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1378981 Posts in 65651 Topics- by 58021 Members - Latest Member: ElteriaTeam

July 09, 2020, 06:27:48 AM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMORSE - Change the world in the push of a button.
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Author Topic: MORSE - Change the world in the push of a button.  (Read 8354 times)
AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #40 on: June 27, 2016, 05:35:11 AM »

Hey Folks,

So I've started prototyping the controller again now that I have access to a laser cutter! Here's some footage of it in action!




This is going to be the first in a long list of prototypes, the end game of which is something along the lines of a varnished case with a monitor built in that can be taken around to events.

Check out this vine too for another viewing angle:

https://vine.co/v/5uIed02aOIu

Stay tuned for more soon!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2016, 08:32:04 AM »

Hey Folks!

So managed to get back into the workshop to get the last component of the controller built - The channel sockets!

Here's how it looked before:


And here's how it looks now!

VINE SHOWING FOOTAGE







There's still a lot of work to be done till it reaches a point that I'm happy with (Currently held together with masking tape), but this more or less captures how I want the controller to feel. Going to refine it a bit further and start applying for events with it! Keep an eye out for more updates as time goes on!
« Last Edit: July 01, 2016, 08:46:06 AM by AlexVsCoding » Logged

AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2016, 02:05:37 AM »

Hey Folks, here's some more footage of the controller in action!



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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2019, 06:05:25 AM »



Hey Folks!

I've finally returned to working on Morse after nearly 5 years, this time with a graphics overhaul and 5 apps launches under my belt!

After the last couple of weeks revisiting the project and overhauling the graphics, interface and aesthetics, I've got a pretty solid little prototype.

My plans for the remainder of the year is to get a vertical slice of gameplay designed and produce a new physical installation for the game to exhibit at conferences. Here are the main things that I'm needing to tackle:

- Tutorial: This one is absolutely crucial. In the two tests I've done so far, both have got bogged down and overwhelmed within the first minute or so of gameplay. Staggering the mechanics out over multiple levels/stages is going to be necessary. Seeing how people have coped with gameplay so far, I think it's a solid assumption that what the current gameplay state would constitute the end state.

- Scale: So far, the game has been tested predominantly on tablets. At this scale, it's already hard to see the human sprites. This is going to be even worse on phone. I'll be doing a series of tests to see how difficult it is to see the different screens and making adjustments accordingly. The most likely outcome is increasing the scale of the trench level so that the humans are to a similar scale of the planes OR going the opposite way and representing them in an abstract manner such as ranks or crests.

- Notifications: At the moment, the notifications block the player's view of the battlefield. Integrating it into the lower interface would be likely a much more compatible option without interrupting gameplay.

I'll be trying to keep this as updated as possible in the coming months, so stay tuned for more updates!
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« Reply #44 on: October 04, 2019, 04:31:06 AM »

Read through the whole devlog, and the concept sounds fascinating. Love the custom controller too. The new art style is pretty awesome, it feels much more clean and sharp.
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #45 on: October 07, 2019, 03:53:46 PM »

Read through the whole devlog, and the concept sounds fascinating. Love the custom controller too. The new art style is pretty awesome, it feels much more clean and sharp.

Thank you very much! The custom controller is going to be getting a full redesign this time around, if everything goes to plan we'll have the entire game contained within a suitcase! The next two weeks are probably going to be a bit thin on the ground for updates since:
+ I've got NOWT, a bullet hell shooter (Another 3 colour game: https://alexvscoding.itch.io/nowt) that I created last weekend that's needing a couple of days of polish to finish up
+ I'm releasing an iOS update for Corporate Salmon today
+ I'm doing a game jam in Wales next week!

I am really keen to keep on with the project, just have to move a little slower to factor in the things that are bringing in money!
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« Reply #46 on: October 07, 2019, 11:12:53 PM »

Original idea + 1
User friendly - 1
Fun to watch + 1
Fun to play - 1

Just my opinion based on controls, visuals and desig
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2020, 09:27:18 AM »

Hey Folks!

Had another lapse on the project, though some exciting developments have occurred in the meantime!

So what's happened with the project since October?

+ Started a new job that absorbed a lot of my time but equipped me with knowledge of Unity
+ Picked back up development on Morse after working on several other small projects
+ Submitted a pitch to the UK Games Fund and have successfully made it through to the interview stage
+ Started production of a remastered physical controller in the form of a campaign chest
+ Overhauled a lot of the systems within the Stencyl version (More on that later)
+ Started work on a basic prototype version of the game in Unity
+ Found a team of freelancers to work with on the project

Gameplay Footage

Here's the current vertical slice I've been producing! Hope you enjoy it:




What's the plan going forward?

