and you always have missed something very important. You know one thing about PK2, right? No, you don't know. It's a "programmers' game", and that means that all terms must be known 100%, and if you don't really know anything about computers' HARDWARE but only software, that means that you should be more like rather than and let the real pros do the work. Really this is work and not the place to plume oneself on one's skills. Once you have got skills, you must also use them somewhere else than where you got them from.
Sorry about flooding and being conservative, but it was really irritating to see that there is many people who create nice content for PK2 the engine, and then there is one who always picks on other, not-anyhow-related things. I know that Zinkkimies has made many episodes and I even have played them, but when one knows his strengths, then that one should stay away from anything else.
The whole game is one level. it is just that the editor allows you to create multiple maps for each levels, so what you are playing is an single level which contains 10 maps. So everyone is correct, in one way or another. If you want, you can look at it as individual levels in terms of maps or an single level with many maps. So Stop the fighting, everyone wins
OK, Elf Destruction players and Piste Gamez staff members, here's a little personal "technical" review of the game that I've compiled/created over the past 2-3 months. Hopefully it will be interesting for players and developers to read and use to further improve the Piste Engine and thus Pekka Kana 3 (PK3) as well. Enjoy!
Elf Destruction review (critical analysis and gameplay experience description), impressions, suggestions and bugs report as reported by sahwar:
I. The positive characteristics of the game, i.e. the good improvements (in comparison to PK2's gameplay), i.e ED's features: 1. The ability to play in either fullscreen mode or windowed mode. Still, see bug 3 below. 2. Cool, visually appealing weather effects, like moving snow flakes, lights and light shadows (like in an oval around a working lantern and in other places), colorful light highlights and light fireworks, translucent fog (at the end of the game), clouds, the fire/lava lights bit, etc. 3. Very cool new graphics design, i.e. well-looking 32-bit color tileset, sprite and weapon designs (especially the different animation frames of sprites) and generally fluid motion effects. 4. Very stylish and cool holiday-themed background music and nice sound effects (enemy sounds, sounds on snowball hit, Elf's different sounds when hit, when jumping, etc). 5. Good and generally varied level design and generally stable gameplay experience and good framerate while playing. Having an overmap/worldmap and 2 enterable in-map cave sublevels is a cool idea (although once you enter/exit a cave, there's small bug concerning the revival of all enemies killed in the previous (pre-cave) overworld area (you can see that part since the two are not too far apart, seperated only by the cave entrance tile arrangement). 7. Interesting and original 2D pixel art design style (although personally I would prefer if PK3 could look more like PK2's style, yet be rather different). I will discuss my suggestion for the style of Pekka for PK3 later in another thread. 8. Pleasant desktop icon for the game (in .ico format), featuring the snowmen type 1 texture over a blue-white gradient. 9. New weapon mechanics: throwable snowballs and close-ranged/melee leg kick. 10. Some of the graphics as explained in point 3. (like palm tree, ico blocks, lanterns, tilests, etc.) above will probably be used in PK3 too and they sure look pretty good. 11. A very creative and inspiring cool showcasing of the capabilities of the new Piste Gamez' Piste Engine. Indie games FTW! 12. Quirky and holiday-oriented simple, but entertaining story and game goals. A children-friendly game for all ages (no blood or gruesome effects) although ED is overall quite challenging. 13. Nice 3 (or 4, I'm not sure) fonts for the in-game messages and notifications (i.e. the text for the item numbers, the hint/tutorial help in the beginning and the font used for headings and titles in the beginning and at the end of game.
