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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsIncognita (3D Action-Roguelike)
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Author Topic: Incognita (3D Action-Roguelike)  (Read 7989 times)
Paul Jeffries
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« on: November 25, 2012, 09:03:19 AM »

INCOGNITA
(Working Title)


I've been working on this (on and off) for almost two years now, so I figured it was probably time for a Devlog!

I have, in fact, been running a (somewhat infrequent) devlog already on my personal blog for a while, the previous entries of which can be found here: http://www.vitruality.com/category/devlog/.  However, as nobody actually reads that thing I will save that particular devlog for the more detailed philosophical chin-scratching that is mostly for my own benefit, and use this topic here for the more day-to-day stuff.

The game is (now) an action-roguelike. It's also bit of a sandbox project for me to experiment with some crazy ideas I have, principally in the field of procedural generation.

So far I've been mainly focussed on getting the basic gameplay elements in place - so please don't take these as indicative of the final look of the game - but just to prove I'm doing something here are some screenshots of current progress:






(Click for embiggening)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 05:02:40 AM by Paul Jeffries » Logged

www.vitruality.com | SPARTAN - Small Pixel Art Animator and procedural tile generator
happymonster
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2012, 09:05:28 AM »

Looks nice, but very dark. It's hard to make much out of the level really.
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Paul Jeffries
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2012, 04:03:01 PM »

Thanks 'monster!  Yeah, it is a bit dark at the moment.  Partly that's just because I haven't worked much on the lighting or shaders yet so its looking a bit dingier than I'd like (I'm holding off working on graphics stuff until after I've definitively settled on a theme).  But partly it's intentional - the game uses a line of sight system and that is visually indicated by shadows, so you can't see much of the level because, well, you can't see much of the level!  Also, the darkness plays a gameplay role and you'll be able to use torches etc. to increase how far you can see.
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2012, 04:15:36 PM »

I like the rendering style, good luck!
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2012, 06:05:28 PM »

I like the style as well. It is lovely.
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Paul Jeffries
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 04:35:22 PM »

Thanks guys!  I'm a lot more comfortable with the programming side of things than I am with the art side, so it's good to hear that the graphics aren't completely awful.  I tried out a couple of different styles before I found one that I liked and felt I could probably pull off reasonably consistently.  In the end I went with something that felt like the natural evolution of a style that I had used previously.
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poe
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 05:57:41 PM »

The style will definitely work Smiley
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Paul Jeffries
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2012, 02:43:41 PM »

Update 28/11/2012:

Recently I've mostly been working on procedural level generation stuff.  That's sort of a long-term project though - it will need several different subsystems implemented and a database of information and assets built up before I can hope to actually get anything interesting out of it or even have any certainty that it's going to work at all.  I think it will.  Maybe.

So, as a 'quick hit' I took a break from that and added weapon trails to melee attacks:



This adds a subtle bit of extra dynamism to my attack animations but is useful for debugging purposes as well; the trail denotes the extreme of the 'harmful zone' of the weapon, so it's a nice visual indicator that I've actually defined that zone correctly for each weapon (which, as it happened, I hadn't).

While implementing that, I made a minor fuck-up at one point so that it was creating a new trail every frame rather than updating the same one, which was dumb but ended up producing a fairly cool 'grinding' effect:


I don't really need that kind of effect for anything at the moment, but I thought I'd leave this here as a note to myself in case I ever do!
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2012, 07:18:43 AM »

Update 02/12/2012:

Continuing a theme from the end of the last update, I have another fuck-up to report:

One aspect of procedural level generation I've been working on recently is choosing and placing different types of furniture inside rooms.  So, for example, when it creates a table it should know to also create some stools and place them around the table.  As it turns out, that aspect works a little too well...


Got it working better(/worse) in the end though:

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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2012, 09:15:51 PM »

Looks sweet! Super interested in the kinds of things you want to do with procedural generation.  Wizard
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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2012, 04:59:18 AM »

Nice graphics!

It is cool that you try to do some procedural generation. I have thought about this a lot myself and I think that I came to the conclusion that a hierarchical template system is a good way to go. I can recommend borrowing some ideas from hierarchical task network (HTN) planning where you have task networks that can expand at different abstraction levels. You can for example have a "fillLivingRoom" task that expands into several subtasks (such as "addDiningTable", "addEntertainmentSystem") depending on the room size etc. The system can even backtrack if a selected subtask ends up in a bad situation where it can't produce any results.
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Paul Jeffries
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« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2012, 04:13:34 PM »

Thanks guys,

On the Procedural Generation front: The main thing I'm trying to do is 'put my money where my mouth is' by addressing some of the issues I talked about on this Roguelike Radio episode.  My primary objective is to try to generate dungeons that feel a bit more 'designed' rather than randomly cobbled together.

