SyntaxBomb - Indie Coders

General Category => Worklogs => Topic started by: Matty on May 08, 2018, 10:44:21 AM

Title: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 08, 2018, 10:44:21 AM
I've chosen the 'retro strategy' option for my game.

I think I'll actually put something together this time - and it should be fun to make something.

I worked on the code and graphics for this before/after work today for about 3 hours so far.
http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/ (http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/)

It's going to be a turn based strategy - a single battle on a map between two opposing forces of about 8-12 units per side.
Units will have the following categories:
Heroes
Magic Users
Basic Units

with their own stat profile and so on.

I've worked out most of the design on paper and am now in the implentation phase of the game.

It will be single player against the AI and two player hotseat mode.

There will be two factions (original design was going to have four but I doubt I'll have time to put together four whole factions in a decent level of detail before the comp end)

The factions will be good/order/light versus evil/chaos/darkness....

I will draw up some new sprites especially for this game.

I'm not planning on having any sound because I hate sound on webpages and it's so hard to get right. (Sometimes sound plays and sometimes it doesn't).
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 08, 2018, 10:45:00 AM
Being web based all source code will be available since I can't hide it!
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 08, 2018, 11:03:39 AM
Excellent stuff - Look forward to seeing it :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 08, 2018, 11:14:52 PM
Some early in development screenshots:

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw02.jpg)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw03.jpg)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw04.jpg)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw01.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Xerra on May 09, 2018, 12:14:08 AM
Very interested to see this one come together. What language are you writing it in? Are you going web based deliberately or is it just to ensure you don't have to deal with build issues to cater for PC/Mac/Linux/Ron etc? :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 09, 2018, 03:20:56 AM
Hi Xerra...it's straight plain old 'javascript' written in notepad++ editor.

There will likely be some php back end (for the AI - I have an idea for another learning AI that improves over time as users play it) but I may or may not share that particular piece of code.

Reason for web language:

I had three options (due to knowledge limitations on my part)

blitzplus/3d (windows executable)
javascript (web)
java (android)

Android is too messy to get anything simple done and I despise google after the way my other apps have been handled by them.

blitz is a deadish language and it does me no good to learn a lot from it - but also limiting myself to windows only..I might want to play on my phone which a web version will still allow.

Web is compatible with more devices, should I write it properly, than the other two...and is a skill that's useful to keep fresh on. I've already learned a few things as I've coded parts of it.

Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 09, 2018, 12:09:09 PM
It's coming together..bit by bit....

next step to implement some special abilities for each of the units....

Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: MikeHart on May 09, 2018, 01:02:02 PM
Interesting. In which way do you plan to serve the retro aspect?
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 09, 2018, 08:52:14 PM
Retro features:
Mainly that it is similar in style to a lot of 80s strategy pc games (master of magic etc), uses an old leyter box format 4:3 aspect ratio, is turn based not real time - those are the main bits.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 09, 2018, 09:43:06 PM
People here - and in other places, understand "retro" as low-res graphics, chiptune sounds, ... So limiting gameplay to be "retro" might not be what they expect.

Dunno the expected maximum resolution but if it fits into "PAL/NTSC" then it might fulfill at least something similar to 2nd gen consoles (mega drive, SNES, ... - which had a different resolution nonetheless). And colors would be <256 (no alpha transparency - except you map the resulting color to your palette).


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 09, 2018, 10:03:31 PM
Too bad. Thanks for the discouragement.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 10, 2018, 10:11:19 AM
Don't take it to heart. think of it as a challenge...

lets just say your maximum resolution should be limited - definitely no larger that 1024 - think 800x600
and also think about using a restricted palette (as Derron suggested) < 256

So you game itself doesn't change - it's the graphics that need some attention to more fit with a retro style.
E.G.
reduce the colors and use a consistent palette across all graphics. you could do this simply by using some form of sprite atlas (where all graphics reside in one large graphic). It is then a simple task to reduce the colors to a single 256 palette :)

a quick google for "retro game graphics" should make things a bit clearer :)

LoRes LoColor is the look you should be heading for

another thing to check out would be "amiga game graphics". this is definitely worth it as you will get a feel for how most 16bit system look and feel <-there is a style and look here ;) Amigas are more interesting as they used samples instead of chiptunes, but again had limited capability so had a certain vibe going on with them.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 11, 2018, 02:05:04 AM
Okay....for a more retro look - I've passed this through a filter (downsampled by half then reupscaled but using the brightest pixel colour as the dominant pixel colour ... )

How does this seem for a more retro look:

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw05.jpg)

pseudocode:
loop through all pixels in steps of 2
get brightest pixel in each of 4 (x-1,y-1 to x,y)
apply brightest pixel to all 4 pixels on upscaling.

Get a nice retro looking effect...

(this won't be real time..I'll have to redo the images through a java program I'll have to write later)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 11, 2018, 10:49:28 AM
Do not automate processes - It looses a lot of contrast - all colors look a bit "washed". While the bottom-center units look good (ignoring the contrast for now) the units on top expose the flaw in your approach: blue+brown pixels without distinguishability - what is that most left (top) unit? what is that gray+red thingy? Maybe the bottom units are better recognizeable as there are less per "group" - and they are standing more "apart" from each other (contour-wise).


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 11, 2018, 09:58:15 PM
I might use the filter as a first pass and then manually edit the images generated.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 12, 2018, 12:08:46 PM
Worklog....

Started coding on 7th of May 2018.

5 Days Later (in spare time outside of work).....

Have a playable game for both single and two player (hotseat mode).

AI is reasonably challenging at times...it's not supposed to always win.

The game has a demo mode if you sit at the title screen for about 10 seconds it plays a demo version of the game by itself until you click the screen.

It's gradually coming together.

Still have a reasonable number of things to do.

It's getting there though.



(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw06.jpg)

Features:

2 Playable factions "Order" and "Chaos"

Each faction has support units like wizards, elite units and standard units (that are essential for victory!)

Each unit has a set of base statistics (as can be seen on separate webpage linked from game itself)

Play is turn based - players take turns deploying their armies first from a selection of units up to a particular points value.

Most units have special abilities such as fireballs, buffs, healings, regeneration, special unique abilities which will become apparent to the user through experimentation - and there are combinations of effects that work well together (such as the fiends supporting the balrogs and the liches draining the goblins)

There will be no sound or music. 

I am tempted to link it to an online database although the browser code is currently all playable offline just on the PC.

The game seems to be playable on my phone as well as my desktop.



Game:
http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/ (http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/)

Bestiary:
http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/help.html (http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/help.html)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 12, 2018, 12:35:09 PM
ok. looks like you've got the gameplay working. I can't judge this as there are no instructions/help of any kind.

