binary zoo

Binary Zoo => Diary of a Game => Topic started by: fog on March 13, 2007, 12:03:10 AM



Title: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 13, 2007, 12:03:10 AM
Welcome to the Binary Zoo Bog

It's a bit like a blog but not as interesting and with an unpleasant odour (which we all blame Aaron for).

I had been writing on the playtesters board but I've decided to start posting here so more people can see what we are up to....or not as the case may be.  This is however just a temporary home.  We'll have a proper blog, sorry "bog", when the new site goes live.


Decision Time

So it's that awkward time again. One project finished so time to start on another.....what to do, what to do?

I have rough demos of a few puzzle games lying about and the initial idea was to do one of those before inflicting another shmup on everyone. Variety being the spice of life and all that. But hey, sod variety.....

Having spent quite a while developing the <dodo> scripting system behind Echoes, now that it's complete I've got the urge to use it for real.

Echoes was a fun project to do but it's main purpose was just to test the various functions of the scripts and as such I'm quite happy with the results. In all honesty though I'm not so thrilled about producing another arena shooter to add to an already overloaded genre. Please god no more GW2 inspired arena style shooters for a while people. :)

So it's time for something a bit different, hopefully a little original and certainly from my point of view, more interesting to work on.

At the end of the day we don't do this for financial gain, we do it because we enjoy it, and if I'm not experimenting a bit then I'm not having fun. :)

I have a stack of shmup ideas I want to develop but last night I made the educated decision (it involved large quantities of alcohol and tossing a coin) and decided which one to work on first.

Of course there's always the risk with trying something different that it turns out to be a huge steaming pile of binary zoo droppings......only time and a demo will tell. :)


Our New Project (which might never happen if the demo turns out to be pants) is...[/u]

Tension (a working title but I'm so unimaginative I've never changed a working title yet so expect it to stick).

So far I've written my most detailed design document yet (it must run to 20 lines in Notepad...no really, 20 whole lines). If things go to plan it will have a huge number of levels (literally several), may use non-neon glowy blurry graphics (or may not) and will probably include some other "stuff". More details in the next bog update......bet you can't wait.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 14, 2007, 09:34:33 PM
Distracted so soon?  Well yes.  the very preliminary demo of Tension is on hold already as I need to knock out a little version of mono I'm calling, rather obviously, mono mini :)

So what is mono mini?  Well it's exactly what the name suggests.....a cut down version of mono that is needed to help a certain team member with a certain college project.

It's going to be a touch harder and have a much faster pace as the average game needs to last around 2 minutes.  So make that considerably faster paced  :P

I doubt very much anyone else will be interested in playing it but as it needs joypad support it will have the added advantage that that often requested feature will finally be added to the proper version of mono.

But as it's required in about a week I shouldn't be distracted from Tension for too long......otherwise I'll have to go into hiding before las6 tracks me down :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 21, 2007, 09:24:14 PM
Well the version of mono mini that was needed for a business fair has been duly delivered.  I didn't quite have time to put a new menu on it but the gameplay was certainly a lot faster and it had full joypad support which made a huge difference.

So now I might as well tidy up that piece of code and release a new revision of the original mono including joypad controls.

Then I can get back to my next proper project. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 01, 2007, 11:00:40 AM
So with the site down for a few days I managed to get quite a bit of coding done.

I now have the new collision routines pretty much finished and I have a bunch of things flying around the screen.  There is one minor bug that occasionally makes them act erratically like a drunk that's just ran into a brick wall but I know what's causing that (It just needs a little maths to solve but that's boring so I'll ignore it for as long as I can.)

Today I'll endeavour to get the player on screen.  He (or "she" if we are being PC) has to interact in a unique way with the background so it will be fun to finally see if that element works....or not.

I also want to have some sort of audio system whereby the sound fx compliment the music (as opposed to your normal explosions etc) so tweaked the sound code again.  It sounded really great with one or two objects on screen.....but ear bleedingly painful with a screen full.  More work needed  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 02, 2007, 09:47:16 PM
Had a bit of a play around with gravity tonight. According to that Stephen Hawkings bloke it's a universal constant. Well not in my universe it's not matey :)

Gravity, atmosphere and a few other things go into making up my World system which may or may not make it into the final game....which still may or may not happen depending on how happy I am with the demo.

Must say I'm already happy just sitting here watching stuff fly around on screen and interacting with the background as it's kinda hypnotic. Lets hope the gameplay...well lets just hope it's remotely playable before we even worry about whether it's fun or now :)

In other news this looks kinda nice :)
(http://www.thegamecreators.com/g/newsletter/issue51/cover_large.jpg)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 04, 2007, 09:50:32 PM
A PC can use a huge number of joypads but the problem with designing a game that can only really be played using one is that not everyone has them.  Your primary control method pretty much has to be mouse or keys or a combination of the two (ideally not just the keys exclusively as I'm not keen on that).

Anyway mouse control is all well and good for a game like Echoes but it's not so hot for grid based games or anything that only uses horizontal and vertical movements.  With that in mind I've spent an hour tonight having a go at designing a mouse movement method that will work well in those situations.....and I think I've cracked it.  It seems to work really well.

So after all that you want to know how will this be used in Tension then?  Err it wont.  :P  Tension is most definitely not grid based  and this has been a largely pointless exercise and the code will be filed away for possible future use.  Welcome to the world of coding.  Pointless snippets a speciality  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 06, 2007, 07:55:17 PM
Right I'm pretty happy with the new background and collision routines for Tension so I'm going to have a go at dropping them into the <dodo> scripting/engine/thingy to see what happens.  And based on previous experience if it doesn't all end in my PC crashing and the faint smell of burning wafting from the hard drive then I'll count myself very lucky.

Once in though we'll have full use of the FX, bullets, weapons etc etc scripts and we can start making a game....of sorts.

Still haven't a clue where we are going with this graphically mind.  I know what I'd like to do with the audio but I had wanted to do something other than blurry neon for the graphics this time around.  Problem is though that the gameplay suits it perfectly so what do you do?  Should we change just for the sake of it or stick with something that feels right but everyone might be getting sick of?  Hmm  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: AaronF on April 06, 2007, 09:14:33 PM
I'd say go with the style that fits best. From what you've described about the gameplay, it's gonna be quite different than pretty much any game out there at the mo. I doubt it would take much flak for having the usual neon graphics since the gameplay will be a lot different.


Aaron


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 07, 2007, 08:54:17 AM
Good god man what you doing posting in here?  You mean somebody is actually reading this rubbish?  ;D

I'd say go with the style that fits best. From what you've described about the gameplay, it's gonna be quite different than pretty much any game out there at the mo. I doubt it would take much flak for having the usual neon graphics since the gameplay will be a lot different.
Yeah you're probably right.   When we did our first few games there were only a couple of people using the neon vectory look and now everybody is, so I'd decided on a change in style long before deciding which idea to develop....not the brightest thing to do  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Banzai on April 07, 2007, 12:55:55 PM
There's gotta be some way you can still use neon graphics, but find some new way of using them that hasn't been done before. Like instead of SUPER MAX BLURRRR, have like pulsing or moving highlights on the lines. You were talking about syncing the music up with the gameplay, maybe have some new effects synced up too. Just a thought, brainstorming.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 07, 2007, 07:46:23 PM
There's gotta be some way you can still use neon graphics, but find some new way of using them that hasn't been done before. Like instead of SUPER MAX BLURRRR, have like pulsing or moving highlights on the lines.
Oh yeah there's plenty we can do with the neon style.  No worries there.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 08, 2007, 11:53:17 AM
You could try a neon look but with solid objects instead, though it would probably just make everything look like a glow in the dark fridge magnet :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 08, 2007, 11:36:04 PM
You could try a neon look but with solid objects instead, though it would probably just make everything look like a glow in the dark fridge magnet :P
Yeah like I said, there's a stack of things you can do within the neon style......and we'll need several of them for Tension ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Banzai on April 09, 2007, 04:25:06 AM
You could try a neon look but with solid objects instead, though it would probably just make everything look like a glow in the dark fridge magnet :P
I had actually tried this with Echoes while it was in beta. I'd forgotten about it, and now that the game is out I guess i can release it to the public.
Just don't get your hopes up, its nothing spectacular.
http://www.freewebs.com/banzai8th/customechoes.htm


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 09, 2007, 09:26:27 AM
I quite like that. makes the pink things much easier to see, etc.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 09, 2007, 10:45:58 AM
You could try a neon look but with solid objects instead, though it would probably just make everything look like a glow in the dark fridge magnet :P
I had actually tried this with Echoes while it was in beta. I'd forgotten about it, and now that the game is out I guess i can release it to the public.
Just don't get your hopes up, its nothing spectacular.
http://www.freewebs.com/banzai8th/customechoes.htm
Yeah the alpha would have to be reduced considerably on the solid parts of those asteroids for that to work for me.  Nice to see people experimenting though.

Of course the biggest problem would probably be the extra time it would take to draw bigger, solid objects meaning it's not an option on lower spec PC's without sacrificing the graphics somewhere else.  All things we have to consider.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 12, 2007, 09:41:19 PM
Just been doing a few random things Tension related. I have this annoying habit of working on a demo and then thinking "well I could knock up some quick demo code for this but I'll just have to rip it all out and do it properly if I decide to develop this further." So invariably I take option B and write the final version immediately.

In the long run it means the full game gets done quicker and I don't have the frustration of trying to replace demo code later hoping that it doesn't break stuff. :gator:

So after all that we now have a couple of routines to create enemies (they don't all just simply appear in this game), the structure for the World system (briefly mentioned earlier), some potential background effects and some new code to handle player collisions (it was separate code but I've thought of a way of using the background collision code to do the same job)

And now I can start sticking it all together :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 14, 2007, 09:20:18 PM
Today I remembered I had one last thing to do before trying to get the existing bullet, enemy, fx etc code to work with the Tension code and that was to code the "smart bomb" routine.

It might sound a bit odd coding a smart bomb routine when there aren't any other weapons or even enemies in the game yet but.....no wait,  it is a bit odd.

Well not so crazy in this case really as our smart bomb is very different to any smart bomb I've ever seen in a game before. So different in fact that it's really a dumb bomb (hmm I think I'll call it that)....which will make a lot more sense when you've seen it in action :)

No, in this case the Dumb Bomb, like the player, has to interact with the background in a unique way so it makes sense to code it now when I'm finishing off the background routines.

It's somewhat chaotic when you use it but it does look pretty cool. I'll have to wait to see how effective it is in the game though before I decide just how often you get to use it.

Me pleased :kangaroo:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 16, 2007, 09:32:44 PM
Did a bit of work on the <dodo> engine tonight streamlining a few things.  The whole point of the system is I can reuse it in any games I write so it's very flexible and has a stack of abilities and options.  In hindsight too many options and a few of the things in there were so obscure they will probably never get used.....so they've been chopped  :gator:

Because of that the bullet, fx and enemy routines now run a little faster.  I've convinced myself the improvement in Echoes is actually noticeable when there is a load of stuff on screen......which it probably isn't but it does make me feel all warm inside.  Although that could be the White Spirit I've been drinking.

Back in the Tension code I still have that little collision glitch that only appears about as regularly as a new Binary Zoo release but is really starting to annoy. Regular readers (just me then) will know that it just needs a little maths tinkering to kill it once and for all so tomorrow I get out my trusty calculator of death.   :snake:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 18, 2007, 09:07:15 PM
No major coding progress to speak of for a couple of days but we have had some activity in the audio department.

Heard demos of a couple of possible Tension tracks (they're FKD Reality so you don't need me to tell you they are great right?) and started discussing how I'd like the music and sound fx to work, blending together to make a fabulous symphonic whole......or not.

It's going to be tricky to get the audio mix right but I like to experiment where possible so we're setting the FKD Brothers something of a challenge. And if it doesn't work we ditch it but at least we'll have tried something different.   :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 19, 2007, 09:05:42 AM
I like in echoes how it plays that little piano-y riff when you get powerups  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 19, 2007, 01:15:10 PM
I like in echoes how it plays that little piano-y riff when you get powerups :kangaroo:
Me too.....Tension will be nothing like that  ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 24, 2007, 08:00:03 PM
Well I can finally put the maths book away. Hurrah :kangaroo:

(well I don't really have a book, I just make it up as I go along. Which might explain why it takes me so long? :P)

But yeah the background collision system now appears to be finished. No freaky collisions and no objects getting stuck in walls anymore and it looks pretty solid. I did have the walls moving around a lot and that was proving very problematic so I've toned that down a bit. In truth it probably makes for a slightly better game anyway as the angle the objects bounce off the walls at is now a bit more predictable.

The only other issue now is just how many enemies I can have on screen whilst keeping the game playable. Currently with only 10 on screen for testing purposes it sure is chaotic already (in a good way). Too many and it will be pretty impossible for the player to take all the information in and avoid being hit.

So two options to keep it playable. Either restrict the number of enemies on screen or give the player some serious firepower. Now based on previous games I wonder which option I'll take ;)

I also showed the previous background demo to the media guys so they know what the game will look like and have a better idea of what sounds and music will fit. It's fair to say it got a mixed reaction. las6 had some concerns which I can understand but I'm confident I already have those issues in hand.

On the other hand SiN did say
Quote
As per usual, Chris' "a bit sh*t" is my "f***in awesome!"

It was just cool to finally let the guys see roughly what Tension is all about and get some feedback :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 30, 2007, 10:15:46 PM
Been a bit tied up over the past few days (not literally) but I've managed to progress a couple of things.

With the background routines (collision, movement etc.) now complete I've bundled the whole thing up into a nice neat function so I can apply it to any object be it an enemy, bullet, powerup etc. I'm still in two minds how exactly the bullets should collide with the background mind. Should they explode or bounce off? Right now I'm covering both and saying a bit of each. Some walls the bullets will bounce off, some not. :kangaroo: <=bounce!

What else. Oh yeah, I've added a little routine to add spin to an object based on how it collides with a wall. Adds absolutely nothing to the gameplay but I like it. We just need some graphics where you can see the spin now. :P

Finally I've finally finalized the final file format. Funky :bunnymonkey: So "World" variables, background layouts, enemy spawn points and enemy attack waves can now be designed in external scripts. They don't actually do anything in-game yet but that's a minor point lol :).



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Banzai on May 01, 2007, 03:11:41 AM
I'm still in two minds how exactly the bullets should collide with the background mind.  Should they explode or bounce off?
They should refract.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on May 01, 2007, 09:30:07 AM
Yeah I agree. The bullets should pass through the walls and bend towards the normal as they pass through, then away as they pass out, as if they were light travelling from air into glass and back out again.  ;D That would make for a confusing shooter


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Banzai on May 01, 2007, 04:09:31 PM
Whats more, the bullet should spit into three new ones, each tinted red, blue and green, and they should all refract at slightly different angles. And each colored bullet can only destroy as similarly colored enemy (ie. red bullets kill red baddies). THAT would be confusing.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 01, 2007, 09:06:04 PM
Hey I'm making this up as I go along so there's every change the real result will be even stranger  :bunnymonkey:

Just got in from work though so don't expect any bullet explosions, rebounds, refractions or otherwise tonight.  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 15, 2007, 01:04:52 PM
No progress recently due to illness.  Hopefully I'll be back working on this again soon.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: avoice217 on June 06, 2007, 02:53:40 AM
hey fog, how ya doing lately?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 20, 2007, 01:57:32 PM
Guess it's about time I updated this just so everyone knows what's going on.

As I'm still ill and may be for some time, I've decided to put Tension on hold for now,  Working on a large project just isn't practical ATM.

In the meantime I've decided to use my existing shmup scripting system to do a few demos and test out some ideas which I'll probably post on the Playtesters forum for feedback.  As thes scripts can be done very quickly it's much less of an effort for me with much quicker results than working on a "proper" project.  We'll see how it goes.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on July 20, 2007, 11:35:16 PM
Get well soon mate.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 21, 2007, 12:24:43 PM
Get well soon mate.
Cheers Paul.  Hows the Doppelganger update going?  With my 360 away getting repaired I could do with some PC gaming goodness. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on July 21, 2007, 10:22:39 PM
Been ill for a while myself with a recurring case of tonsillitus - can't seem to shake it :(

Oh yeah and I've been a little distracted by my lovely new MacBook Pro :)

My wife finally convinced me I needed a laptop for work so I plumped for the Mac.  Spent the last few nights installing Vista and Visual Studio!  Once all that's on Game Studio Express will follow and I'll get cracking on the update.

PS - Can I subscribe to the playtesters forum for when you're fully recovered.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 22, 2007, 11:29:36 PM
Been ill for a while myself with a recurring case of tonsillitus - can't seem to shake it :(
Ouch.  Just have them whipped out like I did.  I was 7 at the time and have just about recovered from the trauma now.  Getting woken up even 2 hours and being force fed ice cream isn't as fun as it sounds.

My wife finally convinced me I needed a laptop for work so I plumped for the Mac.  Spent the last few nights installing Vista and Visual Studio!  Once all that's on Game Studio Express will follow and I'll get cracking on the update.
lol.  I imagine it was hell having the wife "forcing" you to buy a laptop. :)  Anyway, assuming the new baby doesn't keep you too busy I look forward to that update.

PS - Can I subscribe to the playtesters forum for when you're fully recovered.
Yeah I was going to give you access as soon as there was anything worth seeing.  I'll do it now but it's totally empty as I archived the Echoes board and all associated posts.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: DaZ on July 31, 2007, 02:10:21 PM
Hey man cant wait to see some WIP on this project, I was thinking ov a few different game play elements you could include.... Firstly you could introduce a RPG stlye system where by the quicker you kill the enemies or the less amount of time you die the more XP you gain meaning you can afford new weapons or redesign the shape of your char, Secondly you could have a system where you almost have like a 'battlemap' and you aim is to fill all the spaces with your sides color, if you beat the level if you fail it goes the enemies color, if you try to fight on an enemies colored level it becomes harder. And lastly some kind of co-op multiplayer would be cool to see, either single machine or online.

Just a few randoms there for ya :D

DaZ


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Prime_8 on August 11, 2007, 05:22:56 PM
HMM wife -> Get lap top = Lucky   ;)
 :snake: :snake: :snake: :snake: :snake: :snake: :snake: :snake: :snake: :snake: :snake: :snake:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on August 11, 2007, 11:37:50 PM
Well force is a little strong I guess - best thing is my business bought it so it almost seems free :)

It's great for work now I've got a 3G modem for it - 2 fingers to our proxy server :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on August 17, 2007, 11:24:55 AM
~


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 22, 2007, 10:38:13 AM
I haven't been able to access the site until now... it's been 2 or 3 days... what happened? Good to see it back!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on August 22, 2007, 10:46:16 AM
i think someone didn't pay his bills on time:D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 22, 2007, 01:20:26 PM
i think someone didn't pay his bills on time:D
Not quite.  Our old webhost was taken over by another company and didn't have any contact details for me so decided to suspend my account until I got in contact with them.  Slightly annoying but we're back now.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Ptolemy on August 23, 2007, 11:54:31 AM
Nothing beats the bureaucratic red tape... you think if you took over a company you'd try to make it a seamless as possible.  Oh well, I guess they just had problems because like most businesses they're run by typing monkeys.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 26, 2007, 10:34:35 PM
Well my plan was to ease myself back into coding by doing a couple of other demos but, after working on a couple of ideas, I've found myself back working on Tension again.

Progress will be slow (even by my standards) but I'm currently working on the level file format again.

So far it handles the different "World" definitions (setting variables for gravity etc. and loading gfx and sounds) and I also have the loading of level layouts (maps?) finished.  All I need do now is finish the format for specifying enemy attack waves which, based on my experience with DUO, is the really tedious part.

I can't honestly remember what I've said in here about the game so far so I'm not sure if this talk of "Worlds" and "gravity" makes any sense....but it will do eventually. :)

Anyway once the attack wave file format is complete I'll build the first test level and we'll finally see whether this project has any future or not.  Agh the tension  :snake:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on August 27, 2007, 09:06:48 AM
http://www.kamalazoo.de/ (http://www.kamalazoo.de/)
lol, look at the image at their intro page, don't i know that from somewhere else?
isn't that the "explosion" from mono?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 27, 2007, 07:09:57 PM
http://www.kamalazoo.de/ (http://www.kamalazoo.de/)
lol, look at the image at their intro page, don't i know that from somewhere else?
isn't that the "explosion" from mono?
It would appear we both have a copy of Paint Shop Pro......which is pretty much where most of my "artwork" comes from  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on August 28, 2007, 12:25:12 AM
lol, so you acctually used a shape from paint shop pro for the explosion?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 28, 2007, 11:24:15 AM
lol, so you acctually used a shape from paint shop pro for the explosion?
Um yes, I thought most people already realised that was where I get most of my graphics from.  I mean just look at those circles....they are so obviously from Paint Shop   ;)

I'll draw new images where necessary (like the asteroids in Echoes) but if a game just deals in simple geometric shapes like mono then I see no point in drawing my own when they already exist.  I might tweak them a bit mind (checkout the sun in Echoes ;) )


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 28, 2007, 11:38:20 AM
Pfft. Ripoff artist! I draw ALL my circles by HAND with pencil and scan them in, the old fashioned way! :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 28, 2007, 12:13:33 PM
Pfft. Ripoff artist! I draw ALL my circles by HAND with pencil and scan them in, the old fashioned way! :P
Well as you've never showed us any of your work we'll never know ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 28, 2007, 12:17:12 PM
*searches for his screenshots*
EDIT: FOUND SOME!

This is from a weather simulation I made in BlitzMax. You could move the rain direction and make lightning by the clouds rubbing together. I stopped when I failed to get any gameplay going.

Then a couple of screenshots from my game 2Fighter which didn't work in the end and I didn't bother correcting the bugs :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 28, 2007, 12:29:48 PM
Cool.  Blitz and DBPro.  I didn't even know you'd done any coding before although you've probably mentioned it and I'd just forgotten.

So are you still coding then or are you concentrating on music?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 28, 2007, 12:36:04 PM
Last coding I did was some C++ at the start of the year, I stopped in Feburary when my feeble attempt at collision detection wrecked my code. :P

Yeah, currently working on music. Might get back into coding sometime, but not in the near future.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on August 28, 2007, 05:29:21 PM
ow, i did las6 did your grafix?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 28, 2007, 06:19:32 PM
ow, i did las6 did your grafix?
IIRC he did all the gfx in DUOtris and some of the gfx in Echoes.

However he's now decided to move on to other things so my graphical skills as seen in DUO and mono will return  :P (Although TBH I was quite pleased with how my Echoes gfx turned out :) )


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on August 28, 2007, 09:35:45 PM
hmm... i'm wanton to be your artist, maybe
i got 3 photoshop diplomas:D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 28, 2007, 10:32:40 PM
hmm... i'm wanton to be your artist, maybe
i got 3 photoshop diplomas:D
I'm planning on doing all the gfx myself.  We'll see how it goes. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Banzai on August 29, 2007, 06:04:49 AM
I wouldn't mind pitching in some gfx either. I don't any diplomas yet, but I'm most of the way though getting my bachelors in VFX and Motion Graphics.
My goal is to get a job doing interface and gameplay art for video games.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 29, 2007, 11:37:30 AM
I wouldn't mind pitching in some gfx either. I don't any diplomas yet, but I'm most of the way though getting my bachelors in VFX and Motion Graphics.
My goal is to get a job doing interface and gameplay art for video games.
Thanks for the offer.

Like I say though, for now I plan on trying to do everything myself.  I like to have full control over the way everything looks so I want to at least have a go at doing the gfx myself first.  If they need a tidy up I'll be in touch ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 29, 2007, 08:05:56 PM
Anyway back on topic. :)

I had a bit of bother with the enemy creation code but it appears to be working fine now.  You see the enemies can be scripted to appear anywhere within a level.  Some will appear inside the level boundaries (no problem there) but others can be created outside of the level and either drop or be fired into it.

Now obviously these enemies have to ignore any collisions with walls etc until they are fully inside the playing area otherwise they'd just hit the outside of a wall, bounce off, and never enter the level.  Now the solution to that wouldn't normally be terribly complicated but when your level walls are moving around all over the place it does get slightly more complicated.  And as I've got no control over where the walls move to it's not really possible to employ any sort of precalculation to these things so a funky real-time calculation routine was required.

Anyhoo I've come up with a solution and so far no problems.  I can define enemy attack waves, have them appear anywhere and enter the level (and just as importantly stay there). 

Next task is to design the first proper test level complete with enemy attack waves.  Drop that into the dodo game engine, "shoot stuff" and see if this thing will ever be playable.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 29, 2007, 11:20:53 PM
Had a little diversion tonight and finally copied the joypad routines from Echoes into mono so that now had full configurable joypad support.  I'll upload the new version to the main page tomorrow.

I hadn't played mono in ages so I had a good blast tonight during testing the new code.  Quite enjoyable  :)

I actually played DUO for the first time in probably a year recently too and had forgotten how much I enjoyed that.  It's not perfect but not too bad for a first game.  I only mention it because it got me thinking about the long planned sequel again.  I've had the idea roughed out for ages but keep putting it off for various reasons.  Maybe when Tension is out of the way......


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on August 29, 2007, 11:46:56 PM
Quote
I only mention it because it got me thinking about the long planned sequel again.
trio?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 30, 2007, 01:16:48 PM
Quote
I only mention it because it got me thinking about the long planned sequel again.
trio?
lol.  Everyone says that but it's not :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 30, 2007, 01:36:29 PM
well, sequel... Duo... then double that (for a sequel, times 2) is a Quartet. Amirite? :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 30, 2007, 01:42:05 PM
well, sequel... Duo... then double that (for a sequel, times 2) is a Quartet. Amirite? :P
Hey you're not as stupid as you look.  Very close ;)

Anyway that's for the future.  The dodo game engine could handle that already but I'd definitely need to write a level designer.  And as I also need a completely different one for Tension don't expect it anytime soon.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 09, 2007, 11:36:23 PM
OK now I know I might have mentioned this before (if not here then on the Playtesters board) but after deciding to rearrange how the levels are constructed I have finally finished all the code for reading the external level files.  :kangaroo:

dodo (my shmup engine) already reads a load of external scripts for things like bullets and enemy routines but for Tension I need to be able to read a few special external files with a handful of new script commands in each.

The external files break down as follows:

World File - this stores the definitions for all the "worlds" within the game (just to recap, each level in the game can be played on any one of a number of "worlds" each of which has a set of different variables like gravity for example)  I'm still not entirely sure about this idea but I'll know upon testing whether it will remain in or not.

Map Files - this contains all the data to construct the level boundaries (walls etc)

Wave Files - stores all the data that defines each enemy attack wave within a level.

Level File - defines which Map File and which Wave File are used for a level along with a couple of other minor things.

I could have done away with separate Wave and Map files but this way allows for a bit more flexibility.  For example I can reuse the same map on several levels but with different attack waves.  Or I could use a set of attack waves on numerous different levels.  I'm not sure I will (hey I'm just making all of this up as I go along) but at least this way it's a possibility.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 13, 2007, 12:52:30 PM
Well I've tested out the World system and it seems to work..  I can change between 3 temporary Worlds, each with their own gfx, sound fx and most importantly, their own physical attributes (the gravity etc. I mentioned earlier).....and playing in each of them makes a noticeable difference (I say "playing" but it still isn't actually playable so it's more like "watching objects move randomly around the screen")

My original plan was for 10 Worlds but I think I've settled on 5 as that way I can have a distinct difference between the way each of the Worlds plays.  Having 10 would have meant many of the worlds feeling too similar and would have lessened the impact of switching between them.

Now all I have to do is name the worlds and somehow come up with a set of proper media for each.  Whose bright idea was this?  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 15, 2007, 10:40:16 PM
No more coding done but I have roughed out the graphics for the various enemy types.  They are little more than templates indicating the shapes right now as each of the different Worlds will have their own set of graphics.  The new templates will simply be used as a rough guide when creating each Worlds graphics set to make sure there is some consistency in the design.  The player must be able to identify the different enemy types regardless of graphical style so this should make things easier.

I've also banged in some initial variables for the different enemies (eg' speed, acceleration etc) so I can start tweaking the games World settings (gravity etc.) to get something I'm happy with.  Too much gravity and everything is just going to lie at the bottom of the screen.  Too much and it will take off never to be seen again....which could be a problem  :bunnymonkey:

For the past couple of days I've also been jotting down some ideas for level layouts seeing if I can come up with some arrangement of walls that might create some interesting gameplay.  Even though the gameplay is quite simple (think DUO+), I'm already confident I can get a lot of interesting levels out of the few "objects" I have to construct them with.  It might be quite a long process mind so I may have to draught in some help.

Finally I've all but finished my ideas for the scoring system (well in my head anyway).  Plenty of bonus opportunities and an original new multiplier system should make for some re-playability in levels already completed......and I have an idea which I hope will give everyone the incentive to do just that. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on September 15, 2007, 11:59:04 PM
This kind of modular world system almost asks for being reused in some other multiplayer arena game where players setup the arena themselves with a few menu options (you may remember the earlier post by me). Anyways, the general structure of your world system sounds quite clean and flexible.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 16, 2007, 01:57:17 PM
This kind of modular world system almost asks for being reused in some other multiplayer arena game where players setup the arena themselves with a few menu options (you may remember the earlier post by me). Anyways, the general structure of your world system sounds quite clean and flexible.
Well you can get some interesting effects by changing a couple of the settings, and tackiling a level on different Worlds should make quite a difference to how it plays. I hope :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 17, 2007, 04:41:18 PM
Awesome Games Fog n' Friends !!! I can't wait for the release of Tension, maybe waiting for the release is the game itself ??? (Just kidding).
Just a couple of questions however, I have been reading about the updated version of Mono, would this be a full game instead of whats released at themoment as a possible sequel, or an update, because either way I love it !!! I have racked up so many games on Mono its crazy, as a result I can barely touch my own leaderboard... Also is it possible to get over 98% because I just don't see how, its insane !!!
Is Tension going to be The Binary Zoo equivalent of the Rare game Jetpac and the later Jetpac refuelled on XBLA ? Will it have Zoot ?
I am also an XBLA fiend and am prevelent on many XBLA leaderboards (i.e rank #1s), I was wondering Fog, Do you have XBL and if so, what is your gamertag ?

Keep up the good work and sorry to post in the Bog, long time fan, first time poster...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 18, 2007, 10:02:32 AM
Hi JDog053 and welcome :)

I can't wait for the release of Tension, maybe waiting for the release is the game itself ??? (Just kidding).
You might be right depending on what I think of it when I have a few playable levels.  It might never be released if I'm not happy at that stage :)

Just a couple of questions however, I have been reading about the updated version of Mono, would this be a full game instead of whats released at themoment as a possible sequel, or an update, because either way I love it !!!
Well the full version of mono, if it's ever released, is a new game but obviously keeping the basic mono gameplay.  So the aim of the game will be the same but there will be multiple levels, many different challenges and many different enemy types.  Just more variety really for those that want a fresh challenge and are sick of playing the same level over and over.

Also is it possible to get over 98% because I just don't see how, its insane !!!
Oh yes.  In theory it's possible to get 100%.....but as you've realised, the more of the background you colour, the harder it gets, so in practice getting to 98% is a pretty amazing achievement. :)

Is Tension going to be The Binary Zoo equivalent of the Rare game Jetpac and the later Jetpac refuelled on XBLA ? Will it have Zoot ?
I'm not sure I understand the Jetpac comparison.  If you mean will it play like Jetpac then absolutely not.  I'm struggling to think of a game that it will play like.  It was initially inspired by DUO and Crazy Commets but it's now nothing like either :)

I am also an XBLA fiend and am prevelent on many XBLA leaderboards (i.e rank #1s), I was wondering Fog, Do you have XBL and if so, what is your gamertag ?
Yes I am also prevalent on many XBLA leaderboards.  Unfortunately as the worlds worst gamer I'm at the other end of those leaderboards to you (I blame the fact I spend too much time writing games and not enough playing them :) ).

Also, and no offence, but after making my MSN name public and getting 10 friends requests and bombarded with questions every day (not good for my productivity), I won't be doing the same with my XBL gamertag.  IM me. ;)



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 19, 2007, 11:12:51 PM
Well the first few enemy types are coded.  They are:

(names will change - purely descriptive for now)
- asteroid in large, medium and small flavours  (no Binary Zoo game would be complete without asteroid cannon fodder :) )
- snake (really cool the way it interacts with obstacles)
- irregulars (not round so they bounce at unpredictable angles)
- indestructible (well for a short while anyway)
- kamikaze (dive, dive, dive.....)

I've come up with 10 different ones so far and that's it.  None of the enemy behaviour has to be too complicated as all their movement is essentially down to background collisions and gravity.  No fancy, pre-programmed movement patterns here.  The enemy spawn positions are pre-designed but after that it's all wonderfully chaotic  :bunnymonkey:

So with a bunch of enemies fully working and a couple of test levels designed how playable is it?  No idea :)  All this is being coded outside of my normal dodo shmup engine so I currently can't fire at anything.....I am becoming something of an expert at enemy avoidance mind!

So another handful of enemies to code and then we can see if it's all been worth while  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on September 20, 2007, 02:12:30 AM
I was wondering: if physics play a significant role, then could it possibly be an interesting twist, if specials or events can influence the physics of the level? Making the player, or certain events, being able to influence more than just destruction and spawning, could allow for some tactical stuff, plus - well, see psygamer thread *grin*.

This is just an idea without having much of a clue about the style of your game. So, i dont know if it fits in. I just know that i became fascinated with non-static playfield physics when playing "grid assault". And i think that such stuff is underused in arena shooters.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 20, 2007, 11:29:57 AM
I was wondering: if physics play a significant role, then could it possibly be an interesting twist, if specials or events can influence the physics of the level? Making the player, or certain events, being able to influence more than just destruction and spawning, could allow for some tactical stuff, plus - well, see psygamer thread *grin*.
It's something I'm thinking about.  Once I have something playable up and running I'll try out some ideas and see whether they work or not.

I'm going for chaotic, fast paced gameplay so anything I implement would have to be in line with that.  I'm already having second thoughts about whether my new bonus system fits or not.  Luckily though I don't have a design doc to work to so I can change whatever I like....and no doubt I will :)

I want it to be a mindless blaster but have enough depth to satisfy the highscore obsessives and have them replaying levels to squeeze a few more points out of them.  Or, depending on how the first playtest goes, I might just abandon it :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 20, 2007, 01:59:28 PM
From what I can tell, Tension sounds awesome !!! Will there be a never ending game mode ? Because that'd be awesome from what I can gather.

Is your Dodo scripting engine written in DBPro ? If so how did you build a language on top of a language ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 20, 2007, 03:14:35 PM
From what I can tell, Tension sounds awesome !!! Will there be a never ending game mode ? Because that'd be awesome from what I can gather.
I have several game modes planned (ie. nothing concrete decided yet) which should cover everything for a quick 5 minute blast to a huge marathon (currently planning 100 maps played on 5 different Worlds effectively meaning 500 levels).  Not strictly never ending but big enough I hope.


Is your Dodo scripting engine written in DBPro ? If so how did you build a language on top of a language ?
Yes.  Like any other scripting system, my DBPro code just reads a series of external files (XML in this case) and calls various routines depending on their contents.  That covers setting game variables, loading media, defining menus, fx, bullet patterns etc.

Even if you're not writing a full scripting engine, storing your game data in external files makes things much easier to work with IMO.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 23, 2007, 08:48:39 PM
Well the first few enemy types are coded.  They are:

(names will change - purely descriptive for now)
- asteroid in large, medium and small flavours  (no Binary Zoo game would be complete without asteroid cannon fodder :) )
- snake (really cool the way it interacts with obstacles)
- irregulars (not round so they bounce at unpredictable angles)
- indestructible (well for a short while anyway)
- kamikaze (dive, dive, dive.....)

Right, added to the enemies above we now have

- Hyperactive (fast and unpredictable)
- Shooter (erm it shoots)
- Bomber (um it bombs)
- Deflector (go on, guess)

Plus a mystery enemy that you don't actually want to kill  :)

And finally the powerup routines have been rewritten.  The old powerup routines only handled static objects and here the powerups must interact with the backgrouns like everything else so a rewrite was required.

Next the "Agression Level" settings.  :rhino:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on September 30, 2007, 09:54:50 PM
just wondering
a time ago there was a discussion about binaryzoogame-screensavers
as i just learned how to program one (it can be done in dbpro) it came to my mind
are they still cumming?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on October 01, 2007, 01:34:37 AM
About the names: Unless you have a specific reason to change the names, you may want to consider keeping most of them. Right now, they directly say what the enemies are, so there is an intuitive association between ingame-perception and name. I mean, i dont think that "funky names for the sake of funky names" is a reasonable approach, regardless of how popular this attitude seems to be.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 01, 2007, 10:15:47 AM
just wondering
a time ago there was a discussion about binaryzoogame-screensavers
as i just learned how to program one (it can be done in dbpro) it came to my mind
are they still cumming?
Anything is possible.  Not sure what I would do for a screensaver that anyone would be interesting in mind :)

About the names: Unless you have a specific reason to change the names, you may want to consider keeping most of them. Right now, they directly say what the enemies are, so there is an intuitive association between ingame-perception and name. I mean, i dont think that "funky names for the sake of funky names" is a reasonable approach, regardless of how popular this attitude seems to be.
Yeah that's a fair point.  Any renaming will keep the names as descriptive as possible.....although, as with WIP names I give to games, I'll probably be too lazy to change them anyway. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on October 01, 2007, 05:30:10 PM
about the screensaver:
you could replay the last games the player did
or, that cool binaryzoo logo thing title screen

if you made some small adjustments to your code
i can make a screensaver-starter in vb-expres
you'd just have to start the games code with the CL$ function

if you're interrested, we could discus this in pm


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 03, 2007, 01:27:51 PM
I'll see if I can come up with something interesting :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 03, 2007, 10:44:34 PM
A little more progress tonight.

Tweaked the level loading routine to do a few checks on the level to make sure it meets a few design rules (like making sure any gaps between level objects are large enough for enemies to fit between etc.)

I also have the enemy "Aggression" setting working properly.  There are 5 settings (1=easiest, 5=hardest) and enemy behaviour changes depending on the setting.  This allows me to do a few things but at it's most basic it means I can use the same enemy templates from level 1 to 100 and just increase their "Aggression" setting as the player progresses.

So what does the "Aggression" setting change then?  Well on each enemy it changes two or three different things.  The simplest of these is that some enemies move faster and things like making "Randoms" bounce more randomly.  However it also has slightly more complex effects like you can normally kill any section of a snake but on higher settings only the head of a "Snake" enemy can be killed.

Most are already coded but I wont give any more away just now.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 04, 2007, 08:20:08 PM
"You cannot change the laws of physics." - Star Trek's "Scotty."

Rubbish.  I think in a moment of pure desperation inspiration, changing the laws of physics is exactly what I'm going to do.  Well more specifically I'm toying with the idea of having the direction gravity acts on changing from level to level.  Currently everything falls down-over as expected but wouldn't it be more fun and allow for a bit more variety if things sometimes "fall" upwards?  Or any other direction for that matter?

Now I need to spend a couple of hours thinking through how this would effect every other aspect of the game  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on October 04, 2007, 08:40:35 PM
Thats not really changing physics though :-P It's just a change in the center of gravitation. What would be really confusing but interesting would be if the screen would rotate with your ship, so that it always points upwards..... therefore changing the center of gravitation too..... probably not really a good idea for a game - but it would certainly feel interesting for a short while to play with :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 04, 2007, 09:19:05 PM
Thats not really changing physics though :-P
Well yeah but then I couldn't have used that quote. :)

What would be really confusing but interesting would be if the screen would rotate with your ship, so that it always points upwards..... therefore changing the center of gravitation too..... probably not really a good idea for a game - but it would certainly feel interesting for a short while to play with :)
My "Onyx" demo, written prior to starting on Tension, does pretty much exactly that.  It's my 2D Tempest, Asteroids mash up :)

It was written to help develop the background routines I needed for Tension but it's got potential of it's own so when Tension is finished I'll probably copy the final code across to Onyx and a do some more work on it.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 05, 2007, 11:58:16 AM
Quote
Rubbish.  I think in a moment of pure desperation inspiration, changing the laws of physics is exactly what I'm going to do.  Well more specifically I'm toying with the idea of having the direction gravity acts on changing from level to level.  Currently everything falls down-over as expected but wouldn't it be more fun and allow for a bit more variety if things sometimes "fall" upwards?  Or any other direction for that matter?

Good idea.

Yeh, ever play Yakks, Anciptal, that had 4 way gravity.  Was a cool game, and involved a Goat, ;)


Quote
What would be really confusing but interesting would be if the screen would rotate with your ship, so that it always points upwards..... therefore changing the center of gravitation too..... probably not really a good idea for a game - but it would certainly feel interesting for a short while to play with


Yeh, i wrote a 2d shooter like that too.  Never finished it though, Written in Db classic. Caled it Zytron Mega Blast i think, as a sequel to my old C64 shooter.

It worked quite well and gave an intereresting and unusual gameplay experience.

Thumbs up from me.

TMC




Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on October 05, 2007, 02:43:01 PM
- false topic -


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 05, 2007, 04:00:54 PM
Yeh, ever play Yakks, Anciptal, that had 4 way gravity.  Was a cool game, and involved a Goat, ;)
Yes.  It confused the hell out of me lol.....but then a lot of Jeffs stuff did :)

- false topic -
?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Banzai on October 06, 2007, 06:36:33 AM
What would be really confusing but interesting would be if the screen would rotate with your ship, so that it always points upwards.
But as we all know. The enemy's gate is always down.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 06, 2007, 10:03:53 AM
Had an idea for your game, thinking along the lines of Elite type ideas.

How about a power up, thats an escape pod.

When the player dies / health reaches 0, automatically use the escape pod to transport the player back to an earlier level.

It's a bit different to the standard extra life. :)

Also, what about an enemy that appears on screen, and over a period of time, decreases in size until it disapears. Shooting at it, will prolong its life span and increase its size.
Thus this enemy is to be avoided and not shot.


TMC



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on October 06, 2007, 10:41:37 AM
I totally hate the bomb thing in Geometry Wars where you have like 4 of them and it clears the screen totally of enemies when you use it. Just gave it lots of stop/start gameplay. I didn't like Geometry Wars. Perhaps I should at least state that I only ever played the secret easter-egg version in Project Gotham 2, not any other X360 version on Live.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 06, 2007, 11:46:49 AM
Had an idea for your game, thinking along the lines of Elite type ideas.

How about a power up, thats an escape pod.

When the player dies / health reaches 0, automatically use the escape pod to transport the player back to an earlier level.

It's a bit different to the standard extra life. :)
Hmm.  I currently plan on having 4 game modes (no idea if I will mind).  They are "Story Mode" (play through levels sequentially), "Arcade Mode" (designed for a quick 5 minute blast when I think how lol), "Chill Mode" (play forever....you can't die) and finally "Universal Mode".  This final mode kind of has a version of what you suggest.

In "Universal Mode" you can die but it's not game over, you just get to select another level.  There is also a Shuffle option which, rather than prompting the player to select another level, just picks an available one at random (this is "on" by default). As well as giving a more random selection of levels I was worried that kicking the player to a menu in-between every level would break up the flow so this solves that issue.

Also, what about an enemy that appears on screen, and over a period of time, decreases in size until it disapears. Shooting at it, will prolong its life span and increase its size.
Thus this enemy is to be avoided and not shot.
I like the idea of that although it's given me an idea to almost the total opposite lol.  I currently have an enemy that you have to keep alive by not shooting it.  I'm now thinking that I might change this to an enemy you need to keep alive by shooting it.  Doing this would keep it "pumped up" and alive as suggest.  And just to make things a little more interesting, over doing this will cause it to burst.  Hmm, food for thought.  Cheers.

Keep em coming. Even if they aren't doable in Tension they do get me thinking :)


I totally hate the bomb thing in Geometry Wars where you have like 4 of them and it clears the screen totally of enemies when you use it. Just gave it lots of stop/start gameplay.
Must admit I'm not a fan of traditional smart bombs either.  In mono and Echoes I had that ring of bullets thing which is about as close to a smart bomb as I've done.

In Tension, as I mentioned some time ago, I have the anti-smart bomb....the Dumb Bomb :)  Once you've set it off you have no control over it at all but it does require a little bit of skill to use effectively.


I didn't like Geometry Wars. Perhaps I should at least state that I only ever played the secret easter-egg version in Project Gotham 2, not any other X360 version on Live.
the original GW and GW2 are essentially the same game.  The 360 version just had better graphics really.  The next game for the 360, GW:Waves, looks a bit different mind as does GW:Galaxies on the Wii and DS.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on October 06, 2007, 01:13:00 PM
I for whatever reason accidentally replied in the wrong topic. Actually was the second time this happened to me. Either its me, or the cookie-thingies are doing weird stuff (i was viewing two topics and tried to reply to topic A, but got a reply in topic B)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 06, 2007, 01:17:00 PM
I for whatever reason accidentally replied in the wrong topic. Actually was the second time this happened to me. Either its me, or the cookie-thingies are doing weird stuff (i was viewing two topics and tried to reply to topic A, but got a reply in topic B)
Ah right lol.  You had me slightly confused there :)  If it happens again you should be able to delete your own posts if you wish (next to the quote button).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 08, 2007, 10:18:05 PM
Well changing the game engine to handle "gravity" in any direction has thrown up a few problems but I think we're on top of them now.  I've already had a play with a few of the new level designs it allows for and come up with some pretty interesting results ("interesting" being coder speak for most of them were rubbish and didn't work lol)

I've also added an all new level to the Dumb Bomb.  Before it created mass random damage but now, if in bonus mode, it creates a whole new kind of insane destruction.....and looks ace into the bargain :)

As it stands the Dumb Bomb is a bit of a double edged sword.  While using it, the player is shielded from any damage so it has obvious uses, but it can severely reduce your score on a level.  Or not.  Skillful players could clear a whole level with one well aimed Dumb Bomb and get a huge time bonus.  They'd have to survive while the level filled up with hyperactive enemies but it is in theory possible.

which brings me to the next challenge.  Tension is shaping up to have quite a complex scoring system.  Well it's actually really easy to understand, that's not the problem.....Because everything on screen is getting a bit chaotic, displaying how the player is scoring and what bonuses are available is going to be tricky.  Very tricky.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on October 09, 2007, 07:28:55 AM
It would be easier for me to contribue ideas and feedback efficiently, if i had any idea "what" tension is supposed to be like.... how it feels like.... its structure.... etc. - this is the main reason, why so far, i didn't contribute much feedback - basically, i have no idea about which game i am talking about here..... all i know is that its an arena shooter and that its name is tension. I dislike talking about stuff which i do not understand.... since i neither know the concept of tension, nor have a way to imagine it, i dont understand it.

Regarding bombs - i disliked the bombs in mono and echoes and found them rather useless, because there wasn't much possibilities to use them tactically. If they would instead have caused high destruction only in the immediate area around them - thus providing some kind of shield... that would have been a different story.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 09, 2007, 11:09:49 AM
Had another little idea.  Don't know if you've already got it or not.

Have a pick up, or weapon that allows the player to leach health from the enemies, to replenish your shields.

What about a Matrix style , bullet time pickup, slow mode for enemies, but normal speed for player.

How about temporarily taking over an enemy, possesion, when health gets low, or some way of infuencing the enemies to attact each other  :o
Would be great to sit back and watch them duke it out.

Anyways, just a few ideas i'm throwing out there.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 09, 2007, 02:40:39 PM
It would be easier for me to contribue ideas and feedback efficiently, if i had any idea "what" tension is supposed to be like.... how it feels like.... its structure.... etc. - this is the main reason, why so far, i didn't contribute much feedback - basically, i have no idea about which game i am talking about here..... all i know is that its an arena shooter and that its name is tension. I dislike talking about stuff which i do not understand.... since i neither know the concept of tension, nor have a way to imagine it, i dont understand it.
Yeah that's understandable.  Looking back I appreciate that while I've been talking about what might be considered minor points of the design, I've never given an overview of the basics.  I'll do something about that. :)

Regarding bombs - i disliked the bombs in mono and echoes and found them rather useless, because there wasn't much possibilities to use them tactically. If they would instead have caused high destruction only in the immediate area around them - thus providing some kind of shield... that would have been a different story.
Fair points.  TBH they were only added to Echoes as they were requested during testing.  Having said that, I do use them quite tactically.  Knowing that the bullets they fire are indestructible and will rip through multiple enemies, luring a snake towards one and setting it off can wipe out a whole snake very easily.  Anyhoo you'll be pleased to hear they aren't in Tension. ;)


Had another little idea.  Don't know if you've already got it or not.

Have a pick up, or weapon that allows the player to leach health from the enemies, to replenish your shields.

What about a Matrix style , bullet time pickup, slow mode for enemies, but normal speed for player.

How about temporarily taking over an enemy, possesion, when health gets low, or some way of infuencing the enemies to attact each other  :o
Would be great to sit back and watch them duke it out.
I can see I'm going to be refering back to this thread for ideas in future games :)

After doing Echoes, which is a pretty standard shooter, I wanted to get back to what I enjoy best and experimenting a bit. I'm taking that approach with all aspects of Tension so my powerup/energy system is also a bit different.  It only has one powerup type that does everything when collected (increases energy, weapon power and bonus)  Therefore I don't plan on any fancy powerups or weapons.....although I might throw in some bad powerups (powerdowns?) on harder difficulty settings.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on October 09, 2007, 02:55:44 PM
 I'm going to stop reading so I still have no clue what Tension is when it comes out. Can't wait  ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on October 10, 2007, 07:47:25 AM
Good to see development ramping up again after your illness.  It's sounding pretty interesting so far.

Is there anything we can see yet - a taster screenshot, sneaky shaky cam video, etc.  I know the answer to this already but have you got an ETA?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 10, 2007, 11:00:54 AM
A couple more ideas.

How about the ability to lay mines.  When a timer delay reaches 0, Kaboom, they take out the nearest enemies.

Remember, Salamander and Nemesis.  How about, a drone / multiple.  This could follow the player, shooting randomly or at the nearest enemies.  You could even make him controllable by a second player, ala Wizzball.

TMC



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 10, 2007, 12:26:41 PM
Good to see development ramping up again after your illness.
Still very much ill I'm afraid.  I've just learned to pace myself so some days I can make a little progress.

Is there anything we can see yet - a taster screenshot, sneaky shaky cam video, etc.
I don't really like showing anything until I'm happy with it and right now I'm not :)  You're not alone in being in the dark though.  The rest of the team haven't really seen anything yet either.

It will need quite a bit of playtesting mind so I'm hoping to get something out as soon as I possibly can.  If I can get the level editor finished then hopefully the playtesters can chip in with a couple of ideas too ;)

I know the answer to this already but have you got an ETA?
In the current circumstances I'm not even going to say which year :)

How about the ability to lay mines.  When a timer delay reaches 0, Kaboom, they take out the nearest enemies.
Shh.  I have a whole game idea based around mine laying.  Although I got it while working on one of the weapons in mono so it doesn't look like I'm ever going to do anything with it lol :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 12, 2007, 10:31:36 AM
I couldnt help it.  Another game idea looms.   ;D

How about an after touch effect.

This is the ability to slightly control the direction of the bullets after they have been shot.

Instead of a fire and forget type system, a pick up to allow you to bend the trajectory of your weapons whilst in flight would be quite cool.

I remember the old sensi soccer and kick off football games had after touch for controlling the ball and it really made those games.

TMC





Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 12, 2007, 12:54:12 PM
How about an after touch effect.

This is the ability to slightly control the direction of the bullets after they have been shot.

Instead of a fire and forget type system, a pick up to allow you to bend the trajectory of your weapons whilst in flight would be quite cool.
Aiming and changing the direction of your shots already plays a major part in the gameplay although not quite in the way you suggest. :)  You can already bounce your bullets off the walls within the level.  In fact to get a decent score it's an essential technique to master as it will give you a bonus multiplier.

With that in mind, adding aftertouch (god I loved Sensi Soccer :) ) might be a bit tricky as your bullets are already bouncing around all over the place changing direction :)

I'm still wrestling with the idea of whether to include some homing bullets when your weapon powers up.  While that would normally sound like an advantage, they might might veer away from the wall you intended to bounce them off, robbing you of a points bonus.  Guess I'll decide during tweaking.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 14, 2007, 05:47:40 PM
Well after reading what TMC has been up to I guess I'd better start work on some sort of level editor.  :kangaroo:

It really needs to be broken down into two sections, a background editor and and some kind of scripting enemy attack waves.  Currently they are both done using scripting files but the background editor really needs to be done with some kind of graphical interface jobby.   The enemy attack wave design might well remain in scripting files as any editor will probably end up more cumbersome than simply adding a few lines to a script file.  Whatever for now I'm just going to concentrate on the background editor.

For essentially such a simple game, this editor needs a shit load of options  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 15, 2007, 10:19:56 AM
Thats what i like to see.

Grabbing the bull by the horns.   ;D

Are you thinking about  future proofing witht the editor.  Ie, with mine, it's designed in such a way that it can be used for virtually any 2d game.  Horizontal shootem up scroller, platformer, static flick screens, with or without parallax ect. 
I've spent several months on it and it's really been worth it.  It's not even only limited to blitz max as the output data can be used for any system, just so long as you know how to read back in the data.  So it's really cross platform.

Can your editor be used for future games too ?
Would save an awful lot of future dev time if it is.

TMC



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on October 15, 2007, 11:09:38 AM
I was thinking along similiar lines, when i red fogs post - but stopped from mentioning my idea for the 3rd time, since fog already is aware about it anyways. From the little info which i know yet about tension, it definatelly sounds like tech which could be used for more than one game.

In other news - i recently noticed that nowadays, there are almost no more multiscreen arena games in which the player can move freely. Back in the old days, that was an entire genre of itself - i.e. spent lots of time playing "zone ranger" :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 15, 2007, 11:36:56 AM
Can your editor be used for future games too ?
Would save an awful lot of future dev time if it is.
That's the plan.  I already have a couple of game ideas based around a similar background system so it makes sense.  Of course once I've finished Tension I'll probably be so sick I'll never want to see this background system again :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 15, 2007, 11:29:40 PM
So then.  Level editors.  Hate coder the bastards.   :P

But this one is proving to be fairly good fun.  Firstly it's a relief to finally be able to change level designs without messing on with writing scripts in Notepad, but also because it's quite good fun pulling the level into different shapes while enemies fly around inside.

Designing a crazy level shape and then dropping a load of Kamikaze enemies into it has little use but it's a distraction....just like those old executive toys where the silver balls bounce back and forwards that fascinated you as a kid.  No practical use whatsoever mind but fun.  :)

I'd say I'm about halfway through writing the editor so it's proving to be slightly less of a gring than I anticipated.  If I can stop having fun with it then I might get finished in a couple of days.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on October 16, 2007, 04:32:35 PM
Good to see everything is coming along quite nicely Fog. Also, would you ever consider releasing your "Onyx" test game that you wrote as a tech demo, similar to that of Mono ? because, i'd download it.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on October 16, 2007, 04:37:25 PM
yeah, me to

but i has a question, what does an editor do?
i mean in games of the simplicity of echoes etc, do you need one?
i thought that was more like, UT2007-stuff...
and, do you make them in dbpro as well?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 16, 2007, 07:54:19 PM
Good to see everything is coming along quite nicely Fog. Also, would you ever consider releasing your "Onyx" test game that you wrote as a tech demo, similar to that of Mono ? because, i'd download it.
Thanks.  When I've done a little more work on it and decided how much potential it has I'll either finish it or release it in demo form.

i mean in games of the simplicity of echoes etc, do you need one?
No, Echoes didn't need one.  Even the levels in Echoes aren't scripted with the position the enemies appear in being totally random

but i has a question, what does an editor do?
Well a level editor can handle many different things.  Take something like Super Mario for example where the editor is used to place all the platforms within a level and position any enemies or other objects (like hidden stars or powerups)

In the case of Tension I need a similar editor that allows me to design the level backgrounds (walls etc), the locations of any enemies and the time at which they spawn.

In DUO all the levels and enemies were simply written in a text file and it took about a month and was incredibly boring.  I realise now that I could have designed 100 better levels within a week if I'd had an editor. :)

and, do you make them in dbpro as well?
Yup.  I could write the editor in any language as the finished level designs are just saved to a text file and could be loaded by the game code.  However I want to be able to play the levels as I'm designing them so the editor will be build into the game.  Although I haven't decided whether to make it accessible by everyone yet in the final release or whether I'll disable it. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on October 16, 2007, 08:22:23 PM
As an idea, you could make the Level editor in Tension an Unlockable, unless you have plans for unlockables already ? Because it will show commitment to the game to want to add to it. I just love BZ games, they're awesome, any more plans of porting some games to the mobile game platform ? And do people still purchase Duotris on mobile phones ?

I also need to finish my current project of "Rebound" (Working title) Should be good with a bit of polish.

Oh yeah, I emailed the XBLA team and found out that games can be coded in any language when deciding for suitability for XBLA, so you should just send them Mono with an instruction guide either in game or in a text document. I would so love to play it on 360 in glorious HD. Also its the best portal for Indie developers like you, you'll make a killing. say if 500,000 people bought Mono for 400pts = 5

5 x 500,000 = 2,500,000 Million so either way you would be making a profit, if you ported it into C# it would make the process faster.

I just want something new from the Zoo.

Also, ever thought about writing tutorials in DBPro for 2D games ? Because I would love to see the kinds of stuff you do and learn new things.

Apologies for the long and somewhat pointless message.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on October 17, 2007, 04:30:35 AM
Ohh, I can answer this one! :)

I just love BZ games, they're awesome, any more plans of porting some games to the mobile game platform ?
At some point in time, yes. I've been working on other, non-Zoo related stuff lately, but I'm eager to get back to writing mobile games. I'll be back on the case as soon as my current project is done. Whether I'll continue to port our current library, or do something new altogether, I haven't decided yet.


Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on October 17, 2007, 01:58:31 PM
You be a fool, no make that a FOOL, not to release the editor too :)  You'd also have a thread here for folks to upload their level designs to and an option to load user levels in game.  And also (online) high score tables, zoots, etc for said levels.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 17, 2007, 01:59:54 PM
Apologies for the long and somewhat pointless message.
It's always good to get feedback :)

As an idea, you could make the Level editor in Tension an Unlockable, unless you have plans for unlockables already ? Because it will show commitment to the game to want to add to it.
I probably will make it available either from the start or as an unlockable.  If anyone did design their own levels (which will be really easy) then it would be cool to share them with other players. And anything that means I have to design less is a good thing ;)

Oh yeah, I emailed the XBLA team and found out that games can be coded in any language when deciding for suitability for XBLA, so you should just send them Mono with an instruction guide either in game or in a text document. I would so love to play it on 360 in glorious HD. Also its the best portal for Indie developers like you, you'll make a killing. say if 500,000 people bought Mono for 400pts = 5

5 x 500,000 = 2,500,000 Million so either way you would be making a profit, if you ported it into C# it would make the process faster.

I just want something new from the Zoo.
I wish your figures were true but unfortunately they aren't :) There are just too many things stopping me from attempting that just now but maybe some day.  Even with a huge library of existing code it's taking me about a year to get something out so starting from scratch again just isn't an option for now.  I don't think one man has any realistic hope of getting an XBLA title out in their spare time.  Even working on it full time would be almost impossible.

I also need to finish my current project of "Rebound" (Working title) Should be good with a bit of polish.
Make sure we get to see it at some stage :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 17, 2007, 02:02:33 PM
You be a fool, no make that a FOOL, not to release the editor too :)  You'd also have a thread here for folks to upload their level designs to and an option to load user levels in game.  And also (online) high score tables, zoots, etc for said levels.
Yeah you're right of course, I will release it.....although I'm still arguably a FOOL ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on October 17, 2007, 02:23:33 PM
You be a fool, no make that a FOOL, not to release the editor too :)  You'd also have a thread here for folks to upload their level designs to and an option to load user levels in game.  And also (online) high score tables, zoots, etc for said levels.
Yeah you're right of course, I will release it.....although I'm still arguably a FOOL ;)
Stuff like that just bugs me for some reason. User created content... I have issues I think.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on October 17, 2007, 06:33:23 PM
Quote
I probably will make it available either from the start or as an unlockable.
i'd allready know how to unlock the editor  ;)

don't know if it's possyble or if it even fits in your game-structure, but you could let the player make their own media-folder
(they'd copy the original, and ajust the images, so they can select there's or the original folder from in the game itself)
offcource, everything thats just a circle should spinn around its centre, even if it doens't seem like doeing so, becous if you'd replayce it with e.g. a sqaure, it looks to static (experienced that in gridwars)

Quote
Also, ever thought about writing tutorials in DBPro for 2D games?
yes, that would be awesome, because the best dbpro games are made by you, but actually dbpro was made for building 3D games ;D

Quote
Thanks.  When I've done a little more work on it and decided how much potential it has I'll either finish it or release it in demo form.
demo now, real thing later

Quote
In DUO all the levels and enemies were simply written in a text file and it took about a month and was incredibly boring.  I realise now that I could have designed 100 better levels within a week if I'd had an editor. Smiley
which text file? :o
i can't find it, i want to make my wn levels


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 17, 2007, 07:20:05 PM
You be a fool, no make that a FOOL, not to release the editor too :)  You'd also have a thread here for folks to upload their level designs to and an option to load user levels in game.  And also (online) high score tables, zoots, etc for said levels.
Yeah you're right of course, I will release it.....although I'm still arguably a FOOL ;)
Stuff like that just bugs me for some reason. User created content... I have issues I think.
Don't worry it normally bugs me too.  :) Not that there's anything wrong with user created content, it's just that the majority of it tends to be of questionable quality.  I'm not sure that would be the case with a simple 2D shooter like Tension mind.  And any good stuff we did come across we could bundle together and release to save everyone else having to search through the rubbish :)

As mentioned earlier I'm still hopefull that the playtesters might come up with a level or two.  Not necessarily design the whole level but maybe just the background (walls etc) and then I can add the enemies to any interesting designs.

don't know if it's possyble or if it even fits in your game-structure, but you could let the player make their own media-folder
(they'd copy the original, and ajust the images, so they can select there's or the original folder from in the game itself)
offcource, everything thats just a circle should spinn around its centre, even if it doens't seem like doeing so, becous if you'd replayce it with e.g. a sqaure, it looks to static (experienced that in gridwars)
It's possible.  Not sure how worth while it is mind when people can easily change the existing images.  I'll see how much work is involved but I can always add little features like this later if there's a demand.

Quote
Also, ever thought about writing tutorials in DBPro for 2D games?
yes, that would be awesome, because the best dbpro games are made by you, but actually dbpro was made for building 3D games ;D
I'm not sure about tutorials as proper ones are too time consuming but I'll always answer any questions people have or help them with their own code.

Quote
In DUO all the levels and enemies were simply written in a text file and it took about a month and was incredibly boring.  I realise now that I could have designed 100 better levels within a week if I'd had an editor. Smiley
which text file? :o
i can't find it, i want to make my wn levels
heh.  They were written in a text file but converted to data statements and included in the exe for the final release ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on October 17, 2007, 09:46:42 PM
Don't worry it normally bugs me too.  :) Not that there's anything wrong with user created content, it's just that the majority of it tends to be of questionable quality.  I'm not sure that would be the case with a simple 2D shooter like Tension mind.  And any good stuff we did come across we could bundle together and release to save everyone else having to search through the rubbish :)
There is a solution to this, as you already hinted: turn it into a competition. Let users create unofficial and unsupported content. Let users put that content on their websites for download. Let that content be loaded into the game. But keep it something entirely seperate from the official stuff. Then hand-select good stuff, add it to the game as you see fit - and credit the authors. Everybody wins, unless this process costs too much effort for the main devs.

- Lyx


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 19, 2007, 02:53:08 PM
Don't worry it normally bugs me too.  :) Not that there's anything wrong with user created content, it's just that the majority of it tends to be of questionable quality.  I'm not sure that would be the case with a simple 2D shooter like Tension mind.  And any good stuff we did come across we could bundle together and release to save everyone else having to search through the rubbish :)
There is a solution to this, as you already hinted: turn it into a competition. Let users create unofficial and unsupported content. Let users put that content on their websites for download. Let that content be loaded into the game. But keep it something entirely seperate from the official stuff. Then hand-select good stuff, add it to the game as you see fit - and credit the authors. Everybody wins, unless this process costs too much effort for the main devs.
Yeah that's pretty much what I had in mind.  I need to code the editor anyway so I might as well make it available to everyone else.  If they use it great, but if not it's no extra work for me.

The background editor is now pretty much complete so all I need to do now is decide how I'm going to approach the enemy attack wave "scripting".  A fully GUI driven editor like the background one would be the best way to do it and do away with any text file editing at all.  It's just going to be fiddly to get an intuitive system working.  I'm always up for a challenge though ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: las6 on October 19, 2007, 03:08:39 PM
Quote
A fully GUI driven editor like the background one would be the best way to do it and do away with any text file editing at all.  It's just going to be fiddly to get an intuitive system working.  I'm always up for a challenge though Wink
If I can make a suggestion, I think you should not in any case do a separate editor, even if the level & wave information are stored separatedly. Just give the editor multiple modes or tabs which you can toggle between. This is because if you have one editor that can possibly used to even play the level, it all stays in one place. Should make the level design time quite a bit shorter even if it's a bit more work on the editor side.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 19, 2007, 03:38:52 PM
Quote
A fully GUI driven editor like the background one would be the best way to do it and do away with any text file editing at all.  It's just going to be fiddly to get an intuitive system working.  I'm always up for a challenge though Wink
If I can make a suggestion, I think you should not in any case do a separate editor, even if the level & wave information are stored separatedly. Just give the editor multiple modes or tabs which you can toggle between. This is because if you have one editor that can possibly used to even play the level, it all stays in one place. Should make the level design time quite a bit shorter even if it's a bit more work on the editor side.
Yeah including everything in one place was what I meant.  Sorry if me talking about separate editors was confusing.  They will really be separate parts of the same editor which is accessible within the game.

