Devlog 38 - Level 4-2

Published: June 24, 2022

Not too much to report this week, just another level in world 4 done. I do have an update on the shop rework as well, though.

Shop Rework Update

Last week I wrote about an experiment where I moved the in-game shop to fill one of the spots on the level select screen:

There were a number of issues with this, so in the end after seeing it through I unfortunately decided to scrap it. The shop button is now simply on the upper-right corner of the level select screen:

This isn't annoying issue is that (sigh) some phones round off the corners of the screen, so I need to make sure the button doesn't get weirdly cut off by that. I'm not a huge fan of the added clutter for this screen, but I tried to at least make the background of the coin display area translucent in an attempt to try and show the level backdrops a little better.

This ended up being the least intrusive solution (for now) for solving the issue of players not going to the shop in between levels, and I feel like the button is in a fairly intuitive place. Right now (placeholder logic) the coin text pulsates when you have 100+ coins, and in the future if I decide to add more fancy shop logic (unlocking more inventory with each world) I can point/highlight that on this screen.

One thing that might still be nice to do is have some sort of animation/ticker for the coin count when you complete a stage and get a new record -- right now the coin count updates instantly as soon as you jump into this screen, but there's an opportunity for some sort of animation to happen there.

Level 4-2

Other than that, I spent the rest of the week finishing level 4-2 (along with grinding more ALTTPR for the tournament I'm in...). As is becoming customary, here's a full video of that in action:

This level is meant to introduce the "jump slash slash slash" pattern where you have a jump followed by three flying enemies during a water zone. I tried to fit in a bunch of instances of that here and there, along with more general play with the water zones, including air jump sequences that jump in and out of water. There's also this checkpoint with a really long water section, which works nicely alongside the break in the music:

Music Design

For the music, I'm again going with the theme of more "mystical" sounding instruments, while keeping to a pentatonic scale. I used a distinctive bottle blow instrument to kick things off, and then there's also some soft sweeping pads that come in after the intro:

I'm starting to really get the hang of using drum fills -- both in the samples drums as well as in the triangle-wave toms -- to accentuate the water zones. Funnily enough, I've noticed that this is causing me to do a lot more detail work in my drum programming than usual, so this is one of those cases where the level design and music really feed off of each other. Here's how those fills sound:

When the chorus comes in there's a supersaw chord synth that opens up. I'm applying sidechain compression here to give it that classic "ducking" effect whenever the kick drum plays:

That might not sound super "full" but that's because I'm intentionally trimming off a lot of the sound to make room for the rest of the instruments (mainly the lead synth). The lead is just the same square wave that I use all the time, but as always there's a lot of little articulations that give it a more rich character. Here's the entire soundscape at once:


For the backdrops I went with a bunch of fluffy trees (cherry blossoms?). This is a bit of a departure from levels 4-1 and 4-3, which were both more "spacey" in vibe, with darker backgrounds, but for some reason I just had these style of trees on the mind.

I think the real key here is all of the different cloud layers, which are transparent and really give a sense of depth to the scene. These faded cloud layers are really standing out as a consistent visual theme across all of the levels in this world so far.

That's going to do it for this week! Next week I'll either take a stab at level 4-4, clean up some visual effects here and there, or maybe start to try and really polish up a public demo build...

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