Progress, or lack thereof

Money? I don't owe you any

A small update…

I really haven’t moved very far from where I was last. I made indicator bars (Health bars, but they don’t show health), and finally added a graze box and hit box, so now I check against those instead of checking against the player model for hits. I’ve had the hit box for a while, but there was some funky problem where I couldn’t check for collisions against it for some reason. I resolved it by just putting all of the geometry objects in the main class instead of having them as instance variables of the player object. I’m sure that’s a bad thing, and the problem is probably a misunderstanding of how the engine I’m using works. Don’t care. Any game I make after this will almost certainly not use this code anyway.

The problem is: it looks like, well, shit. I think there’s a core problem with this game project. I want it to have a 3rd person view with the camera closely following the player, but I also want it to be close to 2d shooters where the bullets that hit you will only be on one plane. Ostensibly, if it’s going to be a ‘bullet hell’ game, there will be a lot of side to side movement with frequent changes in direction. Now, here’s my problem: go fire up a game, any game with a third person view, and either rapidly press one direction, both directions, or if you have a joy stick, rotate the movement stick in a circle. It’ll probably look terrible, with the character repeatedly cycling through transition poses (Not Assassin’s Creed, though. Or at least, I think. I don’t remember. Just to be an asshole this is one of the first things I do when I play a game, to see how the devs handle the player jerking around. I think it was Assassin’s creed that impressed me when I did this, but maybe it was another game. In any case, AC’s animations and the way the player character moved was damn beautiful. Too bad I didn’t really enjoy the game). Usually that doesn’t matter, because you usually don’t need to do that. But in STGs, you might. So what do I do? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just make the camera reaaally far away.

One solution that involves changing how the game works would be to change everything back to having everything just move vertically (forward in this case), and make it look like Master Afterburner on a flat plane. With the game like this, the left/right direction animations can be more subtle, and all I’d have to do is rotate the character model a bit, with a lot less overall movement. That would mean no more radial nonsense, but I was kind of set on making the game ‘radial.’ Damn it…
Looks like there’s not much else to do.

Alice Model Draft

What? what hands.. Stop asking

What basically amounts to a re-texture, I’m trying to maximize the amount of copy-paste I do when it comes to the models for now.

I have the basic form for all of Reimu’s Stage 4 midboss fight, I’ll work on making it not undodgeable sometime later. I want to work on the rest of the GUI first. It just doesn’t look as good as I plan it will when I make a sketch of a menu and translate it into something digital on Gimp.

A small outpost on the edge of the map

Also, just realized you can scroll to change the tile resolution in Dwarf Fortress. Wow, oh wow. Some poor wood burner who JUST migrated in went and locked himself in one of my craft workshops. What does a wood burner even ask for? I know he’s going to ask for some craft items, but I wonder if dwarves can lock themselves in furnaces or stills. I’ve never seen it, but I’m sure someone has. Heard a story about a bunch of dwarves killing each other after a loyalty cascade, and the dwarves left appended the dead dwarves’ last names to theirs. Holy shit.

Still working on background mechanics…

I've been using a top-down view while editing the bullet patterns, so I was surprised how unplayable it looks from this perspective

Progress is kind of pitifully slow…
It doesn’t help that I recently started playing Persona 3 on the PC, hopefully I can keep myself from finishing it. At least for now.
Finally sorted out that massive slowdown issue, and performance is up to a passable state. I was adding things to the scene on every update because I got sloppy and forgot to think about where I was putting things. Made collisions with the bullets go over smoother, I wasn’t removing them correctly. It seems I can comfortably have about 3000 bullets out. I was really frustrated before when things would grind to a halt with 300-400 bullets, but everything seems fine now.

Goes out from the center..

You can see the ‘bullet shadow’ I’m making by just sitting there.

Flows back in towards the center

The code to make this happen is still awful. Don’t want to talk about it

Goes outward

Suddenly it became really interesting to think about how the bullet patterns in existing STGs are created, and the exact functions that would create the forms you see. I’m sticking with sine, cosine, and exponential functions for now. I still have bullet tracking to do, but I’ve done that in an Asteroids clone I made, so I’m not too worried about how that will work.
I was reading on the web about how many games never get finished, and I see it myself a lot while browsing through random forums. I have so many ideas that I’ve been thinking up of lately (I really want to make a game about trading and having a world with some economics system), but I’ve doubled my resolve to finish this first.. whenever that will be. Right now it feels like I never will, hah.

