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fang

[UFEC] LOTE

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LOTE, Lord of the Elementals So the deadline finally arrived. A new entry just got added to the list this morning in case you didn't notice. You are welcome to try and critisize it! I was asked for a discussion thread when I was editing my entry, and since I didn't have one, I'm putting this thread here to collect your feedback and pretend it has been the discussion thread from the beginning. The game is about laying down your elementals on a octile-grid board to fight the opposite elementals. The game manual contains detailed information about the game. Here are some more info in case you are wondering: 1. no sound, no music - because I couldn't find an artist. 2. "options" in main menu is grayed - because it's definitely something a game should have, but I was out of time to design a interface for that. 3. only windowed mode, no full screen mode - yes, that's an epic fail of my architecture design that I've hated since I realized it. I didn't have time to correct that. 4. no networking - originally the engine is designed with more than two players playing online in mind. Later I realized I won't have enough time to do it, and I wasn't sure of my network programming skills, so I dropped networking altogether and got away with a max 2 player engine. If you happen to run into some features that seem to be designed for a multiplayer game, don't be surprised. 5. cannot change input profiles - again the engine is ready for it, but I didn't have time to do it. I entered this contest at a very late stage, so there are tons of unfinished tasks out there. I hardly finished testing the engine, so there may be bugs you'll encounter. Feel free to tell me! Also I didn't have time for any optimization. Although its graphics are not complicated, I'm still noticing some performance problems on my computer. And there are lots of things that can be improved: 1. Full screen mode 2. Variable particle rendering with user settings on particle number/density 3. Variable particle rendering to allow users to zoom further if they have strong graphics cards 4. Hall of Fame 5. Custom game: select elemental type 6. Custom game: multiplayer 7. Custom game: LAN/WAN online game 8. User input key mapping tool 9. Options: graphics settings, audio settings, etc 10. Music and SFX 11. AI scripting, Map event scripting 12. Optimization I hope I'll have time and energy to do all these in the future. [Edited by - fang on April 11, 2010 10:49:48 PM]

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I played this a bit, its a fun game. It works in the four elements rather well. A networked version has lots of potential, but I know how difficult retro-fitting networking into an existing codebase is.

One bug I hit was that I was button mashing to cast some spells (the game doesn't really hint to the user which spells work with which buttons, maybe putting the key into the spell info section might help?) and my movement got locked, so my lord went straight for one of the corners. This was on "The Lake of Still Water" and I was close to winning and had I not gotten greedy and started to experiment with more spells I would have won probably [smile]

I'll have to do a more thorough judging in a few days when I play the game more (and after I finish my own entry, I hope).

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Thanks for your interests :)

That bug you said - it seems to me more like you initiated a spell that does not take effect instantly but requires you to provide further input. Basically two spells, Teleport ('T') and Flamewave ('J'), will ask where you'd like the spell to be cast after you pressed 'T' and 'J'. You set a spell cast position by moving a blinky cursor and then press Enter to confirm. What you see is probably the spell position selection phase and the spell cursor is out of view because you moved the fire lord away. howeve I should have designed the engine to stop the lord's movement once you enter the spell position selection interface.

I updated the spell key information in the game manual and re-uploaded the game. Thanks for that advice.

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btw it's good to know you can easily beat the game :) i didn't do much balance tweaking for the campaign and was actually a little afraid it might have been too difficult...

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Did you try the game on Windows Vista ?

I have Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit, the installation ran fine, but then when I launched the game, the splashscreen appeared, the cursor changed to a fire-water cursor, a new window appeared and on top of it a "This program stopped working, exception occured" window. It seems to be a memory access violation. Do you have any idea how to fix this? I don't think I will be able to run the game in a virtual machine if it uses DirectX.

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I tried the game on three more computers, each with Windows XP. Each has DirectX 9.0c installed, but each says "d3dx9_42.dll cannot be found" on launch. When I download the library and put it in the game's directory, it ends with an error similar to the Vista's one.

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I only tried it on one Vista machine and it worked. However all the computers I tried happened to have DirectX SDK installed, I don't know it's because of that... I'll look into it tonight.

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Quote:
Original post by Lesan
I tried the game on three more computers, each with Windows XP. Each has DirectX 9.0c installed, but each says "d3dx9_42.dll cannot be found" on launch. When I download the library and put it in the game's directory, it ends with an error similar to the Vista's one.


It's really a headache... I tried on another two computers, one successful, the other failed similarly to what you said. I'm guessing it's because that second computer doesn't have a good enough graphics card. This game requires support for shader model 3.0. I should have done the checking d3d caps codes...

