Hexangonal: Behind the Scenes / Reflections

Discussion in 'LEVEL EDITOR' started by FBI Light Rock, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Like ARMED, I would also like to do a reflection of Hexangonal and its journey to where it is today, for the same reasons as the reflections for ARMED. This will also feature videos of different gameplays, including easter eggs, alternate finishes & secrets. Also, graphical details (both foregeound and background) will be included.
    18111398 and Vicvic91 like this.
  2. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    So let's start off in general. What were the stats of Hexangonal? How do I consider Hexangonal from a dev's point of view?

    In my opinion, Hexangonal is a major success, completely opposite from my first level ARMED (By the way, I just checked ARMED not long ago, it's still at like, a miserable 150 plays :mrgreen:). From what I roughly remember:
    - Before Hexangonal was featured on Frogmind's Choice, it had around 3000 plays.
    - Today, it has over 10000 plays, and hopefully it will be able to get into Most Played section soon.
    - It was featured in What's Hot for a brief period of time, before being pushed down by other levels (As with all other top levels as well)
    - It was on Top Rated before it was featured on What's Hot, and it still holds its spot in there tightly even til today, consistently surpassed by only a few levels, namely How to Skill (Til today, I still have no idea how is this level so good), The Long Story & Rollerclone (which seems to be constant competition with Hexangonal).
    - The rating have always been consistent around 4.7
    - The difficulty rating is now hovering at around 3.5 - 3.6, my ideal target range.
    - And obviously, right now, it's on Eternal Day. FINALLY. :) The dream of all levels.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  3. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    So you might ask, what made Hexangonal such a great success? In my opinion, these are some of the factors.

    - Vicvic and Bufmeister posted their replays on Hexangonal on Everyplay, this boosted it a little. (There weren't a lot of views per say). Loopedrage (as he is known in the BADLAND Level World) also posted a brief video showcasing the FFVII Easter Egg.
    - I did advertise my level on the BADLAND FaceBook page once, but I doubt it got seen by other people as unfortunately, there are a lot of irrelevant posts there.
    - Hexangonal was updated many times, which probably brought attention to it on several occasions. Players who played it before probably tried it again to their pleasant surprise of new content. :mrgreen:
    - And obviously, the high quality of the level has made people coming back for more all the time. The complexity of the level has allowed many different ways to play it.

    So what makes this level a great experience?
    - Aesthetics wise, it is beautiful. I spent a lot of time carefully adjusting the size and position of the smaller objects. To admit though, most of the Hexangonal shapes are kind of anyhow spam. In different orientations and sizes
    - There are a lot of things happening in this level, which makes it feel very alive. Most of the time in this level, there are objects doing different things. Some spin, some move along a fixed line, some vibrate, some inflate and deflate, etc.
    - The background is built upon a LOT. Unlike most levels these days which simply use the default templates as it is, Hexangonal builds upon it to a great extent. A couple of good levels (E.g. Weighing, Odyssey, Pink) do build upon, but it's usually not very much and only at the beginning. The foreground isn't the only thing that reacts to what your clones are doing, the background does as well. If you would like to enjoy this level more, observe what is happening in the background. You'll find many cool and even freaky details. :mrgreen:
    - Hexangonal is ALMOST NEVER quiet. (Unless the time is very slow, where you can hardly hear the sounds) If you are playing Hexangonal without sound, you are missing out a lot. Even adapted sections, such as the chasing laser zone from MisterM, and the final split path from Riddler, have sound. (To admit though, the beeping sounds from the final split path was random and simply a sound filler) There are also some very cool sound effects. I personally loved the flap of faith's sound effect (THIS ONE. THE BEST. Also, its designed by myself from scratch), the factory blocks before the crushing hexagons, the bottom failed spike emitter firing, the explosion beep timer of the mine that blows the wall out & the mechanical forest electric sound.
    - Hexangonal is split into 3 parts: Adventure portion (which is the slow part) which ends at the Big Hexa Clock, the Slow speedrun which lasts until the crushing hexagons, and the main speedrun (Starts from the first split path). As you could see, Hexangonal slowly builds up the pace. It doesn't throw you into the mayhem straight away.
    - The way you save clones is through slow build-up from the slow speedrun. Imo it's much more fair. And it gives you time to adjust to the increase in clone fleet size.
    - There are many different types of zones. Some require more exploring (the rotating hexagons, the rotating button mechanism, the arrow mechanism, the highlight Hexangonal mechanism, the Big laser star aka the Big Hexa Clock), some require skill (jumping & falling cubes at the start, shooting out triangular saws, dropping saws, crushing hexagons, mechanical forest, space station), some require good timing (Medium laser star, UPENDED Saws, Flap of Faith, Chasing Lasers, Portal Roulette), a few downtime zones (the part inbetween the medium and big laser stars, the mechanical mice on the rails) & a few are luck based (All 3 split paths)
    - Easter Eggs! Who doesn't like a few neat miscellaneous stuff! There's the FFVII Easter Egg and a secret checkpoint. Can you find it? :mrgreen:
    - 2 different endings: Can you prevent the volcano at the end from erupting, and save the commoners?
    - And of course, clone saviors' favorite: Secrets to help you save more clones! Hexangonal is packed with so many of them. Many of them are pretty well concealed and require exploring. Happy hunting! Start by looking at the particles. Then think a bit deeper: why are there some spots that are easily accessible but you may not have used it to its full potential?
    - Hexangonal isn't all that serious; there are some funny parts. The falling saw that bounces off the already fallen saw, as well as the two spike shooters are the best examples. The superball sound is meant as a joke, and you can also laugh at the 2 spike shooters accompanied by the weird spike out & spike stuck sounds. :mrgreen:
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  4. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Hexangonal was quite a carefully planned level. I really did plan certain zones on a piece of paper. You can see the plans for Hexangonal below.
    2016-03-21 20.05.41-min.jpg
    2016-03-21 20.05.06.jpg
    You could see how I brainstormed certain ideas starting from the basic hexangonal shape. So as long as you have a diverse shape, it's possible to generate many good ideas! :)

    Not everything turned out the way it did, I made a few of gameplay changes and quite a bit of design polishing. The Big Laser Star got converted to the Big Hexa Clock, the chasing lasers had significantly better design (and the secrets didn't surface), the mechanical forest worked a little differently from expected, the large crushing hexagons became 2 with a gameplay change & the part after the dropping saws completely changed to the awesome Flap of Faith. 2 ideas on paper got scrapped as well (the bottom 2 on the first page).

    I also made a separate piece of paper which explains theoretically how the highlight Hexangonal mechanism would work, but I threw it away and transferred the other plans onto this paper.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
  5. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    So just a few fun facts about Hexangonal:

    Have you ever wondered why the level is called "Hexangonal"? With the strange N in between? Well, actually it isn't all that complicated. It's just because Hexagonal sounded boring. There was no emphasis in any part of the word. You would read it without the need for any stress on any of its syllable. By putting the N, you would thus pronounce it "hek-SEN-gu-nul" (Personally, I pronounce it "hek-SEN-ge-nel") instead of "hek'sa-gu-nul". So yes, it isn't a spelling mistake. It was intentional. Hexangonal is misspelled by 2 players who posted their videos of it. (This is not intended to shoot them down, but just a fun fact) The misspelled versions were "Hexogonal" and "Hexagonal".

    And yes, I couldn't find a better name for it. :( It was named that from the start.

    In the Level World, this level is called "Hexangonal #VFC". The hashtag behind it is a reminder of its origin - the VFC contest that sparked off its creation.

    Oh, and if you are wondering why was it called the VFC contest, the contest initially only involved Vicvic who was the originator, me (FBI Light Rock) and <|-|!<0 (Simply also known as Chico). So put our initials together and there you have it! Ultimately Vicvic came out with most of the ideas himself, I contributed the highlight Hexangonal mechanism, and <|-|!<0 contributed the Clony and Cuby split path with the hard-to-get Time Slow powerup that can be used to press a button. <|-|!<0 also created another of his doomsday level called sickness, which didn't seem to get featured in UNITY.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  6. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Hexangonal started development on 11 Dec 2015. It's first version was launched on New Year's Day 2016. :mrgreen: When it first launched, it was only around 20m long - imagine how much has Hexangonal evolved! That was until the UPENDED saws. Hexangonal had around 14 updates, the ChangeLog is as follows:
    Update #11 was done IMMEDIATELY after Hexangonal was featured on Eternal Day as my gratitude toward Frogmind for supporting my level.
    And on 23 Mar 16, the fixed version of Hexangonal went online. My first 3 Everyplay videos showcasing the different ways to play Hexangonal were recorded on the Level World's version.

