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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  Game Design/Development  |  Topic: 30 Day Project 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: 30 Day Project  (Read 16238 times)
Margalis
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Reply #35 on: December 13, 2015, 08:51:59 PM

It's common for people to have a new "better" idea or find a new tool / engine and decide to start over. Often that's wrong - there's a lot of value in finishing something.

Sometimes things aren't worth finishing, but it may be worth polishing it, putting a bow on it and releasing it, just to go through the process.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
schpain
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Reply #36 on: December 14, 2015, 09:17:00 PM

i totally agree that there's value in finishing a thing.  i think my problem is fear/disgust at doing something badly, so its easier to divert myself on another concept...

*Should be working*
Merusk
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Reply #37 on: December 14, 2015, 09:47:09 PM

Doing something badly to completion is better than starting a million uncompleted projects that are perfect. For one, you finished something. For two even if it is bad you can learn from it.

I have that same perfectionist nature. I want everything I do to be the best and was bored/ frustrated by mediocrity to the point of quitting. However once I realized I had to start finishing things I got better because of it, because each little failure to achieve perfection in a thing has taught me a little more. A better way of cutting something, or planning it, or detailing it, or approaching the problem to begin with.

Pick your worst one and finish it. Focus on doing that, don't get distracted by the voice that says you can do it better. Finish it, THEN start the new one.

ed: Also, finishing just one means you can see the holes in your complete vision so you can flesh the next one out better. Recent example: I had this awesome idea of how the lights on my house would look. As I put them up and saw, crap, I didn't account for all the corners or changes in roof line. If I'd stopped they'd still be incomplete and my house would look terrible but I also wouldn't have noticed that the windows and garage would look good outlined as well and there's no need to wrap the bushes and trees.

Completing the project let me refine details I'd missed for next year instead of letting them sit in headspace, unfinished.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 09:51:30 PM by Merusk »

I can't get past the panties - Alluvian
I really like the cocks. - Lantyssa
People rarely believe just how good I am at sucking. - Lantyssa
I love the swinging dongs - Signe
schpain
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Reply #38 on: December 17, 2015, 03:43:03 PM

Thanks Merusk!

Don't ever change... your avatar.

*Should be working*
Kail
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Reply #39 on: December 23, 2015, 08:10:22 PM

Doing something badly to completion is better than starting a million uncompleted projects that are perfect. For one, you finished something. For two even if it is bad you can learn from it.

That's a pretty good point, and looking back I think that's closer to my original goal for this project than just churning out a dozen more half finished titles, so I may as well try finishing this one.  So, I spent the last week trying to get things set up on the new computer.

The good news is that I got XNA working, I think (haven't had much chance to test it, but it does load the project and publish it, won't debug it for some reason tho) and the game looks less garbage than I remember.

The bad news is that it looks like an old version of the game (I have no idea how this happened, I'll have to pull my old computer out of mothballs to try to get the current version if it even works) and is janky with the current Visual Studio (for some reason the project builds fine but can't run or debug, though it will publish it so I can test it that way in theory).

I'm debating just scrapping the code and trying to work without XNA at all.  Not sure how feasible that is, most of the tutorials I've run across assume you're using a prebuilt engine of some kind (XNA or Unity or something similar).  If I do keep the code, I'm probably going to re-write the map object at least.  Right now it just stores map data as one big ass 2d array of integers which is super inefficient for long, horizontal levels.  This is because I don't have any checks in place to keep the array values within bounds, so if the edge of the camera moves a pixel outside the map then the game crashes, a problem which I "solved" by padding the levels out with an extra screen worth of filler tiles.  The issue with that (aside from possible problems with the player going out of bounds) is that if you make a long level one screen high and X screens long you need the data for (X+2) * 3 tiles which means it's more efficient to make smaller, squarer areas.  What I'm thinking of doing is storing the game areas as a big linked list of sub maps, maybe a screen in size, which link to the adjacent 8 screens and will draw a blank filler screen full of tiles if there's no data there.  That should prevent it from eating up too much memory and also stop the camera from going out of bounds without having to restrict the camera's movement.

