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Keeper of the Lunar Lighthouse.

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ImminentDeath's News

Posted by ImminentDeath - 9 days ago


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Over the past few months, I’ve been struggling with an infamous problem in my games, more prominently in Astronaught, that I hadn’t originally noticed while testing but that many people have brought to my attention. They reported that the game had memory leaks that were causing their browsers to freeze and crash, and so I set out to try and figure out what was causing this. What I discovered was that these leaks are a complicated and frustrating issue that seems to be irritating a lot of other people as well, and try as I might, I just couldn’t solve it. So I decided to compile all of my research into this blog post, and conduct a little experiment to see what exactly was going on in my own games (I didn’t really follow the scientific method intentionally, but I guess the question I asked would be “Why are my games leaking memory when I draw things?”).


Research and Past Experiences


First of all, these memory leaks only seem to occur in HTML5. When I released my first game Darkhouse, I never encountered anything like this, and I think it’s because Darkhouse was originally a Flash game. I had later changed it to be an HTML5 game when browsers started to disable Flash by default, and it seemed neither I nor anyone else noticed any memory leaks afterwards (at least until I did my experiment). But when I released my second game Astronaught in HTML5, a lot of people reported lag.


Second, the memory leaks are greatly worsened by drawing text and boxes on the screen. A while ago I found this thread on the Stencyl forums which reported that HTML5 games leak memory while drawing, and this other thread states that not only are a lot of people having this issue, but that the issue is caused simply by using drawing code, because it costs memory to update the screen and sometimes that memory can build up. The best option to alleviate this was to just not draw anything on the screen, ever. It had taken me a long time to figure out that this was what was happening in my games.


Lastly, it looks like memory leaks are only happening in Firefox. My browser of choice is Google Chrome, and that’s what I’ve been using to test my games because it runs well and I haven’t encountered many problems with it. So I was a little confused when people started reporting lag problems that I had never seen before, and I thought maybe it was a problem with different browsers. There were a lot of people that didn’t seem to have issues at all, and most of the people that did said that they were using Firefox, though a few of them said they use Chrome, and some of the Stencyl forum posts have also reported that they experienced leaks in Chrome. I had already encountered some other bugs before in Chrome, but I had released patches that seem to have fixed them. So while it looked like it was mostly Firefox that leaks memory, I wasn’t sure.


The Experiment


So I decided to design an experiment to see what exactly was happening in my games using different browsers (my hypothesis would probably be that Firefox is the most susceptible to memory leaks, because I had suspected this while I was researching and testing). I pulled up my Performance Monitor app on my computer and played both Astronaught and Darkhouse for about 2 minutes in four different browsers, taking screenshots of the memory both before and after playing. I took every “after starting” screenshot once the game was fully loaded and it displayed it’s title screen, and then set a stopwatch and played for about 2 minutes, after which I took the next screenshot. Then I composed this chart to display my results:


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(open the image here for a better resolution)


There are some things to keep in mind while reading this chart. My computer normally hangs around 50% committed bytes in use while no programs are running, and it’s a decent enough laptop with an Intel core i5 (8th gen) and a NVIDIA Geforce… thing (I’m not really a computer expert, I just read the stickers on it). I also don’t have an Apple computer to test on Safari, so I don’t know what would happen there.


Additionally, both of the versions of these games that were tested are the versions currently published to Newgrounds as of this post’s date, including Astronaught on Itch.io. Astronaught had been recently updated to use as little drawing code as possible, and the only times text is drawn is during the “Made by Imminent Death” intro, the “Press any button to play” text on the title screen, and whenever hints are displayed at the top of the screen. Both the “Paused” and “Game Over” displays are actors, and hints also don’t draw if you pause the game while they’re displayed, so that they can’t be left to build up memory (I also noticed that certain transitions between scenes was messing with memory, but since this isn’t drawing code I wasn’t sure why, so I just changed the transitions). I haven’t made an update for Darkhouse, because there is text in that game that I just can’t remove because the game was designed that way.


Results and Conclusion


With that in mind, what this chart shows is that Firefox is the only browser that doesn’t get rid of it’s memory. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge are all able to hang around generally the same amount of memory usage, with some variation depending on which of them was used. But in Firefox, memory builds up and is never released. In Astronaught, an additional 4% of memory built up after 2 minutes, and in Darkhouse, about 20% more memory was added. The memory never went down, either, only up at a rate that seems to depend on how much drawing code is running at the time. Something I had noticed specifically while I was monitoring Darkhouse was that the memory went up a lot faster on the title screen where a lot of text is drawn, and then slowed down once the game started. It picked back up again when I got to the room that displays “Defeat 10 Enemies” text, confirming that drawing text causes the memory leaks.


