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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsCavernaut - Tilt-Controlled Cave Flyer [Out now for iOS and Android]
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Author Topic: Cavernaut - Tilt-Controlled Cave Flyer [Out now for iOS and Android]  (Read 11698 times)
schoenepauck
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« Reply #40 on: February 16, 2015, 11:07:09 AM »

Looks cool. Why only iOS? The vehicle reminds me a bit of http://i.imgur.com/1C3a5e4.jpg Wink
Haha, that's great  Grin. I just imagine a group of space pilots sitting at the bar of the orbit terminal, chatting about their missions. "Hey Kowalski, what's your next run?" -- "Dispatch sending me on a cargo haul from shaft three-eight tomorrow. Gonna fly the roast chicken."

And I will probably release it for Android too. I'm developing with Adobe AIR, so deploying on Android should (in theory) be possible with minimal tweaking to get the scaling right for the different screen sizes. Of course it could be run on a PC (heck, it's basically Flash, so it could even run in a browser), but I think the tilt control is an important element. I'm doing some of the play testing on my mac, but playing it with keyboard control simply doesn't feel as good.  Analog gamepads should work, so consoles could be an option, but that means some serious porting work.
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« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2015, 11:52:59 AM »

I finally managed to make some animated GIFs of Cavernaut today that are not totally horrible. At least the animation is smooth; the colors suffer from the dithering, but hey! Playing level 4 of the game here, with a brand new BG image (though you don't get to see a lot of it):

 

(The ship's rotation is a bit jerky because I created these on my notebook: No smooth gyro-controlled rotation, just a makeshift keyboard control  Shrug)

So, not very much progress, graphics-wise, except for the new background art. BUT I finally finished coding a new sound manager class. I had planned this for a long time now; I had written a sound manager early during the development, but it lacked some features that I wanted to have, especially being able to have multiple instances of a sound playing simultaneously, so I started to rewrite most of it about a year and a half ago. Then came the year-long hiatus, and when I started to actively develop Cavernaut again this year I was a bit reluctant to work on the sound manager at first. But now it's done, and this means another huge item can be crossed out from my to-do list!

Large parts of the new sound manager are based on SoundAS by the nice people at TreeFortress, btw. Of course I could have simply used SoundAS for Cavernaut, but I preferred to keep my old sound manager API, and SoundAS has some features that I didn't want, like a dependency on Signals.
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« Reply #42 on: March 07, 2015, 11:00:27 AM »

New things added this week: A new loading screen, and game center support. As for the latter, I originally hadn't planned to add this until much later in the development process. But after reading through the api docs it looked like it would be an easy thing to implement, so I gave it a try. Still took me a while to get it up and running, but now it's in there, so: Yay, one more thing to tick off my list. Although the list is a bit hydra-headed: for every task done, I seem to get to add two new ones. Like, now that I have basic game center support, I'll have to make up some nice achievements, and create a bunch of fancy new icons for everything  Grin

And here's the loading screen I did:



I like how it turned out, but actually I'm not sure if I will put it in the final game: Loading is really fast at the moment, so this is only visible for a second or so -- maybe I'll need to create a simpler design...
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« Reply #43 on: March 18, 2015, 12:16:02 AM »

Quick update: I finally caught up on creating HD assets. When I add new graphics, I draw them for the lowest resolution first (i.E. SD iPhone res, 320x480), and only after I'm happy with the the final design I create a high resolution version. It would probably be easier to create the HD graphics first and simply downscale them, but I originally planned for the game to have a more low res/pixelated look. I have changed the look since, but I stuck to the graphics creation workflow, as creating the low res assets is somewhat faster when trying out new game elements and designs.

Now I have added a lot of new graphics during the last couple of weeks, which have finally been converted to HD. Now it looks gorgeous again on an iPad or a retina iPhone!


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« Reply #44 on: May 24, 2015, 02:18:06 PM »

I've been busy with some contract work, so progress on Cavernaut has been going a bit slow during the last weeks, but I got some work done on the sfx and soundtrack, maps and some other small bits and pieces.

I've also been working on a trailer for a while now. Wanted to take a break from 2D and do a bit of 3D animation, just for kicks, so i made a model of the Cavernaut ship and created a couple of CGI shots to set the mood. Here's a sneak peek:



It's been a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too! Currently I'm recording lots of gameplay footage to finish the trailer, then it's back to working on the actual game again.
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schoenepauck
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« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2015, 11:30:46 AM »

Finally! The new trailer is done. A hell of a lot of work, but that was to be expected after going a bit overboard with the CGI stuff.



