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Author Topic: 30 Day Project  (Read 16575 times)
Kail
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on: February 18, 2015, 12:15:53 AM

So, I've been poking around writing video games as a hobby for a while, but typically they don't get finished.  I generally get sidetracked on to some weird tangent ("I'll need three parry animations for each direction, so twenty four in total, so I should probably get that done before I get bogged down with anything like basic combat physics or enemy objects") which is fun but I figured it would be nice to have something I can show someone someday.  So here's an attempt to finish something for once.

The idea is that I've noticed that when I'm not making something for a schedule, I generally screw around and waste a lot of time with pointless stuff, while when I AM working for a schedule (even if it's self imposed) I'll generally get way better results.  So the point here is to put together a schedule, and make a small, fairly simple game in a month.  The point of this post specifically is to add a bit of pressure, so there's a public record of me saying "yup, thirty days" so that I don't just go "meh" and turf the whole thing when I miss the first milestone and pretend it never happened.

The game concept I'm thinking of is doing a 2D platformer.  Original, I know, but at least it should be A) simple enough that I can get something basic done in a month (unlike just about anything in 3D), and B) complex enough that I can mess around with things like physics and control (unlike something like a shooter or puzzle game).

So, hopefully, one month.  Project due: March 19.

Estimated weekly breakdown looks like this:

Coding:
  • Feb. 18: Basic physics and movement
  • Feb. 25: Combat and AI
  • March 4: Level design
  • March 11: Flex

Graphics:
  • Feb. 18: Main character
  • Feb. 25: Map tiles
  • March 4: Enemies
  • March 11: UI, effects

Estimated Finish: March 19.

The plan is to make a post every week with an update on how I'm doing and if I've hit the goal for this week or how far behind I am.

Breakdown for the upcoming week:
Code:
  • Basic sprite display and animation
  • Camera and mob movement
  • Collision detection
  • Basic movement physics

Graphics:
  • Standing animation
  • Runing animation
  • Jumping animation
  • Attacking animation maybe? Might just animate a weapon instead of the character moving.

So, we'll see how it goes next week.
apocrypha
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Reply #1 on: February 18, 2015, 12:38:33 AM

Cool plan, good luck with it smiley

How about trying to add something simple to distinguish it from other 2D platformers? Something like, making sound an important part of the game play, or some way to interact with the background image? Just a 'quirk'.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Kail
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Reply #2 on: February 18, 2015, 01:18:24 AM


A quirk would be good, but I'm kind of short on fresh ideas there.  What I'm thinking of so far is just making it as crazy acrobatic as possible, like Dusforce or Mirror's Edge, to just make moving around as fun as I can.  I don't know if that will be enough, though.

Everything else I've come up with has been used or is really similar to something else.  Sound as an important part of game play sounds good, but I'm horrible with sound design and would probably have to bring someone on board for that.  Interacting with the background could work, I'll have to think if I can come up with anything new.

Kind of wavering on if I should go for a "retro" look or not.  Probably be easier if I did, but limits design a bit, too.
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Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 02:59:28 AM

Good stuff! Looking forward to seeing your progress :)

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cironian
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Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 05:09:37 PM

Seems like a good idea, just take care not to burn yourself out.

Since you only have a month, maybe start out using stock graphics only for the month? Then, if the gameplay ends up fun after the month is over, do a month 2 followup where you only do the art and are not allowed to touch a line of code (except where needed to insert your art). That way you won't have coding and art competing for the same limited time budget.

Good luck and keep us updated!
Typhon
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Reply #5 on: February 19, 2015, 05:41:40 PM

We need a PM to periodically ask Kail(System Dev), Kail(UX), and Kail(QA) for status updates and, when there is slippage, makeup/de-scoping plans.  De-scoping plans must be approved with Kail(Client), of course.
Kail
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Reply #6 on: February 24, 2015, 05:41:55 PM

We need a PM to periodically ask Kail(System Dev), Kail(UX), and Kail(QA) for status updates and, when there is slippage, makeup/de-scoping plans.  De-scoping plans must be approved with Kail(Client), of course.