Suggestion: think any player does not know anything at first - you will need some way to guide them

next up would be the presentation style.
- I liked the bestiary. but it serves no more information that having it on a piece of paper. think nice integration.
- You really need to do some investigation on what make a retro game look the way it does. currently I think people will not enjoy the style as it is not quite retro.
Suggestion:
Have a look at these for an idea of what retro look like - think lowres and pixels:
(http://pathway-game.com/img/screenshots/pathwayShot_05.png)

(https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/march08/colonize/royal.jpg)

(https://i.warosu.org/data/vr/img/0035/26/1475076839283.gif)

(https://i.warosu.org/data/vr/img/0035/26/1475101194531.png)

(http://pathway-game.com/img/screenshots/pathwayShot_01.png)

One really good thing for you to think about with retro graphics is this:
They are always constructed at the pixel resolution (or near) and worked at at the pixel level. You wan't just draw something big and then scale it down - it always looks wrong - in that pixel graphics use every pixel with minute detail on color and placement and how it all looks. limited palettes are used.

A good suggestion is to even think in terms of black and white. Would the graphics convert down to black and white - or even start in black and white and then be colored up?

Here's a good (quick and small) tutorial of pixel art techniques for you:
https://design.tutsplus.com/articles/learn-how-to-draw-hand-crafted-pixel-art-in-photoshop--psd-5284 (https://design.tutsplus.com/articles/learn-how-to-draw-hand-crafted-pixel-art-in-photoshop--psd-5284)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 13, 2018, 02:13:30 AM
Ok.
Hmm what is the best thing to do.

A few dot points:

1. My graphics aren't retro and I'm bot likely to change them easily with my level of graphical skill to look good.

2. On the negative side:I suppose my entry would be disqualified for not satisfying the retro theme sufficiently.

3. On the highly positive side:this competition has reawakened my game coding side-very happy about that indeed.  Very very happy.  I thought my game coding days were over because I could not motivate myself but the competition brought out my spark for doing this again.

So conclusion:I doubt I'll manage to satisfy the requirements but I've achieved something even better-a resurrected game coding spirit.

I'll keep working on it and submit it even if I don't quite fit everyone's idea of retro. 

Here are two more images from the game.  I found some suitable web google image reference art and painted my own versions of these.  Thinking of doing another like it for the title.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/media/defeat.jpg)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/media/victory.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 13, 2018, 06:23:20 AM
no probs.

those two last pics look great - very impressionist in style.

the issues you have is that your 'painterly' style does not match with the presentation - stark font, strange choice of background. what you need to do is find a way to make everything look like there was a single thought behind it.

I've knocked up a way for you that might work:
- ditch the retro ethos and focus on the painterly style which you excel at.
- dont use computer graphics - use paint. so your boxes/windows, etc use a painterly style.

I know the above doesn't help, so I've knocked up a quick demo for you to 'see' what I mean.
(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/kw06.png)

I'll give you the 'recipe' next:
boxes use a painterly background as a mask. then drop shadow them
text is similarly (a nice classic bold font) with a drop shadow. The text can be png overlayed
any window will darken what it is on top of - this brings focus forward to the window - and gives a nice look to it.

Retro - dont think computer - think paint and impressionist. :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 13, 2018, 07:14:04 AM
Thanks Adam that's helpful.  Yes.  You are spot on there. Excellent. Typing on phone so short reply.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 13, 2018, 07:42:47 AM
One last 'possible' suggestion would be to add some 'texture' back into the painted images to make them look as if they are real paint and not smooth:
E.G
(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/victory-1.png)

I used (just default settings):
1.  photoshop > filter > filter gallery > texturizer> canvas
2.  photoshop > filter > filter gallery > brush stokes > sprayed strokes
3.  photoshop > filter > filter gallery > texturizer> canvas
4.  used some dodge and burn to bring out some lights and darks - just adds a bit more detail

It does give you some creative way to approach things :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 13, 2018, 10:53:33 AM
Thanks again Adam for the ideas...I've been playing around with some more visuals for this part of the game - similar to your earlier image above. The filtered one you have directly above this I only just saw now...but here are some screenshots of how it's progressing (still got to work on the buttons and things....some of the graphics haven't changed yet...but it's getting there)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw07.jpg)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw08.jpg)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw09.jpg)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw10.jpg)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw11.jpg)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw12.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 13, 2018, 11:07:17 AM
Compare your "border" with the one of Adam - which one does look more "painterly" ? I would prefer Adams.


Then there is this:
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw08.jpg)
-> such images should have the same dimension


And this:
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw09.jpg)
-> See how the background distracts from the icons, and that the icons are not "popping" out as they should ?

My suggestion is to desaturate the background (eg. to 25% - so a bit of color information is kept). Also add a slight (!) drop shadow around the icons so they pop out a bit more (and remove the shadow if "pushed down"). The shadow emphasizes the "far away and blurred"-background effect.


This desaturation should be done similar to the tiles: so do not make them fully gray but keep a bit of color information.


If you do not like the paintery-borders, maybe add a wooden border (like in paintings) - or make some wooden planks and add some "roll" effect to the corners of the images "pinned" on the wooden planks. That way the unit selection would not need this kind of background but "wooden planks" + "metal plate" + icons on the metal plate. Or so.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 13, 2018, 09:04:47 PM
Thanks Derron.  I'm improving at this aesthetic graphics quality...getting better...made some changes this morning before work.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 13, 2018, 09:21:33 PM
Now....do I need a tutorial  (optional) - the 80s and 90s games I played had no such things!
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 13, 2018, 09:23:31 PM
Pictures
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 13, 2018, 11:05:03 PM
Last two screenshots: images still have different aspect ratios.

Just create a "empty" image (your mask) containing the border - and on the layer below, you have your chaos/order-image. Cutout as desired and both should have the same dimension.
Imho "chaos" needs something drawn left/right.

Now Order occupies 5 tiles (4 in the center + 0.5 on each side) while Chaos occupies a width of 4 tiles.



@ Drop shadows
The "unit selection popup" has a black drop shadow (as expected) but the shadow on the unit-icons is some "gray/grey". Why did you choose this color? use a slight drop shadow - colored black. with slight I am talking about some less dense alpha value (0.5 or below).
Also: the "length" of a shadow defines how much it is floating above the "below scenery". The icons should not float on the "paintery image" (background) but just be understood as "clickable icons" with the drop shadow helping to distinguish from the background.


I made a small example here:
(http://i.imgur.com/BxyaFy6.png)

Top left is some basic "default drop shadow"-example (offset X pixels, size X pixels).
Top right exposes some "popout drop shadow" (often seen in 10 years ago's lightboxes on websites)
Bottom left uses a mix of both: a softer drop shadow (size increased, keep a bit of an offset)
Bottom right uses a lighter shadow for the icons - its just to make them a bit "pop out". More a "not 2d" look than a "floating on the panel" style.


