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Author Topic: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods  (Read 2028 times)

djaydino

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2017, 09:03:04 AM »
Hi,
Wow, thats a pretty big and complete Devlog Very nice!!

If you are planning to add more, maybe you can 'reserve' some posts.

i can remove this post later if needed :)

krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2017, 09:10:14 AM »
No need, it should be an open topic for questions, ideas, opinions, whatever. That's all logs from conception to now, few months work, i'm working slowly because of the full-time job and family but slowly getting there. Next log will probably be about enemy design :)

krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2017, 04:09:19 AM »
Enemy design - not yet! Now something a bit different, how to avoid burnout, my experiences and advices.

7 ways to avoid burnout

600

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2017, 07:02:35 AM »
Very nice blog! And this topic is really important, but hard to manage. That feeling when you take the day off to feel good again, but you feel bad all day because you are skipping the work ;D never-ending cycle.

djaydino

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2017, 07:24:51 AM »
Code: [Select]
That feeling when you take the day off to feel good again, but you feel bad all day because you are skipping the work ;D never-ending cycle.
Oh yeah i know that feeling, but learned to discipline myself doing a certain minimum a day and using Trello  8)

krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2017, 01:22:36 PM »
Thanks for reading! I know the advices are more or less typical, but i feel people in this line of work need to be reminded of them often  ;D

While i'm at it, i'll be probably posting some workflow related stuff next devlog, using trello, asana, hacknplan and organizing workload :)

And yeah, that vicious circle of resting and feeling guilty about it can be quite horrible, especially when working on a loan like i am.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 01:25:45 PM by krmko »

miguelfanclub

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2017, 07:08:56 AM »
Dude. This is amazing.
Thanks for sharing and keep it up.


krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2017, 05:34:53 AM »
Thanks mate. I made a little break and started doing some art things, background etc, but i guess it's not that interesting to you, so i'll keep you posted when i get to playmaker related things again :)

krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2017, 11:36:01 PM »
Log 13: Spawning System Overhaul and overcoming the obstacle of enemy pattern making

The Grid

Wow, it's been a while, but things are moving forward slowly but surely!

I've been busy with lots of coding and programming enemies and i encountered some difficulties in proper positioning. On the image below you can find how the spawn points looked (5 spheres on each side) and how they look now (the red X signs)



Obviously, it offers much more in terms of positioning. More than a year ago, when i first started working on a spawn system i wasn't apt enough to make it the way i wanted to (grid system) so i had to be satisfied with only a few spawn points and additional repositioning upon instantiating. Needless to say, it adds much more work to simple spawning and positioning of those enemies.

By using this handy tool from the asset store (https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/20502) i created a grid made out of objects completely automatic. A fine tool indeed. After that, i simply added those to the hash table and now i can simply reference the object whose position i want the enemy to use as spawn point and voila. Besides using it to spawn enemies already in a pattern, i can use them to actually create random patterns on runtime by referencing a different object from the hash table upon predefined parameters to avoid completely random clutter. Not only that, a finer grid enables me to avoid spawning the enemies too close to each other or overlap. Since i'm using Core Game Kit for spawning, i'm waiting for the developers to implement the feature based on sphere raycasting, i.e. if there's an object of certain tag or layer (enemy) in a defined range, the system won't spawn any more to avoid the overlapping. It will work great with the system i made and described few devlogs earlies which is based on enemy pool values and enemy quantities.

Also, Easy Save 3 Beta will soon get a full release (i hope VERY SOON) which will enable IMPORTING variables from a .csv file. It will be of an immense help for tweaking the gameplay.

Enemy Pattern Making (Squadrons)

I must admit, though i am passionate about making a game, some things are quite tedious. I'm having problems with making enemy squadrons, and the way i make them is so boring and uninspiring it really halts my progress.

Before i was well into Unity engine limitations on nested prefabs (only one child per object, i.e. child cannot have it's own child as a prefab, only when instantiated on runtime due to way serialization works) i thought it was going to be a breeze, i just drag and drop enemies in a formation, put them under a parent prefab and voila! Except it doesn't work like that. All of my enemy prefabs typically have two children, Gunpoint and Thruster. Gunpoint hold the shooting logic and muzzle flash animation, while Thruster has the, well, thruster animation. It is on a separate object to avoid being colored with the rest of the enemy ship when it changes color on hit by a player weapon.

So i guess i'll keep my work and make an empty squadron prefab which will spawn and then spawn the enemies in a desired pattern coded into it. That's all nice and dandy until you actually start working that way. No more cosy drag and drop, just selecting what to spawn, input coordinates and hit play too see what you've done. If something's not positioned correctly (it usually isn't), reposition the enemy, copy the coordinates, stop, and paste them. Repeat 10 times for 10 enemy objects in a squadron, and i should have hundreds of them! Horrible! It goes something like this



So i decided to change my ways. I need to make a reverse approach. Instead of creating an enemy prefab with all the children attached, i'll attach the Gunpoint and Thruster on instantiation, which is only a two step process compared to setting the position of multiple enemies inside the squadron. This way, i have a clean enemy prefabs without children which i can joyfully drag and drop into positions i want and simply save them under a prefab which will be used for spawning.



