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Starting Levels

Let’s take a look at what the first levels are. The first 2 levels of the game are pretty tame.

1-Hangar

The first level is of course the beloved Hangar; it has the purpose of teaching the basic mechanics of the game and is the home of the Shotgun and the Grenades. It doesn’t have much combat or platforming.

It has some nice outside areas though

2- Central Processing

The second level Is Central Processing, it has a high tech setting. The level will give you two new powerups very early: Double Jump and the Plasma Gun. Yeah plasma is the second weapon in the game, this is because it has an important role. The weapon is very powerfull, but it consumes a lot of ammo and your maximum energy cells are not very high at the start.

High tech all the way

The rest of the level has more platforming than combat and a lot of enemies in angles to get players used to the double jump and plasma. There are plenty of electric traps and the first chosen hellspawn awaits there to battle.

3-Foundry

Shit gets serious

Level three is the Foundry, a Doom2016 inspired level. And it’s here where you learn the last of the basic mechanics like rolling around and using switches. It is a large stage with a lot of combat. This level is the first real challenge in your journey.

Seconds away from death.

But I won’t get much more into the levels than this. I don’t want to spoil too much, also I don’t think I will do any more of these descriptions for the other levels, so you’ll just have to play them.

See you soon!

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November Progress update

Things are moving along. We have the Save and Load functions working! There are 4 save slots to save your game.

Just a dummy menu I’m using, but it works perfectly

I’m finally adding textures to some levels. More on this later this week!

Level 3 is looking damn fine

Also here is a section of the Hell over world map.

The hell map is hella-awesome *wink*

Much to do, see you very soon!

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MiniDoom and Exploration

Throughout this year I’ve been able to watch many different people playing MiniDoom. I got a better idea of what people want or expect when playing the game. And exploration IS NOT IT. A clear path, clear objectives, hard challenges and quick retries. This is the best formula I came up with, this is most of all an action game.

But I always liked exploration in games, it can be so rewarding if you have the time. I wanted to put something in miniDoom to discover, not just carve a straight path of blood (which also is awesome, don’t get me wrong).

Plenty of stuff to discover in every level!

Remembering MiniDoom1 the place where most players stopped playing was level 3: the Toxin Refinery. This is because the Toxin Refinery is not a lineal level, you can chose between two paths to get the keys, and then use them in a poorly placed door. The problem here was that the objectives weren’t clear, but I also believe the maze like layout of the refinery caused frustration in a fast paced game.

With the level structure in MiniDoom2 I try to solve these problems. The main route through most levels is very straight forward and clear. There are also optional areas which contain powerups or upgrades. These optional areas are usually harder to access or hidden.

Level 1. Red are optional areas. Its the smallest map, the larger maps have less optional areas.

So a player who plays straightforward can finish the levels without confusion. And someone who wants to explore a bit can look for optional secrets. In the end, the upgrades should only be necessary if you plan on playing the higher difficulties, or if you are having trouble in a certain level (they are optional after all). You also have the option to revisit other stages and search for upgrades or you can just lower the difficulty.

So is exploration a part of MiniDoom2? Nope, but there are things to discover if you want to.

See you next time.

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Hazards and Traps

Let’s get into the more platforming aspects of the game now. As I mentioned before, each level has its own thing, so there are level specific hazards for each map.

Whats a 2D game without spikes? Don’t worry they don’t insta-kill

We have got barrels, teleporters, spikes, spike traps, lasers, electric traps, acid, high jump platforms, falling platforms, pits, lava and even more shit to keep you on your toes.

Deadly geometry

The cool thing about these hazards is that all of them can be used against the enemies (just like barrels). And you will probably have to use them in battle to overcome some challenges MiniDoom is an action game after all.

High jump pads in level 3

I don’t want to show too much about these mechanics to not spoil the game. So just know that hazards are here but they are not the focus of the game, they just spice up the gameplay.

See you soon!

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Combat Trials

There are 4 special levels around the maps that are trials. Each one of these is like a really short stage focused on a certain theme.

All enemies in the Trial of Might are Chosen Hellspawn that’s the theme!

Difficult

Trials focus on combat and have little to no platforming. They will pit you against enemies you have faced in new and challenging ways. All trial doors will remain closed if there are enemies nearby. The difficulty of trials is higher than levels up to that point.

A bunch of pinkies in a corridor with no room to jump?

Limited resources

Most trials don’t have any checkpoints and have little to no health refills or ammo pick-ups. Combat trials demand precision to dodge and dispose of enemies efficiently. Without checkpoints you need to do it in one go, and unlike regular levels if you die after unlocking a killing room, you will have to clear it again.

Or a plain old pinkie swarm

Rewards

There will be a small reward at the end of each trial in the form of a regular upgrade. However a greater price awaits those who can complete all 4 trials!

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MiniDoom2 gets a full Soundtrack

For miniDoom1 we used fan made music from cover albums (“Dark side of Phobos” and “DoomII: Delta-Q-Delta”). Awesome music indeed, but maybe not appropriate for every level.

This time the will have a complete soundtrack, this means that every level will have its own music according to its theme.

Responsive music and transitions

The music in some levels will vary according to the environment such as electric blasts in level 2 that will trigger an electric guitar, it will also slow down when opening the weapon select menu and other effects such as that.

Also the music will have a normal version for the normal or platforming sections of the levels and another version for the closed fights that will be much more aggressive and fast.

Here’s a really small sample of the music with some gameplay.

