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1048033 Posts in 42488 Topics- by 34363 Members - Latest Member: mind_heist

October 01, 2014, 06:21:59 PM
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EDarkness
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« on: April 30, 2014, 01:27:25 AM »

Hello everyone.  I've been looking for a good place to just talk about my game from a programming and design point of view and I was directed to this thread.  I like making stuff and creating new things.  My current game is called Skullforge: The Hunt.  It's an action RPG that's done in the old top down isometric style.  There is something about that type of game that brings me back to the early days of gaming.

The official site for my game is at http://skullforge.omc-games.com.

After reading a lot of posts here, it's hard to believe that I didn't know this place even existed.  I guess it shows how far out of the loop I am.  Still, its good to see so many projects out there.  Gives me that warm feeling.

So I plan to use this space to keep go into some design issues and ideas I've been thinking about.  The overall design docs have been laid out, but I find that while I'm developing the game sometimes an idea I had doesn't quite work out as well as I thought it would.  I guess that's why I like game development.

Everything is still pretty early, and I wish I was an artist so I could make the game look pretty, but alas.  All things considered, I think it's turned out well enough.  I apologize for that, but it's the best I can do with what I have.

Anyway, thanks for listening.  I hope you guys have a great evening.
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EDarkness
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 09:04:20 PM »

I find that putting time in when programming is fairly easy these days.  I have a day job that can be demanding, so I generally program when I have free time.  Which means, these days, I'm either programming or working my other job with a rare trip to Kamakura (I'm in Japan) or some place in between.

I thought I'd take some time off and play some games, but I've been having this nagging feeling to do something about the text that pops up when the player blocks an attack.  Seems like a simple thing, but it's something I felt like needed a change, because as of now it simply displays a 0 for damage.  I know it should display something, but the real question is how it should be displayed.  Right now, I'm thinking something along the lines of:

damage taken (damage blocked)
0 (35 blocked)

I just wonder if that is too long.

Messing around with this lead to me fiddling with attack timing.  That's going to something I think I can fiddle with forever.  At the moment, I feel like combat is too easy.  The more skills I add, the more powerful the character seems.  Perhaps this will change as NPCs get more moves and damage is tuned a bit.  Anyway, that's a topic for another day.
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EDarkness
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2014, 05:25:03 PM »

It's been a couple of days and I've managed to find a little time to relax.  Ended up playing The Amazing Spider-man 2.  It does web-swinging quite well.

Today, I figured I'd take a moment to talk about the graphics in the game.  It should be pointed out that I'm no artist.  The great thing about working with Unity is the asset store. Say what you want about it, but there's a ton of stuff listed.  Some of it good.  Some of it not so good.  Still, without it, I doubt my game would have gotten off the ground.  I made the decision early on to use the Asset Store and I haven't had any regrets as of yet.

I think the assets I've picked up so far have been quite nice, and the best part is that the developers of these assets have generally been nice and have been good enough to make some modifications for me for free.  I owe those guys a lot.



So far I'm pretty happy with the look of the game.  The only thing I'm not happy with is the main character.  This is a big sticking point for me since what you see is a generic character I got off of the Asset Store.  It's not a bad looking character, but it's not an elf and it's not unique to the game.  However, I'm not an artist, so it's the best I can do at the moment.

To fix this problem, I went to Kickstarter to try to get funds to get more custom art for the game.  I have a job and my funds are limited...as I assume is the case for many people here.  I really want the game to look the best it can and good graphics don't come cheap.  I wish I could say that this avenue met some success, but that's not the case.

This is one of those times when I wish I knew how to model in 3D, but alas, I'm just a programmer.  So odds are I'll be using this model until the game goes live, and I guess I'm okay with that.  There's still a lot of time before the game is released and anything can happen before then.

At the end of the day, I'm still happy with how the game looks and I have quite a few assets that can be used to craft some nice looking zones.

