Dodging all the Way

Well, now that I’m done classes for the academic year (that’s why posts have been slow lately, BTW), we’ve… sort of settled on a new title for the game, I think?

Basically, after the previous post on the topic, I’ve been coming up with a bunch of title ideas and showed them to Atman and Icy while I was , some of which were silly, some of which were already taken, some of which were instantly shot down despite being fitting. We eventually settled on one for now, subject to change if we can agree on a better one.

But before I tell you which one we chose, here’s the full list of 61 titles I came up with, sorted alphabetically. BEHOLD, MY LACK OF TITLE-WRITING SKILL!:

Aerial Warriors
Altered Path
Bakuhatsu Hurricane
Basis of Lies
Burn the Ashes
Double Assist
Forces of JUSTICE!
Future Heart
Games Are Fun If They’re Well-Made
Half of Each Other
Heroine Phase
Highly Unlikely Story
Hollow Cheer
I Know You’ll Think Back to This Day Someday
Infinite Operation
Magic Trick
Magnum Opus
Molding Project
Overwhelming Rush
Piece of the Sky
Planning Phase
Run! Fight! Magnetic! Implosion!
Sadly, It Is Not April Fool’s Day
Saigo no Mugen Kame
Si Tenemos Tiempo
Standing Ovation
Synchronized Thoughts
That Game
The “Goddess” Plan
The Best Forgery Ever
The Heart of the Matter
The Infinite Magical Core
The Magical World of Hephaestus
The Nonsense By-product of a Hyperactive Imagination
The Ouroboros Problem
The Power of Suzanne Owoh
The Turtles Who Had Wings
The Unending Swarm
They Have Been Forewarned
We All Live beneath That Aurora-Filled Sky
We Would Repeat That Forever
Weirdo #6
World Turtle Pile-Up
Wrath of the Ruler
You Are Not a Hero
Ω My God!

Falesness is one of the main themes in the game, so I focused on that, but it seems that the others were not amused. In fact, practically everything that made any meaningful reference to in-game actions or plot points were outright rejected for some reason.

So, which one did we pick?

Well, Highly Unlikely Story was the clear leader for a while, with me thinking that we could have named the game T.H.U.S.: The Highly Unlikely Story or something along those lines. It was picked out by both of the others because it stood out as tongue-in-cheek, but the novelty wore off for Atman after a while. Icy liked Magicore, but it was sadly taken. He also thought The “Goddess” Plan was a good title, but was apparently “not psychotic enough” for the game. Atman suggested we just call the game Hephaestus, but I veto’d that, saying I didn’t want to fight a freakin’ Greek god in the Google rankings. Personally, I was partial to The Best Forgery Ever and The “Goddess” Plan.

Eventually, though, we settled on The Turtles Who Had Wings, except we made it singular: The Turtle Who Had Wings. Pending a better title we can agree on, we’re going with that. As a result, the title has gone on the following path so far: Magnet the Turtle → Project East-West → Turtle of Infinity → Turtles all the Way → The Turtle Who Had Wings. The pages and such will be changed soon to reflect this (though it should auto-redirect, so don’t worry if you had a link to something).

The Turtle Who Had Wings Logo (Placeholder)
Just a place-holder logo for now.

In other news related to the game, I’ve shown pre-alpha v0.016 to an internet friend of mine who I’ve mentioned before, known as No Limit, as well as an old friend from high school. Between those two, I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback. For one thing, I’ve replaced the Defend command with a Dodge command for every playable character except for two of them: Shi is too defense-based and wears armor that’s too heavy for dodging, so she’s keeping her already special Defend command – which is summoning 4 giant shields to rotate around her at high speeds and block out all incoming attacks. Ruyo’s zombie form will simply no longer find any use for the command in general, as his zombie form was supposed to be slower and used solely for its health-draining move.

The way dodging works in the game is simple, but not as forgiving as most games. And, really, while I’ve become far more skilled lately, I ca only imagine how hard this would have been to code for me a year ago.

If you’re controlling a character who can dodge, the game checks to your left and to your right by 3 times the length of your character to see if there would be a collision with a wall or an enemy. If neither direction would result in a collision, a direction is picked at random. If both would, it picks the direction with the most space. I’m sure you can fill in the rest of the blanks in your head.

Dodging Example (Deciding Direction)
If the blue square is a player, the gray rectangle is a wall, the red square is an enemy and the purple circle is a projectile attack, and you tried to dodge here, you’d move to the left.

After figuring out which direction to go, the game throws the character in that direction by a length equivalent to 2 times the length of your character over the course of one tenth of a second, with your defense multiplied 100-fold while you do so instead of being invincible. Then the code checks to see if there are any enemies or incoming attacks within 3 character’s lengths of your final position. If there aren’t any, the dodge is over. If there are, the game tosses your character in that same direction for further increments of 0.1 seconds up to a total of 0.5 seconds spent dodging, after which you’re charged 50 stamina (or just have the stamina emptied if it’s below 50) and cannot dodge for the next 0.5 seconds.

Dodging Example (Checking for Danger)
But stopping after the standard dodge distance leaves you in range of the attack, so you’d move a bit farther.

I chose to not make the character invincible to make it feel more like the characters were actually being grazed by attacks if they’re hit because you dodged at the last second, though you don’t get affected by knockback while dodging. And speaking of knockback, this was a major complaint from No Limit – he felt that you get knocked away too far if hit by enemy attacks. Well, instead of fixing that (which is easy if I ultimately need to – it’s just lowering a variable), I actually increased the amount of time for which you cannot move after being hit from a quarter of a second to half a second. During this time frame, controls don’t work, but there’s a singular exception – you can dodge out of the knockback, even in midair!

Given how poor the defenses are for most of the characters, I imagine the Dodge command will be an invaluable part of any player’s arsenal when the game is complete.