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About this blog

Follow my progress as I attempt to become a good game developer using a method I'm calling RIP (repetitive iterations for proficiency). This is a very long plan, but will cover every aspect of game development until I get good at everything.

Entries in this blog

Doomish - Done

Challenge: complete! It's basically a complete game, even though it's short. Normally I make the levels way too difficult and I have to tone them down, but this time I think they ended up about right. They aren't very difficult, just about right for the first three levels of a game. My project went mostly according to plan. I had planned to be done in six weeks, but it took me seven. Part of that was getting used to the level building tools. Part of that was forgetting to add in some things that would have made the game not work. Another part was down to balancing the mobs. Thankfully there was only one minor packaging error that took about five minutes to clear up. The last challenge I did baking the project was almost catastrophic. I had to roll back to a previous version. There are only three levels in the game, and one is a rip off from the first level of classic Doom. Turns out I need to work more on my own level building skills, because I can tell that there is a big difference in quality of design between the Doom level and my other two. It was a good learning experience for me. Well, it's done and here it is:  

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

Doomish - Almost Done... Except Fer Them Levels

I planned on making only two songs for the game, but I ended up making three... but I'm only going to use two for the challenge. Here's a link to the playlist: Then I spend some time making a bunch of sounds and also using sounds I've purchased and/or gathered from free sources over the years. And then I added the sounds into the game... well mostly. I also added in the menus and title screen and the map screen I wanted. I do have to do better for some of the SFX, but I wasn't near my other computer or my backups and I didn't want to download gigs of sounds files to go through them... but I will eventually get around to it if I have time, which I think I will. Some of the sounds I'm actually happy with, and some are alright. There are a few sounds left to do, the key doors, and then two more levels to design and then create, fix some bugs, and then the game will be ready to go. I'm very hopeful that I have enough time, I'm going to try to finish as early as I can this time. It's been a fun challenge.

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

Doomish - About 70% Done

So I've got almost all the game mechanics done. The first level is finished, but the end switch doesn't work yet. Finished most of the level types of objects, got doors, secret doors, switch doors, moving platforms... so most of the stuff left are the UI elements, the title screen, the pause menu, and the map. I also have to make two more levels, all the sound effects, and at least one music track, and then I'll be done. Here's a short gameplay video. The music is from the 21DaysOfVGM challenge I did back in April. It's not coming from inside the game yet, I just thought the video is too boring without sound.    

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

Doomish - About Halfway Done

So I'm just over halfway done with the task list. All the items work, the weapon collection, the only power up is the gamedev.net thing that slows time down. That doom style shooting, where it doesn't matter what the height of the target is since the player cannot tilt up or down was a bit tougher to get done in UE4 than using regular shooting design patterns. For the items and mobs, I didn't use regular billboards, so that I can tilt the view port and not worry about the mobs and items tilting with it. More can be seen in this video. Once all the functionality is done, I'm going to go in and make some levels. I'm thinking of copying the first level of doom to be the first level of this game. Then I'm going to make the main menu and other UI elements like the map. The music is from the 21 Days of VGM challenge I did back in April.

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

Doom: More Art Assets

Still working on graphics. I finished all the sprites for the items and mobs. So then I worked on the title image. To cut the workload down, I decided to just do a simple logo on a black background. Got the FP actions done. Then I worked on the HUD. Got the different facial states, normal, boosted, hurt, dying, and dead. Made room for the game details and weapons. I also wanted to do a version of the map. But with only three levels, to keep the scope of the game down. All that's left to do for the art assets are the level graphics. After those are done I'll be starting on the programming. Well, that's it for now.  

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

 

Doomed Beginnings

I started the Doom game dev challenge. Wrote out all the things I'll need to make and develop. Like all project starts, it's still looking good. UE4 is the engine I've chosen. It will be fun getting that engine to behave more like Doom. So far I've created a few graphics (about 65% of them done so far). I decided, against better judgement, to make the enemies in eight different directions. This is for a few reasons, one is that I want the mobs to wander a bit until they see the player, and the other is that for the GemDev.net power up, I want to slow the mobs down to half speed, which would allow the player to move around them and I didn't want the mobs to always face the player. I'm only planning on doing three mobs for the challenge, a zombie, a demon, and a hell puppy. I dropped the detail from the original by about half, I hope that I can still get a good looking aesthetic. Also some power ups, an ammo box, a medium health pack, a medium armor pack, and the GameDev.net power up. I'm going to try to finish all the graphics this week, then start in on the programming. The hell pup took a lot more time than I wanted.