Here's the Kickstarter page for anyone interested: 
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/649312251/skullforge-the-hunt
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EDarkness
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2014, 08:45:10 PM »

I woke up this morning with the idea that I was going to tackle something mechanical in the game.  This lead me to working on the small target windows that pop up on the left side of the screen.  The idea behind this was to give you a list of enemies without having to tab target through them.  At least you can figure out which ones are around and choose the correct one accordingly.  In all videos and up until this point, only one window pops up.  The goal is for up to six to be on the screen at one time.  As an enemy dies, it's window will disappear and any other enemies who aren't listed will take it's place.



This should give you an idea of what it looks like in the game.  I'm thinking about trimming the number of windows down to 5, because this might be a tad too much clutter on the main screen.  We'll see how it goes with testing.  The number of windows can be easily adjusted in code.

That about wraps it up for today.  Thanks for reading.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 10:43:37 PM by EDarkness » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2014, 08:40:07 AM »

Hello everyone.  It's been a crazy week as I had a few days vacation due to Golden Week here in Japan.  I took a bit of time to just relax and get my bearings.  There's a ton of work to do and with the way everything is going, I have to say I was losing faith.

I'm sure people on this forum understand the sheer amount of work that goes into making a game.  Up until this point, I have put in a lot of time into the game.  I work a normal job and I come home and work on Skullforge for a few hours.  On my days off, I may put in a good 8 to 10 hours working on various systems and testing.  Perhaps this is the situation for a lot of us.

With the sheer amount of work going into this game, one does have to wonder why we do it and what we have to gain at the end of the day?

I guess for me, it's been a dream of mine to make a game. It's something I started many years ago when I got my first computer (Atari 800XL).  I'm sure not many people remember the old days of typing in code from old magazines.  My favorite was Antic and as slow and tedious as it was to type all that code in, I got a trill just watching everything come together.  It's those moments that drove me to get into making games.

So why make this one?  It's something I had to think about recently.  The question is who do we make games for?  The public or ourselves?  In all creative industries, that's one of the big questions.  Who do you do it for?  I'll be honest and say that I always get ideas that I think are pretty cool.  I always have to feel good about what I'm working on.  If I can't feel good about it, then I don't want to do it.  Unfortunately, what jives for us doesn't necessarily jive for everyone else.

I'm a firm believer that it is our duty as developers to convince people to support us or buy our goods.  This goes for the small guys as well as the big ones.  So I look at my own project and wonder if it's worth going forward.  Reception is basically lackluster at best, and while comments have been good overall, there's a certain "meh" surrounding the whole thing.  I wonder what goes through the mind of professional developers when something they've poured their heart into is met with a less than stellar reception.  Do you cut and run?  Make adjustments?  Honestly, I don't know.

I was just about to call it day.  I discussed it with my wife and thought about the consequences of dropping this and working on something else...or nothing at all.  But this morning, I read a story about a project on Steam that was having a bit of trouble.  I don't know the whole story, but it seemed that either something was mismanaged or they got in over their heads.  Either way it was a tough situation for them.  Reading comments and thinking it over, I realized that if I simply gave up and cut my losses, then I'd be another one of those guys who dropped out when things got tough.  Another indie developer who couldn't get anything done.

At that moment, I figured that I did enjoy working on my game.  Not many people get a chance to create something and watch it all come together.  The first time I got my character running around in Unity I danced around the house.  Such a simple thing, but it was my first time really jumping into an engine and I didn't know anything about C# or Unity for that matter.  It was then that I knew I could get my game working and since then I've made some pretty nice strides.  The whole experience has been great.  Should I give all that up?  Maybe not.  I'm still having fun working on it.

So what does this mean for Skullforge?  It won't be another "dead" project.  I'll just continue on and hope that by the time I'm finished other people will enjoy what I've created.  If you can't really enjoy what you're working on, then what's the point?

Thanks for reading.
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EDarkness
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2014, 08:32:01 AM »

It's a short little update since I had a few minutes before bed.  I have been a bit bummed out recently, so I figured I'd work on something that didn't have anything to do with programming.  Working on interiors is one of the things that I enjoy doing when I just want to do something involving the game, but don't want to program.  I admit that I'm not all that good at it, but it's cool putting all the little pieces together to craft the inside of a building.



