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Project One Day - Update #7

Got a video to show today. And it seems that I have almost reached the extent that I have had a kind of plan for. Still need to do some graphics work on Bianca and also need an animation for when the cat is eating. With those done I would have the bare minimum that I have been wanting to include in this scene and could move on to the second scene that starts after the movie has completed. I don't know what the transition to that scene is going to end up looking like and I only have some basic dialogue worked out. In the second scene, the couple is getting ready for bed but realize that the babies are indeed going to be born today and it is time to go to the hospital. That's not to say that this first scene is perfect. There's a lot of furnishings that are still needed and I should try to figure out something so that Fred doesn't get stuck behind the cat or occasionally behind furniture or in walls. Keeping the jump as an escape is kind of an option but it's not really a proper solution. I do want Fred to effectively "trip" over the cat by a solid collision because... well that's what life is like when you have a cat. But if it makes it completely impossible to get anywhere, I need another idea. Also, after their conversation, Bianca heads into the kitchen seemingly for no reason. That has actually been for a test of the navigation system to get actors to go from room to room. It's not really necessary at this point but her speed and direction affects her approach to the table with the DVDs and thus her position when she expresses her comment about the movie. I'll probably move her into the kitchen to start but I want to have a table and chairs in there for her to be sitting at. Main stuff worked on since last post: Place some other props including DVDs on a table. Enable a script to be fired on completion of a path.   Review location Navigation data file and Points of Interest files are Complete hard coded conversation logic as needed   Create conversation files for use with item examination. Improve code for working with UI where possible.   Break up original conversation with some dialogue at a couple points Functionality to "Feed the cat" Rewrite of script conditionals logic processing to support tests on multiple actors. I'm very happy in particular with the recent work on conditionals in my script processing. This allows me to test Fred's attributes (or any other actor's) when engaged in Bianca's conversation script. Previously I would only be able to test the attributes of the actor that owned the conversation script. Also now I can compare one attribute to another whether it's the same actor's or another's. Previously I was only able to compare an attribute to a static value in the script. I'm not sure what the plan for the next while will be. As I said, there's lots more to polish up the first scene but moving forward into scene two is pretty tempting. But at minimum before moving to scene two, I think I'm going to finish up work on Bianca and Sammy's sprites.

kseh

kseh

Project One Day - Update #6

I thought I'd share the "script" that I have so far for the first scene. In this case "script" referring to the stage directions and sequence of events that I'm planning for assorted actors. Not to be confused with files for non-compiled code or dialogue between characters. If anyone has better names for each of these different things, please let me know so that I can sort out the ambiguousness in my notes and blog posts. I am the least certain about elements regarding character's arrival or departure and scene transitions in general so I'm planning on coming to a final decision about those sorts of things when I have the other stuff sorted out (which is more fun to work on). Still, I'm aiming to include just about everything in the description below. Not sure what I'll have worked out by the next time I post but I hope to include a video next time. Level 0 - At Home This is the initial scene at the beginning of a new game. In general, Fred has arrived at home, feeds the cat, watches a movie with Bianca who is due to give birth any day now. After the movie, they get ready for bed and Bianca realizes that they should go to the hospital. Fred is Home Fred should arrive at the left most location of the level where the sidewalk to the house begins (still needs work). Fred should walk through the back door. (which means we need some kind of door, or maybe at least a doormat). From the time Fred gets in the door, Sammy, the cat, should be following Fred around the house. On collision between Sammy and Fred, Sammy should meow (sfx) Successive meowing should occur after some period of time has passed between the last collision causing a meow. Feeding the cat is an option immediately available. Exploring the house, a few dialogue items should be available at certain points or examining items like the cribs (undetermined at this time) Get the Movie Begins after first conversation between Fred and Bianca. Bianca should appear to pick up a DVD from a near by table in the livingroom and put it into the DVD player. Bianca should mention of the DVD title when she picks it up. Bianca will then walk to the DVD player, play a "give" hand animation, and drop/destroy the DVD Bianca then walks to the couch and sits down. Feed the Cat Before the movie can begin, Fred should be required to feed the cat, Sammy. Sitting down next to Bianca or colliding with her should trigger a conversation telling Fred to feed Sammy before we begin.  Alternatively, feeding Sammy can be done without this conversation. The cat food should be waiting on the kitchen counter for Fred to pick it up. With the cat food in hand and having approached the food station, an option should exist to "Feed Sammy". Engaging that option should engage a hand animation, drop/destroy the food, make the food station appear full, and have Sammy sit over by the food, looking like she's eating it. A new cat animation for eating food would be desirable. Set attribute to indicate Sammy has been fed. Begin the Movie Sammy appears as eating for the duration of this direction. Bianca can engage a hand animation suggesting use of a remote to begin the movie. Colored Lighting effect of some kind would be desirable by the TV to indicate it is turned on. Some comment about the movie beginning would be appropriate. (undetermined at this time)  
I have never really been this far in the planning stage of the story before. There are a lot of things covered up above and yet it ends up being a small amount of time spent playing the game. There's quite a few things that above that will need additional coding or other stuff including: Lighting effect for the TV when the movie starts. New hand animation for "Give" action (for DVD related actions) New cat food can item for pickup. New hand animation for feeding cat New animation for cat eating cat food Implementation of a door or entry point of some kind  

