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About Saluk

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  1. Yeah not much participation :( I think I'm going to improve mine for the next one, and do it as a two-parter. The problem tree was the focus this time around, and I'm pretty happy with how that turned out. The actual graphics (and here I'm not talking about my amusingly badly drawn tiles, but rather how objects are actually placed in the world) for the map, as well as the gameplay part of it, could do with about 6 hours more of work, hehe. If two areas on the same "level" ever overlap (since I randomly place them, and don't check for collisions, this can happen) there is a possibility for them to cover up items, which in effect destroys the items and results in an unsolvable game. I need a more fluid map generater than just generating smaller and smaller levels of boxes and randomly sticking them inside each other. Pretty new territory for me.
  2. Well that was fun, and insane. Here is my download: It's about half as done as I wanted it, took me two hours or so to get a usable map out of the nice and clean semantic game logic map. Or whatever it's called. Also, it's possible to generate a level that's not solvable, this happens when one area overlaps another and destroys items that were in it's place. I needed a better way to randomly position things while keeping them from overlapping, and it was too late and I was too tired to think it through. I'm thinking some kind of zoning system where it picks a zone and then picks a point, and when it's placed it deletes that zone from the list. Arg, wish I had thought of that a few hours ago! So it's a pretty cool little thing, randomly vaguely zelda-ish worlds (in terms of how the game structure is layed out). Very vaguely. I'd like to clean it up for the next contest I think.
  3. Cool, that's a neat idea. I don't have a good surface to play it though! I can't even get the box over on my side of the level. It's crazy. There is little hope for me to finish mine, but now that I have a few unrestricted hours I suppose I can give it a shot. But then I need to go to bed.
  4. Looks cool SOTL, but it won't run for me. It says I need tiff.dll. Can't figure out what's going on in the screenshot either, hehe. I like the background a lot thoguh.
  5. My first hour is done, you can track my progress here: (shows clear hours and general ideas of what I'm doing) or here: (shows general progress and more details of what I'm doing) can checkout here: svn:// (haven't done anything *visible* yet but looking through can give a good idea of where I'm heading) Currently taking a longish break to work on my *real* project for a while, since I have all of this free time that I made for myself ;)
  6. Ok, I'll have a go at it! I'm going to be making a roguelike with a focus on quests and quest generation rather than on the combat or world part of things. As I don't have any experience with text-mode I will be using really bad graphics instead :) At the end of the 6 hours I hope to at least have a generator that produces finishable games, I don't know how much of the sub-game systems I will have time for. I probably won't start any actual work until when I get home from school at around 6-ish, so I might only get 4 or 5 hours, but that should be enough to accomplish what I want to accomplish. Arg, it snowed and all of the University of Washington campuses are closed except mine. My school *never* closes.
  7. I don't know if I can do it this time actually, I am pretty busy on thursday. However, if I get enough time Friday morning that might work out :) So let me get this straight, we can make any game we want, there isn't a theme or anything? That means I would have to come up with something on my own... If I have the time, and it's a big if, I will try to make something. I will probably take some idea of something that I want to do in one of my other projects, and make a minigame based around that. My other idea, since I've been playing Elite Beat Agents lately, is to do some sort of rhythm game. If not this time then hopefully at the next one. Thursday really is just not such a good day :)
