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

    Zone 16 - OBLIVION Split Path
    And finally the REAL speedrun starts! This zone was originally supposed to be inside my triangular themed level (I planned for 3 of them, each with an increasing amount of paths). A neat random element in Hexangonal to make it more diverse in gameplay.

    At this time I started to ran out of new design ideas. So the first part to this zone was completely random, based on the mechanical arcs. I started to randomly generate new hexangonal shapes, including a hexagon made of pipes and a hollow hexangonal shape. At this time UNITY was already online, and I started to look at UNITY for design inspiration, since I considered UNITY as a brother to Hexangonal: both of them use the same basic hexangonal shape after all. After looking through the whole level, I decided to use the design of the large pneumatic piston (also present in the split path in @333mmcc's Portal2) just after the feature of my highlight hexangonal mechanism. This is thus the first zone in Hexangonal that deviates away from using the hexangonal shape design. To admit, the design of this zone was quite bad (but I still think Zone 10's design was worse :mrgreen:).

    The design at the ceiling just after the mechanical arcs (near the hollow hexangonal shape) was supposedly inspired by the official level ORBITING. I wanted to make the mechanical object on the beam vibrate like they do in ORBITING. However, it seems like due to the much smaller size, it will not rapidly vibrate along a fixed point. Thus it just remained a static object. :(

    The middle part was planned on the spot. I wanted it to be sort of a signal relay system where pressing the button would slowly transmit the signal through to the arrow director at the end. The bits pushing out of the triangles are once again BADLAND 2 inspired, while the triangles along the signal relay system is filler for the path, not quite inspired from the medium laser star zone. I had to take into account the maximum speed of clony across this signal relay system, as I needed to make sure that the player can still see which path to go. At that time of testing, with a maximum of 3 Speed Up, the arrow director could barely be seen, and the egg light was obviously not present as the background was still the default template. With 2 Speed Up, there was still reasonable time to react to which direction to go indicated by the arrow director.

    The pneumatic piston designs were spammed at this part as I wanted to fill up the rest of the empty space as there was too much clearance for clones to pass above or underneath the signal relay system. In the end, after the basic design was complete, I felt there was a little lack of space for clones to pass through, but I didn't bother to change it.

    The cannon in the next part is also taken from UNITY. The idea here is for the bomblets to contact the wall and slowly break away to allow clone to pass through, just like in the official level OBLIVION. But with such speed at this part, I knew this was going to be hard, and my fears proved to be correct. Despite continuously adjusting the clip size of the cannon & the density of the walls, the walls won't break away fast enough for normal size clones to squeeze through. I had to try to activate the cannon as early as possible. Furthermore, the force of the bomblets' explosion will cause small clones in the fleet to be blown away, killing so many clones.

    It got so hard to think about what alternative could be used, that I just published the update (which also advertised its brother UNITY :mrgreen:) without any plans of what I will be implementing in this zone.

    The design of this was also very crappy, made by simply reusing the pneumatic piston design. The middle was meant to have a slightly hexagon feel. And there are also small little rocks trapped inbetween 2 beams that bounce up and down rapidly. Their bounciness are calibrated such that it would be just able to stay between the beams without using the precise collision property. There was even a point in testing I created a small enough hole between both sections to squeeze a clone to cross between the paths, for a reason I can't even quite remember.

    After I submitted the update, I started to think about how to blend OBLIVION's breaking away wall and the speedrun element together. I concluded that the wall has to blown out with one big boom so that there is enough time for players who tackle the speedrun on 2 Speed Up. And the best logical solution to go out with a big bang is a mine. But since the cannon can't possibly tilt all the way to aim directly at the wall as that would cut into the wall which will not look nice. Thus the mine had to be protected as it have to bounce off the floor or ceiling and this immediately sparked off the idea to use the mine with cushions in the official level SEWERS.

    Now I needed to calibrate the force (provided by a blower) in which the cannon shoots out the mine so that it would reach the wall. However, no such force could be achieved, and thus, the design of the floor and ceiling must be smoothened out to allow the mine to slide along. I briefly set the friction of all these beams to 0. After some testing, I determined the path of the mine and set only beams that it contacts to have 0 friction as this can make shaping clone fleets in this part a difficult task with smooth walls, especially when it may be necessary to push away the reminant wall bits.

    The next problem was the walls themselves. I still wanted to achieve the OBLIVION's effecr of breaking the wall away. But with a single blow, the extent of this was very limited. There was only a small gap at the edge to allow 1 - 2 normal size clones to get through, and given the next zone was planned to be the chasing lasers zone, you're definitely going to need more clones.

    This is made worse by the fact that the top and bottom paths have uneven difficulties. Although this section is a random split path, the only difficulty I intended is the difference created by the height which may slightly affect the difficulty in the next zone.

    I resorted to trying to reduce the density of the wall but it didn't help much. I had to make sure that you will not be able to prison break through the wall without using the mine. Finally, I decided on the ultimate jailbreak; all the rotate joints of the walls of the respective side disabled and free to get blown away as inidividual pieces rather than acting as a door.

    Despite that, not all the problems are solved. After the mine arrived at the wall, there needs to be reliable way to detonate it. I thought about it and used what I felt was a highly effective and high force spike which is used in the official level BITS. There were initially 3 spikes, one for the upper path, one for the lower path & one poking out of the end of the middle separtor between both paths, supposedly for aesthetics. The last spike was taken out in a later update because no one would probably see it anyway. Although it did get the mine to activate, there were times it didn't. So to achieve a more reliable way to detonate it, the mine must be locked into place, so I placed a magnetic field there with a big enough radius to attract the mine but not the clones. It finally became pretty successful. With the mine flying straight to the lock position, there was now less need to use the beams to guide the mine's flight, as such, more beams can have normal friction.