kseh

kseh

Project One Day - Update #5

Development has been somewhat slow but managed to get some level building work done. Main stuff worked on over the past month: Fixed issue with clothing level location updates when human actor changes levels. Work to make sure actors are cleared out of levels before new level/game is loaded. Fixed bugs handling closing of Store & Inventory dialog boxes with Escape key. Resolved collision issue where actor collision records were overwritten by tile collisions Re-enable fading out effect for walls. Level building for Level 1 Human characters can sit down on the couch. There's still work to do putting the level together. There's a couple bits of furniture and such to put into place but I gut the basic stuff I wanted to get in before posting any kind of screenshot. In the screenshot below, I have the basic layout of the house as I previously had, the fade effect on the walls is doing what it used to, and I have the main PC able to walk over and sit down on the couch. Being able to sit is an interesting addition as it looks just fine for now and I can probably continue without concern but if I have characters with robes or any kind of long clothing it'll mean that clothing will require another left and right frame to look right. Which means I should probably change the way I load the data for clothing anchors to prepare for the eventuality that I'd have other animations to add requiring additional clothing frames. Which isn't all that difficult to do but would be a diversion I didn't expect. Probably going to leave that for the time being unless I find some character that really really needs to be able to sit while wearing long clothing. I think the next step is going to be getting the navigation data back in and the script back together so that after a conversation between husband and wife completes, the wife goes and picks up a DVD from the bedroom, goes over to TV to put in the disk, and sits down to watch the movie. I also had a cat in the earlier version following the husband around everywhere which I want to include again. Only after feeding the cat can the movie begin and the story progresses. The combination of completing two events like that to progress the story was one of the whole points of this project in the first place. It's something that I've been able to do to some degree in the original version of this project and really got working the way I want in the WOA Dungeon Crawl project. So it will be good to see it all come together finally. 

kseh

kseh

 

Project One Day - Update #4

Looks like I haven't posted about "One Day" in about 7 months as I took time to work on a couple of the GameDev challenges. In that time I had added a fair number of new features and fixed a lot of bugs. So, I thought it'd be easier to take a fresh start with the latest code base rather than to try to and find all the places in the old project that would need updating. I code name my projects as a "Lab" while I'm working on them as in many ways they're all experimental. I'm now on Lab 36 where as the original version of this project was Lab 31. One thing that I'm trying to make a point of doing this time around is to do a better job of tracking the changes need to be worked on and when I complete them. Easy enough for the big items that I know need a fair bit of time and attention. A little trickier to remember though for the quick little fixes, adjustments, and tweaks. I am in the habit of keeping notes about whatever I'm working on for each coding session but that's more of a rambling about what approaches I'm taking to investigations or fixes rather than an itemized list of things that's been accomplished. So over the past month and a half: Rework the level structure as needed for this game. Assorted changes to directory structures. Changes to saving the tracking of items in clothing pockets. Move main actor list to level object and make related changes. Save/Load of player's progress. Make the conversation dialog box keyboard controlled. Rewrite previous collision tracking for UI selections. Make the UI interaction range variable. I'm quite happy with the changes I just finished for getting user interactions when the PC is close to various objects. You only have to be within some range of a character or items now to be able to interact with them instead of having to collide directly with them. The last deadline I gave myself for this project was actually this weekend. At this point, that is not going to happen. But maybe if I can remember the various features I've added to my engine over the years (and how to use them) and if I can keep everything reasonably organized, I might just maybe be able to actually proceed without any additional overhauls of some system or another.  

kseh

kseh

Quest for the Ban Hammer Update

Though the Dungeon Crawler Challenge is long since over, I wanted to fix up a number of number of things in my project. I think I finally have it in a state where I'm good with closing the project and getting back to my other project I call "One Day". Most of the updates are mentioned in the Projects page. Probably the update that I'm most happy with is the way I track what items the player has on him. I'm able now to refer to the various items that I've defined in my conversation scripts and use that to determine the count of things currently held. This should allow me to create fetch quest through the conversation scripts without the need for a lot of additional coding. I'm hoping that it will allow me to make quick progress on "One Day" as soon as I merge the old project with my current work.  

