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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsRe: Tower57 - Dieselpunk Pixel-Shooter (dinosaurs included)
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Author Topic: Re: Tower57 - Dieselpunk Pixel-Shooter (dinosaurs included)  (Read 41670 times)
Alec S.
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« Reply #80 on: March 07, 2015, 10:58:15 AM »

Oh wow, this is looking amazing.
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tower57
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« Reply #81 on: March 15, 2015, 04:46:02 AM »



Welcome to our 13th update!

This week was mostly dedicated to optimizations on the code side - making sure to keep things running at a non-cinematic 60fps - and character polish on the art side.

Since most of the core features - rendering, animation, input, sound, pathfinding, ai, loot, destruction, etc. - are either in place or over half-way there, we are actually starting to add a bit of polish, wrapping up some lose ends, basically going from a prototype to something that feels like an actual game, and slowly getting ready to start putting the demo together Smiley

Anyway, since I doubt many people are interested in screenshots of performance profiling or finding out how many micro-seconds a particular system takes to update itself, I’ll skip over the optimization stuff and go straight to the character part…

First things off, we have a new character, The Don!





Most dystopian societies living under the oppressive rule of a dictatorial regime have a thriving underground economy and the Tower is no exception. The Don is the go-to character if you need a favor (or massive discounts at the shops), however be prepared to lose a limb if you get on his wrong side. His weapons of choice are the Tommy Gun, which he uses to mow down enemies and fellow team members alike (accuracy is not his forte…), and handy hand grenades.









Also as I mentioned above we are starting to wrap up the lose ends such as missing animations, and more specifically in this case, the shooting animations:









And finally since all that profiling and optimization was starting to get boring, I also went ahead and started experimenting with the dash ^_^ (the effect is a work-in-progress).







That’s it for this week, hoping to see you all again next week for more!

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Dnilo
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« Reply #82 on: March 16, 2015, 02:39:56 PM »

Shaddup and take my money!

JK (don't shaddup, but indeed take my money)

This is looking amazing, perfect pixel art and animation, looks excellent overall.
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dez
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« Reply #83 on: March 16, 2015, 05:07:59 PM »

Looks Neat ! Grin
Can't wait to try it! I love multiplayer games :D
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tower57
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« Reply #84 on: March 21, 2015, 04:58:01 AM »

Hi everybody!

This week work continued on polishing the character animations. The next weapon to get a make-over was the laser gun:









We have also integrated the tommy gun animations from last week into the actual game:





On the code side, we have been refining the behavior of the hexapods. Considering their insectoid appearance, and as a homage to one of our main inspirations, we really wanted players to feel like they are being swarmed by enemies.

Therefore the logical step seemed to be giving them the ability to form swarms! This choice is also in line with our "emergent gameplay" goal since (quoting wikipedia here) flocking


The next step was to extend this system to support getting around in-game obstacles such as crates or barrels:





And of course to make things interesting, the flocks needed the ability to actually swarm the player rather than just wander around:





Putting all of this together, we got swarms of hexapods whose behavior relies on following a set of simple rules, have the ability to navigate around obstacles in the map, and can track down and rush the player.







And in actual in-game “resolution”:







That concludes this week’s update, hope everybody enjoyed it, and as usual we’ll be back next week for more Smiley

Cheers everybody!
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tower57
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« Reply #85 on: March 29, 2015, 02:47:09 AM »

New week, new update!

This week a lot of work was done on the first level, which is now actually playable, although it still looks very ugly (this was the first “gameplay” pass where we set up enemies, loot, keycards, etc. and play-test the hell out of it until we feel the “flow” is right… now that we’re pretty happy with it and most further changes should be tweaks rather than major overhauls, Cyangmou can start applying his magic to it!) so not really much to show yet on that side.

We did however bring back and polish an old feature that was essential to building a proper level, namely doors:





Of course doors can be unlocked or locked:





In which case you’ll need the appropriate keycard to get through:





On the art side, Cyangmou continued polishing the shooting animations for the main characters, and we’re now down to only a few weapons left (such as the lightning gun):

















And last but not least, we are happy to introduce Rafael Langoni Smith, who will score the demo (and possibly the rest of the game if the demo is well received). Rafael has been writing music since he was 5, and has worked in film and television as well as on a few other games before (you can find out all about him over at http://rafaelsmith.com/).

As for how it’s handled in the actual game, the music is made of several layered tracks, which can be faded in and out depending on what is going on in the game.

For example here is a 10 second excerpt of the main character exploring an empty room:

https://soundcloud.com/tower57/quiet

However if that room was full of enemies, it would sound more like :

https://soundcloud.com/tower57/action

Of course enemies on the screen will not be the only thing affecting the music (anybody remembers the music speeding up as you got low on health in sf2 ?), so hopefully we should end up with a pretty dynamic soundtrack!

