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TheWinslow's Game Project


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#1 TheWinslow

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:59 PM

So, I figure that if I start talking about the game I am making during streams, I might as well start a thread similar to Belannaer's to start showing what I am doing. So here is what I have gotten together in the past couple weeks!

 

I'm working on a 2D top down shooter. I've decided to start off using Gamemaker (the same engine used to make Hotline Miami, Spelunky, and Risk of Rain). I'm trying to focus on a genre that doesn't really get much love: investigation with a noir influence. I looked at Noir Syndrome and while it is interesting, it didn't capture the same feel I am going for and LA Noire, while a good noire story, also didn't have the same feel.

 

This is also my first game project, though not my first foray into coding, with the only thing publicly available (and the only thing that is any good) being a mod I made for minecraft.

 

So, here are some screenshots and a couple things I have gotten working and am still working on. All of these are placeholder graphics created in a couple minutes by the way, they are not final in any way (and gamemaker has started adding support for vector graphics, so if they get more than swf support, I will be moving to vector graphics).

 

AqkvSGF.png

This Just shows a bit of the basic (cheaty) lighting system I have in place right now. Red are enemies, the player is the grey one. I'm playing around with a few different options for the lighting. I kind of like the idea of not being able to see into closed rooms, with the ability to look through a door before entering for a limited view. Also considering creating a shader to be able to do a little bit more with lighting...but that would require teaching myself OpenGL (and I'm currently teaching myself C++).

 

aErqhYh.png

What kind of investigation game would it be without having clues? I plan on making the clues a way of learning more about the mobsters you face and building on the story without being an essential part of the game so people who want to just murder their way through are able to (though wouldn't mob bosses increase their security if they keep hearing other bosses are being murdered?). Double cursor there (only one is active)...

 

fw1qFrx.png

Shaded green to show they are the boss for testing. Just needed another color. You can shoot the boss if you want to, but there will be other ways of dealing with them.

 

SWMJ5Y3.png

The start of the dialogue system I got into place today (the people look blurry because they are scaled up sprites). Reads strings from a text file and draws them to the screen. No way to select the options currently though and I need to do quite a bit more work to get it working on any useable level. The dialogue pops up when you get close enough to the boss. I really want to have a branching dialogue system but that may not be possible for my first game. It's quite a bit of work to get set up, though I have started looking into it and may be able to have something passable after a month or so of researching and working. If not, I may just have a simple "kill, let go, or arrest" choice system with a chance to talk the boss down if you choose arrest.

 

I've been having a lot of fun working on this for the past couple weeks. It's good to have something while I am between jobs. Hopefully I can continue developing it when I start work again in the fall. I also do have more features and mechanics planned (and actually working) than I have shown here. I also made a test game before this that has some more features that I am still adding (e.g. better AI that will search for the player if you break LOS rather than stopping dead).


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#2 RomanticsWes

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 01:41 AM

Awesome man. Monaco vibe with the lighting and stuff. Looking forward to seeing updates down the road.


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#3 MrMackeyMKayyy

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 02:24 PM

Awesome! Will keep up to date with this :D


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#4 milksgonebadd

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 01:55 AM

First Bel, now Winslow. So who else is making a game worth playing?


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#5 MrMackeyMKayyy

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 12:06 PM

First Bel, now Winslow. So who else is making a game worth playing?

I think I will create Twitch Viewer simulator 2014.


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#6 TheWinslow

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 05:10 PM

So, been working these past couple days on the lighting system in the game.  As of right now the shadows and the lights are drawn on two separate surfaces with the shadows placed over the lighting. Course changing to this lighting method cuts my fps by a quarter or more (an average of only 300+ now, oh no!). Though this is not optimized at all, the shadows are drawn for every single wall object in the room, even ones off screen and far out of sight. The doors are also going to take some more work to complete as the method I am using for the shadows doesn't work well with objects that rotate, meaning I am going to deal with the math for that.

 

Here's how it looks right now:

xWzxfYP.png

Going to have to fiddle with the walls and doors so I don't need to draw them over the shadows and lighting.

dZnVbFB.png

You can see I shot out the window in this one (of course the enemy doesn't react to nearby bullet impacts yet).

