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New name, mini-poster, and development update!

The Secret Project (Part 1) - Available as soon as she is done! :)

Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby CommanderData » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:03 pm

osiris37 wrote:Wow CD that's looking really nice, although I have a nostalgic fondness for the Nes like scrolling from your first tech demos, this one adds a hell of lot more 'creepy' atmosphere, and I thing would actually have more of a motivating pull to find the next exit as you feel something could be lurking in the darkness to grab you...

Great work as always :D


Osiris37, thanks for the feedback! I too had a soft spot for the old block/tile based line of sight. Might not have even started down this path if there wasn't a collective "meh" over the first tech demo video I made (not anyone here, more of the app-buying public at TouchArcade). The comments that I received there were enough to spur me on. Rather than do what's already been done visually, I would try to mix some more modern effects with the 16-bit era characters and monsters. Now I am glad that I tried... this is very cool in motion :D

*************************

New status update (as posted at TA too)- Many smaller bits of progress were made this week:

1) Tweaked cave generation a bit more, and improved the handling of wall torches so their light did not leak into adjacent areas where it should not be visible (unless you happened to have x-ray vision that is). I think the base algorithms and visual representation of caves are finished now. Things are looking great here!

2) Found a stupid bug in my tech demo code that was adding and drawing an extra vertice every frame. This would slowly compound over time until the demo would crash. Good news, it's fixed. Even better news, is the performance of screen updates was unaffected even when thousands of unwanted extra draw commands were being issued by the bug. That means I've got lots of potential for fancy particle effects even after the game logic and AI is running! :ugeek:

3) Took my castle & dungeon generation code and threw out most of it, started over fresh. Came up with some new methods that create great man-made layouts, squarish walls, passages and so on. Unlike Rogue Touch (and the original rogue) you will not find "dead end" hallways in Mineko. A hallway will always end in a room of some sort, even if it simply loops back around and connects to the room you came from! Room size and placement is much more varied, no more 3x3 grid of rooms like RT. This algorithm is capable of creating enormous levels, but I am limiting it to a reasonable size for the main game. Maybe the "post-game" bonus dungeons will have some super-sized floors :mrgreen:

4) Started working on random Forest and outdoor-world level generation. Already, I am surprised and pleased with the results I am getting! This creates some very interesting terrain, looking like smooth walking paths and openings into fields/meadows. Unfortunately my forest tileset is *FAR* from complete, so I have no close-up shots of what it'll look like, but I have included samples using some generic color-blocks below. In the end, there should be a variety of dirt, grass, trees, flowers, and water mixed in.


The picture embedded here is a sampling of how the areas are structurally and visually distinct. An area is not just a series of hallways and square or rectangular rooms... each one has its own feel. Each of the environments in the game will have little hidden and interactive features to them (some of which I have figured out and some I am still defining).

For now, enjoy the terrain sample and please feel free to ask if you have any questions ;)

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Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby CommanderData » Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:24 am

Not sure if anyone is kicking around to read my progress reports... Similar info was shared at TouchArcade but I am also putting it here for your enjoyment :lol:

This week's been a tough week for game progress, I have a consulting trip to leave on next week that is nibbling away at my time too... still have to work to pay the bills until I become a gaming superstar :ugeek: A lot of behind the scenes work on Spirit Hunter Mineko DID occur though! Integration of my forest, cave, and castle generation into my dungeon-wandering test bed is complete. I can walk through all these different environments and check dungeons for continuity (Up and Down level points and all rooms accessible) and make sure they are interestingly designed to encourage exploration.

Now I have been sketching up the interface options and trying to outline what would be the most beneficial to have a dedicated button/touch area on the screen, and what should be "context sensitive". Instead of the popup menu that Rogue Touch used, think like the top right corner button in Sword of Fargoal, changing to be the most appropriate action at the moment. This would allow you to go up/down stairs, open chests, that sort of thing.

I am trying to keep the main up/down/left/right directions clear of misc controls and info to make it easier to see and move in those four primary directions. That leaves the four corners, but problems arise when I try to assign a function to each corner. Here is what I've got so far:

1) Top Left - Character Status (HP, SP, etc) - Touch for detail screen and inventory access

2) Top Right - Context Action Button, as described above

3) Lower Right - Rest / Wait Button

4) Lower Left - "Magic" Button, more on this in a future post. This button is very important to the gameplay.

Note that we have no need of a "Search" button now due to the changes I've made to gameplay for Mineko that will make searching more dependent on YOUR perception than a random check that simulates the character's perception of the area.

What I really DO need is a good way to trigger ranged attacks. Shooting monsters specifically... you'll still be able to do things like throw potions or zap a monster with a wand, but those actions will be handled more like Rogue Touch- pick the item from your inventory, decide what you want to do (throw, zap), then pick the direction. Of course this is too many steps if you just want to fire away with your crossbow, so I need a way to trigger it easily (pun intended ;) ).