If you darken the background while such pop ups are open (only darken them by 10 percent or so - in BlitzMax this would be "setalpha GetAlpha()*0.1; SetColor 0,0,0; DrawRect(0,0,w,h)"), then I would use the top-right + bottom right - style.


If you plan to do it "retro" at the end, you will have to get rid of alpha-shadows as they were not that common ;-)
In that case your "popup" effect was most often done by adding decals to the popup-background (ornaments etc) - or things like "scrolls/torn-paper" effects. And if the backgrounds were desaturated your icons could get their emphasize by using a nother color.

BTW: good looking user interfaces is surely another huge task in a project - and you will never be finished with it.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 15, 2018, 02:17:42 PM
mmm, just been looking at the latest version. hmmm.

Don't take this to heart, it's a light-hearted look at how it works to someone with no idea what is going on. Which isn't my fault.

ok... Questions?
1. good on the right chaos on the left. so why is the play top to bottom?
2. UI. I tried to suggest a way to harmonise the presentation style. The pop-ups and UI elements are just the same. Either do it one way and try and harmonise everything <- !And I do mean everything! Or, risk potential users being put off by jarring graphics. It's not rocket science, but it does take a little time and effort.
3. UI rather clicky. in that: here's a window to click to get to the next window to click to get to the next window, etc, etc. You could start to bring these windows into some more logic.
4. UI first there are windows then there are multiple windows (good/chaos). again look for the same standard throughout.
5. UI buttons - anything that is a button should behave like a button. E.G. if you hover with the mouse it lights up or something. similarly to being pressed.
6. Deploy - I can see there is the ? but it doesn't look like it has anything to do with the window?
7. Deploy help. See above about windows looking like they all belong, consistence, style, fonts, etc
8. Deploy help. select location,etc. The window is still live underneath. why can't I select a grey square? Remember your user will have NO IDEA about what they should do and why. WHY is the most important thing. WHY cant I.... no one said I couldn't..., etc
9. deploy window. Back on the right - possibly better on the left back is usually << and forward >>
10. Deploy unit. see buttons and user feedback
11. Deploy unit. assumptions of units - there aren't any. why choose one splodgy character over another splodgy thing? I like the knight with the huge 'dong', but I'm not sure why having an armoured sexual predator would be a good idea - maybe for the rape and pillage section? Same with naked red dude on fire - is he hot or what?

gameplay
ok. I'm completely lost here
1. I've got one dong dude with 2 hot dudes. and the other side now has added 10 things - a naked pole dancer, cyan dong on a stick guy, and some splodgy things of different colors - don't know what they are - possibly sex toys or lube?
2. There are some colored stats block things. I have no idea what they mean so I've made up some:
green is how much sex they want
red one is how horny they must be
light blue how much of a groove the've got going on
grey how much lube they are carrying

so I click a horny red dude and then have no idea. I'm really wanting to start the orgy and see everyone get it on, but just can seem to get it right - just like real-life I suppose?

Hopefully this will give you a better idea of how things might be changed to make things clearer. think of this as food for thought :)
P.S. I still want to see the dong on the stick guy doing his thang!
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 15, 2018, 08:27:26 PM
Writing on my phone...try pressing ctrl f5...re ui inconsistent sounds like the graphics are cached from before...unless you can show a picture?

Edit - additional - not sure what all the sexual innuendo is about in your post...seems a bit out there.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 16, 2018, 05:59:16 AM
maybe the innuendo was a bit much - but it was me trying to make paint about a user with no concept of what is going on - they will make up their own story to fit what they see  ;D

ctrl F5 - no you've lost me. is this some hidden magic command? Remember anything to do with system level stuff WILL be completely different for other systems. In the words of 'the it crowd' "Have you turned it off and on again..."
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 16, 2018, 06:28:15 AM
(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/kw09.png)

What I'm trying to get you to think about is consistency about presentation.
lets take these quickly
1. the knight with the light saber - or is is a sausage ir whatever - without more information the user will make their own story
why would I choose that guy over the red devil. who is naked in flames?

step back - think of chess. how do expain how to play chess to someone who has never seen it before. it is no use in saying the pawn goes here and does that. What is a pawn? "did you say Prawn", etc :) why is is called a pawn, etc, etc

next the question mark
I know that putting it there is an easy thing to do - but it doesn't make sense in that there is no connection to deploy unit. why would I think that it would give me help about that - everything there is contained, etc,etc

lastly the UI style.
I'm not going to go into why one font is better than another, but the rounded brown box does not fit with the font, which does not fit with painterly style of drawing

I did a quick google to see if I could find some examples of games where the style matched the UI: :)
(https://img00.deviantart.net/9cbc/i/2013/118/0/b/the_game__video_game_in_watercolor_by_qamillo-d63bmj8.jpg)

An artist you might get some inspiration from is Mark Rothko:
(https://d2jv9003bew7ag.cloudfront.net/uploads/Mark-Rothko-Untitled-1964.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Qube on May 16, 2018, 06:48:45 AM
maybe the innuendo was a bit much
And then you post an image with "Mr Dong"?.... I did have a lot more to say but I'll refrain for now :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 16, 2018, 07:08:34 AM
OH CRAP! yes you're right, I didn't even think of that. I wont remove it as it changes the context. but will refer to him as 'the knight' from now on. I apologies.

Matty I found this you might find really interesting as it sorta sums up style and computers in a really nice way :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 16, 2018, 01:06:45 PM
ctrl f5 is to tell your browser to refresh potentially cached data.

Edit: I totally missed posts of page 3 - this reply was meant for the last post on page 2 :-)


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 16, 2018, 01:53:11 PM
Hi folks...development continues...did some more work this evening after work......

Changes include:

1. Better help - there is now an 'advisor' who offers advice should you click on him. I'm still working out the text, the font, the content, and so on but it's there and will tell you the details that you were asking about before (the various coloured boxes, the unit abilities and so on)

2. Gradually getting rid of the 'brown rounded corner buttons' and replacing with 'painted images' - taking a while - I've done three of them so far - changed the help, changed the help advisor background and changed the 'deploy' button in the middle of the screen during deployment.

The other changes and more are being worked on ...but time for me to go to bed. It's almost 11pm.

Thanks.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw30.jpg)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw31.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 16, 2018, 02:26:36 PM
The last screen (mage explanation) exposes that you need to create some kind of "text container".

You could have the image with a brownish-bar below. This bar/area then can contain the text.
Also make sure that text is clearly readable (so get rid of white areas in that section - if you paint stuff).