 

Beyond this, I started messing around with tilesets (the texture outside the building with the red stripe is a tile copied multiple times). These will let me create more interesting looking scenes without the need to create a ridiculously detailed background for each level and without needing to create a huge number of objects and sprites.


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#7 TheWinslow

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 10:30 PM

Well, that was easier than I expected. Doors now have shadows as well, regardless of orientation (thankfully I have always been pretty good at, and enjoyed, problems involving numbers). Forgot to mention a little change last update as well, flashlights now starts in front of the player/enemy instead of appearing inside of them.

 

For something a little different this time, here's a video of some things I have so far.


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#8 TheWinslow

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:21 PM

Nothing huge to screenshot right now, but a bunch of work done over the past couple days.

 

Did a major back end overhaul of the lighting system I have currently; nothing that you would really notice. The major improvement is that it no longer renders shadows and lights for the entire level, only those that are on screen. Although, I did add in circular lights which I can use for quite a few things. I also have plans to change how the flashlight is drawn so that it tapers from bright to dark as it gets further away instead of being equal brightness everywhere.

 

On top of that, I have begun to create a menu system that will replace the easier to make, but less versatile one I have now. The new one is created completely with code (rather than putting an object for each button in a room and having it check if you click on it). Currently have the ability to move between objects using the arrow keys, and you can select items with 'enter'. It also switches between menus nicely. It's far too slapped together to be confident in it though, so it will require a pretty major rewrite like the lighting system did (though I know exactly what is needed now and can plan a lot better the second time through).

 

The good thing is that the menu system I am making now could be used for the dialogue system without too much work. Though it doesn't solve the difficulties of implementing dialogue trees...might have to teach myself XML on top of currently learning C++

 

After the menu system, it's time to start on the weapon coding. Speaking of combat, you can now knock enemies out if you sneak up behind them (this feature may be removed if deemed too easy to use, depends on how robust I can get the AI and how good my level designing turns out to be).

 

Overall, I've had to do more math in the past few days than I have in the past 5 years; I have pages of diagrams and potential solutions to problems piling up. Of course, I have always enjoyed puzzles that include math, so I enjoy it. I once calculated the number of farmland blocks a single water source could irrigate in Minecraft for instance (56,948,838 without being practical as that would require bonemeal to grow the wheat, or 38,190,336 for self-growing wheat).

 

Edit: and the flashlights are already improved; they now fade to black.


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#9 TheWinslow

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 02:06 PM

I can't work on this right now (but that doesn't stop me from thinking about it). I figured out how to prevent flashlights from shining through walls. Now I just have to wait to get back from Germany to fix it (oh no).
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#10 TheWinslow

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 12:43 PM

So I am still in another country (France currently, in Strasbourg) and am still unable to work on the game for the next couple days as a result (such hardship). However, i figure that this would be a good time to expand on some of the core mechanics that I have planned for the game. These are by no means complete and I am not going I give away everything I have planned (and I may be a bit vague on some of the points).

These are organized in terms of how likely they are to appear in the game, from definitely in to I would like to put them in but have no idea if it is possible/practical/of I have the skill to do so. Formatted on an ipad, so expect typos and it looking bad.


Definitely in the game/already in the game:

  1. Investigation is going to play a key role in the game...if you want it to. Clues will provide insight into the mob boss's you face, the are you are in, the history of the world, and information about the overarching story. You can choose to ignore them, but it would be like reading a synopsis of a novel instead of experiencing the full novel yourself.
  2. Stealth is going to be important. Firing your weapon will attract attention as guns are loud after all. It is already possible to knock unaware guards out from behind and sneak past guards. Guards will eventually react to more than seeing/hearing the player and being shot (e.g nearby bullet impacts, windows shattering, bodies).
  3. Visibility is also going to be important. The current screenshots show how you won't really know what is around the corner or through a door. However there will be clues. Enemies can detect you if you are too loud, so you will get a "ping" on the screen with a certain amount of error if an enemy is making too much noise (just as enemies wi ll get whey of are too noisy). Lights also shine through windows, which may clue you in to where an enemy is. You will also be able to peak through a keyhole to see a limited view of the room beyond.
  4. A tutorial that makes sense in the story. But of course it will also be skip able...in a very cathartic way I think. No, I won't give more details as the beginning of the story is the only thing that I have really gotten around to figuring out Kant detail at this point...and that is really only because it is tied to the mechanics and setting of the game.
  5. Limited dialogue system where you can try to get more information from bosses. Of course, you could just walk in and shoot them then search their body / desk for clues.

