October 2012

Can’t think of an appropriate pun about hurricanes

Between work, school, halloween costume, and job hunting, I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to work on the game.  The past few days, however, have been excellent for that thanks to hurricane Sandy.  All the roads around me are flooded and work has been duty-section only, which means that it’s finally computer time, and I’m all caught up on Hulu.
Since the last update, I’ve spent most of my time trying to make something that can handle events, and a dialogue-box thingy.  I started the framework for the bosses, but got sidetracked by all the stuff that has to lead up to the boss.  I worked on the walking-backwards thing, but in the end was dissatisfied with how it looked.  Instead, if the cursor is behind the guy while you’re running, the “aim” defaults to a little above and in front of the guy.  If you’re standing still, it’s impossible to aim behind you, since he faces the cursor.  The thing with moving his arms as you aim is something I’d still like to do, along with maybe moving his head to have him look at the cursor, but after spending hours trying to cut Tim’s head off in photoshop for all the frames of his various animations, I decided that this will be something that happens after I move away from using Braid sprites.
Instead of an electrocution and on-fire animation to mount to the enemies, I think I’ll wait until I get to the levels that actually have fire and electricity, and make separate animations for those enemies to make it look better, and save on time.
Along with that, I need to make a stun animation still.  The pitchfork is supposed to throw the enemy, and when he hits the ground, he’s stunned for a second or two.  …I’ll get to it.
Also, I’ve started the basic level design for the Japan level.  The art is all tile-based, which means the collision boxes are too, but this is only to make everything easier.  End result will be something hand-drawn with collision boxes placed in the appropriate spots.  If you want to take a look around, don’t go into the room with the samurai until the end, because the doors will close behind you, and won’t reopen until you defeat him.  And right now he’s just a picture, so you won’t be able to.
So, today’s goal will be to finish the behavior for the samurai, so he can actually be killed.  Wish i had some better animations, and I actually spent a while trying to find some rips of N, but in the end, I’ll just stick to what I’ve got.

Speaking of N, they’ve got a pretty cool site, and it has a couple tutorials about design and whatnot.
Metanet Software
Anyhow, back to coding.  Here’s hoping my apartment doesn’t float away.  Hell, if I get lucky, I might get tomorrow off of work too!

Guns, Burns, and Steel

Finished the last of the weapons earlier.  All of the melee attacks look pretty bad; I pretty much just took the mind-blast animation and colored it- black and light blue for the prod, brown for the pitchfork, gray for the katana and sword.  The western pistol, the mob pistol, and the rifle all shoot the same type of bullet, and the charged mind-blast looks the same as the regular mind-blast except it’s purple.  The charged mind-shield doesn’t have an energy drain and acts a little different from the standard one.  I’m not sure the energy-bar is as intuitive as I was hoping for, and since it’s only used in the one weapon, I’m considering some alternative approaches.
The roving melee enemy has been made invincible for this build so you guys can play around with the different weapons without killing him too easily.  Specifically the charged psychic weapons, since they’re instant-kill.
Before I can move on to unique enemy behaviors (that is, flying enemies and bosses), there are a couple things I want to finish off:
– A stun behavior for enemies hit by the prod and whip
– An electrocuted animation to mount to enemies stunned by the prod
– An on-fire animation to mount to enemies (and the player, I suppose) hit by molotov
– A psychic on-fire animation to mount to enemies hit by the charged psychic weapons
– Support for the player to walk backwards if you’re trying to shoot something in the direction opposite that of movement
– Some sort of arms-holding-a-weapon to mount to an armless player that rotate around based off of the mouse position when firing ranged weapons (not a priority)

These will likely take a long-ass time, but in the end, I think it’ll vastly improve the look and feel of combat.  Not to mention that they’ll give me something to focus on instead of moving on to the boss behaviors.

I also wanted to leave you with a link I found the other day about the software that had to be specifically engineered for the movie Tron Legacy for the sole purpose of visuals.  It’s pretty neat seeing some of the behind the scenes programming at work:
Jtnimoy – Tron Legacy

The List Entry

I’ve spent a while working on the mind shield weapon, and it’s undergone many different iterations-
1) a globe of energy surrounding the player, blocking all incoming attacks
2) a directional shield while holding down the mouse button; on release, it fires a projectile and dissipates
3) a directional shield while holding down the button; on release, it explodes and damages everything around the player
4) a directional shield while holding down the button that explodes only if the “energy” runs out
5) a directional shield while holding down the button that explodes when energy runs out, that can also be used to push and damage enemies
That’s where it’s at right now, and I think I’m done fooling around with it.  Give it a shot and let me know what you think; I’m still open to suggestions.
I had to implement an energy bar for this, which forced me to finally get around to the health bar.  You still can’t die, but the health bar empties as you are attacked by enemies.
Next up is the psychic whip, which is the last of the special weapons.  Everything after that can essentially be copied and pasted from other weapon templates I’ve created, which should be a pretty simple process.