Kail (CEO) demands a private jet, expensive office and hot personal secretary first.

Since you only have a month, maybe start out using stock graphics only for the month?

Yeah, I'm scrapping my graphics schedule, it's not going to work when I'm splitting time with coding unless I blow like eight hours a day on this.  I don't think I'll put the art TOTALLY on hold, because I generally enjoy doing it, but I think I'm going to go more broad than deep here.  Try to get a little bit of everything done before I start doing complete animations for anything.

Anyway, other than that, I think I'm basically caught up for this week.  Got the basic graphics display system done, the framework for the map and character physics, and the camera.  I'm not positive the physics work, because right now the test map is a horizontal plane, so I haven't had a chance to check the horizontal collision detection, but the vertical seems to work OK.  I don't have all the movement options I want in the game yet, but the guy runs around and jumps and doesn't crash the game (unless he runs off the end of the map).  For some stupid reason I decided to code standing, walking and running as three separate states rather than as different variants of the same state, so every time I find a glitch with the movement physics I have to fix it three times.

In terms of graphics, I kind of have standing and running animations for the main character basically working (though I think I'll end up redoing parts of them before calling them done) before I decided to try and work on more different stuff so that I'm not working with squares for the next month.  After that, I just did some enemy sprites and tiles, but not really anything animated.  I should spend some time sketching this stuff out, I don't really have solid designs for a bunch of these things.  Most of my focus this week has been code, so graphics work has been a bit thin.

Plans for next week:
  • Player and enemy attacks
  • Damage and death logic
  • Some UI work
  • Some generic enemy AI

For graphics, I need to put together some tiles for map design the following week, and probably work on some concept art so I'm not doing this stuff blind.  Hopefully get some visual effects for the combat sorted out.
Druzil
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Reply #7 on: March 02, 2015, 09:03:15 AM

Sounds like it's going pretty well!   Seems like you're far enough along that this project needs a catchy code-name that probably doesn't reflect the game in any way.
tazelbain
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Reply #8 on: March 02, 2015, 09:53:28 AM

Hasenpfeffer

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Merusk
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Reply #9 on: March 03, 2015, 06:59:41 PM

Project Roberts.

It has nothing at all to do with a game that will be completed.

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Kail
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Reply #10 on: March 04, 2015, 11:46:05 AM

Sounds like it's going pretty well!   Seems like you're far enough along that this project needs a catchy code-name that probably doesn't reflect the game in any way.

All right, project "really massively successful" is in week three!

Progress this week has been kind of scattershot.  About half the week was spent doing non-game stuff, but when I had time for this I was working on UI elements, but I don't really have much I need to display at this point.  I put together some AI routines for enemies, but they're hard to test on my empty default map.  So I spent the last few days working on a map editor so I can put together some playable maps to get some better testing done.  If I do this again, I should probably start with a map as the first step because it's so hard to test anything without one.  But that's about half done now, so hopefully I'll be able to finish it tomorrow and get some maps done, everything I did last week will work perfectly first time, and I'll be able to spend week four with my feet in the air.

Map design should be pretty straightforward.  Right now there are a few "types" of tiles and touching them from various angles can cause different effects (in addition to collision).  The one regret I have is that it doesn't easily accommodate moving platforms, since the maps are a grid of 8x8 pixel tiles the collision detection only checks once per tile, the collision map can't shift in increments smaller than 8 pixels in any direction.  That also means enemies don't really have collision, though, aside from knocking you back when you touch them.

For visual work, I have some standing sprites of a few enemies done, and a few rough UI elements that I'm not happy with and will be reworking.  I should have done more work on map tiles, but I'm running in to whatever the graphics equivalent of writers block is there.  I keep sitting down and saying "First level is going to be a cave, work on graphics for cave tiles" and then nothing happens for an hour except some cat videos get watched.  I should probably look up some examples and shamelessly rip them off for inspiration.

