Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shops! Signs! Sssssmenu choices!

Yo! So development continues on Gearend. It's been awhile since I posted about it here, but it's been going on steadily and fairly continuously, which is nice. I've been streaming development of the game through Twitch and uploading the resulting streams on my YouTube channel, where you can watch them. Here's a link to a playlist of the devlog videos (including streams)! 

I've been working on new things that I know I'll need in the game, as well as thinking about what the game will be like for future areas, for example. It's shaping up well, I think! I hope to have a demo out for everyone to play around with soon.

Anyway, here's what the game has recently gotten:

Scrap boxes that you can shoot! When you shoot and explode a box of scrap, it will pop out a predetermined number of scrap, which is indicated by the old bolt scrap, as well as a new type of scrap, which is a golden Screw. Screws are worth 5 Scrap, while bolts are worth 1.

There are now Signs! ... Well, I guess it's not that impressive or interesting. They tell you stuff when you go to interact with them, as signs usually do. :|

You can now equip items through the menu system! This was necessary, as I needed to create a shop system, but had no way to equip things that you could purchase. The tabs represent the different slots that you will be able to equip things on - Body, Legs, Left Arm, and Right Arm.

Also pictured in this GIF is the shop system itself. The shopkeeper is at the far right and says some general niceties to you; you actually need to interact with the items on the pedestals themselves to purchase them. If you have enough Scrap, then you can buy 'em. I hope to have items available through the shop as well as through other means.


Anyway, that's what I've got so far! Thanks for reading and following development of Gearend - I hope to have a demo soon, and finish it off quickly as well.

- SolarLune

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Gearend Progress Continues

Yo! So I've been working on Gearend some more - in the time since my last post, I've implemented a new enemy and revamped how I make maps. I used to make them by hand, placing each tile of the background as well as the "foreground" ground and wall areas, but now I'm using "prefabs", or groups of blocks to create the areas. This allows me to be more efficient with how I make my maps and layouts.

I've also started trying to be more "Metroid-like" in my map creation so far, with areas that double-back on themselves, and that have multiple exit paths / doors. Hopefully, it'll be interesting to traverse.

I've fixed a couple of bugs that arose, fortunately. They had to do with going through doorways and running events. The doorway bug was interesting because it arose as a result of not testing doorways in the same direction more than once - I always used to go back through a doorway the way I came in. Now that I have a cyclical room layout (door A > B > C > D > A), I was able to find the bug. Guess it's a lesson to always test your game thoroughly and consistently, not just once or twice to ensure it works correctly.

The event bug arose because of spamming the advance key to skip through the dialog faster, haha. Guess I should test my game like players will play.

Also, I've begun implementing stats, like deaths and scrap collected. Eventually, there'll be a stat screen where you can see the amount of time you've played, how many times you've died, how many scrap you've collected, and so forth. Maybe there will even be different areas that are unlocked depending on how well you do with collecting and playing the game. If I do choose to implement such an area, though, I think I want the player to know that it's in there, and that those stats matter.

If I hide content behind an invisible barrier, so to speak, that the player doesn't even know exists, it can just frustrate players (i.e. after beating the entire game and looking through a walkthrough, they find out there's a better ending for playing in a special way).

I've also implemented some additional 2D filters, like a radial blur around the edge of the screen, and a slight vignette. I've also tweaked the bloom filter to be more accurate, using the built-in luminance texture instead of my custom formulae that weren't accurate.

No new devlog video or boss yet, but I hope to make significant progress soon. I'm gonna place some enemies, finish up some maps, and create the first boss before the village, and press on through!~

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Nice Day Outside

I spent a few days recently looking into the Godot game engine recently to see how it's coming along - it's shaping up pretty nicely. It's a lot easier to use now than it used to be.

In any case, today I tweaked some of the shaders a bit to make the game more visually interesting (but hopefully not pointlessly so).

I also recently implemented a "key bot" that you destroy to unlock doors in a room. I think I need to add a "focus on the unlocked doors" cinematic, but I'm unsure on that; maybe just a simple "Zelda tone" will do. I don't know if I want to make the key robots things you need to destroy to move on; earlier ideas for this would be a robot you'd have to catch to unlock the door. I know I don't really want to bother with a whole "inventory" for this purpose, though (an additional key indicator, for example). I think I want it to be simple and easy to approach conceptually.

I plan on starting to create maps using prefabs (I suppose?) soon to help with map creation. I've tried this before in a tutorial video, and it worked out well, I think - hopefully it'll be useful and easy to work with for Gearend. I'm currently trying to decide if I want to go back and re-do the maps I've done so far with them, but I'm unsure. Here's the video, for reference.

Anyway, that's basically what I'm up to at the moment!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Gearend - Finding Focus

Today I spent a pretty fair amount of time in development, but unfortunately didn't get much done. I was trying to get a specific animation effect to work for an enemy, but it didn't work out, and I ended up changing what the enemy looked like to account for the lack of ability to sprite it. That enemy is this one, a self-destructing rolling canister.

