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10th September, 2015
Yesterday I posted a test version of NeonPlat Adventure 2 over on the OUYA Forum, where people could download and test the game, to see how it is in it's current state.
Of the two commenters so far, I don't think either of them actually have tried it out, yet, which is a shame because in the world of AGameAWeek, I'm going to be ploughing ahead, and any issues they come up with will probably be out of date by the time they tell me about them! (This is why AGameAWeek is usually done alone.. I work too fast to work well with others!)
You can find the download, and a load of waffle, over at OUYA Forum. If you do give it a go, let me know what you think so far.
That was a fairly quick compile, and so the rest of yesterday daytime was spent further tweaking the generator, and trying to get rid of the few kinks that I've noticed along the way.
Additionally, NeonPlat has grown the ability to smash through overhead blocks, very much like a power-up'd Mario does. This wasn't intentional, and only came about because I kept finding annoying areas where he could get himself stuck.
The options open to me were either..
A) Keep tweaking the generator until none of those quirky bits remained.
B) Give NeonPlat the ability to smash bricks with his head.
.. Option B seemed like the most fun option!
In case you're wondering, last night was all wrapped up in the world of Apple, and generally all about me complaining that the iPad Pro is TOO damn expensive!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a new toy to play with
9th September, 2015
Yesterday was spent tweaking various difficulty settings. There are 11 (0-10) available difficulties being coded into the level generator, and this video shows what happens at Level 3.
Level 0 is easiest, with fewer easier to manage baddies, whilst level 10 is full of spikes and nasty Duck-Turrets.
Today I'm going to be tweaking the generator some more, to allow for all kinds of other obstacles and things, and with each minor tweak comes a whole host of possibilities, so it's good to know that there's going to be a decent bit of variety in the end resulting game.
.. Or at least, I hope there is, anyway!!
I've also begun thinking of a layout for the menu system, along with ways that I can keep it under control enough that a GameCenter scoreboard will be vaguely usable. That might be the difficult bit, though!!
There's going to be a LOT of levels!!!
8th September, 2015
With the music engine at a workable stage, it's time to start adding some extra danger into the game.
Starting with Duck Turrets, and Jack's movements, I'm slowly starting to make the entire game a little harder.
I'll also be trying to come up with a bunch of map-based obstacles to get in the way of the player, too.
Basically, this is the bit that involves a lot of little tweaks, building up to a nice big fuller adventure, and sees me having to try to separate things, so that each "world" gets a different sort of feel going.
Hopefully I can do all that!
.. And finish off that music engine, too, 'cos it's "OK", but it's not "Grrrrreat!"
7th September, 2015
The music engine is now in place, and I've converted a bunch of melodies from AL's recent "Liquid" AL Bum.
Thrown into the engine, they're sounding melodically "OK~ish", but those instruments aren't working out, at all.
Today I'll be experimenting with oodles of different instrument types to see what sort of sounds work best with the tunes. Hopefully that doesn't take too long, but I've set aside a fairly decent amount of time to spend faffing about with loads of different sample types.
6th September, 2015
I won't make you put up with the current horror show of the game's ingame music generator thing. I managed to get it "working" last night, but the difference between "working" and "not sounding like shit" are somewhat lengthy.
Instead, here's a video of the game with just the sound effects added in, and I'm sure you'll agree, it's quite an improvement.
A nice intro swooshy beamy sort of noise. A three-tone happy version of "Dum-dum-durrrr!" whenever you die.. And of course, the usual reused jumping, throwing, smashing and collecting sounds that have littered NeonPlat since the first version.
.. I suppose I *could* replace a lot of those, but .. They're part of his world, now.
Today I'll be mostly tweaking that damn music engine, in the hopes that it doesn't sound so truly terrifying!
5th September, 2015
A common feature in videogames since the early days, and one of the great standards of Dislike!
Touch a spike, and you instantly respawn at your last checkpoint.
.. Like, Instantly!!
Today's task will be to come up with a nice way for NeonPlat to die.
In the previous NeonPlat Adventures he didn't ever die/respawn, but this time he'll be equipped with a few lives, and those checkpoints, so it seems only natural for him to go "Oooouch!!" and die in a horrible way!