Plans for next week:
  • Finish the map editor
  • Put together the intro stage.  This stage is supposed to teach the player the basics of movement and combat so it should be good for testing purposes too.
  • Testing for AI and other elements which are currently in some Schrodinger's nightmare of simultaneously being done and maybe not done
  • Finish up coding player movement mechanics (this could easily run over in to week 4)
  • Start implementing some finished animations and other assets so I have something to look at

Graphics wise, I'm filling in the blanks.  I need to get some basic tile work done for the cave tileset, but other than that it's just polishing up animations and adding whatever else I have time for.  Main character's running and standing cycles are looking ok to me, but I just scrapped his walk cycle so that's going to take a day or two to re-do.

EDIT: Welp, I  fucked up my attempt at being retro, anyway.  Read the pallette restrictions on the NES as "four colors plus transparency" instead of "four colors including transparency" and now all my characters have one too many colors.  Probably not worth going back to redo everything, but still annoying.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 07:50:25 PM by Kail »
schpain
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Reply #11 on: March 04, 2015, 08:33:52 PM

Great idea Kail!  Goodluck!

Might I ask what you're building on?  I'm personally learning c# and Unity with the same end goal in mind (Private jet, hot secretary etc) and would be very interested to see your process and how things are progressing.

Did you get the idea from here?

http://www.kongregate.com/forums/4-game-programming/topics/315612-one-game-a-month

*Should be working*
Kail
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Reply #12 on: March 04, 2015, 11:24:38 PM

Great idea Kail!  Goodluck!

Might I ask what you're building on?  I'm personally learning c# and Unity with the same end goal in mind (Private jet, hot secretary etc) and would be very interested to see your process and how things are progressing.

Did you get the idea from here?

http://www.kongregate.com/forums/4-game-programming/topics/315612-one-game-a-month

I'm using C# with XNA, plus I'm eying SlimDX for controller support if I get that far.  I've played with a bunch of other engines a bit but all the 3D stuff (Unity and Unreal are pretty much all I have experience with) would probably be too much work for me to pull together anything in a month, while all the 2D stuff I've seen has had some hang up where I wished I was just working in C# so I could get at the guts of the engine anyway.

The idea I got from a couple of places, Buildbox had a 15 day challenge that sounded like a good idea but ended up not working out for me, while Extra Credits had some "how to be an indie dev" video where they said that for your first project you should shoot for a month of development so that you don't lose interest (or try to design Skyrim or something).  One of the things I've found is that creatively I work a lot better with a little bit of pressure, like an audience or some kind of schedule, so I figured I'd throw all that in to a blender and try it at once.
schpain
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Reply #13 on: March 05, 2015, 05:21:02 PM



Great idea Kail!  Goodluck!

Might I ask what you're building on?  I'm personally learning c# and Unity with the same end goal in mind (Private jet, hot secretary etc) and would be very interested to see your process and how things are progressing.

Did you get the idea from here?

http://www.kongregate.com/forums/4-game-programming/topics/315612-one-game-a-month

I'm using C# with XNA, plus I'm eying SlimDX for controller support if I get that far.  I've played with a bunch of other engines a bit but all the 3D stuff (Unity and Unreal are pretty much all I have experience with) would probably be too much work for me to pull together anything in a month, while all the 2D stuff I've seen has had some hang up where I wished I was just working in C# so I could get at the guts of the engine anyway.

The idea I got from a couple of places, Buildbox had a 15 day challenge that sounded like a good idea but ended up not working out for me, while Extra Credits had some "how to be an indie dev" video where they said that for your first project you should shoot for a month of development so that you don't lose interest (or try to design Skyrim or something).  One of the things I've found is that creatively I work a lot better with a little bit of pressure, like an audience or some kind of schedule, so I figured I'd throw all that in to a blender and try it at once.

Yeh I saw that EC episode.  Generally I think those guys are great, can be a little soapboxy at times. 

