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[4E6] "Jed, Ted & Fred" [Withdrawn]

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Hi, Contingent upon my wife's approval =) and some considerable free time over the next 6 months here is what I would like to create. Please let me know your thoughts. Criticism is always good. Target Audience: Those who like the challenge of getting rich in a production environment in the old west. Concept: Time is late 1800s somewhere in mountain country in the US. There's a demand for newly discovered crystals. Red seem useful for healings and illnesses, green helps crops grow and blue brings forth rain/water from wells. Wars, droughts and famines produce the need for any one of these crystals. You own a mining facility. Workers bring up the crystals and load onto pony drawn wagons. The crystals are brought to distribution building..and placed on a pony drawn barges which move the crystals from the mining facility, via the canal to the city. Unpurchased crystals sit in a warehouse under guard. The demand for crystals will change throughout the game. There is a $ cost associated with everything. I.e. miners must be paid $2/day. Food for ponies, opening new mines, storage of crystal, etc. all cost money. The challenge is to grow the business without going bankrupt. Why could you go bankrupt? * If no one buys the color crystal you are producing it costs money to store (floorspace and guards). * A mine explosion will injure miners and close off mine. This will stop production. Need a new mine opening if you haven't already planned for it. The player is the mine owner. The bookkeeper (accountant) is the guide who moves around quickly sweating over minutia...he is constantly worried...almost nagging. Sometimes he gives good advice..other times his advice may have financial consequences. System Stuff: Platform: Windows OS Visual Format: Top-down, maybe isometric (I've never done one before) Graphics: DirectX 9 (2D) Sound: FMOD Language: C++ Tools/Editor: Combo of C++ and VB6 Time Issues: I'm obligated to participate in 2 to 3 more game programming challenges over at gameinstitute.com over the next 6 months. I really need my wife and family's support on this one. =) Regards, Chuck [Edited by - chuckbo2006 on January 14, 2008 6:02:24 PM]

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Hi,
Quote:
very 1800s look and feel


I'm thinking of the need for data display...1800's style.

I'm not sure if typewriters existed then. I know using ink with quills was the thing. So, displaying data in a 'cursive' look with ink might be appropriate...instead of spreadsheet style data. I'm guessing an abacus would have been outdated. I'm curious when mechanical adding machines were invented. I need to google and take a look-see.

Regards,
Chuck


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Quote:
Original post by chuckbo2006
I'm guessing an abacus would have been outdated. I'm curious when mechanical adding machines were invented.


I believe there were mechanical adders at the time, but they were not common. When were slide rules invented?

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Sliderules had just been replaced by large calculators in the late 70's when I was in high school. I'm not sure they were ever useful for adding, credits and debits.

Another thought is that a business clerk would have been quite competent at doing 'sums' required for book keeping. It would be interesting to show sums being written with a cursive slant by the accountant.

Regards,
Chuck

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This link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cash_register teaches us the cash register was invented in 1879. Of course you can go the steampunk way and pretend that Babbage plans to build in 1822 a mechanical programmable machine met enthusiasm and funds.

The first mechanical adder to be sold is probably the Pascaline (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascaline) dating from 1645 but it didn't meet a lot of clients.

I would say, go for it, it wouldn't be out of place unless you were in a remote and rural area.

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Yvanhoe,
Thanks for the feedback. It seems that adding machines at this time are appropriate. I'm spending a bit of time thinking about how such a game configured for 1880 would look...fonts, graphics, style, etc. This is going to require some research. I'm thinking western motif.

At present, I've 10 more days remaining in another game programming challenge. I'm building a topdown shooter using DirectX 2D, FMOD, etc. This shooter program along with other challenges recently have done a lot to sharpen my skill. Of course I am generally weak with graphics. Graphics will be very important. A running log of my current project is at http://www.gameinstitute.com/forum/index.php?board=44 You do not have to be a student to view.

I'm also looking at the prospect of doing Isometric. I've never done this before. On the other hand another student at GI has got a nice looking top down in 3D with cool camera moves. I also like that style. Of course I have to implement models...which are a degree more difficult for me. I've not worked with animating .x files.

So, if I use comfort as a guide for choosing technology I will probably stick with 'topdown' tiles and 2D sprites, DX 2D, etc.

Regards,
Chuck

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Hi Everyone,
I just completed my entry for another game programming contest at gameinstitute.com. It's a 2D tank shooter. The contest was only 4 weeks long. This is probably my best game to date. It includes my first attempts to build a simple physics engine and to have 10 AI agents (enemy tanks) move about using waypoints. This is the first game in which my beta testers (my youngest son and his friend) seemed to actually enjoy the game. =)

http://www.chuckbolin.com/games/RommelsFantasyRevenge.zip

Anyway, after some domestic chores such as yardwork, I'll consider writing a game specification for my idea. I usually get some quality thinking time in while cutting and trimming the lawn.

