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TIGSource ForumsCommunityJams & EventsCompetitionsOld CompetitionsProcedural GenerationThe Germinator [v0-3] [Finished]
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Author Topic: The Germinator [v0-3] [Finished]  (Read 43857 times)
superflat
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« Reply #60 on: June 05, 2008, 04:02:16 AM »

I've just uploaded another minor fix which is the OpenGL 'pixellated yellow + black title screen' issue.

If that was bugging you (Cry), and you'd like another try, please download v0-22 in the first post.

Thanks.
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Zaphos
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« Reply #61 on: June 05, 2008, 06:33:51 AM »

The latest file is only 6.6 mb and gives a CRC error ... reupload?
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superflat
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« Reply #62 on: June 05, 2008, 04:07:32 PM »

Doh!  It's back up now.  Sorry...
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Zaphos
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« Reply #63 on: June 05, 2008, 06:07:23 PM »

Okay, here's some excessively detailed feedback for the new version:

  • Aiming is much better now Smiley
  • Dodging still suffers some of the issues aiming used to have; it's a bit hard to judge whether you're going to collide with an oncoming ship.  It's a similar problem to aiming, after all.  Fortunately the need to dodge is less common.  It might help to move the ship a bit more away from the camera, or to move the camera with the ship more
  • When you place enemies off to the side, just out of the zone where I can fire, it really emphasizes the restricted range of the ship.  Why can't I just move a bit more left and hit them?  It would be nice to have some visual explanation of the restricted ship motion, like a translucent wall?
  • On a similar note, it took me a while to understand that the range of ship motion is sort of a rectangle bounded by how much the camera will move.  I can see why you would design it that way but as a player it feels like an unintuitive choice.  If you make that boundary more explicit visually, maybe you could have fun with it and change the shape of the region where the player is allowed to move.
  • It's relatively easy to kill enemies with the wrong color bullet, so unless the player is score-motivated, there isn't much investment in the colored-bullet mechanic.  I actually didn't realize it was there the very first time I played (I like to play once without reading instructions) and it didn't change the game much to be oblivious to it
  • Round length seems too long for me to feel score-motivated -- I'm not so likely to keep replaying for a better score unless replaying is shorter.  This will hopefully be helped by the boss creature you're working on ... although any sharper difficulty curve to kill an unexperienced player more quickly would help.  Personally I would prefer fewer starting lives and some ways to earn extra lives if I'm playing well.
  • I also didn't have a good intuitive sense of how my actions affected score from just playing, because I generally don't look at a number in the upper left corner if I'm focused on playing.  So if you do want people to pay more attention to the score, perhaps some visual feedback when they get points would help with that?
  • I notice there's a sound which seems to be correlated to shooting an enemy with the right color of bullet, but the sound is too delayed for me to be sure it actually correlates to that?  If it does correlate, perhaps you should play the sound right when the bullet hits; otherwise the player might not understand why they're hearing the sound.
  • Have you considered letting people change bullet colors with the scroll-wheel?  Or (for 3 button mice) shoot a different color from each mouse button?  Might be nice to be able to play with just the mouse.
  • If I go set the ship in a corner of the screen, it's not in much risk of dying compared to leaving it in the center.  I stopped playing to write something down, and, since I didn't see a way to pause the game, I just left the ship in the upper left corner.  I think the ship was surviving better up there than it did when I was flying it.
  • Enemy patterns get much more interesting when the enemies get really close to the ship -- usually, most enemies are dead before then, so you're not really showing off the interesting patterns?  I suppose this makes sense if it's necessary to increase the likelihood that the enemies will actually hurt the player?  But it also emphasizes the difficulty in dodging ships at close range due to the camera position.
  • The aiming reticle seems to get a bit too big when the enemies are really close (for example, if you just wait on the bottom of the screen and watch them fly by).
  • Enemy bullets don't look particularly bullet-y.  Since they're not destructible by any of the player's ammo, why not make them a different color than the ship colors?  Or even make them multi-colored, or flashy.

