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EchoJerichoX on March 07 2016
Game Update

3/6/2016 - 11:30 PM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- RL is rad 'n' stuff.
- Issues with new programmer's availability.
- Porting engine to Studio.
- Started speedrunning on Twitch:
http://www.twitch.tv/echojerichox.
- Might completely revise website from the bottom up.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Boy, it feels as though it has been ages since the last update... And indeed it has. I figured I would clear up a few things after the long period of quiet and the large amount of ranting going on in the Shoutbox (for anyone who might still lurk here from time to time). I'll start with what has been happening since the last news post.

Without going into great detail, real life has taken a real turn for the amazing. I now have a son, and a new job, and things are going extremely well! But you guys wanna know how Coven is going, so... Once I brought on Salvakiya as a programmer, the project took off at a rate that I truly could not predict. Amazing leaps were made, specifically in the object consolidation and level design departments. Things quickly fell apart though, as Salvakiya had some real-life obligations related to military service. Things quickly snowballed after that. Essentially, Sal became completely indisposed along with completely unavailable anyway. Communication lines were broken, and sadly, the engine got stuck in a state of limbo, which it still is somewhat in today. The reason being that Sal was in the middle of converting the engine over to Studio for us, and I found it futile to try to do any work on an engine that would be replaced at some point in the near future.

I've done everything I could to try to bring Sal back into the project to no avail. So the project sat on the back burner for a good while.

In the meantime, I picked up a new hobby: broadcasting speedruns on Twitch. I've taken it fairly seriously for the past 2 years or so, and I have never had more fun. If you want to learn more about that, visit my Twitch channel here: http://www.twitch.tv/echojerichox. Most recently, I have been speedrunning The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

So what is the plan now? Well, some good news is to be had!

As of right now, I got in touch with Sal for the first real time in a while to get the engine back from him. I will probably be pestering him extremely frequently until I get it back so I can get back to work on it. The current goal is to finish transitioning the game into Studio and revisit all of the website's pages to get them updated once and for all. I also plan on possibly completely re-doing the website and making a website for me, EchoJerichoX, as opposed to just a page for Coven. More on that if I get started on it.

I tried to keep the information high-level only, without going super in-depth here. After all, it has been 2 years... I will try to do better to keep you all updated as things start moving again.
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on June 14 2014
Game Update

  6/13/14 - 11:54 PM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- Video update #3 is up.
- Salvakiya is away for a while and Nightswim is missing.
- Analyzed
Metroid Prime's flow and pacing.
- Hoping to finish HUD soon.
- Might record to motivate.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Hey folks. As is the trend with my updates, promises of great things in the near future are regularly broken. This is the case as per usual. You can find my most recent video update that details the latest events:


Basically, little to no work has been done on the game in the past couple months, Salvakiya has (temporarily, thankfully) left the project and Nightswim is totally AWOL. Which means right now the project is FUBAR and I am just SOL and JWF. What, you don't know what JWF means? Well let me spell it out for you...

JOLLY WELL FUCKED!

Thanks, George Carlin. Well, anyway... I have been getting motivation to work on loosely-related "subprojects" of Coven. Most recently, I did some analytical work of Metroid Prime's level flow. What is level flow? Damn you have a lot of questions. Fine... I will indulge.

When I say, "level flow", I am referring to the way the game paces the different facets of the gameplay. In Metroid Prime, let us break the game down into three aspects (granted, these are hardly the entire game, but give us a good example to work off of): Exploration, combat, and puzzles. To start, we need some kind of a baseline for the game's pacing. So look at it as a graph of sorts. The baseline moves through the graph, and where it leans, the gameplay follows. You start with basic exploring, then some easy enemies, then a boss fight. Then the tension closes, you explore some more, fight stronger enemies, fight stronger bosses, and repeat. In between, mix the puzzles in instead of the combat sections.