kseh

kseh

Dungeon Crawler Challenge - Post Mortem

When I had submitted my project for the Dungeon Crawl challenge, it was very late at night. I was able to get everything sufficiently together to complete what was needed but I did want to write up more in the ways of a post mortum. Last Thursday I found out that we had another day to work on our Dungeon Crawler projects and I was quite releived to hear the news. I was able to get a bit of work done in Friday afternoon which basically amounted to positoning all the critters an items throughout the dungeon and doing a final check that the concluding dialogues came up and the menus looked ok and that sort of thing. The one little thing that I wanted to address in the evening was to ensure that the player would die when he landed in the water, For some reason, when a critter pushed the player into the water he would be fine and had ample oportunity to jump back out and continue on. I was feeling pretty confident I could handle that one little thing in less than an hour or so and then get everything uploaded. So having settled in to work on another machine, I ran the release build, tried a few quick tests and found assertion after assertion being thrown that I hadn't seen before. What was to be an hour or so of touch ups became four hours of franticly trying to find memory leaks and otherwise trying to stabilize things. The main culprit was from bringing over the class for the snails from an old project. A lot of things had changed with how I handle actors since I used it last and it needed more updating than I realised. Another problem was eventually tracked down to be an out of bounds array issue. A few more tests and I found that things had generally stabilized although I was still getting occasional crashes. I couldn't figure out how to reproduce them though so I just left it. Quite late at night, I checked through the list of required things and I wasn't entirely sure if I had enough Items in the game. In theory each weapon could count as an item. It might be evident that combat is easier with better weapons but I didn't think the difference between these items doesn't get expressed clearly anytwhere. I realised that I could quickly add an effect to improve the lighting when the player equips the glasses. It made sense as a power up item and seeing it work was quite gratifying. The dialogue system was something that I've been wanting to show off since WOA IV. I finally had a chance to do so with this project and for the most part it went well. I could add to conversations pretty easily and apply some logic to flow from one bit of text to another depending attributes set either in game or through the dialogue script. There were two problems I found though. The first was that I was unable to allow more than one section of dialogue that presented a choice to the player. The other was that I had never actually worked on being able to have conversations with multiple NPCs. Otherwise, I might've added a character in the lounge that you would have to retreive a flower for or otherwise setup a few other fetch quests. This is probably going to be something that gets some additional work done in the near future. The combat system... well it's not ideal by any means but I rather liked how it turned out. I haven't done a melee system before so I'm considering this one as one of the thigns that went well. Each weapon has a collision rect associated with it when you attempt to strike and it moves with the hand as a sort of swing. Anything within that rect is considered hit. Some additional work was needed to ensure that a collision with a critter was only registered once but concerned about not having time to sort that out, I just made the weapons collision rects smaller for the lower grade weapons. the result is that it's very difficult to hit anything with a dagger. It was supposed to be that daggers would require 3 hits on an enemy, short swords only 2, and long swords just 1. The ban hammer was going to take out all enemies within a much larger range but I didn't have time to make the necessary changes for that. The entire project seemed to be a continual exercise in adapting for time available. It surprised me the number of things that I just left as it was so that I could move onto the next. The invisble obstacals that were mentioned for example, some of them have explinations for being there and others don't. I just didn't have time to look into it and generally it seemed a jump would get you out of most situations. Gerneally, leaving things seemes as though it was the right way to proceed as in the end everything had come together sufficiently. But I'll need to be careful about using this project as any kind of base for future work. As for the future, there's a few things that I'd still like to finish on this project before moving on. But I don't think I'll be working on another challenge for awhile. I have a lot to sort out with my code base before I try something like this again and I'm behind on my project "One Day". It'll be good to get back to that project and when I'm able to wrap that one up I'll be taking everything I learned from it and the past two challenges and applying it to my perpetual, never going to finish it, open world sim. Or some new version of it anyways.  

kseh

kseh

 

Dungeon Crawler Challenge - Update 6

Quest for the Ban Hammer Entry for Dungeon Crawler Challenge Objective Explore the Lounge basement for the Ban Hammer and return with it to the Lounge. Snail enemies rush the player throwing him into the air potentially knocking him into the water to his death. Use crystals to light your way and mark areas that you have explored. Objective is described by conversing with character in the Lounge level. Controls: Arrow Keys - Move Q - Jump W - Attack (only effective with weapon) Number keys - Interact / Pick up item I - Inventory D - Drop Esc - Menu / Pause Stationary Obstacles Darkness Water Items Various weapons (Ban Hammer, Long Sword, and Club give best range or effectiveness while Dagger has the lowest). Backpack (equip to carry multiple items) Light Crystals (3 kinds with different levels of illumination) Glasses (Illuminate the entire play area when equipped) Various clothing that is just decorative. A few miscellaneous objects placed in levels for decoration. Pixels (credit item drop from enemies with no way to spend or use) Gamedev.net Reference / Easter Egg GD.net logo used on sign to return to Lounge level. Some subtle content references. Known Bugs / Issues The Equipment / Inventory interface is a little quirky. Attempts to equip a weapon that's already in the PC's hand has been known to cause a crash. Drops by enemies are leaving a solid, invisible, collidable space. This space can be jumped over. Occasional crash that is difficult to reproduce which seems related to the collidable space left from enemy drops. Debug functionality needs to be disabled. Dagger and Short Sword weapons are very difficult to fight with. Not a bug as much as a design issue. Can only hold one item in hands at a time leaving no way to make use of a light and weapon at the same time. Backpack can be used to carry other stuff.    

