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AdmiralTofu
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Joined: 02 Nov 2009
Posts: 189
Location: Millville, NJ
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sirocco wrote:
That's the upshot of programming and game design. Almost nothing is ever a total waste of time. If nothing else, you learn what not to do :)


Tru dat.

Part of me is considering just hurrying up and finishing Acronia with what I have, rather than trying to spend another year of my time trying to realize my "vision."

(Imagine "vision" being said in the most sarcastic voice possible, with huge air quotes. Pretty disgusted at myself for letting it get this far out of hand.)

I can think of a few ways I could make the game easier to finish:
- Get rid of melee weapons for the player, to cut down on the number of animations needed. Have everything be all guns. This won't work for enemies, since the primary baddies in Acronia are mutants. But they'll require far less elaborate animations than the player characters anyway, so that's not as big a problem as it might seem.
- Consider going Contra-style, with a single graphic for all the player's weapons. Acronia takes place in the future; there's no reason the same gun can't fire rockets one moment, plasma the next, and then bullets after that.
- Ditch the Commander Keen-style tilted perspective and do a traditional, straight-on 2D camera. That tilted perspective requires a TON of tiles, and increases the amount of time required to build levels. Maybe fake depth by drawing player and monster sprites nudged a few pixels down.
- Hardcode most of the enemy behavior.
- Nix plans to make the game moddable. Easily half of the game's development time has been dedicated to moddability, and it's not even done yet. Time to cut my losses. This ain't Doom. It's a side-scroller by somebody nobody's ever heard of. Nobody's going to want to mod my dinky little platformer.
- I originally had three episodes planned. The first would be free, the second and third would be paid. But I can't justify charging for this game if I'm going to drastically cut it down like this. Combine the story for all three episodes into one game, and release that shit for free. Potential loss of profit now (which, let's face it; wouldn't have been much -- nobody's first game ever makes any amount of money) could be offset by the exposure it gives me, and reap benefits for more-polished projects down the road.

I'm a storyteller at heart. I should have realized there'd be no way I could just create a "simple" game without developing a story for it and getting attached to it. Now I need to teach myself to let go and let it be what it is.
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Edited by AdmiralTofu on Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:46 am; edited 2 times
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Alex
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Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 1159

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm a storyteller at heart. I should have realized there'd be no way I could just create a "simple" game without developing a story for it and getting attached to it. Now I need to teach myself to let go and let it be what it is.

I'm realizing more lately that I also am more of the story-teller type. It's difficult to contain those epic-adventure thoughts from influencing game-design decisions.
I think you should try to put clear boundaries on everything, and stick to those. Less is more, if more gets you less. You can easily have a great story without much game-mechanics; look at older retro games for examples where they had to make do with the limitations they had. A lot of time, the story emerges on its own if things are simple enough to allow it.
I would define everything that I know I could probably create in a month timeframe, and stick to that.
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0xDB
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AdmiralTofu wrote:
Pretty disgusted at myself for letting it get this far out of hand.
Be nice and compassionate towards your self. Treat your self good. Do not slap your self.
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AdmiralTofu
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Joined: 02 Nov 2009
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Location: Millville, NJ
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you've read my new devlog, you know that I'm calling it a day on Acronia. The project is officially "suspended" rather than canceled. There are no technical or logistical reasons why I couldn't come back to Acronia right this second if I wanted to -- I just don't want to at the moment. It has served its purpose -- making me a better programmer -- and I'm ready to move on to what I've always seen as my life's work (my RPG). I will eventually finish Acronia, but not right now.

I thought I'd close out this chapter by sharing a few pieces of artwork. I might also post source code later this month, or at the very least, a playable binary.

Click images to embiggen.

Character select screen

I wound up going with a TMNT-style character selection, with one modification: when a character "dies," they're actually "KO." They can no longer be selected. But, while they're KO'd, they slowly regain health. Once they're up to 25%, they're revived and can be selected again. When all five characters are KO'd, it's Game Over.

Saved games

Just a mockup; this menu never made it into the game. At the time that I suspended development, I was working on the functionality for saving and loading game state; it was about 85% done. The menu would have been next.

Roslyn Giordano

In 2013 (OMG has it been that long?), I commissioned portraits of all five characters. The first is Roslyn.
The characters are all employees of a private military contractor called Acronia. Of the five, Roslyn is the longest-serving, having joined the company 13 years ago. She's extremely career-minded and has no plans to retire or move on any time soon. Because of this, she tends to be more risk-averse than her teammates, though no less capable in combat. (In-game, this means she's less acrobatic than average; her hyper-cautiousness causes her not to wall-jump as well, or climb slower on ladders, etc.)