Just so you know, that's kind of the 'everything that came to mind' list, so don't take it too seriously! Wink  It's definitely a nice game, especially for a short competition Smiley
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Noyb
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« Reply #64 on: June 06, 2008, 09:01:38 AM »

I think most of my thoughts were covered by Zaphos, but I also have some feedback on the new version.

It works well on DirectX mode on my computer now, and the yellow/black stripes are gone. You might not want to default to such a high resolution, since not everyone might be able to support that 1900xsomething.

The cursor and shading definitely helped the aiming. Much more smooth and fun now. Got 1.2 mil. Smiley

The difficulty curve feels a bit shallow, which might be helped by exaggerating the color mechanics more. The colored bullets don't seem to make much of a difference at the moment. If you want to go for the color as weakness route, it should visibly take longer to kill an enemy with the wrong bullets.

Since you introduce mixed colors later in the difficulty curve, maybe those should be weak to only a certain amount of each component color (possibly visibly draining that color as feedback), so that if you hit it half with one color and half with another, it should have the same effect as hitting a single-colored enemy with that color.

If you just want to colors to affect score, then it could do with more positive feedback, like multipliers for high numbers of enemies killed with correct bullets and score indicators that appear when you kill an enemy.

I tried out a game intentionally without shooting, trying to graze enemies and bullets and it still feels like the collision boxes are larger than I expect.

Sometimes enemies that pass my ship unharmed hang out between me and the camera without being destroyed, blocking my view.

I can't seem to go from R->G->B without letting go of the mouse button first. The other way works, but not consistently.

I agree with Zaphos that the bullet colors are superfluous if they don't affect anything, like an Ikaruga-style eating of bullets the same color or being able to shoot down same-colored bullets. Might help them seem like bullets if they're smaller and flashing a bit.

Very nice improvement since last time! Can't wait to see how this develops. Grin
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Ed
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« Reply #65 on: June 06, 2008, 10:08:58 AM »

I still get the all-black objects Sad

Can I send you any diagnostic stuff?
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superflat
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« Reply #66 on: June 07, 2008, 03:48:47 AM »

@ Zaphos and Noyb,

Thanks so much for your amazing feedback, confirming a lot of what I felt but didn't know how to put into words.

I'd really love to get straight down to implementing the changes necessary, but I've been assigned strict bed rest by the doctor, and unless there's a big improvement I won't be able to do it for a while.  Both competitions have been really tricky for me, my dad died two days after the last deadline, after a two-year fight against cancer, and this one I've worked myself so hard I've messed up my back! 

Anyway, I'm not grumbling, if anything the joy of participating in this community has really helped me through these times.  Smiley  I just wish I could have got the boss in there.  The code's 90% done, but I didn't want to rush it out unfinished.

Things to think about in v0-3:

- I'm thinking straight away that it would be cool if the baddies flash white when hit with the wrong colour (and maybe take three hits instead of two, so you can really tell they're harder to kill).

- As for the 'mixed' or secondary colours, having one colour 'sucked out' when you hit for example a yellow with red or green would be cool too, and quite inline with my original idea.  I'd have to test it.

- As for enemy bullets, it might be cool if I rapidly cycle through the six colours, giving them a unified, flashing appearance that's still consistent with the game, and then they could be spheres like the player's bullets without being confusing.

- As for the difficulty curve I totally agree.  I think it could be as simple as making the waves more frequent.  It feels like you're just hanging around waiting for them from time to time.

- Round length was tied to the music, but I don't think that's right because they do take too long as it stands (unless I edit the track...)

- Collision detection?  One word - dodgy!  It's using basic sphere collision - I want to get a library like Ode or Newton in there to do it properly.  As it stands, some of the radii aren't set right.

- That noise you heard was actually the 'wave bonus' noise which you hear when you kill a complete wave.  There are two other sound that combine with the explosion sounds to indicate whether the colour is correct.  What I need to do is add some nice text telling you so!  I wanted to tag-up combos too, consecutive hits of the correct colour to reward your colour-switching skills.

