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The Game Development Thread

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I recommend using an asset pack called "Customizable Grid" for materials @Broker - drop me a PM and I'll sort you out :)

 

On a related note, does anyone fancy doing a weekly couple of hour dev chat thing via Discord etc? I was wanting to get in on a regular thing to play about in engine and chat about what we are trying to achieve, help each other out and soundboard ideas. 

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I spent last weekend learning how to use Phaser and built my first game. It's a simple little shooter type thing where you move the ship and try to avoid/blow up the bombs. I'm super pleased with it and it's actually quite fun! :D

 

image.thumb.png.14695354a7a097a55a9d569665a6515e.png

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I've been doing some more procedural work. Mountains this time. I was messing with erosion algorithms which i love, but are just too slow to be practical really. So I am experimenting with short cut ways of making more interesting forms. This is fully procedurally generated, with a LOD system to keep the poly counts down.

 

mountain5.thumb.jpg.60aa9a6d1b5ba00b73ee3e825901eb3e.jpg

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I've got a week off, and so decided to activate my old blog, whilst I tinker with an old prototype for my next project. It's entirely made of Unity cube placeholders so looks rubbish just now, but I'm hoping to turn that around quite quickly. The working title is Road Bastard (also placeholder, although I am warming to it). 

 

http://www.bearcatgames.com/Blog/?p=155

 

roadBastard01.jpg.7ee71b3cd0b93d6f01e154d7c745822a.jpg

 

 

 

 

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If there's one thing I love about Unity, it's how easy it is to get something up and running with just primitive object placeholders. It's great for prototyping.

 

Despite this, I just can't leave MonoGame behind. I crave the control.

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8 hours ago, Fry Crayola said:

If there's one thing I love about Unity, it's how easy it is to get something up and running with just primitive object placeholders. It's great for prototyping.

 

Despite this, I just can't leave MonoGame behind. I crave the control.

Yeah - Unity does make it super-easy to get stuff off the ground. I used to be all about the control (when I first learned C++ I wrote my own 3D engine (following a book), but also wrote my own 3D model format so I knew exactly what was going on). I've managed to change my head though, and I'm happier to accept working with things that I have very little knowledge of as long as they get the job done).

 

Your comment led me to add a paragraph to today's blog - about how the start of a project is so much easier than the end.

 

http://www.bearcatgames.com/Blog/?p=165

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On 27/11/2018 at 22:24, MarkN said:

I've got a week off, and so decided to activate my old blog, whilst I tinker with an old prototype for my next project. It's entirely made of Unity cube placeholders so looks rubbish just now, but I'm hoping to turn that around quite quickly. The working title is Road Bastard (also placeholder, although I am warming to it). 

 

http://www.bearcatgames.com/Blog/?p=155

 

roadBastard01.jpg.7ee71b3cd0b93d6f01e154d7c745822a.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Road Bastard is an awesome name. : )

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On 26/11/2018 at 09:13, Strategos said:

I've been doing some more procedural work. Mountains this time. I was messing with erosion algorithms which i love, but are just too slow to be practical really. So I am experimenting with short cut ways of making more interesting forms. This is fully procedurally generated, with a LOD system to keep the poly counts down.

 

mountain5.thumb.jpg.60aa9a6d1b5ba00b73ee3e825901eb3e.jpg

 

That's better than Black and White imo.

 

mining%20town.jpg

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On 04/12/2018 at 09:14, Random Key said:

 

Road Bastard is an awesome name. : )

 

I'm liking this. For a first level set I reckon you can script basic block buildings on either left or right side... and then flip between riiiiiiiiiight leeeeeeeft noooooothing.... .... right left... and so on, which using your camera perspective adds the same element of suprise as Afterburner since you can't see the horizon. If you get really stuck for creativity of the script you can cheat like Afterburner and just use the drumbeat from 80's pop music as your script beats :)

 

Oh, and since you're a bastard and need a challenge... steal stuff from Road Rash and have traffic light crossing you need to rush past and dodge the other parking cars? There could even be a plot, that at certain turbo velocity on the motorway your car cannot slow down quickly from nitrous, because someone sabotages your brake pads a bit? No high speed braking... which becomes risk and reward like Excitebike (at turbo bike tends to collapse).

