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(Sort of) Throwing my hat in

Posted by
Friday, April 17th, 2015 5:26 pm

Hum, can’t blog here with Live Writer anymore? That’s too bad… :(

Anyway, I wasn’t going to participate this time… was thinking about dedicating that time into finishing my game…

But, looking at all the posts on Tweeter, I’m feeling the urge, so even if I can keep away from temptation, it’s better safe than sorry, so I’m putting up my framework, the same as before…

You can download the framework here, if you want to use it (it has some sample applications that show most if not all the features). Current features:

– D3D9 initialization and some helpers (ignore the OGL stuff, it’s something I started, but didn’t finish)

– FMOD interface for sound

– 2d Sprites (with sprite caching, etc)

– 2d Particle System

– Simple UIButton for easy menus

– Text (through FreeType 2)

– 3ds file loading (only tested with 3ds generated by 3d Studio Max). Loads lights, meshes and cameras.

– Small simple math library (vectors and quaternions)

– Simple 3d camera handling system (just with a “look at” operation)

– XML loading/saving (might come in handy for configuration files, load/saves, etc. The XML loader was created by Frank Berghen, not me… the writer is all me, although the loader also has save functions, but I’m too lazy to figure out how they work)

– 3d particle system (based on the 2d one, so very rudimentary)

– 3d sprite system (quads that always face the camera)

– LUA library support (it’s actually ripped from my engine, so it’s a good support system for LUA)… Last time I used cutscenes and scripting, and loads of the game code was much simpler because of that… This time around it has the beginning of a framework to manage objects, references, etc as well

– DDS image loading for an offscreen buffer (just supports A8R8G8B8 images). It’s useful to generate composite textures or dynamic textures

– 3d Tilemap (Kind of a blocky heightmap with an automatic texture atlas generation and partition of the map in chunks for possible culling (not implemented)).

– Voxel system (almost fast enough for realtime regeneration)

– Voxel editor application (needs to be compiled and tweaked to your actual use). It supports textured and colored voxels, besides some props and node placement (for cutscenes or game related stuff)

screen01

– Simple geometry generation (quad, cube, spheroid, caps and cylinders)

– Special effect objects (sparks, explosions, although the explosion require some authoring)

– Full-screen effect systems (to implement glows, or invert the colors, or add displacements, etc)

– Full shader-based rendering system (no fixed-function pipeline), with simple lighting system (only shadowless point and spot lights, although directional lights should be easy to implement, just a matter of adding to the shaders). Shader system is built with uber-shaders in mind, with easy to add per-material properties (material color for example) and system-wide constants (ambient light, for example).

– Launcher functions (a dialog box that pops and asks for resolution, sound volumes, window/full screen, etc, in 3 easy lines of code)

– Simple navigation mesh generation and path finding (based on Recast). It enables to add objects to a NavMesh object (not all objects work yet), and it will build the navigation mesh, which can be queried… It’s easy to extend, if you know how to use Recast. This component is on a separate library, so you “opt-out” of it easily.

On the tools side, I’ll use:

– Visual Studio 2010

– Photoshop CS5 (for 2d graphics and textures if I decide to adventure into 3d, etc)

– 3d Studio Max (for modelling if I go 3d, or for title screens and such otherwise)

sfxr (or Bfxr) (for audio effects)

– Everything I get my hands on…

No idea what I’m going to use for music, but probably one auto-generator like http://abundant-music.com/, as I did last time.

As I said, I want to work on my current project and have some family-type stuff to do, so even if I participate, I won’t have much time, but I’d like to keep my options open…

Have fun everyone, good luck!

@shadowcovenant

Throwing the towel…

Posted by
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 3:04 am

Looking at what I still have to do to make the game playable, and considering the time I’ve already used up, I’ve decided to throw the towel…

I don’t have enough time to finish the game, and even if I can make it playable (which is unlikely), it won’t be balanced or fun.

I really underestimated the UI-making time on this framework I’m using. For really simple stuff it works, but this game is a bit UI-heavy, so it takes me forever to add options and make everything work properly and intuitively… I’ll probably need to review that for the next compo.

The other issue was that I tried making the game more data driven (so that I could have simple load/save mechanisms), by making most of the game logic in Lua… The problem is that I was making the logic in Lua, but the UI in C++, which meant passing data to and from, and that generates a lot of repetitive, error-prone code, besides super-ugly…

Next time, if I want to do something like this, I’ll have to stay either on one world or the other, mixing them doesn’t work that well…

screen07

The game itself had some nifty ideas, but it would take me forever to implement and (more importantly) balance it. I’ve never done an economic/political simulator, so this was a big challenge right from the start.