    If you are observant, the Eternal Day's version is very slightly different: The author text in Eternal Day is "By - FBI Light Rock" while the Level World one is "By: FBI Light Rock". Note the symbol different after the "By".

    Hexangonal was a very long project, a project that spanned over 3.5 months. It got featured on Eternal Day when it hit the 3 month 1 week mark. Was it worth the time? I definitely agree. The long duration used to create such a high quality level with great aesthetics, fun gameplay, lots of secrets and easter eggs is easily worth it. I still enjoy my level even up to today! :)
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  7. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Now it's time to get down to the specific zones!

    Zone 1 - Jumping cubes

    This is a twist to Odyssey's jumping cubes. It's one of the ideas on paper and when it was executed, it worked brilliantl! The angle of the Hexangonal contraption and the force on the cubes were adjusted such that there were 2 more "pro" powerups (Slow and clone powerups) that better players could get, while amateur players could simply leave them alone. (It's possible to dodge the Big powerup if you take the non-pro way)

    The next jumping cube part is intended to cause disruption to Clony's flight. The force exerted by these cubes was initially intended to be great enough to have a chance to kill Clony. It didn't work out when I tested it and heck, I left it as it is. After a while, the cubes were later made a little harder as the cubes can now trap you underneath you are not quick enough. This decision is also partially due to the fact that the stationery floating cubes looked very weird.

    The last 2 blocks which blend into the Hexangonal shape is a surprise for first-time players, an element that is quite typical of BADLAND. Boo! :mrgreen:
    There's an emitter emitting small rocks, try to go against it and below it to unveal a secret that will give you a bonus Time Slow powerup. It's hidden underneath a filler to hide the secret. (I later took out the mask once you enter the secret)
    This part gone through one of the most minor design changes in this level. The parts that went through changes were the ceiling of the starting point, the ceiling above the Hexangonal mechanism (this one faced the most changes) & the exit point of the secret.
    Early version of Hexangonal. Note the minor aesthetic changes, including the author's name.

    The background contains an exposed hexangonal core, closely guarded by 2 creatures, which is the power source of the entire base built on it. You can see a little watchtower with a Pou-like creature too.

    Zone 2 - Deadly Spikes / Falling Cubes

    This zone is completely impromptu. It was made...just like that. Popped out when I spammed a hexagon in the centre.

    There's nothing much to say about this zone, honestly. The small powerup secret was put there from the start. It kinda had no changes after it was created. The only thing that was adjusted was the trigger where the cubes would fall out (another typical surprise element) which are intended as a possible blockage to the next zone.

    Ok, this isn't all that secretive. It's just how to open up that secret to get that small powerup. All you need to do is to attempt to enter the secret with 2 clones. So you will need to go the pro way in the first Hexagonal contraption.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  8. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 3 - Rotating Hexagons

    Relatively early version. The delivering of the clone powerup is already changed.
    This is yet another impromptu zone. I simply spammed big hexagons there and when i realized they were way too big, I decided to do something. I tried the rotate event and it looked pretty cool. The triangular protrusion was then added to add more complexity into the rotating contraptions, because it was too simple to escape the contraption without it.

    The clone powerup is positioned at a sweet spot such that you can only get it when you roll over to the left side of the mechanical gear object. However, this became a problem when the clone size was smaller. Thus, a joint holds the powerup to the pipe until you roll over to the left and touch the hexagon. The joint will be disabled and the blower will be enabled to deliver the clone powerup to your clone. In the first few updates, this was not obvious. I added particles to indicate where to go but it didn't felt enough, so in the end I just used an actual button. Vicvic then commented that the button wasn't obvious and so I shifted the particles such that you can obviously see it (the particles are orange in color, and so is the background, so Vicvic did say it was hard to see with both being almost the same color).

    If you attempt to enter the small gap between the the rotating hexagons indicated by the particle, you'll find a small powerup hidden inside. However, you must be small enough to enter it. You'll find it virtually impossible to enter with normal size (I did however, remember doing it only ONCE), hard to enter with one size down, and it'll usually take a bit of time to squeeze Clony in with 2 size down.

    The secret was there from the start, but the presentation of it did change. The very first working version left the whole contraption still there without removing the "pump". This was too hard to see where you were going. Especially with 2 clones, it is very hard to get the other clone out.

    Ever since I started to use particles to indicate possible indication of a secret, I added the particles. At first, the particles stayed even after you entered the secret, this was changed to disable after the "pump" disappeared, because the particles looked ugly without the "pump" since there was no visible "emitter". The particles had a delay in disappearing after the "pump" disappeared at first, but when I felt the particles looked really looked wrong without the "pump", I made it disappear together with the "pump".

    The zone was set to camera follow, all the way until the most recent versions. But after the powerup at the arrow mechanism was shifted, there was now a possibility to collect all powerups. In order to make it slightly easier (it is still VERY hard), the camera is set to cut, so that you can split the 2 clones to the normal and secret path, while still maintaining visual contact with the clone on the normal path.
    When it was no longer necessary to keep 2 clones until after the arrow mechanism (which was when a checkpoint was added just before the arrow mechanism), the invisible blower was added to keep the challenge of rolling over to the left. This also made it easier as if you overshoot the edge of the protrusion previously, you cannot turn back.

    A small aesthetic detail was added after the first Eternal Day version, which is a pair of rotating plates at the extreme left of the screen, near the clone powerup
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  9. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 4 - Rotating Button mechanism

    Ok, the way this zone came about is very weird. So here it is: I DREAMT about it. No joke! :mrgreen: I was playing an imaginery Vicvic level. In that level, there was a secret (in plain sight though) where you had to go into a small and compact spiral path nearer to the floor of the level in order to get some beneficial powerup. It had quite a lot of winds so it was pretty deep. I tried very hard to remember the details of that spiral mechanism.

    When I tried to execute it, however, the design of the spiral path was complete crap. I used the straight and long mechanical beams (perhaps if I used the shorter ones, it might had been better). Furthermore, a normal size clone couldn't quite get to the centre of the spiral despite the gigantic size of the spiral path (much bigger than the one in which I "saw" in "Vicvic's level", which I think only took up half the screen space. With such a windy path in such a small space, I really don't see how it even worked out. Well, dreams aren't meant to be realistic anyway. :mrgreen:)

    So I completed scrapped it. I came out with the random dodecagon (12 sided polygon) with the same mechanical beam. And just like the rotating hexagons, the whole system rotated. And then the ideas ran out. So I just left it alone for now and started to work on the highlight Hexangonal mechanism instead. This temporarily abandoned system eventually evolved into the button mechanism you see now. The rest of the details on how I got there is a bit fuzzy, and the original spiral path mechanism became more fuzzy as well. The rotating sound of the mechanism was taken from ORBITING.

    The 4 buttons inside the mechanism are calibrated carefully such that there is substantial challenge in pressing it, but not impossible to press them with the smallest available size. This is why you may notice some buttons protrude more than others.

    The very bottom button was clearly visible at first, and had no indication whether it was active or not. Thus the filler was added to blend it into the environment until it is active and ready to be pressed. This caused initial players to be left to figure out what to do.

    There was a bug in one of the uploaded versions in which I forgot to set a limit to the rotation of the 2 arms lying on it after the button is active. This caused the arms to rotate in full revolutions, causing it to come back and ehm, disturb the player. :mrgreen:

    All in all, the mechanism turned out completely different from what I wanted it to be. Aesthetic wise, gameplay wise, all different. Imagine what happens if you needed to get inside the spiral path AND THEN get out of it. Insanity. :eek:

    The second background update added a small light on the joint which is part of the tall structure, barely visible at the top right corner of the rotating contraption. As you press the 4 buttons, the light becomes brighter and brighter.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  10. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 5 - Arrow Mechanism

    This zone was born out of the highlight Hexangonal mechanism. The initial plan for the Hexangonal mechanism was to have TWO of it. In between them would be an unstable see-saw to make it hard to keep both clones alive through the second one.

