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Kseh Woa Iv - Post 8 - Post Un-mortem

Posted by , 16 August 2016 - - - - - - · 740 views

You know... because of the undead, right?


Ok let's see here...


Stuff that was good:

  • Well first and foremost I had fun working on the game. It's the sort of feeling that reminds me why I love programming.
  • I was able to balance project time with real life time rather well, I think. Though I could've used more project time, I don't think I'd really have been able to find it without being completely irritating and useless for anything else for the entire week. By my estimates, I spent around 39 hours trying to work on my entry.
  • My wife was very supportive with helping me find the time to work.
  • I got my submission in before the deadline.
  • I like my game. Which is a first for my previous entries to game jam sort of events.
  • I found a couple bugs in my engine code that had been problems for some time.
  • I have what I think ends up being a cool new spell to use in other projects, complete with animations & sound.
  • Experiments with the hand gesture system went well.
  • I was lucky that Endurion shared where he got his music from. The background music I found worked well and I wouldn't have it if it weren't for his journal post.
  • I like that I was able to get a game together where a main element was "Shadows" without the use of shaders (my laptop video card just doesn't support any). For that matter, I think I'd be able to remove the small amount of alpha blending that I'm doing without much impact (although I have a few ideas to use it for some special effects with the shadow orb that might enhance things a bit).


Stuff that went horribly wrong:

  • Nothing actually felt as though it had gone horribly wrong or had me stressed out or worried. That's not to say though there isn't a lot of...


Stuff to learn from and look at improving (this kind of stuff was a fair part of my motivation for entering):

  • I was getting burnt out by Thursday. Fortunately, once I'd start working, I'd get back into the swing of things and have to force myself to stop. But as it is right now, I'm not anxious to get back to working on other personal programming projects. I'm figuring I just need a bit of a break.
  • I've only just gotten over the withdrawal migraine from the energy drink's caffeine.
  • An 8 year old laptop is very slow to compile things on. Nothing like tweaking a variable and waiting 1.5 to 2 minutes for the rebuild.
  • That same laptop does not like me to keep browser windows open in the background while programming.
  • I am not setup very well for any kind of rapid prototyping.
  • I have a lot of code that I dread having to add to each time I want a new actor type. That crap needs to be refactored.
  • Collision detection remains the bane of my existence. I do not have a good system for it at all. I'd love nothing more than to replace it with a nice physics system like Box2D but I'm not sure if my hardware can support it.
  • I was hoping to be able to rework all of my graphics. I recently finished playing "Ittle Dew" and I rather like the art style. I'd like to try to get some stuff together that resembles that style and I think that means that some of my graphics code needs updates as well.
  • While I might be able to continue lying to myself about my graphics skills, I have no ability to produce a song beyond playing "Old MacDonnald had a Farm" on my synthesizer and my synthesizer has not been functional for quite some time. Music really added to the feel of the game and I should look at working with someone next time.
  • I can lie to myself only slightly more convincingly on my ability to produce sound effects, but if I can accept the need for someone that's able to do music then I should broaden the scope of that need to include all sound work.
  • I had every intention of having a menu screen. I was all setup with TGUI to get that going but all I used it for was what started out as debugging text and ultimately became the score display.
  • I really need to setup my code better so that I'd have an easier time resetting the game on player's death. It should've been like one function call to reset the game but instead I was looking at another hour or two of work with the potential to miss resetting something.
I'm not sure what my next step is gonna be. I have an unfinished tree control I was working on for my endless RPG project that I was feeling good about working on. I'd like to look at that art and graphics stuff as well though, I really wouldn't mind testing out Unity or something else to see what sort of issues it might fix automagically and for that matter learn something new. I tell myself I need a new machine before I get into stuff like that though. I have a notion of running through each of the old Experimental Gameplay Project themes for the sake of getting through a number of small projects and learning and evolving code from each one.


I suppose the thing to do is think about that question that a marketing friend of mine asked once when I asked for advice, "What is it that you actually want to get out of your project?"

