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Worms / Liero clone

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This game has been sitting on my HD for a while, thought it was time to do something with it. First off, this is a worms / liero (more towards liero) type clone with some extended features: - The 2D in 3D thing. - Destroyable terrain (some terrain has health, and some is impenetrable). - Quite a few weapons. - Random maps (the AI doesn''t dig yet, though it path finds nicely). - Limited lighting. - Detailed maps. - Highly data driven. - Networking is complete (though, not released in this version). It needs a bit more testing. Note: Teamplay and single player are the only two modes of play implemented right now. (6 meg d/l) download

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This is the coolest thing ever. I just started playing with the weapon editor it''s soooo cool, hurry up and do the multiplayer

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Hello DreadID4.
You may not recognize me so I shall reintroduce myself. A short while ago we discussed our game projects via email - I believe you initially mailed me concerning what was called WarZone at the time and we ended up testing each others games out - yours of which I can see has come a long way by the screenshot (when I played there was no AI).
I had intended to keep you updated but unfortunately I lost your email address when I upgraded to a new computer (along with a sum of other things). Since then I am happy to say that WarZone, now known as Autumn Fog, has also shaped up into something significant and coincidently is just about to be released in the next day or two (expect to see an announcement in this very forum).
Anyhow... good to see that things have been coming along so well. I''ll be sure to download this game - I''d love to see how it has changed since last time I played. It certainly looks great.
Drop me an email if you like,
Jackson Allan

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graveyard filla:
Thanks for the compliments. Multiplayer is hopefully coming soon =).

neonoblivion:
Hey, I'm glad that you like (maybe) my weapon editor . Most people just say it's WAY too complicated. Beware though, some features on the advanced projectile options tab do not work (most notably: 'Play a sound when projectile hits ground.', various controlled projectile key options, and the controlled projectile's bounding box [controlled projectiles can get complicated, if you want to make one, I advise ripping off one of the ones in the game already] ). Thanks for the compliments as well, I will have multiplayer finished up as fast as humanly possibly (along with the other game play modes).

jack:
Yup, I do remember you =). I was wondering where you went off to. That demo you gave me was fun! I definately want to play your finished version and see how much yours has changed as well (I like the look of those tunnels, a lot ). I'll send you an e-mail.

[edited by - DreadID4 on May 11, 2004 11:18:18 PM]

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Hello again.
I’ve played Iauns for a considerable length of time and I like it a lot. It is oddly addictive – you’ve done really well to take this project so far. Anyhow, here is a breakdown of what I do and do not like about the game:

Like:
* The style is great – the gameplay varies and does not grow boring. Lots of action, lots of combat and a lot of fun.
* The destructible terrain is a good effect, although I found that in most places where I might want to dig a tunnel the terrain was indestructible.
* The game ran smoothly – 99 bots and no slowdown (other than in the first few seconds of gameplay).
* The bot AI is great – how are you path finding? Is it a node mesh? If so, then how will your bots deal with destructible terrain? Recalculate the navigation mesh after a certain period of time has elapsed?
* The self awareness of the bots adds variation to the gameplay as the bots do not follow predefined paths (to my knowledge).
* The graphics are generally eye-pleasing, although at times it was difficult to tell what was actually an obstacle and what was merely an overlay.
* The weapons are fun and usable (some are more useful than others).
* The gas effect looks lovely! As does the weapon trails.
* The plasma grenades are very useful, and being able to instantly detonate one by firing a rocket into it is a nice effect (very satisfying).
* The interface is clear and looks good.
* The random map generator is a nice addition.

Suggestions:
* I felt that the characters were a little too big, bulky and slow/non-manoeuvrable. As a result the outcome of a combat situation would often be decided by a race to reload one’s rocket launcher rather than actual skill, as shooting the enemy is a simple task of aiming directly at them and firing.
* Crouching is not useful, as a character does not really become a smaller target. Perhaps crouching could cause your weapons to fire more accurately or make you less subject to damage?
* The character graphics (I don’t dislike them but they could possibly be improved)… the soldier sprites are large but do not contain detail and the walking animation is jerky (more frames?). The jetpack rocket flare could really be improved – a lighting effect and a fuzzy glow, perhaps? Also, I felt that the walking animation should not be played while the player is jet packing – instead an image of the legs bent up at the knees might be nice.
* On occasion I would fire a rocket only to see it pass straight through an enemy. How are you managing collision? Are you sweeping your intersection tests?
* In the midst of things it was often difficult to tell who was on my team and who was not. Perhaps the legs and jetpack, or legs and helmet, should be team-color specific.
* During gameplay the cursor should really be a crosshair. Perhaps the automatic guns should grow more inaccurate the longer you hold the trigger down, then return to their initial accuracy once you let go.

