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Dream Land Java :: Development Logs :: Tuesday Knight Titans

In what was supposed to be an inconsequential and fun release, Tuesday Knight Titans proved to take more than the previously thought problematic release and proved itself the worst-developed installment of the Dream Land Java project to date.

Granted, the project only has three games to its name, but a year? Really? That is just horrible...


Background

Kirbj has its roots in fan-creation. It itself is a fan work, it features a fan's spin on in-game components, and the first installment featured a fan-made boss. Running off of the same contest that produced Moogong, Tuesday Knight Titans attempted to allow others' creations in a real game, not just a wish or a thought.

Fightning Bug Fights~!

With the level maker in place and even a quick demo game showcasing Sceptre Knight, everything seemed to be in place for the requests to roll in, the creme of the crop to be chosen, and for a good game with some good Knights to be released in a short time.

So, of course, things totally didn't go that way.


That green grappler Bogg was already featured in the prior release, yet without his trusty weapon -- the mace (actually a spiked ball-and-chain). To remedy this, a game had to be made which featured both Squeaky Bogg and a mace enemy from which he could take a mace -- all of which are knights.

Thus, it would have to be Knights versus Wrestlers -- Armor versus Arm Drags!

Tuesday Knight Titans gets its name from the old WWF (now WWE) talk show Tuesday Night Titans. Yes, wrestling had a talk show. The arm drags subtitle was added later to try and clarify the intent of the game; some seemed to feel that the Knights were the titular Titans being referenced. Of course, one would still need to know what an arm drag was, and I'm going to guess they didn't know that, either.

Ironically, neither of the featured fighters has arms with which to drag. Huh.


Development

After the long wait from Save The Day, I wanted to make up for things by having a quick release. TKT seemed to fit the bill; most of its time would be tied up in just the drawings, right? (Of course not.) The main protagonist was Bimblesnaff's Squeaky Bogg, after all, who was already entirely coded. He was to be joined by the Fightning Bug, who had an eerily similar arsenal centered around Backdrop, so there was little other than Flight to tinker with there.

A short non-game called Sceptre Knight's Prevenge was put out in which a Bogg just battled a lot of Sceptre Knights, an enemy I made to act as some sort of Meta-Knight replacement in leading an army of soldiers. He was also made for Gooey to gain the sceptre he was pictured with at the end of Goo X Moo, but that's neither here nor there. The game was completed, and my e-mail was displayed for others to send in their approval for their Knights to be featured in a full game instead of just one type of enemy being beaten again and again.


That was a complete waste. Everything. Trying to scare up knights and the coding itself. The only real submission that came out of it was Ripsaw Knight, whom I did not appreciate as much then as I do now. The code I used to created the knight battle -- a commonplace event in the Dream Land series -- proved to be too worthless and verbose for more complex series of enemies. It was redone no less than two times to get to the version used today.

And now, the thing is sticking.

It wasn't so much that the code didn't work; it could just work cleaner. I am planning on making a lot of games with this code, so I want it to be the best or as close to it as possible right from the get-go; otherwise, I might wind up having to change a lot more.

In Sceptre Knight's Prevenge, dialog was inserted between each Sceptre Knight that appeared to stress how repetitive the battle was. Also, only one Sceptre Knight appeared at a time. Sure, it could be easy to make a simple system which tosses out tons of enemies, but then it would be impossible to synch that code with the code already in place for event handling. For example, in order to create the progress bar for the number of knights defeated, no enemies are even being tracked. The bar just knows that so many have to be defeated, and it is not until the enemy is added to the screen with an accompanying message that its life is actually tracked by the bar till its defeat.


The AI (artificial intelligence, which seems like pandering to explain, perhaps, but you'd be surprised how many people don't know what those two letters mean) also caused a lot of headaches. Most enemies in Dream Land are so simplistic that they cannot even attack; they just walk. Bosses follow some pretty set patterns as the screen and their positions are fixed.

Knights, on the other hand, can be knocked around and can appear in all sorts of places, doing all sorts of things. I had to create a new AI system (which, really, may replace the Miniboss one since it just seems plain better) which is very low level, but not so low-level that enemies get stuck more often than not when debugging. The new number of triggers attached to these complex AI enemies allow for such things as defending or simply reacting to projectiles.


Of course, I should point out that developing this game did not take over half a year; the desire to work on this game is what made it take over half a year. No one cared about it, so I found it difficult to, too. This isn't the normal kind of neglect, either. I was offering to do something for people -- something they would never get the chance for any other way. So many people out there want to make their own fan games; the few that actually do will undoubtedly use some sort of generator. I had a proven track record, and I gave an open invitation that went unanswered.

And you can be sure it'll be the last.


Fan Contributions

The idea behind Tuesday Knight Titans was to take knights from KRR's Round Knight Recruitment contest and put them in a game. Before, only my own (and Gobbo's) creations had been put in live action. My contest entry, Sceptre Knight, was done and in a game; I merely offered to put others' in a game out of some strange sort of kindness.

As mentioned, the only real response I got was for Capsule J3's Ripsaw Knight. One e-mail. That's it. I say "real" response since Shield Knight also makes an appearance, but that hardly counts since it is Bimblesnaff's creation. Dedede-Daimyo eventually gave permission to use a knight of his, but it was quite a while into the dead spell.

Actually, there was one other person who told me to use some knights. Unfortunately, those knights were not his. And one of them wasn't even entered into the contest. People are strange. Why was I trying to be nice by putting their stuff in my game again?


Cuts

Not much was cut out of this release, surprisingly. Well, I didn't cut much; potential creators cut a blutty 'el of a lot of knights outta this game.

Axe Knight and Trident Knight -- who are going to be playable in the sequel -- were both cut as enemies in this game. I really wanted at least Axe (my favorite) in since Mace acts as the sole canon knight in TKT.

Galbo is supposed to have more robust playability -- none of which would come into any effect in this game. With or without, dude's still pretty worthless. For that reason, those features were not added.

I considered how much more useful it would have been if every knight battle would leave behind some item -- akin to Mirror Shards or Twinkling Stars in the Kirby games -- and collecting those would open up the entry way instead of simply winning to do so. Didn't seem important enough, however.


Features Developed For This Game

  • Butch Battles (groups of enemies which come out in sequence and share a life bar)
  • Equippable Weapon Actions
  • Melee Actions which have projectile components
  • Projectile reflection
  • Complex enemy AI
  • Machinima (playing a story scene with sprites as the actors)
  • Alternate methods of copying (e.g. Bogg stealing Maces)
  • Tagging and Allies
  • Graphical acceleration (Turns out, Windows' Virtual Machine hates MIDIs, and yes, that is actually relevant)
  • Wide-Area Fixed View Point
  • Jumping Correction for Camera (View will change only slightly after a jump so that ground stays in sight)

Play Tuesday Knight Titans now!



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