    But after Hexangonal got into Eternal Day, Vicvic started to spot bugs about the mine here not exploding. I set out to investigate the bug, but couldn't replicate it as it works all fine on my side. I somewhat remembered setting a time delay between the disabling of the magnetic field and the spikes activation, the former being first. The 2 events now happen simultaneously. There is also a backup solution implemented that will disable the wall joints even if the mine didn't explode, but it has to touch the wall first. Even so, @dubz131 reported it still has a chance of not working with a great enough speed, and while I suspected it was because the mine didn't touch the wall, dubz dropped the issue and the update to Hexangonal Eternal Day version now went online. So up to today, there may still be a slight chance you may not be able to break through the wall in this OBLIVION zone.

    After the first background update, when you press the button on the signal relay system, as each of the 2 bits come up at the 2 triangles in each of the 5 sections, the light on the bottom smaller egg gets brighter and brighter.

    One of the lights on the bigger egg will blink after the signal is transmitted, which corresponds which path to take.

    When the explosion beeps go off, the light on the upper smaller egg lights up. On explosion, the branch holding the bunny snaps off with so much force that the poor bunny is thrown into the depths below...just like OBLIVION. However, if the bug occurs and you are unable to detonate the mine, you would have saved the bunny! :) (Note that there's a chance you still can get through the wall if the mine has contacted the wall)
  2. FBI Light Rock

    FBI Light Rock Techno Fury Moderator Beta tester

    Zone 17 - MisterM's Chasing Laser Zone
    This zone was one of the zones originally planned on paper as one with a basic design. As you could see in the paper plans, it really was just some hexagon shapes meshed together with protruding lasers.

    But when UNITY was released, and I was gathering ideas for design, since the previous OBLIVION Split Path Zone contains design adapted from UNITY, why not this zone too? In the end, it was quite a major adaptation. Or in fact, it was pretty much adapting an entire level, #VFC MisterM.

    Copying the whole level was insane! Hexangonal was already relatively long, so copying around 15m or so of obstacles lagged my device so much that it became hard to position them the same way the original level did. Because it took forever to copy the whole level (seriously, it never finished pasting. Or maybe, I was too impatient to wait :mrgreen:, but I waited a minute before giving up), I had to copy the level in what I remember was 3 chunks. The chunks were the entire length of obstacles, top & bottom. And because of that, I needed to find the right point to cut off, so that it was easy to line up the chunks. Even then, it wasn't easy and I had to switch between Hexangonal and MisterM's level (which I saved in my device) to properly remember exactly where and how they lined up.

    Finally, when everything was placed, this entire zone from a level had to be modified to accomodate for a speedrun. I needed more clearance space for clones to pass through. The obstructing hexangonal shapes were downsized. The hexangonal shape near to the emptier ceiling was shifted up, and to make up for the weird design another hexangonal shape was added. The arrow that was pointing high into the air (near where the 2 blue portals are) was pushed down, but still, there wasn't enough clearance for clones no matter how far pushed down it could be while maintaining good aesthetic value. The hexangonal shape blocking after that couldn't be reduced due to all the other vines and stuff in it. Finally, there was no choice but to use portals. The exit portal became a slight problem as well since the hexangonal shapes after the big one had to be reduced as well.

    MisterM's level was relatively quiet and I never really liked things to be quiet in the game as I feel that the amazing sound effects is one of the selling points of BADLAND. Thus I started to add in sounds effects and more dynamic objects. Every few meters should have another sound effect.

    The first one was the bean shape emitter, which came naturally when I saw the protrusion from the standing hexangonal structure. This emitter was quite carefully calibrated, although probably not perfect, such the interval is just nice that each bean shape would be inserted between the teeth of the gears without spilling over to the next compartment as the gear rotates (as per the original design). At first the bean shapes were meant to accumulate and disappear as the pool size is reached, but this was later changed to the bean shapes falling off the level altogether. At last, during the optimization, the Link Tool was replsced with a rigid joint, resolving the bouncy problem, although it was not major as your clonys are unlikely to reach there.

    The extending spike came naturally as well since the original design already had a peculiar small spike protruding out. The spike was meant as a typical clonekiller through leaving clones behind (which is one of the key ways in dying in BADLAND, I feel), with any speed-up. With a normal speed though, this would cause a hindrance of advancement. After some testing, it was clear to me that it was quite hard to escape without losing quite a number of clones. Thus, with the lasers operational, I decided to make the spike destroyable. But here's the caveat: You must deploy the spike before the laser is activated, as the health of the spike has been specifically calibrated to only be destroyed with the full blunt of a laser burst (which is 0.3s). If the laser is activated first, then the spike will not be destroyed in time. It's a mini secret. :mrgreen: The final extension of the spike was also adjusted to allow enough space for a fleet of clones to escape quite comfortably (using the useful bunch of powerups I mentioned earlier in the crushing hexagons).

    One of the very small detail that you may not notice is the 3 large spikes (one of which pierces through quite a lot of other things) near the ceiling actually move in sequence, similar to the laser cycle. They don't make any sounds neither, which makes it really just a small touch.

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