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

 

RIP Level 2.2: Robotron 2084 Plus

The idea this time was to take Robotron 2084 and add something new into it. Dodging was added in (as well as some power ups). The dodge moves the player faster for a short time and it avoids enemy bullets. This also required the enemies to change a little bit to make it tougher.   The aiming is also a bit different, using the mouse instead. Which also led to some changes in the enemies to make them harder to hit when they’re wandering around. So the grunts are pretty much the same. The Hulks will charge at the player if the player is directly in front of it. The enforcers pursue but keep their distance. The brains only hunt the player if there are no more family members to convert.   I’m getting better and faster at making these. That’s a good sign, I think. This is the seventh game in the plan, and half way through the second level. This game was a bit less complex than others, but the original is very well balanced. I didn’t balance the game too well because this is only one level and I wanted to get the different kinds of bots in there.     My next attempt, I think is going to be Metroid, with a damage buffer. I’ll also be adding in shooting in all directions using the mouse. I’ll also have to find an arbitrary stopping point for the “level” since there aren’t really any levels in the game.     Assets: RoboTronAssets.zip Game: GameL2S2Robo.zip

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

 

RIP Level 2.1: Space Invaders

At first I was going to go for a Breakout or Arkanoid game with an extra game mechanic, but when I was replaying them, I realized that I did not like them as much as I thought I did. So I switched over to Space Invaders, which was a game I spent many hours playing when I was younger. Well, my first experience was playing TI Invaders, which is still a game I fondly remember. One difference between the two, was that in TI Invaders, the enemies would change where as in Space Invaders it would be the same aliens every level. But I'm not redoing that one, and I'm only doing one level anyway.     So then the idea about what game mechanic to add to Space Invaders. So thinking back when I was first playing the games, I had wanted to be able to aim the tank's cannon instead of only shooting straight up. So I went with that. Facing the original aliens like that though, would not have been too easy, so the aliens would have to change as well. So I gave them more than one hit, some of them can aim their shots, some have shields, and some are invincible for a time.     With that decided, I went in and started creating the assets,then started developing one thing at a time. Didn't take too long this time, partly because the game is relatively simple and partly because I am getting better. The buildings were probably the most complicated tasks, I wanted them to be destroyed a bit like in the original where only a little gets destroyed at a time. So I made them individual parts and spawned them in some loops. Maybe not the best way, but it worked out nicely.     I decided to throw in some power ups as well. I think they made the game more fun, gives the player the occasional choice to make between risking death or getting a useful upgrade. After completing all the tasks, it took a little while to balance the game down to something not so difficult. I tried out a few different strategies to make sure they would work.   And that is the end of this project. I'm thinking that the next one might be Robotron 2084 with some kind of added mechanic yet to be decided on.   Assets: InvadeAssets.zip Game (Windows): GameL2S1Invade.zip

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

 

RIP Level 1.5: Battle Unit Zeoth

Battle Unit Zeoth came out in 1990 for the Game Boy. his was a favorite of mine growing up. It’s a short game, but it was nice to put in and play every once in a while. And I played it several times over and over again. Which is why I decided to select this game to be one that I cloned in my quest to become a better game developer.   I made some 4 color graphics for this game: the main character, enemies, items, bullets, UI elements, and the level graphics. Like before I tried to spend very little time on the graphics because this part of the plan I’m only supposed to be working on the programming side of things. The graphics and other parts of game development are later on.   Like before I played the game several times to get down all the gameplay mechanics that I would need to replicate. The player actions, the item interactions, the enemies, and everything else. This time though, I was a lot better at it and missed far less than on previous times. Like before I worked through each thing one at a time until I was done.     How the camera acted was important to the game play, it needed to follow the player with some limits. While before, I had done a lot of child blueprints, in this one I did more and that made things go a bit quicker. Also, I tried things a little differently, not all of it was good.     This was a fun challenge. This is the last one for the first level of the RIP method. The next level is to make games with an additional game mechanic. I have chosen Arkanoid with enemies instead of blocks.

