SyntaxBomb - Indie Coders

General Category => Worklogs => Topic started by: Xerra on May 02, 2020, 09:58:53 AM

Title: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 02, 2020, 09:58:53 AM
As I posted previously, I canned the original game idea I was working on and decided to reboot from the very start and do my take on Asteroids. I'm not making it easy on myself, however.

Going all out on the options this time round.

Gamepad or mouse/keyboard, difficulty levels, Two different game types, border scenarios, Autofiring etc etc etc.

Here's the menu as it looks at the moment. I'd drop a video of it but there's still tinkering going on.

Basic game shell is mostly done now, apart from power-ups and enemies and stuff like putting in a decent HUD etc. As I want to use a few different weapon types, such as smart bombs etc, so there's a lot of work still to do. I'm aiming to have the game play two different ways where you play like the traditional asteroids, or boost it up and go with twin controls on a gamepad and play like Infinity Wars. There's going to be a lot of balancing needed to accomodate both.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 02, 2020, 05:28:18 PM
Cool.  And that reminded me to add game controller support.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: MrmediamanX on May 02, 2020, 07:51:34 PM
nice, is the title a 3d mesh?
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 02, 2020, 09:06:57 PM
nice, is the title a 3d mesh?

The title was created with Logoist 4. A new version came out recently so I bought the upgrade and wanted to test it out. I've used this before for stuff like this - even if it's really not what it's for - but just cause i'm reasonably comfortable with the software.

The original one I was using prior to doing this is shown in the image. That's still on my WIP YouTube video as it's a few weeks old now. Glad I replaced it as it doesn't work as well as this one.

I'm now mostly finished with the gamepad support for both the menu's and the Infinity mode now. Still need to work out how it's going to work well with the Asteroids game mode, where keys work much better. Definitely works with both an Xbox and a PS4 game controller now. Just need to find out about other gamepads but I'm cautiously optimistic. I've never put gamepad controls in a game prior to today so it was a shed-load of tinkering.

Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 02, 2020, 09:12:50 PM
I was dreading having to come up with some kind of splash screen for game loading because I'm rubbish at that kind of stuff. Then I had a brain wave and just put together all the logos and sprites into a game room to do something usable and then just screengrab the game while displaying it. Then i just snipped out the title bar of the game window and adjusted the size slightly.

About an hours worth of work to tick off another milestone.

If I'd tried to create something with a graphics program it would have probably taken me a whole day.

You can see the end result below and obviously the title bar no longer exists in the game image.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: iWasAdam on May 03, 2020, 08:26:52 AM
Quote
Then I had a brain wave and just put together all the logos and sprites into a game room to do something usable and then just screengrab
You've got it well and truly nailed - brilliant stuff :)
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 08, 2020, 12:24:27 AM
Build 9 of my game in action on this video. Next one should be finished game, I hope. This looks slow because I use Snagit to record it as video, which is not the ideal solution. Game plays a fair bit quicker but you can still see there are some bugs to fix with the aliens and their weaponry.

Not all  the power-ups work yet either so the HUD is a bit spartan of any real meaningful information. You can shoot bad guys and aliens now, though. That's always good, right? :)

This is playing the game in Infinity mode, where you can just pick up a compatible gamepad (xbox or ps4) and use the dual sticks to play the game as shown. Once I fix Asteroids mode properly then you can switch to use that and play as an asteroids remake instead. You can still use keys and a mouse for Infinity mode but it won't play half as good, I think. I suspect i won't even bother having gamepad controls for the Asteroid mode at all.

Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: iWasAdam on May 08, 2020, 08:24:19 AM
Very nice. I've got a Blasteroids feeling :)
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 08, 2020, 09:35:44 AM
Cool.  Some nice particle effects there.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 08, 2020, 11:18:40 AM
Cool.  Some nice particle effects there.

Little secret. They're not particle effects. Well, they are. But they're not. Erm, basically there's 2 different ones currently for both the player and asteroid impacts. The asteroid impact is 10 white sprite dots created at a random 0-359 circumference of where the shot impacts. These are given various alpha fades for different grey tints and also given different speeds before they fade out after around a second. I did the same thing with the player one but with various shades of red, orange and yellow in there for a more visual explosion rather than dust impact.

