June 27, 2007

New Message Style

Posted in Game Content, Media, Progress, Thoughts and Ideas at 8:10 am by mothmanbr

Well, today I realized something very important: LD is an action game, you won’t have time or patience to read huge messages during the game. So I changed the whole message style to a small bar across the screen.

I like how it turned out, I think now it is both more readable and better looking. I will of course have to test this out to find a way that it will be an interesting plot device instead of a distraction. Today I only worked on the stages, I already finished two fully scripted stages, and added a lot of new events. Tomorrow I will be integrating the buy and research screens together, and making it work for the story mode. See you around 🙂

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June 26, 2007

Story Mode

Posted in Game Content, Media, Progress, Thoughts and Ideas at 6:53 am by mothmanbr

Sorry for the late update, I’ve been away.

I don’t really remember if I posted this, but Survival Mode is ready and working. At least a prototypical version for the 0.6 beta. So, I began working on the Story Mode, which is the most complicated one. I spent the day coding an event system, more complete than the one used in 0.5: events can be triggered by time, an enemy death, no enemies left alive, by other event, and some other stuff. Also, I added an in-game messaging system, that right now looks like a RPG dialogue box:

It uses the GUI module I built. I’m surprised how useful that module has turned out to be. I thought I was only going to use it for menus, but I’m using it almost everywhere. I even thought about using it to display the HUD, but I don’t think it’ll look nice in the way I have it planned. The Story Mode will be done very soon. But the stages and events… That’s another story 🙂 I’ll build a small campaign for the 0.6b, as always.

For unlockables fans, LD will feature a lot of features and extras to be unlocked. More details soon 😉

May 31, 2007

Creating a GUI Module

Posted in Game Content, Media, Progress, Thoughts and Ideas at 5:34 am by mothmanbr

First of all, I’m not sure if this has been done already by someone in the BlitzMAX community, since I didn’t search for one. It’s very likely that it exists, but even so, I decided to create my own GUI module that will work inside the game itself, not as a separate window like I did in beta 0.4b. What will I use this for? Showing the user profiles; creating, editing, deleting profiles; main menu buttons; options menu; some in-game menus; and on and on… Well, I won’t make a complete module for this, I will only add what I will need in this game. In the future, if I need something else, I’ll just add. This will be a very personal module, without any documentation or explanation of the features, only designed for my own personal use.

I started working on it tonight, and things have been good so far. Until now, I only created three types: the basic entity, the window and the menu types. I won’t even explain the “features” since this screenshot shows it all:

The windows are drag-able. The window focus is not manual, it is controlled by the program. So, you won’t be able to select a window by clicking the title bar; if I want you to see a window, you’ll see that window 😛 At first this sounds as a limitation, but there are no cases in the game where this will be needed. For example, when you click the “New Profile” button, this happens:

I don’t want people to be able to drag the “Create New Profile” window away and mess with the main profile window. Of course I could just disable manual focus in this case, but like I said, there are zero situations in the game that will need a manual focus.

As for how things work, I was thinking about making the button emit a event when it is pressed, same for the window when it is dragged, but I realized that I would still need to make the event be emitted manually(unless there is a reason to do that automatically that I don’t know of), so having some code to detect where the mouse is and what it pressed so then the event can be emitted and another part of code to check if an event was emitted, who emitted it, and then execute the action would just make things larger. So this will be like that unless I find a better use to the events.

I have also worked on the game a bit, as you can see up there. In addition to this neat window, I also made several changes to the game itself, added new buildings and weapons, and kinda made things more challenging 🙂

Until next time.

May 16, 2007

Codename: Calculi

Posted in Off-topic, Progress, Thoughts and Ideas at 4:08 am by mothmanbr

Well, as you may have noticed, I don’t update this in ages. There is a reason for that: friday night, feeling a terrible, terrible pain on my stomach, I was rushed to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a kidney stone. I stayed there for 3 days, taking a lot of pain medication and dying of boredom, and in the couple of hours I wasn’t sleeping, I was thinking about the game. In the few minutes my thoughts weren’t “Damn I wish I could be making the game right now”, I thought about the gameplay and realized that it could be better. So I changed it. Almost completely. I think the game is way, way better now. I also affectionately codenamed it Calculi.

I got back from the hospital changed: with a very clear view of the finished game, knowing exactly what has to change and be added and knowing how it feels like to give birth to several babies. So, no new screenshots or demos or anything for a bit. I still am not able to work in the game like before since I still feel unwell(probably from the painkiller overdose), but I am working on it. I will try to post some screenshots or videos tomorrow.

I have also decided that the game will have a last public beta, which will be just like a full game. I won’t tell you what will have on it, and this time I’m not saying it because I don’t know what it’ll have 😛

In some unrelated subject, I bought a book to read in the hospital called Sharpe’s Tiger, and I have to say it is really good. I have read more pages today in the bathroom than I did in those 3 days in the hospital(no, I didn’t spend hours in the bathroom, I just didn’t read in the hospital. Damn painkillers), but I am loving it. The author’s style is very simple and if you wrote like him you would make your literature teacher frown on you, but the author gets it just right. The book is by Bernard Cornwell by the way, and there are like thousands of books in the Sharpe series(gladly).

Anyway, I will go back to the game now. And before I forget, my deepest thanks to the Blitz Basic community that is always willing to answer my questions. You all have been a great help so far 🙂

April 26, 2007

Editors Done

Posted in Game Content, Progress, Thoughts and Ideas at 6:00 am by mothmanbr

Not much to report, except that the new editors are done 🙂 Tomorrow I begin to implement them on the game, and then there won’t be much time left until our next public beta.

