About Orangy Tang
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Awarded by demonpants on December 9, 2008
Orangy Tang's Archive
Today has not been as productive as I’d hoped, but it’s getting there. I’ve got an idea down (basically a tower defence variant) and I think it’s do-able in the time, but we’ll see about that. I should have been writing more posts, but I was on a bit of a coding spree so decided to keep going instead.
Also, here’s what happens when you forget to set a cooldown time on your unit’s weapons and they end up firing a new bullet every frame:
Trippy! The colours are all a bit mental as I’ve just got test sprites in, hopefully it’ll look more sane later…
I’m feeling pretty unprepared for this, but what the heck.
I’ve always done the compo before, but this time I’m going to go for the jam. I feel like I’ve done as good a games as I can in the 48 hour format, and it’d be nice to get something a bit meatier done this time. I’ll still be doing it on my own though, so I suspect I’ll be horribly outclassed.
As always, I like to set out goals before the compo, then come back later and see how badly I’ve done. So, this time:
1. Get something complete and playable. Hopefully with a beginning, middle and end.
2. Something that’s graphically interesting, even if it’s based on some simple art.
3. Something that fits the theme well
So it looks like my web hosting is having issues right now. I’m not entirely sure but it may be that I’ve spiked up to about 6Gb of bandwidth a day for the last few days. So if you get a broken link in the download then maybe check back in a day or so when hopefully I’ve had a word and figured out what’s wrong.
As is now traditional for me, I prefer a more concise, low-tech timelapse. So here it is:
A basic world to walk around in:
Drawing some landscape tiles and the landscape map:
Loading a landscape:
Adding a basic house:
Adding NPCs to houses:
Showing house names in the hud:
Conversations with NPCs:
Houses crumbling and a smoke effect when houses are abandoned:
Adding inventory slots:
Picking up items (mostly buckets):
Adding a forge as a world object:
Adding the farmer puzzle:
Finishing the blacksmith puzzle:
Adding the doctor’s puzzle:
Adding Greta, the cranky cat lady:
Herbert, the dog lover:
A boring shot, but this was optimising the map display so I could draw huge maps at 60fps:
Adding roofs over houses, that dissapear when you go inside.
Doing the title screen:
Adding the vignette and noise overlays:
According to the irc bot my upload was finished with a whopping 9 seconds to spare, which must be my closest LD entry to date.
I’m gonna take a break for a bit to recharge my brain and then put the actual post with links, images etc. up.
Congratulations to everyone who finished!
Because stereotypes and cranky old cat ladies are fun.
Oh doctor Banks, your bedside manner needs work.
This means I have four people implemented now. I really need to do non-person stuff soon. Maybe after a couple more people.
Well I was planning on sleeping *much* earlier than this, but the apartment above mine has been blasting the same 5 second drum loop on repeat for the last few hours so that killed that plan.
Meanwhile, I have usable items now:
You can pick up, use and drop items (and by items, I mean buckets, as they’re the only type of item so far).
This means I’ve now got two people implemented out of a target of twenty. And there’s a load of other things that need doing as well.
Now if you excuse me I have to pass unconscious and hallucinate for several hours.
A first pass at an inventory system:
Mostly this just lets you go around and pick up buckets, which everyone seems to have in their house for some reason. And you can’t drop anything yet, so your character just has to go around with their pockets fit to bursting.
In unrelated shenanigans, I still haven’t thought up a name for this yet. I was going to go for “Village Bastard” but maybe I should keep the title clean. Something along the lines of being a bit of a dick to everyone in the village until they leave you alone. Leave your name suggestions in the comments!
I probably shouldn’t have spent as long as I did animating these cheesy clouds of smoke, but it’s good to have some feedback when someone actually leaves their house.
This means I have a whole one person of actual gameplay! Unfortunately my ideas sheet has a list of about 20, and I’ve just done the easiest, so there’s loads more left to do.
You can now talk to people!
There’s only one person to talk to right now, and he doesn’t say much but it’s a start.
Next – using the new conversation system to let you insult people!
Everyone likes pixels, right?
I’ve got a basic tile map that you can walk around in, but not much else yet. I’m going to have to start thinking about optimising the map drawing since a 256×256 map crawls at about 10fps when I just try and draw everything. Or I could just cheat and go with a much smaller map.
I’ve been so busy I forgot to actually post an ‘I’m in post’, so here it is. Tech of choice will be my usual combo of Java + LWJGL + SPGL.
Alone, huh? That’s a tricky one. I have a few ideas, unfortunately they’re all huge and far too content heavy. I may just try one anyway and see how far I can get.
I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot of minecraft inspired survival type games this time around…
I’ve been meaning to write this postmortem for a while, but keep putting it off because my thoughts on it keep changing. After watching a few people play my game first hand, I think I’ve finally figured out what worked and what didn’t.
If you haven’t played it yet, then please go and play it, going by the number of comments I think that having a game beginning with ‘W’ means most people haven’t tried it. Thanks.
So, what went right and what went wrong?
Right: Animal companions
I knew when I saw the theme that I wanted to do a zelda-like game. I’ve not done one before so it would make for an interesting change, but I thought there’d be a whole bunch of zelda-like games, so I needed a ‘hook’ to make it different. That’s where the companions come from.