It essentially has parts of exploration in between parts with puzzles and combat. So it is a sort of calm-transition all the way through the game. This is not always applicable. Think in the context of a horror game, for example. If you are in a horror game, it may be beneficial to have extended periods of exploration and/or puzzle-solving in order to keep the player interested, but then suddenly cram in some major jumpscares to keep it interesting and scare the shitballs out of your player. In a Metroid game, it should be similar. The above baseline gives us something to tweak and play with until we have something worthwhile. For a very general scope, that graph is actually pretty accurate. You get extended periods of exploration and then gradually the combat intensifies until a boss. It very seldom just goes, "K BOSS TIME TROLOLOL" because that sucks. Therefore, I took the time to analyze the flow of the early stages of Metroid Prime. When you start, the feeling is slow, mysterious, quiet, and obviously exploration-oriented. This is all topped off with a frosting made of "aftermath feelings." These create a very successful environment to play in. As you go along, you encounter some very weak enemies and it eventually culminates into a boss fight with the Parasite Queen.

The goal here is to hook the player. It does this by building suspense and making the player ask questions, such as, "what caused this?" These are the types of things that make players keep going. Few seem to realize that the first 10 minutes of a Metroid game are basically the entire game crunched down into 5% of the time. Beyond that, it just repeats (mostly). You explore the planet, fight some new enemies, then get the item at the end, and turn around to face a miniboss. This is another aspect I analyzed. It seemed highly important that when you gain a new item, you need to be shown how it is used either on enemies, on the environment, or both. It helps instill each item's purpose in the player's mind and makes every item gain memorable.

I took time to analyze Prime because I am basing so much of Coven on it. In the coming days, I hope to muster enough motivation to finish the new HUD layout, even if it is still largely unfinished under the hood. I think that I might even record my process just to motivate myself, but who knows...

Next update will NOT be epic, but might contain something worthwhile...
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on February 09 2014
Game Update

  2/9/14 - 12:38 AM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- Video update #2 is up.
- Engine coming along very nicely and quickly.
- New website on the way, so no more updates until then.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Hey guys! I have my first actual exciting update on YouTube now. You can view it below.

Unfortunately, there seems to be an issue with video embedding right now...
Here is a link in the meantime: Metroid: Coven - Video Update #2 - 2-8-2014.

I'm starting to get a lot closer to the video quality I am shooting for. I started using XSplit Pro and it rocks! I can do a lot of editing on the fly and even while I'm recording, which is awesome.

On the topic of videos, I told ronny14 that I would review his Metroid: Father Hunt game, but I haven't yet. I keep having life and other issues coming up, but I hope to have it done very soon. I should be especially motivated with my new recording methods and software, so keep an eye out for that!

CompelX has told me that he is working on yet another new website. At first, I was hesitant in accepting its necessity, but the new changes should grant us more flexibility and a much nicer layout with better control. Until the new website is at least presentable, there will be no more news postings here. It would be best that if you follow these, you start following YouTube, Trello, and Twitter instead (see "Contact" page).

Back to the game, though. Currently, we are working on getting a few more of Samus' upgrades in place so we can have a semi-reasonable tech demo ready soon. Before we can do that, though, I am having Salvakiya get the engine ready for room design.This means finishing some more of the room elements and the transition system.

Next update will be epic...
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on February 01 2014
Game Update

  2/1/14 - 8:58 AM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- New team members.
- First video update!
- Full engine rewrite in the works.
- So far, lots of excellent new features.
- Stay tuned for more!
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Hey guys, I have some crazy news! A lot of new developments.

To start, I have a whole new team! I have a lead programmer, a lead composer, and a second composer. I have seen their work and wow... I feel so lucky to have them all on the team.

But on the topic of the new lead programmer... You should just watch my first-ever video update! I know the quality is pretty bad right now. I am still learning how to correctly render these videos and edit, so bare with me!

Unfortunately, there seems to be an issue with video embedding right now...
Here is a link in the meantime: Metroid: Coven - Video Update #1 - 1-29-2014.

Frame rate on my face got screwed up somehow, but I will try to fix that next time. It also apparently went all widescreen on me. I promise, this webcam is nicer than that... I also am not a fan of just a dude sitting in front of a webcam and talking, but I didn't have anything to show yet.