 

In order to be different from other people, I would personally base this on Chase HQ and you play a cop attempting to catch speeding cars... but perhaps your car was sabotaged by a rival cop who wants a promotion, and you compete to be the winner? The AI player cop can end up in a high score listing instead of you, but listed as performance stats of the police department? Oh and you definitely have to have a mission whereby you save a dog getting run over. Perhaps the bad cop doesn't care in making the sacrifice but you do, and this is how you win the job of police chief? Well I would play this anyway.

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21 minutes ago, Strategos said:

 

Thanks alot :) 

 

I'd be interested in seeing your forests, to go in the area around the mountain. They're obviously a bit challenging in the polygon number area, and I could never solve this myself. Fractal maths does a fairly good job of generating the branch structure without gigabytes of storage, but mine were only single vector lines, or rather the skeleton of the tree. The trees in Halo CE are interesting to study, and seem quite naturally structured: I used to read botany books from the local library, so I remember studying all the leaf structure patterns - it seemed more exciting than GCSE revision.

maxresdefault.jpg

 

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On 26/11/2018 at 09:13, Strategos said:

I've been doing some more procedural work. Mountains this time. I was messing with erosion algorithms which i love, but are just too slow to be practical really. So I am experimenting with short cut ways of making more interesting forms. This is fully procedurally generated, with a LOD system to keep the poly counts down.

 

mountain5.thumb.jpg.60aa9a6d1b5ba00b73ee3e825901eb3e.jpg

 

This is really interesting.  I was thinking about erosion a while back, could you point me in the right direction for the algorithm you used please?

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On 07/01/2019 at 14:18, centurion said:

 

I'd be interested in seeing your forests, to go in the area around the mountain. They're obviously a bit challenging in the polygon number area, and I could never solve this myself. Fractal maths does a fairly good job of generating the branch structure without gigabytes of storage, but mine were only single vector lines, or rather the skeleton of the tree. The trees in Halo CE are interesting to study, and seem quite naturally structured: I used to read botany books from the local library, so I remember studying all the leaf structure patterns - it seemed more exciting than GCSE revision.

maxresdefault.jpg

 

 

I haven't got onto the trees yet. Need to optimise the mesh code, want a version suitable for mobile, and it's a bit heavy duty at the moment. 

 

Normally my process here is to use tree instances not generate the actual trees procedurally, just their size, orientation and position. Some Lodding with sprites for the lower level of details.

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2 minutes ago, dr_manhattan^ said:

 

This is really interesting.  I was thinking about erosion a while back, could you point me in the right direction for the algorithm you used please?

 

Well I'm not using erosion here, Im generating the heightmaps the old fashioned way, with noise functions , then I'm messing with it in a variety of ways.

 

The erosion algorithms are really fun to play with if you are generating maps for use later. If you are trying to do stuff at run time the good results are just waaay too slow.

 

One method is to drop "raindrops" on the map that run down hill eroding as they go, as they erode they gather the material and deposit it when the slow down. I simplified that to drop a few on the map that carve valleys and gullies in one go. It's a much blunter tool but works much more quickly.  Then I created a circular algorithm, a bit like the kind you would use for generating craters on the moon and randomly apply some of them to create ridges and cliffs. 

 

If you are interested in "proper" erosion google will give you some good examples , like this one.

 

http://ranmantaru.com/blog/2011/10/08/water-erosion-on-heightmap-terrain/

 

 

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1 minute ago, Strategos said:

 

Well I'm not using erosion here, Im generating the heightmaps the old fashioned way, with noise functions , then I'm messing with it in a variety of ways.

 

The erosion algorithms are really fun to play with if you are generating maps for use later. If you are trying to do stuff at run time the good results are just waaay too slow.

 

One method is to drop "raindrops" on the map that run down hill eroding as they go, as they erode they gather the material and deposit it when the slow down. I simplified that to drop a few on the map that carve valleys and gullies in one go. It's a much blunter tool but works much more quickly.  Then I created a circular algorithm, a bit like the kind you would use for generating craters on the moon and randomly apply some of them to create ridges and cliffs. 

 

If you are interested in "proper" erosion google will give you some good examples , like this one.

