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Mratthew

Member Since 20 Apr 2011
Offline Last Active Dec 16 2014 06:37 PM

#5193044 Vertically scrolling underwater game, what to use as background?

Posted by Mratthew on 15 November 2014 - 07:15 PM

This might help.

 

I would focus on looped lighting, use water depth to alter the player's mood. Use underwater objects (ruins, rock formations, underwater vegetation) to creating a sense of pacing and speed (based on how close the items are to the player). I would use a semi dynamic populating of fish and other swimming things to make the levels feel less repetitive. 




#5188010 2d vs. 3d: cost analysis

Posted by Mratthew on 19 October 2014 - 11:03 AM

From the opinion of an animator, I would focus on 2D for budget sake. It sounds like you'll have a good bunch of 2D art either way (HUD, icons, etc), so why not stick with that focus. With 2D artists you can get concept work done first which could help you choose how to move forward as well. Since it'll help you decide what level of detail you want to explore given the game design ideas you're working with.

 

The nice part about 2D animation is that big drastic changes to the look can happen with a single drawing. Where as with 3D you have to make certain commitments once you've sunk time into a 3D asset. For example, if you suddenly decide you're character should have a cape, 3D requires a wide variety of decisions on how to best tackle that change (limitations of the engine, modeling, rigging, animation/physics, texture/shader, etc) where as 2D is just an alteration to the sprite drawings. A 2D artist can work directly on assets and concept (given their level of talent) moving the project forward either way and if the concepts and game design necessitate a move to 3D then make further investments on 3D artists, 3D software and a 3D engine. 2D game artists are plentiful on sites like deviantart.

 

Along with the concept art, making a commitment to the player's viewing perspective is important, this is best achieved by committing to first milestone game design mechanics. The less mechanics that require a 3D view the cheaper it will be. You get what you pay for.

 

My suggestion, which ever route you take, for any project is to focus on the actions the characters do and find a good animator to really sell that action. It's a video(the art of sequential images) game not a board game, if the movement in your game isn't interesting you might as well make a board game.




#5185062 How does one create flexible pixel art?

Posted by Mratthew on 04 October 2014 - 11:03 PM

Looks to me like you have at least 56 drawings to do. My suggestion. Focus on one action at a time. The existing sprites could easily just be painted over if the clothing style is tight otherwise you will need to do some overlay. I might suggest adding a few extra frames between these ones or your animation will be either really fast (high frame rate) or really choppy.

 

2D animation is a process. Just like writing lines and lines of code. A 2D animator is in it for the long haul. Even with much of today's bone systems, tweening of flash and even the advanced algorithms used for vector deformation don't make animation "easy". If you want art to look good you have to spend time on it. Really this type of sprite sheet is pretty old school, but if you're programming a tile based game that doesn't have the code to recognize a lot of the new methods for animating sprites then this method is still the ideal way of saving time on the way your character moves. Keep in mind your making a video game, your players use the controls to make this character move. If the character's movement is boring whats the point in controlling them?

 

Suggestions like breaking up the limbs and body or linking a bone structure is wise because it allows you to paint a single sprite and simply puppet the movement, of course this means your character is limited in how it moves. The nice thing about a sprite sheet is only limited by how many frames your game is programmed to handle and how many your willing to draw (or have drawn). Don't forget you have to draw the tiles for the level as well.




#5169421 How to manage 100 planets?

Posted by Mratthew on 26 July 2014 - 10:14 PM

I've got a long one for you but I think its worth the read.

 

If the player is laying out structures for different reasons then make that gameplay just one part of the game that leads to prefab constuction for later. Maybe challenging the player with objectives to build the ideal resource base (base being a combo of structures), the ideal construction base, the ideal recreation base, ideal population base, the ideal defense base, etc. Once the player has these "ideal" prefabs, challenge the player with placing them in ideal places on the planet. Then challenge the player with different planet types to get the best combination of bases across the different types of worlds. Once the player has a few "ideal" prefab combos of bases for different planet types give the player a gradient of world types meaning that you have an ice planet, a volcanic planet and a few types of volcanic ice/icy volcanic planets so the player has to really think about placing a prefab or taking the time to maximize the planets output by hand designing the base layout. 

