.

Gameplay Additions

Gameplay Updates

  • Blocks are now considered dropped (for score purposes and purposes of the objectives) as soon as they are 1 pixel into the board. Previously the block had to be entirely into the board.
  • During network co-op play, whenever one player wins and one player loses, the win counteracts the loss. Given that the games are intentionally running slightly out of sync with one another, this is the only fair (and non-frustrating) way to resolve conflicts of this sort.
    • When playing VS modes over the network, it is possible to get a situation where both players lose. In this unlikely sort of situation, the match is simply a draw. There's no co-op counterpart to a draw, however, so it defaults to winning when in doubt. These circumstances are extremely rare aside from during co-op brainteasers, anyway.
  • During co-op brainteasers in general (local or networked), whenever one of the two players wins, it now considers it a win. This is, after all, the goal of that mode—for the two players to solve the brainteaser together, on at least one of their boards.

New Level Editor Features

  • Added a new Show Scene Immediately flag to the adventure map nodes, as the setup in the scenes themselves was not working properly.
  • Added a new JumpToThemeOffset definition to scene segment definitions to allow correct and consistent theme offsetting between viewings of the cutscene.

Misc

  • When you are adjusting the music and sounds sliders in the settings window, it now adjusts the music/sound volumes in realtime so that you can hear the changes and decide what you like. If you hit cancel, it cancels the changes, as before. Whenever the sound slider is moved, it plays the eater chomp sound effect now to be a preview sound.
  • The requirements for the block clear gold level achievements have been reduced significantly to make them remotely possible for most people.
  • During network play, neither player is now allowed to see the board until both players have finished loading the board and can both see it at once. This prevents any advantage from being the one to accept a request for a level, rather than being the one to suggest it.
  • During network play, players are now shown a status on start of what the other player is doing—still loading the board, or viewing the starting screen, etc. The game doesn't start until both players have finished looking at the starting screen, if there is one, so this eliminates any confusion as to why the level hasn't yet started.
  • Themes are now reset to their initial fresh state whenever a theme is changed or a level is loaded. This prevents any minor glitches that occur from lasting until the program is restarted, and instead should make any problem only ever last until the theme is next loaded. Not that we expect many such issues, but just to be on the safe side.
  • The Achievements tab of the High Scores window is now twice as large, and displays how many achievements have been won out of the total number of achievements.
  • Place Color Block and Place Special Block items are now shown in the "Do you want to play this level?" confirmation dialog, but are still filtered out from the before-level dialog.
  • Theme animations are no longer started until all the images have finished being loaded for the theme. This should prevent any possible issues with seams due to too-slow loading of images or similar. That was a very rare issue to begin with, and this will hopefully eliminate any possibility of it.
  • The warning has been taken off the network play page, as it is fully ready to go, now.
  • The printable PDF game manual is now complete!
  • Steamworks is now fully implemented for the Windows version of Unity. It includes submission of Leaderboard info (Unranked, or one of the 9 Ranked boards) and achievement info. Steamworks for OSX is coming shortly.

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug wherein during network play the players could start an adventure, then suggest a brainteaser level from the menu to have that brainteaser automatically reveal the hidden node if it was hidden in the adventure.
  • Fixed a bug that was allowing the buttons beside the game board (pause, revive, etc) to visually show through to the menus after a game loss.
  • Previously, in really rare circumstances during network play, it was possible to find yourself with no game board staring at an empty theme. Now it will automatically take you to the menu in such circumstances.
  • Previously, if the connection was lost from one network player to another, the game board locally would keep playing when it should not. Fixed.
  • Previously, the game would crash if the cutscene index was opened in an adventure where no cutscenes had yet been viewed. This was not normally possible in the official adventure, but could happen in custom adventures.
  • Fixed several bugs relating to theme scrolling not always happening consistently in cutscenes.
  • "ShowImmediately" scenes now work properly in contexts other than just starting a new adventure. Now the ending cutscene pops up properly when the last level is won.
  • Fixed a bug in the adventure editor where the cutscene to go with a level would not be properly selected on editing a node if the adventure had previously been loaded in the main game, and the cutscene index viewed, before then returning to the editor to edit that node. Obscure, no? But fixed.

Internal Programming Notes

Tidalis