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Spooner
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« on: May 10, 2011, 04:47:48 am »

Wrath: Appease or Die! v0.1.0 (2011-06-07)

Wrath is a 2-player game (shared keyboard or hosted networked) of desperately trying to appease the gods to prevent some heavy smiting. It is still in alpha, since although the engine works and is pretty stable, there is very little sound, no music and, most importantly, the game-play is still very ropey (it is "fun", but not compelling for more than a couple of minutes; this is what I really need some feedback on!).

Links

* Issue Tracker @ Github
* DevLog @ libgosu

Download v0.1.0 @ Github
* Windows executable [2.5MB]
* OS X 10.6 executable [9.6MB]
* Source only (Linux) [184K]

Levels

There are eight themed levels currently (some are more fleshed out and interesting than others). Each level is generated, but the system isn't too clever. Each map has a unique deity and disasters: Forest, Cave, Desert Island, Pirate Ship, Undersea, Desert, Facility, Moon.



Game-play

The game-play is essentially rushing around the single-screen level, picking up things that the gods like (animals, people or treasures) and sacrificing them on the altar at the centre of the map. If the gods doesn't receive enough attention, it will spit its dummy out and start generating disasters until it gets bored.

You can impede your opponent by throwing ropes, eggs or whatnot at them or just pick them up and throw them into a pit of lava or lock them in a chest; the first to get to a given level of favour (100) wins (you can lose by dying too).

The 10 playable characters, 8 of which need to be unlocked, which have purely cosmetic differences (I'd rather have a lot of choice than make huge efforts to balance a few).

Instructions

There is just a single context-sensitive action button (mapped to several keys), that is "pick-up X", "drop Y", "activate X" or "use Y on X" depending on circumstances.

Player 1 (left side of keyboard): WASD + SPACE
Player 2 (right side of keyboard): Arrows + RSHIFT

Player (in networked game): Arrows + SPACE

ESCAPE is a generic "back/quit" button.

(controls can be changed within the game, via Options->Controls).

Some more game-play oriented instructions are in-game; just press Instructions from the main menu.

Implementation

Wrath is implemented in Ruby using the Gosu game library. I've packaged up a Windows executable and one for OS X (but only for 10.6), as well as sources to run on Linux and other versions of OS X (needs some dependencies installing).

As I'm sure is obvious, I use the Oryx LO-FI sprites, but I've added animations, new sprites and effects to try to differentiate my game from the countless others that use the same sprites. I want to add more and more new things as I progress, but I've realised that until the game-play is more compelling, I'm rather wasting time creating a lot more assets.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2011, 01:05:04 pm by Spooner » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2011, 05:18:57 am »

sheep and fire hats FTW! :D cool you got around to "release" it at last.
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 09:15:11 pm »

I think an adversarial type with more craziness going on would be fun.  Items to sacrifice could appear at random rather than having chests there from the start, so you end up racing to get to them first.  More disasters at random, not just linked to favor, to do things like heal/damage/slow in random areas might help out with it.  Picking up monsters seems to just drain your health, so making it less painful and more annoying to the other player to toss a monster at him would be good.
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 04:16:40 am »

Thanks very much for the feedback!

Yes, carrying anything that hurts on the ground hurts when you are carrying it too. I have been thinking of preventing you picking anything up unless you've first knocked it over (by throwing something big at it) or reducing the carried damage compared to the amount of damage you get when an enemy touches you. The aim, when you've picked up a dangerous monster, is to sacrifice it, so you need to ensure you don't do it in the corner of the map or it will slowly bite you to death before you get there!

I do want to add spawning and reduce the favour gains from sacrifice, in order to extend the game length a bit (I want a game to take about 5 minutes, but at the moment, you can easily finish in less than two). I also want to have more reactionary spawning; for example, if you sacrifice the Sheperdess on the Forest level, it spawns a very dangerous mounted Paladin. Just haven't got around to this yet.