Anywho, the main point is that we are doing a full rewrite of the entire engine. The video already says it all, but I will say that we already have a new vector-collision-based movement engine, a wall-respecting lighting system, insanely streamlined level design, new, dynamic AI, better view handling and more. Currently we are working on finishing all of Samus' mechanics so we can finish up some atmospherics and I can get started on real level design.

Next video update will be insane. So much to show you guys. I can't wait for this to really take off!

Stay tuned, guys! Real amazing stuff on the way!!!
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on November 21 2013
Game Update

11/20/13 - 12:12 AM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- See Change Log for today's changes.
- More and more and more and more programming updates.
- Veni's current projects are highly anticipated.
- Power Suit ready to be added to the game very soon.
- New death sequence in progress and already in placeholder form.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

So I have been working on some more combining and programming upgrades that have been helping the game and its performance immensely. One of the biggest side-projects I have finished to help make the game easier to work with is taking some of the master scripts (Like the master controller's Game Start event, or the player's Step event) and separating them, commenting them, organizing them, etc. The result has made some small changes to the size of the game file, since I have spent a lot of time removing old, commented code and adding new ones, but nothing major. In general, working with the more hectic scripts has been made a lot easier and there is still some more of that I need to do in order to continuing tweaking some features that need it most.

On the more interesting side of things, some of the projects I have Veni Mortem working on are very exciting! One example is the new title theme. It will be a remix - in some form - of the Super Metroid title theme. Another good example is the new suit transformation sequences. Small hint: think Metroid Prime.

I have decided to add the Power Suit to the game! More on that later... But for now, here is what it will look like in front-view:


Another of Rundas45's sprites. Veni is working on the top-down versions.

And finally, as a few minor side changes, the firing speeds of each weapon have been changed and balanced a bit more and the new death sequence is ready and in the game as a placeholder. It will only take a few effects updates and light programming to actually complete. Regarding the new death sequence, I have been thinking about changing it up a bit. Rather than traditionally reaching 0 energy and having Samus die, I was thinking she would just lose her suit and be in the Zero Suit with 10 energy. The player is then granted a sort of second wind, while they are restricted to the emergency pistol and need to find more energy globes to get the suit back. Thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time!
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on November 13 2013
Game Update

11/13/13 - 12.12 AM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- See Change Log for today's changes.
- Official title screen is DONE!
- More visual goodies to come...
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Some more great changes are viewable at the Change Log page, but I really need to share what I just received from Veni Mortem. This speaks for itself:


Yeah, wow. It looks GORGEOUS! Thanks and awesome job, Veni! This piece is a full sheet of painstaking pixel art and the ice terrain is actually scrolling parallax. Want to see it in action? Take a look here: Metroid Coven Animated Title Preview.

I cannot wait to put this game out just to show off this beautiful title screen. It is... I mean... Just immaculate. Incredible.

More incredible visual goodies to come!
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on November 11 2013
Game Update

11/11/13 - 3:41 pM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- REAL work is being done for once.
- Everything has been totally re-organized.
- Optimizations left and right. More planned.
- Still removing components of old items in the game file.
- New controls changes breakdown.
- Playing with "RGB" and image blending for optimization.
- Will be looking at development inefficiencies once the HUD is done.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Alright! I am excited! I finally enjoy working on the game again now that all my resources are better organized! One of my biggest deterrents from working on the game was its lack of external organization (The folders and files themselves, not just the organization of resources within the game). Now that I moved everything together, I find myself more motivated. I also decided just to mess with the background and font colors in my code editor to make it more OCD-appealing.

So anyway, the game... As per usual, I don't have a lot to show visually, but that is not because I am doing "lazy work" on the game. I actually am finally getting rid of some old, redundant code left and right, optimizing the crap out of everything, writing down things to optimize later so I don't forget, etc. I made a 3-ring binder JUST for Coven so I can better organize and document my thoughts and the changes I make. The current focus is fully removing all of the resources and code for the removed items (Dark Beam, Homing Missile, etc.). This is easier said than done because it involves butchering up some code that SandCat wrote ages ago that I don't fully understand. Luckily, my programming skills have evolved a bit, so I haven't run into anything impossible yet. Mostly, I have been revising the way the player scrolls through and equips weapons and totally rewriting the controls system.