In fact the editor would have three parts:

Background Designer - positions walls, bumpers, set bonus multiplier values, sound fx triggers etc.
Enemy Attack Wave Designer - define which enemies are created, where they appear and at what time intervals
World Designer - lets users alter gravity, the wall elasticity, atmosphere type etc.  Although I might not give access to this one as it's very possible to break stuff with certain combinations of settings lol :)

Currently the data for each level is stored in 3 separate files.  There was logic behind that decision when I was designing all the levels by hand, but now using a proper level editor it makes more sens to throw everything into a single file so that will change.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 20, 2007, 10:40:42 AM
Kewl.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 24, 2007, 12:12:24 AM
Had a couple of days of rest but managed to get a little more done tonight.  The background editor has been tweaked a bit and a few more commands added but, for now anyway, that portion of the editor is finished.  I've also worked out how I'm going to do the enemy attack wave editor and it shouldn't take too long (famous last words).  Then I  just need to rewrite the level file saving and loading routines to stick the bits and pieces currently stored in separate files into a single file.

Note so self:  Remember to encrypt the proper game level files so that people don't just load them into the editor and change them to make it easier....because they will.  Yes you would.  Go on, admit it. ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on October 24, 2007, 07:26:36 AM
Note so self:  Remember to encrypt the proper game level files so that people don't just load them into the editor and change them to make it easier....because they will.  Yes you would.  Go on, admit it. ;)
I did that back in a game called AstroRally or something lol.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 24, 2007, 02:58:54 PM
Note so self:  Remember to encrypt the proper game level files so that people don't just load them into the editor and change them to make it easier....because they will.  Yes you would.  Go on, admit it. ;)
I did that back in a game called AstroRally or something lol.
Yup for some people the temptation would be too much :)

Now I need to decide how the player will access any extra levels created.  Allowing them to pick a single level and play it wont make for a very interesting game.  I'll need to structure these extra levels into some sort of format.  Quite tricky when you don't know how many levels they might have created and how difficult they are :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on October 24, 2007, 03:38:21 PM
Now I need to decide how the player will access any extra levels created.  Allowing them to pick a single level and play it wont make for a very interesting game.  I'll need to structure these extra levels into some sort of format.  Quite tricky when you don't know how many levels they might have created and how difficult they are :)
Make it so that people MUST assign a difficulty level in the editor - then let the player just select any amount of custom levels to play... and order them according to difficulty levels.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on October 24, 2007, 07:16:53 PM
couldn't you add a lock element?
wich then could only be opened with en editor that is not publically realesed
or a password?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 24, 2007, 11:10:08 PM
Now I need to decide how the player will access any extra levels created.  Allowing them to pick a single level and play it wont make for a very interesting game.  I'll need to structure these extra levels into some sort of format.  Quite tricky when you don't know how many levels they might have created and how difficult they are :)
Make it so that people MUST assign a difficulty level in the editor - then let the player just select any amount of custom levels to play... and order them according to difficulty levels.
Great in theory and it would certainly work while playing levels you yourself had created but peobably wouldn't be sufficient when sharing levels between users.  The only problem is the reliability of the difficulty ratings given to levels given by users.  One persons easy is another mans hard.....and that's assuming people don't just hit a random number anyway.  If they are rated for difficulty then I'll more than likely use an automatic rating system as, while that wont be perfect either, it will at least be consistant in it's ratings.

Your suggestion might be as good as any mind but we'll worry about that nearer the time. :)

couldn't you add a lock element?
wich then could only be opened with en editor that is not publically relesed
or a password?
Easier if I just encrypt the files I don't want people to mess with as I already have routines for doing that :)  I mean they wouldn't be that hard to crack but would anyone really bother?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 25, 2007, 12:06:05 PM
Quote
Yup for some people the temptation would be too much

It could be argued, that if people feel the need to hack the game in order to make it playable for themselves, then the game suffers from poor game design.

Surely, if the game is playtested enough by a wide variety of users, then a happy compromise should be found for gameplay difficulty.

I had that problem with ACR.  For me, the game was way too easy, still is. but for most other people it's the complete opposite.  So, in the end i decided to let the user choose his own difficulty settings.  It does mean that anyone can waltz through the game on easy, but i hope it has replay value because it's fun to play and you can up the challenge yourself when you feel like it.

I can see the merrits of of encryption for graphics and music ect but for gameplay, personaly i doubt if it's necessary.

Just my 2 cents   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 25, 2007, 03:21:47 PM
Quote
Yup for some people the temptation would be too much

It could be argued, that if people feel the need to hack the game in order to make it playable for themselves, then the game suffers from poor game design.

Surely, if the game is playtested enough by a wide variety of users, then a happy compromise should be found for gameplay difficulty.
Oh yeah I totally agree with that reasoning.  If people need to edit the levels because they are too hard or simply not fun then the games designer has failed.

I'm talking about the sort of people that edit the levels simply to enable them to get a highscore though.  Something that will be too hard to resist for some people if we have online highscore tables. :)

If people want to cheat then really that's their loss IMO. Sadly though they wouldn't just be spoiling the game for themselves, but for everyone else who got a legitimate highscore.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on October 26, 2007, 09:33:13 AM
Great in theory and it would certainly work while playing levels you yourself had created but peobably wouldn't be sufficient when sharing levels between users.  The only problem is the reliability of the difficulty ratings given to levels given by users.  One persons easy is another mans hard.....and that's assuming people don't just hit a random number anyway.

You are affraid about two things:

1. No point of reference for difficulty scale.
Solution: Just make the official game the point of reference. If for exampe Tension had 100 levels, then you could just make a difficulty Rating with a scale of 1-100.

2. You are affraid that level-creators may create bad-quality ratings.
Well, they may also create bad levels. Thats why they're unofficial levels, duh ;-) If people are affraid of low quality, then go for official content which went through some QA.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 26, 2007, 12:39:40 PM
2. You are affraid that level-creators may create bad-quality ratings.
Well, they may also create bad levels. Thats why they're unofficial levels, duh ;-)
Good point.  Assuming the official ones aren't a pile of crap too  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 27, 2007, 10:55:51 AM
Quote
I'm talking about the sort of people that edit the levels simply to enable them to get a highscore though.  Something that will be too hard to resist for some people if we have online highscore tables.

Ahh, i see.  My mistake.

In that case i can see your point and yes, it does make sense.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 01, 2007, 08:30:15 PM
Hmm.  I'm getting to the stage now where I really need to decide on a look for the game.  I might well end up with different sets of graphics or skins for different worlds which I can work on later but I really need to decide on at least one of those now so I can get a better feel for the game.

So I've been working on a few ideas for the background.  I had wanted something interactive in keeping with the nature of the rest of the game and I've come up with a few interesting effects but nothing fits.  Anything other than the simplest of backgrounds just distracts from the on screen action which really has more than enough movement already without confusing things further.

So now I'm going to experiment with using a single colour for each world.  Well obviously not a single colour otherwise everything would be the same colour as the background and something tells me this might be a problem ;P  No, I mean shades of the same colour with maybe the odd flash of another colour thrown in.

It's a touch frustrating as I've nailed the look of all the previous games within a day of starting on them (what do you mean you could have knocked them up in 10 minutes?)  I'll find something.  Must resist temptation to do neon again  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on November 02, 2007, 06:20:23 AM
a hint regarding colors:
most people are too focussed on the H-part of HSL :-)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 02, 2007, 01:47:44 PM
a hint regarding colors:
most people are too focussed on the H-part of HSL :-)
Yup.  If I go for the single colour approach it'll all be S tweaks :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: las6 on November 02, 2007, 04:42:53 PM
well, if you are hunting for color ideas, try playing around with this:
http://kuler.adobe.com/


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 02, 2007, 06:34:54 PM
well, if you are hunting for color ideas, try playing around with this:
http://kuler.adobe.com/
OOh very useful. Bookmarked thanks :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 06, 2007, 11:23:01 PM
You know occasionally some code throws up some pleasantly surprising results.  Spending the evening having a break from Tension and messing with some gravity based movement code for use in a possible full version of Crack (the unlockable bonus game in Echoes)  has ended up creating some rather nice effects.  Completely pointless but nice.

The proper movement code would run over several screens so I shrunk the movements and images down so I could see everything happening on one screen and it looked quite pleasing.  So I thought I wonder what would happen if I stopped clearing the screen every loop so I did and it looked lovely.

Here's a poorly edited together pic of a few of the images created.  I'm now tempted to create a little app to generate these images....or maybe I'll just include it as an easteregg somewhere.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on November 07, 2007, 01:47:18 AM
That's damn nice!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on November 07, 2007, 10:16:03 AM
Yeh, very nice. 

They look like Fractals.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 07, 2007, 10:49:03 AM
Yeh, very nice. 

They look like Fractals.   ;D

TMC

Maybe if I try doing fractals I might actually get the enemy movement code I was after?  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on November 07, 2007, 12:33:12 PM
do do not only look like fractals, they are fractals

Quote
Maybe if I try doing fractals I might actually get the enemy movement code I was after?  Smiley
in perfect sherry blossom, the bosses spin over spirograph-ish circles
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/Various_Spirograph_Designs.jpg)
that is indeed very neat.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 08, 2007, 10:55:30 AM
Nice.  I'll have to look that game up.

Right now I have no use for my "fractal" generator except for making pretty pictures.  Well that and the gravity based movement code that it was originally intended for.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on November 08, 2007, 11:55:02 AM
Cool pictures.

Well, one thought that springs to mind, is that Jeff Minter, always used to include Pause modes in his games.  These were either, sub games, or graphical interludes.  I remember Iridis Alpha had 2 or 3 of them.

Thats one thing i always thoght echoes needed.  Was something, to break up the relentless onslaught of the enemies.  At times, i just wanted an interlude or a pause mode to slow down the hectic action.

How about for Tension, a Minter Esq, graphical pause mode, lots of swirling graphics as a side distraction for player when they just want to take 5.

TMC


Ps.  Nice piccies Donny.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 08, 2007, 01:34:11 PM
Cool pictures.

Well, one thought that springs to mind, is that Jeff Minter, always used to include Pause modes in his games.  These were either, sub games, or graphical interludes.  I remember Iridis Alpha had 2 or 3 of them.

Thats one thing i always thoght echoes needed.  Was something, to break up the relentless onslaught of the enemies.  At times, i just wanted an interlude or a pause mode to slow down the hectic action.

How about for Tension, a Minter Esq, graphical pause mode, lots of swirling graphics as a side distraction for player when they just want to take 5.

TMC


Ps.  Nice piccies Donny.


Yeah good call.  A pause mode makes more sense than hiding it away as an easter egg that most people will never see. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 23, 2007, 09:39:29 PM
Long time no update :)

Well current circumstances mean working on a big project like Tension has again had to be put on hold for now.  So I've gone back to doing what I was working on while ago and thats polishing up a couple of my old demos to see if they are worth developing further.  One of these (aura) is already playable but I'm not convinced it's any good and it's also currently also a bit too close to EEE for my liking....but hey, that's the point of doing a demo :)  There might be a good game in there but I'm going to need to tweak the gameplay a bit if it's going to be worth doing properly.

Aside from that I have a few puzzle game demos in progress which are probably better suited to a mobile platform (aren't most puzzle games though) but these are actually shaping up to be quite playable.  News as they progress.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on November 23, 2007, 09:59:07 PM
better suited to a mobile platform
Colour me excited. :)


Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 23, 2007, 10:15:55 PM
better suited to a mobile platform
Colour me excited. :)
lol.  Well like I say, that's more of a general "puzzle games are better on handhelds" comment.  Of the 4 puzzle demos I'm working on (*) two of them are looking promising and it's too early to tell for the others as they aren't playable yet.  Depending on how the health situation pans out I may or may not end up developing these a lot further, but either way you'll get to see them as I'll be interested on your thoughts with regards to potential future projects  :)

(*) These are demos I've had lying about for some time so don't worry, I haven't gone totally mad and started work on 4 games at the same time   ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 24, 2007, 10:12:46 AM
Hopefully your demos will have the same impact asMono thus returning your status as one of the most prestigous amateur (indie) games developers. I will happily wait for Aura as everything you do is to a high standard, maybe Aura will help pass the time in the wait for Tension.

Keep up the great work and puzzle games also sound interesting, fast paced or logical tactical puzzlers ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 24, 2007, 03:23:37 PM
Keep up the great work and puzzle games also sound interesting, fast paced or logical tactical puzzlers ?
A bit of a mixture and in some cases both depending on which of the intended game modes you choose to play.  But, as with everything else, I'm making most of it up as I go along so nothing is certain yet.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on November 24, 2007, 04:07:26 PM
- post can be deleted - board made me accidentally reply in wrong thread -


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 24, 2007, 05:34:17 PM
- post can be deleted - board made me accidentally reply in wrong thread -
Naughty board.  I'll have a word  ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on November 25, 2007, 10:58:35 AM
Been away for the past few days; just catching up.

Nice to see you still working on stuff. Haven't been hitting the PC games much since my switch to Linux but I'm still hammering the old stuff, mono, Echoes, DUO, etc. A lot of fun :D

Looking forward to whatever you've got coming next  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 25, 2007, 03:52:51 PM
Thanks matey :)  Yeah still plugging away when I can here.  Just not ideal circumstances ATM.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on December 02, 2007, 10:31:12 AM
Hey Fog, just wondering how things are going ? I am so eager to play your new game demos =)

Also in other news, my Xbox 360 has finally returned to a warm loving family, so I am happy again.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 02, 2007, 10:58:35 AM
Hey Fog, just wondering how things are going ? I am so eager to play your new game demos =)
Still doing a bit when I can.  As the current demos are puzzlers and not shmups you're probably one of the few people around here that might actually like them (with the emphasis on "might") :)

Also in other news, my Xbox 360 has finally returned to a warm loving family, so I am happy again.
Great news.  I have so many good 360 games ATM I don't know where to start.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on December 03, 2007, 09:20:23 PM
Oh no, I WILL love them. I love puzzlers both fast and slow paced, I just can't wait to see what puzzle games you have come up with since DuoTris (which is great btw).

Oh yeah forgot to mention, I am also developing Flash games now


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 05, 2007, 12:30:18 PM
Oh no, I WILL love them. I love puzzlers both fast and slow paced, I just can't wait to see what puzzle games you have come up with since DuoTris (which is great btw).
While the shmups might be more popular, DUOtris is the only game I've written that I still play on and enjoy. I made myself sick of the shmups by playing them too much during development.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on December 05, 2007, 08:33:36 PM
Thats scary - its as if i may be looking at a mirror of a possible future of me........ shit....


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 05, 2007, 09:50:52 PM
Thats scary - its as if i may be looking at a mirror of a possible future of me........ shit....
Not really scary.  You just end up playing a lot of whatever the current game is you're developing.....and you know you're onto something when you spend more time "testing" than coding it  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on December 05, 2007, 10:18:58 PM
It can get scary, when what you're working on may very well be the "major accomplishment in your entire life" and you know that its a marathon, not a sprint :-) Starting to hate such a project before its done isn't really something which i'd like to happen to me - and i am already feeling the effects :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 05, 2007, 11:52:22 PM
It can get scary, when what you're working on may very well be the "major accomplishment in your entire life" and you know that its a marathon, not a sprint :-) Starting to hate such a project before its done isn't really something which i'd like to happen to me - and i am already feeling the effects :)
Heh yeah we've all been there :)

The critical thing for me now is that I have generic menu, highscore, and all the other boring stuff coded that I can drop straight into a game and never have to program again.  So right until the very end of a project I am effectively working on the gameplay...which is the fun part and much easier to keep yourself motivated on.  I know from bitter past experience that if you finish the gameplay and then spend several weeks just writing boring stuff like menu code then you're really testing your commitment.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on January 03, 2008, 06:16:20 PM
Is it time for an update Fog ? Give me my Crack ! Oh wait... *off to play some Crack*


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 03, 2008, 11:38:10 PM
Is it time for an update Fog ? Give me my Crack ! Oh wait... *off to play some Crack*
Oh go on then. :)  I've stopped reporting in here as I've stopped working on Tension but I guess this is a general dev blog so I should be reporting other devlopments in here too. So...

Tension is still on hold as it's still too big a project for me to tackle in the current circumstances.  I could work on it but at the rate at which I can work it would take forever so I'd much rather tackle something smaller until I'm well enough.

Tension itself is almost playable but I need to add stuff like music, sound, FX, powerups etc etc and then set about designing and tweaking all the levels.....no small task.  It will be done though :)

In the meantime I've been doing several puzzle game demos as they are relatively quick to churn out.  Based on those there are a few that I'll develop further at some stage and one in particular that will be ready for testing soon (soon being another relative term :) )


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on January 21, 2008, 05:36:38 PM
How goes work on those puzzle games Fog ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on January 22, 2008, 11:47:10 AM
I will love it they're finished - LOVE IT!.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 22, 2008, 12:26:03 PM
I will love it they're finished - LOVE IT!.
;D A reference I doubt many people will understand.

How goes work on those puzzle games Fog ?
Oh hold while I wait for music and sound FX as that's the last gameplay element I need to get sorted.  Currently doing a little bit on Tension again and preperation for new and improved Crack.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on January 22, 2008, 04:26:44 PM
I will love it they're finished - LOVE IT!.
;D A reference I doubt many people will understand.

How goes work on those puzzle games Fog ?
Oh hold while I wait for music and sound FX as that's the last gameplay element I need to get sorted.  Currently doing a little bit on Tension again and preperation for new and improved Crack.

Are you serious, just music ad sound fx ? Thats absoloutley fantastic, I can't wait to play !!! So when you said soon before you meant really quite soon !!! I am so happy thank you gaiz !

New and improved Crack ! and more work on Tension thats fantastic !!!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 22, 2008, 05:02:54 PM
Not quite so fast on the puzzle game front.  I said "last gameplay element" for a reason :)  Only once that's done can I code and balance the various game styles and then finally I still need to build a whole new menu system (I could use the old one but I fancy doing something a bit different with this game)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 01, 2008, 01:06:58 AM
Cracking on here ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 01, 2008, 10:45:33 AM
Cracking on here ;)

So all is good in the world of the Zoo ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 01, 2008, 12:38:05 PM
Cracking on here ;)

So all is good in the world of the Zoo ?
Not exactly.  That's why I've had to prioritise things differently and progress is slow.  We'll get there eventually though. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on February 01, 2008, 03:16:21 PM
What's up with the new avatar?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 01, 2008, 03:37:39 PM
What's up with the new avatar?
What new avatar?  it's my usual non-Christmas one.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on February 02, 2008, 02:03:10 AM
Oh... just looks like a white box with a black line in it... not sure what's goin' on.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 02, 2008, 10:58:44 AM
Oh... just looks like a white box with a black line in it... not sure what's goin' on.
Me neither as it's just a gif.  I bet you're using an inferior browser ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on February 02, 2008, 11:27:21 AM
I have tracked down the problem I had. Not browser related, and shouldn't affect others.

Carry on...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 02, 2008, 11:37:35 AM
I have tracked down the problem I had. Not browser related, and shouldn't affect others.

Carry on...
I know my games are full of bugs but I'd be getting seriously worried if my avatar was too.  Nothing to see here  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on February 03, 2008, 10:12:43 PM
That'll be the hidden bonus avatar you've unlocked there.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 03, 2008, 11:16:11 PM
That'll be the hidden bonus avatar you've unlocked there.
At least mine isn't just a red cross ;)  Looks like the changes over at YakYak have eaten yours.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 17, 2008, 06:22:56 PM
How goes those puzzle games Fog ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: outlaw99775 on March 18, 2008, 10:48:37 PM
Anything new?
It seems you have not updated in about a month...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 19, 2008, 01:26:05 PM
Hi outlaw99775 and welcome :)

Well illness has disrupted development for some time now but we're currently discussing getting things moving again and in which direction we will head.

I'll start updating regularly in a day or two once I've discussed it with everyone and decided what to do.

Thanks for your patience.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 19, 2008, 10:11:36 PM
Hi outlaw99775 and welcome :)

Well illness has disrupted development for some time now but we're currently discussing getting things moving again and in which direction we will head.

I'll start updating regularly in a day or two once I've discussed it with everyone and decided what to do.

Thanks for your patience.

Get well soon FOG !!! Good to hear you are on the mend !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: outlaw99775 on March 21, 2008, 06:59:27 PM
Good to hear!
Get well, and I'm looking forward to seeing whats up next.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 27, 2008, 11:18:13 PM
BunnyMonkey Likes the Taste of XNA  :bunnymonkey:

Anyone following threads elsewhere wont be too surprised to hear that I've decided to give XNA a go.  It hasn't been an easy decision for a number of reasons and it's by no means a permanent shift but, after discussions with the rest of the team, I feel I'd be mad not to at least see what it has to offer.

Firstly lets deal with the negatives.  It's not only a new language for me to learn, it's a whole different way of coding.  I've never done anything OOP related so there's obviously something of a learning curve here.  Also the minimum PC spec and install requirements will no doubt increase, but when I started coding in DBPro a few years ago the DirectX9 requirement was a relatively big stumbling block for some people, and now it's no longer even a minor issue  So the first year or so might limit our potential PC user base slightly but after that I don't see it as an issue.  Likewise the download size for games will increase but as time goes by this will also become less and less of an issue.

On the plus side we now have a potential new audience.  So far we have mainly been restricted to PC releases and the one non-PC release we've made required a complete rewrite by SiN.  Great though that was, it's not an ideal way for a very small team to operate.  Using XNA we can target PC, XBox360 and soon the Zune and I personally see the 360 in particular as a natural home for the style of simple arcade games I write.  Some freeware Binary Zoo titles on there really appeals to me. :)

Some I've got everything installed and tomorrow I'll dive in and see what it's all about.  I don't do tutorials or any of this "Hello World" stuff so I'm going to have a stab at writing something mono or Echoes like straight away.  I'd rather do something new and start porting Tension straight away but I figure if I port a game I know well then I can concentrate on learning the language without worrying about other stuff.  And with any luck XNA will be a bit faster than what I have been working with and we can throw some more crap around on screen than usual.

I'll try and keep updates as regular as possible now.  Wish me luck....I'm going in.  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 28, 2008, 12:29:02 AM
Now that is a big leap ! Infact I am really surprised with that. Great stuff though, I can't wait to play Mono on 360...With a 360 controller, over live, team based games, leaderboards !! Its like a dream come true, I could just be in the Twilight Zone...but I doubt.

OOP isn't friendly to begin with but when you embrace it, its a nicer world.

I wish you the best of luck, Fog ! Or shall I say Fillious Fog ! Who has litterally gone around the world in 80 bytes (its the best I could come up with given the time...). Awesome, i'll be reading this with less haste, mini waste.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on March 28, 2008, 09:51:14 AM
Great news fog.

Now that is a big leap ! Infact I am really surprised with that. Great stuff though, I can't wait to play Mono on 360...With a 360 controller, over live, team based games, leaderboards !! Its like a dream come true, I could just be in the Twilight Zone...but I doubt.

No leaderboards in XNA.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on March 28, 2008, 10:02:51 AM
Quote
Fillious Fog ! Who has litterally gone around the world in 80 bytes
  lol  ;D

I would say XNA is a good choice.  Even though i don't have any coding experience with it.  But from what i've seen, it looks stable, well supported, fast and feature packed.

Best of luck with it, and i'll look forward to hearing your experiences with it.

TMC




Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 28, 2008, 12:03:33 PM
Great news fog.

Now that is a big leap ! Infact I am really surprised with that. Great stuff though, I can't wait to play Mono on 360...With a 360 controller, over live, team based games, leaderboards !! Its like a dream come true, I could just be in the Twilight Zone...but I doubt.

No leaderboards in XNA.

You serious, shame...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on March 28, 2008, 01:49:16 PM
It's not only a new language for me to learn, it's a whole different way of coding.  I've never done anything OOP related so there's obviously something of a learning curve here.
To get a general grasp of OOP, i'd propose to first train with a few "Self" tutorials. However, the downside is that after you "get it", you may hate the current class-based languages for being unnecessarily complex (Self uses prototypes instead of classes - so, a more "pure" OOP-approach).

In short, the difference between prototype-based OOP and class-based OOP is this:

With a class-based language, there are only factories and products. Factories can only produce products and do nothing else. Products can have variables (attributes) and functions (methods). New products (instances) can only come from factories (classes). So, the entire programming environment is strictly divided (i'd call it shizophrenetic). If you need a new kind of product, you first need to create a factory for it, even if you need only one single product of this kind.

With prototype-based programming, there is no such kind of general seperation. There are just objects, which can contain vars and functions and which can do stuff. If you need more objects of the same kind, then you just copy it, and thats it.

- Lyx


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on March 28, 2008, 03:47:40 PM
It'll be interesting to see this stuff, always expanding it seems lol.

Of course, I'll just make one post full of tears if your first 360 exclusive comes out before I get a 360 :P (Though I assume you wouldn't just ditch us all... right? Right?) 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 28, 2008, 05:08:11 PM
Cheers for the comments and advice guys.  I didn't know anyone was reading this so I guess those updates better be more regular ;P

It'll be interesting to see this stuff, always expanding it seems lol.

Of course, I'll just make one post full of tears if your first 360 exclusive comes out before I get a 360 :P (Though I assume you wouldn't just ditch us all... right? Right?) 
If you're prepared to do a little installing then the PC version will still come out at the same time if not sooner than the 360 one ;)

XNA is far from perfect yet from what I've read on different forums but it is evolving really quickly and they do seem to be listening to developers concerns and improving or adding functionality where necessary.  As a developer that can only fill you with confidence for the future.

The only actual examples of XNA I've seen are the couple Paul has done (http://www.pumpkin-games.net/doppelganger.php?) and that was enough to convince me.  Obviously it will take me some time to get to that level (if ever) but it's more than enough inspiration.



BunnyMonkeys Adventures in XNA : Day 1

I haven't really done any coding as such yet as I've been familiarising myself with Visual Studio Express Edition and I must say I like what I've seen so far....even if it is a bit feature packed compared to what I'm used to.  I've always said I'd happily code in Notepad but there are a few things in VS that I can see I'm going to like (I'll comment more when I've had the chance to use them).

Opening up an XNA game template for the first time was quite reassuring though.  Over the last few years of working in BASIC I've changed the way I structure code a hell of a lot just through a gradual learning process.  As it happens the way I ended up structuring everything is almost identical to the way the main game engine works in XNA with separate Initialise, Load, Update and Draw methods/functions, so at least with that aspect of it I feel relatively comfortable.

Anyway where to start? Well it's a good job I said I wasn't going to go down the "Hello World" route as there doesn't seem to be a simple PRINT or TEXT command lol.  I don't use those commands much in games but it is useful to have them for development and debugging purposes so, having found a SpriteFont class, that seems like as good a place to start coding as anywhere.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Banzai on March 29, 2008, 04:45:53 AM
The first game I made in C++ was connect four.
It was a very good first learning program, it touched bases on a lot of concepts without being too complex.
I'd say choose something similar. A very simple game or program that deals with some of the areas you would like to get good at.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on March 29, 2008, 12:11:09 PM
Anyway where to start? Well it's a good job I said I wasn't going to go down the "Hello World" route as there doesn't seem to be a simple PRINT or TEXT command lol.  I don't use those commands much in games but it is useful to have them for development and debugging purposes so, having found a SpriteFont class, that seems like as good a place to start coding as anywhere.

Yeah, pass a SpriteFont into SpriteBatch.DrawString for XNA 'Hello World' :)

You can also use Console.WriteLine to print some debugging text to Visual Studio's Output window.  Then there's also the Watch and Locals windows for examining the contents of variables.

I'd personally give something like Connect 4 a miss.  Writing stuff like that or Pong or Tetris, etc isn't going to be very fullfilling when he's already got a tip top DBPro engine just waiting for him to get bored of his sexy new XNA mistress.  It's not like it's going to be his first game :) 

Get something running on the 360 ASAP because that is what XNA is all about! 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 29, 2008, 05:59:59 PM
The first game I made in C++ was connect four.
It was a very good first learning program, it touched bases on a lot of concepts without being too complex.
I'd say choose something similar. A very simple game or program that deals with some of the areas you would like to get good at.
Like Paul says, if I start on something simple then I'll just get bored and go back to my old DBPro engine where I could be developing proper games.  That's why I'm diving straight into a "proper" game.  It might be a foolish approach but it will at least make it interesting :)

Yeah, pass a SpriteFont into SpriteBatch.DrawString for XNA 'Hello World' :)
Indeed, we now have basic text. Yay for small milestones. :)



Just to start off simply I'm now working on a maths class to fill in some blanks in the existing classes and add a few methods I use regularly.  That seems like a good logical step as I get to write a bunch of methods and properties that I can test using my new Text class without worrying about fancy images and the like just yet.

The first difference I noticed here is that it uses radians and not degrees so that's something I'm going to have to adjust to.  Only a couple of the new methods have proved difficult but that was because I was making them timer related and didn't fully understand how the existing GameTime class worked.  Problem solved now.

Just need to write the Maths Update method now to handle a few things the way I did in DBPro and we can move on.  No doubt I'm making a load of mistakes but I'd rather press on and come back and correct things than spend too long scratching my head over little points.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 30, 2008, 11:22:59 AM
Impressive, you've already beaten me with XNA, your getting results almost instantly !

Would you say its worth taking the jump to XNA ? Because I like OOP its just its not very friendly is why i'm scared. I guess it helps that you're a great programmer !

Keep up the god(or good) work, Have you decided which game your gonna port ? I think you should port Crack snce its small, Or Mono because its unique, or Duo cause its unique...infact you should decide...

Best of luck !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on March 30, 2008, 12:39:02 PM
Just to start off simply I'm now working on a maths class to fill in some blanks in the existing classes and add a few methods I use regularly.  That seems like a good logical step as I get to write a bunch of methods and properties that I can test using my new Text class without worrying about fancy images and the like just yet.

The first difference I noticed here is that it uses radians and not degrees so that's something I'm going to have to adjust to.  Only a couple of the new methods have proved difficult but that was because I was making them timer related and didn't fully understand how the existing GameTime class worked.  Problem solved now.

Just need to write the Maths Update method now to handle a few things the way I did in DBPro and we can move on.  No doubt I'm making a load of mistakes but I'd rather press on and come back and correct things than spend too long scratching my head over little points.

Check out the MathHelper class too if you haven't already - loads of utility function for converting to and from radians / degrees, lerping between values and some constants for PI, TwoPi, etc.

It's also dead easy to do either variable or fixed step game loops using:

IsFixedTimeStep (on the Game class); true for fixed; false for variable
SynchronizeWithVerticalRetrace (on either Graphics or Graphics device); to sync to v-blank;

There's also a property you can set that determines how often Update is called but I forget what it is now (it defaults to 60 fps so I just left it at that)

And definitely check out Shawn Hargreaves blog.
http://blogs.msdn.com/shawnhar/

It's worth going back to the start and reading them all as there's loads of great tips and tricks in there.  He's really active on the forums too.
http://creators.xna.com/default.aspx

(You probably know those links anyway but just in case)



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: EricT on March 30, 2008, 12:46:54 PM
On the subject of XNA, is there an ETA for XNA with VS2008 support?

MSDN recently sent me a bunch of promo crap for VS2008 (various install discs, free licenses, etc... normal "Hey, if you still like it in a year, pay us $10,000,000 so you can use it till we upgrade in about 6 months). None of the bathroom reading material seems to mention XNA at all in this though, and as far as I knew the last time I read up on it, XNA2.0 is 2005 only.

Hopefully should have a large amount of time in the summer to myself, and possibly, if a certain person who lives 2 floors above me, doesn't book the studio up again completely on my off time, I should be able to start trying this whole "complete a project" thing again.

Edit: Oh, I am aware there are a few unofficial ways to work around into it working, but... I'd prefer an official system personally so when it screws up, I have official people to bitch at, and not some pimply kid who hasn't left his mothers basement since he started programming his uber-awesome MMORPG.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 30, 2008, 01:41:50 PM
Would you say its worth taking the jump to XNA ? Because I like OOP its just its not very friendly is why i'm scared. I guess it helps that you're a great programmer !
Well at the risk of repeating myself, I'm nothing more than an average programmer from a technical viewpoint :) Game design and coding ability are very different things.

I can't say whether you should use XNA, but if I can get my head around it this quickly with no OOP experience then you shouldn't have any trouble making the jump at all.  I've really got nothing else to compare it with, but Paul can probably give you a better idea of how it compares to other languages and anything important you should be aware of.

Keep up the god(or good) work, Have you decided which game your gonna port ? I think you should port Crack snce its small, Or Mono because its unique, or Duo cause its unique...in fact you should decide...
lol.  That sort of decision is a long long way off.  I don't even know how to do a FOR/NEXT loop yet. :)

Check out the MathHelper class too if you haven't already - loads of utility function for converting to and from radians / degrees, lerping between values and some constants for PI, TwoPi, etc.
Yeah I found that after I'd written a bunch of methods that were already in there.   All good practice though  :P

It's also dead easy to do either variable or fixed step game loops using:

IsFixedTimeStep (on the Game class); true for fixed; false for variable
SynchronizeWithVerticalRetrace (on either Graphics or Graphics device); to sync to v-blank;
Right, I'm not sure exactly how that would work on a PC with low FPS so I'm going to write everything timer related for now.   That might be the wrong thing to do but that's what I'm used to and I can always change things later.

On the subject of XNA, is there an ETA for XNA with VS2008 support?
XNA 3.0 needs VS2008 and that's due "spring" IIRC.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on March 30, 2008, 04:08:36 PM
lol.  That sort of decision is a long long way off.  I don't even know how to do a FOR/NEXT loop yet. :)

for (int i = 0; i < someValue; ++i)
{
    this.DoSomething(i);
}

You can also use foreach to iterate over list type things (if they implement certain interfaces).

System.Collections.Generic.List<Alien> myBigListOfAliens = new System.Collections.Generic.List<Alien>();
myBigListOfAliens.Add(new Alien("Fred"));
myBigListOfAliens.Add(new Alien("Bob"));
myBigListOfAliens.Add(new Alien("Jim"));

foreach (Alien myAlien in myBigListOfAliens)
{
    myAlien.AttackPlayer(MASSIVE_DAMAGE);
}

It's all in my book, Become an XNA Expert in 21 days (by Paul Cunningham) available from all good bookstores :)

It's also dead easy to do either variable or fixed step game loops using:

IsFixedTimeStep (on the Game class); true for fixed; false for variable
SynchronizeWithVerticalRetrace (on either Graphics or Graphics device); to sync to v-blank;
Right, I'm not sure exactly how that would work on a PC with low FPS so I'm going to write everything timer related for now.   That might be the wrong thing to do but that's what I'm used to and I can always change things later.

I've never really been a fan of timer based loops simply because they are so unpredictable.  I made the switch to fixed after trying to get an alien to zigzag around and he would move wildly different on my fast / slow machines.  My current approach is to tell XNA I want a variable game loop and code my own fixed logic in there.  Gives me more control over what's fixed (all main game objects) and what's not (effects like trails and particles). Rendering is done when all the updates have been done and this could mean 0,1 or more updates between draw calls.  I have to interpolate my last position --> current position to keep things smooth but it means that recordable demos are as simple as saving player keystrokes (and random number seed) and not total object state (I do lose the ability to rewind demos but I can live with that).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 30, 2008, 09:44:43 PM
It's all in my book, Become an XNA Expert in 21 days (by Paul Cunningham) available from all good bookstores :)
Release it already :)  I could really do with a book that goes beyond the basics and shows things that I otherwise might not stumble across.

It's also dead easy to do either variable or fixed step game loops using:

IsFixedTimeStep (on the Game class); true for fixed; false for variable
SynchronizeWithVerticalRetrace (on either Graphics or Graphics device); to sync to v-blank;
Right, I'm not sure exactly how that would work on a PC with low FPS so I'm going to write everything timer related for now.   That might be the wrong thing to do but that's what I'm used to and I can always change things later.

I've never really been a fan of timer based loops simply because they are so unpredictable.  I made the switch to fixed after trying to get an alien to zigzag around and he would move wildly different on my fast / slow machines.  My current approach is to tell XNA I want a variable game loop and code my own fixed logic in there.  Gives me more control over what's fixed (all main game objects) and what's not (effects like trails and particles). Rendering is done when all the updates have been done and this could mean 0,1 or more updates between draw calls.  I have to interpolate my last position --> current position to keep things smooth but it means that recordable demos are as simple as saving player keystrokes (and random number seed) and not total object state (I do lose the ability to rewind demos but I can live with that).
Hold on, I don't think we are talking about the same thing here.....or rather we are but we are calling them by different names. ;P

When I say timer based code I'm not talking about timer based loops.  I mean calculating everything based on how much time has elapsed regardless of how many loops there have been.  So if an object moves 100 pixels in a second then I use the timer to calculate how far it should have travelled based on elapsed time since the last function/method/whatever call.

That way it doesn't really matter how often XNA calls the various Update & Draw loops, everything should look relatively smooth......which I think is what you meant. :)


BunnyMonkey Takes Control - Day 3
Well the text and maths classes are now functional.  (With my definition of "functional" being that I don't know whether they are right but at least they aren't throwing any errors anymore.)

Next up I had a nosey around the input classes and again everything looked pretty straight forward.  I did however decide to write my own classes to arrange the info the existing classes provide in a more usable form.  Again this is no doubt unnecessary but it will make my code easier for me to read and understand and at this stage that's quite important.

So my Mouse class obviously has a bunch of variables to hold the states of the various buttons etc but also handles the drawing of the mouse pointer if required.  Very simple stuff.

Likewise my Joypad class stores the states of every button, trigger and stick and can also be used to trigger a number of set vibration effects.  That's pretty cool and should link well with my FX class when I write that.

All in all, even though the more complicated stuff is still to come, I don't feel that's too bad progress for a few days work. 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 30, 2008, 09:54:28 PM
After 3 days of work and you are already on input classes, thats great ! Have you tried loading any images, PNGs JPEGs yet because that always threw me in XNA. I also love the more recent updates ! But I am curious however, why BunnyMonkey ? Also, does this mean that once you get most of the behind the scenes you can start the real work, since luckily for you, most of your media is already there, unless you decide to increase it in resoloution to make it more HD friendly :D.

I am seriously impressed.

As far as books are concerned I have a friend...I say friend a really high ranking person in Microsoft/Lecturer at my local university who has written a handy little book for XNA and game creation. His name is Rob Miles www.robmiles.com (http://www.robmiles.com) check it out, he also runs a blog which he updates regularly.

I can't wait to see what day 4 brings...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on March 31, 2008, 09:18:18 AM
Hold on, I don't think we are talking about the same thing here.....or rather we are but we are calling them by different names. ;P

When I say timer based code I'm not talking about timer based loops.  I mean calculating everything based on how much time has elapsed regardless of how many loops there have been.  So if an object moves 100 pixels in a second then I use the timer to calculate how far it should have travelled based on elapsed time since the last function/method/whatever call.

That way it doesn't really matter how often XNA calls the various Update & Draw loops, everything should look relatively smooth......which I think is what you meant. :)

Nah, we are talking about different things (I think).  The key is the 100 pixels per second.  My code has no concept of 'per second'.

I'm guessing you have code that does this sort of thing...

position += velocity * time since the last function/method/whatever.

Whereas my movement code is simply...

position += velocity.

What happens if drawing takes longer than 16.7 milliseconds (60 fps)?  I simply run through the update process again.  Now obviously this could result in cases where there are a different number of update calls called between draw calls so my movement would look jerky.  To stop this I have to do...

this.currentState = this.prevousState;
this.currentState = get new current state (movement, rotation, scalling, etc)
this.renderState = interpolate between previous and current states using the amount of 'left over frame time'


Here's the Flipcode artilce from way back that I based my loop on...
http://www.flipcode.com/archives/Main_Loop_with_Fixed_Time_Steps.shtml

Unfortunately due to the death of Flipcode the nested comments seem to have gone :(

You seem to be taking to this XNA malarky like a duck to water. Nice one :)

Tip of the day!  Ensure you set compression to on in your XACT audio project - I went from 33 megs to 4! on the XBox and 8 on Windows doing this :)
http://blogs.msdn.com/mitchw/archive/2007/04/27/audio-compression-using-xact.aspx


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 31, 2008, 11:47:33 AM
But I am curious however, why BunnyMonkey ?
It's just an in-joke.  Clue: :bunnymonkey:

Also, does this mean that once you get most of the behind the scenes you can start the real work, since luckily for you, most of your media is already there, unless you decide to increase it in resoloution to make it more HD friendly :D.
That all depends on what I decide to write.  Increasing the resolution of the existing images is pretty unnecessary though as the resolution change isn't that big and at the current image res they will just appear slightly smaller meaning I can have more of them on screen.....possibly.

As far as books are concerned I have a friend...I say friend a really high ranking person in Microsoft/Lecturer at my local university who has written a handy little book for XNA and game creation. His name is Rob Miles www.robmiles.com (http://www.robmiles.com) check it out, he also runs a blog which he updates regularly.
lol.  That's the one XNA book I have so far.  I got it a week or two ago and read all of it before writing a single line of code.  It's a great book if you're coming at XNA knowing very little like me, but I already need something slightly more advanced.  Recommended for total noobs though. :)


Hold on, I don't think we are talking about the same thing here.....or rather we are but we are calling them by different names. ;P

When I say timer based code I'm not talking about timer based loops.  I mean calculating everything based on how much time has elapsed regardless of how many loops there have been.  So if an object moves 100 pixels in a second then I use the timer to calculate how far it should have travelled based on elapsed time since the last function/method/whatever call.

That way it doesn't really matter how often XNA calls the various Update & Draw loops, everything should look relatively smooth......which I think is what you meant. :)

Nah, we are talking about different things (I think).  The key is the 100 pixels per second.  My code has no concept of 'per second'.

I'm guessing you have code that does this sort of thing...

position += velocity * time since the last function/method/whatever.

Whereas my movement code is simply...

position += velocity.

What happens if drawing takes longer than 16.7 milliseconds (60 fps)?  I simply run through the update process again.  Now obviously this could result in cases where there are a different number of update calls called between draw calls so my movement would look jerky.  To stop this I have to do...

this.currentState = this.prevousState;
this.currentState = get new current state (movement, rotation, scalling, etc)
this.renderState = interpolate between previous and current states using the amount of 'left over frame time'


Here's the Flipcode artilce from way back that I based my loop on...
http://www.flipcode.com/archives/Main_Loop_with_Fixed_Time_Steps.shtml
Ah right. Well we end up with similar results but with very different methods.  I'm not sure that method would work for everything that I need though.  It's not just movement and rotation that I have timer based, it's everything from basic AI to the colour cycling of the text (yeah totally unnecessary but...) , and keeping track of that using currentState/previousState would be almost impossible IMO....or at least result in a load of extra code.

As with most things though, this is just the method I've developed over the years and I'm not going to recommend it to anyone else, especially when I know so little about XNA, but it works for me so far.

You seem to be taking to this XNA malarky like a duck to water. Nice one :)
Well I'm getting stuff done but god knows if I'm doing it the right way :)

Tip of the day!  Ensure you set compression to on in your XACT audio project - I went from 33 megs to 4! on the XBox and 8 on Windows doing this :)
http://blogs.msdn.com/mitchw/archive/2007/04/27/audio-compression-using-xact.aspx
Ah cool.  Audio will be the next think I tackle I think as I need to get sound into a project as soon as possible....and the one thing I am concerned about with XNA is the download size so anything that helps reduce that is great. Cheers :)



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on March 31, 2008, 12:20:03 PM
Ah right. Well we end up with similar results but with very different methods.  I'm not sure that method would work for everything that I need though.  It's not just movement and rotation that I have timer based, it's everything from basic AI to the colour cycling of the text (yeah totally unnecessary but...) , and keeping track of that using currentState/previousState would be almost impossible IMO....or at least result in a load of extra code.

The colour cycling (for me at least) doesn't affect my game objects so that just goes in the non deterministic part of my update loop that gets called as and when. 

I simply use a base class that stores common physical properties that affect gameplay.  So the code to keep track of previous state, lerping, etc is just in one place.  I do have to do a bit more coding and I'm not 100% happy with my current implementation but it works well enough in practice.

As with most things though, this is just the method I've developed over the years and I'm not going to recommend it to anyone else, especially when I know so little about XNA, but it works for me so far.
Oh yeah definitely, I'm not advocating you change your engine to be like mine - hehe.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 31, 2008, 01:21:31 PM
I get the BunnyMonkey, but why do you refer your adventures to be the same as BunnyMonkey's adventures ? Thats what seriously puzzles me, and heck, what is a Bunny Monkey ? In real life ???

Small world, eh ? The one book I recommend is the one book you have, the chances of that are rather unlikely, If I were to make a bet on you having that book, I would've lost because I presumed you didn't have it. Little did you know, that guy in real life is nearly 7 foot tall ! Whoa. Lol.

So sound will be your next big obstacle ? Good good.

Also if things are smaller and you do decide to throw more stuff around on screen, that'll be crazy ! But decidedly fun.

Another thing I was wondering is... where are you finding all of this new found time to program ? I'm not complaining but...you never have time to program, ever ! Let alone learn a new language then crush other XNA members into the ground ! No offense Paul  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 31, 2008, 09:08:23 PM
The colour cycling (for me at least) doesn't affect my game objects so that just goes in the non deterministic part of my update loop that gets called as and when. 
Well saying my colour cycling was linked to the timer was a bit of a red herring.  It is, but only because it uses one of the counters that I use for a number of things ( I have a SIN+, SIN-, COS+ & COS- counters that I use for anything that has to "cycle") Again that's probably OTT but it makes things a lot easier for me.

eg (pseudo):
Color.r = SIN+ * 255
Color.g = SIN- * 255
Color.b = COS+ * 255

I'm doing most things the way I always have done though so as I become more comfortable with OOP and familiar with XNA I'll go back and change things.

All my timer based stuff is done using one method....

eg (pseudo):
Position = Position + TimerValue( distance )

...so if I find this is unnecessary the for a quick fix I can just have that TimerValue method return the same value that's passed into it.

I know this is all basic stuff but it actually helps me to confirm my reasoning behind certain decisions if I write it all down. :)

I get the BunnyMonkey, but why do you refer your adventures to be the same as BunnyMonkey's adventures ? Thats what seriously puzzles me, and heck, what is a Bunny Monkey ? In real life ???
I wish I hadn't mentioned BunnyMonkey now :P  You weren't supposed to understand it, that's why I said it was an in-joke with las6 being possibly the only other person that would understand it.

There is no such thing as a Bunny Monkey obviously, but my graphics were so bad that las6 thought my little monkey was really a bunny and named the original file accordingly.  That's the strange thing about the internet.  There are a load of really weird and unexplained things on it and mostly people just accept them for what they are....like some peoples strange usernames for example  :)

Another thing I was wondering is... where are you finding all of this new found time to program ? I'm not complaining but...you never have time to program, ever ! Let alone learn a new language then crush other XNA members into the ground ! No offense Paul  :bunnymonkey:
I didn't have much time when I was working but now I'm on the sick I need to be doing something constructive when I can otherwise I'll go raving mad.  There's only so much daytime TV a man can watch.

Let alone learn a new language then crush other XNA members into the ground ! No offense Paul  :bunnymonkey:
Hardly.  I wouldn't be doing this without Paul's encouragement and he'll no doubt be helping me a lot on the more advanced areas of XNA (shhh though because he doesn't know that yet ;) )



RIP BunnyMonkey - Day 4
No progress to report today as I've been out, but in response to the earlier confusion he caused, BunnyMonkey has been taken out back and shot.  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 31, 2008, 09:23:47 PM
Funny stuff, I now fully understand BunnyMonkey, he can return if you so wish ! Great to hear that you are progressing... I'll continue to post my commentations on each of your blog updates too !

Incase you were wondering where my username originated, i'll tell you.
J is the first initial in my name, i.e my first names initial.
D is my second names initial
og finishes Dog nicely.
053, well 53 is my house number !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 01, 2008, 02:26:28 PM
Incase you were wondering where my username originated, i'll tell you.
J is the first initial in my name, i.e my first names initial.
D is my second names initial
og finishes Dog nicely.
053, well 53 is my house number !
Good job you calrified that or I may have mistaken you for the JDog at No.52  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 01, 2008, 06:57:15 PM
Incase you were wondering where my username originated, i'll tell you.
J is the first initial in my name, i.e my first names initial.
D is my second names initial
og finishes Dog nicely.
053, well 53 is my house number !
Good job you calrified that or I may have mistaken you for the JDog at No.52  :bunnymonkey:

Lol now that got me laughing ! Also just JDog on its own is already taken.

So how goes BunnyMonkey's adventure on day 5 ?   :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 02, 2008, 07:48:28 PM
Let There Be Sound - Day 5

Well on first hearing about it, I thought the idea of having to use XACT to handle sound in XNA was an unnecessary complication.  As it happens on further investigation it turns out it works in almost exactly the same way as the sound scripts and engine I'd previously written in DBPro with a lot of the same options built in.  Not only does that mean it was easy to get to grips with, but it also means I don't have to port my old audio code to recreate the system I had been using.....it's mostly already there for me. :)

After a little while messing about with the XACT software itself, I had a sound library I could load into XNA, and a quick class and a couple of extra variables and methods later and we have sound.  Awesome.

The only thing I couldn't quite get working was adjusting the sound balance.  Setting the variable in XNA that I thought would handle this seems to result in all the sound coming out of one speaker or the other and not slowly fading between the two.  No doubt I'm doing something stupid but I can't complain as I've made satisfying progress without needing much code.

I'm really liking this so far.  Due to the sheer size of XNA, finding the necessary classes and methods sometimes requires a bit of investigation work but once you find what you're looking for they appear to have covered everything you could possibly need.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 02, 2008, 07:54:07 PM
Good to hear ! So other than solve the sound problem you are having at the moment,

what do you plan to continue onto next ? i.e what'll you be coding next ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 03, 2008, 11:45:11 AM
So other than solve the sound problem you are having at the moment...
I was adjusting sound panning in Tension, but I hadn't used it in any other games so I can easily work without it for now.  Any sensible person would fix it but I don't want to get held up by any minor problems just now.

what do you plan to continue onto next ? i.e what'll you be coding next ?
I doubt I'll be able to do anything today, but I might try and get an image on screen next.  I hear images are quite important when writing games.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 03, 2008, 09:45:02 PM
How did the image on screen go today Fog ?

Also Fog, I do hope XNA goes well, then you publish a hyper successful game through XNA and big bucks, because its what you and the Binary Zoo team deserve ! Freeware to LLC would be great ! My fear is that you see this as a hobby and you wouldn't like to make the jump and live off of your hobby ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 03, 2008, 10:11:59 PM
How did the image on screen go today Fog ?
It didn't, as I suggested earlier :)  Too tired and coding while tired isn't a good idea.

Also Fog, I do hope XNA goes well, then you publish a hyper successful game through XNA and big bucks, because its what you and the Binary Zoo team deserve ! Freeware to LLC would be great ! My fear is that you see this as a hobby and you wouldn't like to make the jump and live off of your hobby ?
Woah slow down.  I'm just evaluating XNA here and a long way off releasing anything on PC or 360....and there's every chance that if I do it will be freeware anyway.  We certainly don't have any plans for anything different ATM.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 03, 2008, 10:54:54 PM
Lol I did get a bit carried away...i'll cool it for a few days. I should really get back to working on some of my flash titles really.

Its also not good to code when you are tired, very right indeed. Basically enjoy and use each day as it comes. I do also hope that whatever illness it is you have, you get better from it and are made physically stronger and mentally smarter as a result.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on April 04, 2008, 12:15:22 AM
Bloody hell, if I didn't code when tired I'd never do any.  I've been permanently shattered for about 2 1/2 years now.  Little people keep waking me up at night :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on April 04, 2008, 12:59:55 AM
Bloody hell, if I didn't code when tired I'd never do any.  I've been permanently shattered for about 2 1/2 years now.  Little people keep waking me up at night :)
QFT. :)

I go to work, code for 8 hours, then come home, and code for another couple of hours. I have no idea how I actually pull this off. :)


Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on April 04, 2008, 10:47:48 AM
Yeh thats an interesting discussion.

For me, the amount i code varies quite alot.  Some days i do a small bit, other days i can code all day and then some other days ,code all through the night as well.  But those all night sessions arnt very often.

I do like to code every day though, even if it's a small amount.  I like to think i'm making constant progress, no matter how small.

Obviously i suffer from tiredness too, so i make sure i get plenty of rest when i need it. 

But i'm pretty laid back about it all and am certainly in rush to reach milestones.  All in good time.  And i think the end result is better for it.

You cant rush art.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on April 04, 2008, 01:37:05 PM
You cant rush art.   ;D

True. 

Or as the mighty Phil Collins said, "you can't hurry love."


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 04, 2008, 06:22:19 PM
You cant rush art.   ;D

True. 

Or as the mighty Phil Collins said, "you can't hurry love."
Yeah but he also said "Sussudio oh oh oh" so can you trust him?  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on April 05, 2008, 03:38:48 PM
Quote
Or as the mighty Phil Collins said, "you can't hurry love."
Yeah but he also said "Sussudio oh oh oh" so can you trust him?  :bunnymonkey:
;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 06, 2008, 07:43:45 PM
Day 6 - I Can See!

No progress for the last couple of days as I've been wiped out and resting.

Tonight I've just written the first of a few graphics classes with this one just handling images.  Pretty much all it does is load and display them as they are.  Rotation, scaling, colouring etc will be handled in the Sprite class when I write that.

I've also been thinking I'll rewrite my control code next though so it can handle multiplayer straight away.  At least local multiplayer anyway.  It wasn't so much an issue when writing stuff just for PC, but when considering the 360 then local multiplayer is something a lot of people do so I should be exploiting that where possible.  And it's much easier to add the code to do that now than to try and add it at a later date.  (Just make sure someone reminds me of this when I'm writing the player code so that can handle multiple players too  :P )

Whether I do Echoes, mono or something entirely different first, I'll have a stab at including a few different multiplayer modes.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 06, 2008, 10:03:52 PM
No progress for the last couple of days as I've been wiped out and resting.

Tonight I've just written the first of a few graphics classes with this one just handling images.  Pretty much all it does is load and display them as they are.  Rotation, scaling, colouring etc will be handled in the Sprite class when I write that.

I've also been thinking I'll rewrite my control code next though so it can handle multiplayer straight away.  At least local multiplayer anyway.  It wasn't so much an issue when writing stuff just for PC, but when considering the 360 then local multiplayer is something a lot of people do so I should be exploiting that where possible.  And it's much easier to add the code to do that now than to try and add it at a later date.  (Just make sure someone reminds me of this when I'm writing the player code so that can handle multiple players too  :P )

Whether I do Echoes, mono or something entirely different first, I'll have a stab at including a few different multiplayer modes.

Good to hear your still muscling on in the coding front !

Local multiplayer is played by a lot of people ! Don't worry, I will remind you to code the players later.

The key is to just get yourself into a routine.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on April 08, 2008, 06:57:50 AM
Hi, just wanted to mention a rather simple yet efficient idea of which i was remembered when checking out Vector Tower Defense 2: Layered Music.

In TD, there is just one music song which loops over and over. However, at the beginning, only the basic tracks of the song are enabled, and as you progress through the game (in the case of a shooter, this would be levels), more and more tracks get switched on - with the effect, that the music feels to "progress" just as you progress through the game. Simple idea, but works very efficient IMO. Playing an echoes-type game would be a blast with such an "unfolding" soundtrack!

P.S.: If one of you didn't play the VTD games (there are three: VectorTD, VectorTDX and VectorTD2), then you definatelly SHOULD play it, even if just alone because of the music, especially VTD2.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 08, 2008, 12:08:43 PM
Hi, just wanted to mention a rather simple yet efficient idea of which i was remembered when checking out Vector Tower Defense 2: Layered Music.

In TD, there is just one music song which loops over and over. However, at the beginning, only the basic tracks of the song are enabled, and as you progress through the game (in the case of a shooter, this would be levels), more and more tracks get switched on - with the effect, that the music feels to "progress" just as you progress through the game. Simple idea, but works very efficient IMO. Playing an echoes-type game would be a blast with such an "unfolding" soundtrack!

P.S.: If one of you didn't play the VTD games (there are three: VectorTD, VectorTDX and VectorTD2), then you definatelly SHOULD play it, even if just alone because of the music, especially VTD2.
Yup I loved VTD.  I've already done music in just the way you describe but had to ditch the idea becasue it was too slow under DBPro (something to do with decoding multiple mp3's I assume), but I may try it again under XNA.  That may well throw up an entirely different problem though as it only handles wav's and not mp3's from what I can see...so multiple wav soundtrack's mean a large download size.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on April 08, 2008, 01:36:16 PM
Enable compression in your XACT project.  My 3 minute, 30+ meg wav file disappeared down to 4 meg on the 360 and 8 ish on Windows.  I'm sure I posted a link showing how to do that  but now I can't find it ???


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Lyx on April 08, 2008, 03:15:12 PM
On a literarily related note: I was quite surprised with the mixing quality of VTD2. Seeming very well done, especially for a flash game. Then i recorded it to take a closer look, and guess what: the music has 20dB headroom for the peaks! You dont even get that much dynamics in the crappy mastering of commercial music anymore, let alone videogames!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 08, 2008, 03:59:59 PM
Enable compression in your XACT project.  My 3 minute, 30+ meg wav file disappeared down to 4 meg on the 360 and 8 ish on Windows.  I'm sure I posted a link showing how to do that  but now I can't find it ???
This is it...

http://blogs.msdn.com/mitchw/archive/2007/04/27/audio-compression-using-xact.aspx

I bookmarked it when you last posted it and it certainly makes a big difference to file sizes without making an obvious difference to the sound quality.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 08, 2008, 10:11:33 PM
Hey Fog, just wondering, did you manage to get anything on screen ? Hoping all is going well !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 08, 2008, 10:59:41 PM
Hey Fog, just wondering, did you manage to get anything on screen ? Hoping all is going well !
I've been out, can't see properly, so very little progress. (*)

I've changed my Joypad code to handle local multiplayer now and I finally have a mouse pointer using my image class.  Tomorrow, all being well, I'll write either the sprite or animation classes.

EDIT:
(*) that sounded a bit suspect when I read it back lol  :bunnymonkey:....so just to clarify my eyes are only bloodshot and feel like someone's rubbed chili sauce in them due to an allergic reaction.  It's something I've had all my life, no big deal, and should be better in the morning :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 10, 2008, 03:03:42 PM
Day 7 - Sprite-tastic.

Just putting the finishing touches, for now anyway, to the sprite class.  So that takes the images and rotates, scales, colours etc them and displays them on the screen.  All fairly painful stuff to code really.

There are a few Spritebatch options that I haven't looked into yet and I'm not sure what the most efficient way of sorting and displaying them is but I wont worry about that until much later.....or until I run intor performance issues anyway.

Anyway my eyesight is back to normal today and I'm not feeling too tired so I might even get the animation class done before the day is out.  :kangaroo:

As this is effectively the end of a week of using XNA (albeit spread out over longer) it's worth seeing how much I've managed to get done spending an hour or two a day as I think it says a lot for how simple XNA has been to pick up.  Remembering that I came into this with no C++/C# or OOP experience, in a very short space of time we have essentially complete image, sprite, sound, music and input classes....the backbone on which all games will be built.

I'm sure I'll hit problems and stumble across things I don't like eventually, but so far XNA has been excellent.  Everything from the editor to the documentation to the structuring and relative simplicity of the language has been fantastic compared to what I've come from.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 12, 2008, 09:44:43 PM
Day 8 - God might have had a rest by now but I'm still going...

I now have the animation class all sorted and linked in with the sprites so that's all the basic display stuff finished.  Come to think of it, I still have the bitmap font stuff to code, but that shouldn't be too hard and I don't really need that just yet.  I'll get some game or other up and running and then go back and add the proper font code.

Our games aren't exactly known for their fancy animations, but I do like to have the option to use them and have done occasionally (the powerup icons in Echoes being one example, although I dare say a lot of people hadn't even noticed they were animated  :) )

So anyway to test this and the input code, I dived in and wrote the framework for the player code....and yes I remembered to make it multiplayer JDog ;) .  So we now have the traditional Binary Zoo players sprite moving around under joypad control.  He's a little bored ATM as there isn't a lot for him to do or look at but we'll soon fix that  :bunnymonkey:

Testing of that joypad code showed up a small error and nearly gave me a heart attack in the process.  I had one of my joypad class flags set to "true" by mistake, meaning that when the Update method was called vibration in the joypad was activated, and it proceeded to rattle its way across my glass desk, making a ridiculous racket and nearly necessitating a change or underwear.

Some bugs can slip by unnoticed, but it's fair to say I spotted that one  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 13, 2008, 10:02:27 AM
That sounds great ! Do you plan to incorporate joypad vibration into key moments in your games now ? Like when you pick up items or get hit by something ? It is amazing that after 8 days you are on to a winner ! Keep up the good work.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 13, 2008, 12:02:48 PM
That sounds great ! Do you plan to incorporate joypad vibration into key moments in your games now ? Like when you pick up items or get hit by something ?
Yes, I've now integrated joypad vibration into my FX code.  This means that when I call an FX of any kind (particle explosion, screen shake etc) , a predefined joypad vibration setting is also triggered automatically.

As this uses XNA though it's possible that this vibration may only work with an XBox360 joypad.  Obviously on the XBox version itself this isn't a problem but it may mean no vibration on the PC version unless you use a 360 pad, but I'll have to test that before I know for sure.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on April 14, 2008, 09:57:13 AM
Yup, XInput only works for 360 pads.  You'll have to look at Managed Direct Input if you want to support the rest.  There's a wrapper on SourceForge for it...

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xnadirectinput/

You'll have to redist the Managed Direct X Dlls if you use it and that's where things start to get 'fun'.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 14, 2008, 03:01:53 PM
Yup, XInput only works for 360 pads.  You'll have to look at Managed Direct Input if you want to support the rest.  There's a wrapper on SourceForge for it...

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xnadirectinput/

You'll have to redist the Managed Direct X Dlls if you use it and that's where things start to get 'fun'.
Cheers Paul....although I've a feeling your definition of "fun" might be slightly different to mine :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 14, 2008, 07:28:38 PM
That sounds great ! Do you plan to incorporate joypad vibration into key moments in your games now ? Like when you pick up items or get hit by something ?
Yes, I've now integrated joypad vibration into my FX code.  This means that when I call an FX of any kind (particle explosion, screen shake etc) , a predefined joypad vibration setting is also triggered automatically.

As this uses XNA though it's possible that this vibration may only work with an XBox360 joypad.  Obviously on the XBox version itself this isn't a problem but it may mean no vibration on the PC version unless you use a 360 pad, but I'll have to test that before I know for sure.

You seem to be doing quite great. you sould add some enemies, bullets and get shooting stuff !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 15, 2008, 06:12:50 PM
That sounds great ! Do you plan to incorporate joypad vibration into key moments in your games now ? Like when you pick up items or get hit by something ?
Yes, I've now integrated joypad vibration into my FX code.  This means that when I call an FX of any kind (particle explosion, screen shake etc) , a predefined joypad vibration setting is also triggered automatically.

As this uses XNA though it's possible that this vibration may only work with an XBox360 joypad.  Obviously on the XBox version itself this isn't a problem but it may mean no vibration on the PC version unless you use a 360 pad, but I'll have to test that before I know for sure.

You seem to be doing quite great. you sould add some enemies, bullets and get shooting stuff !
Why didn't I think of that? :)

Day 9 - Reinventing the Wheel.
Well it's the sort of thing that was inevitable when you dive in and start coding without doing the minimum of background research first, but it would appear that some of the joypad input code I've written is unnecessary.  Not a huge problem, it still works, and it was all part of the learning process.  For now I'll leave it but it's another thing I'll come back and tidy up at some stage.

More importantly though I've now got the graphical side of my FX code up and running and successfully recreating all the explosion FX etc I had running in Echoes.  Pretty cool. :)   At the moment all the FX "scripting" is hard coded whereas in the old game engine it was loaded from an XML file but, as I haven't got any XML code written yet (or any other file code for that matter), it will stay hard coded for now.

Finally feel like I'm making proper progress now.  All the background maths, input, audio etc code is essential but there's nothing quite as satisfying as having something actually on screen....especially when it's lovely neon explosions  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 15, 2008, 06:24:51 PM
It just gets better and better, maybe by day 20 you might have a playable build of a game, small as it may. Nah, in all seriousness you are progressing above and beyond what I expected, it gets better the more I read. Do you have a CC membership or are you testing all builds off of your PC whilst using your wired controller ? If so, whats it liek (spelling mistake intentional) ?

Do you know how you are going to add the enemies and add the bullet system like in Mono/Echoes etc. ? Its what i've been wondering since the language isn't friendly.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 15, 2008, 09:01:52 PM
Do you have a CC membership or are you testing all builds off of your PC whilst using your wired controller ? If so, whats it liek (spelling mistake intentional) ?
No CC membership yet so I haven't seen anything on the 360.  I really need to get my old 360 repaired so I can have it next to my PC and use it exclusively for development.  If I rely on the 360 downstairs then I'll have to run up and down stairs during testing and right now with me being ill that's not an option.


Do you know how you are going to add the enemies and add the bullet system like in Mono/Echoes etc. ? Its what i've been wondering since the language isn't friendly.
I don't see why that would be a problem.  Basic enemy and bullet code aren't any more complicated than the FX code I've already got up and running.  Add collisions to those FX particles and they are essentially bullets, and enemy code is essentially the same.

Sure for the enemies I need a chunk of code to handle their different behaviours but code will be little different in XNA to that in BASIC.  They syntax is different but the logic is the same.

Again though the bullet and enemy code in the old engine was all controlled by XML scripts but initially I'll hard code everything.

Day 9 - Additional...
I've just done a proper test on all the FX code and everything hands together well.  One command calls one of the standard FX which creates the particles, plays any necessary sound, and triggers the controller vibration.  The only thing missing from that which I had in the old engine is the ability to trigger a screen effect (screen shaking, flashing etc) so I guess I'll be doing that next. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on April 15, 2008, 09:38:04 PM
FYI fog, XML parsing is totally built into XNA. I believe the class you are looking for is XMLReader, but I could be wrong. And it's mind-numbingly simple to use too! :)


Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 15, 2008, 10:51:22 PM
FYI fog, XML parsing is totally built into XNA. I believe the class you are looking for is XMLReader, but I could be wrong. And it's mind-numbingly simple to use too! :)
Cool.  Cheers mate.