- The playing field as you noticed is constrained to a 2D plane just larger than the screen width, but some baddies spawn outside of this area, and you're right it does break the fourth wall a bit, so in the next revision I'd like to constrain them to the shootable area.  Also interesting you found a safe zone in the corner - I think this is down to their being a set amount of pre-defined paths, most of which concentrate on going down the middle - the next stage would be to make the paths PG too as well as the wave characteristics.

................

Anyway, thanks again guys, you've left me a lot to think about, and as soon as I'm well enough, I'll put it in, post-compo or not!


Hi shrimp,

Please do - just PM me the contents of Ogre.log in the 'bin\release\'  directory.  I have a funny feeling it's because your card doesn't support shaders, but I'll have a look!  Can you play other games with shaders (eg Doom 3?)

« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 05:28:52 PM by superflat » Logged

superflat
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« Reply #67 on: June 07, 2008, 03:00:32 PM »

Well I shouldn't have, but I got bored of my bed-rest so I could have a go at the new version...

There's no boss still, but I think this version's a world apart from the previous ones.

Thanks to Zaphos and Noyb, I've implemented the following:

The Germinator v0-3

(Downloadable in the first post as a '.rar' - 13meg - or as a patch from v0-22 - 2meg).

- Everything's faster and more arcadey. Grin
- Popwerups! (1up, 2-Way, 3-Way, Shield, Smart Bomb...)
- Correct Colour Combos.
- Many small glitches sorted.
- Enemies flash white if hit with the wrong colour.  They also take three hits instead of two.
- Enemy bullets are now flashing ellipses ala Space Harrier, they're semi-homing now, so no corner is safe!  There's loads more of them, and they fire in waves.
- Enemy waves are much improved, and they stick within the playfield.
- Collision improved slightly.
- Full text feedback about game, such as 'most recent powerup collected', 'wave bonus' etc...
- The rounds are much shorted and sweeter.  There's no waiting for an imaginary boss now!


All in all this version (dubbed 'Bullet Hell Edition') is really quite playable and fun now.  I hope you give it another chance if you already tried it and went 'meh...!'
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 03:08:06 PM by superflat » Logged

Zaphos
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« Reply #68 on: June 07, 2008, 10:20:39 PM »

Get well soon -- don't hurt yourself making the game! Shocked

But it is really fun to play now, great work Smiley
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0rel
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« Reply #69 on: June 08, 2008, 07:05:47 AM »

nice game! i like it.
some things came up to mind while playing...
(i have to admit that i've not read all comments here, so the following points may already have been mentioned)
  • it was quite difficult to distinguish the bullets from the enemies in the new version. some possible solutions i've thought about:
    • try to add some fog to clarify the depth of the scene. 3d is still flat... should be not too hard. it seams you already used some fog for the black fadeout? but as far as i know the shaders bypass the fog calcs, so it would have to be done in the shaders by hand.
    • or try to replace the bullets with billboard sprites. cheap over blended bullet textures...
    • or try to make the angle of view (fov) bigger, more fishyeye to enhance the feeling of space (small <-> big)
    • or what would be best imho is a different view angle. instead of being directly behind the ship, it would be easier for the gameplay to see the scene from slightly above (or below). the black fade-out wouldn't be required anymore and the bullets and enemies could be easier tracked down, more like in a top-down shmup.
      the crosshair and the nice up and down control of the ship wouldn't work anymore, so this solution probably isn't possible...
  • compatibility:
    • my graphics card behaves somewhat strange with your game. i tried it at least 3 times, only in one case the shaders worked like in the screenshot, although my graka can handle ps3 shaders. looked rather nice, shiny, a  bit like extraterrestrial smarties Smiley . i liked it. but it worked only one time... might be an driver issue, or something with ogre. i was just surprised how much better the experience was with the better graphics. just thought you should add a version without shaders for those without special hardware... like i said it was always able it here, but all objects were glitchy white colored, thus the color concept did not work like that.
    • directx didn't worked at all...
oh, and in my opionion the first version was much nicer! only my opionion, i'm not a fan of super hard bullet hell shooters anyway, but obviously you wanted to make one... what i really liked was the timing. there was always enough time and space between the enemy waves, was more fun that way imo

keep up the good work! it's not easy, we all know... so many things come together.
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superflat
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« Reply #70 on: June 08, 2008, 08:35:28 AM »

Thanks Orel and Zaphos. 

