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The Game Development Thread


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19 hours ago, MarkN said:

Sounds fun!

 

I believe the advice for many engines is don't stray massively far away from zero. The floating point stuff goes a little haywire the further away you get, IIRC.

 

But yes, for something like an endless runner I'd always try to be moving the scenery and keeping the player static where possible (not so easy if you want to use physics). The alternative is to find some way to safely re-spot everything periodically when no-one will notice.

 

One of the brilliant things about games is that they're often doing the opposite of what the player thinks is happening. I worked on this many years ago - the only thing not spinning in this scene is the screw thread (and the UI obvs.). The scenery, the water, the players, the effects and the camera are all spinning away like mad because it's easier than spinning the bit that we needed to look like it was spinning.

 

I tried resetting the world origin to the player location periodically but as I was using some absolute values in movement and spawning the floor it created a variety of weird new issues. When I tried to fix them I found that I broke everything and had to face that I'd probably be better off closing without saving and trying to recreate the thing from scratch in a new project.

 

Here's what the version that broke looked like. It seemed fine until the distance/score reached around 100k at which point it always crashed. 

 

 

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I much prefer the look of that - much more exciting. If you want advice I'd suggest adding feedback for EVERYTHING at every step of the way. Sound effects, special effects - the works. Honestly - the best games get this so right - it's all about being tactile and letting folk know what's happening. Do it early - you want everything to respond.

 

I was going to mention this when I posted the Twisted System video earlier, but that game contains the best design decision I ever made. We spent ages getting that minigame working - it started off with players being able to run all over the drill blade but it was rubbish, and we pared it back, and pared it back further until the player was confined to a lane and only had two controls (jump and duck) and it still wasn't working. Originally the game had laser beams as obstacles, which made a "Fzzzt!" sound when you hit them. It didn't really work. In desperation I suggested we change them for metal poles and add a frying pan "clang!" sound. It suddenly became everyone's favourite. Same game, better feedback - complete turnaround. (After Microsoft cancelled the sequel we were working on they gave it to Hudson Soft. They remade Twisted System with lasers as obstacles (*sigh*)).

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I really need to go through and add sounds and particles, it’s in my list of tasks just below bug fixes and adding console controls. The idea that one fun sound effect can make that much difference is exciting :)

 

It’s crazy how much there is to create and manage, even with a simple game.

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16 hours ago, Broker said:

I really need to go through and add sounds and particles, it’s in my list of tasks just below bug fixes and adding console controls. The idea that one fun sound effect can make that much difference is exciting :)

 

It’s crazy how much there is to create and manage, even with a simple game.

It's all about finding the fun - and that can genuinely just be a really satisfying sound effect. I've mentioned before that if I start playing around with an idea for a car game one of the very first things I put in is the horn. I don't even know if the game will use it as a mechanic, but it'll be better with a horn than without.  It's basically an open goal.

 

But yes - there is SOOOOOO much to do to make the simplest game. I am awful at letting them bloat (it's why my Thrust-style game never got finished originally - eventually I just ran out of time and money, and had frankly stopped caring. 5 or more years later I'm finally ready to try to kick it over the line). But it's definitely good to be aware of the scale of the task at hand. There's a reason the ninety-ninety rule exists.

 

Quote

The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.

 

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That looks better. However the explosions need to keep moving towards you really. This should be pretty cool too, because you'll often end up running through them. (If you find that this makes them disappear too fast, then maybe cheat and move them more slowly than they should be going, or start them off at the right speed and decelerate them over time).

 

I like the streaks on the vehicles.

 

With effects I'm of the opinion that it's really hard to overdo it, so keep looking for opportunities to add more.

 

One other thing to consider, and almost always gets added to my projects early on is camera shake for impacts, explosions etc. It's fairly simple to implement, but very effective I think.

 

Speaking of the camera - one thing I think would make a lot of difference to the look and feel of the game is to put some sort of lag on the camera, so that if you start moving sideways it accelerates up to speed to follow you (it wants to do it very fast though or else it will feel sluggish) - it would just soften everything nicely. (I've got a lovely bit of code that eases things in and out - I use it everywhere - anything that starts or stops moving or spinning etc. - let me know if you'd like it - it's really easy to use.) You could also experiment with making the camera a bit more dynamic - for example it might be nice if as you got further over to one side it starts going slightly wider so that the angle changes a little (assuming you have it aimed at a target rather than just pointing down the road).

