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fog
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« Reply #510 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?  Tongue

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!
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fog
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« Reply #511 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.
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fog
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« Reply #512 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?  Smiley

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.
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fog
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« Reply #513 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!
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T_M_C
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« Reply #514 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
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fog
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« Reply #515 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 Smiley
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fog
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« Reply #516 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  Tongue

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!
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fog
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« Reply #517 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 Smiley

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!
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JDog053
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« Reply #518 on: May 12, 2009, 05:21:45 PM »

I'm really looking forward to this Fog! Its sounding brilliant.
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fog
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« Reply #519 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 Smiley
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JDog053
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« Reply #520 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 Smiley

Couldn't have put it better myself Cheesy
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fog
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« Reply #521 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.  Tongue


Phew  Duck!

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T_M_C
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« Reply #522 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

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fog
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« Reply #523 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  Smiley
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fog
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« Reply #524 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!
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