II. Major bugs/glitches: 1. As stated in the official subsite of Elf Destruction, some major graphics/video glitches and bugs are present with newer hardware setups/machines. The most common of these is the main character's sprite going completely black. The last one is sometimes resetted to the normal colored sprite when for example you enter/exit a door/dungeon, but, unfortunately, the bug fires up (i.e. appears) again soon after (i.e. when you throw as snowball or fire a leg kick)... The video/graphics compatibility as explained in bug 2. above should be resolved and hardware support must be good, also: less bugs if playing under Windows Vista nad Win7 would be something good to work on. 3. The game should have an initial (menu) GUI start screen instead of just giving you the option to use fullscreen or windowed mode at the beginning. Also, it could be useful if switching between the two modes is possible using a hotkey/keyboard shortcut (like, for example F5). 4. The FPS counter displayed in the game's window title during windowed mode goes way beyond 50 FPS when the game screen is brought to the back (i.e. when minimized, when not the top window shown). This is fixed by switching to the game's window. However, this is not possible with bug 4 below (i.e. the game is irreversibly crashed and you have to kill its process and start playing from the beginning). Alternative explanation: There is a sort of dynamic number counter displayed in the game's window title in windowed mode, which I suppose countes the FPS (frames per second) of the game. It says something like "Elf Destruction(48)" (there shoul be space between the title and and the bracket, BTW). However, there is something wrong with it because if you unselect the game's window in windowed mode (as described in point 8. above), the number counter goes wild and jumps progressively from the usual 38-48 FPS to over 500 FPS (the number grows with the time that the game's window remains unselected by clicking on it to focus it (i.e. bring it to front, select it). 5. After resuming the Windows XP session after a Stand By, if the game has been running, the game screen is black and the game has apparently crashed and you have to kill the Elf_Destruction.exe process and restart the game to play. Instead of this if pont 3. above is implemented (i.e.if the game has a more detailed/elaborate GUI and could be paused and then continued, it could be better. 6. Some moving spikes (undestructable moving traps that do not shoot snowballs but hurt you if you touch them) can freeze in their spots sometimes, thus making them immovable and impossible to pass through. 7. Sometimes running to the end of a high tile gives you the ability to "magically" go back to the tile in the 1-3 short moments after the Elf's sprite has shown/switched to be falling, when you press the key to go left/right (i.e. in the direction of the tile that you want to go back to. If you're too slow at pressing the key, you fall/descend as you would normally when falling off (going and crossing the border end) a higher-placed tile in PK2. Maybe this bug is a feature? 8. Taking screenshots in windowed mode is only possible when the player clicks away from the Elf Destruction window, thus making the window unselected (but still visible). 9. When you complete the game you're given the option either to exit to a lit door and thus enter your elven home to end the game, or to jump over the door and continue onto the next screen which restarts the entire game and puts you at the start, but gives you 99 snowballs, 5/6/7 cookies (health points) and the amount of collected gifts that you've obtained through your first play. The same happens if you beat the game multiple times in the same session (i.e. without closing the game window or ending/killing the Elf_Destruction.exe task in the Windows Task Manager). THIS ISN'T A BUG, but I still wanted to include it. 10. Having a saving system like in PK2 and/or a in-level checkpoints system like in Super Mario is a must and will be good to have that in PK3 too. 11. The level backgrounds at certain times is of very high quality, while in other areas (like in the 2 caves) it could be a bit more varied and detailed. 12. The ability to choose a resolution (in px) and selectable keyboard controls (i.e. gameplay key controls customization / "freely selectable key configurations" as pekkafan before me suggested) would be good to have but is currently missing. 13. I haven't found other major shortcomings of the game. Consider this a bonus feature.
III. Minor gameplay bugs/glitches: 1. Apparently the game is very hard at the beginning and this may cause frustration to novice platform players. However, having to try to beat the first part of the game (from the very beginning to the first dungeon door) does improve your chances of completing the game, or at the very least getting further and further with every new playthrough attempt/try. 2. It would have been better if cursor/mouse aiming for throwing the snowballs is present (similar to the aiming of projectile-throwing weapons in the Worms games). This is a good thing to consider since it's a bit hard to guess what the snowball's trajectory is at present (the snowballs tend to be fired diagonally (from down to top) in a northeastern or northwestern direction and then descend like by gravity, rather than horizontally like the doodle attack in PK2). 3. It would be more user-friendly if the snowballs that are thrown and hit non-enemy objects (like tiles/walls, etc) DON'T count as lost snowballs, but instead the snowballs are only wasted if they hit an enemy (i.e. if they are used and are succeful at destroying and enemy). ALSO, jumping can be a bit tedious at times and tends to have some flaws, like slow falling after jumping or less control over where you land, or too short horisontal jumps compared to the maximum vertical height of jumps. As pekkafan & Iv4n said befoe me "maybe the controls are a bit too sensitive or a bit too insensitive", but you gradually get accustomed/use to them after 5-6 attempts... 4. The kicking (hotkey C) could have been improved a little, since it almost always requires you to stand very close to enemies in order to kick them and that usually ends with the Elf touching the enemy and thus losing 1 life point. Also, kicking is only safe to use when you kick enemies from behind (although kicking when facing an enemy directly is also possible, but harder to achieve|, since most enemies (i.e. snowmen) start throwing balls at you when you get too close to them and they spot you. Also, the reloading time between consecutive kicks should be significantly reduced, since it's too long right now. 5. The level design at certain locations tends to be limited and hyperhigher tiles are usually non-existant in open spaces (but some high tiles are still present). 