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Keeper of the Lunar Lighthouse.

Immanent Death @ImminentDeath

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ImminentDeath's News

Posted by ImminentDeath - July 29th, 2019


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.


Posted by ImminentDeath - July 11th, 2019

I'm working on a new update for Darkhouse, and I thought I'd post about it since it might take a little while.

This will be version 0.3, and the first thing it will have is updated graphics for the tiles and backgrounds. I've gotten some reviews that say the level themes are weird, especially the color schemes, and it can make enemies hard to see in later levels. I'm aiming at having the enemies and bullets bright and colorful like they are now, and making the tiles and backgrounds darker and duller, with bright colors in fewer places, as well as a wider variety of colors. This would make a contrast between enemies and tiles that hopefully make the enemies easier to see, while still keeping the theme.

I'm also going to add and change difficulty modes. I got some requests to make checkpoints a little more frequent, and I agree that it's a good idea. So I'm adding an Easy mode that will have checkpoints after the locked rooms, which are in the middle of every level. Normal mode will stay the way it is now, with checkpoints only at the beginning of levels and before a boss. Arcade mode, which is the mode that doesn't save checkpoints after a game over, will be renamed to Hard mode.

Also, I didn't intend the medals for defeating enemies, deflecting bullets, and achieving score to be obtainable in the practice minigames. It seems a little too easy to get them that way, and it interferes with the intended purpose for the minigames, so I'm going to make them obtainable only in the main game. If you had already gotten the medal before this update, you should still be able to keep it.

I'm hoping this update (and future updates) will make Darkhouse easier to play, and more fair, while still remaining a challenge. I can fix it up to the best of my ability, but my inexperience is why I call this Version 0. It like a beta of some kind, for a game that I'm still learning to create. So thank you for all your suggestions, because they help me to make a better game.


Posted by ImminentDeath - July 6th, 2019


Darkhouse v0.2 has been released. It adds 2 new features, medals and a new game mode. The new mode, titled Normal mode, will save your checkpoints even after you receive a game over. This makes the game more forgiving and less brutal, and the old version where checkpoints are lost can still be played in Arcade mode. The decreased difficulty should still provide a challenge, but now you have a much better shot at climbing higher and potentially beating the game, if you can defeat the final boss.

This post goes more in-depth on why I've added this feature: https://imminentdeath.newgrounds.com/news/post/1058850

Also in this update are medals. You can unlock increasingly difficult medals as you play the game for gaining score, defeating enemies, and completing levels. These achievements, along with the new game mode, make the game feel more rewarding to progress, and will hopefully be a more fun experience to the player.

Play Darkhouse v0.2: https://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/732513


Posted by ImminentDeath - July 5th, 2019

I've thought about my intentions for the difficulty of Darkhouse for a while. Darkhouse is meant to be extremely difficult, fair and rewarding to skill and patience, yet still brutal and unforgiving. It was designed like old arcade games such as Pac-Man and Galaga. In those games, your goal is to try and achieve the highest score you can, and get as far as possible, because when you receive a game over, you start from the beginning again. Old arcade games were rewarding to skilled and determined players by posting their highest score on the scoreboard for everyone to see. But at the same time, that design for a game can make an unpleasant experience for the player, one where they don't feel like they're improving or making progress, and either can't or don't want to continue playing as a result. I don't want to make a game that makes the player feel that way.

Because of this, I've decided to work on a new update for Darkhouse that adds a new game mode, one where checkpoints are saved after a game over. The current game that will delete your progress after a game over will be called Arcade Mode, and the new one will be called Normal Mode. The game will still be very difficult, but now you can complete levels and defeat bosses without having to go back and beat them again when you lose. You can just start where you left of at the last checkpoint.

This new game mode will provide an easier experience for players, and will be more rewarding to progress. I want the game to be enjoyable yet challenging, and there's so much more to Darkhouse that I really want people to see. So I believe this update will implement that idea better than previous versions of Darkhouse. Arcade mode will still be available for those who seek a real challenge, and it will be a better way of achieving a high score. But a more forgiving game mode will allow players to see more of the game, and more importantly, it's intriguing ending.


Posted by ImminentDeath - June 30th, 2019

I've started uploading the songs I've made for Darkhouse to Newgrounds. I will upload one song each day until all of them are uploaded. There are 14 in total.

The reason why I'm doing this is because I want to get feedback on the music I've created, what I did right, what I did wrong, and where I could improve. I've never made music before, and I wouldn't say I'm good at it yet. There are a couple songs in the Darkhouse soundtrack that I think are quite alright, and a few others that I'm not sure about.

I want to create my own music for the games I make, and I want them to be melodic, immersive songs that take the viewer into the mood of the game. In the same way I'm looking for feedback on game development, I'm also looking for feedback on how to make good music. The quality of the soundtrack is a huge part of the quality of the game. Over time, I hope to be able to create better music.

The first 10 songs will be the Darkhouse level themes and their respective boss themes. The other 4 are found at the end of Darkhouse, which will only be uncovered by the most skilled and determined players.