Adding more disasters is definitely a good idea. I hadn't considered making them particularly area-based, although now I think about it, the only disaster implemented is rock-falls in the cave, which could be considered area-based damage, but I think that makes a lot of sense, especially if there is a pre-disaster hint, like making the ground glow blue before a lightning strike.

---

Ah, and a question for everyone: Do you think it would be worth my time extending this game to support 3 or 4 players (1v1v1 or 2v2), although that wouldn't be possible in the shared keyboard version (well, unless I support a gamepad, which I think I could). The reason I've limited the scale is because I don't know whether people are more interested in playing this sort of game locally or over the network and whether people would bother to collect 4 players for a relatively casual game like this.
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2011, 12:10:24 pm »

NEW RELEASE - v0.0.3alpha

Sorry for not initially having a product that would work for OS X or Linux. I really thought it would work, because it had before (famous last words!). Any problems, please bug me because I am committed to this game working on all of the three OSes!

Hope it is a bit more polished than the last version. Still very unfinished game-play, but a bit of fun! All feedback is appreciated!

Also jlnr is a god amongst men (for persevering for EVER with the OS X port!)

* Downloads @ Github - v0.0.3alpha - Windows executable [2.5MB], OS X 10.6 executable [9.6MB] or source (for Linux or other versions of OS X) [184K]. The readme has some details to aid those people trying to run from source.

* Issue Tracker @ Github



v0.0.3alpha (2011-05-17)

  * === Now works on Linux from source (rolled back some libraries for maximum compatibility).
  * === Now works on OS X from source (rolled back some libraries for maximum compatibility).
  * === Executable for OS X 10.6 added.

  * Crown heals now, rather than allowing the wearer to fly (can still fly using the carpet, though!).
  * Overwrites the same log file each time it is run (before it created one for every run).
  * Instructions page, telling you how to play.
  * Audio settings in options.
  * Controls (keys/gamepad) settings in options.
  * Throwing items now makes them travel a lot further (Except throwing animals, which generally is less far now).
  * Creatures can be knocked down if hit with a sufficiently large thrown object.
  * Added a disaster to the forest/dryad level (trees awaken), island level (lava rocks) and the pirate ship level (lightning).
  * Replaced game text overlay with a graphical overlay.
  * Made level-dependent gods and anger meter, which triggers disasters. Sacrifice reduces anger.
  * Added buttons to replay the game or return to the main menu when game ends.
  * FIXED: Ready indicators are left on when leaving a game.
  * FIXED: Sacrifice of the forest virgin crashes the game.
  * FIXED: Player objects skid around the screen when the game ends.
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 03:43:05 am »

Oops, some of the uploads were corrupted. I have uploaded and checked new versions of the files. Sorry about that; github has always been fine for uploads before!
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2011, 05:32:05 pm »

Hey Spooner, I tried your game out, but wasn't able to play with anyone as there was no one around at the time. So, I can't really tell you if it was fun, but I can still give feedback.

-Nice UI. It's simple, but gets the job done, and your level names are great  Cheesy

-Great art style overall. Sort of a blocky, pixely look, and the lighting makes it look really nice.

-Magic carpet is really fun to use

Keep it up, this seems interesting. I would probably keep my eye on this, but I don't have anyone to play it with locally  Mock Anger
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2011, 05:46:11 pm »

Thanks for taking a look!

At the moment, the game isn't really fleshed out, so the game isn't really worth "playing" with someone else; it doesn't offer a challenge, since the game is over quickly and doesn't have spawning (in the release version, at least). Still, it is nicer to throw monsters at real people Wink Really I'm looking for feedback on the style and the feel of the game and whether you feel it is going in the right direction.

Quite a lot of stuff in the game, like the magic carpet, are great to play with, but really don't have any useful purpose. They feel good to interact with, but I wonder how much I'll need to cut in the end, for the sake of game-play...

Since the release, I've added achievements and unlocks, as well as quite a lot of other improvements. Can't update right away, though; away for a few days now.
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2011, 03:10:13 am »

If you got a 3-4 player version together I could definitely try it out with network play.