I hadn't looked into it myself so assumed I would have to code the whole thing like I had to in DBPro.  The more I see of XNA the more I like it.  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on April 16, 2008, 11:07:15 AM
I use the XmlSerializer class - dead easy...

Say I have some class I want to write out to XML.

    [Serializable]
    public class EnvironmentSettings
    {
        public int Width = 1280;
        public int Height = 720;
        public bool FullScreen = true;
    }


Tag it as [Serializable] and expose the data you want to save (the public fields).

Add a method to the class to Save itself (or some other class that deals with loading and saving but you'd have to change the this.GetType() below)

    public void Save(string filename)
    {
            StorageContainer storageContainer = myGame.StorageContainer; //Required for Xbox, not really for Windows.

            using (FileStream fileStream = new FileStream(filename, FileMode.Create))
            {
                System.Xml.Serialization.XmlSerializer x = new System.Xml.Serialization.XmlSerializer(this.GetType());
                x.Serialize(fileStream, this);
            }

            storageContainer.Dispose(); //Required for Xbox, not really for Windows.
    }


Easy Peasy.

Loading?

    public static EnvironmentSettings Load(string filename)
        {
            EnvironmentSettings settings = null;

            //Test to see if the file exists.
            //Create a new settings object if not (will have the default values set)
            if (!File.Exists(filename))
                settings = new EnvironmentSettings();

            //Load the settings from the file.
            else
            {
                using (FileStream fileStream = new FileStream(filename, FileMode.Open))
                {
                    System.Xml.Serialization.XmlSerializer x = new System.Xml.Serialization.XmlSerializer(typeof(EnvironmentSettings));
                    settings = (EnvironmentSettings)x.Deserialize(fileStream);
                }
            }
               
            return settings;
        }


Handles situations where you've added new fields / properties to the class you want to save (e.g. a new feature) but are trying to load an old options file.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 16, 2008, 09:47:04 PM
Cheers Paul :)

I've just got in having been out all day so wont have a chance to try that until tomorrow, but there are also a few things in there that I haven't come across yet so I need to do a little reading too by the looks of things.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on April 17, 2008, 03:20:59 PM
I'm guess one of those things is the using statement in that context.

While you've seen it for importing namespaces (using System.IO, etc) used like this it tells the compiler to add code to tidy up the (unmanaged) resources you use.  It wraps your code in a try / finally block and calls Dispose on the object.

A nice little tool is Lutz Roeders Reflector: http://www.aisto.com/roeder/dotnet/.  You can point it at any .Net assembly and it will allow you to decompile the .exe into various source formats (VB.Net, C#, IL).  I used it when I created my sprite drawing stuff to see what SpriteBatch was doing.

Some other nice tools are the CLRProfiler: http://nprof.sourceforge.net/Site/Description.html which will tell you how many heap allocations you have created and when the garbage collector ran.

NProf: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=86ce6052-d7f4-4aeb-9b7a-94635beebdda is a pretty good profiler too.

You're probably not really in a position to start using this stuff yet but they are fairly invaluable so file 'em for later :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 18, 2008, 12:23:42 PM
Thanks again paul.  I need to create an XNA links thread so all thses useful links don't get burried.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 20, 2008, 08:43:34 PM
Day 10 - Toon Toon...

Not much progress to report today as I've been distracted by a certain football game :)

I did though get my 2D camera functions working which was something I only recently added to the old DBPro engine, but never got the chance to use (well the last version of Crack I was working on did but nothing I've released).  Of course if I'd done everything in 3D then I wouldn't have to worry about coding a camera as it would all be handled for me by existing commands, but for now I've decided to stick with 2D sprites so I need to handle all the camera operations like panning and rotating myself.

Worth it though as it means I can make levels bigger than the screen dimensions if necessary.  Something like mono wouldn't benefit from that but maybe Echoes would.  I wont know until I try it, but at least the option is there.

Speaking of which I need to decide what game I'm going to work on soon.  I could just keep working on the engine, which will be used for all the games anyway, but I do like to have an idea of where I'm heading and I might as well be building the actual game while I'm testing out all the new code.  I'm still leaning towards mono at the moment.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 21, 2008, 05:03:59 PM
I think you should do Echoes or a something simple like Crack, because the background for Mono was ludicrous from what I can tell, but  do always say you should port mono to xbox, so go ahead, mono would be great !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 23, 2008, 02:40:53 PM
I think you should do Echoes or a something simple like Crack, because the background for Mono was ludicrous from what I can tell, but  do always say you should port mono to xbox, so go ahead, mono would be great !
In what way was the mono background ludicrous?  Do you mean from a gameplay point of view or coding?  The coding of the original version couldn't have been simpler.  I simply modified the background colours in a Memblock and distorted the background by altering the sprite texture co=ordinate UV's.

The demo version of the background, which a few people have tested but I've never properly released, is a 3D mesh though and that's hopefully what I would do with the XNA version.  And I would really need that for the extras I want to put in the "proper" version......if I do write mono that is ;)

Day 11 - It's Not a Binary Zoo Game Without Blur....

Been working a bit on my background routines.  The backgrounds themselves tend to be quite sparse in game but I still do a few little things with them.

So I need to be able to do things like assign an image to the background, change the amount of motion blurring, adjust the colour and distort the image where necessary.  I also need an easy way of automatically handling temporary changes so if I say colour the screen white when there is a big explosion, I need the update code to slowly fade that back to the original screen colours without me having to worry about it.

That's the basic stuff anyway and I had all that in the old game engine so I've been porting it across to XNA.  And while doing so I've stumbled across a couple of other funky things that I can do that would have been impossible or too slow in DBPro so I've added them in too.  I may or may not use them but they are at least an option now.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 23, 2008, 02:49:41 PM
I meant from a coding perspective, but I guess I was wrong ! Great stuff ! It seems like you have taken to XNA like a Programmer to a new IDE. So I guess you are going to start to code Mono properly now ! Will it be Mono HD ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 23, 2008, 03:07:10 PM
I meant from a coding perspective, but I guess I was wrong !
Yeah the background coding in mono was fairly simple.  It was still too slow to run properly in DBPro though so the background image is smaller than the screen and stretched to fit, plus I only update the colours 3 times a second....I don't think anyone really notices though :)  I seemed to spend half my time in the past tweaking stuff to try and get it to run at a decent speed so, hopefully, with XNA I can do a little bit less of that.

So I guess you are going to start to code Mono properly now ! Will it be Mono HD ?
Well it will be HD just because of the resolution but it certainly wouldn't be called that.  It would have the name that I came up with a couple of years ago when I first thought about doing a proper version :)

Notice I said "would".  I'm still not 100% sure it will be mono.  I'll see how my experiments in XNA and more importantly time goes before finally deciding.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 23, 2008, 03:39:26 PM
So, of what you have seen of XNA so far, would you say its better than DBPro so far ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 24, 2008, 12:53:00 PM
So, of what you have seen of XNA so far, would you say its better than DBPro so far ?
I don't know, lets see...

The IDE in XNA is much better offering loads of features, help files etc that even the 3rd party DBPro ones can't compete with.  The compiler is much faster and actually reports errors properly.  In DBPro I had to buy a new PC because compile times were taking 2-3 minutes, and if you ever got an error reported it was never on the line it said it was so wave goodbye to a load more time as you try to track it down.

As far as the language itself is concerned it's only a little more complicated than BASIC if you want it to be.  You can go a lot lower level than in DBPro if you need to, but you can easily ignore all that if you want to.  So in essence it is a lot more flexible, allows you to do a lot of things you simply couldn't do in DBPro, and speed wise there appears to be no comparison.

Add to that, it's free and I can develop for PC, XBox360 and Zune if I want to.  The only slight downside are the additional requirements of PC users (.NET etc) but DBPro has caused as many problem over the years with its reliance on the latest versions of DirectX.

The argument in favour of DBPro has always been that it's easier and you get much faster results than you would if you say coded in C++, but that doesn't really stand up too well against XNA and I'm struggling to think of a single area where DBPro has the edge.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 27, 2008, 06:42:07 PM
So pretty much XNA is the new DBPro ! Just with more support, better language more powerful code suitable for 360 and Zune aswell !!

Any updates to speak of ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 28, 2008, 01:02:08 PM
So pretty much XNA is the new DBPro ! Just with more support, better language more powerful code suitable for 360 and Zune aswell !!
Well XNA is better in almost every way, but DBPro does what it set out to do reasonably well.  The complete lack of progress for years in key areas (to me) were what made me start looking elsewhere.

Any updates to speak of ?
Nope.  Been wiped out for a few days so just been relaxing and playing a few games....something I haven't done enough of recently.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 01, 2008, 08:09:34 PM
Still no progress to report.  GTA and family have kept me busy for a couple of days but I'll be back on the case at the weekend.  Bullets are in my sights.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 14, 2008, 08:57:14 PM
Day 12 - Shaderzzzzzzzzzzz

After a semi enforced break I've returned and thought what better way to ease myself back in gently than to look at something completely new...shaders.  As everything so far is very much 2D this is strictly pixely shader territory and none of that vertex related malarkey.  Not that I know anything about either mind  :P

Well I guess I now know a little about pixel shaders or HLSL or something equally as meaningless, but just enough to get them to work and no real understanding of how they do it at a technical level.  Not that I ever care about that sort of detail mind.  I code something, it works, so who cares what hoops the hardware is jumping through to get my final image to appear on screen.

Anyhoo enough.  I now have the basics of the pixel shader side of my screen handling code in place.  It's structured in the same way as the rest of my routines so I can simply switch various effects on and off, adjust their positioning and strength, and decide whether they only effect the background image, the foreground image, or both.

The pixel shader routines themselves weren't too tricky, but to allow me to apply them to specific layers of the screen (see above) it meant rewriting a chunk of my existing background and sprite drawing code.  Hopefully I didn't break some existing routine in the process  :bunnymonkey:

So that's another thing to cross off the list.  Much like the camera code, animations etc I might not use it straight away but it's in there and some game sooner or later will make use of it.  And I'd much rather take a little longer now putting all these things in that I might some day need than try and butcher my code to add them at a later date.

I might even post a screen shot next time.  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: EricT on May 15, 2008, 10:52:45 AM
Don't ever worry about learning how shaders work... not even Crytek understands considering the performance of their shader heavy games.  ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 15, 2008, 06:59:52 PM
Please post some screenshots ! I wanna see some of your exploits ! I'll also post some I guess.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 15, 2008, 07:49:20 PM
Don't ever worry about learning how shaders work... not even Crytek understands considering the performance of their shader heavy games.  ;D
Well performance isn't something I've even considered yet so I'll resist any urge to comment about their incompetence.  :bunnymonkey:

Please post some screenshots ! I wanna see some of your exploits ! I'll also post some I guess.
I will when I feel it's worthwhile.  I'm effectively starting again from scratch so anything I post right now is going to look much worse than what I've done previously and so feels like a backward step.  (Certainly to me if not everyone else).

Just posting a screeny of a few particles on screen for the hell of it isn't the way I do things. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 15, 2008, 08:49:34 PM
Don't ever worry about learning how shaders work... not even Crytek understands considering the performance of their shader heavy games.  ;D
Well performance isn't something I've even considered yet so I'll resist any urge to comment about their incompetence.  :bunnymonkey:

Please post some screenshots ! I wanna see some of your exploits ! I'll also post some I guess.
I will when I feel it's worthwhile.  I'm effectively starting again from scratch so anything I post right now is going to look much worse than what I've done previously and so feels like a backward step.  (Certainly to me if not everyone else).

Just posting a screeny of a few particles on screen for the hell of it isn't the way I do things. :)

oooh, that last one was cold =(. I know what you mean ! Why do you think I don't show people stuff if theres not much to see. The asteroid demo was to show you my tech Fog ! Speaking of which, i'll be churning out some little projects soon. I recently got my Mini game template completed so all I have to do is drop in my game code in the main section !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 02, 2008, 10:24:56 PM
Day 13 - Bulletzzzzzzzzz

Long time no update. (and not entirely down to GTA either  :snake: )

Anyway it's bullet time.  No, not that chronically overused slow motion effect that now infects every game genre, but simple, honest bullet sprites....and lots and lots of em.  And, well they work.  Not really a lot else to say really.

Of course there aren't any enemies on screen yet for them to hit, and I haven't written the weapon code that defines the fancy bullet patterns I'm fond of, but if you're looking for something that moves slowly across the screen in a straight line, not interacting with anything, and basically serving no purpose, then boy you would love this.

I suspect though that not many people will find that anything worth getting excited over, so next I'll knock up the weapon code and we can start banging out some crazy bullet patterns.  I should be able to copy the old patterns from mono of Echoes to test it out quickly, but if all goes well we should have a bit more power to play with this time around, so I can try some crazier, more destructive weapon designs than ever.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 03, 2008, 08:00:13 PM
Good stuff ! As far as i'm concerned you made everysingle type of bullet pattern I think you could ever need in Mono ! That was crazy. Heck whenever i think weapons upgrade system in my, "games" I just use a dilute version of what you did !

Good to see you're still plugging away !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 03, 2008, 09:11:44 PM
Good stuff ! As far as i'm concerned you made everysingle type of bullet pattern I think you could ever need in Mono ! That was crazy. Heck whenever i think weapons upgrade system in my, "games" I just use a dilute version of what you did !

Good to see you're still plugging away !
Yeah in hindsight the mono bullet patterns weren't necessarily a good thing.  Well the bullet patterns themselves were ok I guess, but they did cause problems.  Although each pattern was numerically better than the previous one (it fired more bullets at a faster rate) often the patterns themselves were less useful.   And also because people play the game using slightly different tactics they often found that one of the supposedly less powerful patterns suited their style of play more.

Something I plan on addressing next time.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 04, 2008, 12:01:33 PM
Good stuff ! As far as i'm concerned you made everysingle type of bullet pattern I think you could ever need in Mono ! That was crazy. Heck whenever i think weapons upgrade system in my, "games" I just use a dilute version of what you did !

Good to see you're still plugging away !
Yeah in hindsight the mono bullet patterns weren't necessarily a good thing.  Well the bullet patterns themselves were ok I guess, but they did cause problems.  Although each pattern was numerically better than the previous one (it fired more bullets at a faster rate) often the patterns themselves were less useful.   And also because people play the game using slightly different tactics they often found that one of the supposedly less powerful patterns suited their style of play more.

Something I plan on addressing next time.


Cool, the only way I think that can be adressed is by categorizing a few different tactics...such as,

Sweep - the player moveswith rapid sweeping ovements at the board edges so suitable upgrades would involve spread fire.
Spiral - the player flies in a spiral around the board deviating very little from the circle pattern, suitable upgrades would be minimum spread high volume of power.
Duo-esque - the player likes to stay on a particular axis near the centre of the board so the player not only shoots the way he/she is facing but the opposite aswell.
Stationary - for the people who don't like to move much, the player can shoot 4 different directions, the spread increases a little on each of the directions each upgrades.

And many others, sort of like what Every Extend Extra Extreme did by allowing different play styles to be chosen.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 04, 2008, 04:22:16 PM
Good stuff ! As far as i'm concerned you made everysingle type of bullet pattern I think you could ever need in Mono ! That was crazy. Heck whenever i think weapons upgrade system in my, "games" I just use a dilute version of what you did !

Good to see you're still plugging away !
Yeah in hindsight the mono bullet patterns weren't necessarily a good thing.  Well the bullet patterns themselves were ok I guess, but they did cause problems.  Although each pattern was numerically better than the previous one (it fired more bullets at a faster rate) often the patterns themselves were less useful.   And also because people play the game using slightly different tactics they often found that one of the supposedly less powerful patterns suited their style of play more.

Something I plan on addressing next time.


Cool, the only way I think that can be adressed is by categorizing a few different tactics...such as,

Sweep - the player moveswith rapid sweeping ovements at the board edges so suitable upgrades would involve spread fire.
Spiral - the player flies in a spiral around the board deviating very little from the circle pattern, suitable upgrades would be minimum spread high volume of power.
Duo-esque - the player likes to stay on a particular axis near the centre of the board so the player not only shoots the way he/she is facing but the opposite aswell.
Stationary - for the people who don't like to move much, the player can shoot 4 different directions, the spread increases a little on each of the directions each upgrades.

And many others, sort of like what Every Extend Extra Extreme did by allowing different play styles to be chosen.
Rather than categories based on play style, I currently plan on just giving the user the option of choosing the basic weapon pattern, and what they do with it after that is up to them.

Narrow stream - simply a densely packed stream of bullets with little spread and no side/back protection.
V stream - a slightly wider spread of bullets which covers a wider area but has the bullets less densely packed together.
morphing stream - a series of bullet streams that gradually get more elaborate and give side and eventually back protection to the player (like current mono weapon patterns but with better progression)

I guess you could even give them the option of cycling through the 3 styles while in game as tactics change.  It's all a bit fluid ATM but that's one of the fun things about not having a proper design doc :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 04, 2008, 08:47:04 PM
I wish I could have the luxury of that ! I like the ideas you've come up with so far. The choice to change seems suitable aswell.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 05, 2008, 05:46:17 PM
I wish I could have the luxury of that !
What luxury?  Not having a proper design doc?  Working any other way would just be predictable and boring ;)



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 06, 2008, 11:10:54 PM
Well thanks to a tip-off from Paul (free Creators Club membership :) ) I finally got something running on the 360.

It was hardly what you'd call a game but it did throw a load of FX particles around on screen.  Too many as it turned out as the 360 struggled under the load.  Not worried about that though as there were several thousand of them, and there is currently a piece of code in there that causes an unnecessary slowdown every time a particle is created so that will be removed.

I'll still have to remember that though as my PC shows no sign of slowdown running the same code.  I guess that's what testing is for though :)

Also on compiling the code threw a few errors that didn't show up when compiling for just PC.  A couple of them were to do with the Mouse class which the 360 library obviously doesn't have so were understandable, but one is highlighting an error on a very basic looking piece of code and that has me slightly confused.  I'll have to look into that one.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on June 06, 2008, 11:28:10 PM
Great news!

Here's a couple of audio tracks from this year's GDC specifically aimed at CLR performance on the Xbox.

CLR Performance: Frank Savage
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=8450DB46-283F-4924-B35C-3CCD1DB7E97E&displaylang=en

Understanding XNA Framework Performance: Shawn Hargreaves
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=B11AD912-4158-44CC-A771-A5E044F7E3BB&displaylang=en

About 30 meg and 1 hour (ish) long

The Xbox should be able to do several thousand particles.  As long as they're all created up front and reused (e.g. don't new one up each time you need one, just create 'em all in Initialise or LoadContent or whatever and then flag 'em as 'dead' when they expire).  Using sprite sheets is a good perf tip as well if you have different types of particles to draw.  That way there's no texture changes needed on the GPU.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 07, 2008, 12:39:00 PM
Cheers for the links.  That's the way I like to do my learning.  :)

The Xbox should be able to do several thousand particles.  As long as they're all created up front and reused (e.g. don't new one up each time you need one, just create 'em all in Initialise or LoadContent or whatever and then flag 'em as 'dead' when they expire).
Yeah that's exactly what I have been doing.  In the past I have always created new items, but I read that's not the way to do things in XNA so I don't.


Using sprite sheets is a good perf tip as well if you have different types of particles to draw.  That way there's no texture changes needed on the GPU.
Now that I don't currently do.  That's something I'll have to remember to look into.  Right now I'm just reusing images from previous games and they are all seperate so I guess there's a little performance hit there.

Like I said, I know there's a piece of code in there now that is an unnecessary overhead, but that will go when I start loading everything from external XML files and impliment the associated interpretation code.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 07, 2008, 05:41:32 PM
How do you write stuff in XML ? If I could do that i'd save a fair bit of time...or not, probably best not.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 07, 2008, 11:01:35 PM
How do you write stuff in XML ? If I could do that i'd save a fair bit of time...or not, probably best not.
Well some languages allow you to write all your code or scripts using XML, or you could simply use it to store current menu settings.

When using DBPro I found it essential to store as much in XML as possible (or some other external file format) because the compiler was so crap it used to take 1-2 minutes every time I compiled.  The advantage of storing stuff in XML files is that you can make changes to things without needing to recompile.

Also say you had all your level data stored in an external file.  If you wanted to make changes or even add extra levels then all you need do is distribute a new XML file and not a large new exe file.

 I have, or will have when I port my old code over, separate XML files for everything from defining animations and sounds to FX patterns and enemy behaviour.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: EricT on June 08, 2008, 10:33:56 AM
When using DBPro I found it essential to store as much in XML as possible (or some other external file format) because the compiler was so crap it used to take 1-2 minutes every time I compiled.  The advantage of storing stuff in XML files is that you can make changes to things without needing to recompile.

1-2 minutes? Lucky you! Even my smaller stuff takes a good 5 minutes some nights. Reminds me of using my 8088... I can go brew a pot of coffee, drink half the pot, and it still won't be booted.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 08, 2008, 05:03:24 PM
When using DBPro I found it essential to store as much in XML as possible (or some other external file format) because the compiler was so crap it used to take 1-2 minutes every time I compiled.  The advantage of storing stuff in XML files is that you can make changes to things without needing to recompile.

1-2 minutes? Lucky you! Even my smaller stuff takes a good 5 minutes some nights. Reminds me of using my 8088... I can go brew a pot of coffee, drink half the pot, and it still won't be booted.
Bloody hell man....how big are your projects?  Echoes must have been around the 20k lines mark and took about 2 minutes but that was on my old 1.6Ghz jobby.

TBH I kind of got used to having time to kill while it compiled and used to use the time surfing and other pointless things.  Now working in XNA you don't really get any breaks at all so you have to remember to take them at regular intervals.  A much needed 3 minute break can double performance in my experience.  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 12, 2008, 11:15:25 PM
Well I haven't had much time over the last few days and haven't done any what I would call progressive coding, but I have spent a while trying to find out what was causing the slowdown on the 360 build....and so far no luck.  :P

I've removed what I thought was the bottleneck, REM'd out chunks of code, switched off sound etc. but nothing has had any impact on the framerate.  TBH though I'm not sure what performance I should be getting in XNA as I have nothing to compare it,  so I'm going to start a new blank project and simply throw a load of images at the screen to give me some kind of benchmark.  Then I'll know if I really do have a problem somewhere.

In hindsight I should maybe have tried the code on the 360 a lot earlier, but as things were running so smoothly on the PC it didn't seem necessary.  Now the problem I have is the code has a lot of extra complexity in it so it's not quite as easy to track down the cause of any slowdown than it might have been.

Now having said all that, if there is a problem I'm sure it's something blindingly obvious and that a palm meets forehead gesture will soon be followed by an embarrassing admission.   :bunnymonkey:

To end on a more positive note, before it starts to slowdown it looks bloody great lol  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on June 13, 2008, 10:01:51 PM
I can take a look at it for you if you want.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 14, 2008, 11:25:36 AM
Cheers Paul, I might take you up on that some time :)

First though I need to do what I said, and write something simple so I have a benchmark for what sort of performance I should expect, as right now I'm not sure how big the problem is or if I even have one.  That's really what I should have done for a first project in a completely new language, rather than writing a proper game with screen buffering, shaders etc straight away.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 18, 2008, 11:06:34 PM
While looking into my current slowdown issues (that might not actually exist :) ) I've just been reading this article on High Frequency Code and it's really interesting.

http://creators.xna.com/en-us/tutorial/optimization_highfrequency (http://creators.xna.com/en-us/tutorial/optimization_highfrequency)

Basically in the example given of a particle system, the slowdown only happens on the 360 and not the PC, but the problem isn't on the graphics side (GPU), but with the large number of calculations passed to the CPU and the way it handles them.

Not having done any previous reading and not knowing any better, I'd always assumed the fastest way to do maths with vectors was:
Code:
vector3 velocity
velocity += velocity * acceleration
but apparently this is much faster:
Code:
vector3 velocity
velocity.X += velocity.X * acceleration
velocity.Y += velocity.Y * acceleration
velocity.Z += velocity.Z * acceleration

I don't think that's anything to do with my potential problem, but it's worth remembering and applying in future.  SOme other good tips in there too. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on June 22, 2008, 03:21:23 PM
Now the vakations commence i thought i'd give XNA a try again, since you all are doing pretty well.
Problem is, when i tried it first (months before you guys) there was nearly no documentation, so i gave up.
But now i'm overwhelmed.
Could you give me some good sites to start looking?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 22, 2008, 11:29:34 PM
Now the vakations commence i thought i'd give XNA a try again, since you all are doing pretty well.
Problem is, when i tried it first (months before you guys) there was nearly no documentation, so i gave up.
But now i'm overwhelmed.
Could you give me some good sites to start looking?

I'm not sure whether you want tutorials, examples or what, but here are the only sites I have bookmarked. 

Official Creators Club site - has plenty of downloadable demos...
http://creators.xna.com/education/catalog/ (http://creators.xna.com/education/catalog/)

Ziggyware - seems to have plenty of snippets and tuts...although I can't say how good they are as I haven't got around to reading any yet   :)
http://www.ziggyware.com/articles.php?cat_id=6 (http://www.ziggyware.com/articles.php?cat_id=6)

Shawn Hargreaves Blog - thanks to Paul Cunningham for this one...
http://blogs.msdn.com/shawnhar/default.aspx (http://blogs.msdn.com/shawnhar/default.aspx)

I'm possibly the worst person in the world to ask for tutorial links mind, as I just tend to dive in without doing much research   :P

I'm sure Paul or SiN will have some better ones.




Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 26, 2008, 10:01:54 PM
Well I've been too wiped out to do much for a while, but eventually, after running several examples of particle systems written by other people, I've finally come to the conslusion that there isn't much wrong with my code.  Well it's probably crap, but performance wise it seems reasonably ok.  :bunnymonkey:

That official article about high frequency code that I posted earlier mentions you should easily get 20k particles on screen without slow down, and I don't get that, but it's an irelevant statement without saying what size the particles are, what the draw method is, how mant different textures are used, and anything else you might also have running in the program.

Either way I'm not too bothered.  I now have several thousand of the relatively large star FX animations from DUO on screen, all with some kind of feedback loop going on and it looks mental  :kangaroo:  It's much more than satisfactory already, and if I do eventually find out that I can speed the code up somehow then great, although right now I couldn't possibly put any more objects on screen anyway.  If nothing else then I know I can get some framerate improvement but putting all the animation images on a single texture and not having individual ones as is the case now.

So after that break, it's onwards with the actual development.  I have the player, fx, bullets, sound and music so it's about time we had something to kill.  It's the return of the Dumb Bouncy Alien Blobs ....perfect playtesting cannon fodder.  :kangaroo:

Then we can start the fun bit and see which direction developing the actual gameplay takes us, and what game this whole thing starts to turn into  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on June 26, 2008, 11:00:46 PM
Yeah dude, don't worry about it. Just keep yourself busy writing games. If shit happens, I'll sort it out. :)


Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 27, 2008, 04:04:15 PM
Yeah, that sounds really good Fog. I bet you can't wait to kill your copyrighted dumb bouncing blob creatures on your 360 ! Should be rewarding. Then you'll have the bare bones that is a game ! I know how you feel with being wiped out too !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 01, 2008, 09:52:48 PM
Fight, Fight, Fight...

What a night.  My motion blur routine and my shaderzzzz have had a major falling out and now refuse to be seen on screen together.  No idea what's got into them.  Motion blur is quite happy spreading his blurry goodness, but the second shaderzzzz turns up, he fades away in an alpha cloud.

No amount of reasoning or bribes of cookies has helped the situation, so I'm going to have to do something quite radical and have a think.  :bunnymonkey:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on July 01, 2008, 11:35:38 PM
Purple screen?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 02, 2008, 11:25:45 AM
Purple screen?
Not this time.  Is that a common problem?

Anyhoo I've had a sleep on it and decided it's nothing too technical....just my own stupidity....which is always my first assumption anyway.  :bunnymonkey:

I do a simple routine with the backbuffer  for the motion blur, and split drawing the foreground and background images onto two different textures (so I can apply different shaderzzz to each), then bring all the resultant images together on screen.  Basically the foreground image was overwriting the background with the motion blur on.  It's slightly more complicated than that but you get the idea.  Essentially I is dumb  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on July 02, 2008, 04:12:58 PM
shaderzzz
Is that the technical term? ;)


Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 02, 2008, 09:26:50 PM
shaderzzz
Is that the technical term? ;)

Sorry it's just that it's the current buzzword that everyone is getting excited about and, in truth, it's all a bit boring unless you're a developer.

For the average person it's as exciting as discussions on dual core processors. 

"Hey, let me tell you all about shaderzzz."

"Tell you what. Don't !" :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on July 03, 2008, 08:11:20 AM
I had what must have been a ten minute conversation with myself pretending to explain to my mate what vertex and pixel shaders were on the drive in to work today - christ, that is so sad!

PS - Purple screen is what you get after you ResolveBackBuffer - they changed the behaviour in 2.0 in Windows to bring it in line with the way it worked on Xbox - caught a lot of people out when they first upgraded.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 03, 2008, 12:58:08 PM
I had what must have been a ten minute conversation with myself pretending to explain to my mate what vertex and pixel shaders were on the drive in to work today - christ, that is so sad!
Haha.  That's spectacularly geeky.  Congratulations sir.  ;D

Like I said, if you're a developer then shaderzzz are pretty funky,  I'm just not convinced anyone else really cares how they work.  If you ever have that discussion with your mate for real then you can confirm that :)

PS - Purple screen is what you get after you ResolveBackBuffer - they changed the behaviour in 2.0 in Windows to bring it in line with the way it worked on Xbox - caught a lot of people out when they first upgraded.
Ah right.  I hate that sort of problem, where you're convinced it's something you must have done and it turns out they've changed the way certain commands work.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 04, 2008, 09:27:21 PM
Currently writing some simple pixel shaderzzz for possible use in mono's background routines.  Nothing too fancy, just simple geometric distortions, but they should give a lot more variety than the old basic screen stretches.

From a design viewpoint it's not as straight forward as it might be.  It's very easy to create some lovely background distortions that warp and twist everything into beautiful patterns, but in mono many of those would be game breakers.  As the background is the scoring system and progress relies on you being able to see which parts of the screen still need colouring, any warping of the background image mustn't be too severe.

Quite frustrating in a way as I've got some lovely looking routines that I'm having to tone down.  Maybe I can unleash their full potential on the next game  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on July 04, 2008, 09:52:21 PM
Ohhh I geddit.
shaders + Zzz = shaderzzz.
lol.

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 05, 2008, 10:48:28 AM
Currently writing some simple pixel shaderzzz for possible use in mono's background routines.  Nothing too fancy, just simple geometric distortions, but they should give a lot more variety than the old basic screen stretches.

From a design viewpoint it's not as straight forward as it might be.  It's very easy to create some lovely background distortions that warp and twist everything into beautiful patterns, but in mono many of those would be game breakers.  As the background is the scoring system and progress relies on you being able to see which parts of the screen still need colouring, any warping of the background image mustn't be too severe.

Quite frustrating in a way as I've got some lovely looking routines that I'm having to tone down.  Maybe I can unleash their full potential on the next game  :bunnymonkey:

Great stuff. This is going to be great !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 05, 2008, 10:39:37 PM
Man I could arse around writing shaderzzz forever.  Better not though eh?  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 05, 2008, 11:11:08 PM
Man I could arse around writing shaderzzz forever.  Better not though eh?  :bunnymonkey:

Best not, because a Chinese proverb once said "You can spend a lifetime writing shaderzzz but it would take another to use them" Sun Tsu


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 05, 2008, 11:22:28 PM
Man I could arse around writing shaderzzz forever.  Better not though eh?  :bunnymonkey:

Best not, because a Chinese proverb once said "You can spend a lifetime writing shaderzzz but it would take another to use them" Sun Tsu
lmao  ;D

I don't recall that quote from The Art of War  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 07, 2008, 12:41:16 PM
Man I could arse around writing shaderzzz forever.  Better not though eh?  :bunnymonkey:

Best not, because a Chinese proverb once said "You can spend a lifetime writing shaderzzz but it would take another to use them" Sun Tsu
lmao  ;D

I don't recall that quote from The Art of War  :bunnymonkey:

Read it again, its there ! Lmao


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 07, 2008, 10:15:37 PM
Knocked up another handful of shaderzzz tonight.  Nothing very exciting, just a few to create basic sine, sawtooth and square waves on the backgrounds.

Not as much fun as writing crazy distortion routines like I have been, but better from a gameplay viewpoint.

Those other routines might well have a home now though.  If I go ahead with mono then I have a few extra game modes intended (currently 5 actually  :P ) and one of those modes will be a never ending, chilled out game where you can't die.  As it's just for zonking out to, I might throw some of the more elaborate distortions in there as it wont matter as much if they obscure the gameplay....in fact some people might see that as a bonus :)

Then again none of that might happen.  Freeform development being wonderfully unpredictable and all that.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on July 08, 2008, 01:14:29 PM
I bet your C# class is called Shaderzzz - go on admit it :)

Got any plans for multiplayer?  Co-op would be pretty straightforward I think.  I like the sound of some sort of versus modes too.  P1 attempts to turn screen to white while P2 attempts to go to black - winner is 1st player to colour x% of screen; featuring sneaky colour stealing powerups, etc.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 08, 2008, 02:27:50 PM
I bet your C# class is called Shaderzzz - go on admit it :)
I don't have a specific shaders class, but if I did :)

Got any plans for multiplayer?  Co-op would be pretty straightforward I think.  I like the sound of some sort of versus modes too.  P1 attempts to turn screen to white while P2 attempts to go to black - winner is 1st player to colour x% of screen; featuring sneaky colour stealing powerups, etc.
My planned versus mode will work in exactly the way you describe with the screen starting at 50% and one player aiming for 0% (black) and the other 100% (white).  I'll probably throw in a time limit option as well as the % target otherwise I can see games going on forever :)

I hadn't give co-op any thought, but it should be easy enough to add.  Famous last words.  :bunnymonkey:  I might just make that an option in the customizable mode I mentioned on the Playtesters board.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 09, 2008, 09:13:59 PM
Finally, finally I've managed to get motion blur and shaderzzz to talk to each other again so we can have both on screen at the same time.  In the end I just deleted all the old code that controlled the draw order of everything and rewrote it. 

The problem code sorted the draw order of the background image, motion blur, screen buffering, the shaderzzz and the foreground objects, depending on what was active, what mode I had everything set to draw in, and which elements had shaderzzz applied.  Phew.  Anyway the logic had obviously become screwed sometime and a rewrite finally sorted the problem.

I often find that just deleting a chunk of code and rewriting it form scratch is a hell of a lot easier than staring at existing code and trying to see why it wont work.  Rewriting it makes you rethink the logic behind it and very often fixes the problem.  Even an idiot like me rarely makes the same logic mistake twice when typing a chunk of code.  Honest.

So to celebrate the fact I can now see what it will look like with everything turned on, I've been testing the newly motion blur and shader powered backgrounds on the 360 and big TV and they look pretty lovely in motion.  Much nicer than the old ones for technical reasons I wont bore everyone with. :kangaroo:

Still no game mind and that could yet turn out to be a steaming pile of crap, but at least it will be a neon, psychedelic, blurry, pulsing pile of crap....with shaderzzz on.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on July 10, 2008, 10:36:04 AM
I'm getting a bit scared...
please make a tech demo or such so i can see if my medieval graphics card can run your shader overkill


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 10, 2008, 01:14:44 PM
I'm getting a bit scared...
please make a tech demo or such so i can see if my medieval graphics card can run your shader overkill
It's certainly not "shader overkill" :)

If you can run pixel shader 2.0 stuff then you should be ok.  All I'm doing is simple pixel shader stuff, no fancy vertex shaders as this is strictly 2D.

Binary Zoo : Your 2D Guarantee  :)

Ignoring compatibility issues and looking at performance ones, then shaderzzz aren't the power sapper some people might imagine.  The effect of Shaderzzz looks like it must be a processor killer, but from my viewpoint I'm more worried about the impact of throwing a bunch of particles around on the screen.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on July 10, 2008, 06:28:05 PM
Quote
If you can run pixel shader 2.0 stuff then you should be ok.  All I'm doing is simple pixel shader stuff, no fancy vertex shaders as this is strictly 2D.
I don't even know if my pc van pull that off :s

Quote
Binary Zoo : Your 2D Guarantee  Smiley
Duotris menu ;)

Quote
Ignoring compatibility issues and looking at performance ones, then shaderzzz aren't the power sapper some people might imagine.  The effect of Shaderzzz looks like it must be a processor killer, but from my viewpoint I'm more worried about the impact of throwing a bunch of particles around on the screen.
Aren't shaders pipeline-thigs that do graphical processes in much faster ways then it could have ever been done without that hardware support?

Also, you should put in the option to raise and lower the amount of shader effects and particles


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 10, 2008, 07:52:31 PM
Quote
If you can run pixel shader 2.0 stuff then you should be ok.  All I'm doing is simple pixel shader stuff, no fancy vertex shaders as this is strictly 2D.
I don't even know if my pc van pull that off :s
Well it's possible for low end PC's that I could do the background distortion in the same way as I did in the old version.  It just wont look anywhere near as good as the version that uses shaderzzz.

I could also do a version that used a mesh for the background and distorted that, but I'll only think about that if there's a big demand as that's quite a bit of extra work.


Quote
Binary Zoo : Your 2D Guarantee  Smiley
Duotris menu ;)
Not the menu, but yes the intro.  Good memory as even I had forgotten all about that. :)

That's only in there because I was doing some tests with a spinning cube to see whether my motion blur effect would work in 3D as well.


Aren't shaders pipeline-thigs that do graphical processes in much faster ways then it could have ever been done without that hardware support?
Essentially yes.  I try to keep Bog posts as non technical as possible though as not everyone reading might be a developer or geek like us :)


Also, you should put in the option to raise and lower the amount of shader effects and particles
Don't worry there will be options just like in previous games.  As well as different hardware, I know people have wildly different tastes in visuals.  One mans too much is another mans not enough.  And then there's las6 ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 13, 2008, 05:02:19 PM
Development of mono has thrown up a couple of interesting design dilemmas that most other games don't really have to deal with.

The current "demo" version of mono consists of a single level, but the plan for the new version is that it will consist of a number of different levels.  Now with most level based shmups you simply have to travel a certain distance (horizontal and vertical scrolling shmups) or kill all enemies to progress to the next level (Space Invaders, Asteroids etc), but with mono neither of these level ending states apply.  So the question is...

When do you end a level?

The overall aim is to colour 100% of the background to "complete" a level, but as anyone who has played the old version will know, this is a lot easier said than done.  In fact to the best of my knowledge several people have got very close, but nobody has managed that elusive 100% yet.  So saying you can only progress to the next level on 100% completion of the previous one would not only be prohibitively hard, it would also mean I'd wasted a load of time designing levels nobody will ever see  :bunnymonkey:

So the obvious solution is to set a lower % target that once passed allows progress to the next level, but this in itself raises another problem.  I could set the target at say 75%, but half of the appeal in mono is seeing how close to that magic 100% mark you can get, so immediately transporting players to the next level would eliminate half the fun and challenge.  So the next question is...

Once the required % target for a level has been passed, how do you elegantly allow players to progress to the next level when they want to?

There are numerous different ways you could solve this one, but most are clunky (simply pressing a certain button) or impractical (moving off the side of the screen).  Stay tuned for how I finally solved these tricky dilemmas.   :bunnymonkey:


Thus ends todays boring lecture on game design.  Kudos to anyone that managed to stay awake   :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on July 13, 2008, 05:36:46 PM
What happens on a new level?  A new enemy type?  Arena layout changes?  A screen clear? 

In the demo, the  overall mission is to fill the screen so having that objective each level might cheapen this cool gameplay technique ("oh I just filled the screen again" opposed to "ZOMG!!!111!! I FILLED THE FOOKIN' SCREEN - WOOHOO!!!  IN YOUR FACE MONO".  Maybe the level automatically progresses every 10% (or whatever) so the main aim is still to fill the screen but cool things get unlocked the more you fill. 10% Smart Bombs, 20% freeze time, 30% Glowing Bonios of Doom!, etc.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: EricT on July 13, 2008, 07:02:54 PM
Maybe there could be a system of barter in the game?  :P

Well, actually, something that might prove interesting, but would need serious balance testing, would be earning a form of currency from killing enemies, then every 10% or so (however long a level could be), bring up a sort of shop window for some odd upgrades to purchase, different shield styles, more powerful weapon sets (each weapon set being affected differently by upgrades, example: Weapon set A gets upgrades to shooting styles 1 2 3 4, and then set B gets access to shooting styles A B C D, same thing when pertaining to shield types.)

Which could lead to another gameplay aspect actually: The levels actually being part of a bigger map. Say you have region of squares, 2x5, each square representing 10 % of the full "picture", each having their own distinct enemies and difficulty, etc. And the goal of course is to turn this entire area black (for whatever reason... you can add a quirky little mini story).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 13, 2008, 07:19:36 PM
Maybe there could be a system of barter in the game?  :P

Well, actually, something that might prove interesting, but would need serious balance testing, would be earning a form of currency from killing enemies, then every 10% or so (however long a level could be), bring up a sort of shop window for some odd upgrades to purchase, different shield styles, more powerful weapon sets (each weapon set being affected differently by upgrades, example: Weapon set A gets upgrades to shooting styles 1 2 3 4, and then set B gets access to shooting styles A B C D, same thing when pertaining to shield types.)

Which could lead to another gameplay aspect actually: The levels actually being part of a bigger map. Say you have region of squares, 2x5, each square representing 10 % of the full "picture", each having their own distinct enemies and difficulty, etc. And the goal of course is to turn this entire area black (for whatever reason... you can add a quirky little mini story).
IMO (for what it's worth) the simplicity of mono was why it found fairly wide appeal.  It was so easy to understand that anyone knew what they had to do, how to do it and could clearly see how well they were doing.  My worry is that adding anything, however well thought out through it is, might somehow confuse and unnecessarily complicate things.

I'm complicating things slightly by adding levels, but the core gameplay remains the same.

Although I did say I would add a stupid backstory when someone suggested it a while ago so thanks for volunteering for that.   :bunnymonkey:

What happens on a new level?  A new enemy type?  Arena layout changes?  A screen clear? 
Yeah each new level would start with a clear screen with the main difference between them being the enemy type (there are other cosmetic changes but nothing that will overly effect the gameplay).

In the demo, the  overall mission is to fill the screen so having that objective each level might cheapen this cool gameplay technique ("oh I just filled the screen again" opposed to "ZOMG!!!111!! I FILLED THE FOOKIN' SCREEN - WOOHOO!!!  IN YOUR FACE MONO".  Maybe the level automatically progresses every 10% (or whatever) so the main aim is still to fill the screen but cool things get unlocked the more you fill. 10% Smart Bombs, 20% freeze time, 30% Glowing Bonios of Doom!, etc.
Yeah I appreciate the appeal of the demo version was in many ways it's simplicity with just having the single screen to clear.  I'm confident I can introduce a level structure without totally destroying that though.

Anyway this is one of the reasons I have several game modes.  Apart from the multiplayer and chill-out modes mentioned elsewhere the main game mode is where it's at.

In the main mode you tackle each level in sequence as you would in most other games, fulfilling the previously discussed % goal to progress to the next.  Once unlocked though any level can be replayed at any time to see if the highscore on that level can be beaten.  This should hopefully help maintain some of the "single level" appeal of the demo, as players can concentrate on perfecting each one without worrying about the others.

Additionally each level contains a different enemy and while the overall goal to colour the screen remains the same, the design of the enemies will mean a different strategy will be needed on each level to attain the best score.  Working out a technique that worked best in the demo and perfecting it was half the appeal IMO :)

Anyway until I have a few levels running and some playtesting feedback it's all, um, guesswork (god I love the development process) and if I'm wrong then reality and his army of internet opinions is waiting in the wings to give my ego a good kicking :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: EricT on July 13, 2008, 08:02:17 PM
Quote

Although I did say I would add a stupid backstory when someone suggested it a while ago so thanks for volunteering for that.   :bunnymonkey:


As long as it takes place in the Palette Galaxy in a war between 2 very different sects of the Contrastian race, a story would be great!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 13, 2008, 09:26:50 PM
For leaderboard sake with Mono I would say, have a score aswell so people can have a percentage and score, since some or many people may get the same percent. Just helps organise ranks and the like.

As for level progression have it based on percent as you'd said, seems logical, but have a game mode of the original Mono in the game anyway so they are seperate from teh story/progression style game, i.e best of both worlds...just my two cents.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 13, 2008, 10:20:25 PM
Quote

Although I did say I would add a stupid backstory when someone suggested it a while ago so thanks for volunteering for that.   :bunnymonkey:


As long as it takes place in the Palette Galaxy in a war between 2 very different sects of the Contrastian race, a story would be great!
Now you need to get very drunk (like you need an reason) and finish that story.  :bunnymonkey:


As for level progression have it based on percent as you'd said, seems logical, but have a game mode of the original Mono in the game anyway so they are seperate from teh story/progression style game, i.e best of both worlds...just my two cents.
If you read back a couple of posts you'll see that's effectively what I'm doing by allowing the player to tackle any single level on it's own.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: EricT on July 13, 2008, 10:30:29 PM
Quote

Although I did say I would add a stupid backstory when someone suggested it a while ago so thanks for volunteering for that.   :bunnymonkey:


As long as it takes place in the Palette Galaxy in a war between 2 very different sects of the Contrastian race, a story would be great!
Now you need to get very drunk (like you need an reason) and finish that story.  :bunnymonkey:

You know, I just wrote a small story, but then I took a look at it and read it over and realized I had just written something extremely, but very unintentionally, racist. Needless to say, I wiped it away from my computer screen before anyone had the chance to see it and take it the wrong way.

I'll have to put a little more thought into it, haha.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 14, 2008, 12:11:28 AM
Quote

Although I did say I would add a stupid backstory when someone suggested it a while ago so thanks for volunteering for that.   :bunnymonkey:


As long as it takes place in the Palette Galaxy in a war between 2 very different sects of the Contrastian race, a story would be great!
Now you need to get very drunk (like you need an reason) and finish that story.  :bunnymonkey:

You know, I just wrote a small story, but then I took a look at it and read it over and realized I had just written something extremely, but very unintentionally, racist. Needless to say, I wiped it away from my computer screen before anyone had the chance to see it and take it the wrong way.

I'll have to put a little more thought into it, haha.
lol.  Yeah you can guarantee any mention of black vs white would be taken the wrong way.  In fact these days any mention of red, green or blue will probably have the politically correct brigade down on us like a ton of bricks.

And no mention of any colour could be tricky when talking about mono.   :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: EricT on July 14, 2008, 12:21:54 AM
Quote

Although I did say I would add a stupid backstory when someone suggested it a while ago so thanks for volunteering for that.   :bunnymonkey:


As long as it takes place in the Palette Galaxy in a war between 2 very different sects of the Contrastian race, a story would be great!
Now you need to get very drunk (like you need an reason) and finish that story.  :bunnymonkey:

You know, I just wrote a small story, but then I took a look at it and read it over and realized I had just written something extremely, but very unintentionally, racist. Needless to say, I wiped it away from my computer screen before anyone had the chance to see it and take it the wrong way.

I'll have to put a little more thought into it, haha.
lol.  Yeah you can guarantee any mention of black vs white would be taken the wrong way.  In fact these days any mention of red, green or blue will probably have the politically correct brigade down on us like a ton of bricks.

And no mention of any colour could be tricky when talking about mono.   :bunnymonkey:
I'm currently on beer 3, after I watch Top Gear, I should be on 7 and I can most likely be able to create a story of epic proportions that swiftly avoids any race related issues.  ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 22, 2008, 07:32:09 PM
Well all the old mono weapons are now working in the new version.  Fairly pointless as I plan on redesigning them but at least I know all the weapon and bullet code works.  :kangaroo:

As mentioned earlier, I just need to redesign the bullet patterns so there is a more linear progressing through them, rather than a number of totally different designs organized into some sort of order.

And I still haven't decided whether to use powerups or natural weapon progression.  Powerups are shading it ATM, but much will depend on how the rest of the game design pans out.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 25, 2008, 06:53:46 PM
Well all the old mono weapons are now working in the new version.  Fairly pointless as I plan on redesigning them but at least I know all the weapon and bullet code works.  :kangaroo:

As mentioned earlier, I just need to redesign the bullet patterns so there is a more linear progressing through them, rather than a number of totally different designs organized into some sort of order.

And I still haven't decided whether to use powerups or natural weapon progression.  Powerups are shading it ATM, but much will depend on how the rest of the game design pans out.

Your choice really Fog, you usually (always) make the right decision ! I suppose you should start to throw enemies around on screen ?

incase you were going to ask, which you weren't but hey...I'll be adding part 4 on my site soon.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 25, 2008, 11:11:04 PM
Your choice really Fog, you usually (always) make the right decision ! I suppose you should start to throw enemies around on screen ?
Indeed.  It's impossible to decide without enemies on screen and a bit of playtesting...which is why design docs are a restrictive waste of time.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 26, 2008, 10:58:42 AM
Your choice really Fog, you usually (always) make the right decision ! I suppose you should start to throw enemies around on screen ?
Indeed.  It's impossible to decide without enemies on screen and a bit of playtesting...which is why design docs are a restrictive waste of time.  :bunnymonkey:

I now, thanks to you have abandoned the idea of design docs, I just know roughly, what i'd like to achieve, if the end result is a little different then its probably for the better.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 26, 2008, 01:53:01 PM
Your choice really Fog, you usually (always) make the right decision ! I suppose you should start to throw enemies around on screen ?
Indeed.  It's impossible to decide without enemies on screen and a bit of playtesting...which is why design docs are a restrictive waste of time.  :bunnymonkey:

I now, thanks to you have abandoned the idea of design docs, I just know roughly, what i'd like to achieve, if the end result is a little different then its probably for the better.
Good God man.  You should know by now never to listen to me.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 28, 2008, 07:54:08 PM
This week I'll be tackling another one of those supposedly minor command sets that almost go unnoticed, but take a disproportionate amount of coding.  Vectors of the line, object and text variety.  :bunnymonkey:

Having looked at my old code I don't foresee and problems though and it should be a relatively easy porting process.  Now where have I heard that before.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 29, 2008, 06:01:42 PM
This week I'll be tackling another one of those supposedly minor command sets that almost go unnoticed, but take a disproportionate amount of coding.&nbsp; Vectors of the line, object and text variety.&nbsp; :bunnymonkey:

Having looked at my old code I don't foresee and problems though and it should be a relatively easy porting process.&nbsp; Now where have I heard that before.



Sounds a bit odd to me myself, but hey ! In other news, i'm getting back into Pixel Art by creating some sprites and backgrounds after being heavily inspired by the work over at www.nitrome.com (http://www.nitrome.com) If you like 32bit GBA style games you'll love this site ! Sorry to advertise. If you don't like Pixel work, then its not for you !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 30, 2008, 09:51:18 AM
Sounds a bit odd to me myself, but hey !
What sounds a bit odd?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 05, 2008, 10:09:27 PM
Well I now have another little piece of the game engine jigsaw working properly.   I'd say I have the corner pieces and most of the edges done and soon I can start filling in the middle, which, as we all know, is by far the easiest bit.  :bunnymonkey:

So Vector lines and circles are now at my disposal.  They are also a slight advance on the old ones as they now support animations.   That's to say the images used to create the lines can be animated as opposed to the lines themselves moving.   I'm not sure I will ever need to animate them mind, but it's nice to have the option  :)

Next I needed to do the vector text, but I've become slightly sidetracked again.  Because I'm not really happy with the old text shape, I'm probably going to need a little editor so I can redesign them all.  Luckily it's quite a simple editor and once complete will allow me to design different fonts for different projects quickly so I don't mind too much.  Reusable editors fell much more fulfilling to write than ones you know will never be used on another project.

Then....once I started considering that, I decided I really really did need to get XML file system working so I could get my new font designs loaded easily.  After much messing around I finally seem to have a basic XML system working....sometimes....and even that was a lot more painful than it should have been.  XNA is great if you know which classes to use as you can generally figure out how to use them yourself, but if you know what you want to do but don't know which classes you should be looking at then it's not exactly user friendly.  I mean documentation on each command is really impressive, but finding those commands buried deep inside the system is sometimes painful.  I dare say I'll get used to it.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 06, 2008, 06:17:48 PM
Well my previously "sometimes" working XML reader is now working perfectly.  After my initial failure I'd looked on the net for a few examples but they all failed in exactly the same place too, so I ended up rewriting it from scratch.  It's slightly more complicated and less elegant code, but at least this time it works  :kangaroo:

Anyhoo that minor success had shown me that I need some better debug tools so todays trip down sidetrack street is heading in that direction.  In my old code I had a bunch of debug tools that made not just debugging easier, but also testing (infinite energy, weapon select etc) and positioning things on screen (on screen gird, magnifying glass etc).  I guess "debug tools" isn't exactly the right name for it but...

So I now have a few of the simpler tools set up and a log system for recording everything the program is doing, documenting any errors, missing media etc.  I'll slap a few of the more important debug tools in and then get back to what I should be doing....if I can remember....something that needed XML for something or other....I think  :bunnymonkey:

All fairly tedious background stuff that players wont know or care about, but essential from my viewpoint.  No nearer a completed game, but one step further away from development frustration.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 06, 2008, 08:29:17 PM
Thats the kind of stuff I love to readabout, if I were better at coding i'd do all the same sort of things aswell, but i'm not ah well, practice makes perfect ! Infact though Fog, you were wrong, you infact closer to a completed game than before !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 06, 2008, 10:22:58 PM
Thats the kind of stuff I love to readabout, if I were better at coding i'd do all the same sort of things aswell, but i'm not ah well, practice makes perfect ! Infact though Fog, you were wrong, you infact closer to a completed game than before !
Well a few debug tools are about as easy to code as you can get.  Like I said earlier, I called them debug tools, but they can do a lot more than track down bugs.

They are really useful for making performance tweaks as they keep track of the maximum number of bullets, particle FX, enemies etc on screen at any one time.  And have the option to dump all of these stats to an external file for future reference.

They also display the status of all input devices at any time so I can see at a glance what the readings for joypad analogue sticks, triggers etc are.

And I have an option to overlay a load of information on screen with different coloured lines to indicate the heading and speed of every object and outlines their collision zones etc.

All boring but very useful stuff.  Write yourself a little library of tools that you can drop into any project and you'll wonder what you did without them :)

I'd better stop now.  My one remaining viewer has just fallen asleep.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 07, 2008, 11:37:58 AM
The closest i'd goten to that was my FPS second output...I suppose I could add a few more things, but you know Flash, too much and it slows down beyond belief. I'll see anyway, seems like a very logical thing to do.

Oh and I haven't fallen to sleep. Not to mention you get more than one viewer...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 07, 2008, 04:30:06 PM
The closest i'd goten to that was my FPS second output...I suppose I could add a few more things, but you know Flash, too much and it slows down beyond belief. I'll see anyway, seems like a very logical thing to do.
Well I wouldn't worry about slowdown even in flash.  The utilities, apart from a few of the graphical ones, are literally just shuffling a few variables about so wont be a problem and they aren't running all the time anyway  (I have them mapped to function keys).

It's strange.  I only had the typical FPS one for ages, and then I thought of another that might be useful, and then another, and then another.  Once you get going it's amazing what ideas you come up with and, although they usually take very little programming, they can save you a lot of time or at worst make some tasks a hell of a lot easier. :)

You know that saying about "a bad workman always blames his tools"? Well there's probably one to do with good tools that's appropriate here.....but I don't know what it is.....and I can't be arsed to find out or make one up.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on August 07, 2008, 06:50:43 PM
When I began work on DUOtris for Zune, there were some troubles getting the input down perfectly. I ended up drawing a "mini-controller" in the corner of the screen, and watched it as people tested the game. It was incredibly useful for polishing the controls.


Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 07, 2008, 08:25:25 PM
When I began work on DUOtris for Zune, there were some troubles getting the input down perfectly. I ended up drawing a "mini-controller" in the corner of the screen, and watched it as people tested the game. It was incredibly useful for polishing the controls.


Mo
Yeah I have in mind a few data gathering ideas for playtesting.  Don't worry though, I wont be gathering credit card numbers just game scores. ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 09, 2008, 08:00:16 PM
Well I was taking a journey down Sidetrack Street, but I've taken a sharp right onto Detour Lane to visit keyboard class.  There's already a class for handling keyboard input, but I've made a few tweaks to add a few functions that I am used to using elsewhere and like.  It only took a short while, it's finished and it's already making a few things easier.  Namely tidying up the final couple of debug tools that I'm writing.

Um.  Then I need to convert my existing code to use the new XML commands so I can start storing everything in external files again.  THEN I can get back to finishing those vector font routines I was working on.  I vaguely remember needing the XML commands to store the font definitions in, which originally led to this departure from the project To-Do list in the first place.....or it would have if I had a To-Do list.  :bunnymonkey:

In other news I think I had one of those design moments.  One of those "Woah that could be a cool idea" knee trembling jobbies (Ok I'm exaggerating).  Like everyone. I get 10 new ideas a day, but this one might just be one of the few that actually turns into something....or it might be crap.  Either way it's one of those design ideas that you really have no way of knowing whether it will work without trying it so I will at some stage.

Sadly though it would be yet another twin stick shooter and the market is currently flooded with those.  It's probably different enough to justify doing it, but I might give them a rest for a while after mono.  Then again, it's such a simple idea that I could prototype it in a day once I have mono running so I might just do that anyway  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: outlaw99775 on August 10, 2008, 09:06:10 AM
I am really looking forward to this release, I loved all your other games.
Can you take a guess how much more you have have to do or how long it will be?
Good luck!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 10, 2008, 04:01:01 PM
Hi outlaw99775.  Thanks for showing an interest.

Can you take a guess how much more you have have to do or how long it will be?
Well I could take a wild guess, but the general rule of thumb with game development is that everything takes twice as long as you think and things you hadn't even considered double that time again, and then you need to factor in potential problems and the positions of the planets or something else equally random.

Gameplay wise all I need to do is code a variety of enemy types (relatively easy), and work out how to do the background colouring routines (which I have a few different ideas for).  That doesn't sound like it will take too long, but it's all the other little things that will take the time.  As I mentioned earlier things like the vector based text, a menu system, achievements (Zoots), incorporating all the user options, a highscore system, intro, instructions etc will all take time  And as I'm also learning a new development language as I go along I can't even have a wild guess at how long these things will take.

The only good thing is that apart from the background routines mono is about as simple a shmup as you can get, so I don't need to worry about the tedious and timely process of designing levels etc (well it will have levels but they will be of the randomly generated kind like Echoes and not scripted like in DUO)

None of which is of any help to you, but I'll keep updating the blog and give a better idea of timescales as I get nearer completion.  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 14, 2008, 10:19:07 PM
Boring, boring, boring, with a side helping of tedium.  That sums up nicely what I've been doing today.

Adding a load of debug logging commands to the existing code so that it outputs what it's doing at important points.  Then if it all goes belly up I can check the debug log file and see what the last thing it did was which often makes tracking down bugs a whole lot easier.  The error reporting in XNA is different class compared to what I was used to in DBPro, but every little bit of extra info helps and as it's only compiled in the debug version, there's no unnecessary bloat in the release version.

DBPro used to make debugging really fun by returning random line numbers for your errors instead of where they actually were, and then adding to the hilarity by throwing out equally meaningless error messages.  "Command not found: Error at line wibble"  Happy days  :P

I've also coded another fairly pointless addition.  It simply converts the analogue stick movement into it's d-pad equivalent just in case I even write a game that uses the d-pad but the user would rather use the analogues (and considering how bad the 360 pads d-pad is that's very possible).  And if nothing else it makes menu navigation easier for me to code.  Although right now I'm doing everything I can to put off writing any menu code  :P

And, shock horror, I've abandoned chaos theory and started keeping a to-do list  :bunnymonkey:  There's nothing game specific on there so I'm still some way off doing things properly by writing a design doc, but it does help keep track of all the little routines and features I need to add to the code library.

I've only really started keeping the to-do list because there's an app for it on the iPhone and, as you tend to carry your phone everywhere, it's handy being able to quickly jot down ideas wherever you are.  Hell you never know, but I might stop getting sidetracked as easily with a list to guide me.  Although I hope not  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on August 14, 2008, 11:24:51 PM
Although right now I'm doing everything I can to put off writing any menu code  :P
I've got you covered on this one remember?


Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on August 15, 2008, 01:00:24 PM
fog mate, make sure you check out Exception.StackTrace.

And look into TraceListeners.  These babies can be turned on / off at runtime via simple config file switches so you can leave your full debug messages in the code and turn on when needed (like when a user is running a RELEASE build and they encounter a problem - which is what happens in real life innit)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 15, 2008, 06:15:44 PM
Although right now I'm doing everything I can to put off writing any menu code  :P
I've got you covered on this one remember?
Don't worry I'm not going to forget that in a hurry.  It's all the sub menus, highscore tables, controller configuration stuff that I need to write that I'm avoiding :)

fog mate, make sure you check out Exception.StackTrace.

And look into TraceListeners.  These babies can be turned on / off at runtime via simple config file switches so you can leave your full debug messages in the code and turn on when needed (like when a user is running a RELEASE build and they encounter a problem - which is what happens in real life innit)
Now that's sounds like exactly what I need.  Using compiler directives works, but also being able to access debug stuff in the release version if necessary is obviously a huge benefit.  Cheers.

I'll make a programer yet :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 18, 2008, 05:25:50 PM
Not done anything at all for a few days as I was so exhausted I could barely move.  Illness sucks.  :bunnymonkey:

Back on the case tomorrow hopefully...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 19, 2008, 02:17:13 PM
Not done anything at all for a few days as I was so exhausted I could barely move.  Illness sucks.  :bunnymonkey:

Back on the case tomorrow hopefully...

I've taken the plunge and am infact forcing myself to Learn C#. Its pretty tricky but can imagine it being satisfying when you get anything done. I'll keep you posted. Don't worry, site is due a few major updates this week, i'll keep you posted.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 19, 2008, 06:28:41 PM
Not done anything at all for a few days as I was so exhausted I could barely move.  Illness sucks.  :bunnymonkey:

Back on the case tomorrow hopefully...

I've taken the plunge and am infact forcing myself to Learn C#. Its pretty tricky but can imagine it being satisfying when you get anything done. I'll keep you posted. Don't worry, site is due a few major updates this week, i'll keep you posted.
Excellent mate :)  Just wait until you get something, however simple, running on the 360.  It's hugely satisfying.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 19, 2008, 07:19:43 PM
Not done anything at all for a few days as I was so exhausted I could barely move.  Illness sucks.  :bunnymonkey:

Back on the case tomorrow hopefully...

I've taken the plunge and am infact forcing myself to Learn C#. Its pretty tricky but can imagine it being satisfying when you get anything done. I'll keep you posted. Don't worry, site is due a few major updates this week, i'll keep you posted.
Excellent mate :)  Just wait until you get something, however simple, running on the 360.  It's hugely satisfying.

Should be especialy good since CC membership is free for me since i'm a student.

Oh, I was reading elsewhere and found out theres a new parrallel XBLA called the Xbox Live Community Games or XBLCG where developers submit thier games for peer review then they will be added to the list of games, thus forcing exposure of games and the developer gets to make a return on spending time making the game. PC releases of the game are still up to the original developer. Considered it Fog or heard about it ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 20, 2008, 11:36:38 AM
Not done anything at all for a few days as I was so exhausted I could barely move.  Illness sucks.  :bunnymonkey:

Back on the case tomorrow hopefully...

I've taken the plunge and am infact forcing myself to Learn C#. Its pretty tricky but can imagine it being satisfying when you get anything done. I'll keep you posted. Don't worry, site is due a few major updates this week, i'll keep you posted.
Excellent mate :)  Just wait until you get something, however simple, running on the 360.  It's hugely satisfying.

Should be especialy good since CC membership is free for me since i'm a student.

Oh, I was reading elsewhere and found out theres a new parrallel XBLA called the Xbox Live Community Games or XBLCG where developers submit thier games for peer review then they will be added to the list of games, thus forcing exposure of games and the developer gets to make a return on spending time making the game. PC releases of the game are still up to the original developer. Considered it Fog or heard about it ?
Yeah that announcement is the only reason I've stuck with XNA.  Before Community Games there was no proper distribution for games on the 360 so it was a bit pointless, but now that's all changed.  Hopefully they will get the freeware option added soon too.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 22, 2008, 09:07:26 PM
Just done something very satisfying. (No, not what you're thinking Eric ;) )

I needed to modify my image/animation code to handle multiple animation frames on a single image.  My old code which I originally ported into XNA just used a separate file for every image of an animation, but this is obviously inefficient so I needed to rewrite it to load a single image and then display the relevant portion of it depending on which frame of the animation I needed to display.

In theory it shouldn't have been a bit job, however as these were among the first classes I wrote in XNA and I've learned a lot since then, I decided to just obliterate the lot and start again.  Needless to say that as just about every other part of the game engine relies on images,sprites etc of some kind, this immediately threw up literally hundreds of errors.  There's nothing scarier as a coder than having code that wont compile.  Even if your code doesn't work in the way you intended, if it compiles then it's reassuring as at worst you've got a typo or a logic error somewhere.  :bunnymonkey:

Anyway one by one the errors disappeared and when I finished the 4 classes I'd originally obliterated had been rewritten as 3 new ones with the old sprite and animation classes being combined.  Like I said, rather satisfying as it convinced me that I have a better understanding of the language now and, more importantly, should give a little boost to performance.  And being able to throw a few more enemies, bullets and particles around can only be a good thing right? ;)

Now can anyone remember what I was supposed to be working on next or do I have to read back through this thread to find out where I got sidetracked?  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 25, 2008, 06:32:16 PM
Finally updated the FX code to allow for dynamic scaling.  You can do everything else imaginable with the particle FX so god knows why I've overlooked scaling until now.

