The Moon Fields


#1

The remnants of ISW were losing value, and I couldn’t justify the absurd amount of money for the game that I’d have to redo anyways, so… I never ended up buying up ISW. So this is attempt #4 to finally put this together. Links to #1, #2, and the shortlived #3.

I know some of you guys hate these screen capture video things, but… I don’t. When I have something I want to show off real crisp like I might change my mind.


Anyways, I’m going to start with the competitive side. The game is going to be called MISFITS. I had some really, really good feedback the last time I showed off Combat Jr, so I’m going to keep going in that direction. A few changes I’m going to ponder over while the game flips over:

  1. Drop action button count from 8 to 6. This will have the benefit of working better with controller types like Gamecube and N64. Hopefully I’ll have the ability to program that stuff in.

  2. I’m unsure if I should keep the jumping. I’ve had one person complain, but I thought about it and it seems as though removing it could simplify things a lot. Currently jumping is a very strong strategy. Also If one person gets high ground by jumping sometimes the person on the low ground can’t return attacks. If I don’t get rid of the jumping I’m thinking the alternative is to force players to always have boots/mobility equipped AND make lots of weapons have air attacks. There could be a middle ground where I don’t force players to jump but I lower the effectiveness of jumping so that you can’t jump up to places you’re not supposed to be able to reach… but then it seems it’ll lose all of its value…

  3. The color count is going up a lot. I think it makes the game look like some kind of “Super” SNES without breaking too much.

  4. One of the benefits of forcing a “movement” button on the players is allowing equipping/unequipping on the field because I have a dedicated “do stuff” button that’s not connected to an item. So hypothetically if we treated it like X was the movement button it could be used smashed with a direction to jump, having a direction held down and pressed for the dash, or neutral to interact with the environment. If the player is standing over an item they can press X to pick up the item and then the next button press will replace the item in that item slot.

  5. I still need to figure out palette swapping. DROBE! Aye…

  6. If you look at the first insta you’ll notice that I made new sprites again. The last sprites are on opengameart. They didn’t work when I dropped them into CJr, so I redid them again. This time I made them very modifiable so I can swap palletes all day like I said in the last thread.

Alright this seems like enough for today. Thanks for reading.


ParsecTeam Aka Play My Game With Me
#2

This took a long time!

So the way this works is that the lit up white “cursor” starts highlighting the armor’s sprite. Moving left or right changes the armor which also changes the stats above. Pushing up or down moves the cursor vertically and selects that particular slot (if it exists for the armor). An armor with 2 carrying capacity will only have the first to slots available, so pressing Up or Down into those slots would just skip them. When the cursor is over an item slot pushing left or right changes the item. And instead of showing the items on the controller like CJr did it, I’m going to just equip the sprite when the items are changed.

I worry that because there’s no visual grid to see the items it’ll be really annoying for players who don’t know that their favorite weapon is #27. I don’t really know what exactly to do about that. I’m thinking that for regular 2-4 player play the grid will show up in the middle (though cycling through it is still just left/right). The 6 player image mock up is a little crazy…


#3

This might be a better image. The grid in the middle can cut away to reveal 2 more player slots if somehow you’re lucky enough to get 6 player going.

Also, the last game was a an approximation of 384x216 resolution. I think that now that I have a bunch more colors and I’m doing “more stuff” with the game bumping it up to 480x270 is a good move. The extra resolution is definitely making this screen easier to deal with. Also I think it’ll be able to scale back down to 384x216 during gameplay for “intense” stuff or up to 640x360 for other kinds of “intense” stuff. Hopefully it’ll all work!

Edit:


#4

I also want to add as many rainbows in this game as possible. Just a note.


#5

highly prefer an icon-based interface for items, especially in multiplayer where you have to accommodate first-time players. Another downside of pure text is that you lack visibility on the other choices–you can only see one word at a time.


#6

Yeah I prefer icon-based interfaces for items, too. I think what I’m going to to do resolve this is:

  1. Fill the grid in the upper image from my last post. If an item has an item index of 01 then it’ll be in the 01 square. The players might have a cursor in that grid, but the cursor will just jump to the grid index e.g. if they’re on their button 1 (square on PS controllers) and their button 1 is set to grid index “09. Moon Breaker” then their cursor will be at 06. If they press left or right their cursor will move left to 08 or down a row and all the way left to 10. And if they press down it’ll just jump to whatever the index is at button 2.