I'm still learning how to do lighting, so if everything looks a little uneven, then I apologize for that.  We'll be able to narrow it all down before the game is released.  In the pic above, I was messing around with ambient lighting.  In all previous indoor shots, I usually have the ambient lighting turned down so that the individual lights in the scene provide the illumination.  I got the idea after reading some information on lighting a few months ago.  Recently, I've gone back to re-evaluate this as I think the scenes are too dark.

After looking at the above picture, I decided to make some changes which lead to the picture below.  More lights, but I'm not sure how I feel about it.



It's bright.  I like it.

I haven't added any flavor to the building yet (bottles, barrels, chairs, etc.).  I'll be working on it over the next couple of days.
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Matt Anderson
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2014, 09:36:14 AM »

Wow, looking good -- and this is looking quite far along. Watched the trailer -- DAT DRAGON SHADOW.

This is quite an ambitious project to solo. I'm looking forward to it. I commiserate on getting sick of programming. I've been doing nothing but programming UI for days. I'm going for a very gorgeous Persona style user interface, and it's just murdering me. It's nice to switch off to animations or particle FX every once in a while just to stay sane.
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EDarkness
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2014, 04:52:15 PM »

Thanks, Matt.  I had a look at your project and it's looking quite nice.  The art is beautiful.  Best of luck on it.

I know what you mean about changing things up.  I have been working on mechanical things for a while and it was starting to drive me crazy.  Being able to switch up helps keep things fresh.  Designing a good, functioning UI is challenging, so I hope you get it looking and working like you want it.

Welp, back to work.  I'll probably have another update in the next couple of days. About to jump into saving and loading...fun stuff.
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2014, 10:47:02 PM »

Just wanted to chime in and let you know I totally get where you're coming from. Developing games is very hard work, and it can certainly be frusterating at times. That doesn't stop people like us though Smiley We love what we do and we'll keep doing it for as long as we can.

That being said, I may be able to provide some advice.. What has worked well for me is I specialized in an area of game development: programming. Ok, so that's still a very broad field, but even if your day job isn't game development, solid general software engineering principles apply to game development with a little patience and math. If programming is not your thing, maybe focus on 3D art. Or if not that, then level design. Just be really good at what you do. Join up local game developer meetups if you can, and just share your ideas. If it's good, people will come Smiley

Good luck, and I'll be following your project!
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EDarkness
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2014, 06:53:16 AM »

Thanks for the advice, Dajyareo.  I've pretty much specialized in programming, but I've tried to expand my horizons.  Mainly because I feel like I should understand how other parts of game development works in order to be better at programming.  It's just my own quirky little thing.

I do wish there were some meetups here in Japan, but I haven't found anything like that yet.  Perhaps once we move back to The States, we'll be able to mingle with folks.

Anyway, today was a hard day at my day job, so I didn't get much done.  Gonna try to do a little something before bed, but I don't have much hope since I'm so tired.  Too much stuff to do and so little time.  Tomorrow should be a bit better.

Had an issue with SmartSVN, but got that worked out.  Whew.
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EDarkness
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 12:39:43 AM »

It's been a couple of weeks since I've updated this blog, but to be honest, I haven't worked on much since my last post.  My real job has been fairly busy, which has made working on the game a lot harder to do.  Things are getting back to normal, so I feel like I can get back to work and so I've been working on a couple of things that had been bothering me.

The first problem I had was dealing with how HP bars were presented for NPCs and enemies when they attacked.  In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to put them all on the left hand side.  However, after looking at it, I felt it was a bit cluttered.  Now, all NPCs have their own HP bar that pops up over their head.  It makes dealing with multiple enemies easier to manage since you can see each individual NPC's HP attached to them.  Originally, I didn't want to make it seem like a dungeon crawler kind of game, but providing the player with easy to discern information is the most important thing.