I’m not sure if anyone else has been experiencing memory leaks like this in other browsers. I know I’ve had bugs show up before in entirely different scenarios, and the patches I’ve released seem to have fixed them. But while my findings have shown that Firefox seems to be the only problem, it’s possible that I missed something somewhere. So if you decide to do this experiment yourself, I’d love to see your results. I like science, and science is all about figuring things out, so any additional information on this would be greatly beneficial.


Now I have absolutely no idea how to fix this memory leak problem, so it presents a huge conundrum for how I’m going to develop and release future games. Astronaught was an easy game to fix (sort of) because it doesn’t have any mechanics directly tied to drawing text. I could go and replace every single-word or double-word text with actors that have animations, and I could make an actor for the oxygen bar as well (though it inconveniently needed a hundred individual frames in order to work correctly). But the reason why I haven’t tried to fix Darkhouse is because it has score, and there’s no way I can design a UI element like an actor to display it other than with text. I’d have to have a frame for each possible score you could have at any given moment, and there’s technically no limit to the amount of score you could get in Darkhouse. The same goes for drawing dialogue, something that will be very important for “that one game that I’m making.” There’s just no way I can show all the different variations of words and numbers without using text.


So if Firefox really is the only browser that can’t keep up with the memory usage, and it looks like it won’t be fixed for a while, then I’m just going to say that you shouldn’t play any of my games in Firefox. I’m not going to stop and wait for a fix, or avoid drawing code forever and try to come up with arduous workarounds that just aren’t worth the time and effort it would take. It’s not like I’ll be filling my games with text left and right, either, I’ll try and ignore drawing whenever I can. But when it comes to games with dialogue, score, or other potentially large numbers, there are at least three other browsers that I have scientifically deduced are safe to play in (I guess that means my hypothesis was correct, at least until proven otherwise). I’ll start putting warnings at the start of every game I make as well, like “This game has potential memory leaks in Firefox, please play it in a different browser,” or something like that. I’ll also be making a bug report on Stencyl’s forums to report my findings directly to them, in hopes that this information might help towards fixing this issue.


To summarize (since I know my blog posts can be pretty lengthy), it looks like Firefox is prone to memory leaks in HTML5 games that were made in Stencyl (and possibly other engines). The memory is never released, and increases at a faster rate when more drawing code is running, such as with text and boxes. It also seems that Firefox is the only browser that does this, with Chrome, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge controlling memory just fine. Still, I will be making games that will most likely have drawing code in them, though I’ll use it sparingly, and I’ll add a warning at the start of each game to not play it in Firefox.


I hope you all can understand and agree with this decision, because you like playing games and I like making games, but I’m still trying to figure out how to make games. I have a lot of ideas that I want to develop that I think will be really fun, and I’m not going to let one stinky browser inhibit me from doing that. Hopefully it does get fixed sometime in the future, but for now I think a warning to switch to a working browser is a fair enough compromise.


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Posted by ImminentDeath - May 19th, 2020


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Check out that screenshot. I found this while testing the game to look for some reported bugs. It happened when I fell in the magma while the scene was still reloading. It should be fixed now, I added a patch that disables player movement while the scene is reloading.


On the other hand, Astronaught has a massive problem with memory leaks. It doesn't look like everyone is experiencing them, and I sure didn't while I was developing the game. But when I started testing in Firefox, which is what a lot of people who reported lag said they were using, the game crashed for me a couple times. This never happened while running it in Google Chrome, at least for me. There was a bug that slowed the game down when Oxygen runs out, but I think that was specific to that scenario, and I'm pretty sure I fixed it (I hope I did). So I'm not sure if the browser has anything to do with this other lag.


It looks like the same issue I had a while back with my other game, Darkhouse. I first released that game as a Flash game because I could never get it to work in HTML5 for the same reason, it kept crashing and freezing. When browsers like Chrome started disabling Flash by default, I had to upload an HTML5 version of Darkhouse, and the bug mysteriously disappeared. I have no idea how that happened or how I fixed it. I'm not even sure if it's still fixed right now.


