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Member Since 16 Jul 2010
Offline Last Active Oct 10 2012 08:11 PM

Topics I've Started

Creating detailed environments with tiles, suggestions/advice

07 August 2012 - 12:19 PM


I am trying to put together some new maps for my game and have a few questions and requests for advice, first here is some of the tiles laid out in my map editor:

Posted Image

(there are a few tiles missing, like the 3 corner lava tile)

First my concerns:
1. The column tile does not look right against the floor. The tiles are each 64x64 and the characters are about the same size too in that looks weird while standing next to it. I think it looks out of place almost like a pickup item. i think i might try and make the top of the column a different angle so it looks more flat, making the far side much wider. Also i may try to make it 4x bigger to cover 4 tiles, maybe it will look more of a pillar then. Any suggestions? it seems hard to do on a top down view game.

2. I find it hard to think of objects to make the environment more exciting and believable. I am a programmer (contracting art out) so it is important that I come up with detailed lists of assets that I need, but I find it difficult to be creative with stuff like random items you would find in a dungeon, for example. Also it is important that it be the least amount of tiles possible to reduce cost. I realize random items will be extra tiles, but am looking for creative ideas maybe to mix and match things around the room to cut down on the tile count. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

3. There are a few torches on the map which are hard to see, i have asked the artist to try and put a white outline on them so they are more visible, but i think it may look out of place being the only object with a white outline. Are there any other ways to contrast it from the floor better?

4. I was thinking of adding a layer on top of all the game objects for ceiling objects, like dungeon style chandeliers, etc.. I think it will look odd if it moves around at the same rate as the floor does on screen scrolling, so I would have to add a scale to the movement so it looks like it is closer to the viewer. Do you think it would add to the environment? or do you think it would just be annoying to the player to have something in the way? I could also add transparency while the player is below the objects if that would help. good idea or nax?

Also, you might be able to tell on my excellent map layout design from above, but my map layout skills are terrible. If anyone is interested or talented in map layout/design i would be willing to throw some money into cool designs for levels, but that may be better placed in help wanted.

Any suggestions/criticism is appreciated, trying to work on my level design as i think it was a weak point in my original release of Undead Empire. The new changes dealing with environment will be environmental damage (lava) and map animations (like the torch).

Thanks guys,

Great looking on screen text, studying successful art styles

11 February 2012 - 07:55 PM

Recently I have been paying a lot of attention to in-game onscreen text in many AAA games to understand what is behind creating text on screen that looks great. When developing my own stuff, I have always felt the on screen text has been a weak point of my game's presentation. It just looks incredibly flat and boring, unprofessional really. I am not the greatest graphic designer or artist (probably closer to one of the worst) but I'm looking for maybe some hints/tips/anatomy behind making it fit right into the game's environment.

Looking at some games that i feel have great screen text, first I thought there was something about having a glow or border around the text that made it pop or fit right while being placed ontop of the environment, for example:
Posted Image
In this screen from split second, it just seems to fit. Looks great here, doesn't really look like it is just plastered onto the screen over the 3d rendering, it feels more like it is in the game and not ON the screen. I know that the blue meter helps the illusion that it is actually in the game but even without it i think it would look great. It seems here that there is a bit of glow to the letters, maybe that helps.

another example:
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in this final fantasy screen, it is very simple, and has a shadow + black border on the letters, but still looks good in my opinion.

After seeing a lot of screens like this I thought the text needed some sort of glow/gradient/shadow etc.. but then you have your fps that usually have none of these. Halo Reach for example:
Posted Image

Here we have solid color, non-effects text and still manages to look good on screen. Doesn't have the ameture feel that throwing arial black font has that is so familiar to many indie games, yet it is just as simple.

Each game I go through I try to improve on things I thought my last game lacked, and this is definitely one of the subjects I have failed.