Initially, this means giving different rooms different functions, and letting the relationships between those functions affect how the level is laid out.  So, for example: torture chambers will be placed near to prison cells, kitchens will be near dining rooms, treasure rooms will be more likely to have trap-filled corridors leading up to them and so on.  This might seem like mere set-dressing but I think it can also have a gameplay purpose to subtly signpost what is likely to be coming up next to help the player navigate and make strategic decisions: Need a weapon?  Head towards the armory...  Low on supplies?  Maybe this kitchen has a larder... Want to avoid combat?  Try taking this dusty disused-looking corridor...

That's the plan, anyway!

@Krasse: My approach is not exactly an HTN, but it shares some characteristics in that it's based on recursively 'growing' the level geometry with decisions based on heuristics and contextual feedback and has (or rather 'will have' - I haven't finished implementing this last bit yet) the ability to 'backtrack' if it's made a mistake.  I'm initially going to reserve this last bit only for obvious errors like levels with no exit or corridors that don't go anywhere, but later on I might experiment with imposing other constraints.
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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2012, 02:22:29 AM »

That sounds really interesting. Looking forward to see some levels constructed with your algorithm.
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Paul Jeffries
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2012, 02:45:20 PM »

That sounds really interesting. Looking forward to see some levels constructed with your algorithm.

You and me both!  I've got the basic framework in place, but the downside to this approach is that to generate anything decent it needs to have a sufficiently large database of different room types and the assets to populate them, which will probably take a while to put together...
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« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2012, 05:02:10 AM »

Update 27/12/2012:

The past couple of weeks I've been pretty busy with work and so haven't had too much time to make progress on things, but over christmas I have been working on a couple of different aspects of the game here and there.  Like these:

HEALTH BAR:

As a general rule I'm trying to find ways of conveying information in the game that are non-numerical wherever appropriate, because I don't want things to get too stat heavy.  So, for the player's health bar I've basically ripped off the Zelda heart-container approach - i.e. your health level is represented by a number of icons, but each of those icons also have fractional subdivisions that represent smaller increments of health.  I'm a fan of this method, since it's far easier to tell at a glance your overall health level compared with a numerical HP value but also is far more discrete and definite than a single health bar.

Because I don't want to rip off Zelda too closely and also because the standard heart symbol has a whole mess of connotations attached that I do not necessarily wish to invoke, I've tried to come up with my own unique iconography.  After filling up a couple of sketchbook pages with doodles I've settled on a simple spiral motif that can be used in the player's health bar and can also be used more generally to symbolise health.  In outline it's still a cardioid, but hopefully more interesting and offers an obvious means of representing subdivisions.


For the moment each 'heart' has three subdivisions, but I've set it up both graphically and in the code so that I can change that easily if I need to rebalance things later on.


SETTING:

Probably the biggest obstacle to development at the moment is that I can't quite make my mind up about the setting.  Previously I was sort of vaguely wandering towards a 18th Century piratey sort of thing.  But now, for various reasons I won't go into, I'm considering a slight 'modernisation' to a Victorian/Gothic Horror theme.  Note that in this case Victorian != Steampunk - so not everybody will have goggles for no reason.  The main change this would require is in the main character's attire, so I've been trying out a new, more gentlemanly outfit for our intrepid adventurer (not finished yet - need to add some details like buttons and a watch-chain to the front of the waistcoat):


I quite like it, but there are aspects of his old duds that I miss.

As may be obvious, I'm terrible at making big 'direction' decisions like this since I'm fairly mercurial in my affections when it comes to particular settings and the like.  I might lose enthusiasm for it in a few months and I don't want that to kill the entire project, so nothing is final yet - I'm still just experimenting and would love to hear what you guys think.  

GUI DECORATIONS:

One of the very first things I did when I started this project was to build a simple GUI system of text boxes, buttons and so on but until now they've been fairly rudimentary.  One of the things I was concerned about with the change of setting was whether I could evoke a suitable atmosphere with the UI, so I decided to try working in a bit more ornamentation to see if I can pull it off.  The corner decorations and cursor icons are stolen from authentic Victorian book covers and the like.

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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2013, 10:40:00 AM »

Update 20/01/2013:

I've been working a bit on the inventory system lately, specifically adding inventories to certain types of furniture and also the interface for moving items in and out of them.  So I can now include chests and barrels full of goodies that you can plunder and also use to store things in.


The icons in the middle are your standard inventory, the two rows down the bottom are the contents of the barrel.

There are (at the moment) two types of collectable item in the game: 'Equipment' is stuff that you can equip and do things with - weapons, tools, etc.  'Consumables' are things which have no use on their own but which are required to use certain bits of equipment or do other things - i.e. currency, ammunition, potion ingredients and so on.  You start off with only 3 or 4 slots for each kind, so you need to choose carefully what you want to carry around with you.
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2013, 05:44:36 AM »

This game is looking really cool. I'm very interested in seeing how some of your ideas for procedural content turn out.
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