Posts Tagged ‘Zapaman’
Copulus is a 2D God Game in which you have to help your subjects populate their little world. In order to achieve this you need to balance their need for social interaction (and copulation) with the need to survive. I decided to try and stream line the “god game” mechanics and let the player focus on only a few tasks, as opposed to regular god games where you have to manage many different needs (housing, hunger, peril, happiness, loyalty, security, etc). In order for your population to survive and expand you only need to make sure they are feed, safe and can interact with each other. I even took this approach a bit further and merged survival/peril with hunger satisfaction. Before I go into the, regular, What went Right, What went Wrong topic I would like to present my approach for this entry:
Limitations breed creativity
Before the theme was announced I already established how far I can stretch things. I know from previous experiences how hard it is to stay on track of the initial design and how many features end up being thrown away in order to finish “something” before the time runs out. So for this edition of Ludumdare, I’d like to say I came prepared. Here are my, self-imposed, limitations:
- 256×384 resolution (upscaled to 512×768)
- must involve some kind of an AI
- must be tile based.
Three rules in total. Three rules that, once the theme was announced, helped me establish a clear goal. For example, the small resolution and tile-based approach helped me establish the art style, level and user interface design. Working on a 256×384 screen I could only fit 8 / 12 tiles (32×32) on the screen, or 16/24 tiles at 16×16 pixels each. The AI requirement weighted in favor of the strategy genre and, it’s subclass, the god game genre.
From here on, I went with the entire map being confined to a single screen (in order to have a good view of your population, and not have to hunt for them everywhere). This also affected my User Interface Design and Experience, since It had to take as little screen space as possible. Little screen space for UI implied having only a handful of buttons during game play which, combined with the god-game thematic, had me limit what tasks the player could focus on. A small amount of tasks for the player to perform required me to streamline the entire “god game” approach and make it as minimalistic as possible (the soul experience as I like to refer to it). You can see how things developed further on.
What went right
- Using a WIKI to plan ahead. Features, classes, how the AI should perform, etc [click here for a screenshot of the wiki].
- Not stretching further than I can and imposing strict limits.
- Making fake-screenshots(mockups) before beginning development so I can plan my interaction approach.
- Using tools and frameworks that I was familiar with.
- Selecting a limited color palette to work with.
- The UI only interaction means that I can also port the game to tablets.
- Using “procedural” generation to save time (from level design) and focus on other areas.
- Nailed the risk-reward motif due to Wolves acting as a source of food but also damage to the units.
What went wrong
- My innate lack of knowledge when it comes to composing and/or generating appropriate sound effects.
- Having to remove the “convergence” scene. After winning a level, the player was supposed to reach a new world with his highest level followers and watch them fight off the inhabitants. I regret removing because it would have had a better tie in with this jam’s theme. Further more, I had a system which allowed the player to revisit worlds that have been previously populated, to see how they are doing.
- The game’s balance is a bit off. Level progression of your followers vs level progression of the wolves is tipped in favor of your followers for the first few levels. A few wolf summons in and you can only take them on if you have a high level character that survived.
- Social interactions are only represented by heart animations on individuals, but it’s hard to tell who “copulated” with whom. More so, a death of a birth of an individual is represented by their respective sprite disappearing from the game.
- Health, hunger and level indicators are way to small and crammed into a unit’s sprite.
- The tutorial is just a image and does not convey all the information needed.
I feel that with each Ludumdare event I partake in I can quantify my progress as a Designer. My first entry required the player to quit the game in order to restart the level and featured only mechanics but no clear goal (also no Ui of any kind). In my last LD (7DRTS) attempt I finally had a entry with no missing UI options and a clear navigation path. You can see where I’m going with this. But all in all, I’m glad that with each submission I end up acquiring new knowledge. As far as limitations go I believe that it’s better to know what you should not do as opposed to not knowing what to do. Hopefully my next LD submission will blow this one out of the water.
You can play and rate the game here. Linux, Mac and, hopefully, Android coming tonight. I’ve also uploaded it to itch.io and, in the weekend, will release a post-compo version that has sound and the features that were cut off.
AI States have been completed. Warriors can now train, idle, hunt and produce new warriors. When hunt mode is enabled, wolves will spawn through portals scattered on the map and attack. Hunger/health and level systems has been implemented.
- Successfully killing a wolf will fill a warrior’s hunger meeter. Also rewards XP (Albeit, way less then training mode)
- In Idle mode health is regenerated. Hunger starts to rise.
- In training mode the warriors train and can advance levels (increasing their stats), but their hunger level rises.
- If two or more warrior’s are in IDLE mode, there’s a chance they will engage in conversation that will result with the addition of a new member to the tribe.
Only 18 hours left and there is still so much left to do. At least it’s starting to shape up.
