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TIGSource ForumsCommunityJams & EventsCompetitionsVersus (Moderator: Melly)Gasbags at Dawn [FINISHED]
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Will Vale
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« on: January 21, 2011, 12:12:15 AM »

Hello all! Final compo version is ready. Has music!

Download Gasbags at Dawn 1.0

It now has graphics! They are quite plain!





Original post below:
------------------------------------------------------------------

I thought I should throw my hat into the ring - the TIGS competitions are my main motivation to do hobby programming. I hope I can finish something this time, although I have a lot of day-job stuff to do before GDC, so you never know. Still, onwards and upwards...

I've wanted for years to make a ballooney game, and this seems like a good chance to play with some of the ideas without the burden of single player to worry about. Gasbags at Dawn is to be a single-screen single-keyboard competition between lighter-than-air machines.

I haven't thought this through much, but I'd like to include:

1) Comedy and immediacy, like that cruel Bunnies game I forget the name of. (edit: it was Jump n Bump!)
2) Physics-ey weapons and movement.
3) Victoriana
4) ...
5) Hammering a key Track-and-Field style to re-inflate a leaking gasbag.

Not much to go on, but it's a start.

I realise Coriform is making Fisticuffs with a similar theme, but hopefully we can complement each other rather than conflict. I did start thinking about this before I saw your post, honest Smiley

Art-wise, I'm not sure but I like the idea of something a bit Ronald Searle-inspired. Not that I can draw like Ronald Searle, I'm a programmer... Here's some concept art-ey fiddling I did yesterday:



Cheers,

Will
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 01:49:19 AM by Will Vale » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2011, 06:21:11 AM »

Great art! It looks wonderful to me.  Smiley

Interested to see how the gameplay of this unfolds. (Feels like there is a lot of aerial games this competition, too... or is it just me?)
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2011, 07:59:39 AM »

Cool!  Looking forward to whatever you have in mind. 

Your picture and description immediately made me think of a one-button version of Joust.
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Will Vale
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2011, 02:58:40 PM »

One button flight controls could be interesting. I was thinking about having wind blowing in opposite directions at the top and bottom of the screen, so you would heat your balloon to rise up and eventually go left, or let it cool to sink down and go right.

It could end up being a bit of a circular chase though, so maybe some more immediate maneuverability would be better - after all, dirigibles are a bit less at the mercy of the wind than hot air balloons...

Cheers!

Will
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Will Vale
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2011, 02:07:56 PM »

Not much to report, but I managed to fix my SVN repository and cobble together some code to open a window and create an entity. No control or anything yet, but some kind of blank canvas exists.

I'm a bit shocked that the last time I used this codebase for anything was the cockpit compo (I think - whichever one was just before GDC 2009).

Feels like there is a lot of aerial games this competition, too... or is it just me?

I think you're right - possibly it's a good topic because it avoids the need to make levels? Aerial games also offer quite a lot of freedom of movement which is good in MP.

I thought there were quite a few Victorian/Gentlemen games as well, which I put down partly to general TIGS preferences, and partly due to the unconscious influence of Derek's compo pic  Grin

Cheers,

Will
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Will Vale
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 04:50:52 PM »

Well, my work milestone is out of the way so I've had some time to play with Box2D a more:



The basket and envelope are connected by spring joints so there's potential for terribly bad landings. Doesn't look like much, but it's quite entertaining to fly around at the moment.

Cheers,

Will
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J.G. Martins
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 06:22:56 PM »

Ooooh, Box2d and C++?

Also, the name of the game is epic, and I'm really liking what you have so far Smiley

Do you have any more concrete ideas about the gameplay?
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2011, 10:14:34 PM »

Well spotted, C++ it is. Which means uploading binaries is a pain since people need to install the VC2010 runtime and whatever version of DX I'm using Sad I guess I should make an installer.

I have been thinking about gameplay - I was originally intending to have dirigibles, but there is a key advantage to hot air balloons - they don't need to change ends when changing direction. So balloons for the moment.

I want to have some kind of combat - someone else is doing balloon racing - but I'm not sure what form that would take - the problem with balloons is they're really fragile! I was thinking about the following:

1) It's fairly easy to go up and down.
2) It's fairly difficult to go left and right.
3) There's changing wind in the game, in horizontal bands.

So then maneuvering is more about using buoyancy to get into and out of the right wind band.

For combat, I figure that being above your opponent is good if you're in a balloon, so:

4) You can drop caltrops and bombs from your basket
5) Caltrops puncture the balloon and cause it to leak/sink down
6) Bombs bounce off the balloon but damage the player

So the idea would be to get above your opponent and caltrop them until they're on the ground, then

7) They furiously try and inflate the balloon while
8 ) You try and bomb them to death with the basket vulnerable.

