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10 days left. Basic features are complete.
War mages is a 2 player game played on an Android tablet (7in or greater) where each player enters orders/commands for monsters they then summon onto the gameboard.
The goal is to have a fire elemental make an explosion on the enemy’s summoning circle.
Lots of little UI things left to do along with victory conditions but I’m in good shape
Another long week. I’m finding as the game gets tighter and tighter I’m spending more and more time re-doing things that don’t work. While they make the game better, it’s not ‘fun’. Mainly it’s actually pretty depressing to throw away hours and hours of work. This is the part of the project where I guess I usually get bored/frustrated and stop. But Not this time.. This time I’m too damn close! New Playable builds available here: http://drakkheim.com/january/play
So what did get accomplished?
Lots and lots of bugs and glitches. Revisions to prevent button click through and proper input handling seem to have been the biggest culprit. The most common rendering bug / crash bugs centered around parts of the rendering loop continuing even if the monsters, enemies or any of the other arrays change size to 0 or trying to access things after starting to switch to the victory / loss screens.
So as of last week.. it wasn’t any fun. Because once you discovered you can stack units and stack 3 or so units they’d instakill anything they encounter. So the player winds up making a stack and then just sitting back and not doing anything. This was because monster combat is resolved first. So I changed that. Even though stacks can still instakill most things, the attacks are calculated simultaneously. This suddenly meant that you have to constantly manage your monsters. Which lead to a HUGE Problem. How do you select a monster in the middle in a stack. That leads us to ……
InGame UI Changes
A major revision to the in-game UI made it much easier to keep track of your monsters. The only downside is that you now are limited to 20 monsters. (I’ve never even come close to that, so this shouldn’t be a problem. I also was able to tack on simple little health indicators beneath then portraits. All of a sudden things were a million times more fun. Then a quick tweak to the map renderer means that I can now reserve the bottom part of the screen to prevent sending creatures to whatever is beneath the UI. This alternate method of selecting units has a second unexpected benefit, It’s playable on Android again!!!! ok so no android build today, due to a some more event click through issues… but that should be fixable.
Tack on some interface sounds and things feel much more crunchy.
The base levels are in place. Still need to tweak the hell out of them
so over at http://www.reddit.com/r/onegameamonth someone started a particle Friday event. The intent being, blow off development and put in place some gratuitous particles. So I did, on the home screen, there’s now Fire.
Ok.. seriously.. with 4 days left.. too much. So the real question What Essential things are you missing?
That list, luckily, is much shorter.
Level tweaks and balance
Right Click / Drag issue that can cause monsters to go to unintended places.
Holy hell, that’s not a lot of time to get the last stuff done.
BUT, the last few days have been pretty productive, I must say.
Music is in, particularly proud of the main level background music manager that has a pool of music tracks and randomly assembles them together on the fly.
Removed a bunch of the debugging information and such making things run a bit smoother
The final (for jan) menus are in, Figures that I finally grasp how Scene2d.ui and its components work..just as I get to the point where I don’t have time to do anything with it.
I got it so you can now enter your own Code to play your own custom levels.
Rounds of enemies are now defined by the editor and passed to the game. This means that playtesting a level is as simple as hitting save in the editor and then hop over to the window with the game in it and playing it in the game…
And the BIG HUGE brand new website look for the main http://www.drakkheim.com/ site that will hold this and future releases. WITH video! 🙂
And here’s the remaining to-do list:
Sound Effect – Combat
Sound Effect – UI
Main Game – escape = pause and show back to menu button and quit to desktop button.
Gameplay – Balance
Title Screen Image
Revise in game UI Look and feel
Make Android Playable
So that’s not so bad.
3 of 5 levels are pretty much ready. And with the ease of starting and stopping rounds now, balancing is easier.
The game loads screens and their assets based off of manifest files that are easy to update and maintain. The ‘loading’ level shows a progress bar and fetches the needed assets for the next screen and makes screen transitions clean, simple and easy.
I’ve knocked out a basic Logo and Title Text (seen above) and the core tileset is mostly there for the features I need in January’s Game. As indicated above, the January game’s subtitle is ‘Invasion’ . Focusing entirely on building and defending your dragon’s egg from the invading heroes. I hope to have 4 levels to choose from by the end of the month. (and hopefully make it so you can play your own level from the editor)
The game runs at a nice 5,450 FPS when not vsync’d on my desktop and a nice smooth 60fps even on my POS T-Mobile myTouch phone. (not sure how to unlock vsynch on android :-/ so i don’t know how much leeway I have)
Right click drags the map about on PC and a two finger drag on Android. Overall I should be able to manage fairly massive levels without much overhead as it’s never looping the entire array just the elements to be displayed. But the biggest bottleneck is probably going to be pathfinding…. shit I hate A*..