Maybe if I had a better UI framework or done the game fully in C++, it might be possible…

Oh well… Good luck everyone!

Still not much…

Posted by
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 1:29 am

Due to the fact that I’m running super-late (all my estimations were wrong), I’ve not been blogging that much, nor have I been keeping track of what other people are doing (which is too bad, that’s one of my favorite parts).

Hopefully, today will go a little better.

Anyway, here’s the latest screenshot… It shows a trade route:

screen06

Now to make the related property box, to edit the type of route and the number of ships in it

Starting to make some progress…

Posted by
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 2:25 pm

Still going terribly, but its gradually improving… Think I chewed more than I should, because of the balancing… It takes too long to adjust the simulation parameters, especially if you’re not used to that kind of work!

screen05

Planets now have food supplies and their population grows with it.

This is mostly data driven, so it will probably be faster to get up and running for the other resources.

Also got load and saves working. Next step, build hyperspace gates and start laying down the trade routes.

Current schedule after the break:

(more…)

First screenshots

Posted by
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 11:51 am

This is not going very well… It’s taking me ages to get the simplest things up and running, due to small bugs plus a lack of understanding of what I’m actually building…

First screenshot:

screen04

Spent about 45 minutes just trying to figure out the parameters of the simulation to start implementing, so I’m about 2 hours behind schedule… Hopefully I can make up for lost time without spending the whole night working…

Current time schedule after the break:

(more…)

Starting work…

Posted by
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 7:23 am

Well, I’ve been busy with a some personal stuff I had to take care, now it’s time to start working on the game!

After careful consideration, I’m going to make a space trading game (tentative name “StarTrader Corp.”).

The idea is that the player has to manage trade routes, building ships, hyperspace portals, etc, to keep the peace in the galaxy (and hopefully make a tidy sum in the process).

The simulation part and UI will be the tough parts, specially the simulation, but I will do it all Lua-driven, which should help.

Planets have some exports and will import the rest, so the most productive routes will take needed goods from one place where is an abundant one.

If some parameters are reached, like for instance not enough food on a planet, they will (try to) invade nearby planets, which will disrupt the trade routes.

This will be an interesting game to make. Since I’m not that used to strategy games, it will be a challenge. It also lends itself to expansion as I make the simulation more complete.

Hopefully in some hours I’ll have something to show! Smile

Just woke up…

Posted by
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 3:31 am

Late, but I’m awake now!

So the theme is (as expected) “Connected Worlds”…

Hum, I didn’t manage to think of any decent idea with this, although there are several bouncing around my head:

– Society is connected: You have to do actions on your Facetube profile to get more friends. This one would probably involve a lot of UI work, and I hate UI work… :\ Also, a lot of writing and procedural generators…

– Realspace/Cyberspace: Player is at the same time a hacker flying in cyberspace, defeating ICE and opening a path to a spy, which in turn has to place access nodes for the hacker while penetrating some secure facility. This one might be simple enough to pull off.

– Trade management: Player must manage interplanetary trade routes, taking into account pirate attacks and the needs of certain places. The idea is to keep the peace between planets by giving them what they need, while keeping your business flowing. This one might also be doable, just don’t know if it’s any fun!

– Split-screen: Player controls two characters at the same time in two screens, and has to either solve puzzles with both of them (in this case, we could give the player the capability of controlling only one at a time), or action-oriented where you have to flee/destroy hazards on both worlds at the same time. This seems like a nightmare to level design properly, and the strength of it hinges on that.

– Ghost game: Player controls two characters (each at a time): a medium (which can go into the spirit world, and where he can see the ghosts) and a ghost hunter (which can hunt ghosts, but can’t see them). Player has to find and trap several ghosts/spirits. Everytime the medium is in the spirit world, it will attract the attention of the ghosts. The problem with this idea is that it seems the hunter just needs to stand next to the medium and wait for the ghosts to come to him. This might be mitigated with some way that the hunter can’t be with the medium. This one has some interesting concepts (possession, traps, perturbations, etc)

– Gravity influenced portal shooter: Scorched Earth inspired game. Players are in different worlds, but they can shoot using gravity. Shots can also include portals for really trick shots. This seems fun, but it rely on either smart AI (which isn’t my think, really), or network code (for multiplayer). I’m not scared of multiplayer code (I do plenty of it for a living), but for the voting stage, I doubt we’d have people playing it enough so that people could actually try it…

So those are my ideas at the moment… I need to really think long and hard about these…

I’m in

Posted by
Friday, August 22nd, 2014 3:04 pm

I’m participating on this one again, and I’ll be posting updates on my “company”’s blog, and on Twitter (@shadowcovenant, if you want to follow me), and also on the website…