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

 

RIP: Level 1: Stage 3: Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando was chosen because I loved the NES game back when I was younger. I got the version for the GameBoy as well as the GBC version that updated a lot. The main mechanic is a claw that shoots out and grapples and pulls the player or lets the player swing. The player cannot jump, so the bionic arm is one of the main means of movement.   It was this mechanic that I did not do well. Which makes this attempt a failure. I was able to get it working well enough but there were some game destroying bugs. These bugs around the main game mechanic could have been resolved if I redid it a better way, however, that is kind of the point of this RIP Method. Make mistakes, think of better ways to do them but move on without refactoring too much.     Another issue I had this time was when I wrote out the gameplay elements, they didn't cover all the work that needed to be done. I will have to keep an eye on that to make sure I don\'t make that mistake again because that seriously messes up estimates... and hurts my motivation and my feelings.   The rest of the game went well, learned a better way to handle enemy states, but I feel like it too can be improved a lot to make it even more reliable and efficient. There was some ways I thought of doing things but found better ways, for instance: I was working on letting an enemy type fall through a platform to drop down, but it was not falling. I turned off collision completely, but it was still not working right. Then I found that turning one collision channel made things work the way I wanted while still letting the enemy get shot by the player. It\'s a small thing, and something that makes sense when looking back, but when approaching a game engine with all its complexity, it takes some time to get used to not just finding functions but getting a feel for how the engine is designed to be used. The doors was another improved method that was made easier. But there are improvements I think that I can put in for those as well.     Anyway, the third project is done. I learned more and feel like I've gotten a bit faster and more efficient even though it took longer, I spent less time working on it because it was interrupted by the game dev challenge I did which I'm counting as my fourth project. Which means that my next project is the last stage of the first level.     I'm choosing Battle Unit Zeoth as the project, it's a game that I liked playing on my GameBoy when I was younger. It's a side scrolling shooter where you control a mech and shoot bad things while getting weapon upgrades. It was a short but tough game to get through.

Depths of Orpheus - After the Prototype

The dungeon crawler challenge was fun, and I was happy with what I was able to get done in the time frame. There was a lot I designed for the game but cut back to a minimum viable product in order to get the project done in time. Now I want to go in and add all that stuff in, and make a few changes based on playing the prototype. Since submitting the game, I've gone in and added a few things already. The enemies now drop some damaged loot, most of the level generation bugs have been worked out, the items show their quality and damage level so the player can choose whether to pick it up or keep what they got, and I adjusted the amount of items and mobs that spawn on the level. I have a huge list of things to get done for the game, and I'm going to work through them one at a time. I'm also doing another project to develop my game dev skills so this won't be worked on as much as I did during the challenge. I'm not entirely happy with the health system and there are some bugs with that still around. So I'm going to go back into the design and change a good chunk of that. I don't think I've given the health system a fair shake yet and I really think it's a good idea. The UI needs a lot of work, but I'm going to wait until the game is more complete/designed before I start working on that. One thing I want, is to be able to play the game with just a controller and not have to use the mouse. I'm thinking about also dropping the mouse interactions as well, or at least only popping it up in certain conditions. I think the game has a lot of potential, so over the next little bit, I'll be finishing the game.