But I'm having one of those days.  After changing the FX code I found out that my Joypad was no longer working and spent a few minutes searching through the code to see what the problem was.  Obviously it was nothing to do with the code at all, as the FX and Input classes are totally unrelated.  I'd just forgotten that I'd unplugged the Joypad  ::)

It's amazing I ever get anything to work  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on August 25, 2008, 07:28:37 PM
I know the feeling. I've spent ages looking through input code on the Zune going, "why is nothing working?!" only to find out that my Zune was on hold all along. :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 26, 2008, 11:11:40 AM
I know the feeling. I've spent ages looking through input code on the Zune going, "why is nothing working?!" only to find out that my Zune was on hold all along. :)

Mo
Fool ;)  You'd never catch me doing something stupid like that  ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 28, 2008, 08:02:21 PM
We've got no hope of inducing seizures as things stand at the moment so I'm now working on my Screen FX routines.  I refer to Screen FX as effects, constant or temporary, that work over the whole screen such as screen shaking, background changes,  shaderzzz and those seizure inducing screen flashes.

The bulk of the variables and definitions are already done, so all I need to do now is link it into my existing code so that calling a Screen FX actually has some effect.

Once that's done all my effect code is complete and can handle anything I need, with all the systems linked together.  So calling a single command like "FX.Create("big explosion")" automatically triggers as many different particle effects as I want, any screen FX such as shaking and flashing, any necessary sound effect and will also trigger the joypad rumble if necessary.

It's quite a flexible system and being able to call all those different elements with one command means it couldn't be easier to use and code remains nice and easy to read.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on August 29, 2008, 04:27:13 AM
Old post, I know, but I've been meaning to ask ...

I've only really started keeping the to-do list because there's an app for it on the iPhone and, as you tend to carry your phone everywhere, it's handy being able to quickly jot down ideas wherever you are.  Hell you never know, but I might stop getting sidetracked as easily with a list to guide me.  Although I hope not  :bunnymonkey:

I assume you're talking about Notes, yes? Or do you use another app? I use Notes for Geomex quite extensively. While playing, I notice something that needs tweaking, switch to Notes, jot it down, and get back to playing. Super handy. :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 29, 2008, 10:36:56 AM
Old post, I know, but I've been meaning to ask ...

I've only really started keeping the to-do list because there's an app for it on the iPhone and, as you tend to carry your phone everywhere, it's handy being able to quickly jot down ideas wherever you are.  Hell you never know, but I might stop getting sidetracked as easily with a list to guide me.  Although I hope not  :bunnymonkey:

I assume you're talking about Notes, yes? Or do you use another app? I use Notes for Geomex quite extensively. While playing, I notice something that needs tweaking, switch to Notes, jot it down, and get back to playing. Super handy. :)

Mo
No, I'm using "DoBot ToDos" which is free from the App Store (in the productivity category).  It's fairly simple but it allows for multiple lists, notes on each list item and setting priorities or due dates.  It's not perfect, but hey it's free. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 01, 2008, 08:01:41 PM
Been too ill to do much for a few days but today I made a little progress.

In hindsight maybe spending that time testing nothing but screen shaking and flashing routines wasn't the best idea.  My eyes!  :bunnymonkey:

I've also put together my "Game" class.  I use this to put any game specific code in (such as the mono background routine) which means the only changes I ever do to my game engine code are general improvements or bug fixes that will be carried forward from project to project.  Everything else in the "Game" class can just be deleted when using the engine for a new game.  Much easier.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 08, 2008, 02:09:21 PM
Just a little more progress.  I've added temporary buffer changes to my whole Screen FX routines.  All of which means absolutely nothing to most people, but resizing the buffer is an effect used by a lot of games and the results are kind of nice.  All you need know is that it's another way to generally mess with the screen image to create some pleasing effects.  Although unlike the shaderzzz that I mentioned earlier which only effect the background, this effects the whole screen so I need to use it sparingly if things aren't to get too distracting.

I've also been doing a bit of experimenting.  I wonder what the rules are regarding subliminal messages in games?  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 18, 2008, 07:47:54 PM
Well I never did find out what the rules about subliminal messages in games are, but I can now do them....although in truth I'd make them stay on screen long enough for you to realise they were there.  This means they aren't subliminal but, er, liminal, superliminal, sublime?  God knows.

The lovely eee PC means I can now do little chunks of coding on a more regular basis now so hopefully we'll see some results of that soon.

Although the eee PC's smaller screen res hasn't caused any problems it has made me realise that I need to tidy up my code a bit so I've spent what time I could over the last few days doing just that.  Adding #regions so I can collapse chunks of code for easier viewing, adding comments so I know what regions contain without having to open them up and just generally reformatting stuff.  I now have a new No.1 entry on my list of incredibly tedious coding tasks.  :bunnymonkey:

Next up I'm getting a little bored of doing all these little essential but not terribly rewarding sections of code so I'll have a go at adding the powerup class.  That should be reasonably straight forward (he says knowing he'll regret it again) and this time, because of the way the code is structured I can have them moving and possibly effected by gravity if the game calls for it.  In previous code they were very much stationary objects, but no longer.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 25, 2008, 11:07:52 AM
Sounds pretty darned sweet Fog ! I've decided to plumb for a regular laptop instead of a eee PC. Oh and C# although tricky isn't impossible and I appear to be making lots of progress. Its just a shame I prefer actionscript and love programming in Flash !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 25, 2008, 05:53:45 PM
Sounds pretty darned sweet Fog ! I've decided to plumb for a regular laptop instead of a eee PC. Oh and C# although tricky isn't impossible and I appear to be making lots of progress. Its just a shame I prefer actionscript and love programming in Flash !
Yeah I have a regular laptop too.  In fact Echoes was entirely developed on that.

Performance wise my lappy is better than the eee PC, but it simply can't compete in terms of portability and the fact I can fire it up anywhere in a matter of seconds.  Even if I have the laptop with me it's not worth the hassle of getting it out unless I have a good chunk of free time.  The eee PC has serious limitations, but it does what it does brilliantly IMO.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 30, 2008, 12:38:55 PM
eeePC development still working great  :)  It looks kinda funny when I plug in a 360 joypad to do some testing as the joypad is almost as big as the PC, but as a tool to help me get some work done it's already proving priceless.

Not so much development as redevelopment over the past few days.  I'd ported my own camera class code across from DBPro to XNA a while back and it worked fine.  It allowed for camera panning, rotation, scaling etc while using 2D sprites and was pretty funky even though I'd only ever used it in a couple of unreleased projects (the "full" version of Crack being the most recent).

Anyway as with all learning processes I've realised that was all a bit unnecessary as there is a much easier way to do it using matrix transformations (which I'm not even going to pretend that I fully understand  :bunnymonkey: )  I could have left the old code as it worked fine, but using this new method the code is much simplified and no doubt considerably faster so it was a job worth doing.  :kangaroo:

Of course nothings ever that simple and the new code sort of breaks some of my existing Screen FX routines (like the screen shaking code) so I'll have to fix them, but ultimately it will make things "better".....although sometimes it's difficult to work out whether just leaving the existing code and moving on might really be the "better" option  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 30, 2008, 06:39:20 PM
Long time no update :)  Had a few illness enforced breaks, but still ticking along.

I wont go into all the boring details, but I essentially have the basic shmup engine up and running now with all the elements you would expect (audio, fx, bullets, powerups, enemies blah blah) so now it's time to build a game around that.  And there is an absolute load of Xbox360 support code that needs to be written as well for handling profiles, save games, storage devices etc etc.  What fun  :bunnymonkey:

As well as my own development I've been doing a bit of testing for SiN's joint Binary Zoo & Caffeine Monster release for the 360 (with PC and Zune versions to possibly follow).  I wont say any more other than it's really awesome and you know who to blame if my own developments have sliiped slightly recently  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 02, 2008, 01:07:35 AM
Sounds like everything is chugging along fine Fog. Can't wait for a release from you and working with Caffeine MSoft will be good (I know you've done it before, just not with the different company names). Either way, glad you are liking C# and XNA so much.

Good news is i'm just about fluent in C# since i'm doing a programming degree, this does mean however that I have no time at all to do any personal programming.

keep up the great work its good to hear from you.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 02, 2008, 10:18:05 PM
Sounds like everything is chugging along fine Fog. Can't wait for a release from you and working with Caffeine MSoft will be good (I know you've done it before, just not with the different company names). Either way, glad you are liking C# and XNA so much.

Good news is i'm just about fluent in C# since i'm doing a programming degree, this does mean however that I have no time at all to do any personal programming.

keep up the great work its good to hear from you.
Yeah still chugging along JDog.  Excellent news on the programing degree.  Good luck with that :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 02, 2008, 11:03:59 PM
Sounds like everything is chugging along fine Fog. Can't wait for a release from you and working with Caffeine MSoft will be good (I know you've done it before, just not with the different company names). Either way, glad you are liking C# and XNA so much.

Good news is i'm just about fluent in C# since i'm doing a programming degree, this does mean however that I have no time at all to do any personal programming.

keep up the great work its good to hear from you.
Yeah still chugging along JDog.  Excellent news on the programing degree.  Good luck with that :)

Thanks ! The main reason I chose to do the degree was to force me to finish projects. Our first project is an ASCII version of Battleships/ It should be good once its completed...if its ever completed. deadline in 6 weeks.

Anyway, its good to hear everything is going ok.

Oh 360 release, hopefully PC too ?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 03, 2008, 01:26:50 PM
Sounds like everything is chugging along fine Fog. Can't wait for a release from you and working with Caffeine MSoft will be good (I know you've done it before, just not with the different company names). Either way, glad you are liking C# and XNA so much.

Good news is i'm just about fluent in C# since i'm doing a programming degree, this does mean however that I have no time at all to do any personal programming.

keep up the great work its good to hear from you.
Yeah still chugging along JDog.  Excellent news on the programing degree.  Good luck with that :)

Thanks ! The main reason I chose to do the degree was to force me to finish projects. Our first project is an ASCII version of Battleships/ It should be good once its completed...if its ever completed. deadline in 6 weeks.

Anyway, its good to hear everything is going ok.

Oh 360 release, hopefully PC too ?

Yeah it's initially a 360 release, with PC and Zune possibly to follow (if Microsoft ever pull their finger out on the Zune front  :P )


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 03, 2008, 10:46:49 PM
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that my lecturer for C# is Rob Miles, they guy that wrote the book you initially learned XNA through. he is a very good teacher with a good sense of humour.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 07, 2008, 10:28:32 AM
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that my lecturer for C# is Rob Miles, they guy that wrote the book you initially learned XNA through. he is a very good teacher with a good sense of humour.
Cool.  I didn't really "learn" XNA from that book as it's a bit too basic for my needs, but it certainly did convince me that there was nothing to be worried about when jumping from Basic to C#.  For that I'm grateful :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 07, 2008, 07:10:12 PM
Yeah it surprised me just how close to Actionscript C# is, which really helped the transfer from one language to the next.

good news is Battleships is completed 6 weeks ahead of the deadline. I just need to optimize the code and make it look prettier.

How would you publish the code as a standalone exe file ? I am yet at a blank when it comes to that.

Congratz on DUOtris+. Shame you can't have leaderboards online, but I will be playing it alot when I download it soon !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 09, 2008, 08:28:31 PM
How would you publish the code as a standalone exe file ? I am yet at a blank when it comes to that.
Have a look in explorer.  Under your project's folder there should be a "bin > x86 > release" folder.  You need the exe from there along with any media content


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 27, 2008, 12:52:33 PM
Now that I'm getting a better feel for classes and all things OOP I'm finding myself forever tinkering and going over old code and rewriting it using my new found knowledge.  This is a bad thing.

Using my enforced stop/start coding regime it's taken me 3 days to incorporate a new "Range" class that I'd come up with.  It's certainly made the code a lot easier to read and reduced the amount of code in some places considerably, but it's debatable whether you'd actually call it "progress"  :bunnymonkey:

Still, I'm already seeing the benefits and it should, long term, make life a little easier.

And to celebrate, today I'm going to finish adding the Zoo animals that wander the extremities of the screen when they get bored  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 27, 2008, 05:23:51 PM
Now that I'm getting a better feel for classes and all things OOP I'm finding myself forever tinkering and going over old code and rewriting it using my new found knowledge.  This is a bad thing.

I whole heartedly agree!

Using my enforced stop/start coding regime it's taken me 3 days to incorporate a new "Range" class that I'd come up with.  It's certainly made the code a lot easier to read and reduced the amount of code in some places considerably, but it's debatable whether you'd actually call it "progress"  :bunnymonkey:

I did the same thing in Flash just a few days ago! It made my input code more readable ad more efficient!

Still, I'm already seeing the benefits and it should, long term, make life a little easier.

And to celebrate, today I'm going to finish adding the Zoo animals that wander the extremities of the screen when they get bored  :kangaroo:

I forgot to mention that I got myself a Mini-Laptop! Its pretty awesome. The one from the PC world adverts, the Advent!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 27, 2008, 10:20:51 PM
I forgot to mention that I got myself a Mini-Laptop! Its pretty awesome. The one from the PC world adverts, the Advent!
Lovely.  Even if you don't do proper coding on it, it's still useful to have something which you can fire up and jot a few dev notes on wherever you are :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 06, 2008, 06:09:37 PM
XNA 3.0 had some new media commands in so I've rewritten my music playing routines to take advantage of them as now I no longer need to put everything in XACT (sound fx will still be handled by XACT though)

I've also ported most of my old music visualization code across too, so the next task is to finish that off and tweak the balancing so it reacts properly to the music.  You don't want it so sensitive that it reacts to every tiny sound as then anything linked to it just looks a chaotic mess, but you also don't want it just sitting there doing nothing while music is playing.

I've no idea what I'll use the music visualization for yet mind, but it's nice to have the option  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on December 07, 2008, 02:00:15 AM
It's a pity. My microcontroller visualiser (just flashes LEDs with music) is nothing but a chaotic mess :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 08, 2008, 10:31:31 AM
It's a pity. My microcontroller visualiser (just flashes LEDs with music) is nothing but a chaotic mess :P
Nice.  We need to see this.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on December 08, 2008, 10:58:40 AM
It's a pity. My microcontroller visualiser (just flashes LEDs with music) is nothing but a chaotic mess :P
Nice.  We need to see this.
It's on the video for the car stereo mod on my blog :). It doesn't show it very well but yeah, it's just designed to flash LEDs with the beat of the music, and doesn't do a good job at all. I need to start the code again, which I might, one day.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 08, 2008, 04:19:19 PM
It's a pity. My microcontroller visualiser (just flashes LEDs with music) is nothing but a chaotic mess :P
Nice.  We need to see this.
It's on the video for the car stereo mod on my blog :). It doesn't show it very well but yeah, it's just designed to flash LEDs with the beat of the music, and doesn't do a good job at all. I need to start the code again, which I might, one day.
Excellent.  Didn't realise you'd updated your blog :)

That looks pretty cool TBH.  And I like the fact you can see all the wires and innards of the stereo giving it that proper home made, mad inventor feel   :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on December 09, 2008, 04:35:58 AM
Haha, yeah, thanks. That's exactly what I was going for.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 13, 2009, 12:14:04 PM
I can't believe it's been this long since I updated  :P

Anyhow I took a long break over Christmas and the New Year, but I'm back now.  I've kind of got bogged down in rewriting and improving existing code and while that will need to be done at some stage, I've decided to focus on finishing off the routines needed to finish an actual game.

There are still plenty of those mind, but if I just get the core gameplay ones finished I can start on some proper playtesting and worry about adding menus ect later.  Sounds like a plan  :bunnymonkey:

It's also starting to look more likely that the first game will be Echoes....with extra game modes etc.  That means I don't need to write the background colouring routines required for mono (although that shouldn't take too long and once Echoes has shown the engine code works ok, mono shouldn't be far behind) .....then I can start writing something original which is what I really want to be doing :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on January 13, 2009, 12:51:12 PM
I can't believe it's been this long since I updated  :P

Anyhow I took a long break over Christmas and the New Year, but I'm back now.  I've kind of got bogged down in rewriting and improving existing code and while that will need to be done at some stage, I've decided to focus on finishing off the routines needed to finish an actual game.

There are still plenty of those mind, but if I just get the core gameplay ones finished I can start on some proper playtesting and worry about adding menus ect later.  Sounds like a plan  :bunnymonkey:

It's also starting to look more likely that the first game will be Echoes....with extra game modes etc.  That means I don't need to write the background colouring routines required for mono (although that shouldn't take too long and once Echoes has shown the engine code works ok, mono shouldn't be far behind) .....then I can start writing something original which is what I really want to be doing :)

Seems wis, since those background routines are a little tricky (for me anyways).

That sounds awesome, if you do Echoes, could you do a mode that only has the 3 types of asteroids?
Also, if you do Echoes, will it have Crack, or will that be a standalone?

Good to have you back.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 13, 2009, 10:41:50 PM
Seems wis, since those background routines are a little tricky (for me anyways).
The backgrounds aren't that tricky, I already have the distortion shaderzzz written, but all these little things take time. :)


That sounds awesome, if you do Echoes, could you do a mode that only has the 3 types of asteroids?
Very likely.  I already have several game mode ideas written down and one of them is "classic" mode with you against just the traditional Asteroid enemies.


Also, if you do Echoes, will it have Crack, or will that be a standalone?
If I did the "full" version of Crack which I was writing in DBPro then it would be a stand alone game, but that's unlikely.  Chances are, if anything, that it would just be included in Echoes as a game mode.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 23, 2009, 09:35:59 PM
This evening I accidentally wrote part of the mono background colouring routine.  Quite some accident considering I was working on the player animation code and I'm not even supposed to be working on mono at all.  :P

It was just one of those "I wonder..." moments and 10 minutes later I'd proved the theory.  Now that I know it works, it shouldn't take more than an hour to get it fully working, and that's including a few little features I want to add that weren't in the mono demo background colouring routines.

I'm quite pleased with that as I was quite apprehensive about how I was going to do it as I remember how difficult it was to get running satisfactorily in DBPro.  No such worries here as it couldn't have been easier. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on January 24, 2009, 11:39:18 AM
Another little suggestion for Mono.

If you do decide to code it.  ;D

I would like an option for the enemies, when they come on screen, to not cause damage to the player until they either move in towards the centre of the screen or when a timer ticks down.
Maybe giving them, a transparent ( low alpha ) level to distinguish them as newly arrived to the arena.

It would probably be pratical to disable them from recieving damage from the player too when they appear on screen at the screen edges.  As this would prevent the player from sitting at the side of the screen shooting away with impunity.

This would give the player enough time to get out of the way and prevent the situation of enemies appearing right on top of the player.  Very annoying.   :-\

Basically, disabling all collision with an enemy when it first appears, preventing the instant death syndrome.

I've had the same issues with Echoes too by the way.

But after an enemy becomes active, ie, it travels away from the screen edges towards the centre, it can attack and be attacked even at the screen edges again.

TMC

Interesting to note though, that i still play the BZ games.  After all this time.
Which goes to show the fundamental gameplay is sound and provides loads of fun.
Links are always on my desktop.   ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 24, 2009, 06:20:26 PM
Another little suggestion for Mono.

If you do decide to code it.  ;D
It's kind of in parallel development with Echoes.  They obviously share 95% of the same DNA so working on one effectively progresses the other.  Hopefully they'll eventually feel different enough to justify releasing them both.


I would like an option for the enemies, when they come on screen, to not cause damage to the player until they either move in towards the centre of the screen or when a timer ticks down.
Maybe giving them, a transparent ( low alpha ) level to distinguish them as newly arrived to the arena.

It would probably be pratical to disable them from recieving damage from the player too when they appear on screen at the screen edges.  As this would prevent the player from sitting at the side of the screen shooting away with impunity.

This would give the player enough time to get out of the way and prevent the situation of enemies appearing right on top of the player.  Very annoying.   :-\

Basically, disabling all collision with an enemy when it first appears, preventing the instant death syndrome.

I've had the same issues with Echoes too by the way.

But after an enemy becomes active, ie, it travels away from the screen edges towards the centre, it can attack and be attacked even at the screen edges again.
That's actually something I've wrestled with quite a bit believe it or not and the way it's handled has changed several times.

I honestly can't remember how the current system works  :P , but I don't think you can collide with enemies until they are entirely on screen (at least it worked like that at some stage).  Also you didn't used to be able to shoot enemies until they were entirely on screen either, but that didn't feel right in Echoes work and didn't work at all in mono because it makes it impossible to colour the sides of the screen.

I could make sure no enemies spawn along any edge the player is beside, but that means they could effectively camp, knowing they are safe.

And I don't want to do it the same way as something like GW where all the enemies spawn inside the play area.  In a slower paced game that's ok, but in a fast paced game, even though it never spawns enemies directly beside you, far too often they are spawned directly in your path.

The best solution is probably to just give the player more warning of new enemies, so in Echoes I think I'm going to allow the screen to scroll slightly so you can see outside of the play area, meaning you can clearly see enemies spawning in the space that would previously have been off screen.

Unfortunately that's not an option in mono, so I'll need to think of something else.  :bunnymonkey:

And now I'm rambling.  I believe the answer to your point was "I'm working on a solution" :)


Interesting to note though, that i still play the BZ games.  After all this time.
Which goes to show the fundamental gameplay is sound and provides loads of fun.
Links are always on my desktop.   ;D
Thanks.  Hopefully I can knock out some new content when I've finished with theses Xbox360 ports.....one day.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 25, 2009, 11:48:42 AM
Shock. Horror.  I've stumbled across my first bug in XNA  :o

It only took one extra line of code to fix it, but it did mean that the one hour I thought the mono background colouring routines would take, ended up taking considerably longer

For the technically minded it appears that textures are locked when they are drawn to the screen, meaning you can't alter them. That's perfectly logical, but they should then automatically be unlocked once the Draw method is complete, however this doesn't happen so you have to do it manually yourself (assuming you want to alter them in some way).

Code:
graphicsDevice.Textures[0] = null;

At least the solution is simple and I didn't have to code a huge workaround.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on January 25, 2009, 08:26:54 PM
Hypothetical solution to your spawning problem:

Divide the world up into a grid. Let's say each cell is 128x128 px. The inner cells aren't important, just the cells at the edges of the world. Each cell has a counter. For every frame that a player overlaps that cell, increment the counter. For every frame a player doesn't overlap a cell decrement the counter (with the minimum value being 0). When the counter is in the "sweet-spot" (let's say between 0-2secs) and the player is currently over that cell, don't spawn enemies from there. If the counter goes over the sweet-spot (so, 2+ secs) spawn away.

Effectively, the "honest" players don't get screwed over, and the campers eventually get punished. Giving the counter some sort of splash effect (ie: the cell you're on gets incremented by one, and the ones around you by 0.5) will stop campers from cycling between two close-by cells.

The only problem I see here is a perceived inconsistency in the spawning behaviour. To the player, it'll seem like at some times, enemies don't spawn close to you, whereas at other times they'll happily do so. But I think a little tweaking will get it feeling reasonably "natural".

Thoughts?

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 25, 2009, 11:31:46 PM
That sounds possible, but like everything else you would have to test it to see whether it works and more importantly whether it feels right for the player.

If the player learns that enemies don't spawn under them and then all of a sudden they do...maybe that's even worse.  Whatever method I use it has to be consistant and should be invisible too the player if it's done properly.

In Echoes I think the solution I have is as good as any in that the screen scrolls and you see enemies spawning outside of the play area long before they can do you any harm.

And in mono TBH I doubt camping would be a major problem.  Unlike in Echoes and other arena shmups, you only increase your score by colouring the whole screen which invariably means moving so after a point camping has little benefit.  Also when things really heat up I'd like to see anyone stay still for any length of time without taking a beating regardless of where they are on screen :)

Anyway yes, there are a number of possible solutions and I need to do some testing but I'll certainly consider that one SiN.  Perhaps we have the solution already, or perhaps the solution is a combination of a couple of ideas already mentioned :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on January 26, 2009, 09:58:55 AM
Quote
Also you didn't used to be able to shoot enemies until they were entirely on screen either, but that didn't feel right in Echoes work and didn't work at all in mono because it makes it impossible to colour the sides of the screen.

Ahh ok, glad to see it's something that hasnt slipped your notice.

I'm still quite keen on the idea of making the enemies invulnerable once they enter the arena, for a short time ( at the screen edges ).  With some visual clue to show what state they are in.  Different color, transparent, flashing, ect

Although the player wouldnt be able to shoot them in this mode, once they had turned to normal mode, theres nothing stopping the player from shooting them when they approach the screen edges again, as per normal.  This would still allow for coloring in of the screen edges.

Not sure if i made myself clear in the previous post.  :)

TMC






Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 27, 2009, 11:28:52 AM
I'm still quite keen on the idea of making the enemies invulnerable once they enter the arena, for a short time ( at the screen edges ).  With some visual clue to show what state they are in.  Different color, transparent, flashing, ect

Although the player wouldnt be able to shoot them in this mode, once they had turned to normal mode, theres nothing stopping the player from shooting them when they approach the screen edges again, as per normal.  This would still allow for coloring in of the screen edges.
Unfortunately, while that sounds fine in theory, unfortunately it doesn't really work from a gameplay balancing viewpoint.  If the player can't kill enemies in mono until they are fully on screen then colouring the edges becomes almost impossible. 

The coloured "blobs" that are painted to the background fade away to virtually nothing at the edges, so even if the player shot the enemies at the point they touched the screen border, then the amount of colouring done at the edges would be negligible and colouring the corners would be impossible.

Difficult to explain, so I've attached a pic :)

If you increase the blob size to overcome this then you completely alter the balancing as the whole screen would colour much much quicker.

Like I said, it's a seemingly simple problem, but because of the way the background works it introduces a lot of problems that aren't an issue in similar shmups :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on January 28, 2009, 09:57:18 AM
Ahh ok.

So, from that example then, a player can only color in the extreme screen edges when an enemy first appears on screen
And not when an enemy travels to the screen edges.

I didn't realise that.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 28, 2009, 11:24:26 AM
Ahh ok.

So, from that example then, a player can only color in the extreme screen edges when an enemy first appears on screen
And not when an enemy travels to the screen edges.

I didn't realise that.

TMC
Well you could colour the edges, but as I said, it would take a lot of blobs layered to top of each other to do it. 

I'm contemplating having the enemies wrap around like in Asteroids (ie. not coliding with the screen edges, but going off one side and onto the other to gt rid of the problem altogether, but we'll have to see what that actually plays like.  And it would screw up some of my new enemy designs :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on January 28, 2009, 03:04:13 PM
I've missed alot! No internet is a shame... Glad to hear everything is progressing and is looking great!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on January 29, 2009, 09:59:42 AM
I quite like the idea of a scrolling play area.

My nudgeball worked on a similar concept, restricting the ball to a smaller play area.

I might knock up a small demo just to satisfy my own curisosity.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 29, 2009, 10:32:00 AM
I quite like the idea of a scrolling play area.

Yeah it will work fine in Echoes, but unfortunately not in mono as IMO it would destroy the effect of the background.


Anyway, just one final task with the mono background routines now and that's to add the code to keep track of the score....which sounds trivial, but depending on how you produce the backgrounds,  isn't actually as easy as it sounds :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 29, 2009, 06:16:18 PM
Ok, why did nobody tell me strings in XNA were immutable......or what the hell that even means.  I'm sure developers just make these bloody words up to impress everyone and feel superior.  Well it worked lol :bunnymonkey:

I've sorted it now, but there was much confusion, head scratching and angry animal noises down at The Zoo over what seemed like it should be the most basic of tasks.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on January 30, 2009, 03:37:50 PM
Ok, why did nobody tell me strings in XNA were immutable......or what the hell that even means.  I'm sure developers just make these bloody words up to impress everyone and feel superior.  Well it worked lol :bunnymonkey:

I've sorted it now, but there was much confusion, head scratching and angry animal noises down at The Zoo over what seemed like it should be the most basic of tasks.

Even though the background routines for Mono are tricky, upon completion wouldn't it be much much easier for you to continue developing mono as it has fewer enemies than Echoes?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 30, 2009, 04:33:29 PM
Ok, why did nobody tell me strings in XNA were immutable......or what the hell that even means.  I'm sure developers just make these bloody words up to impress everyone and feel superior.  Well it worked lol :bunnymonkey:

I've sorted it now, but there was much confusion, head scratching and angry animal noises down at The Zoo over what seemed like it should be the most basic of tasks.

Even though the background routines for Mono are tricky, upon completion wouldn't it be much much easier for you to continue developing mono as it has fewer enemies than Echoes?
TBH the background routines were much easier to write in XNA than they were in DBPro.  The only tricky point was me being a numpty  :bunnymonkey:

And there might currently be fewer enemies in mono than in Echoes, but if things go to plan then there wont necessarily be in the full version of mono.  There will be several different enemy types at least.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 02, 2009, 02:59:06 PM
Just knocked up a couple of boring but useful Timer classes.

I can assign different events to different timers so for example, things that run in RealTime will continue to run when a game is paused, but things that run in GameTime will pause.  And I can easily alter GameTime so I could run things in slow motion or even in reverse (to an extent)  if necessary.

Nothing too fancy, but it's all automatic so it's one less thing to worry about.  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 02, 2009, 06:51:32 PM
That all sounds really quite cool Fog!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 02, 2009, 09:49:02 PM
That all sounds really quite cool Fog!

lol.  No, it probably sounds really boring to most people, but then a lot of development is.

I'm not sure whether anyone is really interested in the technical side of development like how certain things are designed and work, but if I didn't put a little of that stuff in there there would be very little to write.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 06, 2009, 02:28:57 PM
The Zoo animals are in!  Yes it's nice to get the most important features in first  :kangaroo:

The intro is in as well.  It might we worth having a twiddle with the old analogues on that screen ;)

And the proper game state structure is in place so we can easily switch between different screens (intro, menus, game etc) and the various game modes will be handled properly.

And now I can get back to writing a funky new emitter class.....or at least it sounds like a good idea in my head. Time will tell :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 07, 2009, 06:24:51 PM
A while back you mentioned spriteFonts, I was wondering if this would encompass custom made fonts using MS Paint as an example. I have added Arial for the time being and am currently using tha to display everything. I'd like to add my own font to seperate my Pong game from everyone elses on my course, especially since its assessed work.

I've also decided to leave motion blur til everything else is working.

I was also wondeirng how you would go about making a game structure like the menu, game, game over screen and so on. would you seperate the update method into either Game, Menu and game over then depending on which is true at the time it would change what is being displayed. Other than what I am stuck with at the moment XNA is great!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 07, 2009, 07:38:48 PM
A while back you mentioned spriteFonts, I was wondering if this would encompass custom made fonts using MS Paint as an example. I have added Arial for the time being and am currently using tha to display everything. I'd like to add my own font to seperate my Pong game from everyone elses on my course, especially since its assessed work.
Well it's fair to say I've gone overboard with fonts, but I didn't want to be stuck using the built in SpriteFonts as they are rather limiting.

I have a vector font system and I have my "bitmap font" system which I ported from DBPro and I think this is the one you are talking about.

That works pretty much the same as drawing any other sprite would.  Just draw all your characters on a single image (use PNG if you can to get nice alpha effects) and then write a little routine to store Rectangles that contain the co-ordinates of each character on that image.

I'll break that down further if you want.


I've also decided to leave motion blur til everything else is working.
Do :)  It's literally a few lines of code that you can just add when you're ready.


I was also wondeirng how you would go about making a game structure like the menu, game, game over screen and so on. would you seperate the update method into either Game, Menu and game over then depending on which is true at the time it would change what is being displayed. Other than what I am stuck with at the moment XNA is great!
Pretty much yes.  There are a lot of clever ways you could do it, but most importantly , pick a system you are comfortable with.  A simple Enumerator to track things is as easy as any;

pseudo again :)
Code:
enum GameState
{
MainMenu,
Pause,
Game,
}

GameState CurrentGameState=GameState.MainMenu


Update()
{
   switch (CurrentGameState)
   {
   case GameState.MainMenu:
      {
      if (buttonPressed=="start") CurrentGameState=GameState.Game
      break;
      }
   //add other states
   }
}


Draw()
{
   switch (CurrentGameState)
   {
   case GameState.MainMenu:
      {
      MainMenu.Draw()
      break;
      }
   case GameState.Game:
      {
      Game.Draw()
      break;
      }
   //add other states
   }
}

You get the idea.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 08, 2009, 11:14:50 AM
A while back you mentioned spriteFonts, I was wondering if this would encompass custom made fonts using MS Paint as an example. I have added Arial for the time being and am currently using tha to display everything. I'd like to add my own font to seperate my Pong game from everyone elses on my course, especially since its assessed work.
Well it's fair to say I've gone overboard with fonts, but I didn't want to be stuck using the built in SpriteFonts as they are rather limiting.

I have a vector font system and I have my "bitmap font" system which I ported from DBPro and I think this is the one you are talking about.

That works pretty much the same as drawing any other sprite would.  Just draw all your characters on a single image (use PNG if you can to get nice alpha effects) and then write a little routine to store Rectangles that contain the co-ordinates of each character on that image.

I'll break that down further if you want.

Please do!

I think keeping track of the gamestate shouldn't be too hard. Thanks for your help once again!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 11, 2009, 08:00:37 PM
Am I the only one that agonizes for ages over which order nested IF statements should be placed for maximum efficiency?  Thought so  :P


Meanwhile...the new emitter code seems to be pretty decent.  The old system was ported from my old DBPro code and while it worked and was fairly efficient performance wise, it wasn't as flexible as I'd like and the code was very fragmented and bloated.

I essentially had separate emitters for FX and bullets and no real emitter functions for enemies or powerups.  Under the new system an emitter can create any of the 4 objects mentioned in any fancy patterns I can think up and all handled pretty much automatically.

Now I just need to tweak my existing bullet, fx, powerup and enemy code to work with these new emitters.  That should be fun  :kangaroo:

All rather boring to read about TBH.  I'll post a pic of a stripper or something next time.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 11, 2009, 08:12:35 PM
Lol at the end comment :)

I was wondering though. If you make an object, then continue to load the object (texture2D) in this case. How would you then go about making many unique copies of such a thing where each of which can be moved individually...

I'm asking too much.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 14, 2009, 03:09:40 PM
I was wondering though. If you make an object, then continue to load the object (texture2D) in this case. How would you then go about making many unique copies of such a thing where each of which can be moved individually...
I'm not sure what the "proper" way is to do it, but I use a fairly simple array to store both my Master entities and my child objects.

My array of Master entities stores all the data associated with each enemy/bullet/fx type.

eg (pseudo):
Code:
master[1].Animation="enemy1";
master[1].Strength=10;
etc.

Then my child object array is used to store all the information for the objects you actually see on screen.

When creating a new object you just pass into the method what object you want to create and where you want it:

more pseudo code:
Code:
CreateObject( objectType , position)
{
   newObject=GetFreeObject(); // find an array index that isn't already "Alive"
   object[newObject].Alive = true;
   object[newObject].Type = objectType;
   object[newObject].Strength = master[objectType].Strength;
   object[newObject].Position = position;
}

As you can see it's not necessary to copy all the Master attributes to the child Objects.  For example the animation will never change so we can just reference the Master objects data if we need that information.

But things like Strength need to be copied to the child object as this will need to change when an enemy is shot for example.

Then other information such as Position doesn't need to be stored in the Master object at all, but is obviously needed for the child object.

That's quite a simplified version of what I really do, but hopefully you get the idea. ( The data for the Master array for example is best stored in an external XML file for easy editing,  and there are a number of different ways you can handle your array of child objects more efficiently using Lists, Stacks etc)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 19, 2009, 03:16:22 PM
Replacing my existing separate routines for fx, bullets, enemies etc with a single new multi-purpose object is throwing up some interesting possibilities.

No longer do any objects have clear and distinctive behaviours and restrictions.  Every type of object is capable of every type of behaviour or action (if that makes any sense  :P )

So for example previous fx particles had no collision routine, but now they can collide and react just like every other object can.  If I wanted explosion fx particles to act more like shrapnel and damage anything they come into contact with then I can. 

And how about crazy stuff like Powerups that fire at you and also have AI so you have to give chase if you want to them? 

Possibilities  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 19, 2009, 05:01:09 PM
Now that sounds amazing. Scared AI powerups that when you try and collect them, they try and flee! Cool.

I'm currently consolidating like code into suitable methods like what I was doing in the other thread. It means my code is that much better and completely usable for any program. I have got to say though, I love C# !


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 20, 2009, 12:59:45 AM
Now that sounds amazing. Scared AI powerups that when you try and collect them, they try and flee! Cool.
Well I just threw that out there as a stupid example, but having powerups that you have to chase down could make for a nice strategic dilemma that you don't normally get.  :bunnymonkey:


I'm currently consolidating like code into suitable methods like what I was doing in the other thread. It means my code is that much better and completely usable for any program. I have got to say though, I love C# !
Yeah it's lovely, as is the whole development environment.

And doing these new emitter and object routines, I'm finally feeling confident that I have at least a reasonable clue what I'm doing with OOP, C# and XNA :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on February 20, 2009, 06:33:49 AM
Now that sounds amazing. Scared AI powerups that when you try and collect them, they try and flee! Cool.
Well I just threw that out there as a stupid example, but having powerups that you have to chase down could make for a nice strategic dilemma that you don't normally get.  :bunnymonkey:

If that doesn't work, just have them try to wriggle away slowly as if they're stuck in mud. That way it wouldn't impede gameplay, but it'd look cute as if they were trying to struggle away helplessly...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on February 20, 2009, 09:48:12 AM
Quote
And how about crazy stuff like Powerups that fire at you and also have AI so you have to give chase if you want to them? 


Yeh, that does sound cool.

Great to see your're making good progress with the new dev system.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 20, 2009, 12:15:56 PM
Now that sounds amazing. Scared AI powerups that when you try and collect them, they try and flee! Cool.
Well I just threw that out there as a stupid example, but having powerups that you have to chase down could make for a nice strategic dilemma that you don't normally get.  :bunnymonkey:

If that doesn't work, just have them try to wriggle away slowly as if they're stuck in mud. That way it wouldn't impede gameplay, but it'd look cute as if they were trying to struggle away helplessly...
We don't do "cute"  ;D

Next task is to link in my existing vector line code with the new object/emitter system.  That way I'm not just restricted to images for objects, but can use vector line designs and even vector text.  Imagine getting chased by a "You suck!" missile  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 21, 2009, 02:10:55 PM
Been doing a little work on my vector text editor.  It was originally designed just to handle designing vector fonts so was pretty basic, but now I've adding the option to use vector stuff for other objects so I'm making a few tweaks to make it more flexible.  Still nothing too fancy, but it now handles different coloured lines and alpha settings within thee same character/object.  Plus I've increased the resolution of the grid of points you draw on to allow for slightly more complicated shapes.

Then I need a couple of tweaks to the game engines vector drawing code to handle these additional features. I'm quite looking forward to seeing it in action :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 22, 2009, 02:01:52 PM
So, you have entered the world of useful editors aswell Fog? That sounds like some advanced stuff. I'm definitly keeping a watchful eye on your progress as it seems you've managed to do more work in XNA than you did on Tension, which i'm sure your going to want to complete after you port/improve Mono, Echoes, Crack and many more...

I've only just managed to get used to "structs" and I love them. I do however need to learn how to understand classes which as a juxtaposition I don't really enjoy at all.

Oh and I managed to fix a glitch in Fireworks which was preventing me from pushing it out to test. So maybe by tonight i'll have it sent to both TMC and yourself!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 22, 2009, 10:32:12 PM
So, you have entered the world of useful editors aswell Fog?
Well it's about as basic as editors get but it does the job.  Not quite up to Masked standards yet :)


I'm definitly keeping a watchful eye on your progress as it seems you've managed to do more work in XNA than you did on Tension, which i'm sure your going to want to complete after you port/improve Mono, Echoes, Crack and many more...
yeah I'm slowly edging towards having the game engine in XNA to a similar state as I had the old DBPro one.  TBH I'm not that excited about porting "old" games as I'd much rather be doing Tension and a million-and-one other new ideas, but Echoes and mono can be done fairly quickly and prove the engine works so I'd be stupid not to.


Oh and I managed to fix a glitch in Fireworks which was preventing me from pushing it out to test. So maybe by tonight i'll have it sent to both TMC and yourself!
Cool :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on February 23, 2009, 10:19:02 AM
Quote
Been doing a little work on my vector text editor.  It was originally designed just to handle designing vector fonts so was pretty basic, but now I've adding the option to use vector stuff for other objects so I'm making a few tweaks to make it more flexible.  Still nothing too fancy, but it now handles different coloured lines and alpha settings within thee same character/object.  Plus I've increased the resolution of the grid of points you draw on to allow for slightly more complicated shapes.

Then I need a couple of tweaks to the game engines vector drawing code to handle these additional features. I'm quite looking forward to seeing it in action

Great to hear you've got an editor on the go.   ;D

Makes game dev soooooo much easier.  I'm sure the benefits of using one will spur you on to creating more elaborate editors.

Quote
Well it's about as basic as editors get but it does the job.  Not quite up to Masked standards yet


Won't be too long before you're nipping at my heals i'm sure  ;).  Can't wait to see some finished games too.




Quote
Oh and I managed to fix a glitch in Fireworks which was preventing me from pushing it out to test. So maybe by tonight i'll have it sent to both TMC and yourself!

Ready, waiting and willing Jdog.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 23, 2009, 08:44:18 PM
Well, wait no more friend. I made a post in my Mini Devblog section, so check in boxes whenever you're ready.

Can't wait to see some screenshots from your work aswell Fog! It is very rewarding playing anything you've made yourself with a 360 pad. I'm loving it at the moment and i'm only playing a highly advanced version of Pong. Same principal applies.

I've started to work on my Shmup engine, its in its infacy, at the moment it contains a general struct for all my sprites which I wrote for Pong and no doubt i'm going to convert it into a Class, which although seems like a wise move, i'll keep everything special in structs then sort it out later. I've also succesfully used my first "Switch, Case" which handles GameState after previously using horrible If Statements, not too sure which is faster really but hey.

Put in spoiler tags as its really an aside. Either way though, its got me thinking.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 24, 2009, 02:17:12 PM
I've also succesfully used my first "Switch, Case" which handles GameState after previously using horrible If Statements, not too sure which is faster really but hey.
Switch/Case will, in most situations, be faster than a bunch of IF's.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 24, 2009, 08:38:58 PM
I managed to get my own font into XNA now using quite a simple technique. The good news is I have a template so I can make as many fonts as I do games (So thats none then, lol). So thats good.

I'm just finishing up the font for Pong, then i'm going to write my Menu code, it has to be done at some point, so I may aswell start soon.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 26, 2009, 01:11:21 PM
Well I've dropped in my place-holder vector fonts and it's pretty cool.  As they are vector based they are easily scalable, rotatable and distortable (is that a word?) and best of all vector stuff always looks nicely old-school :)

These new vector routines still aren't useable as game objects within my emitter system yet, so that's the next step.

Interestingly, but equally confusing, a few tests seem to indicate my new emitter/object code is faster than my old routines when, if anything, I was expecting it to be slightly slower.  I've no idea why, but I'm not complaining.  I can only assume my OOP/XNA noobness had led to PPP in my early code.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 27, 2009, 03:27:49 PM
One of the things I had in my old DBPro game engine but never used was the option to easily skin games (replace existing media with alternate images and sounds).  As this was a bit of an after thought the way I implemented it was cumbersome and TBH code wise a total mess  :bunnymonkey:

However I've come up with a really neat way of doing it within my new game engine that requires a single function call so that's already implemented.  I might even use it this time  :P  I feel an alternative, old-school graphics set for Echoes may be appropriate  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 27, 2009, 05:09:44 PM
One of the things I had in my old DBPro game engine but never used was the option to easily skin games (replace existing media with alternate images and sounds).  As this was a bit of an after thought the way I implemented it was cumbersome and TBH code wise a total mess  :bunnymonkey:

However I've come up with a really neat way of doing it within my new game engine that requires a single function call so that's already implemented.  I might even use it this time  :P  I feel an alternative, old-school graphics set for Echoes may be appropriate  :kangaroo:

When you say Old School, do you mean it in relation to your current work in reation to the past version, so Old School would be the graphics you had before.

Or by Old School do you mean more to the graphical style of Asteroids?

Gotta say, the stuff your adding sounds really cool, and really useful! Looking forward to seeing what you produce!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 27, 2009, 05:39:55 PM
When you say Old School, do you mean it in relation to your current work in reation to the past version, so Old School would be the graphics you had before.

Or by Old School do you mean more to the graphical style of Asteroids?
The graphics in the PC version will for the most part just be reused in the 360 version so by old-school I mean like 80's video games.  I'm not sure whether I'll go for original Asteroids simple vector style of whether I'll just do something chunky and pixelated.  Hell I might do both lol. 

Whatever, I wont be doing any work on that until the gameplay is finished.  Additional stuff like that I'll probably add while it's at the playtest stage.  Like everything else, it's um, flexible.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 27, 2009, 05:49:41 PM
Cool, why not do both?

Jelly Car did it by having loads of different graphical styles, that did and is doing quite well.

Like most games though, it can look as good as possible, but if the gameplay sucks then bad game. Luckily though here at Binary Zoo, you maage to get the game play just perfect, its where frustration meets success forcing you to have just one more go...

Take Crack for example. i'm addicted to it!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on February 28, 2009, 11:39:48 AM
Take Crack for example. i'm addicted to it!

Stop mentioning Crack lol :)  It's on my list of possible extras for Echoes, but I'm trying to convince myself it's not worth the extra dev time it would take (which isn't a lot TBH, but time is very limited)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on February 28, 2009, 11:53:10 AM
I wasn't going to post but you forced me.

Crack is fine as it is. You don't need to touch it. Since I have a wired controller, I can enjoy playing it with a pad, which i'm yet to do.

Deal, i'll stop mentioning Crack :D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 02, 2009, 07:33:21 PM
Another tedious job out of the way.  I've combined all game images into a single texture and rewritten the animation loading code to handle that.  That should improve performance a touch and every little helps :)

Next up I need to convert all the old enemy, bullet, fx and powerup scripts into the format for the new emitter/object system.  It shouldn't take too long, but it's another really boring task.

During the conversion I'll redesign all the weapon bullet patterns to make progression more linear.  Some people commented that because of wild variety of bullet patterns used, they actually preferred some of the supposedly less powerful weapons because they suited their play style better.  So we might not end up with the wild changes in bullet patterns we had before, but there will be a clear improvement between each weapon.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 04, 2009, 02:46:20 PM
Well converting the old Echoes scripts across has proved to be as mind numbingly boring as I thought it would be, but actually seeing recognisable graphics and familiar fx and movement patterns on screen is quite satisfying.   :kangaroo:

I'm also taking the opportunity to beef up a few of the fx as I have a bit more processing power to throw around than the target platform for the PC version had.  Mind, I'd forgotten just how meaty those huge explosions already were. Pumping out through my surround sound system instead of my PC's weedy speakers and now with added joypad rumble, they are quite seismic.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 06, 2009, 09:45:19 PM
15 different types of emitter just for explosions.  And yet to see it in action you'd think there was just one being used again and again.

The slightly beefed up explosions really do look nicer than the original ones, although again, I'm not sure anyone will even be aware of that unless they see the two versions running side by side.

Oh well, at least I know they are all there even if nobody else does  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 07, 2009, 10:52:08 PM
Emitters everywhere!  Warning: More boring Emitter talk ahead :bunnymonkey:

So all my game objects can now carry up to 3 individually timed emitters which automatically update and, um, emit stuff when necessary.

And as emitter can, um, emit any type of object (such as a bullet, a powerup, a particle fx etc) then that allows for a lot of flexibility.  So in a single enemy object I could use one for exhaust smoke, one for firing a weapon and one to pop out child enemies.  Or, well there are loads of possibilities for future games.

As well as these 3, each object also has two other optional emitters.  One of which is triggered during a collision and one that is triggered when an object is destroyed.

But, I hear you cry (ok, maybe not), what happens if you want your destroyed Asteroid to emit smoke, particles, flames, a powerup and maybe split into smaller Asteroids.  No problem. Each emitter has 10 separate "streams" and each of these can be set to create different patterns of different objects.

And finally, add the fact that any emitter can also call any other emitter then you have a theoretically infinite number to play with on each object.

All of which probably sounds like total unfathomable bollox. 

And now I'm off for a cold shower  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 08, 2009, 12:04:55 PM
Yeah that does sound really complicated! I hope your new project uses some of these features as it would be a shame to see it go to waste :).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 08, 2009, 02:21:20 PM
Yeah that does sound really complicated! I hope your new project uses some of these features as it would be a shame to see it go to waste :).
Yes and no :) 

I'm doing a port of Echoes and I have used the new emitter system to improve the particle effects, but as I'm still keeping it fairly faithful to the PC version and using mostly the same media, I'm not really stretching it.



In other news I hit my first major-ish bug  :bunnymonkey:  I seem to be really lucky when it comes to bugs as other than the odd typo I never get any, so when I fired my code up on the 360 for the first time in a while and it ran at 1 FPS mild panic set in.

And of course in my efforts to isolate the problem I fell for Stupid Coding Errors #1 and immediately made some wrong assumptions  :bunnymonkey:

Because the graphics were running so slow and I'd recently rewritten all the main game graphics code to run off a single spritesheet, it seemed fair to think this is where the problem would lie.  Yet after removing the suspect pieces of code from the compiled version, it was still running as slow as ever.

Then as the mild panic turned to OMFG Houston we have a major problem, I started to worry that it was my new emitter and object code that was the problem.  Jesus if that turned out to be the cause, that would be a hell of a lot of wasted effort.  Needless to say removing that code didn't help either which, although I still had a major bug somewhere, was something of a relief.

Next suspect was, well pretty much any drawing operations that were still left.  Out went the background, the various text routines, the debug text (it was running so slow I certainly didn't need a bloody FPS counter to tell me) and even the screensaver zoo animals were sacrificed.  All I had left was my default image under joypad control.  Did that help? Err, no.

Looking down at what was left of my decimated code there were only a couple of routines left.  So I went through them one at a time until the bleeding bloody obvious struck me.  What the fu......where was the music?  The sound fx were playing fine, but there was no music playing.  Removing that routine seemed to instantly solve the problem.  Nervously I added all the other routines back in and sure enough, everything was running fine.  The continued lack of music drowned out by a stream of expletives.  :bunnymonkey:

The music plays fine on the PC and I still have no idea why it doesn't on the 360, but right now I don't give a toss. All my new graphics routines work great and that's all that matters.

The moral of this story?  I am a bloody idiot.....and don't ever ever ever make assumptions where code is concerned.

</rant>


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on March 09, 2009, 10:43:58 AM
Quote
Then as the mild panic turned to OMFG Houston we have a major problem,

lol, that was quite a funny read.  ;D

Yeh, i know exactly where you're coming from.  I've been in many a similar situation, where i sit there and think, how the hell do i track that error down.

Then, like you, when the panic subsides it's usualy a case of methodically remming out code to narrow down the problem.

I had a similar bug this weekend actually.  And like you, it's all ended happily ever after.  Fingers crossed.

The emiters sound like a really flexible system.  Looking forward to seeing it in action.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 09, 2009, 02:41:38 PM
Quote
Then as the mild panic turned to OMFG Houston we have a major problem,

lol, that was quite a funny read.  ;D

After the event I agree :)

Anyhoo I found out the problem with the music and it's a known "issue".  It's not a bug as XNA is working as intended, but a quick google shows I'm not the first one to fall foul of it.

Basically in my music update routine I was doing something like this:
Code:
if (MediaPlayer.State == MediaState.Stopped)
{
   MediaPlayer.Play(nextSong);
}
That looks pretty straightforward.  Check to see if the MediaPlayer has stopped playing and if it has then play the next song.  The problem is that there is a slight delay before MediaPlayer starts playing, so in the next update, MediaPlayer still shows as being stopped and so the code attempts to play yet another song.  All these calls to play another song just brings everything to a grinding halt.

So yeah, it was easily fixed, but difficult to find.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 12, 2009, 01:44:05 PM
Quote
Am I the only one that agonizes for ages over which order nested IF statements should be placed for maximum efficiency?  Thought so  :)

Not anymore, i've had a few lectures in IF effeciency so now I labour the point aswell. A few well placed IF statements can greatly help to speed up any program.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 13, 2009, 10:57:45 AM
Hmm.  Just fixed a bit of a hole in my emitter code.  Essentially I'd forgotten to put a limit on the number of times an emitter can be fired.  Think of it as the number of ammo a gun can hold and you get the idea.  Once the ammo is gone the emitter stops creating new objects.

The oversight became ear shatteringly obvious when testing my static emitter system using a large explosion as a test.  I created the static emitter expecting the large explosion to be created once, but because no limit was specified, it would have happily sat there creating an infinite number of explosions.  Combine that with a 0ms gap between explosions and I'm surprised the eeePC didn't go into meltdown. The tiny speakers certainly didn't enjoy the experience  :P

So yeah, emitter shot quantity now capped, static emitters working as intended, and permanent ringing sound in my ears.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: las6 on March 15, 2009, 10:07:20 AM
The oversight became ear shatteringly obvious when testing my static emitter system using a large explosion as a test.  I created the static emitter expecting the large explosion to be created once, but because no limit was specified, it would have happily sat there creating an infinite number of explosions.  Combine that with a 0ms gap between explosions and I'm surprised the eeePC didn't go into meltdown. The tiny speakers certainly didn't enjoy the experience  :P
You should include that as a fps test in the game (in the PC version). :P Simply start the infinite explosion and then measure the time/particle count until the fps drops below playable levels. Long times equal higher fx settings.  :snake:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 15, 2009, 11:55:39 AM
The oversight became ear shatteringly obvious when testing my static emitter system using a large explosion as a test.  I created the static emitter expecting the large explosion to be created once, but because no limit was specified, it would have happily sat there creating an infinite number of explosions.  Combine that with a 0ms gap between explosions and I'm surprised the eeePC didn't go into meltdown. The tiny speakers certainly didn't enjoy the experience  :P
You should include that as a fps test in the game (in the PC version). :P Simply start the infinite explosion and then measure the time/particle count until the fps drops below playable levels. Long times equal higher fx settings.  :snake:
:)  I see another "because las6 wanted more" FX setting.

TBH watching and listening to all those explosions wasn't a particularly interesting experience, but replacing those explosions with some nice fireworks would be a nice idea.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 16, 2009, 10:13:48 PM
Children eh?  Always trouble.  And the least said about parents the better.   :bunnymonkey:

Yes, work on the object parent/child system is slowly taking shape.  That's the way objects relate and react to each other with the moons orbiting around the planets or the snakes of meteors following each other in Echoes being two good examples.

It all sounds relatively simple and for the most part it is, but coding a system flexible enough to handle all the different parent/child relationship types you can think of without overcomplicating things is a bit tricky.  How do you design a system that handles orbits, snakes, swarms, fixed relative positioning etc without having a load of variables and requiring them all to be set properly to achieve even the simplest of effects?  I've no idea.  :bunnymonkey:

Then you need to handle what happens when a parent or child object is killed.  To use an earlier example, what do you do to the child objects in a snake when the head (parent) object is killed.  They would normally just be following the head, so when this is killed you have to change their behaviour somehow.  It's all a bit more complicated than it initially appears :bunnymonkey:

Still, so far so good.  And an added advantage of the new integrated emitter/object system is that these routines aren't restricted to enemies as they were in the old code, but can be used for fx, bullets, powerups or anything else.  Snakes of homing bullets?  Swarms of energy boosting powerups?  Easy.

Or how about combining objects so we have a standard enemy snake, but the last segment is actually a powerup.  Will the player risk trying to collect that or will they take the safe route and destroy the snake and with it the powerup?  Loads of ideas  :bunnymonkey:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on March 17, 2009, 11:02:23 AM
Cool.

Quote
How do you design a system that handles orbits, snakes, swarms, fixed relative positioning etc without having a load of variables and requiring them all to be set properly to achieve even the simplest of effects?  I've no idea.

Ahh yes.  The coders dilema.  Been there many a time. 
No matter how much pre thought and planning i put into a system, i usually find that during and after coding theres always additions and modifications that need to be made.  Real world testing for me usualy throws up all sorts of unknowns.

Sometimes, i find it's even more efficient not write a catch all routine to handle everthing, but to split the code up into more specific routines.
I'm sure at some future date you'll think of extra additions to make, which makes designing a system now to handle future updates pretty tricky.

Good luck.   :)

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 17, 2009, 04:18:28 PM
Good luck.   :)
Said with years of painful experience lol :)

Yeah I'm bound to think of things to add as I go along, however I'm trying to restrict things at the moment to stuff that I need for Echoes.  Luckily, as mentioned earlier, the new system I'm using already offers up a lot more possibilities than the  old one.  And only partly by design  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 18, 2009, 10:58:58 PM
Just added a rather lengthy enumerator and code to handle what effect an object can have when it collides with the player.

Initially that sounds fairly short list, with particle fx just passing through and bullets and enemies simply damaging or killing the player, but then you come to powerups.  Even just adding the obvious, run of the mill powerups, we can increase or set player energy levels, add an extra life, add or activate a smart bomb, add a temporary shield, increase or set the players weapon type, extra ammo, extra points, increase the score multiplier etc etc etc.

Anyway with that all now working I've finally ripped out all the old separate fx, bullet, powerup and enemy code.  Most of it had been disabled for a while, but I never felt brave enough to totally remove it just in case the new, replacement emitter and object routines went women's pointy bits up.

And more importantly with all the action and reaction bits and pieces in we can finally play something resembling a game.  A very shit game, but a game none the less.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 19, 2009, 08:44:24 PM
A mini detour today.  I knew I wouldn't be able to get much done so had a little play with some new shaderzzz. 

These are good routines to work on if time is limited because, when sticking to shader 2.0, there is quite a strict limit on the number of calculations each one can have.  Exceed the limit and the thing just wont compile.  It's quite restrictive, but at the same time it encourages some quite creative and efficient coding, so it's something of an enjoyable challenge.

The shaderzzz I did a while back were mainly for use in mono as Echoes doesn't really need any in the main game. (I may add one or two for effect, but they aren't essential).  But the shaderzzz I was working on today will hopefully be unlockable graphical effects linked to completing Zoo Trials in Echoes.

They look fairly good, although I can't promise they will make it any easier to see what is going on  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on March 20, 2009, 06:51:24 AM
They look fairly good, although I can't promise they will make it any easier to see what is going on  :P
I would be pretty disappointed if they did. :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 20, 2009, 01:05:43 PM
They look fairly good, although I can't promise they will make it any easier to see what is going on  :P
I would be pretty disappointed if they did. :)
lol.  Well any increased difficulty in seeing what's going on with the new graphics modes is just a side effect of the new styles.... as opposed to making things intentionally harder to see what's going on such as in the obvious "uber psychedelic mode".


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 28, 2009, 02:09:41 PM
Curiosity got the better of me this morning.   :bunnymonkey:

I wondered how we were doing performance wise on the 360 version so I decided to spawn a load of enemies and see what happened.  So I filled the screen (literally) with a mixture of enemies making sure I had plenty of the larger ones so we had a decent stress test.  Well 1000 on screen enemies later and with everything running fine, I decided we should be ok performance wise  :P

But just how many enemies were there on screen during the PC version of Echoes I hear nobody cry?  Well I did a quick test on that code and even during the times the screen looked fairly full, the enemy count only topped out at 62.  I was surprised at how low that was as it certainly looks a lot higher in action to me.

Anyway that should give you an idea of how packed the screen looked on the XBox with 1000 enemies displayed.  That's 16x as many as the old version !  Completely unplayable, but rather satisfying  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 30, 2009, 08:53:36 PM
As it doesn't look like sales from XBCG (http://www.binaryzoo.com/forum/index.php?topic=1217.msg1747) will be enough for us to achieve world domination on, I've decided to use the brute for and ignorance approach (something of a speciality) and design some big sod off weapons instead. :bunnymonkey:

A while ago I ditched the old Echoes weapons that everyone loved and hated in equal measures (lovely bullet patterns but crappy progression) and now it's time to lose the temporary weapons I created for testing and finally drop the proper one's into place.

As usual I've probably overstretched myself by deciding I need 20 different weapons when 5 or possibly 10 would have been more than enough.

Designing a bunch of weapons that get progressively more powerful isn't as straight forward as it sounds. Tweaking a single bullet stream angle by a couple of degrees or a reload time by 5/100ths of a sec makes a huge difference. It's a fine balancing act but if all else fails I just throw a shit load more bullets at the problem.

Get carried away and by weapon No.8 you've got enough freakin firepower to wipe out the whole of civilization before breakfast.... and it's then you realise that you still need to come up with another dozen weapons each more powerful than this one. :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on March 31, 2009, 02:48:27 AM
The best thing about mono was the second-to-last weapon.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on March 31, 2009, 09:52:07 AM
Quote
But just how many enemies were there on screen during the PC version of Echoes I hear nobody cry?  Well I did a quick test on that code and even during the times the screen looked fairly full, the enemy count only topped out at 62.  I was surprised at how low that was as it certainly looks a lot higher in action to me.

That sounds an incredible improvement. 

But was that simply a draw image stress test for both echoes and xbox, or was echoes running the game as well ?

I also tried a stress test when i first coded my background level editor and it also could handle hundreds of on screen images and several thousand per level before any fps drop.
But, running the whole game now, has caused a fps hit where the amount of processed images has dropped quite a bit.


Quote
Designing a bunch of weapons that get progressively more powerful isn't as straight forward as it sounds. Tweaking a single bullet stream angle by a couple of degrees or a reload time by 5/100ths of a sec makes a huge difference. It's a fine balancing act but if all else fails I just throw a shit load more bullets at the problem.

Get carried away and by weapon No.8 you've got enough freakin firepower to wipe out the whole of civilization before breakfast.... and it's then you realise that you still need to come up with another dozen weapons each more powerful than this one.


As far as i could see, your weapon upgrades for echoes and mono, were bullet pattern changes, with the patterns that gave the largest bullet count usually being the best ones to use.

I wasn't aware of a bullet power increase as the action is pretty fast and furious.  So i didn't know if you had implemented them in game or not.

Bullet strength ( upgradable amount of damage it does ) is the obvious power up solution along with different patterns.

Have you also thought about adding homing missiles.  Again, forgive me if you've already coded these but i wasn't aware of them in your previous games.

TMC



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 31, 2009, 11:19:28 AM
The best thing about mono was the second-to-last weapon.
Christ how do you remember that? lol.  I've got no idea which one that is.


Quote
But just how many enemies were there on screen during the PC version of Echoes I hear nobody cry?  Well I did a quick test on that code and even during the times the screen looked fairly full, the enemy count only topped out at 62.  I was surprised at how low that was as it certainly looks a lot higher in action to me.

That sounds an incredible improvement. 

But was that simply a draw image stress test for both echoes and xbox, or was echoes running the game as well ?
A bit of both. :) It was the Echoes game engine running so enemy behaviour was exactly as in game, homing in on the player, firing etc. but the players weapons were disabled.  So the extra collision checks from those bullets would impact on performance, however as I'm displaying 16x the number of enemies I really ned then it wont be an issue


I wasn't aware of a bullet power increase as the action is pretty fast and furious.  So i didn't know if you had implemented them in game or not.

Bullet strength ( upgradable amount of damage it does ) is the obvious power up solution along with different patterns.
Yeah there were a few different bullet types in there but they weren't all obvious.  There are 2 different "strengths" some that bounced off the screen edges and the "ring of bullets" ones were actually indestructible and ripped through everything right across the screen.

During testing the new bullet patterns last night I temporarily had different images for the different bullet types. This was just to help me out, but maybe I should make the difference permanent. It's one of those things where I as the developer know the bullets are different, but as you say in the heat of the action it wont be obvious to other players. I'll put some subtly different images in and see how it looks :)


Have you also thought about adding homing missiles.  Again, forgive me if you've already coded these but i wasn't aware of them in your previous games.
I don't have any in Echoes ATM.  I'll see how balancing the new weapons goes and maybe add some.

The game engine already handles them though.  Well as all my objects are integrated and all use the same code I can have homing enemies, bullets, powerups or anything I can think of.


One of the things I was thinking about when planning the code for the new engine was what is the difference between an enemy and a bullet?  Not as stupid as it sounds :) Generally enemies have more complicated behaviour patterns and maybe some AI whereas bullets tend to be dumb objects that travel in straight lines.  However with a lot of the stuff I write the enemies are the dumb bouncy blobs and the bullets travel in nice patterns.  When you think of it like that then coding them as separate object types just doesn't make any sense.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on March 31, 2009, 11:27:30 AM
The best thing about mono was the second-to-last weapon.
Christ how do you remember that? lol.  I've got no idea which one that is.
I remember it because it always made me want to cry; got me so tense ;)

I called her "the Sweeper" as it was basically 10 streams sweeping a wide angle, I'd say at least 110 degrees. The next gun had more rear coverage but far less forward killing power and that didn't really suit me as I preferred to swoop around killing rather then moving slowly, playing defensively. So when I got to the top of the progression tree, I had a lil' problem cause I'd try and stay on the sweeper, balancing powerups, saving them for if I got hit, trying to stay on that glorious pattern.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 31, 2009, 03:37:10 PM
The best thing about mono was the second-to-last weapon.
Christ how do you remember that? lol.  I've got no idea which one that is.
I remember it because it always made me want to cry; got me so tense ;)

I called her "the Sweeper" as it was basically 10 streams sweeping a wide angle, I'd say at least 110 degrees. The next gun had more rear coverage but far less forward killing power and that didn't really suit me as I preferred to swoop around killing rather then moving slowly, playing defensively. So when I got to the top of the progression tree, I had a lil' problem cause I'd try and stay on the sweeper, balancing powerups, saving them for if I got hit, trying to stay on that glorious pattern.

Well the top weapon currently looks like this.  I may tweak it to have a wider angle of fire, but I need to do some proper gameplay testing for that (this image also clearly shows the 3 different strengths of bullet)



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 31, 2009, 03:50:30 PM
Wow that looks sweet!

I'm very keen on the sweeper aswell, as it more than suits my play style! Its good that you are paying more attention to the progression instead of beautifying the patterns, although both look cool IMO, you just learn to use each gun as it expects you too!

On the whole looking forward to playing it however it may be.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on March 31, 2009, 07:39:12 PM
Its good that you are paying more attention to the progression instead of beautifying the patterns, although both look cool IMO, you just learn to use each gun as it expects you too!
With Echoes bullet patterns I'm very much concentrating on the progression element.  The beautiful, more OTT bullet patterns are more suited to mono, so I'll be saving them for when I do that.  It helps give a nice clear distinction between the two games which, on reflection, the two original games didn't have.