I found myself particularly bored at work the other day, and I started thinking about the process involved with going from where I am now to a finished, selling product:
1) Finish all the templates for weapons, enemies, and special routines
2) Finish the overall storyline for the game; develop a working prototype
3) Contact an artist and begin negotiations for graphics.  I already have a guy in mind, but I’ll certainly find a couple backups in the meantime
4) Put together a working demo of one of the levels, with finished graphics (probably the nightmare level, since it showcases enough of the weapon, abilities, and atmostphere to be generally representative)
5) Create a Kickstarter for the project to help pay for the artist and musician
6) Once the visuals are mostly complete, contact a musician to commission for a soundtrack (I want to make sure they’ll have a good idea what sort of atmosphere to go for)
7) Once a fully completed, playable demo level is finished, contact various Indie Game blogs and groups and start whoring myself out
8) Look into getting a booth for the Indie Showcase in PAX East (or any similar conventions I can find)
9) Create some basic merchandise, both for sale at PAX and as rewards for the Kickstarter (hats, coffee cups, phone cases, etc.  I mean, wouldn’t an Yggdrasil Facility coffee cup kick ass?)
10) Look everything over for final bugs, put my project up on Steam Greenlight, hoping enough interest will have been generated by the blogs, PAX, and Kickstarter to get “greenlit.”
11) If Steam fails, find some nondescript software-selling service to put my game up on.
12) Hope I make enough money to at least break even.

I’m hoping the process doesn’t take more than the next two years or so.  The longest ones will be 1, 2, and 3.   The programming will be intensive, and there will have to be a lot of back-and-forthing with the artist to make sure it ends up looking the way I want it to.
Also, at some point, I’m going to have to stop posting playable EXEs and specific details on this site.  Can’t give away too much now, can I?  I’ll probably have a sandbox level where I can post new items and enemies to get some playtesting from people, but that’ll have to be the extent of it.
I’m really looking forward to everything; Indie Game: The Movie was a super-boost of motivation to get this going.  I found it really easy to relate to Phil Fish and Edmund Mcmillan, and I want to hope that I’m just as capable of finishing a project of this magnitude as they are.

Peanut Butter Sandwich

I’ve been talking up Indie Game: The Movie to people lately, because it does such an amazing job of capturing the feelings and the substance of the people behind the indie games: the thought processes, the emotions, the desires, and the intentions.  It’s so awesome to be able to sit passenger in the brains of the teams behind Braid, Fez, and Super Meat Boy.  Go out and buy it, really.
But if you don’t want to drop any money on it, you should take a look at this.  There was a PBS special on indie games, and watching it feels kind of like Indie Game: The Movie: The Lite Beer.  It’s not as personal, but it still does a great job of portraying the intricacies and purposes of indie game development.

I don’t want to set the world on fire

Actually, I do.  I got the molotov weapon implemented, though there are still a few bugs I’m trying to track down with it.  It just looks so awesome, I had to share.
Also fixed a couple issues with the whip, and made it so you can’t spam the attack button.
Also also, I discovered a weird, serious bug that so far hadn’t really presented itself.  The enemy was never noticing that it was on the ground because I’d stupidly misnamed a variable.  A simple typo could have been nigh-disastrous.  It’s a good thing I found it now.
I spent last night working with one of the guys from work to design the rest of the weapons.  The molotov ended up being more work than I was intending; I was hoping to get the rest of it done tonight, but I haven’t gotten more than a couple hours of sleep over the past day or so, and I can feel myself starting to come down with a cold (courtesy of the mandatory flu vaccination at work, I’m sure).
I’m going to go ahead and leave some EXEs with functional molotovs behind, and I’ll get some more done tomorrow.  In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll have that Ink Spots song stuck in my head.

EDIT 02OCT12 8:26pm-
Fixed everything with the molotovs.  Made it so they don’t get stuck on the edges anymore and don’t float around critter-blockers.  Made it so the further away you click, the further he throws it, and the more it spins as it moves through the air.  Made it so walking in fire damages the player (though you can’t tell, because the player is invincible, so far), and have a pretty good framework set up for future projectile weapons.  Didn’t get a whole lot of time to work on it today, so just a mini-update after a new upload.  More to come. I promise.