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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:18 pm    Post subject: Development Log - Neverfall | [BETA/DEMO] Reply with quote

Neverfall is complete: Go here.

(Looking for demo/beta? --> Go Here)

So I've been working on a few things here and there that have mostly been experimental and really for learning. Now that I've tried a few different avenues away from Allegro, I think I'd like to hop back in and develop something interesting with it again. My last major serious game was Zep's Dreamland. I'd like to produce something at least on the same level as that. For the past week or two I've been developing the generics of a useful tilemap engine that is built into what will become a gameplay engine. I had to stop there, though. I had a rough idea of what kind of game I wanted to make with it: an exploration type game where the player simply learns and explores at their leisure. They cannot die or "lose." Unfortunately, that's not enough to go on. There will obviously be specifics that I wouldn't be able to forsee in the future unless I specced some stuff out.

And with that explanation, here's my idea -- ripped straight off of my development wiki. The game will be titled Neverfall which will have something to do with the game world that I have no decided upon just yet:

Technical
Neverfall will be developed using the Allegro game programming library and the DUMB music library. It will be available for Mac OS X (Universal Binary), Windows and (potentially) Linux.

SCM is, obviously, svn using trac.

Specifics:

  • Resolution: 320 x 240 scaled to a 640 x 480 screen
  • Color depth: 8bpp
  • Audio: Generic .wav/SAMPLE
  • Music: MOD family (MOD, IT, S3M, XM)


Ultra high level vision
Neverfall is a basic exploration-style 2D platforming game. During gameplay the player cannot lose, die, or be defeated. The main purpose of the game is to give the player the free ability to explore open areas and complete interesting puzzles to gain access to various areas in the game world. Additionally, there will be bonus content for those players who collect and/or complete all the objectives that the game contains (secret areas, etc). The controls of the game will be simple: there are directional keys to move the player, a key to jump, and a key to interact with and/or pick up items with. Additionally, there will be a key to bring up a separate screen detailing collection rates as well as displaying a map and other game information.

Core Mechanic
A various number of cute little races inhabit the game world. For the most part, they are generally happy. Unfortunately, not all of them are. These unhappy creatures are called "sad nuggets." It is the players main objective to turn these individuals from sad to happy, usually by performing an interesting action, or solving a unique puzzle. When the player nears the presence of a sad nugget, its facial expression will go from happy to sad, to help indicate to the player that a sad nugget is nearby. This is helpful as not all the sad nuggets will be easily visible from the game screen! Some of them may even be hidden!

There will be a set number of sad nuggets per race found in the game world, including a "final" sad nugget. Once all of the sad nuggets have been turned happy, the final sad nugget will become happy, thus granting the player access to a "secret" area of the game. '''The contents and purpose area is TBD.'''

Throughout the adventure the player may acquire items that help him or her to navigate through the game world. '''The specifics of the items are TBD'''

Puzzle / Sad Nugget -> Happy examples

  • The player simply walks near a sad nugget and stays near it for a set amount of time and it becomes happy
  • A specific group of one race looks content eating strawberries. There is a sad nugget who is not eating any strawberries. The player must bring a strawberry to the sad nugget
  • A specific group of one race is singing and/or dancing (indicated by visuals like music notes coming from them, as well as music change). There are a few sad nuggets who are not participating. The player must find some way to recreate the melody the others of the race are singing/dancing to, and the sad nuggets will then join in
  • There seems to be a "lost" sad nugget. The player can carry it back to the rest of its friends
  • A certain part of the map is blocked off by large boulders. Making the entire group of creatures nearby happy causes them to climb up the boulders to higher ground. In the process, they break open a small opening for the player to advance through
  • A certain part of the game appears to be inaccessible. Adventuring to this point with a specific sad nugget who is lost will trigger an event where the sad nugget shows how to pass the given area


Currently the design is pretty basic and easy to explain, which is kind of what I'm going for: something accessible that's just simply enjoyable. Thoughts, comments, suggestions, etc; please voice them. I don't want to fall into the same pit that I did with Ninkatsu. :)
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Edited by sonrisu on Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:50 pm; edited 4 times
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n29
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds interesting, art intensive, but interesting. Since Zeps Dreamland was a sidescroller I envisioned this as a sidescroller while I read your post. You may have specified this but I missed it.

And what about the sad nuggets that only become happy when you do something like slay the evil wizard or accomplish Goblin genocide?

DEATH!!!! Bloody death death!!! Yeah!

