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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsVinkelvolt - 2D platform puzzler with 3D perspective rotation
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davidhallgren
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« on: May 04, 2014, 12:42:37 PM »

Hi,
just joined the forum and as stated in my self introduction this is my first attempt at developing a simple game (not counting a Flappy Bird clone to truly learn the basics of Xcode, Objective C, etc...  Embarrassed).

First some basic information:
  • The game is called Vinkelvolt (a word in Swedish made up of "Vinkel" meaning angle and "volt" meaning flip/somersault which somehow seemed fitting). It is a simple platform puzzler with the objective of moving your character (currently represented by a red sphere) to a goal. A core mechanic of the game is perspective rotation à la Ortho Robot, Fez, Crush etc. Having only played Ortho Robot (but seen videos of the others) I am not yet sure about all similarities/differences. This might clearly make the game very derivative in its design but I hope to make it more unique by adding more platform elements compared to Ortho Robot, such as moving platform, dangerous obstacles etc. I have also not seen a similar game on iOS which is what I am targeting.
  • Each level is intended to be quite short and stars are earned for (1) completing the level, (2) completing the level faster than a time objective, (3) completing the level using fewer perspective rotations than a specific maximum.
  • It is targeted for iOS and being developed from scratch in C++ with OpenGL. The main reason for developing everything from scratch is simply that since this is my first real game I wanted to learn as much of the basics as possible before using existing libraries or engines. Having no previous experience with C++ this will likely lead to a lot of headache but keeping the scope small should ensure I can make it.
  • The game has been in development for about 2 weeks so far so it is very limited but I have the engine up and running more or less for all the basic stuff. Now the main challenge will be level design. (If anyone out there is interested in pitching in, please let me know). My current goal is to finish the game during the summer.

So, to actually show something as well, here is a short gif of me playing through the third level of the first three which are meant to introduce the core mechanics of moving, jumping and rotating the perspective.


Any feedback, suggestions or other thoughts on what you think this should evolve into would be highly appreciated.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 12:51:05 PM by davidhallgren » Logged

Current project: Vinkelvolt - Platform puzzler with 3D perspective rotation for iOS
davidhallgren
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2014, 02:00:57 AM »

A quick update after two more evenings of work on the game. I just added a simple in-game level editor that allows me to pause the game and add/move/remove blocks. Since my previous solution was simply to edit the text files that define the levels manually this clearly makes things a lot quicker and easier. Hopefully this will allow me to create an interesting first batch of levels. Furthermore, I am considering leaving access to the editor in the actual game to allow other to generate and share new levels as well.

Sample gif of how the editor works on a level:

I also thought I would share some background to my development process. I have some previous experience with programming in Visual Basic but that was several years ago. So when I this February decided to pick up programming again during my paternity leave I decided to go  for game development. I knew that I wanted to do 3D work (mainly because I find the math and engineering behind it fascinating) and felt that iOS development seemed interesting so I got a MacBook Pro, some books, downloaded Xcode and started experimenting. Here are the books I read before starting work on this game while I developed a few simple apps just to learn the ropes:
  • iOS Programming - The Big Nerd Ranch Guide by Joe Conway & Aaron Hillegass - Perfect introduction for me to iOS and Obj-C
  • Game Engine Architecture by Jason Gregory - Awesome book giving me an overview of all aspects required to develop my own game engine
  • The C++ Programming Language - 4th Edition by Bjarne Stroustrup - A somewhat lengthy but very useful introduction to C++. I more or less read it cover to cover without writing a single line of code which might not be the optimal way to learn programming but I felt it gave me a great overview of the language.
  • Real-Time Collision Detection by Christer Ericson - I knew I wanted to do 3D and develop my own engine. However, after reading in Game Engine Architecture I felt that for physics and related areas a library such as bullet might be the best option. But before integrating that I wanted to understand a bit more about the basics and this book worked as a very useful overview and provided good implementation examples. Further more, since I ended up going for a game with very unique requirements on the collision detection system I ended up writing my own simple pseudo-2D collision system anyway.