I’ve updated my basic LD48 framework with some stuff I think I may need (nothing game related, just some stuff most engines have out of the box). I’ve been using this framework for 48-hour compos for ages now, so it’s pretty confortable for me.

screen08

It’s too bad we can’t use some pre-made assets (explosion sprites, or particles), but those are the rules! Smile

You can download the framework here, if you want to use it (it has some sample applications that show most if not all the features). Current features:

– D3D9 initialization and some helpers (ignore the OGL stuff, it’s something I started, but didn’t finish)

– FMOD interface for sound

– 2d Sprites (with sprite caching, etc)

– 2d Particle System

– Simple UIButton for easy menus

– Text (through FreeType 2)

– 3ds file loading (only tested with 3ds generated by 3d Studio Max). Loads lights, meshes and cameras.

– Small simple math library (vectors and quaternions)

– Simple 3d camera handling system (just with a “look at” operation)

– XML loading/saving (might come in handy for configuration files, load/saves, etc. The XML loader was created by Frank Berghen, not me… the writer is all me, although the loader also has save functions, but I’m too lazy to figure out how they work)

– 3d particle system (based on the 2d one, so very rudimentary)

– 3d sprite system (quads that always face the camera)

– LUA library support (it’s actually ripped from my engine, so it’s a good support system for LUA)… Last time I used cutscenes and scripting, and loads of the game code was much simpler because of that… This time around it has the beginning of a framework to manage objects, references, etc as well

– DDS image loading for an offscreen buffer (just supports A8R8G8B8 images). It’s useful to generate composite textures or dynamic textures

– 3d Tilemap (Kind of a blocky heightmap with an automatic texture atlas generation and partition of the map in chunks for possible culling (not implemented)).

– Voxel system (almost fast enough for realtime regeneration)

– Voxel editor application (needs to be compiled and tweaked to your actual use). It supports textured and colored voxels, besides some props and node placement (for cutscenes or game related stuff)

screen01

– Simple geometry generation (quad, cube, spheroid, caps and cylinders)

– Special effect objects (sparks, explosions, although the explosion require some authoring)

– Full-screen effect systems (to implement glows, or invert the colors, or add displacements, etc)

– Full shader-based rendering system (no fixed-function pipeline), with simple lighting system (only shadowless point and spot lights, although directional lights should be easy to implement, just a matter of adding to the shaders). Shader system is built with uber-shaders in mind, with easy to add per-material properties (material color for example) and system-wide constants (ambient light, for example).

– Launcher functions (a dialog box that pops and asks for resolution, sound volumes, window/full screen, etc, in 3 easy lines of code)

– Simple navigation mesh generation and path finding (based on Recast). It enables to add objects to a NavMesh object (not all objects work yet), and it will build the navigation mesh, which can be queried… It’s easy to extend, if you know how to use Recast. This component is on a separate library, so you “opt-out” of it easily.

On the tools side, I’ll use:

– Visual Studio 2010

– Photoshop CS5 (for 2d graphics and textures if I decide to adventure into 3d, etc)

– 3d Studio Max (for modelling if I go 3d, or for title screens and such otherwise)

sfxr (or Bfxr) (for audio effects)

– Live Writer for blogging

– Everything I get my hands on…

No idea what I’m going to use for music, but probably one auto-generator like http://abundant-music.com/, as I did last time.

My expectations for this compo are as usual high… My last two attempts I was on the top 20%, so I want to do better this time (although the competition is stiff). There are very nice themes at the voting at the moment, so I might be hit with a good idea!

Probably going for my usual 48-Hour compo drill… Go to bed at normal hours, wake up at 2am to see the theme and go back to bed… then start working early in the morning!

This time I don’t have as much time available as usual, but I think I can put in 25 hours or so of development.

Pressure – The Game (and the competition)

Posted by
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 4:23 pm

And… done!

Tomorrow I’ll probably write a post-mortem, I’m dead tired… Smile

A total of 29 hours yielded “Pressure”, a game where you control a ship that’s a nightmare to control! Smile

good_screen12

If you took part on the LD 48, you can vote here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-29/?action=preview&uid=326

Game can be downloaded from: http://www.shadowcovenant.com/ld/Pressure.zip, and the source code can be downloaded from http://www.shadowcovenant.com/ld/Pressure_Source.zip.

This is a nice entry… don’t think it’s as good/fun as “Particles”, but it’s probably the best looking entry I’ve done (if not the more polished)…

Have fun all, good luck to those that are still working on their games, and for the Jammers!

Covenant, out!