Each key is now stored in one script as a global variable for three main reasons.
1: It allows me to easily change the keybinds for the game in one area without having to go to any other inline code or script to make it work.
2: It makes it easy for me to create a new custom input system that is easier to work with and use for players and programmers alike.
3: It is just much more organized than the way I was doing it. I get a chance to rename some keys to what they actually do. For example, "KEYALT" was the key to equip a secondary weapon. Not really obvious, so now I just changed it to "SECWEAPON".

As a result, the new default keyboard controls script is right here.

/* Movement */ globalvar MOVELEFT, MOVERIGHT, MOVEUP, MOVEDOWN
/* Weapon Selections */ globalvar POWERBEAM, WAVEBEAM, PLASMABEAM, SPAZERBEAM, PULSEBEAM, ICEBEAM, RUPTUREBEAM, PHAZONBEAM, SECWEAPON, SELSECWEAPON;
/* Addon Usage */ globalvar MORPHBALL, LIGHTSEAR, TOGGLEVISOR, XRAY, HYPERMODE;
/* Other */ globalvar PAUSE, TOGGLEVIEWSHIFT, TOGGLEMOUSELOCK, TOGGLEWINSIZE, TOGGLEFULLSCREEN, SCREENSHOT;

//=============================================//

/* Movement */
MOVELEFT = ord('A');  // Move Samus left.
MOVERIGHT = ord('D'); // Move Samus right.
MOVEUP = ord('W');    // Move Samus up.
MOVEDOWN = ord('S');  // Move Samus down.

/* Weapon Selections */
POWERBEAM = ord('1');      // Equip Power Beam.
WAVEBEAM = ord('2');       // Equip Wave Beam.
PLASMABEAM = ord('3');     // Equip Plasma Beam.
SPAZERBEAM = ord('4');     // Equip Spazer Beam.
PULSEBEAM = ord('5');      // Equip Pulse Beam.
ICEBEAM = ord('6');        // Equip Ice Beam.
RUPTUREBEAM = ord('7');    // Equip Rupture Beam.
PHAZONBEAM = ord('8');     // Equip Phazon Beam.
SECWEAPON = vk_shift;      // Equip selected secondary weapon.
SELSECWEAPON = vk_control; // Select secondary weapon.

/* Addon Usage */
MORPHBALL = ord('Z');   // Toggle Morph Ball mode.
LIGHTSEAR = ord('Q');   // Activate Lightsear.
TOGGLEVISOR = ord('X'); // Toggle between Combat and Scan visors.
XRAY = ord('C');        // Toggle X-ray Visor.
HYPERMODE = ord('R');   // Activate hyper mode.

/* Other */
PAUSE = vk_enter;         // Pause game.
TOGGLEVIEWSHIFT = vk_f1;  // Toggle view shifting mode.
TOGGLEMOUSELOCK = vk_f2;  // Toggle mouse locking to window.
TOGGLEWINSIZE = vk_f3;    // Toggle between 1x, 1.5x and 2x window sizes.
TOGGLEFULLSCREEN = vk_f4; // Toggle between fullscreen and windowed modes.
SCREENSHOT = vk_f5;       // Take a screenshot.

So the keyboard controls are as follows (In short):
- Keys "W", "A", "S" and "D" are used to move.
- Keys "1" through "8" change beams.
- "CTRL" selects a secondary weapon. In normal mode, it selects between Missiles and Super Missiles. In Morph Ball mode, it selects between Power Bombs and Sunder Mines.
- "Shift" turns secondary weapons on. In normal mode, it is held down to keep the Missile launcher active. In Morph Ball mode, it is simply pressed once to place a Power Bomb or Sunder Mine as an alternative to simply right-clicking with the mouse.
- "Z" toggles Morph Ball mode.
- "Q" activates the Lightsear.
- "X" toggles between Combat and Scan visors.
- "C" toggles the X-ray Visor.
- "R" activates hyper mode.
- "Enter" pauses.
- "F1" toggles view shifting mode.
- "F2" toggles mouse locking to the game window.
- "F3" toggles between 1x, 1.5x and (Coming soon) 2x zoom.
- "F4" toggles between fullscreen and windowed modes.
- "F5" takes a screenshot.

