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Topics - Esco

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1st off: seeing as how successor has shut down his forums for the time being, I had to relocate my thread for the project (again.... fuck) to here: http://castlevaniadungeon.net/forums/index.php?topic=2931.0

HUGE UPDATE: My biggest issue with hacking the stages has now officially vanished. See the pic below:

This is a screenshot of the lower left quadrant of vram in a room in the chapel... as you can see every enemy in the stage has been loaded into vram, and even object type sprites. Those of you who know a little bit about programming, probably already know what I am about to say, but for those of you who don't it means that I have after over TWO YEARS found a way to control what is loaded into vram and where! This eliminates the biggest problem I had: not being able to put enemies wherever I wanted to put them (in the past they would come out scrambled or invisible due to this). The only limitation is that the enemy MUST APPEAR in the current stage (only the enemies that appear in the stage have their AI and gxf stored in the stage file, thus making them loadable)!

Many thanks go to Nyxojaele for this! He spent about 4 hours on IM with me showing me how it could be done, and then this info combined with my findings allowed me to figure the rest out. Thanks also go out to Gemini, who provided me with some VERY useful info years ago that helped me to figure out how to change some necessary values as well!

Also.... here is a quick animation of the new gates that will be used in my rooms to close them off when you have to kill all the enemies to proceed forward (it has been slowed down so it is easier to see; the actual one is MUCH faster):

It is a 9 tile animation (I couldn't use sprites due to limitations), but even though it is using tiles as you can see it is not choppy looking at all. These are the exact gates from curse of darkness, rendered into beautiful 2d. :P

EDIT: smoothed out the above gate to make it blend better. Here is a screenshot:

EDIT 2: FIXED THE BROKEN LINK to the forums... sorry peoples.

Personal Projects / The Strider 2 Hacked Project.
« on: March 28, 2011, 05:51:37 pm »
I have been playing the arcade version of this game recently on mame, and it is just a really fun game. However, due to some programming foresight, it is literally impossible to get a star rank in 3-4 of the stages (it requires 4 million points, and no deaths or hits, in under 10 minutes. And there just isn't enough time to get it).

So sure enough when I heard that the PSX version had an extra stage, and an extra character I wanted to try it out. Sadly I was very disappointed by the fact that the bosses all seemed to have way less health, the fact that the extra stage bosses died too quick, and strider hien just made the game even easier. I also didn't like the fact that the special bonus was increased WAY too much. It went from 300k to 1.8 million (!), which totally f-es up the pace of the game. I thought a small increase would help, but they way overdid it. It just totally encourages you to just run through the stage and ignore as many enemies as you can, and you will get a star rank (the highest one) each time with little to no effort.

So seeing as how I wasn't satisfied still with the PSX one... I decided to do something about it. Thus far, here are the changes I have made:

  • The bosses heath is all the same as the arcade game now: or more specifically, I tweaked strider hiryu's damage to be the same as the arcade version. In the arcade one, EVERY attack of hiryu's does 1 point of damage. In the PSX version, boost, savage slash, and the beam from the sword power up all did two points of damage per hit. I have corrected this
  • Strider Hien now does 1 point of damage per hit, instead of 2 per hit. Just like Strider Hiryu: this actually makes the game VERY challenging just like Hiryu's, but balance, and totally changes the way he has to be played. It also makes it 10 times more fun IMHO.
  • The Special  Bonus has been decreased to only 800k. Upon getting hit once it drops to 500k. The 2nd hit drops it to 200k. A 3rd hit drops it to zero. This sets it up so that even after getting hit once, while you lose a substantial amount of points, it still encourages you to NOT get hit again.

So far these are the changes I have made. I don't intend to do many more since the game is REALLY good as is. What I am working on now is balancing out Hien and Hiryu point wise. My thoughts is that they should both be able to score almost the EXACT same amount of points in a stage run through, but since Hien doesn't have boost (100k added to item bonus for each one) I want him to potentially be able to get slightly more points than Hiryu if he is played to his limit.

And by this I mean if both Hien and Hiryu go through a stage in ideal circumstances: In the same order (start at stage 00, then stage 1,2,3,4, lastly 5), without getting hit, on the same difficulty with the same health, maximizing points per second (every second is worth 1000 points, at 10 minutes you get no point bonus. But each SMALL blue coin adds 1000 to point bonus. The weakest enemy takes 1 hit which gets you 100-300 points depending on what attack is used and is worth 100 points, and drops 1-2 of these coins). So that would mean also taking about 9 minutes and 59 seconds in a stage, killing as many enemies as possible in the spots where you would get the most points overall.

Long story made short, Hiryu should be able to get more points than Hien if he rushes thru the stage, but if they both stand around fighting as long as possible, Hien should get  more points (since he has to play much more defensively than Hiryu).

Now since Hiryu can have 2-3 boosts in a stage, and Hien has none, he needs a way to make up for it. What I am thinking of is replacing boosts in his game with yashichis (instead of life+1 items), and setting him to get more points per hit. This should only take a few more days ( i have school, work, etc.). But I want to make sure not to overdo it so that they are both VERY closely balanced.

So if anyone else here is a strider 2 fan, keep an eye on these forums for the patch for the iso file, and the memhack file (you will need memhack to run this hack). They will both be small files. I may also put up the guide I made with all of the secrets found so far, and how the scoring system works (including all end of stage bonuses).

March 29, 2011, 12:16:47 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
UPDATE: found the code that changed boosts to life +1 items; changed it so that they now become yaschichis instead (50k points). Now I just have to do some test runs to make sure hien and hiryu are balanced enough point wise.

March 30, 2011, 03:36:30 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Also I now tweaked Hien to be scoring wise exactly like I wanted; if he is played to his absolutely limit he can score slightly more points than Hiryu can. However, if they both rush through a stage, or even both are just played pretty good, Hiryu will almost ALWAYS out score him. Hien shines only when they too are played to their extreme best, and then  he wins out by about 50k.

I did this because it is easier for Hien to get thru a stage without getting hit if he is patient and plays keep away. Hiryu cannot obviously play keep away in most cases. So I wanted him to have to work harder for his points, and take more of a chance to get an exemplary score (since by nature he is a keepaway character). However, I didn't want it to be too much more of a gain for him, because then people would have no reason to play Hiryu.

I will be play testing it a bit more over then next 3-4 days. A release should be up soon after that.

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