I also started spriting a few more enemies, which turned out far creepier than anything else I've done so far, which can be interesting once I get into it. I'll see about animating them and putting them into the game. So far I've got four enemies, which is a nice number for the beginning of the game.

I changed a few of the colors I'd put down so far in an attempt to add some spice and pep to the different tiles, and while I'm not so much of a fan of the new colors, I do like the effect it brings, so it's fine the way it is.

I've gotta really become determined to work on this reliably and consistently if I want to be a dev for a living, so that's something I need to and am working on. It's easy to get distracted when you don't have any need to get up and focus on anything, haha!

So about the whole "re-making of the enemy because I couldn't get the animation to look right" thing - I think I wasted my time there, not because the enemy was so cool the way it was originally (it was just a cube), but rather because in the end, it doesn't really matter too much what individual elements or pieces of my project I might have to sacrifice or alter.

Circumstances change, and something that I might have planned for awhile may not pan out - that's just the way it can be sometimes. However, it's better to make the game and come back later to tweak, update, and fix, than to never release it because you get stuck trying to tweak elements to perfection. My motivation relies on making progress, I think - if I don't, then it's hard to make myself pick up the project. It's something to remember for myself, for sure.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gearend - Upgrades

Hello there! So, work continues on my projects. For Gearend, I decided to make the first boss a bipedal robot like the player character, which should make it easier to design and work with. I'll introduce him a little bit when I get him into the game, but he's going to be kind of an interesting character, I think.

Today I implemented Energy and Health Upgrades - they're RAM chips and Hard Disks in-game. When you pick them up, they give you a little message about what was on them from a time when humans were prevalent, like "You can see a small puppy sniffing the video camera.", or "It's a video of a middle-aged man returning home to his wife and kids."

(Yeah, I know RAM chips can't store data when they're unplugged, but whatever, I'm trying to make them interesting.)

Just something to make it interesting to pick up the upgrades, kinda like Earthbound's flavor text after you go to the different points of interest or whatever.

Gonna keep chugging away on this!~

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BGMC 13 - PidiYol

Hey, there. So, BGMC 13 has started, and I've embarked on a somewhat ambitious 3D dungeon crawler / PDL (Procedural Death Labyrinth). The letters "PDL" is actually where the name of the game comes from. I'd like for the game to be fun, of course, but also fast-paced and tense, which I think I'm getting at okay at the moment. I have some basic movement and jumping; I need to deal with sliding down ramps, sprinting, holding weapons, and other things, I think, tomorrow. Some animations should probably also be implemented.

Anyway, I took some time considering pathfinding for enemies or NPCs. Smoking_mirror over at the BlenderArtists forums suggested Djikstra (I think I spelled that right) Maps. The implementation suggested that he linked to was really rather cool, but it seemed a bit too much for my purposes for this week-long challenge. I bookmarked it in case I need it in the future, though.

I'm not familiar with / don't know how to use Blender's built-in recast system, and I don't know if it'll work well with randomly spawned rooms, so that was out of the option. I'd rather not spend too much time setting up waypoints or navmeshes or anything, either. So, I eventually came to the conclusion that my "usual" simple A* node-based pathfinding approach would probably be fine.

That approach is now added to my bghelper module (bghelper.nodemap); it's a fairly basic A* pathfinding approach, but also has weighting available, which should allow me to set up preferenced paths and also allow for multiple characters / enemies moving down passages when necessary or wanted. For example, enemy A's walking down the hall, so enemy B tries to take another path around enemy A. If there is no such path, then the weighting should allow enemy B to find another path if it's short enough and the weight's light enough. If there is no other path, then it should allow enemy B to start on the "poor" path because it's better than nothing. That's the goal, anyway.

Besides that, I finished rigging the player mesh (at least, I don't think I'm going to change anything). To bypass a bug / unimplemented feature (ability to dynamically set vertex colors on a rigged mesh), The parts are all bone parented to the armature, which is a very interesting approach that's kinda awkward, and might come back to bite me in the butt.

I made up some low-res textures processed through GIMP; a nice add-on that I found is the Advanced Make Seamless tool, which seems to handle more complex images better. It would always make the image darker unless I disabled the high-pass filter, which is nice to know. Hopefully I can reuse textures as much as possible, haha. 
Finally, I added some filters I had already made because I thought it would look cool.


Thanks for reading!~

Friday, August 15, 2014

Animations of a Guardian

Starting to animate this big guy. I think he might be a bit difficult, so perhaps he'll be the second or third boss; the first one will probably be something a bit more your size, which should give me a good chance to test out a Bipedal enemy (an enemy that can equip two items, like you).

I got some really awesome feedback from ndee over at the BlenderArtists forums saying that I should vary my darkness levels on my sprite, which I pretty much whole-heartedly agree with; his edit shows some great improvement over my base sprite. Maybe I'll be able to work it in effectively.

Also, I've been listening to this song from the fighting game Under Night In-Birth because it's awesome and I need some rockin' boss music. Gotta step it up on my music, too!

I've implemented another enemy that just sits there and shoots and aims at you; nothing really impressive, so no GIF of that. Just some simple stuff here and there.