6. There's an easy to spot hidden passage early in the game that gives you option to avoid entering the first cave (this is not technical a bug, but an intended secret passage, I suppose, similar to the "secret" passage in the first level of Rooster Island 1 in PK2). Having more such hidden passages would be a good idea. However, some easy to spot "hidden" passages/tunnel spots make it hard to see the position of the Elf because of the foreground texture above its sprite and this makes it easy to miss gifts or enemies placed in such visually obscured or dark tunnels. 7. The game is quite challenging and it personally took me over 30 attemps before one night I could try to beat the game 7-8 times more (as in 7-8 attempts) and finally after quite the tries I suceeded in winning/finishing the game. This is good for advanced and hardcore players, but could scare novice/newbie players away. BTW, I immediately choose to replay the game after beating it for the first time (without closing the game's window) and this second attempt at winning (after my first vitory) took me just 1/6 of the time that the 1st attempt took me since I've become accustomed to the game and the controls and the semi-professional timing for executing commands (i.e. keyboard key pressing at the right times and quick hand reflexes and coordination and thinking by appliying common sense in complex gameplay situations. 8. When moving animated (i.e. living/character/killable) enemies (like the moving snowmen heads and the moving semi-spherical spikes) collide with each other, they usually reverse their eye of sight position (i.e. from left to right and vice verse (= the other way around in Latin)) and continue moving in the direction opposite to their movement before the collision. 9. The height of the jump of the main player-controlled character (the Elf) depends on the millisecond duration of the key pressing, but could ideally be more responsive. 10. Hitting enemies is often hard to achieve in diagonal walkable tiles due to the trajectory of shooting snowballs and firing a leg kick. 11. It would have been good if a vertical (up and down) shooting weapon is available in addition to the two weapons the game has, since some hard-to-bypass tight spots could benefit from an easy way to eliminate enemies at lower levels. 12. Replayability isn't very high, since after 5-6 replayss (successful victories of the game), it kind of gets boring and repetitive, but that could be just because of the limited number of levels and the demo/expose/showcasing nature of Elf Destruction. PK3 will have more levels and a level editor, so PK3 can't possibly be boring because of the variety of levels and near-infinite customization and level-making and modding characteristics. Therefore this small annoyance is part of the demonstrational nature of ED and as a such this isn't a bug and thus can be easily forgiven and forgotten (i.e. not mentioned). 13. Maybe some good options for language translation and language selection of the game's interface, i.e. l10n (localization) and i18n (internationalization) would be very good to have so as to reach a wider multilingual player audience. This is especially important to have in PK3 (Unicode UTF-8 font support is a must!).
P.S. Other than these annoyances, the game works well and is capable of very good graphics FX (snow, blenders, other cool video/graphics effects).
ALSO: Consider the suggestions and opinions of the others who posted before me in this thread (especially Iv4n's and pekkafan's technical suggestions).
IV. List of encountered items, enemies, traps, sprites and tilesets throughout the game: A. Items: - snowballs = if you pick them up thus adding them to your inventory, you can use them - cookies = life points (health points; hitpoints), like the feathers in PK2. The maximum is 3 and you can obtain up to 5/6/7. - presents/gift boxes = collecting these increases the overall game score.
B. Enemies, traps & some sprites: - snowmen type 1: moving, shooting snowballs if they see you, patrolling movements and short time rests between the horizontal patrolling. Can be killed (i.e. are killable) with a succesful shot with a snowball or by kick if you're close to their backs. - snowmen type 2: static, shooting snowballs if they see you, short time rests between switching their horizontal eye direction (the direction in which they shoot snowballs if they see you. Can be killed (i.e. are killable) with a succesful shot with a snowball or by kick if you're close to their backs. - snowmen type 3: moving disembodied snowmen heads (with the head graphics from type 1 for visuals), patrolling movements. Can be killed (i.e. are killable) with a succesful shot with a snowball or by kick if you're close to their backs. - Periodically appearing and disappearing static spikes that emerge from the ground, which can't be killed. - Semi-spherical moving/rolling spikes with horizontal patrolling movements (i.e. moving continuously from left to right and back and repeat), which can't be killed. - the player-controlled Elf's sprite. - mushroom sprite. - well-animated sprite animation for the snoball weapon and also for the kick. - trees (including palms), stones and other sprites. - the availability of finely crafted and mixed together multiple background and foreground layerS!
C. Tilesets: - snow-themed tiles. - frozen/frost & ice-themed tiles. - dirt/ground-like tiles. - house and street lamp tile/sprite at the end of the game. - various platform tile graphics.
D. Creative references shown in-game: - some sprites from PK2 (an older platform game also created by Piste Gamez) could be seen added in the frozen blocks of some tiles, probably as a reference to PK2: bats, fish, boxing rabbits (from PK2), the Elf sprite from ED, etc...
V. Credits: A. Creators of Elf Destruction: 1. Piste Gamez (pistegamez.net) [game design, programming and development team]: Design and Graphics: Janne Kivilahti Programming: Jerome Hugues 2. Music: Mikko Tarmia
B. Author of this list-like game review: sahwar (Sah War) of the pk2lib team (pk2lib.netai.net).
FINAL JUDGEMENT OF THE GAME: A very good and high-quality game (although a short one). Highly recommended, a good demo-like showcase for players waiting for the release of PK3.
P.P.S. If someone wants, I can make a video walkthrough (screencast) on how to beat/complete the game (potentially useful for players that find it hard to beat the game or for people who just like to see me play it ). I also have around 50 screenshots showing the various parts of ED, so I can share those too, if you're interested. Just ask and you shall receive. ;D In addition, I would like to apologize in advance if there are any typos (language mistakes) in this text. Feel free to report them and I'll fix them. Thanks ofr reading and have a nice day! —sahwar