CSPB: Cave Story Plotbomb

Dec 20, 2021 at 5:21 PM
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Overview:
This mod has been under construction for the better part of 7 months, and has taken the lion's share of my personal free time. I mainly started it for educational purposes in order to better learn C++, cmake, and countless other programmy-type things. The mod has evolved into a monster of a project, and it's only part-way done.


The driving concept behind this mod is this:
Cave Story but what if...

...what if that floating island that the game takes place on is in reality a gigantic freaking spaceship?

hmm....

IslandSketch.PNG
Oh, look! It's my signature!


I've modified the game's TSC behavior to be a bit more engaging in terms of spoken dialogue and interface.

The Shoot button instantly displays all text to the next break, and the Jump button advances to the next page of text. (Some people may find this TSC behavior quite similar to popular RPG videogames made by one Toby Fox. Yes, this is what I intended.)

Characters now have their own typer voices and more animated face pictures. I'm not 100% set on the character voices yet, so some input here would be helpful.

So far, there are 36 new NPCs, 2 modified bosses, and 1 completely new (100% scratch) boss inside this mod, along with several custom equippable items and weapons.

If you find the mod easy, you're right. I've created this based on my skill level, which is laughably low compared to other people's. (because, you know, how can I test the mod if it is too hard for me to play?) Also, I know people like me may not even attempt to complete the mod if they find it too hard or frustrating (again, based on something I would do).

In terms of differences, the game deviates further from the original the longer you play, with the main split beginning in the pre-Sand Zone cutscene. In fact, you can skip everything prior to this point if you wish, using a save file from this point made on a stock version of Cave Story. There are virtually no plot differences up to here.

Here is a synopsis of what happens after this point:
Quote hops in the teleporter, intending to go to the Sand Zone, but an unknown power surge resets the teleporter he was riding in, sending him to the original TP hub in a completely "new" part of the island. While in this new area, he meets Galcota, the original spaceship's AI, who needs some help restoring his vessel to its former non-island state. Naturally, being such a kind-hearted robot (and because the script says so), Quote/You decide to help him out.


Where.PNG


SandHangar.PNG


Boxes.PNG


Water.PNG

Changelog:
Demo1 (Ver 1.0.1.6)
11/28/2021

Initial release.

Demo2 (Ver 1.0.2.6)
12/20/2021

First Public release (and look at that, it's on Cave Story's 17th anniversary)
  • Updated the Waste Processing maps, no longer a reskin of the Labyrinth
  • Added optional NPC physics (NPCs can now interact with other "solid" NPCs, similar the player)
  • (2A release) Fixed several important TSC linking issues that I found in version 2
  • (2B release) Fixed some more minor TSC linking issues that I found later in version 2, as well as included a 60FPS version of the executable


All versions can be found on doukutsuclub.knack.com
 
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Dec 20, 2021 at 7:05 PM
lol
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This concept alone has genuinely intrigued me. I love your concept, synopsis about the mod, as well as the 3d animation you show of the spinning Island-ship. I'm definitely going to be playing this later and giving a review on it.
 
Dec 20, 2021 at 9:37 PM
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Oh wow, this came out of nowhere. I've been seeing that spaceship in your signature for a long time, didn't realize it was a part of a mod you're making. Sounds like you've really been putting a lot of work into this. I'll be interested in trying this at some point.
 
Jan 15, 2022 at 9:40 PM
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Double post because it's been almost a month.

This was a very enjoyable mod, I haven't seen this much thought, time, and effort put into a mod of this length in a long time. I played up to the Sand Zone the other week, and then just today played through the plot twist part. This is a very interesting suvbersive concept you have here. Going along with the normal Cave Story game, until you get to the Sand Zone, and completely changing the direction of the story and levels. The exploration kept my attention, and the custom design felt fresh enough to keep me interested, but familiar enough for it to still feel like Cave Story. The level design and new visuals were okay, and the new sound effects and semi-animated facepics were welcome additions, but what really made this mod shine was its new characters and altered story.

For those of you who haven't played this mod yet, spoilers ahead.