Another thing that can cause it to crash is that the screen resolution width < 1000 or height < 600, for example if your Windows is running at a resolution of 960x600 or 640x480 and you run the game, it will crash. This is because this game is restricted to running at 1000x600... all from my stupid design.

Can't confirm if it is the lack of d3d caps that causes the game to crash though... what do you suggest me try?

A note on d3dx9_42.dll - my understanding is that this file comes with a specific version of DirectX 9.0c runtime (namely August 09 version), so lack of this file may indicate the Dx runtime versions on those three xp machines are too old? And maybe only copying that one file instead of installing a lastest version of Dx runtime is not working correctly? I don't have experience with this.

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Hi Fang,

I tried to launch LOTE, but failed, too.
Win VISTA 32bit, latest updates, latest graphics driver, Core2 Quad, GeForce 8800GT (Shader Model 3).

It seems that d3dx9_42.dll is needed for LOTE, which is not installed on my computer.

I also failed launching LOTE using Wine on LINUX. But there are other dependencies missing, which should not bother you, cause its not target platform.

Is it possible to compile LOTE with another D3D version?

Cheers
XDigital

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Quote:
Original post by XDigital
Hi Fang,

I tried to launch LOTE, but failed, too.
Win VISTA 32bit, latest updates, latest graphics driver, Core2 Quad, GeForce 8800GT (Shader Model 3).

It seems that d3dx9_42.dll is needed for LOTE, which is not installed on my computer.

I also failed launching LOTE using Wine on LINUX. But there are other dependencies missing, which should not bother you, cause its not target platform.

Is it possible to compile LOTE with another D3D version?

Cheers
XDigital


Thanks for the info. I got the computer I'm using just a few months ago, and the only D3D SDK i have other than Aug 09 is Feb 2010. Anyway i'll download a previous version of SDK and compile it later today.

Are you sure you have the latest D3D runtime? Have you tried downloading d3dx9_42.dll from web? this is pretty much the first time I ever deploy my program on someone else's computer and although I didn't expect it to be easy, still it's so overwhelming to me... I'd appreciate every advice from you guys.

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I'm not sure what to do.

When such things happen to me, it is usually because some content files are missing, but then, I use .NET. I try downloading the August 09 SDK and I'll let you know. As for the low graphics card, I have DirectX 10 so it should not be a problem.

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Just to let you know that the game worked fine for me.
Xp Sp3,7300 GT DX SDK March 2008.
I'm pretty sure that if DX_4X.dll is missing you only need to update the DX RUNTIME,you don't need to download or install the SDK at all.

From the looks of it,the game looks decently polished.
I'll let you know what I think when I have some time to actually do the campaign.

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I downloaded and installed the SDK from August 2009 and that solved it for me. I was able to run the game and play it. It looks nice. I experienced that same "Firestein goes without stopping to the left at end of level" bug but what's more important: Is there a way to cheat and skip a level? Because in level 4, I cornered Waterberg on a single water tile but that single water tile gives him 300 power so I don't win.

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Quote:
Original post by Lesan
I downloaded and installed the SDK from August 2009 and that solved it for me. I was able to run the game and play it. It looks nice. I experienced that same "Firestein goes without stopping to the left at end of level" bug but what's more important: Is there a way to cheat and skip a level? Because in level 4, I cornered Waterberg on a single water tile but that single water tile gives him 300 power so I don't win.


That's a nice suggestion, I think i'll be able to add it within a day or two and upload the game again.

The non-stopping thing is looking really ugly to me too, now that I have more time to play it myself. i'll correct it too.

Level 4 is different from other levels where you don't play to eliminate the enemy but to traverse the maze and reach the exit position (the bottom-right corner tile) within given time. And the AI of that level doesn't move at all, so it's actually impossible to walk past Waterberg and kill the water elemental below it. Just ignore Waterberg and find the way to the bottom-right corner and you'll win. The reason i have to put Waterberg there is because the engine isn't designed to be flexible enough to allow a game without an enemy.

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Quote:
Original post by ne0_kamen
Just to let you know that the game worked fine for me.
Xp Sp3,7300 GT DX SDK March 2008.
I'm pretty sure that if DX_4X.dll is missing you only need to update the DX RUNTIME,you don't need to download or install the SDK at all.

From the looks of it,the game looks decently polished.
I'll let you know what I think when I have some time to actually do the campaign.


Thanks. I tried it on a computer with the newest runtime but without the SDK and it worked. However as Lesan said, just copying the DX_42.dll that's missing doesn't solve the problem.

