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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Eldritch Zookeeper - Hypnotising Llama Monsters! Time Travel!
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Author Topic: The Eldritch Zookeeper - Hypnotising Llama Monsters! Time Travel!  (Read 24685 times)
Cranktrain
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« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2015, 10:07:38 AM »

loving the concepts. Is it going to be a full 3D at some point or more like Don't Starve?

Thanks Ivan! It'll be a mix between 3D and animated sprites like Don't Starve. The terrain, fences, and boxes will be clearly 3D, but the humans, items, monsters, etc, will be sprites. Hopefully that'll end up looking good!

Obviously it's early in dev, so I dunno if you've thought about this yet or just want to experiment with options, but are you planning on there being a way for the players to know what monster is in each box before they open it? Like, would the strategy be to build a central container pen for the sole purpose of opening boxes and herding the resulting monsters into the appropriate enclosure, or will it be easy to tell what's inside so you can just go to the correct pen before opening?

Absolutely, there'll be a big ol' picture on the side of the crate that says what creature is in it. The plan right now is that the difficulty is going to come from the player not having a say in what monster you have to accommodate. You're given a crate, and you have to open it somewhere. Let's hope you've got enough resources to build a decent sized enclosure, or that the monsters in your existing ones will be happy with a new occupant.
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oldblood
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« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2015, 07:54:15 PM »

Awesome video devlog. Definitely keep those coming! I love stuff like that, sill be watching.

I've been tempted to do something similar but... I just don't know if I could...
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M4uesviecr
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« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2015, 05:08:18 AM »

Really interesting -- I am working with a developer who is also making a game about Eldritch, but they will be MUCH less domesticated, and more... attack-destroy-everything in sight-y.

I think having the opportunity to live in a world where such a thing is possible is going to be treat enough. Any idea what might trigger them? Probably getting a little unrealistic here, but little kid's crying? Hairy men intimidating the smaller ones? Cellphones?

Really excited about what you are going to do with this!

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Cranktrain
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« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2015, 10:36:50 AM »

M4uesviecr - Yes indeed, I'm hoping that the guests are going to be one of the things that can scare or anger the monsters, so you've got to keep an eye on them.

Speaking of guests, I've been implementing pathfinding, and decided to apply that to zoo visitors.

First of all, a Navmesh is needed to be created over the procedually generated terrain, and recalculated when the zoo perimeter changes, or when fences are built:



As you can tell, it's all done in segments, so only the sections of the mesh that have changed can be recalculated. This really helps performance.

The first attempt at getting visitors to path didn't... go exactly to plan:



A bit more wrangling and now they path very nicely indeed!



But... not perfectly:



^ In that example there's a very small space, and when there's a bunch of visitors pathing through there at the same time they get stuck. Plenty of ways to go about fixing this, local avoidance, flocking, etc... I'll look into some small improvements tomorrow morning, but I don't think it's a massive problem at this early stage. It would be very easy to write a big solution to this problem, and then find out later as the game shapes up and rounds out that it was a big waste of time. We shall see!
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« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2015, 11:29:58 AM »

Neat; I'll be interested to see how you deal with the bottlenecking issue if you end up having to address it later on. How are you handling pathing updates for things that are mid-route when the mesh changes? Is is quick enough to recalculate things without a delay/pause?
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2015, 02:55:17 AM »

ActualDog - Yes, recalculating the mesh takes a couple of frames, but runs in a background thread, so it certainly seems quick enough. Actually calculating a path from the mesh is essentially free, because the navmesh really reduces the number of nodes that need iterating over, compared with traditional grid-based methods.

Made a couple small improvements to the bottleneck issue, on collision with another pathing object, the movement vector is altered randomly for both, which lets them slide past one another:



It's far from perfect, as you can see, but the total deadlocks there were happening previously is gone. I'm convinced Flocking will add the most natural looking group-pathing, but it's way too early to implement that now, this is fine for a bit.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2015, 11:10:52 AM »

Tweaked some of the fence smashing physics today:



Broke something momentarily with the pathfinding, and this occurred:



I'd been quietly working on a multiplayer mode for the game, but I've had to cut it. It was working great, maintaining a smooth online connection where you could see other players moving around and everything, even fence collisions, were syncing fine. Sadly, when the zoo got quite large, and there were lots of fences, the performance was horrible. Spectacularly terrible. Unity's new multiplayer system is basically a black-box right now, the docs are horrendous and occasionally they say the opposite of what's really happening, and seeing these massive spikes in each NetworkBehaviour in the profiler was pretty terrible. I've wrestled with awful Networking middleware before, and I just don't think Unity Multiplayer, in its current state, is going to fit the game. Never mind. I've ripped it out, and the game performs about twice(!) as well.

Also, one additional pleasant side-effect of being forced to cut a feature is that the scope of the project is suddenly reduced! Hooray!
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2015, 11:42:23 AM »

Another video devlog! This one has lots of detail regarding pathing, and generating and recalculating procedural navmeshes.

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« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2015, 10:19:24 PM »

That pathfinding video is really nifty! I remember doing some nonsense with Voronoi Diagrams and MAN do they suck! How many nodes were you computing a diagram for at the end of the day?
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oldblood
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« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2015, 05:17:33 AM »

Great video. You have a great "calming voice" that makes the video devlogs pleasant to watch. Sounds dumb but watching devlog vids that are poorly narrated is painful and awkward. So nice job not being awkward? Haha. The larger zoo gives you this great sense of scale and really helps paint the idea of what could really make this game so cool with a massive area and lots of visitors.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2015, 09:29:26 AM »

That pathfinding video is really nifty! I remember doing some nonsense with Voronoi Diagrams and MAN do they suck! How many nodes were you computing a diagram for at the end of the day?

