Concept artist and amateur coder.
The Madk Award for Excellence in Graphic Art
Awarded by madk on January 2, 2010
The "I Wish I Could Draw Like That" Award
Awarded by SonnyBone on January 2, 2010
The "I Would Pay Money For This" Award
Awarded by SonnyBone on January 2, 2010
The Graphics Wizard Award
Awarded by samel on December 15, 2009
Here’s what I was working on – a sort of Atlantis meets Rampart game with a hint of Scorched Earth and TD. Waves of enemies assault from the flanks, lobbing projectiles at the peaceful potato growing Atlantians, eroding their island.
I was feature creeping faster than I could work as usual. While I had something playable by the time of the deadline, it didn’t feel right to submit it formally. So here’s an informal preview.
It’s still missing a lot of stuff, like unit variation (air stuff is needed to force the player to adapt his aim) and level balance, a Game Over check… and more stuff listed in the ingame ToDo list.
Time spent: Dead ends >> Code > Art >>> Sound. I used BlitzMax.
I ran into a dead end with my first project, a Yaoi dungeon crawler (dungeon “master” *wink wink*). Something about minimal outfits being reveled?
With maybe a third of the time left I started on an Atlantis meets Rampart game.
The story is that they are potato farmers. Hostile forces assault from the sea, the peninsula and air. The island shrinks (becomes minimal?) as it is destructible and if the bottom gravel is removed the whole column sinks. The player gains income from potato farms and some multiplier buildings, and may purchase turrets (fires like individual Scorched Earth tanks at end of turn). There are buildings and fortifications and other stuff to buy too.
Back to code/art/music.
I don’t know what a framework is, but I wrote one, I think. I will be my secret weapon. No man’s land may be littered by corpses of my former self, but this time I might just run a little farther before being mercilessly gunned down by optimistic time estimations and delusional designs.
Arne’s Tiny BlitzMax Screen-GUI-Text thing – Rushed together in 2 days.
I’ll be working with Blecki and BurnZeZ on something. Having waked up 5hrs after the theme announcement, my third idea (the first two were lost in the waking haze) was to do some sort of Defender (old arcade game) game set on a curved scrolling playield, but the idea mutated into some sort of Asteroids Choplifter Thrust thing which I called Asterceptor. Having scrolled through the pages here, I see a few sort of similar playfield ideas.
However, Blecki and BurnZeZ had some headstart and were already working on a… thing with floating blocks which sort of gravitate together and snap into larger continents. We don’t really know where we’re heading with it, but it could be interesting. Here’s one idea.
After having failed consistently with my 48 hr entries, I think I’d like to try my luck at the Jam, taking the role as gfx/art guy. My art can be seen on androidarts.com. Drop a comment below if you’re interested in writing that text that make things go. Things that are not broken. If you are smart, we can be strong!
Eherm. As a side note, I thought it would be fun if LD had some sort of mascot, so I drew a bunch of proposals. Not sure what to think of them though.
So, I didn’t submit my game because all that the player can do at the moment is exploring around. I was planning to do some enemies of course, but time (and wrist RSI) punched me in the face.
+ There are now 3 Fog levels, black, fogged, lit. Looked better when I blurred and colorized the fogged images a bit.
+ Scrolling screen around edges. Visibility is increased by the number of rays passing through a tile, meaning I get a sort of peripheral anti-aliasing I guess.
+ Scrolling centers on character moving near edge.
+ Selection box that blinks and follows moving characters.
+ Made some quick button gfx (idle, hover, pressed).
+ Started on bottom GUI. Mouse knows better if it’s on the map or not. GUI is selected tile/unit sensitive.
+ Sloppy gfx for some furniture (4). Noodled on other gfx as well.
+ Separated walk blocking and sight blocking.
+ Default Chryssalids spawn in Alien Containment area.
+ Lowered walls so they don’t exactly obscure the tile behind.
Aside from feature creeping as usual, my drawing hand RSI is making it very difficult to work. Here’s the progress so far on Chryssalid Escape. The goal of the game is to sneak out of Alien Containment and reach the exit. X-COM soldiers stand in your way, but perhaps they can be used to increase your numbers? See previous post for more details.
Screenshot. Bit of a mess. The perspective isn’t really working as good as isometric, and the walls should not be exactly 2 tiles high (they do overlap).