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

Dungeon Crawler - Final

Started late and finished late. The method I went with for generating the dungeon had a lot of issues to work through. I've almost gotten them all worked out, there are only a few edge cases left to deal with. I created some sound effects, found some other ones from free and purchased libraries. Made a wandering music track. I created a game logo after settling on a title the day before. All of that on the last day. The day the submission was due, everything was going great, I fixed a lot of last minute bugs and then tried to get a build. What I was using to generate the tiles in UE4 is marked as "experimental" so it was preventing the project from building due to "missing files." So I had to change how I was doing that. I made a few changes and then my computer froze. Restarted, stupid updates, and load the project again and it happens again. So something in my project was causing the problem. That took me up to about 4pm, when I thought the thing was due in an hour. So I called it quits. Later I narrowed things down to a change I made that created an infinite loop in the editor which would lock out and freeze everything making it almost completely unresponsive. I could not load up the project without crashing my computer. After much restarting I figured out which object was causing the problem. So I had to get rid of the object causing the error, but that object was the thing that generated the levels. Not just and easy thing to lose and rewrite from scratch. Luckily, I had thought to back up the project sometime earlier in the day, I had only lost a few bug fixes still fresh in my memory on that single object. Good backup habits saved me this time. So I got everything to build and thought I was done. Not so fast, says the game when the player falls right through the floor. Now I have to figure out what's going on. Put in a floor that wasn't dependent on the tiles but the player and enemies can walk right through the walls still. Give each character box collision which prevents most walking through walls but looks like crap. Turns out that a bug on the tile map thing I was using is that each tile that is supposed to have collision only had one tiny point in the middle, so things could just walk right through in between them, and even fall right through. Sweet, everything worked great up until I tested the build. I had been keeping a grid of my own that I was using to determine where things were on the level so I could make the rooms work. It was much easier than dealing directly with the tile map. I created two objects with simple collision boxes exactly the same size as the tiles, one stubby one for the floor, and one for the walls. When I placed a tile I would also place one of these where the tile should go. At this point I might as well just put some images on them and skip the whole tile map altogether. I might in the future because I can see some advantages to it. Anyway, I got it done a day late and a dollar short. A few bugs remain though. Too late for the competition, but I'm submitting it anyway.  

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

Dungeon Crawler - Items and Random Generation

I'm still a lot behind. I was hoping to have the random generation done by now. I still have time to get this done, but I was hoping to spend more time refining things and adding in some extra stuff. Sorry about the s's in the video, they are getting picked up a lot more than normal. After I made the video, I was able to get the doors and room spawning in, but there is still a bit of work to do to finish the room generation. And then I need to work on the random item and mob algorithms. Here are the graphics for the other three mobs that I need to get put into the game: As you can see, the golem still needs some animations, but there's plenty of time for that. So the major things I need to finish for the game are the weapon degradation, random room generation, the main menu, the pause menu, and plopping the last three mobs into the game. Still possible for me to get this done in time, just need push a little harder.

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

Dungeon Crawler

I've been spending too much time on the looks of things, when I barely have enough time to get the functionality done. I've added some shading to the main sprite and the rat so they fit in the world a little better: I also modified the injuries so that less serious injuries have small text and more serious injuries have large text. Added a bar instead of text to show the healing of the injury. Also put in potions.   In the video I show the rat attacking and killing the rat. The rat has the same body system as the payer so it has the same stat effects. I also show how the potions will work, the healing potion heals the body faster because nothing is instant. The major things I have left to do, is another few mobs, items, inventory, music, sound effects, and the dungeon generation.

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

Dungeon Crawler - Stats and Injuries

Took me a lot longer than I wanted, but I converted the stats system from my JS prototype into UE4 blueprints. Why BP and not C++? I'm not really sure why, but that's how I did it. Looks very noisy. I'm not that great at making BPs easily readable and looking good yet, but I think I'm getting there. I think. I also added in the injuries, right now they just apply on some hotkeys without any modifications. It's better to see it in action though so I recorded a video. The music is just something I had laying around from another game I worked on. I'll need to make a track or two that matches this game's feel some time. My current plan is to finish the system by adding in treatments. Once that is up and going, I think I'll work on getting the rat mob in there. Then I'll start getting the system to affect the character. Not sure what I'll tackle after that. The major elements I have left to do is, all the mobs, the items/inventory/equipment, sound effects, music, and the dungeon generation. I suppose all the UI elements too, but I don't think I'll have time to do anything fancy, so I'm going to just put in some place holders. I suppose it's all really place holders right now, but maybe you know what I mean. I made a few item graphics too. The chest is actually two frames, one closed and then other open. If you can't tell what they are, I'll have to work on them, but they are a club, sword, dagger, cloth armor, leather armor, chain mail, plate mail, a potion, a scroll, a bandage (not toilette paper), thread, and treasure. So I'm a little behind where I thought I would be, but I still think I can get it done in time,