For a zoo at the beginning it's at about 17,000 nodes. I'm having a lot of 'redundant' nodes around the edges of each section, just because it makes some other more complex features much easier. Obviously, the more obstacles there are, the more nodes, but I can't see it going past 20,000 nodes. We'll see!

So nice job not being awkward? Haha.

Thanks! Not-awkward was certainly (part) of what I was going for! Wink

Started hooking up a definition of 'emotions' for the monsters, starting with hunger, frustration and anger. Early days with that, nothing visible, so I also did something trivial to feel accomplished, which was to add shadows to the Hellion:



That took about three minutes.

Also, as I'm going to be working on implementing hunger, and hopefully eating, in the next few days, the monsters need food! Raw, bloody food!



Mmmm.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2015, 01:28:16 PM »

Lots of improvements over the last few days. Firstly, monster movement is far more natural, they wander much more sensibly, pausing, changing direction walking away from fences and walls once they touch them, that sort of thing.

Previously, the visitors would get stuck on broken fence posts and debris, but now they kick them out the way, allowing the pathfinding to do its thing.

The monsters also have the start of the emotional states I mentioned in my last post. Still working on them pathing towards food though, I'll be pleased when that's in. Too find the food, I've been using a quadtree to locate pieces of meat, and debugging it by drawing lines. The horrible checkerboard texture I'm drawing everywhere made it very hard to see the lines, so I've ripped it out and replaced it with a grass-like thing. It took about five minutes, but it's the biggest visual change for today:

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Franklin's Ghost
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« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2015, 05:15:30 AM »

Just finished catching up on this devlog and liking the monster zoo concept. Will be really interesting to see how each monster behaves and the different situations you can have play out depending upon the interactions. Also the move away from the checkerboard texture has made such a big change.

Have you done any more inktober monster designs?
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2015, 11:32:34 AM »

Have you done any more inktober monster designs?

Nope! I planned to do just one week of Inktober, with the focus now shifting to getting the game to a really playable, fun state. The concepts I've done so far still aren't close to being implemented, so I'll probably revisit designs in a few more weeks.

Spent the morning completely stuck fixing a bug in the segmented navmesh. There were these (fairly significant) edge-cases that literally involved the edges of the segments that I describe

. Very frustrating, because the nature of the situational bug was such that it was hard to debug. Indeed, I couldn't exactly work out the cause. So instead, I ripped out the entire segmented navmesh approach, and now just generate one massive navmesh for the whole thing. This is... I don't know, it might be fine. It takes significantly longer to recalculate the map, but because it's threaded, the fact that it takes half a second is invisible to the player. Do the pathing objects need to have the latest navigation information that soon? I can't say for sure, but I actually don't think so, right now.

On the plus-side, the code is muuuch simpler, and much more manageable.

This afternoon I got on a roll and optimised the game quite heavily. It's very easy to be inefficient with Unity's physics objects, and by only adding rigidbodys and hinges when they're needed means I got an improvement of 15 fps when running a very large zoo. The old way of doing things I had was a remnant of the multiplayer code, now all gone, which required those physics elements to be instantiated from the start. Not very impressed with Unity's multiplayer!

Here are some really large zoos:






That zoo has 200 visitors wandering around, and about 2500 fence objects, and it runs at 45fps. It's not 60fps, but I'm not too concerned with that right now, there's always more optimisation that can be done, and it's too early to really dig into that. Too much is going to change, very soon!
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Actionman
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« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2015, 01:59:56 PM »

Looking good, interesting seeing your solution to pathfinding problems, looking forward to your next video devLog
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #35 on: October 29, 2015, 01:33:31 PM »

Really made some serious progress today, on the zoo creature AI front. Monsters now properly progress from Content to Hungry to Frustrated to Angry, and can also be pacified.

Here's one current scenario:



The problem here, is that the enclosure is far too small! Each time the monster bumps into a fence-element it grows a bit more frustrated. The closer it gets to becoming full of rage, the more uncomfortable it looks, hopping up and down... until suddenly charging!

I'm definitely not going to allow the monster to hop over a fence though, it's going to mostly be a visual thing, some feedback so that the player can say 'ah hah, they're not happy'.
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Cranktrain
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« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2015, 12:44:54 PM »

Monsters now path to food when they are hungry! And then eat it. This particular creature is on a long-journey:



There's all sorts of scenarios that can occur. If the monster can see loads of meat, then it has to order them by which is closest, then path towards them to see if they can get there, picking the best route. If none of the routes work out, then the monster has to at least get as close to some meat as it can, to show its intent. Sometimes a chunk of meat can be tucked away at the base of a fence, technically occupying an 'obstacle' cell, but I've worked around this too, so it all seems to work out at the moment.
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« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2015, 12:59:55 PM »

Looks like it's coming along well Smiley
I like the idea of the monster gradually becoming annoyed by the fences.
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« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2015, 02:18:40 PM »

Very cool, this is really coming along!

Echoing the above comment, yeah, I really like your solution for monster annoyance with small enclosures. Seems like it'll scale really well for different size/speed creatures.
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« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2015, 02:30:10 PM »

I just stumbled on this devlog today.  I once had a similar idea, but with a space creature zoo instead of monsters.  Seeing what you're doing with the idea makes me jealous I didn't go further with it.   Cry

I really like how you're hammering out the gameplay nice and early, while working in tech (e.g. pathing) as you need it.  That makes a lot of sense.  Getting that wrong can result in a lot of throw-away work.

Good luck, and thanks for the dev log.
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