Anyway that's all 20 done for now.  The difference between two individual weapons isn't always that obvious, but before you know it you've jumped up 3 or 4 and the differences are more than clear.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on March 31, 2009, 11:44:30 PM
It'll be interesting to see how you differenciate the two. It sounds like a reverse bullet hell game, where you produce the hell! You can quote me on that when the time is right ;)

On another note, I couldn't even think of 20 designs let alone code them  ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 01, 2009, 12:56:14 AM
You should do a background like that pic you just had. I rather like the coloured bullets.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on April 01, 2009, 09:54:57 AM
Yeh, not only do those colored bullets look great they also give an instant display of strength. 

I vote to keep colored bullets.   :D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 01, 2009, 10:22:39 AM
Three votes in favour of keeping the coloured bullets then?  I like em too :) 

It may cause me a slight problem with my new powerup design though, as the colours for those are very similar and in the heat of battle it's going to be difficult to pick them out.  But we do like a challenge  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 01, 2009, 07:57:01 PM
Hmm.  I did a little test tonight on a couple of people to see what they thought of the new graphics and whether the extra FX now made things slightly confusing.  One rather unexpected report from someone was that they couldn't watch for more than a few seconds without feeling sick. (I can't decide if this is a good thing lol)

I thought it could be down to the fact the play area is now bigger than the screen and everything pans to track the players movement.  So I suggested they take control of the player and therefore the scrolling to see if that eliminated the problem.  No.  In fact focusing on the player sprite apparently made things a lot worse.

I thought the flashing explosions might need an epilepsy warning, but not a motion sickness one  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 02, 2009, 05:11:39 AM
Simulation sickness, actually - you're not moving but the screen is. Try it on several people, try to gauge how many people it effects.

In other news I found a lil' easter egg on the BZ site. Yes, this is how I spend my spare time at university.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 02, 2009, 09:35:46 AM
Simulation sickness, actually - you're not moving but the screen is. Try it on several people, try to gauge how many people it effects.

In other news I found a lil' easter egg on the BZ site. Yes, this is how I spend my spare time at university.
Easter egg?  Here?  Wasat then?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 02, 2009, 11:02:14 AM
In the bottom rectangular thing at the bottom that has all the 1s and 0s and it also says CONTACT and BINARYZOO at either end in different colours... well... hidden in there NOT in different colours (hidden cause it's hard to notice when they're the same colours) are the famous names Yak and Braybrook.

I noticed this at uni (only time I go to your forums through the main site as I have the forums bookmarked at home) while sitting rather close to a 15" LCD.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 02, 2009, 11:52:03 AM
In the bottom rectangular thing at the bottom that has all the 1s and 0s and it also says CONTACT and BINARYZOO at either end in different colours... well... hidden in there NOT in different colours (hidden cause it's hard to notice when they're the same colours) are the famous names Yak and Braybrook.

I noticed this at uni (only time I go to your forums through the main site as I have the forums bookmarked at home) while sitting rather close to a 15" LCD.
haha good spot.  I thought you meant on the forum page, but yeah I'd almost forgotten about the Yak & Braybrook thing myself.  :kangaroo:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 03, 2009, 08:02:51 PM
Collision code in.  Finally playable again.  Can't post more.  Neon asteroid scum need killing with my uber weapon of multicoloured emissions.  Must play more  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 03, 2009, 09:57:08 PM
Collision code in.  Finally playable again.  Can't post more.  Neon asteroid scum need killing with my uber weapon of multicoloured emissions.  Must play more  :bunnymonkey:

Is that a good or bad thing? :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 04, 2009, 02:42:31 PM
Collision code in.  Finally playable again.  Can't post more.  Neon asteroid scum need killing with my uber weapon of multicoloured emissions.  Must play more  :bunnymonkey:

Is that a good or bad thing? :)

Shooting stuff in a cloud of neon paartciles is always a good thing  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 07, 2009, 07:14:34 PM
Having done a few stress tests I've found out something interesting about the current game engine (well interesting from my viewpoint anyway). 

If I was to crank the number of objects right up then the game logic would create slowdown long before the drawing process did.  So the CPU would begin to struggle long before the GPU did. 

I guess in a modern machine that's kind of expected and graphically, while the action in Echoes looks pretty intense on screen, it's hardly throwing around loads of high poly models as the GPU is designed to.  Having said that, the game logic isn't the most stressful either, so either the GPU is ridiculously powerful, or the CPU is a little underwhelming.  I'm guessing a bit of both.

What does this mean for us?  Well the "slow" CPU wont be a problem as it could handle many many times the number of objects we need before we runs into problems, but it does mean we have quite a bit of spare GPU time that we can play around with.

After years of coding and worrying about the graphical side of things causing slowdown and being the limiting factor, having a little spare to have some fun with makes a nice change.  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on April 09, 2009, 11:57:51 AM
As usual Shawn Hargreaves has some info on this
http://blogs.msdn.com/shawnhar/archive/2008/04.aspx (http://blogs.msdn.com/shawnhar/archive/2008/04.aspx)

Starts with...How to tell if you are CPU or GPU bound


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 09, 2009, 06:43:07 PM
As usual Shawn Hargreaves has some info on this
http://blogs.msdn.com/shawnhar/archive/2008/04.aspx (http://blogs.msdn.com/shawnhar/archive/2008/04.aspx)

Starts with...How to tell if you are CPU or GPU bound
Very useful.  Cheers Paul.

I'm currently wrestling with a sound fx overload issue.  It appears playing too many of the same one too quickly causes slowdown.  Mind, I am taking things to a bit of an extreme lol  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 15, 2009, 12:58:31 PM
It's amazing what difference being able to see your score makes.  Well it's good for gameplay, but maybe not so good for productivity  :bunnymonkey:

So the HUD system is in and working.  I had to do a few tweaks to one of my various Text classes to allow for easier use of multiple fonts, but otherwise it was as straight forward as you would expect for something that's essentially just displaying a bunch of text and maybe the odd graphic on screen.  It's pointless writing anything else as it really is as boring as it sounds.  :)

In other news the 3 new enemies I'd added was whittled down to just 2 as one of them didn't really add anything new gameplay wise.  I know all the existing enemies are essentially just Dumb Bouncy Blobs (tm) but they all have subtly different behaviour rather than just being identi-kit enemies dressed in different suits (in dayglo colours and neon piping).

Of the two new enemies, one was designed with the intention of testing your reactions and the other just presents a very different problem to any of the other enemies.  Hopefully they both add something slightly different to the other enemies.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 15, 2009, 01:57:55 PM
Ever so cryptic, both enemies sound interesting!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 15, 2009, 03:05:30 PM
Ever so cryptic, both enemies sound interesting!
Prepare to be disappointed then ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 17, 2009, 03:29:54 PM
So I think I've now got all the objects and routines i need for the gameplay bits, so it's time to start constructing and tweaking the various game modes.

Rather than do the Main game mode first I'm actually doing the "Classic" asteroids game mode.  The only problem I've found with that so far is that the full range of weapons are far too powerful when you have a screen of just normal asteroids on there.

So I think I'll be fixing the weapon type you have and there will be no weapon powerups.  That makes for a purer game and a clearer distinction between that mode and the main one.  I did that in Crack and it worked nicely, changing the emphasis from forever chasing those weapon powerups to simply using what you've been given and relying on a bit more skill :)



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 17, 2009, 05:12:54 PM
Wow, i'm looking forward to that!

Will it have the trickle of enemy types from small to large, or will you just throw large asteroids in until destruction, then level up? Also, any sign of a bonus UFO :).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 17, 2009, 06:19:26 PM
Will it have the trickle of enemy types from small to large, or will you just throw large asteroids in until destruction, then level up? Also, any sign of a bonus UFO :).
The huge asteroids will make an appearance almost from the start and there will be a constant stream of them as opposed to a set number per level.  I prefer not to have any break in the action if possible  :) (I always find the end of levels in games like Space Invaders and Breakout where you have only have one or two targets left break the flow.)

All the extra game modes I plan so far will work like that, although what actually triggers the next lot of enemies will differ slightly between them.  Some are triggered by a timer and some by the weighting of the enemies left on the screen (that's the method I currently use in Echoes to ramp the action up)

Oh and there is currently no UFO however it's still on the list and now that I have everything in place, adding a new enemy type takes about 5 minutes (once I've done the graphics which I always struggle with for ages  :P )


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 17, 2009, 08:57:24 PM
Sounds like a great system, keeps people playing till they're dead. Instead of waiting for that accurate shot!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 19, 2009, 03:35:39 PM
So I've ditched using XACT for my sound fx as the process was unnecessarily lengthy and the function that limits the number of instances of the same sound seemed to be causing slowdown in extreme circumstances.  When things like this work they are great, but when they don't and you don't have access to the underlying code then there's nothing you can do about it.  Great!

Now I've written my own sound fx handling class I know what's going on behind the scenes and I'm a lot happier. All the scripts I needed for Echoes sound fx have been added and tweaked.  The option to slightly randomize the volume and frequency is working and adds some subtle but important variation to otherwise repetitive sounds. Super!

I'm still not sure it's fixed the occasional performance issue I was experiencing with XACT, but if it hasn't then at least it's my own code so it should be easier to do something about it. Niiiiiiiice!

[/obscure Fast Show references]

Now what was I supposed to be doing before this audio detour?  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 22, 2009, 08:57:24 PM
Is it a good thing or a bad thing that playtesting is so enjoyable that actual coding progress has slowed to a crawl?

In between playing I'm tweaking the single player modes (currently 6) and thinking over adding a few more powerup types.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 22, 2009, 11:57:42 PM
In my experience, its a bad thing, at that time work on the game stops, when you forget that all the graphics are yet to be done and you've got no menu or leaderboard system...maybe thats what did it for me with Fireworks. It got too "fun".

Still though, it has to be a good thing! Normally at this stage devs are sick of seeing their game and if it doesn't repulse you then you're on to a winner.

Either way, looking forward to what you produce!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on April 23, 2009, 10:13:29 AM
Thumbs up from me.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 24, 2009, 11:25:16 AM
You know the problem with putting a classic Asteroids only game mode in Echoes is that after playing the proper Echoes mode it all seems a bit tame.  Not necessarily a bad game mode, but a bit bland without the variety that the extra enemy types in the other mode.

I guess I'll leave it in as what I see as bland might actually be seen as purer gameplay by some people... and hell, if you don't like it there are several other modes to entertain  :)

Whatever other modes i stick in, the original Echoes version is still very much the main one and the others just a little bonus....much like Crack.  :bunnymonkey:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 24, 2009, 12:25:37 PM
Quote
Whatever other modes i stick in, the original Echoes version is still very much the main one and the others just a little bonus....much like Crack. 

Aww... I have a feeling that normal Asteroids would be pretty fun to play within the echoes environment. I could be wrong though.

You are adding all this stuff whilst keeping it well below the 50 mb limit?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 24, 2009, 12:59:58 PM
Aww... I have a feeling that normal Asteroids would be pretty fun to play within the echoes environment. I could be wrong though.
It's much more likely that I'm wrong.  Excessive playtesting does seem to distort your perception of things slightly....that's why so many games that are only ever tested by the original coder are ridiculously hard for new players.

I'm not sure what that means for Meteor Storm mode which I've just been testing though as I'm really enjoying that.  It's like a slightly more brutal version of GW:Waves.  :bunnymonkey:


You are adding all this stuff whilst keeping it well below the 50 mb limit?
It's just code which takes up hardly and space and not much code at that.

Because of the way everything is structured "Meteor Storm" only needed a paltry 9 lines of code, but even that sounds excessive next to "Classic Asteroids" 7 lines :)

Most of those few lines are just a few timers and some maths juggling to get the gameplay balance right.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 24, 2009, 05:41:18 PM
Cool, Meteor Storm sounds intense! and as i'm sure you know, I am a huge fan of GW Waves (The current rank 1 on the PGR 4 version :D) so this coud be a well played version I think!

Lets just say, theres a lot of Tension leading up to this Echoes 2.0!

Keep up the great work mate!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 24, 2009, 09:29:35 PM
Cool, Meteor Storm sounds intense! and as i'm sure you know, I am a huge fan of GW Waves (The current rank 1 on the PGR 4 version :D) so this coud be a well played version I think!
No.1 ?  Wow.  Congrats.  I need you in Playtesting...get that free XNA membership sorted out ;)

In other news, the Asteroid Belt game mode is done (it needs a better name  :P )

Imagine a single Asteroid Belt chasing you around the screen.....now imagine if that Asteroid Belt was 30 asteroids long!.....now imagine there wasn't just 1 of these things but 10 separate ones all chasing you.....300 asteroids in total....with the cheats switched on that's what I've just had and it looks rather cool even if I say so myself  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 25, 2009, 09:51:38 AM
When you'd said Asteroid Belt what immediately sprung to mind was the player being surround by fastly rotating and orbiting asteroids where whenever the upgrades do become available, the player has to dive out of the centre to the outer edges to pick up upgrades.

It now sounds like my worst nightmare (In a good way ;)) extra long snake asteroids chasing you until death! Sounds hard.

Yeah, current #1, atleast last time I checked. I do need to sort out that membership.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 25, 2009, 12:11:54 PM
When you'd said Asteroid Belt what immediately sprung to mind was the player being surround by fastly rotating and orbiting asteroids where whenever the upgrades do become available, the player has to dive out of the centre to the outer edges to pick up upgrades.
If you manoeuvre just right then you can sit still and the asteroids will orbit safely around you.  Sooner or later you've got to start killing them though and the nicely balanced orbits turn a bit chaotic and it generally ends with you being slammed by a load of them.


Getting some randomness into the snake like movement is really important.  If you use the same turn and velocity variables for every snake then you soon end up with all the snakes following exactly the same path, neatly in line following the player.

You might think making the snakes turn faster to face the player would be a good way of making it harder, but the opposite is actually true.  The slower turning ones have more chance of hitting the sides of the level and that introduces an element of unpredictability and chaos which makes things much harder than ones that home in on you quicker and have quite predictable movement.

[/utterly useless game design info]


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 27, 2009, 04:37:42 PM
A little addition to the Classic Asteroids mode.  That should keep someone on here happy :)

( ignore the double image....that's just the screen shaking due to a big explosion out of shot when I got shot by the UFO while busy searching for the Prt Scr key  :P )


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 27, 2009, 07:01:25 PM
Thats Awesome!!!! Yeah, i'm pretty damned happy with that. Your screenshake must be really intense! Do the lights on the UFO rotate or spin as the UFO moves?

Also, do you think it adds to the game play? :D

In short, Thanks Fog!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 27, 2009, 08:55:58 PM
Your screenshake must be really intense!
Yeah, When the player gets hit then there's a decent screen shake....and a screen flash....and a particle effect....and a joypad rumble....and a floor shaking bass heavy sound effect.  Basically you know you've been hit  :bunnymonkey:


Do the lights on the UFO rotate or spin as the UFO moves?
A whole 3 frames of animation lol.  Not that you really notice them in game mind.


Also, do you think it adds to the game play? :D
Well originally I only added it because the original Asteroids had one in, but it's proved to be a bit more useful than I thought from a gameplay point of view because, after a few tweaks, it helps stop players camping in the corners of the screen :)



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on April 29, 2009, 09:39:09 AM
Yeh.

Cool little spaceship.   :D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 29, 2009, 08:23:36 PM
Working on the main game mode now and I'd forgotten how long it took me to get the balancing right on the original version.  For something so deceptively simple it's a serious pain to get right.

The early levels aren't too difficult but by level 10 you have to get just the right quantity of each of the 10 different enemies on screen otherwise it plays like crap.  Too many plain asteroids and it eventually becomes a boring cannon-fodder killathon....but too many of the other enemy types and it becomes a never ending exercise in avoidance and equally boring to play.

Then getting the quantity of powerups to match the action so that you're neither insanely powerful all the time or overwhelmed and lacking in firepower.

Getting the balance between a decent challenge but still having plenty of feel good cannon fodder destruction is the ideal aim here.  Then getting that balancing to work over 3 difficulty levels....

Writing the many thousands of lines of code needed for the various enemy, bullet, fx etc routines is easy.  Juggling the few lines of variables that control the gameplay balancing is the tricky bit and will make or break any game.  You really can't spend too long on getting it right.

Now who is up for some playtesting?  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on April 29, 2009, 08:30:17 PM
Now who is up for some playtesting?  :)
Pick me! Pick me! :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on April 30, 2009, 09:39:40 AM
Masked bravely steps up to the plate to volunteer for the dangereous mission of playtesting the pc version.   :o

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 30, 2009, 10:41:01 AM
If there's a PC version, I'm there.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 30, 2009, 11:24:03 AM
I'd like to do some PC playtesting aswell, since its for balancing reasons.

Up to you though :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 30, 2009, 01:23:35 PM
Thanks for all the offers chaps.  Testing is crucial so it's much appreciated.

Initially at this early stage I had just intended doing 360 testing.   It's not so much playtesting for gameplay issues etc I'm now bothered about, it's technical and performance ones.

As XNA works on both the 360 and PC then in theory I have a PC version ready for testing too, but there might well be performance issues on some PC's and I don't have any options in place for addressing those yet (fx level adjustment etc)

I haven't tried it on my desktop yet, but if I don't need to do any extra work to get it to work satisfactorily on there then I may do some PC playtesting too.  Sooner or later that will happen anyway.

Cheers.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 30, 2009, 06:05:03 PM
In XNA, is there a way to limit a date or period of time that you can't play the game after. If so, it'd be a great way of limiting the beta.

Ideally though, I need my 360 Membership.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 30, 2009, 07:20:57 PM
In XNA, is there a way to limit a date or period of time that you can't play the game after. If so, it'd be a great way of limiting the beta.
Well you can access the date so limiting the time something would work for would be easy enough.


Ideally though, I need my 360 Membership.
Yes you definitely do ;)

If it's a hassle to sort out a student membership then you can always just register for Dream uild Play and get a free 12 months membership that way

http://www.dreambuildplay.com/main/default.aspx (http://www.dreambuildplay.com/main/default.aspx)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on April 30, 2009, 09:35:04 PM
I'll be up for some Xbox playtesting (but my box is about 3 or 4 weeks away from being shipped)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 30, 2009, 10:15:31 PM
I signed up using the Dream Build Play competition as a means and have saved my code. The good thing about the Dream Build Play competition, is it will almost guarantee that i'll get something done! That prize money sure is tempting (Lol).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 01, 2009, 05:18:25 PM
I'll be up for some Xbox playtesting (but my box is about 3 or 4 weeks away from being shipped)
If you really want to Paul.  I know you'll be busy with other things ATM.


I signed up using the Dream Build Play competition as a means and have saved my code. The good thing about the Dream Build Play competition, is it will almost guarantee that i'll get something done! That prize money sure is tempting (Lol).
Let me know when you're up and running on the 360 and I'll add you to the Playtesters member group. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on May 02, 2009, 10:43:37 AM
As long as my 360 is here I'll give it a whirl.  It's amazing how much time you have when the kids aren't around.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 02, 2009, 11:46:31 AM
As long as my 360 is here I'll give it a whirl.  It's amazing how much time you have when the kids aren't around.
Cheers.  I just need to tidy a few things up first as I'm not very comfortable showing stuff which is nowhere near finished...which this isn't  :P




Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 02, 2009, 08:04:56 PM
Doing major mods to an animation class that's referenced in a million-and-one places in your code....now that's a bad idea.  Can you guess what I've been doing for the last couple of days?  :P

It had to be done though.  The animation class was written many moons ago before I really found my feet in XNA and in developing the new Emitter/Object classes I realised I needed to rearrange things a bit.  My initial fudge had been to duplicate some variables, but sooner or later I knew I'd have to go in and tidy things ups....so I have.

Not fun and outwardly the game looks identical, however the code is a lot easier to work with.  :bunnymonkey:

Now back to working on the scoring and bonus systems for the new game modes to try and make things interesting  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 03, 2009, 04:36:50 PM
That's 3 difficulty settings in there now so a little rebalancing of the various game modes was required, but they feel about right now. 

Getting the difficulty right is always tricky. You can normally have good guess (that's all it is mind) at where the "Normal" setting should be, but at the two ends of the difficulty spectrum it's almost impossible to judge things.  Even the poorest of gamers shouldn't get too frustrated on the "Easy" difficulty and even the uber hardcore should find some challenge in the "Hard" setting.

Although trying to pigeon-hole all gamers of all abilities neatly into just 3 difficulty categories is an almost impossible task, it's preferable to just having one setting IMO, even it it just means the game is more accessible to a few more people and more challenging and therefore engaging to a few others.


I've also added another game mode, "Survival", which made an appearance in DUO.  It's of the "one hit kills" variety where the only thing that matters is the clock.

And while working on that I've brushed up the routines to help stop people camping in the corners of the screen.  It's another one of those routines where the code behind it is surprisingly complicated for something apparently so simple, but hopefully it works and the effect is subtle enough to go unnoticed by most.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 04, 2009, 09:26:44 PM
Just working on the HUD system now so that we can start playtesting.  It's unfair on testers to ask them to play a game where they can't even see their score, energy, level etc.  It would be good enough to flush out any technical bugs, but where's the fun in that?  :)

Anyway the HUD system is a really quick job.  The various game modes all need slightly different HUD info (some modes are score based, some time, some have many levels and some use score multipliers) so I've developed a modular system and I just "plug-in" the bits of the HUD I need to display for that mode.  It's a cheap solution but it works.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 07, 2009, 11:31:18 AM
Who ever thought powerups would cause so much trouble.   :bunnymonkey:

The several different game modes all allow for different powerups (Echoes mode for example allows for them all, whereas Classic Asteroids mode only had the "score multiplier" one) and this is causing some seriously tricky balancing issues ....yes more of them.

Why the problems?  Well I'm using the same enemy triggering sequence and timing code for a couple of different modes but if one of those modes allows for weapons powerups and the other doesn't then you have one mode with is really difficult as the player is underpowered or one which is potentially too easy if the player picks up a load of powerups.

Anyway to rectify the problem there are now different enemy spawn code for each mode meaning I better match the number of enemies on screen with the players firepower.  Now for some final pre-Alpha playtesting tweakage  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on May 08, 2009, 09:47:07 AM
Glad to hear coding is progressing well.

I was playing echoes yesterday and on level ten thought, hmmm, Wouldn't a smart bomb be a really neat power up.

I don't know if you've already coded one, ditched the idea or what, and i know it's a bit late in the day for suggestions, but how about adding a 'smart bomb' power up.

Possibly activated by picking it up, or via mouse button 2 or key.

Either Killing everything on screen.  Would be really satisfying for the player, or destroying all of a particular type of enemy on screen.

Perhaps you could have several different kinds of smart bombs.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 08, 2009, 03:34:38 PM
Glad to hear coding is progressing well.

I was playing echoes yesterday and on level ten thought, hmmm, Wouldn't a smart bomb be a really neat power up.

I don't know if you've already coded one, ditched the idea or what, and i know it's a bit late in the day for suggestions, but how about adding a 'smart bomb' power up.

Possibly activated by picking it up, or via mouse button 2 or key.

Either Killing everything on screen.  Would be really satisfying for the player, or destroying all of a particular type of enemy on screen.

Perhaps you could have several different kinds of smart bombs.

TMC

I already have a "smart bomb" of a kind.  The "ring of bullets" powerup that is in the original game is now more powerful and rather than being activated immediately can now be carried and used when the player sees fit.

I'm still not sure whether to stick with that or use a more traditional smart bomb effect so it's something I will address during feedback from testing :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 10, 2009, 11:11:49 AM
You know when you start doing something and then instantly regret it?  I started on some new powerup graphics and it's not going well  :P

I can generally get by doing the simple, blurry, neony stuff, but doing anything that requires a little more artistic ability like the powerup symbols is slightly more challenging.  I've done a few decent ones, however they don't really fit in with the graphical style of the rest of the game.

I'll stick some place holders in and then worry about doing some proper ones while it's getting playtested.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 12, 2009, 01:12:36 PM
Well I ended up doing some "proper" powerup graphics after all.  I'm still not 100% convinced by them but they'll do for now.  And to go along with them I've added a new effect for when they are about to expire (they pulse and then shrink away) and a simple but neat effect for when you collect one.  Those tiny little effects do make a huge difference in changing the game from looking like a WIP to something approaching a finished game.  Disproportionately, but satisfyingly so :)

While working on those powerups I also added the code to handle a player shield.  I may only use it in the transitions when you lose a life and not have an actual powerup for it, but it's a nice option to have for future games.

Finally all I need is neater handling of those transitions when you lose a life or when it's game over and we can start initial playtesting.  Any day now honest  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 12, 2009, 05:21:45 PM
I'm really looking forward to this Fog! Its sounding brilliant.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 12, 2009, 10:06:42 PM
I'm really looking forward to this Fog! Its sounding brilliant.
It's Echoes.  On the 360.  With mostly the exact same media assets and gameplay with a few extra modes thrown in.  If that's all you're expecting then yeah, you should enjoy it :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 13, 2009, 12:46:13 PM
I'm really looking forward to this Fog! Its sounding brilliant.
It's Echoes.  On the 360.  With mostly the exact same media assets and gameplay with a few extra modes thrown in.  If that's all you're expecting then yeah, you should enjoy it :)

Couldn't have put it better myself :D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 14, 2009, 08:22:54 PM
And there was much tweaking.  (write your own joke)

I've changed the HUD....again.  The new one is much simpler than the old one, but it doesn't encroach into the playing area as much as the old one which is a problem when trying to obey the  title safe guidelines (nothing important should be in the outer 10% of the screen).

The smart bomb is now a more traditional one in that it clears the screen of all enemies and bullets, so it's goodbye to "the ring of bullets" of the old version.

In "Time Attack" mode you now have infinite energy but take a points penalty every time you are hit.  This is linked to your score multiplier so it has a nice risk / reward element.

The "health" and "weapon" powerups still spawn at set intervals, but certain types of enemies now also give out certain powerups, so if you see a Planet for example then you know it will always drop a "shield" powerup.  There are now 7 different powerups in total.

"Meteor Storm" mode now has an extra score multiplier element which helps focus the gameplay a bit more and it's no longer just a case of survival. 

Some people didn't like the way you lost a number of weapons when you were hit in the PC version, but I still wanted to punish the player somehow so I have a neat solution.  When you get hit your weapon does downgrade a few levels, but they are ejected from your ship in the explosion in the form of powerups.  This means that if you are quick enough you can collect them and restore your weapon.  And if my experience is anything to go by, you fly into a mad panic trying to collect them and end up doing yet more damage to your ship.  :P


Phew  :duck:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on May 15, 2009, 12:19:10 PM
Quote
The smart bomb is now a more traditional one in that it clears the screen of all enemies and bullets, so it's goodbye to "the ring of bullets" of the old version.

Excellent.  Just what i've been hoping for.

Quote
Some people didn't like the way you lost a number of weapons when you were hit in the PC version, but I still wanted to punish the player somehow so I have a neat solution.  When you get hit your weapon does downgrade a few levels, but they are ejected from your ship in the explosion in the form of powerups.  This means that if you are quick enough you can collect them and restore your weapon.  And if my experience is anything to go by, you fly into a mad panic trying to collect them and end up doing yet more damage to your ship.

That sounds like an excellent idea. 

Really looking forward to playing the new version.

TMC



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 15, 2009, 03:43:46 PM
Quote
The smart bomb is now a more traditional one in that it clears the screen of all enemies and bullets, so it's goodbye to "the ring of bullets" of the old version.

Excellent.  Just what i've been hoping for.
Yeah, rather than trying to be too clever just for the sake of it, a straight smart bomb is the best option here.

In other news I've decided to drop "Hardcore" mode.  Rather than just add modes so the stats looks good on the box ("27 Different Game Modes!!!!!!") I only want to add ones that offer something different enough from the other modes to make them worthwhile and Hardcore mode didn't.

Quality not quantity.....although the quality is very much open to debate too  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 17, 2009, 07:42:42 PM
No progress to report this weekend as I had family staying over.  Batteries recharging and back on the case tomorrow hopefully.  I need to get that playtest version uploaded.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 19, 2009, 07:52:10 PM
Right, I've just done the final tweaks (before playtesting anyway) to the last game mode so gameplay wise we are good to go.

The current modes are (subject to chhange during testing):

Echoes, Time Attack, Classic, Survivor, The Asteroid Belt, Meteor Storm & Nerve!

And the current list of ZooT's (our version of Achivements) is as follows:

Masochistic Tendencies - get hit 100 times in Echoes mode
Sun Burn - in Echoes mode shoot the sun 100 times
Blackhole Scum - kill 5 black holes in Echoes mode
Assassins Greed - get 3000 kills in Echoes mode
Casual Gamer - get 1 million in Time Attack mode
Stay a while- stay alive for 90 seconds in Survivor mode
Snake! Snaaaaaaaaaaaake!!!!! - get a x5 multiplier in The Asteroid Belt
Meteor Maker - get a x50 multiplier in Meteor Storm
The Saucerer- shoot 7 saucers in Classic mode without touching the edges
Be strong, Big Man - score 10k in Nerve mode

(with so many game modes I may well add more ZooTs before release)

I just need to stick a temporary menu in so people can actually select the game modes and change the difficulty and I'll make it available to testers.  Tomorrow with any luck.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: EricT on May 19, 2009, 08:49:27 PM
I'm interested in Meteor Storm. I like Meteors, and I also like storms. Seems like a game mode made just for me.

Also LOL @ Casual Gamer.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 19, 2009, 09:28:53 PM
They sound like great ZooTs. I personally sucked at Regular Echoes so they all seem like a decent challenge! I don't have a clue about Nerve...No idea :o


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on May 19, 2009, 10:46:29 PM
Sweet set of achievements.

Will Black Hole Scum be on the official soundtrack? :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 19, 2009, 11:39:37 PM
I'm interested in Meteor Storm. I like Meteors, and I also like storms. Seems like a game mode made just for me.
I'd love to know how your love for meteors manifests itself. lol.


I don't have a clue about Nerve...No idea :o
It's a very simple twist on the normal Echoes game, but it takes the risk/reward idea to an extreme.  It's nothing too clever, but a nice alternative to the other modes.


Will Black Hole Scum be on the official soundtrack? :P
Yeah I should have apologised for the terrible puns in advance.

Bonus points for anyone that can spot the three game (only one is tricky) and one Red Dwarf references.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on May 20, 2009, 01:26:54 AM
Stay Awhile I'm guessing is Impossible Mission C64
Assassin's Greed - no idea :)
Snake?

Be strong, Big Man - Red Dwarf


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 20, 2009, 10:28:15 AM
Stay Awhile I'm guessing is Impossible Mission C64
Assassin's Greed - no idea :)
Snake?

Be strong, Big Man - Red Dwarf
Very good.  Only the Snake reference is for a different game. :)

I have a list of another 18 possible ZooT's.  Just think what fun I can have trying to think up crappy names for those.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on May 21, 2009, 01:03:13 AM
Metal Gear Solid, duh! :)
I used the same name for a level in Smiley ... except, it's totally suppose to be "Snake? SNAAAAAAAAAKE!" :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 21, 2009, 12:19:33 PM
Metal Gear Solid, duh! :)
I used the same name for a level in Smiley ... except, it's totally suppose to be "Snake? SNAAAAAAAAAKE!" :)
In which case I need a new name.... but with potentially a load more Zoots to add I'll worry about that later. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on May 21, 2009, 02:02:21 PM
No, no, don't change the name ... this is a running joke worth keeping alive. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 22, 2009, 02:13:34 PM
Temporary menu system in place and working (although my finished menus tend to be little more than functional so don't expect too many changes in the final version  :P )

And due to taking a break from a particularly annoying bug fix yesterday, we now have highscore tables in and functioning.  Not critical at this point, but it will be useful to get some scores back from anyone playtesting. :)

And Classic Asteroids mode is getting a bit of a makeover to make it look, um, slightly more classic.

And Nerve mode is changing from a 1 life game into a 5 life game so I can add an extra layer of risk/reward to the gameplay.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 22, 2009, 02:36:52 PM
1 to 5 is a big jump, but i'm guessing its a tough game!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 23, 2009, 07:42:11 PM
1 to 5 is a big jump, but i'm guessing its a tough game!
The increase in lives isn't so much because it's tough, but that just gives the game a little extra depth.  Hopefully.

Anyway it's up for Playtesting now. ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 26, 2009, 03:28:07 PM
Playesting has started and is going really well (in my slightly biased opinion).  Lots of excellent suggestions and comments and only a couple of bugs so far.

Most of the feedback on the various game modes has been positive and there's some disagreement over which is peoples favourite which is generally a good sign.  Hopefully it means that each mode has merits on it's own own rather than just being throwaway, minor distractions from the main mode.

No major changes to report either from playtesting or just general progress, but it's all these seemingly minor tweaks that make for a better game.  Fingers and all that crossed.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 28, 2009, 12:16:14 AM
In playtesting SiN wanted a more obvious explosion effect when the player got hit so that's what he's getting.  He'll certainly bloody know when he's been hit now.....although we may now need an epilepsy warning  ;D



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on May 28, 2009, 02:45:12 AM
w00t :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 28, 2009, 02:27:26 PM
w00t :)
You might not be saying that when you see it lol  :bunnymonkey:

XBL was down most of yesterday, or certainly when I tried anyway, so I couldn't do any testing so just did a bit of code tidying instead.  It doesn't really effect the game from a users perspective, but adding a nice, tidy, functional piece of code to your library that you know you can reuse in the future without ever needing to touch it again is strangely satisfying.

Adding transitional states between the main game states has improved the readability of the code hugely.

Instead of going something like:

Main Menu => Game

I now have:

Start Main Menu => Main Menu => Start Game => Game

It's a small change, but it means I can hide all the background, font, motion blur, music changes etc in those "Start" states, making them easier to find and edit, while cleaning all that clutter out of the main game states.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 28, 2009, 08:52:24 PM
I've finally settled on 25 Zoots (Achievements).  That means completing one of them on easy difficulty will only account for a measly 1% game completion progress and you'll need to do all 25 of them on Insane difficulty to get that magic 100%  :bunnymonkey:  That is one serious challenge.

So anyway I've coded the class to handle all of that side of things.  Now to work out how to display a list of them on screen which is the sort of layout task I'm useless at.  The coding is dead easy, but deciding what layout looks good isn't.  That's why my menu screens tend to be strictly functional nothing more.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 28, 2009, 09:07:02 PM
Make it scrollable. That always goes down a treat (is that a pun?).

Sounds great!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 29, 2009, 05:54:03 PM
Make it scrollable. That always goes down a treat (is that a pun?).
Well yeah a list that long will obviously have to be scrollable.  Although it would be easier for me if everyone just bought bigger screens.  :duck:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on May 30, 2009, 09:47:10 AM
Any thoughts on making a 360 or PC video of the game ?

Also, what are your commercial plans for 360 version.  Free or for sale ?

I can see this being a really good seller for the xbox if you choose that route.  Would make sense to make the PC version for sale too if that was the case, as a free version would probably hit sales on the xbox.

Although echoes is already available for free on PC, i'm thinking your new version has enough enhancements to make it sellable as a new game.

Have you thought about a subtle name change ?

Echoes+ or Echoes 2.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 30, 2009, 03:10:41 PM
Any thoughts on making a 360 or PC video of the game ?
Yeah I'll grab some footage from the PC version once I've tidied up the HUD :)


Also, what are your commercial plans for 360 version.  Free or for sale ?

I can see this being a really good seller for the xbox if you choose that route.  Would make sense to make the PC version for sale too if that was the case, as a free version would probably hit sales on the xbox.
You can't release free stuff on the 360 so it will sell for 200MSP which is the equivalent of about 1.70 :)

Looking at the state of the Community Games market though, even at that low price I'll be happy if sales hit 3 figures.

There have been plenty of really good games released so far (including a couple from around here) that have sold hardly any copies and it seems like it's mainly quirky apps and interactive toys that sell well ATM.

My hopes aren't high lol :)


Although echoes is already available for free on PC, i'm thinking your new version has enough enhancements to make it sellable as a new game.
Well that's the plan.  Even if it doesn't sell, I've got a PC compatable game sitting there so it would be stupid not to release it in some form, but I know nothing about the best ways to sell stuff online so I'll need to look into the options.


Have you thought about a subtle name change ?

Echoes+ or Echoes 2.
yeah I've thought about it, but I haven't decided yet :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 01, 2009, 04:16:38 PM
Well any regulars know how much I hate writing menu code, but the workings are all in place now so that's one horrible job out of the way  :kangaroo:

I still need to create and link all of the instructions and help screens to the code and add a bit of polish here and there, but I'm fairly happy with it.

All the Zoot handling code is also complete, although I wont link the actual gameplay to any of that until I'm 100% sure I wont be changing the gameplay code again, so Zoots remain unachievable right now.  I really want to get them in before the next playtest version is released though so I can get some feedback on how difficult they are so I can tweak the requirements.

I've also beefed up the explosions a bit.  previously each explosion consisted of three parts; a large flash image, some medium sized "rock" fragments and finally some smaller particles.  The rock fragments didn't look flashy enough though and in the heat of the action could be slightly confusing (mistaken for smaller asteroids) so I've removed them, doubled the quantities and increased the size of the smaller particles and made the main explosion flash noticeably bigger.  I think it's an improvement, but I doubt anyone else will notice lol :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 01, 2009, 05:23:55 PM
I can guarantee SiN will notice it  :o Eyes of steel!

My fear with some of Zoots are that on some difficulties, you just don't get enough enemies! Unless, you tailor the Zoots depending on what difficulties people are playing on? Guess thats why i'm a playtester  8)  ::)

Glad to hear the Menu is out of the way, as its the dullest coding "task" anyone can write. I'd hate to be a UI programmer...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 01, 2009, 09:25:51 PM
I can guarantee SiN will notice it  :o Eyes of steel!
That reads like you've seen it yourself and you haven't lol :)

My fear with some of Zoots are that on some difficulties, you just don't get enough enemies! Unless, you tailor the Zoots depending on what difficulties people are playing on? Guess thats why i'm a playtester  8)  ::)
That's a fair concern, but I want to keep the targets exactly the same for all difficulties as that's kind of the point.  Like....Here's an Achievement to unlock, but which difficulty can you manage it on?  If I set different targets then it's like having 4 separate achievements and the current medal system isn't as applicable.

I'm sure the balancing wont be perfect on every one and, much like Achievements, some will be harder to unlock than others but at least I've tried to make them interesting.

If I see another game with loads of Achievements where they go "Complete Level 1", Complete Level 2", Complete..." I'll go mental.   It's lazy and unimaginative.  The odd one for things that you would normally do during the course of a game isn't too bad, but they really work best when they challenge you to play the game in ways you wouldn't normally do.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 02, 2009, 12:27:58 PM
Oh, I see. I'll wait till I see it  :-X

And regards achievements, your exactly right. Some are just lame, and simply reward playing the game (which is all well and good) but it doesn't expand it or really chalenge the player. Which after reading through your initial achievements earlier on in the bog, there were definately big challenges (Casual Gamer for one, jeez!).

So I guess, if you unlock an achieve on "very hard" then you unlock them all?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 02, 2009, 01:05:25 PM
Which after reading through your initial achievements earlier on in the bog, there were definately big challenges (Casual Gamer for one, jeez!).
I wouldn't read too much into the targets I posted as they will change to something more realistic after the next stage of testing. :)


So I guess, if you unlock an achieve on "very hard" then you unlock them all?
yeah, only the highest difficulty setting that you have completed the achievement on is important.  As mentioned earlier, only completing all 25 on Insane difficulty will bag 100% completion.


In other news I'm hooked on Survivor mode on Insane difficulty.  A game only lasts about 20 seconds, but thanks to that and the quick restart option,  it has that "just one more go" appeal  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on June 02, 2009, 03:14:22 PM
The ability to quickly restart really can add a lot to a game - I wouldn't have played Crack half as much if it took 5-10 seconds of menu to restart.

Party mode in Burnout Paradise (which tries to make up for the lack of the awesome split screen in old titles) takes far too long between rounds and to setup to play again, so that dulls the fun considerably.

I stopped playing Far Cry when a save point was a full minute and a half of mindless travel before getting to the difficult monsters.

Quick restart is so important.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 02, 2009, 03:36:47 PM
Quote
The ability to quickly restart really can add a lot to a game - I wouldn't have played Crack half as much if it took 5-10 seconds of menu to restart.

Party mode in Burnout Paradise (which tries to make up for the lack of the awesome split screen in old titles) takes far too long between rounds and to setup to play again, so that dulls the fun considerably.

I stopped playing Far Cry when a save point was a full minute and a half of mindless travel before getting to the difficult monsters.

Quick restart is so important.


I equally agree with that.

It's also a bug bear of mine, having to wade through countless menu options in order to play the game.

I think it's a rare game that justifies no quick start option.

Menu wading is a real game killer.

Car games are a nightmare for this.
Being forced to choose countless options in order to play the game.
The game has to be really good in order for me to put up with this.

TMC




Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on June 02, 2009, 04:37:02 PM

Car games are a nightmare for this.
Being forced to choose countless options in order to play the game.
The game has to be really good in order for me to put up with this.
Yeah. One of the things I'm best at, in any game, is that I can restart a race in Project Gotham 2 in under half a second, despite the ridiculously small start button on the Xbox Controller S. Mastered the Start-Right-A flick very quickly :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 02, 2009, 06:26:29 PM

Car games are a nightmare for this.
Being forced to choose countless options in order to play the game.
The game has to be really good in order for me to put up with this.
Yeah. One of the things I'm best at, in any game, is that I can restart a race in Project Gotham 2 in under half a second, despite the ridiculously small start button on the Xbox Controller S. Mastered the Start-Right-A flick very quickly :P
You'd love something like Motorstorm then as that makes you wait 30 seconds to load the main menu, another 20 seconds while it loads up the car selection screen (whether you need to change or not) and then another minute while it loads the actual race again.  :P


In a 2D shmup even going back to the main menu shouldn't really take more than a few seconds, but even so, on the game over screen I've made it so you can just press "X" to start immediately.  It's a simple enough addition, but it works :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on June 03, 2009, 02:34:32 AM
Oh noes!!!

http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/games/media/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258550200 (http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/games/media/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258550200)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 03, 2009, 10:33:15 AM
Oh noes!!!

http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/games/media/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258550200 (http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/games/media/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258550200)
yeah, as I donload pretty much ever XBCG then I knew that :)  They were contemplating changing the name at one stage to drop the "Halfbrick" bit as well.  (That's the developers name and they crazily put it in front of all their XBCG titles which is bloody confusing for the customer.)

It makes no difference to me really as log as it isn't exactly the same.  Just look at all the games with "wars", "battle" or..."massage"  :P

I doubt it really means anything in the bigger scale of things.


Incidentally, where in the world are you right now? :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on June 05, 2009, 12:24:34 AM
Actually, will it simply be called Echoes?  Or will you differentiate from the current game somehow.  Echoes++, Echoez, Echoes 2, Echoes: Salvation, etc

I'm in New Zealand until next Thursday - then I'm off to Brisbane for 5 days and return to Hell (Walsall) on the 17th June.

Jobless from Saturday, homeless from Sunday...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on June 05, 2009, 07:19:30 AM
Please call it Echoes: Salvation. Brilliant title.

Jobless? Homeless!? My lord, what happened?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 05, 2009, 09:38:45 PM
Actually, will it simply be called Echoes?  Or will you differentiate from the current game somehow.  Echoes++, Echoez, Echoes 2, Echoes: Salvation, etc
lol.  That would be one similarity too far I think :)

I probably should rename it a bit so that, if nothing else, the new PC version is differentiated from the old one.... so I'll think about the title nearer submission.


I'm in New Zealand until next Thursday - then I'm off to Brisbane for 5 days and return to Hell (Walsall) on the 17th June.

Jobless from Saturday, homeless from Sunday...
You must be stressed mate.  Walsall might be hell, but there will be a couple of young uns there who will be over the moon to see you again.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 06, 2009, 09:51:47 AM
Quote
Please call it Echoes: Salvation. Brilliant title.

Yup, a good name.

But how about

Echoes - Reloaded   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on June 06, 2009, 10:07:55 AM
Oooh wait. I know. Echoes - Echoes - Echoes - Echoes


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 06, 2009, 10:19:08 AM
Quote
Oooh wait. I know. Echoes - Echoes - Echoes - Echoes

Genius   :D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 06, 2009, 01:30:18 PM
Oooh wait. I know. Echoes - Echoes - Echoes - Echoes
lol.  Brilliant.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 07, 2009, 08:56:10 PM
You know when you do lots of work and have very little outwardly to show for it  :P

Boring List:
  • tweaked both the bitmap and vector text routines so the command sets are now almost identical.
  • created a message class allowing me to create "fire and forget" messages to either world or screen space.
  • simplified HUD making it more consistent across the game modes (hopefully) and it's now reduced making it less intrusive.
  • modified the menu slider routines to make them look better.
  • added messages column to highscore table and populated with relevant info (different for each game mode)
  • button tips added to menu screens.
  • improved speed of vector line drawing routine.
  • changed level size in The Asteroid Belt game mode which adds a touch more randomness to proceedings.
  • loads of gameplay and balancing tweaks

As ever it's all the finishing bits and pieces that take all the time.  I think another week and the code side of things will be done and I'll just need to write the help screens etc.  That should push my limited graphical abilities to breaking point :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 08, 2009, 10:25:01 PM
More HUD tweakage and thanks to a bit of advice from SiN I think we've got a design I'm happy to stick with.  Ironically it's the simplest of all the designs I've tried, but the info is nice and clear and it's simplicity fits with rest of the game.

And "Nerve" mode is no more....it's now  called more appropriately "Sacrifice" mode (although a current bug means you sometimes lose multiple lives instead of just one so maybe "suicide" mode would be more appropriate  :bunnymonkey: )


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 09, 2009, 09:11:53 PM
Occasionally something sounds perfectly logical from a gameplay perspective and yet in practice it just doesn't work.   :bunnymonkey:

I thought it would be a cool idea to implement something like the original Asteroid controls in the Classic game mode to make it feel more authentic.  So out went the twin stick control setup and in came left stick for rotation, 'A' to fire and right-trigger for thrust.

With a nice bit of momentum it seemed pretty decent until you started to actually play the game.  Then, as soon as you got into a tricky situation, instinct took over and you immediately yank the joypad in the direction you want to move, forgetting all about applying thrust.

And for once it's not just my aged brain either as I've tested it on someone else and got the same response.  You do adjust to it after a while, but swapping between game modes it never feels comfortable.   Too many bloody twin stick shmups have messed with our brains.

So  I've come to a bit of a compromise which is less authentic, but feels better.  Rotation and thrust are now both mapped to the left stick with 'A' still used to fire.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 09, 2009, 10:04:30 PM
Cool, that'll still take some getting use to (for me anyways...). Although it should stop me from getting to those much, much later levels...

Sounds like the game is coming along leaps and bounds! Can't wait :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 09, 2009, 10:57:10 PM
Sounds like the game is coming along leaps and bounds! Can't wait :)
We're getting there.  I still have a lot of cosmetic things to do, but the game modes are complete so I'll upload a new version for testing whenever anyone's ready.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 11, 2009, 12:42:19 PM
Ready when you are Fog!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 11, 2009, 02:59:53 PM
Ready when you are Fog!
Ok :)

I just need to add some code to save the highscores so I can hassle you guys for some scores later.....then I can set the Zoot targets at a more appropriate level.  I've no idea how long a load/save routine will take  :P

Then I need to finally decide what to do with the smart bomb because I'm still not happy with it from a gameplay perspective.   :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 11, 2009, 08:03:11 PM
So you have a bit of free time and decide you'll use it so settle down for a bit of coding.  Fire up the 360 and it says you need to do an update to the Creators Club software.  No worries you think, with 3.1 launching today it was expected.

So you do the update, run the application again and it says that you need to do an update.  Hold on, I've just done the update.  Let's try that again....nope, it still says I need to do the update.

Great, so now I can't run any code on the 360 effectively meaning I can't do the development that I wanted to do.  Bloody great.  Apparently Microsoft are aware of the problem, but how does something like this ever go live?  :P

I love my 360 because of the games it offers, but as a piece of hardware it's an unreliable piece of crap and the software updates, notably NXE, have made the dash all but unusable for certain things.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 11, 2009, 10:40:13 PM
In re-installing the creators club software on the 360 and getting it to talk to the PC again I've just accidentally found something out.....You can take screen shots of your game running on the 360 and it downloads them to your PC.  Excellent.  :kangaroo:

I really should read the help files some time  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 12, 2009, 10:13:02 AM
Ahh the joys of game dev.

It's definately a love / hate relationship.

Glad you're making progress though.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 13, 2009, 12:49:34 PM
Finally a smart bomb effect I'm relatively happy with and, as is so often the case, it's by far the simplest approach I've tested :bunnymonkey:

I've tried writing a rather large routine simply to handle the smart bomb explosions and that looked crap.  I've tried several shaderzzz but, while they looked ok, they didn't seem appropriate.  And I couldn't figure out why nothing looked right.

Then it struck me.  It wasn't the fact that graphically they didn't look ok, it was the way I was instantly destroying all on-screen enemies when the smart bomb is activated.  It's the way most games handle it so we accept it, but TBH it looks a bit crap and suddenly going from a screen full of enemies to a completely clear one feels a bit jarring.

What it needed was a simple shockwave effect emitting from the players ship and destroying enemies as it travelled over the screen.  That would look a lot less artificial than simply clearing everything.

So time to write another routine to handle it....or was it?  With a bit of lateral thinking I was able to use the existing emitter code to create the effect perfectly(?).  All I do is create a small, stationary "bullet" at the players location, then this "bullet" is simply scaled over time, destroying enemies as it comes into contact with them.  No new code required, 2 minutes to implement  :kangaroo:

It scales nice and fast, so the destruction is almost immediate, but it's just slow enough so that you can see the wave effect travel across the screen.  It's a subtle effect yet it makes a huge difference.  And because I've restricted the maximum size of the explosion, it doesn't clear the whole screen and simply creates a clear pocket around the player.  This way you need to use it slightly more tactically and as the screen never totally clears the action never has that awkward pause that a traditional smart bomb clearing the entire screen can create.

All by carefully considered design of course  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 13, 2009, 12:59:57 PM
Believe it or not, but the smart bomb in Geo Wars doesn't actually clear the whole play area, it just clears the area where you are. Though, it should be cool seeing it in action!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on June 13, 2009, 04:05:21 PM
What it needed was a simple shockwave effect emitting from the players ship and destroying enemies as it travelled over the screen.  That would look a lot less artificial than simply clearing everything.
Huh, I swear I jotted that down during my initial playtest. I guess I forgot to mention it.

Quote
So time to write another routine to handle it....or was it?  With a bit of lateral thinking I was able to use the existing emitter code to create the effect perfectly(?).  All I do is create a small, stationary "bullet" at the players location, then this "bullet" is simply scaled over time, destroying enemies as it comes into contact with them.  No new code required, 2 minutes to implement  :kangaroo:
Genius! :)

Cheers,
Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 13, 2009, 09:16:48 PM
Believe it or not, but the smart bomb in Geo Wars doesn't actually clear the whole play area, it just clears the area where you are.
Really?  Well I haven't played a whole lot of GW and I never really use the smart bomb (I rarely use the smart bomb in any game TBH, which is partly why I've never implemented one in a game I've written so far :) )

Quote
So time to write another routine to handle it....or was it?  With a bit of lateral thinking I was able to use the existing emitter code to create the effect perfectly(?).  All I do is create a small, stationary "bullet" at the players location, then this "bullet" is simply scaled over time, destroying enemies as it comes into contact with them.  No new code required, 2 minutes to implement  :kangaroo:
Genius! :)
The word "genius" really is overused ;)  It was one of those "wow that's pretty cool piece of logic" moments that coding occasionally brings though  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 14, 2009, 10:52:52 AM
Just giving Classic mode a new lick of paint to make it look more appropriate.  It looks rather retro....ish.  :kangaroo:

And I've altered Asteroid, bullet and player behaviour in that mode to wrap around at the screen boundaries rather than bouncing off when they hit them.  Plus the momentum of the player ship has been cranked right up to give it a more authentic feel.

It all takes a little bit of adjusting to after playing one of the other modes, but it does make Classic mode genuinely different from the others and that was the whole point.  Making it just like Echoes with only asteroid enemies would have been ultimately a bit pointless, kinda like Echoes with all the good bits removed.

Overall I'm pretty happy with it now and for the first time during development I'm really enjoying playing Classic mode. 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 14, 2009, 01:35:05 PM
I'll go down as saying, I enjoyed the original version from test. Although, with the improvements you have listed making it alot more "classic" i'd be very interested in playing this mode as everyone i'm sure likes a good old bit of asteroids!

Keep up the great work man! This game will sell like hot cakes!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 14, 2009, 05:15:42 PM
Keep up the great work man! This game will sell like hot cakes!
lol.  Not on XBox Indies (*) it wont, but if I was too bothered about that then I'd be writing a quick aquarium screen saver or a massage app.  ;)

(*) That really does sound so much better than XBox Community Games


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 15, 2009, 08:35:46 PM
Ok, this needs repeating.....file handling on the 360 using XNA is an unnecessarily complicated pain.

I'm all for a bit of lower level access in things like graphics, but why can't the storage device handling and the like be done semi-automatically if, like 99% of people, I just want seamless loading and saving of basic files?  Instead we all end up building our own code to wrap the XNA stuff into something more usable.

And of course it's not helped by that fact that, AFAIK, there's no way to see what you've written to a file other than through your own loading code, so if you have a problem then you really have no idea whether it's in your saving or loading routines.  Good luck debugging that.

Luckily once you've got it working it's the sort of routine that you never need to touch again, but I can see why a disproportionately large number of the failures in Peer Review are due to dodgy file handling.

That's the long way of saying I now have highscores saving properly  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 15, 2009, 08:47:41 PM
Now I can breath a sigh of relief...

The way I did it in XNA, was a bit sluggish, though it worked!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on June 15, 2009, 09:11:54 PM
Have you done the asynchronous memory location selection stuff? It's incredibly tedious.

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 15, 2009, 09:29:11 PM
Now I can breath a sigh of relief...

The way I did it in XNA, was a bit sluggish, though it worked!
Not if you haven't done it on the 360 you can't ;)  Doing it on the PC is dead easy which certainly can't be said for doing it properly on the 360.


Have you done the asynchronous memory location selection stuff? It's incredibly tedious.
Yes  :bunnymonkey:  It's the first thing I've really done a bit of Googling and looked at some help files for and people have so many different ways of handling it it's bloody confusing never mind tedious.  Even the proper Creators Club example isn't very good as it just crashes if you cancel the device selector  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on June 15, 2009, 09:47:19 PM
The way I did it for DUOtrix was embarrassingly hacky. I hated that code, but whatever, it worked. :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 16, 2009, 09:59:18 AM
Quote
Yes    It's the first thing I've really done a bit of Googling and looked at some help files for and people have so many different ways of handling it it's bloody confusing never mind tedious.  Even the proper Creators Club example isn't very good as it just crashes if you cancel the device selector

It's good to read some real hands on experience from a developer.  Theres so much hype used to promote products these days you'd be forgiven for thinking that every product is totaly flawless.

I'm quite suprised at the amout of work you have had to do in order to start creating games.

The XNA advertising hype gives the impression you can knock up a game within just a few hours.

Makes me shudder to think the amount of the work needed for a c++ developer without XNA.

I would have thought that XNA would come with a shed load of robust library routines you could simply plug into your own code.  File handling for example.
I'm not suprised bugs issues have been a problem for released games.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 16, 2009, 12:36:38 PM
It's good to read some real hands on experience from a developer.  Theres so much hype used to promote products these days you'd be forgiven for thinking that every product is totaly flawless.

I'm quite suprised at the amout of work you have had to do in order to start creating games.

The XNA advertising hype gives the impression you can knock up a game within just a few hours.

Makes me shudder to think the amount of the work needed for a c++ developer without XNA.

I would have thought that XNA would come with a shed load of robust library routines you could simply plug into your own code.  File handling for example.
I'm not suprised bugs issues have been a problem for released games.

To be fair to XNA, some/most parts are really easy to use and no harder than DBPro and I assume Blitz.  If I want to draw a sprite for example then it's simply:
Code:
spriteBatch.Draw( myImage, position, colour);
...with a bunch of overloads if you want to add rotation, scaling etc.  It couldn't be eassier.

Then in other areas things are slightly more long winded, but much more useful from a game design perspective.  Take text as an example.  In DBPro there is a ready made text command to get you started quickly, but it's use in games is virtually zero if you want something that looks good so you end up writing your own bitmap font handling code.

In XNA on the other hand there is no simple command to draw text to the screen immediately.  For new users I can see that being a stumbling block.  However, with only a few lines of code to set it up, you have the built in SpriteFont class which gives you almost instant bitmap fonts....something you would have to write yourself in DBPro.

One language makes things easier, whereas the other makes things slightly harder, but much much more useful and in the long run arguably requiring less code.

The problem with the file handling routines and all the other 360 specific stuff associated with them is that compared to the rest of the language they are a confusing mess.  After the joys of using the other command sets, it's a real shock to the system.  They give you "low level" access, but there are no useful benefits to that in my experience.  It's added extra flexibility and control, but in an area where I don't really need or want that, all it essentially is is unnecessary complication.  (*)

(*) Note:  Coders incompetence must also be taken into consideration.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on June 16, 2009, 07:06:28 PM
Yeah, XNA has alot of stuff already done for you. Making a simple game is easy and only takes a couple hours. But anything complex takes a large portion of work. They make easy stuff really easy and hard stuff really hard compared to what it should be. Alot of things that are simple aren't done too... For example FPS style camera control requires the mouse position to be reset to the center of the screen ever so often or it hits the side... there is no relative mouse position without doing it yourself and the solution feels pretty hackish.

Just my quick 2cents on XNA and hope I am not repeating stuff others have said.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 16, 2009, 09:15:57 PM
Hi and welcome Flame.  :)

And congratulations on a spectacular 2 years of lurking before finally posting.  ;)

Yeah, XNA has alot of stuff already done for you. Making a simple game is easy and only takes a couple hours. But anything complex takes a large portion of work. They make easy stuff really easy and hard stuff really hard compared to what it should be. Alot of things that are simple aren't done too... For example FPS style camera control requires the mouse position to be reset to the center of the screen ever so often or it hits the side... there is no relative mouse position without doing it yourself and the solution feels pretty hackish.

Just my quick 2cents on XNA and hope I am not repeating stuff others have said.
That's reassuring to hear.  At least I now know that my problems aren't just due to my coding incompetence.....well not entirely anyway  :bunnymonkey:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 17, 2009, 08:40:19 PM
OK I can kind of understand why Microsoft insist on all users being connected to Live while playing Community/Indie games, even if I don't agree with it, but why developers?  Why must we be connected to Live just to be able to test some code?  Bloody stupid.

So with Live being down for maintenance for 24 hrs and the screw up with the Creators Club update, that's 2 days coding effectively lost in the last week.

Microsoft really know how to test my ever diminishing patience.   :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on June 18, 2009, 06:49:27 AM
It is pretty stupid to have to be on Live to use local content, but cant you just test on your PC instead for those days?

A stunning example of microsoft stupidity I saw recently is this site (http://www.microsoft.com/australia/ie8/competition/) (try looking at it with different browsers if you like. Or just swap the user agent). Maybe it isn't really that stupid, but I think it is (unless it is a joke).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 18, 2009, 09:48:17 AM
Quote
A stunning example of microsoft stupidity I saw recently is this site (try looking at it with different browsers if you like. Or just swap the user agent). Maybe it isn't really that stupid, but I think it is (unless it is a joke).

 :o

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 18, 2009, 11:53:12 AM
It is pretty stupid to have to be on Live to use local content, but cant you just test on your PC instead for those days?
I did the majority of the early testing on PC, but as I'm coding on a tiny eeePC there comes a point when that's not really practical any more.  Regardless of that, I've only really got the 360 specific stuff like file saving and handling player profiles to do now so 360 testing is essential.

I didn't totally waste the time as I ported over my old music visualisation routines, but I don't have a specific use for them in mind right now and I'd prefer to have been working on Echoes :)


A stunning example of microsoft stupidity I saw recently is this site (http://www.microsoft.com/australia/ie8/competition/) (try looking at it with different browsers if you like. Or just swap the user agent). Maybe it isn't really that stupid, but I think it is (unless it is a joke).
That's the sort of cheap stunt I would expect from the little man and not from the company with a virtual monopoly on the new PC software market.  It sounds a bit desperate.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on June 18, 2009, 03:47:23 PM
Another day and another stupid stunt by Microsoft. Yesterday I found out about that and today I found out about this. (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/get-the-facts/browser-comparison.aspx) It probably has been there for a while, but I just found out about it today. M$ really seems a bit desperate if they are doing stuff like that. Hopefully it means that IE will be gone soon....

I bet I really am making a great impression for my first few posts with all this whining about microsoft </sarcasm>. I promise I usually don't just post anti-ms propaganda (and sometimes I even contribute to the conversation  :) ).

I hope that Live is back by now and I am glad you at least got something done, regardless of how (un)necessary it is.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 18, 2009, 08:54:59 PM
Another day and another stupid stunt by Microsoft. Yesterday I found out about that and today I found out about this. (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/get-the-facts/browser-comparison.aspx) It probably has been there for a while, but I just found out about it today. M$ really seems a bit desperate if they are doing stuff like that. Hopefully it means that IE will be gone soon....
I like the logic that goes "Firefox might be better at X and faster at Y, but we'll call it a draw"  :bunnymonkey:

I hope that Live is back by now and I am glad you at least got something done, regardless of how (un)necessary it is.
Yeah it's back....as long as you don't want everything to work properly.




Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on June 19, 2009, 02:12:30 PM
I wouldnt mind having an xbox so I could develop for it. As it is I am just using xna to make a couple computer games. It really seems like if it is not going to be on xbox I should just use directx/opengl directly to handle my game. I was actually thinking about trying to make something similar to mono except in 3D. Thoughts?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on June 19, 2009, 03:41:16 PM
In my experience, great 2D games make for horrible 3D games. YMMV.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 19, 2009, 03:59:49 PM
As it is I am just using xna to make a couple computer games. It really seems like if it is not going to be on xbox I should just use directx/opengl directly to handle my game.
Well I'm the last person to give advice on what language/SDK etc to use as I'm not exactly clued up on them.  Even if you're not using it for the 360 though, XNA does make a lot of stuff a hell of a lot easier than using something else might.  It really depends on what you want.  Direct X might be slightly faster and more flexible, but XNA makes development faster.

I've seen too many people over the years discussing the merits of various languages and engines and still failing to finish anything to know that the real answer is whatever language helps you see the job through to completion.

I was actually thinking about trying to make something similar to mono except in 3D. Thoughts?
mono is such a basic concept that you could translate it to 3D in loads of different ways so it would depend on what you had in mind.  I'm sure it could work, but it could also be horrible :)

In my experience, great 2D games make for horrible 3D games. YMMV.
What about crap 2D games? ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on June 19, 2009, 04:44:13 PM
In my experience, great 2D games make for horrible 3D games. YMMV.
What about crap 2D games? ;)
I'm not sure that anyone has considered making 3D Battletoads...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on June 19, 2009, 05:41:06 PM
Well, the goal is less to make a good 3D game and more to just make a 3D game to get a feel for some of the stuff XNA can do with 3D. I am still learning XNA and think that if I can spend my time working on the code instead of the gameplay and concepts I will be able to learn more.

I am not really certian how it would translate into 3D (mind you, figuring out the last few details would be easier than making my own concept still)... It would pretty much be the same... fly around in a cube as a sphere and shoot the spheres who than stain the air. The stains have effects on the enemies that pass through them... Powerups of course would be in it... stain the whole cubes area... So pretty much as you would expect I should think. The biggest detail left is how to do the staining. It can't be solid colour of course or else it would be unplayable...

I welcome any advice and criticism (and expect to finish it around the end of this summer cause I just started playing Fallout3  :D).

And Khakinator, i really do expect it to turn out not that great because I am only just starting to work with game design. I do think that some things can be changed to 3D and still be good. Metroid games offer a good example. Zelda ones too sorta.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 19, 2009, 09:26:29 PM
Well, the goal is less to make a good 3D game and more to just make a 3D game to get a feel for some of the stuff XNA can do with 3D. I am still learning XNA and think that if I can spend my time working on the code instead of the gameplay and concepts I will be able to learn more.

I am not really certian how it would translate into 3D (mind you, figuring out the last few details would be easier than making my own concept still)... It would pretty much be the same... fly around in a cube as a sphere and shoot the spheres who than stain the air. The stains have effects on the enemies that pass through them... Powerups of course would be in it... stain the whole cubes area... So pretty much as you would expect I should think. The biggest detail left is how to do the staining. It can't be solid colour of course or else it would be unplayable...
Well mono is effectively just Asteroids with an original scoring mechanic so if I was you I'd forget about how you'd apply mono gameplay to 3D, and first write a 3D Asteroids variant.  Then if that all works out it should be relatively easy to try adding some sort of colour based scoring system to it.

If you're trying to learn XNA then IMO it's best to concentrate on just that and not worry about the finer points of game design as that just confuses things.  That's the main reason I'm writing Echoes in XNA now.  I know the gameplay works so I don't need to worry about that and can concentrate everything on learning XNA.

That's the way I'm working anyway, but as I mentioned earlier about languages, do whatever you think will motivate you enough to finish.  In the end it doesn't matter how great you are at coding, or how awesome a games designer you are, the biggest challenge you'll ever face is motivation.

(In saying all that, I have no clue what your personal game development history is :) )


(and expect to finish it around the end of this summer cause I just started playing Fallout3  :D).
Great game.  I lost about a month of development time to it around Christmas.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on June 20, 2009, 04:18:48 AM
Well, I already made a 2D platformer and made a basic FPS type game (no ai and the models are crap. Basically I ran around as a box shooting at objects that would vanish when hit). So I already have a start. I just need to modify the physics a bit for flying and such so it isn't like I am starting completely from scratch. Oh, and brush up on making pretty textures.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 20, 2009, 10:11:31 AM
Well, I already made a 2D platformer and made a basic FPS type game (no ai and the models are crap. Basically I ran around as a box shooting at objects that would vanish when hit). So I already have a start. I just need to modify the physics a bit for flying and such so it isn't like I am starting completely from scratch. Oh, and brush up on making pretty textures.
Ah cool.  Well whatever you do keep us informed of your progress :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 20, 2009, 12:34:47 PM
I don't know if you ever saw my game "Nudgeball" Flame, but it was a 3d arena game, played on a flat plane pitch.  But the camera tracked the player from above and behind, viewing everything in 3d.