I decided to start from the beginning of Cave Story, just to get the full experience of this mod, and also to see what changes were visible before the big plot twist. I remember you mentioning the unique typer voices, but it came as quite a pleasant surprise when King and Toroko started speaking. For King's typer voice, I think you have the coarseness right, but it sounds too high-pitched. For Toroko's voice, I think you have the softness right, but it's a little bit too low-pitched. This is especially odd when King and Toroko are talking directly to each other. The typer voices for Balrog and Misery were okay, but maybe they could be tweaked some time in the future. I think Sue and Galocta's typer voices were spot-on. I wasn't paying very close attention when the Doctor started talking.

That was also pretty interesting how you foreshadowed Galocta in the Power Room in Grasstown. I took note of that when I saw it, but I really didn't know what to expect. Galocta in Grasstown and the typer voices were the only differences I noticed leading up to the Sand Zone.

I wasn't too taken at first by the whole plot twist of everything being on a space ship instead of an island, but the more that you developed the character of Galocta and the backstory behind what the space ship was all about, the more I grew to appreciate your creative spin and the impressive amount of thought you put into this. When I defeated that first boss, Galocta did what he did with the controls, and all those secret doors opened in those areas Cave Story players will be familiar with (including showing Curly in the Sand Zone Residence), that was when I was hooked. That was when I realized you really had a comprehensive vision for tying all of this open-ended Cave Story lore into your own alternate universe. I loved the turn of events in what we've long known as the Sand Zone storehouse where the red flowers are, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading through Dr. Skyley's notes on how Mimigas came about. I'm excited to see how this space ship and new backstory will continue to disrupt the normal flow of events we're used to seeing in Cave Story, and how this affects other characters and items, such as Jenka, the Core, and Ballos.

The Lift Shaft was really cool. I liked the whole concept of the elevator being broken, and going through the shaft was very satisfying, and the design of it was simple while also very visually appealing. I think the last few sets of blocks up to the top level were a little bit repetitive, though. I would suggest lowering the top level by just a little bit.

The Electric Therapy gun was pretty cool. I actually feel as if it may be a bit over-powered, but that's just in comparison to the enemies I've faced thusfar in this mod. If you plan on making certain enemies or bosses that are tougher or can counter this weapon in some way, then I think the "over-powered" nature of this weapon with critters and bats is a non-issue.

That was interesting how you give us access to that debug room where we can see some upcoming mechanics. I guess it's heavily under construction, so bugs or weird situations in that room are to be expected.

Right before I was about to go down and fight Toroko, I saved and exited out to go get some laundry out of the dryer. When I loaded the game back up, I was taken by surprise, because the opening screen and main menu had changed. That was a pretty sweet touch, I liked it. And upon progressing farther through the game, I then noticed that it continually changes the intro screen and window title as you progress. That's pretty nifty. Out of curiosity, was that inspired by Undertale?



No mod is perfect, so here are some design choices I didn't like or bugs/typos I found:
One problem I had with the design of the ship is that there are some areas where it's kind of hard to tell which tiles are foreground tiles, and which ones are background tiles. These areas, for example, are very jarring:
CSModPlotbomb-01.png
CSModPlotbomb-02.png

I would suggest re-working the tiles a bit to make the foreground and background more obvious. Usually, when I see darker tiles with that "sinking in" visual effect, I assume they're background tiles. And when they're brighter, have a solid outline, and are more blocky, I assume they are foreground tiles. I kind of felt this way throughout my exploration of the ship, but these areas in particular highlight just how jarring this can be.

When you're in that security room and inserting those keys into those slots to disable those force fields, there was some line that Galocta made about saying that he can only maintain one connection at a time. I at first misinterpreted this to mean that you can only have one key active at any given time, so I was a bit surprised when he gave me another key, and I ended up having more than one key active at once. I would suggest tweaking this line to make it more clear that he can only give you one key at a time, but you can still unlock all of those forcefields.

I died the first time that I fought that first boss on the ship. When I loaded my save and respawned, the "Game Over" music was still playing.

It feels kind of weird to have all of those open doors in Applied Science that don't do anything. I would suggest doing something a bit more seamless to indicate that those areas aren't supposed to be accessible yet, whether that be for reasons of game progression, or because this is an early demo.