The other thing was to work on saving and loading a game.  It's kind of strange to think that I haven't handled this already.  I'll be honest, I hate working on two things...database stuff and save data management.  Just the thought of it makes me want to procrastinate. Unfortunately, I can't put it off any longer. The good part is that I do have a solution in mind for saving a game and how it's going to work. The problem is actually taking the time to get working. If all goes well, I should have the basic framework for it working tomorrow.  That's the plan, anyway.

Other good points over the last couple of weeks have been... we're going to try to be at Tokyo Game Show. With Sony helping out indies by paying the fees, I think I can take the time off to present Skullforge: The Hunt to the world in a more direct way. It will give people a change to play the game as well. Now it's just a matter of getting accepted by the TGS group.  Fingers crossed.

Finally, we got approved for Wii U development by Nintendo.  Maybe that doesn't seem like much, but it's a big deal for me.  Took a lot of time to get it done, but it happened.  Working on a console game has always been a dream of mine.  Here's to the future!

That's it for today.  You guys have a good one.
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2014, 03:46:34 AM »

Finally, we got approved for Wii U development by Nintendo.  Maybe that doesn't seem like much, but it's a big deal for me.  Took a lot of time to get it done, but it happened.  Working on a console game has always been a dream of mine.  Here's to the future!

Grats! Smiley
You planning on any tablet-controller specific features?
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2014, 05:09:19 PM »

Grats! Smiley
You planning on any tablet-controller specific features?

When I started my game, I had planned to do something with Miiverse.  Like having a way for players to ask questions when they're stuck. 

The Wiipad is a different beast, but to be honest, I wanted to do Wii U development in order to push the remote and nunchuck.  Sounds crazy, I know, but that's gotta be my favorite controller ever.  We do have some Wiipad things planned. Of course, we'll also have off-TV play as well.  The biggest issue is time, but I want to do something unique for Wii U players.
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EDarkness
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2014, 07:21:04 AM »

Working on the game a bit more these days.  Lots of things that need to worked out and as I mentioned before, lighting is one of those things that I'm still working out.  Either way, I went ahead and changed a few of the areas we used in the trailers to better looking places. Looks better, in my opinion.

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EDarkness
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2014, 04:02:02 PM »

Hello, everyone.  It's been a while since I've posted here, mainly because I haven't had anything to write about recently.  Most of the work going into the game right now has to do with things under the hood and are rather boring to talk about.  I doubt people have much interest in how the options system is working out.  That said, I am making quite a bit of progress in that area and I'm quite happy about that.

One of the things I've been struggling with has to do with complete controller control vs. keyboard and mouse functionality. I won't lie and say I'm not much of a PC gamer.  The conventions used in most PC games are things that I'm not familiar with and so Skullforge is built with the idea of using either the keyboard as the main input tool with the mouse as a secondary input device used for attacking and dodging, but skill use and the like are activated via keyboard.  This is because I've avoided using "buttons" for almost all the UI design.  This means there aren't many clickable options in the game.  Perhaps some folks won't be too happy about that, but it helps me deal with balancing controller use, mouse/keyboard, and Wii remote.  It probably sounds worse than it actually is, but it's a decision I've had to make recently and I'm happy with how it works in game.

Outside of that, the art for Desi is coming along nicely and I hope to have a pic sometime soon.  Heh, I think she is looking pretty cool.
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EDarkness
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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2014, 07:58:57 PM »

Hey folks.  Just making a post letting everyone know we're still alive and working on the game.  I feel like I haven't had much to share since much of what we're working on is in transition.  I've been looking for people to help get a couple of custom models done and someone to do some world layout based on my maps.  Heh, I've tried to do this myself, but I'm terrible at it.  Of course, if I can't find someone to help on this front, then you guys will have to suffer through my crappy terrains.  For that, I apologize.