I'm so glad you enjoyed it.  Makes it all worthwhile.

I'm sorry you preferred the older version Orel - in fact I understand what you're saying about it - that the new version has maybe become a little too intense.  I'll definitely roll back the amount of bullets  in the next version (I just want to upload one more build with the online hiscore table - thanks to Terry!) 

Did you find the baddie bullets hard to see when you played it with the shaders displaying correctly?  To me it seems hard not to tell the difference, as they're flashing!  But then again we take things for granted when we play our own games.

You're quite right about the fog - the shaders ignore it (although fog seems to work in Direct X but not OpenGL for me.)  The thing is, I only learnt about shaders for this project, and I've got lots still to learn.  I'd have to ask on the Ogre forums about it. I just edited a demo shader that came with the Ogre SDK.

I like the idea of using billboards for bullets - I considered it myself.  I guess I wan trying to keep a consistent look: everything but the background and smoke would be cel-shaded, only 6 colours + white, no alpha (although there's some on the smoke just so you can see what's going on!)

As for the fov, I actually ended up reducing it, as I found it easier with depth perception - with a more fish-eye perspective objects in the foreground seemed to move too fast.

I like the idea of top-down, but then again I might as well have made it in 2D haha, and my original brief was 'cel-shaded Space Harrier inside a computer'.  For better or worse, I have to stick with it now!

I could definitely do a non-shader version, with flat-shading, if there was enough interest.  So if anyone would like to see that, let me know!

Anyway, here's a Beer! for you both.
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Terry
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« Reply #71 on: June 08, 2008, 08:49:00 AM »

Agh! Just got around to trying this, and afraid it doesn't work Cry I get an error about the application configuration being incorrect Sad

I'd be surprised if my little laptop can run it anyway, so I'll try again later on with a more powerful machine Smiley
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superflat
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« Reply #72 on: June 08, 2008, 10:32:19 AM »

I think that error means you don't have the silly Visual C++ Redistributable thing.  But if you're on integrated graphics I wouldn't expect it to work anyway haha.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, just don't expect it to be quite as polished as yours!  Wink
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Ed
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« Reply #73 on: June 08, 2008, 12:11:47 PM »

I get the same OGL black objects problem with the latest version, but... DirectX runs fine now!

I'll play a bit more and give you some feedback later. Stirling work!
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superflat
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« Reply #74 on: June 09, 2008, 01:40:25 PM »

Thanks Shrimp, nice of you to say so.

On another note:

I just wanted to say publicly that Terry was an enormous help yesterday, sending me all the info and a mini personalised tutorial on how to implement his online hiscore system (in Self Destruct).  Not only that he went one stage further and uploaded a database and Php script on his own server space, all so I could get this done in time for today.  Sadly (if you've been following this thread) due to bad backache (and in part due to the sun finally showing its face  Roll Eyes) ... I didn't make it on time.  Hopefully it'll make it into a post-compo update, along with the boss who never made it.

Anyway, I just wanted everyone to know what a legend this guy is (not that they didn't anyway!)  Thanks Terry!   Beer! Gentleman

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Melly
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« Reply #75 on: June 09, 2008, 01:45:07 PM »

Terry pilots the Awesomesaucer. With Allegro!
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superflat
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« Reply #76 on: June 09, 2008, 01:57:09 PM »

Yeah, he sure does!   (Whatever that means...)  :D
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Terry
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« Reply #77 on: June 09, 2008, 02:16:14 PM »

aw, shucks Beer!
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superflat
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« Reply #78 on: June 09, 2008, 02:49:00 PM »

No, I'm giving you the  Beer! sir.  I'd make it a black though, if that tickled you, and there was a suitable emoticon.
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Melly
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« Reply #79 on: June 09, 2008, 04:04:45 PM »

Mini emoticon creation compo after this one. Please Derek? Kiss
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