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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsPower Heroes (iOS)
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i-kari
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« Reply #80 on: July 08, 2013, 01:06:13 PM »

Slow week. I was away for most of it so couldn't work on the game. Here's what happened though:

Heart item

As you might guess, it replenishes player's health one heart at a time. The health/damage system needs balancing because currently you will not get hurt by enemies unless you make a mistake (collision without any power in the power meter). The number of hearts you start with varies between characters, but you can get quite far even with just one heart if you have the skills. However, I asked some friends to playtest the game and I think they all died on the second area or so, so maybe I've just played it too much.

Star power up

This power up is still WIP and it's going to be either a score booster or temporary invincibility. I'm leaning towards the boost.

Dialog box improvement

It now supports paging of longer text.
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i-kari
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« Reply #81 on: July 23, 2013, 12:27:55 AM »

Been working on two things mostly: a gameplay tutorial and the shop feature.

Implementing the shop especially has proven to be quite a time sink but I think it's finally taking shape in terms of UI / layout. Here's the latest mockup (please ignore the text, it doesn't make sense because it's just a MOCKUP Smiley):


It already has a basic functionality but I still need to add paging etc.

The tutorial (which won't be called that) is going to be a quick and short introduction to the game mechanics via actual gameplay and carefully designed first areas.
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Arnold
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« Reply #82 on: July 23, 2013, 12:49:56 AM »

cool stuff!
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« Reply #83 on: August 05, 2013, 05:09:16 AM »

Recent development:

There are now "shop" and "play!" buttons on the title screen. "Shop" takes you into the game's shop where you can upgrade any of the currently implemented 4 power-ups by spending gold coins you collect in-game. There are 5 upgrade levels and each upgrade extends the power-up's duration by 5 seconds.

It then struck me that when a power-up was collected, there was no way of seeing what the currently active power-up was and how long it would last. The solution I came up with was to make the power-up item sprite with a timer bar to hover above the player sprite.

I also modified the turtle shells so that they WILL kill other enemies when hit, just like in SMB. I previously thought this might be too powerful, but after playtesting it I think it works quite nicely. I really like to include small familiar things like this into the game.

Finally I did a round of polishing in various parts of the game, many small things not worth mentioning separately but things that add to the overall experience in the end.
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i-kari
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« Reply #84 on: August 26, 2013, 11:21:04 PM »

All right, time for an update!

Level ups

I'm testing a per-game level up system where levels are tied to certain score targets. So reaching a score of 5,000, 10,000, 25,000 etc. would be rewarded with a level up and a bonus (gold coins for example).

New enemy size: 2x2 tiles

Added support for larger enemies. I still have to see if I'm going to include them in the first version of the game.

Hero unlocks

Fruits/items act as score items but also as collectibles. For example, the second hero will be unlocked after 100 cherries have been collected. I envision an unlock map where each unlock opens new fruits/items to be collected.

Proper hero select screen

The hero selection screen was just a rough draft, so I'm now improving it by adding unlock stats & starting health for each character.
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i-kari
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« Reply #85 on: August 26, 2013, 11:25:30 PM »

Oh yeah and I did update the title graphics too:




Smiley
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i-kari
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« Reply #86 on: September 08, 2013, 11:57:44 PM »

I have opened a website at www.kortesalo.com as a one-stop place for all information regarding Power Heroes (and my other future games Smiley). I also added the game on IndieDB and opened a thread on TouchArcade's "Upcoming iPhone and iPod touch Games" forum to give Power Heroes further exposure.

Development news:

Upgradeable chests

Chests are now an upgradeable item in the shop. Upgrading chests increases their chance to drop more coins.

Additive sprite coloring

Cocos2d only supports sprite tinting by reducing RGB values from their original. I wanted enemy sprites to flash white when they were hit so the native Cocos2d implementation was not enough. Luckily there are guides on the web to implement additive tinting, like this one: http://digitallybold.com/314/cocos2d-additive-sprite-color-tinting.

Character screen update

The character select screen I mentioned in my previous post is now looking something like this:


There is one hero available (the knight, our starting character) while three "?" heroes are still locked. One of these seems to be unlockable by spending 1000 gold coins and the others by collecting specific items: cherries and fried eggs (don't ask why).

I think I will move the shop button from the title screen to this screen. I also need to add a coin balance and to do that I have to move things around to make it fit.

Other stuff

I have spent a lot of time on a basic upgrade/unlock framework so that it would be flexible to add more stuff. It's still not perfect and needs more work, but it's better than before.
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i-kari
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« Reply #87 on: September 17, 2013, 11:55:27 AM »

Another week has passed. Let's have a look what I accomplished.

