Saturday, August 16, 2014

AM2R Soundtrack 1.33 Release - Looking for an artist

SOUNDTRACK RELEASE

I dedicated this month to 2 things primarily: Fixing all the bugs that started popping up in the Game Maker Studio version of AM2R, and to give the soundtrack an update.
Since I'm not using the Caster extension anymore, I now use the built-in audio functions for music playback. This means I have to change the overall volume of every track. This is a good opportunity to actually do a proper mastering work, after tweaking some instruments on some songs.

AM2R Soundtrack V1.33
DOWNLOAD
MP3: MediaFire - Mega - MyFlare
FLAC: MediaFire - Mega 

Now, the soundtrack is not finished, the current tracks will be eventually improved, and more tracks are going to be added as they are finished. That's why I'm including a version number with it. This one corresponds to the upcoming demo update, that will feature all the speed optimizations I'm working on right now.

The only thing missing is the cover art...

AM2R IS LOOKING FOR A TALENTED PHOTOSHOP ARTIST!!!!

If you...
  • Have talent at digital painting
  • Want to contribute with AM2R to achieve worldwide fame and glory (*)
  • Are capable of being part of a team of passionate people, and wish to work accordingly
* Results may vary, we might not reach fame and glory

Then this is your chance to expand your portfolio with some awesome Metroid art.
For now, I'm looking for someone that can provide a cover for the Soundtrack Album. 
Once the cover is done, I'll be reuploading the soundtrack including it. If everything goes well, the artist might be drawing artwork for the intro and ending cutscenes of the game too.

If you're interested, please visit THIS forum thread and post some of your work. Links to Deviant Art are ok. Having Metroid artwork on your portfolio is not necessary. If you wish to show mockups or sketches for a potential AM2R Soundtrack cover, go ahead. Just keep in mind that your work might not be chosen.

I'll be making the selection in about a month from now, so please, spread the word.

PROGRESS

The Game Maker Studio version of the game started showing plenty of small bugs. Some are tiny details that require small tweaks, others are consequences of the poor coding skills I had 5 years ago, and need some more work. Performance wise, it's a lot better than the currently released demo. 
And to make things even better, Nommiin/Decayed was kind enough to provide a license of the YoYo Compiler. Actually compiling the project boosts the performance a lot. It's about twice as fast.
This means the upcoming demo update will run faster, smoother and (hopefully) without the speed issues some users experience today. You'll be able to play in older computers, and to actually record your playthroughs without much slowdown.
All of my time is being dedicated to have this update ready as soon as possible. Once it's released, AM2R will officially have lived through 4 different versions of Game Maker (the project started on Game Maker 6).

As always, comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

AM2R runs on Linux!

Since the last demo update, I started the transition to Game Maker Studio. There are plenty of changes in the way variables are initialized, the order of code execution, etc.
Many features need to be redone from scratch, and many unexpected issues are still appearing. This was also a good opportunity to rewrite ancient code, remove workarounds and do things the proper way.
As of now, the contents of the demo are accessible without crashes.
Also, I was able to compile the project using a virtual machine running Ubuntu:


It's running at a steady 60 FPS in a VM, so performance using real hardware should be even better.
I had to remove all the extensions and DLLs that were used, and replace their functionality with native GM code. The music engine is in the works now, along with some other features.

So, what does this change of compiler mean for you?
- The performance is a lot better, there's no random slowdown.
- It loads really fast
- Possibility of ports to other platforms
- Faster development time

What's next?
Once I complete all the missing features, I'll release a demo update.
It'll have the same contents, but using the new engine. It's also very likely that an official  Linux build of the demo will be released too. A Mac build won't be available yet, since the export process isn't as straightforward as the Linux one is (it requires and actual, physical Mac).

About the rest of the game, even if this change took most of my time, I was able to advance a little bit with the overall level layout of Area 4. Some rooms were redone to showcase the abilities acquired in the area, and sand was added to the side tunnels.
Don't worry, it's not as annoying as the original was.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

AM2R Demo Update 1.32

Besides some minor bugs here and there, I was able to add some improvements.

AM2R Demo v1.32

The biggest change was to replace all the in-game transitions and cutscenes that used background resources created in real-time. As I was able to test with several users having slowdown and crashes mid-game, this change solved that issue.
So, if you were experiencing slowdowns or crashed, please give this version a try.

It was a pretty extensive change, but it's one less feature to rewrite from scratch whenever I get to port the game to GM Studio.
Speaking of which, I was able to conduct a small test, to see the impact of the port. To get the game running, I had to remove TONS of features and mechanics. This will take some time, but having the option to make builds for Linux and Mac will be worth the effort.

Besides all the work put into the update, the contents of the rest of the game is being worked on. While I continue to make things work in the next area, some of the collaborating artists are giving Area 4 a new refreshed look, and some awesome unique assets.

Alright, as always, please share your thoughts about the demo here or at the Forums.
Have a good weekend!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Demo Update 1.31

The demo release went really well. There weren't many critical bugs this time, and people liked the new material. Still, some details needed to be improved. Some bugs needed to be fixed.
So, after a very intensive month of development, here's a Demo Update.

AM2R Demo 1.31

What's new:
- Fixed a Gamma fight game crashing bug in Area 3
- Revamped Speed Booster mechanics
- Small tweaks to Area 3 miniboss
- Knockdown recovery (press jump before touching the ground)
- Added Speed Booster Mockball
- Tiles and backgrounds in Area 3 were improved
- Added enemy freeze sound
- Missiles and Super Missiles use custom designed sprites
- Tweaks to item sprites
- Small changes in level design
- Reduced RAM consumption
- Many small fixes and overall improvements

The Speed Booster had a nice revamp. It feels more solid and more versatile than ever.
There are plenty of small details and improvements.

There are still some bugs that involve slowdown and crashes on very specific hardware setups. A future update might include workarounds to make the game playable on those scenarios.

As always, have fun and share your experiences, thoughts and opinions by commenting here or at the Forums.
Have a good weekend!

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Demo Released - Metroid Speedrun Marathon

Next Saturday, the awesome people at Speed Demos Archives will be hosting a Metroid Speedrun Marathon. The cool thing about this marathon is that AM2R will be featured, along all the official Metroid games. The event will appear at the frontpage of Twitch.tv, professional speedrunner Dragondarch will be speedrunning the AM2R Demo v1.3.

Here's the schedule, and the Twitch Feed that will be streaming the event.
I'll do my best to attend, so feel free to drop by the stream chat.

So, you don't want to watch the new demo on a stream because of the spoilers?
We can fix that:



New in this version:
- Acess to a new area
- XInput support for XBox 360 controllers (Includding triggers)
- Improved button hints in-game
- Centralized menu control with dedicated buttons
- Redone lighting engine
- Aim Lock
- Analog walking
- Morph Button
- Many engine improvements and optimizations