Update #6 – The progressening

Posted by
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 9:57 am

I’m blogging very little on this compo, but that’s mainly because I made an aggressive schedule and I’m trying to keep it… Don’t want to go to bed too late, I have to work in the morning!

Anyway, most of the game is done, it’s missing load/save mechanisms (which are pretty easy in this game), tutorials, balancing, polish, another enemy type, music and sound FX… Music will be a pain this time around, since I don’t have access to the wonderful equipment I had in the last couple of compos…

Some screenshots of the latest progress…

Failure is an option:

screen09

Level up, and upgrades:

screen11

Still considering if I give the game an ending… Don’t know exactly what would that be in this context… And I probably should add some description text as an introduction to what we’re doing, besides the tutorials…

Anyway, catch you in a few hours!

Back to work!

Posted by
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 3:04 am

Just woke up, time to get back to work!

Game still progresses nicely, although I’m starting to move to the “boring” development: UI, game flow control, menus and such…

screen08

Gameplay UI is done, now it’s time for the main menu systems (“New Game”, “Continue”, “Exit”, that sort of thing…).

Thinking of having a more “robust” save game system, instead of a checkpoint based one, but that’s more trouble making the UI, really… and I don’t like UI work in the slightest…

Update #4–The shootening

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 2:32 pm

It’s not a game if there’s no shooting in it! Smile

I’m calling it a night, been working for about 15 hours, and progress has been very good… I’m 30 minutes ahead of schedule, which is very good!

The ship now mines the deposits, can repair/reload if you land softly, can shoot at enemies, which can damage the player if they get touched by it (other enemies will shoot back, but that’s for tomorrow).

screen07

Gameplay-wise, I’m only missing the other enemies, UI and the upgrade/RPG part, and glue everything together, so hopefully I’ll have a lot of polish/balancing (better graphics, music, sound FX, etc) to make this fun!

Cya all tomorrow!

screen06

Update #3 – The Updatining

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 12:16 pm

Finally, I have atmospheric currents:

screen05

Still need some fine tuning, regarding strength of the effect, etc, but it looks good and behaves as expected…

Though this was going to be easier, until I couldn’t find anywhere a Bezier/Point distance function…

Basically, the currents are 4-point Beziers (randomly generated)… To gauge the force of the current at the ship position, I was going to see the distance to the Bezier, and if it was smaller (and finding the parametric position), I’d compute the 1st order derivative and use that as the force… But finding the distance was a bit harder, so I ended up by having to decompose the Bezier in 10 pieces or so, and do a line/point distance function… It works surprisingly well, to be honest, but it’s a dirty hack!

Next on my work list: the squid enemy (or jellyfish, haven’t decided) enemy, which just moves in simple patterns, unaware of our ship… I think making the asset will be the hardest part… Smile

Update #2

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 10:21 am

This time around, I’m not updating as much as I used to… I think that’s because I’m in the zone and I don’t want to stop for anything…

Anyway, progress of the last hours was very good… The ship moves around, explodes if it collides too much, all of it affected by gravity and density of the gas…

screen03

There’s mineral clusters floating in the atmosphere, you can now grab those, which will be used to gain experience and to make repairs.

screen04

According to my development plan, I’m 20 minutes behind schedule, which isn’t bad… Smile

Next step: landing, repairs and start on the “currents”…

First update

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 5:59 am

Work is progressing nicely…

screen02

The ship control sucks for now, but that’s mainly because I haven’t decided what kind of mood in the gameplay I want: if I want a faster paced game, the accelerations need to be more powerful, to negate the current direction and allow for faster reaction… If I want it to be more tactical, I’ll be able to leave it as it is, with a lot of inertia, which makes it mandatory to think before you move so you can do a safe landing.

Next steps are the pressure system (deal damage with depth) and the collision detection with the environment (should be easy, except for the “landing” code, which will probably require a lot of fine tuning).

Base idea established…

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 2:56 am

I’ve made a mind map of sorts to explore my idea:

BmI5DtmIYAAx0Ar

What I’m doing is a game where the player is a mining ship that explores gas giants and retrieves resources… The deeper you go, the more pressure there is, which inflicts continuous damage. You can use the resources to fix the damage. After each level, you can upgrade your ship, RPG-style. There will also be enemies (natural gas-giant inhabitants, and other miners). Other gameplay elements can be gas currents (make it harder to handle your ship), and gravity (ship acts like a lander of sorts, low gravity in the upper atmosphere, higher gravity in the lower one). To repair, the ship will have to land (softly) on rocks that float in the gas giant’s atmosphere… They float because, er…. magic! Smile

Hopefully I’ll be able to think of some more ideas while I’m developing this, but this is a good starting point…

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