FEATURES SO FAR:
+ Ambient sounds. Very easy to make and remarkably similar to how X-COM sounds.
+ Footsteps. Other sounds are waiting to be used.
+ Graphics for 16 floor tiles, 5 wall tiles, and 4 Chryssalids. Using X-COM sprites as inspiration.
+ Map (128*64) in multiple layers that can be scrolled and edited a little ingame (mouse). Loads data from Photoshop Raw (which is my map editor).
+ Units (characters) with action points. Can Move, turn, strafe, collide.
+ Brute force Line of Sight rays. Hidden units not drawn.
+ Simple Immediate Mode GUI. Keyboard can also be used.
+ Data structures for the various units (mostly unused atm).
- Add (and layout) all buttons for control (mostly using keyboard atm).
- Button Gfx.
- Title screen with art, New game (reset all), Resume game, Quit and all that.
- Win and lose conditions (count Units, step on exit tile). Finish art for win screen.
- Rest of the Wall, Unit, Obstacle, Effect Gfx.
- Figure out where to store corpses and destroyed obstacles.
- Enemy roaming ai (use existing movement methods).
- Enemy stalking, noting target points.
- Enemy shooting and projectiles.
- Make sure the camera is focusing on visible enemy action and projectiles.
- Minimap. Pixmap that can be updated. Click on it to scroll.
- Edge scrolling instead of the wonky map click scrolling.
- Chryssalids bumping into obstacle and enemies should use existing damage function. Obstacles might need resistance values.
- Chryssalid Zombie and Cocoon transformation timers.
+ 805 lines of BlitzMax Code
+ Tiles are 48*32 px, asin(2 / 3) = 41.8103149 degrees (90 = up).
+ Using lots of constants to set things up, so I can change resolution and such somewhat easily later with the game adapting to it.
+ Art drawn at 4x in Photoshop.
First I wanted to do something in the vein of Last Armageddon. Demons, their homeworld ravaged by aliens, have to find keys to a portal in their ruined city and escape to Earth. Magic vs Tech. Dragon Quest style, maybe with a Dangerous Swimsuit in there somewhere.
Then I felt like doing a TBS. As a twist, you play as the Chryssalids who have to escape the Alien Containment, with the X-COM soldiers hunting them down. The Chryssalids are simple “Alien” units with no upgrades or equipment (to code), but they can increase their numbers by infesting soldiers (in close combat). To offset this, the soldiers get more dangerous as the game progresses. The soldiers act more as stupid semi-mobile turrets that you can sneak up on. Perhaps they advance towards the position where they last saw something, allowing you to set traps (or get killed more efficiently).
I was thinking the game should be a single level that has to be traversed, the escape being the hangar/elevator rooms.
Unfortunately, I might need to code some pathfinding stuff, and the line of sight stuff is not trivial either. It requires some clever ray stepping (Digital Differential Analysis?), and something to speed recalculations due to movement up (adding and subtracting in the fog array as unit see and unsee?). I don’t know. On the other hand, a TBS could afford very slow update rates. Right now I just shoot a lot of rays at a high resolution. It obviously doesn’t work that well even though it’s costly.
Right now I’ve got a map class, some simple scrolling/drawing/selecting and brute force LoS. Working in BlitzMax. The engine is still pretty abstract and adaptable. I might switch to a more manageable project or just watch funny youtube videos all day while pondering the more important stuff that I should be doing.
I’ve made steady progress, but engines with tile map and object-object collisions can take a while to write, and it was not until this afternoon that I managed to start programming enemies, treasures, combat mechanics, levels and other such content. The game itself still looks nearly identical to the last screenshot, even though there’s a lot more under the hood. I haven’t made any art yet, except for this hastily put together promo-doodle, which suggests to you that my game will take place in my Hydon setting.
Anyways, I’ll work on the project a little more tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have something playable within days.
Things have not being going that well for me. I had to rewrite my engine two times. The first time I tried synchronized grid-based movement for the characters. They would use a global variable to slide from cell to cell… but I couldn’t figure out a way to make queues and priorities work. Who would get first dibs on an empty cell? What if there was a really complex queue? Would they figure out a way to move out of the way? It also looked a bit strange with characters not being able to move into seemingly empty cells because someone had called dibs on them.