Kseh Woa Iv - Post 7

Posted by , 13 August 2016 - - - - - - · 421 views

Seeing so many people with an entry ready to go is a bit intimidating. But it's also quite motivating. Congratulations to everyone that has their entry ready to go.


I spent too much time last night messing around with a spell charging mechanic that before I even started working I figured that I shouldn't look into and eventually in a half finished state I confirmed that it was an annoying inconvenience compared to just throwing orbs quickly. I wanted to get the player death animation in place before I ended last night but something seems to be preventing it from playing when you collide with the shadow hazards. I need to finish that up quickly and get the skeletons in there as fast as possible. I'm hoping that they'll be ok with a very basic move towards the player kind of AI otherwise the game is not going to be challenging at all. If I can get that stuff in then I hope I have time to get some kind of basic menu and other polish elements in. It's gonna be very tight.

Kseh Woa Iv - Post 6

Posted by , 13 August 2016 - - - - - - · 472 views

Slicer said something about hoping that everyone is approaching the polishing stage of their projects. The notion that I'll be able to focus on "polish" seems rather wishful thinking at the moment but perhaps it's not entirely out of reach.


The player can now... I guess "evoke" is the word, a shadow orb into his hand and throw it. Currently, when thrown it seems to curve somewhat around trees, which is rather unexpected but actually pretty cool. I think it may be the result of some steering behavior code but I thought that I left that part out. I need to add one more small animation so that when the orb comes to rest it forms a pool like shadow on the ground that is a hazard to the player. Also, the shadow orbs, as well as everything else, need a bit of a shadow of their own for some sense of height from the ground so that there's a bit of an indication as to why it just seems to stop. When I have that in place, I should make sure the player can die from contact with the pooled shadow orbs on the ground. And then I can finally see about getting the skeletons added. Their AI isn't going to be much at all but if I get them moving towards the player and they attack in some way, then I do believe I have my main elements and something that resembles a game, for all its rough edges.


Attached Image


In this screenshot, I didn't move the player while firing off orbs in various directions. The resting appearance will change by the end of the night. You can see the curve where the orbs landed. I had intended on making the player charge up the spell to evoke the orbs before being able to throw them but I don't think I have time to work on that and it's also pretty cool to fire off a bunch of them in rapid succession. Given that every orb fired becomes a hazard to the player (skeletons won't be affected by the missed orbs because... um... magic), I think I'm better off with the way it is. I'd like to try a charging mechanic afterwards though to see how it might look for other projects. It occurs to me that maybe the shadow orbs or the resting orbs don't look so shadowy. I'm hoping that I can get an effect or two in that might help and otherwise be convincing that what I have is a black shadow based magic as the main mechanic even if it's not what might be expected graphically. If not... well I've been having fun doing all this which has been as much my hope as anything.

Kseh Woa Iv - Post 5

Posted by , 11 August 2016 - - - - - - · 787 views

I'm pretty tired and so I'm planning taking this evening off from coding and getting some sleep. Except I thought that I should post something so I thought, well I did some art stuff earlier today maybe I can throw a gif together quick. And now I'm a bit in the mood to try to get more art work done. Maybe just do one animation for when the player walks onto a shadow and is consumed by it himself. It should be similar to this skeleton death but the shadow should pull the player from below rather than spread from the middle.


Attached Image Attached Image


(edit) Ok now, 30 minutes earlier is still "more" sleep and I still haven't done any coding but I'm happy with the human death by shadow and thought I'd add it in. (/edit)


I'm not sure if I like the shadow orb that I have at the moment. In the game, I want to rotate it, add some kind of alpha blending effect, and have it grow up to this size as a "charging" sort of mechanic before the player throws it.


Attached Image


I also still need something for when a skeleton attacks the player. I'm not sure what that's going to look like. Maybe just some blood squirting out or something. Which then implies I need a status bar of some kind which shouldn't be difficult but I hadn't though about.


As for code work, I found the teleporting issue last night was the result of some code from another project I accidentally mixed in. I removed that and was able to control the player properly. I can walk around the "island" now and the screen scrolls around with the player. The island need some more details and for the trees to get out of the water but my focus for the next bit will be on being able to throw an orb of some kind at a skeleton and destroying it. Then comes the hazards to the player. I'm hoping I can sort all that out with a marathon session tomorrow night.


