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New Project: Lost Son, or Nep Still Makes Games?
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:11 pm    Post subject: New Project: Lost Son, or Nep Still Makes Games? Reply with quote

I usually hold my projects pretty close to my chest, but this time I want to try something a bit different. I'm hoping that keeping a journal will help me stay interested in development and provide some accountability. Also, I don't have a lot time to work in engine, but I do check CP everyday at work. If I can't actually work, I can at least plan out exactly what I need to do. That way I can use my time more efficiently. And after all, proper preparation prevents piss-poor performance.

The game is Lost Son.
It's a Christmas-themed Survival/Horror/RPG. You'll play as Radha, a mother who struggles with clinical depression, anxiety and anger issues after her only son, a soldier in the War on Terror, is killed in the Middle East. One fateful day, Radha receives an invitation to an inspirational lecture at Ferland Hall. A famous doctor will be awarded for developing new, effective cancer treatments. He will then speak on the power of perseverance, and how to achieve one's goals. This doctor is Radha's son.

Is her son alive?
Is it all a cruel hoax?

Radha must return to her home town to uncover the truth.
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Baconlabs
PURPLE IS MANLY




Joined: 15 Mar 2009
Posts: 335
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nepenthe wrote:
You'll play as Radha... her only son, a soldier in the War on Terror, is killed in the Middle East. A famous doctor... is Radha's son.

Is her son alive?
Is it all a cruel hoax?

Um, what? You just said the doc's her son. Who reveals this information, and why doesn't Radha (or, in effect, the player) believe it?

Potential plothole aside, this sounds like an interesting story. You have a good slew of characters already. But how will it turn into a game? I'm having trouble imagining this is an RPG, and that Survival Horror and Christmas are in the same sentence baffles me.
Unless it turns into a Horror-themed not-quite-a-game like Sleepover.

Also, I suspect your avatar is from your game file. Screens pl0x
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's kind of the point. She knows that her son is dead (and was never a doctor). So when the invitation shows up in her mailbox she assumes that someone is playing a trick on her--trying to reveal what her son might have become had he not joined the army. She goes to the site of the lecture to raise hell. The real question is: Who would do such a thing and why? The first main goal of the game will be to answer those two questions.
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Baconlabs
PURPLE IS MANLY




Joined: 15 Mar 2009
Posts: 335
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, didn't expect that.
It seems to me that you're fighting against the stereotypical "grieving mother" character - The mold dictates that she would long to see her son again so much that she'll believe/do anything that anyone tells her. But she doesn't.
This means Radha is either intelligent, astute, cynical, or some combination.

Pardon me for being incredulous, I've never seen this type of character before, which is a pretty rare first.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll take that as a compliment.
It's mostly that she's so incredibly proud of her son's sacrifice that she can't fathom a reality where he didn't give his life. And anyone making that suggestion would be disgracing his memory. Radha and her son shared a very complex relationship which will be unraveled as the story progresses.

Things to do:
Revisit my old isometric movement scripts/retrofit them to use slices for large walkabouts (they currently reposition an NPC one tile north of the hero as it moves)
Add support for moving between elevations AKA stairs. (Should be easy enough to manipulate the z value. Will probably require step-ons at top and bottom of stairs. Alternatively, use specific wallmap patterns and check passabilities)
Add a system to properly align the hero to npcs on use (there are two isometric tiles in every maptile. I can forsee trouble lining up the hero with small objects.)
Create a simple playground map to test wallmapping. I need to find out if the scripts will force me to design my maps in certain ways. Ideally they should be able to handle any map I could possibly make. In fact, if I do this first I might find that the previous isn't even an issue.

I want to get this out of the way first so I don't run into any surprises while building maps. I don't like surprises. (You can read about some of my other misadventures in hastiness in my thread on the arcade forum.)
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Last edited by Nepenthe on Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Baconlabs
PURPLE IS MANLY




Joined: 15 Mar 2009
Posts: 335
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isomteric movement scripts? Wasn't James looking for one of those to use in a later Wandering Hamster map?
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Code:
defineconstant(
  0,ne
  1,se
  2,sw
  3,nw
)

script, movehero, who, direction, distance, begin
  variable (i,j,xoffset,yoffset)
  if(direction==ne) then(xoffset:=4, yoffset:=-2)
  if(direction==se) then(xoffset:=4, yoffset:=2)
  if(direction==sw) then(xoffset:=-4, yoffset:=2)
  if(direction==nw) then(xoffset:=-4, yoffset:=-2)
    for(i,1,distance) do(
      if(herodirection(who)==direction) then(
        for(j,0,4,1) do(
          puthero(who,heropixelx(who)+xoffset,heropixely(who)+yoffset)
          putnpc(0,heropixelx(who),heropixely(who)--20)
          if(j<=2)
          then(setheroframe(who,0) setnpcframe(0,0))
          else(setheroframe(who,1) setnpcframe(0,1))
          wait(1)))
        else(
          setherodirection(me,direction)
          setnpcdirection(0,direction)
          if(distance>>1) then(decrement(i))))
end


This is my old isometric movement script for heroes. I have this in a separate txt file named isoscr.hsi (along with the scripts to move npcs and the elevation stuff when I write it) which I just include into my game's .hss file. I suspend the player and use keyispressed commands to call movehero. Movehero also replaces walkhero for scripted cutscenes. The putnpc/setnpcframe/setnpcdirection commands control the npc that makes up my tall walkabout. I need to sit down and figure out slices, because I think that would make more sense. I also need to comment my scripts in the future.