I'm thinking Mono 3d could work along similar lines.

Think of a 2d flat plane arena, viewed and played in 3d.

You could restrict the coloring to the 2d plane then.  Ie, coloring in a texture that covers the play area.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 20, 2009, 07:34:28 PM
Flame, sounds like a good idea. Keep us posted!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on June 22, 2009, 07:02:05 AM
I'll sorta keep you posted, but only if it is something fairly big. This is supposed to be Fog's bog, and so we should be hearing about his game development (infinitely better than mine) in here. Fog hasn't really given an update on his work all too recently (pokes fog).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 22, 2009, 01:07:48 PM
I'll sorta keep you posted, but only if it is something fairly big. This is supposed to be Fog's bog, and so we should be hearing about his game development (infinitely better than mine) in here. Fog hasn't really given an update on his work all too recently (pokes fog).

You should start your own mini-blog in the Game Dev section.

Fog is usually on the ball as far as development goes and is pretty consistent. I'm looking forward to the next playtesting session!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 22, 2009, 01:52:38 PM
Well there isn't really a lot of interesting stuff to talk right now (some would say there never was).  It's all minor tweaks, menu work and preparing instructions screens.  Surprisingly even something as simple as Echoes needs 10 different instruction screens to help explain the various game modes. Oh what fun I'm having.  :P

The only major development recently is that I've decided to drop nerve/Sacrifice mode.  Initially it was meant to be a one life, mini game affair, but after I tweaked that to be a proper mode with 5 lives I've decided it really needs a game specifically designed around the risk/reward scoring mechanism and not just squeezed into the Echoes format.  It's effectively finished in Echoes right now and totally playable so I know the idea works well meaning it's something I'll no doubt use at a later date.

So that means the final number of modes is 6 which gives a nice mix of different game styles, requiring different tactics and should  be enough for most people :)

I'm just going to add the Zoot display screens in and then I'll upload another playtest version.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on June 22, 2009, 03:12:42 PM
Sounds like it is going along well enough. Pity that it is just boring stuff for you right now :(.

JDog, how is the playtesting usually? Are there many errors/glitches/bugs or is it just kind of play through it and let fog know everything seems in order?

I don't really feel much like maintaining a blog (and I am not even certain my project will ever be released, depending on how it turns out), but thanks for the suggestion anyways :).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 22, 2009, 05:39:49 PM
Shame to see Nerve/Sacrifice dropped, but its for the best i'll guess. Afterall 6 game modes is more than enough lol.

Flame: No comment :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 22, 2009, 07:57:21 PM
Flame: No comment :)
Go for it if you want.  There's little in Echoes that I haven't mentioned myself somewhere and there's nothing in testing that I don't want discussed.....well this time anyway :)

JDog, how is the playtesting usually? Are there many errors/glitches/bugs or is it just kind of play through it and let fog know everything seems in order?
The version I uploaded was playable but far from finished so I was aware of a few things that needed doing (mainly menus and cosmetic) and IIRC there was just the one suspected bug found.

I got plenty of other useful feedback though (again, mainly menus and cosmetic) and some really useful comments about difficulty from uber gamer JDog.  It's hard setting difficulty levels properly when you're crap at gaming  :bunnymonkey:

There's nothing clever about playtesting, or not the way I do it anyway lol :) .  Just give your game to a bunch of people whose opinions you trust and listen to everything they say.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 24, 2009, 10:16:28 PM
Still plugging away with the Zoot code here.  Due to dropping one of the game modes, but not wanting to reduce the total number of zoots, I had to juggle a few things around.

The main Echoes game mode now has a nice round 10 zoots and each of the other 5 modes have 3 each, making a nice 25 in total.  Hopefully there are a couple of interesting ones in there.   :bunnymonkey:

And now I just need to tidy up the Zoot display screen a touch and that's another area finally finished.

After that, assuming no major bugs or suggestions come out of playtesting, it really is just the media to finish off.  Drop in the new audio, tidy up any images and write the final help screens.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on June 25, 2009, 02:46:26 PM
I look forwards to being able to play it before too long :D.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 25, 2009, 04:01:08 PM
Would it be possible, to write your own leaderboard code, and have it sent to the site? If so, then that could be a good alternative.
Either way, i'm listening!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 25, 2009, 05:54:53 PM
Would it be possible, to write your own leaderboard code, and have it sent to the site? If so, then that could be a good alternative.
Either way, i'm listening!
You can't interface with any sites outside of the XBox Live network so that's not possible.

I could see about doing a P2P leaderboard system, but Ive not looked into any networking yet so that could potentially take months....or be dead easy.

Although the limitations on a P2P system make me wonder whether it would really be worth doing anyway.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 26, 2009, 09:47:19 PM
I might just have found a more boring job than coding the menus......adding all the Zoo Trial logic.  It doesn't appear very time consuming until you break it down into it's separate pieces. :bunnymonkey:

Say that we had a Zoot which says " kill 100 enemies without moving in Classic mode".

- First check to see if we are playing in classic mode.
- Then check whether the zoot has already been completed.
- then see whether we are now playing at a harder difficulty setting than that already unlocked (in which case we can unlock it again).
- And then if we kill an enemy we check whether the ship is stationary and if it is then we begin counting the kills.
- if however at any time the player moves the ship then we need to reset the count to zero again.

So one very simple Zoot requires several logic checks scattered around the game code.  Multiply that by the 25 different Zoots we have and then playtest to check all the logic works properly.  What fun  :bunnymonkey:

Still, testing has meant I've added a couple of minor tweaks.  One neat new feature can be accessed from the pause menu.  Here you can bring up a list of all the Zoots and it shows your current running total for each of them.  So in the case of that Zoot we mentioned earlier that requires to make 100 kills, this screen would show you how many you have so far.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 28, 2009, 03:29:29 PM
Well the Zoo Trial stuff (our version of Achievements) is in, appears to be working fine and has had the target scores tweaked numerous times so should provide a decent challenge.....or 25.....or 100 if you do them at every difficulty.

As I often use infinite energy, level skip and maximize my weapons during playtesting, my unlocked Zoots are often the result of "cheating" so I've just wiped all my save game files and I'm about to tackle them all properly myself for the first time.

With that complete, pretty much everything gameplay wise is done so I've uploaded a new version for playtesters.  :kangaroo:

All that remains, apart from squishing any bugs playtesting throws up, is to do all the cosmetic changes to add the help screens, a proper logo, some proper button images and, well anything else I see that needs tidying up.

The end is very much in sight  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 29, 2009, 09:47:16 AM
Biting nails with anticipation.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 02, 2009, 09:43:00 PM
Biting nails with anticipation.

TMC
You don't want to be doing that.  At the speed I work you'll soon have no fingers left.

Just cobbling together a quick PC version for the audio chaps to play with.  One problem with doing a 360 version is that the H2 chaps can't swap music and sound effect files around to test out ideas as it's all locked down on the 360.  So after adding alternative PC controls for the gameplay and menus we have something playable.

Once I've decided on a solution to my resolution selection woes (http://www.binaryzoo.com/forum/index.php?topic=1254.msg18607#msg18607) I'll upload it and maybe a couple of others can have a bit of a playtest too.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 04, 2009, 01:09:04 PM
Well that's the PC version up for playtest too.  It obviously needed alternative control code to suit the standard PC mouse & keyboard setup and the previously mentioned resolution issues still need addressing, but otherwise it's rather excellent being able to code once in XNA and run the same code on the 360 and PC (and Zune if Microsoft ever pull their finger out).  It really is as simple and painless as they claim.

So now back to doing those help screens and then.....we're done  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 06, 2009, 05:34:32 PM
The PC version of Echoes I did was really just to help H2 mess with the audio, but it's also highlighted a bug that we had overlooked in the 360 version.  Thanks to las6 for that one.

Anyway the dreaded language settings on his machine were messing with loading the vector font definitions file.  The problem is in loading floats because some languages expect a decimal separator whereas others use a comma.  Use the wrong one and it throws an error.

I really should have caught the error myself as I'd updated my file routines a while ago to avoid this exact problem, but this is one little routine that was still using the old code  Gah.

What the code does is use the StreamReader class to read in a line of an external file, store the result in a string and then convert that to a float:
Code:
myFloat = float.Parse( stream.ReadLine() );

To solve the language problem you just use an overload method and tell it to ignore the current language setting:
Code:
myFloat = float.Parse(stream.ReadLine(), CultureInfo.InvariantCulture);

Simple enough, but if you're doing that a lot then it gets a bit messy and, as I've proved, very easy to forget to add the CultureInfo parameter at the end.  So we have another excuse to use the rather excellent Extension methods that XNA has.

So We add this extension to the StreamReader class:
Code:
//Read Float
static public float ReadFloat(this StreamReader stream)
{
   return float.Parse(stream.ReadLine(), CultureInfo.InvariantCulture);
}

Then in future all we need do is the much neater and relatively foolproof:
Code:
myFloat = stream.ReadFloat();

Much better.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 10, 2009, 04:07:58 PM
:bunnymonkey:

Just doing one of the few remaining and incredibly boring tasks of adding all the controller button hints at the bottom of the various screens ( 9 different screens stats fans).  Each screen has a different combination of buttons and functions and some only appear in certain circumstances.  For example on the main menu "X" is the button to press to purchase the full game, but you obviously don't wnt to be displaying that once someone has bought it.  Like I said, really boring stuff.

Anyway there's nothing better for spicing up a boring task than thinking you've discovered a fairly major bug.  I have a bunch of my debug tools and info mapped to the d-pad and left bumper button so, to help me position some on screen text, I went to select the tool that overlays the title safe areas on the screen (down on the d-pad & tap the LB button).  Then, as I'm working out how much I need to move my text by, I suddenly notice something very very wrong.  :bunnymonkey:

Every time the players ship is getting hit by something it is spewing out a weapon powerup.  Now this is actually an intentional part of the gameplay.  Once you have powered your weapon up, if you get hit then you drop one of the powerups, but this was a brand new game, the weapon hadn't been powered up and as such getting hit shouldn't throw out any powerups at all.  Panic.  :bunnymonkey:  :bunnymonkey:

An intensive study of the chunk of code that calculates when and how many powerups to chuck out shows nothing obvious.  It does a number of calculations based on difficulty, the current level, the current weapon and how strong the enemy or bullet was that hits the player, so it's slightly more complex than it might initially sound, but simple enough that any mistake should be obvious.  And I see nothing.

Ok, lets recreate the problem and see if we can get any clues as to what the cause is.  Only I can't recreate the problem.  Maybe it was a specific difficulty?  Nope, tried all of those and nothing.  Maybe it's only triggered on the second game or maybe the "Quick Start" option isn't resetting the weapon between games?  Nope not that either.  Stumped.  :bunnymonkey:

Right, lets have a look at the Debug log file on screen and see if there are any clues in there.  Up on the d-pad, tap the LB button.  Nope, no clues in the log file either....woah....it's happening again.  Weapon powerups everywhere!   Hold on.  Is me going into the debug options just a coincidence or does that have something to do with it?  Penny drops  :P

I actually have a load of debug tools, but mapping them to the d-pad I can only have 8 active at any one time and swap some of them around depending on what stage of development I'm in.  One of those tools is a shortcut to maximise the players weapon for playtesting purposes and, yes, I'd accidentally left that mapped to the same button as the debug log tool, so every time I was accessing that I was also maxing out the players weapon.  I must have accidentally done that earlier meaning that rather than the player having the base weapon it was really maxed out and was therefore rightly chucking out weapon powerups when it got hit.  The chunk of code where I was convinced the error lay was in fact doing it's job perfectly.

Yeah I'm an idiot  :P but on the plus side I was really happy to get back to the tedious task of adding those menu button hints and finiched them in double quick time :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 10, 2009, 10:29:26 PM
 :bunnymonkey: strikes again! :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 10, 2009, 10:30:05 PM
Would it be possible, to write your own leaderboard code, and have it sent to the site? If so, then that could be a good alternative.
Either way, i'm listening!
You can't interface with any sites outside of the XBox Live network so that's not possible.

I could see about doing a P2P leaderboard system, but Ive not looked into any networking yet so that could potentially take months....or be dead easy.

Although the limitations on a P2P system make me wonder whether it would really be worth doing anyway.

Would this problem also stand if it were a PC game?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 10, 2009, 10:55:59 PM
Would it be possible, to write your own leaderboard code, and have it sent to the site? If so, then that could be a good alternative.
Either way, i'm listening!
You can't interface with any sites outside of the XBox Live network so that's not possible.

I could see about doing a P2P leaderboard system, but Ive not looked into any networking yet so that could potentially take months....or be dead easy.

Although the limitations on a P2P system make me wonder whether it would really be worth doing anyway.

Would this problem also stand if it were a PC game?
Nope :)  On the PC you can use any external code libraries you like and can exchange data freely with any websites, so a proper leaderboard would be possible.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on July 11, 2009, 09:46:19 AM
I can hear your sigh of relief from here.   ;D

Quote
The chunk of code where I was convinced the error lay was in fact doing it's job perfectly.

One mantra i often tell myself, is that the computer is only doing what it's been told to do.  Usually by me.

So if i see an error, i immediately assume it's my fault. :P

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 11, 2009, 10:47:57 AM
The hardest bugs to track down are those like this that effectively override what another chunk of code is doing, but at least in this case it wont happen again as I've now slapped a debug waning message on the screen.  Lesson learnt.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 11, 2009, 11:40:56 AM
Would it be possible, to write your own leaderboard code, and have it sent to the site? If so, then that could be a good alternative.
Either way, i'm listening!
You can't interface with any sites outside of the XBox Live network so that's not possible.

I could see about doing a P2P leaderboard system, but Ive not looked into any networking yet so that could potentially take months....or be dead easy.

Although the limitations on a P2P system make me wonder whether it would really be worth doing anyway.

Would this problem also stand if it were a PC game?
Nope :)  On the PC you can use any external code libraries you like and can exchange data freely with any websites, so a proper leaderboard would be possible.

Well, you've got my ear!  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 12, 2009, 12:07:33 PM
Where were we.....proper logo added, help buttons all in place and half the help screens now finished.

Never underestimate how long the final touches take to a project if you want to do it properly.  I've finished a few projects now yet it still surprises me.

With the 360 version there's the added job of having to handle XBox specific scenarios like what to do when someone signs out, what happens if someone pulls out a memory card, checking account privileges and allowing the user to buy the full game etc etc.  As I've mentioned elsewhere, it's the one area of XNA which really is unnecessarily overcomplicated.

At least you only ever have to write these routines once as you can reuse them in future, however a lot of it shouldn't be necessary IMO.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on July 12, 2009, 03:17:12 PM
What did we decide to do for the trial version then?

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 12, 2009, 04:55:53 PM
What did we decide to do for the trial version then?
Currently I only have the main Echoes mode unlocked.  The plan was to also allow access to Classic mode up to level 5, but I'm now seriously thinking of allowing access to Classic, Asteroid Belt and Meteor Storm each capped at 3 minutes. (leaving Time Attack and Survivor locked for obvious reasons)

I just need to do some tests to decide whether 3 minutes is enough time to get a proper flavour of each game mode or whether it could actually give a detrimental impression.

Those modes all offer reasonably different gameplay or at least require a slightly different approach from the player, so I'd like to give limited access to them in some way if possible.

And of course no hiscores or Zoot progress is saved in the Trial for any game mode.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on July 12, 2009, 08:51:50 PM
Glad it is almost here.... I await it eagerly.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on July 13, 2009, 04:17:33 AM
I approve of your demo ideas. Perhaps pull one more mode out? That way you'd be giving away 3, and locking out 3?
Cheers,
Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on July 13, 2009, 06:40:00 AM
3 minutes sounds a lil' long here.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 13, 2009, 10:53:18 AM
I approve of your demo ideas. Perhaps pull one more mode out? That way you'd be giving away 3, and locking out 3?

3 minutes sounds a lil' long here.

Having done some tests, 3 minutes is too long for the Asteroid Belt mode so, just to keep things simple I'll drop that from the Trial (changing to a shorter Trial just for that mode is just going to confuse the crap out of everyone)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 13, 2009, 05:53:19 PM
A pic of the new logo approved by the playtesters graphics police  :bunnymonkey:.  (it's actually a scaled down in-game screenshot so it might not be the best quality)

(http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+logo.png)



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 13, 2009, 06:01:05 PM
Its looking good, especially with the fade out in the background. Very nice :)

Edit: MS points on standby!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on July 14, 2009, 12:21:35 AM
It looks good, especially the colouring. Gimp on standby.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on July 14, 2009, 09:46:39 AM
Yeh, i agree, nice and colorful.

So, Echoes + is the new official name ?

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 14, 2009, 10:38:12 AM
So, Echoes + is the new official name ?
Yeah.  As mentioned earlier, SiN suggested it and it effectively sums up exactly what this is. 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Daniel James on July 15, 2009, 06:01:41 AM
Wait was I supposed to have done some music on this?

xD

Dan


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 15, 2009, 12:26:05 PM
Wait was I supposed to have done some music on this?
Well all 3 of you were at some point.  Maybe you H2 chaps need to speak to each other about it? :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 15, 2009, 09:05:10 PM
Just 2 help screens left to create out of the 10 needed.

I had all the text prepared in advance in Notepad, but when it came down to sticking it on a help screen you suddenly realise that it's just too  much.  There's nothing that's likely to stop people reading instructions than a wall of text which is self defeating, so a  rewrite was required.

I've reduced everything down to the minimum amount of text and broken it up where possible with screenshots, icons etc.  It's meant the whole thing has spread over a couple more screens than planned, but it's more readable and less intimidating.

Note to self:  Never code a complicated game because you'll need to spend a lifetime writing instructions  :P



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on July 15, 2009, 09:27:24 PM
I had all the text prepared in advance in Notepad, but when it came down to sticking it on a help screen you suddenly realise that it's just too  much.  There's nothing that's likely to stop people reading instructions than a wall of text which is self defeating, so a  rewrite was required.
Happens to me every single time.

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 15, 2009, 10:20:48 PM
I had all the text prepared in advance in Notepad, but when it came down to sticking it on a help screen you suddenly realise that it's just too  much.  There's nothing that's likely to stop people reading instructions than a wall of text which is self defeating, so a  rewrite was required.
Happens to me every single time.

Mo
That's reassuring. :)

I've never done in-game instructions before, just external help files, and with those anyone that has opened that file up is specifically looking for help and instruction so you can go into depth without fear of scaring them off.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on July 16, 2009, 11:05:50 AM
I've never done in-game instructions before, just external help files, and with those anyone that has opened that file up is specifically looking for help and instruction so you can go into depth without fear of scaring them off.
Dear fog,
Please put "BOO!" in big red text taking up at least 50% of the screen on the help screen.
Sincerely,
TheKhakinator.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 16, 2009, 03:04:54 PM
I've never done in-game instructions before, just external help files, and with those anyone that has opened that file up is specifically looking for help and instruction so you can go into depth without fear of scaring them off.
Dear fog,
Please put "BOO!" in big red text taking up at least 50% of the screen on the help screen.
Sincerely,
TheKhakinator.
lol.  Don't tempt me.  Very bored of doing proper help screens right now.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 17, 2009, 02:38:03 PM
 :kangaroo:

Final help/instruction screen completed.  That deserves another roo  :kangaroo:

I just need to tweak the code a touch now as I've ended up doing more help screens than originally intended so I need to reorder them and change a few of the menu buttons linking to them around.

Then I need to add the time limit to a couple of the game modes for the Trial version and then.....nope, that's it  :)

Code will then be complete and I'll just need to do the video, website stuff etc.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 17, 2009, 02:45:35 PM
:kangaroo:

Final help/instruction screen completed.  That deserves another roo  :kangaroo:

I just need to tweak the code a touch now as I've ended up doing more help screens than originally intended so I need to reorder them and change a few of the menu buttons linking to them around.

Then I need to add the time limit to a couple of the game modes for the Trial version and then.....nope, that's it  :)

Code will then be complete and I'll just need to do the video, website stuff etc.  :bunnymonkey:

Wow! You deserve a serious pat on the back. Well done Fog, and best of luck!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 19, 2009, 08:36:49 PM
Echoes+ is code complete (*) so a programming free weekend spending time with family and watching the cricket (which apparently are none compatible activities  :P ).

(*) I have a few other non-coding things I need to do before release so I can't promise there wont be any more tinkering.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on July 20, 2009, 10:05:26 AM
Congrats.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 23, 2009, 11:59:05 PM
So grabbing some decent in-game footage for some game trailers requires a bit of code trickery and experimentation.

First off I have a bunch of debug options available that come in really useful.  A level skip means I don't have to play through the earlier, not so action packed and therefore not so trailer friendly levels.  Then I have an energy top-up option so I don't have to worry too much about dying and having to start recording again (clips of me constantly dying doesn't make for great viewing  :bunnymonkey:) and I can also select any weapon meaning I get to deal out some serious destruction.

So that's the gameplay side of things sorted.  I can skip straight to the action heavy levels and capture some intense action relatively easily.  Then we come on to the problems of actually recording that footage.  I'm using Fraps and I wanted to grab 1280 x 720, but the framerate was way too low on stressful sections of the game and as they are the intense sections that I really want to grab, that's no good.  First thing to do is stop recording the audio.  I'll be joining several clips together so the audio would need replacing with a continuous soundtrack anyway.  Dropping the framerate down from 60 to 30fps is unnoticeable and things are getting better, but still too choppy for decent gameplay footage.  What to do?

The solution as it turned out was simply to use one of my other existing debug tools.  But I'll bore you with that next time when I hopefully have some footage to show too  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on July 24, 2009, 01:06:09 AM
You have a DVR, don't you? Can't you deploy to the xbox, record it on your dvr and then load the dvr footage back onto your PC?

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on July 24, 2009, 04:04:40 AM
Wait... The binary zoo favicon changed... When did this happen? How long have I not noticed? The new one looks nice.. :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 24, 2009, 12:19:05 PM
You have a DVR, don't you? Can't you deploy to the xbox, record it on your dvr and then load the dvr footage back onto your PC?
Had :) My cable box now has an integrated HDD so the old HDD/DVD recorder was surplus to requirements.   

Wait... The binary zoo favicon changed... When did this happen? How long have I not noticed? The new one looks nice.. :bunnymonkey:
He gets everywhere.  I'm sure I've seen him in Echoes+ too  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 25, 2009, 11:05:10 PM
Well it's taken a few days of tinkering with various methods and applications to find the best way to get decent in game footage, but I think I've cracked it now.

So I do a few tweaks to the game using the debug tools I mentioned earlier, grab the footage with Fraps, do any cropping or tweaking in VisualDubMod (thanks TheKhakinator) and then edit all the clips together, adding music etc in Windows Movie Maker.

It sounds convoluted, but I've done a few tests and it seems to give me footage at 1280 x 720 and 60fps so I've no complaints :kangaroo:

The biggest challenge now seems to be grabbing footage of me playing the game and not looking like an uncoordinated chimp.  :bunnymonkey:

Tomorrow I'll try and do a proper vid to upload.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 26, 2009, 11:05:34 AM
It'd be interesting to see how you play the game! Looking forward to the video :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 26, 2009, 11:17:11 AM
It'd be interesting to see how you play the game! Looking forward to the video :)
Lend me your uber gaming ability so I can look good in the videos.  I'll give you it back honest  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on July 26, 2009, 10:57:12 PM
Lend me your game and I can make some videos. I'll give you it back honest. (I do have fraps and can record at 60 fps. Im sure you have it covered tho fog. Remember, you made the game. You can cheat as much as you want)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 27, 2009, 12:00:04 AM
Lend me your game and I can make some videos. I'll give you it back honest. (I do have fraps and can record at 60 fps. Im sure you have it covered tho fog. Remember, you made the game. You can cheat as much as you want)
Recording isn't an issue.   :)  The problem now is convincing YouTube not to compress it into a big noisy mess.

TBH nobody else could really have grabbed the footage anyway.  Too many coding tricks going on and I'm far too fussy over what clips to use  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 31, 2009, 11:05:31 AM
Game footage that I'm happy with all grabbed now and with the previous video format and uploading issues resolved (as well as I can) I just need to edit everything together.

Scorsese has nothing to worry about.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 31, 2009, 11:01:15 PM
The Youtube upload quality still isn't as good as I'd hoped for, but you get the idea.  Next to try Vimeo again.

Echoes+ ( Asteroid Belt mode ) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOZTpGbu-4g#ws-lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Flame on August 01, 2009, 01:46:20 AM
I like how you handled the screen scrolling. It looks natural and i like the use of borders defined by lines; not the edge of the screen itself. All in all it looks nice.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 01, 2009, 10:48:53 AM
I like how you handled the screen scrolling. It looks natural and i like the use of borders defined by lines; not the edge of the screen itself. All in all it looks nice.
Yeah the scrolling screen was kind of enforced due to the title safe restrictions on the 360, but it makes for a much fairer game as you now never get hit by an enemy suddenly appearing at the side of the screen.  I still wouldn't recommend hanging around near the border mind as those meteor storms have a way of flushing you out :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 01, 2009, 11:28:51 AM
Thats a great looking video! I do love that game mode quite alot! Looking forward to seeing the rest :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 01, 2009, 04:17:19 PM
A bit of Meteor Storm mode.  :bunnymonkey:

Echoes+ ( Meteor Storm Mode ) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L9ZJA_WNvg#ws-lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on August 01, 2009, 04:51:13 PM
Awesome. I got stressed out just watching the damn thing! :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 01, 2009, 05:33:27 PM
Awesome. I got stressed out just watching the damn thing! :)

You should have seen how stressed I got trying to record a decent sequence where I didn't just get pummeled to death in seconds  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on August 01, 2009, 11:08:25 PM
From the youtube description:
Quote
Meteor Storm mode from Echoes+ coming to XBox Live Indie Games on the XBox260 in Autumn '09.

Is that like the oft-rumoured xbox 360 slim?

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 02, 2009, 04:03:05 AM
Pity the Slim won't be a hundred pounds lighter... get it? One for the English...

Anyway.

Fog. The videos. The videos. Fog. Epic stuff! It's just like other high-end demo videos except without 30 seconds of bullshit at the start with ratings and WARNING: THE ASTEROID SHOOTING HERE DEPICTED SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED IN REAL LIFE and shit like that, totally awesome! Totally tricking one of my friends into buying this.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 02, 2009, 09:53:55 AM
From the youtube description:
Quote
Meteor Storm mode from Echoes+ coming to XBox Live Indie Games on the XBox260 in Autumn '09.

Is that like the oft-rumoured xbox 360 slim?
As if I'd make a basic mistake like that ;)

Fog. The videos. The videos. Fog. Epic stuff! It's just like other high-end demo videos except without 30 seconds of bullshit at the start with ratings and WARNING: THE ASTEROID SHOOTING HERE DEPICTED SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED IN REAL LIFE and shit like that, totally awesome! Totally tricking one of my friends into buying this.
Cheers mate.  I stuck most of the crap at the end of the vid as most people will have switched off by then anyway  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 02, 2009, 12:01:53 PM
You should stick a BinaryZoo watermark in the bottom left had corner faded so if people do switch off part way through (which I doubt) then they'll atleas see who its by :)

Great video as always! Looking forward to the rest!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 02, 2009, 01:31:21 PM
You should stick a BinaryZoo watermark in the bottom left had corner faded so if people do switch off part way through (which I doubt) then they'll atleas see who its by :)
but then it'll be cluttered, and if they're tuning out, then it probably means they're not interested anyway...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 02, 2009, 02:55:20 PM
You should stick a BinaryZoo watermark in the bottom left had corner faded so if people do switch off part way through (which I doubt) then they'll atleas see who its by :)
but then it'll be cluttered, and if they're tuning out, then it probably means they're not interested anyway...
And, if my previous experiences are anything to go by, video compression would just turn that watermark into a horrible mess.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 02, 2009, 11:13:48 PM
And today something a bit different.  Classic mode.

Echoes+ ( Classic Mode ) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wByFvTP2bQ#ws-lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on August 03, 2009, 03:21:29 AM
I love the feature list: "some dodge graphics", "some other stuff"
LOL :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 03, 2009, 09:57:37 AM
Congrats on the Vids.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 03, 2009, 10:35:17 AM
Love the look of the new trail effects! That game is looking amazing. Also, cheating or not you still play pretty well :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 03, 2009, 01:22:20 PM
Also, cheating or not you still play pretty well :)
Not when you know how I cheated lol ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 03, 2009, 07:17:28 PM
I've tidied up the test video I had uploaded now too.  It's now clearly labeled as being on Insane difficulty so as not to scare the crap out of everyone.  :P  This is the final one showing one of the game modes.

Echoes+ ( Survivor Mode, Insane Difficulty) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mjpZZYgcHI#ws-lq-lq2-hq-vhq-hd)

All I need to do now is the main one showing a montage of all the modes.  And then on to other things...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 03, 2009, 07:49:58 PM
Also, cheating or not you still play pretty well :)
Not when you know how I cheated lol ;)

How did you cheat?

Also, great looking video! Can't wait to see the full montage! I'm also super interested in hearing what these "other things" are... :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 03, 2009, 08:37:31 PM
Also, cheating or not you still play pretty well :)
Not when you know how I cheated lol ;)

How did you cheat?

How did I cheat?  I'd say I cheated very well if it's not obvious from watching the vids how I did it :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 03, 2009, 08:46:08 PM
Oh I see, your playing with normal twin stick controls? Either way its a good video :)

I've also started to advertise it in my sig on xbox.com and in my bio too! i'll make it my motto when its released!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 03, 2009, 09:10:28 PM
Oh I see, your playing with normal twin stick controls? Either way its a good video :)
In the Classic video?  Nope I used the proper controls.

I used the same "cheat" in all of them, hence my rather impressive Insane Survivor time :)

I've also started to advertise it in my sig on xbox.com and in my bio too! i'll make it my motto when its released!
Thanks :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 03, 2009, 09:39:22 PM
No problem :)

Oh and your bullets are more powerful!!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 03, 2009, 09:51:08 PM
Oh and your bullets are more powerful!!
Nope.  All the bullets, enemies, powereups, collisions etc were exactly as they should have been.  :)

Not many possibilities left now.  I could tell you but where's the fun in that?  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 04, 2009, 09:53:32 AM
When can we expect to see some screenies and info on your website ?

I'm yet to see the game.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 04, 2009, 11:06:35 AM
Oh and your bullets are more powerful!!
Nope.  All the bullets, enemies, powereups, collisions etc were exactly as they should have been.  :)

Not many possibilities left now.  I could tell you but where's the fun in that?  :bunnymonkey:
More health then usual?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 04, 2009, 11:58:43 AM
Is your ship AI controlled?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 04, 2009, 12:53:18 PM
When can we expect to see some screenies and info on your website ?

I'm yet to see the game.
Remember what Echoes PC looks like?  Well it's identical lol.  Yeah I'll upload a couple of images :)

More health then usual?
Nope. :)

Is your ship AI controlled?
And nope :)  Although I wish I could code AI like that.

As I mentioned earlier in the blog, I just used one of my existing debug tools to help me out.  Nothing particularly clever.  :duck:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 04, 2009, 08:42:48 PM
Some screenies.  I've just added links as they are all native 1280 x 720 shots.

http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+1.png (http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+1.png)
http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+2.png (http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+2.png)
http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+3.png (http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+3.png)
http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+asteroid_belt_mode.png (http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+asteroid_belt_mode.png)
http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+meteor_storm_mode.png (http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+meteor_storm_mode.png)
http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+classic_mode.png (http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+classic_mode.png)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 05, 2009, 05:38:42 AM
Asteroid belt link doesssn't work....


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 05, 2009, 09:50:58 AM
Oh wow.

Those screenies look really impressive.

And yeh, asteroid belt is a broken link for me too.   ::)

Classic mode looks brilliant.  The screeny captures the look and feel of the original whilst mainting that echoes look.  And i know it'll play as good as it looks too.

Meteor storm just looks mad.   :o  in a good way of course.

Love the Hud and new Font used in the regular echoes screenies.
Also the colored player bullets look great too.

Looks like you've  got some new explosion images in there as well.

I also like the individual on screen scores.

All in all, judging from the screenies, Echoes+ looks to be a great update.

And i know you've put alot of work into it and it shows.


Getting an itchy trigger finger now.   ;D

TMC



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 05, 2009, 10:54:29 AM
Cheers. :)  Asteroid Belt link fixed.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 07, 2009, 10:56:32 AM
What news from the riddermark? In other words, hows everything going :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 07, 2009, 02:58:09 PM
What news from the riddermark? In other words, hows everything going :)
Not bad.  :) Just had one of my regular hospital appointments this morning so I'll probably be too wrecked to do anything for a couple of days, but there isn't a lot more I can do anyway.  I just need the music and I can submit it for Creators Club playtest and Peer Review.

Elsewhere I've done a rough cut for the general video (listen to me the movie director  :P) so another quick spell on that and all the vids will be finished.  After that I just have a website page to prepare and that's it.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 07, 2009, 03:13:15 PM
That sounds good. Still ticking (as they say). Hope to see more when you/it is ready :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 07, 2009, 03:19:35 PM
That sounds good. Still ticking (as they say). Hope to see more when you/it is ready :)
Anyway you should be more concerned with your own project. :)  No updates in a few days now.... tsk tsk  ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 07, 2009, 05:30:59 PM
That sounds good. Still ticking (as they say). Hope to see more when you/it is ready :)
Anyway you should be more concerned with your own project. :)  No updates in a few days now.... tsk tsk  ;)

I am lol, theres just nothing to report as of yet! I'll keep you in the loop.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 15, 2009, 10:39:20 AM
This delay before releasing Echoes+ is killing me.  Not because I'm desperate to get it out there, although obviously I am, but because it's giving me too much time to think about what to write next.   :bunnymonkey:

Generally straight after one game finishes I'll just pick whichever new one of my list I fancy on that day and that will be my new project.  With this delay I've changed my mind over what to do next a million times.

I'd still like to do mono as it's a game I've wanted to finish for a long long time, but as I've said before I'm not sure now is a good idea to do yet another twin stick shmup.

And then I look at the other idea and how much extra level design and game engine work they will need and realise I can write mono with the engine I already have and very little level design work.  And I doubt there will be a time when we don't have a continual flood of new twin stick shooters so delaying it might be pointless anyway.

So today I'm swaying towards mono again.  Someone please talk me out of it  :bunnymonkey:

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh............


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 15, 2009, 11:44:36 AM
I'd love to, but I can't. If its easier for you to get to work on Mono then it i to start on this secret project (Duo, or Tension) Then it seems to make sense to work on Mono.

Either way though, your the boss! Which idea do you want to make happen?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 15, 2009, 07:54:14 PM
I'd love to, but I can't. If its easier for you to get to work on Mono then it i to start on this secret project (Duo, or Tension) Then it seems to make sense to work on Mono.

Either way though, your the boss! Which idea do you want to make happen?
Working on something completely new might be more interesting for me, but I know mono gameplay works (or I hope it does lol) and I know I'll do it eventually so if not now then we'll just be having this conversation again after the next game...and then the next....until I finally do it.

Hmm, I'm almost talking myself into doing it now.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 16, 2009, 01:53:03 AM
Follow your heart!

/useless


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 16, 2009, 05:39:28 PM
Follow your heart!

/useless
You don't think it's a good idea to listen to my head then?  You're probably right  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 17, 2009, 02:09:12 PM
As a distraction from deciding what project to do post Echoes+, I've been spending some time coming up with new graphical styles in my trusty Paint Shop Pro 7. 

I normally hate doing graphics as I can never do something that I'm happy with, but this has been surprisingly fun and I've come up with a few ideas I really like.....and they aren't all glowy vectory neon blurry either......ok some are  :P

In the past I've already had a game idea or a demo that I was trying to design graphics for and that's fairly restricting and, when you can't come up with something suitable, very frustrating.  Here though I have no specific game idea in mind so I'm just messing about and it's fun.  :kangaroo:

I really should do this more often.  I'm going to keep a digital scrapbook of little graphical ideas so I have something to reference for future projects and I'm not left staring at a blank Paint Shop screen looking for inspiration.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 17, 2009, 04:17:06 PM
I tried the same. You'd be surprised how easily it works, what sucks for me though is coming up with the game. I either get 1 or other, graphics or game, and both end up pulling the game to nothing.

Good luck and I look forward to see some of these styles.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 17, 2009, 05:07:12 PM
I tried the same. You'd be surprised how easily it works, what sucks for me though is coming up with the game. I either get 1 or other, graphics or game, and both end up pulling the game to nothing.
That's where it's good to just tell yourself to stick with placeholder graphics until you have the gameplay nailed.  Or team up with an artist and give them the problem of coming up with something suitable :)

Good luck and I look forward to see some of these styles.
Oh you'll probably never see them.  I'll no doubt just fall back into doing the same old boring glowy vectory neon blurry stuff again lol  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 21, 2009, 01:22:45 PM
mono it is.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 21, 2009, 04:19:15 PM
mono it is.  :bunnymonkey:
I like how you stick to the style principal of "Omit needless words!"  ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 21, 2009, 09:29:58 PM
mono it is.  :bunnymonkey:
I like how you stick to the style principal of "Omit needless words!"  ;)
What you mean? :)

Anyhoo I already had a good idea of what I wanted to do with mono next, so I've started working out how to structure everything.  Based on my experiences both coding and playing Echoes+ I'm tweaking the ideas I had for extra game modes in mono.  As with Echoes+ we'll be looking at 5 or 6 different modes in mono, but the whole background colouring thing allows for a bit more variety in them than the straight shooter format of Echoes+ allowed.

Also, because we are now talking about having multiple levels in the game as opposed to the single level of the old PC demo, I need many different enemy types so I'm juggling ideas I've had for those.

Um, not a lot else to say right now.  It's a game idea I've had bouncing around for years now though so I'm confident that I have a good enough idea of where I'm heading to start coding straight away.

I think we could have something playable fairly quickly  :bunnymonkey:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on August 22, 2009, 01:34:24 AM
Slow down, you're making the rest of us look bad. :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 22, 2009, 09:43:16 AM
Cool.

Strike while the iron is hot, as they say.

If you're coding Mono next, can i request a chill out mode, for just coloring in the screen.  Where the player can't die, but can access all the weapons.
Thats the way i would have prefered to play mono originaly.

Have you decided what to do about the PC version of Echoes + ?

I was expecting the PC version of Weapon Of Choice to be available, but i can't find it anywhere, so i assume it's just Xbox only.

TMC



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 22, 2009, 10:53:31 AM
Slow down, you're making the rest of us look bad. :)
Well Echoes+ still isn't out, so you've probably released 3 or 4 titles since I released anything so... :)


If you're coding Mono next, can i request a chill out mode, for just coloring in the screen.  Where the player can't die, but can access all the weapons.
Thats the way i would have prefered to play mono originaly.
Already on the list.  Choose any unlocked level and play as long as you want :)


Have you decided what to do about the PC version of Echoes + ?
I'm going to wait until Echoes+ has been out for a little while on the 360 so I can make updates based on any feedback.  I'm not even going to attempt to put an estimated date on that though because we all know what happens to those :)


I was expecting the PC version of Weapon Of Choice to be available, but i can't find it anywhere, so i assume it's just Xbox only.
Yeah XBox only from what I can see too and looking at the other XNA coded 360 games, fe have a proper PC version released.

The thing is the code written in XNA works perfectly on both the 360 and PC with very minimal changes so it sounds simple, but in reality the PC version needs a load of extra code.

On the 360 you target a single processor, a single resolution and a single controller.  With the PC version you need to have options to tweak for performance issues, allow for the use and calibration of numerous input devices and handle multiple resolutions.

And as we all know this is the sort of time consuming, non-game code that developers hate writing.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 22, 2009, 01:00:43 PM
Mono!

I always have loved that game! Looking forward to seeing what you have in mind for the 360 version.

Ofcourse, we'll not let the Mono announcement cloud the Echoes+ achievement! that game looks and plays fantastically and i'm sure when its released i'll be on that instead of geometry wars! I need to get #1 across the board remember ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 22, 2009, 10:41:25 PM
Ofcourse, we'll not let the Mono announcement cloud the Echoes+ achievement! that game looks and plays fantastically and i'm sure when its released i'll be on that instead of geometry wars! I need to get #1 across the board remember ;)
I wish we were allowed to do proper leaderboards on Live.  Oh well.


God it's great to have a working game engine to tinker with.  It's amazing how fast you can get a new game idea up and running by changing a few variables and tweaking some scripts.  Virtually instant results and a massive motivation boost  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 23, 2009, 05:34:10 AM
Cool.

Strike while the iron is hot, as they say.

If you're coding Mono next, can i request a chill out mode, for just coloring in the screen.  Where the player can't die, but can access all the weapons.
Thats the way i would have prefered to play mono originaly.

Have you decided what to do about the PC version of Echoes + ?

I was expecting the PC version of Weapon Of Choice to be available, but i can't find it anywhere, so i assume it's just Xbox only.

TMC


With regards to a chillout mode, you could have it so that the time taken to colour the screen is timed so that if you wanted to you could still play it hardcore. Also it'd be a great mode for exploring the idea of mono-paintings like there was a thread about before that didn't get very far cause you inevitably die.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 23, 2009, 10:23:23 AM
With regards to a chillout mode, you could have it so that the time taken to colour the screen is timed so that if you wanted to you could still play it hardcore. Also it'd be a great mode for exploring the idea of mono-paintings like there was a thread about before that didn't get very far cause you inevitably die.
Good idea.  I'll expose the level timer so people can use it if they want.

The display settings for each bit of the HUD can be adjusted (on, off, on change)  so players can have as much or as little info on screen as they want.  On of the things I wanted to do with mono was get rid of on screen displays all together, but I appreciate some people want a proper display of information.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 23, 2009, 02:19:01 PM
Just doing some background tests and it's majorly slow when used in game so I need to do something about that.

I do like the effect of the new stencils though.   :bunnymonkey:  And it will look so much better once I apply the already written shaderzzz to distort, warp and twist it a bit too.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 23, 2009, 02:32:58 PM
That looks even moar amazing then those little shader pics you posted ages ago.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 23, 2009, 09:07:26 PM
That looks even moar amazing then those little shader pics you posted ages ago.
:)  Well you have to imagine those little shader effects applied to that image to get an idea of the finished look. 

The different "stencils" I'm using like the concentric circles in that screenie do give rather a nice effect compared with the simple blobs of the old version.  Each level will have a different enemy, different background stencil and different shader effect applied, so I'm hoping to get a bit of variety in there.

Of course that's all window dressing though.  If the different enemy types don't add a bit of gameplay variety then it's all a bit pointless  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 24, 2009, 09:47:18 AM
Looking good.  ;D

Would love to see those shaders in action.

One thing thats been bugging me for ages and it's not game related and i've always forgotton to mention it before, is your news website page.

It's very difficult for me to read.  With the colors used.

The dark blue links are illegible unless i invert the text.  The other text is just about readable, but the whole thing for me is very difficult to read and quite off putting.

And i'm using a bog standard library computer for net access on a tft monitor.

I have no problems with other websites before you ask.

I wonder if anyone else has similar problems as i don't think anyone else has mentioned it.

I would hate to think that other people are put off entering the site if they experience the same difficult to view page as me.   :)

TMC 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 24, 2009, 10:11:37 AM
I never knew the link colours were a problem, but there are a lot of things I don't like about the website.  It was getting redesigned a couple of times over the last few years, but was never finished.  It's something I plan on doing myself whenever I have some free time. 

As you'll know as a one man operation yourself, there are always more things that need to be done than you can possibly find time for so it's a case of priorities.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 24, 2009, 06:33:29 PM
Well...I love how Mono is looking! I just hope it keeps progressing as well as it is at the moment. Shame that Live can't give us leaderboards although I don't see why they don't...

Atleast Internally I can attempt to be #1 lol. Also, i Echoes going through Peer assesment? or our th esound guys still tinkering? ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 24, 2009, 10:18:22 PM
Also, i Echoes going through Peer assesment? or our th esound guys still tinkering? ;)
Nope, I'm still waiting for music.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 25, 2009, 11:42:52 AM
Well I was having major slowdown issues with the routines for painting the background.  They seemed to work ok in isolated tests, yet in game they do create noticeable frame skipping.

I could have rewritten them using a technique I know wouldn't have had the same problems, but the current method has some lovely simple code and I'd rather stick with that if possible, so I employed the little tricks I used in the old PC version and everything now seems to run fine.  I haven't really stress tested it yet, however it's looking good.

Which brings me to a new problem that makes me think mono will take a lot longer to develop than I'd imagined.  I've lost a ridiculous amount of time just mindlessly shooting stuff and colouring in the screen.  I'd forgotten how hypnotic the effect is.  Ever time I test something I end up losing 20 minutes without realising it.  I think I'm going to have to make the dev code time out after a couple of minutes  :P

Anyway I'm targeting 10 different levels in mono and I want a different theme in each one, so I'm off to make a list of possible ideas  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 25, 2009, 01:13:14 PM
Wow now its good to hear that your pretty addicted to playing it! Especially after about a yar development on Echoes+. Seems that this is gonna be a pretty sweet game :) Getting excited now!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 25, 2009, 06:15:15 PM
Wow now its good to hear that your pretty addicted to playing it! Especially after about a yar development on Echoes+. Seems that this is gonna be a pretty sweet game :) Getting excited now!
I wouldn't get too excited just yet :)

And I'm not even saying it's enjoyable.  Hell there's no enemy variety or logic,  scoring or anything yet....just that I've lost a load of time playing it in a "where did that 1/2 hour go" way.  Weird.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 25, 2009, 09:10:14 PM
Yeah, I know what you mean (well sort of). Maybe it would be a good thing adding a timer to your little tests, haha.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 26, 2009, 09:44:34 AM
Quote
Which brings me to a new problem that makes me think mono will take a lot longer to develop than I'd imagined.  I've lost a ridiculous amount of time just mindlessly shooting stuff and colouring in the screen.  I'd forgotten how hypnotic the effect is.  Ever time I test something I end up losing 20 minutes without realising it.  I think I'm going to have to make the dev code time out after a couple of minutes

Thats exactly what i experience when playing it.
Just shooting and killing enemies and coloring in the screen is really cool and more importantly ' Fun'.

I always hated the fact that the enemies were shooting back at me, ruining my fun, lol.

Getting loads of power ups too, is really satisfying.
One of the things that makes echoes so great, is that the player is constantly rewarded with power ups, and from an early point in the game too.

I think you may have invented a new Genre of game Fog.  A color em up.   ;D

And i've tossed around aload of game ideas based on that premise.  At one point i thought about an idea that would instead of drawing color to the screen, draw parts of an image.

But never got around to protoyping the idea.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 26, 2009, 05:05:10 PM
I always hated the fact that the enemies were shooting back at me, ruining my fun, lol.
I have the option to switch that off in chill out mode on the list.

And i've tossed around aload of game ideas based on that premise.  At one point i thought about an idea that would instead of drawing color to the screen, draw parts of an image.

But never got around to protoyping the idea.
I did a demo a couple of years ago which IIRC a couple of people on here played which did just that.  It was essentially mono, but instead of going from black to white, the background transformed from one photo to another.  The demo did a rather neat change from Sara Michelle Geller to a zombie lol :)

I may return to something similar some time however I want to keep this version of mono purely abstract.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 27, 2009, 09:35:41 AM
Hi Fog.

I had an idea for an extra gameplay option for Mono.

I was thinking along the lines of the classic game Wizball, whereby the player can collect color pickups from killing enemies.

How about for Mono, as well as the normal way of coloring in the screen, to include an added feature that allows for some enemies when shot to release blobs of color, ( color drops ), which when collected by the player, turn the player ship that color ( or add to the players ship color until it turns white, maximum color).

This player ship color can be unloaded to any part of the screen by the player pressing a button.  Which then colors in that section of the screen, just as if an enemy was shot at that location.

This system means the player can store up color, to dump in those awkward to reach areas like the screen corners ect.

One of the mouse buttons for color dumping would be very intuitive for me.

Quote
I have the option to switch that off in chill out mode on the list.
Quote
The demo did a rather neat change from Sara Michelle Geller to a zombie lol


lol  ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 27, 2009, 10:49:08 AM
I had an idea for an extra gameplay option for Mono.

I was thinking along the lines of the classic game Wizball, whereby the player can collect color pickups from killing enemies.

How about for Mono, as well as the normal way of coloring in the screen, to include an added feature that allows for some enemies when shot to release blobs of color, ( color drops ), which when collected by the player, turn the player ship that color ( or add to the players ship color until it turns white, maximum color).

This player ship color can be unloaded to any part of the screen by the player pressing a button.  Which then colors in that section of the screen, just as if an enemy was shot at that location.

This system means the player can store up color, to dump in those awkward to reach areas like the screen corners ect.

One of the mouse buttons for color dumping would be very intuitive for me.
Great minds and all that...That's exactly how the new "smart bombs" work :)

I do have a couple of game modes planned where you don't actually shoot, but your suggestion wasn't one of them.  Mind, the modes in Echoes+ changed several times once I got deep into development and realised what worked and what didn't, so I'm not ruling anything out.

The original mono didn't have any smart bombs, but I wrote the code to handle them for Echoes+ so I thought I might as well use it here too.  As a gameplay mechanic it works quite nicely.  It allows you to colour those really awkward bits of the screen like the corners so it should allow players to get nearer that illusive 100%.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 27, 2009, 11:45:20 AM
That sounds good, but nearer than 99% on Easy ;)

Sounding good :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 28, 2009, 09:36:36 AM
Quote
Great minds and all that...That's exactly how the new "smart bombs" work

I do have a couple of game modes planned where you don't actually shoot, but your suggestion wasn't one of them.  Mind, the modes in Echoes+ changed several times once I got deep into development and realised what worked and what didn't, so I'm not ruling anything out.

The original mono didn't have any smart bombs, but I wrote the code to handle them for Echoes+ so I thought I might as well use it here too.  As a gameplay mechanic it works quite nicely.  It allows you to colour those really awkward bits of the screen like the corners so it should allow players to get nearer that illusive 100%.

Cool.   ;D

Good job changing the links colors on the news page too.  Much better.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 28, 2009, 10:59:24 AM
I've been doing some intensive testing (purely essential stuff and not just shooting shit up having fun here honest) and the backgrounds do look rather lovely even if I say so myself.

Testing out various explosion stencils (the shape drawn to the background) to see what works and what doesn't and trying to come up with enough different ones to give each of the planned 10 levels a different look.  Not as easy as I thought it might be when you're restricting yourself to abstract geometric shapes  :P

Anyway I've played quite a bit now and only just realised the background colouring wasn't working properly and it was all XNA's fault....not mine, oh hell no.  :bunnymonkey:

When drawing a stencil to the background I can assign any colour to it and in the case of mono that essentially means red, green or blue.  I'm toying with other ideas, but for now it's just one of those 3 colours.  So the quickest and easiest way to do that is just to use XNA's built in colour definitions.  Red and Blue are fine, however Green seems to be half the value you would expect.

Code:
Color.Red:   R=255, G=0,   B=0
Color.Green: R=0,   G=128, B=0
Color.Blue:  R=0,   G=0,   B=255

Better remember that one for future reference.  Strange that I've played this much and not noticed the low levels of green in the backgrounds as it's glaringly obvious now. :P

Elsewhere the scoring system is in and working fine.  Currently set to display 1 decimal place although I'm not sure what the final display will be.  1 decimal place is probably necessary when you get into high score territory, but I don't want to go to too many decimal places as that complicates the otherwise beautifully simple scoring system.....IMO anyway.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 28, 2009, 05:56:44 PM
Or you could just have it produce a score to no decimel places, but have each kill worth a score value and provide a score at the end of the game so players can see kills and stats and stuff ;)

Green is a bit wierd, no idea why they do it lol.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 28, 2009, 07:58:51 PM
Or you could just have it produce a score to no decimel places, but have each kill worth a score value and provide a score at the end of the game so players can see kills and stats and stuff ;)
I might provide stats, but I wont be providing any sort of score other than the normal % one. :)

mono is different to most (all?) other shmups in that your score has nothing to do with how many enemies you've killed and everything to do with where you killed them.  If I add a normal score then that might encourage you to play in a different way and I can see that confusing some people or at least distracting them from the main aim.

I'm trying to treat mono differently to Echoes+ so that it is less obsessed with scoring and more about the experience (god I hate that expression but hopefully you get the idea). 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 28, 2009, 08:58:22 PM
Yeah, I see what you'e saying. Makes sense! Then yeah to 1 decimal place would be perfect, to any more detail would be unnecesary. Its just a shame that theres no online leaderboard ;)

Which reminds me, I have a bizarre XNA related problem. If it persists i'll be bugging you in the XNA Questions forum :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 28, 2009, 10:06:58 PM
Which reminds me, I have a bizarre XNA related problem. If it persists i'll be bugging you in the XNA Questions forum :)
Do it.  I keep bugging you for feedback on the Playtest board so don't think twice about asking for any help. :)


Anyway, some early, non-distorted in-game shots from mono showing some stencils at work...
(http://www.binaryzoo.com/games/mono/images/mono360.jpg)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on August 28, 2009, 10:58:07 PM
They look great! I love the Hexagon grid, Hexic anyone :)

Is the first shot, un-stenciled?

I'll no doubt be taking you up on that offer of help.

Oh and its no problem being "bugged" when the reward is something like Echoes+ ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 29, 2009, 02:23:12 AM
I really like 3 and 4 of those, and I'm guessing the first one is standard mono circle? Nice stuff.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 29, 2009, 09:48:10 AM
Again it's shaping up to be a nice sequel.

That Xna green value problem is wierd, though.

I like the idea of the stencils.  Adds some nice variety.

I've always wonderd though, how you calculate the percentage score of how much the screen has been colored !

Care to enlighten a curious coder ?  ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 29, 2009, 10:15:33 AM
I've always wonderd though, how you calculate the percentage score of how much the screen has been colored !

Care to enlighten a curious coder ?  ;D
I do it exactly how you would guess.  I'm not clever enough to do anything else :)

Max Score = Screen Width x Screen Height x Max Red * Max Green * Max Blue

I then have a screen sized array in which I store what colour the background pixels actually are and then work out what this is as a percentage of the maximum possible.

One thing to note is that I never draw a shape straight to the backgound image.  For technical reasons/scoring purposes that I wont bore you with unless you really want me to, that just wouldn't work.  So when I need to draw an image I calculate the colour values, store them in my screen sized array, and then transfer that changed data pixel by pixel to the background image.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 30, 2009, 09:11:31 PM
More mono 360 in-game background tests.  Not as happy with these ones although there are a few I like.

I only need 10, one for each of the main levels, but any good ones I don't use will be included in the chill-out mode which is fully customisable so the user can pick whatever background style they want.

(http://www.binaryzoo.com/games/mono/images/mono360_1.jpg)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 31, 2009, 10:18:21 PM
As Mikey asked about PC release I might as well copy my reply here too...

PC releases need a load more work than 360 ones though and support and distribution are much more difficult and time consuming.

Once Echoes+ has been out for a short while on the 360 I'll know of any bugs and once they are killed I'll convert that hopefully reliable code into a PC release.

mono might follow a similar path, although I'll already have most of the required PC code from Echoes+ so it should follow the 360 release a lot closer.

There's only so much one man can do  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on September 01, 2009, 09:45:28 AM
Those are pretty trippy screenshots.

Very Jeff Minter esq   :D


Quote
I do it exactly how you would guess.  I'm not clever enough to do anything else

Max Score = Screen Width x Screen Height x Max Red * Max Green * Max Blue

I then have a screen sized array in which I store what colour the background pixels actually are and then work out what this is as a percentage of the maximum possible.

One thing to note is that I never draw a shape straight to the backgound image.  For technical reasons/scoring purposes that I wont bore you with unless you really want me to, that just wouldn't work.  So when I need to draw an image I calculate the colour values, store them in my screen sized array, and then transfer that changed data pixel by pixel to the background image.


Ahh ok.

Cool.  I wasn't sure if you were checking every screen pixel or some other method to keep the speed up.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 01, 2009, 11:33:11 AM
Quote
I do it exactly how you would guess.  I'm not clever enough to do anything else

Max Score = Screen Width x Screen Height x Max Red * Max Green * Max Blue

I then have a screen sized array in which I store what colour the background pixels actually are and then work out what this is as a percentage of the maximum possible.

One thing to note is that I never draw a shape straight to the backgound image.  For technical reasons/scoring purposes that I wont bore you with unless you really want me to, that just wouldn't work.  So when I need to draw an image I calculate the colour values, store them in my screen sized array, and then transfer that changed data pixel by pixel to the background image.


Ahh ok.

Cool.  I wasn't sure if you were checking every screen pixel or some other method to keep the speed up.

TMC

Well providing you're only doing calcs when something changes then there doesn't seem to be any need to speed things up.  The actual drawing process takes the vast majority of the time so any improvements would be made there.

As with the DBPro version I only update the background every 0.2 secs rather than every frame.  Updating any more frequently is unnecessary and this helps keep the calculation and drawing processes to a minimum.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 01, 2009, 12:15:04 PM
As Mikey asked about PC release I might as well copy my reply here too...

PC releases need a load more work than 360 ones though and support and distribution are much more difficult and time consuming.

Once Echoes+ has been out for a short while on the 360 I'll know of any bugs and once they are killed I'll convert that hopefully reliable code into a PC release.

mono might follow a similar path, although I'll already have most of the required PC code from Echoes+ so it should follow the 360 release a lot closer.

There's only so much one man can do  :)

I completely, whole heartedly agree :)

Which is why, for my sake, i'm designing "My Engine" from the ground up to be tailored towards PC releases, with th option of "Xbox Pad" support so all I have to do is ignore the forced resolution and only allow the player to use the pad. It should work.

Oh well...back on topic. I'm really liking the look of some of those stencils. Of the group I already have a few favourites, so i'll probs give off a list of numbers pretty shortly, so you know where i'm coming from :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 01, 2009, 02:38:48 PM
Oh well...back on topic. I'm really liking the look of some of those stencils. Of the group I already have a few favourites, so i'll probs give off a list of numbers pretty shortly, so you know where i'm coming from :)
Yeah I'll need to filter out the good stencils from the bad at some point in the future and make sure I get a nice variety of styles.  I'll wait until I've designed a few levels and seen what stencil styles are most appropriate.

I've just put the code together to handle all the different settings for the different game levels so it's time to build one and see how it plays.  We'll start with the standard, original mono style dumb bouncy blobs :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 02, 2009, 10:58:37 AM
So I've settled on a bunch of stencils that I'm happy with for testing purposes and I've now combined those with the various shaderzzz I wrote a while ago to provide a variety of background distortions.  It's looking good :)

The distortions themselves can be altered by tweaking a couple of different variables, representing speed and force.  "Speed" being the rate at which the whole things warps and pulses and "force" being just how much of an effect those distortions have, from subtle to, well, anything but.  :bunnymonkey:

Based on tests so far, many of them aren't terribly easy on the eye (yay!) or the stomach (result!) so we'll be needing a menu option to allow any delicate souls to tone things down....or crank them up if that's your thing.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 02, 2009, 11:33:48 AM
I'm liking the sound of that, that said however, I did get a little motion sick (lol) watching/playing DUOtrix on the max setting!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 02, 2009, 01:28:38 PM
I'm liking the sound of that, that said however, I did get a little motion sick (lol) watching/playing DUOtrix on the max setting!
Trust me, this is worse/better (depending on your viewpoint)

Forget epilepsy warnings, we need a vomiting one.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on September 03, 2009, 09:42:15 AM
Quote
Well providing you're only doing calcs when something changes then there doesn't seem to be any need to speed things up.  The actual drawing process takes the vast majority of the time so any improvements would be made there.

As with the DBPro version I only update the background every 0.2 secs rather than every frame.  Updating any more frequently is unnecessary and this helps keep the calculation and drawing processes to a minimum.

Understood.  ;D

Updating the Mono score sounds like an ideal candidate for a threaded process in Xna.
Any plans for that ?

Blitzmax has recently been updated to allow for threads, but i havn't used them yet.  Don't really have the need.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 03, 2009, 11:55:30 AM
Updating the Mono score sounds like an ideal candidate for a threaded process in Xna.
Any plans for that ?
It's really not necessary.  I never have to scan the whole screen sized array to work out the score, just the bits that change and that's not too demanding.

Blitzmax has recently been updated to allow for threads, but i havn't used them yet.  Don't really have the need.
yeah that's my attitude to threading right now.  I don't have performance issues that can't be solved in other ways so why complicate things by using threads.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Prime_8 on September 04, 2009, 09:42:16 AM
only time i use threads is for sound engines , and AI / logic threads in LUA chunks(threads). else I'm just a good little procedural programmer still getting used to full OOP .

- great stuff there Fog .  all your games kick Buttons.  ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 04, 2009, 11:25:08 AM
- great stuff there Fog .  all your games kick Buttons.  ;D
Thanks Prime_8 :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 04, 2009, 04:12:03 PM
Ever get the feeling you've bitten off more than you can chew.  Learning a new language has it's head banging moments, but there you are mostly just dealing with one new topic at a time.  Here I am doing a bit of an experiment and trying to juggle several new topics all at the same time.

I'm dropping balls all over the place and I don't know which piece of code is causing the problem because I don't know enough about any of them.  Ahhhh...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 05, 2009, 11:44:51 AM
Ever get the feeling you've bitten off more than you can chew.  Learning a new language has it's head banging moments, but there you are mostly just dealing with one new topic at a time.  Here I am doing a bit of an experiment and trying to juggle several new topics all at the same time.

I'm dropping balls all over the place and I don't know which piece of code is causing the problem because I don't know enough about any of them.  Ahhhh...

Oh, that sounds a bit tough!

The only advice I can give (and you probably won't like it) is get back to what you know, then add the first unknown, comment out all the others. If the first unkown works fine, add the rest sequentially. Your more thank likely gonna come across this problem one way or the other.

/vague lack of knowledge answer ;)

I still haven't gotten that rotation bug sorted out (my way atleast). Once thats done it should be smooth sailing from me :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 05, 2009, 01:05:34 PM
The only advice I can give (and you probably won't like it) is get back to what you know, then add the first unknown, comment out all the others. If the first unkown works fine, add the rest sequentially. Your more thank likely gonna come across this problem one way or the other.
Where's the fun in that? ;)  I'll do what I always do and dive in at the deep end, sink like a brick, thrash around helpless for a while and slowly work my way back up to the surface.

Anyway I've nailed a couple of the problem areas.  My concern now is whether I can do what I want without compromising other areas because if it impacts on framerate etc then it doesn't matter how nice an addition it would be, I'll drop it.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 06, 2009, 12:44:20 PM
Well that's one part of the problem sorted and working well.  Now for the tricky, potentially game breaking part.  I've no idea if this will work even if I can figure out how to code it.  And that's a big "if" right now.  Fingers crossed.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on September 07, 2009, 09:44:51 AM
Quote
Where's the fun in that?   I'll do what I always do and dive in at the deep end, sink like a brick, thrash around helpless for a while and slowly work my way back up to the surface.

lol.   ;D

Oh well.  So much for a simple port then.   ::)

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 07, 2009, 11:58:23 AM
Oh well.  So much for a simple port then.   ::)
Simple port of what? :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on September 08, 2009, 09:38:08 AM
Quote
Simple port of what?

Are we not talking about Mono, or have i got my wires crossed again.   ::)

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 08, 2009, 01:32:22 PM
Quote
Simple port of what?

Are we not talking about Mono, or have i got my wires crossed again.   ::)
Ah right.  The code I was talking about wasn't actually for any specific game, just an experiment into something I might add to stuff in the future.  Of course reading my posts back I never made that clear (Doh!) so your mild confusion is understandable. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Prime_8 on September 08, 2009, 02:13:10 PM
dude you are doing this in C# rite ? good luck and god bless.
LOL i can spit out psudeo code in C/C++ if you need a hand PM me . should not be too hard to pop over to C#
but i'm not up to spee don all the quirks of C# as C++ had my hands/ head full just writing a class module for LUA ..LOL


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 08, 2009, 02:58:40 PM
dude you are doing this in C# rite ? good luck and god bless.
LOL i can spit out psudeo code in C/C++ if you need a hand PM me . should not be too hard to pop over to C#
but i'm not up to spee don all the quirks of C# as C++ had my hands/ head full just writing a class module for LUA ..LOL
Cheers Prime_8 but the C# isn't a problem.  I certainly know enough to get done what I need anyway. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 10, 2009, 07:08:59 PM
The bits and pieces of the great coding experiment are in place.  Time to connect them all together and see if I can make this thing work. 

Come to think of it I'm not even sure how I would test it properly.  lol.  Um.  I'll be right back....


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 14, 2009, 10:34:23 AM
Well tests have shown that "the great P2P highscore system experiment" is possible, however a few limitations mean I can't really use it in Echoes+.  Well actually I could, but with 6 game modes and 4 difficulty settings it would either take a ridiculous amount of time for online scores to update or I'd have to restrict the leaderboards in some way.  And unless they update relatively quickly and also reflect the current standings for everyone then I don't see the point.

Future games, mono360 being one example, wont have all those difficulty levels so the number of leaderboards to update will be drastically reduce meaning it should be realistic to include a P2P highscore system in those.  Assuming Microsoft don't allow us access to proper Leaderboards any time soon.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 16, 2009, 10:39:28 PM
Anyway experiments over and back to proper developments again.

To recap, the background stencils for mono360 are looking good as are the background distortion shaderzzz and with dumb, bouncy blob enemies in place it's playable.  Now I need to add a bit of a level structure so I can design and drop in the new enemy types.

