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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 518
Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:50 pm    Post subject: S&S Journal Reply with quote

I'm opening this journal primarily for purposes of feedback - but also so that I may think out loud.

I'm hoping to make a game that makes people think.
I would like the game to include any imaginable kind of puzzle.
The player may be asking questions like:
"How do I get over there?"
"How do I solve this NPC's problem?"
"What does this object do?"
"How can I beat this monster, who do I need to beat it, and how do I get them over here to do so?"

As I started, it immediately became clear to me that I needed to construct a hero grouping system in which heros may be broken into groups so that they may cooperate in solving puzzles.
Puzzles become far cooler when heros can cooperate.
So - this system is 3/4 done.
You can split, aborb and cycle heros from group to group. The player controls the active group, the inactive groups stand around and wait to be used.
All I had to do was reserve NPCs on every map for inactive hero placement, and then store their coordinates and map information as globals.

The interesting part of the game will come from the powers I'll be scripting for each character.
They're all wizards you see, so they can do simple magic tricks.

For example, Saminaster can turn into lightning and arc ahead 2 tiles, effectively hopping over small obstacles.
This hopping mechanic is really interesting - it makes mazes weird. Particularly interesting is how it is possible to hide a pathway in plain sight. If you have two perpendicular maze paths share a common hop-tile, it's easy to mosey on by without noticing the other's existence.

I've also built some really cool giant flowers which groan when you poke them. They open and close (like a switch), which controls the growth/shrinkage of the plant's surrounding shrubs.
This mechanic, combined with Sam's hopping make for some really neat mazes.

This is really all I have so far. While I've received positive feedback from my (few) playtesters, the game is still completely incoherent. There's no plot or battles... yet.

Right now I'm working on battles - this is extremely challenging. I really would like there to be strategy involved, and I'm going to try to the best of my (very limited) ability to do so. I'm terrible at battle design.
I may even get some help in this department.

My ideas so far is this:
Wizard spells will generally follow a pokemon-ish elemental scheme.
However, different elements will behave in different ways.
Examples:
Electric spells are uncontrollable. They give you multiple hits, but no control over their targeting.
Fire spells are powerful, but hit everything without prejudice.
In these cases, the drawbacks for fire and electricity revolve around the players inability to control their targeting. Some enemies might be happy to receive a dose of fire. Others might die prematurely, and spawn some difficult offspring.
I envision each battle as having a "critical path" - an ordered hit list of each enemy. If the player deviates from this path, the battle will be difficult or impossible. Most battles will be escapable, so the player can test a strategy, and if it fails, they run and return later with a new strat.

If this battle system fails, and it very well might, it's possible I'll get rid of battles altogether and simply have puzzles. This would certainly work - the few puzzles I have so far are quite cool.

I don't want to talk too much more, mostly because I don't want to ruin the surprise for the other puzzles I have planned.

Ok, that's it.
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Baconlabs
PURPLE IS MANLY




Joined: 15 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:58 pm    Post subject: Re: S&S Journal Reply with quote

Bagne wrote:
If this battle system fails, and it very well might, it's possible I'll get rid of battles altogether and simply have puzzles.

If that's your prediction, and especially if you're also working alone, I'd recommend focusing entirely on the puzzles / omitting the battles. For now at least. That's a lot of graphics and music you won't have to work on.

This type of puzzle game actually sounds like a nice, unique diversion from both OHR RPGs and that other puzzle game, Slimes!.
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
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Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have at least half my hero battle graphics done ... and a few monsters.
They look really good ... I also have a few attack animations ...

But you're right, that's significantly less effort.
Also, I've never been 100% comfortable with making a game with violence (even if it's mild and cartoon-ish).

I *was* hoping to use the OHR engine to its full potential, but I'd much rather have a complete game :-)
If I really wanted to, I could add battles in later.

I have two very good battle related puzzles, but they can be translated to an out-of-battle context.

My only regret:
I *love* drawing monsters! I adore them! I've always wanted to make monsters for a game... but it takes so much time!
I need to learn to use GIMP I think.
Then, when I'm done with S&S I'll hire myself out to other OHRers or something.