EDIT: probably should mention this script does not handle wall checking. The script that calls this one does that. It would probably make more sense to put it in here though.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The more I work with this script, the more I really hate it. Mainly because it was designed to move the character isometrically, but still (mostly) conform to the default 20x20 grid. There are "isometric tiles" that are skipped to land the hero within a default tile, and some that can never be passed through at all. It's making map design a huge headache. I'll have to start from scratch if I want to keep the game isometric.

I'm actually starting to question if isometry (I like making up words) really adds anything to the game. I originally justified it because it allows more faces of a building to show, and more interior walls, etc. But I think the real reasons I wanted to do it were A) I haven't seen it done in an OHR game. And B) I was on a huge Fallout binge when I started making it. There's also something to be said for the psychological effects. I'm assuming most RPG players would expect things to be square. The strong diagonals would give a sense of everything being off-kilter. Or maybe I'm just way off base. I will have to make a decision soon though.

(BTW, if anyone has use for the script I posted, feel free to use/modify it for your own purposes)
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spent some time yesterday working with maptiles. Decided isometry isn't really worth it. The extra tiles it uses up would be better served adding details to a standard layout.
This changes my priorites some what:
Rethink maps to align north/south and east/west. (This mostly effects "Main St." The central hub area. Need to make sure it stays visually interesting.)
Write my menu wrappers (need equip menu definitly, to change MP amounts based on equipped weapon. Also would like custom status screen.)
Battle tests (I don't think the item tag bugs will effect my system, but I need to make sure.)
Lots of graphics. (Basically starting from scratch here so I'll need pretty much everything.)
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Progress is going... well... slow. I'm finding I don't have to patience I used to for the tedium that is tile work. Still, I'm committed to finishing this project (I've been using the OHR since the 4-map version, it's about time I release something). I have been doing a few mock-ups on graph paper to test different perspectives, so I guess that's something.

Anywho... I guess I'll keep working on maptiles for now.
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TMC
On the Verge of Insanity




Joined: 05 Apr 2003
Posts: 3225
Location: Matakana

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds bizarre - I'm confused because the story you described in your first post, and in the followups, seems different.

Well, it was neat to see someone else attempt an isometric game. AFAIK, you're only the second, after me. All my NPCs were two tiles high, which required manipulating NPC layering, making my scripts really gnarly. I created an edited version of Custom which displays an isometric wallgrid in the map editor, based on the wall-encoding scheme I decided on. I am certain that I will release (after totally restarting) that game someday.

And yes, I realised so many unexpected problems only once I started creating some maps. Making maps and maptiles is a huge headache. I think it would be better now that we have layers and slices though.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isometry is totally doable, and I'd love to see a game made in that way. For me it was just cost/benefit type thing and I couldn't justify the effort for what it added to the game (I.e. Nothing. Well, maybe some novelty). I'm sure some games would benefit greatly from isometric design, though. So good luck on your project!

Also, I think my initial story was really unclear. I should have said something like: The name and photo of this doctor matches those of Radha's son. The first few minutes of gameplay will reveal the invitation to be a fake. The event it describes is not scheduled at all, and no one has heard of such a doctor or his work.

Did some more maptiles last night. Almost have enough for some preliminary screenies.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I regret to inform that in the wake of The Three 2's (CoD:MW2, AC2, L4D2) my productivity has taken a huge hit. This is lamentable and I have taken steps to get back on track. Last night I buckled down and made some tiles. The first setpiece location is almost done. Then I can move on to generic terrain and buildings.

Also something Baconlabs said has been nagging at me. The bit about a typical mother willing to believe anything that would mean her son is still alive. I've decided to address this in-game because, while I know the underlying personality that guides her actions, I can't expect the player to accept things "just because".
Therefore, I've added a scene where another character accuses Radha of not even wanting her son to be alive (and by extension wanting him to be dead). The ensuing conversation will allow me to delve more fully into her motivations.

See? Being more open has already improved the project. But I'm still struggling with how much to reveal story-wise and what I need to save for people to experience for the first time in game.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Lucier
that one girl




Joined: 06 Aug 2003
Posts: 139
Location: dallas, tx

PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that diner looks sweet! idk if you still hadn't gotten to it yet, but i recommend adding some different grass tiles to change up the monotony and add some other accessories (street lights, shrubs, etc) to really add interest. your walkabouts look good too, but what us the diagonal line under his feet? is it meant to be a shadow? might want to keep the shadow more directly under the person's sprite, and have it end maybe just one pixel below where his lower foot touches the ground and make it a little more round in shape to make it more believable. :]
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