Some options:
1) Touch your character in the center of the screen as a trigger for shooting (then pick the direction). This would work, but it is not obvious to many players, and could be accidentally triggered in certain control options like the Rogue Touch "Classic" control scheme. I've actually gotten a lot of complaints about accidental triggering of inventory in RT because people would try to touch too close to the center for motion instead of at the edges and corners of the screen, and I'd like to avoid that if possible :D

2) Put your finger on the character then swipe outward to the direction you want to shoot. Has the benefit of combining two steps into one (selecting fire, then selecting direction to fire). Has the same downfall as #1 when playing with the "analog anywhere" controls I have, confusing someone if they touch the character and drag outward expecting to move.

3) Shooting could be a Context Action button item. The problem would be when something overrides it. Say you're standing on the stairs. You would not be able to shoot because the context would become "go down stairs". So, this would work in some situations, and prevent ranged attacks in others. It could be argued that this would add to the strategic aspects of gameplay, but might be annoying to others!

4) YOUR Idea here. Something I am missing? Speak up!

For the record, #2 is sort of what I'm leaning towards right now (with #3 as a close second option), unless a better idea can be found. Ranged attacks are important in any roguelike, and will be a potentially greater factor in this game. I need an intuitive, simple way to handle it that does not conflict with existing corner buttons or control schemes...

Please, let me know what you think! :mrgreen:
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Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby Nighthawk » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:03 am

CommanderData wrote:
I am trying to keep the main up/down/left/right directions clear of misc controls and info to make it easier to see and move in those four primary directions. That leaves the four corners, but problems arise when I try to assign a function to each corner. Here is what I've got so far:

1) Top Left - Character Status (HP, SP, etc) - Touch for detail screen and inventory access

2) Top Right - Context Action Button, as described above

3) Lower Right - Rest / Wait Button

4) Lower Left - "Magic" Button, more on this in a future post. This button is very important to the gameplay.

...

What I really DO need is a good way to trigger ranged attacks. Shooting monsters specifically... you'll still be able to do things like throw potions or zap a monster with a wand, but those actions will be handled more like Rogue Touch- pick the item from your inventory, decide what you want to do (throw, zap), then pick the direction. Of course this is too many steps if you just want to fire away with your crossbow, so I need a way to trigger it easily (pun intended ;) ).

Some options:
1) Touch your character in the center of the screen as a trigger for shooting (then pick the direction). This would work, but it is not obvious to many players, and could be accidentally triggered in certain control options like the Rogue Touch "Classic" control scheme. I've actually gotten a lot of complaints about accidental triggering of inventory in RT because people would try to touch too close to the center for motion instead of at the edges and corners of the screen, and I'd like to avoid that if possible :D

2) Put your finger on the character then swipe outward to the direction you want to shoot. Has the benefit of combining two steps into one (selecting fire, then selecting direction to fire). Has the same downfall as #1 when playing with the "analog anywhere" controls I have, confusing someone if they touch the character and drag outward expecting to move.

3) Shooting could be a Context Action button item. The problem would be when something overrides it. Say you're standing on the stairs. You would not be able to shoot because the context would become "go down stairs". So, this would work in some situations, and prevent ranged attacks in others. It could be argued that this would add to the strategic aspects of gameplay, but might be annoying to others!

4) YOUR Idea here. Something I am missing? Speak up!

For the record, #2 is sort of what I'm leaning towards right now (with #3 as a close second option), unless a better idea can be found. Ranged attacks are important in any roguelike, and will be a potentially greater factor in this game. I need an intuitive, simple way to handle it that does not conflict with existing corner buttons or control schemes...

Please, let me know what you think! :mrgreen:


Not a big fan of option #2. It requires too much dexterity (which can be learned, but may be off-putting to some), and for those of us with fat-ish fingers, will cover the screen making it hard to be sure we aimed correctly.
I like #3 a lot more, but throwing/shooting could/should be its own button. Depending on the size of your corner buttons, I'd put it above/to the left of your rest/wait button in the bottom right corner. (As an aside, make the location of your corner buttons customizable - lefties and others may be thankful). My thought would be to make the throw/shoot button just a picture of the item with a small arrow that when clicked brings up a small scrollable menu of throw/shoot-eligible items to choose from. This action (changing the throw/shoot item) should not take a game turn, just like it doesn't in Rogue Touch.

Not sure if this idea could be extended to wands and staves, but it should still make sense. Choose a wand or staff in the throw/shoot button to zap with it. If you actually *want* to throw a staff or wand (very rare), then you can still do it through the inventory.
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Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby BGFUSAB » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:32 pm

My suggestion would just be to add a dedicated button that toggle between ranged and melee if you can fit it in without making the UI too cluttered. Perhaps next to the context action button. That seems to me the way to go.
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Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby kennfusion » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:27 am

For ranged combat you could have a small toggle on screen or something. Actually it could be mele/ranged/wand even.

So imagine you have a primary slot in the inventory for 3 weapons, a mele weapon, a ranged weapon and a wand. A small little box somewhere on the screen (kind of like how Dungeons & Dice have the inventory button on screen) could be a toggle that you cycle through to pick your active weapon. Depending on game balance, each switch could take a turn or not.