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

Dungeon Crawler Challenge

I'm late to the game, but I'm going to attempt this challenge. I made a small tile set for it. I also had a few versions of the main character before I settled on something very basic. The first version, I was going to use an asset I got through Humble Bumble, but it didn't fit right. So I tried to modify him enough to make him fit what I wanted, and that didn't work out too well. So I tried making my own from scratch (the bald guy on the right), but that didn't seem to fit very well either and might have taken a long time to create the assets. I even tried making a simple smiley face that would change color and expression based on its health. The version I settled on was pretty basic, but I think still fits well into my vision. I can always improve on it later. So I cranked out most of the animations I'll need.   I also made some rat graphics to be the first enemy. My plan is to mostly make my game a lot like the ASCII Rogue I spent a lot of my young years playing. I also had an idea floating around in my head for years about a health system a little different than the usual. It's not an entirely original idea, but I really want to try it out to see if it will work out as a fun game mechanic. The system is geared around injuries and how those injuries affect the body. Loss of blood affects strength, energy, speed, eventually consciousness, and other things. So a cut has more long term issues than the initial damage. It also heals over time. I'm not trying to make it realistic, I just want to provide more consequences and ways to die than the usual hit points depleted, ran out of food and die instantly. I don't know, I hope it works out. I had made a few prototypes in js, the last one was very complex. But for this I decided to boil the concept down it's the most basic elements for testing out the concept. So I made this prototype: http://devpirates.com/Proto/BasicInjuries/Injury.html It's a lot more basic than my previous prototypes. There are only a few entry points and once it's in place it shouldn't be much work to utilize. One addition I made over all the other prototypes, is that I added in food and water so that the player can die from starvation like in the Rogue game I used to play. I'm making my game in UE4, so now I need to convert it to work inside that. Which is another reason for me to create a simplified version of it, to make it easier to move over. I plan to add toggles to the game to turn off food and/or water needs for the difficulty setting. So now, in less than a month, I need to port the prototype health system, program the items, weapons, armor, and enemies, then create the dungeon generation system. It sounds so easy when I put it like that...

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

 

Starting Zone

I've been making games since I was a kid, but I've only finished one game in the last twenty years. When I was young I kept it simple and was able to make a few MS-DOS games. Then I wanted to keep making it better. I've tried so many different strategies to get better at game development. I've tried working with people and getting ghosted by team members one after the other in many different projects. I don't blame them much, it's a big ask for most of their free time for a hobby they find out isn't what they want to do. I also don't want to hold anyone back if they want to move onto a better managed project where they can flourish. And that lead me to my last strategy, to start out simple again and do everything alone, but if people wanted to help I would be happy. And I was doing pretty well, I learned a lot in the project, making a game from start to finish as we know is a lot of work that requires a lot of different skills. I looked back at the five years I took to make my last game (well, there was a lot of procrastination), where my skills are as a game developer, and where I wanted to be and I was disappointed by what I saw my path was. If I made my next game, a little more complicated and developed a little faster, I was still looking at a project that would take a year or two and I'd learn a little more. I have a few games, like I'm sure we all do, that I really want to make but don't yet have the skills to do them well. So an idea about training myself up without going through the whole process slowly developed. Focus on one skill at a time, then add in one more once I've gotten good at it, and one more, until I'm pretty good at most things. So I over engineered what I call RIP (repetitive iterations for proficiency). I think the idea is good, I think it will help me get better much faster, and I'm going to try it out to see if it works. I'll blog my progress as I go, maybe other people will find something useful in it. I've already made the first two one level games, a Ninja Gaiden (NES) clone and a Super Mario Bros. (NES) clone, and am currently working on a Bionic Commando (NES) clone. The first several projects in the plan are to take a game I like to play that falls into the more simple game genres (platformer, action... etc.), and reproduce all the gameplay for the first level.

DavinCreed

DavinCreed

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