Devlog 67 - New Level 6-1, Level Publishing

Published: May 29, 2024

Well, first things first -- I've got a new level to show off! I decided to move the speed zone level (formerly 6-1) to become level 6-2, and instead have this new level 6-1 which introduces the yellow ghost enemies in their basic state. Here's the video:


Visual Design

I've been a bit worried about all of the world 6 backdrops looking similar since there's a space theme and it's really easy to just do dark backgrounds and stars over and over again. At least this backdrop set has different focal elements (rim-lit planets vs. a spiral galaxy) than the other one I did, but I think I'm going to have to change it up a little more in the future.


Besides lots of little point stars, a lot of the "nebula" texture here is achieved by layering rough transparent splotches of color -- I'm just using the spray tool here so it makes more of a textured/fuzzy cloud rather than smooth shapes. I build up the "glow" effect on the large sun and planet using multiple layers, which seems to work well!

Of course, in action all of the different layers are scrolling around, which makes things look even nicer:


Music Design

World 6's music style isn't =fully= fleshed out yet, but I have a few ideas that I've been trying to push in the two tracks that I've made so far. One of them is the use of more interesting bass synths -- here we have a plucked synth bass that gradually opens up using some filter automation over time:


There's nothing too crazy or special going on with the drums, just a pretty basic pattern, though at one point I layer in some heavily-reverbed claps for some extra spice. The classic triangle-wave bassline comes in halfway here, along with some chiptune-style noise drums:


I only have so much leeway that I can get with lead melody sounds because I really need to make sure they cut through the mix effectively (usually means no massive detuned supersaws or anything like that), but even then, I'm still trying to push the variety a little bit. Here I'm using a square-whistley synth with a gratuitous amount of pitch bending/portamento so it's really bendy. There's two different patches layered on top of each other, which contributes to the slightly-detuned sound.


Later on in the chorus I try to introduce some thicker synth arp patterns. Here's a pretty classic detuned sound and a simple arpeggio pattern:


And here's that chorus drop, with everything playing:


Chart Design

As I mentioned, this is the level that introduces the yellow "dotted eighth-note" ghosts, so there's plenty of those thrown in by themselves, but I also wanted to be sure to mix in purple ghosts (to contrast the two). The most complicated yellow ghost pattern is this one where there's an air jump immediately before it:


I'm hoping to add a few very specific 16th-note patterns involving yellow ghosts in later levels here, but for now this will suffice.


mod.io Publishing Flow

In addition to working on world 6, I also took some time hammering away at trying to build out a publishing/export flow for mod.io. Mostly this meant a lot of UI work as I integrated with the mod.io SDK/APIs. Here's what it looks like at the moment to login via email, submit a security code, and the publish a level:


If you launched the game through Steam you also have the option of using Steam as an authentication method -- it should automatically pull your steam ID and userinfo from the account you're playing with, and display the (localized) mod.io terms of service if needed.


It's not perfect, but it's a good start! The next major step here is to actually work on a "publishing checklist" where the editor will check to make sure your level is actually complete before letting you export (you need to fill out the tile/author information, decide whether the music will be distributed as part of the level export, probably also some copyright disclaimers, etc.).


20k Steam Wishlists

Last, but not least, I created a little banner image to celebrate passing 20,000 wishlists on Steam (crazy!).


Everything has really come such a long way! Even my artwork has really leveled up since the last time I tried to make a banner image like this:


Hopefully Rhythm Quest will continue to get even better from here on out...

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