02Credits Blog

Day41 - Stop-Clock and Combo Struggles

Spent the whole day fighting the combo tracker with little success

2019-03-19

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Todo

Today I spent most of my free time trying to figure out how to write a combo tracker. So given that I was unable to figure out a proper algorithm, I will instead describe the small full feature I added even though it doesn't really constitute a full post :(

Stop Clock

In Tetris Attack, the Stop Clock is the mechanism by which the player is rewarded for making matches with more than the minimum 3 blocks. The basic idea is that the grid will stop progressing upward for a short period whos length is proportional to the number of blocks cleared and the size of the combo created.

To implement this feature I created a new module with a single variable for storing the number of frames left on the Stop Clock. I then subscribed to the Update event in order to decriment the clock every frame if it is not already 0 and subscribed to a new MatchCompleted event to add to the stop clock after each Match.

  export let stopClock = 0;
const framesPerBlock = 10;
Update.Subscribe(() => {
  if (stopClock > 0) {
    stopClock--;
  }
});
MatchCompleted.Subscribe(blocks => {
  stopClock += blocks.length * framesPerBlock;
});

Then in the grid progression code I added a check for the stop clock value to decide when to advance the grid:

  if (matches.size == 0 && stopClock == 0) {
  blockAdvancement += advanceSpeed;
  advanceSpeed += advanceAcceleration;
  fillNewRows();
}

Bugs

Interestingly this strategy didn't work at first. Turns out I had a bug in the intentional advance code that only showed up when I advanced the grid without also advancing in the main update loop. This caused problems because a block would get set to a non-existent row. My fix was to disable access to the blocks object directly and instead create get and set block functions which manage the edge case checks and setting for you.

  ///////////////
// Utilities //
///////////////
export function getBlock(gridSlot) {
  let row = blocks[gridSlot.y];
  if (row) {
    return row[gridSlot.x];
  }
  return undefined;
}
export function setBlock(arg) {
  if (arg.type) {
    addBlock(arg);
  }
  else {
    blocks[arg.y][arg.x] = null;
  }
}

Even still this function caused errors because the addBlock function used the gridPosition instead of the gridSlot to pick the index. After fixing everything went smoothly.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have some better luck attempting the combo code. If not I will step back and spend some time cleaning up and refactoring the code to get a better grasp for things.

Till tomorrow,
Keith