Though it is a bit more work initially, it provides an immense saving of time later and makes it more visual, fun and intuitive to work with.

krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2017, 01:51:07 PM »
Wow, i find latest log neither insighful nor detailed as some of my previous blogs, but this one made it to gamedev.net featured blogs, woohoo!

https://www.gamedev.net/blogs/entry/2263785-spawning-system-overhaul-and-overcoming-the-obstacle-of-enemy-pattern-making/

krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2017, 05:49:07 AM »
Log 14: Weapon upgrade system designs and limitations

I’ve been contemplating on design of the weapon system and upgrades for a lot of time. I wanted the game to be based on skill but have a variety which would add to the replayability of the game at the same time. Here are the basic definitions i have decided on:

Game will contain about 30 weapons
Every weapon can be upgraded 4 times (levels 1-5)
Ship has two weapon slots available, you can freely switch between weapons in game
You can’t have same two weapons equipped
You eject the currently active weapon by picking up a new one that’s different
For example, you have Pulse Gun Level 1 equipped as active weapon and Biter Level 1 equipped as inactive. After blasting the enemy transport you come across Ripper and pick it up. Since you don’t have it equipped in any of slots, it will replace the active weapon and eject Pulse Gun Level 1. If you wanted to replace Biter, you could simply switch weapons to make Biter active and replace it by picking up Ripper. This will be a common occurence for adapting to the enemy types because of their vulnerability or resistance to certain type of damage (ballistic/explosive/energy/special against normal/armored/shielded types of enemies).

I could make things simpler in design and coding by simply omitting the part where the replaced weapon is ejected since there’s a small chance of picking it up by accident since it involves pressing a key while you hover over the weapon. However, two player mode requires that feature for the weapons to be interchangeable between players and that is a great way to improve cooperation, gameplay and combined firepower.

Due to some design limitations i had to make a hard choice that can affect the future gameplay on upgrading the equipped weapon and few solutions came to my mind.

1. You can only upgrade the weapon if you pick up the exact same weapon. That way, either equipped or not, the weapon in players possession is upgraded to the next level without any ejection which only happens when you are picking up a weapon you don’t have equipped on any of the slots. While challenging with high long-term impact on decision-making, you only have 6% chance of getting the same weapon from the transport which is slim to none and could severely hamper the player experience. If weapons had only one level the approach would be viable, but with total of 150 weapon levels it would only be frustrating.

2. Whenever you equip a weapon that is not equipped it is always at level 1, but when you upgrade any of the weapons on ship to level 2, the weapon you replace the level 2 weapon with will also be level 2. Basically, if we modify the first example a bit so the active weapon (Pulse Gun) is level 2 and inactive weapon (Biter) is level 1, when we pickup a Ripper instead of Pulse Gun it will automatically be upgraded to level 2. Opposite to first approach, it is less challenging and encourages experimentation, but it comes with a design problem which i’ll explain thoroughly.

When we picked up Biter it is upgraded to level 2 on the ship and Pulse Gun level 2 is ejected. This enables us to switch Biter to active weapon, pickup the level 2 Pulse Gun, eject the Biter, and then pick up the Biter again which will automatically be upgraded to level 2 now. While requiring a bit more speed to do it in a chaotic environment i would considering it cheating since you’re upgrading both weapons that way and that is certainly not something i plan to implement. As i noted in the introduction, i could simply disable the weapon previously equipped to be ejected, but that beats the idea of switching weapons between players which i find to be a great gameplay feature of a co-op mode.

Maybe i’ll disable the feature of ejecting only for single player mode for now.

3. Make weapons upgradeable only by picking up the same weapon as equipped, but increase the chance of spawning a weapon you already have

The maths on this one are simple, though a bit tedious to code. You have 25% of transport spawning active weapon, 25% of spawning inactive weapon and 50% chance of spawning a new weapon. This comes with a different kind of trade-of. Though 25% is a lot it may happen that you rarely run into a weapon you want to upgrade. On the other hand, you may always run into a weapon you already maxed out. This discourages experimentation since you will always want to hold on to your maxed out weapons, no matter how good or bad they are. There are no bad weapons per se, but holding on to weapons of the same type greatly decreases success.

4. Weapon upgrade pickups

Though not originally meant to be implemented, this could pose a good solution combined with approach 1 or 2. It is simply a kind of a joker card which levels up your active weapon without worrying if it’s the same one. If you pick it up, the active weapon gets upgraded and you just keep on blasting.