Hero select almost complete

This is now an updated version of the character/hero select screen I showed in the previous post:


I managed to fit in the coins and the buttons at the bottom of the screen. I was also wondering if the hero names should be visible prior to unlocking them?

When you have decided on your hero of choice, you have an option to increase the hero's life hearts before game start. The "PLAY!" button becomes available at this stage.


Improvements under the hood

In the course of ongoing improvements to the game code, I restructured my hero class and the magical part where level transitions happen. These improvements can be time consuming tasks that are not visible to the player, but they are necessary from the developer's point of view as they help code maintainability, ease of expansion and so on.

Hero class

Initially the hero class was pretty dumb and acted as a container for hero's basic data. Then I added a feature to unlock heroes by collecting a number of items in the game, and this had to be included in the class. With each unlock a hero specific item becomes available for collecting in order to unlock even more heroes later in the game. At this stage the item drop system got involved in the process. So it expands pretty quickly.

Level transitions

Levels are divided into different themes like forest, desert or winter. I have a counter which is incremented after each level and when that counter reaches a pre-determined value, the game progresses into the next theme in order.

Transition from level to level (or area to area, depends on what you want to call them) happens normally by scrolling, or in situations where scrolling does not really make sense (entering buildings or a dungeon), by fadeout/fadein sequence.

This worked perfectly fine. However, the theme shift did not have its own transition and relied on the logic built around level to level transitions: scroll or fade. I felt that scrolling from, let's say, forest to desert was too harsh because of the different graphics/tiles, so the level change engine (sounds fancy) now always forces a fadeout/fadein transition in these situations. Works like a charm!

The system still has one issue that I'll need to tackle. More on that soon.
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« Reply #88 on: September 20, 2013, 03:57:11 AM »

Since you can distribute builds now, how about a beta that i can enter? Wink
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« Reply #89 on: September 23, 2013, 02:30:38 PM »

How are you handling the extra wide displays of the iPhone 5?
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i-kari
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« Reply #90 on: September 30, 2013, 08:20:45 AM »

@Arnold: Eager to test, are you? Wink You can be sure I'll contact you when it's time for that. The game is lacking content because I have focused on completing all the features first. I have like 3 test areas only.

@eobet: I have thought about that. I don't know if I can come up with anything better than black bars on the edges because the game is built around these 16x9 tile maps that can't dynamically scale to fit different screen sizes.
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i-kari
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« Reply #91 on: September 30, 2013, 08:27:22 AM »

Ok, time for another update! Let's pick up from where we left off last time: the one tiny issue left in the system I titled the "level change engine".

Dungeon levels

So now I have a system which is built around the following elements: an array containing all the different area types/themes (A), a counter that keeps track of what theme we are currently on (B), and a counter that counts the number of completed areas on the current theme (C). When C reaches a certain value, we reset C back to zero, increment B and select a theme from A using B. This math is broken up by a special theme that I want to include in the game: dungeons.


This is a dungeon.

What's so special about it?

Well, I want it to be special in a sense that it is not part of the normal theme rotation. I want it to be an area that in order to access it, you have to work for it. An area that contains harder enemies and better rewards. Sort of a "secret" area.

A dungeon entrance can be found in other, regular themes (the "overworld"). The entrance may be hidden or require some sort of an action before it opens. Once entered, the game will take you to the dungeons that you have to complete before returning to the overworld. Dungeons can also act as links between different places in the overworld as you are not necessarily returning to the theme you entered the dungeon from in the first place.

Power attacks

When you collect enough power coins and fill up the POWER meter to the max, a special power attack is performed. It either triggers right away when you collect the 5th coin, or when you hit an enemy with full power, or something else entirely. As you can see this is still in its early stages and I have to playtest to find out what works best, but I want the player to feel powerful. The game is POWER heroes after all!
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i-kari
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« Reply #92 on: October 07, 2013, 12:51:23 PM »

My todo list is again a few items shorter than last week. Here's what I've done.

Quests

Right from the beginning when I realised that Power Heroes would be an endless game, or more precisely an endless/rpg hybrid, I knew I wanted to have long-term gameplay targets in the form of a mission system. To be honest, it is more or less a requirement nowadays in games like these. So what a better way to do this than looking at how the big boys like Jetpack Joyride, Temple Run and Subway Surfers did it.