kseh

kseh

Dungeon Crawler Challenge - Update 5

I am quite behind. Got overly focused on the idea of having a backpack to carry around and spent a lot of time over the weekend trying to revive an old class that I had from another project to hold items. Lots of fun with picking things up, putting them down, and equipping them. I was able to get the functionality going for switching between an upper Lounge level and a Dungeon level. Also able to save and load whatever objects that I place in both those levels. I don't think I'll have as much time to really plan out a level as I wanted. I have very few items to place around a dungeon to keep it interesting but hopefully it's enough. Oh, and I never did make the time to find the code that's making all the clothing pink instead of using random colors. I'm somewhat hopeful that I'll be able to just get in the requirements, but it's going to be clunky. As it is in the video, I don't have stairs or a ladder to go between levels but a sign which I had the graphic for handy. Don't want to spend the extra time just now obsessing about how stairs or a ladder would look. Still need:
  * Collecting credits of some kind. I think this should be ok but there'll be no store at this point.
  * Enemies. As I've said several times now, put off for way too long.
  * End game. In theory I should be able to create an end game message but it won't be remotely glamorous. The way I see it, I have until Wednesday night to get this completed. Thursday is allocaetd for family time and there won't be much time left Friday night except maybe for a final upload.

kseh

kseh

Dungeon Crawler Challenge - Update 4

Been feeling a bit burnt out on this project lately. Haven't spent nearly as much time as I had hoped over the weekend and basic life stuff has been kept me away from opportunities to work on it before that. It currently feels as though there's maybe 1 or 2 days left next weekend for some solid development time and it doesn't feel like enough. Still planning to keep at it though and hope that the smaller bits of time I can find will help. So no screenshots or videos at the moment. What I do have at this point is a way for the PC to wield 3 "different" weapons which I will be setting as having different power. The animation for this is simple but I'm fairly happy with it. What I really need at this point is some enemies to fight and treasure to find. So of course what I'll be working on this week is a "store" and hopefully figure out a way for the adventurer to earn money that doesn't take a lot more development time. One thing I've wanted early on was to have a starting upper level that'd have the store and a conversation would set the stage for your main mission. Yesterday I got that level put together and today I was able to get a conversation dialog going. The main level is currently a completely unfurnished "Lounge" whose only occupant is KHawk from whom you get a bit of a description of where you are and can select an option to ask for a job or to buy stuff. The job of course is to go into the depths of the basement to retrieve his Ban Hammer so that he'll be prepared for expected influx of new unruly patrons. Was hoping to have a few people sitting around maybe doing something that looks like a flame war, but probably no time for that. Might be able to get some tables and chairs in though to make it look like a lounge of sorts.

kseh

kseh

Dungeon Crawler Challenge - Update 3.1

This video is "old" now after work over the weekend but here it is anyways. When I am able to work on this project, I end up working until it's quite late trying to nail down just "one more thing". And I either forget to leave time for capturing a video or tell myself that tomorrow I'll have something better. This video shows the PC which I simplified to a rectangle with feet and a single dot for an eye walking around int the darkness of the labyrinth, picking up the occasion torch rock (that needs to be re positioned to appear in his hand) and exploring a bit. Eventually our hero comes to a section of the maze where some inhabitants from the Frogger challenge still persist, including some cars that have had their sprites changed to very plain squares. Nothing there is particularly harmful but he jumps past one of the sleeping denizens of the labyrinth a couple times before demonstrating that it is a bad idea to attempt to swim in the swamp.  

kseh

kseh

Dungeon Crawler Challenge - Update 3

A variety of things worked on over the past week. I've done some work to get the PC able to jump. The idea I'm thinking of is that there'd be palces with breaks in the floor you'd have to jump accross. I'm thinking of tieing that to the equipment weight you're carrying and decreasing the length of the jump, so maybe a bit of planning would be needed. For that to be meaningful though, I really need to work on what kind of equipment will be in the game. As it is now, you die if you jump off the floor into the "swamp". Having the little splash animation from Frogger was kinda handy there.   More noticably though I was playing around with the sprites and ended up turning my human into a rectangle with feet. I kinda like the way it looks so I'm thinking of going with it. I'm hoping that the style will allow for simpler equipment and enemy sprites like my "torch" in the screenshot below that looks suspiciously like a simple red rock. The floor tiles also changed a bit and there's a couple tile transitions that need fixing up like the one south of the PC in the screenshot. I had some basic clothes for the human sprite I was using before. Other than the hats, they don't work for the rectangle so I'm pretty much at a place where I have to be spending time working on clothes, armor, weapons, and any other stuff I can hopefully get into the game. Lots of fun to look forward to aligning where sprites join together. The screenshot doesn't really show much of what all I have done. I'm hoping to get a video of some kind put together over the weekend.  

