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About JackOatley

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    4th Place - The Week of Awesome 2014

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  1. Quick update with fixes to my #RainbowJam16 game Don't forget to leave feedback if you play, please! :) https://t.co/6dTWFNOS3B
  2. JackOatley

    Fleet Movement

    I've probably done a lot less than I would have liked to recently! But, I have just managed to change the way fleets work. Previously if a fleet had a connection it'd instantly take action with the star at the other end, regardless of where the fleet could be, in a kind of omnipotent way. Now, there is an actual little fleet that follows the route you set; when it needs to replenish ships it will move to systems that have ships to spare, and when it has ships and can attack it'll move to an enemy system you've made a connection to. It's overall route-finding it a little iffy atm (it only gets as far as immediate neighbors), but in theory it's all working. :) Here's a screenshot! As you can see, I also changed the display panel for the system and added one for the fleet too. The previous big box panel was getting on my nerves having to move it all the time, especially in windowed mode. So I change it to something more compact, everything should still fit, probably! The reason for a fleet view panel is that there may be multiple fleets patrolling a single system, so on clicking that system it'll come up with multiple fleet views, from which you can select one to focus on and take action with. Remember none of that art is even started let alone final, lol. But that ship sprite I grabbed from this guy's blog: http://millionthvector.blogspot.co.uk/ Lot's of cool free stuff there.
  3. JackOatley

    Fleet Connections

    At the moment, fleet actions just happen. The fleet doesn't actually move, it's always assumed present. I am going to change that though. It probably would make more sense for a single fleet to just travel that route and pick stuff up along the way; ships and buffs. Timed buffs would also be brutal to lose if your fleet had to travel far, and suffer attrition on the way back. :P It could also be another thing to research; number of squadrons? per fleet.   We probably agree that anything is better than number text everywhere! Which is what it does atm. Numbers don't represent a lot though... It doesn't take into account attack and defensive strength of a fleet, so that number could be meaningless. It needs to be something that roughly summarizes quality and quantity, and doesn't visually out-weigh anything else. I'm sure it'll evolve! :)   Also, don't take anything you see as final, a lot of debug atm, just look at this mess: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33776055/Spiral%20Lords/sl3.png :P
  4. JackOatley

    Fleet Connections

    I had this idea that fleets could be made up of different ships, created by different types of star systems. But in practice this didn't seem to be as clear than just a single number to represent all ships in a fleet, and there wasn't a good way to represent it outside of a screen-space-stealing menu display or something. So I ditched that and went back to using a single number, this keeps it simple and easy to display. Now, seeing as fleets won't be comprised of different ships, which would have given them different attributes, I've decided to go back to getting buffs directly from stars. But these buffs would be fleet-wide, if a fleet is "patrolling" certain stars it'll get it's buffs in all stars it's connected to. These could be stacked too, for example; if the fleet patrolled several red stars (red represents an attack buff) it's attack would be increased many times, albeit it this would naturally mean lower defense and production and what-not. Fleets draw their ships from the garrison of every star it's connected to, it can also transfer ships from it's fleet into a garrison. This will be automatically managed based on the demand of the fleet and the demand of it's patrolled stars. So when a fleet isn't doing any fighting, it'll more likely fill up garrisons to increase happiness in the star systems (call it security), and when there is fighting it'll take ships away and would naturally make the system unhappy (no one likes constant war). Fleets can also only move so far from system to system. But this won't mean that you can only attack so far away... If you can make a route that's connected to only your systems, then it's all good. However, if the fleet is trying to attack something far away it may have to pass through several systems, if you don't own these systems then the fleet will suffer attrition for as long as ships have to take that route. I've written way more than I intended to here, lol! Here's a picture of some basic routes, fleets can also capture systems now, it's coming along! Thank you for reading. :)
  5. JackOatley