    However, the see-saw was way too unstable. It could never hold its weight and always spun to one side, due to the asymmetrical nature of the hexangonal shape, as well as the mechanical gear object. The see-saw was supposed to be held by spring joints on both sides to keep roughly certain limits on the rotate joint. This all failed so badly when I tried to implement it.

    But the arrow mechanism was...quite beautiful I have to admit. Therefore I made it as the doorway to the highlight Hexangonal mechanism, since I had no idea how to trap the player inside the Rotating Button mechanism until all the buttons were pressed.

    The implementation was quite smooth, but I had to figure out a way to split the 2 clones into the top and bottom path for the highlight Hexangonal mechanism. This created the second arrow mechanism. With a normal clone size, one of the clones would fit in the small compartment and allow the other clone to roll over that clone to reach the top path. But it was clear that with a smaller than normal size, that cannot happen. Hence the spikes were added to guide the other clone to roll to the top path.

    This zone saw a few small changes, such as the shifting of the checkpoint and the clone powerup to just before the mechanism instead of just after the second arrow mechanism. This move is to make the Rotating Hexagons Zone easier when taking the secret. Previously, you need 2 clones to enter that secret to one try this level as the clone powerup was out of reach, and could only be taken if you restarted at the highlight Hexangonal mechanism. Vicvic gave feedback that the deadly spikes almost always killed one of his clones and leaving one clone, thus finding it almost impossible to use the secret. As the final button made the first arrow mechanism move, starting at this zone had to activate it through the area trigger.

    In the second background update, the light on the joint, which would be fully lit after the rotating button mechanism, would blink rapidly as both arrow mechanisms move, and stabilize when it stops moving. When you restart at this checkpoint though, there wouldn't be any blinking as the light would not even be on.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  11. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 6 - Highlight Hexangonal Mechanism

    Strangely, this mechanism wasn't even planned to be the highlight mechanism of Hexangonal. It was intended to be simply a "by-pass" zone where the camera would continue chasing you. But the end product was so beautiful, and the amount of time I spent just to get the mechanism working easily makes this zone have a special place in my heart. :)

    The original mechanism already had the plan of a split path where one clone opens the other clone's path.

    There were actually supposed to be TWO of them, with the second one having a shorter movement cycle. One Slow powerup were supposed to be in both split paths. In the middle of both mechanisms is a Fast powerup to restore the speed back to normal after this zone.

    In-between the 2 mechanisms was supposed to be the unstable see-saw which I mentioned just now at the Arrow Mechanism, which failed badly.

    The "pockets" of the Hexangonal mechanisms were planned as secrets. But they were too easy to get into and get out. This was the main reason for the conversion into the mechanism you know today.

    The mechanism ran into all sorts of movement problems. The Move and Rotate events don't like to work together so the 6 triangles refuse to meet together after the end of each cycle. The triangles would suddenly appear at a new place instead of where it was at the start of each half-cycle (where the hexagon is completely closed and where the hexagon is flipped inside out). The Rotate event also likes to interfere in the Move event which causes the triangle to move like some kind of geyser, making its path a curve parabola.

    The final product of the mechanism was true beauty to watch. I literally stared at it for like, 15 minutes when it finally worked perfectly. :mrgreen: To admit, the logic used for the highlight mechanism is probably very inefficient (the number of Move and Rotate events, and the global disabling of all these events with their associated variables at the start of each cycle), but I didn't bother to optimize it after literally hours and hours of perfecting it in fear of screwing it up.

    Even then the buttons at the left hand corners were very hard to press, which prompted me to add the triangular slopes. In the end after so much testing, the top left button was way too hard to press so I took out the requirement to press it. But I wanted to preserve the symmetry of the mechanism so I disguised it as a false button to make it clear it was not a requirement to press it.
    If you managed to touch the top left hand false button, this will deactivate the UPENEDED Saws later on, turning them into simply stationary saws.
    The strange piston-like at the 6 edges of the hexagon was originally just the thin spikes just touching the edges of the hexagon. But it was too easy as you won't get pulled in to the middle of the contraption at its crushing state. It was also too easy to slip inside when it is in its safe, flipped outside state.

    Initially when the hexagon is closing in for the kill, the triangles were meant to be deadly. I was adjusting the duration in which the triangles were deadly, mostly towards the end of the closing in movement. This was because move events don't usually kill, since the objects that are affected do not move physically. But the triangles of the hexagon had a slight suction towards its centre for the kill (imo, I felt like it had that kind of effect :mrgreen:), so in the end I decided it wasn't necessary anymore.
    When you split your clones into the 2 exit paths, a power down sound is heard, which will shut down the final set of cubes firing at Zone 10 - Speedrun: Jumping Cubes.
    Before the second background update, the camera was set to follow you, but due to the cool background update for the highlight, I changed it to cut instead. The design, I had to admit, was just random experimentation.

    I had some internal debate on how to make the background more alive. The initial plan was to make the mechanical worm symbols light up, corresponding to which button was pressed. But there were only 3 buttons to be pressed to clear this zone, leaving one light unlit. This will look very weird. So I was contemplating on the idea to light up the last light when all 3 buttons were pressed. It made no sense to light up 2 lights for the last button, and it could be ANY button, so which 2 lights light up in the end would not be constant. As for the secret, it was planned that it would change the color of the light(s) (I couldn't decide :mrgreen:) from the normal blue to red. Another problem came because the lights are not aligned to the buttons (the buttons are at diagonal corners, the lights are at NSEW direction), so how to match them up became another debate. In the end, screw it all, the egg at the corner of the contraption reminded me I could just use the egg's light to slowly light up as the 3 buttons are pressed.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
    Vicvic91 likes this.
  12. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 7 - Small Laser Star

    This was another of the carefully planned ideas. So what happens when you run out of ideas with a shape? You flip it inside out! :mrgreen:And that's how the small, medium and big laser star ideas came about.

    The idea was simple, and so was the execution. The laser cycle system is adapted from the official BADLAND level CLONETRON. When adjusting the overall size of the laser star contraption, I decided that the bottom path was to be the secret path, only accessible with a smaller clone size. The gap between the ceiling and the laser star contraption in the upper path was designed to just nice fit a normal size clone, making this intentionally harder if you restart from this checkpoint.

    The square emitter was...random. I had to adjust the pool size of the emitter to make it seem like the laser star "absorbed" the squares. It was probably also how the hexangonal shape got attached to the left side of the laser star contraption. The opening doors when you exit the contraption was also random. The speed in which the door opens was adjusted according to the speed the triangle retracts.

    The secret was planned from the start, as you could imply from the paper plans above. However, when I decided that the bottom was the secret path, the secret initially required you to only bump the lower square. This felt too easy for me, and thus was changed to hitting both squares in the top and bottom paths. The square in the top path was smaller at first (the same size as the standard issue hexangonal shape's one), but i felt it was unfair that the contact area was too small in that even if you knew the secret, you may accidentally skip over it. It was thus increased slightly. There were no particles at first to indicate a secret, making this ultimately secret. :mrgreen:

    So yes, I didn't give you 2 obvious paths for no reason. After you hit the 2 squares that are glowing with particles, the particles are removed, and this disables the 2 triangular saws from shooting out towards your fleet in the saw mayhem arena (as it was known in the paper plans).
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  13. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 8 - Medium Laser Star
    This was the second in the batch of ideas that came along when flipping the hexangonal shape inside out.

    The exit of the small laser star and the Highlight Hexangonal mechanism were around the same: A hexangonal shape in the middle, followed by 2 at the ceiling and the floor. I needed a filler between the small and medium laser star, and that was how the 2 random contraptions came about.

    The upper left contraption was initially very weird: you could see it for yourself below. The arc with all thosr bean shape on it would resize itself constantly. It was left like this for a very long time, and changed only just before the fixed Eternal Day's version went online. I didn't know what other design to use! :(
    An early version of Hexangonal. What the hell is that design at the top left hand corner?!?!
    But when the time finally came where I could no longer stand the design (I was also doing "landscape smoothing", where I would smoothen out the rough edges of the floor and ceiling), the enclosed mechanical arc around the initial design made me thought of a compass that would point to clony. So remembering the autonomous rock shooter from Bones and Ice's Tenth Vertigo that would track clony, I went to trace the nominee for it. I tried to copy the system, but the rotate joints coupled with the Look At variable, added to some weird arctan variable made no sense to me. Realizing the Look At variable takes the object attached to the triangle into account, I tried to duplicate it by also attaching an object, but it didn't work out.