Probably in the game:

  1. Multiple weapons. I think I want to include the ability to use multiple weapons and have ideas on how to do so in a way that doesn't invite accusations that I copied Hotline Miami.
  2. AI that searches nearby rooms when they lose sight of you. I already have a very basic search function that I implemented when I was trying out some ideas and getting to know gamemaker.
  3. AI that doesn't magically forget that they saw you. They will stop actively searching for you, but they will still be aware that they saw an intruder. This may be removed if it isn't fun, it also may be expanded so the type of enemy will respond differently to threats (e.g. A leader will be "more worried" about a glimpsed intruder disappearing than a grunt is...not promising anything there though). They definitely won't say "I guess it was nothing" though (I mean, they won't say anything cause I'm certainly not voicing them and definitely not paying money to voice them for what is currently a hobby).

Possibly maybe in the game:

Aka, I know how I could implement it and it is within my current knowledge but is still a very large undertaking.

  1. More complicated AI. I want to be able to make the AI in the game actually do some intelligent things. For example, doing more complex searches of rooms, working as a team, reinforcing potential choke points, etc. I have worked a bit on implementing more complex AI systems with my minecraft mod that could actually be applied here (nothing was ever completed but I laid the groundwork for some interesting things). Essentially, enemies would get a target position and a task that would revolve around that position (e.g. a unit on patrol would try not to stray too far from that point or an enemy would search an area based on the players last seen position and direction or an enemy would try to keep in a group with the target to follow being the group leader). Definitely no promises on this.
  2. More robust options. It's always nice when you can rebind keys and it is definitely something that does not appear in many gamemaker games. I know how to do it, I just don't know if I can do it in a way that looks good.
  3. The game adapting to how you play. If you choose to kill your way through the game, mob bosses would start to post more guards, increase security, and be more likely to try and kill you than bargain. If you knock out a lot of guards, they will start guarding in pairs in later levels requiring other mean of distraction to get past them. This is definitely possible to implement with my current knowledge, but requires a lot of work to make sure it feels like a natural progression and to make sure it is balanced (so you don't have to completely change your style of play, just alter it a bit).

Unlikely to be in the game:

Aka they are possible, but would require doing a lot of work, like learning XML, to implement. Or they would require a huge amount of time to get correct. These are things that I would love to have but can't be prioritized as I might never finish if I tried doing these first and couldn't get them working. Basically, if I get everything else I want working pretty well, I can start working on these.

  1. Full dialogue system with branching trees, consequences for choosing certain responses, and references to what the player has done in the past (e.g. A mob boss talks about how you killed the last mob bosses you encountered, so why should he believe you only want to question him). This requires a lot of work to implement, as the best way to so it would be to learn XML or something similar so I could code the dialogue tree into the text document and use a parser to determine what to draw on the screen next. Definitely would make the game more interesting, but may be a very difficult undertaking. It also mean I have to map out a much more complex dialogue system.
  2. Even more complex AI. Having the enemies respond differently based on difficulty level (if there is a difficulty option), staggered firing so one enemy can reload as the other fires, things that would be cool to have but wouldn't have a huge impact on gameplay.
  3. True vector graphics. Gamemaker has just started adding support for vector graphics meaning I wouldn't need to create pixel art or convert vector art into pixel graphics. Essentially, this would allow me to create graphics that are much smaller in size and look the same at any resolution. I plan on creating my artwork in a vector program, but if gamemaker doesn't support other formats (currently only swf meaning I would need to get some oh so cheap Adobe products) I will have to export png files as the sprites.

So those are some of the small and large ideas I have planned or in mind for the game. I can't promise that all of these will be in the game. I do know that the more I learn now, the better it will be if I decide making games is a lot of fun and continue to do so after this one. Still too much work to do to worry about that though!