"Administrative permissions permitted for Galocta" maybe could be reworded as "Administrative permissions granted for Galocta"

The script for opening the treasure chest in Dr. Skyley's office with the Electric Therapy jumps ahead a bit. Most chests use the "open chest" sound effect, have text saying "Opened the chest..." and then after a <NOD, give you the item and play the jingle and everything. Not sure if this was on purpose, but since this integrates with the existing Cave Story game, the inconsistency here with it just jumping ahead to giving you the item without the open chest sound and saying "Opened the chest..." feels a bit jarring.

When I took the elevator to go from Applied Sciences to the Security District, "Labyrinth Fight" was still playing. I don't know for sure if this was on purpose, but then I went into the Lift Shaft, and then back into the Security District, and "Jenka 1" was still playing, so clearly something's not working as intended.

Here were some typos:
-"once we control it again, We can isolate and disarm the Doctor."
-"Enough hits should make it vulnrible to a script takeover."
-"A seed that grows flowers of the red veriety."
-"That poor toroko,"
-"done much for this ship already, but appears we have no other choice." (missing "it" between "but" and "appears")
-"Believe it or not, We have actually had experience with this type of infection before."
-"I, personally wonder if these beings will be able to learn at the same rate..." (missing comma after "personally")

I got as far as the part where where you've just given the notes to Galocta, and Toroko has been brought down to normal size, and King is waiting with her. I think Galocta gave me some instructions on what to do next, but after that cutscene, I saved, exited out, and then ate lunch. And when I came back, I forgot where it was that he told me to go, and I wasn't able to find any helpful hints on where to go. I did a bit of exploring around, but I wasn't able to figure out where I was supposed to be going. I was mostly just backtracking to all of the areas I remember going to. Before he left, I thought I remembered Galocta mentioning something about being able to talk to him on a terminal if I need help or something, but whenever I interact with a terminal, it just says "Cyndrillica Co."

This leads into the last critique I have for this mod: I don't think you made it intuitive enough where to go at this point in the mod. If this is the end of the demo, then it would be good to get a clearer indication that this is the end of the demo. If there's still more content, then it would be good to have some way of getting guidance in case the player has forgotten where Galocta told Quote to go next.
 
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Jan 16, 2022 at 9:12 AM
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been meaning to try this for a while but unfortunately the mac version (both the game itself and the config) appear to not be working - or at least guessing from the error message in terminal, it's not compatible with the version of OSX i'm running (10.14, mojave), and wine was a no-go too
Screen Shot 2022-01-16 at 8.04.51 pm.png

not a huge issue though, i'll just have to check it out tomorrow when i get home since i didn't bring my windows laptop with me :V
 
Jan 19, 2022 at 2:14 AM
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I can't get past Atmosphere Processing... :(
 
Jan 19, 2022 at 2:47 AM
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I can't get past Atmosphere Processing... :(
Sounds like you got farther than I did. Where did you go after your got Toroko down to normal size, but she was still unconscious? Galocta told Quote to do something and go somewhere, but I can't remember what it was that I was supposed to do.
 
Jan 19, 2022 at 11:28 AM
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Sounds like you got farther than I did. Where did you go after your got Toroko down to normal size, but she was still unconscious? Galocta told Quote to do something and go somewhere, but I can't remember what it was that I was supposed to do.
Galocta said that, while the ship is producing power just fine, the power isn't reaching where it needs to go. So, he said, we need to go to Power Distribution through the maintenance tunnels to find out what's going on.
Before I went to do just that, I talked to King and got the Blade (which I, of course, level-grinded like the dickens).
The only problem is that I can't figure out how to get to the Power Distribution area.
 
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Jan 19, 2022 at 11:30 PM
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Galcota said that, while the ship is producing power just fine, the power not reaching where it needs to go. So, he said, we need to go to Power Distribution through the maintenance tunnels to find out what's going on.
Before I went to do just that, I talked to King and got the Blade (which I, of course, level-grinded like the dickens).
The only problem is that I can't figure out how to get to the Power Distribution area.
Ah, okay, so it sounds like you're not that far ahead of me, and you may in fact be running into pretty much the same navigation issue that I ran into.
 
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