From what I can tell, the problem is caused by drawing things like text and boxes, things I use for user interface, for extended periods of time. So I've added an option on Astronaught's home screen to switch on a simplified UI that draws less of those things. While it's on, the oxygen bar is instead just a single line of text, the paused screen is also one line of text without the box, and when you run out of oxygen, the game won't draw black boxes to fade away. These changes probably won't completely eliminate the memory leaks, I still had a crash while testing them in Firefox. But my hope is that they will at least help a little at easing the lag.


Also, remember when I said I thought I fixed medals? Apparently they're still a little broken. A lot of people aren't unlocking them even though they should be. They're still getting the in-game notification, which triggers right beside the single line of code that should be unlocking the medal. Yet the medal remains locked. I have no clue why this happens, and at this point I might just be done with medals altogether. I just can't seem to get them to work correctly. So any future games I make that would have achievements of some kind will be in-game achievements only.


I really hope the lag fixes help somewhat, because I don't know what else to do. The only other thing I can think of is to wait for Stencyl to release a build which fixes the problem. And if you just can't seem to get a medal unlocked, I'm sorry, I just can't figure out how to solve that problem. It's frustrating because I want to reward people for reaching milestones and finding easter eggs, and the issues that prevent people from unlocking those rewards, as well as the ones that inhibit people from playing the game, are simply unacceptable. I would never release a game if I knew they existed beforehand, and I don't want to release any new games until I figure out how to fix them.


For now, I'll still keep a lookout for new solutions to these bugs, and for any new bugs that I can actually fix. I'm still very bad at coding, though, so I can only say that I'll do my best. You might be able to run Astronaught better in a different browser if the one you usually use isn't working well, but I can't guarantee that the lag will disappear. I really appreciate that you all have brought these problems to my attention as well, and that you've played and enjoyed the game despite it's many flaws. It was still released better than Darkhouse and it's dastardly control scheme.


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Posted by ImminentDeath - May 15th, 2020


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I just released Astronaught, the first of smaller games I wanted to make so it doesn't take me years to release something. It's just a short little game about a man on the moon. So far I think it's doing pretty good, and a lot of people seem to be enjoying it, and I've also got some feedback on how to improve, which is always great. So I thought I'd put together a sort of guide/changelog of recent updates explaining what's been going on here on the moon.


Something people were confused about is how to get past obstacles that were too high to reach. This is where the slopes become a key mechanic to the game. You can jump while running up a slope to jump higher, something I noticed while developing the game and thought I'd utilize in gameplay. I added text explaining this in the first room where you need to do this in a recent patch, and there are a couple other places in the game that require this action. Here is one of them:


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But while running up slopes can give you a helpful boost, going down them can be tricky. You might have noticed that you tend to slip and fall a little when you run down a slope, preventing you from jumping until you hit the ground again. This is something you should be aware of throughout Astronaught, because there are some areas where you'll need to jump off a downward slope, so you'll need to hit the jump key before you move forwards or you'll slip and fall. Here's an example of where this might happen:


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I hope these tips help you have an easier time playing.


I also noticed that it wasn't very clear when medals are unlocked, something I didn't really notice until now. So I added this:


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(honestly I probably should have added this before releasing Astronaught anyway) Whenever you see this, you should have unlocked the medal. The icon will also show up briefly by itself during the ending to show that it's medal was unlocked, I just didn't want it to interfere too much with the ending.


There's also a hint about the secret medal (the one that isn't the ending medal) down in the reviews, in case you're having trouble figuring out where it is.


Other than these issues, it looks like people enjoyed the game, and I'm happy with it. New bugs will of course always be fixed when discovered, and I'll also be releasing the soundtrack over the next few days, starting today. I'm glad you liked my little space game.


The game is also available on Itch.io if you want to check it out there: https://imminentdeath.itch.io/astronaught


Posted by ImminentDeath - April 24th, 2020


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I just released a small update for Darkhouse with a couple of quality improvements that I had just recently figured out because they were bothering me. One of them was how to bind multiple keys to the same control, so you don’t have to choose a control scheme anymore, you can just use whichever keys you want.


Another thing I changed is the in-game notification you get when you unlock an achievement. I removed the sound effect that plays when they’re unlocked, and I removed the notification entirely during some of the ending scenes, just because I thought they might be distracting.


