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About this blog

On-going progress updates for any project I may undertake.

Entries in this blog


@ Fortnightly Update ONE!

@ The New (Fortnightly) Update ONE!
Continue? New Game? Exit?
10/09 - 10/23

As compelling as it sounds, working non-stop on a development contest entry, for a period of 180+ days, is simply impossible. You have to, of course, soak in some non-digital reality once in awhile. Although once thats done, one can easily become bored and divert his/her attention over to the amusingly interactive, digitally simulated materiality. In other words, this week, me and my friends decided it would be fun to make ourselves into m.u.g.e.n characters. Long story short, I gave up because of the immensity of moves everyone demanded, that and me being the only one who knows how to program them in. =/

Anyways, the first week was a combination of garbage collecting/disposing and cleaning a lot of charred items in the basement from an electrical fire that occurred some weeks back. Wasn't in the mood to do any kind of work on the entry.

I'll be doing some work tonight and possibly tomorrow, however. Not pushing too many goals on myself these coming weeks but i'm hoping to get some visible evidence of my progress to show.

The Overly-Pushed Goals of Tomorrow and Beyond!
- Work on prototypes
- Add gameplay elements to test





Prototyping II

Prototyping II

Started on my second prototype today. This one is for a built-in map editor that will help me and the player to customize maps in-game. I have always liked the idea of alowing player modifications(mods) to games. I'm going with a very simple philosophy when it comes to modding in this entry; Allow as much freedom as possible when creating the game so when implementing something it will be implemented to allow the player to have full control when modifying/replacing it with a custom model or custom map.

The map editor will be the only built-in modification tool for this entry, however, the player can easily swap the model meshes, i'm using .x, as long as it contains the same animation frame notes.

Some screens of today's progress; Just a quick splash and 2 shots of the editor so far.

I'll be working on this for a good amount of time. I will be switching back and forth between the gameplay prototype and the map editor, this way I can implement certain functionality which affects both gameplay and the map dynamics. I'm not a big fan of implementing one thing first and adapting the rest. I try to implement things at the same time so when correlating between any linked dynamic properties and functions things will balance out alot quicker and more neatly.

On the design document part; I'm happy to say that I am almost finished! Of course it will be revised constantly from now to the end date but I now have a very good direction to take.

( Comments - Suggestions - Positive/Negative Crits are always welcome. )

- userjp




@ Weekly Update TWO

@ Weekly Update TWO
The On-Going Revision
10/02 - 10/09

And again this lonely section of cyberspace begins a new with another weekly update on my progress. This week I made a lot of progress on the prototype for the top-down shooter approach and was a bit unsatisfied. It was more complete in my head then what I realized when actually coded in (this is common for me). That does not mean I will be scraping it tho. I'm going to tweak the prototype a bit to fit a different design perspective. Essentially it is the same, but with a new character/weapon scheme.

I only spent about 2-3 hours a day, this week, actually 'working' on the prototype and design.

Weekly Overview
Sorry to say that there are no screens of actual progress this week, only a slightly tuned prototype. I did however create a bare-bone design script which I have already re-written several times. I will post some sections of the design script below.

Below Are Segments Copied from Design.doc
Contest Elements Used:
Evil Ponies,
An Accountant,
Several Explosions,
and Valuable Crystals.

(User Character) An Accountant. This accountant goes on a mission to capture a different type of pony for each zone he enters. He is equipped with an arsenal which is routinely picked upon entering the zone. This of course dictated by how much he can spend or can receive.

Connection: The accountant, as a playable character, is established as an accountant in the game by slight dialog at the start, the ability to damage things using several different number combinations which can sum to a desired amount to increase or decrease the damage total ( more on this below ), and the requirement to pay the bills on items he has purchased or taxes on the amount of bloodshed he deals ( more on this below ).

(Enemy Characters) Evil Ponies, obviously. The dialog in the beginning should note on the ponies evil nature and how it's seemingly impossible to capture one, let alone afford one. They have only been spotted in a distant dimension which can only be entered through a portal.

Connection: Of course the all to seen, "Daddy! I want a pony for christmas!" scenerio brings these ponies into the picture. The game takes place as a story being told by the little girl's father. Her dad is to broke to buy her a pony tho, so he tells her this story to scare her. He refers to another father trying the same thing. In the story tho, little does the girl know, it will be hell (almost literally), to get her one. ( "The ponies are evil I tell ya!" ).

Gameplay Elements:
3D, top-down to perspective shooter.

