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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As many times as I tried to do that, I always had to write a new one anyways because it didn't accommodate some such feature. Sad!
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only big thing mine doesn't support is full external skinning, but the handful of routines that actually do the drawing are easy to update, so I've never worried about it. I can swap out the icons and background texture(s), then redo the trim drawing routine and be done with most of it.

Each iteration gets a little more flexible. I do find a feature or two each time around that I wish I had, so I drop it in. But that's a far cry from reinventing the wheel every time. It's one of the only times you'll ever hear me beat on the old "reuse your code!" mantra. GUIs are such a bore to code!

Looking back at my previous work... euw. I wasted a lot of time making the menus for FB :(
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, my GUI code is (I think) pretty flexible and recyclable. And it's complete enough now that all I ever have to do to it is add the occasional feature or tweak here and there (like, say, sliders for option screens or whatever). The big time sink isn't the GUI framework, but the actual user interface itself -- which menus control what aspects of the game and whatnot. Especially in an RPG... I feel like I'm swimming in a bottomless ocean of menus.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Sick of working on UI, so I decided to add two new map objects: light halos on the ground beneath traffic signals and street lamps. Just like the lights themselves, they dim down to nothing during the day and only display at full brightness at night. These are more of those hardcoded "Things" I mentioned a few posts back. Nothing challenging (hardcoded shit never is), but it was a nice break from menu hell.
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n29
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gorgeous screenshot!
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Running late for the day job! Can't quit coding! Aaaaah!

(Updates soon :) )
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Debugging actors in the field. There's a crapton of data that goes into moving little avatars around on a map.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

There's a crapton of data that goes into moving little avatars around on a map.


I do something very similar. I have a bunch of general purpose objects than are assigned a particular type, along with various behaviors that dictate how they go about their business. Bugs can creep in when attributes don't match what is expected, but it's easier to work with than it was years ago when I first started working that way. It's great to have that level of flexibility. Attribute-creep is a little problem, but as long as you keep the minimum number of attributes you need to get something working and on-screen low, it usually won't get out of hand.

The mini-map is a good idea. It's amazing how many RPGs never received anything beyond a rudimentary level-based map.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No screenshots today. Spent the last two days implementing the ability to "swim underwater" -- you step on an invisible trigger and the party is flagged as "swimming", after which they move a little slower and start to lose oxygen until they die. There's no animation for it all yet, as I'm focusing on tech, not content -- right now the character just loops their walking animation while bobbing up and down. I also added an "air pocket" object that refills your party's oxygen supply when touched and destroys itself.

I had an idea last night while falling asleep (or rather, trying to) of including doors that can only be opened by switches. Each switch will have an ID number assigned to it that matches a door (or doors; there's no reason these objects can't share IDs) and when triggered, those doors will open. A flag will tell the engine whether a switch can be triggered multiple times, or only once. Basic stuff, but I'd never given any thought to anything like it before because my map format was so poorly-designed. The map format redesign and revisions I did to the "Things" structure a few months ago now allow me to do things like that. I've also got rudimentary designs in my head for objects that can be picked up and thrown, which can be used to break open things, activate switches, etc. Basically I'm avoiding working on the GUI because I got so sick of it and need a break.

Not exactly trying to turn AiR into an action RPG (I would have to totally re-work my control scheme, and I don't want to -- it's good enough as is. Besides that, that's not the type of game I envisioned). But I am just trying to come up with ways to make the field scenes a little more interesting than just moving an avatar around on a grid and talking to NPCs.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
including doors that can only be opened by switches

Having toggleable objects is awesome. If you think about it, you can completely abstract the idea of "switches" and "doors" and go the route of objects that are either:

1. Toggleable
2. Toggleable Target

That way you have a setup where an object, no matter what it is, has a toggleable state. It's on/off. It can be a switch, a push button, someone you have to kill, etc. Toggleable objects link to Toggleable Target objects. That would be your door. Or unlocking a vehicle. Or whatever else you want. Then you can get crazy and make toggleable objects also toggleable targets. At that point you can chain together a bunch of stuff!

To even further extend things, you could make your toggleable object not require interaction, but rather just check statistics of the game. For instance, it would check if you have X amount of gold. If you do, it toggles the toggleable target to "open".

Just some thoughts, as I had recently implemented this kind of thing in my game and wanted it very generic. Come to think of it, now, though... I should add in support for making a toggleable target able to have N toggleable objects pointing to it, all of which have to be on before it will toggle on/off. Fancy.

Quote:
Spent the last two days implementing the ability to "swim underwater"

How brutal is the swimming going to be? I don't think I have ever witnessed an RPG that just kills you outright for walking through the wrong kind of environment. At worst it usually just drops your health to 1 (for all members). Are you going to be sneaky and put awesome treasure in hard-to-reach underwater areas?
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll definitely have to give togglable objects some thoughts! It'll be a little harder to abstract them, but it's definitely do-able, and would blow the possibilities of map design wide open.

sonrisu wrote:
How brutal is the swimming going to be? I don't think I have ever witnessed an RPG that just kills you outright for walking through the wrong kind of environment. At worst it usually just drops your health to 1 (for all members). Are you going to be sneaky and put awesome treasure in hard-to-reach underwater areas?