I need 10 different enemies for which I have ideas already roughed out, but I'd imagine they will need a lot of changes and tweaking.  Unlike most games of this type the enemy behaviour isn't constant as it needs to change to react to the effect of the colours in the background image.  Getting these changes to produce a smooth difficulty curve is quite a juggling act if my memory of developing the original PC demo is correct, so for some of the more advanced enemy behaviours I have in mind it could prove quite difficult.  But I'm an obsessive tweaker when it comes to gameplay balancing so I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Actually is referring to the various stages of the game as "levels" the right term?  I don't envisage them getting progressively harder and maybe calling them "levels" implies that?  Ah plenty of time to ponder that  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on September 17, 2009, 09:47:30 AM
Quote
Actually is referring to the various stages of the game as "levels" the right term?  I don't envisage them getting progressively harder and maybe calling them "levels" implies that?  Ah plenty of time to ponder that 

Yeh, i had similar problems refering to my game sections as levels when describing the game to various people.

Most assumed the game was linear, moving from one level to the next in the traditional sense.
I still use the term levels, as it's an old habbit hard to break.  I suppose a better description for my platformer would be worlds.

My, not so secret game, uses galaxies and solar systems instead of levels.   ;)

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 17, 2009, 03:10:08 PM
My, not so secret game, uses galaxies and solar systems instead of levels.   ;)
What's this then?  Time for another dev diary update? :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on September 18, 2009, 09:41:47 AM
Quote
What's this then?  Time for another dev diary update?

I'm tempted to start another dev diary, i really am.

Soon maybe. 

 ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 18, 2009, 10:47:55 AM
Well, i'll probably read it :) sounds great!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 18, 2009, 05:11:20 PM
Quote
What's this then?  Time for another dev diary update?

I'm tempted to start another dev diary, i really am.

Soon maybe. 

 ;D
Do it!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 18, 2009, 09:22:09 PM
Those early mono background tests in action (The HD ones don't look as bas as I expected Youtube's compression to make them look).

And yes, the new version is called "mono morphic"  :bunnymonkey:

mono morphic Background Routine Tests (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfn4MIkjHt0#ws-normal)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 19, 2009, 01:42:14 PM
How'd I miss that before? That looks awesome, I really love the warning messages at the end. That name "mono morphic" will take a little getting used to, good choice!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 19, 2009, 02:04:57 PM
...I really love the warning messages at the end.
TheKhakinator said something similar on Youtube.  Maybe I should just write advertising slogans and forget about video games ;)

That name "mono morphic" will take a little getting used to, good choice!
Well it's the name I came up with 3 years ago so I'm used to it by now :)  The "morphic" bit seemed appropriate.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on September 19, 2009, 03:19:31 PM
Looking awesome.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 19, 2009, 07:15:28 PM
Cheers mate. :)

I'm happy with it so far, even if a nice background is pointless without some nice gameplay to go with it.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 19, 2009, 08:53:49 PM
Yeah it looks great! I do think the morphing of #3 is the weakest version you have (still good though).

Also, my lucky Page Number :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 19, 2009, 09:07:29 PM
I do think the morphing of #3 is the weakest version you have (still good though).
Is that the X/Y stretch one?

Anyhoo these are just test stencils and morphings.  Some will make it into the game and some wont.  I have 20+ possible stencils already and a similar number or screen morphing shaderzzz to choose from. 

So yeah, I haven't decided which to use yet and of course playtesters will play a big part in those decisions too. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on September 20, 2009, 04:19:54 AM
Yeah, I'd say the only thing is a few where the background warps too far from the play surface such that the player would look like they were floating in mid air (some of the more three-dimensional warps) , they are perhaps a little too intense


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 21, 2009, 12:11:20 PM
Yeah, I'd say the only thing is a few where the background warps too far from the play surface such that the player would look like they were floating in mid air (some of the more three-dimensional warps) , they are perhaps a little too intense
Yeah the intensity shown in the vid has been cranked way up for effect.  Some will never get that intense in game and others will only reach those levels when you are just about to die.  And of course I have full control over the speed of the movement as well as the distance and changing that has a big effect too.


(some of the more three-dimensional warps)
Interestingly there are no true 3D warps at all, it's all 2D, but the movement of some certainly gives that impression.  The last couple in particular look 3D to me.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 22, 2009, 08:25:24 PM
So I'm getting to the point now where the core engine code for mono morphic is starting to differ from the Echoes+ code as I make slight tweaks and improvements here and there.  That's something I didn't want to happen just yet.

It's inevitable that it will happen at some stage, but I wanted that to be after I've incorporated any bug fixes (hopefully none) and changes that arise after E+ has been released.  As things stand, any changes that need to be done to the E+ code will also have to be done to the m2 code.  Duplication that's both time consuming and full of problem causing potential.  Not good.

So, until E+ has been out a week or two I'm putting a temporary hold on m2 development.  In the long run it's the sensible thing to do.

However I'm still fully motivated to code so the sensible thing to do, rather than sit idle, is to start on a little project in the meantime.  So that's what I've done.  Just a little game, something a bit different, that if it turns out ok I'll throw up on XBIG for the minimum 80msp.

Soon you'll be gaming like it's 1982  ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on September 24, 2009, 09:42:08 AM
Another thumbs up from me.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 24, 2009, 04:59:51 PM
I'm not sure everyone else will approve as much because it hasn't got that Zoo blurry neon vectory-ness. :)

Anyway I like the way it looks.....I just wish I liked the way it plays.  I'm not feeling it yet.  It hasn't got that mass carnage thing that I like so much.  I was keeping the enemy count down as it seemed more fitting with the style of game it is, but I think I'll double the number of enemies and see if my pixel popping lust is satisfied.  :bunnymonkey:

The one thing I do like so far is the powerup system.  It's a simple enough idea, but it does add an extra layer of strategy.  More on that later  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 24, 2009, 11:12:03 PM
sounds interesting :) You should do it crayon style :) and have it colour in some paper :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 25, 2009, 11:58:55 AM
sounds interesting :) You should do it crayon style :) and have it colour in some paper :)

No colouring involved here.  That's mono territory and this is something entirely different  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 25, 2009, 08:23:06 PM
This XNA engine I have built now is probably better for quick prototyping of ideas than I had anticipated.

I copied the Echoes+ project across and it took about 15 minutes to strip all the Echoes+ specific parts out leaving a blank engine for me to play with.  Most of the code is controlled by scripts so it only takes seconds to remove those, but some bits such as the triggers for the Zoo Trials (Achievements) are buried in the other code so I need to find and remove those individually.  Overall it's a quick enough process though.

Of course once I've finished developing the engine then I'll have a blank one ready for any new projects, but right now Echoes+ is essentially the latest version of the engine so that's my starting point :)

After that I can have new enemies flying around the screen in minutes.  No need to draw any graphics, sound etc at this stage as the engine automatically assigns some defaults if you don't specifically tell it what images to use.  Sure it looks like crap, but even those default images are enough to give you a good idea of whether an idea works or not.

Now that the slog (although enjoyable) of learning C#/XNA and building the game engine is over, shmup development is fun again and a big part of that is thanks to how quick I can now test out new ideas.

I'm happy.  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on September 25, 2009, 08:58:58 PM
That sounds cool :) I can imagine it being quite satisfying having a nice finished game engine (my end product, should happen quite soon though :))

Don't disregard that crayon idea so soon though for Mono :) :X


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 25, 2009, 10:07:25 PM
(my end product, should happen quite soon though :))
Yeah what's happening with that?  No updates in a while.

Don't disregard that crayon idea so soon though for Mono :) :X
Of course not.  Give me a reminder when you're playtesting m2 :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 26, 2009, 08:17:28 PM
So to make things easier I'll now refer to my current mini-project as 1982.  It's a WIP title so may well change, but it sums my aim of "gaming like it's 1982" nicely. (1982 being the year I discovered my love of shmups with Gridrunner IIRC)

Anyway in keeping with the 1982 theme, I added a new shader today.  Very 80's I think you'll agree.  I could have just coded it TBH, but the simple fact is it was much easier to just write a shader.   :)

Also been designing a bunch of new enemy ships now I know what direction I'm heading.  Drawing really simple pixel efforts with a restricted palette is great.  They are all going to look a bit crap in keeping with the technology at the time, however not being obsessed with appearances is quite, um, liberating.

Still not happy with the gameplay mind.  I just hope I can rescue that.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 27, 2009, 09:49:49 PM
Design dilemma.  I get the feeling a game from 1982 shouldn't have motion blur so should I include or not?  I'll stick an option in for it so it's there if people want it, I'm just not sure it should be on by default.  Hmm.

With the style of graphics I'm using I didn't think it would make a difference, but it does look better with it on if I'm honest.  Although is that really "better" in this case or is better not using something when it isn't appropriate?

Anyway I now have a few different enemy types in and it's starting to feel more enjoyable.  And adding a bunch more explosion FX has made killing stuff a whole lot more satisfying.  For a retro themed game it's amazing that I've already found a reason to include 22 different types of explosion particles. And there was me thinking the retro approach might reduce the workload.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on September 28, 2009, 12:10:00 AM
Oh don't give me that "option" bullshit! That's just a sugar-coated way of saying, "I can't make up my mind so I'll let the player figure it out." Make a decision and run with it. If it looks good, stick it in there. Technically it might not make sense, but then again, technically analog sticks and thousands of particles didn't exist in 1982 either. :)  I don't think motion blur will ruin the 1982 atmosphere.

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on September 28, 2009, 09:42:50 AM
Quote
Oh don't give me that "option" bullshit! That's just a sugar-coated way of saying, "I can't make up my mind so I'll let the player figure it out." Make a decision and run with it.

I'm affraid i have the opposite opinion to Sin.   ;D

If you're unsure as to what to do, then give the user the option.

In fact, i'm of the opinion that to give the user as many options as possible is usualy the best policy.  You may end up releasing patches at some future date, to address certain issues a user included option might have adressed in the first place.

Experience has shown me that you cant please everyone, no matter what you do, so provide user customisation where possible.   :)

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 28, 2009, 11:34:07 AM
Well I'm going to agree and disagree with both of you lol :)

I don't see putting an option in for something as automatically being a cop out otherwise you would never have options for screen flashing, joypad rumble, gamma settings etc.  But I also don't like putting in options just to keep everyone happy.  When you see the graphics you might appreciate why a motion blur option is appropriate here whereas it wasn't in E+.   Having said that, I still haven't decided whether to include an option or not.  Plenty of time for that.  :)

Technically it might not make sense, but then again, technically analog sticks and thousands of particles didn't exist in 1982 either. :)  I don't think motion blur will ruin the 1982 atmosphere.
Well yeah, technically I'm doing a few things that weren't possible in 1982 lol.  Think of this as more of a stylised remake of games of that era. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on September 28, 2009, 04:15:15 PM
Quote
Well yeah, technically I'm doing a few things that weren't possible in 1982 lol.  Think of this as more of a stylised remake of games of that era. :)
Yeah, that's what I thought you were up to. :)

Which plays to my point further, right? You're doing a stylized remake, so you're allowed to add some "graphical enhancements" here and there. I suspect 1982 is more about what you remember games were like back in the day, as opposed to how it really was.

Quote
When you see the graphics you might appreciate why a motion blur option is appropriate here whereas it wasn't in E+.
Oh sure. I guess it'd help to see the thing. :)

All I'm saying is that if you can't make up your mind on the aesthetic, putting in an option is a bad idea. I'd rather you just make up your mind. :) Less is more, etc.

If you're putting the option in because you suspect a portion of the audience will be put off by the motion blur, then yeah, by all means put in the option. But if you're doing this, I'd recommend a "none/low/normal motion blur" option and default it to low, just like we did for DUOtrix.

Flashing, rumble, gamma are the types of things are all proper "game-breakers" and/or sources of frustration/discomfort. That's why they are options. If you think the motion blur in 1982 falls under the same category, by all means go for it.


Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 28, 2009, 06:49:07 PM
Which plays to my point further, right? You're doing a stylized remake, so you're allowed to add some "graphical enhancements" here and there. I suspect 1982 is more about what you remember games were like back in the day, as opposed to how it really was.
Correct.  Oh and as oddbob0 pointed out on Twitter all CRT's back then had motion blur...that's my current excuse anyway :)

Oh sure. I guess it'd help to see the thing. :)
To the playtesting forum then...

If you're putting the option in because you suspect a portion of the audience will be put off by the motion blur, then yeah, by all means put in the option.
On the contrary, I think most people if not everyone will prefer the motion blur version.  I think I've just confused myself here really because the original aesthetic was clean and, well look at the pics in Playtesting and you might see the cause of my dilemma.


I'm fairly convinced which way I'm going now because the game has morphed from what I intended somewhat.  Rather than the simpler stripped down game I'd originally envisaged, it's now a case of throwing loads of enemies on screen, giving the player massive firepower and well, doing what I normally do basically  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 29, 2009, 12:51:43 PM
Got a couple of the new powerups in 1982 now and it's helped shape the gameplay a lot, pushing it in a slightly different direction.  

Each powerup has 3 separate functions so balancing the usefulness of these will be essential to add a strategic element to their use.  Make one function much more useful than the other and the player will just use that one every time effectively making the whole multi-use element pointless.

I also have 6 different enemy types in too out of a planned 20 or so and that's added a bit more variety to testing meaning it's now fairly enjoyable.  Although right now the different waves of enemies are just randomly generated so I need to decide how I'm gong to structure that.  Right now I'm leaning towards a predefined waves system that would fall somewhere between those in DUO and Echoes.  That would be the predefined waves of DUO but without the break between levels as in Echoes so the action never lets up.  Undecided yet.

Anyway here's an example of the truly stunning, cutting edge graphics we can expect in 1982.  Time to upgrade your PC's and pray that the Xbox360 has the power to handle such awesomeness.  :bunnymonkey:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on September 30, 2009, 11:02:04 AM
Well we now have 3 different powerup types in and partly working.  As mentioned earlier they each have multiple uses and I haven't got all of those working yet, although the new bits I have got working have pretty much convinced me to continue developing this idea.

And we also have little humans being abducted which you are supposed to save.  I say supposed to as killing them is worryingly satisfying too  :P

It's not going to win any awards, but as a quick little project (all things are relative) it's enjoyable enough. 

What I really need to do now is work out how the scoring and bonus multiplier is going to work.  I'm more of a "game completest" than a "score chaser" myself so I may need some guidance on what people like in a score based game and specifically a score multiplier :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 01, 2009, 09:49:49 AM
All very interesting.

I've still no idea what sort of game it is your making.

Sounds a bit Defender ish.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 01, 2009, 11:55:19 AM
I've still no idea what sort of game it is your making.

Sounds a bit Defender ish.   ;D
More of a fixed screen Space Invaders / Galaxian affair with bits of Centipede, Asteroids and loads of other shit thrown in.  And it is literally thrown in right now.   :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 01, 2009, 04:44:18 PM
A couple more enemy types in and things are getting a bit too chaotic now.  We generally like chaos, but in this game too much of it and the tactical use of the powerups around which much of the gameplay is based, becomes impossible.

Anyway it's not a problem really.  Right now there is no level structure or anything and the enemy waves are tossed out randomly meaning you get some odd combinations and sometimes just too many of the things on screen at once.  So what I need to do now is put in some way of defining the levels.

So that will be either:

a) totally predefined attack waves for the entire game (quite a chore) or
b) simply defining something like "Level X contains Enemy Types A,B & C" and then throwing random ones at the player.

Option (a)  sounds the most logical as it means better control over attack waves, in theory a better difficulty curve and it means every player experiences exactly the same game.  However that obviously means every game is predictable too and as I said earlier, we like a bit of chaos in our games so I'm leaning towards (b)

That just means putting a lot of hidden logic in the wave generation sequences as I have in Echoes to try and maintain a balanced difficulty and ensure you don't end up with silly situations like no asteroids and 3 huge Suns on screen.

Time to experiment...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 01, 2009, 10:50:06 PM
Well I have a bonus multiplier system in and working properly now and I like it.  We had a little discussion on the Playtesters board and I'm not sure it will be to everyone's taste on the merry team of testers but that's what testing is for.

I doubt they've played anything with a multiplier system that works in exactly this way though so it should be interesting.  So what I'm saying is it might be crap, but at least it's original.  :)

And if nothing else, Man is happy.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 03, 2009, 02:35:51 PM
So I now have 2 of the 3 uses for a few of the powerups in 1982 working now.  Each powerup has 3 uses and a big part of the gameplay is using the appropriate one at the right time.  With a couple of alternative uses in now I can see how that strategic element works....and it does.

Next I need to tackle the Plasma powerup as that currently does nothing at all. :)

And I've added another couple of enemy types that are a bit different from the previous ones which have all been dumb cannon fodder so far.  The new enemies helping to make strategic use of the powerups more important.

Hmm.  All this talk of "strategy" makes this sound like a thoughtful shooter and it's really just about the most mindless blasting action imaginable.  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on October 04, 2009, 02:04:03 AM
I'm eager! Its shaping up to be a cool game. And with your engine up and running, it hasn't even taken you long :) As for strategy, ill have to wait and see, because the best strategy may not be one youd even considered...

Although you doing what your doing, has made me focus a little more on Pixel Art, so expect something from me before Christmas :D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 04, 2009, 02:31:27 PM
As for strategy, ill have to wait and see, because the best strategy may not be one youd even considered...
Quite possibly.  I've already discovered a couple of slightly different uses.  If you activate the laser at the top of the screen it's a cool way of taking out enemies early, but if you use the laser at the bottom of the screen it shields the player from any bombs being dropped.  It's best to let the player discover these little things for themselves I think as using them appropriately is quite satisfying :)

And we now have 3 different types of Centipede style enemies in so that gives us a little bit more variety.

Although you doing what your doing, has made me focus a little more on Pixel Art, so expect something from me before Christmas :D
Cool :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 05, 2009, 12:35:10 PM
It's amazing what a difference a seemingly minor design change can make.  Previously when you shot a saucer and it dropped a powerup you had to catch the falling powerup to collect and activate it. All pretty standard you would think and the way most games handle things.

In the context of 1982 though that just didn't feel right.  You were either sat there waiting for it while there was a ton of stuff on screen that needed killing, or you made a last gasp dash across the screen to catch it and either end up crashing into loads of enemies on the way, or getting there just too late to catch it.

So I've modified things slightly.  The powerups now land on the ground where they stay for a short while before expiring.  It's just 3 short seconds, but it makes a huge difference as you can now generally sweep them up during your normal movements across the screen.

Echoes+ is going through the Creators Club playtest & Peer Review process so there isn't anything else I can do with that ATM so I'll continue on with 1982.  I think in a day or two I'll upload a very early demo for playtesters to have a blast on.  It will be far from balanced and have little in the way of proper level structure, but some reassurance that I'm on the right path will be good :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on October 05, 2009, 08:37:46 PM
Echoes+ is going through the Creators Club playtest & Peer Review process so there isn't anything else I can do with that ATM so I'll continue on with 1982.  I think in a day or two I'll upload a very early demo for playtesters to have a blast on.  It will be far from balanced and have little in the way of proper level structure, but some reassurance that I'm on the right path will be good :)
is there any chance you may need another playtester? lol :)
this game sounds really cool!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 05, 2009, 08:55:27 PM
Echoes+ is going through the Creators Club playtest & Peer Review process so there isn't anything else I can do with that ATM so I'll continue on with 1982.  I think in a day or two I'll upload a very early demo for playtesters to have a blast on.  It will be far from balanced and have little in the way of proper level structure, but some reassurance that I'm on the right path will be good :)
is there any chance you may need another playtester? lol :)
this game sounds really cool!
I've just been discussing PC testing on the Playtest forum and yes, I probably will have a couple more playtesters for that.  I will look to the forum regulars to fill those slots first if they are interested :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on October 05, 2009, 09:01:45 PM
ooo! pick me! pick me! fog! over here! pick me! lol

seriously, i am interested......
although im not a forum regular.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 06, 2009, 08:51:09 PM
Hmm I might have to rethink the way the powerups in 1982 work slightly.  Each has 3 uses and two for each works fine, but the third "use" might need to change. 

I say "use" although it's actually what happens to the powerups if you don't collect them.  What currently happens to each just doesn't seem consistent with their other uses.  None of which makes any sense if you don't know what those other uses are, so you'll just have to trust me on this one  :P

Hmm, I have an idea  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 07, 2009, 12:34:36 PM
Right I'm now slightly more happy with the "what happens if you don't collect the powerups" routine.  It's not what I originally planned, but it works well IMO.

The next task is getting some level structure in there that works.  I have such a wide variety of enemy types now that just throwing random combinations together doesn't work. The routines I've tried so far just aren't cutting it. The levels lack and sort of flow and aren't very playable.

I'm either going to have to come up with some clever new routines to automatically balance things better or I'm going top have to spend a long time hard coding each and every attack wave.  As I mentioned earlier I really don't want to do that. In fact if it comes down to that then I would cut the number of different enemies to the point where I know I can rely on my random enemy attack wave generation routines to produce something playable.

And I'm doing this in between doing minor tweaks to Echoes+ that are coming out of Creators Club playtesting.  Aside from Mr.Cunningham spotting a file saving anomaly there's been nothing major.  A couple more days I think and then we submit to Peer Review for release to XBox Marketplace. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 08, 2009, 05:08:04 PM
A few slight tweaks to the kill chaining system in 1982 and I'm a bit happier with it.  I've also added a gauge on screen showing the current kill chain progress.  I'm not sure you'll have time to look at it when you're playing, however it helps me see what's going on and that helps a lot.  It's a nice quick visual aid to whether it's going up and down too quickly or slowly.

Also when you fail to kill enemies and they escape off the bottom of the screen they increase a counter and when this reaches a set level a saucer abducts one of your little men reducing your multiplier.  That has now been adjusted so it relates to your current multiplier meaning the higher your multiplier is the easier it is to lose.  

It all seems to work nicely as later on it becomes a juggling act between stopping enemies escaping off the screen, filling your kill chain gauge and shooting down any saucers abducting your men.  And finding the best way to use your powerups to help in all that.

I can't put it off any more because there isn't really anything else to do, so I've got to tackle creating all the levels for the game now  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on October 08, 2009, 11:22:39 PM
I can't put it off any more because there isn't really anything else to do, so I've got to tackle creating all the levels for the game now  :bunnymonkey:
so you are going to have the levels preset?
do you think youll ever add a mode that is more random?
or will the normal mode still have some unpredictable elements?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 09, 2009, 11:12:52 AM
I can't put it off any more because there isn't really anything else to do, so I've got to tackle creating all the levels for the game now  :bunnymonkey:
so you are going to have the levels preset?
do you think youll ever add a mode that is more random?
or will the normal mode still have some unpredictable elements?
If you read back you'll see I'm still undecided.  I know what I'd like to do however I need to test it out first.

Ideally it would be randomly generated enemy waves but controlled by a strict set of rules to try and balance the gameplay.  Much like the way Echoes levels and enemy waves are generated.

A totally random mode wouldn't really work as certain combinations of enemies just don't work well together. 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 09, 2009, 06:36:21 PM
It appears I might have to rename 1982.  Apparently they don't like you using numbers for game names in the Creators Club because it's seen as "gaming the system" ie. getting your game near the top of the alphabetical list.

I'm expecting games beginning with "A" to be banned next  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on October 09, 2009, 08:19:49 PM
I can't put it off any more because there isn't really anything else to do, so I've got to tackle creating all the levels for the game now  :bunnymonkey:
so you are going to have the levels preset?
do you think youll ever add a mode that is more random?
or will the normal mode still have some unpredictable elements?
If you read back you'll see I'm still undecided.  I know what I'd like to do however I need to test it out first.

Ideally it would be randomly generated enemy waves but controlled by a strict set of rules to try and balance the gameplay.  Much like the way Echoes levels and enemy waves are generated.

A totally random mode wouldn't really work as certain combinations of enemies just don't work well together.  
i was hopeing youd do something like that,
so only a set number of enemies can appear for each level, or however more complicated it can get! :D (like having a system where all the enemies are so many points (i dont mean actual game points, i just wasnt sure what to call it. lol) and the stronger the enemy the more the points and there can only be so many points at one time in a level, and of course each level has a larger maximum number of points)
It appears I might have to rename 1982.  Apparently they don't like you using numbers for game names in the Creators Club because it's seen as "gaming the system" ie. getting your game near the top of the alphabetical list.

I'm expecting games beginning with "A" to be banned next  :P
that sucks,
why cant you just type the numbers (ie "nineteen eighty two" (or for the sequel "nineteen eighty 2" lol)), and on the title screen still have "1982",
or is that what you were already planning?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 09, 2009, 10:49:37 PM
i was hopeing youd do something like that,
so only a set number of enemies can appear for each level, or however more complicated it can get! :D (like having a system where all the enemies are so many points (i dont mean actual game points, i just wasnt sure what to call it. lol) and the stronger the enemy the more the points and there can only be so many points at one time in a level, and of course each level has a larger maximum number of points)
That's pretty much it. :)  Each enemy has an assigned weighting and this is totaled up for all the active enemies.  If this total is less than the value set for that level then a new enemy is created.  The next enemy type is taken from a list though so it isn't entirely random.  This ensures I get the right distribution of enemy types and that everyone effectively experiences the same game.

There are a few other logic tests and balancing acts going on, but that's the gist of it.


that sucks,
why cant you just type the numbers (ie "nineteen eighty two" (or for the sequel "nineteen eighty 2" lol)), and on the title screen still have "1982",
or is that what you were already planning?
Well if it's not written in numeric form then it doesn't instantly scan as a date.  That's why that iconic arcade game wasn't called Nineteen Forty Two. :)

Anyway I'm looking into it.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on October 09, 2009, 11:44:32 PM
Well if it's not written in numeric form then it doesn't instantly scan as a date.  That's why that iconic arcade game wasn't called Nineteen Forty Two. :)

Anyway I'm looking into it.
true, plus it takes longer to read! lol
maybe you can ask for it to still be "1942" but for it to be in the "N"'s
although, again, youve prolly already considerd it


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on October 10, 2009, 04:24:50 AM
Maybe you can give it a cheesy title that will make nobody buy it anyway? Flashback: 1982?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 10, 2009, 10:58:05 AM
Maybe you can give it a cheesy title that will make nobody buy it anyway? Flashback: 1982?
Well it's a retro themed game so if I can't use numbers I'll name it in reference to those old school highscore name entry screens...AAA ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 10, 2009, 03:59:02 PM
Yet more tweaking to the 1982 multiplier system  :P

Previously when you filled the kill chain meter a saucer appeared at the top of the screen (Space Invaders style) and when you killed this it dropped a Man and if he landed on the ground safely your score multiplier increased.  All very nice and clever, but it meant there wasn't a direct link between filling your kill chain meter and actually increasing your multiplier.  Often you would fill the gauge and it was several seconds before your multiplier increased and that's assuming that poor Man wasn't killed before he landed  :bunnymonkey:

Anyway I've ditched all that and now the multiplier goes up as soon as you fill the kill chain meter.  Not quite as clever but better from a gameplay viewpoint as your actions are now immediately rewarded.

Allowing X enemies to escape still results in one of your men being abducted by a saucer though so the rather neat "kill the saucer & rescue the man to save your multiplier" mechanism is still in there.  :kangaroo:

Also previously when you picked up the rockets powerup your ship was equipped with 50 rockets.  This however encouraged the player to stop firing and save the rockets and that's not what I want here.  I want constant and mass destruction so now the rockets powerup arms the player with rockets for 10 seconds, therefore encouraging the player to do major damage as quick as possible.  Much better.

One of those little design tweaks that makes all the differences by channelling the player to play in the way the game is at its best. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on October 10, 2009, 05:03:49 PM
Maybe you can give it a cheesy title that will make nobody buy it anyway? Flashback: 1982?
Well it's a retro themed game so if I can't use numbers I'll name it in reference to those old school highscore name entry screens...AAA ;)
Every time we choose names playing Singstar, we reference The Simpsons... "Are poo and ass already taken?" :P

But yeah. Cheap whiny bullshit if you have to rename your game to get reviewed. Ah well.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 10, 2009, 08:21:44 PM
Every time we choose names playing Singstar, we reference The Simpsons... "Are poo and ass already taken?" :P
Heh.  No different from all the games with "Fart" in the title really.  :P

But yeah. Cheap whiny bullshit if you have to rename your game to get reviewed. Ah well.
The thing is I can kind of understand them not wanting people to abuse the system by just sticking numbers in front of their titles to appear higher on the alphabetical list, but to accuse anyone that uses numbers of doing it is silly for so many reasons.  There are already a bunch of games on the system that have used numbers and if you now ban people from using numbers are you going to accuse everyone that then uses A of doing the same thing?  Logic says you must, but I don't think logic comes into this.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 11, 2009, 09:24:13 PM
You now this 1982 thing is becoming quite playable.  Even after doing quite a bit of work on it I wasn't sure, however I'm liking it more and more.  At heart it's as brainless a shmup as you could ever wish to play, but there are constant little strategy decisions that you need to make which makes the mindless blasting a lot more interesting.  Should I use this powerup as a smart bomb or to top up my energy?  Should I use this powerup to top up my ships rocket supplies or to deploy a remote rocket turret?  It works quite well.

So I've done a bit more balancing with a couple more enemy types added and a few that I didn't think suited the gameplay removed.  I think we now have a selection of enemies that pose a few different questions whilst still essentially being dumb cannon fodder :)

That demo I mentioned for playtesters should go up this week.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on October 12, 2009, 11:00:12 AM
My box should be back soon enough, and i'll happily beaver away ;) Sounds good, you may aswell go ahead with the game in its current name form, as thats what its called, so go ahead ;)

Oh and on Geometry Wars Waves i've been pushed down to #2 after many months at #1 :(


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 12, 2009, 11:32:37 AM
Oh and on Geometry Wars Waves i've been pushed down to #2 after many months at #1 :(
Well at least you'll have something to keep you busy when you finally get your 360 back. ;)  I must say that's some lengthy repair.  I'm sure my last one only took about a week.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on October 12, 2009, 11:54:36 AM
Oh and on Geometry Wars Waves i've been pushed down to #2 after many months at #1 :(
Well at least you'll have something to keep you busy when you finally get your 360 back. ;)  I must say that's some lengthy repair.  I'm sure my last one only took about a week.

To be fair, I only just got around to sending it way ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 12, 2009, 06:08:30 PM
Oh and on Geometry Wars Waves i've been pushed down to #2 after many months at #1 :(
Well at least you'll have something to keep you busy when you finally get your 360 back. ;)  I must say that's some lengthy repair.  I'm sure my last one only took about a week.

To be fair, I only just got around to sending it way ;)
Well yes, that would explain the delay  ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on October 12, 2009, 06:21:53 PM
Heh, fair do's. Now i'm eager to get it back :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 13, 2009, 12:12:29 AM
You know when you have one of those great ideas, but when it comes down to it the thing just doesn't work out as expected.  Well the big idea behind 1982 was this powerup system where each one had 3 different uses which the player could use them how they thought best.

As it turns out the 3 uses just confused things and you really didn't have time to weigh up the benefits of each during the heat of battle so in the end you sometimes just ended up using them randomly.  So I've reduced the uses to 2 for each powerup and that's improved things quite a bit.  How to use each powerup is now a straight forward either/or decision and that's just about as complicated a decision as you have time to make.

It appears I specialise in the opposite of feature creep.  I'm forever removing them.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on October 13, 2009, 07:00:48 AM
It appears I specialise in the opposite of feature creep.  I'm forever removing them.  :bunnymonkey:
Bah! Features are for the bourgeois commercial developer elite who seek to oppress the valiant individual creator class!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 13, 2009, 01:39:48 PM
It appears I specialise in the opposite of feature creep.  I'm forever removing them.  :bunnymonkey:
Bah! Features are for the bourgeois commercial developer elite who seek to oppress the valiant individual creator class!
;D Have you been drinking the paint stripper again?

Anyway that's why I'm not a fan of design docs.  You really don't have a clue what will work from a gameplay perspective and what wont until you try it so I'd hate to be stuck with features just because the design doc said so.....and with a lot of games you really do get the impression that is the reason the gameplay is so obviously broken.  Nobody steps back and questions it because it was in the design doc so it must be right.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 13, 2009, 07:36:03 PM
A while ago TheKhakinator said this.

"Echoes+: Greatest Game of All Time Edition"
Do it :D
So today I am proud to announce this...

Click Linky For the Reveal (http://www.binaryzoostudios.dreamhosters.com/games/echoes+/images/echoes+greatest.png)

Well I nearly got it right ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on October 13, 2009, 11:03:35 PM
LOL see if that name'll pass Creators Club review  ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 14, 2009, 09:30:52 AM
LOL see if that name'll pass Creators Club review  ;D
I don't see why not....unless there's some hidden meaning there which I'm honestly not aware of  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 15, 2009, 01:16:27 PM
So far I've only had one player weapon in 1982 if you ignore the rockets powerup, so I'm just adding a few more now.  Unlike previous games there will probably only be 5 relatively tame efforts and they need to be constantly topped up by collecting powerups.

I know that's not always a popular mechanism but it should work the way it's implemented here.  Of course I could be wrong and it might turn out to be bollocks like a couple of other intended ideas recently.  Only time will tell.

But the good thing about 1982 is that even though the players own weapons might feel weak next to those in say Echoes and DUO, there are other ways to wreak destruction and using those is the secret to survival and high scores  :rhino:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 16, 2009, 12:13:04 PM
Well Echoes+ seems to be about halfway through the Peer Review process so with any luck and no unforeseen problems, we might get a release before the end of the weekend.  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 16, 2009, 09:33:39 PM
Not been doing any work on 1982 today as I've been preparing a few things for when Echoes+ finally launches.  :bunnymonkey:

The whole Peer Review process is generally very good, however it does have one pretty major drawback and that is that you have absolutely no idea when or even if your game will be released.  It could get enough reviews to be passed and released after 2 days or it could take a month.  Or worse, it could take a month and get rejected and then you have to go through the whole process again.

All of which makes timing any news updates or firing off a few emails to people who might give it a little coverage incredibly difficult.  You can't send them in advance giving a release date like most developers would because you simply don't know when that is.  So you have to do the majority of your promotion after release and as you could be buried deep within the hell of the 360's dashboard very quickly, you maybe only have a couple of days to grab potential customers attention.

It's not ideal.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 17, 2009, 11:19:05 AM
Been killing a bit of time making some authentic 80's sound fx using the excellent sfxr (http://www.drpetter.se/project_sfxr.html).  Getting some retro sounds in 1982 has improved the overall feel quite a bit.

I've also been experimenting with some old school speech synthesis although I'm still not sure how much of that to use yet.  It sounds crap but in cool way.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on October 17, 2009, 12:41:17 PM
Been killing a bit of time making some authentic 80's sound fx using the excellent sfxr (http://www.drpetter.se/project_sfxr.html).  Getting some retro sounds in 1982 has improved the overall feel quite a bit.

I've also been experimenting with some old school speech synthesis although I'm still not sure how much of that to use yet.  It sounds crap but in cool way.  :bunnymonkey:
C64/Amiga style speech synth plox! :)

Though you can skip C64 style sound effects - SID music is great but oh god the sound effects are so often just white noise and beeps.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 17, 2009, 02:10:57 PM
Been killing a bit of time making some authentic 80's sound fx using the excellent sfxr (http://www.drpetter.se/project_sfxr.html).  Getting some retro sounds in 1982 has improved the overall feel quite a bit.

I've also been experimenting with some old school speech synthesis although I'm still not sure how much of that to use yet.  It sounds crap but in cool way.  :bunnymonkey:
C64/Amiga style speech synth plox! :)

Though you can skip C64 style sound effects - SID music is great but oh god the sound effects are so often just white noise and beeps.
Yup C64 style speech is the plan as is some proper SID music :)

You are right about the sound fx to a degree.  I personally think you got some great sounds around that time, however what I've found developing 1982 is that you have to be very careful how you use them otherwise it soon does turn into a wall of white noise. 

And that's proving a bit tricky TBH, as I've cranked up the amount of on screen destruction and consequently the number of sound fx it has gotten decidedly "noisy".

The speech might not be used in game at all.  I'm toying with the idea of doing an old school intro telling a cheesy background story complete with pixelated still screens and colour clash.

And I've also got to come up with some HUD design as that needs to display quite a bit of information considering how apparently simple the game is.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 18, 2009, 08:40:11 AM
And Echoes+ has passed Peer Review.  I'm not sure how long it takes before it appears on the Marketplace, but it should be on XBox Live Indie Games any time now.

 :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on October 19, 2009, 09:46:04 AM
Quote
And Echoes+ has passed Peer Review.  I'm not sure how long it takes before it appears on the Marketplace, but it should be on XBox Live Indie Games any time now.

Congratulations.   ;D

Must feel great to finaly get it out to the public.

I hope it sells really well.


TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 19, 2009, 11:45:45 AM
Cheers Masked :)  I'm being realistic so I doubt it will sell more than a handful of copies, but I've enjoyed making it.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on October 19, 2009, 09:54:28 PM
I've bought my copy, well done Fog! :D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 20, 2009, 10:47:26 AM
Thanks JDog :)

Note to self:  The 360's dashboard crapifies your box art so in the case of E+ the title is virtually unreadable and the developers name is unreadable.  I'll have to change them if ever I do an update. 

It's crazy that you can't change little things like that without having to go through the Peer Review process and have your whole game tested again. Why doesn't it just keep track of what you've changed and only ask reviewers to check those items?  :P

Additional:  Make sure you have all your release material, website updates etc ready weeks in advance.  In the couple of weeks before release I've been too busy playtesting and Peer Reviewing other peoples games to make proper preparations for my own release, so now I'm playing catch-up.  Another lesson learned.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on October 21, 2009, 01:28:33 AM
And Echoes+ has passed Peer Review.  I'm not sure how long it takes before it appears on the Marketplace, but it should be on XBox Live Indie Games any time now.
you released it! congrats.
ill have to convince my friends to buy it....... speaking of which when can we expect that pc version (or are you still only one person? lol) so i can brag to them that i didnt need to buy it? (ill get them to buy it the day before you release it on pc!) lol

and i think you might have to change the "coming soon to xbox 360 indie games"........... if its not on your to do list already.





Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 21, 2009, 10:00:56 AM
you released it! congrats.
ill have to convince my friends to buy it....... speaking of which when can we expect that pc version (or are you still only one person? lol) so i can brag to them that i didnt need to buy it? (ill get them to buy it the day before you release it on pc!) lol
Thanks :)  I'm not putting any time scale on the PC version of E+ other than to say it wont be this side of Christmas.

I need to decide where it falls on my list of priorities and as there's already a freeware version out there, that's not terribly high ATM :)


and i think you might have to change the "coming soon to xbox 360 indie games"........... if its not on your to do list already.
Hopefully today.  So much to do :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 21, 2009, 01:30:39 PM
E+ is currently the best selling game on the Japanese Indie Games marketplace.  Just my bloody luck there's only five 360's in the whole of Japan  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on October 21, 2009, 07:41:14 PM
lol.
you made a Japanese version!?
well congrats then, even if theres not many 360 owners there, its still quite an accomplishment.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 21, 2009, 07:55:57 PM
lol.
you made a Japanese version!?
well congrats then, even if theres not many 360 owners there, its still quite an accomplishment.
Nope it's not a Japanese version, just the English one released on the Japanese Marketplace.

I know one thing.  Now that I know how many copies the best selling game on the Japanese Indie Games service sells I wont be wasting any time with translations in the future either  ;D

It's great that we can sell stuff across there and even better that people are buying it, but the size of the market means it's just not worth any extra effort unfortunately.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on October 21, 2009, 09:41:23 PM
I had a German fried of mine compliment the game! its doing good. The only critiscism I/You keep getting from people is about online leaderboards...was bound to happen, eh lol ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 21, 2009, 09:53:51 PM
I had a German fried of mine compliment the game! its doing good. The only critiscism I/You keep getting from people is about online leaderboards...was bound to happen, eh lol ;)
Yeah I'm looking into it again, trying to figure out how I can get 24 leaderboards to update reasonably reliably.

As I mentioned earlier in the blog I already have code to handle the online leaderboards (untested) which I plan on using in 1982, but I'll see about using it in E+ too.  I don't want to do anything with it though until I'm happy that it's as fast and reliable as it can be and that it doesn't effect gameplay in any way (slowdown etc).

And as this is the first online XNA stuff I've done and I have no way of testing it properly, which is a big problem, I'm not rushing into releasing anything.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 22, 2009, 07:16:26 PM
Well I have new file handling routines and menu system back in place in Echoes+ to handle online scores if I can get them working satisfactorily.  Now to drop the online code itself in and see what happens.  This could be interesting....not necessarily in a good way though  :P

1982 is obviously taking a back seat while I'm doing this, however the online code is in there too so if I get it working in E+ then 1982 benefits too.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 23, 2009, 09:04:47 PM
Family staying over so no progress to report today.  Although I can give you a review of the new Wizards of Waverly Place Movie if you like?  No? ;D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 24, 2009, 08:44:12 PM
And I'm back on the case again.  Hopefully I'll get a little time tonight to continue looking into the issue of online high scores. What fun.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 26, 2009, 10:04:45 AM
Still working away on integrating this online highscore code for E+.

As well as the obvious network traffic there is also a lot of data sorting and file access going on.  Once the highscore data has been received it needs to be combined with the players existing data, sorted into highscore order, duplicates removed and then the new data saved to disk.

All fairly straightforward, but it obviously needs to be done without effecting gameplay in any obvious way.  Doing an extensive sorting routine or saving a huge chunk of data mid-game is going to result in noticeable slowdown so that's obviously a bad idea.  So yeah, where all this takes place is fairly critical.  Of course if I didn't have 25 different highscore tables to updtae it would have been an awful lot easier  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on October 29, 2009, 06:27:51 PM
In 1982 news it looks like I might not have to change the name after all as common sense has broken out over at The Creators Club (if you discount Paul's comments that is ;) )  It appears most people have realised there aren't really any benefits to naming a game to appear high on an alphabetically sorted list as nobody ever browses like that anyway.

Right, back to this online highscore code.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 03, 2009, 11:22:51 AM
Hmm, debugging and testing this LIVE global highscore code is proving to be a seriously tricky.

For proper testing I can easily upload the game and get one of the merry band of playtesters to run it at the same time as me to make sure the two machines exchange score data properly, however that's no good when I'm just doing general code development where I need to test new code every couple of minutes.

You can fudge a test environment using a PC, but aside from that being a bit of a pain to do, I'd be a lot happier if I could see it working Xbox to XBox.  Two 360's, two Gold memberships, two Creators Club memberships?  Not going to happen.  :P

I don't normally like doing a proper playtest until I'm pretty much finished something.  In this case I'm going to have to make an exception.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 07, 2009, 09:55:50 AM
Real life and health issues mean I've had to have a few days break from dev work, but I'll hopefully get back to it this weekend.

I've got to the point where I'm exchanging, sorting and saving highscore data ok and now I need to move when those routines are kick in so that it all happens in the background and at a time which can't in any way effect gameplay. 

Getting basic data exchange working is a relatively easy process, it's getting that working for 25 different leaderboards seamlessly that's the major challenge.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on November 07, 2009, 10:04:55 AM
Quote
I've got to the point where I'm exchanging, sorting and saving highscore data ok and now I need to move when those routines are kick in so that it all happens in the background and at a time which can't in any way effect gameplay. 

Getting basic data exchange working is a relatively easy process, it's getting that working for 25 different leaderboards seamlessly that's the major challenge.

It's invaluable experience though.

I imagine once you get it all working well, you won't have to code it again for future projects.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 07, 2009, 10:20:04 AM
I imagine once you get it all working well, you won't have to code it again for future projects.   ;D
Yup that's my motivation in truth.  It will be nice to have leaderboards in Echoes+, however I'm really more interested in having it as a standard feature in all future releases and I've building in the flexibility to allow that.

Much like menu code etc. it's horrible to write, but at least you only have to do it once. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 10, 2009, 06:33:26 PM
 :bunnymonkey:

You know when something works and the next time you try it it doesn't even though you haven't changed anything?  Two days wasted trying to find out why two E+ games refuse to connect to each other to share highscore data.

Removing bits of code, rewriting other bits and nothing would work.  I'm just at the point where I'm going to delete all the online code and start again when I try it one last time again today and it all works fine.  WTF happened there!

At least I know it wasn't a code problem and can only assume it was some kind of WLAN, firewall or LIVE issue.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 10, 2009, 06:34:52 PM
How strange, my advice, get a coffee, get some food and take a break ;) Then get back to it with fresh eyes!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 10, 2009, 10:49:26 PM
How strange, my advice, get a coffee, get some food and take a break ;) Then get back to it with fresh eyes!
I did all that but I new it wasn't anything I'd done so it didn't help.  Anyway it works now and I guess we'll never know what the problem was. :)

It's back exchanging scores ok but it still needs tweaking so that it doesn't do any intensive operations that could cause slowdown during gameplay.... then we can do a proper test.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 10, 2009, 11:14:06 PM
To save your workload a tad, couldn't you just restrict the leaderboards to one competetive strand? Actually, scratch that never mind...

Glad its working again!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on November 11, 2009, 02:58:05 AM
Have you been looking into concurrency/threading? Would be the best option to go with if the operations do end up being intensive.

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on November 11, 2009, 09:57:14 AM
Alternatively, you could have a menu option and let the player choose when to update highscores.

Or display the option after a game has finished.  Instead of trying to make the process automatic and transparent.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 11, 2009, 10:25:26 AM
To save your workload a tad, couldn't you just restrict the leaderboards to one competetive strand?
That wouldn't actually save me any workload anyway JDog.  It's exactly the same routine for all modes and difficulties, it just sends or receives different data from an array. :)


Have you been looking into concurrency/threading? Would be the best option to go with if the operations do end up being intensive.
Exclusively network code already is threaded IIRC.  And that side of things isn't really an issue so far.  One area I may need to look into threading for is what happens to the data once it's been received and it has to be sorted and saved.

These are the areas causing me most concern:
- When to sort and save to reduce any impact this might have (Right now I'm only doing that in menus etc and not in game.)
- There are 25 different highscore tables to exchange so what order do you do them in (Depending on how long the data exchange takes, the later tables might never get updated if done sequentially.)

I really need to do some proper testing though to see if these really are major issues.

Alternatively, you could have a menu option and let the player choose when to update highscores.

Or display the option after a game has finished.  Instead of trying to make the process automatic and transparent.
That would make things easier, but unfortunately it isn't really possible.

Because of restrictions on the XBox these online highscore tables work using P2P as we can't staore data anywhere other than on users consoles.  Using your suggested method highscore data would only be swapped P2P if two users chose to update scores at the same time.

In reality it has to be running in the background the whole time the game is running to maximise the chances of exchanging data with others playing at the same time.

I'm quite enjoying this though.  It's thrown up a few interesting problems to solve and we all love those (now my network appears to be behaving itself anyway)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on November 11, 2009, 04:33:39 PM
* How are you writing to file? That's going to be the most expensive aspect, so make sure you use the async option.

* What type of sorting algorithm are you using? Bubble-sort will be too slow, but something simple like Insertion Sort, while still O(n^2) will actually work pretty well for small lists.

* Give each table a persistent update variable, all start at 0. When the table is updated, increment the variable. Start your updates with the table with the smallest number. This is also known as LRU (least recently used).

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 11, 2009, 10:18:33 PM
* How are you writing to file? That's going to be the most expensive aspect, so make sure you use the async option.
Saving when a game is in progress isn't really a good idea regardless of how it's done.  In this case when the saving takes place is more important so that will be done much as it is now (at the end of a game, on exiting etc)

* What type of sorting algorithm are you using? Bubble-sort will be too slow, but something simple like Insertion Sort, while still O(n^2) will actually work pretty well for small lists.
There are built in sort commands which I am using unless they prove to be too slow.  Why re-invent the wheel etc :)

* Give each table a persistent update variable, all start at 0. When the table is updated, increment the variable. Start your updates with the table with the smallest number. This is also known as LRU (least recently used).
Not an ideal solution in this case.  The Host could be sending out scores to several other machines at the same time so deciding what table to update then isn't that straight forward. 

Like I say, if testing shows that each table updates quickly then the order they update isn't critical. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 13, 2009, 04:25:57 PM
OK, rather than doing the sorting all in one go I've now rewritten those routines to spread the task out.  That should mean the sorting, like the actual data transfer across the network, can be done at any time with no noticeable effect. (I'm sure it would only have resulted in a few skipped frames and most people wouldn't even notice, but I'd have known it was there)

That means the only area that could cause slowdown is the file saving and as I said earlier I'm not doing that in-game so it should be ok as I can easily hide it.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 13, 2009, 07:34:36 PM
Must be nearly ready to test ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 14, 2009, 09:25:29 AM
Must be nearly ready to test ;)
Well we could of tested the transfer process last week, but it would have needed testing again once all the other bits were in place.

In this case I'd rather wait until it's "finished" as I'm going to have to leave my 360 on all the time so you/others can connect to it and I don't want to do that more than necessary otherwise you just know I'll get a RROD  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 16, 2009, 07:43:40 PM
Not much network code progress to report unfortunately.  My normally reliable broadband has been behaving like crap since Saturday.  The whole area seems to be effected  :P

I can't connect to PSN at all ,browsing the net is a pain and Live boots me off every 30 seconds.

And as running code on the 360 needs a permanent Live connection I can't test anything.  The connection only drops for a few seconds but that's enough for me to get logged out.  I'm beginning to wonder whether this was the cause of my earlier problem where my two game sessions wouldn't connect too.  It would make sense.

I can still run code on the PC though so I've been messing around with 1982 again.  It's a while since I've played it, but I still like the simple mindlessness of it all.

I just wonder whether people will expect it to use the traditional "3 life" system or whether I should stick with my preferred "energy" system?   Having energy instead of lives means I can throw a shit load more enemies and bullets at the player, but it does mean the game feels very different to the old arcade games that inspired it.  Hmm.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on November 16, 2009, 09:36:58 PM
that sucks about your internet,
do you know if its the service provider? or the tower or whatever?


anyway,
i personally do like your energy system,
and it seemed that was one of the favorite things of those who reviewed echoes+

but have you considered combining the two?
have a small health bar and some lives,
that way when you get hit by small annoying enemies it doesn't quite kill you,
and it still pays homage to the classic games that did have a life system.

i think something like that could be really interesting if you maintain your "some enemies drop health" system,
and incorporate the "get 5000 points and get another life" system.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 16, 2009, 10:33:54 PM
that sucks about your internet,
do you know if its the service provider? or the tower or whatever?
Yeah it's the service provider.  Their online status page, which must be really useful if your internet is off totally, lists a large area as being without broadband & digital TV so I guess I should be greatful my cable TV is still working.  The page also esimates repair time at 4 hours which I'll believe when I see it.


anyway,
i personally do like your energy system,
and it seemed that was one of the favorite things of those who reviewed echoes+
Yeah that's a fair point and it has been mentioned in the past about my previous games too.  A lot of people do seem to prefer the more forgiving energy system


but have you considered combining the two?
have a small health bar and some lives,
that way when you get hit by small annoying enemies it doesn't quite kill you,
and it still pays homage to the classic games that did have a life system.

i think something like that could be really interesting if you maintain your "some enemies drop health" system,
and incorporate the "get 5000 points and get another life" system.
Not a bad idea.  I mentioned on here a while ago that I might copy the energy system that all FPS games seem to use these days where you recover energy over time so that's another option.

I think I'll leave it as it is for now and see whether the playtesters think th energy system feels right in this type of game or whether I need to look at one of the other options. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 17, 2009, 01:16:35 PM
Well my net connection seemed to be rock solid this morning so lets see if we can get back to that network coding tonight.  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 20, 2009, 10:39:35 PM
Well my net connection isn't rock solid after all.  It's fine in the mornings but by early evening it drops every couple of minutes.  I wont bore you with the details.....but Virgin Media's support line is epically bad.

But enough of that.  I've ploughed on, I'm fairly happy with the data transfer now and we are ready for a bit of playtesting.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 21, 2009, 12:37:48 PM
Yay! I'm ready when you are Fog :D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 21, 2009, 03:20:34 PM
Yay! I'm ready when you are Fog :D
Cool.  Got family staying this weekend so it will be Monday before I can get anything sorted.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 23, 2009, 04:37:46 PM
Just about to start testing that global highscore code for Echoes+ (and all future Indie Games titles).  I did a couple of tweaks last night that seemed to speed the transfer process up a bit.

Updating all 25 highscore tables in the background certainly isn't instant which I knew was always going to be the problem, but it's far better than nothing....which I wasn't always convinced about.

Also there are only really 24 highscore tables in the game (6 game modes x 4 difficulties) however I've added a Zoot one too so you can compare your Zoot progress with other players.  Other than the additional challenge, Zoots obviously don't count for anything in the way Achievements do, so hopefully the addition of a "highscore" table for them will encourage a bit of rivalry (*)

(*) I've always thought there should be something similar for Achievements TBH with a leaderboard for who has the most in each game and how many people have unlocked each one.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on November 24, 2009, 09:35:40 AM
It's also a great way to get feedback on the game.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 24, 2009, 03:43:13 PM
It's also a great way to get feedback on the game.   ;D
Very true.  At least I'll see which game modes are most popular, whether I got the difficulty settings right or whether people prefer playing on something other than Normal.

Actually knowing what game modes are most popular will be most helpful for future projects. I doubt I'll do another one with 6 different modes again like Echoes+ but I want to include a few modes in 1982 so I'll probably use their popularity in E+ as a guide.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on November 24, 2009, 07:49:20 PM
It's also a great way to get feedback on the game.   ;D
Very true.  At least I'll see which game modes are most popular, whether I got the difficulty settings right or whether people prefer playing on something other than Normal.

Actually knowing what game modes are most popular will be most helpful for future projects. I doubt I'll do another one with 6 different modes again like Echoes+ but I want to include a few modes in 1982 so I'll probably use their popularity in E+ as a guide.
i think my favorite game modes were the asteroid belt and meteor storm modes,
although i agree with what one of the critics said about those ones feeling more like mini games,
they were still very original, and intense,
but i think it would have been cool to unlock one or more of them via zoot's like crack (sadly as much as i love echoes i havent got nearly as much zoots as i imagine would be the norm, so im nowhere near unlocking it the "normal way" ;) ) in the first one,
games that award the player are always nice, and it gives the player an incentive to play,
with so many game modes i havent been sure why one of them isnt unlockable (well, as far as i know non of them are unlockable, i might just be a complete idiot).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 24, 2009, 08:46:38 PM
That seems like a very good way of doing things Fog. I personally play Echoes, Time Attack and my favourite Survivor the most. Though as a break I play the others, but not competitively.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 24, 2009, 11:33:21 PM
but i think it would have been cool to unlock one or more of them via zoot's like crack (sadly as much as i love echoes i havent got nearly as much zoots as i imagine would be the norm, so im nowhere near unlocking it the "normal way" ;) ) in the first one,
games that award the player are always nice, and it gives the player an incentive to play,
with so many game modes i havent been sure why one of them isnt unlockable (well, as far as i know non of them are unlockable, i might just be a complete idiot).
Don't get me started on locking game modes.  I did it for Crack but I wont be doing it again.  Unlockable weapons or graphics modes etc fair enough, but not game modes.  I hate that.


i think my favorite game modes were the asteroid belt and meteor storm modes,
I personally play Echoes, Time Attack and my favourite Survivor the most.
Well I must be doing something right if people have different favourite modes.  Either that or they are all equally crap :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 25, 2009, 08:45:43 PM
I think the Zoot Global High Score screen is suffering from information overload.  :P  Oh well at least it does hat it's supposed to do.

[attempt to post No.4....bastard Internet]


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on November 27, 2009, 09:40:26 AM
Nice looking score table.  :)

Reminds me alot of Jeff Minters stuff.   ;D

Whats the maximum number of entries it can accomodate ?

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on November 27, 2009, 11:16:38 AM
Thanks :)

Whats the maximum number of entries it can accomodate ?
There isn't a maximum.  And when you remember there are 25 different highscore tables all of which have to be exchanged using P2P you can see why I've done a load of optimisation and testing on this.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on November 27, 2009, 12:44:00 PM
Its looking good. Downloading it as we speak.... ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 07, 2009, 07:10:02 PM
Long time no update.  :bunnymonkey:

Well "real" work and a long term illness didn't make for good coding conditions over the last week, but I think I'm ready to pick up the reigns again.

As usual during my down time I've been jotting down a few ideas for some mini games I can knock up using the engine Echoes+ was written on.  As time is so limited right now it makes sense to tackle much smaller projects rather than some of the larger ideas I have that would take a year to write under current conditions.

So taking a little inspiration from my current 1982 project I've been thinking up a few game ideas based on really old classics (stuff like Space Invaders, Defender etc.) and I think I have a few good ideas to work with.  Nothing too innovative, just slight twists and a bit of updating to the originals.

With some interesting scoring systems that good players can exploit and the new global highscore system in place then they could work really well.....if you like that sort of thing  :bunnymonkey:

The current aim is to get one of those finished over the Christmas week I have off work and for once that's one deadline I think I can make.  :kangaroo:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on December 07, 2009, 07:40:45 PM
Long time no update.  :bunnymonkey:

Well "real" work and a long term illness didn't make for good coding conditions over the last week, but I think I'm ready to pick up the reigns again.

As usual during my down time I've been jotting down a few ideas for some mini games I can knock up using the engine Echoes+ was written on.  As time is so limited right now it makes sense to tackle much smaller projects rather than some of the larger ideas I have that would take a year to write under current conditions.

So taking a little inspiration from my current 1982 project I've been thinking up a few game ideas based on really old classics (stuff like Space Invaders, Defender etc.) and I think I have a few good ideas to work with.  Nothing too innovative, just slight twists and a bit of updating to the originals.

With some interesting scoring systems that good players can exploit and the new global highscore system in place then they could work really well.....if you like that sort of thing  :bunnymonkey:

The current aim is to get one of those finished over the Christmas week I have off work and for once that's one deadline I think I can make.  :kangaroo:
sounds cool,
will this mini game be for 360 or pc on release? or both?
im looking forward to playing another one of youre games soon :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 08, 2009, 09:48:37 AM
will this mini game be for 360 or pc on release? or both?
360 version first with PC version to follow some time as with E+ and 1982.

For the PC versions I need to spend some time writing the necessary routines to handle various input devices etc.  Once I have those then anything I write will work on both the 360 and PC without any extra work allowing for simultaneous releases.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on December 08, 2009, 05:12:29 PM
For the PC versions I need to spend some time writing the necessary routines to handle various input devices etc.  Once I have those then anything I write will work on both the 360 and PC without any extra work allowing for simultaneous releases.
so once you do write the routines there will be a huge clump of pc games released then?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 08, 2009, 11:24:33 PM
For the PC versions I need to spend some time writing the necessary routines to handle various input devices etc.  Once I have those then anything I write will work on both the 360 and PC without any extra work allowing for simultaneous releases.
so once you do write the routines there will be a huge clump of pc games released then?
Effectively yes.  They will still need very slight tweaks to the game code (eg: to allow for mouse controls) and some playtesting, otherwise it will be a very quick conversion progress.

First I need to write those extra PC routines though and I can only really start that once I've finished my current projects.  :duck:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 13, 2009, 08:30:21 PM
So going back to my musings on writing a series of quick mini games based on revamped classics, are there any I'm missing?

I have:

Space Invaders - probably next after 1982 - already fully designed (in my head anyway)
Asteroids (again  :P ) - probably based on my ideas for the full version of Crack
Centipede - I have a number of ideas for this although they might turn into 2 separate games
Defender - no ideas I'm truly happy with for this yet

Then I need to think of a name for the series....Binary ????? maybe.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on December 14, 2009, 12:42:50 AM
BinaryZoo's Digital Antiques Series.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on December 14, 2009, 01:25:11 AM
So going back to my musings on writing a series of quick mini games based on revamped classics, are there any I'm missing?

I have:

Space Invaders - probably next after 1982 - already fully designed (in my head anyway)
Asteroids (again  :P ) - probably based on my ideas for the full version of Crack
Centipede - I have a number of ideas for this although they might turn into 2 separate games
Defender - no ideas I'm truly happy with for this yet

Then I need to think of a name for the series....Binary ????? maybe.  :P
well i guess those are the most famous shooters though tbh i never really liked any of those,
my favorite classic shooters are the more complicated ones like missile command, contra,  battlezone, battle city aka tank battalion.

i dont think defender really needs much added to it, as its already complicated,
but playing it as a dual stick shooter would be cool,
i havent played a side scrolling dual stick shmup.


i dont know what you'd call them, binary pets?
binary minis? jk :)
binary classics?
does the series even have to have a name?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on December 14, 2009, 09:54:28 AM
The Binary Zoo Retro Arcade Series   ;D

Don't forget the classic game Thrust.  Would love to play a BZ update of this classic.  Or was that Tension ?

Also, many many years ago, in a local chippy i used to frequent, there used to be an arcade machine called "Isis".  Which i also called my first C64 shoot em up by the way.

This game Isis was basically a pacman shoot em up with a bit of snake thrown in for good measure.  As far as i can rememeber.

Wonder about the pacman style maze, shooting enemies, collecting the dots which made your snake grow longer.  I was really addicted to it at the time.

I'd love to see a Pac em up style of game along similar lines.

A maze shoot em up might be an interesting way to progress the arena shoot em up genre.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on December 14, 2009, 01:07:03 PM
Wow awesome, I'm interested in doing something very similar to that (pretty sure I posted about it too ;)) As for a name... then Binary Classics seems to stick out quite nicely.

If you need any help with anything, i'll be glad to offer it Chris!  8)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 14, 2009, 07:08:29 PM
my favorite classic shooters are the more complicated ones like missile command...
Complicated...Missile Command...does not compute ;)

I'd forgot about that one though.  Maybe I'll stick it on a list of possibles if I can think of something interesting to do with it.

I'd love to see a Pac em up style of game along similar lines.

A maze shoot em up might be an interesting way to progress the arena shoot em up genre.   ;D
I've had one "designed" for years now but never got around to it because I've never had the necessary background routine. :)

The current plan is:
- release a few quick titles using the game engine as it exists now.
- add a block based background/map system
- develop a couple of titles with that (like that Pac Man and Bangai O-Spirits inspired shmup ideas)
- add a non block based/vector background system
- develop a couple of titles (Tension, onyx etc.)

That way I get more regular releases while still devloping the game engine to have all the features I want.


As for a name... then Binary Classics seems to stick out quite nicely.
I like it but I might avoid any mention of "Classics" otherwise people will be slightly disappointed to find out they aren't clones of the originals but bastardised versions :)


If you need any help with anything, i'll be glad to offer it Chris!  8)
Thanks.  I'm tempted to upload the spritesheets for the games and letting people design their own graphics sets if anyone is interested.  My game engine already handles skinning really easily so I could drop a few graphics sets in as user options.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on December 15, 2009, 09:39:59 AM
Sounds like a sensible plan.

I'm still waiting for the pc port of echoes+ though.

Are you still planning any pc ports or do you want to crack on and get some other games under your belt ?

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 15, 2009, 03:00:24 PM
I'm still waiting for the pc port of echoes+ though.

Are you still planning any pc ports or do you want to crack on and get some other games under your belt ?
Oh yeah that's still the plan.

As mentioned earlier, when I've finished my current couple of tasks I'll start work on the necessary extra routines required for PC games (different resolution & controller support etc.).

E+ is perfectly playable now on PC provided you don't mind running it at 1280x720 and have a 360 joypad.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on December 15, 2009, 04:32:07 PM
I'm still waiting for the pc port of echoes+ though.

Are you still planning any pc ports or do you want to crack on and get some other games under your belt ?
Oh yeah that's still the plan.

As mentioned earlier, when I've finished my current couple of tasks I'll start work on the necessary extra routines required for PC games (different resolution & controller support etc.).

E+ is perfectly playable now on PC provided you don't mind running it at 1280x720 and have a 360 joypad.  :P
one thing i was wondering about E+ on pc,
is it going to be freeware, a "pay what you want" system, or the same price as 360?
*ahem* same price as it is on the 360? :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 15, 2009, 07:32:18 PM
one thing i was wondering about E+ on pc,
is it going to be freeware, a "pay what you want" system, or the same price as 360?
*ahem* same price as it is on the 360? :)
Undecided yet.  If it isn't freeware then the price will be very much be dependent on what distribution sites, if any, it goes on.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 29, 2009, 11:05:24 PM
Well I've got a week off work for Christmas so I've finally gotten back to doing some dev work.  It's the longest break I've had from coding for a long time and it takes a while to pick up exactly where you were up to when you have several projects on the go at once.  :P

Anyway I want to do some playtesting on 1982 so I've decided to get that properly playable first.  All it really needs is some sort of structure to the way the enemy attack waves are created as so far that's been totally random.    I didn't want to spend ages defining each and every wave for the entire game (as I did with DUO) but I didn't want it to be in any way random either as that's not fair in a score attack game where one player could benefit from easier enemies.

Anyway that means I'm essentially using a similar system to that in E+ (Not plain old Echoes as that did have a random element) although 1982 has about 20 different enemy types so will need a little more work than E+ did.  That's not quite as time consuming as it sounds as the different waves for all 10 levels of E+ only took 3 lines of code  :)

So that structure to handle that in place and I'll knock up a few levels for testing tomorrow  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on December 30, 2009, 09:43:35 AM
Have you thought about adding some AI to your enemies ?

Might be an interesting alternative to random generation or pre defined attack waves.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on December 30, 2009, 02:58:36 PM
Yay, that tommorrow is now today! Woohoo. Looking forward to testing when and when ready ;).

As for structure, you could plan it so that different things happen at different times depending on type. So the UFO could compliment the Alien swarms and stuff like that. Then depending on when the main triiggers spawn, you just organise responses to that. Hope my garbled explanation helped you (its what i'm planning on doing anyway!).


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on December 31, 2009, 04:54:07 PM
Have you thought about adding some AI to your enemies ?

Might be an interesting alternative to random generation or pre defined attack waves.
Yeah I'll add some form of AI to the game engine at some stage.  Right now the sort of retro arcade style games I'm writing don't really require it yet though. Luckily :)


Well I've added an extra few options to the level data for 1982.  There are only 4 different powerups but each has 2 very different uses and this plays a major part in tactics so I've added the option to define which powerups appear on which levels.  So instead of taking everything out with rockets you might have to make clever use of lasers instead (all of which makes a lot more sense if you've played it  :P )

This does means the levels need to be designed a bit more carefully to make the enemy types and available powerups balance the difficulty and fun factor nicely but it's worth it.