Each companion grants you an offensive ability and a puzzle solving ability. For example cats give you area-of-effect fireball bursts which can kill enemies and melt ice barriers. Ice weasels give you line-of-sight ice bolts which can kill enemies and build ice bridges over holes. Snakes cause room-wide earthquakes that can flip switches behind obstacles, and birds let you jump over enemies or objects.
And they all look different too! I spent a lot of time drawing different walking animations and idle animations, so it does genuinely feel like you’ve got a different companions helping you though the world.
Right: World navigation
Originally the game was going to only have single-screen, non-scrolling rooms. However on the first day I decided that would be too limiting, so rooms can actually be any size – if they’re smaller than the screen they’re centered, and if they’re larger then the camera scrolls around with the player.
Transitions are based on early zelda games, and although tricky to get right I really like how they came out. With single-screen rooms and no transitions you don’t really get a sense of walking through the world, but with the transitions you seamlessly go from one room to another so you actually feel like you’re exploring a single giant space.
There’s definitely prettier games in this LD, but I’m very pleased with how the graphics came out. Yeah, the low-fi pixely look is pretty over done these days, but it means I could get a lot of pretty decent graphics done very fast and keep everything looking consistent throughout.
This is by far the most art-heavy LD game I’ve done – an animated player character (in four directions!), four unique NPCs, four unique companions (with walking and idle animations), three enemies, plus the environment, gui and effects. In total there’s 120 unique sprites!
There’s two ‘dungeons’ in the final game, the tutorial and the proper dungeon. The tutorial seems to work really well – everyone I watched got though it with only minimal head scratching and it explains everything it needs to.
For the actual dungeon my main goal was to make something non-linear so players would feel like they’re exploring something, rather than just following a long corridor. I think it pulls this off well – in fact I suspect it’s too non-linear, which overwhelmed some players. A smaller, easier dungeon to start would have been good but I didn’t have the time.
Since the original inspiration was The Thing, the ice base theme fitted well when I was trying to think of non-zelda-like settings. However the combination of lack of time and lack of drawing skill meant I ended up with a fairly vague environment that didn’t really look how I wanted it too.
Originally I’d planned on having separate indoor and outdoor sections, but lack of time sunk that idea – I just didn’t have time to draw another set of environment graphics and the required code to hook them in.
Readability was a big factor too, and one area where the low-res look causes issues. Everything is drawn to be obvious as to what it is, and to be visually distinct from each other. Adding in extra environment detail would have made the puzzle elements of the gameplay harder to grasp.
Quite simply, I ran out of time. I actually had two full dungeons designed on paper, but it took me over two hours to physically type in the first one (rooms were just text files with Xs and Os to designate walls and buttons, etc.) and make sure it was solveable, so I didn’t have time to add the second one. (Oddly, the one in the actual game is the second one I designed).
Because of this, the one dungeon that is in wasn’t properly playtested. Which brings me to…
Again, I ran out of time. Two things are pretty obvious now:
1. The player’s walking speed is far too slow. It probably needs to be about twice as fast.
2. The game is far too hard.
The first is a problem because it frustrates players, and means they give up as soon as they die. The second is more tricky to pin down.
Partly it’s because it’s an exploration/puzzle game, and so I obviously know the correct route through the dungeon. I find it really, really easy. But if you don’t know the route, it’s really, really hard. I should probably have made the dungeon more linear (or had a ‘starter’ dungeon). Also, I think being able to die was a bad idea. If you die you have to start the game from the beginning, but to compensate I gave the player lots of health and lots of places to heal themselves. I think instead I should have given them less health (maybe three hearts?), but made ‘dying’ just place them at the start of a room again, with full health.
So there we go. Overall I’m very happy with it, it’s by far the most polished LD game I’ve managed, with by far the most content. I’ll probably go back and tweek things, and add in the missing dungeon (assuming the judging result doesn’t say that everyone actually hated it).
If you’ve played the game, I’d love to know if you agree/disagree with anything above.
Instead of a timelapse, here’s my now-traditional series of progress shots. Due to timezones I basically get two days split evenly (assuming I go to bed at 3am on the first day. Which I did).
I think this was as far as I got on the first day. It’s a bit blurry in my head.
I think that shows quite a nice progression. The last picture was no-where near being complete, as I hadn’t done any of the actual levels by that point, but visually it was basically done. I think the only visual elements I missed were the power cores (just a simple object) and the game over and success screens (which I deliberately didn’t post so that people can see them for the first time in game).
I’ve uploaded mac and linux versions of my game now, as well as the submitted windows version. They’re the same code just with different launchers for easier running.
Submitted just in time, and it’s playable and complete, even if it’s not as big a game as I had hoped.
A proper post-mortem and osx version coming in the next few days when I’ve caught up on sleep.
Congratulations to everyone who managed to finish!
After taking a break for food and non-screen time, it’s time for the last burst of activity. Tect-wise I’m almost done, things to do:
- Expand NPC conversation options
- Add win condition and success screen
- Design world
- Package up for other computers
- Add sounds
- Add room props
- Still missing one enemy type (may be dropped)
- Particle effects
- Polish graphics
Yeah, that’s a pretty big list still. In particular ‘design world’ means designing and testing all the rooms and puzzles and making sure they fit together nicely.
Everyone knows cats are explosive, right?