As for area-based disasters, I meant it to go hand in hand with spawning sacrificial stuff.  For example, a high value item comes with its own disaster which you could brave to get to it before the other player (or maybe it just goes away with the disaster).  Perhaps there could be an indicator of where something is soon to spawn, so players would engage in conflict over the spot ahead of time.  Or with the shepherdess/paladin idea, rather than sacrifice her yourself, you toss her corpse at the other player to frame him at the right time.

I said I like the adversarial idea and suggested "craziness."  After thinking about it a bit more, this would be a feel of something like "ha ha, you just knocked me into a lava pit by throwing a cow at me."  Getting the players to hinder/throw crap at each other because it's amusing in itself rather than a means to win (I guess this boils down to "make the game fun," which maybe isn't helpful, heh). 
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2011, 05:04:48 am »

Thanks for offering support for the 3-4 player version, in theory at least!

The main worry I'd have about extending to 4 players would be the extra load on the host. For example, I get about 160fps normally, but about 120 when I am hosting. If I was hosting for 3 players, I'd expect to end up with 40fps, which wouldn't be bad for me, but does imply that lesser computers would struggle. My aim is to keep the game at least running at 120fps for myself, so that I can guarantee it as playable (30fps+) on most computers, including decent net-books (well, although I wouldn't expect hosting for 3 players to work on a net-book).

I have considered spawning a separate server process when hosting, which would mean that hosting wouldn't incur any overhead on a multi-core computer, but that would require quite a bit of rewriting. I might actually be better off just optimising the networking, which is made to just work, not work efficiently, at the moment.

I think having two teams of two would work well for the game, since then you have so many options for roles (you could have one collector that finds and throws items to a sacrificer that stands near the altar or both just concentrate on sacrificing or fighting). I definitely want to continue to keep 1v1 (including sharing a keyboard) to be the other main game-type though.

Ah, I hadn't considered the idea that sacrificial stuff and disasters should be connected. I definitely want to give warnings for disasters, but make the effect much worse to compensate. At the moment, disasters are rather too random and don't really affect you that badly. At the moment (unreleased version) spawning just pings items into the game, but having a pre-warning would make things a bit more exciting, especially if I reduced the number of items on screen at once (currently, there is so much on screen at the same time, that there isn't much reason to race for an object, unless it is one of the god's current favourite objects).

The adversarial craziness suggestion is entirely in tune with what I want to achieve in the game. I want a lot of ways of interacting with the other player(s) and objects, and I want those ways to be discovered during play as much as possible. At the moment, you can knock them over, pick them up, or throw an egg/rope/mushroom/grog at them to give them a "de-buff". These sorts of interactions being fun, rather than having a polished game-mode, were what drove me to take the prototype forward in the first place. The idea of being able to frame the other player for murdering the shepherdess is a good one; not entirely sure how to trigger it, though.
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2011, 07:32:16 am »

Another new version! Added achievements system, 4 new levels & gods and tried to tweak the gameplay to be a bit more interesting (in theory).

v0.1.0 (2011-06-07)

  * Changed default online player controls to same as player 1. Reset everyone's settings to default.
  * Collects game-play statistics locally (for achievements).
  * Added achievements and unlocks system.
  * Added some more sound effects (but nowhere near enough).
  * Can't pick up creatures that can hurt you, or the other player, unless they are knocked down first.
  * Knocked back when hit by a monster, rather than taking damage-over time (fire still burns slowly, however).
  * Gods love certain sacrifices at any given time, which will net greatly increased favour.
  * Favour of object currently carried is indicated next to favour bars.
  * Can set sound volume and window size in options (sorry, no full-screen mode yet).
  * Added 2 new playable priests.
  * Added creature spawning (how could I not have put it in yet?) and reduced favour value of most objects.
  * Containers, such as chests, spawn items if left empty.
  * Added level under the sea.
  * Added level in a tech facility (AI _are_ gods, aren't they?).
  * Added level in a desert (reused lighting storm disaster effect, though, until unique one created)
  * Added level on a moon with radioactive meteors.
  * Network stats overlay (Ctrl-N).
  * FIXED: Poison/growth status effects are not properly synchronised in network play.
  * Countless other things I forgot to write down.

