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IMakeGames
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Joined: 13 Apr 2011
Posts: 499
Location: Austria
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:30 pm    Post subject: Development Log - Retrospect Reply with quote

Hello hello,

Moving on to my second game on the android platform: Retrospect!
I am staying lazy and continue to use my pretty solid 2D platformer engine for this game as well. But this time, I am more aiming for Contra gameplay in terms of shooting/jumping ratio. Right now, I am thinking about the control scheme. Keep in mind this is touchscreen-based, so input is pretty limited and it takes quite some fiddling to get right. No WASD for me! :-(

I've come up with three approaches:
One virtual d-pad + shoot button + jump button:
Pro: shooting in any direction possible without moving
Con: shooting and moving not possible at the same time

One virtual d-pad + shoot button + jump button (cave story/contra style):
Pro: moving while shooting possible
Con: only possible to shoot in the 3 directions you are "approximately" moving to

Two d-pads + jump button:
Pro: shooting and moving independent and possible at the same time
Con: maybe too much to handle, controls take much screen space

I am leaning towards option 2 right now. Option 1 slows down the game too much I'd assume, because the player has to stop to shoot. I've seen option 3 applied successfully but without additional controls like jumping, which I require.
The downside with option 2 is that you can't shoot diagonally without moving. Oh, did I mention that I restrict shooting to 8 directions? I guess I did now... :-)

Also started working on graphics! The oh so innovative name choice gives it away, it's time to seriously brush up on my pixel skills. Anyway, here is a highly WIP screenshot:

imagebam.com
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Sirocco
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Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 9459
Location: Not Finland
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most interesting to me is that you've adopted an art style that doesn't remind me of any other game I've played. That's quite rare!

I also suspect you'll end up going with control set #2. I've always found dual stick controls to be hard to wrap my head around. It works logically, but my head doesn't want to have both hands doing separate things in a directional sense!
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IMakeGames
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Joined: 13 Apr 2011
Posts: 499
Location: Austria
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Most interesting to me is that you've adopted an art style that doesn't remind me of any other game I've played. That's quite rare!

Thanks!... I guess... :-) The art style is probably so rare because of my dilettante attempts at art.

Quote:
I also suspect you'll end up going with control set #2. I've always found dual stick controls to be hard to wrap my head around. It works logically, but my head doesn't want to have both hands doing separate things in a directional sense!

Yep, I've decided on #2. The only thing I am still not decided on is whether shooting diagonally should also move the player forward or not. I can think of good and bad scenarios for both control schemes.
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IMakeGames
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Joined: 13 Apr 2011
Posts: 499
Location: Austria
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Screenshot time!
imagebam.com

I've been working on graphics as well as on the codebase. The things I did:

  • 3 different types of tilesets. You see the "Grass" tileset in the screenshot. Graphics are still WIP-ish though.
  • The first kind of enemy (the "Grunt") can patrol between locations or observe a location (red guy on the right in the screenshot). It can't shoot but will hurt you if it catches you!
  • Enemies have a "line of sight". Once you step into this line, they can see you and will give chase. They can jump over obstacles as well! Concave map layouts trap them however, as they don't have any real pathfinding but I think with a clever map layout I can work around that.
  • The player can duck to avoid being seen by enemies and take cover behind obstacles.
  • Improved touchscreen support. My old game had a hack-together mess of code. This is now way better!
  • Triggers and actions: triggers can be stepped onto by the player and... well... trigger actions. Actions can be anything from opening a door to starting a scripted scene.

I also extended my XML map files to be more flexible with all the kinds of stuff I plan to put into them.
Code:

<map><tiles tileset="grass001" background="grass001">
1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
1111000011111111111111111111111111111101000111000111111110100000000000001111
1110000000011111111111111111111111000000000000000011111000000000000000000111
1100000000000010111111111111111000000000000000000011110000000000000000000001
1000000000000000111111111111100000000000000000000001110000000000000000000011
1000000000000000011111111111110000000000000000000001100000000000000000000011
100X000000000000011111111111100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
1111100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
1111110000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
1111110000000000000000000000000000000001111111000000000000000000000000000001
1111111000000000000000000000000000000011111111000001100000000000000000000001
1111111110000000000000000000y00000000011111111000001100000000000000000000001
1111111110000001111110000000000000000011111111111111100000001111100000000001
1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
    </tiles>
    <entities>
        <!--<grunt positionX="23" positionY="14" right="false" behavior="lookout" /> -->
        <grunt positionX="18" positionY="13" right="true" />
        <grunt positionX="55" positionY="14" right="false" behavior="patrol" patrolX="71" patrolY="14" />
        
        <trigger positionX="2" positionY="8" width="100" height="10" id="1" />
    </entities>
    
    <actions>
        <conversation triggerID="1">
            <textbox text="Welcome to your training, soldier! Do exactly as I say and you might even survive out there." />
            <textbox text="Just play the game already!" />
        </conversation>
    </actions>
</map>


Yay for progress!!! :-D
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Sirocco
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Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 9459
Location: Not Finland
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a prototype build for my next project where I've stored all my map data inside an 8bpp image. The color index of each pixel indicates what's there, and the program automatically smooths out any rough gaps with edging, ladders, or whatever else it thinks needs to be there. The neat thing is I can use something like Animator or Moai to make all the levels, which would be faster than using a build-in editor like I've done in my other projects.
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IMakeGames
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Joined: 13 Apr 2011
Posts: 499
Location: Austria
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sirocco wrote:
I've got a prototype build for my next project where I've stored all my map data inside an 8bpp image. The color index of each pixel indicates what's there, and the program automatically smooths out any rough gaps with edging, ladders, or whatever else it thinks needs to be there. The neat thing is I can use something like Animator or Moai to make all the levels, which would be faster than using a build-in editor like I've done in my other projects.

Before I moved to ASCII-maps with XML, I used images as map data as well. But it just wasn't flexible enough to handle all the cases I want to create. A "certain kind of enemy patrolling from point A to point B, facing inwards" is not something I'd like to encode in a single pixel value... or are you strictly talking about the map itself and not the "objects" that are inside it?
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Sirocco
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Posts: 9459
Location: Not Finland
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With an 8bit image you can have, as long as you equate one pixel to one object, up to 256 different "things". The AI I was expecting to use was 100% autonomous based off their type, so I just place an enemy at a point on the map, and it goes about its business. Mainly I wanted to use it for map data, but then I realized I could give the program cues to set things up automatically. Spawn points, lighting, NPCs, etc. I'm still kind of experimenting with it in my spare time.
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IMakeGames
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Joined: 13 Apr 2011
Posts: 499
Location: Austria
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the issue that triggered my move to text based map formats was when i wanted to display some text passages in the map. and i wanted the whole map to be contained in one file as well. but if you can get away with it, image based map formats are a blast to work with, especially when doing things like moving parts or resizing the map. more then once i thought about writing a map editor to get the best of both worlds...
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IMakeGames
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Joined: 13 Apr 2011
Posts: 499
Location: Austria
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still have my WIP graphics... and even though I'm cutting every corner to spend the least amount as possible on art, it takes a huuuge amount of time.
Anyway, gameplay wise, I got the first (tutorial) level down. Here's a shitty VIDEO!!!

[url]

The actual game runs fluently, I just can't record a higher FPS video...
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sonrisu
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 4998
Location: Silicon Valley!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still, even with placeholder graphics it's looking great!
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loomsoft :]
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Sirocco
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Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 9459
Location: Not Finland
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the slightly laggy camera and low-color graphics it reminds me greatly of School Daze; in a good way, of course.

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