Now I can get back to the game dev. I already made some major improvements to my map editor, so the map-making process will hopefully be a bit speedier now.
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Zorg
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« Reply #46 on: June 17, 2015, 12:41:50 AM »

Nice trailer! Personally i like trailers without long cinematic openings, i wanna see gameplay, but i think you found a good balance. The cinematic sequence could be shortened (for an additional super short version of the trailer?) if you would blend the text with the 3D scene:


zoom


Edit: I just visited and really like your mini websites einheit-b.de and cavernaut.com, great work!
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 12:49:48 AM by Zorg » Logged
schoenepauck
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« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2015, 11:59:56 AM »

Nice trailer! Personally i like trailers without long cinematic openings, i wanna see gameplay, but i think you found a good balance. The cinematic sequence could be shortened (for an additional super short version of the trailer?) if you would blend the text with the 3D scene:


zoom


Edit: I just visited and really like your mini websites einheit-b.de and cavernaut.com, great work!

Hi Zorg, thanks for your feedback. I spent a lot of time tweaking the timing and rhythm of the trailer. I even considered placing the text within the scenes at one point, like you suggest, but I preferred to keep the images simple and uncluttered. After all, it took quite some time to create the 3D scenes, so I decided they need to be viewed without distraction  Smiley  Also, It was a conscious decision to elaborate on the cinematic part a bit, after having decided to leave all story elements out of the actual game. I had planned to include some sort of story into the game in the early development phase, but that would have slowed down the development and the gameplay, so I threw it out. Now I can at least provide some story bits through the trailer.

As for my websites: Happy to hear you like them. I'm actually planning to make them even better in the next days; at least the Cavernaut site needs a content update, new screenshots, the new trailer etc...
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« Reply #48 on: June 29, 2015, 02:27:09 AM »

It's about time that I write another devlog update, so here we go! I've been making good progress in the last two weeks. Really good progress! The game now supports a new class of scenery objects, which means I can add more variety to the map design (which also required more additions to my map editor). I already started to create some scenery items, have a look:

 

I also went back to work on the overall color scheme a bit, and I've started to go back even further and think about making a few changes to the collision handling. Right now, the player's ship is treated as a simple axis aligned bounding box when it comes to collision detection with the cave walls. This works very good (thanks to the guys at Metanet Software, who wrote this excellent tutorial), but the fact that the ship rotates means that sometimes the collision seems to be registered a bit too early (when it looks like the ship doesn't touch the wall yet), or too late. I've always thought that I could neglect this, but after recording the gameplay for the trailer I felt the urge to perfect this. Hm. Guess I shouldn't put too much effort in there, though. After all, I really want to get this game out of the door before the end of summer.

Beside all these additions and changes to the game I even managed to get some promotional work done. I updated the Website (www.cavernaut.com) -- finally added a presskit and the new trailer, and I replaced those really, really old screenshots with some that are a bit more up to date. And I managed to update the first devlog entry here with the new trailer (will also add new images as soon as I'm finished writing this post). Also, Cavernaut is now listed on AppAdvice, and it's got a little preview on Pocket Gamer, which is probably not a big thing for most devs here, but for some reason that makes me happy. Maybe it's because I'm a newbie in the game dev business  Grin (BTW I think it's not that hard. But maybe that's just because I've been playing it a lot.)

Now let's hope I can continue to work on Cavernaut at this pace, it feels great to see things moving forward!
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« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2015, 01:57:01 PM »

Whoa, I'm really on a roll! Just added the tutorial to the game. I have put off doing that for a while now, because for some reason I thought that it would be complicated to implement, but now it turned out to be easier than expected -- took me less than a day, and it's another step towards completion !  Smiley

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« Reply #50 on: July 18, 2015, 12:27:46 PM »

Lots of small(ish) things added during the last couple of days, from bugfixes to new GFX, new stuff to collect in the game, more levels, code optimization and refactoring, small UI improvements.... It really feels like Cavernaut is nearing completion, but there are still so many things left to do, and even though I marked a dozen or so items from my to-do list as done during the course of the last week, at least as many new ones have been added. Seems like every time I playtest the game, I have new ideas to improve the experience.

To give you something to look at, here's a screenshot I posted for #screenshotsaturday, with some scenery that players will only encounter very rarely (I call these places "tourist attractions"). I originally had planned to create much more elaborate artwork for these, so the players would really get the feeling of having discovered something very special in the game, but in the end nothing really worked with the clean art style of Cavernaut as well as reducing the art to a silhouette fading into the background. Or is that style too overused?



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Zorg
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« Reply #51 on: July 18, 2015, 12:55:17 PM »

I like it!
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schoenepauck
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« Reply #52 on: July 19, 2015, 03:45:27 AM »

I like it!
Thanks, I really appreciate your comments!
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« Reply #53 on: July 21, 2015, 06:08:40 AM »

In my last post I forgot to mention that I also implemented a new function to auto-generate map chunks in my editor.