If you bomb them, you win. If they reinflate the balloon, they go back up and it carries on.

Things to throw into the mix:

9) You have N (3?) bags of ballast you can drop which give you lots of temporary lift - good for getting out of trouble
10) Maybe when you run out of bombs, you have to pick up more from the ground?

This will likely all change as it gets implemented, but it gives me something to aim for. If this turns out to be fun I'd like to be able to add other vehicle types - dirigibles, planes, dragons, ... But that's unlikely in the compo timeframe.

Cheers,

Will
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Will Vale
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2011, 03:23:35 AM »

Not a lot done this weekend, but I did add support for wind regions. I also changed the physics setup so that one game entity (the balloon) can be made of multiple physics components, all nicely data driven.

Typical coder mentality - spend time working on engine not gameplay Sad But it's fun, and it should make taking further steps a lot easier.

Will
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J.G. Martins
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2011, 08:49:51 AM »

Struggling with that too... I'm at that stage you were where you got the wireframe drawings and basic physics, but I can't seem to think of a way to make all I want data-driven. I think I'm just trying to make everything too moddable from the get go, and it's really not helping!

Still, not having to compile in order to make different gasbags is totally neat. That's what I'd like to have Wink Don't give up on the project!
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Gold is for the mistress -- silver for the maid --
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
"Good!" cried the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But iron, cold iron, is the master of them all."
--- Rudyard Kipling
Will Vale
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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2011, 03:34:59 AM »

Not given up yet - although that was a long gap, sorry.

There's now a simple playable demo at:

http://www.secondintention.com/files/gasbags-v1.zip

It's still using Box2D debug drawing:



so it's sort of sparse and busy at the same time.

To run it you'll need:

* DirectX
* VC2010 redist

Player 1's keys are WASD plus Q to drop bombs.
Player 2's keys are Arrows plus right CTRL to drop bombs.

You can only destroy your opponent's balloon by bombing their basket. The two horizontal strips are wind regions which blow you left or right, so most of the gameplay (such as it is!) involves getting into the right wind region and being above your opponent. There is a degree of left + right "air control" but it's not very strong, the wind is what you really need to use.

If you go outside the Box2D world (you can't escape at the top and bottom, but you can at the left and right) then you die. There's no scoring or restarting yet so you'll need to quit the game and restart.

I'd be really grateful for some feedback - I don't think the play mechanics are much cop yet, but I like the balloon control and it'd be nice to know if it works for you, or if it doesn't.

Also if you fancy it, have a play with resources\entities.ini to add more strings and such to your balloons Smiley

Cheers,

Will
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J.G. Martins
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2011, 06:47:54 PM »

Howdy!

Just tried it! It's really hard to deal with such unresponsive left-right controls, but I think if you give ever so slightly more control it'll become difficult to control but awesome. I like the vertical acceleration, which is just (un)responsive enough!

Maybe I didn't really understand how to play it, 'cause there's some strange yellow things that seem to pull you. It's also strange that you can just keep dropping bombs and get essentially what amounts to an engine.

Perhaps you could have air currents that change slowly over time, and that's what would allow you to float left and right Smiley

--- edit ---

Or maybe have limited fuel to pump some propellers to move you left and right. When you stop the propellers, maybe they turn with the wind and regenerate energy.

Just throwing ideas out there for horizontal movement!
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Gold is for the mistress -- silver for the maid --
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.
"Good!" cried the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But iron, cold iron, is the master of them all."
--- Rudyard Kipling
Will Vale
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2011, 08:29:07 PM »

Thanks for giving it a try, much appreciated!

I think if you give ever so slightly more control it'll become difficult to control but awesome.

Try changing line 5 of resources/entities.ini from:

Code:
Aircraft {}
to
Code:
Aircraft { m_strafe_rate = 2.0 }

That puts the horizontal control back to "it sort of works" levels. There are other values you can play with on Aircraft as well, with defaults as follows:

Code:
m_strafe_rate = 0.3
m_burn_lift_rate = 7.0
m_vent_lift_rate = 4.0
m_zero_lift_rate = 8.0
m_min_lift = -3.0
m_zero_lift = -0.3
m_max_lift = 2.0
m_force_scale = 8.0

Quote
Maybe I didn't really understand how to play it,

It's more that there isn't really a game there yet!

The strange yellow things are just Box2D drawing lines between pairs of objects which are participating in collisions - they don't have any effect on the simulation.

The pulling comes from the big boxes with "wind" blowing in them. One pulls you to the left, and one to the right - the idea was to use those for horizontal movement, so you can control your altitude directly, but not your direction, as per a real balloon. But I think that's not really obvious at the moment.

Quote
can just keep dropping bombs and get essentially what amounts to an engine.