    In the end, screw it, I shall make my own system. I used the rotate event instead, as I didn't want to connect any variables to clony (I never liked that idea anyway). (If you don't mind, using the rotating object and clony as a reference, just use the Look At variable combined with a rotate joint and it would work perfectly, although you may need to adjust the offset.) So I tried to adapt the system in Tenth Vertigo. I'm good at maths, so I knew that to point the triangle toward clony, I could use the distance variables (same as the system I copied) to calculate the angle of the triangular compass that would make it point to clony according to trigonometry. I needed to use tangent inverse (you can use sine or cosine inverse as well by setting one of the distance variables to DIRECT which actually meant hypotenuse, rather than horizontal or vertical), and had no clue that arctan actually meant the same thing (where I live, we call it tangent inverse instead. Even in my scientific calculator, the inverse trigonometric functions show up something like tan^-1). That sort of made me understand the system I copied better, although until today I still have absolutely no clue how does the Look At variable play a part in making the shooter work. :mrgreen:

    This new system worked decently, but suddenly after a certain point the triangle rotated backwards. I suspected it was because the horizontal variable changed its sign (from negative to positive), so I tried to use the absolute function (which makes variables always positive), but it failed to work. I then tried to determine the horizontal position in which the triangle would start rotating backwards, but for some reason, it wasn't constant. (And I still dunno why) I figured out adding 60 to the angle when the triangle rotated backwards would make the compass rotate properly again. In the end, since the point where the triangle starts to rotate backwards wasn't constant, I had to get the game to continuously check whether this has occurred. Suspecting it was because the angle turned negative, the condition is when this angle was negative, and it worked! Weird, because applying the absolute function to the 3 variables in varying permutations didn't work. o_O Because the game checks every 0.02s (which might cause performance issues, and considering Hexangonal is laggy on low end devices as reported by @Pizzaandy, I don't want any more performance dips), the checking system only kicked in after a certain point (a trigger area), and would disable after 60 was being added. This is why you would see the triangular compass jerk at one point. (When 60 was being added)

    While trying to get the compass to work through the system I copied, I added the square to the compass (since I needed an object attached to it according to that system I copied). When the system fibally worked, i thought it could be used to indicate the "needle" of the compass. (The square being opposite the needle) However, the square was not even visible in my testing no matter the angle of the compass, so I just took it out.

    So yes, I went through SO much trouble trying to get the triangular compass to work. Perhaps you should appreciate my little detail more after reading this. :mrgreen:

    The bottom contraption with the digger was based on the concept that the laser star system needed energy to operate, so the digger was extracting energy, and the energy it extracted was transferred through the wirings connected to it. The digger was powered using the move event, while the wires are simply attached to it with a rotate joint that are free to rotate. Each wire is also attached to each other in the same manner. This makes the wires move around a bit, making the contraption look a little more cool. :mrgreen:

    The main laser star system was implemented smoothy. However, Vicvic suggested that this zone was a little hard due to the good timing needed to pass this zone, thus adding the Slow Time and clone powerups, as well as increasing the overall laser cycle time a little (by 0.1s :mrgreen:). The overhead 2 pipes reinforces the idea that the system needed energy to operate.
    It wasn't exactly planned, per say. The small pathway to the big laser star was why it was born. I mean, why have a big space for nothing? :mrgreen:

    When you touch the bottom triangle, the laser on it would deactivate (and thus that part of the cycle becomes blanked out), and the triangle would rotate to the left (not right as you might expect, making it harder). When you go into the particle area, you would get a secret small powerup. If you thought that going through the secret bottom path was all, you would have just simply avoided the Time Speed powerup.

    The way the secret works is actually quite interesting. The rotation of the triangle is powered not by the motor on the rotate joint, but by the collision with the mechanical beam contacting it. The mechanical beam was there as part of the digger contraption's design. Only while it rotates, a Turn sound can be heard. The way it stops, is of course, not so interesting as it's just through the joint's limits. It became a difficult to access secret even if you knew it, but i was satisfied with it. This was especially so when you get to have one time speed down AND one size down.

    This also brings me to another of my development notes. The masked powerup was initially another Time Slow powerup. However, I forgot that after adding a Time Slow powerup as per Vicvic's request to make the zone easier, you could also svoid the Time Fast powerup, making the time slower by 2 steps after this zone. Watching Vicvic's slow-mo video made me decide that time was simply too slow, and seriously, you don't want to play a level for soooooooo long, do you? (like Hexangonal isn't long enough with its 82m of madness, honestly! :mrgreen:) So I decided to change this powerup. What other good powerup could there be? I was initially quite reluctant to use the Small powerup, because there were many other Small powerups scattered later on (by the time I changed the powerup, quite a fair bit later on was already developed). But this was the only powerup that was small enough to be masked by the particles, so oh well.
    You would realize that there is a small laser beam in the normal path, and this could actually kill you. So why was it there? Because it's part of another secret! If you get killed by the laser (or the saw in the secret bottom path)...when you respawn, you suddenly can't find your clone! Where is it? It's actually hidden under the pipe in the lower path. It is masked by a filler (that would disappear upon activating the other secret). This is the SECRET CHECKPOINT. Well, just for the fun of it. :mrgreen: In the editor, this checkpoint is placed out of sight, hidden at the bottom edge of the out-of-bounds area. (As with other secrets)

    This is also why there is another seemingly useless obvious checkpoint just after the medium laser star (to mask the location of the secret checkpoint in the editor) & before the Big Hexa Clock/Big Laser Star (to make you restart there when you fail the clock previously, rather than at the secret checkpoint).
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  14. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 9 - Big Hexa Clock

    This zone was originally supposed to be known as the Big laser star. However, the plan didn't work out. You may actually not realize this, but it can also be called the big laser star because it uses the laser cycle mechanism, and even the fundamental inverted inside out hexangonal shape is the same. (remove the mechanical arcs of the clock and you'll see it)

    The original plan is detailed in the paper plans above. Basically what was supposed to happen is that ideally only one clone enters the arena, and make 3 revolutions around the centre. How you would do the roundabout was supposed to be similar to the Revolution Arena in ARMED. The sticky barb in the middle was planned to be a longer beam (a little like a clock hand huh? :mrgreen:), pivoted in the centre with the sticky barb at the edge. You would stick onto the barb and do the revolutions. But I remembered one of the requirements of the #VFC contest: Clony must fly as he does in the original levels, so no attachments to clony are allowed (and technically the beam with the sticky bar is an attachment). Another reason was because sticking to the barb would be hard, and I'm not about to repeat the difficulty of ARMED. (The Revolution Arena was hard because it was not only hard to gather enough momentum to initiate the first spin, but also hard to sustain the momentum)

    As such, I tried to come out with clony navigating around the arena in circles. As thsi isn't BADLAND 2 :mrgreen:, clones can't fly backwards (hey, who knows if BADLAND 2 features a level editor one day, I'll make a revolution arena! :mrgreen:). Thus I had to find a way to make the clone go backwards. I came up with a sort of trampoline (courtesy of Bones and Ice's Yuni's Curse). But with a smaller size, the trampoline would either kill the clone (I kinda copied the way the trampoline in Yuni's Curse works, so it used the move event), or just not propel the clone correctly. And so the whole system had to be scrapped.

    So in order to preserve the rule to not have any mechanisms on clony, since clony clearly couldn't make revolutions, clony had to stay outside and control the revolutions from there. And there came the clock hands. It had the idea of revolutions there so it was still kinda a little close to my original idea.

    The Hexa clock was the most worrying part of Hexangonal (other than the rotating button mechanism) to this point, I didn't know if anybody could understand what to do at this mechanism. This was especially when initially, destroying the minute hand's pointer would result in you getting stuck outside the clock forever (with the screen consistently shaking and clock spoil sounds), leaving players in the dark of what to do. And to admit, the mechanism of the clock is horribly complex; I had problem to figure out the logic. I used the rotate event for all the gears and the clock hands, which explain why the clock's hands and gears bug out when the clock is fully operational, when the angle of all the gears and hands reset.

    Due to complaints, I changed it to the state it is today; you no longer need to keep the minute hand pointer alive to get through the clock, but you will be penalized when the Clear Item Effects event kicks in. This didn't work properly the first time as proven by a let's play video on Everyplay. I attempted to fix it by changing how the logic would work. It seemed to work better, but even the final version today seems to be slightly bugged and the Clear Item Effects event may not properly kick in even after the minute hand pointer is destroyed before 2 revolutions.

