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Still making games...

Entries in this blog

 

DreamBuildPlay 2011...

...So, just submitted Graveyard Shift to the 2011 DreamBuildPlay competition. It's amazing how much faster development goes when you have a set goal.

Anyway, here's the video that accompanied the entry:

[media] [/media]

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Review...

A very positive review from IGN.

I've been getting some complaints about the controls. The controls in Bennu are definitely not intuitive, because they simulate a ball and chain, and so you have to gain impulse to swing around. Most people expect to be able to just point the ball to wherever they want within the limits of the chain and so get frustrated quickly. I'm doing an update with an alternative control system to update this, but it will be a little too late.

Like IGN says in the review, the more you play the more you like it, but I don't think anyone will like Bennu after playing only 2 minutes.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Start screen...

I've been very busy with porting SNKPEPP to XNA 4.0. It has shitloads of breaking changes, mostly due to Windows Phone 7. It was algo a good excuse to get rid of my level loading scheme, where I read XML documents "manually", in favor of serialization. The code now looks much better with most classes being rid of repetitive XmlDocument handling code (btw, XmlDocument is not supported in XNA 4.0).

Once I ported SNKPEPP to 4.0 I wanted to test it on the XBox but I soon found out the XNA Game Studio Connect Beta is not available in Portugal. Oh well. :(

Due to this, I'm still not sure I will be able to render blood like I wanted, using particle effects over a persistent render target, because persistent render targets are not fast on the 360.

Yesterday, for a change of pace, I started work on the start screen. In it an unknown character is being chased by one of the protagonist ninja and meets a terrible fate. ">Video here.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Particle effects, etc.

Over the last week I added a proper grappling hook to the ninja rope and also integrated the Mercury Particle Engine V3.0, which comes with a very nice editor.

The particle effects consist dust clouds that go off whenever the ninja walks or jumps off a wall and friction sparkles when the ninja wall slides.

">Video here.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

A quick update...

- We started a twitter account, which you can follow here: http://twitter.com/#!/OnceABirdGames

- We didn't place in the top 20 of the DreamBuildPlay contest, which was to be expected since the game was in a very early state.

- We're currently working on the crypts, more on that soon...



Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Ghostbusters!

[size=2]So, I changed the fever ray so that when you play co-op, and you cross the fever rays, you get a single ray dealing 4x the normal damage:

[media] [/media]

[size=2]It was inspired by the end of the first Ghostbusters movie.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Status update...

- The site is up and running at www.onceabird.com. Still not everything in, but close.

- Here's a video showing some new particle effects, where the fire travels from Bennu to destroy the blocks.

- Bennu is in the final peer review process. If it passes (fingers crossed), it will be available immediately.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Flips...

Proper flips are now implemented! A sensor geometry, with collision response disabled, was added to the ninja body to make sure no objects are in the ninja's trajectory before he does a flip. Without this check, the ninja could do a flip right before hitting a wall, preventing the player from doing a proper jump. ">Video here.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Attack of the 50ft Verbose Dinosaur!

It's been a while since the last post.

I've been very busy on our latest game, Attack of the 50ft Verbose Dinosaur (AOT5VD).



AOT5VD is, basically, Scrabble meets Rampage. You play as a dinosaur that throws letters at buildings. When the letters form a word you can explode the word, causing damage to the buildings. The bigger the letter the bigger the damage. I came up with the concept and did all the programming, my middle brother did almost all the art.



You can view a gameplay video here.

Once in a while a helicopter comes by with a word missing the first letter. If you complete the word you get a bonus. More on that later.

But why is the dinosaur doing this?

Any comments/suggestions appreciated (stuff you'd like to see on the game, things that seem wrong to you, etc).

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Attack of the Verbose Dinosaur...

...The update is finally out. It should fixe the garbage collector slowdowns that occurred from time to time.

Also, although it passed peer review, two people mentioned a crash but couldn't tell how to reproduce it. If you find it please tell me. :)

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Avatar Man

Avatar Man is back in peer review. I forgot some debug code when submitting the first time around, I also did some tweaks here and there:

- Changed intro message to warn player of enemy avatars.
- Added texture to indicate in which square the enemy player is currently in.
- Step count is now shown again during the level.
- Level 9 changed to remove enemy avatar that cycled through 3 slabs.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

...One more time.

Avatar Man is back in Peer Review. If you have a creators club account, you can check it out here.

The reason it failed peer review the first time was that I didn't load the correct avatar when two gamepads were used. Hope it passes this time.

I'm happy with the way Avatar Man turned out because of the three games I completed this was the one it took me less time to finish and the one I cared less about. Both Bennu And Attack of the 50ft Verbose Dinosaur were attempts at using new concepts but turned out to be either not that acessible or fun. Avatar Man is a bit trashy in the sense that there's very little of new in it and the graphics and sound are only there to serve the gameplay, but it's forgettable fun all the way.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Trailer!

">Here's a trailer for attack of the 50ft Verbose Dinosaur!

Also, my brother redid the cover:


Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Status update...

...Just a quick status update.

- Attack of the 50ft Verbose Dinosaur is now in peer review, if you have an XNA Creators Club membership you can check it out here.

