Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lucidity Log 3: The Annoying Pendulum

Since my last Lucidity related post Raid+ has moved on to sprint 2 for Lucidity and I have since joined a feature team working on the third and second floor clock tower puzzle. I am responsible for programming the puzzle though surprisingly the hardest part so far hasn't been the puzzle itself but has animating the pendulum part of the puzzle of unity. At first I thought that this was going to be something that the animators would take care of but I quickly realized that this was something that was probably going to need to be programmed since the player needed to be able to interact with the pendulum dynamically. It seemed simple but getting the pendulum to swing smoothly was quite a beast to conquer. At first I got the pendulum to swing but at the apex of the swing it would sharply start swinging the other way. To fix this I tried adding decay. It worked smoothing out before getting to the apex but for some reason it didn't want to work coming back down and would sharply go the other way. I tinkered at this for longer than it probably should have taken but eventually I had a pendulum that swung smoothly back and forth.

Friday, October 11, 2013

MicroDude Log 3: Sound Design

I never really realized the importance of sound design until working on MicoDude. I previously thought that it wasn't necessary because most games can be played with the sound being turned off. I typically like to play certain games without the sound, games like pokemon or minecraft and put a podcast on in the background to catch up on news. I never realized that sound gives the player instant feedback like no visual cue can give. The player can only look at one small location on the screen at a time. If the player needs to be alerted that somthing is happening in a space they arent looking at, sound effects really come in handy. The player is able to focus on events in a certain area while being reminded of events in a different area. I just recently had a friend test out MicroDude and what I found was that he didnt know how certain objects behaved. I had taken for granted all that I knew from designing, programming and countless hours of testing. One of the ways that I combated this was to use sound effects. If my friend is playing and he triggers a trap he wouldnt know how long it takes for the bullets to be shot and then reach him. With sound effects he would have been more accurate in estimating the time because he knows that the shooting sound effect comes after the alert sound effect. The sounds mark at what time he should start evading the oncoming bullet rather than possibly just seeing a sprite moving once out of the corner of his eye.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

MicroDude Log 2: AI Challenges

One of the first big hurdles I had to overcome when I was programming MicroDude was the main stealth mechanic. How were enemies going to sense that the player was near? I ended up going with a system that would spew sensor objects from the enemy npc in a different direction depending on where the enemy was facing. When the sensor objects would collide with the player, it would set the enemy into an alert state where it would stop in its current position then fire a projectile toward the player. The flaws of this method were that since the sensor objects would spawn on a timer, the player could jump through gaps in the sensors and avoiding detection in plain sight. One I made the sensors invisible though it became much more difficult to do. Another flaw was that the sensors move at a certain speed and it is actually possible for the player to out run the sensor before the sensor deletes itself. The advantage to this method of stealth system was that enemies could not detect the player through walls which was the reason that I chose this system. I originally though that a system that checked the relative position of the player would suffice but there was no way to not detect the player through walls.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Microdude Log 1: Should Have Blogged Sooner

Im going to start this blog post by saying that I regret not blogging about Microdude sooner. For those who don't know Microdude is a indie game pet project that I had been working on in my plentiful spare time. It has now become a fully fledged release title that I will eventually release on and Desura. I kept Microdude on the down low for quite some time because I was still unsure if I wanted to release it or not. Now about 5 months after I first concieved the idea for Microdude, I am uploading the first trailer for the game and creating the facebook page for it. That being said I will start writing about the Intitial design and development of Microdude.

Microdude had a very unconventional inital design period where I wasnt designing the game on paper first. I figured that I would start off with a rough idea of what i wanted to make and then program and design the rest at the same time. This eventually came back and bit me in the ass but at the time everything seemed to move smoothly. The general idea that I had for the game was that I wanted to make a platform game that had elements of stealth. Initally I wanted to make the game very slow paced with a lot of waiting and puzzle elements. I eventually dropped that concept and went for a more fast paced stealth approach. I programmed the player to have fast and fluid movement. The player could Move left/right, Jump, Cling to walls and ceilings and I eventually made a grappling hook that the player could fire upward and then go up and down when the hook attached to a ceiling. All of these features have made it into the current build today.