I have no background in coding or art so I'm starting at ground level.  As such I'm not imposing timeframes because i get into something and realise "oh balls, i know nothing about OOP/Software architecture/etc" then go off for a few weeks and read/watch then come back to where i was.

I'm not ready to put my progress under scrutiny because I don't even know what I don't know, but I think soon I'll be your 30 day project buddy and put up a dev diary or something.

Xamarin might something to look at for you, if you can code well in c#.  At the moment I like unity because they have a great tutorials and support, which allows me to not be completely lost.


*Should be working*
Kail
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Reply #14 on: March 07, 2015, 07:03:04 PM


I have no background in coding or art so I'm starting at ground level.  As such I'm not imposing timeframes because i get into something and realise "oh balls, i know nothing about OOP/Software architecture/etc" then go off for a few weeks and read/watch then come back to where i was.


Yeah, I'm kind of thin on "real training" too.  I've taken basically the first two years of a comp sci degree (spread out over a decade or so) but nothing else, so posting my code would probably make some of the resident tech heads here cough up a lung.  I've tried reading tutorials and things but there's always some massive section that isn't relevant to my project but I don't want to skip because you never know if there's other, important information in there too that will be referenced later.  Like, I was watching Gamer to Game Developer (Unity tutorial) for a while, but I got up to about part four where he dropped a two hour video about multiplayer scripting and my project was a single player title, so I ultimately just couldn't sit through it.

Finally finished the map editor, hopefully I'll be able to catch up fairly quickly.  Making tiles is a massive pain in the ass, I need to look up if there's some way to automatically chop up my sprite sheet in to tiles.  I've got like fifty of the things and I haven't even mirrored the tileset yet.  If nothing else, this is farther than I usually get with these projects, so I'm at least breaking some new ground now.
Kail
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Reply #15 on: March 11, 2015, 09:35:41 PM

All right, finished week three, and moving on to the final week.

Progress last week was okay, it feels like I got a fair chunk of the boring shit out of the way (for now, anyway).  Got the map editor functional, which was a nice boost.  Being able to test things in an actual level is nice.  I think I'm going to scrap the tileset (again) and redo it since it looks like shit in game but at least it's functional.

Spent most of the rest of the week working on movement mechanics.  There was some really annoying bug with the collision that caused the character to bounce off walls when they hit them going very fast from the right, which ended up causing me to re-write the entire control-y part of the code.  That ended up not even being the problem (it was a math error with the movement system) but at least now the control aspect seems a lot more robust than it was before.  Previously, it was just one long, messy switch statement with tons of duplicated code and I wasn't really sure how well it would work... there's some weirdness with the switch command I'm not sure about, like how it handles things when you change the value of the switch expression in the middle of a case.  But now it's a lot smoother, basically it's just one "is the player standing on the ground yet" check and if they are, moves them around horizontally and if not, it starts looking for the acrobatics conditions (canWallJump, canMantle, etc.) which are all handled by their own objects.  It's a lot tidier now. 

I'm still getting one annoying error where sliding down a wall into an opening exactly as tall as the character can cause the character to shift over one pixel as they fall that distance and somehow end up one pixel in to the wall.  Not the worst problem in the world, but it trips the edge pixel of the bottom collision detection box so the character stops in midair one pixel in to the wall.  As I write this, it occurs to me that the problem might be that I'm evaluating movement as a sum of two vectors (check that the movement in X is okay, and check that the movement in Y is okay, then move to that spot) rather than doing each vector separately (check that X movement is okay, move in X, then check that Y movement is okay, and move in Y) so maybe I'll try that first.

Also implemented some framework for animation, but I don't have an animation controller in the game yet so it's very basic at the moment.  I haven't done much work with enemy AI or combat logic, so that's something I'll have to look at.