Next week depending on our respective “regular-work-schedules” we’re hoping to be able to show the first screenshots of the first level, so make sure to check back in if you’re curious about how the actual game is shaping up ^_^

Cheers!
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Green Gospod
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« Reply #86 on: March 29, 2015, 09:38:09 AM »

That drone swarm AI is fucking awesome dude.  Toast Left Kiss Toast Right

Any tips on how you applied Craig Reynolds’ 1987 flocking algorithm to code? Was it hard and is it demanding? Also are you using state machines for your AI otherwise?
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Benitosub
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« Reply #87 on: March 30, 2015, 06:56:58 AM »

Well although the algorithm itself is fairly simple, it does involve a bit of tuning to get it to look and feel good (basically how much of the acceleration for the current frame is influenced by cohesion, how much by alignment, etc.).

Also in my rush to get something up and running as quickly as possible, I initially skipped “easing” the alignment value, so rather than “progressively steer towards” the desired alignment (which is really the average alignment of all neighbors) entities would all instantly align in the same direction within the span of a single frame, which resulted in a bunch of entities all moving and turning in the exact same way (obviously looks and feels very wrong).

Also as far as I’m concerned all the example implementations I found online were fairly un-optimised, so I guess they’re fine as a first step to understand the algorithm, but in the long run you’re probably better off rewriting it yourself.

And yeah, the AI is a mix of states and systems: enemies have states which are handled by a FSM, but what happens in those states is actually defined by which components the entity has.

For example when a hexapod enters the "chasing" state, it receives a "flocking" component, which tells the "flocking system" to move it as a member of a flock; inversely when a hexapod enters the "idle" state, the "flocking" component is removed, so the "flocking system" automatically stops moving the entity with the flock; an enemy entering the "shooting" state will receive an "aiming" component which will tell the "aiming system" to make that enemy face its target; and so on... so really what the states do is just add / remove components to entities entering and leaving those states, everything else is taken care of by systems!

Hope that makes sense?

Cheers!
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Green Gospod
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« Reply #88 on: March 30, 2015, 08:15:13 AM »

Cool, thank you and thanks for your time man. Smiley

Also got one more question if you don't mind, how do you handle debris from objects like crates blowing up and then landing on the floor? Since it's a top down game and it's kinda hard to know where the floor is, I'm guessing you just blow up the debris and then after it's been falling for a set amount of time make it stop as if it hit the floor? But then how do shadows always stay on the same level as the floor?
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Benitosub
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« Reply #89 on: March 30, 2015, 10:55:39 PM »

Actually it's slightly more elaborate than that (but only slightly!).

For debris I use "Bezier curves" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%A9zier_curve), more specifically quadratic Bezier curves (beziers are super useful incidentally, for example the missiles use stitched up cubic beziers to achieve that nice curvy path towards their target).

Here's how it works, starting with an object (green cross) on the floor:



First pick a point on the floor around your exploding object. This is where the debris will land:



The shadow of the debris will travel along the line between your object and your landing point:



Now pick a control point for your bezier curve, about halfway (depending on how you want to shape your curve) between the object and the landing point:



And finally animate your debris along the bezier curve generated by your object's position, your landing point, and your control point:



If you ensure that the duration of both animations is the same, and use a "flat" bezier for the shadow (so take the exact center of the line between the object and the landing point, and use that as a control point), the debris and the shadow will be in perfect sync, because the shadow will also slow down towards the center then speed up again.

The benefit for me is that I can decide precisely where I want the debris to fall (which means I can easily avoid having debris fall through walls etc by picking a landing point that is on the floor), how high I want it to go, and what shape its path should have (for example grenades use a control point that's closer to the target, so it looks like the grenade is slowing down due to friction with air etc.).

Another great benefit is that it makes synchronizing debris over a networked game super cheap: all I have to do is send the starting point, control point, and landing point (so basically 6 int's) to the other client, and everything else can be recalculated on the other client with the guarantee that the debris will end up in the same place on both clients :D

Hope this made sense, otherwise don't hesitate to ask for more specifics!

Cheers!

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Seaport
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« Reply #90 on: March 30, 2015, 11:12:37 PM »

This is looking very nice indeed, really like the Hexapod swarms particularly the way they move round crates etc
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PRDXCL
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« Reply #91 on: March 31, 2015, 09:02:54 AM »

HOT
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Green Gospod
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« Reply #92 on: March 31, 2015, 09:29:24 AM »

"Slightly" my ass.  Smiley
Thanks for that Benitosub. Much appreciated. I'm going to dive right into it, see what I can come up with.
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Grog
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« Reply #93 on: March 31, 2015, 10:55:11 AM »

I remember looking at your first page and saying "looks really good, can't wait to see it in motion". Looks like I haven't seen this in a while.