 

http://ranmantaru.com/blog/2011/10/08/water-erosion-on-heightmap-terrain/

 

 

 

Thanks, yeah that's the method I was reading about.  Hopefully I'll get the chance to give it a try.

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Over the past couple of years I've started a good few projects using a variety of tools - from tower defence (GameMaker) to life simulator (Ren'Py), horizontal pacifist-shmup (PICO-8) to text adventure (Twine) - and have inevitably gotten as far as building a functional framework before promptly abandoning the project.

 

In an attempt to avoid succumbing to this fate yet again, this time I've decided to document what I'm doing and what progress I'm making in an attempt to shame myself into, you know, actually finishing what I've started. Maybe I'll even start a blog at some point, but for now the forum and Twitter will do. Lucky you!

 

I started this project a couple of weeks ago, but the idea for it had been sitting with me since before Christmas - specifically, since the new Lemmings game came out for smartphones and promptly turned out to be awful. Which got me thinking that I've not played a decent Lemmings-style game in ages. Since, well, Lemmings 2, in fact. A cursory glance around the internet suggested a few games of note, most recently Zombie Night Terror, but none of them really grabbed me; the latter in particular was spoiled for me by its ambiance. There's a bit of dark humour to Lemmings, sure, but I want it tempered by a bit of likeable stupidity, rather than fuelled with zombie nihilism.

 

So I got to thinking, and settled on a game blending elements of three of my favourite early 90s games (I hear mixing genres is cool now): Captive (aspects of its setting and theme, plus the rule of four); Fury of the Furries (a reliance on unique character abilities rather than a full toolbox to play with); and, of course, Lemmings (indirect control of morons). That is to say, a game in which you indirectly control four robots on a quest to rescue yourself, relying on each's unique skills to get through each level. Being a 2D game I opted for GameMaker once again; it helps that I'm reasonably confident with its scripting language by now (though having gotten used to Python for work I do occasionally feel a little constrained by it).

 

Obviously, being a whole two weeks in (and only working on it evenings/weekends) I haven't quite gotten to the point of feature-completeness just yet. But I have implemented basic robot movement, and my first dynamic props: a computer that can activate various devices (linked up using invisible circuits) if used by the appropriate robot; and the first of said devices, a grabber claw that can transport robots along its track. None of which sounds or looks particularly impressive, but here it is in action:

 

 

It's been nice to work with a premade tileset, as tweaking animations is a lot less time-consuming than scratch-building them, it turns out. A shame my capture software seems to struggle a bit - the game runs at a perfectly smooth 30fps, but Camtasia has decided to apply occasional judder to the thing, but there we go.

 

Next steps: adding in the extra robots and their abilities, adding doors and pressure pads. Should keep me occupied for a while.

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One week down, pressure pads and associated force-field barriers added:

 

I'm not sure whether to add more props/obstacles in next, or whether to add in a second type of robot. I daresay I'll see what takes my fancy on Wednesday!

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Thank you! And yeah, I wanted to build something in the indirect/automata puzzle platforming genre - sparked by the somewhat disappointing free-to-play Lemmings game that came out at the end of last year.

 

I'm extremely early in the process of course, and I'm still considering how much control to give the player - no plans to allow anything more direct than cursor interactions, but at the moment the player can stop and start them at will, giving a little more control over timing/death by pitfall than, say, Lemmings. I may give the player the option to reverse the robots at will; alternatively, I might get rid of even the ability to pause them at will. Once I've got the full complement of robots and have started building and playtesting meaningful levels I'll see what feels the most enjoyable and go from there!

 

Of course, having said I'd decide what to do next this Wednesday (the one evening where I'm guaranteed at least 90 minutes entirely to myself), I just spent the past couple of hours adding in my second robot type - well, the very basics, in that it can merrily traipse around levels now but has no actual unique abilities to speak of. I'll start working on said abilities on Wednesday evening (assuming I don't decide to burn the midnight oil twice in a row...).

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I think I should buy the Doom Game Engine Black Book. Has anyone read it and can you tell me whether I should read the Wolfenstein one first?

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On 10/01/2019 at 09:28, Strategos said:

 

I haven't got onto the trees yet. Need to optimise the mesh code, want a version suitable for mobile, and it's a bit heavy duty at the moment. 