 

Also please feel free to tell me to shut up. You'll have a million things to do already without me sticking my oar in.

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I’ve actually cleared up most of my list of features to implement inside a month, which feels really weird to say given the years of projects I’ve started but never finished. All of the feedback is incredibly helpful and I’m really grateful :)

 

I’m going to add sounds (including an over the top clang when you hit map posts), and then put the html5 build on itchio to try to get some General feedback. I’ll be sending it to you first though :) 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 27/03/2020 at 16:55, Broker said:

@MarkN and anyone else who might be about, I've put up a playable version for people to test (haven't had the chance to implement your previous feedback due to being locked inside with children), please feel free to let me know what you think of it, any feedback gratefully appreciated.

 

https://patrickekallen.itch.io/ioh

I'll give that a look. 

 

Whilst I'm here, I put something together on android. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.saberPhrog.SparkOut

 

Enjoy. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd like to make a game, or at least have a stab at it. The problem is I'm an imbecile with a terrible attention span and I know it'll probably fall by the wayside, but while I'm off reading the thread from the beginning can anyone point me to the absolute beginning of how I'd go about this. I have an old version of Game Maker and a couple of RPG Makers on Steam if they're any good. Am I best just looking up some YouTube tutorials for those?

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29 minutes ago, moosegrinder said:

I'd like to make a game, or at least have a stab at it. The problem is I'm an imbecile with a terrible attention span and I know it'll probably fall by the wayside, but while I'm off reading the thread from the beginning can anyone point me to the absolute beginning of how I'd go about this. I have an old version of Game Maker and a couple of RPG Makers on Steam if they're any good. Am I best just looking up some YouTube tutorials for those?

 

Others will know much more than me, but I think it'll depend a bit on what you want to make/focus on. Unity presents a fair low barrier to entry in my opinion for a proper 3D engine (albeit I work with programming day-to-day so I'm not sure how easy it would be to pick-up from scratch). I've done a chunk of the GameDev.Tv courses on Udemy and I think they ease you in pretty well and you are actually making things as you go. I was making some progress towards learning what I needed for my game idea but alas work/family massively got in the way and the process halted about 12 months ago. I keep meaning to go back.

 

This is the one I have (and there 2D one) if it's of interest. Just wait for a sale though as they have them literally every other week and I got them both for £10 each for loads of content...

https://www.udemy.com/course/unitycourse2/

 

One thing I would say from my experience is the idea of just starting up to make that one idea you might have probably wouldn't work. You might have an end game idea in mind but I think you need to work through so many elements you'll need to either be massively iterative with versions of your idea adding complexity, or keep that idea burning on the side while doing other projects to learn the skills/techniques and then applying them.

 

I'd recommend getting stuck in though. The little I've done so far was really challenging but hugely rewarding.

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That's a point, my OH has a Lynda account so I can look on there. Someone else mentioned Pico 8 is good to begin with because it's so limited?

It's something I'd like to try because my current "career" isn't going great so I'd like to learn something when I'm in the doldrums, try and better msyelf. If I have to go to uber basics and learn through all that then so be it. I'm just worried that my brain isn't wired to learn things like this. I'm terrible at sticking with stuff but I do want to try it. I've had a look at Unity and tried a couple of YouTube tutorials but it made my mind boggle a bit.

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You definitely need to find something that suits your current mindset/time/skills so some of those solutions you've talked about might be good. Also, I haven't used it, but Unity have 'Bolt' which is their visual scripting solution if you want to try things before getting too stuck into proper coding. It might make scratching that itch a little easier...

https://unity.com/how-to/make-games-without-programming

 

However, I just don't think there is a solution to get into the detail of game creation without putting the time into the coding skills (which can sometimes be a grind).

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On 18/06/2020 at 18:38, Melon_Bread said:

I've been working on a game called Voxel Tactics, it's a voxel based strategy RPG, we just finished a pre-alpha vertical slice demo that we are trying to get funding.

Been working on it in my spare time for years but it's really come together over the last 6 months, now seems like a good time to try and get funding and make it for reals. 

Here's a screenshot, you can follow the game on twitter @voxeltactics 

 

VT_SCREEN_8.jpg

I’d love to know what methods you used to choose your colour palette, the colours you have chosen really make your art pop out from the screen it’s great.

