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TWHG3 Lvl 4 Preview Coming Soon on Dec 5, 2013
By Stevie
Posted in Projects
Comments (3)

Once I finish level 4 of The World's Hardest Game #3 within the next week, I'll be posting another video trailer to show off some of the cooler level designs. This upcoming trailer will probably be the last preview of the game until it's released in January 2014.

Progress has been slow, mainly because I'm finishing up this semester, but also because it's really grueling work to be designing/testing really hard levels all the time. I should be able to get most of the rest of the game done in my break in December, and then release it as planned (since I pushed back the date) in mid January. Right now I'd say the level design is 70% done and the entire game is around 85% done.
Level Design, Ending, JWT Game on Oct 17, 2013
By Stevie
Posted in Projects
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Here's a video of me designing the first area in level 4 of The World's Hardest Game 3. I'll probably make another one of these videos when I'm designing one of the really hard areas in level 5.




Like I said in the previous blog entry, the release date of TWHG3 has been pushed back. It was originally set at September, which was just an overly optimistic goal which I set because I didn't want the development of this game to overlap with university, but unfortunately I came nowhere near finishing it by that time. Now that I'm in school, I barely have any time to work on TWHG3. :( I'm hoping to have it done before the end of the year, but the very latest will be mid January. I feel really bad about overshooting my original deadline by this much, but like I said before, it was an easy mistake to make because it's so easy to underestimate the work required, even after 10 years of experience (yup, it's been that long).

Here's a sneak peak at the minimap for level 3. Levels 4 and 5 will be even bigger!

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I'm very happy to announce that I have come up with a great way to end the game! In the first two games, after finishing the final level you just went to a highscore submit screen. This time, there will be an actual reward of some sort for finishing the game. I'm sure most people will like it, because I really do.

I feel like I should also mention again, I'm extremely proud of how this game is turning out. The whole time I've worked on this game, I've never stopped caring that it's the best that it can be (given the finite amount of time I can dedicate to it). Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for anything else I've ever worked on, except maybe this website (Snubby Land), although it's still a work in progress. So yeah, I guarantee you'll see a big increase in quality between TWHG3 and my other games. I don't want to be too hard on myself because I did put a lot of effort into my other projects, but it's not the same as TWHG3. I think the reason is, since I'm sponsored by Addicting Games and the previous games have had such huge success, I'm guaranteed that millions will play this, and I really take that seriously. Also, I'm not saying this to brag, but I've been paid what I consider a huge amount of money to make this. The fact that a company is willing to value my work at such a high price really makes me feel good. When I got the sponsorship secured it might have been the best day of my life; not because I got money, but because I felt like I had earned it. Also, the fact that I waited around 2 weeks in suspense made it all the sweeter when it came back, "Yes". And finally, when I got the sponsorship I knew it was around a month until I would hit #1 of all time on AG, which made it even better. It's just been really amazing all around.



One thing people probably don't realize is just how much work designing 50 areas is. Especially since the stage size in TWHG3 is big and the areas connect. That is a ridiculous amount of work for one man... who's also responsible for everything else... and who's made 90 other levels for the previous games as well. Just coming up with what to do is a difficult task, and doing it is even harder! And since I'm already way behind on schedule, and my life is suffering greatly because of it, I have been very tempted to make TWHG3 with less areas than I originally planned. But I won't do it for the simple reason: having more areas makes it way harder, and that's really important. I like the idea that at area 30 you're still way less than half done (in terms of gameplay time). So I won't get lazy and cut it short.

Anyway, something else cool happened recently. I did a job with a big company called Jay Walter Thompson around 1.5 years ago, but never ended up seeing the finished product, so I assumed they ditched it. But as I sat bored in class yesterday Googling my own name, I realized that the project had been finished and they just forgot to tell me! So here's a video of the game "Labyrinth" that they made with a bit of my consulting that was based on TWHG. It was a game that was meant to help advertise their services in a fun way. Check out the video/screenshots below or see this website for more details and some extra screenshots. You cannot play the game because it's exclusive to a certain private group of people. I'll play it soon and tell you how it is!