 

Normally my process here is to use tree instances not generate the actual trees procedurally, just their size, orientation and position. Some Lodding with sprites for the lower level of details.

 

You can do both, and that's what my system used. It generated the instance procedurally, which was then a realtime transform and lighting type object, and used JIT (just in time). Which is to say in antique lingo 'pop up', ie. PSX Ridge Racer - or possibly in this case Sega Saturn Daytona. Didn't matter so much since it was server software, but Visual Basic 5.0 also had very fast garbage collection for some reason - so most of the time this engine ended up running a permanent... hospital incinerator? Well it was able to delete out of bounds objects faster than it could create them,  for the probable reason than Windows XP when using deallocation, will just add a marker in the memory area saying 'yeah blank' rather than write blank data to the RAM. So in this sense you're never really hospital incinerating your population of dense forest while running around, but merely deluding XP that it thinks so since they're still in RAM space. It reminds me of Sasha Baron Cohen's film The Dictator, when he finds out nobody he ordered 'executable' ever died, but ended up in a New York Cafe writing poetry.

The water erosion examples you linked to don't look very realistic, unlike for instance, the hills and scenery you could buy from Hornby (for quite a lot of money though). I think the issue with simulation processing in general is getting the basic principles right, and falling into an arrogance trap is almost entirely guaranteed, even for a science team - IBM found this out when they booted up a simulated mouse brain, and while it realistically fires masses of cortical stuff, this then raised about a million systems analysis issues along the lines of 'how does a neuron actually work?'. So the same is true of chemistry with the water and rock, because you'll have something missing - more than likely an ionic property that hasn't been discovered properly - water is very heavily affected by electricity in the biosphere, but if we understood it properly the Chinese government would demonstrate as such by making artificial lightning bolts. ?

 

13 hours ago, Wiper said:

One week down, pressure pads and associated force-field barriers added:

 

I'm not sure whether to add more props/obstacles in next, or whether to add in a second type of robot. I daresay I'll see what takes my fancy on Wednesday!

 

Nice. Reminds me of Impossible Mission, but less terrifying. I think that game gave me a few nightmares when I was 9.

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9 minutes ago, centurion said:

 

 

Nice. Reminds me of Impossible Mission, but less terrifying. I think that game gave me a few nightmares when I was 9.

 

stay a while, stay forever!

 

I really gotta play that game again. it's been years.

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1 minute ago, Darhkwing said:

 

stay a while, stay forever!

 

I really gotta play that game again. it's been years.

 

No that part didn't give me nightmares, and translated in my head as some kind of Santa Claus 'ho ho ho!'. It was the electrocution from IRC robotic rats that scurry around at 30mph, while as in most waking dreams your character has restricted movement, or... in the middle of the amazing ninja summersault of olympiad glory you can see that the robot rat thing or the sick version of R2D2 with the tazer of death is now coming. It doesn't even make sense except in dream logic, that your ninja guy can jump in The Matrix slowmo ballet glory while everything else terrifying is running off a hyperdrive engine pedal-powered by a Satan that drank 30 cups of Starbucks coffee.

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19 minutes ago, centurion said:

 


The water erosion examples you linked to don't look very realistic, unlike for instance, the hills and scenery you could buy from Hornby (for quite a lot of money though). I think the issue with simulation processing in general is getting the basic principles right, and falling into an arrogance trap is almost entirely guaranteed, even for a science team - IBM found this out when they booted up a simulated mouse brain, and while it realistically fires masses of cortical stuff, this then raised about a million systems analysis issues along the lines of 'how does a neuron actually work?'. So the same is true of chemistry with the water and rock, because you'll have something missing - more than likely an ionic property that hasn't been discovered properly - water is very heavily affected by electricity in the biosphere, but if we understood it properly the Chinese government would demonstrate as such by making artificial lightning bolts. ?

 

 

 

Yeah that one I linked wasn't the best there are some really nice ones out there , I'd have to dig them out though, couple are PDF's as well if I remember correctly.  The problem is that you need 100's or thousands of passes for the nicer ones to generate the realistic results. The possibilities are endless, there is some nice stuff with a harder base layer covered in a softer layer that can be eroded. And in an ideal world id like to use voxels so you could have caves and overhangs.

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