Best is to have all elements properly layouted.

I tried to come up with some "classic" datasheet - of course you can have all this elements with hand-drawn borders too.
(http://i.imgur.com/nBfyQly.png)
(my lines do not look that calm and nice in Krita...hmm)

Benefit of having individual elements: it is easier to do one or another again and again until they suit perfectly.

Elements you need:
- image
- name
- short description ("Lore")
- stats (attack, hp, ...)
- skills (could have additional tooltips if you do not explain them in the short description)

bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 17, 2018, 12:17:32 PM
Progressing....

Changed all ui buttons to have same style background and colour scheme.

Added help text at various locations throughout the game - you can click on the advisor multiple times or when you are deploying units it shows text like below:

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw32.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 17, 2018, 12:37:29 PM
I know I can come across as negative - but that's not my intention.

So... Brilliant!
This all looks so much better and cleaner. The new mini icons really do you justice as you can see exactly what they are - the white knights have a sort of spacehulk thing going on which (imho) look very good :)

A thought for you:
it looks like you have 24 points to create your 'army', with each 'person' having a number of points cost. Why not show that cost next to each icon/person?

 ;) ;) ;)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 17, 2018, 12:44:04 PM
Thanks Adam, it feels like I'm finally getting it to look like a proper game of sorts...I'm a lot happier with it myself...iterative process and all that...I know there's a few things wrong but your comments have helped - as have Derrons.

Yes - constructive criticism is useful and good - sometimes it gets to me though - it's part of the process of improving what I'm doing but it can have an initial reaction of annoyance at being criticised...but I know it's a good thing.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 17, 2018, 01:08:45 PM
A thought for you:
it looks like you have 24 points to create your 'army', with each 'person' having a number of points cost. Why not show that cost next to each icon/person?

Maybe this is why the units are "left aligned" rather then "centered" on the icons - maybe Matty already is on his way to add "move points" "hp" and "attack" to the right corners/side ?



@ drawings
The "space hulks" and their left and right "neighbours" have a "camera orientation" which is about 30°  - which fits way better than the "front view" the "magician" provides. The front view is ok if it was just the "unit icon". But as you want to use them on your tiles/game board too, I think the slightly "perspective view" makes things look better. Normally this also allows for slight overlaps to increase "plasticity".


@ Text background
The dude has some margin on the left (till "0px") while the semitransparent background has a margin of 0px (0px to gameWidth).
The text just lists simple values, values which might better be displayed in a way to allow rapid scanning with your eyes

Code: [Select]
Health: 10   Cost:    10
Attack: 10   Defense: 10
People learn "locations" pretty fast, and then they do not need to read "words" they just look at the values. And if you use "color codes" you could use such stuff pretty nicely in "combat texts" etc. (-10 in red for taken damage, -5 (5 blocked) with -5 in red, and "5 blocked" in the defense color ...). It should not become as colorful as a childrens playground but colors could help you to abbreviate texts, make things easier to recognize ....
Eg. you only have 3 attack types (melee, ranged, magic) - you could give each of them a color - and use this color on tiles giving bonus to such attacks. Ranged = green like forests, melee = brownish like ground and magic gets some fairy-colors ;-)).


@ "Back" button
You did not center the text. Dunno what programs you use for doing this stuff but proper alignment pleases the eyes! Many programs allow you to create a textbox with specific dimensions: just layout the whole thing so it perfectly wraps the button (without the dropshadow!). Then in this textbox just align the text horizontally centered (vertically only works for "Uppercase" as "g" or "p" have parts below the baseline leading to a vertical alignment different to other chars. so "back" does align differently than "previous").


@ GUI
you can improve step by step - so most often you would not use a simple-color-background but add some "subtle texture", decals, borders ... all the tiny things to make stuff look cool, interesting, "integrated".


Hope you do not just work on the gfx style - people here most often like good gameplay rather polished stuff without a game behind ;)


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 17, 2018, 01:29:57 PM
I'll get to the rest later but regarding alignment/back button etc:

I'm using paint.net - no gui rendering ability - everything is hand drawn with a wacom tablet and mouse...using simple paint commands, layers and so on...I don't have the ability to even set a grid in this program and snap to grid points..I have to do it all by eye.

I probably really should use a good tool for this...but I'm using what I've currently got and know how to do...so all the centreing stuff that is off is due to my inadequate visual / hand eye coordination.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 17, 2018, 01:39:33 PM
Layers are your friend: move them around to your needs until it looks properly aligned.

I like paint.net when doing some very simple stuff. Dislike Gimp as it does behave "odd" (if you are used to Photoshop) ...

If you like drawing with your wacom: become a friend of "krita" (it is open source - and free) - pretty good looking stuff was done with it.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 17, 2018, 08:09:57 PM
Now with set positions for stats and useful help on ability icons.

Note:taking a screenshot on the phone while hovering the cursor over something is hard!3 fingers needed on device at once!
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 17, 2018, 09:36:38 PM
You show the tooltip of a unit - but you do not visually inform the user which icon they are hovering.

A simple effect I am using in BlitzMax is:
Code: BlitzMax
  1. drawIcon()
  2. if iconIsSelected
  3.   SetBlend LightBlend
  4.   SetAlpha GetAlpha()*0.25
  5.   drawIcon()
  6.   SetBlend AlphaBlend
  7.   SetAlpha GetAlpha()*4
  8. endif
  9.  

That way the original image is used to "highlight" the hovered one - including rounded borders etc (which you wont get with a "DrawRect").
As IWasAdam already wrote: if it is a GUI it should behave as users expect GUI stuff to behave: normal, hover, clicked, disabled states (normal drawing, highlighted, darken a bit + offset 2x2 pixels, desaturate + tint in red when disabled/not allowed).


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 17, 2018, 09:49:13 PM
Yeah...still on the way....it's on my list to do. (It was mentioned a while ago...still getting to it.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 18, 2018, 02:09:41 AM
I had a book once "What if the player is female?"

And noticed this when I looked at a file in a folder at work (interesting mental association with filename unrelated to game)

see attached
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 18, 2018, 06:14:53 AM
a thought about the stats - you are using colored cubes. possible use different shapes for each stat - that way anyone with color problems will still see the differences - if there are too many 'cubes' per stat, then globally half all stats amount. so
E.G.
if the stats go from 0 to 10, make them go from 0 to 5 or even 0 to 3. less stats means less to look at and tidier for tiny icons
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 18, 2018, 12:25:45 PM
As you suggested Ive halved the visual appearance of the stats but retained the full figure internally.

Ive also played around with some transitions between overlays.