  8. I think posting links with maybe a short paragraph summary, would be the best way. People generally don't like reading really long posts. You already posted a link to your site, so that might be enough. I've just read the next 2 chapters, and am still processing them. The scripted encounters from Chapter 3 reminded me of Neverwinter Nights, which had a system for defining an encounter which would spawn the appropriate number of appropriately leveled beasties to match your party. Although for me, the perfect game would have no spawns at all. There would be "families" of creatures (some aggressive and some not so) and as their populations dwindled they would go off to hiding places and repopulate, or call in reinforcements from other locations. Instead of having spawning, which to me is one of the most boring and unimmersive things in a game, there would be populations of monsters that would dynamically be altered to fit how the player population is acting. A dungeon would just be the home of one of these families, and it would have their possessions. If you beat them down and steal their stuff, some of them may take their most valuable possessions and escape. Later, the dungeon will be full of their extended family, and be more protected. Or, you may see the survivors from the raid build a new fortress somewhere else, which would also be more protected and have better loot. But sometimes, a particular "family", may actually be wiped out by the players and go extinct! I don't really like the idea of spawning encounters to match a given players abilities, because that can too easily lead to a bland experience, where as you increase in skill, your fights generally end up being against similarly skilled opponents. I like having areas that I go into and then die because I'm not ready for it yet :) Although that can be accomplished with dynamic spawns as well, you just have to be extremely careful about it. Since you are not developing a game, it's easy for you to say, "yeah, dynamic spawning, down with static!" But in the real world, a poor dynamic spawn system is often going to be worse than a poor static spawn system, and even a good dynamic spawn may bring down other aspects of the game. You definitely make some good points about the game pushing back though. These games, while they ought to be MORE dynamic than single player games, often break the immersion when you can always pick and choose a safe encounter, by finding the enemy who's name is green. You need to be attacked from things around the corner or in other rooms, that you either run like hell to escape or muster up your courage and face. That happens often in single player rpgs, but I've only had it happen a few times in MMO's, and it was usually when I was in an area I wasn't supposed to be.
  9. I don't know about converting believers, but you get a nice big "hear hear" from a fellow believer :) While I am eschewing combat for the time being in my game, a lot of these themes can carry over to many different areas. The idea of having combat "rounds" sounds pretty good to me, and you could variate the length of rounds based on what kind of combat experience you want. Longer rounds would be slightly more strategic, and still keep the depth that makes most of it fun. While a lot of it seems to be focusing on SLIGHTLY more twitch based play (several times you mention making combat quicker paced), it could also be tweaked for slower games. Another thing to consider, again refering to fast combat (of course that is like 1% of your article, so I dont know why I'm focusing on it) is the fact that if combat is faster, you will go through enemies faster as well. You will have to balance how fast combat is with how many enemies you are expected to advance. But that's true for any game. I think myself I would prefer slower more strategic fights, maybe consisting of multiple enemies, and not having to kill 20,000 bunnies hehe. Can't wait for your next article!
  10. This looks cool, and a lot less intense than other contests where you have to redo everything from scratch. It gets right down into the real meat of designing and coding a game. I added myself to the wiki and am writing up my bio. The next competition is next thurs?
  11. The Myth of the MMOFPSRPG?