Had a person work on Desi's design and it worked out quite well.  I'm real happy with how it turned out.  The next point is to get her custom model setup based on his design.  My goal is to get this started sometime in the next couple of weeks.  If you're interested in the character check it out below.

http://skullforge.omc-games.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/desi_wallpaper.jpg

Working on finalizing the total list of places to visit in the game.  This includes inns, taverns, churches, shops, dungeons, etc.  Up until now, I've pretty much added places as they've been needed, but my list is getting a little cluttered and I feel like there's a bit of overlap in areas.  It's time consuming and costly to add a new zone for every little thing, so I want to reuse places so that they have dual purposes.  That doesn't mean I won't add new places if it is required.  I just want to save us a bit of time by not having to create so many buildings and places if they're not really necessary.

I wanted to have a couple of screens this weekend to show, but time wasn't on my side due to work.  Plus, I wasn't happy with how the zone I was working on was progressing, so I decided to hold off until some other time.  No point in showing off some ugly looking zone just so I could have something to show.

Also, in the next month or so, I will be putting together a little video blog to show off some things we're working on in the game.  They won't be very long...4 or 5 minutes, but it should give people some idea on how the game is progressing and how various systems work in the game.  I'm kind of looking forward to this and I hope everyone else is, too.

Okay, that's it for today.  Have a good one.
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2014, 10:35:56 PM »

It's been a while since I've posted some screens for the game, but I wanted to give you guys a little look at how things have changed in recent weeks.  What you're looking in the picture below is the original look of Kellum's Inn.  It's dark, and I feel like it doesn't look much like you would expect of an inn.



In the picture below you can see how it's changed.  This is the same place, but we have a better asset pack for crafting the inside of buildings and I think it shows.  We went ahead and improved the lighting a bit and added a little flavor to the room.  There are a few places to work on, so it's taken a bit more time than to get them looking the way we want them.



Hopefully in the next couple of days we'll have a couple new screens from one of the actual dungeons in the game.  Thanks for reading.
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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2014, 05:30:30 AM »

I wish I could update more often, but after my first real reveal and the Kickstarter afterwards, I've been a little wary showing off the game in it's current form.  It's still early and there are lots of things that need to be worked on and updated.  The initial response of "it's crap" or "looks bad" is pretty scathing considering how early it is in development.  Not that this is a complaint against that sort of criticism, but even stating that a lot of what people have seen is early development stuff, it's still taken as if it's what the game will look like in it's final form.

I'm one of those guys who likes to delve into how and why of game development.  Posting screens of what things look like in the beginning and the little crazy things we deal with I find quite interesting.  I believe that there shouldn't be anything wrong with seeing things in their raw state.  It's raw and the game is still being made.  If someone isn't happy with that, that's fine.  I've just come to accept that this is my way and how I like to do things.  Of course, that means I'm opening myself up to that level of criticism as well.  I guess I'm fine with that too.  What's the point of all of this if we can't show off the jank so we can appreciate the strides we make?

Anyway, sorry for my little rant.

Today, I just wanted to say that I decided to change the way the enemy's HP is displayed.  I had messed around with adding windows that showed the enemy's HP on the left side of the screen, but after playing around with it, I found it was better to just put the HP bar over their head.  It's kind of a bummer since I wanted something "flashy" instead of the traditional "bar over the head" style.  However, there's a reason it's the tried and true way in 3D games.  Once there are too many enemies on the screen managing who to target should be about speed as it's a matter of life and death.  Having gotten destroyed by them a few times in testing, I figured it was better to just have the HP bar connected to the mob.  Heh, that's why we test, right?

Also, I have added a musician to our little band of merry men.  He's a great guy and I'm happy that he was able to join the crew.  His first track is pretty awesome and he's given me some ideas on how to handle sound in the game.  This will end up being better for the game and ultimately great for the player experience.  Once we nail down the track, I'll post a sample.  It shows the direction we're going with the audio layer of the game and how it'll be different than what you'd expect from a fantasy action RPG.  I hope that's a good thing.

That's it for today.  Take it easy.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 01:43:45 AM by EDarkness » Logged

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