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September 19, 2014, 01:53:42 PM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsSpaceHero Command
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happymonster
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« on: December 08, 2011, 01:01:23 PM »

Hello there!

This is the start of a little devlog that will record my brave attempts at creating a fun turn based strategy game. From the title you can guess that it will be influenced by Laser Squad and X-Com, although it won't be a clone of either game. In fact it will probably have more in common with Laser Squad than X-Com as I think there are quite a few X-Com clones out there now.

I'm not going to post any screenshots right now as although I know we ALL love the pretty pictures, I don't want to fall into that very easy trip of spending all the time working on the looks and neglecting the gameplay. That will of course turn a lot of people off and lead to this blog being cruely ignored by the silent majority, but it's a risk I'm prepared to take!  Cheesy

This blog will detail ideas for the design as well as technical aspects of the game, as well of course as progress and shiny shiny screenshots (at some point in the future).

Now, that's the introduction, so more details will soon follow.

Thank you kindly.
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DrDerekDoctors
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 02:41:16 PM »

Lawks! Is anyone can do it, it's you! Smiley

You gonna' go glowy-vector? I do like a glowy-vector when it ain't being used in a dual-thumbstick shooter. Smiley
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happymonster
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 03:45:07 PM »

Not the glowy vector route no, I think Frozen Synapse has already got that one covered!
Instead the graphics will be quite simple, but I hope attractive. Smiley

(Simple as in lo-fi style graphics, rather than ANSI!)
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happymonster
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2011, 12:28:05 AM »

There are always two very important questions you have to ask yourself when starting a large project:

1. Will it have Zombies? No

2. Will it feature Mining, Crafting, or per chance a large pick axe? No

No? Hurray! Thank god for that.. let's get on with writing the game. Smiley


Things wot I like
-----------------

Turn based movement
Hidden movement
Line of sight for visibility and weapon fire
Names for units!
Different weapons
Big explosions!
Different enemy types

So, expect all those things to be in!
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Dugan
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2011, 04:34:21 AM »

this sounds interesting! looking forward to seeing more, xcom was lots of fun (not played laser squad).
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happymonster
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2011, 10:09:51 AM »

Then I am sad for your loss.. Sad

Of course Laser Squad was really an 8-bit game without mouse controls, so hard to get into now. However it's still very playable and fun.
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2011, 11:50:15 AM »

When I next have some free time I`ll make time to try it out - is the amiga version a good one to play?
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happymonster
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2011, 12:04:04 PM »

Yes, that's good.  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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happymonster
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2011, 01:20:46 AM »

Let's all have a little perspective..

..or not, as the game will be entirely 2D, sorry folks no 3D engine in place here. Nevermind, 2D is the new big thing don't you know?

With that settled, we now have to look at the view perspective. A little bit of research reveals quite a fair few different view styles possible, from Top-down through to Isometric, Dimetric, Trimetric, Axonometric and Oblique. A few of these more obscure views have been used in well known games like the original Fallout and some of the later Ultima games.



However, some of them look damn odd, and if I've got to draw all the art it needs to be pretty easy! With that in mind the main views (and easiest for drawing) are pure top-down, isometric and oblique.

Top down (Alien Breed, Gratuitous Tank Battles) has the great advantages that rotations are very easy (in fact you could do them with the gfx card). But the big disadvantage is that while a view of a tank from above is cool, the top of a solider's head is not really going to float anyone's boat.

Isometric (X-com, Laser Squad Nemesis) is pretty standard, and lets the graphics look the most interesting, however it makes it harder to judge spacial relationships and distances as everything is on diagonal lines. I think this has a biological basis, notice how it's much easier to see where things are and if they line up in a horizontal or vertical axis, rather than a diagonal one.

Oblique (laser squad - original Final Fantasy games) is much more interesting than top-down but vertical walls and other objects will not have much detail.

Anyway, after spending several countless nights, days, minutes considering this I've decided that Oblique is the way to go for me! It will be easier than doing the gfx than Isometric, be more easy to look at for movement and planning purposes than Isometric and looks better than top-down. Plus, it's just cool!  
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2011, 02:38:39 AM »

If its not Rebelstar Raiders then I am not interested... Tongue

Good luck with it.

P.s. I have been working on a top down rebelstar raiders style game for the past few years, unfortunately it does involve tunneling, and carving out rooms like Dungeon Keeper.

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happymonster
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2011, 03:19:41 AM »

Tunneling? Heresy!

Seriously, sounds interesting. You should start a devblog too!
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DrDerekDoctors
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2011, 05:24:37 AM »

If its not Rebelstar Raiders then I am not interested... Tongue

Good luck with it.

P.s. I have been working on a top down rebelstar raiders style game for the past few years, unfortunately it does involve tunneling, and carving out rooms like Dungeon Keeper.