After the weekend

Went snowboarding with my friends for a friend’s birthday.  Snowboarding hurts quite a bit when you don’t know how to do it…

I wrote a small demo program to read .txt files so I can put game events there instead of hard-coding everything.  I thought about looking more into how Danmakufu has things set up, but until I get so far in this that I need to worry about that, I’ll put it off.  It follows  a simple format with commands like [TIME]:[ACTION]:[ARGUMENTS], and special key words like [END], I’ll use what I learned writing that in my game.

No, I'm not talking about who's the fool...

I also cleaned up the dialogue system and added some placeholder portraits.  The way the dialogue elements are drawn is the same as for the pause menu, so I was able to fix both things at the same time.  I suppose the next thing I’ll do is finally replace the ugly ground and sky.

Menus: Placeholders Everywhere

Worked on fixing the logic handling the game’s flow and finally added a pause function, which felt a lot harder than I thought it should have due to my convoluted code. I had to go around telling everything to stop updating, because there didn’t seem to be a simple way to just pause one loop while still updating the pause menu. Threw together some placeholder textures for each part.

Didn't want to just put text

One nice thing I learned was getting transparent textures to work.  I needed that to have textured buttons that look like just text floating above the background.

Main menu. The title kind of sounds silly the more I type it

I’ve been looking through independent games that I’ve played or heard about, trying to find out how they do things and what things should look like.

An incredibly shoddy looking pause menu

(Animation still sucks)

I want this much money...

All night hoping for a breakthrough in my animation skills, but I just can’t seem to get something natural, or at least something on the level of “this is acceptable.” I’m close to just settling with the 3-keyframe animations I made. Solutions to making the animation quality less appalling: play the animations slowly, and put the models far, far away from the camera.

3 keyframes doesn't look any good

I guess the order for tomorrow is cleaning up the menus and adding transitions between game states.

This is what I've been dealing with

Now that I think about it, I probably shouldn’t have bothered posting today anyway. Progress is frustratingly slow, especially with all that school’s throwing at me.

A card with aimed shots and off-center bullet sources

Animation: Sucks so much.

Another simple card

I don’t know how anything is animated without motion capture. Rigging itself looks like an art, I just went through some leg rigging tutorials and came across some crazy face rigs. I hear some people are playing around with the Kinect to get some motion capture done, but I’m not to fond of the idea of buying it.

Spent most of the time I wasn’t in class today cleaning up some of the trig problems in my code. I had the boss start out at the origin (0,0,0) and things were fine until I realized some of my methods didn’t work correctly when the source of the bullets weren’t at (0,0,0). Another problem was that radial player movement around the origin wasn’t completely working either, but that was easy to sort out.

I’m sort of worried about the number of bullets. I haven’t put anything that removes the bullets that are too far away from the scene, but so far I haven’t dipped below 55 FPS with several hundreds of bullets still in view. I guess it’ll be fine, as long as I wipe them in between cards or something.

Leaning forward

The greater part of my free time today was spent on trying to animate the models. Every time I animate something I end up throwing it all out because I don’t like how it turns out. I’m keeping what I made for now, though; 5 simple 31 frame loops for stationary, and four directions for movement. For intermediate directions I’ll just rotate the model. I’m using with JMonkeyEngine, ( and there’s something really confusing going on with handling animations. It’s probably because up until now I haven’t bothered looking into what happens outside of my own code. The result is that I can get a test program running with all of the animations playing properly and bound to keys, but I can’t paste the exact same code into the game, somehow. Hopefully I’ll get it fixed tomorrow.

Character models for an STG derivative game.

The two that are going to be in the demo, if there is one

Slowly chugging away on my 3D IN clone, I still have all placeholder graphics, but I’ll get there… eventually. I’m going to stop working on bullet patterns and try to put out more art for the game. Looking at floating grids on grids can get disheartening, even with the bloom turned up.

Since this is the first post about it, I suppose I should explain the game idea here. The general idea is IN Extra stage but reversed. The player character is 藤原 妹紅, and you have to go through all of the teams from IN as bosses (博麗 霊夢/八雲 紫, 霧雨 魔理沙/アリス・マーガトロイド, 十六夜 咲夜/レミリア・スカーレット, 魂魄 妖夢/西行寺 幽々子).

It’s really just an exercise in making games, so I’m not really that interested in the art, music, or gameplay; the aim is to just have something that works. The stage is radial, with the boss at the center and the player character moving in a circle around the boss. You don’t shoot normal shots; you just graze until you fill a meter, which allows you to start a spellcard of your own.

Try recognizing that pattern

Character portrait