As much as I am very excited to work on Morse again, I cannot financially justify working on it without external funding/support, at the least to finance the freelancers I'll be bringing aboard. If things go to plan, once I've finishing teaching for the year I'll get the UKGF support and use that money to fund my freelancers over the summer period.

I had planned to do find publishers on the expo circuit with a physical arcade cabinet, but Coronavirus has all but wiped out all UK industry festivals. With that in mind, I'll be over the next few months reaching out to publishers and posting updates for the project.

In that time, I'll continue refining a vertical slice built in Stencyl for the game. If I'm sucessful in finding a publisher, I'll transition development to Unity, if not, I'll refine the Stencyl version and release independently. I'm building the game for mobile, though it'd be relatively easy to port it over to PC.

What's changed in the game?

Quite a bit! Here's a list of major changes in the project:


+ Dialogue Screen: I now have a seperate gameplay page in which I can input characters, dialogue and custom backgrounds. In its current state, it can only handle linear narrative.

+ Morse UI overhaul: When doing playtesting, I found out a variety of incredibly useful information, the main thing being that for the main input with the game, the morse display took up a puny portion on the screen. To combat this, I've commited the majority of the bottom of the screen to the morse display. What were previously just letters have been replaced with chunky UI elements that twirl when activated.

+ Dot or Dash Visualiser: If the player does a quick tap, a dot appears for a flash. Holding it down for longer will stretch that dot into a dash.

+ Morse Printout: When you enter a coordinate, the game will automatically print out those coordinates (E.g. B1). Eventually, I hope to have it also display the sequence you've entered so you can learn from your mistakes.



+ Tutorial Remastered: The current tutorial has been more explicitly staggered out, starting with asking the player to open the help sheet whilst hiding the remainder of on screen buttons. As they progress, more buttons are exposed.

+ Curated Scenarios: I've now refined the maps to purely just one zone at a time. For example, the first level is shelling an enemy trench during an infantry CHARGE, the second level is ESCORTING player ships and the third level is returning to the previous trench, but now defending it from an ONSLAUGHT of attacking forces. Contrast this with before where you had all 3 battlefield types to defend/manage simultaneously.

+ Custom Grids: I highlighed the words in upper case in the previous section because they're the letters in each level that are available for the player as coordinates. In the original version of the game which had a full alphabet available, players constantly relied on the easiest letters (E, I, O, T, S), so by limiting the palette of letters available to the player, they have learn new ones. This also doubled as a way of simplifying the Morse help sheet, which previously had 26 letters listed. Now, I can just list the letters used in game.



+ Beefed up explosions: Explosions now have audio associated with it, and burst in a bright flash of red and white. Particles and screenshake were also added.

+ Unit behaviour: Previously, the units were just timer based (walk for 2 seconds, stop and shoot, walk for 3 seconds), now I've adjusted their code so they can be manipulated on a much more regular basis. For example, infantry will gather in their trench, waiting for a certain critical mass before launching an attack. Another nice addition is that of naval ships launching projectiles at one another (that do cause a big splash on impact!)

+ Units have Health: Rather than everything being wiped in one hit, certain units will take multiple shots to kill. Larger ships can withstand salvos hitting them and infantry protected by the trench can withstand nearby explosions.

That's all for now, stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks!


« Last Edit: March 17, 2020, 10:02:48 AM by AlexVsCoding » Logged

AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #48 on: March 19, 2020, 03:58:21 AM »

Hey Folks!

Just a quick but significant update: Last night I built a modified version of MORSE with turn based gameplay and it feels really good! Basically, when you fire an artillery shot, the turn ends. This fixes several things:

+ Players just spamming artillery to destroy stuff
+ A lot of players got overwhelmed with what was going on since the gameplay was continuous (Had several players complete all three levels with no idea how to control it
+ Makes more of a meaningful determination between the artillery shells
+ Gives the player time for trial and error experimentation with the controls/learning coordinates

Here's a quick clip of gameplay!



Here's the things I need to amend to make it a little more functional:

- Cap on launching (can currently still spam) so you have to wait until the enemies have finished moving.
- Stagger the actions the units do (have the units change stance before attacking)
- Scale the artillery bullets down (Currently far too easy with the basic units to just wipe out multiple rows)
- Implement the elements of turn based combat into the tutorial

Thanks and stay tuned for more!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2020, 05:46:05 AM by AlexVsCoding » Logged

AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #49 on: March 20, 2020, 05:45:24 AM »

Hey Folks,

Another update on Morse: I've made the decision to fully shift the game over to turn based combat! Makes the skirmishes feel much more methodical.