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Kseh Woa Iv - Post 4

Posted by , 10 August 2016 - - - - - - · 500 views

I'm slowly making progress but I think I'm starting to feel the weight of the work involved here. This project is on my mind quite a bit and it's starting to feel like a really long car trip. You can't quite take your attention off of trying to move forward and when a bit of a break comes you welcome it and don't really want to get back on the trail again except you know you have to make it to your destination on time.


I'm about to try and get some work done before bed. Earlier I was able to finally get some sprites on the screen. Basically, it looks like my mock up from yesterday but I don't have any skeletons functioning yet so the mock-up still looks nicer than the actual thing. It's good to be able to scroll through the world though and see the trees. I need to fix some kind of bug with the player character's movement tonight. For some reason when you set the destination waypoint the PC starts moving and teleports to, I think the top left part of the map. I can scroll the map to find and follow the PC who looks like is kind of trying make it to where the destination was supposed to be but then teleports again after walking for awhile and doesn't always end up in the same area.


If I can get that sorted out there also appears to be a matter with the collision boxes to look into which hopefully will make the trees solid.


From there, I would like to try and arm the PC with a shadow orb to throw so that I at least have something that I can call a shadow mechanic. But I'm not sure I'll get to that tonight.

Kseh Woa Iv - Post 3

Posted by , 10 August 2016 - - - - - - · 452 views

Another night of questionable progress. Pretty much everything has just been trying to get things to compile. Find one piece of functionality that I want to use and that's dependent on some other code which depends on some other code and so on. I have been able to get the blank terrain laid out and some ability to scroll over the small world but that's about it for today functionality wise. I'm hoping that the other stuff I've been trying to add will get a couple actors in there soon and some trees placed so that there isn't a sense of nothingness. If everything does go ok I should also be setup to move the player around with the mouse and have skeletons walking towards the player.


I also tried to get some work done on a spritesheet. Still lots to do and at the rate things are going I don't think I'll be able to see about making the sprites bigger like I had hoped.


I'm a bit impatient to get something on the screen to show off so I threw together a mock-up of the kind of thing I'm aiming for.
Attached Image


Ironically, there's no shadows here at all and what I do end up with will probably be a baked in sort of thing. I'm hoping that the idea of using a shadow orb as a weapon and turning your enemies to shadows will meet the requirement.

Kseh Woa Iv - Post 2

Posted by , 08 August 2016 - - - - - - · 607 views

I think last night ended up being around 6 hours work but maybe half that coding and the other half writing and trying to come up with some kind of idea. Basically, I have the various libraries and stuff together and built to a Hello World sort of state where I probably should've been the night before.


Like I figured in my last post, I'm gonna go for using Undead and Shadows. I'm thinking a basic 2D RTS survival thing with increasing waves of skeletons or some other kind of undead coming towards the player. The player defends himself by shooting shadow orbs at the undead which then upon impact "melts" the undead and leaves its shadow on the ground. If the player later on steps onto one of these shadows he will also melt and the game is over. And of course, if the undead get to the player they kill the player and the game is over. Probably need a life bar in there of some kind but I want to get these various elements in there first.


I'm a ways off of having anything really to show in the ways of screen shots. I'm hoping to at least get the tilemap stuff working and some kind of basic level built tonight. If I can do that then I'll take a shot and working on the sprites a bit so I have something to show off.


Best of luck everyone.

Kseh Woa Iv - Post 1

Posted by , 07 August 2016 - - - - - - · 649 views

The twins are in bed and my work station (kitchen table) is pretty much setup. I believe the theme was announced about an hour ago and I'm very much unprepared. I had every intention of setting up a blank project last night but instead took on some wasps or hornets and couldn't get back into project mode. I'm telling myself that the aim of entering this contest isn't to win or even "just finish", it's really more to take a stab at it and just see what happens. Or another way it's in my head, "to see what I can see". (Whatever that means).