Technically that's really how particle effects are actually done in the background and I'm reinventing the wheel but they were just a quick work-in until I came back to zarjaz things up a bit. I can do that with just adding a few more sprites and maybe letting them run further and faster to bump it up just by editing a few numbers. I'll probably do something like that with the aliens blowing up or maybe teleporting in, as I don't like how they just appear right now, even though I've set a range around the player that they can't just appear in for an insta-kill. I always hated that about other asteroid games.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 08, 2020, 12:12:02 PM
That's a definition of a particle, that's how I'm doing mine.  :D
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 09, 2020, 02:46:10 AM
6 essential tasks to go now. 9 optional, if I have time.

Itch page set up and just ready to upload finished download.

Me still panicking that I'm not gonna get this game done in time /whimper

:-)
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 09, 2020, 02:51:59 AM
Tidied up a lot of stuff and actually put in a better HUD. Old one looked terrible as it was just three drawn rectangles. The big rectangle in the centre of the new screen is specifically for the time limited power ups. This gives a visual representation of how long you've got left using them. Most power ups are just instant effect though, and affect stuff like shot damage, ship speed, shot speed, bonus score and the obligatory smart bomb.

If you can find the power-ups then you also have 2-way, 4-way firing and a solid-shot - which absolutely decimates anything it touches and doesn't die until it leaves the screen.

It's also quite tough and i'm going to leave it that way . More fun.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: 3DzForMe on May 17, 2020, 07:29:53 AM
Hi Xerra, we tried playing your game 2 different ways - just on the laptop and via a HDMI port to a big telly.

It 'seemeed' slower on the big telly - it could just be a Father Ted moment (sorry if that's lost on you)….

Could you have 'speed' settings in the options for the spaceship - slow, medium, fast?  I only ask coz the spaceship seemd to go more than fast enuf on the laptop. Yeah I know, just play it on the laptop ;)  ;D

Could you release a 'debug' version with a FPS counter showing - this would confirm if my laptop is sweating when trying to run your game on the telly.

Me and my daughter have had a blast (literally...) playing your game, haven't beat wave 3 yet though.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 17, 2020, 12:01:10 PM
Hi Xerra, we tried playing your game 2 different ways - just on the laptop and via a HDMI port to a big telly.

It 'seemeed' slower on the big telly - it could just be a Father Ted moment (sorry if that's lost on you)….

Could you have 'speed' settings in the options for the spaceship - slow, medium, fast?  I only ask coz the spaceship seemd to go more than fast enuf on the laptop. Yeah I know, just play it on the laptop ;)  ;D

Could you release a 'debug' version with a FPS counter showing - this would confirm if my laptop is sweating when trying to run your game on the telly.

Me and my daughter have had a blast (literally...) playing your game, haven't beat wave 3 yet though.

Yeah, it's easy enough to do both requests. I'm not sure as to if me increasing the max speed of the ship and also putting an fps counter into the game would be allowed as bug fixes, though. I'll generate one anyway as V1.01 because I think i can host it as well as the competition version so people know which version should be used.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 17, 2020, 12:04:33 PM
I just received my XBox Controller clone (which is very comfy and at £18.99 good value).  Works very well with the game, I see your game is like Robotron with twin sticks for independant movement and firing directions.  The game plays well so looking forward to getting a high score or two.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 17, 2020, 12:31:37 PM
I just received my XBox Controller clone (which is very comfy and at £18.99 good value).  Works very well with the game, I see your game is like Robotron with twin sticks for independant movement and firing directions.  The game plays well so looking forward to getting a high score or two.

That's great to know it works on clone devices as well as the original ones. I'm almost embarrassed the game plays so much better when using a controller. I knew I had to start supporting them in games at some point, and this was the ideal game to do it on, but I'll be thinking a lot more on control systems and how mouse/keyboard and gamepad can all be used without compromising on game difficulty etc.

Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 17, 2020, 01:06:54 PM
Hi Xerra, we tried playing your game 2 different ways - just on the laptop and via a HDMI port to a big telly.

It 'seemeed' slower on the big telly - it could just be a Father Ted moment (sorry if that's lost on you)….

Had a further think on this and have now put in an fps counter in the top right corner. On my Mac it never goes below the 1500-ish mark but obviously delta-time is automatic in GMS2 so it's always going to play the same overall speed, it's just number-of-pixels that is going to make individual objects move at different speeds. See how that works for you.

As a consequence of this I did notice that I'd actually set up a PLAYER_MAX_SPEED macro and not used it correctly because it was set to 8 yet the player started off at 5. In the game the ">>" power up used to increment you by 0.5 each time you picked one up in the game but it always resets in the next stage. I'm thinking possibly I should have kept that active for the duration of a game and possibly the same with the shot damage and speed power ups. I might jig the game to do that after judging finishes because it's fairer on the player and the chances of being able to max out either setting is pretty low on early levels where the stage only has a few asteroids to deal with.

Anyway, at present I have modified the speed and also had to modify the player shots starting speed to compensate, otherwise they all stack up when you're moving in the same direction that you're firing. As a result this has made the game a bit easier which might be more forgiving for the keyboard/mouse players as well.

While I'm here I should possibly point out a few things that players might have not noticed thus far:

Powerups are:

Shot speed increase

Player speed increase

Score boost tokens (the dollar signs)

Shield (gives you 3 or 5 seconds)

Smart bomb which doesn't work the way you think. Each enemy and asteroids have a damage level. This bangs 5 points off each one. As most entities are less than that to start with, you'll find it does destroy most things. I was going to tinker more with this based on game level if I'd had a bit more time.


Limited time power ups - You can see a progress bar for their duration at the top of the screen:

2 directional shooting (compensating for whatever direction you fire in. Mainly because I could just half the angle by 180 :-) )

4 directional shooting (working the same way but on each 90' axis depending on your current rotation frame)

Super Damage - shots won't be destroyed after hitting anything so it does damage all the time it's impacting an entity and murders rocks big time. You can tell this is active as your shots go red.

I've been a bit tight on the time you have these power-ups as well but that makes it a bit more interesting trying to take advantage of them as much as possible while they are active.

There are 8 stages to the game and the level number determines which one you start on. The counting up will continue after stage 8 but the difficulty is capped there.

There are four different enemy types that can spawn and they are based on a timer which adjusts as the difficulty goes up. You can see the spawn areas of where an entity is going to appear by an exclamation mark appearing at the spawn point for a few seconds before it comes in. Green is a power up and red is an enemy.

Blobs are light grey balls and just appear and move at a random speed and just move towards the edge of the screen. They don't have any AI at all and are just an inconvenience. They don't shoot or change direction - so, cannon-fodder really.

Spikes are like balls but they will track on you if you get too close. They don't have any fire power, however, so you can outrun to a certain point and they will just carry on in their current direction until they leave the screen. Unless you get too close and they track on you again, of course.

Scouts are a bit more tricky. They lock onto you from a bit closer range than the spikes and will come after you a bit quicker. They're also armed and will fire every second or so.

Hunters are the nasty ones. They kind of look like a trivial-pursuit token holder and they have a much larger range to track and home in on you. They also fire a bit faster and move quicker. Avoid these or kill them from a distance, if possible.

Think that's pretty much it. A lot of this should hopefully be gradually learned from repeated play of the game to anyone who doesn't read this.

3DZ, if you give me your daughters name then I'll pop her name in the credits as one of the testers, if she'd like that. Sounds like she's played it more than the people I have listed already anyway. But I had to put the missus and my nephews name in somewhere :)

I'll have updated versions of the game uploaded onto Itch shortly. Please just use the 1.0 version for judging if you haven't downloaded it already, just so I don't break any rules with these tweaks.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 17, 2020, 01:07:21 PM
Quote
That's great to know it works on clone devices as well as the original ones. I'm almost embarrassed the game plays so much better when using a controller. I knew I had to start supporting them in games at some point, and this was the ideal game to do it on, but I'll be thinking a lot more on control systems and how mouse/keyboard and gamepad can all be used without compromising on game difficulty etc.

Not much point producing an XBox Controller clone if they don't work lol, it's a good quality clone.  Yes if you're going to require a twin stick in your game you must use a proper game controller.  I didn't really bother trying to use keyboard and mouse in your game because I knew it would be a horrible experience - I just waited until my controller arrived.

This is also a dilemma for me regards my own game now.  I don't require twin sticks like yours because my ship shoots in the direction it's facing.  I guess I could switch from a purely digital keyboard/D-Pad input to analogue mouse rotation and fire on the mouse button - plus analogue stick/buttons on the controller.  But on a laptop maybe somebody is trying to use the trackpad, I can't see that being a particularly statisfactory way to control a game, so maybe keep pure keyboard support too.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 17, 2020, 01:22:45 PM
This is also a dilemma for me regards my own game now.  I don't require twin sticks like yours because my ship shoots in the direction it's facing.  I guess I could switch from a purely digital keyboard/D-Pad input to analogue mouse rotation and fire on the mouse button - plus analogue stick/buttons on the controller.  But on a laptop maybe somebody is trying to use the trackpad, I can't see that being a particularly statisfactory way to control a game, so maybe keep pure keyboard support too.

Personally, if it's controlled just like asteroids, where left/right turn the ship and you can thrust with forward, then I'd stick with just the keyboard. I'd have an option for having braking enabled on the title screen as well just so players could decide if they were able to use down to slow the ship down (for less skilled players) or they had to do the traditional spin the ship 180' and accelerate in the opposite direction. This was what I had originally planned to have in Validius until the game evolved into more of a Robotron/Infinity wars thing.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 17, 2020, 01:39:18 PM
Quote
Personally, if it's controlled just like asteroids, where left/right turn the ship and you can thrust with forward, then I'd stick with just the keyboard. I'd have an option for having braking enabled on the title screen as well just so players could decide if they were able to use down to slow the ship down (for less skilled players) or they had to do the traditional spin the ship 180' and accelerate in the opposite direction. This was what I had originally planned to have in Validius until the game evolved into more of a Robotron/Infinity wars thing.

Yes keyboard works well, but of course you'd have more precision in rotation having a mouse/game controller option too.  Nah no brakes, that's what made Asteroids tricky - you could fly out of control if the trust was over-used lol.  Yes I plan on evolving my Vectors game too.  A shield has been added, you have a limited amount of power to activate a shield, when that is all used up you don't get a shield re-charge until the next level.  Also, after the entities break into the smallest pair on being shot instead of dividing into 2 again they excrete a deadly cell (which acts like a mine).  These 'mines' don't disappear until shot and destroyed, and even stay around from level to level so you better shoot them too or it's going to be hard to navigate.  I also want to add other game characters and powerups.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 17, 2020, 02:06:46 PM
How far off are you from completing your game now, Steve? I'm up for doing some testing for you. Erm, might be via Parallels of course :-)

Actually, you've got a Mac as well, don't you?

Either or, let me know if you do want some feedback when you've got something you're ready to show off.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 17, 2020, 02:15:54 PM
Updated version 1.01 for both OSX and Windows have been posted on Itch.IO

I have left a note there specifically saying to download V1.0 only for judging in the competition.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 17, 2020, 03:06:00 PM
Quote
How far off are you from completing your game now, Steve? I'm up for doing some testing for you. Erm, might be via Parallels of course :-)

Actually, you've got a Mac as well, don't you?

Either or, let me know if you do want some feedback when you've got something you're ready to show off.

Well the basic game's up and running and the UI, some silly things to sort out (entities appearing too near you at start) that kinda thing.  It complicates things a bit with world and screen positions for the polygons to worry about, but I'm getting my head around it lol. The 'mines' have to be implemented properly and then other characters to consider - and maybe other control options.  So a little while, it depends how much tweaking I do.

Thanks for the offer of testing and feedback, I'll post a version here when I think it's ready.  Yes I have Windows, MacOS and Linux systems here, and the game runs identical on all.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 17, 2020, 05:48:15 PM
When my game still had a scrolling background I was playing around with a function that basically looked at where my player sprite currently was, the X & Y size, and then allowed 100 pixels or so added to whatever angle it was considering to plant the next spawning entity. If the random number generated fell within that criteria then it would just go back and generate another one so that you couldn't have an unfair loss of life by a bad guy spawing on you. It kind of mutated after that as I was working on a room size instead, rather than the camera location within the room size but it did work. If interested I'll see if I can post the script as it may be worth trying to convert what it does into AGK for your game.

I implemented the shield at the start of a new life as well but originally my plan was to be careful with the spawns in case i didn't want a shield later one.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 17, 2020, 06:34:59 PM
Quote
When my game still had a scrolling background I was playing around with a function that basically looked at where my player sprite currently was, the X & Y size, and then allowed 100 pixels or so added to whatever angle it was considering to plant the next spawning entity.