Which solution would YOU like to see implemented?

krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2017, 02:32:07 AM »
Just a quick update. Things are slowly starting to take shape. I'm a bit tired from coding, and lots of stuff is already done, so i'm starting to play around with graphics and lights, lookin' good so far.




« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 05:24:58 AM by krmko »

TheDogCatcher

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2017, 02:18:02 PM »
I saw the thread you posted on the Shmups.com forums but hadn't realised you were using playmaker, very impressive indeed.

In some ways it makes me feel a little inadequate, my own project is far more simplistic and yet I still struggle with it at times.  :-[

krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2017, 10:28:20 AM »
Oh you can't imagine the struggles i'm having, i feel like crying every day, so keep at it!

krmko

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Re: Rick Henderson And The Artifact Of Gods
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2017, 12:03:55 PM »
I've been working hard on a scoring system, so here's a new devlog on that!

One of the most important aspects in a shoot 'em up is certainly score. Being somewhat a niche of a genre, it has a clear competitive edge among its players. It certainly lacks fulfillment in terms of engaging story, but the adrenaline rush in combination with the goal of attaining higher and higher scores or even being on the top of the leaderboard is something really hard to beat and is specific to the genre.

With that in mind, a good shmup scoring system has to be easy to understand and engaging at the same time. While it sounds simple, it can be quite hard to achieve a good "funness" factor while keeping it engaging and skill related.

For Rick Henderson and the Artifact of Gods, i dissected a ton of old and new shoot 'em ups in the search for the perfect scoring system i like. One of my all time favorites is certainly Galaga Deluxe (or Warblade for PC folks) for Amiga 500 from late Mr. Edgar M. Vigdal. Besides coins used for shop purchases (which this game won't be using until singeplayer mode is done), in Galaga you can collect gems too. Those little cuties come in different shapes and colors and each one yields a different amount of points. While not groundbreaking, it adds another layer of depth to the game besides dodging as some gems are really worth running for through a rain of bullets. Naturally, tougher enemies have higher percentage of dropping rarer gems that yield higher score addition.



Another form of bonuses that can be picked up are medals. Far from my knowledge, medaling is prominent in shoot 'em ups. The concept is easy: you pick up differently colored medals, when you have the whole set, you get awarded a rank at the end of the level and the medal collection is resetted when you start the next level. You guessed it, ranks are just another name for total bonus multiplier at the end of the game.



There is a total of 9 ranks you can attain (the first being the multiplier of 1, which is your default rank):

Recruit
Private
Corporal
Sergeant
Lieutenant
Captain
Major
Colonel
Marshal
Commander

Complete randomness in spawning those can be infuriating for players with higher skill cap, but i find it refreshing to have a bit of a variety and a possibility for the medals already collected to appear again. Below you can find a weight distribution chart for the medals. When none are collected, the chance for any to spawn is equal. However, as the number of collected medals increases, the chance for already collected medals to appear diminish by 1/5 (or 20% if you like it that way). I haven't done the exact maths, but the chance for already collected medals to appear is not that large. Of course, for collecting already collected medals, you get a nice, juicy score bonus, so they are worth catching too!



Multi kill bonuses! We all played Unreal Tournament 2004 back in the day. It had a nice feature of multikills which i use in my game in a bit different form. For those who haven't played it, you get multikill for killing two enemies in a row without dying. As your kill count progresses (again, without dying) you get megakill, ultra kill and so on. In Rick Henderson and the Artifact of Gods it functions based on time between two kills. When you kill an enemy, an invisible timer starts counting down. If you manage to kill another enemy until the counter hits 0, you get double kill and the timer resets. If you manage to get another one until timer counts down, you get a multi kill, all the way to monster kill. Of course, every additional kill is awared with more and more points. This is usually possible with area of effect weapons (explosive ones) and weapons like Railgun, which can go through multiple enemies, encouraging player to invest more skill in the game.

Grazing bonus is usually omnipresent in bullet hells, a hardcore subgenre of shmups. It encourages the player to "graze" bullets, ie. pass very close to them without getting hit.

Design itself was a bit harder to implement since it involves tracking multiple bullets at a time getting into the graze range and checking whether they hit the player or not.

While not neccessary for the gameplay since i don't want it to be bullet hell, it's one of those things setting apart rookies from hardcore players that want to get the most out the game.

And finally, the good old bonus multiplier which adds up with every destroyed enemy, gets lowered when you get hit, and reset at every waves end. It goes well in combination with grazing bonus, making you get closer to the bullets but not get hit. It also serves as a kind of damage control system. Since i gave up on the idea of having a 0-100 healh bar and chose a 10 life bar instead, hits from tougher enemies take more of your bonus multiplier down.

I believe the score mechanics are very easy to understand and will add up much to the investment of the player and the adrenaline pumping of the true genre players.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2017, 12:13:02 PM by krmko »