kseh

kseh

Dungeon Crawler Challenge - Update 2

This past week I ended up working on a torch light feature. I feel as though I should've been focusing my time on creating enemies to fight and items to pick up and use but this was something I just couldn't pull myself away from. Always so close to having everything worked out that just a little more time wouldn't be an issue. My hope is that it leads to something that ends up being more enjoyable in the game than frustrating. In any case, I have something that is pretty much what I was aiming for. It's a basic spotlight kind of thing that I can attach to generic things that I add to the level and it's possible for the player to pick those things up and walk around with them (though there's a bit of refactoring to sort out). I tell myself that being able to place torches throughout the maze will be kind of cool and be a part of the exploration. Being able to see everything around you makes a maze way too easy to navigate. Being able to pick up and put down items is a step forward as well. The player moves over the item to pick up and presses a key and the item is now in your hand as you walk around. An inventory won't be far off and I think that's where picked up things will be placed into by default unless I think of some UI that's more convenient. With being able to move things in the game from one place to another, the player would be able to bring keys to doors or perhaps some other tool to resolve a puzzle, if I can think of something. There's a bit more to finalize with moving things around but I think next I might want to look into a jump functionality. The maze you walk in isn't a cave environment with walls all around you but more like a platform to walk on. Maybe it's a path in a swamp. So maybe finding places that are safe to jump across could have potential. And maybe the distance you can jump is affected by how much you're carrying. Lots of "maybes". Hopefully it all comes together.

kseh

kseh

Dungeon Crawler Challenge - Update 1

Been working on my project for the Dungeon Crawler challenge for about a week now. I think I'm fairly happy with the maze generation I have. I'm using the Accidental Noise Library to basically generate some initial chambers to a tile map. Then I iterate through the map, flood fill any open chambers with an ID value, decide a Hotpoint for the chamber (the middle'th(?) tile that gets filled) , and then try to connect each chamber's Hotpoint to the next nearest chamber's Hotpoint. Using another flood fill, I check if I've connected every chamber sufficiently. If not, start again. From another project, I've moved over all the classes I need to get a humanoid instanced. I'm able to move him around the maze, colliding into walls accordingly. Only thing is though, the way my "walls" have their edging done you can't have it so that an actor is peeking over walls drawn on the south edges. Actors just end up standing on the edging spoiling the look of the wall. I could adjust my collisions so that actors don't stand on those edges, but the reminder and temptation is just too great to spend a bunch of time trying to make it so you can look over the edge of the south walls. So I instead I went with reversing my edging so it looks as though the player is walking on a raised path instead like you're walking on a path surrounded by something lethal. Not sure what that something will be just yet, if I decide at all, but I'm satisfied with it the way it is. So for screenshot here, your character would be walking on the grey part. The green I was thinking might be swamp or like sewer water or maybe I figure on a different setting yet. The character's clothes all come out pink at the moment and I'm not sure whether a trench-coat will be part a potential piece of equipment or not but it gives a bit of an indication of where things are.
  Lots of ideas for things I want to add but it'd probably be a good idea if I can get myself onto implementing fighting enemies as soon as possible. I'm still not sure just what combat will involve or look like.

kseh

kseh

Frog's Challenging Journey - Update

I really wanted to try and deal with a bug that was reported for this project, even though the challenge is long done and I already got the really cool badge, especially since I was able to recreate the issue and it seemed as though it was a bug that'd be in my other projects that use the code as well. I put in more of a work around rather than properly addressing the issue. In general, it's all about the way one actor is considered to be holding another and when it stops. I'd rather look at what I need for a proper fix in that the One Day project where I use the code for the character's clothing and appearance which has a little more to it than just having a turtle hold one frog for a short time. I was also able to deal with a few memory leaks that probably weren't helping things at all. Much more fun, though, was to finish work on what was supposed to be Level 3 in the game. It's a very large level that's 128*128 tiles with two large land masses and a couple of smaller islands. You start off the level having to navigate a maze of non-sinking turtles to get to one of the two large land masses. From there, it's avoiding traffic of a few streets winding around everywhere. I added in a star checkpoint that you can grab in a few places so that you don't have to start at the very beginning if you die or even just make it to a lily pad. There's a few empty areas the player doesn't really have any way or reason to get to but all in all, I think the level turned out pretty good. Project page has been updated with the new download.  