Here's some gifs of how that translates to gameplay:






The issues I mentioned in the previous section have since been fixed and I'll be putting a Testflight live over the weekend.

Stay tuned for more soon!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #50 on: March 21, 2020, 09:29:44 AM »

Hey Folks!

Here's a 15 minute playthrough/commentary by me of the demo I've created for Morse! Hope you find it insightful and if you have any questions, let me know in the replies!



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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #51 on: March 24, 2020, 07:08:53 AM »

Hey Folks, just a quick update for today!

I've released the first Testflight of Morse! Here's what I've found out about it so far:

Whilst there was a minor fix (but major problem in gameplay!) where half the numbers for the help sheet cut off (I didn't notice because I've memorised them all!), the main structural issue that came up was with the current state of turn based combat: Whilst making the game turn based fixed a variety of issues (Stop folks spamming the artillery button, players getting overwhelmed by too much going on), giving players all the time in the world to plan/input their coordinates removed any reason to get competent at Morse (An analogy given was that without the time mechanic, Keep Talking and No-One Explodes is just a really awkward way of sharing information! The person who highlighted this also mentioned that the majority of reasons I was changing to turn based to fix were tied to bad level design (E.g. You can stop the player feeling overwhelmed by reducing the enemy count and stop the player spamming the artillery by tweaking variables).


As things currently stand, reverting to a RTS is relatively straightforward (just changing a couple of variables back) but instead I've opted instead to see if incorporate a timer fixes things. The player has a finite amount of time to complete the mission, which means whilst they have time to enter coordinates in the short term, they need to manage their time in the long term. If this works as a mechanic, I'll likely tie this to the narrative with having the signal degrade over time, as part of which there's all sorts of mechanics I can explore, such as distorting/glitching the screen and having coordinates become inaccessible (E.g. Start with OUTFLANK and end with OU  LA K).

I'll be playtesting to see how folks feel about it and depending on the feedback might try building two versions of the game (one turn based, the other RTS) but we'll see!
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 01:06:54 AM by AlexVsCoding » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: March 24, 2020, 07:58:04 AM »

Oh wow, this is very unique.

How did I miss this devlog until now? I mean, even with the hiatus: I've been around on this forum long enough!
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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #53 on: March 25, 2020, 10:26:20 AM »

Oh wow, this is very unique.

How did I miss this devlog until now? I mean, even with the hiatus: I've been around on this forum long enough!

Thanks! It's a pretty sizeable gap between posts, launched the flash version mentioned in it 5 years ago! It's always played second fiddle to other projects so is probably why it slipped under the radar.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 01:07:17 AM by AlexVsCoding » Logged

AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #54 on: March 26, 2020, 05:39:13 AM »




Hey Folks!

Here's the latest gameplay footage!

+ Returned to RTS mode (but built the infrastructure to keep TB combat an optional choice if I change my mind again)
+ Cut the timer element for now, it may have specific missions where it could be useful down the line!
+ Halved the speed of all units to give players more time to react.
+ Scale bar that visualises the cool down of the Morse Code machine (When you need to push a button by for it to not issue the command)

Priority at this point on the project is getting the current build out there, getting another round of feedback, getting the narrative updated with some more sophisticated text and prepping for the interview next week!


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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #55 on: March 27, 2020, 06:47:26 AM »

Hey Folks!

Here's a quick update on the project:

Pushed out the next Testflight, here's the latest features implemented:
+ 3 different variations for the levels beyond the tutorial which brings the total learnable letters to 20
+ Return to RTS mode, though enemies have been halved in speed
+ Cooldown bar for the morse input display!

Drop me a DM if you're interested in trying out the Testflight, I'm currently looking for feedback!


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AlexVsCoding
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« Reply #56 on: May 14, 2020, 04:33:50 PM »

Hey Folks!

Just thought I'd let you know that whilst things have been quiet on here the last two months, I have by no means been sat on my hands! Some exciting news to announce on Monday, so stay tuned!

Also, if you're interested, my app 100% GOLF just went live for pre-order on iOS if you want to grab it!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #57 on: May 16, 2020, 11:29:12 AM »

That looks cool. I'm on Android though :/
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« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2020, 11:45:17 AM »

This is an experience to watch. Really well done.
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« Reply #59 on: May 17, 2020, 11:39:44 AM »

I like your concept, I love unique designs
Also, the black & white version seems more appropiate
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