Right now my aim is to make a lot of relatively short levels that only last about 20 seconds each.  With a basic arcade shmup repetition is a potential problem so I'm aiming to keep the pace high and change things up from level to level....well as much as I can with fairly limited variable elements to play with :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 03, 2010, 12:11:22 PM
OK, why are the buttons on my Bluetooth mouse not working any more? I can't do pixel artwork using the touchpad and I can't do it using a mouse with no functioning buttons so I'm currently using the mouse to move the pointer and the buttons on the touchpad.  It's more than a little confusing  :P

 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on January 03, 2010, 01:23:54 PM
Any pixel art I can help you with? send me a pm if your interested ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 03, 2010, 04:48:24 PM
Any pixel art I can help you with? send me a pm if your interested ;)
Thanks.  I've completely changed the effect of one of the powerups in 1982 so just needed some new graphics for that.  Nothing too complicated....it was just a pain to do  :P

The old powerup effect was an explosion type thing, but I also have another that's fairly similar so I'm going for something entirely different now with an "enemy freeze" type effect.  I just need to code that now.

At least I have 10 levels built now for testing when this new powerup effect is coded.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on January 03, 2010, 06:09:49 PM
That sounds cool!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 04, 2010, 05:45:29 PM
And now that I've finished my little bit of pixel work my Bluetooth mouse buttons have decided to work again.  Go figure  :P



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 10, 2010, 10:44:14 PM
Just managed to squeeze in a little coding this week.

I did though have enough time to finish coding the new "freeze" powerup....although the length of time it acts for may need tweaking during testing.

Unlike the other powerups the Freeze powerup's use isn't really offensive, but more defensive.  It's main purpose being to stop enemies long enough for you to kill them before they reach the bottom of the screen.

This is important in 1982 because enemies "escaping" off the screen reduce your score multiplier so the Freeze powerup is really of most tactical use to those interested in score chasing and not those interested in mindless violence....although there are a few other powerups to keep them happy too  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 17, 2010, 04:13:21 PM
Virtually zero progress this week due to real work and stuff.  Frustrating.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: donny on January 17, 2010, 04:20:26 PM
fog needs to get sick again


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 17, 2010, 05:09:12 PM
fog needs to get sick again
Trust me he doesn't.

FWIW I still am sick, it's a long term thing, which is why returning to work even part time has had such an impact on my dev time.  When I'm not working I'm too tired to do anything else.  Things should get better with time :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on January 18, 2010, 10:07:11 AM
A long term illness is a real cross to bare.

Makes the games you produce even more impressive.

Still.  Your health comes first.  You don't appreciate it unti you lose it.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 18, 2010, 12:40:07 PM
Still.  Your health comes first.  You don't appreciate it unti you lose it.
That's very true.  A couple of years ago I was fit and exercised 3 or 4 nights a week.....now I can barely manage a flight of stairs without needing 1/2 hour to recover  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 29, 2010, 07:39:59 PM
Well I plan on doing a little dev work this weekend so fingers crossed I get the chance.

I've had plenty of time to think over game design though during my enforced development break.  Probably too much time TBH  :P  I'd been mulling over what to do with regards to difficulty in 1982.  It's an old school inspired shmup, but I'd implemented an energy system as opposed to a traditional life system.  An energy based system seemingly a popular feature in my previous shmups as it makes them more accessible (to the horror of the hardcore)

In this case though I've never been 100% convinced that it felt right here.  So rather than having 3 different difficulty settings all using an energy system, I'm going to experiment with using energy for the normal difficulty and lives for the hard setting.

That should lead to some interesting difficulty balancing problems for me to sort out.  :P

And it also renders my "energy+" powerup useless in the difficulty setting that uses lives so I'll have to think of an alternative use for that.  Probably some kind of extra life gauge powerup instead.

Also because 1982 is perfectly playable using keys, I can do some PC playtesting soon too without the need for me to write a joypad config app first as is required for Echoes+.  Result.  That opens up playtesting to people who don't have the necessary XBox360 gubbins and will be a big help for me. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on January 29, 2010, 10:00:39 PM
In this case though I've never been 100% convinced that it felt right here.  So rather than having 3 different difficulty settings all using an energy system, I'm going to experiment with using energy for the normal difficulty and lives for the hard setting.

That should lead to some interesting difficulty balancing problems for me to sort out.  :P

And it also renders my "energy+" powerup useless in the difficulty setting that uses lives so I'll have to think of an alternative use for that.  Probably some kind of extra life gauge powerup instead.
well as long as you have maybe 3 or more other power ups i think you could get away with leaving one out in the hard difficulty.

or you could just add the ability to turn off the energy system (/turn on the traditional lives system) as opposed to just adding the ability in hard,
it would obviously make it more difficult, so one can see alot of problems with that idea, but i think you could get around that simply by making whether or not energy was enabled one of the statistics on the score board,
if you were to do that then i cant see any problem with an optional "traditional lives system". 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on January 30, 2010, 10:06:52 AM
Quote
That opens up playtesting to people who don't have the necessary XBox360 gubbins and will be a big help for me

Woot Woot   :D


I think most people would opt for the Energy system simply because it would allow users to progress further in the game.

An energy system is much more forgiving to the player.

I've always found the tradional lives system very frustrating.  Partly because of poor game design, but because i hate an instant death.  At least with an energy system you are pre warned.

One of the things i hate about the recent Armalyte remake is that it's instant death.   :(

Maybe run a poll on a shoot em up forum somewhere to find out what people think.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 30, 2010, 02:11:15 PM
well as long as you have maybe 3 or more other power ups i think you could get away with leaving one out in the hard difficulty.
Well each of the powerups have two uses and the other use for this powerup is fairly important to the gameplay so dropping it altogether isn't really an option I want to take.  I think I'm happy with using it for extra lives instead of an energy top up (in a collect 10 for an extra life kind of way)


Maybe run a poll on a shoot em up forum somewhere to find out what people think.
I know the answer already. :)  99% of the shmup hardcore absolutely hate an energy based system, but as I've said before I'm not too bothered about that because I'm not really writing games aimed at them (if they like them that's a bonus).

Like you I prefer a more forgiving energy based system and that's why I write games like that.  And, from what I hear, the majority of other gamers prefer that too.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on January 31, 2010, 02:10:32 AM
This may sound like wierd thing to say but... I don't think you need a hard difficulty  :o if the game works and plays fine with an energy based system, then why go completely against that with a life based system?

although as an experiment, i'm all for it! and in essence it would be a completely different game. You could probs get awa with not making it harder per-se but just having the lives and removing the "energy+" upgrade and you should be good to go!

opinion based entirely upon not playing the game ;)

I also LOVE the energy system, its more forgiving, hence more fun!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on January 31, 2010, 03:50:29 PM
This may sound like wierd thing to say but... I don't think you need a hard difficulty  :o if the game works and plays fine with an energy based system, then why go completely against that with a life based system?

although as an experiment, i'm all for it! and in essence it would be a completely different game.
That's where I'm coming from.  I'm not tempted to put in the Lives game mode just because it would provide a hard difficulty option, but because it would almost add an entirely new game mode.  A mode that I can see a lot of people thinking is more in keeping with the retro nature of the game :)

As with all things though it's all a theory until I get some much needed testing done.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 18, 2010, 01:48:43 PM
Whoop....I made a little progress last night.  :kangaroo:

It actually took me a while to pick up where I was up to so lets recap a bit.  I'm currently working on 1982 which is a small, fixed screen shmup with a very retro theme.  Lots of old arcade inspired enemies from Invaders and Galaxian to Asteroids etc.  Simple pixelated graphics so no neon, motion blur etc to be seen and graphics that would look dated on a C64 (or Spectrum if you were unlucky enough not to have the best 80's home computer ;) )

Gameplay wise it's nothing complicated with only the way the powerups are used is remotely original (although I doubt it actually is) as they each have a couple of different uses which can be triggered in different ways and there's also a new take on the whole "human abduction" gameplay element seen in Defender.

The only really major thing I still had to do was design all the different attack waves for the different levels, although I have a few quick ones in there for testing purposes.

Recap over  :bunnymonkey:



One of the advantages  :P of taking an enforced break is seeing things from a slightly different perspective when you fire them up for the first time in a while so yesterday I did a bit more tweaking.

The biggest change was to the way the Saucers enter at the top of the screen.  The Saucers drop the important powerups when shot and they used to enter slowly at the top of the screen and slowly move down, but this meant they were often barely visible at the top of the screen when shot by the player.  Now for normal enemies that's not a problem, but in 1982 there are times when you might want to drop powerups at specific times and under the existing system it was too easy to accidentally do that.  Now, after tweaking, the Saucers enter by flying quickly down from the top of the screen for a short distance before reverting to their previous slow advance down the screen.  It's a very small change but it means they are always clearly visible to the player and targeting them can be more deliberate.

Unfortunately as none of you have played it yet the relevance of that change will be lost....heh, oh well  :P

Also now that all the gameplay features are in place I've been able to come up with and initial list of Zoo Trials.  I was worried that the simple fixed screen nature of the game would mean a load of boring "score x" and "get to level y" type challenges, however the powerup and human abduction/rescue gameplay elements lend themselves to a nice variety of targets so I have 21 Zoots so far.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on April 19, 2010, 09:59:55 AM
Great to see you're back to coding again Fog.   ;D

And i hope your health issues have resolved themselves.

Any chance you can post some screenies ?

TMC




Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 19, 2010, 07:48:40 PM
And i hope your health issues have resolved themselves.
It's long term so just learning to live with it. :)

Any chance you can post some screenies ?
I'm not entirely sure of the final look yet, but before I do any project I always mock up a single pic of what I intend.  It's more to try and give a feel of the game and how it will play than how it will finally look though.

I think the mock-up for 1982 gives a nice feel of the game although it's old-school looks don't make for the best screenies :)

(The DUO mock-up is also posted somewhere too)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on April 20, 2010, 09:40:58 AM
Woa.

That really is retro looking.

And in complete contrast to your other games.

That mock up is looking very C64 / Vic 20 ish.  Which takes me back.   :)


Quote
I'm not entirely sure of the final look yet, but before I do any project I always mock up a single pic of what I intend.  It's more to try and give a feel of the game and how it will play than how it will finally look though.

Yeh, thats a good idea.  I tend to do that as well.

Nice to see a pic.  It's pretty difficult to visualise a project just by it's description alone.

Keep up the good work.

TMC



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 20, 2010, 03:13:15 PM
It looks so old school! Then you see shit coming down at funny angles and that gives it away. :D


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 20, 2010, 04:36:55 PM
Woa.

That really is retro looking.

And in complete contrast to your other games.

That mock up is looking very C64 / Vic 20 ish.  Which takes me back.   :)
Good, that's what I'm after :)  TBH looking at that mock-up I'm surprised at how little some of the graphics have changed although there's certainly a splash more colour now (from a limited 16 colour palette)



It looks so old school! Then you see shit coming down at funny angles and that gives it away. :D
Yeah the pixelated look is a style thing, however I didn't want to be constrained by that completely as that would hinder gameplay so I've allowed for "funny angles" which in turn gives smoother movement.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Prime_8 on April 22, 2010, 06:27:56 AM
dude ther's even massive blood spatter for old school! lol


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 22, 2010, 12:50:32 PM
dude ther's even massive blood spatter for old school! lol
lol yeah although in this case that's not necessarily a good thing as they are the humans that you're supposed to be rescuing  :bunnymonkey:

Anyway speaking of those humans.....I've added a gravity system to my game engine now and all because I wanted to apply the effect to fx that's triggered when a human gets shot in 1982.  :P  Still, it will be a useful addition for future projects and I might even apply it to a couple more things in this game now that I have the system in place.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 24, 2010, 01:11:53 PM
I hate HUD's.  Why can't I make them all as minimalist as the one in mono.  :P

1982 has a lot of things that could be displayed in the HUD so I'm not trying to decide what info should and shouldn't be shown.

List of info and current thinking:

Gamertag - Yes
Gamerpic - No
Global Rank - Yes
Score - Yes
High Score - Yes
Multiplier - Yes
Multiplier Boost Gauge - Yes
Level - No (although there is no break between levels in which to show this so I might find space for it)
Energy / Lives - Yes
Current Weapon - No (you should be able to tell visually when you have the best weapon and that should be enough)
Missiles Active Timer - No


Even now there's a bit more info to display there than I really wanted.  For a very simple game that's a lot of on screen clutter.  And now I need to decide where to put it all  :bunnymonkey:




Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 25, 2010, 12:17:04 PM
Sounds like a busy HUD to me Fog, but every bit of info you've mentioned is fairly important. I'm sure you'll be alright.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 25, 2010, 03:06:13 PM
Sounds like a busy HUD to me Fog, but every bit of info you've mentioned is fairly important. I'm sure you'll be alright.
Yeah "busy" is what I'm trying to avoid :)

Although there's an important difference between a HUD with lots of info on and a HUD with lots of info on that you have to read.  For example things like Gamertag might be displayed, but nobody is really going to read that mid game.  And other info such as Energy and the Multiplier Boost will be displayed in graphical form which is quicker to read.

With a bit of tweaking it should be ok


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 25, 2010, 09:39:06 PM
Ok who had the bright idea to use chunky pixelated graphics?  I'm looking for a couple of new enemy types for 1982 and decided to lift one from Xevious (released in 1982 :) ) but now I have to recreate something similar in chunky pixels....and it requires animation.....basically everything I'm crap at  :P

I already have 20+ however a lot of them are very similar variations on a theme (as were most of the enemies in shmups in the early 80's) and something a bit different would be good.

Back to looking for inspiration.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on April 26, 2010, 10:09:02 AM
Just a thought.

How about using Sfx, ( voice samples ) as a means to inform the player.  Instead of or to cut back on the Hud display.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 26, 2010, 11:49:49 AM
Sell a serial port peripheral with LEDs to mount below the monitor to display the information. Obscure peripherals that make or break the game and are priced too highly would ruin your game - and that's /really/ 80s, so is a must for 1982.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 26, 2010, 06:05:23 PM
How about using Sfx, ( voice samples ) as a means to inform the player.  Instead of or to cut back on the Hud display.
Yeah I've already done some tests with voice synthesis.  Fruity Loops does some nice old school voices. (ie. they sound crap :) )


Sell a serial port peripheral with LEDs to mount below the monitor to display the information. Obscure peripherals that make or break the game and are priced too highly would ruin your game - and that's /really/ 80s, so is a must for 1982.
lol.  Great idea.  Along with a keyboard overlay and a code sheet that had to be input to prove you have the original game.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on April 26, 2010, 06:32:27 PM
a keyboard overlay
I really want to make a game that comes with a keyboard overlay. And not a simulation game either, this would be an action game of sorts with needlessly complicated controls. How badass would that be?! :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 26, 2010, 09:51:06 PM
Do it :)

I've done a keyboard overlay for 1982 to help PC users with the complicated controls.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 27, 2010, 02:44:16 AM
a keyboard overlay
I really want to make a game that comes with a keyboard overlay. And not a simulation game either, this would be an action game of sorts with needlessly complicated controls. How badass would that be?! :)

Mo
A beat-em-up where every different move had its own key...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on April 27, 2010, 09:49:33 AM
Now thats funny.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 27, 2010, 01:53:30 PM
a keyboard overlay
I really want to make a game that comes with a keyboard overlay. And not a simulation game either, this would be an action game of sorts with needlessly complicated controls. How badass would that be?! :)

Mo
A beat-em-up where every different move had its own key...
How about an extreme version of that in a beat-em-up where you have to type the name of every move?  "punch", "kick", "block", "roundhouse"?  Yeah I'd be utterly shit at that.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on April 28, 2010, 03:05:52 AM
a keyboard overlay
I really want to make a game that comes with a keyboard overlay. And not a simulation game either, this would be an action game of sorts with needlessly complicated controls. How badass would that be?! :)

Mo
A beat-em-up where every different move had its own key...
How about an extreme version of that in a beat-em-up where you have to type the name of every move?  "punch", "kick", "block", "roundhouse"?  Yeah I'd be utterly shit at that.  :P
...and imagine they keyboard overlay. You'd need to include the entire alphabet! Oh, wait...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 28, 2010, 08:48:48 PM
Heh :)

You know the hardest part of shmup development is?  that's right, it's deciding how many points each enemy should be worth.  Many a sleepless night I tell you.  So in 1982 the points system will be as follows:

Saucer = 1 pt
Invader = 1 pt
Everything Else = 1 pt

Hopefully that's not too confusing and one less task for me to worry about.

And while I still haven't made my mind up what to do about background graphics or indeed whether to have any at all, I think I'll test out a few hills with some very 80's parallax scrolling.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 28, 2010, 11:05:20 PM
hmmm, parralax, why the devil not i'd say! and 1pt per kill sounds fun. I miss the old days where you really did have to work for your highscores ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on April 29, 2010, 11:09:38 AM
hmmm, parralax, why the devil not i'd say! and 1pt per kill sounds fun. I miss the old days where you really did have to work for your highscores ;)
lol yeah work for that score.   IIRC my highscore in E4 is in the trillions...so high that it's effectively meaningless  :P

The 1 point system really just puts more emphasis on building up your multiplier and in 1982 that will hopefully mean players try to save any humans being abducted.  That's an important part of the gameplay so I'm trying to encourage players to do it :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on April 29, 2010, 06:57:24 PM
lol, well i have  afeeling it'll work quite well  8)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 02, 2010, 11:32:11 AM
Parallax scrolling mountains in the background are in and look suitably 80's.  I may need to tweak the colours a touch though as I don't want them distracting from the foreground enemies and bullets.

I've also replaced the Zoot medals, Button icons, menu graphics etc with new versions to maintain the chunky pixelated look throughout the whole game.

Next I really need to get that proper HUD sorted and then we can start some playtesting.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 02, 2010, 11:55:05 AM
I do love a bit of playtesting ;) also keeping the look of the game consistent is as important as gameplay IMO, ok maybe not as important lol.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Prime_8 on May 03, 2010, 09:08:11 AM
play & testing ... fun


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 03, 2010, 12:00:04 PM
I should have both the 360 and PC versions ready for playtesting at the same time.....just don't expect any PC specific options for supporting different resolutions or controllers  :P

Next up to decide how much damage each enemy or bullet does when hitting the player...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 04, 2010, 11:52:47 AM
Another feature bites the dust :)

There are 4 different power-up types in 1982 and if you don't collect them within a couple of seconds of them landing they burst into flames.  These flames used to burn for a few seconds and if the player moved through them they would have the reverse effect of the original powerup (ie. the health powerup would remove health instead of adding it and the weapon powerup would downgrade the players weapon instead of improving it).

Seemed like a good idea at the time, but in reality avoiding them restricted your movement so much that you got pounded by bullets and enemies.  Inevitably then you ended up having to move through the flames taking what felt like an unavoidable cheap hit, something I don't like, so I've removed it and the flames are now merely a nice fx.

As an idea though I quite like it so I'll file it away for use in something more appropriate like an arena shooter where they are more easily avoided.

The joys of dynamic game design :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 04, 2010, 10:14:03 PM
i like it, if it doesn't work brush it under the carpet instead of fiddling for hours and hours trying to make it work 8)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 05, 2010, 10:33:20 AM
i like it, if it doesn't work brush it under the carpet instead of fiddling for hours and hours trying to make it work 8)
Oh I did spend hours trying to make it work.  I tried a few variations of the same idea over the months, but some ideas like the game modes I removed from Echoes+ just aren't suitable for certain games and best saved for somewhere else.

Anyway I think I've decided on a HUD layout that I like now so I just need to code that and we can get some feedback :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 05, 2010, 07:35:18 PM
Keeping the HUD within the Title Safe zone (the inner 80% of the screen) really is a pain in the arse.

Doubly so when I'm using chunky pixelated graphics meaning my icons and text can't be very small.

Triply so when I don't want any of my HUD to overlap the play area.

Quadruply so when I've stupidly make the play area almost fill the Title Safe zone.

I really didn't think that one through  :)



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on May 06, 2010, 06:56:39 AM
What if you just have a key to hit that'll flash up a big, easy-to-read HUD when you need it? Like scoreboards in FPS.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on May 06, 2010, 09:41:17 AM
Or simply use a higher res font and hud graphics.

I'm sure your screen res is fairly high anyway, and you're just using low res graphics.

So you could easily double the resolution of your hud graphics ( and halve the size, makiing for more room ), for instance, and still retain a fairly low res hud view.

It's a bit of a cheat as it's not strictly authentic, but hey, if it works.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 06, 2010, 12:11:42 PM
Regardless of what size font or res for the icons I used I'd still struggle to fit everything in without overlapping the play area somewhere.  Not being able to stick anything in that outer 10% of the screen on the 360 is a killer as anyone who has developed for it will tell you.  Luckily on the PC there are no such restrictions.

Anyway my solution is to narrow the play area a touch and the HUD now fits nicely.  Everything was coded relative to the play area boundaries so I just had to change one variable value and everything else adjusts automatically.  It may mean I need to rebalance the difficulty a touch to allow for the narrower play area, but as I hadn't finally tweaked the difficulty yet anyway it's no extra work.

Heh, when you rescue an abducted human he falls, lands on the ground and then runs towards the Score Multiplier display and increases it.  When I rearranged the HUD I moved the Multiplier Display to the other side of the screen so changed the code so the human ran in the opposite direction.  In my hurry I forgot to reverse the animation though so he ended up running backwards doing an unintensional but very decent impression of Michael Jacksons moonwalk.  :duck:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on May 06, 2010, 07:15:16 PM
In my hurry I forgot to reverse the animation though so he ended up running backwards doing an unintensional but very decent impression of Michael Jacksons moonwalk.  :duck:
It's not a bug, it's a feature! :)  Make 5% of rescued humans do a moonwalk anyway. :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 06, 2010, 09:06:38 PM
In my hurry I forgot to reverse the animation though so he ended up running backwards doing an unintensional but very decent impression of Michael Jacksons moonwalk.  :duck:
It's not a bug, it's a feature! :)  Make 5% of rescued humans do a moonwalk anyway. :)

Mo
I wonder if I can get clearance on a Billy Jean sample?  :bunnymonkey:

Anyhoo with the HUD finally in place this is looking and feeling like a proper game now (albeit not a very modern one :) ).

Previously I was just having fun aimlessly blasting, but now that I can see a proper representation of my score multiplier, remaining energy etc I'm playing in a more targeted way chasing that multiplier and topping up my energy as necessary.  It all seems to be coming together nicely.

Now to decide what game modes other than the main one to include...if any.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 06, 2010, 09:40:04 PM
Sounds sweet, and a moonwalk is definately a feature :) as for the game, simplicity i guess is its aim, i think another game mode might just clutter things up.

just my 2 cents :) sounding great so far Fog.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 07, 2010, 11:03:25 AM
Sounds sweet, and a moonwalk is definately a feature :) as for the game, simplicity i guess is its aim, i think another game mode might just clutter things up.

just my 2 cents :) sounding great so far Fog.
Yeah my current thinking is that in this case one game mode is enough too alongside the 4 difficulty settings.

Just having that one mode would certainly make it easier for me to prove whether my online high score system works and can be included in other games or not.  That's proved to be impossible to test properly with the 25 different high score tables in Echoes+


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on May 08, 2010, 04:24:42 AM
Aching to play this one. (Y)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 08, 2010, 09:37:13 PM
Aching to play this one. (Y)
Prepare for imminent disappointment ;)

Mainly just a few cosmetic changes today.  The main tweak being the position where the Saucers that are abducting humans launch from.  They fly up from the bottom of the screen so I needed to make sure they didn't crash straight into the players ship (I doubt players would appreciate that happening) To do this I was checking whether the players ship is on the left of right of the screen and just launching the Saucer from the other side.  Simple enough.

Unfortunately if several Saucers launch at once they fly up the screen in a line which, as well as looking a bit rubbish, essentially makes it impossible for the player to kill all the Saucers and rescue the humans.  And as any humans you don't rescue effect your multiplier that's a pretty harsh penalty for the player to suffer for something unavoidable.

Anyway the solution is simple enough as the saucers launch position is now randomised and I simply don't check for collisions with the player sprite any more so they can fly right through each other.

Another seemingly small but gameplay critical tweak.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 11, 2010, 04:10:59 PM
What's your flavour?



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 11, 2010, 06:34:54 PM
They all have their charms though i'd say i prefer the middle one :) ofcourse if you've gone to enough effort to have 3 skins, why not make skinning an option?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 11, 2010, 08:20:33 PM
Yeah as I've said before the game engine supports skinning and that's the plan.  Although if I can't come up with a bunch of appropriate alternative graphics then I wont put them in.  The ones in that pic are just examples and I haven't even tried them in game yet apart from the default middle one.

Right now I'm dropping in some more appropriate music and adding some speech.  This already has 3 times the number of sound fx I had in Echoes+ which is a bit crazy for something supposedly so retro.  Oh well.....creative license  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on May 11, 2010, 11:47:21 PM
Middle one (with disclaimer I can change my mind and back the winner when I see them moving!)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on May 12, 2010, 12:26:21 AM
middle.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on May 12, 2010, 11:23:16 AM
Yeah thinkin' middle but they /all/ rock, liking the middle though because it's a fresher, more original look.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 12, 2010, 05:44:58 PM
Thanks gents :)

Of course the old screenie on the Playtesting board shows that the middle option that you all picked is the current graphical style and will be the default....I'm just hoping that didn't influence the choices too much :)

I see if I can be arsed to come up with some more alternatives some time....

In other news the parallax mountains look like they will be biting the dust.  The chunky pixel look just doesn't work well with them especially in motion.

And regardless I still need to decide what to do with the rest of the background.  I'm still thinking of putting some Minter-esque colour cycling bars in there although I know that wont be to everyone's liking so I guess I better put an option in to switch that off


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on May 12, 2010, 06:14:32 PM
In other news the parallax mountains look like they will be biting the dust.  The chunky pixel look just doesn't work well with them especially in motion.

And regardless I still need to decide what to do with the rest of the background.  I'm still thinking of putting some Minter-esque colour cycling bars in there although I know that wont be to everyone's liking so I guess I better put an option in to switch that off
We might have discussed this before, but have you considered soft-shading (ie: blurring) the background? As in, use the chunky-pixel backgrounds, perhaps slow down the animation speed, use muted colours, and then apply a blur shader to the background before rendering the stuff in the foreground.

Cheers,
Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 12, 2010, 07:22:48 PM
In other news the parallax mountains look like they will be biting the dust.  The chunky pixel look just doesn't work well with them especially in motion.

And regardless I still need to decide what to do with the rest of the background.  I'm still thinking of putting some Minter-esque colour cycling bars in there although I know that wont be to everyone's liking so I guess I better put an option in to switch that off
We might have discussed this before, but have you considered soft-shading (ie: blurring) the background? As in, use the chunky-pixel backgrounds, perhaps slow down the animation speed, use muted colours, and then apply a blur shader to the background before rendering the stuff in the foreground.

Cheers,
Mo

That's a possibility although I really am trying to stick to the proper pixelated look for everything because from the few things I've tried the more coherent look really does work better (as opposed to just sticking to it out of some artistic vision).

I'll get a demo up and maybe work on a few background options while waiting for some playtest feedback. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 17, 2010, 06:24:52 PM
Quiz question.  What keys do PC users want to use for playtesting?  You only need Left, Right and Fire.

I know everyone has their own preference (eg.I hate using space) and as there is no menu option for changing the keys I'm going to hard code them for now.  No mouse control for now although I may add that.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: PaulCunningham on May 17, 2010, 07:04:21 PM
I tend to use: Left Arrow, Right Arrow, X

How much work would it be to add them to the options file so folks can hack them by hand?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 17, 2010, 07:17:49 PM
i'd like

LeftArrow, RightArrow, Space

but whatever you set it to, i'd get used to it instantly.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 17, 2010, 07:49:07 PM
How much work would it be to add them to the options file so folks can hack them by hand?
That would involve me like um you know doing some work. :)  Yeah I could do that....keep forgetting it's PC and we have access to external files.

Runs off to see what keyboard commands there are in XNA as I've never looked.....


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on May 17, 2010, 10:22:37 PM
arrow keys + z/x/c is the indie shmup standard, isn't it?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 18, 2010, 03:11:47 PM
arrow keys + z/x/c is the indie shmup standard, isn't it?

That's always been my prefered setup.  Lefties might prefer an alternative though.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on May 18, 2010, 04:12:34 PM
No, us mutants grew up on that control scheme. We're used to it now. :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 18, 2010, 06:40:39 PM
No, us mutants grew up on that control scheme. We're used to it now. :)
I forgot you were one of those ;)

I still remember picking up a PS1 joypad for the first time and thinking I'd never get used to it with the d-pad on the left and buttons on the right.  10 years of using nothing but a joystick had convinced my brain the right hand should be used for movement and the left pressing buttons.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on May 18, 2010, 10:03:37 PM
LOL, funny how that happens. :)

Interestingly, the Wii kinda changed things. I end up holding the wand with my left hand, which means my right hand is relegated to the movement analog stick on the nunchuck. Felt a bit weird, but got used to it fast.

So wait, if the PS1 was your first dpad experience, I assume you just missed out on the entire Nintendo era? How British. :)

Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 19, 2010, 07:01:28 PM
So wait, if the PS1 was your first dpad experience, I assume you just missed out on the entire Nintendo era? How British. :)
From what I remember Sega were a lot bigger here.  I knew quite a few people with those consoles but none with Nintendo.

Up to the PS1 I was a strictly home computer man as were all my mates with Commodores, Atari's and Spectrum's before that and none of us would even have considered a console.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on May 21, 2010, 09:39:35 AM
I'm usually a cursor keys and left ctrl and alt guy myself.

Is there mouse support also ? ( although i use a trackball rather than a mouse )  as i prefer that to a joystick and prefer joystick over keys.

TMC



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 21, 2010, 05:16:18 PM
Is there mouse support also ? ( although i use a trackball rather than a mouse )  as i prefer that to a joystick and prefer joystick over keys.
Yeah there will be mouse support.  I wasn't originally going to include it for the first playtest for some reason although I can't remember why now  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on May 22, 2010, 09:51:04 AM
Cool :)

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 22, 2010, 11:11:19 AM
To do before playtest:

- add the 24 already created voice samples
- add mouse & keyboard controls
- generate "powerup saucer" whenever score multiplier increases
- add some extra levels as the current 10 are a bit too short for proper testing purposes

And that's it.  Still plenty of other stuff that needs to be done (mostly cosmetic) before a final release, but the above should make for a fully playable playtest experience so I can get some proper feedback.  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on May 22, 2010, 11:19:23 AM
now thats cool :) just brightened up my day too.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on May 23, 2010, 03:56:07 PM
Oooh voice samples?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 23, 2010, 09:35:05 PM
Oooh voice samples?
Strictly speaking (wahey a pun) they are old school speech synthesis rather than samples.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on May 24, 2010, 06:32:34 AM
Oooh voice samples?
Strictly speaking (wahey a pun) they are old school speech synthesis rather than samples.
Oh even better.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Prime_8 on May 24, 2010, 10:06:56 AM
I used one of them text to speach things and ran them through  my sony sound app  & audacity  to make teh sound mor olg game computer like. seems ironic .

but it was fun .

:: post 1000


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 24, 2010, 06:26:10 PM
Oooh voice samples?
Strictly speaking (wahey a pun) they are old school speech synthesis rather than samples.
Oh even better.

I've a feeling I may have to replace some of them as I'm not sure how clear they will be in game.  However much I like the authenticity of them being a bit crap and hard to understand,  I think I can still get that old-school speech sound without the need for subtitles :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 28, 2010, 05:43:28 PM
Long bank holiday weekend coming up so let us see if we can't make some progress.

One of the good things about having the iPad now is that I'm going to remove my Internet browsers, email and any other unnecessary stuff from the dev PC so when I'm on there I have no distractions. I have less dev time than ever right now so I want to be using it as constructively as possible :)

Looking at my to-do list from a few posts back I should get all those done this long weekend. Then I can finally get some feedback and see if I have something worth polishing into a finished game or a steaming turd  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on May 29, 2010, 09:43:11 AM
I'm betting you've got a good game there.

And i'm looking forward to playing it.

The only thing that concerns me, is the graphics.  Being very lo res and retro.

But, i'll reserve judgement until i play it.  As i've really only seen one or two screenshots.

We all know gameplay rules over graphics.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on May 29, 2010, 05:29:05 PM
yeah I'm not sure about the graphics myself.  I really like them, but they might not go down well with someone that can't relate to the very retro look of them.  That's why I was thinking of offering an alternative option.

I really want to avoid that neon look this time but I must admit it would be easier to just slap some in there :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 01, 2010, 11:09:31 AM
I should have guessed that just dropping in the voice samples wouldn't be as simple as I thought.  I already had sound fx playing for some events that I was adding the voice samples for and playing the two together is a horrible incomprehensible mess with all the other background fx and music playing too.

So I need to decide where playing only a sound fx or voice sample is most appropriate or whether I need to mix the two into a single sound fx and balance the volumes of each part better.

Now I just need to work on balancing the existing levels a bit so as to give a better feeling for the game during playtesting.  There's a certain way I want the game to be played (strategy wise) so I'm trying to design the enemy attack waves and powerup usage in that direction so it feels natural for the player to play that way.

What I definitely don't want to do is add extra rules and elements that force the player to play as I want.  If the player wants to play as a straight Invaders/Galaxian style game and not worry about powerup usage then they should be able to but anyone wanting to manage their powerups cleverly should find enough depth to keep it interesting.

That's the theory....


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 01, 2010, 10:16:38 PM
Well I stumbled across one of the Zoo Trial triggers for Echoes+ still in the 1982 code.  (The Zoot triggers are one of the few bits of game specific code in my engine because they obviously have to be different for every game.)

Anyway while checking there weren't any more I got sidetracked and ended up putting in the data for the proper 1982 Zoots. So there are a total of 20 and I just need to tweak the target values to set realistic targets now.  I might do that before playtesting or I might wait until I get some feedback first.

Oh what fun I had naming them all  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 02, 2010, 10:04:19 AM
On the graphics front.

I was wondering, that you seem to have a nice regular disposable income, always seem to be buying gadgets and games ect, and i thought to myself, that money could also be used to purchase media for your games.

I'm thinking specifically 3d model collections which could be used to render out high quality 2d images and animations.

www.3drt.com (http://www.3drt.com) has some awsome collections, as does tubosquid.

It's a new direction you could take.  From the very simple ( retro and neon styles ) to the high quality bitmap styles.

If i had the money spare it's definately an area i would look at.

Just an idea anyway.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 02, 2010, 05:57:58 PM
Some amazing stuff on that link :)

I've considered using models in some form in the past but I like abstract stuff so I'd probably do that myself ( I model a lot at work so actually creating what I would need isn't a problem.

For all my moaning and indecisiveness with regards to graphics I really enjoy doing them myself now...even if the quality can sometimes be suspect.   :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 02, 2010, 08:43:19 PM
I will agree, making the graphics is a massively fun part of the game making process, from Pixel Art to whatever, its all fun to me tbh ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 03, 2010, 07:29:40 PM
After trying out the other spritesheets of alternative graphical styles I had prepared I've come to the conclusion of sod it.  I like the original look, it suits the game best IMO and that's the end of it.  :)

I'm sure you're all as pleased to hear the end of that debate as I am ;)

Meanwhile I'm swinging towards using just a player lives system instead of a more forgiving energy system the more I play. I was contemplating including both depending on what difficulty the game is played at, but the difference between them is so vast (*) that gameplay balancing for both would be tricky and I'm worried it would end up spoiling both modes.

For playtesting I think I'll leave things as they are with the energy only system and get some feedback before ripping things apart as changing to a Life based system will mean a lot of changes (not time wise, just small tweaks to a hundred or so scripts to alter enemy speed, firing rate etc)

(*) You're effectively talking 3 hits for game over compared with maybe 50!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 03, 2010, 09:39:09 PM
And another gameplay tweak tonight....

  • One of the powerups temporarily freezes any on screen enemy.
  • This was then modified to also destroy any enemy bullets as freezing them could trap the player in a very tricky position.
  • This was further tweaked to delay any new enemies from coming on screen for 5 seconds.
  • And finally I've also silenced any on screen enemies caught in the blast so they can no longer fire at the player.

So one powerup actually does 4 separate things behind the scenes although the player might not realise it at the time.  :)

In 1982 each powerup has 2 uses and the other for this is to give the player a shield for 10 seconds.  The two uses have to have fairly balanced otherwise the player will always use the same one and the whole multi-use thing becomes a bit pointless.  Anyway this feels right now.   :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 03, 2010, 10:01:32 PM
Sounds like they are all changes for the better tbh, simplifyin stuff and keeping it pure to the idea is what i'm aiming to do and for this game especially its working a treat. Can't wait to play it... on PC since my XBCG thing has ran out :(


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 04, 2010, 10:00:38 AM
Well, as long as you're creating a game that you enjoying playing you know you're on the right track.

It seems to me you're game engine is in a pretty complete state.

And i would love to see some high quality graphics used with it.  3d model renders as 2d sprites for future projects.

You could make real killer looking games with your engine now.

But, thats just my opinion.   :)

Keep doing what you're doing if you enjoy it.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 04, 2010, 06:48:50 PM
Yup definitely enjoying it  :)

And yet another minor tweak...

The Galaxian style enemies....well not that Galaxian TBH but you get the idea...anyway they fly in loops or SIN curves so it was possible for them to fly past the player and loop around and hit you from behind. Now you can see behind you a bit but getting rammed from behind isn't fun (obligatory  :o smilie) so when they now get level with the player I've added some extra code to make their flight paths straighten up ensuring no rear ramming occurs.

It's the little thing.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 04, 2010, 07:04:54 PM
Thats a good idea, though the flight path may look unnatural, hence unpredictable from a players standpoint. Still saying that, i'm glad i won't get owned unexpectedly ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: prince caro 19 on June 04, 2010, 08:22:48 PM
Meanwhile I'm swinging towards using just a player lives system instead of a more forgiving energy system the more I play.
although I personally love the energy system, if you are aiming for the 1980's experience, then I suppose that actually would be best.
but hey, if you ever make a '1992' then you can use an energy system.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 04, 2010, 08:25:34 PM
Meanwhile I'm swinging towards using just a player lives system instead of a more forgiving energy system the more I play.
although I personally love the energy system, if you are aiming for the 1980's experience, then I suppose that actually would be best.
but hey, if you ever make a '1992' then you can use an energy system.
I've already thought about doing that lol :)

Thats a good idea, though the flight path may look unnatural, hence unpredictable from a players standpoint.
I can hear your game designers mind at work there...

It's ok though it looks perfectly natural as I make their flight paths curve to go down the screen rather than going straight immediately. It's in the details :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 09, 2010, 11:11:23 PM
A couple of enemy tweaks.  I created an all knew one too but it didn't quite work in game the way it did in my head so I'll be removing it. 

A bit like Echoes+ I've discovered that any enemy that doesn't display simple, relatively dumb behaviour, just doesn't fit in with the style of gameplay.  I guess that was true in 1982 too. :)

And finally I've ripped out my old level definition code, simplified things and made the whole level creation process quicker and more consistent.

The previous system was built before I had a final idea of how the game would be structured and required more input than entirely necessary (one of the few drawbacks of making shit up as you go along  :P ) 

So in the old system to create an attack wave I had to define Enemy Type, Quantity and the Time Gap before the next wave.  All a bit silly really as the Quantity and Time Gap can be standardised so they are always the same for a given enemy type.  Now a level is a simple list of enemy types and nothing more as it should have been.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 10, 2010, 09:46:56 AM
Cool.

Glad to see your still plugging away.

I used a system for my shooter that uses sprite size as the defining attribute for it's wait time ( gap ) before it gets released onto the screen.
So my snakes of enemies don't appear on top of each other.
It's quite easy in Blitzmax, as it has a 'get sprite size' in built function.
Alot easier than manually defining the attributes for each attack wave.

Are you still planning on implementing any background graphics ?

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 10, 2010, 03:22:04 PM
That sounds like a great way to do things Fog :) if it means its easier to work with and more efficient then it sounds like a good step forward.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 10, 2010, 06:37:42 PM
Are you still planning on implementing any background graphics ?
Possibly probably maybe I'm not sure.  I still have the parallax mountains in mentioned some time back however they wont stay as they look terrible....or more accurately just wrong in this game.

Not sure what will replace them if anything.  That's a cosmetic thing though so can wait :)


Meanwhile while building levels I've come to the realisation I need more shooting enemies.  Later levels will just be too easy without them.  And the 5 or 6 shooting enemy types I have don't give me enough options to get some variety into the levels where I need a lot of them.

Time to bang my head against the desk until I've designed some new shooting enemies then...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 10, 2010, 08:13:44 PM
Maybe design like V2's of already made enemies and allow them to shoot with more varied patterns? like a spread shot or homing bullets and stuff?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 10, 2010, 08:45:12 PM
Maybe design like V2's of already made enemies and allow them to shoot with more varied patterns? like a spread shot or homing bullets and stuff?
Possibly.  My first fix will be to convert some of my existing non firing enemies.  I have a stack of those, more than I really need, so giving a few more weapons seems logical.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 13, 2010, 09:09:38 PM
So I'm trying to get a bit more variety into the enemy attack waves in 1982 so that the whole thing doesn't look too samey as you progress.

So far my solution to this is to  keep designing more enemy types, but there does come a point where you can't just keep adding more and more types as you run out of ideas that fit with the game style.  And as my game style is intentionally simple that does kind of limit what enemies are appropriate.

Then you have one of those blindingly obvious ideas that every one else would spot immediately but you don't because you've got so wrapped up in the project you don't see it. (Please tell me I'm not the only one that has these moments :P)

I'm just trying to add a bit of visual variety so a load of new enemy types are unnecessary, all I really need to do is present the existing enemies in different formations.  Yeah, it really is that bloody obvious.



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 14, 2010, 09:58:45 AM
Thats the trouble with being a lone developer.

Quite often it's hard to see the blindingly obvious.

As one example.

I remember firing up my Auto Cross Racing for my nephew to try.  He was about 7-8 at the time.

After crashing his way through the first few corners, he managed to crash through the barriers and break the game.

And this was after like, several months of playtesting by myself, thinking the game was in a complete finished state.

I just sat there, dumb founded and a bit embarrassed that i had missed something so obvious.

And having a forum for feedback is invaluable for lone developers.

Also remember, that some of the greatest games of all time, havn't had that much variety.

Space Invaders, Pacman, Defender ect.  In fact, looking back at most of the early genre creating games, variety wasn't really the issue at all.
It's only as hardware advanced and graphics improved that gamers and developers started demanding and creating more advanced games which allowed for alot of variety.

And since 1982 is Retro, i don't think that variety is too much of an issue either.

If the core gameplay is fun then keeping in with the retro theme, i don't see variety as a major issue.

But then, i havn't played the game and seen very little of it.  So, you are ther best judge.   ;D

And i've always wondered why you are reluctant to show your work throughout all stages of development.  For feedback.
Myself and Prime are always showing stuff, and no doubt filling up your server space with copious screenshots.  For feedback.
I'm sure showing work, no matter how early, saves alot of future issues that might arise.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 14, 2010, 06:44:18 PM
I remember firing up my Auto Cross Racing for my nephew to try.  He was about 7-8 at the time.

After crashing his way through the first few corners, he managed to crash through the barriers and break the game.
My niece has played quite a bit of 1982 and enjoyed it although she does seem to take a worrying amount of pleasure from shooting the enemy saucers to free the human they had abducted...and the purposefully killing the human in a shower of blood.  :P


And i've always wondered why you are reluctant to show your work throughout all stages of development.  For feedback.
Myself and Prime are always showing stuff, and no doubt filling up your server space with copious screenshots.  For feedback.
I'm sure showing work, no matter how early, saves alot of future issues that might arise.
No real reason.  This forum thread was only ever meant to be temporary until I updated the main website to incorporate a proper blog which I'll do when 1982 is finished. And once that is up and running I'll have regular screenies and videos of my next project.

There was a screenie posted on the Playtest board about 6 months ago and it doesn't look a whole lot different to that so you haven't missed anything :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 15, 2010, 05:08:07 PM
Current stat count is 32 different enemy types and 49 different attack wave formations/designs.  Although of the 32 different enemy types the only difference between some of them is that some fire, some don't and some move twice as fast as others.

Either way that's more than enough variety for an old school shmup.

I just need to test all the newly coded attack waves to make sure they aren't bugged and then I can start building some proper levels to replace the current ones that were only for testing purposes.

And now that I have a load more of those attack waves to play with that should make designing those levels a lot more enjoyable.  Trying to design progressively hard levels with only a handful of options was proving a touch difficult.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: Prime_8 on June 16, 2010, 06:57:28 AM
Then you have one of those blindingly obvious ideas that every one else would spot immediately but you don't because you've got so wrapped up in the project you don't see it. (Please tell me I'm not the only one that has these moments :P)

LOL all the time , all the freaking time. thats why i'm glad at work i have to get up and walk a round every hour .
but you know ih have the best solutions when i'm in no place to code them or note them down .
LOL go figure that , the sad notion that by the time you reach your destination you may have lost the simplistic core of your solution .. LOL


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 17, 2010, 02:11:01 PM
Its sounding very promising! Have fun designing levels.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 17, 2010, 06:01:54 PM
Its sounding very promising! Have fun designing levels.
I'll try :)  As I've said before it's one of my pet hates and that's why I'm always looking for methods of avoiding doing it altogether.  Echoes+ being a good example of that :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 19, 2010, 07:34:28 PM
Just testing those newly coded attack waves now.
 
Also playing a bit more than normal testing requires so I can see how the various waves can be combined to good effect and just how difficult they are so that I don't throw in too many difficulty peaks.

Added to that I can also define which of the 4 powerup types are spawned on each level so I need to decide which powerup is most appropriate for dealing with each attack wave.  Certainly in the early levels anyway where I want to help the player discover what each powerup does and how best to use it (because we all know they wont be reading the instructions :) ).  In later levels I'll probably just spawn all 4 powerup types and let the player decide how best to use them.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 20, 2010, 09:57:49 PM
Adding enemies that fire directly at the player has certainly spiced things up a bit although forgetting to add a delay between shots so they all fired 60x a second didn't do much for the difficulty  :P  Looked cool though!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 24, 2010, 12:38:20 PM
I did a chunk of re-factoring / rearranging/ or in plain English "putting stuff right" last night.

When I started on my game "engine" I had my different object types separated (fx particles, bullets, enemies etc) so consequently I had a lot of little functions they needed also in separate classes so they could all access them.  As things have developed though I now have all game objects in a single class/list so it doesn't really make sense to have all this other stuff in a different class anymore consequently I've moved it into the game object class itself.  Much tidier and easier to read.  :bunnymonkey:

I also added a little mod to the enemies that fire directly at the player.  As they move down the screen their bullets get harder to avoid, not just because you have less time to react, but because of the angle they come at.  If you imagine an extreme case where the enemy is level with the ground and therefore the player, when it fires at the player the bullet will travel horizontally and as the player can only move horizontally the bullet is impossible to avoid.  Anyway a quick tweak was added to ensure they no longer fire at all when they get below a certain height.  Sorted.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 24, 2010, 04:42:23 PM
Thats a much needed change, i don't want to get scuppered by a devious AI :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 25, 2010, 07:14:56 PM
Thats a much needed change, i don't want to get scuppered by a devious AI :)
I nearly missed it completely TBH.  I've done quite a bit of testing with those enemies and the problem situation never occurred.  It was only when I upped the number of enemies in the formation and it became a harder to kill them all before they got right down the screen that I saw the problem.


And now, to attempt to further simplify the level creation process, I've changed the way difficulty effects things.  Now it essentially controls the quantity of enemies so, providing I've got the balancing right, I just tell it what type of attack wave should be created next and the difficulty influences exactly what makes up that wave.

For example say I call for a wave of "Invaders" then on Easy difficulty you get 1 row of enemies, whereas on hard you get 3 rows.

It's not quite as basic as that and there's a bit more maths than simply scaling all the enemy quantities up as in that example.  In some waves the difficulty will influence the type of enemies in the waves too.

All that's really important though is that the difficulty side of things should now be handles automatically meaning even less level design work for me.  At this rate they'll be creating themselves.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 28, 2010, 09:43:36 AM
Sounds cool.

Procedural generation in games does save an awful lot of work.

And it's getting more widespread now.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 28, 2010, 12:18:11 PM
Not really the easiest stuff to do but it sure is useful :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 28, 2010, 04:47:41 PM
Sounds cool.

Procedural generation in games does save an awful lot of work.

And it's getting more widespread now.
Yeah it is.  It's something you seem to know quite a bit more about than me Masked so have you thought about procedural generation of the levels in your current shmup?  I'd think the routes of the tunnels would be relatively straight forward and perfect for Procedural Generation, although generation of the attack waves might prove a bit trickier.

Another thing that's becoming increasingly popular in commercial games is User Generated Content and as I've mentioned before that's something I'd like to exploit at some time.  If I do my Bangai O Spirits inspired shmup next then I'll throw the level designer open for everyone to use.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 28, 2010, 05:42:05 PM
Quote
Yeah it is.  It's something you seem to know quite a bit more about than me Masked so have you thought about procedural generation of the levels in your current shmup?  I'd think the routes of the tunnels would be relatively straight forward and perfect for Procedural Generation, although generation of the attack waves might prove a bit trickier.

I havn't really given it much thought to be honest with you.

It does open up the possibilities of an infinate number of levels though.

In fact, it throws up all sorts of possibilities.

I'll have to give it some serious thought.  As going down the procedural route changes the game quite alot from what i currently have planned.


Quote
Another thing that's becoming increasingly popular in commercial games is User Generated Content and as I've mentioned before that's something I'd like to exploit at some time.  If I do my Bangai O Spirits inspired shmup next then I'll throw the level designer open for everyone to use.

Yeh, i know.  It's almost expected nowadays.

Just look at the amazing success of Little Big Planet to see what a huge impact it can have.

I know that most people who play games, certainly my games, always have suggestions for changes they would like to see.

Unfortunately, most people don't understand whats involved in creating games.  it's one thing to have great ideas, it's entirely another to put them into practice.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 28, 2010, 06:00:04 PM
Now you've confused me.  I thought you only had net access in the mornings :)

I havn't really given it much thought to be honest with you.

It does open up the possibilities of an infinate number of levels though.

In fact, it throws up all sorts of possibilities.

I'll have to give it some serious thought.  As going down the procedural route changes the game quite alot from what i currently have planned.
Yeah it would certainly change things.  I know you planned on having a load of levels so maybe you could use Procedural Generation just to help out?  Maybe generate the maps using PG and then manually populate them with enemies? 

You could get it to generate many more maps than you really need and then just discard the ones you don't like?

Like you say, possibilities. :)


I know that most people who play games, certainly my games, always have suggestions for changes they would like to see.

Unfortunately, most people don't understand whats involved in creating games.  it's one thing to have great ideas, it's entirely another to put them into practice.
Very true.  And sometimes very unfortunate for those of us that do make games as everyone seems to think they know how to do it better.

I'll stop there :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on June 28, 2010, 08:17:55 PM
Very true indeed. People always get conused when i say "making a game is both easier and harder then you think". Thats my point though, someone may have a great idea but doing it is another thing. Still you've got to value feedback anyway, because if everyone reccommends a fix or an idea then its what people want which makes targetting easier since your audience are dangling clues. Which is why i'm concentrating so hard now on getting builds out there!


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on June 29, 2010, 06:38:03 AM
Quote
Now you've confused me.  I thought you only had net access in the mornings

Haha.

Very observant.   ;D

I bought myself mobile broadband on a usb stick yesterday so i can use internet at home now.  Just plug in the usb stick and away you go.  And it only cost 25.

The connection is pretty good where i am, being in the town centre and in fact it looks to be faster than the library computers i was using.   :P

I'm on a pay as you go package, ie, i'm limited to 3gb bandwidth a month and i can top up whenever i want.  So it seems to be quite a nice cheap solution for me at the moment.


Quote
Yeah it would certainly change things.  I know you planned on having a load of levels so maybe you could use Procedural Generation just to help out?  Maybe generate the maps using PG and then manually populate them with enemies? 

You could get it to generate many more maps than you really need and then just discard the ones you don't like?

Like you say, possibilities


Yeh, i think for my game, that would probably be the best use of Procedural Generation.   :)

It's a bit of a trade off between, how much coding time it would take to get the algorithms working correctly against the time it would take to design the levels manually in the first place.

I did try generating my attack wave splines through algorithms but i couldn't get the curves i was after, so in the end i decided to manually create them.  Which produced far better results.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on June 29, 2010, 03:01:36 PM
Quote
Now you've confused me.  I thought you only had net access in the mornings

Haha.

Very observant.   ;D

I bought myself mobile broadband on a usb stick yesterday so i can use internet at home now.  Just plug in the usb stick and away you go.  And it only cost 25.

The connection is pretty good where i am, being in the town centre and in fact it looks to be faster than the library computers i was using.   :P

I'm on a pay as you go package, ie, i'm limited to 3gb bandwidth a month and i can top up whenever i want.  So it seems to be quite a nice cheap solution for me at the moment.
Ah cool.  Hopefully having the internet at home doesn't prove too much of a distraction :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 03, 2010, 05:17:16 PM
I'm not a fan of Bosses in games, think they are a bit crap TBH, but I'm thinking I need something in 1982 that works in the same way as a Boss does.  Something that clearly signposts the end of a section.

Right now I'm thinking I'll just have some unique enemy formations that only show up at the end of a level.  And because they are formations just made up out of regular eneimes then you don't get the horrible difficulty spikes that normal Bosses would give you.

The only problem with more complicated formations is that it becomes a lot more difficult to tweak them so they are suitable for different difficulties.  I'll find a way around that though.

Now all I need to do is design those formations and drop them in at the end of the levels I've already designed.....and then we are done.  :bunnymonkey:


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 03, 2010, 05:39:41 PM
Awesome :) I think thats the best way to go, bosses are a bit cliche' and half the fun is fring a million bullets into a million enemies :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 04, 2010, 05:02:53 PM
Settled on just 3 different end of level enemy formations for now, one for each of the 3 difficulties, with the quantity of enemies in each increasing with each completed level.

As mentioned earlier I don't want these to be difficult to defeat, more of a signpost that a level is complete, so this simple method of creating them should be sufficient.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 08, 2010, 10:12:49 AM
This is why I hate designing a game with loads of enemies on screen and then having to script the sequence of all the enemy attack waves....

For a game like 1982 I'd say a play-through should last at least 20 mins (*).  Due to the nature of the game I need a new attack wave on average every second.  That means I need to script 1200 waves.  And then tweak and balance them for difficulty.  Grrrrr  :P


(*) Due to the way the levels loop around the game doesn't actually end after 20 mins.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on July 09, 2010, 09:08:51 AM
Quote
This is why I hate designing a game with loads of enemies on screen and then having to script the sequence of all the enemy attack waves....

Sounds like Duo has scarred you for life.   ::)

You seem to be making good progress though.   :D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 09, 2010, 11:06:46 PM
Quote
This is why I hate designing a game with loads of enemies on screen and then having to script the sequence of all the enemy attack waves....

Sounds like Duo has scarred you for life.   ::)
lol. yeah.  Totally my own fault for having 100 levels and coding the enemy attack waves in the ridiculous way I did mind :)



I'm thinking of dumping levels from 1982 altogether as they serve absolutely no purpose.  There is no gap between them because I don't want to break up the action so in this case what purpose does having levels actually serve?

Maybe just so players can brag about getting to level x ?  I might just put a wave counter on screen instead for bragging rights.

Because of the way things are structure if I do remove levels then it makes absolutely no difference to what I've already done.  It's literally a 2 minute change.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on July 09, 2010, 11:36:54 PM
You can actually have it both ways: procedurally create the levels, and have a level/wave counter too.

Think about how Geomex works. There's a level number, and that influences the board filling algorithm. For Geomex, the level number determined how complex the shapes were, and the colour range. For 1982, it could influence the enemy type, wave type, and the number of enemy waves on screen at once. Thus you'd be getting levels that feel fairly consistent, but are random enough to keep the player on their toes.

And then every 10 or so waves, have a "set piece" boss battle, that you can script by hand.

That would be a great balance between procedural and hand-written.

Cheers,
Mo


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 10, 2010, 10:49:47 AM
Think about how Geomex works. There's a level number, and that influences the board filling algorithm. For Geomex, the level number determined how complex the shapes were, and the colour range. For 1982, it could influence the enemy type, wave type, and the number of enemy waves on screen at once. Thus you'd be getting levels that feel fairly consistent, but are random enough to keep the player on their toes.
Yeah mate that's essentially what I do in Echoes and how the attack waves in 1982 were generated during early testing.

A lot of the time it worked ok, but at others the combination of on screen enemies just didn't work properly. And because of the number of different waves it soon becomes a minefield of logic tests if you try and filter out combinations you don't want.

Also I want a bit more control over early stages so I can introduce the enemies and powerups in a more controlled way.


That would be a great balance between procedural and hand-written.
I might still end up with that combination and procedurally generate the later stages.  By then there will be so many enemies on screen that it's not worth worrying about how they are combined :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 10, 2010, 01:43:27 PM
Sounds like a good change, if something is added but doesn't add to gameplay, remove t ;)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 11, 2010, 12:56:21 PM
The level structure has now gone.  As I said earlier, gameplay wise it makes very little difference as there was never a gap between them anyway.

Just need to tweak a few of the Zoo Trials now as they refered to doing certain things by certain levels which will now have to say "...before wave 1000" etc.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: SiN on July 11, 2010, 04:40:53 PM
Just need to tweak a few of the Zoo Trials now as they refered to doing certain things by certain levels which will now have to say "...before wave 1000" etc.
Awesome! :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 12, 2010, 05:19:49 PM
Just need to tweak a few of the Zoo Trials now as they refered to doing certain things by certain levels which will now have to say "...before wave 1000" etc.
Awesome! :)
lol.  I guess "wave 1000" does sound more impressive than "level 9" :)


Anyway if I do my Bangai-O Spirits inspired shmup next then the level creation system will effectively be a map editor making things much easier and I'll be hoping Playtesters might chip in with a few level designs too :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 12, 2010, 11:02:34 PM
You can count me in on that :)

I'm guessing by editor, its you click a location, define a time, say how many and what formation of an enemy and whether they shoot or not and print that to a text file? < thats the way mine will work :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 13, 2010, 12:14:24 PM
I'm guessing by editor, its you click a location, define a time, say how many and what formation of an enemy and whether they shoot or not and print that to a text file? < thats the way mine will work :)
Hopefully it will be even easier than that.  :)

There are no enemy formations to design or scripting for when enemies appear and the enemies themselves (movement, firing rate etc) will all be pre-designed.

If the gameplay works out the way I intend then all you will be doing in the level editor is designing the maps by placing tiles and enemies will handle themselves.  Keeping things as simple as possible is the aim.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 13, 2010, 05:22:07 PM
Simplicity is every users best friend :) Sounds like a great way to go.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 14, 2010, 08:50:16 PM
Simplicity is every users best friend :) Sounds like a great way to go.
Well as already mentioned it helps that the intended design doesn't require pre-defined enemy flight paths or scripting of enemy spawning etc which most similar games would require.

Getting way ahead of myself here though as I have no idea which idea I'll do for my next game.  I have a few ranging from "sensible, traditional shmup with a minor twist" right up to "it's so mental I know it will be unplayable but hell it looks nice".  :bunnymonkey:

I had intended doing a few quick "classics" but circumstances mean that as with 1982 they would take a lot longer than I'd like....and if that's the case then I might as well do something new and interesting which is what I prefer doing.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on July 18, 2010, 09:46:34 AM
Just sent you an IM Fog.

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 19, 2010, 02:06:34 PM
Now that's why you should never do a chunk of coding without testing it before going up to bed.  :)

Just wasted a chunk of time trying to find a bug in my file handling code which kept throwing an error when starting the game.  A bit of a mystery when I hadn't knowingly changed that code but that's where the error pointed to so that's where I was looking.

Of course the problem wasn't really there as not having changed anything logic tells you it wouldn't be.   No, instead it was because I'd reduced the number of available difficultie settings (by removing "Insane") however my file handling code was still trying to load and save data for that now non-existent highscore table.

Yeah stupid.  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 19, 2010, 03:00:20 PM
Good find, I would've (like an idiot) recoded it again :/ glad you fixed your bug :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 20, 2010, 05:36:08 PM
Good find, I would've (like an idiot) recoded it again :/ glad you fixed your bug :)
I don't know if you've started messing with file handling on the 360 yet, but trust me when I say I wouldn't want to recode it again.  It was a serious pain to get working properly.  :P


Still designing attack waves in 1982 here.  After writing a load and doing some serious testing I've come to the conclusion that I needn't worry about structuring things too much.

I was trying to keep things interesting and structured by doing stuff like.... "I'll introduce Galaxian type enemies here" ... "this bit will just be Asteroids and Comets" ... "in this section you will just get green powerups"... and while I'll stick to that to an extent, things are often so chaotic on screen that I doubt most people will notice many of the different sections.

I'm quite relieved at that as trying to think of interesting sections 1000 waves into the game is pretty tiresome when all of the enemies are pretty basic (intentionally so).  What I really need to do is concentrate on getting the increasing difficulty curve right and that's causing issues right now.  :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 22, 2010, 10:03:25 PM
Added a couple more enemy attack wave types so the current count is 43.  As I said earlier I doubt anyone will notice but at leat I'll feel better knowing that I've made an effort to inject some variety into them.

Now toying with the question of whether I should have a little tutorial at the beginning explaining the powerups and scoring system or whether I should just let people experiment for themselves.  Currently leaning towards the latter...and not just because it means less work.  :bunnymonkey:



Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: JDog053 on July 23, 2010, 02:14:53 PM
I'd also go with the latter, since everyone'll know how it works, but the fun is learning the strengths/weaknesses of the powerups.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 23, 2010, 10:21:58 PM
I'd also go with the latter, since everyone'll know how it works, but the fun is learning the strengths/weaknesses of the powerups.
Yeah and it's not exactly complicated as each powerup originally had 3 different uses and now they just have 2.  I reckon 1 instruction screen for the powerups and 1 for the scoring system should be enough......not that anyone ever reads them :)


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on July 25, 2010, 03:35:12 PM
Removing a bunch of options from the menu.  They were copied across from the standard game engine, but we don't need a whole load of options here.

So no Game Mode option as I've decided to have just a single mode, no graphics options etc. and I'll move the Instructions, Credits etc. options onto a single menu so the main menu is less cluttered.

In both looks and function that's more in line with old school gaming.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 01, 2010, 02:48:59 PM
And I'm back. :)  Only had net access when at work and this site is blocked from there  ::)

Also been without netbook too and therefore didn't have Visual Studio or my 1982 code to work on....so decided to work on some routines for a future project in good old Notepad.  It's surprising how much coding you can get done in Notepad when you can't compile to test it etc.

Anyway it was some Map code so I now have a semi-working routine for defining and drawing grid based maps.  Absolutely no collision detection or anything fancy yet, but quite pleasing progress even if I don't need it immediately.

Anyway back to testing 1982...


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 04, 2010, 06:13:11 PM
New enemy added.  Yeah I know I said I wouldn't be adding any more.   :P  Sometimes though ideas just come to you as you're playtesting and need to be done so I've added a snake type enemy that can only be killed by shooting the head.

It's actually quite handy to have a more difficult enemy type to add to the mix as most of the enemies aren't that hard and the later stages are proving to be a touch too easy without just lazily filling the screen with enemies to crank the difficulty up.

So just doing a bit of rearranging now to make the various sections of the game more noticeable.  Right now I'm aiming for a themed section bookended by more mixed sections so it goes something like:

  • Mix of enemies
  • Section with just fast moving enemies
  • Mix of enemies
  • Section with just Asteroids
  • Mix of enemies
  • Section with Invaders and just Red powerups
  • Mix of enemies

No section lasts for more then 20-30 seconds to try and keep things interesting.  You get the idea.


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 05, 2010, 05:43:00 AM
Welcome back.   :)

Yeh, judging difficulty is always tricky.

As you get better at playing the game, the easier it gets.

Sounds as though you're making good progress.   ;D

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: TheKhakinator on August 05, 2010, 06:34:15 AM
Sounding really interesting. Can't wait to see it.

Anyone know of any upcoming Creator's Club memberships?


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 05, 2010, 05:56:38 PM
Cheers chaps.  Due to other stuff it's been a frustratingly slow process so thanks for still taking an interest :)

Anyone know of any upcoming Creator's Club memberships?
Nothing right now.  IIRC Dream Build Play will kick off again near the end of the year ans there will be free CC access again then so I'd guess another 3 or 4 months.

If you just want to mess around yourself then don't forget you only need a CC membership for running your code on the 360.  You can run stuff on PC without one so you could be coding something now as it's identical code in anticipation of that free CC membership. 


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 08, 2010, 10:48:59 AM
Did my final gameplay tweak yesterday....well unless something major crops up in playtesting anyway.  :P

As mentioned some time ago I'd added some code so that Galaxian style enemies that normally fly in random curve patterns, instead turn to fly straight down the screen when they get close to the player.  (This prevents them from flying horizontally across the screen in such a way that they can't be shot or avoided by the player)

That works really well, unfortunately it also means I have little control over how many enemies are on screen.  Due to their random movement pattern I might have a string of 20 Galaxian enemies hanging around on screen for ages or simply flying straight off the bottom.  For enemies that shoot that obviously has a big impact on the difficulty.

So now enemies that shoot fly back up the screen when they get close to the ground rather than fly straight off the bottom.  Not all enemies though.  It's pointless having enemies that don't shoot fly back up the screen as they only actually pose a threat to the player when they reach ground level so they still fly down the screen.

Does any of that make any sense?  Probably not.  It works rather nicely though  :P


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: T_M_C on August 09, 2010, 05:54:12 AM
Sounds great so far.

Will i ever get to play it on PC ?

And do you plan on making a video of it ?

TMC


Title: Re: The Binary Zoo Bog
Post by: fog on August 09, 2010, 05:28:00 PM
Will i ever get to play it on PC ?
I was hoping you will be able to play test it at the same time as everyone else as the existing code works fine on both