If anyone has any pointers, hints, suggestions/guidelines that they use when using on screen text, please I would greatly benefit from any experience you have. Also if you know of games that the in-game text is fantastic, leave your thoughts here and let others learn from the better examples out there already in games. And here I will leave below a screen from my project that I just hate:

Posted Image

Enemy seek vector issue (opposite way)

24 December 2010 - 12:17 PM

Hi, I am working on a game and I have the enemies seek the player with a very simple method of turning their direction with respect to the vector from the enemy to the player. It works quite well and I am happy with the movement of the enemies, except for one small problem, when they are walking directly away from me, the vector I use to change their heading direction doesn't turn them. I would like to stay clear of using matrices because there is tons and tons of objects and collisions at the same time and performance is of high value. My current 'seek' code is showing below:

toTarget = (Game1.player[seekTarget].position - Game1.mapOffset) - (position - Game1.mapOffset);

//normalize the vector (inline) and avoid dividing by zero
length = (float)Math.Sqrt((toTarget.X * toTarget.X + toTarget.Y * toTarget.Y));
if (length <= 0.001)
length = 0.00001f;
toTarget.X = toTarget.X / length;
toTarget.Y = toTarget.Y / length;

//turn the direction of its velocity
m_vTurn = toTarget - m_vHeading;

//normalize the vector(same as before)
length = (float)Math.Sqrt((m_vTurn.X * m_vTurn.X + m_vTurn.Y * m_vTurn.Y));
if (length <= 0.1)
length = 0.00001f;
m_vTurn.X = m_vTurn.X / length;
m_vTurn.Y = m_vTurn.Y / length;

//make sure it's not turning faster than it's allowed
m_vTurn = Vector2.Clamp(m_vTurn, new Vector2(-(float)m_dMaxTurnRate), new Vector2((float)m_dMaxTurnRate));

//implement acceleration in it's movement
Vector2 acceleration = m_vTurn / new Vector2((float)m_dMass, (float)m_dMass);

//change its heading from acceleration
m_vHeading += acceleration * timeLapse / 16;

//normalize the vector(again!)
length = (float)Math.Sqrt((m_vHeading.X * m_vHeading.X + m_vHeading.Y * m_vHeading.Y));
if (length <= 0.1)
length = 0.00001f;
m_vHeading.X = m_vHeading.X / length;
m_vHeading.Y = m_vHeading.Y / length;

//store the rotation so the enemy is drawn facing the correct way
rotation = (float)Math.Atan2(m_vHeading.Y, m_vHeading.X) + (float)Math.PI / 2;

//finally make the changes to their position, since heading is
//normalized we can multiply by its max speed
position.X += speed.X * m_vHeading.X * timeLapse / 16;
position.Y += speed.Y * m_vHeading.Y * timeLapse / 16;

so you can see its pretty simple, but I am trying to implement a simple cost effective way to determine that it is walking away and turn it accordingly.. any ideas?? thanks a lot


top down shoot um up project online

29 November 2010 - 02:40 PM

So I posted here a while back 5 months ago or so and explained a project i had going which was my first game development project, although I have been coding for a couple years. it was a platform survival horror. I switched a lot of the aspects of the game and changed to directly top down. I was using c++ with allegro and Mappy but i have since moved to XNA but coded everything else myself with help from a few tutorials so I would know how all the functions and such would work. Mappy was creating confusion and i didn't need all of its functionality anyways so i started over with that. Anyway we have a youtube page with some videos but the one showing the most gameplay aspects is titled Undead Empire - The Last Stand. the others just are videos to show progress within the group, and the new map art we recently acquired.

I still have a couple months left and i want to add online multi player to play with friends which is most of what is remaining. Any comments/criticism is more than welcome, thanks!


terribly slow function needs more efficient structure

29 November 2010 - 01:55 PM

I have a program that i ran in a profiler and 50% of the entire code is in one function. It is really slowing down the program and thought maybe there is a much better way to code this. The program is in XNA but its really more of standard code question so I put it in general game programming. I am running collision detection using spacial hashing and this update function is from updating the grid.

public void Update()
int bucketListCount;
int count = occupiedBucket.Count();

for (int i = 0; i < count; i++)
bucketListCount = bucketList[occupiedBucket.ElementAt(i)].Count();
for (int j = 0; j < bucketListCount; j++)
for (int k = j + 1; k < bucketListCount; k++)

There are a lot of uses of elementAt(), would that cause the slowdown to happen? the function it calls inside of itself (handlecollide) isnt spending any time in it so it is all just in the for statements. There has to be a better way to code this. Bucketlist count is usually around 3 or 4 and count is around 200-300.

thanks guys,

[Edited by - EdBoon on November 29, 2010 9:02:32 PM]