It will consist of two campaigns, an easy and an intermediate one, of 5 levels each. The ammunition will be fixed for each level, but you are able to get more ammo from fallen enemies. In some stages, not all weapons will be available. There will be three enemy sizes, small, large, and boss 😛 The weapons will remain the same, even though in the final game there will be more explosions.

I won’t post any screenshots today, because the game is broken 🙂 I changed all of the types so the code can welcome the editors with open arms, and that makes the game unplayable until the editors are ready and I can set it to read from a file. After the game can read the info from the files saved by the editor, it’s time to make the game interpret that info, build stages, and follow the events.

Also, each campaign will have its own scoreboard. So this time you can keep high scores. No save game feature since the game will still be short. Survival mode(the one where you just have to survive for as long as you can) won’t be available in this beta.

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday, due to some problems I wasn’t able to get anything done. See you tomorrow 🙂

April 23, 2007

Working on the editors

Posted in Game Content, Progress, Thoughts and Ideas at 3:33 pm by mothmanbr

Not much news here – I’m now working on the level and enemy editors. Those will not ever go public(well, who knows?) but they are how me and/or the level designer will easily create levels and enemy classes for the game, without having to mess around the source code. This also makes the game engine more re-usable. In case I ever want to release a similar game, I can use what I coded here, and just alter the game with the editor 🙂

As for the next public beta, it’ll feature levels and enemies designed with the editors. I’ll make two mini-campaigns you can choose from, each of them with their own levels and classes. After this is done, then the real game will start to be made. Then, after the real game is finished, I’ll put my artists to work on the graphics, and work on the music and sounds of the game. And at the same time I’ll be tweaking the engine, adding graphical improvements and boosting performance.

Sorry, no screenshot today 😛 See you tomorrow.

April 21, 2007

Code optimization; new sprites

Posted in Game Content, Media, Off-topic, Progress, Thoughts and Ideas at 7:16 am by mothmanbr

Sorry guys, I’ll make this short: I had little time to work on the game today, and when I did, was lazy most of it. But I did optimize some more of the code, and marked some other places that I need to work on. I had no idea how crappy I programmed the player type. I will rewrite it completely tomorrow.

I added a new tileset, that you can see here, and a new “base” for the player, which is basically a top-down version of the previous one, done by my friend that made the alien sprite I posted before. Also, I removed the particle effects I was testing for the bullets. They consume too many resources and are useless. The pixel bullets work so much better. So unless I have any new idea for the bullets, they will remain like that until the final version. I also added an explosion that creates fragments that go in random directions and lose speed until they stop and disappear. But the explosion gives you a really sudden frame-rate drop, for all the projectiles being created at the same time. Even so, the explosion also didn’t look good. So I will remove it for the time being and work in more important things.

I will probably post a new beta this weekend, with some changes already planned: instead of just picking a random enemy(in the last beta, the slime color), I will create different classes of enemies that have different base speed and health values. Each wave will consist of a fixed number of enemies, but a different % of each. I will also rework the ammo system, because it is too much based on luck. What I do is to generate a random number, and compare to a value. If it is smaller, you get a random amount of a random kind of ammo. Needless to say that sometimes you won’t get any ammo until the end of the game, and some other times it’s ammo galore.  I’m planning in generating a small random number, and adding it to a variable. Once it is big enough, you get ammo. This way if you get several consecutive low numbers, you will still get ammo. It will still depend on luck, but it eliminates the possibility that you never get any ammo.

Oh, and thanks for everyone that reported the pause bug to me. I had already noticed it after releasing the beta, but I still didn’t fix it. I will for the 4th release though. It’s just that it was a fun bug. I enjoyed pausing the game and then seeing how long I could last against 30 enemies coming at me at the same time. Even though I already knew of the bug, I’m grateful for all those that came to me about it 🙂

So see you all tomorrow, with new content. By the way, the 4th beta release will have 100% original graphics 😀

April 20, 2007

Minor Improvements

Posted in Game Content, Media, Progress, Thoughts and Ideas at 7:15 am by mothmanbr

Well, since today I worked mostly in setting up this blog, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to do anything this afternoon, progress was slow. Most of the work I did on the game was to improve the code and make it more open to future changes. One thing not to do: get overexcited about your game, and rush everything to see the new things soon. You should calm down and do everything slowly and in a way you know you can read and modify easily later. When you have a few dozen of global variables(that were supposed to be only temporary for you to test a feature) being used all over your game, it gets a bit complicated to change.

Bullet Trails Anyway, apart from the code optimization, I changed a few types and added new ones. This one you see on the right for example, is the bullet trail. It fades out in one second, so now you don’t see that sudden disappearance of the whole trail when the bullet is destroyed. It stays behind, slowly fading out. After it fades out completely it also is destroyed. It’s worth noting that the trail is not a single line, but a list of several lines, each with their own alpha value, that connects to the end of the other. Of course they are not very long. Also, another thing you may notice is that the bullets look different. I’m testing a few particle effects, but I’m not very happy with the results. I’ll have to play around with the settings and other ways so the bullets look cool.

The quad weapon, that was kind of useless before, is now really overpowered. You have only a few shots, but they pierce through any enemy and are only gone after they leave the screen. They don’t kill the enemy in later levels though, but damages them badly. The pistol and SMG had their strenght lowered also, their only difference now being the rate of fire and recoil. And the shotgun(sorry about this, shotgun fans – I know a lot will be disappointed) now is the weakest of all weapons. It has awful damage – its strenght lies in the quantity of shots. Now the weapon is more effective in close range, instead of against a group of aliens.

In some cooler news, I have a friend working on sprites for the game, which is improving it a lot already. They are not quality sprites, but just drafts and things we want to test out. But it still gave the game a way better feeling than just killing those slimes 😛 Below is a screenshot of my newest record, also showing several frames of the newest enemy sprite.

Click to see the full image.

I think I should add more blood.