Anyways, goals for the next, final week of this project:

  • Fix diagonal movement problem mentioned above, as well as the short jumping problem and whatever other bugs pop up
  • Work on finishing animations, both in code as well as graphics
  • Work on enemies and combat (not sure how much of this I'll be able to finish, the graphics assets here are almost all non-animated)
  • Work on tileset and layout for level 1
  • Put together a video or something to cap off the project (or at least this phase of it if I decide to do more)

Should have more free time this week than I did last week, so here's hoping I get some actual work done.
Kail
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Reply #16 on: March 18, 2015, 12:17:36 AM

All right, well, that's my month up, so that looks like it's a wrap.

Didn't get the game finished, there's a lot of content I didn't have time to put together and god DAMN I hate doing backgrounds, so there's not much in the actual game.  But at least it's a thing that runs, it's got physics and graphics and I can theoretically build on it in the future if I want.

Known issues:
  • Weird bug where the character can jump through 1-tile thick floors and walls if they're moving fast enough, I think this is due to a problem with the movement code for characters moving more than one tile per frame.
  • The walking animation isn't done yet, the character goes straight from a standing pose to his sprinting animation.  In fact, there is no walking at all yet.  I was hoping to have a walk speed that would allow for slower, more deliberate platforming, but it's not in yet, the character just sprints all over the place.
  • I was hoping to have the character mantle up ledges, but didn't finish that because, again, didn't finish the animation.  Right now he just vaults up the wall, which works, so I'm not sure if I'll change it.  Probably should, if only to add the option to hang from ledges.
  • Enemies are theoretically done, but not in the game at the moment because I only have a few standing sprites done and it looks weird.  Similarly, attacks are not in the game.
  • No sound.
  • There's only one "level" and it's half assed so badly I'm not sure if I want to keep it (probably not).  Level design is a massive pain and I need to streamline it.  Designing a game map that's ten or twenty screens across, by placing one eight pixel tile at a time, is a gigantic time sink.  Also, I hate the way the tile art turned out, but I'm having trouble improving it, I really am not good at tiles.  Maybe a stronger design than "some ancient ruins or some shit, I don't know" would help.
  • Power-ups and inventory are not in the game.  Theoretically the code for them is but I haven't tested it.

Anyways, that's not too bad in my book.  I got a fair bit done, the engine is mostly functional in a barebones kind of way if not at all fun or interesting.  Not sure if I'll continue this project, take a break, or drop it, or what, but I definitely learned a lot this month and had fun working on it.

Short video of the project at this point:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXIEz5wFjCc
KallDrexx
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Reply #17 on: March 18, 2015, 06:51:32 AM

I like the movement and speed.
Druzil
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Reply #18 on: March 19, 2015, 07:35:48 AM

That's pretty awesome for a month, congrats!   Reminds me a bit of SpeedRunners.
Margalis
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Reply #19 on: March 19, 2015, 03:25:44 PM

One thing this would really benefit from is a little elasticity with the camera. It looks like it's always exactly centered on the char.

I would try doing something like instead of making the camera point exactly at the character each frame (or X amount of time or whatever) move the camera to be halfway between it's current position and the new one.

Now that would mean that the camera always lags behind a bit, which is bad because then you see where you've been instead of where you're going. But I think it would feel a bit more natural. Then if you like that you can do something more sophisticated, like make it a bit slow to change direction but also if you are moving in a direction it gets a bit ahead of you. So instead of lerping between current and new position make it lerp between current and projected in time new position, if that makes sense. (Take the character's current velocity and use that to project forward in time a bit) This way if you are running left then change to running right the camera will have some give, but will then show more stuff to the right.

Basically cameras looks weird and stiff if they don't have some momentum or lerping of some sort. If you do this it will look a lot more polished I think.

For 30 days looks great though.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
Kail
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Reply #20 on: March 20, 2015, 04:49:22 PM

One thing this would really benefit from is a little elasticity with the camera. It looks like it's always exactly centered on the char.

Sounds like a good idea.  I originally had the camera just moving behind the character (to give them a better view ahead) but it looked really bad so I scrapped it.  Your idea sounds better, I'll have to see if I can get it to work.