  2. Whenever something new is set the change will be updated on the player object immediately. E.g. if you move away from The Mountain (the new giant hammer) it’ll be turned off and whatever the adjacent item will then be equipped. I think I might have to get some kind of outline shader going so I can highlight it more specifically.

Hopefully that makes it visually more interesting than just text


#7

I am imposing a strict goal of February 9th as the date I need to get something playable for MISFITS. That’s the last local gamedev meetup here in MKE before TrainJam and GDC.

I’m just spitballing a todo list before I start at it today and for the next 8 days:

  1. Character Select, item dictionaries, game manager
  2. Character sprites, arena, learn particle system, explosion/effect sprites, sound FX, item animations
  3. Item use system

And lists make things way more manageable.


#8

Ok, this is the first set of playable characters for MISFITS. Each of these characters has a specific Health, Speed, and Carrying Capacity. In order it goes Ram, Unicorn, Bulbed, Vagrant, Helmet, Naked, Wizard, Gladiator, Tunic, and Mask.

Health and Speed and Carrying Capacity are all going to be there. This time I’m interested in adding Magic and Faith items. Please please please get at me if you have any ideas regarding this:

Right now items have multiple uses depending on how the analog stick is being pushed. Some of those uses will be flagged as being able to cast Spells. Each Spell has a minimum amount of energy necessary to cast, and if a particular item use is triggered with the requisite amount of Energy the Spell is cast. 1 Energy is acquired every second, and the total amount of Energy a character can have is the sum of Magic and Faith points the armor and items have.

Finally, depending on the Magic or Faith the character has the Spell will output differently. For example, a character with 2 Magic will shoot out a faster Magic Bolt than a character with 1 Magic, but this may not necessarily be the case for all Spells. And there are going to be items that temporariy increase Energy recovery, Magic Power, and Faith Power to tweak with this whole system.


#9

Things I managed to get done today:

  • Character sprites
  • Armor/Item Library
  • Placement of the things in Character Select

The next things I’m going to have to do for character select tomorrow are

  • Load Armor/Item Library in Character Select
  • Scroll left/right through the highlighted fields in character select
  • Change the player sprite and equip voxels around the player sprite when items/armors are changed

If I can get this all done by Thursday I think I’ll be moving at a good pace to get something good for Next Thursday… Fingers Crossed


#10

So you know when you get library books and there’s pages torn or missing and it’s like, “what the fuck?” Yeah that’s how my character select is going right now.

I need to redo this tonight. The way it’s going to work:

I’m going to make a Library script. The script will have Armor/Item/Build references. This will all be static. I’m going to use them to pull values from them to create other data references. But I will never modify those things ever (and won’t be able to!). This is dumb but I have 8 days. I can do it. I think. Aye


#11

I got the library script and the scrolling done. I did not get to play with the player sprite, yet.

I think I’m going to go into the main combat scene and deal with the sprite changing stuff there before finishing the character select. I think sprite rotation and character dress up are going to really make the character selection screen work out well. I have 7 days to do this thing. I’m barely on pace, but I think I can do it. Wish me luck.


#13

Busted, you said you didn’t like text-only interfaces. How would you feel if the voxel items were equipped on the fly like they are here? I’m also thinking about slowly rotating the player sprite (the sprite itself will only rotate through images, but the voxels will rotate in real space) so you can see all sides of the player?


#14

There’s 2 concepts I’m talking about:

  • How visible are my choices? If I’m paging through a list with only one visible at a time, I have to build the mental map of possibilities entirely internally, which is harder than seeing many options at once. Icons are a nice space-saving way to show many at once; when selected, the longer textual description appears.
  • How do I remember choices? Icons are preferred in graphic design as more memorable and independent of translation. This gets harder in a game with many similar items so a compromise like you’re selecting isn’t the worst.

More importantly, menu stuff is probably low-priority for your goals right now! Get it fun and then test it and smash all the barriers to play. Shows are almost always places where it’s valuable to sacrifice complex, hard-to-understand pieces for the benefit of first impressions. Local multiplayer even moreso, where you can’t leave a single of those 4 people behind (not to mention the audience members watching it – you need to entertain them, too).


#15

If I can figure out how to draw an arrow from your player card to the current grid item (e.g. if you’re on 12. Black Branch then I’ll have a grid arrow pointed to 12), but that’s pretty much… yeah I think this is enough to show off the game next week.