So, now I've got to sort how much of the old project I want to try to salvage and how much I want to re-write from scratch.  Or if I even want to keep working on the same project at all, given how much work it's going to be to even catch up to where I was in May.  Considering I only had a month or two of work on the original project, I wonder if it would be faster to just start over, or do a new project without the month time limit (but keep with the periodic goals to keep on task) and try to finish THAT.
Margalis
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Reply #40 on: December 23, 2015, 09:27:26 PM

On computers with 4 gigs of ram I don't think I'd be too worried about a 2 dimensional array of bytes.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
Merusk
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Reply #41 on: December 24, 2015, 05:58:39 AM

Doing something badly to completion is better than starting a million uncompleted projects that are perfect. For one, you finished something. For two even if it is bad you can learn from it.

That's a pretty good point, and looking back I think that's closer to my original goal for this project than just churning out a dozen more half finished titles, so I may as well try finishing this one. 

...

So, now I've got to sort how much of the old project I want to try to salvage and how much I want to re-write from scratch.  Or if I even want to keep working on the same project at all, given how much work it's going to be to even catch up to where I was in May.  Considering I only had a month or two of work on the original project, I wonder if it would be faster to just start over, or do a new project without the month time limit (but keep with the periodic goals to keep on task) and try to finish THAT.

No. Look at your first statement. Finish the old one, then start anew.

I can't get past the panties - Alluvian
I really like the cocks. - Lantyssa
People rarely believe just how good I am at sucking. - Lantyssa
I love the swinging dongs - Signe
Kail
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Posts: 2746


Reply #42 on: December 24, 2015, 12:55:15 PM

I wonder if it would be faster to just start over, or do a new project without the month time limit (but keep with the periodic goals to keep on task) and try to finish THAT.

No. Look at your first statement. Finish the old one, then start anew.

Yeah, poked around with it last night and finally got it to compile, which was causing me a lot of concern.  So it looks like finishing it should be easier than I thought.
Merusk
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Reply #43 on: December 24, 2015, 01:29:54 PM

 Thumbs up!

I can't get past the panties - Alluvian
I really like the cocks. - Lantyssa
People rarely believe just how good I am at sucking. - Lantyssa
I love the swinging dongs - Signe
Kail
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Posts: 2746


Reply #44 on: January 06, 2016, 09:07:44 PM

All right, so I managed to get my old files off the other computer, and it looks like everything is intact.  I haven't done much more than poke around and try to remember how things worked, so I don't have a whole lot new to show.  I did grab the old trailer and junk just in case anyone wants to see that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGeFRY1khvo
edit: oops, uploaded it in private mode, fixed :P

The video is pretty unrepresentative of the actual gameplay right now.  I was angling towards a Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest feel, with some minor customization and exploration on top of a hopefully fairly fast paced movement system.  None of that is really implemented though.  Mostly it just shows off the new tilesets I was working on, but I don't really like the triangle one.  The idea was to give the world a bit of a geometric feel by using a lot of simple shapes (cubes and tetrahedrons and things) but due to laziness it ended up being very 2d looking, so mostly just triangles, which don't look super great in a 2D pixel game.  I'll have to rework it if I want to keep it, I think.  There's some new enemies, too, but they seem a bit too small on the screen.

The screenshots of other content are also here, but my web host is having some sort of fit right now so I can't upload them.   If anyone's interested, I can put them up next update but I'm inclined to not bother otherwise.  Ditto all the media for the other project I was briefly working on.

Right now the plan is to start at the intro and work forward, so for next update I'll need some custom animation for the main character and a small starter dungeon hopefully.  Since I'm not on the 30 day timer anymore I think I'll toss these up every two weeks or so unless there's interest in more frequent updates.  Hopefully a new update every two weeks will allow me to show more stuff every time.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 04:10:01 PM by Kail »
Druzil
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Reply #45 on: January 15, 2016, 07:27:16 AM

This has really come a long way, it looks great so far.   As someone who only develops business related software, I find this stuff really interesting.  Thanks for the update!
Margalis
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Reply #46 on: January 15, 2016, 07:14:24 PM

Yeah it looks good.