 

The same system could be used for combat, the player could start with an outfit of combined arms purchased from the base to take out enemy bases. Once the player is controlling multiple bases they could build an army to dominate the planet. Once in control they could construct an "ideal" orbital launch base and begin construction on their orbital construction facility to start building fleet assets. As the player builds a large enough standing army on a world and a sizable fleet, they get to take their fight to new worlds. Once in control of multiple worlds the player could build warp gates and orbital outposts to move goods and fleets quickly and easily between major areas.

 

Along the way the player could be researching and upgrading individual structures, base designs (for better prefabs), world terraformers (to increase a worlds total output), deep space mining (begin earning resources for planets that are running dry), etc. Thus allowing them to focus research in the areas and on the scale they see to be important. Finally, instead of asking the player to upgrade each new asset across their empire, make the transition "in fiction" and as player driven as the player would like by making new tech expensive to replace the old tech. If new fusion reactors means higher output, make it pricey and have a base need to be achieving X amount of output to achieve the upgrade. This means the player can choose to make changes to a base by hand or let the base automate a slow increase to achieve the new tech (or even just wait for its price to go down as time goes by). If a new prefab base is designed to achieve X amount of output make a world need to achieve X amount of output to redesign the old prefab for the new one. Again this allows the player to choose how hands on they'd like to be in the process. That way its automated but still requires the player to "tweek" things to get full efficiency. Have it clear when something is outdated on any level be it a structure or a world and make sure their is a reason to have outdated stuff like pirate worlds, junk worlds, slave worlds, etc it keeps the universe feeling organic. A good reason to keep tha pirate world is to keep entire worlds from falling into civil unrest (if you were confused why you need outdated worlds).

 

Hope this idea gets the juices flowing.




#5168037 Respect for the player. Forgetting violence fetishism. Exploration. Notgame?

Posted by Mratthew on 20 July 2014 - 05:29 PM

I'm pretty fond of the idea of playing with physics. I feel like so many games touch on physics or play at implementing physics however orbital physics is a true challenge to fly and use. Even just exploring the use of orbital mechanics to sling shot or decelerate from extreme speeds on the approach to a solar system could be pretty exciting. What types of thrust and ways of moving through space and time have you been thinking of exploring? 

 

The super complicated thrust based control system of Star Citizen is very impressive though I think it's a bit of an engineers wet dream more so then a players. Since for the player all it really means is figuring out the limitations it presents. I'm not sure what types of controls your game would present to the player to navigate the universe but I would seriously mull over the ways the player could/would do this as this represents the way your player connects with your presentation and is the way the player expresses and communicates their feelings about the experience which can even be deciding factor on the directions the game takes as you prototype the project. 




#5167967 Respect for the player. Forgetting violence fetishism. Exploration. Notgame?

Posted by Mratthew on 20 July 2014 - 11:15 AM

Unlike you're design this project stills adheres to a lot of the basics found in other games, many of your ideas remind me of the game No Man's Sky currently in production by Hello Games. If you haven't seen it already you should take a look at that project and consider how you want to differ from that ambitious project. I'd imagine sharing your game related influences and explaining how you want your project to stand out would help get more pointed feedback.

 

I'm personally curious. What is the player's character? Can you describe this organic entity?

 

I'm not entirely sure what the player is challenged with in your game design. However I'd like to point out that, its simple to assume combat games are just "warporn" it's important to note the challenge of achieving victory in combat has a goal that reaches beyond combat and deals with conflict at its core. Sun Tsu the Art of War describes the ideal strategy as "taking whole" or the idea of reaching victory beyond combat by knowing victory over conflict itself instead of just knowing victory over your "enemy". Although it's hard to see this in most combat games, it exists in all of them. We learn a lot about a person by "fighting" them. In a game that doesn't explicitly explore war directly, you might think you are somehow above it. But conflict is what makes our universe interesting to explore and is at the heart of any challenge and even puzzle. If the player has control over any physical matter in the game, they will be exploring conflict in an attempt to "leave their mark". To respect humans as emotional is to respect our "lower brain" or the more conflict prone part of our brain that evolved earliest. That part of our brain will do anything to survive. Be sure to consider that in your design.

 

Respect players by knowing that they game to meet challenge safely but still crave the raw intensity of it feeling dangerous.




#5166588 Closing the loop: player death in a schmup?