Would be interesting to learn more about what resources you find most useful to learn more about game development. (Yes, I will search the forum as well but only found this site a few days ago and have not yet done so, sorry for being lazy...)
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Christian
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2014, 05:09:19 AM »

This reminds me of Perspective. Cool, would definitely get this on IOS
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davidhallgren
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2014, 12:20:40 PM »

This reminds me of Perspective. Cool, would definitely get this on IOS

Thank you for the feedback and glad that you liked it! I hope it will be available on the AppStore during the summer.

I have now used the new level editor to create a first batch of ten levels. In these ten levels the only kind of block is the one you can stand on but not under or infront of when changing perspective. My idea is that for each new set of ten levels introduce new kinds of blocks that add new dynamics to the mechanics. Examples of kinds of blocks I'm considering are "flat" blocks that are only visible from some perspective, moving blocks, fallings blocks that you can only stand on once, spiked blocks that you can not stand on, etc.

Here is a screen cap of one of the new levels:


Beta testers wanted!
If anyone here would be interested in beta testing the game I would highly appreciate it. The requirements are:
  • Access to a device running iOS 7
  • Ready to sign up for or already having a TestFlight account to get access to new builds
  • Willingness to play the game and provide constructive feedback

If you are interested, just let me know!
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davidhallgren
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2014, 11:43:48 AM »

After about a week away from the game I have finally been able to put in a few hours the last couple of evenings to continue the development. Key changes are:
  • Implemented a new obstacle type, flat squares that are only visible from some perspectives
  • Tweaked the design and objectives of the first 10 levels
  • Made a quick design for the level selection screen an tweaked the UI. Definitely not perfect but I'll live with it for now (it is programmer art after all)
  • Tweaked the design of the obstacles by adding normal maps that adds a smooth gradient lighting across the surfaces

I am not yet convinced the last change is actually better but I mainly did it because I wanted to try out using normal maps in my engine. Adding the functionality for that was probably the most significant of the above changes as it required adding features to support multiple vertex formats and making the shader system more flexible.

Here is a sample of a tutorial level to introduce the new obstacle type, the flat squares:


My main focus right now is to finish the design of levels 11-20. I still aim to submit it to the AppStore during June/July which should be feasible.

As always, all feedback or questions are welcome!
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davidhallgren
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2014, 12:50:46 PM »

Yay, this morning I received confirmation from Apple that version 1.0 of my game has been added to the App Store.  Beer!

If you are interested you can find the game https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vinkelvolt/id878304297?ls=1&mt=8.

The game now features 30 levels, here are two screenshots of more complex levels:





I plan to add additional levels and obstacles as free upgrades soon.
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davidhallgren
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2014, 09:45:12 AM »

Thank you to everyone who has downloaded the game and for the feedback so far!   Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Right It is very rewarding and motivating to hear from people who play it.

Based on the feedback, here is my list for things I am adding to v1.1 before starting work on additional levels:
  • Replace the button closing the current level with a pause menu showing settings & level objectives
  • Create setting for switching the control layout to movement on the left side of the screen and jump on the right
  • Replace "Tap to continue" on the level ending screen with buttons for replay level, play next level and return to level selection screen
  • Tweak level 19 to remove an unintended short-cut allowing the level to be finished with far fewer rotations than the target

I hope to be able to finish these during the weekend and then submit it to Apple for review. Then it is on to working on some new levels and obstacle types as well as start prototyping ideas for my next game!
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davidhallgren
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2014, 01:55:32 AM »

Happy to report that v1.1 has been approved by Apple and should update automatically or be available in the App Store already.

The update contains the above improvements as shown in the screenshots below. No fancy design exactly on the pause screen but it works nicely and having the built the engine improvements for UI similar things should be very easy for upcoming games.





I will now get back to designing new levels, but in the meantime I have actually developed another relatively small puzzle game that should be finished in a few weeks. Will see if I share some details in another devlog soon.
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Aiden (Canned Turkey)
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2014, 09:55:47 AM »

This just looks like a puzzle version of fez.
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