The player is immersed into different zones (or levels) each a different setting and can be picked prior to entry. Each zone has a type of pony all of which are evil and need to be either destroyed or captured. The goal is to control the accountant and kill enough ponies to collect enough crystals to then capture a pony. Each zone will most likely have at least 3 different types of ponies and a boss. ( this may change due to time restrictions ). The ultimate goal, however, is to collect as many different ponies from as many different zones as possible. The more ponies captured the more equipment is available to capture more ponies. The endless cycle, which apparently ends when you captured all the ponies! The ending credits will appear but I may allow the player to still choose which zone to play in if he/she wants to continue.
( And they will! They won't be able to resist the gameplay! )

Core Mechanics: Ideas & Stats

Player Stats:
- Player stats; Health Count, Ammo Count, Current Level, EXP, Crystals Earned(Zone Only), Ponies Captured, Money Debt, and Money Available.
- Player can equip up to 4 weapons prior to zoning; Dependant on Level.
- Player can also equip simple gear; 1 Mesh, 5 Skins. Has basic properties attached such as resistance/increased damage to/with a certain element.
- The 4 Stat Elements; Fire, Water, Earth, Wind.
- The 5 Simple Gear Skins; Normal Accountant, Ninja, Pirate, Zombie, Robot.
( Gear and weapons are unlockable. )

Enemy Stats:
- Enemy stats; Health Count and Element Weakness. Boss characters have a greater Health Count. All depends on zone.
- Enemy can equip any weapon available, depends on zone.
- Trying for 3 enemy types per zone + Boss, depends on zone.

Goals and Achievements:
- You are going for the most collected ponies, which in return gives you a fair amount of cash and weapons.

- To collect an evil pony, you must have enough crystals.
- To collect crystals you must kill enough ponies, you need to balance that out so you don't go empty handed.
- To capture a pony, you need to use a special move at the right time. ( When the pony is about dead )
- After every zone you must pay your current debt.

Weapon Mechanics:
- Each weapon needs to be bought.
- When buying a weapon, you don't need to pay until the you finish a zone.
- Before entering a zone you must invest in each weapon you want to use. This will add to the debt until the zone is completed and you have to pay your bills.
- When investing in a weapon it charges the weapon by how much you invested. This charge is considered your ammo.
- Each weapon has a limit to how much you can invest.
- Plan ahead with your investments, any left over ammo is not refundable.
- You may invest more money during gameplay if you find a certain item.

Damage Mechanics:
- All damage to enemy HP is done by explosions.
- Every weapon will have the potential to cause an explosion.
- When fired upon the enemy will be pushed back and a number, (dictated by characters level, weapon, and resistance) will appear above it's head but the enemy will not be injured.
- Once the player hits an enemy he/she has a couple seconds to hit the enemy again to maintain that current combo.
- Explosions occur when the combo reaches a desired number.
- The desired number is dictated by the type of enemy or HP (subject to change)
Needs to be reviewed.

- Player will be able to do a front-flip using SPACE while moving forward as well as a Back-flip using SPACE while moving backwards. Same goes for side flips. The cursor will be freely moved around the screen, the player's character will always face the direction of the cursor. ie:

Using the WASD or Direction Arrow keys, you move your character around dependant of where the cursor is. Heres another example:

There are restrictions of course. When moving your character up, you will stop before you reach the cursor. Moving backwards you will stop at a pre-determined location. If you are moving side to side you have about 180 degree freedom. When the cursor is flipped, meaning the cursor is under the character, left and right will be inverted to avoid confusion. ( This is still being tested for better methods. Thats the whole point in making prototypes. ) I may stick with a simple version where the player moves around freely and is not dictated, except direction, by the cursor.

Everything seems fairly easy to pull off. The biggest hurdle will be the content, mainly the levels (zones) and the enemy meshes. I will post more on the storyline later on.

This Week's Goals
- Finish Design Script
- Continue testing ideas with prototypes





Prototyping I

Prototyping I

Well i've set off on a mission to test the 3D top-down shooter aspect of this project. I don't want to just write it out in a design script and jump right into it when I start the actual development process. I'm going to program some basic elements for the top-down shooter part and if it works out how I imagined it then I will add it to the design doc and keep the code to refine on later.

After this is done I will move onto the next idea, write up a proto, and then add it to the design doc if it works out. This way I will be able to know for sure if an idea works or not before I write it into stone for the actual development process.

This type of prototyping doesn't require good looking graphics only the essential parts to the game mechanics. Below are 2 screens showing the newly made project in C plus plus and a, fully rigged, 3D proto pony made with DeleD and Milkshape.

The Idea

The main idea for the 3D top-down shooter is to incorporate the most freedom when it comes to movement, shooting, and recoiling from any type of situation. It needs to be fast and you need to be in control. There should be lots of things going one. ie: Lots of enemy fire, enemies, power ups, etc..

Not going with anything to innovative on this part unless I get a better idea once the protoype is near finished. But there are a few things which I'm not going to disclose until I program them in and see for certain that it is possible to pull off.

Now it's time to start the prototype.
( Comments - Suggestions - Positive/Negative Crits are always welcome. )

- userjp




@ Weekly Update ONE

@ Weekly Update ONE
The Beginning
9/27 - 10/02
This is the beginning of a chain of weekly updates that will show overviews of the development process so far. I will most likely post randomly when I have something to share tho. But I'm not going to post a new thread on the main contest forums yet until I have a decent amount to show, a title, and a prototype up, respectively.

