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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.

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Other Enemies

With the last post about the summoner we have covered all of the enemies in the game, except for a few special cases. I’ll clump two of these extra enemies here.

Possessed/Unwilling

they don’t deal damage for a second when coming out

These enemies are kind of a level hazard, since they appear only on a single level of the game and only on very specific areas.

They are a very simple monster, just a slow melee attacker. But in certain areas of the level they spawn endlessly from the ground, every time you kill one, another will raise somewhere near. They are a pretty fun obstacle to overcome. Every level in the game has its own unique mechanic like these zombie-like guys.

Cyber Mancubus

don’t step on the puddle

These variation on the mancubus used to be just the same but with more hit points. After reding some comments in the blog, I decided to give a shot at making it a more unique enemy.

So I made an acid version of the shots with some simple particles, the shots are also a bit faster but smaller. And now that a cyber mancubus dies it creates a pool of acid for a few seconds. Also there is a new effect to distinguish when  the player is touching acid or lava.

About the D3 mancubus, hes probably gonna work like the cyber-mancubus but stronger. Anyway it just appears in a single stage.

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The Summoner

The summoner is a slippery flying enemy that can be really difficult to kill. As the name implies, he can summon other demons. The summoner floats around the room and prefers to keep away from the player, letting it’s summoned demons do the dirty work.

Killing the summoner can be tricky because it spawns with a shield that can take a few hits (a weaker version of the armored-pinky shield). If the shield is destroyed and the summoner starts taking damage, it will teleport away from the player and regenerate its shield. For this reason using splash damage is most effective against summoners.

Rockets are almost mandatory

Summoners can also attack by throwing a slow traveling energy wave at the player. This attack can go through walls and is very wide, but is kind of slow. Summoners have a really slow fire rate, so they aren’t very dangerous without their minions.

And of course the sommoner can summon lesser demons. There is a chance the it summons a hellraiser or a smaller chance it summons a new imp or a pinky. Right now those are the only 3 demons that can be summoned. I might add revenants or heavy weapons dudes to the list later, but I haven’t tested them with so much summoning variety yet. Don’t worry they have a limit to how many enemies can be summoned at a time (right now its 3).

You can actually bypass the shield with clever angling

Even without their shield summoners are very tough and hard to catch. These enemies should be your first priority on any battle! Kill them before they fill the room with enemies! (A couple of unmaker shots are the best option)

Nice mid-air weapon switch, brah
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Hell Knight

We are showing the hell knight just now because all of its sprites were redrawn and are sharper than ever.
The hell knight is a large tanky chaser enemy than can deal a lot of damage and disrupt your movement by pushing you around, jumping and blocking your way.


What makes hell knights dangerous is their large size. Their running speed is not too high, but they accelerate when jumping. They can also jump higher depending if the player is positioned much higher than they are.

Learn how they behave and you’ll easily dodge them

All this makes them hard to avoid if you cannot focus them 1 on 1.
There are many ways to avoid hell knights. You can even roll through them but your timing has to be good.

Easiest way is to wait till they jump and slam the ground and jump over them at that point. Trying to jump over a running hell knight can cause them to jump to intercept you, and you don’t want to get hit by that (while jumping they have increased damage and knock-back power).


When a hell knight slams the ground it launches a small fire wave that travels over the ground. Don’t get distracted by this, it doesn’t deal as much damage as the knight and it doesn’t push. A chosen hell knight can launch a fire wave that travels way longer.


Hell knights can be hard to ignore with their size and mobility, get used to their way of movement so you can better engage them in a group fight.

Hes big but ignore that bastard, focus on archviles
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Weapon spotlight: Unmaker

You saw it coming. The last weapon is Doom64’s Unmaker! The Unmaker is a devastating precision-weapon that can deals massive damage in straight lines. It is perfect for taking out priority targets, even when they are in a crowd.

       

This weapon also has a long history in its development. As soon as we started planning the new weapons, we knew we wanted to implement the unmaker somehow.

If you played Doom64 you know the Unmaker is a rapid fire laser that pierces through enemies and can have a small spread.

Thinking about translating this into 2D I immediately thought about a hitscan(instant hit) laser gun, much like the metal slug laser, except it would go through enemies.