A third member joins the dev team to take charge of music and other aspects of sound design! He is very talented and will give all the music the Doom flavor it deserves.

Oh and don’t worry this won’t delay the game further, he’s already been working on the music for months.

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Go to hell

As we mentioned before half the game takes place in hell. We wanted to make a nice transition from mars to hell. So we made a portal loosely based on the one from Doom2016!

I’m quite happy with how it turned out, the artist went ham on the concept and came up with a room that was way bigger than the camera so you have to walk around the room to get the full view of it.

The full room, it’s the end of level6 and the first half of the game.
It has some nice lightning effects in-game but I removed them for the capture because of the camera-shaking too much.
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Mini Update

Hello! We aren’t dead, we just went on a small trip to a comics and videogames convention here in the third world. We prepared the first 2 levels for people to play and test.

From all the gifs you might have noticed that I don’t usually apply textures or tile sets to levels while I test the game. But for this I had to decorate the levels and they are looking very nice.

The artist has been slowly producing new graphics for every level, so that each one looks and plays uniquely.

Here is the last room of level 1: The Hangar just before the exit. Here you face off with the first pinkies. Everything still subject to changes.

Bare essentials for testing

Dressed the place a bit more interestingly

Does it look cluttered? In game looks rather fine. Camera is much smaller

We’ll be back with more news soon!

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Secrets and score

So the score screen is lot different from the classic Doom’s, this one is a lot simpler. This is to save the score you get and display it in the overworld map too.

Classic Doom score screen counted kills items and secrets in a percentage basis. Then it counted your time vs a level standard time. We wanted to take this into MiniDoom if possible but ended up making some changes along the way.

Ye olde screen

We don’t use percentages because we wanted to store and display your score for each level, and to display a score in 5 different parameters was a lot of info on the screen. So the score is just one parameter that goes from 0 to 5. If you meet one of the scores’ criteria for that level (like enough kills) you get one point to your score.

Also the “items” score parameter had to go. Its no fun to go grab every last health bonus, this isn’t Banjo Kazooie.

The score parameters

hmmmm dat screen melt

Kills: Of course you will be awarded this point if you kill most of the enemies you encounter. Summoned enemies (like lost souls from a pain elemental) don’t count towards this score, however enemies that respawn do count.

Deaths: If you die too many times in a level you won’t get this point.

Time: Gotta go fast. This score gives a margin for time wasted dying the allowed amount of times.

Difficulty: Playing in any difficulty harder than normal will award this point.

Secrets: You do not need to find all secrets in one go. All secrets you find are saved and you won’t need to find them again if you want a good score.

You can check your score and secrets from the overworld map

So since “Score” is one whole thing from 0 to 5 to get a perfect one you need to do all 5 things at once, you can’t get “kills” in one go, then try for “time” the next time you play. Except with secrets, take your time exploring.

Secrets

We want to include a lot of secrets in the game and we needed a way for players to know which secrets they already found and which are missing. So we use a collectible item to mark this: Runes.

Runes dont have graphics yet hehe… they will probably look something like that (Doom2016)

So secret areas may contain standard pickups or some other secret thing, in these cases the area will also contain a Rune. Runes do not respawn once picked up, so you will have a better idea of where you have already been if you reenter a level looking for secrets. Secret areas may also contain small upgrades to your total life, armor, or ammo; these count towards the total secrets found for each level. And of course they don’t respawn either.

Runes do not do anything by themselves but collecting them will unlock extra cool things in the game, if you are into that sort of thing.

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Checkpoints and Keys

Life before checkpoints

Previously the game used keys as a sort of checkpoint. Once you got a key and died, you didn’t need to get it again and could just access the next area of the level. This was a clever shortcut I took to making checkpoints since the game was made in a rush.

We even have fancy new doors for each key.

This had a side effect though, all restricted color doors had to be around the starting point so they weren’t frustrating to get to after dying. Levels in MiniDoom1 had to be modular and all grow around the starting room this meant they couldn’t really be very different. BUT NO MORE!

And a gorgeous hell themed door set.

Life now

The implementation of killing rooms (fighting challenges) meant that a quicker retry method was needed! So yeah now we do have checkpoints, there are many in each level and you will always find one before a challenging battle.

Can you tell where we got inspiration for the design? I bet you can.

Keys still restrict access to areas and in some levels you will have to get a key then backtrack to a central hub to its color door. But now it’s not a necessity so levels are much more varied. One even follows a linear structure of checkpoints and fights where there are no keys.

The forced suicide problem

MiniDoom2 has no “lives” you can die and respawn infinitely; dying will respawn you with full health and a little ammo. This also meant that if you reach a checkpoint with low health it was better for you to kill yourself and respawn refilled. I hate this in games, especially the megaman series where it’s mandatory to game over after every boss just to refill your extra lives…

I like my marines well-done. (sorry about the mouse)

So yeah, there were 2 ways to go about this. 1: Don’t reward the player for dying (respawning with low life or ammo or no BFG ammo OR implement an extra life system). 2: Just fill the player’s health and ammo at each checkpoint as if he/she died and design the levels accordingly. I obviously chose the second option because it led to less player frustration.

This means that at every checkpoint the player is refreshed and between checkpoints there has to be a challenge according to that. I actually like this a lot, the progression is designed checkpoint to checkpoint and not necessarily as a whole level where the player can’t die. Every section of the level can be challenging and interesting!!

See you next time.