    Endless ages was a really great mmofpsrpg for it's time, I remember playing the beta of that for several weeks. It was the longest most enjoyable mmo stint I've ever been on. Just can't seem to get into anything else with their boring battle systems. It's still around, but I don't know how well it's aged. It was pretty incredible when it began 3 or 4 years ago. Loved the jetpacks! But yeah, that was done by like 3 guys, so it's definitely doable.
  12. Permadeath and why and how it can work

    Wow long thread, I will catch up eventually, but I just wanted to say that I think permadeath will only work well in a game that has quick access to content, in which you die often. I don't care how good the game is, or how well the systems work, if I am attached to my character and have been playing for 1 or 2 months, I don't want him to be wiped out. Period. I am actually a proponent of permadeath. It works like a charm in nethack for instance. The goal isn't to finish the game, its to see interesting things and see how deep you can go. And due to the lack of graphics and characterization, you never have strong attachement to your character. In a long-term play situation, it's just not going to be cool to die and lose it all. Having bonuses carry over is nice, but it's still going to knock the wind out of you when you make that one, fatal mistake. I would say that it could work though in some types of games. If you "level" up (just using levels as the easiest example) really quick (especially when taking risks) than that would be incentive to see how long you can stay on top of the game. You can take some of the progress out of the character and put it in the business or other things instead, so that when your character dies you don't lose all of your work. But if your character lives too long, then it's still going to be too devastating. It's all about how much you actually lose. If you lose too much its going to put people off (although it may still find a niche audience). If you don't lose enough than you don't get that tension that can be so immersive. You are definately right that it cannot be bolted on. The entire game has to be based around it.
  13. The problem with your method trapdoor is that you cant turn the game off when real life beckons. If nothing else, you should always have a 'sleep' save mode which is basically like a "true" save, but is deleted when you load it up again. Also, checkpoints are so easy to do, they should be included in every game, no matter what other system you use. Some people like not having to micromanage when you are saving, how many tokens you have left, or remembering to hit the quicksave button - checkpoints take saving off your mind, and are compatible with any other system you might have. I also like the idea of the noob mode - if the player doesn't want to fight the designer, they ought to be able to play it the way they want to. As far as checkpoints themselves go, (not worrying about if cp's are "good" or "bad") the next checkpoint should never be too far away, and there should always be a checkpoint after a difficult section. Sometimes it feels like the designer said to himself, "Hmm, this section was really difficult. Too bad we already had a checkpoint in the other room." It's not like there's any rule about having to space them out evenly, sheesh. Walking through a few empty hallways between fights, please save before the next one. Just finished a difficult section, please save. Worried about the "game saving..." message tipping off players that something big is around the corner? You don't necessarily need to tell the player that you are saving. If you save often enough they will trust you. If you have ever played out of this world, they used checkpoints and since they didn't tell you when it was saving it felt like one smooth experience (although later in the game they did suffer from cp's much too far apart). Also, don't ever overwrite old checkpoint saves. It is fun to go back to specific parts of the game if you just want to show somebody something, or if you want to go back a few saves and try to do better. I think my ideal save system would be (many) checkpoints/autosaves perfectly spaced (that don't overwrite each other), a few save anywhere 'tokens' and then the sleep save for when you need a break but aren't at a checkpoint. I also want to have some options at the beginning where I can choose to play on iron man mode, normal mode, and save anywhere. I also really like games that have save anywhere but they have numerous autosaves as well. That way most of the time I dont worry about saving, but if I get through a section I absolutely refuse to play again, and it didnt save for me, I can save and be done with it. If you don't trust yourself to place checkpoints perfectly (and you shouldn't, your idea of perfect save spots are always going to be different than many of your player's idea) please make sure its not the only save option. ***Just want to add that there is no one save system to rule them all, as with anything else. Above all, make sure your save system fits with the game. Respawn systems are great but dont work so well in linear games, checkpoints add tension but dont make much sense in non-linear ones. The save system should be transparent and tailored to the game, it should not be something the player has to worry about too much.
  14. Designing a game

    When I was growing up, before I had gained the ability to really create the ideas in my head, I wrote pages and pages of game design documents. The best way to design in my opinion, is to pick the best model of recording how you think. If you are working with a team, you will need to adjust that model to a way that other members on the team can understand it. UML really doesn't work that well in my experience for anything except class diagrams. If you are list oriented, you can make a lot of lists. If you are a visual sort of person, draw maps and visual diagrams. If you are wordy you can write paragraphs. Using a template is nice to know what kinds of things to keep in mind, but you should format it in a way that can help you think the best. Since I have gotten into programming, I haven't done much designing, other than fairly general things or fleshing out a system that needs some detail work, as I have found if I do too much top-down design I find out later that some things just dont work in the game as I thought they would, and I have to backtrack a lot. Sometimes its really hard to think around a problem when I have already done extensive design work on it, its harder to get the old idea out of my head if it's been put to the page. So i do a lot of designing in my head, and then I prototype it, and if it fails its out of my head instantly :)
  15. How do you make 2D backgrounds?

    Castlevania for gba with guns? You mean Metroid? :P My favorite game style at the moment. It's funny, I played through the second Castlevania GBA game right after I completed Metroid Prime 2, and it's scary how similar they are. I spent more time going around to all the rooms I've been in to see what I missed then I spent actually playing through new stuff. Oh, and I had to do this TWICE because there are TWO DIMENSIONS! Arg. But yeah, lots of fun anyway. Since you aren't limited with tiles, you don't have to use the same resolution for the background as you use for the foreground - but you can still use your tile system! Depending on how much you want the background to repeat, make the tile size for the background accordingly. And you needent stick with square tiles either. If your background has a lot of columns, you might use rectangular sized tiles that fill the vertical resolution, but are only half or 1/4 the width. And scrolling the background at a different speed is pretty easy. When you scroll the main layer in your loop, be sure to scroll the background at a different speed than that.