Lastly, I finally fixed medals! I’m sorry it took this long for me to figure it out. I thought they were broken forever until I found a Stencyl extension that adds new code blocks, and now the medals should be unlocked along with the in-game achievements. The medal won’t unlock immediately but it should show up on your profile and under the game if you reload the page. I also unlocked a medal myself to test and see if it works, but I can’t seem to remove it, so I guess I’m stuck with it.


There’s just one other problem, though. It looks like any save data from previous versions of Darkhouse didn’t carry over. That means if you unlocked any achievements in-game, they probably aren’t unlocked anymore. Apparently this is a problem with HTML5 games on Newgrounds, and I don’t think I can fix it. I don’t know how many of you unlocked achievements after Darkhouse became HTML5 (which was when medals broke), but I’m terribly sorry if you did because they’re probably gone now. At least now that medals work, they won’t disappear with an update.


There won’t likely be another update to version 0, either. These were just some issues that were really bothering me. One problem always seems to replace another, I guess. I’m just really glad medals are working again, and I feel bad no one could unlock them for the past eight months. So if you want, go play through Darkhouse again and earn some points, especially if you should have earned them already.


And as always, report all bugs.


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Posted by ImminentDeath - February 26th, 2020


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I just wanna put an update out there on how this new game I’m making is coming along, because it’s been a while since I’ve said anything. This game idea has just become so big, it’s a real challenge to develop it. I think it will be very interesting to see how it turns out.


This game will be very story-driven, and I want to make a lot of games in the future that tell stories. There’ll be lots of characters and dialogue and scene transitions, just lots of stuff in general. So the first challenge I’m facing is making all that stuff.


But also, the actual game part of this game has turned out to be extremely… chaotic. I don’t want to say too much yet, but it’s not like anything I’ve seen before from the kind of game that this is. I kinda like it. But it’s pretty broken, and it needs a lot of tweaking and adjusting before it’s finished. The whole system is really just kind of an experiment.


The problem I’ve been having, though, is that with how big and weird this game ended up being, it’s become extremely daunting for me to make, and because of that it probably won’t be finished for a while. This is definitely a game that I want to make sure I get right, and I’m probably just putting too much pressure on myself, but still… I want it to be good.


So with that being said, I wondered if I might start making much smaller and simpler games in between development of my larger projects, so I would have something to work on that isn’t so massive, and so everyone would have more games to play. This way I could spend more time on the bigger games while getting a chance to mess around with simpler stuff just for fun. I’m not sure what I would make yet, but I think it’s a decent idea. Should I do that?


Either way, I’m gonna release this big weird game at some point, I just have no idea when. In comparison, I started making Darkhouse in August of 2018, and it was released 9 months later (and it was still kinda broken). I want to make sure I take the time to make as high a quality game as I can, but since that time might at times end up being a long time, I might consider doing simple and less intimidating projects in the meantime. Let me know if that sounds neat, because I think that might be pretty neat.


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Posted by ImminentDeath - October 15th, 2019


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After several updates, bug fixes, and feedback, Darkhouse has become a much better game than it was when I first released it back in June. A lot of things were added/changed since then (you can view the full changelog here), and now I think I’m happy with Darkhouse. So I’m going to stop developing it from here and move on to my next game, though I’ll still go back and fix any new bugs if they appear. I also thought I’d talk about some of the things that I learned and things that I couldn’t figure out while I was developing Darkhouse, and explain my thought process with them, for anyone who’s interested. It might be kind of a rant, but there may be some insight here.




Custom Controls

A common suggestion I had seen was to add customizable controls so players could configure them to suit them best, but I couldn’t figure out how to code that into the game. In Stencyl (which is the program I used to make Darkhouse), there’s a menu where you configure the controls for your game by assigning keys to them, and then doing code based on “if control was pressed/released,” and I never figured out how to set them up to be customizable for the player. You can still choose between two control schemes (one for WASD keys and one for arrow keys). 


Graphics Quality

Another big issue in Darkhouse is the quality of the graphics. Besides the old sprites and tilesets that made things hard to see (they were improved in an update), the pixels are also a little blurry. When I started making Darkhouse, I chose to use a 640x480 resolution, but I scaled up the graphics at 1.5x. I was trying to increase the size of the pixels to get that pixel-graphic look, but it made the graphics slightly blurry instead of sharp and clear. Messing with the settings in Stencyl, I can get the pixels to have hard edges and remove the antialiasing, but since the game is scaled to 1.5x instead of 2x or 3x, it would expand only some of the pixels to the right size to fit the screen, and some pixels would end up being larger than others. It was too late to set the game to be a different resolution or scale, because everything was already coded to that size, so I left the antialiasing on. 