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As you can see, all the levels are remakes of levels from TWHG.

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I have to put this link to online poker here for one of my advertisers. Yeeeaaaahhhhhh.
TWHG #1 on AG, TWHG3 Progress on Sep 14, 2013
By Stevie
Posted in Projects
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It's been almost 6 years since the original The World's Hardest Game was released, and as of a couple days ago it is now officially the MOST POPULAR GAME OF ALL TIME on Addicting Games with over 70 million hits!!! I've been waiting for this for a long time, and it's a pretty big accomplishment, so I'm really happy about it! :D

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Also, if you look at how many hits the other games have and how fast they're growing, it will be pretty much impossible for any other game to ever beat TWHG. Basically, any new game won't have a chance because I have a 70 million hit head-start and I'm still growing quickly, and any existing game won't have a chance because I've been consistently growing faster than them or I have too big of a head start and they are bound to slow down before they get anywhere near me. So I can expect to be at the top of the list for pretty much as long as it exists.

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WHERE IS TWHG3?!?!?!?!?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish it before the start of second-year university, so now I have to work on it when I'm not in school or doing homework. I feel bad about not getting it done when I said I would, but setting the release date too early was an easy mistake to make, because it's hard to know how long it will take and things always seem a lot easier in your head compared to when you're actually doing it.

Anyway, I'm currently about 80% done the game and 40% done the level design. I'm a couple days away from finishing level 3 and getting started on level 4. So far, the designs in each level have gotten significantly better as the game goes on, and I'm really, really happy with how level 3 has turned out. I'm expecting the rest of the game is going to be even better. One thing I don't think people realize about level design is that it's not like it can just be good or bad, it could be anywhere between really bad and really good, because there are so many different things to think about and ways to go about designing a level. Doing a good job of it takes a lot of creativity, trial and error, and planning.

I don't think anybody wants this game done as much as I do, because I get the glory of finishing a big game, I can start focusing on school, I get paid (my biggest sponsorship yet by far :D), I get a lot of weight off my shoulders, and I get to read reviews and check how it's doing from time to time which is really fun.

I'm hoping to finish it in late October, but it could be sooner or later than that. Sorry again for pushing back the release date. I'll also probably be releasing one more behind the scenes video of me desigining a level.
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TWHG3 Level Design Thoughts on Aug 7, 2013
By Stevie
Posted in Projects
Comments (4)

Now that I'm done programming the engine of The World's Hardest Game 3, most the remaining work is desigining the levels. I decided to make this video to talk about all the different aspects of level design that I've been keeping in mind while working on the rest of the game.




One thing I forgot to mention in the video is why I wanted freedom and restriction of the player. If there's too much freedom, it wouldn't use the keys and doors to their full potential, and also it would be too easy. If there was too much restriction, it wouldn't be as fun, and also wouldn't take advantage of the multiple entrances to different areas. So there needs to be a balance of both freedom and restriction.

AttachmentSome more fan art of TWHG has been added to the fan art page! This is another custom version of TWHG with 41 levels made by James Robert in Game Maker. Be sure to check it out; I played through it and had a lot of fun.

The World's Hardest Game 3 Teaser! on Jun 30, 2013
By Stevie
Posted in Projects
Comments (0)

I have finally finished the demo of The World's Hardest Game 3, so check out the teaser video!



 
As I mentioned earlier, this addition to the series has some new features that I think make it a lot better than the previous two games!


Major Differences

  • The biggest difference is that each level consists of a bunch of smaller levels which are connected at the edges of the screen. This forces you to navigate through enemies multiple times and from different angles. Some keys open doors in different areas of the level (which show the doors opening in a cutscene), and when you've collected all the coins, the golden door opens allowing you to make your way to the next level. This adds an element of strategy in figuring out how to beat the level in the most optimal way, and gives me the opportunity to be more creative with the level design. It also changes the gameplay to a little more like that of an adventure game.