    The first Hexa Clock was extremely ugly (seriously, I emphasize extremely, even I felt so :mrgreen:); but I wanted to make the obvious hint not to destroy the minute hand's pointer, the clock had a transculent cover with the ugly words "FRAGILE HAND" with an ugly arrow to the minute hand's pointer. The way the clock's cover opens couldn't be natural as the whole circular cover moved out of the way.

    After the first version is launched, Vicvic suggested to me that I should add a hint clock to hint that destroying the minute hand pointer is non-ideal. The hint clock would lose its minute hand pointer no matter what and after a certain point, the whole clock will be destroyed. With the hint clock, the stupid and ugly cover can finally be removed. However, this left behind the white arrow pointing to the pointer in the next update, as for SOME reason, I wasn't able to select it. (Vicvic spotted it and requested it to be deleted, and I told him my problem) And then suddenly for SOME reason, I was FINALLY able to select it and delete it in the following update. Good riddance! :mrgreen:

    However, after the optimization update which started to make objects Hit Nothing, I accidentally turned the inner objects to Hit Nothing as well. This caused the laser to be unable to destroy the minute hand pointer of the hint clock. I fixed it a little by setting the central piece to no longer Hit Nothing. So now the laser stops at the central piece, and would stop at the inner edge of the hint clock once it is destroyed. However, I forgot to set the minute hand pointer to not Hit Nothing, because when I saw that the laser is smooth (because it is no longer blocked by the minute hand pointer), I thought all was ok, forgetting that the minute hand pointer needs to hit the laser to be destroyed. I totally forgot about it and this flaw still exists until today, so Hexangonal still features useless logic that will turn on the destroyable property of the minute hand pointer, even though it will never be destroyed since it cannot hit the laser.

    Luckily, I implemented a backup solution that will disable the joint between the minute hand and its pointer. This had to be implemented as there is a checkpoint just before the Big Hexa Clock. I needed the hint to be shown, because what happens if you left the game aside for so long and came back to it? So the hint still kinda works, it's just that the pointer will disappear suddenly rather than being destroyed by the laser.

    The rationale behind the clock is that the mechanical ball you constantly make contact with acts like a pump, providing energy to the clock. After 2 revolutions, the clock gains enough power (from Clony's kinetic energy transfer) for it to continue running on its own. The vibrating balls (taken from EVIL) can be interpreted as part of the clock's quartz crystals. The shining particles also enable and disable at intervals. The Hexa symbol is a parody of the actual company itself. The logo has been split into 2 to accomodate the company's name in-between.

    The first background update added a very cool detail for the clock. In fact, I shifted the whole egg robot to align to the right side of the clock (it was much more to the right before that). The smaller egg's light will turn on when the laser cycle turns on. The bottom light will slowly turn on as the minute hand makes the first revolution. At the end of the first revolution, it blinks once to indicate the revolution is complete. The middle light does the same thing, but for the second revolution of the minute hand. The upper light slowly turns on as the clock, now fully functional by the winding action Clony provided by the pump, makes the other 2 revolutions to open the doors to clear the zone. After the doors are open, the 3 lights on the bigger egg blink in synchronous pulses. However, if the minute hand's pointer is destroyed, all 4 lights will abruptly turn off as the clock spoils.

    Vicvic suggested that I should make a secret by pushing the bottom vibrating ball into some place. However, with the whole space taken up by the Hexa clock, there was no practical place for a bowl shape to act as the trigger area for the secret. Thus, the secret never surfaced.

    I was also planning a grand foreground aesthetic update for the Hexa Clock. As the hand moves around the clock, the time of the clock would be reflected on the face of the clock. The color of the time would change once the 2 side doors are open. However, the logic required was too complex, and a lot of text is needed, and managing so many texts is too troublesome. Plus considering the logic for the Hexa Clock is so complex, adding more complex logic will be too many events for me to handle on-screen.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
    18111398 and Vicvic91 like this.
  15. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 10 - Speedrun: Jumping Cubes

    Finally I was done with all the adventure ideas so now it was time to move on to the speedrun. Or so I thought. The slow speedrun was actually meant to be the actual speedrun, but however, the next few zones after it, the triangular saw & dropping saws zone, couldn't be tackled with that speed. As such this really is just a short burst of the speedrun.

    I already intended to have a repeat of Zone 1 - Jumping Cubes from the start, so yes, the implementation was immediate and didn't face any problems. Except that I felt like this was probably one of the most poorly planned zones. A horribly short burst speedrun with nothing more than a single hexangonal shape. Shouldn't you honestly think that even a brief speedrun should be longer than that?

    The very first version of Hexangonal launched with significant clone manuveuring difficulties; you didn't have the Small, Time Slow and the other superclone powerup there at the hexangonal contraption. However, as Vicvic commented it wasn't fun to navigate big and bulky clones through the cube mess, those powerups were all added.

    The oscillating laser was there from the start as a miscellaneous detail. The spikes that make up the small gap to exit the clock after getting all the Fast powerups initially had considerable friction, which only allowed 1 or 2 clones out alive with normal size. I was a little tempted to add a Small powerup there to allow more to squeeze out, but in the end I just decided to make the spikes have zero friction for an ice-like feel. This change was made during the initial testing so you never quite got to experience the initial version.

    There's nothing to mention about this zone...except I felt that it was horrible.
    By splitting your clones into the 2 exit paths of the highlight Hexangonal mechanism, the final set of the 3 cubes at the end of this zone will cease to fire. This is not exactly very significant in helping you to save clones, but it all still helps anyway. :)
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
    Vicvic91 likes this.
  16. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 11 - Triangular Saws
    This was one of the zones that was initially planned as part of my supposed upcoming Triangle themed level that I was imagining. This triangular level was kind of inspired by Odyssey, since Odyssey uses primarily cubes as its level design. However, ever since the #VFC contest surfaced, and the basic hexangonal shape template also consists of triangles, I decided to port over my triangular themed level ideas into Hexangonal. (Since a hexagon is made of 6 triangles) And this was one of the ideas.

    This zone kind of carries over the "poor design" used in Zone 10, although it's arguably at least better.

    The first triangular saw that comes down is a warning to the danger ahead. It is not designed to kill any clones. The second saw gets a little closer to killing clones, but shouldn't actually kill any clones. The 2 saws after that are the killer; the trigger set so near that the triangles should contact your clones, and with that speed it would either fling them away or somehow they will hit the saw.

    If you restart from this zone, you must approach this area very carefully, contacting the triangle carefully enough to only simply be pushed away. Thus, like the Small Laser Star, this zone becomes harder when you restart at this zone. This is one of my key considerations for designing Hexangonal, as a sort of penalty.

    The last upward heading saw has a possibility of propelling your clones to the ceiling, killing them by the saw there.

    The 2 saws that close in on each other is a copy from the official level UPENDED. It felt suitable to fit them in since they can be seen as gigantic versions of their little brother triangular saws. :mrgreen: You can also see this as a build-up to the climax. Using rigid joints made the whole system fail, hence the Link Tool had to be used, leading to the unfortunate consequence of the gigantic triangles being extremely bouncy, which is unfortunately a problem I could not fix. :(
    Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to grow plants in this nasty industrial place with saws?!?!
    The part of the design that changed was the gap between the bottom 2 hexangonal shapes just before the UPENDED saws. Before the first Eternal Day version, the design was some vines, which changed to a weird design with 2 hanging plants when the first Eternal Day version was published. It changed again to simply just some thicker vines you see today. Below the path with the first 2 trianglular saws is the lower half of the hexangonal shape shaking...just to make it look more alive. :mrgreen:
    By hitting both squares at the small laser star, the 2 triangular saws shooting out at the same time will stay where they are. These 2 saws were previously disabled by splitting your clones into both 2 paths just after the highlight Hexangonal mechanism. The change was because I felt that the "less obvious" secret should disable something less significant. The small laser star secret previously disabled the final set of cubes from firing out at Zone 10.
    The 2 saws in the UPENDED Saws will always stay where they are by touching the false button on the top left hand corner of the highlight Hexangonal mechanism.
    In between the 2 saws that shoot out at the same time, there are some magnetic particles. If you attempt to enter the square from the top right, it is actually a secret compartment that contains a Slow powerup. There is also a hidden mine inside that will just nice propel a normal size clone into the small pit in-between the 2 hexangonal shapes.

