Backgrounds

Added a transparent tile in the cells not filled with a title, to show the player which cells the cursor can occupy.  Without these transparent tiles as a guide, it is confusing to tell where the cursor can and can not be moved.

Created background images for levels 1 through 9.  The background image will change after completing every 10 stages.  The background color will also use a shade of the color of the highest level resistor for that level, re-enforcing the color value for that number.  In a way, this adds to the educational factor of the game.  Aside from having brown for level 1, this also teaches the standard ROYGBIV color spectrum model.  Created a background image cover, which is white on the sides, and gradually becomes transparent in the center.  This didn’t look right, so I used the color parameter of the draw method to change the color of this cover image as well.

 

   


Went ahead and added this background image style to the game win screen as well.  I may have to make some tweaks to make the lettering stand out better.

On the title screen, I went ahead and used the color parameter of the background image to set the shade of the scrolling image to the light green color.  Before, the background image looked faded and dull.

Setting the Bar

More Rank Generation

Spent time tonight playing through each level three or four times to get better values for the S ranks.  I want to ensure that the player can get S ranks in all three categories in one play of each stage.  For instance, I don’t want players to have to use a lot of pieces to get the S rank in time, then have to replay it again to get the S rank in pieces.  However, the player can get a better rank in any category by replaying the level, and specifically focusing on that specific category.  This means that each rank category of each stage is considered independent of the other rank categories as far as the records go.

When going for the best times, I found that the optimal strategy is having the most possible LEDs fill at the same time.  There should always be a piece filling, and the more pieces filling simultaneously the better (as long as it doesn’t impact the number of pieces used).  The LEDs that require the most distance should be completed first, filling in the shorter routes after.  It really is a bottle neck problem to solve to get the best time ranks.  Maybe its because I’ve played my own game so much, but getting the S ranks for pieces and luminosity is really simple, so the only challenge will be getting the S ranks for time.  On the other hand, if the player isn’t good at subtraction, then the luminosity scores will be difficult to obtain.

Platform Specific Exception

Noticed another difference between PC and XBox 360.  On the XBox 360, a runtime error will be generated if a try/catch statement isn’t placed around the game loading functionality to catch the System.InvalidOperationException exception.

More Level Design

Spent time creating ten more levels.  These use up to the 7 value battery.

 

Rank Updates

Rank Modifications

Modified the way that ranks are calculated at the end of a level.  Before, I had S, A, and B values defined for each of the three categories (pieces, luminosity, time) for each level.  I’ve realized that I will not have enough time to come up with all of those values for even the 50 stages that I currently have.  Therefore, I’m just going to define values for the S ranks.  Then, I will derive the A, B, and C values for pieces by adding 1, 2, and 3 to the S rank.  The same goes for the luminosity value, but decreasing the value by 1, 2, and 3.  For time, I will set a base S rank time, and then calculate the A, B, C ranks by adding 2 seconds for each lower rank level.

Fixed an issue with records being wiped when New Game is selected after the game is executed again.  This is because the constructor of the PlayerRecords class was initializing all of the array values to -1.  Now the save data is loaded once when the game is started, after the rank arrays are initialized in the constructor.

The rank values now gradually appear on the game win screen.  Currently, the ding sound effect is played when each value appears.  The game is already heavy on the voice work, so I thought the letter voice work was excessive.  I may use Audacity later to modify the ding sound, so it is different for each rank or new best ranks.

Added boolean variables and methods to track if the new ranks obtained for the level are better than the previous ranks obtained for the level.  This wasn’t pretty, because the GameWinScreen doesn’t have references to the GameLevelScreen or PlayerRecords classes, so it has to keep local variables to track if each rank is the best.  The GameWinScreen then uses those boolean variables to display if the rank is a new best if appropriate.

Level Number Display

Created a static method in the Level Definition class, which takes an integer level number and converts that number into a string level name.  It divides the level number by 10 and adds 1 to get the first number, and then takes the modulo of the level number by 10 plus 1 to get the second number.  For instance, level 25 becomes “3 – 6”.  Level 10 becomes “2 – 1”.  This is the value that will be displayed to the player on the various game screens.