So I tried something a bit more analog, but made a mess of the code and there were big problems with getting stuck against tiles and not sliding against them properly. The maze is really tight so you need to be able to easily slip around corners.
Finally, I managed to write a huge chunk of code which slides the player around edges, e.g. if pressing against a wall the game will look for a gap nearby and walk the character towards it. I also added buckets which helps me with depth sorting (overlapping) and it will also make collisions easier to detect later. Some characters will be vulnerable from the back. Slimes are sort of omnidirectional though.
There’s a lot of work left, but perhaps I shouldn’t underestimate what I have finished so far. Regardless, it will be a busy day tomorrow.
There’s a game where it’s incredible DANGEROUS to walk around without certain (hard to find) items.
Tower of Druaga.
Zelda was most likely partly based on this game, so it kind of fits the theme. I went to sleep just after the theme was announced, so I’m only just getting started now.
Engine: Very simple grid-locked movement. Tiles are drawn overlapped at a slight angle, so when I draw I might just compress the y coordinate a bit (keeping things square in the game physics of course).
I’d have to do a lot of graphics though. The humanoid characters would have 4 directions and walk frames, and the main character has the sword and shield states on top of this… so I don’t know if it’s doable. I might have to be very sloppy. To avoid what happened to Legacy of Hydon (1+ day on art, then 6hrs or something left to do all the design and code), I might do the engine first this time. I’ll be using BlitzMax 1.40.
So, I finished my entry, ROBOTS AMONG US. I think I spent some 12hrs or so on it. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to play it, and the game mechanics are kind of experimental, so we’ll see how that goes. I fear that it’s kind of dull, and impossible, and confusing. Let me know!
The goal of the game is to navigate the crowds and avoid the evil robotic infiltrators. You can use the goggles to spot them (RMB). Move towards the CLUE which reveals the CLOAKING GENERATOR used by the robots. You need to blow that up with the C4. If you have time, you can pick up a one-time-use GUN, or pick up a DAMSEL.
Holding LMB will make you run, but doing so slowly increases your detection radius because you look suspicious. The goggles drain your health a little if you leave them on. On top of this, wearing them makes you stand out, and taking them on and off a lot looks suspicious too.
I wanted to do some painted arcade style borders and a title screen, but did not have the time (spent the last minutes on sounds). The sloppy source code is included in the zip. It was written in BlitzMax. I can compile a Mac version too if there’s any interest.
The game can be found here:
Robots Among Us
I’ve been busy painting HIB promo art and Yule shopping, so I missed this LD by a day. But I want to at least throw an idea down. An idea fueled by pepparkaksdeg (it’s a crime to bake it really) and a movie that I just watched: “They Live” by John Carpenter.
So, you play as a person in a city full of other pedestrians. The walls have company logos, ads and other things. In a trashcan you find a pair of goggles which allow you to see (or should I say discover) the evil aliens who have infiltrated mankind. However, wearing the goggles lowers your health. Taking them off replenishes it.
The aliens consider you a threat, so they’re trying to discover you, and then attack you with health draining beams. They can only do this if they get within a certain distance. So the trick is to only use the goggles in crowds, or to read the motions of people and move in the gaps. You might also have to remember who is nasty after you’ve taken the goggles off (like a game of memory) . The goggles might have a warmup/cooldown to prevent the player from flicking the effect on and off. Perhaps aliens spot you at a larger distance with the goggles on, making it more important to remember who’s who and then sneak by whistling with the goggles off.
The goal of the game is to gather up stuff around the city and head for a building where the aliens have hidden the device which is cloaking their appearance to the human population. The ads and stuff would of course substitute for OBEY/CONSUME/WATCH TV while the goggles are used.
I’d like to say that I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, but I’m all out of… well, time.
So, It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to finish on time. I’m not really sure how close I am to finishing. A lot of the mechanics and data structures are working, but it’s the little stuff which is the most time consuming, like bugs, adjusting values, chopping up graphics, etc.
Seen here is the refit hideout, which is pretty much functional. What’s left is… connecting this game mode to the half finished shooter game mode. While I don’t have any enemies yet, they already have some data structures in place.
Anyways, tomorrow is a busy day, so I won’t be doing anymore work tonight. Goodnight folks.