The theme options, as it happens, includes undead and I have a couple single frames of sprites from my RPG project. I'm thinking that I'll have to redo them a bit for size and maybe details but having that as a bit of an anchor is a nice way to start. As for picking a second theme, my instincts say "Shadows" but I'm not sure where to take that. It feels versatile though. I could maybe get some kind of ruin graphics together but having some kind of direction of what the game should be would probably be better to have than to worry about additional graphical inspiration,


For participation points, I'm hoping that my general ramblings will be sufficient. I ramble a lot as I code so I'm expecting that I'll be able to take some of that and copy & paste it here. Hopefully figure out how to do screenshots here quickly. I doubt I'll be doing much on it at all but, I tried popping onto that Discord thing and there doesn't appears to be any activity at the moment other than old posts. Probably everyone's either working on their project or asleep. I was able to take tomorrow off so I'm hoping that I'll get a bit of a jump on this thing for now. Maybe at least get some ideas and a skeleton project sorted out (no pun intended). Work resumes Tuesday and the twins will be up bright and shiny in the morning. So time management... I have no idea, I'm just gonna wing it.


SilviuShader posted some details about what he's working with, so I'll do some of that too. I plan on using:


- Visual Studio 2010.
- Paint Shop Pro - Ver 4.12.
- MS Paint .
- Sfxr if I'm able to get to any kind of sound effects at all .
- SFML 2.3.2.
- TGUI v0.6.
- Maybe use an old version of ANL from JTippets.
- A timer library that I don't have a name for.


I don't know how to describe the so called "engine" that I'll be using other than to say it's a mess of my own code that I've been piling junk onto for over a decade now. If I am ever to take making games seriously, I need to abandon it. But for just having fun working on projects, it works ok. Kinda.


One thing I've given no consideration to is making the final executable and all available so hopefully that doesn't end up being an issue.


Overthinking the whole team name thing. Gonna just stick with my original login name.


I think I've rambled enough here for now. Gonna try and brainstorm a bit.

RPG Project Post 12

Posted by , in RPG Project 15 April 2015 - - - - - - · 843 views

I'm procrastinating on beginning the next thing I want to work on for my project so I thought I might as well post something here. Unfortunately, there's not really much progress that can be shown with screen shots or video. So for the heck of it, I thought I'd more or less just copy & paste the descriptions I have on my back up folders.
  • 2014-09-25 - Replace overworld array of Tiles with Tilemap object. (to help create basic house interiors)
  • 2014-10-01 - Tilemap stuff still in progress
  • 2014-10-14 - Mostly Stable
  • 2014-10-21 - Work on neglected Serialization code
  • 2014-11-07 - Fairly Stable
  • 2014-11-10 - Change Town object into Actor object
  • 2014-11-21 - Mostly working again
  • 2014-11-24 - Beginning NPC Instruction work
  • 2014-11-27 - Refactor instruction script code.
  • 2014-12-04 - Instruction labeling
  • 2014-12-12 - Scripting changes in progress
  • 2014-12-23 - Generally Stable
  • 2015-01-09 - More Collision Refactoring
  • 2015-01-12 - Collision rewrite in progress
  • 2015-01-14 - Collision rewrite looking ok so far
  • 2015-02-19 - Collision work
  • 2015-02-24 - Embedding collision issue appears resolved
  • 2015-02-27 - CollideTestStep1 Rewrite
  • 2015-03-04 - NPC Path finding and steering still sucks but is reasonably stable
  • 2015-03-19 - Begin Connecting Houses with roads
  • 2015-04-07 - Redoing House Connecting
  • 2015-04-15 - Houses now connect with fewer Road objects created
The current plan is to get these Road objects all in place such that they effectively connect all the houses in a town to each other and also connect one town to another. When that is done I'm planning on having NPCs do their path finding based on the network of road objects rather than map tiles.

I'm not sure how I got on this tangent but it appears that the direction I'm going is to try to get something looking like a busy town where the people wake up at home, going to work, maybe going shopping or to the pub, and then head home and repeat. There's still no actual game to this thing yet but I'm pressing on with the theory that if I can turn this day to day activity into a simple economy (probably centered on rent, food, and beer) then maybe adding in things to disrupt activities will provide a player something to do.