Collision

There’s also a mechanic in the game that isn’t really a bug, but I just wasn’t sure what to do with it. The collision between the player and an enemy is set to be a solid collision, causing them to bump into each other, instead of a sensor that would make them pass through each other. I don’t know if the sensor would have worked better, because with solid collisions you can stand on enemies for a short time, including flying enemies, and they can push you around a little (I did add a sensor collision while the player has invincibility frames after taking damage, and also ghosts are sensors at all times, so they’re not affected much). I think what I currently have in the game works the best, but sometimes something weird might happen. 


Medals

I wanted to add achievements to the game so the player could be rewarded for completing certain challenges and reaching milestones, and the Newgrounds medal system worked great for that. It also allowed me and everyone else to see who got the medals. But browsers had been slowly removing support for Flash, and soon after I added medals, Google Chrome shut down flash by default. I knew Flash was ending soon anyway, so I changed Darkhouse to be an HTML5 game (which I had been struggling with for a while but eventually figured out). However, the medals stopped working, and I never could figure out how to fix them. I didn't want to remove them either, because some people have already unlocked a few, and I didn't want to take away their points. I instead added the achievements in the game itself to replace the medals, though now they aren’t public anymore. 


Music and Sound Quality

HTML5 Darkhouse had a lot of problems with crashing at first, and I honestly have no idea how they got fixed. I must have changed something while I was working on Darkhouse at some point. But one issue that still exists now is that the music and sound effects sound muffled if you’re playing in Google Chrome. From what I understand, it has to do with Chrome, and not Stencyl or a bug the game might have. The sound is fine in other browsers, though, but I also find the game runs better in Chrome. So I guess you can just choose what works best for you in that case. 


Difficulty and Game Modes

During the development of Darkhouse, I was also trying to figure out what to do with the difficulty. I have always intended it to be extremely difficult, like those old arcade games such as Pac-Man and Galaga, and at first I had it set up just like an arcade game, where a game over forced you to start over from the very beginning. But a lot of people were having trouble with that system, and at first I wasn’t sure how to help people improve their skills. I tried adding separate minigames for practice, but later I decided to add new difficulty modes that would keep your checkpoints like a normal game, with hard mode being the original arcade mode. After that, there was no reason for the minigames to exist, and I decided to remove them. Now, you can retry a level as many times as you need to without being kicked back to the start, and once you clear a level you’ve cleared it for good. In hindsight, it probably would have been a good idea to just start with easy, normal, and hard mode. 




I hope what I just said made sense, but overall I learned a lot while making Darkhouse (and maybe you learned something from this post as well), and I'll try to use what I've learned to further improve my games for the future. This was my very first video game, and I think it did really well. It has some of my first animations, first music, first code, first everything. I had always wanted to make video games, and I’m really glad I was able to design and create one, especially one that people seemed to enjoy (as challenging as it is). If you’ve played it, then thank you, and if you haven’t, then thank you anyway for reading this far (and maybe go give Darkhouse a try as well). 


I still have no idea if anyone has beaten the game yet, but at this point I’m not going to hide the ending anymore. If you want to see it for yourself, then I still believe you can go and beat Darkhouse. But I’ve uploaded a gameplay video of the entire game to Youtube here, so you can watch it as a guide or just to see what happens (it’s 55 minutes long, though, and not the best quality either). I’ve also released a lot of stuff regarding the end of Darkhouse, including artwork of things like the final boss, and the soundtrack as well. If you didn’t already know, I have a Google website here where I keep everything organised, and you can find information there about Darkhouse, it’s soundtrack, changelog, and some artwork, as well as my previous posts and some links. 


So thank you for playing, and thank you for reading. I’ve already started coming up with ideas for my next game. It will probably look something like this:


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Also I exist in these places sometimes…


Website: https://sites.google.com/view/thelunarlighthouse

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Immenint_Death

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9yMmqRejjg8IudF5TSujfw


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Posted by ImminentDeath - September 16th, 2019


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Darkhouse version 0.4 has been released, with new icons for the music using the art style I showed previously, as well as the main Darkhouse icon shown above, and two more big changes.


