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March 31, 2018 Weekly Update - Untouched Earth Game Development Blog

WaterMoon

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Wow! Very productive week full of new opportunities, new items, and new bug fixes. I must say, development seems to be progressing wonderfully (fingers crossed I didn’t just jinx myself 😊). The game’s fun level continues to increase, and, to me, that’s the whole point of agonizing over the minute details of code and animation – to give others a fun experience.
 
***Original blog post can be found by clicking here***
 
Updates this week include:
  1. Continued developing level three (about 50% complete)
  2. Fixed the artificial intelligence and decision making on enemy characters
  3. *Spotlight* Created a “Spinning Wheel” obstacle
  4. *Spotlight* Created a “Springy Platform” obstacle
  5. *Spotlight* Created a “Smasher” obstacle
  6. *Spotlight* Created two new characters called “Howler 2” and “Piper”
  7. Started creating a new Booster – “Slow time”
  8. *Spotlight* Created and implemented a rendering algorithm to Frames Per Second.
  9. Fixed a bug causing enemy health decrementation to be inconsistent
  10. Fixed the code that caused the “Howler” enemy to freeze when landing
  11. Fixed an error causing bullets to instantly be destroyed and not collide with enemies
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Spotlight 1: Created a "Spinning Wheel" obstacle
I’m in love with this obstacle! It’s incredibly fun and presents a tough challenge to the hero. I died multiple time when testing it, but the thrill of successfully maneuvering it was invigorating.
 
file.png
 
Basically, the obstacle has six platforms the player can jump on. Each platform moves around a center point at a duration and intensity set by the code. The first challenge was getting the six platforms to rotate around the center in harmony. I tried to create a script to manage the movement, but it was a big failure (failure is okay though!). Ultimately I ended up attaching an animator component and just creating an animation in the unity editor. The wheel spins faster by simply increasing the animation speed – Simple...so I thought.
 
file.png
The startDelay variable causes the animation to wait for a number of seconds before starting. The animation variable refers to the types of animation available - either an animation where the "Spinning Wheel" moves and pauses or an animation where the "Spinning Wheel" moves continuously.
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Here's where a big error came in. The hero was not staying put on the platforms. The platforms would rotate out from under him, and he would fall to his untimely death (brought a tear to my eye to see such potential wasted so unfairly). I ended up creating a script for each platform that determined whether or not the platform was touching the hero. If it was, the platform script adjusts the hero’s position to keep him on top of the platform.
 
file.png
heroScript refers to the script attached to the hero. If the hero is colliding with the platform, the touchingHero variable is set to true. This variable then signals that a change in position each must be calculated (deltaPosX & deltaPosY) during the FixedUpdate(). This change in position is then added to the hero's transform to correct his position.
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It worked like a charm! The spinning wheel was complete, and I could set how fast it moved in the unity editor. I created two modes for it: pause and continuous. Pause mode (featured in the video below) puts a brief pause in between rotations, whereas continuous mode rotates without any breaks.
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Spotlight 2: Created a “Springy Platform”
The springy platform was pretty simple to make, and only took about an hour or so of development time. I had never used the SpringJoint2D, so it took some trial and error to make the obstacle usable. I love how it turned out, though! The character can land on it and bounce, making it hard to keep his footing. It really presents a challenge to game play, but, just like the “Spinning Wheel”, feels great when you defeat it! Victory!
 
file.png
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Spotlight 3: Created a “Smasher” obstacle
I had originally created a larger smasher obstacle that would plummet downward upon the hero and send shock waves of crushing force through his body! This obstacle is simply an adaptation of that obstacle, but gave me a few challenges. The obstacle is intended to be used when the hero is climbing down a rope or vine. However, if the hero falls from the rope or vine and lands on the “Smasher” he is unable to move and receives damage until he dies. I foresaw rage quitting if I didn’t fix this bug. I ended up updating the hero’s detection manager to include “Smashers” as elements the hero can move on. (see the detection manager section of the game mechanics section if you’re not familiar with the detection manager).
 
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Spotlight 4: Created two new characters called “Howler 2” and “Piper”
Two new characters joined the world, and boy oh boy do they make my skin crawl. Creepy and scary with a hint of horror. One of the characters, who I uniquely named “Howler 2”, is an adaptation of the “Howler” Character – Thank you again HQ game assets for making great assets. I did some art work to make him spookier, and augmented his script to make him more lethal. He’s able to evade hero attacks, is bigger, stronger, and can leap further than the “Howler.” The other character is called “Piper.” He is a distance based character that fires bolts of energy at the hero and runs away when the hero gets close. He’s a real challenge, but a lot of fun to beat up.
 
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Spotlight 5: Created and implemented a rendering algorithm to increase game speed.
This update was huge! HUGE! There was a very serious problem where the frames per second were absolutely horrible when playing the game on a solid gaming PC. I realized I simply had far too many game objects active at once. I did a little research into several topics including object pooling, and ultimately created an algorithm that sets certain sections of the map active and other sections of the map inactive. I created a “Render Trigger” game object, which is basically just a game object with a trigger component, and set them up across the entire world. You can find the entire code below. Super simple and super effective! The game looks stunning, fluid, and has crazy high FPS now.
 
file.png
 
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The sections that are active are loaded into the render array in the unity editor. The sections that are inactive are loaded into the sleep array. When the hero touches the trigger, the render game objects are set active and the sleep game objects are set inactive
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As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you and would love to hear any comments or ideas you have. Feel free to leave a comment or email me at watermoongames@gmail.com.
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***Original blog post can be found by clicking here***
***Visit Untouched Earth website for more details***
 


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Thanks! He’s actually a purchased asset from the unity store that I only made the animations for. They did a great job creating him. Too much fun to fight!:D

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