Edit: Ok, just for you guys, some better GORE:
Read the previous post [4h in] here.
The entity system has been completed. Warriors and wolves are now in the game. They only have a rudimentary AI so that’s the next thing I’m tackling. At current time, the following things have been added:
- Procedural island generation
- Save system for previous visited island/worlds
- Warrior class with 3 states (Idle, Hunting, Sleeping) and 2 stances (inTown, inCombat)
I also came to realize that a WIKI is invaluable for this competition. It really helps me organize my thoughts and properly tackle the tasks at hand. Here’s how my page looks like:
And here’s a gif with the current state of the game:
Fantasy Warrior Manager is a 2D tile-based game, designed around the limitations of a NDS screen, in which the player assumes the role of a Tribe Leader. He must train and provide food for his warriors, in order to make them stronger. Every week a cosmic event takes place and merges the worlds of the game into one, and a battle between tribes take place. The goal of the game is to get your population to survive for one month (in-game time).
Technical (Self-imposed limitations):
- 256×384 resolution
- 16×16 tiles (for the backgrounds and characters) and 16×32 / 32×16 / 32×32 for the actual buildings
- work around the small resolution
- establish a way to visually differentiate between units
- find a way to represent armies of units on a screen that can only display 16 tiles on the X axis and 24 on the Y
- create a non-intrusive UI that can work on a small screen-space
- design a fun AI to give the player a run for his “money”
- do all of this in <48h
- 4 hours into the challenge: I only made some mock-ups of the game’s art style and ui. Now that I know what direction I want to take, I can start coding. Here are two FAKE screenshots:
I’m in for this edition of Ludumdare for the 4th time.
Tools of the trade:
- Sublime Text
- My Chaurus Framework (built on-top of MOAI SDK)
- LUA and C++ as my languages of choice
- Paint.NET for the art
As for the limitations I’m imposing myself for this entry:
- Must involve some kind of an AI
- 10 buttons limit
- 256 × 192 resolution (Nintendo DS style)
- 16 color palette
- Playable with the same control scheme on PC and Mobile
- Audio feedback on every input/action
As for a closing statement, I’m going to take part in this challenge from Mobility-Games’s office. Hopefully I can do something really neat so that I can get my co-workers into jamming with me next time. Probably not going to be able to stream, but I will tweet the hell out of my entry (@zapakitul).
Best of luck everyone and remember:
- Newcomers: All you have to do is FINISH something. It doesn’t have to be unique, it doesn’t have to be outstanding or win any awards. It just needs to be finished.
- Everyone else: Give me good games to play and rate!
I decided to take part in this Mini LD as a reply to a challenge issued by an ex-coworker of mine on twitter. The goal was to develop a game for the jam in just one weekend as opposed to 7Days. I’m already past the 48h mark, but my challenger forfeited so I guess it’s either a nil-nil or I win by default. Anyway, my game for this Mini-LD is called MINI WARS, as a token to a great turn-based strategy game that I love, Advance Wars (GBA and NDS).
This is how the game looks at this point. I wanted to go with a Gameboy Advance / Gameboy classic feel combined with UI elements of the Nintendo DS. All the graphics, except for the portrait and level indicator (arrow in screen 2) have been drawn by me on Friday, with some updates during the weekend.
- Turn based
- 3 types of units: Infantry, Tanks and Mechs (rock-paper-scissors)
- Terrain matters: Buildings and Trees raise defense, water lowers it and bases (square buildings with a flag) restore HP each turn.
- Each unit has 16 action points. Movement costs 4 AP / TILE while shooting requires 8 AP.
Here’s a video I uploaded a few minutes ago to youtube:
Note that the AI is as dumb as a sack of puppies. Reason is that I broke the pathfinding code near the 48h mark when I updated my Grid class and had little to no time to rewrite it with many other stuff left unfinished. Probably, after the jam, I’ll re-write the entire thing from ground up and port it to Android in order to check the market (free-to-play, no IAP).
What left? Options menu, about and In-Game-Menu, + two more levels. The game is designed for 480×320 resolution, but can be upscaled from the Options Menu.
Developed using MoaiSDK and LUA (+ some C++ for some edits to the HOST – lua player).
Because I’m about to Jam.
And just like any printer, I have prepared my ink cartridges ( props go to @ThomasNoppers for the color palette), got a fresh new batch of dark, sublimely beautiful, paper, a brand new USBase-code and my driver is powered by MOAI SDK. Most of my ink will be consumed by drawings made in Paint.NET.
So yeah, cheers to a new Ludumdare and to all you guys.
Went to bed last night after the theme was announced. I was hoping for “end of the world” and already had an idea in mind that I could hack right away. Once I noticed that “You are the villain” has won I decided to take a nap and try and approach the theme later. Well, taking the nap was a great idea, as I woke up with a plan.