I suppose if I really wanted to, I could just abandon the path finding stuff and let townsfolk wander stupidly and then carve out some caves underneath all the towns where demons and treasure could be found. I'd have something more resembling a game rather quickly. But I think I'd rather see if this plan that I have going will work out.

RPG Project - Post 11

Posted by , in RPG Project 05 September 2014 - - - - - - · 684 views

Been steadily working on this RPG project an hour or two at a time and finally got around to making a new video. Though there's lots of stuff going on in this project, I still don't have something that can be called a "game". It's still just the PC wandering through a world where there isn't really anything that happens. Just the various features I thought would be fun to work on. The apparent responsiveness is a little slow between not having a fixed time step and having to do the video capture on an older laptop.

  • Added some birds and NPCs into the world. They don't really do anything other than wandering around a bit and generally giving you something to look at.
  • You can see my version of "Fast Travel" (I mentioned in my last post) when the PC is traveling along a road and those stars appear a bit in front of him.
  • I don't have any examples of trying to steer through forests but there's a bit of walking around NPCs and buildings. It still needs some work as steering only takes place when collisions occur but I'm pretty confident I can work out something better when I figure on investing the time to do so.
  • You can see a bit of what I've done with the hands (if they're not too small) in that you can see them swaying back and forth as the PC walks. They aren't directly connected to the sprites but are more like disembodied circles that follow the PC and NPCs around. The hands are capable of performing "gestures" when triggered. The only gestures you see in the video are the swaying of hands while walking and one that happens when the PC swings a staff around. It's supposed to be like a sort of reach and follow through sort of motion but I got lazy and used one of the test gestures I had previously gotten ready rather than properly doing up a custom one that fits better.
  • I'm not certain yet but I think combat is going to change from the little bit that you see in the video. I'm thinking about changing from the more action based style I have now to something that's more turn based.
  • Added regions and towns. (Started adding farms as well but they're not present in the video).
  • Houses and farms are placed somewhat randomly around the town's epicenter. An NPC is added near each house that's placed.
  • At a point closer to the end of the video I set off an "explosion" on a field of flowers, if you're wondering why it looks like a bunch of flowers just suddenly go flying. "Exploding" things was supposed to be a part of developing a spell of some kind which didn't go very far. But the functionality is there and I thought I'd show it a bit.
Had a bit of trouble with SFML in that the (old) laptop that I do some of my testing on uses an old Intel graphics chip and there's been known issues. The problem I had was when it came to trying to do alpha blending to a couple different off screen buffers so that I could play around with lighting effects. It worked fine on the desktop that I do development on but not the laptop. The problem could probably be easily resolved by updating the graphics drivers but doing that sort of thing has been locked down by the laptop manufacturer and I haven't found any work around. So for the time being I won't be planning on doing anything with lighting in this project. It's a bit of a shame too because it seemed to set a mood when it did work.

The past few weeks have been spent on trying to create towns and connect them with roads. So far I'm pretty happy with the results (screenshots below). The roads do this thing though where they switch back on themselves such that you get pockets of wide roads and this interferes with the fast travel that I have going. I'm currently looking at adding farms for NPCs to go work on. I want to do a schedule sort of thing where they go off to work and then return home or maybe stop at a pub or something. Maybe add a few other jobs eventually. I'm hoping that this will add a bit more life to the world and eventually lend towards creating situations for the player to interact with and do something other than wander around pointlessly.

The regions were done using a Voronoi algorithm. I started out by finding points on my map that were 32 pixels apart from each other then applied the algorithm. The result was my island being divided up into square regions so I randomized the position of the points a bit and got a result like the one below with the small regions. Then, I choose a random point for where a town's epicenter would be and removed any points that were within a certain range and ran the algorithm again. And repeat the process until I've placed all the towns I want.

(first pass)
Island Regions Start

(final pass)
Island Regions Final

(map blend with roads, buildings, and farms)
Island Regions

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