  Significant issues:
    * Possible to juggle (continually pick up and throw) the other player, so they never get to act.
    * Possible to get killed by being continually hit into a wall.
    * Enemies don't care if they are getting killed in lava, etc.

Download v0.1.0 @ Github
* Windows executable [2.5MB]
* OS X 10.6 executable [9.6MB]
* Source only (Linux) [184K]

Please, all feedback is greatly appreciated!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 03:47:15 pm by Spooner » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2011, 06:11:01 pm »

This is an awesome idea! Mechanics are easy to pick up and play and there's something about appeasing the gods, I think I want to play more, too bad I don't have anyone around for a multi-player session. Graphics are serviceable I think but I'm not a big fan of the big pixel style, that's all.

Would mind if I borrowed the idea? I think it's just too good. I'd like to make a PC/Xbox version and maybe a WP7 version, it will be a while until I can get started but I just had to ask...
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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2011, 04:36:04 am »

Yes, thanks, I love the game too, but I've put it on a back burner for the time being. I probably should have made another public release after this one though; main improvement was the addition of excellent original music (by the same guy that has done the music for my current game-in-progress, Zed and Ginger).

I'll take this opportunity to have a bit of a think about the game and why I let it slip:

* I really enjoy the basic engine and interaction. Picking things up and throwing them around feels right and, even after playing it to death, I still found this fun. I think this is the part that I most had contact with in my own testing, so is the bit that got the most polish (to the detriment of the 2-player game-play).

* Not having someone to regularly play with was a continual problem (people played the game now and then, but I really needed a dedicated tester playing a lot with me to really be able to identify the fun and not-fun parts of the game, as well as to identify and debug the final few network syncing problems that weren't a problem in my local testing).

* Although you say that the mechanics are easy to pick up, I didn't find that to be very common with other people who played it. The problem is that the game isn't really similar to anything, which is a boon and a bane. I made reasonable efforts to improve the in-game instructions after this release, but I suspect I probably needed an interactive tutorial of some kind, even if it was just a single-player level that you had to run through first.

* Only having two players, and the games being quite short, means that if you manage to disable the other player for even a short time, you tend to just win. I suspect that having a 4-player adversarial or 2-player co-op style game might have made that a bit less of a problem, but I think that really, the basic mechanics need a bit of a rethink and a lot of play-testing to balance.

* I got to the point where I was avoiding dealing with the fundamental problems with the game to add fluff (the achievements system, for example) that ended up just polishing a turd.

Anyway, I do think that the basic concept, with some work, should be quite serviceable. I don't have the slightest interest in the console or phone markets (I own neither), so feel free to go mad there. Perhaps a single-player experience based on my attempt would work better even. As to a PC version being made, if you are using a completely different graphical style and not just perfectly cloning the game-play, I'm sure I couldn't complain about that too. Good luck and keep me informed of your progress!

I'd really love to go back to this game and I hope that leaving it a decent while should make it easier for me to step back and scrap the bits that need binning and have a serious rethink about how the game plays. With my current game I purposely started by making a playable single-player game, then expanded it to 2-player adversarial (which is essentially 2 players racing on a single-player map) and am carefully considering adding a co-op mode and I've found that progression a lot easier to work with; perhaps I should retro-actively take that approach with Wrath too?
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2011, 05:55:26 am »

A single player campaign or at least having AI bots could really help I think and coding player AI is also kinda fun, you may learn new things about your own game.

As for the mechanics, it's the issue with people not reading instructions and that's a problem with all original/experimental games. A tutorial level with maybe a benevolent god explaining to the player how to deal with the other gods should fix that.

If I get to make the game all assets will be completely original of course and will try to have a single player experience from the beginning. I will probably keep the gods premise if I can't come up with a new story though.
The XBox has excellent multiplayer support so that's probably where I'll go first.
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