Sunday, April 17, 2011

Numerous adventures in platforming stuff

Finally got some work done this friday after RL and my tiredness gave me time to think.

Platforming physics for moving, jumping, and double jumping* are all done.  (*which is really just a matter of letting the game keep a count how many times the player jumped, for those interested in how to go about making such a system.)

There is currently a weird bug that makes the player unable to double jump if they walk off an edge.  The game only gives them the second mid-air jump even though both first and second jump should use the same code.  I'm writing it off as a "feature" for now, till I can wrap my head around why on earth walking off an edge suddenly lowers the amount of jumps you can do. 

It's particularly puzzling because all the double jump does is allow you to jump again in the air, and falling or not having ground under the player isn't even in the conditions for allowing a jump.  But that's all boring mumbo-jumbo I won't get into.

The system allows for an "interrupt animation" to be played.  That is a term I just made up on the spot, basically it means that the physics will only control the animations of the player if they are NOT doing something else.  In other words, I can make the player play an attack animation without worrying about cancelling it halfway through to play the walking animation.  If you still don't quite understand, just know the important thing is that this system lets me program an attack into the players actions without disabling the physics while they are attacking.

So basically now I need to work on edge grabbing, and some combat attacks, as well as getting "hurt" and reacting to taking damage.  Edge grabbing should be simple enough, but if it proves a pain I will just drop it.  Combat and taking damage is a must or we don't have much of a game.

I could add in support for ramps, but that seems rather useless for version 1, especally since my level generator doesn't understand how to build such things.  Needlessly complicated, I say.

In non-work related news, in no particular order, the following awsome stuff happened or I found them:

--- (I've added these in between topic changes to prevent confusion in this massive infodump of doom.  Enjoy.)

Uru Live has gone Open Source!  Cyan even already updated the MOULa game with the first minor fan created patch, straight from the Grey Hats themselves.  I'll let Cyan speak for themselves and just link the letter here:

Or you can go straight to yourself.

Of course, this news in and of itself means next to nothing for non-MystFanCodeHeads, myself included.  But I'm excited anyway, because it brings us one giant step closer to getting some of the fantastic, canon friendly, fan created ages onto the real URU servers, in full blown multiplayer form.


This is by far the most expensive game ever on Amazon, but you save a lot by letting them rip you off.  I thought it was hillarious, but please don't ever buy it new from them.

Gotta love automated amazon pricing, and minor mistypes in prices.  Just look how much you save.

PS: If you really want the Incredible Machine series of games(they are pretty fantastic puzzlers), check out the Incredible Machine Megapack at gog instead.

For that price, I've been thinking of picking up a copy for myself.  They are all pretty old, but their mostly solid puzzle design and the inclusion of the editor "free form" mode in every version makes them a very worthy purchase.  I'd pay that price for just TIM3 alone, easy.


It's that time again, time for the humble bundle to steal however much money you want it to steal, and then use it for a good cause.

This time it's a pretty solid mix of stuff all from Frozenbyte.  Trine in particular is spectacular on it's own if you for some reason still don't have it.  But I'm especally excited about Splot, just because that blue fellow looks insanely random and cool.

They come with their soundtracks too.  Trine's got some lovely music going on in it, well worth picking up.  And you've got no excuse with that kind of pricing.


And last, a fictional day in a land of glass.

The products are mostly rather expensive and random looking, but the technology the company is working on is really really cool.  Things like Gorrila Glass, glass that can "think" and  be "interactive" with computers/touchscreen inside it, rollable computer glass, and even glass that powers itself using the energy of the sunlight shining through it.  Crazy sounding stuff, but also just plain really really cool.

I also like the music score for the ad/short.  It's nice and uplifting, good after a long day of work.  You can obtain a copy yourself from here for now, I have no idea if the artist is actually going to sell it or if it was just a promotional track thingy by Corning:


Been playing 9 hours, 9 persons, 9 doors for the DS.  It's rated M for a reason, but it's a really good Japanese Storybook type game crossed with Myst-like puzzle rooms in between.  Lots of endings too...which seem to be part of some bigger ending plot that I probably need all of the endings to actually know what to do for.  I do recommend it, but only if you're ok with the content involving vivid descriptions/imagey of dead/mutilated human bodies while not fully knowing who is responsible till the end(if you even go the right way in the first place).  It's pretty disturbing on the first few playthroughs, and might cause a distinct lack of sleep.

