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Gnoblins - Development journal of an indie game

New Version of Gnoblins is out !

Posted by , 19 May 2012 - - - - - - · 868 views
Gnoblins, Prealpha
The second pre-alpha version of gnoblins with some great improvements is out.

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Most important are the addition of sound fx and music. The awesome music is created by Christian Andersson (Craze Music).

As always you can download the new version here.

The new configuration supports mixed resolution rendering, that is, the 3d world can be rendered in a lower resolution than the gui to keep a moderate framerate at higher monitor resolutions even for not high-end videocards. The following screenshots display a scene with different quality setting at a screen resolution of 1680x1050 (the fps is displayed at the left, upper corner). All screenshots have been taken on a nvidia 8800 GTS videocard.

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Here's the complete changelog:

Changelog Version 0.0.2
Major Changes:
- Added an ingame options dialog.
- Sound and music have been added !
Minor Changes & Bugfixes:
- The map displays the edge of the level properly now.
- Added a pause function (clock icon in hud).
- Player animation/actions don't stop while a dialog is open any longer.
- Inventory item drag'n'drop behaviour improved.
- Items are no longer black when dragged.
- Some gui frames do not change the color any longer.
- Fixed a bug, where sometimes items are not showing up properly after a game has been loaded.
- Game start time and level switch time have been reduced dramatically.
- Fixed the terrain texture glitch.
- Added an exit button to most ingame dialogs.
- Armor and combat values (damage/penetration) are displayed in the equipment dialog now.
- Handling of the save games has been improved:
. You can delete characters now.
. You can only play saved characters with the proper game version.
. Fixed some bugs related to saved games.
- Removed some texture glitches (red lines).
- Can't equip any item to the earring,ring,bag slot any longer.
- A newly created character gets a random name, which you can change.
- Un-/equiping items to a statues is displayed properly now.
- Added some low level creatures to the starting area.
- Added Anti-Aliasing (set postprocessing setting above very low)
- You can turn off the outlines now (set postpressing settings to extreme low)
- Animals can no longer open doors.

What comes next ?

Posted by , 03 May 2012 - - - - - - · 786 views

I' currently working on the next version of gnoblins. The pre-alpha version is already online and can be downloaded from here. Any critique or comments are appreciated.

But back to the next version. It will be the first official alpha version. Main focus is sound,music and configuration.

Configuration is mostly done, thought I still need to draw some gui elements. Music has been added this weekend. I've implemented an ogg-vorbis stream after I discovered, that vorbis is a much better compression format than zipped wav files Posted Image Sound, to be more precise, a 3d sound environment, is more challenging. I use xaudio2 as API and I'm still trying to tweak and pimp the sound experiences. I hope to get it done until this weekend.

Beside the technically aspects, I need to get/tweak/design an initial set of sound effects into the game. And finally I will fix 10-20 bugs in the current version before releasing the alpha. I think that it will need 2-3 weeks before releasing it.

And here's a little preview of the second alpha version:
Ok, the second alpha version will introduce the name giving entities, the gnoblins.

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The prg part, as represented in the pre-alpha and first alpha version, is only one part of the whole experience. The gnoblins are your minions, they support you, they will craft for your, they will build and maintain a dungeon "home" for you. So, stay tunes.

Pre-Alpha is out now !

Posted by , 27 April 2012 - - - - - - · 682 views

Yeah, I've uploaded the first public version of gnoblins (more) Posted Image . Please feel free to test it out and comment here if you like.


Here's a litte teaser:


Have fun Posted Image

OMG... I've done it...Permadeath

Posted by , 26 April 2012 - - - - - - · 725 views
Permadeath, Gnoblins, RPG
Still in preparation of the prealpha, but I already have branched it, made a short pre-alpha "trailer", added more screenies and playtested my game(open pre alpha end of this week !).

I'm quite satisfied that I have implemented permadeath. Death is not permanent at first, you have a certain favor amount, which will be reduced each time you die, but once it has been used up (3-4), the game is over, period.

Implementing such a thing is not challenging from a technical view, the real challenge is to accept, that this feature will repel gamers from playing your game, a risky move in times of streamlining and casual games. But this game was never meant to be easy, eventually it is a roguelike(-like) in 3d.

The reason the first few deaths are not permament is, that this is a realtime, 3d game with a high risk of being surprised by some monsters. Sometimes you just have bad luck, after a near-death combat sitation, when two spiders are incoming simultaniously from two different directions. Most roguelike games are round based, in such a situation, even if it as dangerous as in a real-time situation, you have atleast the time to think about your options. In a real-time situation you have only few seconds to react and I don't want to make an action game, this is still a slower paced RPG at its core.

With permadeath in mind, there're still two issues a playtester could become frustrated. The pre-alpha version is without sound and sound will deliver very important information of creatures in your next surrounding (sound is highest prio after pre-alpha start!). The other issue is balancing. With the right equipment most creatures will not be terrible challenging, but you need to find it first. The first dungeon is generated (the generator is not part of the public version yet) and even I don't know what items are around you can find, but I hope, that there's enough interesting loot around Posted Image

I will upload the public version this weekend, so stay tuned and prepare to surive. Posted Image

Creating the first release candidate and its pitfalls

Posted by , 22 April 2012 - - - - - - · 916 views

A successful weekend. I've finished the first release candidate for the pre alpha of my game gnoblins.This candidate is still part of the closed pre alpha phase, the public version will be released at the end of this week.

I've created the installer with NSIS, a nice little open source installation package. And I've encountered several pitfall of creating an installation package.

One is the right management under vista/win7. Instead of keeping your saved data in the program directory you need to put them in the common or user specific application data directories when you want to install your program in a protected area (i.e. standard programs directory). After some adjustment to my code I differ between read-only data and read-write data. The read-write data like configs, screenshots, and saved games are now written to the user specific AppData directory.

The second barrier was the multilanguage support for the installer. The game already supports multiple languages (for now only german and english). NSIS has some good support for this and I could come up with a passable solution, thought the uninstaller has some language artifacts, not really important, but I wasn't able to fix them yet.

An other headache was the modification of the configuration files in which the game language is set. The first approach, in which I let the installer replace a language string with the choosen language, was a dead end. The installer modified the file, but doesn't adjusted the rights, so that the configuration file was restricted to the admin only. The installer hasn't any trouble of setting the rights of installed files, just when you modify them afterwards. My solution is to install both language versions of the configuration file and rename the correct one.

And the last one, the side-by-side hell. This occurrs when you compile your game vs a certain lib version (i.e. msvc80) and the target computer has an other version installed, in this case you are in trouble. My current solution works so far, but I'm not happy with it. I think that I need to fix it in the future, but I'm not sure how to fix it yet.

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