And given both sides their own deployment image ie:

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/media/deployedchaos.png)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/media/deployed.png)

Also the hover glow over buttons is there now
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 19, 2018, 04:14:52 AM
Additions:

1. Bugfixes and minor glitches fixed.
2. Terrain added: Hills give a bonus to defenders uphill. Magic Circles give additional bonuses to magic users (liches, witches and wizards)
3.  Music added.
4. Transitions added between menus.


Image below shows the hill and the stone circle (magic circle)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw42.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 19, 2018, 03:06:41 PM
Campaign map for single player now.....

Object of game is to drive off the Chaos forces before they eat all your food - as they pillage and loot the countryside.....

Going to add some fires and smoke where battles took place....haven't done that bit yet.....

Note army icons and map are placeholder until I draw some better ones - this was a tech test first to see if I could build it in.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw43.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 19, 2018, 10:49:32 PM
That dude cries for a serif-font (times-new-roman-esque).
Seriously: that font looks "not fitting".

But again: graphics _after_ gameplay.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 20, 2018, 12:31:46 AM
There you go....new font: (it uses the browser to render fonts so as long as the font exists on the user's computer it can use it.)

Also working on the map.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw44.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 20, 2018, 11:51:47 AM
There are now quest locations on the map where your heroes, mages and soldiers can acquire training/items/rituals to help them in the battles (the main part of the game).

This is still being fleshed out....at the moment it is very simple.

Also tried hand painting the map.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw45.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 20, 2018, 03:03:51 PM
that last map look very nice Matty :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 20, 2018, 07:43:07 PM
Thanks Adam.

I used a map generator I wrote to get the shape then painted over the top by hand.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 20, 2018, 10:08:11 PM
Just played a session before work and won the campaign.  Enjoyable little game.  Need to make some adjustments to the game play a little.

Am tossing up whether when a hero visits a dungeon the player should get to play that as a mini game of sorts.

Same goes for when the mage attempts a ritual at a stone circle.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 22, 2018, 01:46:10 AM
Okay am deciding to have some simple dungeon quests and magical rituals (puzzles of a form) to gain the bonuses that heroes and mages can gain for use in the battles.....

Needed to work out how to calculate isometric positions and back to screen again....simple solving of simultaneous equations (year 8 mathematics) helped:

Isometric Coordinates:

screen x = (w/2) * (1+ x - y)
screen y = (w/4) * (1 + x + y) where x and y are the grid coordinates and w is the width of a tile

back from screen to grid:

iso x = ((sx + 2*sy)/w) - 1

iso y = (2*sy - sx)/w

w = 80 in my case because w is the width of the cell

You will need to parseInt the values as they will come back as floating points.

Haven't tested this thorougly yet...may need to either parseInt or floor the values not sure yet which.


But yeah:

When the user selects a dungeon on the main map that hasn't been explored successfully a small window will open with a cavern/dungeon in isometric view and the hero /knight /mr dong as adam calls him, will have to explore a small dungeon. There will be keys in areas to open doors, and giant spiders which must be avoided (or the dungeon quest is failed). When the treasure is found a magic item of sorts will be available for the player in the next battle for the hero to use....at first I originally had a system where the hero just gains stats..I'm probably going to do something like give him a lightning storm or something to use in the battle. or some other nice feature. The dungeon will be small...a mini game of sorts.. a turn based dungeon..every step the player takes the monsters (giant spiders) will move about the mini dungeon.

When the user selects a magic stone circle on the main map - the mage will have to go to some mystery cloud dream like place and fight against internal/mental/spiritual demons in some kind of puzzle scheme (maybe linking runes to a pattern or something) to gain mastery over a spell to use in the next combat.

Something like that....the dungeon section is partially built...just needed to remind myself how to convert from screen coordinates to iso grid coordinates.

Also - improved the AI of the Chaos player by tweaking a percentage in its 'thinking time'...it now should prefer to act in a certain way more often...which is good. More challenge for the player.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 22, 2018, 07:01:33 AM
@ thinking time
You should have some kind of "ai switch" for each knight you create. Depending on how the switch was set during creation, the knight reacts.

For TVTower I gave the AI various "characters" (riskyness/generous/...). According to each of their characteristics they decide differently. Some want to save some more money until they think they have enough budget to fulfill a task. Others think they earn enough money until day end to pay the cost and spend more money meanwhile.

Your knights might have "bravity" values defining whether they attack alone or in groups (you might have a "attackchance = pow(bravity, stupidy)" so stupid knights never wait for their collegues :p


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 22, 2018, 08:24:27 PM
Going to switch off the dungeon crawl aspect but leave the code in.  I'm not happy with how that part plays.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 23, 2018, 07:09:46 AM
You need a progress indicator somehow that shows that the Chaos forces
are being beaten back and I believe there is a possible option which
may be something like having:

'Chaos ships' in the waters that gradually disappear as each Chaos
army is defeated.  So perhaps there are two icons - a live ship and a
dead ship (burned out with flames/smoke non animated)

The game starts with maxchaosarmies ships in the waters, and gradually
they are destroyed. They stay on screen for a turn after destroying
and then disappear the next turn.

Sounds good.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 23, 2018, 07:57:24 AM
One thing to always have in mind is 'the fun factor'. Is the game 'fun' to play and how can I improve the 'fun' factor?

Technique and fun are very different things. a game could be technically superb (brilliant AI, looks amazing, etc) but is completely flat to play.

Always try to step back and see things objectively. Would the game make you excited, want to shout at the screen (not throw away the controller or keyboard), etc. Is there a sense of achievement and reward? Would you want to go to your friends and say "you must play this... it's great"

If the answer to any of these is 'Meh' - not interested. then you may need to either tighten things up, or try to add the 'fun' into things... :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 23, 2018, 09:51:20 AM
Thanks Adam.

Yes - I enjoy playing it myself (and I have to test it over and over so if anyone is going to get sick of it is going to be me!)

That's why I removed the dungeon crawl element from the main strategy map - it wasn't fun and I couldn't work out a way of making that element fun.

I've now added Chaos Boats to the map which catch fire and are burned down as each chaos army is destroyed. They act as a marker showing how close you are to driving off the invading force - ie when there are no more boats left then you know you've defeated the enemy (same as how when you have no more food left it is game over for you.)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw46.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 23, 2018, 01:27:38 PM
Different deployment arrangements - it is possible to be outflanked strategically which plays into the type of deployment the player faces against the enemy (attacked on two sides at once)

I am thinking of building in a few other options too like river fights across bridges too.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw47.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 24, 2018, 11:13:34 AM
I've been working on alternate 'mission' types.....

As well as an 'outflanked' scenario there's also a 'wagon escort' mission as well - if you choose to protect the supply wagon and succeed you gain bonus food (half the difference between 'full' and 'current'.)

