The BETA Testing of Trance Sector took place over the weekend. The game felt really good, but sadly the game required polishing. The good news is that not much work is required for the game. In fact, only a tiny bit of work was required - I actually got started on the polishing of the game this morning, two hours before I set off to work 12pm-8pm. So what were the problems that were pointed out:
First of all, one job was done yesterday. My beta testers spotted a minor bug with the high score name entry routine. The first problem was that after pressing fire on the game over screen a letter 'A' was already stored on the name for the first character. This was because of the Game Over routine forgetting to 'refresh' the fire button routine. Using fire button detection without refreshing the values to zero can make the control very sensitive. Secondly was the name entry itself. I forgot to reset the last character with the first character and vice-versa, depending on which character was detected. I quickly fixed both of those routines and tested it to ensure it worked right.
More improvements were being made today. Both BETA testers pointed out that the game can be off putting to the audience. If on each level the player lost a life, they would have to start the game all over again. I was quite reluctant to not have the player start all over again. Considering last week when I was testing the levels in cheat mode - I was really frustrated trying to complete some of the levels, although found it to be possible at the end. Since both Frank and Vinny pointed out the same issue, I updated the code to make sure the game screen didn't reset after a life was lost. It didn't require much code one bit. A simple reposition and re-spawn of all sprites per life lost. I also had to update levels 7,9 and 24 - repacked them all and - success.
I wanted to improve something else in the code, which I just had time to do. So I dug out the game character set in Cuniform and I drew 5 1x2 ball characters, with EXTRA inside each ball. Then I stripped the charset size and imported it into the game source. Then I altered the EXTRA routine so that the balls were dark blue (rather than green), but they are still white after one of the letters get picked up from the bonus ball object.
Now it was time to go to work - and maybe work on polishing the explosion sprite positions for the ending screen. Then hopefully final BETA testing this coming weekend.