I'm thinking of giving this another month and trying to get one level 100% complete from beginning to end.  Enemies, animations, everything.  Then maybe branching out and seeing what else I can get done.  The picture in my head for this game is something like Castlevania 2, where there's dungeon areas separated by a hub map, so I'll see if I can get any of that coded or if I just stick with something more like Mario where it's just level to level.  Otherwise it's going to be mostly graphics (and some fighting logic).

I'll probably stop with the weekly updates, unless someone wants to hear about it.  I'll try to get something up in a month, though, just to keep things moving.
schpain
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Reply #21 on: March 24, 2015, 11:05:01 PM

good stuff Kail, I too like the speed of the movement and aesthetic (until you run out of tiles!).

Looking forward to the next month's project!

*Should be working*
DevilsAdvocate25
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Reply #22 on: March 27, 2015, 04:42:48 PM

One thing this would really benefit from is a little elasticity with the camera. It looks like it's always exactly centered on the char.

Sounds like a good idea.  I originally had the camera just moving behind the character (to give them a better view ahead) but it looked really bad so I scrapped it.  Your idea sounds better, I'll have to see if I can get it to work.

I'm thinking of giving this another month and trying to get one level 100% complete from beginning to end.  Enemies, animations, everything.  Then maybe branching out and seeing what else I can get done.  The picture in my head for this game is something like Castlevania 2, where there's dungeon areas separated by a hub map, so I'll see if I can get any of that coded or if I just stick with something more like Mario where it's just level to level.  Otherwise it's going to be mostly graphics (and some fighting logic).

I'll probably stop with the weekly updates, unless someone wants to hear about it.  I'll try to get something up in a month, though, just to keep things moving.

Stick with it, I say. Set yourself a new monthly goal and weekly goals like you did and see if you can realize your vision. What you have so far is pretty good. This seems like a really good way for you to manage your projects, timewise.

For 1 month and only 1 person, it came out pretty damn good. Good job!
Typhon
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Reply #23 on: March 29, 2015, 06:24:18 AM

Agree, great job!
Kail
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Reply #24 on: April 16, 2015, 11:34:46 PM

All right, here's month two:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIM0x58IwjI&feature=youtu.be

Not sure if I'm going to continue this or what.  I think I got a fair amount done, but I'm already running in to "coulda, shoulda" kinds of issues which make the game feel super shaky to me.  Starting to get to that point where I'm wondering how much total time/effort I should be sinking in to this, if I should try to polish it as a future "real" game that I'll try to sell, or poke at it when I feel like it as a hobby project, or just stick a fork in the project and try something new.

This month was pretty busy with real life stuff (parents are moving, and since I'm a shiftless vagrant at the moment that means I get volunteered for anything that needs to be done during business hours, which killed probably at least ten days or so over the last month) so progress was slower than I was hoping.  I did get the tile sets for the first level mostly done, and the first enemy more or less.  Combat should be mostly done, with the exception of power-ups which still aren't implemented, and right now you can only attack left and right instead of in any of the eight directions (also the current attack sprite looks like crap and I'm thinking of redoing it).  Checkpoints and other effects are in.   Still no walking or stopping animations, or the neutral attack animations I was working on.  I was thinking of adding crouching/sliding, but that's not in yet, either.  Also I don't have the boss completed yet so that's not in the video.  I did work on the camera, I'm not super happy with it.  Right now it's perfectly snapped to the player in the Y axis and has momentum in the X-axis, which I think is the way Mario handled it on the SNES, but it's X momentum system is acting like an underdamped harmonic oscillator so if you run back and forth at the right frequency the camera goes nuts to such a degree that you can actually run off the screen.  It's only a real problem when you change directions a lot, but it's really jarring when it does happen so I suppose I'll have to add something to prevent it.  Also don't have the item system working yet, things like power ups or inventory or anything.  And no sound, still.