    Star Distribution

    I think by default it should just break the connection and give you a message alert on the side. Anything else could be problematic, fleets draw ships from the stars they patrol so if it auto-made a new connection that could be useless to you (the star could produce the wrong kind of ship, or nothing, might not even be yours!). Your radius idea would work though, it could basically be a defensive "encamped" state where the fleet will create routes and grow automatically and engage anything that gets too close.   The reasoning behind fleets though is to avoid micromanagement. So I think the player will have enough time to adjust things before anything like that happens anyway. The map moving around will present more long-term problems: For example, holding onto anything in the center ring for a long period would be the hardest thing to do, as it would always move away faster than your outer stars, unless you hold all of them!   I think the charm of a map doing this though, is that for the players to keep a solid controlled blob of space, they'd always need to be fighting against the spin. :)   Thanks for your comment!
  6. JackOatley

    Star Distribution

    So graphically, the galaxy has always spun around even when you play, I don't know why I done this but I just found it cool (you can turn it off though, lol). However, it spun around evenly... Meaning that the stars further away from the center of the galaxy moved faster to keep an equal orbit, this looks a little weird on large maps, but it stopped the map from changing. The reason I didn't want the map changing was because I didn't know, when I first done it, how to handle stars overlapping (because they all moved at the same speed, stars in the center had shorter orbits). But the solution I'm using now uses specific regions to place stars, so instead of a completely random distance, it rounds it to the nearest 200 pixel. So now I can have pretty chaotic, ever-changing galaxy maps: (Sped up for demonstration)
  7. JackOatley

    How to make everything simple

      Thanks! And no, I haven't played that game but it's a similar concept, my original inspiration to make mine was another game called Pax Galaxia, from which I completely ripped the connections idea and the star bonuses (some had greater attack from that star, or defense or production, etc). I think my inspiration for the graphical style back then, even though I didn't do it much justice, was Spore as I was hooked on that! :)
  8. JackOatley

    How to make everything simple

    So, this is the start of the first project I'll be able to work full time on. How did this happen? I've been making games for aaages as a hobby, and it got me a job in the industry over four years ago. It was a good enough job, but it basically killed dead any drive to create games in my own time. I learned a lot in my 4+ years though, but it seemed the longer I was there the less I learned, and I certainly wasn't doing much recently. So with that experience under my belt and some money stashed away (always helpful), I thought now was as good a time as any to leave my job. I don't plan to do this full time forever, but for the time being that is where I am. The Old Spiral Lords was a game I created in 2009, it was the second game I ever released (a long two years after my first game). It was a game of galactic conquest. It wasn't a complicated game at all, and I was super proud of the AI I created for it. Up close it looked like this: Your mission was to connect the stars so that ships could move between them. Ships would move to your own stars or attack enemy stars. You could make ships travel all around the galaxy in a big circle it you wanted too, though it'd take you a while to setup all those connections! The AI would do the same thing, I was proud of the AI because it was basically node-based weighted route-finding before I even knew what any of that meant! Graphically it was pretty shiny, lots of fiery animations and the black hole in the center spinning around like crazy gave it some dramatic sense of size. And you could zoom out to reveal the full extent of the galaxy you were playing in, complete with generated spiral arms: The New So that's all the old stuff. For the new game I wanted everything better, but also simpler. Clearer gameplay, easier navigation, sexier visuals and more depth. The game play; this will no longer require the player to create connections for every single star system and keep track of a long chain of them, instead the game will be introducing Fleets. Fleets can be created in an owned system, from there they can be assigned patrol points to other systems. From these other systems, the fleet will gather new ships (if you own that system) or attack (if it's an enemy system). So the the concept of "connections" is still there, but limited within fleets, which themselves will be limited in number and how many connections they can make. Navigation will be a lot easier and more intuitive, with panning, zooming and toggles for all on-screen information. The player should be able to see anything without spending time searching for it. I also added a cool feature that lets you actually spin the galaxy round, it's similar to panning. Depth is something the old game didn't really have, because the game was so simple. So this is a tricky one to add, as I don't want to layer on more concepts for the player to have to grasp. Everything should be directly related to the core concept of fleet movements, and could be ignored and learned through practice rather than teaching. For example, a tech tree could be used to help you toward a certain play-style, this could involve unlocking extra fleets, allowing more fleet connections, increasing the distance fleets can move in one connection, etc. There will be different types of ship (some of which are useless without others, like fighters can't travel without carriers), and ship production, so system happiness could also be a factor to consider when moving fleets, left too much alone and they may stop producing anything! Whatever it is, it can't be a distraction. Visuals, well the shininess is the least of my worries. The most important thing is that information is displayed clearly, as there is a lot to see, the players must be able to decide quickly what is important without browsing the whole galaxy! So far all HUD elements are small icons, I've not found this to be an issue myself, as it allows a lot more of the actual game to be seen, but I understand some people would prefer them larger so I'm trying to make it as scalable as possible. Anyway, for the time being this is what I got, thank you for reading:
  9. JackOatley