EDIT: Lol, I did not read BGFUSAB's response first....what he said...with more words :-)
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Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby johndramey » Tue May 04, 2010 8:06 pm

Hey CD, sorry about the lapse in communication I've been pretty busy lately. I also managed to catch some sort of crazy super flu that knocked me on my ass for a week and a half. Anyways, just caught up on all my RT/SHM news and gotta say you've been working really hard.

On the idea of how to manage your ranged attack. Maybe I'm the only one who likes this method, but in RT you allowed the player to hit the weapon square to enable ranged attacks. I'm not sure if that's the best way to explain it, but I'm guessing in SHM you'll have your weapon/armor displayed in the player's status area. You could allow the player to tap their weapon's square or his/her player's stats. This will bring up the ranged attack overlay, and then the player just selects where he/she wants the shot to go.

Not sure if you readers out there are understanding what I'm going for. If need be I can go grab screenies of it happening in RT to help illustrate my point. Anyways, really awesome work CD. I try to stop by and read whatever happens at least once a week. It seems like every time I come back there is a plethora of cool new things your talking about!
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Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby CommanderData » Sun May 30, 2010 3:53 pm

Been slow with updates around here, so wanted to post a little Memorial Weekend Mineko Update! Similar info was posted at TouchArcade if you hang out there as well ;)

Well, I finally sat down to wrestle with iShowU HD, the iPhone Simulator, and iMovie to create an updated video of Spirit Hunter Mineko's progress! I'm not sure how to set 480P as default with the youtube forum codes, so please switch to 480P manually in the lower right corner to see the graphics in better detail:




Please forgive any choppy parts in the video. Recording in the simulator has never worked perfectly for me! Testing this on my various devices shows the motion to be silky smooth, and very low CPU usage...

This video gives a brief highlight of areas that Mineko will travel through in her journey to find out the mystery of the castle "Demon's Reach". Starting from her house, part of a small village on a mountian, she sneaks out of her room through a trap door, she traverses the village "cellars". From there she continues making her way down into caves in the mountain until she reaches the exit to the valley floor and daylight! Mineko will make her way through the forests on the valley floor, experiencing a variety of environmental effects, including a day/night cycle, until she reaches the castle. Finally you must explore the castle, working your way up to the top!


Some key facts since I'm feeling generous today:

1) At least the 4 major environments will be seen in your primary game. There are a few secret bonus lands I have ideas for that may or may not make the initial cut. Each of the major environments has its own random generator for unique look and feel. Most importantly, each environment provides new exploration tactics, new combat tactics, and new room features to interact with, in addition to looking pretty! :D
2) At least 30 types of monster will be found in the game, each monster species is fully animated and has unique attributes and special abilities to keep you on your toes!
3) Lots of equipment and items. I'm going to remain hushed about this and the magic system for a while longer
4) The "main" game will be between 30 and 40 levels long, depending on how the gameplay balance feels. A "post-game" scenario is planned for people who need more Mineko while awaiting a sequel ;)

-----

So at this point, the game's been in development for over 6 months. A substantial portion of the time was devoted to background story, game-design, monster concepts, environment design, and artwork. I am finally getting deep enough into the code to believe this will be a really great game!

A lot of my programming up to now has been devoted to learning OpenGL, and creating a solid foundation of environment generators, and great display tech. In the coming weeks, you'll be glad to hear that progress on meatier stuff will begin- monsters will be appearing, and their animation/AI will be a high priority for me. These guys need to be believable, scary, and sometimes funny... and I will do my best to deliver.

Please feel free to ask me questions here, or comment on the new video! I really need to see the continued support of the community... the budget spent out of my own pocket so far on this is into five figures of cash, not including the value of my time, and I'm not done yet... help me and Mineko by letting me know what you think! :mrgreen:
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Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby CommanderData » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:03 pm

Yet another update (the post above from Memorial Day weekend has more meat on activity):

A new little video clip "Down by the River"... switch to 480P manually in the corner of the youtube box for best viewing results :D



Low on action, but still cool to look at, I recorded it this afternoon to show off a few of the forest environmental effects that were incomplete or missing at the time the previous video that was recorded/uploaded over the weekend. The big video and some details ended up as a news post on the front page of TouchArcade too!

Other News: Started building a few pieces of my monster path finding and AI today. Nothing you can see yet of course, but I will be sure to demo something as soon as there are interesting results to view :mrgreen:
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Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby JonathanCR » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:05 pm

I think the cloud shadows are really good. An unusual and simple effect, but a really effective one. Great work.

The ray-casting of the light and shadows on the previous video looks really smart too. I'm glad you went for the more realistic (kind of) approach rather than the more retro blocky kind - it looks better this way. My only comment is that I think it would look still better if the edges between the light and shadow were less sharp - just as the pool of light fades away at its edge rather than cutting out completely. However, I naturally have no idea whether this would be a pain to do, so if it is, it's no big deal.

The game is obviously coming on really well. It looks smart and I think will be very attractive to potential players. I've no doubt you'll recoup all that investment... maybe Steve Jobs will be showcasing it at the next WWDC!
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Re: New name, mini-poster, and development update!

Postby theitalian » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:36 am

I think you should add a bit of flicker to the torch/lamp effect. but other then that it looks amazing, looking forward to the release :)
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