The first new addition is in-game achievements, which can be viewed in the Scoreboard menu, and which are a replacement for the broken medals that were added a while ago and currently aren't unlocking anymore. If I ever figure out how to fix them, I will. But for now, these in-game achievements should work instead. They won't be visible to everyone like the medals are, but at least you'll be able to collect them again. They have new icons that I think look better that the old ones, and you'll see them appear for a brief moment in the bottom left corner when you unlock them.


I also replaced two of the songs in the soundtrack that I really didn't like, the Level 2 Boss theme and the Level 5 Boss theme. The 14 songs I made for Darkhouse were among the first I've ever made, and I think most of them are actually not bad, a couple of them even good. But these two just sounded really weird, and they didn't work well in their environment. So I created 2 new songs to replace them in the game, and uploaded them to Newgrounds. I also changed every song on Newgrounds except for 2 to be looping, since they sound better as a loop (and that's what they do in-game). Those other 2 are Phantom Malevolence and Eclipsing Annihilation (The Level 3 Boss them and the Final Boss theme), and I had decided to modify both of them to end instead of loop (I had also made some changes to Phantom Malevolence to make it sound better, and they both still loop in-game).


One of the bugs I fixed was a cause for the game to crash (I've had issues with game crashes in HTML5 before). It looks like what was causing it was that too many boxes were being drawn on-screen at once. For me, the game only crashed if I paused the game during a boss fight, because there would be 7 boxes being drawn (the health bars and pause menu). I removed one of them (the darken effect during the pause menu) and replaced the player health bar with an actor to try and prevent the crashes, and it seemed to work. Another bug I fixed is one where the locked rooms could sometimes not spawn enemies, causing the player to be trapped in the room since, in order to progress, you need to defeat 10 enemies. I've also previously had trouble with these locked rooms not working correctly.


This update should once more provide a rewarding experience with achievements and, specifically in the Level 2 and 5 Boss fights, hopefully better music. At this point, I have no idea if anyone has beaten the game and seen it's ending yet, and if you have, I'd like to know what you think of it. But for those of you who haven't, I still believe you can. Darkhouse isn't as difficult as it was when I first released it, and I think it's definitely worth the practice and effort to reach the top of the tower.


And of course, if you find any more bugs, please report them to me (especially if it's a bug that I thought I has previously fixed) so I can try to fix it.


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Posted by ImminentDeath - August 13th, 2019


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Before I start, I want to reiterate that I'm completely new to game development, Darkhouse has bugs and I'm not sure how to fix them, and I don't really know what I'm doing in general.


I just updated Darkhouse with an HTML5 format, along with a couple other changes and bug fixes. Google Chrome, and probably other browsers, have began disabling the Flash player in preparation for when Flash shuts down in 2020. This made Darkhouse playable only in the Newgrounds player, but I was having some issues with some of the controls in the player. The Enter key would cause the game to freeze, and while you can use L or Z instead (depending on your control scheme), just pressing enter once and breaking the game is not an acceptable bug to be left in Darkhouse. The pause button (esc) also didn't work in the player.


I had tried to update the game with version 0.3.3, which removed Enter as a control, added P as an alternate pause button, and also fixed a bug I had found that could have potentially crashed the game in locked rooms. But I couldn't get the Newgrounds player to run the new version.


At this point Darkhouse has become almost unplayable in Flash, so I added an HTML5 file to run instead. I was trying to wait until the bugs in HTML5 were fixed, but this version is playable and easier to run than Flash now, and it doesn't crash anymore like it used to (I still don't know what happened with those crashes, or why they're gone now). The big problem with HTML5 now is the low quality sound and music. I've tried everything I know to try, and I think I just have to wait until Stencyl releases a new build that fixes the issue, because this problem has happened to other people as well. The loading bar is also missing, and the game can sometimes lag during boss fights. I've changed the damaged effect of bosses to tint using one of the colors from their health bar, instead of using invert and adjust hue, so that might help a little.


Again, this is the very first video game I've created. I have never coded or programmed before, and I have no idea what I'm doing. I had a vision for Darkhouse when I started making it, but I decided to set my standards to what I can do right now instead of what I'm not experienced enough for. That's why I call it version 0, because while Darkhouse is playable and beatable (it has an ending), I still want to come back to it after I've learned more and become better at making games. I continue to update Darkhouse because I want to make it the best game that I can make. But until I have more experience, I'm limited by my current knowledge of game development.


It's worth noting, though, that for my first game, I think I did a good job. A lot of people have enjoyed Darkhouse even with all of it's bugs, and thanks to them for playing it. Some people have gotten past the 2nd boss, and one person even cleared Level 3. So I will continue to do everything I can to make Darkhouse a fun and challenging game to play, with no bugs or problems, and make it the best game that I can.