These controls changes simplify the game even further while still making as many options as convenient to change as possible.

I have been learning some more about how to use "RGB" values and image blending to make more neutral sprites. I will likely use it to merge more objects like explosions, doors and more.

Finally, I should have a title screen ready as soon as Veni Mortem can get one done, as well as a planned layout of the new HUD which is my next project to tackle. Beyond the HUD changes will be a serious look at some of the more tedious processes used in designing the game, taking a first look at my level design habits to see if I can make myself a little more efficient at things like those.

That'll do it for now!
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on November 07 2013
Game Update

11/6/13 - 11:15 pM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- Change Log page updated.
- Tons of resource consolidation and a quick recap of the bits and pieces I have been working on.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Reporting in to quickly share what I have done with the game lately.

I have updated the Change Log page to follow a much more readable format. I am now sorting them by timeframes to show what I change and when, rather than having to pick through the old, massive log to see what might be new. As a result, the old Change Log page has been archived. The site links on the left side of the site have changed to reflect this.

You can find the old Change Log here: http://www.metroidcoven.com/en/viewpage.php?page_id=23.
You can find the new Change Log here: http://www.metroidcoven.com/en/viewpage.php?page_id=3.

I have been working on consolidating as many sprites and resources as I can to prepare for upcoming changes to the entire HUD, pause menu and more. Ended up saving almost half of 1 MB as a result, which is great! In the process, I have been working on more ways of securing the game to prevent total data loss and I will be extending that soon. My current goal is working on making the game file easier to navigate and work with to save time during serious development periods and not discourage me from opening GM as much. So far, my strategy is working.

Starting to pick up again, maybe. Then again, I have said that many times in the past and then a whole lot of nothing happens. We will see. Just check the site once a day to see if I have entered anything new in the new Change Log page. I will make Shoutbox posts when I do.

Thanks for reading!
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on August 20 2013
Game Update

8/20/2013 - 12:35 PM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- Life still is going well.
- Redoing the entire demo's rooms.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Yo peeps. Just a brief update.

I have started my new job and absolutely love it. I am starting to get good at it and things are looking good. I also finished my first college class with an A and am on to the next one! Things are going great for me.

I decided that I was going to redo all of the demo's rooms for a number of reasons...
- It will help motivate me to work on the game again.
- It will make every room flow more consistently using the same design tactics and patterns in tilesets and objects.
- It will help weed out inconsistencies in setup code and everything else.
- It will end up expanding the whole demo and make something I can easily paste into the final game.

I will post some screenshots of the tile layouts as I go and try to commit more time to this game.

Thanks for sticking with me!
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on July 21 2013
Game Update

7/21/2013 - 12:01 PM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- Life improving greatly! Got jobs and school.
- Haven't done too much on the game (Still).
- Beam customization engine would go into a possible sequel.
- Save and load feature breakthrough.
- Site updates!!!
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Hey guys! Great news! Although it has more to do with my life, I guess. I got a new job! In fact, my girlfriend and I BOTH did. They are badass jobs, too. She is working a paint store almost full time (And they will work around her school) at $11.50 an hour and I am working as a loss prevention agent at Rite-Aid for $12.00 an hour. We are both in school, we are both selling some of our old stuff and we have money for the first time in the better part of a year. We are so happy that we moved back home because things are looking up in the BEST ways.

So anyway, back to the game...

The second monitor has worked wonders for development, but I haven't had a lot of time or motivation to do anything yet. The current stage is absolutely painstaking because it involves changing and removing code that has been in the engine for MANY years now. Things are breaking and fixing them is easy, just tedious as all hell. That said, I still think about my game ALL the time and this is actually a good thing to have this kind of downtime. These are actually quite beneficial because I often run through the same feature in my mind over and over and over and over and over. In one case, I was thinking about the beam custimization feature. Veni Mortem's suggestion to make it part of a possible sequel is a MUCH better idea because if I were to do a sequel, I would be writing a new engine from SCRATCH (Which is something I thought about doing with the current engine, but decided against it since it is so far along). It will be a good feeling to set it aside for now and right it down in my "ideas" log for the distant future. It would be a big headache for me to code since I am not the best coder. I just have good coding logic and learned how to work around things.