I drew a quick mockup of the game as soon as I finished breakfast, and some character sprites. Drawing allows me to think about possible scenarios the characters could find themselves in and visualize some game mechanics. Here’s what I came up with:
The basic idea? The player controls a group of cute-yet-deadly monsters. Each of them are in different parts of the world. The goal? Get them all safe to the rendezvous point and open the gates of hell. Each monster has his own path towards the end goal. For example, SMUC-Bunny (above mockup) was picking up skulls in the lushes garden when he got called. He must fight his way through Cops, Militia and Swat Teams (and maybe kill a few squirrels on the way).
As far as mechanics, the player must slash through the enemies and dodge their projectiles. WASD for movement and Space to attack. There will be a maximum of 6?-7? enemies on screen. By killing enemies the character get’s a speed boost (nitro-blood? :D) allowing him to reach the goal much, much faster.
Here’s a lineup of the current drawn monsters(and foes):
Gonna spend a few more hours polishing the design aspects of the game.
I’m a little saddened that I cannot join the main compo for the 23rd edition LD, hence the deadline for the current project at work is on the 20th. I’ll try to join the jam and see if I can find enough strength left in me to finish something for it. In order to ease things up, I’m looking to join up with someone who wants to enter the jam and needs a coder.
This is my second participation in LD, the first one being LD22. I really loved the last compo, and I know I’d never forget myself if I miss this one (the prototype I made for the LD22 was used as a starting base for a much bigger, personal, project). I’m a decent C++ coder and thanks to AGK (library) I can get a 2D game up and running for iOS, Android and PC in a couple of hours.
So if anyone is looking to join the jam, drop me a message on twitter (@zapakitul), or leave a comment here.
Previous post here.
My entry for LD22 has been completed and uploaded. Tomorrow I’ll make a full Post Mortem containing a Game Design Document, and my thoughts on what went right, wrong and what could have been done to improve it further. For now, all I can say is the following:
- I’m proud of my entry. During the past 48 hours the game has gone through allot of design changes. What first started as an FPS, soon became a morph between a Top-down shooter with a capture the flag (briefcase) mode, with American Football elements (such as Touchdown). Only during my second day did I realize that the game was by no mean fun when chased down by an entire team. Writing AI for the team mates was a no-no due to the short amount of time left, so I scraped the basic mechanics and came up with a new one.
- I’m happy with the current gameplay mechanic. Using a defensive weapon for offense is something not many games tackled, or at least no any that I know off. In this prototype I tackled two ways of using the shield, one in which the player acts a bulldozer, pushing his enemies into pits, and another where the shield is used to deflect bullets towards his attackers.
- I’m not much of an artist but I feel that the current art style is decent.
- I’m happy with the amount of features this game contains (although not all are used now). In just 48 hours I managed to integrate a TDS camera (with an alternate FPS version, currently locked), collision, AI (when the prototype was meant as a Capture the Flag game, I implemented two types of behaviour for the enemies: Attackers and defenders. The Attackers charged towards the player if he was near them, while defenders rushed to the touch down zone, forming a human/robot shield) and basic physics.
As I said before, a Post Mortem will arrive soon, in which I will explain how I have arrived to this current gameplay mechanics, what I had to scrap and why. Till then, I’ll leave you guys with today’s Timelapse, and a bunch of screenshoots.
Download Cyber Shield.
Previous post here.
Ok, all basic mechanics are in place. I’ve decided to remove a few stuff in the end, but it’s for the better. The shield mechanic is now in place and it is the main attraction as o now. Dashing and Shielding are now separated (Shift – Dash, Space – Shield) from one another for better control over the character. The Main Menu is in place, although it lacks a Background. I’ve also finished the 1st level (easy), with 8 pits that warmly wait for the enemies to fall into them.
Death cam and Victory cam have been added (camera zooms in on the player, and rotates). Gonna add a special kind of mood to both cams (dark/grey for death, something else for victory).
I’m going to spend the next 4 hours adding more visual goodies (blur for dash, slow-mo camera when enemies fall into pit, a damage overlay for the player). After that I will try my best with sound and music. Time to get back to work, hence not much time is left, and more is needed to be done.
Here’s a Screenshot of the Main Menu:
And here’s the shield animation:
Previous post here.
Thinks are starting to tie up together, now that I also finished adding the Shield Mechanic for the player. Now, besides being able to dash for a limited amount of time, our little lonely-protagonist can spawn a shield that protects him from evil bullets, and also tosses baddies aside!
The AI has also been improved, Attackers now have a FieldOfView distance. They only engage the player if they spot him, so good bye having a huge swarm of enemies behind the player. This also allows better tactics in the game, as enemies are now evenly spread through the field.
Here’s a small video showcasing the shield: