SyntaxBomb - Indie Coders

General Category => Worklogs => Topic started by: Matty on October 01, 2020, 11:03:32 PM

Title: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 01, 2020, 11:03:32 PM
Good Morning Syntaxbombers.

This is the game I've been working on for the last two weeks.

Thanks.
Matt

Link:
https://gamejolt.com/games/knightsofgrumthorr/541395


Image:
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg01.jpg)
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 03, 2020, 12:44:54 AM
Oh...if you try it you will notice the soldiers have voice acted lines

If you would like to you are welcome to record on your phine yourself saYing rts type things 'Yes' 'Ready' 'At once' etc and send me a copy of the file and I'll put your voice in the game.

Thanks.

Note. It is not finished I am in the stage of filling it out with content.
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Xerra on October 03, 2020, 12:48:14 AM
Is this finished already, Matty?
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 05, 2020, 04:21:10 AM
Far from it Xerra.  Adding heaps of content.

Making maps. Scripted maps.  Adding creatures.  Refining missions. Fixing bugs. Adding more voices.  Enhancing the editor.  Lots to do and doing.
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 06, 2020, 09:08:17 PM
This large monster is taking a while to paint...too many frames to draw.....

About 20 frames per 5 directions - so 100 frames in total......

(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/sworddemon001.png)

Rest of frames drawn...
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Derron on October 06, 2020, 09:19:49 PM
(https://imgur.com/jKQOv3e.png)
ohhh noees, they cut into their knee!!


(https://imgur.com/DLUIJ8P.png)
snake tongue sword?



In other words: on the first glance the sprites looked quite good - then I had a closer look and it already seems you are "rushing" through the sprite creation -- lines look like "roughly sketched" instead of being rather polished.
You know that many people do use "liquify" or other effects to move elements on high res sprites?

You might even think of "spine animation" (not for the engine, but for some more high res sprites which you can render/scale down at/to lower res then).

So think about way to "optimize" your workflow, to help creating assets - hand drawing 100 frames per unit is ... too much. Create basic shapes, move arms, bend stuff - and then manually correct stuff no longer correct. you can do this all with your wacom (or whatever) pen, so it is still "drawing", you just "copy paste" a lot of stuff.
"copy paste" ensures you have similar shading along the frames. Polish the single "parts" -- and combine them to poses.

(https://imgur.com/ztuXNtK.png)
It seems your sprite is WIP - yet my above notices are still valid.

It also is a perfect example of "splitting": if you had the wings "extra" you could animate your wings - and separately animate "breathing/idling" - then combine the separate sprites, add some missing pixels here and there ...


Color is "demon fleshy" - think that suits (depends on the background) yet it might need some more "metal/armor" to not look "dull/monochromatic".

bye
Ron

Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 06, 2020, 10:01:23 PM
I agree with everything you've said.

I'm not sure I have it in me to redo everything though since the game currently looks like this - with a fairly consistent feel to the graphics:

(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg01.jpg)

(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg02.jpg)

(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg03.jpg)

(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg04.jpg)

(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg05.jpg)
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Derron on October 06, 2020, 10:50:41 PM
learn to like margins and paddings: do not put your texts so near to decoration / boundaries of boxes.

in the boxes (and dialogues/monologues), the text has no anti-aliasing ?


work with shadows.
(https://imgur.com/DDARgMK.png)

This looks like a "mess" to me - are these trees, or bushes (I know that you drew trees...)?
To make things look "tall" you might consider drawing a little gradient overlay over the tree so it gets "darker" the more to the ground it goes.



Also I already mentioned "team colors" - if you plan to have similar looking units for the "opponents", then you will sooner or later receive complaints about the lack of "distinguishability" (who is yours and who belongs to the enemy?)
Your visual style is more for a "RPG" game ... meet other people ... etc. But if you control "armies" you need to decide who is yours and who is someone else in milliseconds.


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: blinkok on October 06, 2020, 11:32:05 PM
You certainly are prolific Matty.
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Steve Elliott on October 07, 2020, 02:07:43 AM
Quote
This looks like a "mess" to me - are these trees, or bushes (I know that you drew trees...)?

I've said it before, I think you should abandon your graphics tablet and instead pixel art your graphics.  Using a graphics tablet you're getting a very soft (and no detail) look to your graphics, scaling them down doesn't hide that fact.
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 07, 2020, 03:07:15 AM
Perhaps....I've already painted these however:

(not going to do them all again...)

(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/units0.gif)
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: iWasAdam on October 07, 2020, 06:01:14 AM
I'm not saying anything.  ;D

Except....
If you post, and people take the trouble to reply. then take note.
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: MikeHart on October 07, 2020, 07:42:13 AM
...
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: iWasAdam on October 07, 2020, 11:50:49 AM
ok. I'm going in....  :o

Can I ask you what your drawing method is for the sprites?
It's got to be one of the following:
1. 3d models rendered and then drawn over
2. some form of existing 2d sprites that you are drawing over

I'm sort of guessing it's #2. Probably "Diablo 2" as the base sprites?

I just went and found some diablo sprites and sized them and guess what? Yep they fitted! So we're talking Diablo 2. That's a great choice as they don't come better than that :)

I thought those trees looked familiar...

You basic single sprite size is approx 180x180 - too big for you style - you want to use scaling with 'nearest neighbour' selected to give you (as Derron right said) pixel edges

But I would also say don't give up on the tablet - you definitely wont be able to do that with a mouse. Just learn a bit on how to use it :)

On the left you can see diablo then yours. then my version:
(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/sworddemon001.png?w=837)
use the rescaling to make everything go to pixels.

the top ver was just me adding a tiny bit of shadow and highlight.
the bottom version I added a single pixel stroke as it shows you what need tidying up

I'm going to end with this little gem:
Quote
(not going to do them all again...)
quantity over quality - that always wins followers!
And the usual Matty quote: "poor me, I don't give a turd sandwich. I Am The greatest. You all hate me. Boo hoo!"

Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: iWasAdam on October 07, 2020, 11:54:39 AM
Matty's guide to making a bar-b-q:
(https://m0.joe.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/22125344/bbq-pit.png)
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 07, 2020, 02:22:41 PM
I will consider your approach.

Re the base figure - it's not diablo nor any existing game but rather my own 3d models I rendered out in 2007 which I still have thousands of frames of animation gathering dust on my hard drive, so I thought I'd use them.  However I have drawn over them and discarded 70% of the frames per model.
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 07, 2020, 06:50:35 PM
Thanks for the tips...it looks better now.

As per Derron - modified the margins/padding on the text boxes....and as per iWasAdam - I've updated all the sprites to have a slightly different shading effect which is what you seem to have done.

You can see the screenshots of it now here:

And also a comparison of the 'before' and 'after' sprites for a handful of them I'll show you:

Before:
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/elfelite0.png)

After:
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/elfelite1.png)

Before:
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/sworddemon0.png)

After:
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/sworddemon1.png)

Before:
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/heroskeleton0.png)

After:
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/heroskeleton1.png)

New Screenshots:
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg01.jpg)
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg02.jpg)
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg03.jpg)
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg04.jpg)
(https://www.mattiesgames.com/media/kg05.jpg)
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Derron on October 07, 2020, 08:09:41 PM
(https://imgur.com/zFNaeKa.png)

Is this taken from your actual spritesheet? Asking as the wings are cut on top... some even are... looking like a rectangular area was deleted "in the middle" (of the top wing area)


Gradient improved it already - yet I assume there could be done more, just am not sure what now.


Why didn't you try to use your 3d models - and polish them (texture painting + low poly --- can still result in OK/good renders)


bye
Ron
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 07, 2020, 08:35:16 PM
Thanks Derron - edit I might have to fix the large demon monster...may not have accounted for his extra size when altering the image (I wrote a few programs in blitz3d to shade the images - apply texture to sphere with planar mapping, light the sphere, render then combine with original image as an overlay...)

Unfortunately I am unable to use the 3d models anymore.....the software they all were for (unusual formats) was SoftImage XSI which while expensive only ever worked on WinXP....and I don't have a working winXP machine anymore.....

So...all I have now is thousands of rendered images....that are low quality however I can draw over the top of them....

Here's a video by the way of the game in action... slow frame rate due to fraps video capture....

Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: blinkok on October 07, 2020, 08:58:27 PM
Quote
and I don't have a working winXP machine anymore.....

Have you tried running it in compatibility mode?
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 07, 2020, 10:53:52 PM
It's more complex than merely compatiblity mode....they no longer operate their servers which means I can't activate the software anymore....so $800AUD software unusable.  Still....i've got other means...
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 08, 2020, 09:48:19 AM
I've still got to make this 'user friendly' but there is a custom scripted map editor which I'd built and am trying to make easier to use for the user.....

This is what I've got so far....

It's what I make the maps in myself.

The tricky part for users is that although the triggers are 'click together' they do so using a type of 'programming language' - a very simple one.

You basically click to start creating a trigger, then scroll up or down with the mousewheel to change the currently selected option.

Eg the first option is "if bring" or "if kill" - which after clicking brings up a next condition which is "more than, less than, exactly" followed by a "this many:" value, a creature type, and a location on the map (area) - all created by clicking/scrolling the mousewheel and clicking on the map....

Some of the options do not always go together- but the system is smart enough to remove them from the trigger when it gets populated at the top of the list.

For example if you create an 'immediate defeat' trigger then the secondary part of the trigger is not used.

Once the triggers and map are created it saves it as a text file in a tmp folder on the computer which can then be edited further if you wish by hand manually...and then copied into the 'customcampaigns.txt' file.

All of this is documented heavily in the text files in the game's media/txt file area.

You might find it interesting.....as programmers.

Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Derron on October 08, 2020, 10:02:51 AM
at 480p (this is what youtube offers as max for me) I cannot read any of the text - except the big ones in the overlay :)


WarCraft III had a popular and "powerful" map editor. Maybe think about the ability for custom sprite set overrides - so people could add their own units, buildings, ...



bye
Ron
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 08, 2020, 10:22:35 AM
Yes..currently that too is already possible.

Every thing in the game is driven by text files in the media/txt folder.

Including sprites - everything.

So - it would be possible to create an entirely different game just by replacing all the contents of the media/ folders (media/gui, media/environment, media/audio, media/units, media/txt)

Each of the files contains self documentation in the header of the file.

Eg: attached
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: iWasAdam on October 08, 2020, 11:07:40 AM
Remember when you offered your code 'free' when no one wanted to pay for it and then no one wanted to look at it...

Well. No one will ever want to edit a text file. therefore your editor (if it's used by the public) must be exact, graphical, and above all simple and obvious.

OK. pics critique suggestions:
(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/screenshot-2020-10-08-at-10.55.46.png?w=699)
1. your fire is horrible cubes!
2. your wall looks.... go figure
3. you have a map showing the view area which doesn't scale when you change the scale - sloppy
4. you have 3 completely different viewpoints with the graphics:
 - your figures are isometric
 - your wall is - well f*cked really
 - your house is tiny and another view angle.
You MUST use the same for everything or it just looks wrong. if it is your figures, they are isometric (taken from a 45/60 degree angle - it makes sense then to use isometric as you base design grid. see previous posts about scales and making it 'look' right



(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/screenshot-2020-10-08-at-10.57.32-1.png?w=856)
1. your -'wall' is huge looks alien to all the other graphics - it crap admit it!
2. tour racks are also crap - are they flying?
3. your trees are bonsai I take it
your characters are the key - base everything from them. they will dictate the size and scale of things. You got a basic map grid of about the right size - just your scalings for everything else if not brilliant

fog of war: virtually not used these days - unless it is for parts you haven't visited - once visited they don't fade back to black

There is lots going on - LOTS - TOO MUCH GOING ON. Think one battle small amount of characters. quality vs quantity

Your color palette is grey. everything has the same flat tone. reds are dull, greens are dull, it's like someone turned off all the lights and contrast. the result is just a muddy look. when there are lots of things interacting - all you get is a sea of mud and a wall of disjointed sound - grey...

Here's some pics for you to think over:
(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/tumblr_inline_ouuq70nkac1qdiwz3_1280.gif?w=512)
(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/iu-12.png?w=340)
(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/iu-13.png?w=340)
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: iWasAdam on October 08, 2020, 03:42:04 PM
ok, downloaded extracted - what a lot of files....  :P

here is a correctly rescaled version of your graphics with light and shadow applied so you can see what I mean. The light direction is shown as is the basic shadow construct:

(https://vjointeractive.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/test.png?w=751)

There's a lot that can and wont be said. It shows what a little love can do with your own graphics.

As I said. think small and done brilliantly rather that here's loads of not very well done stuff


Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Derron on October 08, 2020, 06:52:49 PM
a "real" shadow is hard to implement ... which is why often lighting is done from "top" or a "near" angle... to avoid these lengthy shadows - which would else most probably raise issues (overlapping, crossing...).