kseh

kseh

Frogger Challenge - Post Mortem

Some positive stuff: I had a lot of fun working on my game and I'm quite happy with what I ended up submitting. The bits of polish like the main menu, points gained indicators, and level transitions are things I haven't tried to add before. Each is just a small feature but together they really enhance the over all experience. There was only a little bit of fighting with my code base / engine. For once it seemed like I had everything I needed and it was all pretty reasonably organized. However, this is mostly because I completely avoided dealing with the issues I know my engine has with collision. Specifically, that my actors are currently limited in their size which was part of the reason I didn't have any alligators or logs appearing in my game. Somehow I was able to track down the website I stumbled upon before for free music as well as the artist that I had in mind. I came across freemusicarchive.org back when working on WOA V but forgot to write down the name of the site. I'm sure I had bookmarked the site at one point but cleaned up old bookmarks since then. One of the biggest boosts to my motivation was when my kids asked if they could play the game. Early on, I was showing off to them what I was working on and then about a week later they remembered and excitedly asked to play. Unfortunately, the build was in a terrible state right then so I told them they'd have to wait. As much as I wanted to get my submission in, the chance to impress the kids is just awesome. I have to let them know, it's ready to play. I was generally happy with my programmer art. The turtle just came together looking really well. Though time was an issue, I will say it was nice not feeling like I had to pull continuous all-nighters to get anywhere with this thing.   Stuff that didn't go quite as well / considerations for next time: Like everyone else, time. I had figured on having more time to work on the game but life just throws things your way sometimes like priorities at the office, a broken sink, or just helping battle the colds that kids seem to bring home from school. I could easily have spent another 2 weeks or more sorting out issues that I knew about and making levels. I wanted to have a fourth level that was an import of an island height map I did some time ago for an RPG project. It was going to be 128*128 tiles while the levels I did include were 24*24 or 32*32. One reason it didn't make it in was that I found that, when the level began, the scrolling had some issues going from its current position to centering onto the player. There just wasn't time to figure out how to deal with that. Found a bug at the start of the last week where if one actor is carrying another there's a potential for a crash (invalid pointer) when one of the actors is destroyed. I thought I managed a quick work around for that before submission but I think this is the issue that Znippy mentioned, and I have to imagine that others have experienced. I will be needing to track this down as it'll be something that manifests in other projects that use those bits of code. As I mentioned earlier, when I started this project I had visions of taking a look at the actor size restriction I'm currently dealing with. Didn't look at that at all so ended up with fewer actors to add to levels. Though I'm happy with my programmer art and had fun making it, it's still programmer art. Couldn't hurt to find an artist to work with one day. I'm not as happy with the splash animation as my other graphics. It's just too small. It kinda works when the animation isn't obscured by other actors but I'd rather the splash did more of the obscuring. The size of the frog vs size of the turtles makes it tough to see when turtles are going to submerge. The cars move too fast in some places. This is just a bit of a tweaking / balancing issue more than anything. Actually, I think it's fair to say that in most of the entries this was also the case. I probably should be interacting with everybody more. What's next for me? First, I'm going to track down the crash when the turtles submerge with the frog. The code involved is used in other projects so it'd be good to understand what's going on there. It'll also be cool to see what my kids think of the game and maybe let them take a crack at putting together their own levels. I wouldn't mind finishing up that 128*128 tile level myself, though I suspect the size would actually end up making the level less interesting than I'd hope for. I would very much like to work on a few more of these Challenges but the plan for the next while is to get back to project One Day. I'll have a few improvements from the Frogger Challenge to bring over to that and then, I think it becomes mostly about setting levels with sufficient props and writing dialogue for characters. Basically, it's a project I'm working on for my wife and kids so I was hoping to be done for end of January but at this point I suspect I would be lucky to even meet my next target of April. One last link to the project page:  

kseh

kseh

Frogger Challenge - Update #5

Just a short post today. Watching more entries come in, I'm concerned about getting everything done this week. I've just recently got the game over condition sorted out and still need to work on level transitions and try to put together a few more levels. The concern there is that I"ve hard coded the traffic controls as well as the stuff generating cars. I think dealing with the generators shouldn't be difficult to deal with but I don't think I have the time to experiment with traffic controls. Also, while I've picked out some music that I think is available for to use, there's still actually getting it and some kind of sound effects in.

kseh

kseh

Frogger Challenge - Update #4

A bit late with this week's update. Last week was spent looking at trying to do some kind of scoring and also working on some changes to the way I have scrolling. For scoring, I went with using a data field in the tiles to set how many points you get for landing on any given tile. Currently, road tiles are 25 points, tiles close to water are 1 point, and everything else is 0. This week, I think I need to work out some kind of high-score thing as well as level progression, lives, and a game over screen. Maybe some kind of improvement to the main menu I have. A few more levels would be a good idea too. I did want to add in another enemy and maybe some logs but I'm a bit concerned about time at this point. I've had complaints in other projects about the way I had scrolling so I've been spending time looking at that. I had it such that you had to approach closer to the edge of the screen before you could see what's on ahead. Which may be fine for the project that it originated in but is rather annoying in anything with an arcade kind of feel to it. I've got a much nicer smoother scroll now. While looking at this improvement, I found that the code doesn't quite do what I was expecting in general so this is an area that I'll be needing to revisit at some point in other projects. It's good to see the submissions that are coming in from everybody so far. I know there's still quite a few days left but I have to admit I'm starting to wonder if I'm further behind than I realize.   

kseh

kseh

Frogger Challeng - Update #3

This week I looked at having cars properly generated on one end of the level and destroyed on the other. And some adjustments so that I'll be able to tweak frequency and travel speed a little later on. It's hard coded at the moment still and I'm pretty sure it's not all tuned quite how I want it but it's ok while other development is going on. On Wednesday I threw together a turtle sprite with diving and surfacing animations (not shown in video) and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. The turtle almost feels as though it doesn't quite fit with the style of other graphics but I'm going to keep what I have. I started with a copy of the Car class for the turtle so I was able to get the turtle following tracks similar to what the cars do. But I realised that I don't have to set a track of data on all tiles, I just have to set it on corners where I want turns to occur which allows for paths to cross each other. Also, when I was distracted at one point, a turtle collided with the frog and killed it, following the car logic. I figured it might be a good feature to keep in the game. Even if the frog can jump onto the turtle's back, standing in the path of a turtle will kill the frog. The video shows a frog starting off and crossing the street. Cars wait their turn at an invisible traffic light and proceed accordingly. I have one turtle walking on the ground in a clockwise square path and another in the water on a path that crosses over itself in a number of places and is near the shore in a few spots. Near the middle of the video, the frog gets in the way of the turtle on the ground. After that I quickly show a little tile debugging information that drive the directions actors are traveling.    