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Posted by ImminentDeath - August 7th, 2019


Bonus Minigames (or practice minigames) were originally added to Darkhouse in update 0.1, with 5 stages unlocked when the player reaches each of the 5 locked rooms in the main game. They were intended for practicing your skills, because at the time Darkhouse only had the Hard difficulty mode, and you would always start from the very beginning. It provided a way to practice for the later levels instead of being stuck behind earlier levels at the start of each game.


But now that Normal and Easy mode have been added, with saved checkpoints keeping your progress, there's no point to playing Bonus Minigames to prepare for the main game. While the main game has set goals, Bonus Minigames are endless and unrewarding. There's not even a point to playing them for fun, because you could play the main game for the same reason and still accomplish something, like beating a boss. There was a bug when medals were first released that allowed players to gain medals for large amounts of score and defeated enemies during the minigames. Those medals were intended to be obtained in the main game only, and Darkhouse was updated to fix the issue. I did have an idea to add new medals for Bonus Minigames, but since the minigames don't really have a purpose, I didn't think I should add medals for them.


I think it's probably best that Bonus Minigames are removed from Darkhouse. I really hate to remove content from a game, especially the main addition of a major update. But these minigames interfere with the idea of Darkhouse's linear progression, and there just doesn't seem to be any reason for them to exist. The focus of Darkhouse should be to complete the game, and to reward those who do so, there is a secret minigame afterwards, a kind of epilogue for Darkhouse. It provides endless gameplay and new challenges, and it also allows you to set high scores to the scoreboard, meaning there is no limit to the highest score achievable in the game. Bonus minigames are far less purposeful and interesting than this secret minigame, and far less rewarding.


I thought I would give a heads up before I remove the Bonus Minigames, and if you think they should stay then I'd like to know why, and how they could instead be improved. But to me, there just doesn't seem to be a reason for anyone to play them, while there's so much more in Darkhouse waiting to be discovered.


Posted by ImminentDeath - July 29th, 2019


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This is version 0.3 of Darkhouse, and it has some significant changes. It introduces new graphics and a new difficulty mode, which I will talk about in this post. You can play Darkhouse here, as well as view the full changelog for this update.


The first and most obvious update is the graphics. Several tiles and tilesets, almost all backgrounds, and a few enemies have been redrawn. Enemies are now brighter and more colorful compared to darker and duller tiles and backgrounds. Previously Darkhouse had bright and colorful tiles and backgrounds, a weird design that didn't look good. There was little variation, and especially in the darker themed Level 5 it was very hard to see enemies and bullets against the similarly colored environment. These graphics changes should make enemies easier to see, and they should make the game look a lot better as well. I've tried my best to keep the monochromatic theme of each level, with some color variation.


The next and probably most important change is the addition of Easy mode. Darkhouse now has 3 difficulty modes to choose from, and they determine how checkpoints function. In Easy mode, there are checkpoints in the middle of every level, where the doors are locked and you must defeat 10 enemies to progress. After this is done, the checkpoint will activate, and you can go set it. In Normal and Hard mode, these locked room checkpoints are never activated. Normal and Hard mode are the same as before.


One thing to keep in mind is that since Easy and Normal mode will keep your checkpoints even after Game Over, you can always leave the game after setting one and you will come back with 3 lives when you start again. In these modes, checkpoints are permanent, resetting after the game is beaten, and a Game Over results in the loss of score instead of progress. Hard mode is the difficulty of Darkhouse when it was originally released, where a Game Over resets all progress.


The first end goal of Darkhouse is climbing to the top and finding it's ending, and Easy mode makes that goal much more attainable. But the second goal, like many other arcade games, is to get the highest score. High scores will be set by completing levels and defeating enemies and bosses for as long as you can without receiving a Game Over. Because of this, Hard mode can be a great way to set a High score, by starting from the beginning and climbing as high as you can with the 3 lives you have. Enemies in later levels are also worth larger amounts of score when defeated, rewarding a players determination and skill.


This update is probably the most significant so far. Darkhouse's graphics has been greatly improved, and Easy mode will allow players to reach even closer to the game's ending. I'm excited to see what people think of it once it's finally revealed. I'm still open to more suggestions for improvement as well, and I'm always looking for bugs to fix.


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