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Sneak Peek: Costume Party Dumb Pack02:44 AM -- Fri January 16, 2009

The two costumes I've got all nice and finished, minus some polishing that they are sure to need! First let's recall Yerfdog. In the upper right is a lovely shot of his mighty inhale. It makes the same puffs as the North Wind does. You can't tell, but the Laser Tree is further left than it was when he started. Actually, notice the bullet? That came from the tree. His breath also moves bullets (but he can't inhale them, they just hurt him if they get to him). His breath works through walls, which could have puzzle purposes. Not that he can pull guys right through walls, but he can make guys on the other side of a wall move.

In the lower left is an inset shot of Yerfdog with his mouth full. He looks kind of fuzzy. That's a result of something I'm considering - it's a smooth rotation he goes through while bouncing around. It looks kind of nice except that, as you can see, it makes his pixels frizz out a little.

So Yerfdog can inhale enemies and spit them out! They're not weapons when he spits them out. His job is purely to get things from one place to another. That makes it much more of a puzzle tool than if he had the ability to kill things with it. If he had that, he'd just suck up a crate, spit it at someone, inhale again, spit again, until the victim was dead, then move on to the next. Without that offensive ability, he has to plan. What does he want moved, and where should he put it so that it won't hurt him? He can only jump 1 tile while carrying stuff, so it limits him a lot. His normal jump is huge and very floaty. But it can be controlled - a light tap will make a small hop instead.

The other hero you see is none other than the Happy Stick Ninja! As you can see, he has 3 main abilities. At the bottom, you see him in stealth mode, lurking like the Vampire does. No real difference from the Vampire except that he hides much faster, and he has no attack, so he has to hide! That always bothered me with the Vampire. His attack was so effective that only Scream Queens really ever need to be hidden from, and you can even kill them in the right circumstances. Oh, also he has to push down to hide (if not in the shadows, it just makes him duck, which doesn't dodge anything, it's just for looks).

Further up, he's standing. He can stand. Further up still, he's doing a wall-cling. From there he can hop across and back and forth to move up that pipe he's in. Pretty standard ninja ability, implemented in a very user-friendly way. I find that wall-jumps tend to be one of the harder to execute abilities in most games. They're always quirky in some way and you can slip with little mistakes very easily. So in this game, I made it as simple as I could: the fire button is "Grab". If you are holding it when you hit a wall, you hang on to the wall. While on the wall, you can tap up or away to leap off. If you release Grab, or push down, he'll drop down instead. All very simple, and won't lead to mistakes and slips.

And at the very top is something few ninjas can do (but few are so lightweight and 2-dimensional!): a ceiling grab! Like a wall grab, you hold Grab when you hit the ceiling. One tweak though: you also have to be holding up. That's because I ran into issues where you'd inadvertently grab the ceiling a lot, and it's a problem, because once you are up there, the only thing you can do is drop down.

Happy Stick Ninja has no attacks. His purpose is very simple and raw: he provides the joy of fast-paced running and jumping. He's very easy to control, moves very quickly, jumps fairly high (almost but not quite 3 blocks), and can stick to things all over the place. He should prove fun to play, and be used to make really solid platforming challenges. Oh, and of course he can pass through grates. I am considering letting him climb on grates like they were ladders, but that may be uncalled for.
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