The Duellists: Alpha 2

Posted by (twitter: @farfromsleep)
September 1st, 2013 11:24 pm

(UPDATE! On checking this again with a fresh perspective, I’ve reverted the sound design back to the original style instead of the awkward halfway house that was there before, and removed the soundtrack until I can arrange something more appropriate. That should make it easier to compare versions now, as the sound wasn’t doing this one any favours. I’ve also rewritten the tutorial dialogs to be shorter and easier to read, adding a slow-motion delay during the loading instructions in round 1-1 to give you a little more time to read ’em.)

I promised an update for the Duellists today, so here we are :)

I didn’t get to cover quite all the fixes and updates I’d planned due to being sick as a dog over the weekend (still am, *coff coff*), but there should still be some fun stuff. It’s essentially the same game with the same setup as the LD entry, just given a good bit more work and polish. There’s a lot of interface elements and stuff still waiting to be done, but at least the game itself is really starting to take shape.


Play it in your Web Browser (Google Chrome and a reasonably decent computer preferred)
Download 3MB .ZIP for Windows (for slower computers and offline play)

And here’s the original LD version for comparison.

Here’s the stuff that made it in so far:

  • Updated graphics, lots left to do but you get the idea.
  • Revamped AI, should now pose more of a challenge and be more fun to play against.
  • Rebalanced Normal difficulty for more challenge, added easier and harder modes too.
  • You can do something new with your shots but it’s a secret 😉
  • The “random” weapon scatter has been redone. The shot deviation is now shown in the character’s arm movements (with a little smoothing), so you’ll shoot exactly where you’re pointing, and the same goes for your opponent. You can now “eyeball” shots even at low accuracy (big crosshair)
  • You’re now at high risk of a Misfire if you attempt a shot with a red crosshair. Headshots are also harder to land and chest shots are no longer insta-kill(at medium difficulty).
  • Added a few bits & pieces of a possible soundtrack, added some new sound effects too. It’s all a bit of a mishmash for now and subject to change.
  • Added the beginning of the point system, but not the proper scoring yet.That’s the coin meter in the top corner (actually “Guineas” that you wager on duels). It’s just a fun mechanic, don’t worry, I’ll be dead in a ditch before I start selling virtual pennies.

Now the foundations are in shape I’ll be expanding things from here. Hopefully we should have progress on the Career and Local Multiplayer modes pretty soon. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the new version, any and all feedback gladly appreciated : )




10 Responses to “The Duellists: Alpha 2”

  1. rezoner says:

    The quality of graphics is impressive but you are slowly killing the mood. Font is not really classy – rather for a comic book and the music has no British duel ingredient within – and it sorta sounds like clips found on the internet. No offence – the game improves and is still great – but lacks consistency.

  2. rezoner says:

    Send it to your email as well – but actually it might be good to have this commented by others:

  3. jay griffin says:

    Yeah, the fonts are just temporary for the moment, I was planning on working out some appropriate sprite fonts for it when I get the chance.

    The music is all written for the game but thematically it’s way outside my usual area and I’m not entirely sure which way to go with it yet. I wanted to try something to see if it worked rather than just putting some faux-classical stuff in there, but I’ll have to rethink that. I was planning on a possible collab for the music at one point but that seems to have fallen through. Might be better just to hold off on the music until I catch a better idea maybe.

    This kind of feedback is genuinely a help, I appreciate it. I feel the game’s getting pretty solid at its core now, but all the other stuff matters too.

    Edit: just checking out your other post, yeah, that sounds more like it. Good stuff. The tick-tock rhythm is a really nice fit.

  4. Jimanzium says:

    I actually prefer the LD version more. The new graphics are great but seem to lack the same charm of the LD version. And, it might just be me but it didn’t seem to work as well or be as smooth as the original.

  5. rezoner says:

    Updated the last 30 seconds so it is not all about drinking tea – poke me if you decide to collab.

  6. rezoner says:

    Stick to the pixelart and 8bit stylish. Don’t make it look like flash vector based game it will loose what catched us.

  7. Madball says:

    Instant feedback: the game is too fast for the first play. I read everything, and at the “load” part the enemy shot before I finished reading. The help window disappeared.
    I came up with the following strategy (at least for medium difficulty): do as you always do, before the shooting part. If the enemy accidentally headshots you, let him win. Otherwise, wait till you have a green crosshair and do a headshot. About 80% chance of working.
    …I think I heard something about sounds… Where are they? And, it took me a while to find difficulties.

  8. jay griffin says:

    @rezoner It’s still pixel art. All that stuff’s hand pixelled except for one or two things like the glows on the muzzle flashes (and the placeholder fonts of course). It’s just a little more 16-bit.

    @Madball this version’s kind of written as a response to the previous one, that almost everyone complained was far too easy. I don’t think the new one’s super tricky, but it does assume familiarity with the previous one for it to make much sense, and that’s my mistake. I should have made it a little more welcoming for complete newcomers, instead of worrying so much that people were going to find it too easy. If I wasn’t so sick I might’ve been able to spend more time with the tutorial. I probably should have anyway.

    Some things that aren’t really explained yet that can help you win: shooting early can panic your opponent into firing their shot off early, and hitting them anywhere can knock their aim off just enough for them to miss.

    It’s quite possible I’ve been spending so long working with the damn thing that systems that make sense to me aren’t being explained to everyone else properly. Maybe I just need to take a breather or something and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes.

  9. panurge says:

    A career mode? Wagers? I can’t wait to see how this develops. I’d really love to see a system for offending others, being offended and demanding satisfaction (perhaps even with a tactical element). You could have a bank of little funny grievances to draw upon (sneezing on one’s new velvet frockcoat, making improper suggestions to one’s valet etc.). I’m getting carried away now but I just think there is so much potential in this.

  10. jay griffin says:

    @panurge: Yeah, it’s the game around the duels that’s really interesting to think about, playing the odds and making calculated risks, where a single turn of events could lead to a permanent game over.

    Money and gambling open up less honourable opportunities like paying off a referee to let you legally shoot an opponent in the back, hiring thugs to cripple a dangerous foe before the fight, or betting the farm on an opponent at long odds and making your star shooter throw the match. All of which would have a negative impact on your honour, of course.

    Career mode won’t be hugely detailed, but I’m imagining something in the style of Pirates! that captures the flavour of the thing without getting too stuck into simulation. Just to give a little variety and purpose to proceedings and maybe make the duels matter.

    I’m coming around a bit regarding the art style. Though I was happy enough with it, it’s not much more than detailing up the original sprites, and the proportions scale a little strange with the extra definition. I don’t think I’ll be going back to 200×120, but I think we can find a style that works.

    I think I need to get some serious work done on the interface, it’s letting things down for sure. Then probably a proper, discreet tutorial and a solo character “endless duel” mode to play with the scoring and upgrades and at least have a base level of “game” for people. I pushed this one out sooner than I’d have liked as I promised myself I’d release today, but that was a bad idea. Next one should be a better package all round.

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