What I'm doing is a bit different though so wouldn't apply.  As an example the space ship has a top mid point 0.0, -4.25, and the bottom mid point 0.0, 5.25 as if drawn on graph paper.  The models are then rotated, scaled, translated (into screen space) then drawn.  Screen positions don't come into it until they are transformed (and I'm doing this manually) so just drawing lines basically (plus adding a sprite for glow on each point of the model).  2.5D I guess lol.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: 3DzForMe on May 17, 2020, 07:07:39 PM
@Xerra, my daughter appreciates the effort involved in making games, and went as far as to say you must be Very good at coding (she's aware of the hours I've expended on my 'efforts' to date.) My daughters name is Eve, and she's blown away by your offer of being in the credits. As Brucey would've said 'good game, good game'. The different coloured exclamation marks (power ups / baddies) is a help. ;)
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 17, 2020, 07:13:58 PM
Quote
@Xerra, my daughter appreciates the effort involved in making games, and went as far as to say you must be Very good at coding (she's aware of the hours I've expended on my 'efforts' to date.)

That's great to hear, I always hear of people her age wanting all games to be free, because it takes no effort.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on May 17, 2020, 07:37:44 PM
@Xerra, my daughter appreciates the effort involved in making games, and went as far as to say you must be Very good at coding (she's aware of the hours I've expended on my 'efforts' to date.) My daughters name is Eve, and she's blown away by your offer of being in the credits. As Brucey would've said 'good game, good game'. The different coloured exclamation marks (power ups / baddies) is a help. ;)

I'm not that good, I only wish. I've got a friend who's taught me a lot over the last couple of years that's improved my games a fair bit. I had the worse discipline ever for someone who wanted to make games until recently. I counted once and found I had at least 20 that I'd abandoned at various stages of development. I still remember getting 95% of the way through writing an IOS game using Swift almost Four years ago then just realising it wasn't working and throwing in the towel. Should have known a long time before then.

Next revision I do I'll put a mention for Eve into Validius :)
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on May 17, 2020, 07:58:54 PM
Quote
I'm not that good, I only wish.

Don't be so modest, last time I looked you had completed more SB Competition entries than anybody.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: 3DzForMe on May 17, 2020, 09:09:38 PM
Quote
I'm not that good, I only wish.
   Validius has us coming back for me and competing against each other - even hooking it up to the big telly!  Wish no more, you're there  ;)
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on June 07, 2020, 02:50:49 PM
I've updated the Mac build today to get it through the x-code compiler and also fix up a couple of the mono sounds and title tune. While I was at it I removed a load of assets and other stuff that was in the project to optimise it a fair bit. Ironically the game is a little larger but I think that's due to the sound and music files converted for stereo that weren't done orignally.

Oh, and I put that credit in for your lass, 3dz. You won't see it until I update the windows build though as I've only done the Mac one for now.

I seem to have a few donations being made recently for the game that have come from someone viewing the game via Syntax Bomb, which is a nice bonus. Also from one of our contributors but I won't say who just in case they prefer to be anonymous. Thank you anyway.
 
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on June 07, 2020, 03:37:29 PM
Quote
Wish no more, you're there  ;)

Yes, you just need to work on your artwork a bit now.   ;)
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on June 07, 2020, 11:52:41 PM
Yes, you just need to work on your artwork a bit now.   ;)

If only I had some even limited talent for drawing then I'd be a lot happier. I can spend hours tinkering with a sprite and still find it looks crap compared to someone who can draw that would take less than a minute. I know learning is great but there has to be some kind of ability in the first place to make it work. I'm really that bad. Even my handwriting is terrible as it's too slow a process and I would rather type.

I'll still try and do what I can but I'd much prefer to either work with an graphics artist or find graphics that suit what I need, to be honest.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Steve Elliott on June 08, 2020, 12:01:59 AM
Well don't beat yourself up too much, your entry was completely bug free as far as I can see, with lots of gameplay and challenge - so you won!

I know you've bought-in some artwork before, perhaps that's a solution.  Or maybe look online for pixel art tutorials - plus Adam is our Syntax Bomb Resident Art Guy for advice.
Title: Re: Reboot Comp Entry: Validius
Post by: Xerra on June 28, 2020, 09:56:24 PM
I've uploaded the windows version of the most recent patch now.
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