Ok, you're right, Bacon man.
I'll stick with the no-battle decision for now.
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
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Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright!
My hero grouping system is almost in its final form!
You can now switch between heros by using keys 1,2,3 ... 0

This is nice because the user can say "I wanna use Kloddwick" and then hit "2" to get control of him immediately. This swapping preserves the hero grouping, so any other hero in Kloddwick's group get swapped into the active group automatically, and Kloddwick is set as the leader.

There's an added bonus for me - this feature will make cinematics much easier to do. I will have an invisible hero (hero #11, inaccessible to the player) who I can use as a camera. This is easier because I can now jump between maps and have flashbacks etc without worrying about screwing up the grouping/map placement of the in-game heros.

Otherwise, I've been very busy at school. I have little other progress, although I've been spending lots of time on music composition. I really enjoy the stuff I've written, and it's clear to me that I've improved a lot since high school.
Also, and I'm working on some troll-bunny-related puzzles.

EDIT:
This troll-bunny puzzle is turning out to be quite interesting.
To anyone intending to incorporate puzzles into their game, let me make a recommendation:
Make up some sort of simple mechanism, and play around with it.
I've made some cool puzzles, and so far, I've made all of them in this way. With my troll-bunnies, I have it so that when you talk to them, they hop over the hero. I muddled around with this for a bit, and now I have a maze, kind of like a block-pushing maze.

It gets even more interesting when you combine simple scripts. For example, when my troll-bunnies are combined with hopping, the maze becomes even more twisty and counter-intuitive.
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 518
Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, by the way ...

If anyone reading this is one of those people who (like me) have been lolly gagging about learning to using slices, well ...
STOP LOLLY GAGGING, AND START USING SLICES RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THEY'RE THE BEST THING INVENTED SINCE ... LUNGS.

Seriously, they're awesome, and really easy to implement. I had to read the plotscripting dictionary for maybe 10 minutes - that's all.

By the grace of slices, Saminaster now has the power to command the clouds to rain. If only I could think of something cool to do with this power :-)

HEY! STOP LOLLY GAGGING!
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Baconlabs
PURPLE IS MANLY




Joined: 15 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bagne wrote:
Saminaster now has the power to command the clouds to rain. If only I could think of something cool to do with this power :-)

Oh I dunno, maybe use it to water some plants or fill a pond or
NO, YOU KNOW WHAT
USE IT TO FLOOD A BATTLEFIELD
THAT'LL SHOW 'EM

Bagne wrote:
HEY! STOP LOLLY GAGGING!
(advice for the ages)
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FnrrfYgmSchnish
Finally not Dark Blubber anymore




Joined: 19 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'd say the most obvious use for magically causing rain would be putting out fires. Maybe washing away nasty stuff (poison goo?) also.
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 518
Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's some screens!
Saminaster is summoning a thunderstorm.
To the right you can see a giant Waddi Flower.






In the second screen, I've got a slice layer for the clouds.
The OHR doesn't support layer transparency (will it ever?), but you can fake it by dithering transparent pixels.
The tricky thing is that if the clouds overlap (which they do), and if their dithering is offset by 1 pixel, they form a solid image. What I did was set their position so that they fall on an even pixel (you set the x coord as x/2*2). One last step (which had me baffled for an evening) is that if you mirror image any of your sprites (as I did with some of the clouds), this offsets the dithering by one. In this case, I had to compensate by coding x/2*2 + 1.

Here's the gang (so far), hanging out at Beak's ranch.
Top left to bottom right:
Beak, Floromancer
Xal, Shifter Witch
Saminaster, Mage of Tempests
Kloddwick, Stonespeaker
Chichou, mysterious creature
Missing is
Yaijela, Solar Sorceress
and
The Queen of Midwinter's Night
(I don't have their graphics finalized)



There may be other characters. Each will have a magic powers like Saminaster's "Summon Thunderstorm".

There will be trollbunnies, bottomless cliffs, Klebberked monsters, and mind bending puzzles!

Also, I'm always open to suggestions for magic powers (and uses thereof). Rain putting out fire - good! I didn't think of that!
Filling ponds - yes indeedy, that will transpire at some point.