I'm certain if I develop a 2D version for 4E6 then I don't have to reinvent my graphic library functions. I will need to improve collision detection and response....especially since the moving objects will consist of people, ponies, wagons, barges, etc.

Regards,
Chuck

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Hi,
This is uncanny! I took my family to mountains of North Carolina and ended up (unexpectedly) touring an old mine. Here's what popped out to me:

* Potty cars. =) Never really thought about it much...but there is the predecessor to the porta-potty on wheels so it can ride up and down the rails inside the mine.
* The mining cars were pulled with PONIES inside the mine. I saw actual photos. I didn't know that.
* At the end of the day, they would set dynamite and blow about 6 feet of rock. They would wait until next morning to ensure fumes dissipated and dust settled. EXPLOSIONS!!
* The area was full of quartz CRYSTALs and other similar type rocks.
* I saw all sorts of old (1890s) documents regarding payment and expenses associated with the mine. ACCOUNTANT??

I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the game from beginning to end. I need to nail down the 'it factor' that makes the game interesting and fun.

Technically, I'm certain I can do most everything in code that is necessary...but there will be opportunities to work on new 'techniques'.

I hope to commit to this project soon...I'm taking my time only because it will be my biggest game to date if I finish it as planned.

Regards,
Chuck



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For a late 1800's graphical style, use bold, egyptian style fonts as headings. Statistical data that needs to change a lot is more for small typewriters or cursive writing.

Late 1800's was different from early 1800's in aesthetics because before the industrial revolution went into full swing, printing presses weren't advanced enough or cheap enough to using so many typefaces and blocks. In those days, publishers had to make do with two or three fonts, and use them well.

Metalwork was more efficient during the industrial revolution, so with it came the casting of more complex, ornate fonts. Remember, it was flashy text for the sake of bringing your attention, and not necessarily to look balanced and clean. Just check out old posters from the time...they might've used at least 10 different typefaces in some of them.

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Hi Chris,
I found this link

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pgahtml/pgasubjindex1.html

with hundreds of posters printed during/around 1880. This gives me a good picture of what fonts looked like.

I need to look at Egyptian style samples...I found one sample...but not sure if that is what you meant.

Thanks,
Chuck

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Hi,
I've moved the official tracking of my 4E6 entry to a Community Project thread over at www.gameinstitute.com. I've been a student there for nearly 2 years and I am heavily involved with that smaller community. Registration is free (sorry for the inconvenience). You can check it out at the following link.

http://www.gameinstitute.com/forum/index.php?board=19;action=display;threadid=6539

The only real barrier I see to completing the 4E6 challenge, besides those things that pop up in life, are three 4-week long game programming contests that will occur during this 6 month timeframe (start mid-Nov, mid-Jan and mid-Mar). If this 4E6 is coming along nicely I may excuse myself from some of them.

I will post screenshots here if I get that far. =)

Regards,
Chuck

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Hi,
My game has a title now as well as a draft "to do" list. It's big. I've been poking around gamedev, gi, cgempire and ags forums looking for some folks to help with writing, graphics and sound. I even approached our local homeschooling group. I can't imagine doing this all myself in the next 5 months. Anyway, I'll give it a go.


4E6 Game Development Checklist – General Tasks

No. Task
1 Write backstory.
2 Specify game genre.
3 Identify key characters (names, purpose).
4 Specify graphic style and scale.
5 Define size of game world.
6 Define scale of world to pixels.
7 Define main play screen look.
8 Define all actions to be performed by player.
9 Define time line and time progression (normal speed, fast speed?).
10 Specify main game formula (its a get rich game).
11 Define hotkeys for all routine actions.
12 Specify mouse behavior in terms of control.
13 Describe connection points for telegraph, railroad and roads.
14 Design game with consideration to artwork, writing, game play, events and sounds.
15 Define winning and losing.
16 Explain why this game is fun, who is it targeting and why they will play again?
17 Define all required static objects (buildings, trees, bridges,etc.)
18 Specify file types and formats.
19 Identify tools (existing and those requiring development).
20 Assign tasks (if working as a team).