Maps in Cavernaut are not completely procedural, but assembled from segments (chunks) that are edited by hand. To speed this process up a bit, I had created a simple procedural generation tool for my editor some time ago, a kind of modified random walk algorithm. But recently I have stumbled upon several resources talking about map generation using cellular automata (like this one, this one, and 

). So I gave this technique a try, and it works really well! After I use this to generate a basic cave segment, there's still some work left to flesh out the map design by editing tiles by hand, adding entities etc., but it gives me something to build upon, which is handy as I still need quite a lot of these maps. Here's a screenshot of the editor, showing a sample output of the generator:



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« Reply #54 on: July 26, 2015, 07:54:09 AM »

It's been a busy week, and a lot of stuff has been added and/or changed:

- I finally managed to modify the collision detection in a way that actually involved very little changes in the code but results in a much better handling of player/map collisions, improving the playing experience a lot.

- I created new tile graphics, so the maps can be designed more varied now.

- The most visible change was made to the doors in the game. I needed a way to distinguish the ones that have to be triggered by the player (by flying through a light beam) from the ones that open automatically, so I added a little blinking light to the door and the switch that opens it, and also show a connection line between the door and the switch. I also changed the look of the switch while I was at it; I think the straight beam looks better than the cone-shaped one I had before.



- The scoring system has been treated to some much-needed balancing. For example, completing all parts of an alien artifact now is rewarded with a big bonus score, depending on the number of parts that had to be collected.

- The semi-automatic map generation process described in the last post was put to the test, resulting in a lot of new map templates in the library. I'm finally at a point where there's so many different ways in which the game world can be generated that even I sometimes have a hard time finding my way around the caverns.

- Some parts of the code were further optimized for performance. Probably not really necessary, as the game is not very graphics intensive, but I still try to optimize to the best of my ability. It's a habit from the old days of trying to code smoothly animating graphics on 8-bit home computer hardware.

- And finally, another couple of bugs was ironed out. I discovered a few reeeeeally embarrassing ones that have hidden in the code for a long time now and somehow managed to stay unnoticed – until now!

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« Reply #55 on: July 31, 2015, 03:10:33 PM »

Hello everybody, time for the latest Cavernaut update! This week I completed all the sound effects for Cavernaut, so it's another huge step towards completion. Doing sound is not my strongest ability, but I think it turned out quite nice. It's a mix of synthetic sounds, created with Bfxr and SFB Games' ChipTone, sometimes layered with recorded real-life sounds. You can get a taste of how the game sounds like via this soundcloud link:

https://soundcloud.com/schoenepauck/cavernaut-sfx


But wait, that's not all! I also finished ALL of the background art. Like this:



And of course more bug fixing, more polishing, more balancing... In fact, I got so much stuff done this week that I can now officially edit this topic to the "90% done" message icon! Yay!  Beer!
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« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2015, 01:00:27 PM »

Been making some huge steps towards release, even though I encountered a little set-back a couple of days ago: When testing on my old iPad 2, the game would crash without any error message. Whoa, it had always worked smoothly on that device!  Screamy Turned out that it choked on the high-res background textures I had added since my last tests. After reverting to the old low-res images everything runs fine again. Phew! I'll probably have to check the hardware at runtime in order to decide if I can afford to load the HD textures.

Now that that's fixed, I'm preparing the screenshots that will be shown in the App Store, and I've uploaded a preview build to iTunes for TestFlight testing -- it's in beta review now! Exciting!  Crazy

Besides this, I made a new version of the landing pad where you start at the beginning of a game. I wanted it to at least be slightly different from the other landing pads in the game, as you cannot refuel there. So there: Can you spot the difference?  Wink



(OK, nothing fancy. I didn't want to mess with the overall design of it , so I just made the base a bit wider.)
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Zorg
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« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2015, 01:20:35 PM »

Other platforms don't feature these big spotlights, so it should be easy to tell which is the start platform, right? Wink

I really like the overall clean look of the game. Best of luck with the App store!

By the way, what's the size of the high res background images which cause the game to crash?
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Yxven
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« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2015, 02:31:43 PM »

This reminds me of the submarine levels in Earthworm Jim.
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schoenepauck
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« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2015, 03:09:32 PM »

Other platforms don't feature these big spotlights, so it should be easy to tell which is the start platform, right? Wink

I really like the overall clean look of the game. Best of luck with the App store!

By the way, what's the size of the high res background images which cause the game to crash?

Thanks! The HD textures which caused the iPad to crash were 2048 x 2048 pixels -- the PNG files have around 2.5 MB each, which uncompresses to around 12 MB... and there are 5 of them... Maybe I'll try to save memory by using 16 Bit or ATF textures, but my guess is that the slightly blurry backgrounds I get when using 1024 x 1024 images are still preferable to dithering or compression artifacts.

This reminds me of the submarine levels in Earthworm Jim.

I had to look those up -- I think I never made it that far when I played EWJ back in the day. Did you play the iPhone port? Do they use gyro control for these levels in that?

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