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#11 TheWinslow

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 09:29 AM

So, got back last night and have implemented the changes I talked about. Lights now no longer shine through walls and doors!

 

Here you can see the enemy flashlight no longer shines through the wall in front of it. The light over on the left side of the shot is actually a test for lights that flicker / change color. You can see it is a slightly different color in the next shot.

avST9uE.png

 

And here is a shot showing how colors merge and showing that round lights also do not shine through walls. The colors of the lights are completely for testing, it is definitely not going to look like a disco when I am finished.

pof8Y55.png

 

And with that, the lighting system is pretty much complete. There are still a couple things to mess around with (the walls and doors don't look fantastic being drawn on top of the shadows) but I think it is time to start working on some more fundamental gameplay mechanics at this point (doesn't matter how good it looks if it plays like crap). I'm thinking weapons are next up.


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#12 TheWinslow

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 06:56 PM

Small update today.

 

I have been working on the weapon system these past few days and have gotten it working pretty well so far. The player is able to carry 2 weapons: a revolver that they always have on them (this is your personal weapon, you aren't going to leave it lying around for a mobster to steal and murder someone with) and a secondary weapon that you can pick up. As of right now, I have the system set up to read weapon stats (weapon type, attack speed, clip size) from a file and use those values to modify the weapons.

 

Currently implemented: you can swap between a primary and secondary weapon, you can drop your secondary weapon on the ground, you can swap your secondary weapon with another weapon lying on the ground, and the various weapons have different attack types; currently only projectiles are coded as I have created those before though blunt and blade weapons are up next (these I will need to figure out).

 

I still have a couple of bugs to sort out (if you don't have a secondary weapon you can't pick up a weapon from the ground for example) but this part is going pretty well.


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#13 TheWinslow

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 01:58 AM

A couple of small updates for today. The weapon system is coming along nicely. Here is a video of the test I created (shows the melee attack) and here is a shot of weapons in the full game (no melee animation implemented in here yet).

 

I also have a couple of shots of a new feature I just added. You can now peak through doors to see a limited view of what is on the other side (I plan on restricting the view a bit by zooming the view in and moving it over a bit (so you can't see what is happening  behind you when looking through the keyhole).

yfC6luR.png

 

Td16NHx.png

 

And finally, I have a working title for the game, The Other Harpo! Not sure if I like it at this point but it's good enough for now.


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#14 RomanticsWes

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 02:01 AM

Awesome man. You're doing a lot of cool stuff with it. It's fun to read about the progress too.


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#15 MrLuchador

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 12:09 PM

I'm still following this closely, even if I haven't posted much! In part you were some of the reason I went purchased Game Maker Studio, so I'll be picking your brains and Belannaer's brains for sure. I'm surprised how versatile the engine is, and I feel like it doesn't get much love due to how 'simple' it can make things look. 


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#16 TheWinslow

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 12:33 PM

Awesome man. You're doing a lot of cool stuff with it. It's fun to read about the progress too.

Thanks! I've actually started on the AI now and have gotten over the first hurdle of switching between different levels of alertness (it's going to be unforgiving, no "I guess there is nothing there" after being shot by or glimpsing the player). It's a ton of fun to see what I have in my head and on paper start to take form! It's extremely basic at this point though, so it will be a bit of time before I have anything worth showing.

 

I'm excited to get back to watching the stream in a little over a week when I return to NYC! I've missed my fix these past few weeks!

 

I'm still following this closely, even if I haven't posted much! In part you were some of the reason I went purchased Game Maker Studio, so I'll be picking your brains and Belannaer's brains for sure. I'm surprised how versatile the engine is, and I feel like it doesn't get much love due to how 'simple' it can make things look.

Glad to hear it! I'm looking forward to checking out the awesomeness of your game when I get a bit of time!

 

Gamemaker definitely doesn't get a lot of love, but it is one of the best programs out there for making true 2d games. It's fairly versatile, quick to learn, and relatively cheap.  It is looked down on because of Drag and Drop (though that is only useful to a point) and the ugly interface colors (and some other more trivial things). The games made with it like Hotline Miami, Spelunky, and Risk of Rain speak for themselves though.

