Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Swag Test

Not going to be much of a Swag Em Up without making sure that the Swag drops.

With 108 power-up collectibles I needed a way of distinguishing the type of object that would be collected from each drop point - without having to resort to making a model of every single one. For this I decided to go with the class value of the item, as used in the image displayed.

Laser Beam - Uncommon Item, Amber Triangle

On top of Common, Uncommon, and Rare upgrades, I also have Use items and added a Hidden/Mystery indicator which hides the class of the collectible. There are also Gradius style Follower "options" which increase firepower and are hidden from displaying in the Mystery category. These Follower objects have their own upgrade system which runs through the colours of the rainbow - influenced from the security clearance levels of the old pen-and-paper RPG Paranoia: ROY G BIV(U).

Gradius Style Follower Weapon Platforms In Action

So I ended up with the following visual indicators for what type of Swag might be dropped. Unknown collectible is a swirling animated vortex, whilst all others use the same class value symbol as displayed on their image when picked up. I might extend this to show the type of power-up available such as on Attack, Defend, Temperory, Permenant, etc.

Swag Value Indicators

To test if all my code and math was in working order, I created a test zone and heavily populated it with repeating terrain meshes and Swag drops. Having previously learned that 1 30x30m mesh produces far fewer drawcalls than 9 10x10m, I used 1,190 meshes to cover roughly 1km squared. Placing Swag Drops 40m apart over a 300m area, meant that I ended up with 272 Drop points for Power-Ups. Each dropPoint (think Swag vending machine) consists of the rotating, non-colliding item for the value indicator (heavier load than the previous static mesh I was using), a placeholder cube for the dropPoint, a pulsing light - categorized in colour to the class value, and some particle and sound emitters for charging the point, and also for dropping the Swag. The last thing was to add some LOOT in the shape of bronze, silver and gold coins.

Swag Em Up!

So that works nicely. I've been recording the value quantities spawned and it all seems to work well with my mathematics formula which is based on difficulty/level progression. And it's beginning to feel kinda like a game now.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Fancy Pants Stuff

Disclaimer: Blog post does not actually contain any pants which are fancy.

So another yeah towards the universe's doom lurches into existence. I made a whole 5 blog posts last year - 60% of them in February ... ahem ...

I finally updagraded my 10 year old Dell to a new all singing, all dancing, super-computer of a dev machine.

In other news I survived the Great Yorkshire Earthquake which wreaked widespread devastation.

Anyhoo - back to dev:

I finally completed 104 icons, which like everything else to do with indie game development, took far longer than it should have.

I also made a few changes to the HUD to try and finalize a layout. I merged the energy system for heavy attack and special evade into a single recharging system with collectable bonuses to increase the recharge rate.

For fancy effects I started playing around with a little shader code which found to give objects a distortion similar to Predator style camouflage or the invisible demons in ye olde Doom.

It's still a bit of a work in progress for optical camo but after a few additions to explosion code (code here) makes some nice shockwave ripple effects. See the two videos below and look carefully for the magnified turbulence shockwaves.



So ... onwards and upwards. Development is getting to the stage where I'll soon be swapping out the placeholder items and modeling and animating some actual art assets. To be continued! - hopefully with posts that are more regular than 2016 ...

Friday, 4 November 2016

Devblog: The Devbloggening: Devblog Harder

I haven't made a devblog post since April ... boy, do I suck at devblogs ...

But game development does progress, honest guv'.

I'm making a twin-stick SWAG 'EM UP, for which I need swag ... lots of swag ... so I've got 108 special attacks/defences/abilities/upgrades/buffs and stuff ... stuff which I shall now collective refer to as "POWER-UPS". These power-ups come in 3 levels of usefulness known as the now somewhat classic (thanks to uncle gaben) Common, Uncommon and Rare. Currently Common has an inverted green triangle, Uncommon has an amber triangle and Rare has a red circle ... though this might all change to bronze, silver and gold yet - which is the visual hint for the worth of coin loot dropped by slain enemies by which the player buys swag.

Whilst that's a hell of a lot of code to come up, the real workload has been in presenting it as a visual representation within the game. In fact the functionality for wasn't very difficult to code, regardless of the occaisional code comment which says something along the lines of:
//works for now but make better code later
 So here's a flavour of some of those, said power-up effects - cue a glut of youtube videos.

Knockback sends enemies flying whilst Shunt shoves the player out of harms way

 Banana Slip is the canned laughter of comedy gold, complete with lame sound effect

Magic Bullet bounces from enemy to enemy causing damage

Invulnerability uses full-screen postFX shader as a reference to classic 1993 Doom

Wrath Of The Gods sends down lightning strikes on Heaven's behalf

And of course it's not just explosions and fancy flashing particles and lights, each power-up requires an icon. Sometimes these icons are part of the actual visual effect to let the player know what has just happened.

Hamstring permenantly slows a wounded enemy 

BloodDonor heals the player when causing damage to an enemy 

Zone Of Comfy slows enemies whilst Hypnotism stuns them

Animated auras give off a nice effect in general

I've still got around 10 more complex effects to create. These will feature more complicated animated 3D models, plus I've some 90 icons and various sound effects to come up with. Hopefully after that I can finally start on actually creating game assets like levels, environments and characters. Until then, it's time to continue plugging away at the power-ups which underpin the gameplay of this Swag 'Em Up ... and hopefully remember to not wait 7 months between development blog updates ...