On a less disturbing but equally M rated note, I've also been playing God of War on the PS2.  Actually, I finished God of War over the course of two straight days playing through it, and am now a bit into the second one.  I can say two things about it.  First, you really arn't the nicest person around, and all of the puzzle "solutions" almost always involve having everyone else be sent to the afterlife.  Second, it's very clear this game's power lies in its fantastic storytelling, well written dialog, and some very sweet, kick ass level design.  It's rare to find a platformer that uses levels to tell just as much of a story as it's dialog and cutscenes, and God of War, and it's sequal (so far anyway), does it well.

I just wish Kratos wasn't such a meany anti-hero, even if it does suit his character and the storyline.  I keep wanting to be a good guy and save people, but instead I keep having to use them for extra weight during puzzles.  This game really needs some Prince of Persia: Sands of Time/Warrior Within flavored "good or evil" choices in it, even if both outcomes turn out the same. 

Oh well, at least he's got a good, deep reasoning behind his choices and solutions to things, even if I don't agree with them.  Which I guess means they did a phenominal job telling the storyline and characters, if I can sympathise with his logic even though it goes against what I would have done in the situation.

And with that, I'm signing off for now, it's 1:33 AM and I really need sleep.  See ya later.

*half expects the labeling system to throw a fit at him with this one.*

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The attack of Real Life, Dropping a Beat Like an Ugly Baby, and a 3d game concept I've half baked.

That may be the most disturbing title I've got so far for one of these blog posts.

Life has been keeping me pretty busy, and unable to get much done physically aside from a bit of Unity Engine studying and a few other things not mentionable just yet.

Well, there also is the fact I am having a bit too much fun playing the beta of 1...2...3...Kick It! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby).  (A music driven Aaaaa type game, which is currently on sale for 5 bucks and paying that earns you the full version too.)  The title rocks, the game rocks, but is a bit rusty due to the whole beta thing.  I recommend picking it up anyway since if they can finish it, the full version will rock hard, and it's half off.

However, that hasn't stopped my designer's mind from working.  I've got a concept in my head of a simple 3d platformer in Unity starring a very special character dear to my heart.  You might have seen him in my avatar(I said my avatar, not the movies silly).  It's probably a good first project because it will be simple to program, unlike a lot of other random concepts me and my sister have been brainstorming.

So here we go, concept dump time.  This is more for me then you, but I figure it's unoriginal enough to be public:

A simple, level based platformer, along the lines of Mario 64.  Basic platform movement, simple mechanics(much more simple then Mario 64's Long Jumps and such).  Stuff to collect in each level, as follows:

-100 cherries, these are used to earn your way through doors, like notes in Banjo Kazooie
-10 Smiley Tokens, these are very much like Stars, but they don't end the level when collected.  There is actually 11 in each level, but one is very well hidden.

The platforming probably won't allow for more then basic jumping, if I can manage it, I'd like to do wall jumping or double jumping too, because such jumping mechanics make for some interesting level design.

As for levels themselves, I think it will work best if there is one main "hub" level, in which all the others are connected to.  The other levels will more then likely be very abstract and "floaty in the sky like", both to save time, and because it's easier to make challenging platform levels if you don't need to worry about being stuck in a lower part of the level.  They each will be themed.  To save development time, some levels will probably be themed the same, but use gameplay changes or clever level design to be different from each other.  The basic idea is that each level should be memorable as a unique area, to aid the player in collecting the remaining loot later.

The game engine itself needs to support some form of basic NPC text babbling.  I'd love to have it work realtime, while the player is still moving around, but that may prove too tricky to program for a first game.

Enemies will more then likely be pretty easy to fight, requiring either a bop on the head, or some other easy single hit solution.  I'm trying to keep the controls simple, so having no attack button is more then likely the way to go. 

Ideally the controls would simply be arrow keys(or joystick) and one single button for jumping.  Thus the auto-talking NPC support.  But if this proves too hard to do, and I need to add in a "talk" button, then that same "talk" button would be used to interact/attack things as well.

So far it's not sounding very original.  But it does sound fun, and that's what matters most.  Hopefully I can apply my good game design instincts to the levels so that they are challenging but loads of fun to play through.

And of course, like all things, by the time we get to the end product, it might end up so different the above concept doesn't even apply.  Such is the way of independant game development.

Most of my next work hours are going to be spent animating our hero of the game, while trying to learn how Unity does animations(so far it does it well and simple enough).  So far, all he does is blink, but it's a blinking animation that only animates his eyes and thus is easily mix-played with others.  Dynamic mixing of animations for the win.

See ya next post.  Maybe I'll have less concept and more solid stuff from one of my projects to show by then.

*dives back into the madness of Real Life Situations Becoming a Mess While Video Games Distract Me With Welcome Breaks*