Devlog 35 - Level 4-3

Published: June 3, 2022

This week was a bit of an off-week for me, as Monday was a holiday and I've also been busy brushing up on ALTTPR for the GMP Mentor Tourney. I still managed to finish up another level, though (one which I had started last week, actually). Here's the video for level 4-3, currently titled "Outerworld Highway":

Water Zone Charting

In this level I started to experiment with some new charting sequences involving the water zones. In particular, I have this section, which features rolling spike enemies intermixed with short water zones:

Since water zones double your jump duration from one beat to two beats, I also discovered this triple flying enemy pattern that reads nicely:

Water/Speed Zone Bugfixes

I won't dive into the details, but part of getting this level to function properly was going through and refactoring some of the logic behind water and speed zones -- particularly as they relate to jumping and jump durations/jump arcs.

This is actually a little bit more complicated than it might seem because jump arcs in Rhythm Quest are not determined empirically (as might be the case in other platformer-type games). In other words, we don't simply keep track of the character's currently velocity and accelerate it by a given amount each frame. Instead, we track the jump's starting position and derive the character's current position each frame thereafter based on a quadratic equation (a parabola!).

Obviously this becomes a little more complicated with water zones and speed zones in the mix. Previously my code assumed that a single jump would only ever cross a single water boundary, but that's no longer true with some of these new charts, so I had to refactor the jump arc code to handle an arbitrary number of transitions per single jump.

Level Backdrops

Not too much to say about the level backdrops here. It took me a while to settle on this particular combination of elements (the first few things I tried looked really bad), but you can see that I'm using the same themes of having translucent clouds along with bright colors against a dark background, plus some geometric shapes floating in the air. I've reused those floating shapes twice now, so I'll need to make sure I change things up for the next level I make in world 4.

Moving Forward

This stage was originally going to be level 4-2, with level 4-3 introducing the speed zones mechanic. However, after playing through this level, I think it's a bit too hard and bumped it to be level 4-3 instead. I'll have to fill in the gaps with a different level 4-2...and that also throws out my original plan of introducing the speed zones in this world.

The new plan is to simply have all of world 4 focus on water zones and instead have world 5 introduce and explore speed zones. I think this works out since speed zones in particular have a lot of interesting combinations of other mechanics that will probably need separate levels to introduce. World 6, then, can be the grandaddy combination of all mechanics where levels can freely use any mechanic in the game as they see fit.

World 4 is probably going to be slightly less "measured" in its approach due to this changeup -- if I had known this was going to be the world structure I would have planned each song to introduce one or two different types of water zone charting -- but I think it'll still be fine as the water zones aren't =too= different than normal obstacles. My current thinking is that level 4-2 will introduce and focus on the triple flying enemy pattern, and then level 4-3's main new gimmick will be the rolling spike enemies in water. Level 4-4 can probably focus on flying paths that go into and out of water, and then level 4-5 can just be everything all together? Well, that's the current plan, anyways...

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