The apparently bright idea

Problem is, It was too good. The weapon was just too convenient, it was a super powered version of the minigun or plasma. It didn’t really do anything different, it just did it better.

So then I tried to balance that prototype, low damage didn’t feel like an ultimate weapon at all. High ammo consumption seemed like the best way, so you could only sustain the beam for a few precious seconds. But that also felt wrong somehow… It made the minigun obsolete and it also didn’t feel ULTIMATE enough…

Then I went for a more BFG approach: rare ammo, small charge time and a high payoff. And after balancing the weapon it felt right, one of my favorites.

It felt like an ultimate weapon. Rather than shooting it for a few seconds, it builds up for a second and then it shoots a massive blast in the direction you are aiming. It’s harder to master, but the payoff is also more satisfying.

Getting the timing right is key

The Unmaker fires a huge laser (as tall as you are) that deals massive damage to everything in front of you instantly. Afterwards if anything survives the initial blast it will also deal additional heavy damage to the first enemy in front of you. This means the Unmaker is great for killing tough priority targets like archviles, summoners or chosen hellspawn even when they are surrounded by lesser demons.

If the additional damage is triggered, a visual effect is displayed over the enemy

The Unmaker doesn’t have the massive radius of effect from the BFG but it shoots faster and it also consumes HALF THE AMMO. So you can be a lot more liberal with your Unmaker shots.

Crowds of enemies or a big fat one reduced to chunks in seconds

Annihilate everything in front of you or deal massive damage to one target. The Unmaker is the perfect weapon for a platform game, delivering instant death in straight lines.

See you soon space marines.

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Weapon spotlight: BFG 9000

The BFG returns and is now as powerful as it should have been the first time. It is a massive area of effect projectile weapon that can deal critical damage at close range from the blast and low damage at long range from the blast. Its usage is very limited, but it can clear the screen of enemies.

How it used to work in MiniDOOM1

The BFG used energy as ammo, also in that game you could accumulate a lot energy cells. So either I made the BFG really powerful and eat up a huge chunk of you energy, or made it less strong and allow the player to use it more. I went for the latter approach, because I wanted the player to have plasma ammo if needed.

Ammo modeled after Doom3 ammo

I guess it was the right decision because the BFG wasn’t precise at all, often bullets would just miss theyr target and if they were too expensive it would be frustrating. The downside was that when you hit, the enemies wouldn’t die, and the weapon felt weak.

The damage was also kind of random. The damage was proportional to the distance but was not regulated to be useful with enemy health amounts. That meant that most times the damage would be just a bit short to kill an enemy. Like a pinky having 90 life and BFG deals 87 because pinky was just a bit far. This kind of damage is not useful, it just left all enemies weakened and made the weapon feel wrong.

What can you kill with one shot? A lot

How it works in MiniDOOM2

Main difference is that BFG now has its own ammo, this is how the ammo works:

Whenever you spawn (enter a level or respawn) you have enough BFG ammo for one shot. You can also accumulate enough BFG ammo for two shots, but BFG ammo is very hard to come by, it is usually hidden. So the BFG is your trump card, you always spawn with one, and decide when its best to use it.

You can also increase your BFG ammo (starting and max) later in the game. To increase fun all enemies have a REALLY SMALL chance of dropping BFG ammo when killed!!

The AoE is most of the screen

In the accuracy department BFG projectile now travels a distance, and then it homes into the nearest enemy, much like the plasma but slower and more accurate. The projectile also has a huge hit box for enemies, and a small one for terrain. If the BFG doesn’t hit anything in its short life, it’ll explode blasting anything nearby. Much more reliable than the older version.

In the damage department BFG is devastating. The projectile itself deals damage and a direct hit with it will kill almost anything except for the toughest enemies (Hellknight will die but Archville can survive). Then it has 5 area damage zones according to distance to the blast. 1st distance has enough damage to kill mancubi or cacodemons, 2d has enough to kill armored pinkys, 3rd can kill hellrazers or heavy weapons-dudes, 4th imps, and 5th zombiemen.

They were asking for it… clumping up like that

Use your BFG wisely, but don’t overthink it. You always have one available. So don’t forget that when things get tough you always have the nuclear option.