    Week of Awesome III - Part #4

    Just saying, that title text text looks so out of place. Also, as for background I have an idea: Walls, so like the level is in a box, you have your gras and on the edge you have walls that have sky/trees or something on them (like wallpaper). Might sound weird, but I think graphically it would work with your game better than just a screen background, as that would feel disconnected with the world looking like a floating platform.
  10. So today I switched the mish-mash of character code over to a FSM instead. This was planned anyway, but when I tried adding something that would have required several checks in other places, I decided to do it now and save myself the pain. This should also make it a lot easier to add new interactions, and also the character code will be usable by both the player and enemies, the only different is where input comes from. I also added some better tiles (these were made for another project a while back, though I had to add all the slopes and shades!). There's also a back layer to the tiles, my intention here was to make floating platforms still feel connected to the ground. Usually I don't try to rationalize things that small, but as each level is a single screen I think I can get away with it and it's good screen filler. I added a sun and some clouds (also from an old project of mine, all subject to change!). There's a HUD now too, it's very basic and will function in the same way as Crash Bandicoot does, for example, where you collect apples (here it's acorns) and when you collect enough you get a new life heart. When you collect acorns, they actually fly up to the icon on the interface to be counted. The squirrel is nearly fully animated, Marc has done a great job on him as well as the other characters/enemies that I haven't quite implemented yet. I'll do a video tomorrow as it's quite late now, however I can manage another screenshot!
  11. JackOatley

    Automatic Squirrel-tasic

    Lol, only because that dog isn't a a puppy any more. And he keeps pulling my laces.
  12. JackOatley

    Automatic Squirrel-tasic

    I have no idea why I chose that as I title, but I like it. So this evening was actually rather slow, but everyone seems to be on the same page and happy now. The idea makes sense, it should be fun, it should look pretty and despite all that it'll be as stressful as always to complete! So a fair bit of character art got done, including some pickups and enemies. I rethought the slope collision tiles a little bit and they turned out smoother and easier to use. I also got auto-tiling working, still a couple bits to do on the edges of the floating platforms, but the tricky bit is done. The tricky bit being that it's a 16x16 tile-set with some 16x8 elements to it (for the smooth slopes). But, now I've done that, it should be easier for Marc to do art for tiles without me changing the auto-tiling. I hope to write some kind of story tomorrow, we have a general gist of it though, and maybe I'll show it in a later journal post. For now, here's a screenshot!
  13. JackOatley

    WoAIII: The Dilemma

    I made a game once where enemy deaths were still useful to the enemy, but only in the sense that they fell out the sky but continued to absorb your shots! The idea you talk about here seems more like an evolutionary process, where death is indeed useful, natural selection and all that.
  14. JackOatley

    Week of Awesome III - Part #2

    I quite like the look of that. Curious what you'll have in the background.
  15. JackOatley

    WoAIII: Contemplating Concepts

    Yeah, my original idea was similar. But the team couldn't fully agree on it. I know a lot of games where death is the objective for the player. But it's hard to make the player's death useful in itself.   Some of our ideas went onto zombies/undead too, but I felt this led to the story/setting ideas trying to rationalize it and it just became complicated and confusing.   I think you're last 2 ideas are the least "mainstream", lol. Will be interesting to see what you go with.
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