A few weeks ago, I pushed out a new build of Particulars live - version 0.7.2.1 (we’re starting to run out of numbers before version 1!). It fixes a few bugs, updates the story/voice acting in Chapter 1 (it actually matches the text now!), disables examination mode (more about that below), and makes the win condition rings a fair bit prettier. It also shaves a few precious seconds off the all die-restart flow.
We’ve known for a while that the restart time after you lose a level is too long. It’s important in a game like Particulars, where death can be brutally fast, that the level restarts quickly so you can get straight back into the game. Exactly how we’d shave off that time took a bit more time to work out.
The death-restart cycle before 0.7.2 went something like this:
Flash the screen red
A label shows up telling you why you died
Flash the screen white, fade out the label, the win condition rings and any barriers
Show the level title
Fade the win conditions back in, with labels explaining them
Bring back the walls
Hide the level title and win condition labels
Start the level
This was too long, but figuring out how to lessen it was somewhat difficult. Knowing why you lost is really important in Particulars (especially since we have a variety of win/loss conditions), and we have to take time to flag the reasons. It’s also likely that we will, at least for the first one or two deaths, have to show the labels on the win conditions again.
What we don’t have to do is to take the time to fade out the win conditions and then fade them back in. So the new flow looks something like this:
Flash the screen red (and keep it tinted red after this)
Show the label saying why you died
Flash the screen white, fade the label, reset the tint
Unwind the win condition indicators
Start the level
It took comically long to actually implement this (the win condition indicators have been changed so often that it created a horrible mess of code that needed to be wiped clean), but the result is definitely worth it. The result in 0.7.2 isn’t perfect (it doesn’t show a lot of the labels at the right times, and doing all of this broke examination mode… but reworking examination mode was my next task anyway), but it’s a massive step forward. The rings now animate as well, which is a nice bonus.
I’d love to hear what you think of all the changes in 0.7.2 (especially the new voice and the cutscene storyboards we snuck in during 0.7.1). Thanks to everyone who’s been sending in comments and bug reports - they’ve been a great help!