Saturday, 30 April 2022

The Steam Upload And What Was I Thinking When I Wrote This Steam Stats System

 Monsters Loot Swag is on Steam and available for wishlisting here.

So, after a few months of testing off Steam, I have uploaded a build to a Steam depot ... and then immediately started to fix everything that didn't work ...

Who's Best Girl? You're Best Girl! If you don't get ganked ...

 Primary here was the minor issue that to finalize the build I had encoded the script files - and that my own script reading function only dealt with unencoded script files ... this could have been forseen but because it has been so long since I shipped a game to Steam *** 26th August 2014 *** I had forgotten about this sort of thing ... What I hadn't forgotten about was my system for storing Steam Stats.

This May Have Explained My Overly Convoluted System ...

Overly convoluted seems a little weak ... even reading through my own code comments it is best described as baffling. I clearly wanted a system which saved as much as possible on server calls but this was truly was absolute gibberish even if, most terrifyingly of all, it worked. All the same, it still had to be rewritten to make the whole thing readable again.

How Much!??!?!

Something else which I had overlooked was size - and in particular the minor issue that I had completely forgotten to trim my master files for things like artwork and audio. After some careful pruning the required HD space dropped to around a single gigabyte.

Steam Cloud save system is also fully up and running, and the Swag unlocks recorder fully functioning and integrated with User Interface so that the player can look through what Swags and Power-Ups that they have unlocked at a more leisurely pace, outside of the frenetic nature of the game.

As ever, there has been mountains more of work, but I can never seem to remember it all when it comes to the month blog write.

Monsters Loot Swag has been accepted for Steam NextFest, the forthcoming showcase of indie games on Steam, which runs from the 13th-20th of June, so look out the freely available demo coming at the end of May. So that's the next major job.

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Players Can Interface With The Interface Part Deux

 March comes to an end ... with me starting a blog in the same manner as February, whinging about the weather ...

I had hoped to bravely remove the winter duvet but I got snowed and hailed on earlier and the wind is coming directly from the Artic. The winter duvet is staying in place.

Behold Stats!

What Does What

Other things which can be construed as mildly irritating is the amount of time I have spent making the Game User Interface, actually useable to the game user ...

As ever, whatever part of indiedev appears somewhat straight forwards suddenly become incredibly convoluted and the gamepad useable menu system has been just this. This included making a brand new input system for button selection that uses both vertical and horizontal selection, including uneven rows and columns.

Blast Monsters

 The statistics were not such a problem as setting out the tutorial in a way that the player could easily digest. Highlighting individual HUD elements seemed the best way of doing this and giving a brief explanation of what the player was seeing in game with any key/button related actions to that element, based on the player's currently selected input type. Now there are some stock engine ways of doing this but instead I wrote my own so all button selection goes through a custom input script.

Win Loot

 This useful and problematic in it's own manner, especially with the input system losing focus if you tabbed out or opened the console, but did give immediate response for sudden changes of input. I wrote my own custom key/input remapping system.


Get Swag!

So after a monumental kerfufle, the userable user interface is finally useable by people who are not me and do not know what everything does or means.

Next up is actually getting a build uploaded to Steam.

Monday, 28 February 2022

Players Can Interface With The Interface

February comes to an end. February, a month when the weather is so bad that it was shortened, so it would end quicker. The fence blew down, I got soaking wet and snowed on.

Anyhoo, that is enough of Johnny Britisher's favourite past-time of whinging about the weather.

Whilst the actual gameplay of the game has been working fine for years - the actual getting to and from said gameplay has been a bit of an unreadable mess. It has long been a spaghetti of various and conflicting buttons for starting a new game and hidden console commands for loading saved data.

 First screen when starting a game gives the player the opportunity to load a saved game - if there is one. This gives basic information about the saved file such as the player's previously chosen character, level progress and difficulty. It also displays the character portrait and the portrait of the level boss. If either of these cannot be found it defaults to showing the "unknown" portrait, which is a tentacle who's shape resembles a question mark.

  Starting a new game allows the player to first chose difficulty - which still requires some artwork for the settings - and then moves to the character selection screen. In the stock game there will eventually be a choice of 8 cosplays to dress you catgirl up in, each with their own stats and ability displayed. At initial release there will be 4.

This is "Sunrise", she likes walks on the beach, drinking cocktails and large calibre handguns. She is a range-based class with medium maneuverability, low strength (for pushing monsters out the way) and her evasion is a simple speed boost. Bonus points if you can name the movie this character references.

This is "Southern Hospitality" - because I don't want suing by some US drinks corporation. She likes riding through mud, drinking bourbon and blasting gators with a sawn-off. She is slower rate of fire but high damage, mixed range class, with medium maneuverability, medium strength for shoving, and an evasion which allows her to both vanish and run through monsters to escape.

And here is what it all looks like in action on video:

So, that was the shortened and rather soggy month of February 2022, were I made the interfaces for getting the game to actual work to be player friendly. There's still a few things to finish off like extending this to settings and adding statistics button to the Main Menu screen, but things are at least working quite nicely now.