    There are other magnetic particles around which indicate where the triangular saws will go to. (Actually, the magnetic particles concealing the secret is the middle of where both triangular saws would end up if they are still active) These are intended as distractions to disguise the real secret. So many a times, particles hint something, such as a secret!
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  17. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 12 - Dropping Saws
    This zone was inspired off Premonition. I always felt that Premonition's shooting out saws (which also bears resemblance to Flamingjazz's WAR) were weird that they kill even though the saws don't spin. Also, it was weird that even the saws were stationary, they would still kill. I thus wanted a more realistic version of such saws.

    I always felt that the dropping saws zone is one of Hexangonal's more special zones, as nobody (to my knowledge, at least :mrgreen:) has ever done such a thing before, as you don't see saws drop from with a slightly curved path, and after which stopping at a spot and continue to operate.

    Although the plans was to use a rigid joint that would just hold it there, I actually never tried it. I went straight to simply using the unattached property of the rotate joint. And from there, things went pretty well. The only thing I had to adjust was the orientation of the force object to make the saw land where I want. However, the logic system became inadequate and flawed as it used a time delay, after that delay the saw would be stay where it was and was assumingly, caught by its lower catchment. It was then changed to a trigger zone just like the last saw going to its other catchment. You can see what the flaw resulted in in the screenshot below...

    The trigger zones of the dropping saws are calibrated such that in terms of the distance away from the saw's catchment, the 1st saw is larger than the 2nd one, while the 3rd one would be so small that there is no way you will escape it. Some of the areas just before the 3rd saw are even made deadly during the saw dropping to stop you from holding back until the screen catches up to you, because after which you can dash through and avoid the saw. The deadly property is only enabled when you trigger the saw drop through the trigger zone. However, of course, if you have more than 1 clone, you may be able to survive, but I made sure that you will never make it out without casualties if you do not press the button. The third saw is meant to be a trick, as from the last 2 saws you would expect the saw to drop first before continuing. Instead, you must press the button to make it drop first. It even tricked Vicvic into thinking it was a bug which rendered this saw impossible to pass. :mrgreen:

    The initial plan only included these 3 saws. In fact, the second version of Hexangonal went online with only these 3 saws. The last 2 saws in the arena were added because I couldn't seem to find a way to link this zone to the last set of saws in the paper plans (which today, is something completely different: the very cool Flap of Faith :mrgreen:).

    The 2 last saws were some of the hardest saws to calibrate to perfection. The very last saw that exits its upper catchment was supposed to be "competing" with the previously third fallen saw for that lower catchment (this was weird considering there was no way that third saw would remain there :mrgreen:). However, there was no way that the last saw would get there no matter the orientation of the force object on that saw. (And i was too lazy to adjust the height and distance of the upper catchment from the lower one :mrgreen:) The saw would pass through the "jaws" of the lower catchment, which is totally weird. As such, my intention was for it to be simply bounced away by the third fallen saw. However, there was not enough space for that to happen. The saw would not simply bounce away but head towards the upper catchment that once held the third saw. Thus I decided to make it occupy that catchment. This came the hard part. I needed to carefully manage the collision of the various objects in this arena so that this last fallen saw would go inside the other upper catchment without it passing through the "jaws" of the catchment.

    Because of the complex management of objects in this space, there was a small bug: Sometimes when the last saw gets into the other catchment, the saw would get stuck and cease to move after being caught by the catchment, since the catchment and it's "jaws" were tagged Special. This was fixed by turning off the Special property after the saw is caught.

    The design of the third saw catchment was quite weird, and finally changed just before the final update.
    What a strange design...and the floating saw?!?! (Result of the previously flawed logic system)

    The design of the vines at the ceiling was very weird for a long time, and never appealed to my aesthetic taste. It was only after the first Eternal Day version went online that the design was finally changed when I was changing objects to Hit Nothing.
    What kind of design is that?!?!
    During testing, I realized that I could make the saw haywire and make it completely miss the catchment. This initially inspired me to make a secret based on that. However, I felt that it was too brutal that you have to sacrifice clones (and the smaller your clones, the more you have to sacrifice since your clones have less pushing power to redirect the saw), and thus, there you have it, the FFVII Easter Egg! :mrgreen:

    If you managed to make the saw not get caught by the upper catchment and allow it to escape through the left side of the screen, the iconic FFVII ringtone will play. The FFVII Ringtone was directly taken from the official level BAD MUSIC. I wanted to change the "instrument" (the sound type, like Spike In or Spike Out) of the tone, but I wasn't able to find a better one. I almost thought of using the Scifi Hover sound like the Für Elise in BAD MUSIC, but I'm not pitch perfect :mrgreen: so I wouldn't be able to figure out the pitch of the Scifi Hover sounds in each note (a combination of 3 sounds of different pitch) to use. It wouldn't be that nice anyway...

    In the case where you do not want the saw to miss the catchment but it did and is about to leave the arena, you can quickly exit the arena and proceed to the Flap of Faith to disable the area trigger that will end the game.

    The camera cut is therefore for the purpose of this easter egg, as without it, the camera would kill all your clones given the entire duration of the time taken for the saw to destroy part of the "jaw" and the play time of the ringtone, coupled with the fact that your controls are disabled during this time.

    In the background, when the easter egg is activated, all the creatures will open their eyes, and the evil creature will hide itself behind the base.

    Initially, the eyes of the evil creature just suddenly disappeared when the evil creature is still moving. While I did adjust the time when the eyes would disappear, this looked weird. However, after the first Eternal Day version went online, I learnt how to manage the 3 layers (0,1,2) within one background layer. (I never knew what the 3 numbers (0,1,2) meant for the particles all this time! :mrgreen:) and succesfully made the eyes simply hide with the evil creature behind the base, so they no longer need to disappear suddenly.

    There are little catchy details, quite literally :mrgreen:. As the saw drops out from the upper triangle catchment, the "jaws" of the triangle will open up. Shortly after, the "jaws" of the bottom triangle catchment will open up to "receive" the dropping saw. Also, in the background, all the creatures, except the evil creature, will close their eyes when the saw starts to drop, and only open them after the camera shake is over.
    The opening of each upper catchment has some rather faint glittering particles. You can go inside the catchment to a certain extent. If you touch the inside wall of every single upper catchment, this will partially shut down the saws in the Flap of Faith, allowing you to make the flap of faith without casualties. These saws will turn on and off in regular intervals if you activate the secret.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  18. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zones 13 - Flap of Faith

    While the flap of faith was planned on paper, the plan turned out rather different.

    As with the previous dropping saws zone that was extended with the last 2 saws, I didn't know how to ease it into the final set of saws in the upward column. Thus I started to come out with random contraptions as a filler. The wheel emitter was inspired by the official level BODYPARTS; even the emitting sound is the same. The droplets are sort of the "mirror" of the wheel emitter. The wheel emitter was adjusted very carefully as the pipes emitting and receiving the wheels are pretty small, so if the wheels exceed the pipes, you could see them sticking out of the receiving pipe. Thus the interval of the emission is very carefully calibrated so that the wheel disappears just when it is covered by the pipe. This is why it looks so smooth, although they do disappear slightly before they are fully covered, but this is hardly noticable.

    The 2 bits that oscillate exactly out of phase (when one is fully extended and at its lowest height, the other is fully retracted and at its highest point, and vice versa) is an inspiration off the designs of these things seen in BADLAND 2. Actually, let's just say that Hexangonal's design as a whole takes inspiration from BADLAND 2 as its primary hexangonal shape is also used a couple of times in BADLAND 2. The moving bits oscillating along their cable lines, connected to the circle in the centre is partly inspired off the oscillsting bits just now, but it is mainly taken from my good old level ARMED, more specifically Zone 13 - Gamer's Haven, very near the floor and ceiling (it's hard to see though).

    The upward column is much more vertical than I initially wanted it to, according to the paper plans. This is probably because of I realized if I wanted to achieve the quick pass through the passage, making it completely vertical would work best. I felt that the massive shooting out of saws would be very brutal as clones that fall behind would be propelled to all sorts of directions due to the quick movement of the saws. Coupled with the fact repeating the triangular saws would be very boring, I decided to try something else, which is the design you see today. However, the clearance space between the bottom of the hexagon column was initially much lower with 2 more triangles filling the space and it was quite hard to squeeze in a lot of clones, but this changed during development as you need more space to prepare to make the awesome flap of faith :mrgreen:. So with the 2 triangles removed, it looks like a rocket, which is why I added the thruster with the particles. :mrgreen: Another reason for adding it though, is because when the saws are fully retracted, part of the saw would stick out of the bottom edge of the rocket, which could potentially kill a lot of clones when you prepare to make the flap of faith.