The wagon deploys forward of the army (to make things difficult! and to represent an ambush of sorts) and doesn't move or fight.  The enemy will prefer to attack actual combatants but if the player leaves the wagon undefended they will attack it. If it is eliminated the battle is lost, and the food is not gained...if the battle is won the bonus food is gained.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw48.jpg)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw49.jpg)

Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 26, 2018, 10:11:16 PM
Currently building in a third mode.

There's single player campaign.
A two player hot seat mode.

And soon there may be a multiplayer campaign for twenty players per map online.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 27, 2018, 09:14:30 AM
Good Afternoon peoples,

After a fairly productive weekend - made another poster and put it on my wall, went to some cafes, looked at books, saw a friend and a family member I managed to get some coding done as well.

The game allowed for single player in a campaign against the forces of Chaos, two players in hotseat/same PC mode and now has the starting elements of an online campaign between up to 20 players ( a new game spawns for users to play whenever there are no more neutral cities)

It's not fully tested, but I've tested it a little so far between two players (my phone and my desktop) but it's getting there.....

It's a very basic system - still to be fleshed out but you can get a bit of an idea of the main strategy map here:

Combat takes place against an AI controlled army - so the other player doesn't need to do the fighting, and the AI controlled army is tough - and always full strength, whereas as the attacker you take damage on each attack making it hard to follow up lots of battles in a row unless you do well.  Each castle provides a different rate of 'build' of units and allows you to rebuild your army faster/slower depending on which castles you own. 

The map is always the same layout - using a random seed.  I might change that later.

There's a lot of changes that will come to this multiplayer mode.

I've added events already however - if the player is losing they'll get some positive events that help them out, if they're winning they'll get some negative events to frustrate them and make things more difficult - and to prevent runaway successes.

Here are some more screenshots;

The player chooses their shield from a range of different designs - still to be toyed with and tidied up - at the beginning of the multiplayer game.

Note - a multiplayer game could go on for as long as the players want it to - until someone wins or you lose the game (and are therefore out of it)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw50.jpg)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw51.jpg)

Balance...lots of things to be addressed still.....
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 27, 2018, 10:37:16 AM
@ colored shields
Next to colors you might have different forms of shields too (to ease variation).


@ 1-2 players + online screen
It does not look nice if you cover the face of the background-dude. Maybe do a

Code: [Select]
1 player | 2 players
       online
layout to expose more of the background



bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 27, 2018, 09:05:08 PM
done some more...shield designs and changed layout of player selection screens (as Derron suggested)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw53.jpg)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw52.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 27, 2018, 09:54:50 PM
To add still:

Hit and miss bubbles to make combat more obvious.

In online mode give castles bonuses that apply offensively and defensively to the owner.  Some of these are global wherever the army goes while some of these are specific to individual sites.

Includes:

Offensive attack reroll. (Whole army every roll)
Defense reroll.(whole army every roll)
Additional attack action once per battle. (Can stack bonuses )
Bonus att and def scores (max +2 each)
Choke point (location specific attacker has max 16pts to spend on battle)
Magical aura (location specific -> defender ignores first hit on each unit)
Tricky terrain (location specific -> defender can outflank)
Magic bonus : magic users in the army do more damage
Troop boost - higher rate of reinforcement

Those are what I can think of right now.

To make obvious I'll change the castle visuals somehow to reflect it.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 27, 2018, 10:06:54 PM
Troops can receive bonus if they have certain units in the group (leadership bonus, motivation-drums ...)


@ shields
The newly added drawings on the shield have a different color than the borders of the shield - black vs dark gray - maybe reduce contrast of these signs/drawings to match the outline color of the shields.


@ highlighting/selecting
as suggested somewhere somedays before in these forums: why not draw the selected item twice: once normal, and the second time with some kind of "lightblend"-blend-mode (so it brightens up the underlaying gfx). Use a lower alpha value then to avoid "nearly white". Use a simple time-based sinus curve to make it flash (alpha 0.75 + 0.25 * sin(millisecs()*0.1) ).
Might look better than this glowing rectangle (of which you btw have 2 at the same time in the second screenshot).


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 27, 2018, 11:00:19 PM
Hi Derron...re Shields - will do....re Highlighting - yes I've implemented that elsewhere in the game but for certain things such as selecting units on the map I like to make it more obvious and use a box...re the two boxes....I'll have to look at that (simple enough fix)...


Things like the gameplay - bonuses etc..I believe I have a good idea from all my wargaming days with these, but I defer to you when it comes to the gui stuff - I keep getting it wrong (black instead of grey for the motifs on the shields...) - it's something I will always need advice and feedback on to get right....very hard to do it in a vacuum....thanks for all your criticisms.

To Adam and Derron - if I eventually get to putting some kind of 'credits' page or 'about' page on the game then I'll include the two of you as 'consultants' or something like that - I've had a lot of useful feedback from the two of you....and it's ongoing.

I'm glad I get this feedback....I'm also glad you recognise it is a work in progress (not due for another month)....

Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on May 28, 2018, 06:31:32 AM
wargaming experience is good - as AI and balancing (rock scissor paper) is the most important aspect there.

Assets could get replaced later on, so no trouble there.

BTW: Savegames would be nice - so the ability to continue later on.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 28, 2018, 07:51:11 PM
Spend an hour briefly putting this in before work:

Hit / Miss text floating when a unit loses hitpoints or is attacked (and either hit or missed)

Also added screenshake when a unit dies - it's reasonably subtle....

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw54.jpg)

There are currently 4 game modes in the game:

Mode 0 - demo mode - the game plays itself if you leave it at the main title for too long (about 20 seconds)

Mode 1 - hotseat - 2 player on the same Pc in a single battle, currently only one scenario - might include the other scenarios from the campaign.

Mode 2 - campaign - 1 player vs the forces of chaos in a series of battles with events - need to add more events, more positive events for the player to help them out

Mode 3 - online mode - 20 players vs each other - need to add more events and tidy up and polish this one some more.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 29, 2018, 08:12:02 PM
Last night's additions included the following.

Adding a credits page that shows alternately with the demo mode.

Adding more events in the campaign to help the player out such as chaos ships sinking etc.

Adding more text commentary indicating the state of the world.

Adding two special characters who sometimes join you in your battle (10% chance each in the campaign)

Fixing the colour of the castles and shields in online mode.

Improving the stats of the elemental and the dragon.

Improving the text that displays when connecting to the online mode.

