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Convergence (update: finished!) - Printable Version

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RE: untitled uDevGames 2011 entry - ThemsAllTook - Aug 14, 2011 07:19 PM

Basic enemy AI is working! Enemies will now chase after and attack you if you're in their line of sight. Suddenly it feels like a game, and was ridiculously hard until I toned it down a bit:

There are obviously massive balance issues with the gameplay in that build, but it feels great to be at a point where I can finally start tuning it. I'm going to make enemies try to follow you around corners if they've seen you, and actually notice when they're hit in the back. Fighting against ranged feels unfair toward the player, and melee feels a bit unfair toward the enemy, so I'll tweak those in some way. Also, the player mechanics as they stand now are a combination of three of the different character classes I have planned; in the future, you won't simulatanously have an awesome melee attack, an adequate ranged attack, and the ability to sneak up on your enemies.

Beyond AI and balance tweaks, the next thing I'll be working on is input. The only way to auto-attack right now is with key repeats, which is horrible, and I really want to get gamepad support in. Looking a little bit farther out, it's about time to get multiple character classes in, and start putting together some more interesting levels.

RE: untitled uDevGames 2011 entry - ThemsAllTook - Aug 28, 2011 08:20 PM

After spending the last two weeks in an epic battle with input code, I finally have something at least minimally passable:

There's now a basic splash screen, which gives you (or pretends to, at least) a choice of which character class to play, and an opportunity to configure gamepad input. I tried a few different things on the gamepad configuration screen before settling on something similar to the test harness for my gamepad library. Each button and axis is shown onscreen, and the player can set bindings by pairing a button or axis with an action. Click an action to select it, then a button or axis to bind it to that action. If you're clicking on an axis, the side matters; clicking the left side will trigger the action on negative input, while the right side triggers it on positive input. I'll need to write some instructions and make the screen a bit more intuitive, and allow you to reconfigure the keyboard at some point, but it does its job for now.

The character choice on the splash screen doesn't actually do anything yet; they all start the game just as before. The next thing to do other than finishing touches on input configuration is to make the classes play differently.

RE: untitled uDevGames 2011 entry - funkboy - Aug 28, 2011 11:55 PM

Aside from the extreme difficulty, I dig it Smile

Of course, pairing a button should show which button it actually gets bound to... right now it shows me nothing below each of the possible actions.

Those enemies are brutal though... if I land a hit, they should at least stop shooting or swinging for a little bit, in a sort of post-hit-landed daze.

RE: untitled uDevGames 2011 entry - ThemsAllTook - Aug 29, 2011 07:05 AM

(Aug 28, 2011 11:55 PM)funkboy Wrote:  Aside from the extreme difficulty, I dig it Smile

Those enemies are brutal though... if I land a hit, they should at least stop shooting or swinging for a little bit, in a sort of post-hit-landed daze.

Thanks! The difficulty is definitely a bit overtuned at the moment. There is a small stun period where enemies stop attacking after they're hit (the same is true for the player, in fact!), but it's probably too short. I'd definitely like it to be hard enough that you have to think about what you're doing (engage more than one enemy at a time and you're pretty much toast), but even I can't get through the test level consistently. Once I get player classes in and start building real levels, I'll pay more attention to game balance.

(Aug 28, 2011 11:55 PM)funkboy Wrote:  Of course, pairing a button should show which button it actually gets bound to... right now it shows me nothing below each of the possible actions.

Yeah, I'm thinking I'll draw a thin line between the action and the button it's bound to (kind of like Interface Builder outlets), and have that line light up when you press the button. You can see both the button and action light up right now if you press the button after you've bound it, but that's definitely not enough. Still lots of work to do on that screen...

RE: untitled uDevGames 2011 entry - kiwiMark - Sep 2, 2011 06:03 AM

Nice work, felt like the man when I managed to kill all bad guys, had to use a lot of guerilla tactics on the two sword guys (read: hiding behind a column and slashing at them, then running for my life till they forgot about me and I could surprise them again).

RE: untitled uDevGames 2011 entry - ThemsAllTook - Sep 3, 2011 09:30 PM

Great progress today! The five player classes are now distinct from each other, and each has its own set of mechanics and unique playstyle.

Since there aren't any in-game instructions yet, here's a summary of how they work:
  • Berserker will be reasonably familiar to people who've played earlier builds, minus the ranged attack. Space performs a medium strength melee attack with a strong knockback.
  • Ranger is the other half of the previous character, with a medium strength ranged attack on spacebar with a small knockback.
  • Spy has two buttons: F to sneak, and space for a melee attack. Attacking while sneaking deals significantly more damage.
  • Duelist also has two buttons: F to block, and space for a melee attack similar to the one the berserker has. Attacking shortly after you've blocked deals significantly more damage.
  • Speedster doesn't have an attack in the same sense as the other classes, but can dash forward with space and slam into enemies. The dash attack is stronger at the beginning when you're moving the fastest.
This is a VERY early cut at the class mechanics and likely to change significantly, but now that I've gotten to this point I can start iterating and tuning based on what I have. I'm fairly pleased with how the five types are shaping up so far. The next thing I'm going to do is flesh out the test level a little bit more to get a feel for how an actual level of the game will feel, and to give you a goal beyond "kill everything without dying". It's a 3-day weekend, so with a bit of luck I'll be able to post something a bit more polished in a couple of days.