Posted by Mratthew on 13 July 2014 - 10:14 AM

Instead of creating a linear level design, why not build a dynamic AI to mix up the episodes a bit. Use perma death as a method of making the level design more dynamic. When the PC dies, the player starts the level again with enemies rearranged, treating the location of the death as a boss location. When the player beats the boss they "rescue" the other pilot (where they last died) keeping their "squadron" alive. This would essentially be an in-fiction numbered lives system. You could explore branching paths as well, enabling the player to choose a different path to earn special weapons to fight the bosses. 

 

Perma death could mean the player gets a stronger connection to the characters that make up the squadron and make "death" one of the episodes dynamic challenges which means players won't just role back to old saves when they "fail". 




#5164950 Combos for shooters

Posted by Mratthew on 05 July 2014 - 05:05 PM

Bulletstorm scores players based on "creative kills". I've never played it so I can't say much for it, but that's an example of one if that's what you had in mind. What did you have in mind for combos? 




#5164061 How to make ww2 naval combat fun?

Posted by Mratthew on 01 July 2014 - 10:22 AM

PT boats, used in both WWI and WWII. Deadly little blighters. WWII hull was a racing boat design or planning-hull to move in fast do big damage to large vessels and bug out. The wiki has some interesting info about this type of ship. 

 

Queued way-point navigation mixed with on the fly steering and speed control to make evasive maneuvers could build a bit of complexity to the navigation.




#5163987 How to make ww2 naval combat fun?

Posted by Mratthew on 30 June 2014 - 10:51 PM

I'm with Penguin, not many boat games capture the true mistress of navel combat. The sea! Tides, weather, depth, waves. Push those little boats around a bit and let mother nature be the dice in the game. The navigation should be a challenge on its own. I can honestly say I don't know a lot about the topic of navigation at sea and learning more, bit by bit about the nuances through gameplay would be fun.

 

Adding skilled play in general beyond the shooting is important I think.  Creating skilled reloading of weaponry (timed event, rhythm based, etc). I watched the terrible movie Battleship recently. I must say exploring the different sized vessels and weaponry made the movie more interesting from a "naval tactics" perspective. 

 

Consider the chain of commander, have the player following the orders of a commodore and give that commander some character. Giving the player the sense that they are winning in the eyes of a mentor, beating the odds against authority, finding the third option, etc are all decent narratives for the player to feel like their actions have purpose. The other way to go with this is scoring and points.

 

Lastly I would consider giving the enemy some character through the AI and audio. Grabbing some authentic Japanese radio transmissions would be incredibly immersing. 




#5163981 How to greatly reduce fleet micromanagement?

Posted by Mratthew on 30 June 2014 - 10:20 PM

Servent, one good example of this is the new Planetary Annihilation. The player can double click any structure(like mass selecting units) to select all alike structures (SCII does this as well if I'm not mistaken). Once the player has mass selected the production structures they can then not only select a group rally but create queued rally location and/or patrol areas for all units produced to move or attack-move to. Its a great system in real time and I can only imagine it would be useful for turn based as well.

 

As for unit speed, I've always thought it would be interesting to have variable control of unit speed using the mouse wheel (or something of the sort). It would be interesting to be able to push ships beyond their engines capability at the risk of a meltdown. The variable control of the mouse wheel could be case sensitive as well. Cursor over friendly ship to adjust shields, cursor over enemies to adjust power to weapons, group select and micro a squad of starfighters to "set shields double front" or "go in full throttle this time, that should help keep those fighters off our back", etc.




#5163364 How to greatly reduce fleet micromanagement?

Posted by Mratthew on 27 June 2014 - 09:49 PM

To simplify fleet management, maybe explore commanders and rank. When a flotilla wins a skirmish the surviving captains earn rank for the victory, these commanding officers return to a shipyard to find the shiny new ships you've commissioned and dock their corvettes and supporting detail. Your own rank increases from commander to rear admiral and you now have squadron at your command and all your commanders now have task elements of their own to command. The increase in rank allow the player to feel connected to characters instead of just unit types or formation types. As you move up in rank you are tasked with logistical consideration of not only what to build and where to put it but also, who should command it. This simplifies fleet management since the player is always only really in command of a dozen or so individual units, however as rank increases that dozen change from single role ships to outfitted fleets of their own. Players can select a commander and micro manage their units/formations or simply put that commander in the right place at the right time with the knowledge that they know how to handle their own units. Hope that made sense.




#5162908 Making a weapon feel powerful.

