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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsPeriapsis - New demo! 4-27-12
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Author Topic: Periapsis - New demo! 4-27-12  (Read 14750 times)
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« on: March 24, 2011, 12:15:49 AM »


Last Updated: Feb. 14 2012
Format: windows .exe
Check out the website to download the deom.

Zoom around an endless, open asteroid field evading your enemies and building your arsenal.


New to this build:
-Initial tutorial leading into open gameplay.
-Autonav for long distance travel.
-Procedurally generated space stations and asteroid fields.
-Dockable structures for ore dropoff and refueling.

Periapsis is a free-movement SHMUP where you pick your fights. Bosses will come out of nowhere with no regard for linearity and your pursuers are around every corner. It is up to the player to decide where to make their stand.

Periapsis is finally taking a form similar to its final one, with a prototype of the NEw Player Experience/first difficulty level nearing completion. The game will feature a more extensive, procedurally generated world and a dynamic enemy armada for the player to fight, escape and exploit as they attempt to escape with their smuggled corporate secrets.

numpad/arrow keys
Q/space to fire
N for navigation functions

Props to:
-This community for providing such a busy and awesome public forum.
-Linley, without whom the concept for this camera would never have been inspired.
-SHMUP DEV for originally nudging me back into making these things.
-DEFEKT for letting me use his awesome music in my trailer.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 03:23:03 PM by AaronLee » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2011, 12:37:02 AM »

Entry 0:
(Initial demo, fixed camera)

Which contains the promised demo and all the associated text.

To start; this thing is rough as all get-out. I've JUST gotten this to a state where I have an important mechanic to test. What is it? The tilt-a-whirl esque camera scheme. Don't know what I mean? Try it out :3

Use the arrow keys to muck about. Your ship drifts (aka newtonian physics) so don't get too caried away. Have fun chasing the asteroids whose sprites I need to revise.

But that's not priority one. My big question to the esteemed tigsourcers is; how sickening is this camera scheme? Does it add to the feeling of motion in an interesting way? Does it make you feel refferenceless? It should. That's what I want to do.

This engines an iteration from my other projects. I used batch displacement of objects to essentially move the world to center on the gamespace. What I added this time was a batch angular dispalcement. I'd started using it with my parent tree system (those asteroids are made up of many tiny pieces attached to a central node using it) that does one trig calculation then uses it for all the world objects.

Was it worth it?

(Also I'll write more effectively when I'm not on the verge of passing out. I hope no one takes it as an affront but I just got a bunch of stuff working and wanted to put it out there and get some early feedback. I promise I'll write in a more organized manner, but only after my calculus quiz. Tht is srs bsns.)

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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2011, 05:03:13 AM »

I don't have access to a Win machine atm.
Has anyone tried this?

destiny is truth pre-op
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2011, 11:53:01 PM »

Entry 1:
Fun with thermonuclear detonation!

Click the sickeningly spinning starship for this entry's demo.

So here's what's in this version:
-A random starfield with a very basic blur effect that gives a directional reference.
-A test weapon; micro-fission bomb grenades. All they do is blow up on stuff and propel you right now.
-Refined the control I/O pipeline so thrusters now actually truthfully display the way the ship is moving.
-Tweaked the ship so it is slightly more sane to control.

On pulsed detonation propulsion
So this weapon I've added.... you are basically throwing bombs out the aft hatch.
Tap the Q key to release a micro-thermonuclear grenade immediately behind you that will detonate almost immediately. The explosion will throw you forward. Hold Q to increase the detonation timer and the forward throw speed.

Batch-rotating cartesian vectors
So, I have wolfire to thank for this algorithm. And, damn them, I can't find the actual psot on their blog where they explained it Durr...? my bad.

In summary; X and Y coordinates are really just a couple of 2d vectors, one for either coordinate. When you crunch the sine and cosine variables for a given angle, you can use those as coefficients to transform any X and Y value by that angle. IE: you can rotate any X and Y position by the same angle, or any number of them, with two trig calculations.

There are four components to note:
A-X: transformed X value in x [x * cos(angle) ]
B-X: transformed Y value in x [Y*(-sin(angle))]
C-Y: transformed X value in y [X * sin(angle) ]
D-Y: transformed Y value in y [Y * cos(angle) ]

So X=A+B and Y=C+D, at least in theory if I wrote this up right. Anyone who knows this off their head smack me around until I get it right.