I've been for the past while to think of a plant watering mechanic, but I haven't yet got one that works - I need a reason for the player to turn off the rain, (or else, they might just leave it on all the time and stuff will grow everywhere without any effort). It might be a necessity to set a timer so that the rain stops after a few seconds - but I'd prefer if the player has permanent control over the rain.
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Last edited by Bagne on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Baconlabs
PURPLE IS MANLY




Joined: 15 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bagne wrote:
I'm showing jpgs using IMG code from photobucket. If there's a better way, let me know and I'll do it.

AAAAAAH
JPGS
NOOOO

If you can, use PNG. It's one of the smoothest image formats I've ever seen. JPGS run the risk of getting compressed and ugly. Also, these screens are quite tiny, so I'd suggest doubling their resolution in an image editor.
Photobucket codes are A-OK, by the way.
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
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Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yay! I edited the above screens and they look much nicer!
Thanks, Baconlabs!

P.S. EVERYONE, STOP LOLLY-GAGGING AND USE SLICES!
P.P.S. I also just realized that the Waddi flower has way more anthers than petals. I don't think that's normal. Is it a monocotyledon or a dicotyledon? Neither! It's a magic flower!
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Pepsi Ranger
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I've been for the past while to think of a plant watering mechanic, but I haven't yet got one that works - I need a reason for the player to turn off the rain, (or else, they might just leave it on all the time and stuff will grow everywhere without any effort). It might be a necessity to set a timer so that the rain stops after a few seconds - but I'd prefer if the player has permanent control over the rain.


Too much rain causes weeds. Weeds get in the way (or slow down the hero). Simple.

(What you need then is a reason to get rid of weeds...like fire perhaps.)
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 518
Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to hold back on this post until I actually had a completed result, but now I'm too excited.

I've managed to numerically simulate some damped simple harmonic oscillators in the OHR engine, and I'm going to try and incorporate this into a totally wicked animation which will be used in S&S.
I have yet to finish the animation - but the oscillators work!
They work! They work! Big grin Big grin Big grin Big grin Big grin Big grin Big grin Big grin Big grin
When I'm done I'm going to post up my code so other people can try it.

Because the oscillators work reasonably well, I'm thinking of building a physics engine for OHR slices. This would be especially nice if slice rotation got implemented. This engine wouldn't be for S&S, of course - it would be it's own game.

EDIT:
I just woke up this morning realizing that I could use slices as a makeshift stack/queue/list. I need to write this down:
I can store a list of slices, and each slice stores "extra" data which will identify scripts and input arguments. This is exactly what I need if I want to make a complicated animation (at least until multi-threaded scripts are implemented).
The entire list will be executed every tick. Each executed script will step an individual animation forward one tick, or remove the list item when/if the animation reaches completion.
I won't include any animation until multi-thread scripts, but slice lists will let me animate in the meantime.

Slices are better than quantum computers!
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TMC
On the Verge of Insanity




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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[EDIT: CRAP, I had forgotten to post in this thread to say that I love your graphics! The colourful, creative style reminds me of so many games. ]

Physics engine? Top-down, side-view, 3D, or any of the above?

Quote:
I just woke up this morning realizing that I could use slices as a makeshift stack/queue/list.


Newbie Power makes extensive use of slices for this purpose in his unreleased tactics RPG. Surprisingly, the A* algorithm implementation we wrote is probably simpler than if it had been written in C!

Quote:
This is exactly what I need if I want to make a complicated animation (at least until multi-threaded scripts are implemented).
The entire list will be executed every tick. Each executed script will step an individual animation forward one tick, or remove the list item when/if the animation reaches completion.
I won't include any animation until multi-thread scripts, but slice lists will let me animate in the meantime.


I wrote a slice animation system like this for an unreleased game, and gave it to Newbie Power: each slice had a script id, a tick counter and I think another argument in its extra data. Each tick, the tick counter is incremented and the script is run, which updates the animation frame.