Here are the special characters.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw55.jpg)
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw56.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on May 30, 2018, 02:28:30 PM
Good Evening folks,

Tonight - given I'm going to release the source code for this game and I also had another idea about promotion after the competition -

I've put together a code tutorial for people getting into coding as part of the game documentation on the server. The link is shown on the credits scroller and I've included it here:

http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/codetutorial.js (http://www.mattiesgames.com/retrostrategy/codetutorial.js)

Because internet javascript is basically 'on display' on any web page - my source code (apart from the php and sql) will be readily available through the browser (view source on index - read the .js files attached inside it in the script tags)

What I'm planning on doing - because my library runs coding sessions for young people to learn how to code, and because I was once a teacher, and also because I feel it will be kind of one way of promoting my game - advertise it locally as produced in my own home town (not really known for its IT stuff) and provide detailed comments and instructions on the basics of coding...I'm hoping it might be able to be used as a learning tool.

I have a number of ideas relating to this which I'm going to put into practice.

Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on May 30, 2018, 03:05:41 PM
I applaud your effort to promote programming to those young whipper snappers.  8)

But, I would be careful about using it to promote your own stuff.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 01, 2018, 06:12:07 AM
That's a good sign.  I had a day off work and one of my colleagues played it for an hour in the campaign and won 6 battles.

First good point:He played it successfully without me being there to tell him or show him how to play.  In other words it was simple enough for a seasoned strategy gamer to figure it out.

Second good point: To play for an hour indicates a certain level of enjoyment.

I'm very pleased especially that I didnt need to explain anything other than what he read in the in game help.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on June 01, 2018, 06:22:13 AM
brilliant news :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 01, 2018, 10:02:09 AM
Optional feature of game - I'd built the code but hadn't found a place for it yet....the simple dungeon search for heroes on the main map:

In the 'Online Multiplayer' mode while you are in between battles - sometimes waiting for the army to rebuild - you can choose to explore dungeons which will boost your heroes' stats if they find the magic treasure in the dungeon - if they die the magical bonus stats reset.

It's pretty easy little dungeon, more a mini game which the player an perform if they lose their whole army and have to wait for it to rebuild.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw57.jpg)

Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 02, 2018, 05:25:50 AM
Hmm something seems wrong with either my phone or the forum.  Image wont attach.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 02, 2018, 06:58:12 AM
Try again:
(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw59.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on June 02, 2018, 07:25:58 AM
You really should consider drawing over your drawings (create a new layer) - add details, paint over wrong placed lines ...
in other words: improve your assets step by step.

People are used to see very well defined and detailled paintings these days. they might see your images and think of it as "sketches" or "rough work art". This will create prejudices or misassumptions about the game: do polishing - especially when it comes to press related stuff.


@ armor of the knight
it has a monotone-highlight and monotone-shadow, maybe have some "white" for spectacularity on certain areas.



bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 03, 2018, 06:23:19 AM
Escape key now takes you to the main menu (not sure how I'll do it on tablets and mobile devices....it works on them but I don't want to clutter the screen with a 'back' or 'exit' button anywhere - currently simply refreshing the browser allows a mobile device to go back to the menu....on a desktop the Escape key is the method.

Also - on hitting escape from the campaign, resuming the campaign will take you to where you left off, although I have not implemented a full save system - just a session based one (ie if you go to other parts of the game like 2 player mode or online mode and return it will resume the campaign but if you refresh the browser or leave the web page and come back it won't retain the state--though this could be done easily enough later.

Also - got some feedback, Paladins needed a bit of a boost to their abilities - so they now heal other units (one other adjacent unit as well as themselves), and also the Hit and Miss text was too hard to see - so I've added a drop shadow to the text as it floats up makes it stand out just that bit more...the problem was the contrast between the blues and reds and the green grass - too hard to see easily.


Additional - PART 2 - I'm thinking after the competition is over to revisit this game and give it a makeover as a sci fi themed game with slightly different battle modes (two layers of battle - get past the enemy's space fleet then engage in ground combat)

It will use very much the same set of code with certain changes, but the framework will allow for an entirely different themed game to be developed with more features than the current one.

What I've learned from developing this game will stand me in good stead for the next one.

An idea I'd had was to release both these new games I develop on Android for mobile as well  - but given my lack of success commercially on the mobile environment with any of my products (some have as few as 20 downloads) I might give it a miss.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/assets/ground_mech_2.png)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 03, 2018, 08:37:33 PM
Enjoying a multiplayer game on my phone.

My desktop has a fair amount of territory as does my mobile phone.  The other players are mine as well from a variety of devices not just at home (work/parents/different browsers)

As a player gains more territory the bonuses their army accrues makes them harder to beat and easier to win battles with.

There are a variety of bonuses that are applied to the whole army such as rerolls to attacks and defense, modifiers to stats, extra half damage, and location specific abilities.  Choke points are very defensive positions.

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw61.png)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 04, 2018, 08:35:00 PM
To help test the multiplayer (and because I like automating things an training AIs to play stuff) -

I've added a hidden mode in multiplayer that allows the AI to take over your army and play out the online multiplayer campaign (until you press escape and resume manual control)....

It will allow me to test multiple players simultaneously in as close to 'real world' gameplay as possible without needing too many human testers (I'm not going to say how to activate this mode but I will most likely disable it before the competition closes...or may be not? ha ha ha)

Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on June 04, 2018, 09:05:01 PM
How do you do the AI training - I mean, how does the AI learn what is good and bad regarding "winning" / "not getting defeated" ?

Do you plan different "characters" (explorer, military, scientist...)?


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Steve Elliott on June 04, 2018, 09:24:12 PM
Graphically this game is looking much better, thanks to Adam and Derron, and you for taking their advice on-board   :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 04, 2018, 09:24:32 PM
In this case the training is 'me' working out the various parameters that should be fed to the AI internally to produce a quality opponent....not AI learning itself as such...human guidance to create a better player.

On a different note - Internet Explorer now catered for - it had some funky way of doing the mouse screen position compared to Chrome and Firefox which was buggering things up.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 04, 2018, 09:25:06 PM
Thanks Steve
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Steve Elliott on June 04, 2018, 09:26:36 PM
No problem.  Good luck with it.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 04, 2018, 09:42:07 PM
More 'info feedback notifications' in the forms of 'hits' 'misses' 'flank bonuses' 'hill bonuses' and so on more obvious to the user (previously only I really knew what was going on beneath the surface in the combats....still not sure whether I'll show the 'dice rolls' - all dice rolls are ten sided dice rolls with lots of modifiers added (such as for flanking and hills and also buffs and curses cast by magic users and also luck bonuses and so on generated in the campaign)

(http://www.mattiesgames.com/gfx/kw62.jpg)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 04, 2018, 11:49:22 PM
Need to fix - losing the online multiplayer game....doesn't work as expected...need to fix this.

Easy enough to do....but yeah....doesn't work yet....