[/joke]
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right, I forgot to mention it's going to be a classic generic scroller (actually, it is mentioned under the super high level description!). Unlike ZD, this one will have actual scrolling levels. I'm hoping to connect the maps so that the world seems semi-seamless. That is, there is no concept of "levels", there are just areas to move through without any set direction.
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Edited by sonrisu on Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:20 pm; edited 1 time
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JonA
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
SCM is, obviously, svn


Why? :-)

--Jon
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The obviously part was in reference to the fact that this stuff is written up on a wiki that's powered by trac, so, when reading it from that context it would be obvious as to what the SCM setup was.
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JonA wrote:
Why? :-)

--Jon

Oh noes! The new "git" vs. everything conflict on the GDR has begun. ;)
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JonA
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PoV wrote:
JonA wrote:
Why? :-)

--Jon

Oh noes! The new "git" vs. everything conflict on the GDR has begun. ;)


Yep - any takers for the debate, or am I the only one who gets excited about distributed SCMs? :-D

--Jon
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, looks interesting. I'd love to discuss it -- but in another thread, before this gets totally derailed. :)
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While waiting for some replies and taking a break from various coding I did some more creative stuff. While none of this is final, I think they make good placeholders. I'm mostly posting them to provide you with the kind of feel that the game will have moving forward. Calm, peaceful, happy, you name it. Enjoy the atmosphere.

Temporary title screen:

Temporary title screen music.
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like the game might feature rain...
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

:) That wasn't the intention, but now that you mention it...

Yes, the colors aren't exceedingly bright. I was having a hard time finding a combination that didn't drown out the text. Maybe I'll go back and see if I can spice it up a bit more, to make you feel a little less depressed.
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha ha, I actually thought the colors looks pretty good. :)

It's raining all the time outside. The rest of the world is inside a cave where it ... of course... doesn';t rain. (Unless you have a few skylights in the cave to let the rain in. Gosh darn it that could be pretty cool-looking.)

You come across a certain breed of these "sad nuggets" that run away from you when you see them; they run away out of the cave into the rain.

But they don't handle the rain well and will drown if you don't save them in a certain amount of time.

Maybe? Just ideas for your perusal. :)
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While the idea is cool, it will go against the whole idea of not allowing the player to be defeated in any way, shape, or form. It's possible that it could be melded into something similar where the sad nuggets don't drown, but something else happens to them instead. For instance, maybe they get moved to some other area in the game world and you just simply cannot access them until later.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't touched this thread in a while. I've been doing a bunch of coding trying to get a rudimentary demo together. I know I've showed around the following concept sprites to a few GDR members as well as have thrown them up on my site. You'll notice that one of them is my new avatar! For those who haven't seen them yet, enjoy!

This is an image of the first race I had conceived that would exist in the game world. They are known as Flowrians, and are essentially "flowers" with arms and legs. This guy turned out a lot more "macho" than I had anticipated, but I actually kind of like it. I think the colors work pretty well, but I might consider going for a more yellow or green look. Who knows, maybe I'll make some of each. These will make a good placeholder until I get other things drawn up.


This is my first concept for the yet-to-be-determined player character. I'm not sure what race I want the character to be, so I ended up just drawing a plain looking robot as a placeholder for now. I actually kind of like the way he looks, since he's a robot but he's also sort of bendy! [Edit] Note that this concept isn't really done. I intended for the character to have some sort of hands.


I have yet to animate either of these.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I finally finished up enough of the engine to create walking around, jumping, and map editing/linkage. For anyone who's interested, you can play around with the, as of today, latest build right here:
nv20071202.zip - (Windows, 5mb).
nv20071202ub.zip - (OSX universal binary, 7mb).
nv20071202lin.zip - (Linux binary, hopefully works, 5mb). [edit]Adding linux love[/edit]

Note that instead of creating crappy looking sprites as placeholders, I just threw in some animations of Samus from Metroid: Zero Mission. More likely than not the actual player sprite will be larger and take up more space on the screen (probably more bounding box space, as well).

Some other stuff to know

  • Arrow keys control the character.
  • Up will jump.
  • TAB to enter editor mode (press H for help)
  • I know there is a bug where when moving the opposite direction immediately after transferring maps the player will drop out of bounds of the map.
  • I also know there is a considerable delay in swapping from map to map on the first transfer. This is due to the music not being precached and loading for the first time when you enter a map for the first time. Subsequent map changes should be instantaneous. This will be fixed eventually (by simply preloading what I can).