SHOW ME SCREENSHOTS! NOW! Tongue
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2011, 11:10:22 AM »

I will take your advice and start a DevLog in the next few days, rather than hijack the thread for your also wonderful and inspired game. :D

P.s. I have an older DevLog over at the Game Developers Refuge (GDR) Forum with some old screenshots, however I will add some new ones soon when I start the TIG DevLog
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happymonster
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2011, 02:01:58 PM »

Hurrah! Smiley
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happymonster
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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2011, 02:53:22 PM »

In case people think I haven't actually done any serious work on this I do have the start of something playable. This weekend I've done coding to load in multiple image files and add them to together to fit into textures so I can use them in the game. Pretty boring stuff in a way, but essential if I want to have separate object/image packs for different units & scenarios.

Now I'm going to tie it into my data driven object management part of the program. So now they will not just be image tiles, but proper objects with different characteristics.

Data driven objects also means the engine is more flexible and makes it easier to expand than having this part hard-coded.
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happymonster
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2011, 02:58:59 PM »

Real life got in the way today, but I've been pondering various ideas for the interface. I'm naturally inclined to the most transparent and simplified interface as possible, but I think I need to do more thinking and testing of what would work. Smiley

Don't expect to see a complicated control panel with tons of different stats and buttons!
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happymonster
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« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2011, 11:28:23 AM »

Mind the Map

Melchett: [giving a scroll to Blackadder] Farewell, Blackadder! The foremost cartographers of the land have prepared this for you! [Blackadder unrolls the scroll] It's a... map of the area you'll be traversing. [Blackadder inspects the apparently blank scroll] They'd be very grateful if you could just fill it in as you go along. Goodbye!

Aha! Now we get to a good bit.. maps!

There are three different ways of doing the maps that I can see (and these are not mutually exclusive, but can be combined):

1. Hand created maps. These were used in the original Laser Squad game - The advantages are that a map can be very tightly designed to control tactical situations and/or to make the map fit in with the scenario of the mission. Unlike other games, these kinds of maps can be played again and again because of the random deployment of enemies and AI logic. However at some point they will become too familiar.

2. Randomised section maps. These were used in X-com which featured 4 x 4 or 5 x 5 section maps, each section was selected randomly (or pretty much so) so that each mission was different. The advantages are that this means that maps are different every time you play, and more interesting, whilst still having clearly designed areas (such as the shops, ufo layouts). The disadvantages are that you need quite a large pool of designs to really make it work and it can look too mechanical with the square section areas. X-com actually had very few section designs, and I'm not sure why this was the case. Without having to do new graphics they could have added extra designs on disk relatively quickly.

3. Completely randomised maps. This would be the rogue kind of map - either nearly completely randomised (cave systems), or a section of rooms as in Rogue, Moira and Nethack. The advantages of these maps is that everything is new and unexpected when playing a map, and ideas that might never have occurred to a map design can be expressed. The disadvantages are that some maps might be great and others poor, and it could be hard to make it look like anything was done with a coherent design.


So, three approaches which could be combined into hand created areas placed at random and connected by random corridors and rooms. I intend to support ALL of these aspects in the game as I think that will make things much more fun. I especially think that having a map editor in the game so that people can make their own maps to play on with their friends (or just against the computer) would be really fun and cool. Imagine being able to share and download maps from the net, a greatly extended lifespan for any game.

With that in mind I will be designing the map structure and then starting work on a map editor. I already have some map tiles, enough to create a basic level. Once I have a map editor that is usable enough for everyone to use I can start to make those maps actually work by adding in the basic game mechanics.

There are so many possibilities in this kind of game, nearly untouched! This is going to be fun..  Coffee
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2011, 01:28:08 PM »

I say the first or second option (that said, the first could kinda' be a subset of the second if the chunks are of arbitrary size...).

However, I'd take a leaf out of Spelunky's book and make the fixtures and fittings of the chunks randomised, so supplies are in different locations each time. Different doors are locked or blocked off, etc. That way you get maximum bang for your buck.

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happymonster
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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2011, 02:41:47 PM »

Oh? I haven't looked at how Spelunky did the map generation, but that might be useful to look at that. Cheers! Smiley
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happymonster
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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2011, 11:35:05 AM »

Righteo.. so for the map editor, if this was going to be a tool used only by myself then it could be quick and scruffy and be fixed for the high resolution screensize of my monitor. Let's call this the mongrel dog of map editors.

However, if I want the map editor to be used by anyone then I need it to be clean and nice and play well with different screensizes. So this will be our pedigree puppy!

Because the game style is to use lo-fi graphics, then our map editor has to have rather larger text and icons than it would have if I was hard-coding it for my own use. The advantages with lo-fi graphics are that they are quicker for me to do, I'm more likely to get something good looking than with higher resolution graphics, and that the graphics will scale nicely for a variety of screenmode sizes.

So our pedigree puppy will play nicely with different PC's and monitors, but will have a finickity diet of programming for me to do!
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