    The Flap of Faith was initially designed to be tackled with only one clone, so the width of the ascending column was adjusted to be just enough for one normal size clone to grab those Slow powerups and make the ascent without hitting the saws. However, this was boring and sometimes inconsistent, as you could sometimes make the ascent without taking all 3 Slow powerups. (The 3 Slow powerups are jointed to each other in the same way as the official level QUADRATIC) So screw it, let's make some clones and kill them, an element which is key to BADLAND, which thus adds the superclone and Small powerups. The Small powerup is designed to be the most inside to be the "hardest" to get. Per se, there's nothing really hard about getting it, but with a small enough clone size, this can cause clones to get stuck in the small ledges of the hexangonal shape. It was not entirely intentional, but I like it as it requires some skill to try to not get clones stuck there.

    It became apparent to me that with more clones, more clearance is needed to be more fair to clone saviors. Thus the saw retracts according to whether the number of clones you have exceed a certain limit.

    This part faced a lot of strange powerup dislodging problems due to the fact they don't stick properly to the surface they are attached to. This is likely because I was trying to manage the saws in the column. (since tapping the object in which the powerup is sticking to will dislodge the powerup, as the object is considered moved and the powerup no longer has that surface there to stick to) Also, for some reason my fingers are very clumsy in this zone and keep clicking random objects here and there. :mrgreen:

    The sound effect came because I made a random wheel fit inside the small compartment left over when filling the space on top. It would be boring if the wheel simply stayed where it was after dropping, so the wheel was made to bounce around. But I couldn't control the bounce and it went out of control. I wanted to make a cool sound effect when doing the flap of faith, as it's simply too awesome. :mrgreen: And so happens, it's a good excuse to make a cool sound effect from the unexpected result of the wheel bouncing around uncontrollably. The sound effect can be said to be based off my good old level ARMED once again, in the same Zone 13, but this time it is the LOSE sound when you lose the Power 21 (Time Slow sound). The sound increase in pitch is calibrated for normal speed, and thus should reach its max pitch when you are executing the awesome move. I tried to delay the sound effect while making the wheel look natural (and not like it was suddenly released from an invisible hold by turning on physics halfway through), so the bounce is made just nice when the wheel would have just enough bounciness to accelerate to its crazy bouncing speed. The wheel also would have its physics turned on when the camera resumes on state.

    The all-important sound effect suddenly stopped working when I started to make some objects in this zone to Hit Nothing. Strange enough, as I made sure not to affect any of the objects that were part of the walls to the conpartment, but the wheel suddenly failed to reach enough speed to accelerate. As such, the bounciness had to be readjusted.

    This part also became more laggy the first time I revisited it (probably because of the sheer amount of objects in Hexangonal coupled with the rapid movement and collisions of the wheel), so I had to place a Time Slow powerup to try to mitigate the lagging issue. Finally, just before the final update went online, the floor was smoothened out as it was very rough.

    Because I made the objects out-of-bounds Hit Nothing, I forgot the wheel needed to hit something and the laser would pass through it. It was later fixed, and I also shifted the wheel directly in front of the laser to be extra sure from now on it was hitting the laser.

    The tower on the right side of the vertical column is kind of like an introduction to the factory waste theme, as the emitted objects represent the waste generated from the power station with all those droplets (top emitter), cubes (middle emitter) and rocks (the very bottom emitter).

    Starting from the first background update, a tower with 2 creatures on it will rise from the base, approximately in sync with your ascent when you attempt the flap of faith, as I assume that you would flap with maximum effort (without releasing your touch) since that has the best chance to save the most clones. The horizontal position of the tower is made so that it is roughly aligned with the vertical column. Well, a cool obstacle has to be accompanied by a cool little detail. :mrgreen:
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  19. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 14 - Factory Blocks
    This zone kinda popped out of nowhere, because once again, I couldn't find a good way to transit into the crushing hexagons. Maybe, this is a good thing because both the flap of faith and the crushing hexagons are rather intense zones, so you need a break inbetween them. So you can call it one of the downtime zones.

    This zone was basically a result of spamming the hexangonal shape many times. :mrgreen: After doing that though, I realized I needed to make the zone more lively, so I started to add in the factory elements, which mostly came about due to the squares on the hexangonal shape, which makes it easy to make particle effects such as smoke and wind. So there you go! The fan sounds are inspired from the level Mercurion, which I loved its aesthetic design, especially the blue glowing gears. I have to admit though, I don't really like the design of the 2 pneumatic pistons arranged. (The propeller inbetween them generates the nasty metal sound)

    I started to think what was typical of a factory. So I came out with: pistons, liquid ooze & some mining stuff, without doing any kind of research.

    The ooze was based on the black sauce used in BADLAND 2. I wanted to try to imitate it, so I came out with the rapid small rock emitter. When I tested it, the effect was brilliant; but due to the massive amount of physical objects (those small rocks) which will probably lag the game, I had to adjust the pool size of the emitter. Initially this was set to be just nice until the fountain stream just nice hits the receiving end, but because clones slightly blocking the stream will cause it to the liquid to not reach the end, it was adjusted to have a slight excess. When the liquid splashes off a clone, it "disappears" after a bit, which I thought was quite neat as you can say it's due to the sauce "dispersing" so much (just like water) that you could no longer quite see it. I was very clear what kind of sound effect I wanted for the fountain. But there were 2 sounds that were very similar. One was in the official level CLONEDROP, the other was in the official level GLOW. The sound I was looking for was the superclone powerup sound. After comparing them, the CLONEDROP one was used.

    The pneumatic pistons for the factory came in the form of the moving triangles with their connected beams to the rest of the hexagon. The logic is also similar to the laser star cycle, except with a delay between each triangle moving. Other than being pretty cool to look at :mrgreen:, I realized that the movement is actually quite a hindrance to clone savers, as it can make small size clones stop in their tracks, breaking them away from the main fleet.

    The ending part of this zone had their hexangonal shapes slightly different: there were initially very tiny gaps between the inner edges of triangles. This was later fixed by using fillers when I was optimizing the objects for some to Hit Nothing. This is because when I was developing the pneumatic triangle system, I dissolved the hexangonal shape and put them together to try to fit them a little better from edge-to-edge (for some reason, I felt that the original hexangonal shape was a little off). Per se, it didn't go very well. :(

    The 2 triangles that act as a mining picking is supposed to be a precursor to the crushing hexagons, just like the hint clock at the Big Hexa Clock, as it crushes in the same way the crushing hexagons do. During testing, this part was extremely laggy as I used a LOT of small rocks that is meant to look like the sauce I used just now. While the effect looked cool as the triangles look like stirring the sauce, with the crushing hexagons later which features a LOT of objects moving non-physically, I had to reduce the number of physical objects to reduce the lag. In the end, I had no choice but to contend with a few rocks of considerable size, changing the way it was supposed to look like.

    Although this zone doesn't have a proper obstacle per se, its performance is the worst in Hexangonal. I suspect it has to be due to the liquid fountain, the pneumatic triangles & maybe the activation of all the crushing hexagons. It got so bad, I had to add Time Slow powerups to mitigate the lag. I had initially only intended for one Time Slow powerup to better navigate the crushing hexagons. Many attempts were made to improve the performance, but the performance either got worse, or didn't see any improvement at all. I tried to activate the Keep Alive property of the Move events and their associated variables much later in this zone (when the lag would have already cleared up); but that didn't help. I tried to optimize the logic system in the crushing hexagons after Hexangonal was content complete; but this in fact made it worse. In the end I was fed up and shifted a Time Slow powerup to much earlier in this zone to reduce the lag, sacrificing the nice spread of powerups at the end of this zone.

    Prior to the update which added the crushing hexagons and the OBLIVION Split Path, the factory fan and nasty metal sounds play smoothly, but today it's all choppy because of the lag. :(
    Under the crushing triangles, if you touch the rocks they are crushing in both compartments, this will disable portal roulette in MisterM's Chasing Lasers zone and also allow you to press the secret button in the same zone.