Notice that this works for any value of X and Y with the same cos and sin values for the same angle, ie cos and sin are constant for any single angle, even if X and Y change. That is how I can position something like 20 or 30 single objects on top of a parent node. I am essentially building them their own tiny, transformed Cartesian grids which can rotate and move independant of their main X and Y values.

Edit: waves at X3n. Sorry I'm no help Tongue

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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2011, 06:15:39 PM »

Cool! I really like the blurring effect on the stars. Looking forward to seeing this develop.

Thanks! The blurring effect was pretty simple but I guess it does the job. Right now I'm working on adding mining/pickups.

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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2011, 09:40:53 PM »

Entry 2:
(You will be missing this update frequency in a few weeks. Well, hello there!)

Mineral Mining
Mining for basic resources will be a major part of Hunt*Evade's gameplay. Pickups will be used to purchase weapons and upgraded ships from passing Solar Loan Confederacy ships  (space gypsies in cycler ships.)
SLC ships act as one-stop hubs for trade. Players can offload their minerals on one ship and withdraw an equally credited amount on another, trade out their current ship and swap for a new one with no markup  (following in the footsteps of tyrian here. I like players experimenting and not getting punished for bad calls.)
I'm planning on keeping this simple and having only 4 types of materials. Names pending but the red one looks like strawberry gelatin. So I'm going for Gelatainium for that one Tongue.
3 of the materials can be accquired from asteroids, the fourth will only be obtainable by destroying enemies. Weapons and upgrades will require different amounts of each type.
Minerals currently drop and can be picked up, as can be seen in the screenshot by the colored cargo indicators.

UI improvements
So I've gone from having no UI whatsoever to having a fuelgauge and a cargo table, as well as an aiming aid for the mining grenades. The aid shows a straight trajectory that continues up until the detonation point of the grenade. By holding the fire key, the grenade goes from a backward to a forward trajectory in increments. So you can also fire them directly in front of you to stop yoruself. Currently there's no ammo system so it's basically free propulsion.
Cargo changes the colors of the points. Eventually, when I add some basic items like deployable miner drills and triplines, those will have small monochrome icons.
When I start messing with weapons ammo and weapon grouping, that will go on the right side.

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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2011, 05:18:14 PM »

Entry 3:
Space is Full of People Selling Random Stuff for a Dollar

(Left: first design for a merchant cycler ship.)

Banker-traders are your source of equipment and ships. They have an onboard warehouse of goods that they sell when one of the hubs they pass is low and they can make a profit. On the side, they deal with freebooters like the player. They'll also take aboard your resources and give you credit on any other merchant ship. (Think of it like a chain of banks in which you have a savings account.)
These massive ships would be very painful to render at full scale, so I'm going to be cheating with a bit of 3d. The reason the graphic is so small is because I'll be rendering it with a fraction of the camera's scroll speed. As such, it will be a distant ob ject which you'll shrink down into (ie: you are flying into the distance.)

Cycler ships
What's a cycler ship? Sounds like a washing machine turned into a boat.
A cycler ship is a type of large stellar or interstellar ship that's inserted into a comet-like orbit that passes close, then swings far away from the parent star.
By having a large number of such ships on a rosette of orbits, we can have a huge, moving conveyor of starships in safe orbits that rotate between destination and origin.

This site has some good explanatory graphics.

Theoretically we could just fly spacestations into those orbits with functioning biospheres or habitats, then speed up anything we want to send along. It's especially useful with crew, because we don't have to speed up and slow down life support for the entire journey.
The system in which Hunt*Evade takes place is a young one, full of rich planetecimal debris ripe for mining and easy to reach. There are a number of industrial clans exploiting these resources and providing transit for them via cycler ships.

Dynamic Events
Last night, I got navigation points and spawnable objects working. Right now, my test event is a motherlode asteroid about twice the size of a normal rock. It takes a few hundred milliseconds to load during which the game hangs. As such I think I need to A) clean up my asteroid building pipeline and B) make the asteroid smaller. I'm tempted to do a cascading spawner that just spirals out form the center adding blocks every step until it runs out (smaller asteroids will have less blocks.)
My next goal though is to start spawning merchant ships this way. Essentially, a point will pop up randomly in the distance with an appropriate label and a limited time. If the player gets to the point, it will spawn a merchant ship, travelling across the belt. If the player matches speed over the navpoint, they'll dock, offload their ore and eventually be able to brows items, ships and weapons.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 05:23:28 PM by AaronLee » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2011, 11:28:28 PM »

Entry 4:
Traffic Control


-You can dock with passing tradeships. match speeds and face in the same direction as the ship to dock. Press ENTER to exit. Ironic keybind, I know.
-Your ship refuels while docked.
-Use your weapons (Q key for now) to blow up asteroids.
-Fly over bits of destroyed ore (the colorful shards) to pick them up.
-Navpoints. Tradeships are dynamically spawned. Fly toward the navpoint to spawn the ship.