Checking the last page all I could think of is "Jesus Christ." As in "Jesus Christ this looks really good."

Seeing everything in motion and the logic behind, it all comes together nicely. Great job to you and your team.
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tower57
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« Reply #94 on: April 03, 2015, 12:57:04 PM »

Welcome back everyone!

This week we’re incredibly proud to be able to show the first screenshots of the demo level. As I briefly explained last week, now that we are fairly happy with the general layout, Cyangmou has started painting over our prototype to create the final polished version.

Please keep in mind that the props (crates, columns, etc.) are not in place yet, so it looks a bit bare, also the overhead layer and the background parallax layer are missing, and of course the lighting is disabled, but hopefully the results speak for themselves as to whether we are on the right track:











In addition I also wanted to take a few lines to expand a bit on one of our core features, namely the so called “emergent gameplay”. As a quick reminder, the idea is to create a set of simple rules, or systems, which can interact with each other in complex ways, resulting in unforeseen or unscripted situations.

If that sounds confusing, think of the cops in GTA and the countless funny videos on youtube of them doing seemingly ridiculous things. Those situations were obviously not planned or scripted by rockstar, but are the “complex” result of the “simple” rules that govern their behavior.

Taking this idea back into our game, a good example would be the hexapods: their movement is governed by simple rules (such as flocking, chasing, etc.) which interact in complex ways so that their behavior will never be exactly the same in different play-throughs.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because we have tried to apply this philosophy to the weapons themselves. So for example a turret shoots bullets. But if you set that turret on fire, the fire will spread to the bullets it is firing, so you have now created a flaming-bullets-turret.

These simple rules are applied to everything indiscriminately, and since players have two weapon slots, this means you can combine two weapons - essentially by firing both at the same time - to create unexpected results.

Allow me to demonstrate.

The flamethrower is a short range weapon. However if you combine it with your tommy gun, you can effectively extend its range:





This doesn’t apply just to fire though, as electricity also travels from entity to entity, so logically combining your tommy gun with your lightning gun results in something like this:





You can even get creative and combine for example the harpoon gun with the flamethrower to create flaming harpoons that will not only impale enemies but also fry them:





We currently have 9 weapons - not counting the various types of grenades - so that means 36 possible weapon combinations, and we are still considering a couple of additional weapons so that number may still rise.

Hopefully this will produce enough variety in the ways you can beat the levels to entice players to go for additional play-throughs Smiley

Thank you again for following our progress, I’m looking forward to posting another update next week!

Cheers!
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tower57
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« Reply #95 on: April 12, 2015, 03:55:12 AM »

Hello everyone,

this week we did a lot of polish work in preparation for this month’s A MAZE./Berlin , where we will (hopefully) be showing the game for the first time ^_^

Starting with the characters, we integrated the new shooting animations from last week in the actual game:



Also the shotgun had been suspiciously absent from the weapon list until now, but we decided to fix that this week Smiley






We also worked a lot on the level which we’ll be using to demo the game, and even added lights:










This is obviously all work in progress, but hopefully we’re headed in the right direction.

And last but not least, we did a pass on our main menu, which had been “under construction” for a long time, and finally got the make-over it so badly needed. Here is the result:



That’s it for this week! Hope everybody enjoyed it, and if you’re in Berlin between April 22 and April 26, don’t hesitate to pop by and try the game Smiley

Cheers!
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« Reply #96 on: April 12, 2015, 04:41:35 AM »

Just wanted to say, the pixel art and color scheme are fantastic. It looks really fun to play too!  Hand Money Left Hand Money Right
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« Reply #97 on: April 12, 2015, 05:14:35 AM »

Hello! This looks great. I love your art style. There are so many great pixel artists on this site - I'm jelly! And those animations! How did you get them so smooth? Did you animate 3D models and draw over the top, or is it all done by eye?
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« Reply #98 on: April 12, 2015, 05:28:15 AM »

That main menu is fantastic. Nicely done.
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« Reply #99 on: April 13, 2015, 12:09:21 AM »

@Crabby thanks, we're putting a lot of effort in getting the "game feel" right!

@martian_automaton thanks! the artist is actually Cyangmou, I'm the coding half of this team, but he doesn't use 3d as far as I know. If you want to find out more you can try catching one of his streams, he announces them on his twitter channel (@cyangmou) and it's usually every other day or so.

@oldblood thanks ^_^ we thought it would be quite fitting to have the main menu take you to the right floor  Smiley
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