Posted by ImminentDeath - June 19th, 2019


A new update for Darkhouse is now available. Version 0.1 is the first update to add new content to the game, and it features a new screen visible after pressing Start on the home screen. From this screen you can choose between the normal game and a new game mode called the Practice Minigame. This mode is unlocked once you reach the first locked room in Level 1, and higher level minigames are unlocked the same way for their corresponding level. So once you reach the locked room in Level 2, you'll unlock the Level 2 minigame, and so on.

The new mode doesn't save your score to the scoreboard, though you can still view your score in the top right corner like normal. It is intended to allow players to practice their skills, or to play just for fun. That way, if you lose in a higher level, you don't have to go through every preceding level to get back and get familiar with the difficulty of the harder level.

A couple bugs were also fixed, and as always, if you find a new bug in the game and I haven't included it on my bug list, let me know about it. Also, if you've played before and got a high score, and it wasn't saved in the update, tell me so I can add it to the bug list.

Play Darkhouse: https://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/732513


Posted by ImminentDeath - June 8th, 2019

Darkhouse was made in Flash, because it has worked well and there were not very many issues with it. One problem that did show up was that Flash doesn't recognize the Enter key as an input. I didn't previously know about this issue, so I released Update 0.0.1 with an alternate attack key, among other control options.

I still expect more bugs to be found over time, but overall, Flash has worked great for Darkhouse. The main problem is that Flash is being discontinued next year. Newgrounds does have a workaround, but HTML5 games are still preferable. But Darkhouse doesn't work in HTML5. It has a lot of issues that make the game unplayable, and I'm not sure how to fix them. I have a couple ideas, which I'll get to later in this post.

One problem with HTML5 Darkhouse is the sound. All music and sound effects seem muffled, as if the quality suddenly got worse. It might have something to do with the fact that, at least in the game engine I'm using (Stencyl), HTML5 requires sounds in both .mp3 and .ogg formats, while Flash only needs .mp3, but I'm not sure if that's the issue.

Another problem is that during levels, the game occasionally lags and freezes for a moment. This might be because in the enemy AI a lot of things are happening, and there are a lot of enemies. I might need to simplify it or optimize it so it doesn't reduce performance. Again, I'm not positive this is what's going on here.

The big issue, though, is that Darkhouse crashes in HTML5 very frequently. It doesn't happen immediately, but after spending too much time in one scene, the browser goes black for a moment, then reverts and the game goes black and can't be interacted with. No error messages pop up. The music still continues to play, and for some reason if you right click and then click on "View page source," the game returns to normal, but it will still crash if you remain in one scene too long. So if you frequently move from scene to scene, either on the menu or in game, it won't crash. Because of this phenomenon, I had previously thought the issue was with the boss, because you remain in that scene longer than other scenes since your fighting the boss. But after further testing, the game will crash in this way on the Home screen, the Settings menu, while the game is paused, and during boss fights. It doesn't look like it will crash in the Scoreboard menu or during an unpaused game.

My best guess is that my drawing code is causing the issues. In the Settings menu, and while the game is paused, I draw boxes for the user interface, a black one on top of a slightly larger grey one. When the game is paused, I also draw a black, transparent box over the whole screen (not including the pause menu) to dim the screen. I also draw a box on top of a slightly larger box to make the player and boss health bars. Stencyl doesn't recommend that you draw shapes on top of each other, though, saying that it wastes processing power. But this hasn't been an issue on Flash, and I don't draw these boxes on the Home screen, where the game still crashes. I have also experimented with more complicated drawing code to avoid drawing shapes on top of each other, but the issue persists. However, I've also tried a boss fight scene with no health bars, and it did not crash, or lag, which leads me to believe that the drawing code is the problem.

The Home screen is the only place where I don't draw shapes and the game still crashes. On that screen I draw text only, and I have a lot of code setting text attributes to make sure everything works. The code in the Settings menu works the same way. They're the only two scenes where you can navigate the menu instead of just pressing "Back to exit," for example.

If these are the issues, then I have a few ideas for how to work around them. For example, in the Scoreboard scene, I use a background for the list of scores instead of drawing boxes, so I could do the same thing for everything else. And for the menu screens that feature navigation, I could simplify them to only operate where a specific key is assigned to each menu item instead of the scrolling and selecting currently in Darkhouse. I don't like the idea of removing that feature, though. For example, I'd have to make it operate with "press Z to start," or "press X to view scores." I can do that, it's just not as cool as a functioning navigation for the menu screens. That being said, the pause menu doesn't feature navigation, because it didn't work. Since the game is paused, attributes don't change in real time, so it wouldn't update what item you have selected on it's menu.

I don't know if this is the whole story, either. HTML5 is different from Flash, and there may be other problems and things that cause problems that I'm still unaware of. I'll continue to experiment with some of the ideas I've stated, and I don't know if they'll fix the issues or not. I'll also post updates on what I find if I discover anything new, especially if it contradicts something I've previously said. I'm still very new to game development, so if you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, please let me know. I want to make Darkhouse the best game that it can be, a fun, challenging, and bug-free game.