Anyways, that's it for this month, still contemplating what direction I should take this in or if I should continue at all.  I do think I learned a lot and it's nice to have something that at least resembles a game, so I'll have to think about it.
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Reply #25 on: April 17, 2015, 09:52:10 AM

Definitely looks gamelike!

I *think* the way the camera tends to work in Mario (I'm just trying to picture it in my head and describe what function I think might produce the behavior I remember) is that it's offset proportional to the player's instantaneous velocity, so the camera itself doesn't have acceleration.  I think that'd avoid the harmonic oscillation problem but get you the effect you want of being able to see in front of you when you're moving quickly.

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Margalis
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Reply #26 on: April 17, 2015, 08:16:36 PM

If you want a comprehensive overview on 2d cameras look at this:

http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1022243/Scroll-Back-The-Theory-and

In general camera control is something that can be a huge challenge, even for ostensibly simple games.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
Kail
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Posts: 2758


Reply #27 on: April 24, 2015, 12:04:28 PM


That's really helpful, thanks.  I was having a lot of trouble finding somewhere that went in to that level of detail about cameras, and it's hard to figure them out from the other side.  It looks like I was totally misremembering Mario, for starters, I guess camera is one of those things that you don't notice until it breaks.
Margalis
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Reply #28 on: April 24, 2015, 11:15:53 PM

Yeah. A good camera is invisible. Only a bad camera is noticeable.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
schpain
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Posts: 210


Reply #29 on: May 04, 2015, 05:22:50 PM

Well done Kail.

on the topic of "should i stay or should i go" my thinking is this:

you're talking about alot of little things that aren't quite right that will sap alot of time.  if this kind of thing bugs you alot, i'd start a new project and come back to this one for small updates here and there.

the original monthly game idea was to learn a different set of skills each time with different types of games.  go with that.  What you've done here is amazing, and its really inspiring for me personally.


*Should be working*
schpain
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Reply #30 on: May 04, 2015, 05:46:45 PM

Well done Kail.

on the topic of "should i stay or should i go" my thinking is this:

you're talking about alot of little things that aren't quite right that will sap alot of time.  if this kind of thing bugs you alot, i'd start a new project and come back to this one for small updates here and there.

the original monthly game idea was to learn a different set of skills each time with different types of games.  go with that.  What you've done here is amazing, and its really inspiring for me personally.



rereading your first post - it wasn't so much getting a different set of skills, it was about finishing something.  You sounded like you were getting frustrated getting bogged down in minutia and never finishing anything, so maybe then my advice is to work on another solution, you can clearly do everything you need.  The problem sounds like you don't have the time / hands to do it all yourself without losing motivation.  Have you thought about getting partners on board, or using freelancers to get some of the busywork done?

*Should be working*
Kail
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Posts: 2758


Reply #31 on: May 04, 2015, 11:35:44 PM

the original monthly game idea was to learn a different set of skills each time with different types of games.  go with that. 

Yeah, I'm sort of drifting in this direction.  I'm thinking of just eating the Greenlight fee, and then taking a bunch of weird different concepts and giving each one month or so to develop a trailer, and throwing them on Greenlight for a while until either something sticks hard enough to be financially worth trying to sell, or I land on something that really grabs me personally.

I've been mostly taking this month off, so the imaginary schedule in my head still has a week to go before my month is done and I need to make a choice, but that's the direction I'm leaning in at the moment.

Have you thought about getting partners on board, or using freelancers to get some of the busywork done?

I've given it some thought and I'm not against it in the long term, but I think right now I'm too small for it to be worthwhile.

Partners would mean I'm either buying or selling talent.  Buying is problematic because it would require cash I don't have, and selling is problematic because they usually want a portfolio of some kind and mine is mostly half finished pieces (and what is finished is not particularly great, compared to the actual pros). 

If I were working on this as a hobby project with a bunch of buddies, that's fine, but most of the people I know are too busy with their own lives to spend weeks on a project that will almost certainly never be finished.  If I were working on this as a professional project, that's also fine, but then it becomes a cash flow issue and I don't have the capital to fund the game before it's released or absorb the risk if it fails.
schpain
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Reply #32 on: December 10, 2015, 07:33:32 PM

Hey Kail how's this project working for you?  I've been continuing my learning and tinkering, but need to finish a project.