#16

What about a selection rectangle that has “P1”, “P2” above it and is a different color for each player? Simple logic: if player moves cursor onto another player’s cursor, it skips that tile. Complex-er: flash between all player highlights currently occupying a tile.

I like the grid; if you’re not planning on filling it out maybe you want to zoom it in for showing off, unless you think it’s valuable to show “we’ll have lots of content”.


#17

Thanks for the input, Busted.

Work done today:got the movement system where I want it. On the ground you have complete control over your movement without any influence by physics unless you are stunned in which case physics takes over until you aren’t stunned anymore. In the air physics will take over your general jump arc, but you have 1/4 of your movement speed to influence your jump. Explosions from magic or whatnot can affect your trajectory.

The dash here is better than any of the iterations of Combat Jr. Instead of it being assigned to an item, it is assigned to either double tapping or smash tapping the X (on Playstation) button. Holding down X will do a jump. This solves three problems: 1) wasting two button inputs on Jump and Dash, 2) stopping bunny hopping by grounding the player for a period of time, 3) giving the player a button to mash all the time.

Different speeds of armors react differently to uneven terrain/stairs. The speed and step size affect whether you blow over stairs or if you pause and gain footing. I don’t know exactly how this happened, but it’s, uh, kind of amazing.


#18

On the docket is:

  1. I’m going to try to set up the animations next, and then try to swap in different sprite sheets.
  2. Then I’m going to try to incorporate a dressup function to activate the different item models depending on what the player character has equipped.
  3. Go and finish the character select swapping in sprite sheets, dressing up per item changed, and rotating the character object

#19

I pretended I had any idea what I was doing with regards to attack animations and I now have 2/3 of the melee items done.

Then sleep. I slept. A lot.

Now I am trying to decide if I shower or go right back at it.

Edit: The answer is to read facebook. Pomodoro only works when I give it power. If I don’t, then I get to be in charge.


#20

Very slowly getting to the sprite swapping. I spent the last day and a half making the voxel animations for items. It’s a lot more immediately gratifying. Anyways. recap:

  1. I changed the controls. There are only two tiers of attacks - with the joystick pressed and without the joystick pressed. Also, the dash is now a single tap while the jump is a press and hold. If I need an item to have a lot of variety I have the options of Stick Neutral, Stick Pressed, Air Stick Neutral, and Air Stick Pressed. The hold time for jump necessarily adds to timing of the air items, so it’s feeling pretty natural. I could go for some different names for the techniques, though. It doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue like Jab Strong Fierce…

  2. I’m hoping to emphasize the shield combat in the game. I removed the Shields from being on the right side of a character, so anything that’s swingy Clockwise has a better chance of scoring a hit. Most items that are strapped to the waist are fast but their fastest swiping attacks are usually Counter Clockwise, otherwise all other items should have 1/4 of a second of leeway way. You should either have a BIG SHIELD or have enough distance to dash away safely. Or you’re dead. I might bring back right side shields, but they’ll have to be real weird and even more unreliable compared to regular shields.

  3. Despite feeling really stronly about point #1 above, I am still anxious about dropping an entire system. The code to determine if you properly smashed an attack (Neutral, Tilt, Smash, you know?) is still in the game and I’m looking right at it. Part of me wants to keep it in there, funnel all Smash attacks into Tilt attacks, but keep it hidden. Part of me doesn’t seem to care. Dinner is in the oven, so I cna distract myself.


#21

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

I need to crush these animations. They look good, but I need to figure out the workflow to make them

  1. Sync up with the sprite animations
  2. Sync up with how the game feels.

The sprite animations are seemingly not as good here. I’m guessing that’s because the animations are too complex, the sprites are more complex, and with that the expectations are that it also syncs up better. So when it doesn’t sync its a little weird. The best example is that the generic “attack” animation has active frames where the character is ‘jumping’ with one hand up. It looks great from all 4 angles if you don’t change which cardinal direction you’re looking. But… that happens a lot…

Anyways, once I get the weapon animations going correctly, I’m gonna want to do the bows and bombs and shields and potions. That’ll take me all of tomorrow, at least. I’m kind of worried that I won’t have a full game loop ready by Thursday, but we’ll see. I’ll think about that come Monday/Tuesday

Edit:

With more testing it seems like jumping and trying to do an Air Neutral is really difficult. I am cutting it down again to 3 attacks. ABC? I think this will be exceedingly clear and also highly executable…