    The pneumatic triangles makes it a little more difficult to get the secret because the best way to approach the crushing triangles is to gather your fleet inbetween the 2 compartments, and then slowly leak a clone into the rocks in each compartment. The behind clones caught off-guard by the pneumatic triangles may find it hard to rejoin the main fleet later.
  20. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 15 - Crushing Hexagons
    This zone was part of the paper plans. While the smaller crushing hexagons were implemented as planned, the bigger crushing hexagons at the end had a makeover.

    The pattern of the crushing hexagons went the same as expected: a slight downward slope path inbetween the hexagons, followed by a steep ascending path.

    The movement of the hexagons were adjusted frequently during testing; at first it started to 1.0 (because I was lazy to attach an additional variable to the Slow Ease In variable). But it took up too much space and made the path too narrow, so it was gradually reduced.

    According to the plan, after the distance was adjusted, the hexagons are carefully placed such that in their expanded state, the edge of it would touch its adjacent hexagon.

    As all the hexagons were moving in sync in testing, it made the ascending path very difficult for clone savers, as there was very little space to navigate between the hexagons. Thus the hexagon which may stay stationary when entering the zone with a large enough number of clones is set to be move completely out of phase (when the other hexagons are fully expanded, this one is fully closed and vice versa), to make it easier to get more clones through, especially when the next planned zone is the proper speedrun! This inspired me to change a couple of other hexagons to be out of phase since, well, it looked very boring with all the hexagons in sync. This in turn deviated from the original plan of the hexagons just nice touching each other. (They still remain the same distance apart, and if they were in sync they still would just touch each other, it just never quite happens) This sparked off the pump design element in between the crushing hexagons. The remaining gaps between the hexagons were also filled up.

    The Slow powerup & the Time Slow powerups are meant to make this zone more fun to play, as the much slower motion can help you navigate through easier, and given the difficulty in saving clones here, I did want to ease things up. The superclone powerup, is of course, to slowly build on to clone saving efforts. :) I decided that just like the first zone where you can carry on your one size and one speed down (to be honest, that one was poorly planned), in this case you would be able to carry on your one tine slow down to the speedrun to reward the player for their efforts. The Time Speed Up powerup was left free to fly toward Clony, as it was possible to avoid it if you stayed close to the ceiling. However, after the Eternal Day version first went online, I finally decided to screw it up and bolt it down only when you restart from there. To admit, I always accidentally collect it during my testing for the later zones OBLIVION Split Path Zone and MisterM's Chasing Laser Zone as the play test always take some time to start (my device always lag) and well, I'm an impatient dude who frantically tries to start the test by spam tapping. :mrgreen:

    The logic for the crushing hexagons was very inefficient. But even til today, it probably could had been better. The fundamental mistake was linking too many of the hexagons' parts to a single Move Event. This resulted in the need to keep this event alive; the hexagons suddenly stopped moving near the end of this zone. During the optimization of this zone, many unnecessary hexagon parts were removed so that less objects are moving, which should reduce the lag. There were also too many enabling events which would activate the hexagons' Move event and enable their associating variable (which are different, the other being the completely reverse of the other), for both types of movement (the other being completely out of phase). The sound for the crush was also a separate logic system which made use of the time interval trigger, and had to be activated. This made the crushing sounds rather out of sync with the hexagons' movements.

    Much later on though, after the Eternal Day first went online, I finally optimized the logic system. After learning how to use the time delay in a curve variable (back when designing the RIDDLER Split Path zone), I optimized the code to have lesser enabling events. This also eliminates the need for the time interval trigger as at the end of every movement cycle for each group of hexagon (which now use the same variable, just the other one with a time delay start), the sound would be heard.

    This zone is one of the harder zones to calibrate, as the crushing hexagons presented considerable challenge in maneuvering fleets of clones. As such, from this point onwards, I started to use a group of powerups, which included Slow, Time Slow, Small & Superclone powerups to simulate the build-up of clones from the slow speedrun section. As more zones pass by, I would add the appropriate powerups. This was the first zone where I used this powerup group to formally test it. The thing I mainly I tested for is the general average loss of clones in this zone. The target I was aiming at is whether a good player can lose no more than 10 clones, as one of my considerations for Hexangonal is that given a good enough player, you should be able to have a net gain in clones after passing each zone. After calibrating the last set of 2 hexagons where only one triangle at a time moves, I was satisfied with the result. Previously, the triangle would move and contact the fleet when the fleet is attempting to pass it, and there isn't per se time to rest on the stationary hexagon since that might spill clones over.

    While the small crushing hexagons went as planned, the large crushing hexagon was a different story. The initial intent was for the clone fleet to go through the middle of it (and going through via its top and bottom edge supposed to be almost impossible). However, when I tested it using the powerup group, the whole fleet got stuck inside the large crushing action and in the end, only very few could ever dream to make it out alive. As such, the original idea got scrapped.

    In its place came the 2 smaller crushing hexagons. As the next zone was planned to be a speedrun, with the top and bottom surfaces to stick them to, I could easily stick the Fast powerups there without it looking weird, compared to the single large crushing hexagon which would had to feature floating powerups in the middle (yes, I did do that during testing, and that failed so badly).

    During testing, if you restarted just before the speedrun, you would get all 3 Fast powerups; this was intentional. However, at the first split path, I already encountered a problem as your clones would be too far forward and may get blown back by the mine in the OBLIVION Split Path. As such, a clone powerup was added to have the possibility to split one clone into the bottom crushing hexagon to get the last Fast powerup which is now dislodged when you restart from there, and the other taking the normal path with the other 2 Fast powerups. I wanted to keep the 3 Speed Up option (aka, the doomsday option :mrgreen:) open, you see. However, come MisterM's Chasing Laser Zone, I found that 3 Speed Up is pretty much impossible to pass this later zone. Like Premonition, 3 Speed Up is meant to be doomsday difficulty, but it was way too doomsday for anyone to pass it. With the overwhelming difficulty associated with 3 Speed Up, I removed the clone powerup and the doomsday difficulty altogether. Later on, I even found that it was impossible to pass the end of the Speedrun Downtime Zone with 3 Speed Up. :mrgreen:

    Today, starting from the checkpoint just before the speedrun is like Premonition: choose the speed that you want for the speedrun! However, the slower and therefore easier you want the speedrun to be, the harder is it to pull away from the large crushing hexagons. The normal middle path inbetween the 2 crushing hexagons is the normal path most players would take, and of course, the hardest: 2 Speed Up. Going into the bottom crushing hexagon would mean you take only 1 Fast powerup, with a slight difficulty of pulling away from the bottom crushing hexagon, although the Fast powerup will help you do that. Going into the top crushing hexagon is the hardest to execute, as there are no Fast powerups to help you pull away from the crushing hexagon. Coupled with the additional difficulty of a small little bulge in the inner edge of the hexagon (due to the makeup if the hexangonal shape) making escaping the hexagon more difficult, as well as the fact that dropping altitude is generally slower than using full force to flap away, this path will definitely take some practice to master.

    With the release of @333mmcc's Aero Dynamic, after some time, I finally decided to use the fan design as I always loved it. The first one appeared in the Speedrun Downtime Zone. I then went back to look for more appropriate places to put the fan design and found that the two basic hexangonal shapes just before the 2 large crushing hexagons were the second and last appropriate place to put them.

    These 2 hexangonal shapes also had weird emitters spitting out little droplets, which is supposed to mean supplying energy to the crushing hexagons. There were initially 1 more of this, which was supposed to be in the lower hexangonal shape, mirrored in its horizontal axis through the middle. But that one looked weird especially with the dripping "energy" droplets being "received" in that parricular emitter while the emitter itself was also pumping out droplets.

    As for the background update, I always had the idea of using the egg and their lights from the start to indicate the hexagons' movements (fully expanded being fully lit light, fully closed being no light), as so happens the background for this zone was already like that from the start. So no problems on implementation. The upper light on the bigger egg and the bottom light on the egg in front of it blink together in sync with one set of hexagons moving, while the bottom light on the bigger egg and the upper light on the egg in front blink synchronously according to the other set of hexagons that move out of phase with the first set. There is another egg with a single light; this indicates the movement of only one hexagon, the hexagon that can be disabled with a sufficiently large of clones. The light permanently off therefore means that the hexagon is successfully disabled. Not that you can't see, but well, just a little design. :mrgreen:

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