I'm going to try and post these updates every Monday, not including this week which was impossible due to an electrical fire in the basement on Sunday, which ate up a lot of my time.

I made a post about it yesterday but I took that down. I decided it had nothing to do with this contest. Thanks again tho for everyone who showed concern, I really appreciated that!

Weekly Overview
Not much has been established yet besides some ideas and a basic plot to guide them. Still working out details in my head and throwing the good ones on paper. The entry below outlines one if the potential ideas I've been contemplating.

This Week's Goals
This week's goal is to choose a final design, write up a bare-bone design script and maybe start on a simple prototype to test ideas.





Electric + Fire + My house = One hell of a day

Well, first I would like to say that this contest, for me, has started off blaze'n, litteraly.

Yesterday there was an electrical fire in the basement of the house i'm currently staying at. My bedroom is right next to the room that the fire was under. My friends woke up practically 10 minutes before the fire started and woke me up.

The house was full of smoke, it was really hard to breathe let alone find all our animals and get them out safely. We have 9 cats and 5 dogs! It was insanely hectic. After everyone was safe which took less then 5 minutes, I proceeded to grab the extinguisher while my friends called 911. Thankfully I managed to put out most the fire before the emergency units arrived, which hopefully saved on a lot of damage. It was hard to get a good angle to put it out, most the fire was on the ceiling of the basement.

But on the good side, noone was hurt and the damages wasn't to severe. A loss of electric on the entire left side of the house, some smoke damage, and some support beams which under the insurance coverage has to be completely replaced, and the entire house re-wired is about the extent of the damage.

An electrician came out today and said it was safe to use an un-injured circuit on the right side of the house until things are re-assessed. Which all boils down to me still being able to work on the project for 4e6, just got to be careful for awhile.

Heres some pics of the aftermath:




4e6 Entry Progress

Evil Space Ponies Are Attacking!

Nevermind the cheesy graphic, heres the scoop.

I think I have came up with an idea I like and hopefully will be enough to rank a decent score with the judges. My main goal with incorporating all the elements was to think of a scenario where each element literally couldn't be anything else, thus etching them directly into stone.

Basically, the game is a story being told by the father of a little girl who wants a pony for Christmas. Of course the father is broke, thanks to Bush's assault on the middle class, and can't afford to buy the little girl a pony. So he tells her a far-fetched story, complete with explosions, ponies, crystals, and of course a disgruntled accountant ( a reference to the broke father, his way of releasing some inner tension ). Not a whole lot of dialog will take place as you will be playing as an activist pony most the time.

Oh no! The evil space ponies want all of earth's crystals!!

Obviously, you need to face these demon ponies ( equipped with every type of explosive device I can program ) and demolish there plan.

The gameplay is simple. It's basically a top-down shooter with an array of pony-rific acrobatics. I have a very good idea on a very popular game mechanic you see alot of now-a-days in new releases and is only possible with a 3d game. Now this poses some challenges. I was going to do, strictly, a 2d game but this idea won't leave me alone and the semi-equivalent 2d form of that idea just doesn't cut it. I won't disclose that idea until the time is right. ;)

Great, now the government wants to tax the crystals!

Describing my ideas for all the elements and their purpose:

Well, they are the main characters and the main villains of course! There is the player, an activist pony, who is owned by the disgruntled accountant, and a countless horde of evil ponies from outer space! Obviously I can take the pony element and exchange it with almost anything in this scenario so I'm thinking of something that only ponies have or can do in this case.. hmmm.. They also have to turn into checkbooks when they are killed. To the horror of the disgruntled accountant, he has to pay tax on them to!

There is need of only one accountant sorry, the position is filled. I've hired the disgruntled accountant because he knows how to pay bills on time. I will most likely have a system where you may buy certain goods,(weapons, ammo, turrets, a can of spam?), and you don't have to pay for them until the round is over. Consider yourself on a net 30, only 30 stands for the number of evil space ponies defeated!

Ok now this is simple. Basic elements in to many games to count. It's the blood of the game, the motivation, the currency, the greeeeed maker. During the gameplay you need to stop the evil ponies from stealing all of earth's crystals. Once you defeat a horde of evil ponies, or maybe a boss character, you collect crystals and store them in your stable. This is still an early idea but maybe you can build defenses around the stable? Kinda tower defense style?

Now were talking! I will of course have the player cause the most havoc a tiny little pony, with a big rocket launcher, can dish out. Every weapon will of course be an explosive one. Prepare to see lots of flying ponies! And of course, I must have exploding meteors fall from space ( the evil ponies main transportation! ).

I will post more game mechanics and possibly jump right into a prototype tomorrow.

Comments and suggestions ( even the ones that simply state "U SCK I PwN U!" ) are welcome.



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