Also the camera POV IWasAdam has shown is hiding too much stuff "behind".

There must be a reason for the old 2d games to have these kind of "top view" /.
(https://imgur.com/uvL6Hwe.png)

But ... it seems as if they do not use something like "isometric" (like in IWasAdam's image) but more a "dimetric" one (the rectangles are less "high" between top and bottom Y).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axonometric_projection


Coming back to WarCraft 2 - they exaggerate proportions of characters for a reason: so an arm can still be identified as arm - it is easier to animate then (more to move - not just 1-2 pixels). Also it is easier to allow for team colours (you know I mentioned them multiple times now).
Always think of exaggeration - even for buildings. It makes stuff easier to identify.

Think of a bakery-building. It needs a BIG brezel somewhere and you identify it in one blink of your eyes. A Tower with some cannons on top is easier to identify than a tower which has some windows in which 2-3 pixels of cannons are visible.. Maybe even just have a "platform" with a movable fat cannon on top.

Trees --- just check out your trees ... and the warcraft trees. They look "less muddy" (remember what IWasAdam wrote about colour palettes?). In your screenshots I saw you already placed a palette next to your dragon/demon unit ... just improve that already used approach!



bye
Ron
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: iWasAdam on October 09, 2020, 06:32:23 AM
interesting points.
I am not sure using warcraft 1 with it's mix of style is helping matty - more likely reinforce him.

warcraft 2 tried to be follow a more unified look,

orcs and humans tried to ditch the isometric for a more top down approach before 3d edged in.

But as Derron says the characters are defined. there are not too many on any screen at a time

Command and Conquer is also another good thing to look at:
(https://mp1st.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/command-and-conquer-remastered-iamge-1-l.png)

the two main things to take from here is scale and color.

But both the examples have one general things in common:
you have a weak 'you'. That needs to be built up in some way (collect resources) then go an beat up a more powerful foe.
You select your 'men' they go and do your bidding.

Looking at the videos there are also issues with the basic game mechanics. I watched figures go through walls, etc. these are all fundamental issues - they should have been solved before even thinking on piling stuff on top of them.
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: iWasAdam on October 09, 2020, 06:37:57 AM
oh yep - as for shadows.
I was using them to show where the light is coming from, but it also shows how to scale shadows and generally how they can be created.

if you were going to use them my personal recommendation would be to
draw the base map
then draw the shadows
finally draw everything on top of the shadows - figures, walls etc
:)
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Derron on October 09, 2020, 07:29:31 AM
I am not sure using warcraft 1 with it's mix of style is helping matty - more likely reinforce him.

this should have been a WC2 screenshot - if I wasn't absolutely wrong.


this is WC1:
(https://imgur.com/W5y5og5.png)

bye
Ron
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: iWasAdam on October 09, 2020, 10:37:18 AM
now this is good:
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: blinkok on October 10, 2020, 06:46:03 AM
Would it be possible for you to post one of your XSI model files?
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 10, 2020, 01:10:53 PM
Re xsi models...not really.  Ive decided to forget all about them.  Just the renders I keep on to.
Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 11, 2020, 03:17:17 PM
My game's gameplay is based more closely around the gameplay of these two games:





In the sense that it is:

1. Mission/scenario based
2. There is no construction of structures in game
3.  Often your starting soldiers are the most you have in a battle

It is about overcoming an enemy force in a defined scenario with a set of soldiers to go with that scenario.

Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 15, 2020, 09:00:28 PM
The gamejolt page now includes a manual for editing maps and also editing the units.txt file to create/change units in the game.

Also - I've added some new creatures...and some maps.

Fixed a few bugs.

Optimised the code.

Created some code that optimises the game running should it start using too much processor time...at 90% of desired frame time being used it starts to alter a few things, and if it exceeds 110% of desired frame time then it does more...so far on my machine this works well....

Increased unit cap by a factor of 10x. (2000 soldiers can run around on the map instead of a mere 200)

Altered some trigger problems.

Added a bestiary to the front page menu.

Title: Re: Knights of Grumthorr
Post by: Matty on October 21, 2020, 08:08:41 AM
Greetings.....

I'll leave this here I think....

(https://www.mattiesgames.com/art/advertisement01.jpg)

Link:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1443190/Knights_of_Grumthorr/?beta=0
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