In future versions I would like to see:
* Bots that make effective use of plasma grenades.
* A death animation – you could probably just have the individual pieces of the character fall apart and it would look good.
* More maps, more weapons!
* Location specific damage model – shoot their head and cause more damage, shoot their legs and cause less damage. Or perhaps not – might have a negative effect on gameplay.
* Grenades that stick to enemies?
* Multiplayer
* ‘You killed #’ and ‘You were killed by #’ messages that are shown independently from the main message system. Or simply messages directly concerning you could be rendered in another color.

In summary, I really like this game and will be sure to download updates etc. Great work!

Edit: I noticed that when playing the majority of maps the solid terrain is rendered after the character so as that the character appears to be behind the terrain in a way that you'd naturally expect. However, on the 'Asteroid' map, oddly enough, this is not the case - the characters are rendered on top of the terrain, which does not look all that nice. Any reason for this?

[edited by - jack_1313 on May 14, 2004 5:12:36 AM]

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Jack: (Kind of a lengthy response, sorry)

- Terrain: Ya, the game actually has a lot of small details. Especially with terrain. You're right, there is A LOT of impenetrable terrain on openspaces (and the entire asteroid on asteroids is impenetrable, for good reason though... I'll get back to this). On open spaces, there's hidden passage ways that look like terrain but you can actually go though it (see if you can find the way underneath the bridge on the level in the screeny).

- AI: I'm using a perverted form of the A* algorithm. Getting everything just right and fast was pretty tough (like keeping the unit on the ground, only jetpacking when he absolutely needed to, and actually being able to jet over obstacles correctly, given bbox constraints). I think predefined waypoints is a very bad choice for this type of game (dynamic terrain) and, for me, seems like a work around for any game. When doing AI, I want to keep it as close to AI as I can get it... =).

- Player bulkiness: They are a bit bulky and unmanuverable, though I'm not entirely sure on a fix for this. This is partially why I added the rope. The rope is one of those features that most people miss, and took the most time to implement. It's a worms style, wrap around terrain rope. On that parallel I have implemented a rudimentary vehicle dynamics system, however, vehicles on this type of terrain gets stupid, fast.

- Crouching does increase the players accuracy right now, but I don't believe it is dramatic enough (also seeing that he only looses two pixels in height as well). The less damage is definately an idea here. Never thought of that before =).

- Ya, the player's artwork is a bit of a hack right now. The walking in air is bad in addition. I just haven't gotten around to changing it yet...

- In reference to the occasional rocket passing through the enemies: I implemented an odd collision detection system. I wanted to get in many small objects, and have them all be collidable (including blood... but that got laggy). For example, mines are effected by explosions, as are MANY projectiles (even bullets).

- The legs are team color specific right now. But I don't think that is enough. I think I'm going to put indicators in for your team, and yourself.

- Crosshair, ya... If I had a nickel for everytime someone asked me to put that in =).

- Sticky bombs? Yes, I love halo and shadow warrior too . I had thought of implementing those, and they probably will eventually make it in.

- Great idea for separating the messages for the player with color. I'll get that one implemented right now.

- Death animations: I've been putting this one off way too long. I suppose it's about time to put it in =/.

Here is the reason why asteroids is rendered differently than the other maps: Asteroids has two different background styles, the parallax bg with the stars, and the bg of the asteroid. I needed a way of separating them without killing the framerate. So, I had to render the foreground in back of the player on that map (a map editor switch). While it doesn't look that good, I'd rather take that hit, then suffer another large layer rendering (not to mention, I didn't want to code it in ).

Owl: Thanks!

[edited by - DreadID4 on May 15, 2004 4:09:59 AM]

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Hello again .