(Ie running out of castles and so on - defeat doesn't work as expected...probably a simple enough change....just not working currently..will have to do after work tonight.)

Edit - fixed..oops - it was a '==' instead of a '=' in two places.....gah!
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on June 05, 2018, 07:02:56 AM
that's the problem with ambiguity of the "equal" sign..

Now enjoy the "===" which is existing too (A strictly equal to B).



bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 05, 2018, 07:43:53 PM
Okay...losing the online multiplayer works correctly...tested.  winning should work to loosely tested...will have to continue testing.

Happy with this.

For interest sake i tried creating an android version by loading as a webview-too slow and the interface is better on a desktop due to the way mouse over works.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 05, 2018, 07:54:56 PM
I'm looking at providing more game advice in the form of a hand indicating where to click the first time through-strategy players seem to have no problem playing it but I just dont know if that's sufficient.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 10, 2018, 11:24:01 AM
Fixed a bug that no one will ever see (except me while testing).

The automated online player (used for testing) eventually won the campaign (without any input from any of the other players) over a fairly long duration.

Upon returning to the menu I did not reset the flag that disables mouse input on certain screens while the online automated player is playing. That meant that the front menu did nothing.

The only situation where this was going to occur was when the online game was being played by a 'bot' and the bot managed to win the entire campaign.

Not a standard response.

However - I'm pleased because both the standard victory and defeat features have been tested now and the ability to join a new/different game after being eliminated from the online campaign works.

Excellent.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: iWasAdam on June 10, 2018, 11:44:00 AM
great to nail a bug :) Good hunting... :)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 12, 2018, 08:04:17 PM
Gameplay issue / query:

2 player all fine.
1 player all fine.
Online: when player loses a battle they have to wait for their army to rebuild before they can attack again.  If there is no wait time then there is no penalty for losing a battle.  As a mini game ive allowed the player to explore dungeons while they have no army to boost their heroes stats in battles.  However it seems insufficient to me...how do you penalise the player but still allow them to participate? They can always play the campaign or 2 player no problem...but online is a little different-aha...i had a bit of an idea...not fully fleshed out...but I'm after some input here...brainstorming..
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 12, 2018, 09:03:01 PM
Note:
The game works on desktop, mobile and tablet through the browser BUT I've found no major bugs on desktop and the debugger throws neither warnings nor errors but on mobile every now and then odd glitches occur but without a debugger on mobile or tablet I can't see what the issue is.

Hence my recommendation is to play on desktop although mobile browser does work-just about once every so often it glitches. 

I know from my experience with Android however that random glitches with the OS are more common than on desktop but I always like to assume its my code first.
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on June 12, 2018, 09:44:02 PM
No developer console on the chrome/firefox browser on your tablet?

bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 12, 2018, 11:25:00 PM
I use a mobile (the only tablet I have access to is at my parents place....ha ha ha my thoughts were that if I won any prize money from this it would go towards a tablet for future development of browser games like this)

On desktop I press F12...no idea what key to press to bring up the debugger on a tablet or mobile....
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on June 12, 2018, 11:27:24 PM
So this might be of use for you:
https://developers.google.com/web/tools/chrome-devtools/remote-debugging/


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 12, 2018, 11:28:57 PM
Ta
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on June 20, 2018, 07:24:22 AM
Update:

Last code change on the 10th of June.

I'm happy with the code. It all works as expected.

On desktop there are no bugs, on chrome on mobile no bugs (none found anyway).

The music is good - I shouldn't have but I did spend some money on it, about $50 AUD.

The artwork is about as good as I can make it.

I have plenty enough time to polish but that's what I did for quite some time a few weeks ago.

I pretty much built this in the first month and polished in the first week and a half of June.

I'm very happy with this project.

I'm also happy that it got me out of a game making slump and inspired me to create something again.

Next Friday I'll submit it to the competition. 

It's playable now (via my website www.mattiesgames.com )

Thanks for paying attention.

from Matt
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Derron on June 20, 2018, 08:29:00 AM
- demo-button-gfx has a "cut" shadow
(http://i.imgur.com/9BYKoxl.png)


- "battle texts" do not fade out nicely but just "move up and vanish"


- title gfx dude looks skinny but wears a armor for a 120kg warrior (front area looks right but the armor is way "thicker" than needed)  - it somehow looks "wrong"
(http://i.imgur.com/HpYc8xa.png)


- music is thriving - nice to listen to, dunno if it is too "pumping" for a "think about your turn"-style game, but nonetheless I think it fits well to a fantasy/medieval war game (slow paced might still be better)
- music also does not nicely "loop", so when finishing and restarting it sounds a bit "hmpff" a short time. Maybe you find some time to do proper "crossfading" and use 1-2 more songs (free ones, do not spend money if not really required). You could even create your own "loop"-songs out of 20-30s loops (so each "song" gets 90 seconds long until the next one fades in, have done this for "Apes Banana Conquest" - so monkey to Javascript at the end - and for "Trick or Sweets").


- units move "out of the sudden", maybe animate movement with some interpolation code (start slowly, get fast, end slowly) so they "swishy" move to the target tile instead of "plopping" from A to B


- the "wave/flag"-effect on your GFX: consider using some "antiaalias" there. Your drawings are "scaled down", so all have AA on it while the


- credits: Code-Tutorial at... not clickable and the url does not need to have the "/" at the end.
(http://i.imgur.com/Dus8nia.png)


- on the right side the chaos/order icons still have a different size - and they overlay existing tiles
(http://i.imgur.com/ghvuzke.png)
(http://i.imgur.com/ZI7dwSR.png)


So while I still not played your game yet, I already found some small issues to keep you away from boredom :-)


Edit: as you told us some weeks ago that you do everything in a simple graphics app: Photoshop is expensive and not really needed. Gimp hmm... does not offer vector shapes, Krita is more for drawing things (really! try it out!). Inkscape does a good job for vectors - which you are not using.
Maybe you want to checkout "photo line":

https://www.pl32.com/
Many people say it is a viable alternative to the expensive packages like Photoshop. It has layers, vector shapes, amazing color-adjustment-functions, ...
I am too used to Photoshop so I am not using this tool - but hey, they offer a 30days demo. Maybe it fits your drawing approaches? Try it out.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on August 29, 2018, 09:29:38 PM
A Knight's War is now on 'Kongregate'

https://www.kongregate.com/games/mattiesgames/a-knights-war

Note - I had to remove the multiplayer component because my website is http and their website is https and I cannot call my php scripts from their site through javascript to my site due to web restrictions (mixed content not allowed)
Title: Re: A Knight's War - Code A Game Competition 4th May to 30th June - Retro Strategy
Post by: Matty on September 17, 2018, 11:13:55 PM
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