 

One tip right now is when you put a code action under an event in an object, type three forward slashes followed by a comment and it will give it a descriptive name instead of "Execute a piece of code". It's something I didn't know at the beginning and it makes it so much easier to organize your code.


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#17 MrLuchador

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 02:58 PM

Yeah the drag and drop nature of the program earns it a 'Baby's First Programming' label, and some arsehole the other day was throwing that around claiming I can't say I'm 'coding' use the program. Annoyed me really. I never claimed I was a Pro Programmer, but as a learning tool it was really good and the drag'n'drop shortcuts save plenty of time. 

 

Even then you CAN open a programming window up and do it all manually too. I don't get the snobbery people have at times. 


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#18 TheWinslow

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 08:47 PM

It's their loss if they dismiss a useful tool, though I'm guessing the troll wasn't an actual programmer. DnD (not Dungeons and Dragons in this case) can save a lot of time (though I actually don't use it too often as I prefer using code) and saving time while programming is always important.

 

As always, you use the best tool for the job, and the best tool for 2D games is gamemaker (though an argument can be made for Unity now that they actually support 2D).


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#19 RomanticsWes

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 05:15 AM

Yeah the drag and drop nature of the program earns it a 'Baby's First Programming' label, and some arsehole the other day was throwing that around claiming I can't say I'm 'coding' use the program. Annoyed me really. I never claimed I was a Pro Programmer, but as a learning tool it was really good and the drag'n'drop shortcuts save plenty of time. 

 

Even then you CAN open a programming window up and do it all manually too. I don't get the snobbery people have at times. 

That's ridiculous. Some hugely successful games were made with it. You have to start learning somewhere.

 

You guys talking about this stuff makes me want to get involved too... If only I had the time. There's not enough time in this life to do all the things I want to do :D

 

When I was 19 (1997'ish) I was teaching myself Java and Perl. I started with simple stuff like html and dhtml, building websites etc... I spent a crap load of time in the editors for games like Warcraft 3, building entire RPG story lines with custom everything and I loved doing it. Life happened and I didn't realize way back then that if I had continued learning Java and other things that would come, that I could really do a lot with it. The resources for learning that kind of stuff back then were pretty few and far between. I was teaching myself out of a book and breaking apart other people's code for things.

 

The pinnacle of my work back then was a website I made for a children's charity organization that had a fully flash based landing page, which was fairly rare back then. :D


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#20 TheWinslow

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 01:21 PM

Yea, this does take quite a bit of time. But you can still be involved by getting free copies of the game to play/give away :P (if it's good enough)! Unfortunately the internet got knocked out up here for the foreseeable future (using wifi at the nearby campground right now) so who knows when it will be back. We had a crazy thunderstorm with lightning striking within a mile every 2 min for a couple hours. The neighbor's well pump was fried, blowing a cannonball sized whole out of their wall, so I figure we are pretty lucky.

 

The lack of internet has meant that I have been really focused working on the game for a couple days. The enemy AI is coming along nicely and is already pretty functional (just in need of a bunch of polish). I will get a video together in a week or so when I get back. Right now the enemy will detect if a door is open that shouldn't be (and if it closes after he noticed it was open), will detect being shot or seeing the player, will move to the last point the they saw the player at when the player moves out of sight, and will run and pick up a nearby weapon if they run out of ammo.

 

I have 9 different states that the AI can be in that determine overall behavior as well. Idle (nothing out of the ordinary), cautious (sees a broken window or open/closed door when it shouldn't be, resets to cautious after a bit of time passes), suspicious (sees a door open/closed when they shouldn't be and already cautious, once in this state, or a more alert state, can never go back to cautious/idle), alerted (heard a gunshot, seen a dead/unconscious body, seen the player who moved out of sight, will move to player's last known location and search the area), attacking (kill the player), guard primary (guards primary patrol area/position, similar to idle/cautious but higher FOV and noise detection, also turns around periodically to check behind while walking), guard secondary (guards secondary patrol area/position near a choke point/closer to the boss' room, happens if can't find player after losing sight of him), retreat (run from the player, try to find more ammo ), and dead/unconscious.


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