I’ve just had a play around with the weapons editor – lots of customizability is always good. I have to say – nice work. In a short time I had myself a ‘Bouncing Betty’ – the booby-trap used by the VC in the Vietnam war known for, upon triggering, flying into the air and exploding at head-height. Perhaps it wasn’t so nice in reality, but it certainly looked and played great in game.
I haven’t taken a good look at the map editor yet but I will be sure to do so sometime soon.
And I did find the secret passages… both of them . Or is there more? My initial thought was “Huh? Where did my rocket go?”
I never did find myself using any accessories or super weapons – they just didn’t seem worth waiting for. However, I do have a habit of using the same weapon 100% of the time in games like such (usually a sniper rifle ).
Last thing: Plasma grenades immediately followed by a well placed rocket = award winning combination. It is very effective and very fun to throw a grenade at an enemy, shoot a rocket an instant later in the same direction and watch your target fry. I found myself doing it over and over again.
A question… how do you go about testing to determine if a line segment is obscured by the terrain? The bots seem to know exactly when and when not to take a shot and I experienced no slowdown with 100 active at once. And projectiles collide correctly against even the thinnest of terrain features. Surely you do not check every pixel on the line? Every fifth pixel or so, and once every few frames, then? Or am I way off? Or am I even making sense?
I figured that the AI made use of A* in terms of navigation, but how do you generate the node mesh on the fly? Do you overlay a grid of nodes onto the terrain when a level is loaded, block out all obscured nodes, and then free them up as the subject terrain is destroyed? (First thing that comes to mind.)
I do agree that waypoints are a bad idea – in any game, as they lead to linear and repetitive gameplay (see Soldat, for example). The more self aware and unpredictable the AI is the better… if you, as a level designer, have to baby-sit your bots then are you ever going to have fun playing the map you are working on?

Hmmm… sorry about the bombardment of questions, no need to answer if you do not wish to. Anyhow, that’s about it.

Thanks,
Jackson Allan

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I like the terrain, i was wondering you you accomplish that effect?

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ACAC - response below jack's.

Jack:

Nope, no more secret passages. =) You also make a valid point with the rocket / plasma combo. I'll have to see what I can do to entice usage of other weapons, like the superweapons and such (and especially the utility weapons). I wouldn't mind seeing the bouncing betty, sound like a cool idea.

On the ray tracing: I don't check every pixel on the target line, I check every other pixel. But being that this is my 3rd incarnation of this game, I've developed a very highly modified / optimized bresenheims line algorithm. It's suited for exactly what I need to do, and does it very quickly. On why the AI is kinda quick: I use timing to my advantage, it only executes intensive routines at certain times (say every .25 seconds), and it tries to spread out the processing for all of the AI so it doesn't all happen on the same frame.

AI: Nope, I don't generate an A* pre-visited map at the time when the map loads. I programmed the AI with the focus on the game being memory limited, not processor limited. Each AI generates his own individual A* map, and when he is done processing, he wipes the map and only stores the target lines. I split up calculating the node map over a certain number of frames as well. I also keep the cells for A* rather large (16 x 16 pixels) and did a basic manhattan heuristic.

I did think of precomputing a map for the AI to use, but I eventually decided against it: To get accurate results, you would need to copy the entire global map (the map computed before the game started) to a location specific to each AI every time you needed to compute a new path (what happens when 2 AIs run paths in the same general area if you are using a global map? Their paths would become intertwined and useless -- Well it wouldn't be the shortest path anymore). Since I'm running under the precondition that I'm memory limited, I chucked that.

If I missed any q's feel free to shout at me =).

ACAC: The foreground terrain itself is basically one huge 32bit bitmap (though i can be 16 bit if desired -- This is where the memory limited stuff starts coming into play) with the appropriate collision map attached to it. Actually rendering it efficiently along with the background is a different story entirely however...

[edited by - DreadID4 on May 16, 2004 7:34:37 PM]

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quote:

In a short time I had myself a ‘Bouncing Betty’ – the booby-trap used by the VC in the Vietnam war known for, upon triggering, flying into the air and exploding at head-height.


I thought they bounced up and exploded at croch-hieght, or maybe that was something else.
Anyways, I haven''t had the chance to try your game yet, DreadID4, as I don''t have winex set up yet and I don''t have windows on this box anymore. Did you, perchance, code this game with a cross-platform library? Anyways, once I get winex running I''ll try it.

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