Jetpack Joyride: complete a set of missions to level up for coin rewards

Temple Run: complete a set of 3 missions to level up, opening new unlock possibilities

Subway Surfers: complete a set of 3 missions to increase score multiplier

I still have to decide how the final mission/quest system will work in Power Heroes, but the game now supports quests within one play session as well as quests that are not reset between sessions. Now I just have to experiment with them.

Music & Sound

I've been having the hardest time deciding on what kind of music I want in the game. I even made a thread about it. With the visual style that I have, I guess chip music & sound would be an obvious choice. But completely orchestral score has not been ruled out either, and it could give the game a nice contrast when combined with chip sound effects and pixel art.

Any composers out there willing to make a demo track?

Other

Bug fixes.

Particle animation when 4/5 power coins are collected (to visually indicate that power attack is just another coin away).

Updated damage counters that bounce off when enemies are hit.

Got rid of some visual gameplay elements because I felt the screen was becoming too cramped (mainly the "GOOD!", "EXCELLENT!" texts after a successful kill streak).

Started reworking the game over screen because there's a lot of information to be conveyed after the game ends and the next one starts.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 01:01:53 PM by i-kari » Logged

diegzumillo
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« Reply #93 on: October 07, 2013, 01:09:02 PM »

I share the hate for virtual d-pads and I'm interested in testing your control scheme. I can't say if I like it or not until then Tongue
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i-kari
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« Reply #94 on: October 07, 2013, 01:16:33 PM »

*high five* Toast Right
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08--n7.r6-79.84
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« Reply #95 on: October 09, 2013, 08:00:19 AM »


This is a dungeon.

i love your laconic style   Smiley
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« Reply #96 on: October 09, 2013, 03:54:49 PM »

@eobet: I have thought about that. I don't know if I can come up with anything better than black bars on the edges because the game is built around these 16x9 tile maps that can't dynamically scale to fit different screen sizes.

Looking at the forest and village scenes, I wouldn't worry about fit since you cut off trees and houses anyway (and perhaps you only need to draw trees and houses to the edge of the screen, to keep the play area the same size). Dungeon scenes are naturally black outside the walls, and on the book menus you could just add a leather bound jacket visible on the sides if you wanted to.

I know I'm weird, but when I download a game and see the black borders, it sends a message to me that the developers didn't care so why should I? May sound harsh, but that's the way I react.
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i-kari
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« Reply #97 on: October 10, 2013, 02:09:25 AM »

Looking at the forest and village scenes, I wouldn't worry about fit since you cut off trees and houses anyway (and perhaps you only need to draw trees and houses to the edge of the screen, to keep the play area the same size). Dungeon scenes are naturally black outside the walls, and on the book menus you could just add a leather bound jacket visible on the sides if you wanted to.

Thanks for the feedback.

Here's an idea that I got the other day: Instead of using tilemaps of 16 x 9 (960 x 540 pixels) that fill screens prior to iPhone 5, I could use 18 x 9 (1080 x 540 pixels) maps and center them on the screen. Then on iPhones prior to 5 I would have a visible area of 16 x 9 tiles and on 5 I would see the whole 18 x 9 map. Of course this difference should be taken into consideration in map design because I can't put anything important on the left/right edges, outside the 16 x 9 area that is not visible on older devices.

Another thing is that the iPhone 5 has an awkward horizontal resolution of 1136 pixels, which is not a multitude of the basic 480 (or 960 for the retina displays). Because of this there would still be small (28 pixels wide) black bands around the map even if using 18 x 9 maps.

Here's an example of how a map would look like on both devices:


16 x 9 map on <iPhone5 (screen resolution 960 x 540)


18 x 9 map on iPhone5 (screen resolution 1136 x 540)
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« Reply #98 on: October 10, 2013, 04:22:31 AM »

Here's my super quick edit on that:

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i-kari
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« Reply #99 on: October 10, 2013, 06:01:26 AM »

Here's my super quick edit on that:

Yup that's a possibility, using 20 x 9 tilemaps. However not having full tiles on the edges may make it a little more challenging to do, or raise some technical issues that I'm not aware of yet. Not sure how scrolling from map to map would look either.

Also: I don't know if this is an issue, but let's say we have an open map without those trees on the borders. On newer devices with 18 x 9 (or 20 x 9) view area there is more space for enemies to walk around, compared to smaller 16 x 9 area on older devices, thus giving players with iPhone 5 an advantage. Not good.

Solution: I could always design the maps so that even if the 16 x 9 area is open, the edges outside that area would have some obstacles (like trees in the example) to prevent movement.

Like this:


The full view...


...makes me feel sorry for people with older devices! :D

I'll have to think about this!
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 11:38:00 PM by i-kari » Logged

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