Shops and docking
I'm excited because I just got a crapton of hard stuff done. I'm only a few short steps from adding upgradable ships. I'm using variables in the UI controller to pull current ship info. Then, when I despawn the ship while docked, I can manipulate the UI data and load it back into a newly spawned ship.
That's all the hard stuff I had to do to allow a changeable player ship. All I need to do now is make the UI functional and start handling currency, which is my next step.
The shop UI is going to appear on the right as an opposite to the player ship UI, which should keep things clearer than if I just extended the ship UI.

Next up: ore banking/resource gathering pt. 2
I'm planning to add the next stage of resource gathering. When you dock, your ores will automatically be removed from cargo and deposited in the tradeship. That will mean tracking the player's wealth, likely via more controller variables in the UI. I may consider fissioning off a data controller for clenliness' sake and clarity.
After that I'm going to start experimenting with buying and selling goods. I have some ideas on how I want to handle that. Isntead of commodity spreadsheet I'm thinking about making a row-matching setup. I'm hoping the player will want to carry around a bunch of goods they may or may not need in the hope of finding a row to match, which will equate roughly to a good market break.
It's just theoretical at the moment so don't make fun of me Tongue

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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2011, 10:15:28 PM »

Entry 5:
Mockup Mania

I've been doing a lot of meditating on the kind of threats I want the player to face in a playthrough and how they will face them.

I'm currently planning to have a kind of stage progression system. I'm hoping to keep it transparent (ie: the player knows when they hit a new stage) so the player can more organically understand what leads to stage advancement and how to avoid or encourage it.

The dichotomy is between running or digging in. Running allows you to avoid conflict and I'm trying to make that viable. However, you will also be unable to effectively mine or stop for fuel while on the run.

Staying in one place progresses stages while running reverses progress. In practice I hope this will lead to the player using a combination of fighting and running to defend themselves while they mine and to avoid an unwinnable fight respectively. Failing to stand your ground could mean you run out of fuel, health or resources while failing to run could find you surrounded and overwhelmed.

Writers Plagiarize, Artists Steal

With the three resources, podlike starting ship and free-roaming controls, it's no secret I'm a big

fan. Also note the GTA comment (if you can read my chickenscratch writing) in the alleged mockup. A wise wiki once said "Tropes Are Not Bad" similarly, using existing mechanics is pretty common these days.  I just hope to combine them in a way that's not been done before.

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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2011, 09:58:20 AM »

Entry 6:

I added text indicating damage every time you get a hit. CLOUD MISSED!  Durr...?

Kidding, all the hit detection still uses no dicerolls, nor do I intend it to.



New features:
-Functioning shop. Use the arrow keys to navigate and Q to pick up/drop a selected item.
-Available shop areas: inventiry, sales floor, weapons screen
-Buy and sell items by picking up items in the shop and dropping them in your inventory/hardpoints.
-Visual hardpoint mockup in the shop. Place weapons in hardpoint slots to equip them.
-"improved" camera shake.
-Player thruster effects using attached particles.
-Flashy shiny damage text when you hit something.

Shop is fairly buggy. I'd appreciate it if you guys broke the @#%$ out of it and reported how you did it. The more incorrect ways I find to use the UI now the better.

Up Next: Up-Grades!
I've finished most of the shop functionality, but I still need to handle a slightly different variant from items, Ships. The ships will trade-in for full value like the other items, but only when you select/buy a new one instead of going to cargo (for obvious reasons, Spaceship of Holding? I think not!)
I've worked ou the logic for a grid-based upgrade tree that will start with a bunch of mario ships (they do everything) and branch into specialties. I have about 4 tiers of upgrades worked out now. Each member of the previous tier has 1-3 different upgrades avaiulable, some of which are shared merges of different branches.
I'll post those in the next entry.

Also, for those curious, the hardpoints are handled by an invisible tab in the player's inventory. Currently this means you can't have a ship with less cargo than it has hardpoints, but because I was never a fan of the UE Fighter in EVO this won't be a big deal. N o minmaxing, I says!

« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 11:09:32 AM »

Happy birthday!

Also the game looks cool.
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2011, 12:24:15 PM »

Entry 7:
OK, computer.

No pictures or demos today, because I feel like being a moody rockstar.

I just upgraded to game maker 8.1, which has inexplicably switched over to strict argument control for scripts. Unfortunately I was working with loose arguments in which 0 was returned for undefined arguments.

Now, when I run my game, Game Maker stops, has a fit about improper argument definition in my script calls, bends me over and does things with my butt with which I am most displeased.

Have you got that image out of your head yet? Good.

I'll be fixing this over time, as it likely requires me to now sanity check and rewrite maybe HALF of my total function calls in all of my code, just to get it working again. Yay.


The reason I've not updated in a very long time is because I'm working on something big:

-Fully scripted intro scene that leads into game start DONE!
-Seamless tutorial for movement and controls DONE!!!
-Shop and mining tutorial
-RADAR/sensor screen DONE!!!!!!
-RADAR Identify Friend or Foe colors
-starting ship looks more like a spaceship DONE!!!!!!!!!
-Strafe keys DONE!!!!!!!!!!
-Adding lots of exclamation points for added win. DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tutorial Terrors
I know no one likes to admit it, and may lie when prompted. But, once I'm sure there was a game you tried to play and five minutes in you were squeaking like a confused old lady trying to drive a supersonic fighter-bomber. You may have subsequently closed the game. I call this



So this is what I want to avoid. But, seeing as in this game you:

-Do not have a cap on how fast you can go.
-Likely go in expecting drag, because Hollywood says there is friction in space.
-Do not have a noobgun that is super easy to use.
-Will be facing overwhelming forces of enemies wot want your head on a pla'ah.
-Will need to dock with stuff in a not entirely obvious way (is there ever one?)

TUTORIAL TERROR (dun dun duuuun) seems exceedingly likely.

I've already done some testing with my friends, listening over ventrillo to try and follow their train of thought. The results have been overwhelmingly positive. But, they are my homie bromies, therefore their responses are less critical than that of a dazed kitten  (still <3 you guys!)

However one of my friends was thoroughly confused by the movement scheme with a little bit of interface-screw tossed on the side (he didn't realize that 'approach window' was a timer and not a distance indicator. I went on to disambiguate this.)

Should I introduce the mechanics of movement, combat, mining and upgrading v ery gradually, say with a top-scrolling SHMUP level at the start of the game? The mode-change is a mechanic I've wanted to do for a while. Or should I just run a single, large tutorial that tells them everything they need to know?

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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2011, 09:14:48 PM »

Entry 8: Kentuky Windage

Game maker 8 suddenly decided to behave, how silly. Also, I found the option that turns on argument checking, which as far as I remember remained unchecked after the upgrade. Check that out. How wierd.

-Added RADAR with IFF showing enemies in red.
-Added lock on with crosshairs. Press d to attempt to lock onto an enemy.
-Added a pipper over the crosshairs, center when locked on to aim at your target.
-Added 'probes' that chase and scan the player. Will eventually tie to enemy escalation.
-Added framework for 'stage' mechanic, enemy progression.
-Added music by Coretex.
-Long-range machinegun is default weapon to better demonstrate target leading.

So in other news I've abandoned the tutorial for now. The one I have is a wall of typety talk and errands. "set your controls, go dock with the shop, mine some minerals blah blargh bleargh."

I do have a better idea that involves A) adding a top-scrolling level at the beginning of the game that gets right to the action without the player having to learn a lot. B) gradually introducing mechanics during and after while first C) doing so in a demonstrative rather than commanding way. IE: look what the game just did like a boss. You can do it, too!

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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2011, 10:38:48 PM »

It's sad not more people have replied to this. It looks gorgeous, and you're inspiringly dedicated to it.

I haven't had the time to try the demo, but I will as soon as I can. Looking forward to seeing more updates on this!

« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2011, 12:34:30 AM »

you wanted someone to break the shop:
action number 1
of Draw Event
for object ui:

In script cargo_draw_sprite:
Error in code at line 4:
at position 24: Unknown variable cargo_sprite or array index out of bounds

A tutorial or any indication of what buttons to use would be a very good idea even if for the moment it's just a textbox, to this day i don't know what button i used to dock with the trader or is that automatical?