kseh

kseh

Frogger Challenge - Update #2

This week, I've been able to get together a splash animation that you see when the frog jumps into water. I've also tried using it but modulated red for when a frog hits a car but it's difficult to notice. It's fine for a placeholder for the time being though and the animations do the job of taking place when the frog hits a hazard. I also have a basic car sprite to use (the scale of things in this game just isn't a concern, is it?) and I've gotten them traveling across the screen in their intended respective directions on the roads. In the course of debugging I had a couple cars go wildly off track. I think it'd be interesting if a car occasionally went careening off the road, possibly crashing into a tree or water somewhere. It'd be an interesting hazard to watch out for. What I'm particularly happy with this week is a bit of traffic control logic that so far seems to be making for an effective stop light. (Sorry no video). There is the potential at the moment for cars to get stuck on each other when one stops just a bit too far into the intersection. With the test I've been running it clears itself up but I don't think I can count on that so I'll be clearing that up next chance I get. So far, the cars have just been starting from a default point that I set on level load. What I really need to sort out soon is something that will spawn the cars. I am wondering also about frequency of the cars and how closely they follow each other and how this relates to when they're stopped. As cool as I think my traffic control stuff is and also having this free range approach to the level, I see the potential to end up with something where it's either way too easy to cross the street or it's completely impossible.

kseh

kseh

 

Frogger Challenge - Update #1

I'm taking a shot at this Frogger challenge using the custom engine I've been using for way too long now. I'm hoping to find that it stands up to the task reasonably without the need for extensive diversions from what I've established. The "engine" I use is just C++ code that I've developed over the years. Libraries I make use of are SFML, TGUI, and a timer library by Mattias Jansson (2011). I'm going to try for something such that the map is just a little more complex and you're not just going from top to bottom of the screen. At this point, I have 1 small level map with a few decorations on it, a frog jumping around, and a lily pad that's supposed to be the destination. I'm thinking next I want to do a splash animation when the frog jumps onto water, just because I think it'll be fun and relatively quick. Probably also a good idea to get some kind of vehicles traveling on the road as well and a simple death animation if you get hit. Then comes some kind of congratulations when you reach the lily pad. I don't know what I'm going to do exact ly for stuff stuff in the water. Turtles that sink should be pretty simple but aligators or logs rushing down some kind of river might be more than I planned for. Not sure about intersecting roads and rivers either as streets and water is just simple tile map sort of stuff and having water going under a bridge might require more time than I'm inclined to spend for this challenge.

kseh

kseh

 

Project One Day - Update #3

I've been focused on getting assorted bits of programmer art furniture added into the house. And in doing so, finding little quirks and work around (mostly related to collision stuff) to try to get things to work and look like I want it to. The way I've gone about my collision detection stuff, I'm currently limited in size of my sprites. So I've been piecing parts of sprites together to try and make larger furniture items and it's a pain. I'll probably be addressing this in the next few months. I'm generally happy with my programmer art but getting perspective and scale consistent takes some work. I decided that the walls that I had were too short and just threw off the way that other furniture looked. So I made them a bit taller which then meant figuring out what to do about seeing behind those walls. I went with making wall segments transparent as the player moved north of them. I think it works ok though I'm not sure about vertical wall segments and joints. I think I can refine that later, if I like. I spent a bunch of time reorganizing how I have data files for initial games and player save games. Mostly separating objects that I was previously saving into one large file into multiple files. Theory being that way I wouldn't have to place every single actor back onto the level again just because I found a problem with one somewhere. Data files now can be divided by categories like Plants, tables, beds, etc. The addition I'm most happiest with though is some navigation logic for getting NPCs from one place to another. One thing that I wanted to have for the first scene was for the cat to follow the player around everywhere until she is fed. And of course, if the player moves fast enough around corners, the cat can get stuck. I ended up adding a Region ID field for each tile and, with the in game editor, I can paint that ID to the tiles that make up the rooms. So the Kitchen is ID 1, Living Room 2, hallway is 3 & 4, and so on. I then built functionality to parse through a file that has a bit of logic such that for the region an actor is in and the region you're planning on going to, add two destination tiles for that actor to the current path. One destination on the edge of the current region and the next tile on the edge of the destination (or neighboring) region. I think it's still possible for the cat to get stuck places if the player is determined, but it is way better. (Video 1 shows the cat following the player into various rooms, always crossing rooms where the appropriate door way should be.) With the main navigation logic in place, I realized that I can define a set of Points of Interest in the level and have characters travel to that destination (instead of just the player's current location) as part of a path following script and tie that to the navigation logic where the path is written as a set of textual points of interest rather than tile co-ordinates. This way I can, for example, define in a data file the tile to stand on to be next to a TV. Then when I add the string "TV" to the list of path destinations, the character just goes to that spot. Thoughts of dynamically generated houses with NPCs able to follow a routine in the house fill my mind. But that's for another project. (Video 2 shows Wife character travel to kitchen counter, table with dvd's, tv, spot south of table, and lastly to couch.) There's still some work needed for ideal NPC movement. I don't have anything for collision avoidance or steering behavior and I think those would go a long way to reducing the potential for walking into a table and getting stuck. But for a game like this where the NPCs movements and destinations are going to be known, I don't think it's a concern at this time. I still would very much like to get this project completed before the end of next January but I'm thinking I might take a break from it for awhile to work on the Frogger challenge. It doesn't feel like some feature or element is particularly pressing or hanging over me right now so it feels like a good time to try one of these challenges.