- One Man Armada is currently in hiatus because I started a quick game with avatars. It's a pac-man-like game, set in mazes where you have to run through every empty space and avoid other avatars. It should be done within a month or so and them I'm resuming OMA.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Status update...

As I mentioned in the first entry, I wanted Bennu to change color when he touched "bonuses" spread across the screen. My first attempt at these bonuses was a catterpillar which would slide on top of the existing blocks and scenery. I had some complications making it "stick" to blocks on 90o turns and so it was left on hold for now. My next and current attempt is a kite.

The kite and the Bennu are similar objects, they are composed of rigid objects connected by joints (both rigid bodies and joints are defined and controlled by the Farseer physics engine). Both have a "head" and a "tail". In the Bennu's case the "tail" is composed by the connected dots he uses to swing around the screen.

In order for the kite not to fall down to the ground instantly, I added a property to the Farseer physics engine which allows a rigid body to not be affected by gravity. An alternative would have been to always thrust the kite up, simulating wind, but this was easier. ;) Right now, the kite turns around every N seconds, but in the future I'll make it follow a pre-determined path.

I've also added an explosion effect everytime the Bennu destroys a block. Basically the block is divided in several smaller blocks that are then projected off the screen. In my first attempt the smaller blocks were affected by the physics engine like all objects on-screen, which caused a crumble-like effect on the destroyed block. Unfortunately this proved too CPU-consuming. :(

Click here to see a video of the latest build.

As you can see, the kite movement is quite dumb at the moment. :) The fluttering of the kite's "tail" is done by applying opposing forces to the rigid bodies composing the tail.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Bennu - First prototype

Welcome to the Bennu journal.

Right now I've finished the first prototype of the game, which has programmer art *shudders* and lacks many of the features I hope to implement.

Bennu is a puzzle game that can be described as puzzle-bobble meets spiderman meets some-cool-stuff-not-done-yet. Basically you control Bennu, an old bird that can't fly for long and so goes around each level using his tail to grab to whatever he can and swing himself around, smashing bricks with his head (the head and the bricks must have the same color), until there are no bricks left. Currently his color changes every five seconds but in the future the player will have to touch bonuses with the Bennu to change color.

Right now the blocks are generated randomly, but in the final game each level will have a hand-made layout. Click here to see a movie of the game.

The game is being developed using XNA and the Farseer 2D Physics Engine, which (so far) I highly recommend. :)

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Oma - First gameplay video

Here's the ">first development video for One Man Armada. Basically the destroyer ship spawns the fighter ships that chase the player ship. Each fighter ship tries to avoid the other fighter ships and the destroyer ship. The box2d.xna engine provides a raycast mechanism that helps to prevent collisions.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Avatar Man

So we just finished our first game with avatars, called Avatar Man:



It's a pacman-like game where you must press each tile in a labyrinth while avoiding enemy avatars. Here's a ">video of the game in action. The video was taken on a PC, where you can't display Xbox avatars, but thankfully Ubergeek wrote an avatar wrapper class that amongst other things displays the avatars as skeletons on the PC.

This is the first game I completed where I didn't try to come up with an original concept. It's not a straightforward pacman clone, since the enemies move in preset patterns and there are special titles that when pressed alter the enemies' behaviour (either making them fast or releasing them from their patterns). In fact, it feels more like a hide-and-seek game than a pacman game.

It's also my first completed 3D game. There is still a lot of stuff I don't understand well about shaders, lighting, etc. The most complicated part was the effect that morphs textures as you walk over the tiles. This was done using a shader adapted from a couple of Creators Club examples.

As for the art, my brother did all the textures for the walls and floors.

If you want to give it a try and you have a Creators Club account, Avatar Man is in playtest now.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Joints...

I now set limits on the joint rotation, making the ninja a proper rag-doll. Video here. The Farseer Engine provides the AngleLimitJoint, so it was quite easy. :)

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

A quick update...

...A bug was found in the peer review process: save game data could become corrupted immediately after the game was bought. It's corrected now, and Bennu is back in peer review (link only works if you have a creators club subscription). It's now at 50% in the peer review process, I think that means it needs 4 more reviews, not sure.

UPDATE: A rarely-occurring bug was found and Bennu was pulled out of review. At least 2 more weeks... :(

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Peer review again...

Bennu is back in peer review.

Here's a list of what changed since the last version:
- My cousin did all of the songs for Bennu, but one of them was originally written for a "Master of Orion"-style game I never finished. It had a singing part that I removed because the lyrics had nothing to do with Bennu.
- Instead of pressing "down" to roll on the ground, now you use "B", which is easier to do than moving the thumbstick. Many of these version changes were suggested by the guy who did "Weapon of choice" and is currently doing "Grapple Buggy", which is looking totally awesome.
- Now there's music playing on the tutorial.

Bugs fixed:
- Game no longer crashes on storage selection when playing with the second controller.
- All "key" references replaced by "button" (a vestigial mark from when Bennu was destined for the PC).
- The reason why you lost the level is now much more visible.
- The "New Game" button no longer asks for confirmation when no progress has been made.

Hope it passes this time, if it does please try it. :P

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

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