Yeah, that would make more sense with limited bombs. Here the idea was that height is important, so you could drop a bomb (or possibly a bag of ballast) to get some quick lift, but at the cost of wasting a weapon. Again, lots to do there Smiley

Quote
Perhaps you could have air currents that change slowly over time, and that's what would allow you to float left and right Smiley

That's what the wind is supposed to do, yep. It just doesn't read right yet since there aren't any visual cues. I think I'll work on proper rendering next and then it should be easier to follow what's happening.

I'm not sure about propellors - I like the winding down/winding up though, that's cool. If I get time to make more than one class of vehicle (balloons, dirigibles, dragons??) I'll definitely give that a try.

Thanks again for the feedback, I really appreciate it!

Will
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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2011, 07:15:17 PM »

Messing about with Scientific Balloonists:



Will
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2011, 01:31:50 AM »

Put together some very simple silhouette graphics in PS, so I thought I'd throw them together into a mockup before I go and try and put them in-game.



I'm not convinced that colour is the right thing to do - I was considering silhouettes against a greyscale or sepia tone background, with some scratchy movie filter over the top. But I'm not sure if I'm going to have time for that, and the above is at least somewhat presentable, and gives me something to edit and refine.

Hopefully the airmen from the previous post will get involved as simple stick figures!

Will
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 08:30:14 PM by Will Vale » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2011, 08:27:10 PM »

Graphics are in and I've tweaked various gameplay elements so it's properly playable. Still no meta-stuff like menus, restarting the game, and such though.

Download here: http://www.secondintention.com/files/gasbags-v2.zip

To run it you'll need:

* DirectX
* VC 2010 redist

It looks like this now:



[Edited to change the static image to an animated GIF as per Hempuli's awesome examples]

Player 1's keys are WASD plus Q to drop bombs, E to drop caltrops.
Player 2's keys are Arrows plus right CTRL to drop bombs, right SHIFT to drop caltrops.

You can reconfigure the keys in config.ini

The idea is to destroy the other balloonist's basket with bombs, but because they bounce of the balloon, you usually need to deflate their balloon with caltrops first. When that happens they crash and you have a window of opportunity to bomb them.

If you're the one that gets deflated, hammer your up key to re-inflate your balloon and get back in the air.

There aren't any constraints on bombs and caltrops yet so it's a bit spammy, but I think it's becoming fun. I've also left the wind out in this version until I can put in a way of visualising it.

Have fun!

Will

« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 03:22:22 AM by Will Vale » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2011, 05:03:32 PM »

Uploaded a new version with a handful of new bits:

* Parallax hills
* Limited ammo and recharging (fiddle with entities.ini to tweak this)
* Hacky way of drawing the joints so the balloons look more ballooney.

Download here: http://www.secondintention.com/files/gasbags-v3.zip

To run it you'll need:

* DirectX
* VC2010 redist



I think the next step is probably to make an installer - I don't know for sure if the VS2010/DX prerequisites are putting people off, but it seems like it would be better to automate all that nonsense.

Still not decided where to go with the graphics.

Will
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2011, 04:35:17 PM »

I had a play with NSIS for the first time in about 5 years, and created an installer for the current version:

Download here: http://www.secondintention.com/files/Setup Gasbags (0.3).exe

No changes from the ZIPs in the previous post, but it will handle downloading and installing the prerequisites for you. I made the DX web setup optional (which Microsoft are very keen that you don't do) but it really is required to play the game Smiley

Please let me know if you have any problems. I tested on XP and everything installed and uninstalled correctly without leaving crap in the registry or on the disk.

Cheers,

Will
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Will Vale
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2011, 02:09:58 AM »

I've started fiddling with sound by trying out irrKlang - the initial setup (playing some looping music) is really easy, but I need to bind sounds to entities and see how all that works out.

I also spent some time reading Victorian advertisements and mocked up a title screen using similar typography:



It's not quite right yet - I'm on the laptop atm. (no tablet) so the aging is just a bit of filters and gradients as opposed to something drawn. I'm also not entirely convinced by the GASBAGS font, the italics, and the last line might be a bit over the top?

Comments and suggestions most welcome, cheers!

Will
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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2011, 02:27:08 AM »

Getting a bit (very!) short of time - I've spent most of my waking time this week either working on day job work, or on my GDC talk, or on the accounts, all due at the end of the week Sad

So progress has suffered rather. I've found some suitable music, but I need to do the menu, win/lose, etc. and then add as much niceness as possible. I'm not sure exactly when the compo deadline is on Pacific time, but my flight gets into San Francisco at mid-day Sunday and I'm hoping I can use some of the 12 hours in the air to do some coding. We'll see, I might just fall asleep...

Cheers,

Will
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