kseh

kseh

 

Project One Day - Update #2

At this point I'm finding the in game editor that I've put together to be fairly functional. I have save and load functionality that works as would be expected for the player and a save function that I can use to setup a level's initial state. I didn't want to go with using tiles for walls so there were a couple additional challenges to getting the wall corners to match up together properly while making sure that player can slide along them without getting snagged or trapped. I'm setup to be able to add whatever I need to create conversations and have the characters move as the result of player interactions. But the one thing I think that's bugging me is the complete lack of any furniture or interior items. So the plan for the next while is to do some graphics work to try and furnish this house somewhat before going forward with creating any dialogue or story. Perhaps with some items in the house it'll provide inspiration for how to build the story. I also need to do some work on the characters, particularly what would look right for a pregnant character (you wouldn't know that babies are on the way from the current sprites). With the graphics all being programmer art, I'll be happy if I can just maintain a consistent style.

kseh

kseh

 

Project One Day - Update #1

I created the project page for "One Day" about 3 months ago so I thought it's about time to write something more. In general the project is to create a story on rails kind of RPG project. Fairly simple functionality with just the player moving characters around and having them give their lines when appropriate. After all the lines have been done for one particular scene, progress on to the next scene. This is the first project I've worked on in quite some time where the level wasn't relying on procedural generation. I had found last year that I had minimal facilities for building levels other than loading in a basic tile map. I had managed to throw together some in game level editing capabilities fairly quickly but when I started including some old classes from another project there was a lot of work to bring everything up to date. Recent work has been sorting out serialization related stuff for actors within a level. I've never had to handle things before where you have a level at an initial state and then it's possible the player has saved the game and you want to reload from there. Other assorted things I've looked at the past few months:
  * I haven't dealt with tile collisions in years and some work was needed to handle collisions with multiple tiles.
  * Have an actor follow a set of tile waypoints.
  * Trigger an actor to follow a set of waypoints after completing a conversation
  * Attaching clothing to actors, paper doll style.
  * Defining a character using a text file and loading that file.

kseh

kseh

 

Kseh Woa V - 2017-08-15 (Wovanosh post mortem)

So WOA V has come and gone. My submission was supplied just barely under the wire, flaws and all. Over all, I'm fairly happy with my submission and I don't really want to point out all the assorted negative things to the judges that I see when I look at it but those are the things that I had hoped to find and learn from by entering. Thanks to everyone for making this jam possible. To our hosts at GD.net for providing the venue, to Slicer for setting up and running the show, to the judges, and to the participants. This all is a very different experience than just coding whatever I want at my own pace with no worries about bringing assorted features together to serve a purpose. Things that went well: I was able to submit something. I'm generally happy with my submission. I had fun. While there was a need to quickly hack together some bits of code to make stuff work, the majority of the code changes needed to the base engine felt much less like a hack and more like a natural extension of the code than last year's attempt. I consider this a really nice personal success. Avoided energy drinks on the late night development sessions and thus no post project migraines. Level editing stuff that I did put together worked ok. You can actually still add in some stuff if you right click (should've turned that off for release, I suppose).   Things that just sort of went: I spent more time this year on a main menu and on having a few levels to play. And with having a few levels to play I figured it'd be a good idea to allow for which one the player would like to start from and to put a small break in between levels. This all took up one of the late night dev sessions I had available to me. I wonder a little how things might've turned out if I had left these details and instead focused on other things.
Things to learn from or think about: I struggled with figuring out what to do with the theme more than I had hoped. I ended up just with starting to work on small bits and hoped that an idea would come together, which it actually did in the end. Level creation/editing is something that I found to be like smacking into a brick wall. This is likely to be my focus for the next several months, particularly since I'm at the stage of needing to look in this area for another personal project. I had hoped to write more about my progress each day but I just didn't end up leaving enough time at the end of each dev session and was way too tired. Could've planned time better. (hiding some flaws from judges)   I tell myself that I'd like to do some finishing work on this when I have time to sort of bring it all closer to the point that I had envisioned. But I do have another personal project that I'd like to get back to. I'm not sure yet on what would be the best way to take things forward from this project into the other one. But eventually, forward it will go.    

kseh

kseh

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