Programming Tasks

No. Task
1 Move building from toolbox to location on ground (show ghost image).
2 Rotate building (as ghost image) with user input.
3 Lay out reference lines for train track.
4 Automatically determine railroad track based upon reference lines.
5 Create moving stream.
6 Create context sensitive sound control.
7 Move screen around world...with Jed in center.
8 Tie objects with animations and physical geometry.
9 Create data file format for game world landscape (creeks, hills, flat spaces).
10 Create object data files, associated graphics, geometry.
11 Create physics detection to prevent buildings being placed upon other buildings or hills.
12 Add bridge across creek.
13 Save game data.
14 Reload game data and continue game where left off.
15 Create time based events (revenue and expenses every few ticks).
16 Create INI file that specifics game loading/play behavior.
17 Create high score data file.
18 Create data entry from program screen during introduction.
19 Create main menu.
20 Create configuration screen. Allow user to specify some controls.
21 Create scrolling credits screen.
22 Create AI...point to point, back and forth.
23 Create AI...multiple waypoints.
24 Create AI that is responsive to events.

Dialog, Narratives, Backstory

No. Task
1 Write introductory narrative explaining the game.
2 Write news flashes.
3 Write various dialog bits for laborers mining for gold.
4 Write various dialog bits for miners (grumbling, weather,etc.)
5 Write various dialog bits for children playing.
6 Write various dialog bits for people passing buy.
7 Write comments made my accountant in disgust. He hates everything.
8 Write suggestions made my accountant to player (player is Jed).
9 Write running away in panic comments by accountant (he's a coward).

Sprites, Animations, Textures, Buttons

No. Task
1 Create animated laborer (panning in the river).
2 Create animated miner entering and leaving mine.
3 Create animated pony walking pulling a load.
4 Create accountant walking.
5 Create accountant looking up at playerful with a perturbed look.
6 Create accountant shaking his head in disgust.
7 Create accountant running.
8 Create tents.
9 Create creek-side panning station.
10 Create camp fire.
11 Create bunkroom.
12 Create company store.
13 Create warehouse.
14 Create toolshed.
15 Create mining entrance (opened and closed).
16 Create dust explosion from entrance of mine.
17 Create sherrif walking.
18 Create sherrif shooting.
19 Create sherrif riding a horse.
20 Create accountant looking up at playerful with a perturbed look.
21 Create Jed walking.
22 Create Jed stopping and talking.
23 Create Jed riding a horse.
24 Create wagon.
25 Create mining car.
26 Create mining track (straight, 45 and 90 degree turns, intersection).
27 Create railroad.
28 Create train engine.
29 Create train car.
30 Create coal car.
31 Create depot.
32 Create water effects.
33 Create landscape (flat).
34 Create hill terrain.
35 Create map overlay.
36 Create toolbox and tool tiles.
37 Create actual sprite for buildings and transparent ones for dragging.
38 Create gunfire smoke cloud (pistols).
39 Create train engine smoke.
40 Create train engine steam.
41 Create trees (various autum colors, sizes and types).
42 Create flying birds.
43 Create animated grazing cows.
44 Create animated walking dog.
45 Create animated chickens.
46 Create bags simulating supplies.
47 Create 3 size crates (small, medium and large).
48 Create telegraph poles and lines.
49 Create telegraph office.
50 Create blacksmith building.
51 Create family homes.
52 Create domestic objects (clothesline, fence, garden).
53 Create animated women walking between homes and store.
54 Create animated children playing.
55 Create roads.
56 Create explosions (external to mine).
57 Create bridges.
58 Create opening graphics.
59 Create opening cutscene (if possible).
60 Create lumbermill.
61 Create outhouses.
62 Create bathhouse.
63 Create saloon.
64 Create hotel.
65 Create mule carrying supplies.
66 Create stagecoach.
67 Create doctor's office.
68 Create animated doctor.
69 Create cemetery for hill.
70 Create grave markers.
71 Create tree stumps.
72 Create animated miner with pick axe.

Sound Effects, Vocals, Music

No. Task
1 Create introductary music.
2 Create closing credit music.
3 Create game play music loops (3). (1880 style...violin, banjo, guitar).
4 Create mining explosion sound effect.
5 Create laborer chatter.
6 Create miner chatter.
7 Create animal sounds (ponies, cows, chickens, birds).
8 Create gun fire.
9 Create vocals related to gun battle.
10 Create vocals related to panning for gold.
11 Create morse code sounds for telegraph office.
12 Create sound effects for cash register (adding revenue).
13 Create good news sound effect.
14 Create bad news sound effects.
15 Create train whistle.
16 Create train running noise.
17 Create train steam noise...braking at the depot.
18 Create 'all aboard' voice.
19 Create accountant mumbling and complaining...British accent.
20 Create vocals for doctor...he's a goner, nothing left to do, etc.
21 Create graveside service vocals for boot hill.

User Support

No. Task
1 Create HTML files to support game.
2 Add screenshots.
3 Explain all features.
4 Suggest strategy.



Regards,
Chuck

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Prioritize and give deadlines to the tasks on your list. Also, try to keep your list as dynamic as possible because there will surely be tasks that you haven't thought of. Other than that, I think it looks good.