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11 hours ago, DarkCrisis said:

I’d love to know what methods you used to choose your colour palette, the colours you have chosen really make your art pop out from the screen it’s great.

 

Tbh, I just did it by eye, I may have used some of my old pixelart to grab the colours from.

 

Here's another screenshot...

VT_SCREEN_7.jpg

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On 16/06/2020 at 12:42, moosegrinder said:

I'd like to make a game, or at least have a stab at it. The problem is I'm an imbecile with a terrible attention span and I know it'll probably fall by the wayside, but while I'm off reading the thread from the beginning can anyone point me to the absolute beginning of how I'd go about this. I have an old version of Game Maker and a couple of RPG Makers on Steam if they're any good. Am I best just looking up some YouTube tutorials for those?


I depends what kind of game you want to make, and if you’re wanting to make more games afterwards. 
 

Set your initial goals mega low. My first idea was “space invaders but a bit ikaruga” with a basic Space invaders clone with two colours of enemies and you could change colour. Whilst I did eventually use that idea, even something that simple I gave up on the first two times. I ended up with just a basic clone the first time, and it still looked and felt like shit.

 

In terms of which thing to use, it’s kind of a trade off. The simpler the thing you learn, the more limited what you can do with it will be. That sounds obvious, but there are some whole genres that you can’t really achieve with old fashioned tools, and old genres that don’t really need anything new and fancy. 
 

I imagine the Pico is like Basic, but with a route to release. I learned some basic, and it was a fantastic way to get familiar with programming concepts, but I stopped because there was nothing I could really do with it, aside from make retro looking games. I ended up feeling that I should’ve spent that time learning something more modern, but it’s possible that the only reason I understood the other stuff at all was that basic I learned. Obviously with Pico 8 you’ve got a way to share your games, but I imagine you’re still going to face significant difficulties going from Pico to Unity.

 

I would not recommend perusing RPG maker unless you’re 100% sure that you only ever want to make JRPG games. I can’t imagine wanting to lock myself into one genre. It’s a great tool, that makes it very easy to make a JRPG, but it’s still intensely complex and nothing you learn there will be applicable to other software.

 

Game Maker is good, understandable, and versatile. You can make basic stuff with very little coding, and it’s really good for exploring ideas. It’s slow and your games all run like shit unless you learn to use its code, but if you’re making something simple that’s not really an issue. I spent a few hours with the scripting language and it seems fine, but like RPG Maker you’re learning something you can never use anywhere else. 
 

Which leaves the big ones, Unity and UE4. Unity is a tool that programmers love. They LOVE it. It’s clearly working for them somehow, but even with some coding experience I’m more doing generalised design stuff and I hate it. It’s confusing and janky and none of the templates work. It takes twenty minutes to get a basic floor and a controllable character, and it all feels awful to play. The guy who sits near me refuses to use UE4, he’s a big programmer. He can knock up a turn based strategy, FPS, or 2D RPG in ten minutes and it’s clearly an incredible tool, but I can’t get on with it at all.

 

I fucking love UE4. It’s perfect for me. You can get something simple in first, third, or overhead views in seconds with appropriate controls and be trying your actual ideas in no time, even if you’re shite at it. The visual scripting means you kinda learn code but kinda don’t have to. All the versatility of code with some streamlining, although as with all things designed to avoid coding, everything runs a bit poorly.

 

There’s tonnes of free assets for both/either so you don’t need to make models. However, given that you’re such a talented artist it might also be worth considering trying modelling or sculpting. You don’t get the problem solving fun but it is amazing and exciting.

 

Ultimately, anything that makes games will give you a taste of game dev, and they can all produce great games. It’s mostly down to how hard you work and how easily you get disheartened. There’s not one of my projects that failed that would have succeeded if I’d just used the right software or something, it’s all about being able to motivate yourself though the shit bit at the beginning, like learning an instrument. And there is nothing like running your game or letting someone play it, no matter how shit it is. 
 

Another alternative would be identifying one bit you like doing, then looking for people to collaborate with, especially if you do models. Everyone is constantly desperate for modellers, and I’m sure you could find someone who would be interested in letting you have creative input on the project but you wouldn’t necessarily need to learn the actual programming or anything if it turns out you don’t enjoy that.

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