Feel free to muck around with it however you like. All the assets and stuff is mostly plaintext save the levels. I'm mostly throwing this out there to see how people feel about the control of the character, and whether anything breaks or not.

Enjoy.
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Edited by sonrisu on Sun Dec 02, 2007 2:25 pm; edited 1 time
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BadMrBox
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks quite nice Sonrisu. The control seems perfectly allright.
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linux users left in the cold? :(
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n29
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ran fine here, looks very promising!
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Linux users left in the cold? :(

Added some Linux love. Link is above with the rest. Hopefully it should work. I haven't built anything statically in a while. Good luck to those who try it.

Also, I'll note that on my laptop the game stuttered horribly trying to play the music. If you Linux users are experiencing the same, I'll dumb down the quality a bit to keep it from stuttering (there are currently no controls to modify music playback in realtime).
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seemed to work well for me on linux. The music did seem a bit stuttery.

Height preservation on map change seemed to work properly.

I couldn't shoot the gun. :P

I only had a small comment regarding the gravity. It seemed to accelerate a bit rapidly toward the end of a fall, as if something were suddenly sucking you down. Perhaps I would have adjusted to it in the span of a few actual levels with enemies and such. Hint. Hint. :P
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Perhaps I would have adjusted to it in the span of a few actual levels with enemies and such.

Well, you could technically make your own levels with what you have there. As for the enemies? Not so much. :)

In regards to the very fast falling speed: I tend to see it as closely resembling how fall speed ramps up rapidly in classic Castlevania games. So, I guess the question is this: does the falling in Castlevania bother you as well, or is it something in particular that I am doing that seems to feel awkward?

[edit] 1000th post!


Edited by sonrisu on Sun Dec 02, 2007 7:24 pm; edited 1 time
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's where I can't say, because I haven't really played games like that. =) It didn't seem bad as much as it seemed unusual / different to me. If it's modeled after a game I haven't played, I'm sure it's fine and I'll get a chance to play a game that does it like that now. =)
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0xDB
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ran it fine under WinXP64. Only bug I noticed was that the music did not stop playing (instead stuttered in an idle loop) when the window was not active. If I remember correctly, Allegro provides two methods set_display_switch_mode and set_display_switch_callback which allow control over the behaviour of the game while it is not active.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I've dealt with that issue in Ninkatsu. Thanks for bringing it up, though, because it only does that in Windows. In OSX backgrounding is handled without having to add in extra code. This will be an easy fix, as I can just gut the Ninkatsu code, for the most part, since it was also using DUMB.
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sonrisu
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did some design stuff last night to take a break from coding (but really it was a diversion from generating new graphics!) I'm hoping now to create a list of all of the ideas for puzzles I have floating in my mind just so I can get them formally written down somewhere. From there I'd hope to extend the walkaround demo to include some of the more basic types of sad nuggets.

Anyhow, the current list of races:

Flowrians

These peaceful and happy little creatures always seem to have a bright smile on their faces. Resembling flowers, Flowrians are sometimes mistaken for actual flowers rather than sentient creatures. Many Flowrians are actually very stalky, as opposed to what one would imagine. Contrary to the popular beliefe that are huff and gruff, Flowrians are actually very sensitive and timid.

The most common type of Flowrian is the Blue-trimmed Flowrian. There is a legend that a very rare, one of a kind Yellow-trimmed Flowrian inhabits the world.

Key gameplay puzzle: Music?

Negg

The Negg are a strange race indeed. These cracked egg-looking creatures like to chatter their upper and lower "halves" together. The Negg are not hollow, but not a single soul has been able to see what lies inside, even though the Negg are usually completely wide open. A Negg would never keep its mouth open long enough for one to peer inside and discover its secrets. The Negg have no eyes, arms, legs, or other extremeties. They get around by either rolling or bouncing to their destination. The most common type of Negg is vertically long. There are a few horizontally long Negg, however.

It doesn't take much to keep a Negg happy. Neggs hate being alone and love any kind of company or attention that they can get.

Key gameplay puzzle: Proximity?

Raam

Raams are small, goat-like creatures with very large noses. In addition to their round noses, they also have strange whiskers that stem from just below their eyes. Their heads appear rather large for their bodies, and each Raam has a darkened patch of fur on its forehead in the shape of some symbol. One of the most common is a thick "arrow." All Raams have horns, and it is impossible to find any whos horns point up instead of down.

Key gameplay puzzle: Food?
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