The velocity is very hard to gauge. Maybe i just miss something but i don't know how to tell how fast i am approaching a trader ship and i can't even begin to guess how to approach an asteroid to start mining, or how to mine. Those guys are just swooshing by me. Some kind of velocity display for other objects could be helpful(or for your own ship).   
The "enemy at grid xxyy" doesn't tell me anything. I don't know how to read the radar.(edit: actually it's easy to read, but it was confusing, with the background also looking like objects in the radar).

Hmm, i don't know if that is helpful feedback because the only thing i said is that i have no idea how to play the game Wink. And a lot of confusion could be cleared up by the tutorial, but at this stage i felt kinda helpless (perhaps i'm the exception). Still i liked the game and i played it long enough to actually dock. Ok, by accident, but i docked. It is fun to slowly approach the trader ship, matching speed and than suddenly it looks like you are motionless.

uuh and yeah, this popped up a few times:

Error in code at line 16:
          if heat>100
at position 12: Unknown variable heat
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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2011, 08:09:55 PM »

It's sad not more people have replied to this. It looks gorgeous, and you're inspiringly dedicated to it.

I haven't had the time to try the demo, but I will as soon as I can. Looking forward to seeing more updates on this!

Thanks for the encouraging words! To be fair this is really just an offtime project. But I am committed to making this thing into a (freeware) product. I've been devving since 2005 and I've got little to show for it save a ton of videos and one release. I am hellbent on this project  Ninja

Quote from: frederiksen
you wanted someone to break the shop:

*epic breakage ensues*

A tutorial or any indication of what buttons to use would be a very good idea even if for the moment it's just a textbox, to this day i don't know what button i used to dock with the trader or is that automatical?

The velocity is very hard to gauge.

Hahah awesome, well that proves my array-bound enforcement code is sleeping on the job. I'll return that bug to the still-to-be-squashed list.

As far as your issues with understanding the game, you're not alone. Among the friends I had test this sucker out, one or two of them had trouble with the physics of the game.
And yes, docking with the tradeship is automatic.
I'm working on gameflow right now. I may just release what I have of the tutorial right now as it is basically a series of textboxes and interactive demonstrations. Unfortunately it plays out a lot like an online maths tutorial. Fortunately it's a start.

I really appreciate the feedback, Frederiksen. I was mostly in the dark as to why I've gotten 800+ views and only a few replies. This may be why so it will likely be my new omgfinishnow objective.

And thanks again, Swordpond. Hopefully the game's going to get easier to get into if you have any trouble as well. We'll see how my work on the new player experience pans out.

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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2011, 05:26:32 PM »

Hey all, just wanted to let everyone know I've been swamped lately. I got my arse handed to me by calculus  (better at a city college than in a 4-year though, so not so bad.)

But I did just make a big breakthrough. I've been testing many different methods on neutralizing "excess velocity", on Earth, Friction usually handles that. However in space, one has to account for the frictionless environment. so does my ai.

I finally made a breakthrough in that area, and it is so simple that I'd be kicking myself if I wasn't sitting down right now. Not sure how I didn't think of it before.

Game Maker parses direction and speed as polar coordinates into cartesian representations. That means vector addition is painfully easy. So I just created a couple of AI targettign data variables that track horizontal and vertical speed relative to the current target form step to step. Whenever either of these exceed a given limit, then they are parsed into a direction and the unit is told to move opposite the given direction, removing speed. When this doesn't occur then normal target tracking movement occurs.

Yeah, try escaping those security recon units now!

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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2011, 11:01:22 PM »

I like the vibe of those tradeships - very Chris Foss / Homeworldy.

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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2011, 01:21:27 AM »

Quick update:

this projects on ice because my c omputer crapped t he bed a  while back. My replacement rig has the wrong c able set so I can't slave my old HDD to the comp.  I'll likely pull my user directory to an external hard drive. Luckily I think all I did was let the magic smoke out of the motherboard (electronics actually run on smoke, ever notice that when stuff breaks it smokes? You let the smoke out of it and now it doesn't work.)

If my HDD is intact and I can pull my old files, game's back on.

@Dougan: Hahah I am super humbled. I'm a big fan of Homeworld's art style. I used to follow a ll the concept artists on the forums. IT was the a esthetic I was going for as well, boxy and un-aerodynamic design. Too man y huge craft in s cifi look like boats and too many small craft look like fighter planes.

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« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2011, 09:41:24 AM »

Good news everyone!

I got my old files transferred onto my new computer. PROJECT'S BACK ON!!!!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 10:28:48 AM by AaronLee » Logged

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