For Fall be Kind I decided on a simpler system in order to improve the speed of it: I want to be able to have hundreds of animations on screen at once (simply drawing thousands of slices is no trouble). Rather than attach an arbitrary script to each slice, each slice stores tick counter, number of frames, number of ticks between frames, and a couple bits: to toggle looping, and to add a pause at the end of the animation before looping.

I also have an independent velocity/slice movement system (which should really be built into slices).

Whenever we finish Fall Be Kind I'll release the scripts in the hopes that they'll be useful to people creating platformers, to people animating slices, and also for all the other useful scripts. Unfortunately right now I seem to have broken the animation scripts, or I would post them.

Quote:
Slices are better than quantum computers!

Let's not dis quantum computing!
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 518
Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Mad Cacti wrote:
I love your graphics! The colourful, creative style reminds me of so many games.

Thanks :-)
I started off trying simple shapes and patterns, but as you can see, I strayed from that path - particularly with the trees.
Also, I once heard an observant man say: "nothing is grey". If you look around, it's quite true! That's why I have purple rocks. (I also have stone walls which include multiple hues)
Also - I don't like dithering, I'm not sure why. I'm using it only for "transparency" and cloth textures.

The Mad Cacti wrote:

Physics engine? Top-down, side-view, 3D, or any of the above?

Side-view would probably be funnest. You can incorporate gravity. I'm thinking of some kind of "Incredible Machine" type puzzle game.
I'm not very confident that I have the ability to represent 3D objects with slices, at least, not without linear transformations ... and even then it would be hard.
Anyways, I just mean to play around with physics simulation until I stumble across something fun.

The Mad Cacti wrote:

I also have an independent velocity/slice movement system (which should really be built into slices).

You mean, each slice stores its own velocity, and is automatically moved according to the stored quantity?
For my oscillators, I stored a history of the last 2 positions of each moving slice. This let me numerically estimate the velocity and acceleration of the oscillators, and then I solved the SHO equations (x and y equations were independant) for the coordinates of the current time-step. The reason I did this is that the oscillators will be mounted on a larger moving apparatus. When the larger apparatus accelerates, the oscillators can maintain some inertia.
I tried both Euler-forward and implicit techniques of estimating v and a. I ended up using the Euler-forward because implicit techniques tend to underestimate quantities, and in my case, they imposed a very large damping effect on the movement of my slices.
I also needed to carefully select my oscillator mass, spring constant, and drag constants to prevent overdamping, or have them zig-zag all over the screen.

I too want to make my code public when I have everything figured out.
If my animation works the way I'm currently envisioning it, it will look stupendously cool.
Also, when I release a playable version of my game, I'll also release the hero grouping code - I want to play puzzle games!

The Mad Cacti wrote:

Let's not dis quantum computing!

Ok. Retracted.
I'll stick with a prior post's claim: slices are the best invention since lungs.

@PepsiRanger
Still working on thunderstorm puzzles. I'm looking for things Saminaster can do with rain alone (he starts alone in the game)

EDIT: Is it me, or is the Waddi Forest tileset a bit dark?
I'm on a different computer, and the tiles look much darker than I intended.
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Bagne
ALL YOUR NUDIBRANCH ARE BELONG TO GASTROPODA




Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 518
Location: Halifax

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

O PEOPLE OF THE OHR!

COWER AT THE FEET OF THE TERRIBLE BOULDERBEAST!







Of the few of you who aren't petrified with fear, you may wonder to yourselves:
"Hey, are those sprites positioned using 3D coordinates?"
"Hey, is Bagne performing rotational transformations using integer-only math?"
"Hey, does this monster have anything to do with the simple harmonic oscillators Bagne has been ranting about?"

The answer is yes.

(Although I cheated on the rotation's trig functions. Taylor expansions of SIN and COS basically don't work with integer-only math. I cheated, and printed out SWITCH statement lookup tables using MATLAB)

EDIT:
@ Pepsi Ranger
I don't think I want weeds growing everywhere all the time, but I do want the rain to interact with some plants. Here's one of my ideas: Blue waddi plants like the rain, and so they open when it rains. They can't be closed by turning the rain off, however. You need to do this "manually". Also, there will be other waddi plants that are sensitive to other kinds of magic: fire, light, etc.
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