Reuben Kallam

The oldest of the group and a former U.S. Marine, Reuben has taken on an added, unofficial role as the group's leader. The others affectionately call him "Dad." He's strong, manly, and confident, but with a gentleness and good humor that helps him avoid crossing over into being an obnoxious dudebro. In terms of gameplay, Dad is perfectly average, right down the middle, and would have been the sole playable character in any public demos.

Allison Michele "Allie" Connelly

Allie has two distinct sides to her personality, and they never seem to meet in the middle or blend in any way. Among friends, she's funny and charismatic, and goes by "Allie." In battle, she's hard and serious, and seems to always wear a half-sneer/half-smile, as if she wants to get into the action so badly she can taste it. To anybody other than her closest friends (her four teammates), she refuses to answer to anything but "Connelly." Allie is my favorite character (followed by an extremely-close second place in Roslyn). I have a thing for spunky redheads. I'm engaged to marry one. Gameplay-wise, she's the fastest, with the least health. She's also tiny -- 5'3" -- and can fit in spaces that other characters, like Buddy and especially Harry, can't.

Harry Johnson

"Big Harry" Johnson, as he calls himself (nobody else does), is loud and obnoxious, and the poster child for every guy in his late 20s who still thinks he's the same cool dude he was in his senior year of high school. He's a pathological liar, and isn't shy about constantly hitting on Roslyn. The others put up with his faults because despite them, he's fiercely loyal -- and, at 6'8" and 303 pounds, a valuable asset in combat. In-game, Harry is slow and not very agile. He has a literal crapton of health. If the player needs a wall of meat to power through the end of the level, Harry's your guy.

Lonnie Branner

A new recruit to Acronia, very young and eager. His teammates have nicknamed him "Buddy." It fits. He's high-strung, energetic, and keeps his eyes peeled at all times, as if he's afraid he'll miss something. Constantly asking questions, he approaches his new job with a mixture of child-like wonder, abject fear, and genuine curiosity. Spoiler alert: At the end of episode 1, [spoiler redacted].

Character artwork was done by Angel Nichols, an illustrator I discovered on fiverr.
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AdmiralTofu
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Joined: 02 Nov 2009
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Location: Millville, NJ
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Project is ON!

Yesterday, I forked Adventure in Rulon's code and re-started Acronia. To prevent me losing focus on Rulon or burning out on Acronia, I've designated Sundays as my "work-on-Acronia" days. AiR is still my main project.

(Exceptions will be made if I get into an extended slump on either project -- then its sibling will take over for a while until I'm "over it." This was prompted by a two-month long slump on AiR that I'm only just now crawling out of. I'll dish on that in AiR's devlog soon.)

I have a different philosophy going in this time 'round. I won't be wasting time making user-facing editing tools like last time. My custom WAD-like binary file format is gone. Everything will be human-readable, using the same plain-text and PNG image formats that I'm currently using on Rulon.

No more aspiring to be Doom. I, of course, want players to be able to hack my games at will, but I feel that making human-readable data formats is enough. For me, making games is more important at this stage of my life than making Tools To Make Tools (tm).

I've also noticed I'm using less and less OOP with every project. I used to worship at that altar; now it just gets in my way.

I'm going to try to update both project threads at least once a week, even if it's nothing more in-depth than simply copy-and-pasting that week's work log without commentary. (Hopefully it'll be more than that, especially as screenshots start happening.)
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

No more aspiring to be Doom. I, of course, want players to be able to hack my games at will, but I feel that making human-readable data formats is enough. For me, making games is more important at this stage of my life than making Tools To Make Tools (tm).

I've also noticed I'm using less and less OOP with every project. I used to worship at that altar; now it just gets in my way.


I learned that lesson way too late. Now that I'm smart enough to actually Get Shit Done, I just don't care :/

*sigh*

At least one of us is still at it :D
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AdmiralTofu
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Joined: 02 Nov 2009
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Location: Millville, NJ
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh -- I'm also probably going to ditch the Commander Keen-style pseudo-3D look. That created way more headaches than it was worth when it came to designing tilesets. I'm not Adrian Carmack.

I'm just going to use a traditional straight-on perspective. It'll look perfectly fine as long as the art is good.
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