*Should be working*
Kail
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Posts: 2758


Reply #33 on: December 11, 2015, 02:01:47 AM

Hey Kail how's this project working for you?  I've been continuing my learning and tinkering, but need to finish a project.

I stalled out a while ago, and have been looking for an excuse to start again.  I suppose this is as good a time as any.

Shortly after my last post, I decided that Greenlight was the way to go, and started working towards putting my submission together, which turned out to be a mistake.  Stepping back, this was more of a learning project and doesn't offer much that would interest people who are already drowning in 2d retro platformers.  I had the trailer mostly finished before I realized that this wasn't going to be particularly impressive no matter how much I added to it, but because I didn't want to give up I ended up scrapping the original project to try to make another one more suited for Greenlight (rather than scrapping the Greenlight submission and continuing work on the project, which I probably should have done).  The replacement project was a derpy little casual game in the vein of those progression games like Cookie Clicker and Swarm Simulator where the theme was playing with the idea of the technological singularity: you develop an AI that roughly approximates human intelligence and use that AI to develop a better AI and secure more resources to make better hardware to run better AI and on and on until there was this weird metaphysical endgame.  But real life issues got in the way, a bunch of people I know were moving and going through major changes all in a short time and I had to spend most of every day helping people with things out of the house for a few months and when I got back I had totally lost the thread of whatever I was doing. 

Then, a month or two after that my computer died, and the projects were on it, so that seemed like the end.  I've still got the project files backed up, but getting XNA to work requires Visual Studio 2010 which I didn't have backed up, and can't find a copy of (apparently MS wants people to use the current version which is nice and cloudy and doesn't work with XNA).  So I'm kind of tempted to just start over.  I've been working with Unity and Unreal engine a bit, but haven't put together anything playable yet.  I was sort of toying with the idea of working on two games, one in 2D with XNA or GameMaker or RPGMaker or something (or maybe just break down and learn to write games without XNA) and one in 3D with Unity or Unreal, but I don't have anything done yet.  I suppose now is as good a time as any to start, though, so I'll try to get a project idea nailed down for the next week or so and see if I can get back on track.  I'm looking at the idea of just shitting out a bunch of really small, quick but diverse games rather than trying to do a single project really well, so maybe I'll go with that.
schpain
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Posts: 210


Reply #34 on: December 13, 2015, 06:41:33 PM

Heh thanks for the mini-life story!  Well I hope my post has at least given you some impetus!

On my side I'm getting sidetracked by everything.  Here are the legit excuses:

- bought first house
- had 2nd kid
- trying to find new job

here's the bullshit ones:

- i need to learn at least some web dev, so i started a course
- i need to learn some social media more stuff better, so i started a course
- i need to learn some legal stuff better more, so i finished a course (woohoo)
- need more better Unity, so i need to get back to the course i was doing there.

I've gone through about 4 different project designs in the last 12 months.  i intend to go back to them, mostly i'll start scrapping up a mechanic or story, then fleshing it out and putting together docs on mechanics or spreadsheets on calculations and etc. 

The problem is in my day job i'm a business analyst, so kinda analogous to a designer; and i have no art/sound/coding skills, so everyone that i get in touch with to be involved is like "yeh, i'll code" then goes AWOL when i start talking to them about starting work.

so i'll have to go back to coding it myself, which is fine, i just know that i don't know anything and thus feel like it'll be shit. 

I've at least been able to start a business name, put together a logo and some kind of mission statement.  I've got a few cool ideas and all my early attempts at coding are in Unity4 so i need to revise them to bring them up to Unity5.  Having said that there's cool stuff coming out of there now, like integrated analytics, IAPs, some basic baked in network coding so that will help a shitlord like me find a place to get started.

*Should be working*
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