I would definitely add a hit spark when you hit an enemy for more immediate feedback. From watching it can be a little hard to tell that an attack connected. Other than that it looks pretty solid. I mean...it's better than like half the shit on Steam greenlight.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
schpain
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Reply #47 on: January 27, 2016, 04:29:51 PM

Kail! Looking really solid!

My only bit of feedback is the camera - particularly about 20sec in when trying to make a jump and camera is whipping back and forth; i found it a little frustrating to watch.  Might not feel that way when playing, just my 2c.

*Should be working*
Kail
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Reply #48 on: January 28, 2016, 03:48:44 PM

Oh, yeah, I was going to write an update on this last week, wasn't I...

I would definitely add a hit spark when you hit an enemy for more immediate feedback. From watching it can be a little hard to tell that an attack connected.

Yeah, there's a few other effects I want to add too (like dust puffs for footsteps) when I have time.  The "enemies are hitting you" animation is especially easy to miss.

My only bit of feedback is the camera - particularly about 20sec in when trying to make a jump and camera is whipping back and forth; i found it a little frustrating to watch.  Might not feel that way when playing, just my 2c.

There are some variables I can tweak to change the speed the camera follows and the amount it tries to lead (I'll probably put them in the game options because I have no idea how the average player wants this set by default), but in general I'm not sure this control scheme handles tight jumping on to narrow platforms that well.  It seems to be more fun (to me, anyway) with Prince of Persia style platforming and climbing than it does with Mario style precision jumps.  I do plan on adding a walk button which should make platforming a bit easier, though.

What I've been working on this week is tweaking the map drawing so that I can maybe move away from the tiles.  It's really messing with my workflow, I think.  Right now, I have to
  • Come up with the general map idea
  • List all the tiles I'll need
  • Draw each individual tile in every orientation
  • Import the tiles in to the map editor one at a time
  • Put the map together one tile at a time
  • Tweak the collision
  • Import the tiles in to the game engine one at a time
  • Import the map in to the game engine
...which is a huge pain when it takes like ten or fifteen tiles just for the most basic, no variations, no whistles and no decorations tileset (which is all of them right now).

What I've been working on is a way to just automatically dice any picture up in to tiles and then save those tiles with file names that will import in to the game engine so I don't have to do one at a time.  That way I can just draw a map, use the program to dice the map in to tiles, add collision, and copy the whole mess over to the game engine.

Although reading this I'm wondering if I'm actually saving any memory by dicing them in to tiles in the first place, since I'm loading the entire tileset in to memory anyway, how much processing time does it save only having to draw part of the map at once.  And I already have a way of loading large images for the backgrounds (which I was planning to use for layered parallax backgrounds).  Hmm.
Kail
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Reply #49 on: February 15, 2016, 01:42:27 PM

Not much to report recently, I've been slacking on this a bit.  I did implement the new map display system, which basically replaces the array of tiles with a single big image of the entire map.  On the up side, this seems to be faster for me to make and they look better (IMO) than the older tiled maps.  It also fixes some issues I was having with foreground objects clipping through tiles and things, since now I can just draw them as part of the foreground layer.  Also lets me animate the map without having to swap tiles out every frame.  On the down side, the image size limits the map size, and the game is also throwing away one more "retro" aesthetic.  When I started this project there were some retro considerations I was intentionally ignoring (like sprite count limitations, I think the main character alone has more animation frames now than an NES cart can access) but every time I toss another one like this it bugs me a little, for some reason.  Not sure why, since this hasn't been "authentic" at any point, but whatever.

Since I'm thinking of making this a kind of Simon's Quest knockoff, the next step I think is going to be adding the mechanics for towns.  So text boxes, NPCs, and maybe inventory / store work depending on how much energy I have.  Also need to finally nail down the map transition code, which is a kludgy temporary solution right now (the camera has a seisure whenever the map changes because your character jumps from one XY position on one map to another XY position on the second map in one frame so the camera thinks you're moving at like infinite speed or something)
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