So i think in such cases the right thing for the game installer to do is to tell the user to install the new DirectX runtime, right?

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Quote:
So i think in such cases the right thing for the game installer to do is to tell the user to install the new DirectX runtime, right?


Pretty much.
I'm guessing that just copying this particular dll,doesn't do anything more than resolving the dependencies needed to run your application.
I also guess that the game fails in Direct3DCreate9,so if you want to handle this situation,start there.

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Thanks.

Anyway I just downloaded the Aug 07 version of DX SDK and compile the game again. If your DX runtime is not latest and you don't want to update it, you can download the game here:
http://www.freemanproduct.com/LOTE/LOTE_Setup_DX_Aug07.exe

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Just uploaded a new version of the game, v1.1

Changes:
- Firestein will stop moving when a game ends
- Firestein will stop moving when starting to cast a spell that requires selecting a position (namely Teleport and Flamewave), and the camera will automatically follow the cursor instead of Firestein
- Added a cheat code "iamufecjudge" standing for "I am UFEC judge". No space between words, case insensitive. Type this string in the campaign scene selection menu will unlock all scenes. Type this string when playing the game will let you win instantly.

Also changed the game download page so you can find the links to all the versions there, and can view the game manual without having to install it:

http://www.freemanproduct.com/LOTE/

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I've played the game a bit more,and reached Scene 7 or 8 (the one where everything is in water,and there are just a few grass "oases".
Anyway,I closed the game,and when I started it again it grayed all the scenes that I passed,and I had to start again from 1.
I don't suppose you've implemented any save/load system?

I think the one word that comes to mind when playing the game is 'complete'.
I couldn't think of any features that it should have included,but are not currently present while playing.
However there are a few small things you may wish to consider :
Audio
You don't have to include a full featured gameplay music or something.
Just a few special sounds when the elementals are moving,when activating abilities,and when clicking the gui would add more touch to the game.

Rotating camera
I'm not sure how this could be improved,but rotating the camera was useless for me.If I rotate,my elemental becames disoriented and the keyboard arrows don't match the physical direction in your game world.In my opinion,just zooming in/out is sufficient.

Moving from gameplay mode to Scene selection mode/Main menu.
I didn't find a way to do this.If one wants to start a Custom game while he is playing the campaign,he would either have to die,or have to close and start the game again and wait for the (somewhat long) load times to complete.

Good luck,the game was enjoyable to me.

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Nice game!
I finished the campaign, and it was pretty enjoyable. I probably didn't have the best strategies, and had to replay a couple of the levels. I also tried the custom mode, but only vs the computer. Seems like it will be more fun in multiplayer, where you have to counter what the other player does and he also uses spells.

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Quote:
Original post by ne0_kamen
I don't suppose you've implemented any save/load system?

unfortunately no... but there is a cheat code "iamufecjudge" to help you unlock levels.

Quote:

Audio
You don't have to include a full featured gameplay music or something.
Just a few special sounds when the elementals are moving,when activating abilities,and when clicking the gui would add more touch to the game.

hmmm, this is a nice suggestion. i'll give it a shot.

Quote:

Rotating camera
I'm not sure how this could be improved,but rotating the camera was useless for me.If I rotate,my elemental becames disoriented and the keyboard arrows don't match the physical direction in your game world.In my opinion,just zooming in/out is sufficient.

indeed it doesn't make sense to rotate the camera if the keyboard control doesn't change in accordance. I cloned the camera controlling from HOMM 5 without giving it much thinking... and the difference is that in HOMM5 you don't use keyboard arrows.

Quote:

Moving from gameplay mode to Scene selection mode/Main menu.
I didn't find a way to do this.If one wants to start a Custom game while he is playing the campaign,he would either have to die,or have to close and start the game again and wait for the (somewhat long) load times to complete.

actually there is an in-game menu opened by pressing F10, but I didn't find an obvious way to tell this information to the players. maybe adding it to the tutorial?

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Quote:
Original post by Erik Rufelt
Nice game!
I finished the campaign, and it was pretty enjoyable. I probably didn't have the best strategies, and had to replay a couple of the levels. I also tried the custom mode, but only vs the computer. Seems like it will be more fun in multiplayer, where you have to counter what the other player does and he also uses spells.


Thanks. It's a pity that the AI really sucks.

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Quote:
Original post by ne0_kamen
Well,if you want to make it more obvious to the players,then change F10 to something more predictable like Escape.This way you don't have to bother explaining anything at all =)


I steered clear of Escape because it's the cancel key for player 1. but apparently using F10 is not making things better. I think I'll go with Esc then.

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