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Hi,
That's good advice. My spreadsheet has additional columns for milestones. It's amazing when one considers all the steps necessary just to put together a bare bones functional version.

Dynamic? Absolutely! My list started off as about 25 items...then I began thinking about it...I'm sure it will continue to grow.

I've finally got a draft design spec. http://www.chuckbolin.com/4E6/4E6_GameSpec_JedTedFred.pdf

The to do list and the spec are both living docs. I need to keep up with them or I'll never finish the project.

I'm now laying in the framework for the game...

Regards,
Chuck

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Hi,
In other postings and on several forums, I've been looking for some team members who are looking for experience in team work and at applying their particular craft. I've been looking for a musician, 2D artist and a writer. The response has been quite favorable.

However, I've not received any responses from any writers. Writing kid-friendly comedy that is not overly sarcastic in an 1880 time frame is very difficult.

I have been greatly influenced by the artistic and musical style of Railroad Tycoon. I've been playing a free demo from http://www.2kgames.com/railroads/railroads.html

So, if you know someone who likes to write... =)

Regards,
Chuck

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Update
======

We have a team now. Jorge has joined up as the graphic artist. He's done some very nice concept work. Here's some landscape.




I've had several musicians express interest in working on a 4 week game contest over at www.gameinstitute.com. From this I hope to draw one into the 4E6 entry. =)

I've found a writers forum and am looking for a talented writer to help spin this yarn.

The game engine is working. I'm modifying the 2D DirectX classes.

Regards,
Chuck

[Edited by - chuckbo2006 on November 2, 2007 9:50:06 PM]

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Wow, those graphics look excellent. I was starting to get worried that there wouldn't be many 2D games this year in 4E; but the way this is coming along, it looks like quality will replace quantity this year.

That design doc and schedule (thing) is very through as well. It's basically the opposite of what we are doing. We just go level by level with a similar vision in our heads hoping everything comes together. Believe it or not, it seems to be working. After looking at your document though, I don't think we should push our luck. We might just need to sit down and make one...soon.


Anyways,
Best of luck.

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Hi guys,
Thanks for the feedback.

Jorge is doing a great job on the art. He created the hills and trees that you see. He's gonna do some concept art from a purely top-down position. This will be easier to code...if he can pull it off that'll be great.

We have a functional framework now. I've got a friend who's gonna look over the DX to see if we can get the frame rate up.

I've been referring to the game spec a lot in order to remind myself of those annoying details...so easy to forget.

Here's a screenshot of the framework. The art is just stuff we created for testing. The nice stuff will follow once everything is functional. Clicking on the map puts the center of the screen to that location. The tree shadows are just an alpha test.

FMOD is working. Built a console test app to accommodate future musicians and sound techs.



Regards,
Chuck

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Update
======
Jorge created some bird's eye trees and rocks. They look great. The following screenshot shows the tree rendered numerous times with varying scales and rotation angles.

Most of the data can be loaded from data files. A couple of hours of work and we'll be able to design the basic game world and change sprites without having to recompile. That'll be nice.

Team Status:
Art: Jorge
Programmer: Myself(Chuck)
Writer: Position Available
Musician: Found...awaiting commitment.
Sound Effects: Found...awaiting commitment.

We've got a more comprehensive..moment by moment thread over at gameinstitute.com in the Community Project's forum.



Regards,
Chuck

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Hi,
We've got the program to read several data files for graphic images, sprite definitions and landscape placement such as trees and rocks. Jorge is working on more art...lots of things to try. The most interesting will be hills and the flowing stream.

The screenshot shows a railroad track (ties only) being constructed by the player using the mouse to layout and add. Its not remotely as cool as Railroad Tycoon but it certainly is one of the most interesting dynamic things I've ever programmed the player to do in a game (usually its just jumping or shooting =) ).



Regards,
Chuck

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Update
======
Jorge has been doing a great job on the concept art. The framework is functioning. The player can now do the following:

* Add railroad tracks
* Add train engines
* Navigate the game world (corresponds to 320 x 320 yards)
* Select object to add using control panel

Regards,
Chuck


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Thanks.

The project is coming along well. Of course we are having our share of development issues:

* lowering framerate
* sluggish keypress behavior (movement of sprites)
* pointers on the heap not being deleted
* trying to delete pointers not on the heap =)
* program freezes when closing the program

The map now reflects the track as it is drawn. We're modifying user interface as required to make the game more natural to control.

BEST LESSON LEARNED SO FAR: We're posting the latest functional program every couple of days...no matter how much we've added. We have been getting great feedback from the coders over at GI.

Here's a link...please provide feedback...our skin is 'thick' so criticism is okay...after all its only an 'alpha' release...and feedback is always easier to receive now then after the final product has been submitted. =)
Demo 2

Regards,
Chuck

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