Meanwhile, The level generator is coming along nicely, and things are starting to feel a lot more "gamey" whenever I'm testing it, which is always a good sign.
4th September, 2015
I spent most of yesterday working with the pathfinding AI.
The basic idea is that, once the basic level has been generated, an AI player runs through the level, trying to reach the other side.
To ensure at least one of these players survives, a fleet of 32 AI players are sent over the level, and each tries to find the "best" way through.
Here you can roughly see what's going on. The green and red blocks are floors and walls, and then the blue dots are the various AI players, and their varied paths through the level.
Once that's achieved, the final process is to pick one of the AI Paths and use it to generate the level's collectables and checkpoints.
All in all, this entire process takes 3 frames. 1 to build the map, 1 to run all 32 AI players through it, and then 1 more to add the extra stuff once the "Best Path" has been picked.
In the following video you'll see the game mode selected, and the mini-map show up almost instantly. This is how fast the game is at both building the map and finding the paths.
A very simple and extremely speedy process, although I've only so far tested it with short levels. The next step is ensuring it's still silky smooth once you start getting really epically lengthy levels, too!
I'll be spending most of today finding shortcuts to help smooth things out, as well as making the path generator run a little better and then adding some deadly objects using some of the alternative paths.
Should be fun!
3rd September, 2015
Yesterday I started to put some effort into the "Pre-Game AI Player" stuff. It's going to be a lot more complicated than I'd thought, but I'll try my best to get it working.
I basically need to create a computer player that runs through the level, ensuring that you can at least reach the end without dying.
Along the way, he'll generate a path which I'll use to plant various objects like the Checkpoint flags, and perhaps some evil objects to get in your way.
This won't, of course, be the ONLY path, but it'll ensure that there is at least one way to complete each and every level.
..but it's going to be tricky to make it all work!
Wish me luck!
2nd September, 2015
Do you own a classic Gameboy?
Do you have a flashcart for it?
Then today's (*yesterday) your lucky day!
For the past week or so, Socoder member Rychan has been working on a port of SpikeDislike for the Gameboy!
You can grab it here, and either play it on any available emulator, or if you're lucky enough, you can even play it on a real world actual gameboy! And if you DO do that, I want a video!!!
Meanwhile, I've been playing about some more with the level generator thingy.
I can now get distinct level "styles" from the game, ranging from flat worlds to big chunky landscapes.
Colourschemes have been setup, and things are looking nice. I've basically got enough content in the game to generate three distinct worlds, but I've not yet drawn up the different graphical packs for each.
Basically, I want to stick with the default template until I've got all the pieces in place, at which point I'll start redrawing the various tiles for all the different themes.
Plenty more work to be done!
1st September, 2015
Last night, I started watching a series on Vimeo titled "ITV In the Face".
The show is essentially a look back at all the various UK ITV franchises, along with the history of what happened to all the different companies along the way.
Thrilling stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.
But it kept me awake until 5am, this morning, and is one of those "Can't stop watching" sort of TV-History documentary things that I have a nasty habit of getting badly into, sometimes.
Luckily, I've watched every single one of them* so won't have to do that again.
(* Although, they have just added a new episode in the last half-hour!! Mmmm!!!!)
Anyhoo, yesterday I did some more tweaking of the level generator, and although it's not noticeably different at a glance, I can certainly feel the improvements coming along quite nicely. Hopefully I'm starting to get rid of any blocked paths along the way, as those were kinda nasty in places. I'm adding little extra ledges and things, to make sure large walls don't appear at the end of giant chasms, that sort of thing.
At the same time, however, I'd like to tackle a few precarious jumps, so I might try adding a few complex mini-rules in to ensure certain obstacles show up in specific sorts of areas.
It's hard, however, to ensure things don't get overly repetitive. It's all well and good having the floor disappear, and a single ledge half-a-screen away, but if you do that too often it becomes boring.
A dash of randomness, and plenty of tweaks to the generator, and we should be ok to go.
You know, I'm sure the original generator didn't take nearly as long as this!!
I'm not 100% certain, but I think my lack of AGameAWeek might be slowing down my ability to rush these things out...