The main thing I had a breakthrough with this morning (In the shower, as usual) was what the save system will be like. I had a epiphane and said, "WTF, that is the easiest shit, why did I worry about it so much?!" It is so easy... I can make it all run through two scripts. "Save" will take all of the important global variables such as the current room, ammo levels, items obtained and possibly some event flags and save all that to an encrypted save file. Luckily, I think I kept the old encryption scripts that CreativeBunch made for me a while back so that people can't just open it and edit it like a text file. Then "Load" would just take those variables from the save file and load them back in again. Simple! Everything else is just visuals which is completely separate and I am good at doing.

So yeah, things are looking up in every way for me. I have a job, I am in school and I am still thinking about the game every day. Moving on, though...

The website! It is SO much better! All of the changes I wanted are finally being made. Most of all, the news comments are fixed so you guys can actually respond to my posts and we can discuss the topics again. Compel-X is doing a huge FTP cleanup, so a few of the site's resources could break, but they are easy to fix. We will do that as we go.

Anyway, enjoy the now (Mostly) fixed website!
- Echo




EchoJerichoX on July 11 2013
Game Update News

7/10/2013 - 11:22 AM

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
- Working on the game some more.
- Thoughts on a new beam customization system.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * TL:DR * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Alright, so I have been starting to get back into working on the game again a little bit. I have been revising some more old effects engines that were using sprites instead of particles and removing the items talked about a few updates ago. The main reason for this post is to get input about a new idea I have about the beams. With the removal of two beams and the addition of one, the beams are now all pretty drastically different. I am thinking of creating an all-new beam mixing customization option. This is how it would work...

- Each beam would have its own unique properties. The Power Beam has low damage, medium range and high fire rate. The Wave Beam covers a wider spread with wavy projectiles and can stun enemies. The Plasma beam has extremely high damage, adds overheating to the current weapon and inflicts burn damage over time after an enemy is hit.
- The player picks up to 3 beams at once and combines the effects. The player can then customize the beam's color and look within the boundaries of the features of each beam.
- Each beam (Along with their own combat abilities) would have its own customization options for visual effects, such as projectile shape, impact effects, color and more.
- The beams would retain their individual access abilities. In English, that means the Plasma Beam still melts objects, the Wave Beam still turns on electrical circuits (Or whatever I decide to do with it) and so on. The beams players create could combine these access effects for convenience.
- The player can name their beams when they are done and then tie them to a keybind. They can have up to 3 special beams available in-game (Activated with 1, 2 and 3 keys).
- An example of a setup would be the player having one access-related beam (Wave Beam, Plasma Beam and Ice Beam, let's say), one short range beam and one long range beam.
- The beams could be saved to a file and shared with others online (That would be very new territory for me).

I just thought of the idea today while thinking about how customization in games can really draw players in. It would be a complex system to code and maybe even use, but the result would be great and unique to the series. If I do decide to follow through with this idea, the process would be long and treacherous. There are a lot of good and bad things to weigh here. The feature would take a long time for me to code because it involves a full rewrite of every single beam in the game. It would be a long, annoying process to rebuild from scratch and work around the current setup. A good number of other features would probably break as well. I would be writing code that I have never even attempted before and it would probably discourage me from finishing the game bigtime. On the plus side, it would be a totally new, unique feature to the series. It would simplify the game and actually optimize it a lot by removing a bunch of redundant resources and using particles in place of sprites in many places. Customization would be a really cool feature and it would draw a lot of players.

Just something to think about. The more I mull over it, the more I think it belongs in a sequel and if that's the case, then fuck this feature - I don't want it slowing me down anymore than I already have.

Let me know your thoughts in the ShoutBox (Since Compel has promised me site fixes for almost a year and I have yet to see 1 thing change, the comments are going to stay broken for a while longer).
- Echo