  • Because each level consists of different areas, I added a map (perfectly to scale) on the popup menu which reveals only areas that you've been to or seen in a cutscene. The map shows the open/closed doors, flashes the current checkpoint, and indicates the start and finish checkpoints. Since some levels will be really huge, seeing how big the map is will give you an idea of what you're getting into, and helps you remember where things are.

  • The hit detection for the walls has been drastically improved (it's now 100% pixel-perfect). Even better, when you hit the edge of a wall the player automatically moves around it, making it much easier to get through tight spaces and carve your way around walls. Trust me, this is an amazing improvement. Believe it or not, this took me a total of around 16 hours to finally get the program working right, and I'm proud to say it's the best hit detection I've ever seen in a Flash game! :D The hit detection for the enemies is mostly the same, although I figured out a way to make sure enemies moving quickly will never pass through you without killing you.

  • The game now optionally automatically saves at each checkpoint. This was a key element missing from the first two games (although I did add auto-saving in TWHG v2.1, along with 10 new levels).

  • The player, enemies and doors now optionally show a motion trail which looks a lot better and gives you a better idea of how fast they are going.

  • The player now optionally talks to you in a speech bubble throughout the game.


Minor Differences

  • The game size is significantly bigger; at 100% scaling it is 900x600, as opposed to 550x400 for TWHG and 700x500 for TWHG2. Because of this and the fact that there's a lot of travelling, the player moves slightly faster. A lot of people felt the player moved too slowly in the first two games, but that is no longer an issue.

  • The player, enemies and coins are all slightly bigger. This was done mainly so that the player can fit perfectly between walls, but it turns out that it also makes levels where there are enemies in place of the walls much better, because I can center one enemy on each tile and it's the perfect amount of difficulty. In the previous games, I would have to make a bunch of enemies really close together in order to achieve this same difficulty level, which didn't look as good.
  • Attachment
  • Extra player colors are now collected (one on each level) instead of being given for free.

  • Checkpoints now flash when you activate them. Also, you can activate the same checkpoint again by collecting a coin or key and then returning to it, which for example allows you to pop out and grab a coin and then come back to safety, instead of having to go to a different checkpoint in order to not risk having to collect the coin again.

  • Coins no longer have a flip animation; they shine instead (along with keys).

  • The main menu is a playable level of the game which contributes to your death count. :P

  • I'm going to try to make the highscore board unhackable. This is really hard though because people have programs that will list all the variables and allow them to disable the enemies. If I can succeed in preventing any sort of hacks, it should be really interesting to see how few deaths the world record will be (I guarantee nobody will legitimately beat it with 0 deaths).

  • You can now optionally mute the SFX or music, instead of just both or neither.




Anyway, there's a lot more I want to talk about in terms of level design, but I'm going to save that for after I have gotten more of it done. I'll also be talking more later about the programming of the game for those who are interested in game development. This is my first Flash ActionScript 3.0 game (that will actually get finished; I ditched a game I started called Dungeon Dude) and I've spent a lot of time making sure it's programmed in an optimal way that allows me to add/modify levels with the least amount of effort.

Finally, I have a huge list of upgrades that I want to make to Snubby Land before I release TWHG3. This is mainly because I'll be getting extra traffic when the game comes out and I want people to have the best experience possible at my site. At this point it makes a lot more sense to upgrade my current site instead of redesigning it; because that would just be too huge of a job. I'm still willing to make major changes though, because Snubby Land is here to stay and I take a lot of pride in it. I'll go through the huge list of upgrades that I'll be making to SL in another post. Sign up for my mailing list to stay up to date with all my work.

Since I'm going to be very busy trying to finish TWHG3 by September, and I also am taking first-year "physics and linear algebra for games" in summer-school, I'm going to try to hold off on playing online poker and just try to work non-stop. I've been doing really well at poker (by my standards), but I really, REALLY, REALLY don't want the development of TWHG3 to overlap with the start of second-year university (for game development and entrepreneurship), because then I would seriously jeopardize my chances at doing well in school, especially since I was slacking this year for various reasons (may go more into that as well in another post). So I just need to buckle down and get some serious work done, which I'm fully prepared and motivated to do. Wish me luck!
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