Monday, January 11, 2010

Pilgrimage to Derby

Between the snow, powercuts and personal injury I managed to make it to my appointed weekend meeting with Keith, the writer on Level Up and now my full partner in crime on Gather Up (2D Art, Concept Art, Design and Writing). He's been drawing up some awesome gun concepts that I'm dying to put up here.

I've added a new enemy type and worked on some persuit AI so I can continue to put the combat through it's paces. Got a few more enviromental bits to make so that the level is fully playable. Finger is still kinda puffy, but it's bearing up.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I got this going, and then promptly shut my finger in a car door. It's going to put a but of a damper on my coding activities for the next few days.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The 'Black Triangle' of Gather Up

Or at least, one black triangle of Gather Up.

I remember reading a story a little while back (it might have been on Gamasutra) about programming achievements that are vital to a projects success but underwhelming to outside observers. This was placed in context of the team spending weeks of effort to get a single black triangle on screen and the ensuing confusion of everyone else who just couldn't figure what was so great about it. It certainly doesn't sound or look very impressive.

It's the sort of thing that isn't very good for moral. It certainly hasn't done mine any good. Which is what makes middlewear more attractive because it makes it easier to achieve things quickly and get tangible results.

Anyway, I hit on of those black triangle achievements when I wrote the first part of my tile import/refresh code for Mappy (the level editor I use). I had already written the refresh code, which basically added a one button option to re-load the png of the current tileset. Now I'm expanding on it to append all the 'Marker Tiles' for placing enemies and objects in the level on the end of the tile list whenever I refresh.

This means that I no longer have to waste precious tilesheet space for marker tiles. Level Up only had a single tile sheet and no huge number of objects to add (Level Up had about 30 marker tiles. Gather up already has 20 marker tiles and is looking to total up to about 120 all together). It also means I can ensure that I don't accidentally place the market tiles as physical parts of the tileset. It also means I can use code to fill out a bunch of tile values so I don't have to spend quite as much time manually adding NPC's/enemies ect to a tileset.

To an outsider though, it's pretty boring. It doesn't make the game do anything cool. In fact it's existence won't even be noted by people playing the game aside from hopefully giving me more time to focus on level layouts and detailing areas. In that sense I'm busy punching the air but can't quite explain to anyone else why.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Couple of new enemies

Neither of them have names yet. The one on the left is probably going to go in the hub area. The thing on the right, that I'm now calling an "Evil Roomba" is for the volcano base and will wind up and jet steam to move around as well as shooting with it's cannon.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nuke/Flight/Boost Video

Abilities Tester Video

Nothing playable just yet, as flight so overpowered it gives access to areas of the level I don't want anyone near right now. Also I want to polish a few more rough edges and crash causing bugs before I make it playable as well as add a half decent tutorial sign. I'll probably take the player through ALL the abilities as part of the starting tutorial.

It was mentioned yesterday about autofire. You don't have to use it. You tap X to lock on and now as long as you still have a target he will stay locked on until you have got about 2-3 seconds without one before putting the gun away again. Yes, you can just blaze away at everything anyway, but the number of misses you will get due to recoil and loss of damage for not getting perfect critical hits will cost you in the long term.

So work plan for tomorrow. Clean up the ability code a bit, prep the new stage area and try and get the player in it with a couple of new enemies spawning. Perhaps lay some of the ground work for timed hits, although it's getting harder and harder to work with the guns since there designs are still subject to change.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Battle Alpha Version

A new version of the Prototype

The final iteration of the combat controls. I'm pretty settled with the setup I have, although rolling needs some tweaking, as the player needs a little more control over where it ends, or you roll into enemies way too much.

You can roll/backflip/shoot any time. There are a few small animation bugs and damage can occasionally make the character misbehave. The new meter in the top left that increases when you shoot is basically a special attack meter. You hold down to charge it up and unleash a special attack which does crazy awesome stuff. Right now only the basic Nuke move is done (does massive damage to all nearby enemies) with a simple effect.

Tomorrow I'm going to work on adding Flight and Boost/Vampire to the specials and tweak out roll a bit so the player can adjust momentum within reason. Which when finished should cover all the complexities of the combat/movement part of the game. The new level should be preped enough that the next alpha version can be there rather than the temple, which I'm getting a little bored of myself. I don't want to make that leap until the new enemies (Basically ones that attack you to do damage rather than being damage on touch) are ready.

Also, yes, I was back to work yesterday. But I found out a friend had been in a car accident over christmas and it kinda knocked me for six when it came to focusing on development. So I didn't really achieve anything notable to post about.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Office Tidy Day

Usually on Fridays I have 'office tidy day'. This is when I clean up the junk on my desk because a tidy clean workspace makes me more keen to work on stuff. It's not Friday today, but it is almost Christmas and I spent most of the day cleaning anyway. So today was office tidy day.

There is a deep and meaningful reason behind having an certain weekday for cleaning. During my 'heavy' periods I start to pull 10 hours a day working on a game out of enthusiasm for the project. Doing it for a long time burns my brain out a bit, so the idea is by tidying, I've got something to force my mind of work for a bit. Or at the very least spread it out between bursts of tidying/cleaning that give me time to think about what I'm doing.

Due to my Christmas commitments, I won't be back to work until the 27th of December. Tomorrow will be my last game related post until then. Until then enjoy this slightly buggy animation loop of a 'riser'. You can grab them, they drag you up to higher ledges.