Edit (6/11/19): I've done some more testing, and it seems like the issues have to do with the font when drawing text. I haven't ruled out the box drawing, but on the Home screen where there are no boxes drawn, the game still crashes as long as there is text. If there is no text, the Home screen is fine.

I did some research and discovered that it may be the format that I imported the font into the game in. There are two options for using fonts in Stencyl, one is regular, and the other is bitmap. With regular, you choose the font you want to use from your computer, and you can customize it a little with color, stroke, etc. This is what I was doing. But regular fonts can take up more space. In testing I converted the main font to a Bitmap font, which is based on images of the text, and it seemed to work fine, no crashes. Bitmap fonts take longer to set up, though, and there were a couple other errors with it that I need to fix.

I'm still not sure why the sound is messed up, either. The game works fine with the sound this way, but if I can't fix it, I might recommend Flash over HTML5 since it just sounds better in Flash.

Edit (6/12/19): I tested the game with bitmap fonts. The fonts are blurry, and I can't get them to a better resolution. The game also still crashes in HTML5 with bitmap fonts, so I'll probably still use regular fonts since they look better.

I found an issue on the Stencyl forums that seems similar to mine, where any drawing code causes the memory usage to rapidly increase. The problem has been confirmed, and I might just need to wait until a new build of Stencyl is released with HTML5 fixes. I'm not sure what else to do, since it looks like the issue is with drawing in general.

Edit (8/4/19): I've been running Darkhouse in HTML5 every now and then just to see if it would work any better, once a while ago and again earlier today. I've updated the game a few times, and I'm still waiting to see if Stencyl will release a new build that fixes some HTML5 problems. But somewhere in my Darkhouse updates, or possibly somewhere else, something must have changed, because a lot of the issues I used to have are gone.

The music and sound effects are still the same, an issue that had been noticed before in the Stencyl community. But the game seems to run fine in most areas now. It never crashes anymore (at least while I was testing it), and it only seems to lag and reduce frame rate during boss fights. No drawn text or boxes seem to be causing problems like they were before.

I have no idea why Darkhouse is suddenly working better in HTML5. I couldn't figure out why the game was crashing so much. Now the only issues seem to be the sound and boss fights. I don't yet know what to do about the sound, but there might be a solution or two for the bosses. For example, I could remove the invert effect applied to the boss when it takes damage. But I would need another way to signify that the boss took damage, since bosses don't have damaged animations like normal enemies do.

I'm not going to release an HTML5 version of Darkhouse until all of these issues are solved. Small bugs provide little impact on the player's experience, and can be easily fixed as well, but these ones are very noticeable and noticeably annoying. Hopefully I can figure out not just how to fix Darkhouse for HTML5, but also how to use HTML5 for all my other games that have yet to be developed.

Posted by ImminentDeath - June 6th, 2019

Darkhouse has been out for a couple days now, and it's been doing pretty well. However, as I suspected, there were bugs found, just not the kind of bugs I expected. Several people are telling me the controls either don't work or are difficult to work with. I didn't know Enter was a problem for flash games.

When I started developing Darkhouse, I chose WASD to be the movement because there were a lot of games I played that also used that control scheme. But since it's a platformer game, I wasn't sure what to do with up or down, since Space was jump. So I assigned the down control to entering doorways and moving to the next scene (which may not have been clarified), and I decided the up control would display an animation of the player looking behind themselves, an animation that also appears in the scoreboard scene and cutscenes, since I didn't really have a purpose for it.

Now that I've learned that there are better options for controls, I'll be releasing an update with the new controls. I'm used to the current control scheme, so I'll keep that option in the game if you're weird like me, but if you prefer arrow keys and ZXC, or if the Enter key isn't working, this update should fix that.

Before I release the update, though, I want to ask some more about how the new control scheme scheme should work. Left and Right arrow keys are for moving left and right, the Up key is for jump, and Z can be the new attack button. But what button should be assigned for moving to the next room in a doorway? I coded it to require a button press so you could be in the doorway and still fight enemies without accidentally moving to the next room (for balancing reasons, I removed the ability to go back to previous rooms). But it seems many people didn't understand that at first, so I'll also put the controls in the settings menu for clarification. I could make that button the Down arrow key, but I could also make it X as an action key.

Also, since enter doesn't work correctly with Flash, do Backspace and Esc also have problems? Esc is the pause button, and Backspace is used to exit either the game or menu screens to return to the main menu. Another thing, I'm aware that HTML5 is better for web games. I'm working on an HTML5 version of Darkhouse, there are issues with it that make the game unplayable right now, but I'll see what I can do about them.

I also want to clarify that I'm new to game design. This is the first game I've made, and I want it to be the best that I can make it. But my coding knowledge is very limited. That's why I still recommend reporting any bugs you find, so I can keep a list so everyone knows about them, and so I can try to fix them. If you have any questions, please ask, and if I have any questions, I too will ask.