RE: untitled uDevGames 2011 entry - ThemsAllTook - Sep 7, 2011 09:45 PM

The game now has a name! It'll make more sense when you learn the backstory, which is currently being written. Hopefully I'll be able to get at least some version of it into the uDevGames build before the deadline.

I've updated the test level with a bunch of new stuff, including keys, doors, and a goal. Lots of game balance tweaks (which will probably happen every build, so I won't bother mentioning it after this unless it's major). Latest:

It's a little bit too easy to run by the enemies and just pick up the keys at the moment (especially if you play as speedster); I'm going to solve that by having the enemy that's guarding each key actually carry it and not drop it until they're dead. The one in the center room is supposed to be a boss; I'll also do something to differentiate him better from the rest of the enemies other than his larger health pool.

Now that you can get through this one-room dungeon, I need to start working on multi-room ones. A dungeon contains one or more floors; a floor contains one or more rooms in nonoverlapping 2D space. I'll venture a guess that I'll only have time to build one full dungeon during the contest, so I'll be sure to make it a good one.

RE: Convergence - funkboy - Sep 8, 2011 11:10 PM

Like seeing multiple different types of characters.

LOVE seeing the 8-bit staircase Smile

RE: Convergence - kiwiMark - Sep 27, 2011 04:58 AM

Just played through again with all characters, getting even more fun! (brag: didn't die with anyone)

One random little suggestion: You could make it so the dueller takes like half-damage with his shield up if his back is against the wall. Right now I can stay with my shield up, knockback pushes me against the wall, and I'm invincible with my shield up and need merely to time my hit-block right to never get hit. *shrug*

RE: Convergence - ThemsAllTook - Sep 28, 2011 08:28 PM

Wow, it's been 3 weeks since I posted here? Guess I've been so busy trying to get the game wrapped up I lost track. So, massive amount of changes since the last build:

I'm not going to go over everything, so here are a some highlights:
  • Different, larger dungeon (though not yet full-sized)
  • Many graphical improvements
  • Music
  • Ranger can now use the special action button (f by default) to lock his direction, so you can move and shoot without changing the way you're facing
  • Keyboard controls are configurable
  • Ranged enemy AI made more interesting
  • Boss enemy added
  • Enemies now use A* to find things rather than blindly running in the direction they want to go and getting stuck on walls
As for what's still left to do, the biggest thing is to build levels. I'm having a lot of trouble coming up with interesting ways to use the limited game mechanics I have, so I may have to add more different object and enemy types...there's so little time left, though! I also need to do a lot of miscellaneous polish, such as an application icon, instructions, save control configurations, a pause screen, and making the splash and preferences screens look a little bit less prototypey. I'm taking Friday off work so that I can make one final push to the end.

What a ride it's been! I'm very much looking forward to relaxing once it's over, and playing the other entries of which I'm only dimly aware right now.

RE: Convergence - kiwiMark - Sep 29, 2011 01:09 AM

Wow this is wicked fun now, good job! The boss has kicked my ass a number of times.

One small glitch: If I go to the left straight away and completely ignore the right side, the blue key I get from killing one of those dudes can open both blue doors. If I go to the left and get the key guarded by a swarm of swordsmen, I can only go through the first of the blue doors (until I kill the guy and get the second key), so I assume it's supposed to be a one key for each door dealio, but as I say the second key is magical and can open both doors.

RE: Convergence - ThemsAllTook - Sep 29, 2011 06:28 AM

Really? That's interesting, it is supposed to be one key per door (I should really display the keys you have on the UI somewhere!). I'm unable to reproduce the problem locally. Could I get you to record your game session so I can see what you're doing? If you launch the game from the command line with the arguments -record ~/recording.json, it should save that file in your home directory, and I can play it back if you send it to me. (If you want to try playing it back yourself, just replace -record with -playback and launch the game, choose the class you were using when you made the recording, and it should play.)


RE: Convergence - kiwiMark - Sep 29, 2011 06:53 AM

Recording feature is very neat.

But it seems I made a mistake, before the two blue doors both the rangers in their separate rooms drop blue keys. I must've killed them really close up and instantly grabbed the key without realizing it, thus getting two keys that way.

Sorry for wasting your time!

RE: Convergence - ThemsAllTook - Sep 29, 2011 08:14 AM

Oh cool, that's a relief. I think I need to do something to make it more obvious when you've picked something up; if you're moving toward an enemy while you kill it, you sometimes don't even see what was dropped before you've run over it, and can only tell you've picked something up by the sound (which is covered up by the much louder enemy death sound). Maybe a short period of time after something was dropped when it can't be picked up... Anyway, thanks for confirming it wasn't a problem!

RE: Convergence - phydeaux - Oct 1, 2011 01:18 PM

Worked on my 10.6.8 MacBook. Really good, tight job start on the gameplay mechanics design. I have only been able to beat the boss with the Ranger, who I think is quite a bit easier to win with than the other classes (especially with the strafing feature.) To think making the other classes stronger rather than nerf the ranger is probably right for the current iteration of the game (e.g. for the Berserker if you could damage the boss even when he's not in the weak state it probably would be about the same difficulty as the ranger because that knockback from the boss arrows is so bad.)
I think that the minimalist graphics and the level of difficulty will probably hurt for you getting too high of scores, but it is definitely going to be one of my personal favorites of the competition.