I might have to leave these really rough, because I’m already behind schedule. Note that some of the panels are failures.
The left title screen has some potential, although it needs to be 960×512. I can keep the game over screen really simple (top one).
The creature refit screen is the most complex one and I haven’t quite nailed down the game mechanics there yet.
The game/shooter screen is pretty simple, just a static sky background with baked in power meters for heat and health. Clouds can go in the foreground. I might just do 5 quick islands which will scroll in. The water… maybe some animated tile. Doesn’t need to actually scroll. Only the clouds and island would move. I drew some sea gulls too.
Also, I ate a Wienerbröd for breakfast.
I’ve been working on some the graphics. Not sure if I’ll have time to finish them. They’re pretty quick to make, but I have about half left, then I need to arrange onto sheets, load into the engine and make sure stuff animates properly.
The game mechanics are very simple, just a drifting blob which shoots on other drifting things. Not sure how long this game will take me to code. Tomorrow I might have to budget 6hrs for the code, 6hrs more for the art, 2hrs for tax declaration and 2hrs for surviving.
It’s approaching bedtime here. I’ll have to get up at 12 tomorrow… today.
Oh yeah, I ate a pizza slice. There won’t be any in the game though. The enemies will be balloons with little turrets underneath.
Basically, you’re playing a large floating creature (an island of sorts) who raids islands. The creature can abduct human slaves which it uses for labor. The slaves can build factories, turrets etc on the back of the creature. As the raids go on, the island inhabitants get more and more upset, and defensive forces around the islands grow larger.
The strategy of the game is to figure out which islands to attack, since they offer different resources and different defense. A more developed creature will be able to grab more loot per raid, but the opposition will also be tougher later on.
The turrets could go in three groups (A,B,C) which can be fired individually. For example, the player can choose to put medium distance flak in one group, and long distance sniping in another. Aiming is done with the mouse. Each level (island) has a certain scroll distance to go. During the scroll, the creature is attacked by various enemies. They vary in terms of damage type (some might kill population), movement type, hit points, defense type, bullet trajectory, etc.
- I spent too much time on enemy variants. I should have gone for more variants of the terrain tiles instead, to make the exploration more fun. Terrain tiles are faster to draw since they don’t rotate. A snow area and desert area could have been cool.
- The title/splash screen has a very flat landscape. I didn’t add any shadows or foggy background mountains.
- I could have avoided combat altogether and focused on stealth exploration, sneaking by and grabbing the loot. It’s difficult to do a satisfying combat system in just a few hours. I had no time to make fun AI either.
- The game gets too easy mid-end. I didn’t have time to play through it even once. Anyways, this means that it’s mostly laborsome to find the last treasures.
- I should have made a few sounds. Without sound, one feels detached from the game. It’s harder to understand what is going on (especially taking hits in combat). Music adds atmosphere too, of course. I had an idea where the tile map drawing routine would generate ambient sounds.
- I flipped two of the squid frames wrong. I didn’t notice because I had put most of them in a maze with high walls.
- The main character looks like it is ice skating because of the scroll focus, but drawing 2 walk frames * 4 angles * 2 stances would have been too much work for me. I suppose it would’ve been less of a problem in a game where you move less.
- Speaking of which, tapping the movement buttons is straining on the hand after a while.
- Str(ength) should have been Att(ack) in the sidebar. I was thinking of drawing a background for the sidebar, but had no time left. The treasure were supposed to do things, but I didn’t have time for that either.
- If Health = 0 Then FGameOver() … I guess this made sense at some point, but it doesn’t in the current version. I’m generally careful and put less than checks in because I know I might change stuff around or lose control of value ranges.
- It would’ve been simple to couple the stats-up mechanic with the player’s current def/att mode, giving the player a bit of a choice for stats development.
So, I’m done. While I did finish something, it’s not much of a game. I spent far too long on graphics. The characters just skate around and do simple damage. The source code quickly turned into a mess as I approached the deadline. I haven’t even played the game myself, so I’ll give it a go tomorrow. I think I need to do more unique landmarks, i.e. more graphics to make the exploration worthwhile… and an actual game of course. Although, I think I will still consider it a game for the sake of my new year resolution (promised I would finish something).
Like many people here, I’ve been awake for far too long. Good night!