Pre-Pre-Alpha all the Way

UPDATE: I no longer need help. The download links have been left intact for archival purposes.

I believe I’ve briefly spoken on several occasions about how Turtles all the Way‘s core mechanic involves timing one’s switches between two characters. However, tweaking the timing that the player has to maintain between switches is going to be a real pain, especially since the person who codes anything is generally the worst person to determine if what they coded is balanced or not. This is no exception.

And, adding to the problem, the game is most certainly not even ready for an alpha release at present. While most of the core stuff like enemies taking damage, stats, etc, have all been coded in, I only have one attack and one enemy coded in. In addition, I only have a generic space with platforms and twelve instances of that one enemy in the game at present, for the sake of testing things out. There are no 3D models nor textures ready, and the art isn’t ready either, so everything’s a grey cube/box on a blue background with the GUI being rectangles made on Paint.NET in 2 minutes. I also haven’t coded most menus or any way to quit the game.

But… if I were to make the (hard sell) assumption that people aren’t idiots and are willing to read an explanation and help me out, could this work?

Only one way to find out. I have uploaded standalone builds of Turtles all the Way Pre-Pre-Alpha v0.001 for both Windows and Mac (they’re both in ZIP archives, so you’ll need the proper program). Run it on Windowed Mode at all costs. I haven’t added the stuff needed to quit the game yet, so the only way to close it is to click on the red X on the upper-right corner in Windowed mode.

For the purpose of the uploading, I have temporarily made it so the pause screen will show you the current Sync Perfect Point and Sync Grace Period and allow you to increment/decrement both numbers. The final build will not show them to you nor let you mess with either. The idea here is for anyone who’s willing to download and run that to do so and try several different sets of numbers, telling me what they think an ideal setup for those numbers would be. Simply closing the game and running it again will reset everything but the options that are on the window that opens when you start it up.

So, basically… if you’re willing to help and have some free time, go for it. Anyone particularly helpful will be placed in the end credits for the final game as a “Pre-Pre-Alpha Tester” under their name, username, or whatever else what want me to write as their name (within reason). If you want me to do so, then include that information in the comments with your opinion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does “Q:” stand for?


Q: Why are you calling this something as long-winded as “Pre-Pre-Alpha v0.001”? Won’t “Alpha” suffice?

It’s to drill in that it’s incomplete.

Q: I’m running it on full screen. How do I close it?

Ctrl+Alt+Del. Read next time – there is currently no way to close the game on full screen. One will be added at a later date.

Q: Couldn’t you have just used Unity’s web player and saved everyone the trouble?

If Unity isn’t running, I find that the web player app crashes my browser.

Q: What are the controls?

WASD for movement. Q switches characters. Space to jump (and toggle levitation in midair). Moving the mouse moves the camera and turns the character. The mouse is also used to aim. Middle mouse button to make the mouse appear (which means aiming is turned on), and right-click if the mouse is visible to attack. The only attack coded in at present is Magnetic Implosion, but the visual effects are not coded in. Escape pauses the game.

Best not mess with the controls in the menu that opens when you start the game up. If you do, it saves your changes in your system’s registry, which wouldn’t be ideal.

Q: What do the bars stand for?

Top ones are HP, middle ones are stamina, bottom one is Sync.

Q: Why does a huge grey sphere appear when I attack? How do I get rid of it?

Since the visual effects are not coded in yet, that serves to tell you that you attacked and shows you the full range the attack hit. It’s not a solid object, so you can walk through it and so can enemies, it’s merely a visual cue.

It’d be a waste of time to code making it disappear. Plus, since enemies can take a lot of hits right now (and you can’t tell in the build that they’re taking damage – I currently have it telling me in debug mode, so I know it works), this is the only way to know that you’ve successfully attacked. I suggest not bothering with attacking for now – I have confirmed that it is fully functional to the point that I have coded so far, and continuing with coding that is literally the next thing I’m going to do.

If you choose to attack anyway and want to make the spheres disappear, you can do so by closing and rebooting the game.

Q: How can I tell who’s an enemy and who’s the partner character?

The enemies are smaller than you, the partner’s size is identical.

Q: Enemies appear to make unnecessarily wide turns and have the ability to double-jump and wall-jump.

I left those bugs in because they’re funny, and I have no idea why that happens anyway – there’s no basis for that in the code. The enemies use the same jumping script as the players do, and the player characters can’t double-jump, from my experience.

Q: The partner character is just flying around spastically and sometimes tries to fly through the invisible wall around the level to no avail. What do?

The placeholder code for the partner character simply has it float around near you. For the same unknown reason as with the enemies, this ends up making them try to make needlessly wide turns and therefore try to fly through the invisible wall to get to you. Worry not, I’ll get the partner and enemy AI to be functional once I get attacks working.

Q: Do the stats for the current character and partner have any basis in the final game itself?

Yes. Those are Magnet’s and (Base Form) Spark’s stats. All stats are coded in at present, but for the sake of this pre-pre-alpha, I’m locking you into Magnet and Spark.

Q: The text on the buttons in the pause menu aren’t entirely legible. What gives?

It has to do with how the font is calculated using the size of the screen. Sometimes, the screen size one uses makes the text cut off. I already have a fix in place for everything important, but the pause menu buttons are placeholders and thereby not important.

Q: It switches me to the other character when I die and the character I was using respawns.

That’s not a question.

Q: How do the two numbers we’re adjusting work?

When you press a button in the pause menu to increase/decrease the number, it generates an Early Point by subtracting half of the Grace Period from the Perfect Point, then creates a Late Point by adding half the Grace Period to the Perfect Point. Then it creates a Penalty Point by multiplying the Late Point by 1.1. Since the game calculates your time between switches and that could go wonky if you play with the numbers, I have set the time calculation to reset if you change anything.

If you switch characters before the Early Point or after the Late Point, your Sync takes a penalty according to how far away you are from the Perfect Point. If it’s between the Early Point and Late Point, then you gain Sync according to how close you are to the Perfect Point. If the amount of time between switches passes the Penalty Point, your Sync will quickly decrease until it hits the minimum Sync or you switch. Your stats are multiplied by your current Sync and stamina, so you want to keep both as high as possible.

I need opinions on what the Grace Period and Perfect Point should be set to.

Q: What do you still have left to code?

One might say “everything”. One might also be naive.

Remaining things are the AI, any attack that isn’t Magnetic Implosion, all enemies that aren’t the one I have coded in, the ability to quit the game on full screen, saving and loading, being able to win a level (and everything that comes with that), being able to lose a level (and everything that comes with that), money and the things you can do with it (since the lack of money right now means infinite lives), specific obstacles and the like (I have to wait for the level designer to tell me what he wants), and some of the storytelling stuff. Also, the music, menus, and most of the GUI need to be cleaned up. Then it’s just bells and whistles.

Not all that much. It’s actually mostly done.

Q: Any ideas for things to do for consistency while testing the Sync numbers?

Try attempting to reach all the platforms while not dying. Either character respawning resets all Sync numbers for the sake of reaching the lowest Sync total possible not becoming an instant loss condition that costs you all of your money and gets you a game over.

Q: Can you clarify what effects Sync has on the gameplay?

A certain type of attack will spend Sync to work, and will only work if you have at least a certain amount. As for things you can notice in the version you’re testing, stats are multiplied by your current Sync total, so it’s directly noticeable if you get a high or low enough total.