Posted by Mratthew on 25 June 2014 - 09:31 PM


Okay. Now I'm pissed. Why do people assume every game with guns is automatically another fucking CoD clone? I'm really sick of this shit. Just because this game has guns does NOT mean it's another copy+paste ludicrously unrealistic, proudly jingoistic, blatantly racist hallway simulator with NO self-awareness for violent, paranoid, right-wing shut-ins with no capacity for higher reasoning. QUIT making that assumption. This is NOT a "modern shooter". This is a SURVIVAL game. I have SAID THIS already. I will NOT say it again.

 

I may have misjudged of the technical term for your game's genre, but at no point did I call it a Cod clone. I think its fine to have an opinion of a genre, but honestly you're being rude to other developers (that are here to help you out). I wasn't trying to upset you with this post, I honestly thought with the level of experience you have about weaponry it made sense for you to focus on a game where simulating weaponry is the focus, that's generally a modern shooter, no judgement of the genre either way. 

 

Given the survival genre of the game, you could explore giving the weapon a less weathered look then the other weapons. Where most the weapons (assuming they're found among the ruin of a post tragic event) would have signs of wear and might not fire as clean or true (bent ironsites, etc), this weapon could be less worn(believably) and fire just the way the player would expect it to. Or to be brief, you could believably gimp other weapons in the interest of this weapons focus. Good luck with the survival game.




#5162185 Making a weapon feel powerful.

Posted by Mratthew on 22 June 2014 - 06:16 PM

I guess there is no need to argue if it "doesn't fit the game design" or the "realism" your trying to recreate. But the reason for my non-sequitor is to push the point that the best way to show off the power of a ranged weapon is to show off the results of it's power.

 

Seems like all you have left is post effects. Blurring, fuzz the HUD, play with Z depth, etc. Given that you're using a ranged weapon you could look at the particles on the enemy as well, exploring the "pink mist" if you will. Best of luck with your modern shooter.




#5162158 Making a weapon feel powerful.

Posted by Mratthew on 22 June 2014 - 01:38 PM

I'm not coming from weapons firing experience, I'm coming from gaming and game design experience. Weapons that have a metallic sound in the games I've played sound heavier to me, as if the mechanism to move the ammo can be heard over the explosion it makes the gun seem just as powerful as the shot it fires and the added bass allows the player to feel the shot as much as hear it. The other way to go is the way of sounding like close by thunder for more energy based weapons. 

 

As far as stun lock, the trick would be to blend movement with the hit animation (based on where the shot lands of course) then follow up with AI for the unit to find cover using a damaged state movement (like a desperate dash or a lifeless dive for cover). Its important that the timing between shots and the movement for a character to evade is well spaced to ensure pacing. If the weapon is meant to feel strong, then characters and environment should react appropriately to the weapons power. The numbers offered above seem useful if those are the animations you want to use. I've always hated the flinch animation most games use when characters get shot. When I unload a light automatic into an enemy and it does two or three flinch animations then a death animation, it drives me bonkers. I like to see characters(who still have an intact brain) think about the damage I just did to them and move appropriately to the pain and suffering I've cause by using such a sloppy weapon. Seems like every enemy in every game out there is morphed up and tweaking on adrenaline, its boring. I want to see the effects of my weapons and the only time I don't want to see it is when I've hit the mark. If I've done my job, the enemy crumples. 

 

With particle work, all that matters is that the player thinks it looks right. This will all depend on the weapons design. A couple games that really sell the "feel" of powerful weapons are Gears of War(obviously) and Warhammer Space Marine IMO. As for heat warble, smoke and the likes, each gun should be just as much a character in the game as the NPCs and enemies the player faces. Think about each gun and its history, give it meaningful interesting and useful quirks, even with the most standard weapons, it'll be worth it.

 

As for knockback it depends on what the weapon's ammo(type) is doing against the type of surface its hitting. Obviously penetration is only going to create knockback if the character becomes mindful of the shot, possibly falling back after realizing they are beaten. But a few successive rifle shots against an armored target should push them back (especially if the shots are high). Even grazes and shots that connect with the shoulders should cause characters to reel back to A)create a smaller silhouette to land a second shot on and B)to inform the player of where the shot landed. This is all just visual feedback. The character could flash red if you want but in the end the player needs to know they've connected their shot with the target and a knockback allows the pacing to change. As the player checks whether the shot has finished the job. 

 

Key word in video games in my opinion is video. Successive images to depict movement. The more you explore movement and its meaning in your game the more you're exploring the element that separates video games from any other number crunching card, board, dice games, etc. 






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