It'll depend on the difficulty level of the game, really. On "Rookie" and "Easy" modes, I'll have it drop the characters down to 1 HP and no lower; on "Normal" and up, it kills the characters one-by-one* until they're all dead (this will be the only time you can actually die/Game Over outside of battle -- even poison only drops you to 1 HP). I definitely plan to have air pockets at strategically-placed spots to give the player enough time to get to safety; after that the only variables are how tough the characters are and how much dawdling the player does looking for treasure and stuff. I really don't want to torture and kill the player so much as just give them an "oh shit! hurry up!" feeling, kind of like in Sonic.

And yeah, there will totally be treasure and bonuses in hidden/side areas. Kind of like the submarine map under the sea -- you can either just use it to get where you're going, or get mondo rewards for being an explorer.

-Tofu

*(the characters will all have different levels of oxygen capacity, based on their Vitality score -- so they won't just die off as a party all at once)
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
get mondo rewards for being an explorer

I hope the rewards are actually mondo. Another peeve of mine in the RPG genre is traveling really far to get something totally useless or stupid. You know, the kind of stuff where it takes grinding+forever to get there, and it's a weapon completely obsoleted by all the grinding you did to obtain it, etc.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, they will be. I don't exactly know what those rewards will be yet, but I won't ship until things like that are just perfect. Anticlimactic non-rewards always pissed me off, too. I figure no matter how good the main story/quest is, it's the kickass side stuff that's going to make people tell their friends about it and go, "Dude, you have to play this."
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While not mondo loot, one of my favorite features of any RPG was Chrono Cross and the NewGame+ mode, where you get some sort of "time" related item which basically allows you to run the entire game at 2X speed while you held down some button combo -- thus allowing you to plow through all the boring slow shit and animations that would otherwise bore you to death. Neatest NG+ bonus I have ever seen.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that's exactly the kind of stuff I'm talking about: even if it's not loot, it could be side stories, new game mechanics -- anything to enhance the game experience and basically tell the player, "Attagirl!" (attaboy, whatever)

*adds Chrono Cross to my buy-and-play list... long overdue.*
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still alive! Still... doing UI.

Is there a battle system in my future? Or at least more work on the field system? Or something resembling a GAME?

I hate RPGs.



This actually works! Of course, given that the game is nowhere near being finished, the save file format will change as I add more data. But that's beans compared to working on the GUI controlling it.

EDIT: a thought: the "Are you sure?" window is currently dead-center in the screen. I wonder if it would just look and feel better if it were centered on the file list menu rather than the whole screen.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Centered is good. It will get your attention. In my opinion it should be off-center on the Y-axis though. Making it a bit higher gives it more prominence.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

True 'dat. On the other hand:



Since your eyes are already going to be focused on the file list, having it pop up right on top of the list might catch your attention even more.

I can go either way, but this seems more appealing to me somehow. More... balanced.

EDIT (AGAIN): I think I'll have "No" set as the top/default item in that menu. The way I have it set up right now, if the player accidentally hits "Confirm" twice in a row, it's bye-bye savefile.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually find it good practice to default to "NO" for any serious activities in a game, but the one time I like to see deviation from that is when saving a game. Loading... yeah... but when I'm dropping by just to save the game for the 487th time (entirely possible, given the game!) I like to get by with a minimum amount of effort.

Just a thought.

Centered in the pane looks fine.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does look fine there. Maybe slightly off-center on Y, still (higher).

Quote:
I usually find it good practice to default to "NO" for any serious activities in a game

Honestly, that's not the annoying part. More frustrating is that the only difference between the save / load screens in most games is the word "Save" and "Load". Making them visually different makes it much more obvious you might be loading when you intend to save, or saving when you intend to load. Who hasn't done one or the other at least once?

Another way around having to confirm saves all over the place all the time is just either having:
- If you have save points, every time you touch one, it writes to "autosave"
- If you don't have save points, just autosave on every map/area load

That way, when you really want to store progress for whatever reason, you save the current progress to some other place. This negates having to constantly save over the same slot all the time and potentially removes the necessity to have like 50 bajillion saves that you have to clean up later.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good points, all. I know what you mean, Sirocco, about wanting to save as quickly as possible, now that I think about it. I've played games where the default was no and all of a sudden, saving felt like a chore.

sonrisu, about the save/load/delete screens having different layouts -- I think that's potentially a great idea. Any thoughts on how I could change it around for each mode? Working with this layout for the past week, I'm too close to it to be objective.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think even something as simple as changing the background color for the panel between save and load would be a huge help. Save is always red background, vs Load is always blue background, or something like that. Just some visual cue other than a word-change that eyes can easily notice without making the brain think (or have to read).
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got the File menu "good enough" that I can move on, which leaves no more field menus (for now, anyway. There's still some that I have greyed out/disabled because I didn't feel like working on them). I'm now back to working on the mechanics of the field engine -- mostly code organization and tracking down bugs.

EDIT: (also implemented sonrisu's idea about different colored file mode screens... it looks and works great!)
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Edited by AdmiralTofu on Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:32 pm; edited 1 time
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Productive weekend. Did a major code re-organization that will make calling menus and shuffling them around a lot easier. Also made it so that the game world continues to update (and render the scene) in the background while you're navigating menus, as well as added a nifty little effect where the main field menus slide into and off of the screen as you call initially call them up and dismiss them.

Yesterday was all structure and code cleanup; today was eye candy.
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