Which brings me to the next week’s goal.. Monsters and pathfinding. (no animation this month) Buy a goblin and tell him to go to a spot. Maybe basic combat/collisions.
So I got the basic website up and running over at Drakkheim.com and a rudimentary level editor is up and running and saving and loading from the database. http://drakkheim.com/jan/ Here’s a screenshot.
Yeah.. ok so not real exciting.
Ok I was working ahead over the holidays 🙂
Made some progress on the basic tileset, however I’m keeping January’s game very simple and more of a focus on getting the basic framework set up.
On the graphics front, it looks like a couple guys are developing an animation tool called Spine.
It’s very cool. And it will support LibGDX right out of the box. Which is perfect since that’s what I’m using. I backed Brashmonkey’s Spriter spriter animation tool and hoped to use it.. however they’re running behind schedule and there’s no real progress on a java implementation and frankly I don’t want to write one.
So Spine.. as soon as they launch their kickstarter and whatnot I intend to start using that for the character graphics. In fact here’s a screenshot of a simple goblin figure I’m working with.
So hopefully that’ll be the big update in march 🙂
Other than that I’ve got the basic Game app working, a good start on getting an asset loader implemented and a loading screen that caches the assets and handles the scene transition. And last but not least, I’ve got it pulling in a level by shortcode in as a JSON object.
There’s something to be said for being slowly roasted alive every time you step outside… usually something along the lines of ‘you idiot get back inside, are you crazy???!?’
It also has the tendency to bake the willpower to do extra projects out of you.
So, in short, it’s been real slow going. Consulting work is in full swing, however. Lots of new and fun small projects. Which got me thinking..
And then I had to grab a cold drink…
then I thought some more.
Small projects. Bite size things. Sexy, whiz bang, fun things.
So I’m making a list. Checking it twice. Scratching out things that can’t be done in a week’s worth of the two hours of time I have after the tiny terrible terrific tot of terror passes out in his bed.
First up. Project Ultrashow. But as usual, paying work comes first.. so next Thursday looks to be the first day of available freetime.
There’s just something about the summer here in Texas that just completely sucks the drive out of you. Even if you spend the day indoors in an office, just walking to the car and driving home, by the time 8pm rolls around any desire or motivation you’ve got left is a shriveled little mass of ambition that’s trying desperately to get into the shade and take a nap.
However, you’ve just gotta work through it, right? Right??
So in the fine tradition of starting more projects…
There’s 2 new things in the works.
1 – Some really cool web/app/mobile/ fun in a techy sort of way.
That currently looks something like this:
2 – Something to get me away from the computer more and let myself switch gears completely.
That currently looks something like this:
You’ll notice a new look for the site.. a slight decrease in the emphasis on games, and a bit more on development and consulting work.
Oh and a quick update on the Barnyard Bonanza Development, It’s been real slow due to the really cool bit of consulting work that’s eaten every spare waking hour for the last 40 days. However it looks like the launch has been pushed back from Jul 28 to some time in Feb.. So I’m taking a deep breath and re-introducing myself to the codebase.. It appears that there’s been a significant couple of updates to LibGDX in the meanwhile so I may decide to tackle that, but seeing as I’m using large chunks of the Scene2D api that’s been completely rewritten.. I may just cross my fingers and skip em for the initial release of BB.
Failing motherboards, hard drives, bad ram. And an attempt at repairing the ol PC wound up eating most of the month. Then when it turns out that the fixed PC isn’t stable I went ahead and just said screw it and bought a Dell. It’s a monster of a system and hopefully My PC woes and troubles are finished for the next 3 years.
Then my phone / development test device died.
Yeah .. great. Luckily T-Mobile’s warrenty replacement covered it.. and they shipped me a refurb replacement in short order.
It lasted until this Saturday when it died in the middle of sending a text.
In the middle of all that I did manage to get a single week’s worth of productive coding. The odds got tweaked, the individual reels now run independently so they spin in a more convincing manner and two of the four power-ups are in there and working.
The powerup price increases every time you buy them so that balances them out a bit from overpowering everything.
The new template for the site is now active and It seems ok I did loose the all the splash images for each of the posts though.. not happy about that. Maybe I can find a way to get them inserted in their proper posts.
Not too much progress this week. Lots of playtesting though.
Some more UI tweaks and special effects and Particles (coin fountain based on amount you win)… however Photoshop crashed and I lost a revision of the UI buttons.. so technically this is a version behind. But it now oficially detects running out of money. Also removed a symbol from the lineup which should increase loosness of the game but still the payouts are… way too generous (ie you really have to work at loosing).
New buttons for “Cashing Out” and “powerups” are on-route, along with a Main Menu, Bonus Games and other goodies.
As always.. If you have an android device.. I’d love to hear any feedback.