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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMakeGames wrote:
Interesting videos! :) If I saw that correctly, you position the camera according to the platform the player is (/was last) on, is that right? Because when you turned on fly-mode, the camera stopped moving until you hit a platform again.

How is that camera working out for you? I also considered doing it like that but then didn't because I wanted more flexibility.


Thanks! :)

Actually, to be honest, the camera thing is an anomaly that popped up when I was making the video. For the life of me, I can't reproduce it!

When the camera is operating normally, it actually works the way you would expect: it follows its target. I do let it lag behind a few frames so that when the target stops moving, the camera kind of gently "slides" into position over the player, giving a handheld or a dolly feel.

There is one exception to this: when the player jumps, the camera stops following the player's vertical position until either 1) the player's vertical position returns to the height at which the player jumped, or 2) the player lands on solid ground. I've always found -- especially in games where the player has to jump a lot -- that having the camera constantly bouncing up and down makes for a distracting, weird experience.


IMakeGames wrote:
The grabbing and pulling up is looking solid, I hope you can get away with making the player invincible during this time. :)


I've done some thinking about that last night. Decided I'm only going to make the player invincible while she's climbing, not while she's hanging. When she's hanging, her visual position does match her actual position, so that's not an issue. Also, if she's getting pelted by enemies when she's hanging there, it's not like she's forced to keep hanging. She can always choose to drop down or climb up, in order to get out of danger.
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Edited by AdmiralTofu on Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:30 am; edited 1 time
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found the bug. :) It actually has to do with the camera mechanics when the player is jumping.

If you watch the video again, you'll notice that I activated fly mode when I was in the middle of a jump. Since I never touched ground or descended down to my original altitude, the camera didn't know to start following the player vertically again. Only when I hit the red platform did the camera know it was okay to start following vertically once more.

Easy enough fix; I'll just have to make it so that if the camera's target is a flyer, the camera always follows both x and y position. The camera code is obviously assuming its target is always a non-flyer, and can jump.
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IMakeGames
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting stuff! Keep us updated on your progress. I find it intriguing how different every gamedev handle the same problems/tasks. :)
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love games that let you hang from ledges. I don't know why that game mechanic appeals to me as much as it does, it's just hanging from ledges, but it's neat. I think your approach (instantly teleporting the bounding box before and after climb) is good.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:56 pm    Post subject: Just screwing around. Reply with quote

With god mode on, herding some enemies and then disposing of them with a well-placed rocket:


Telefrag:

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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> Telefrag

Got a good laugh outta that one :} Heheh
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The classes for enemies aren't yet finalized. As a result, there's currently no file I/O or editor support for them. That's why in the videos I'm posting, you're seeing enemies in odd places, like stuck in walls -- the game is hardcoded to generate them randomly when the map is loaded.

That will hopefully be changed by the end of the week. My goal for the next six days is to get all that done, integrate monsters into the editor, and construct a simple boss fight.

Also, I should think about getting the Doom and Abuse monster graphics out for good. Anybody know of any free/open art resources I can use for placeholder monster graphics? Found a decent template over at OpenGameArt. Good enough for a placeholder humanoid, at least.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, almost none of those plans happened. The Day Job got really busy and stressful. Nothing like coming home and staring at your screen, not wanting to code because you're just so "bleh." The worst seems to have passed, so it's back to work.

In moving around the test level, I noticed that if you fell into a ledge-hanging situation from above (as opposed to jumping into it from below), the player's wall-sliding state would trigger until she was finally in position to grab the ledge. It was distracting, having that animation play for a split-second before finally grabbing on. Thankfully, it was a simple fix -- just as I don't allow wall-sliding within one tile height of the floor, I now disallow it from within one tile height of the top of a wall. Looks great now.

