"Paper Cowboys" personal Almost-Game-Jam: Hours 37-48
Made some good progress on level 2: After studying some images on Google, I drew three box cars, a coal car, the engine and some tracks. Then I used them to begin building the train for level two. The next step is to get the enemies properly spawning on each kind of car, repeat some of the cars, then put the engine at the front. Then I need to create the boss whose main weapon will be dynamite.
Note to self: Need to be able to chat in a game, and Escape to the main menu....and add Escape to the control instructions while I'm at it....and the game over sequence...
This hour made me realize how small the horses are compared to the player characters riding them; oh well. I got all the cars created, the particle smoke stack set up, and the boss partly done; I need to replace his machine gun with dynamite now. If that goes smoothly enough, maybe I'll have time in the next hour to play test the whole sequence.
Spent much of the hour getting the dynamite to look passable. Then I did a playthrough; it's short and redundant, but I didn't get bored with it too quickly because of all the bullets flying around. I'm happy that I was able to get level 2 laid out and single-player tested so quickly! I had enough spare time to start designing about the in-game menu. Unfortunately the Photon Network is STILL down; I may just have to get my own server up if their service continues to be this unreliable!
The Photon Cloud service is working again (must be an intermittent problem); so I took advantage of the moment by fixing a bug with syncing enemies between players and making it so players join a game into the correct scene. I also got made it so you can choose to host a private game w/ password and dictate the number of game players. After that, I got the in-game menu working and made some solid progress getting chat messages working.
I got in-game chat working; lost a bit of time trying to figure out issues where keystrokes were getting gobbled up (you'd have to hit enter twice to chat). I also finished the game over sequence; not much to write about, it just reads "Game Over" and has a quit button. Master clients can restart. I started looking into the proper way to do network level loading...this may be easy or hard depending on if I just "get it." Plans for level 3 are looking very bleak now; I still need to find and add all the sound effects after all that!
This has been a mostly frustrating hour. The Photon network Cloud service is up and down like a spring, and in the rare seconds it was up, I was having problems getting the library to properly handle level transitions as it gave me other, more apparently innocuous errors. The fight continues...
I give up on the networking bit for a while...in fact I may not have the game done this weekend. The Photon network cloud is outright down again, and I still don't have the scene transitions working. I invested most of the hour on getting the player and a few non-player sound effects set up. This makes me very glad that I didn't do level 3 first.
Got more sound effects set up, cleaned up the instructions a bit, and added a "Join random game" button. The Photon Network seems to be back up, so I had a chance to do some online testing with some folk at http://www.develteam.com . Here are the bugs we found:
1. Ghost characters -- I don't know why, but sometimes a player duplicates themselves.
[FIXED] 2. Boss HP bar is misleading; if there are multiple players, then the boss has more HP...but the bar thinks there is always one player. Also, multiplying the HP by the player count is a bit excessive; maybe multiply it by the number of players times 80%.
3. It should be more obvious when a player is dead and waiting to respawn.
[FIXED] 4. On at least one occasion, players respawned even when everyone died
5. A number of errors in the Unity console that I won't spam you with here.
I -may- have fixed the issue where a player can appear more than once, and added a skull-and-crossbones icon that appears to the left of a player's name when they're dead. I also made a decision knowing it's probably a bad one: I'm going ahead with level 3. I managed to get the background art done, and the camera to follow the player when jumping vertically, and have the player die if they fall off the bottom of the screen.
I finished level 3 sooner than expected; but that's probably because I cut corners to wedge in more time for overall testing. I recycled the same old enemy prefabs and put almost no effort into the boss. It was a pleasantry to see that I could still make it look half-decent with just one "stepping stone" bitmap instead of the several I had planned on drawing. I think this level is the hardest because it has a strong respawning enemy presence. I still haven't been able to beat it solo.
The rest of the time was spent on adding links to the title screen and game-wide testing.
- Extreme slowness after a short while playing
- Players were invincible in level 1
- Mouse cursor invisible in the game menu
- Game won't end if everyone is dead sometimes
- Took out $ from score -- everyone kept asking if they could buy stuff with it
- Increased shotgun range
I also starting working on a bug where you sometimes could not start or join a game.
I spent a lot of this hour fixing the "Sometimes you can start / join a game." bug. I tried to get gamepad integration in as well, but I ran out of time. I might have to turn this into an extended "50 hour" jam.
Bugs I didn't get around to fixing
- PC Version has no way to quit without closing the window
- No gamepad support
- Sometimes you can jump extra high
- Sometimes you can't jump toward a ledge but you can't get through it
- Level 2 Boss Fight: You can respawn in front of the train and not see the boss
- Level 3: When you respawn, the camera doesn't follow you down, so you're pretty much toast if you die.
- Level 3: Sometimes you can't move (got it to happen once)
I could have just settled on two levels with less bugs; but I let the chaos side of me, the "cowboy coder" if you will, make the call. I'm paying the price for it, but you know what, this was all done in good fun. It was a very nice holiday from the usual grind of serious game development.
In a few weeks after it gets around, I should be able to write the post-mortem!