Now about finalizing those enemy classes and adding save/load functionality... I hate under-the-hood stuff that nobody gets to see.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Development has reached the point where my TODO list is filled with little, "tweak-y" tasks, bug fixes, and ideas for refactoring features that are already implemented. There are no longer any "big picture" changes on the horizon; no major gaps in the engine's feature set that need to be filled. In fact, if I really wanted to, I could put together a game with the engine I have now. (It would be rough and unpolished, but it would actually be a game.)

That's both exciting and scary. I've never had to actually finish a product before. The 90/90 rule seems more and more real to me as I go along. As close as it feels like I am, I know that realistically, I probably won't be done until at least the third quarter of 2014.

In a way, a TODO list of small tasks actually feels more daunting than a big outline of major engine features. All of a sudden, I don't feel like I have a real sense of direction as far as what I should work on next. Do I order my list from most to least tedious, or vice-versa, or just work on stuff at random?

I'm also starting to think about all the other things that have to go into a complete game: not just art, sound, and music, but also fund-raising (I can't create all the assets myself; I don't have the talent) and marketing once the game is actually done. And I know I would never be satisfied with just shoving a game out the door with mediocre-to-passable programmer art for the sake of "getting it done." My lifelong goal hasn't just been to make games, but to do it for at least a partial living.

I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this rambly brain-dump, except maybe to solicit advice from those of you who have finished and shipped, or at least gotten close.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

In a way, a TODO list of small tasks actually feels more daunting than a big outline of major engine features. All of a sudden, I don't feel like I have a real sense of direction as far as what I should work on next. Do I order my list from most to least tedious, or vice-versa, or just work on stuff at random?


Yeah.... I run into that all the time. The only way I can "ship" something is if I come up with a fixed set of features, mete them out as a set of milestones, and force myself to follow through on them. Otherwise, I get lost in the old "add cool stuff because I have no idea what else to do" forest, from which there is no escape.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just pick anything on the list and do it? If it all needs to get done, it's win-win no matter what you pick, right? :]
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sonrisu wrote:
Just pick anything on the list and do it? If it all needs to get done, it's win-win no matter what you pick, right? :]


Only if it really belongs on the list ;)
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've decided that the best thing to do is to break my list down into smaller parts, as has been suggested. I'll probably divide it up further down the line, but for now, I'm splitting it into three sections:

- Must be done before fundraising
- Must be done for finished game
- Nice-to-haves

And of course, within each section, tasks will be organized, with bigger ones being divided into digestible chunks.

I've also discovered that if I stay in my dress clothes after getting home from the Day Job, instead of stripping down to a t-shirt and sweats (lounge wear of the chronically lazy), I feel like I'm still "on the job" and wind up treating development as such. I'm way less distracted that way. I've only been doing it the past two nights, but I'm already more productive than I've been in weeks.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ever take a look at your game-in-progress, sit back, and go, "Holy shit, this looks awesome!"?

Yeah, that.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every few years that happens to me :)

I wish it happened more often... but that would require me to be working on games all the time... heh.
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Niunio Martinez
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not too often. Last time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYPHFHZclCQ&list=PLC53B4780106A8A9A
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are three control modes in Acronia:

- Joystick. Think Contra. Controls exactly the same. Eight directions; you aim your weapon in the direction the D-pad is pressed.
- Keyboard. Exactly the same as joystick mode, but with the 'board. Natch.
- Hybrid. Keyboard-and-mouse. Exactly like Abuse. 360-degree free aiming, independent of player movement.

Even though hybrid is by far the most versatile mode, and the game is a good deal easier that way, I've found I actually prefer playing Acronia with the gamepad. Maybe it's just because that's the way I'm accustomed to playing side-scrolling run 'n' guns? It just feels "right" to me.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long time no post. Development is still on, despite depression and shitty day job.

Looking at my TODO list, I saw this:


I have no idea what "FUCK!!!!!" was, but apparently I fixed it. :-D
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Admiral ToFu wrote:
despite depression and shitty day job
Those two are probably related in one way or another.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dennis wrote:
Admiral ToFu wrote:
despite depression and shitty day job
Those two are probably related in one way or another.


Directly linked.
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AdmiralTofu wrote:
There are three control modes in Acronia:

- Joystick. Think Contra. Controls exactly the same. Eight directions; you aim your weapon in the direction the D-pad is pressed.
- Keyboard. Exactly the same as joystick mode, but with the 'board. Natch.
- Hybrid. Keyboard-and-mouse. Exactly like Abuse. 360-degree free aiming, independent of player movement.

Even though hybrid is by far the most versatile mode, and the game is a good deal easier that way, I've found I actually prefer playing Acronia with the gamepad. Maybe it's just because that's the way I'm accustomed to playing side-scrolling run 'n' guns? It just feels "right" to me.


Some time between April and now (I think it was August or thereabouts), I decided to ditch the hybrid, Abuse-style control mode. Several considerations ultimately led to this decision:

- Graphics.
The game only supports 8 rotations for characters' aiming and shooting sprites (the four cardinal directions, and 45-degree increments in between). At certain angles, there was a pretty glaring discrepancy between where the character was aiming, and where the projectile was going. (The mouse pointer could be as much as 20-some degrees off from the angle of the player's gun barrel.) It just didn't look right. This wasn't a problem for Abuse because they had something like 20 rotations. But that dev team could afford to do that because they... well, actually had a team instead of one dude. And it was all low-res VGA graphics. To have that many sprites, at the resolutions that Acronia targets, for not only five playable characters but a bunch of enemies -- even if I could reasonably draw and animate them all myself -- would just be ridiculous in the amount of resources it would require. Sprite sheets would be huge, and I probably wouldn't be able to have as diverse a selection of enemies as what I'm currently planning on.



- Consistency.
Regular, everyday playtesting gave more-or-less the same player experience whether I was playing in keyboard/gamepad mode or hybrid mode. Running through a level, jumping, climbing, and blasting baddies all felt pretty much the same, with no appreciable difference in difficulty.

The problem came when I added my first test boss, an automated turret that would slide up and down on a vertical track and shoot at you through a one-way wall. The player couldn't move through the wall, but the turret's projectiles could. The only opening the player had through which to shoot the boss was a door which would open for 20 seconds at a time whenever the player threw a switch. It was as much a timing puzzle as a combat situation.

I found that it was much easier to kill the boss with the mouse than with the D-pad. With the mouse, you could shoot the turret as soon as it started to move past the open door, and then quickly get out of the way. With the pad, you had to get as close as possible to the open door (putting yourself in greater danger), on top of having reduced shooting accuracy.

I was sure more situations like this would come up as development went on. One mode had to go, because it would have been intrinsically unfair to give the player an advantage (or disadvantage) simply because she prefers one input method over another.



- Personal preference.
As long as one mode had to go, I knew I wanted to keep the traditional Contra controls. It's what I've always been more comfortable with, and it's the control scheme that feels more "right" to me. As cool as I think Abuse is, I was never actually very good at it. (I was fine facing a few enemies, but once my character would get swarmed by those red, Giger-looking mutant things, I was toast.) One piece of advice I always hear from professional gamedevs is, "Make the game you want to play." Well, I wanna play "Contra-meets-Doom."
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With high enough resolution, you *could* separate the limbs of the player and rotate them individually to match the mouse. It can look good if done carefully, especially if both approaches are combined.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A nice post about a deadly turret that eagerly tries to gun you down, and you have to control a dangerously located switch to reveal its weak point, and not even a screenshot! FUCK!!!!
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AdmiralTofu
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikedoty wrote:
A nice post about a deadly turret that eagerly tries to gun you down, and you have to control a dangerously located switch to reveal its weak point, and not even a screenshot! FUCK!!!!


THAT must have been what that item on my TODO list meant!

(Video of the entire first test level coming in a week or two or three, once I get a few more features banged out)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AdmiralTofu wrote:
(Video of the entire first test level coming in a week or two or three, once I get a few more features banged out)
Looking forward to seeing it.
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