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ActualDog
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« on: February 22, 2016, 09:59:05 pm »


www.wobbledogs.com


I was gonna hold off on a devlog for this until I was a little farther along in case any tech issues came up that might force me to scrap things, but I've been having a lot fun working on it and it's in a place where I feel like I can adapt the game to the tech and keep going even if I run into more big issues. So I'm just gonna start.

I've been working on this game for just a little under a month now. The core gameplay is still sort of fuzzy because I'm trying to let the tech drive the specifics and I'm not 100% sure what I'll be able to accomplish and what will be too difficult, but the main idea is that I want to make a monster raising game where you raise these little physics babies. I want you to be able to train them and enter them in different types of competitions and send them out on little excursions. Maybe you'll even be able to get them to commit a crime for you...

More info to follow as I better understand what I'll be able to accomplish, but I have a lot of fun ideas I want to try out.

I'm trying to keep the whole thing physics based because I think it's fun to look at and it bypasses my lack of 3D animation skills. I've been really happy with the personality that's been coming through the motions I've got so far, and I'm not even close to having that stuff polished and done. I'm also trying to evolve a lot of the behaviors and motions with the genetic algorithm. Reason being that it once again gets me more natural motion than I'd be able to tweak by hand, and it also gives me an easy way to integrate a breeding system and variety in the different monsters and their behaviors/motions.

Let me share my progress so far with some gifs. Real sorry if this stalls page load for anyone.


I started with a box and some leg sticks. Leg torque was controllable through the keyboard and legs tried to keep themselves upright. It resulted in some neat jumping motions.



After some more tweaks I decided to add some body bend and I got the thing to sit, which is when I was sold on making it into a pet you could train and play with.





I played around with getting it to right itself when knocked over.





And then things got really interesting. I'd always wanted to try out the genetic algorithm for something, and this seemed like a good use for it. I started with some stability tests to make sure my code worked.



And then I moved on to optimizing its ability to right itself when knocked over.



Afterwards, I played a little with limb strength and compensation.



But I had some issues teaching these guys to walk.



Ultimately I realized I'd need to update their legs if I wanted them to move naturally. A few mistakes were made...



But eventually things started to come together, and I even got some help from a friend on a graphical update.



Of course, there were still a few kinks to work out.



I eventually realized the only reason that locomotion had been working at all was that I had at some point disabled X and Y rigidbody rotation on the legs. That meant balance wasn't ever an issue, but turning was impossible and movement was extremely limited.

Cue 2 weeks of banging my head against the wall trying to re-do a ton of work in a more correct way.

Just when I was about to give up, I had a breakthrough and the walk cycle was back!



I even got them stabilizing with their more complex legs.





That's about it for now. I'm currently working on some more leg stability stuff, and pretty soon I'm going to move onto basic AI with some follow/seek behavior.

I'd also just like to say that the technical side of all this is pretty new to me. I've never done anything like it before and I'm mostly just learning or making things up as I go along. Progress might be a little slow because of that and I'm sure I'm doing a lot of this in dumb ways but hopefully it'll still be fun to watch. Just gonna try and keep plugging along!
« Last Edit: August 27, 2017, 10:05:45 am by ActualDog » Logged

Prinsessa
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2016, 10:31:33 pm »

Love it! I'd like to hear more about how the genetic thing works, if you'd share.
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TitoOliveira
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2016, 10:57:19 pm »

I've always wanted to see genetic algorithms in games, but what i've seen so far is too simple. i really wanna see how this develops.

And that piramid ,though
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2016, 09:17:24 am »

Genetic algorithms?! Count me in on this devlog!


...But you really gotta give your pet thing a cute face. Right now he looks like a terrified walrus.
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Purpwood
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2016, 09:42:36 am »

This actually looks pretty awesome, some of those gifs are hilarious.
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2016, 09:43:18 am »

Weird physics animations and genetic algorithms? I can dig it.
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Desolus
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ActualDog
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2016, 04:11:48 pm »

Thanks for looking at my children, everyone. I'll definitely do a post on the genetic algorithm stuff at some point (hopefully soon). It's not as complicated as you might be thinking, but it's still pretty neat to me, so hopefully it'll be neat to you too.

...But you really gotta give your pet thing a cute face. Right now he looks like a terrified walrus.




Last night and today I've been working on trying to add improvements to stabilization. The first thing I realized was that I had added a bunch of angular drag to the dogs for some reason which was making them all floaty, so I got rid of that and re-tuned a few things.

After that, I mucked a ton with my joint values and my values for rotation restore until things stopped popping and looking as wacky as they used to.

I'd like to get these guys taking little steps for stability as they start to tip over, and it's coming along I think, though it isn't quite there yet. The basic idea is that I've defined a few torque curves for the limbs to follow depending on the rotation of their attached body segment and the groundedness of their attached feet.

My first pass at this devolved into dancing, which is pretty standard for my failures at this point.



But things started to come together a bit, and I've been happy with the results so far.



All this is autonomous, I'm not doing anything to them directly in these gifs (beyond throwing blocks and tilting the stage). Still has a ways to go before I'll be done with it, but I'm feeling good about the general direction.
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HIDEJI
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2016, 05:38:40 pm »

I'm loving these gifs. :')
Nice work. Wanna see more of these sad creature's lives, hahah. :D
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2016, 01:29:34 am »

Wow this looks super impressive!
I can't wait for this to have actual graphics!
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2016, 04:19:45 am »

 My Word! Wow. This is such a fascinating project and just great fun to see new milestones and how you test stuff. Keep it up Coffee
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jctwood
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2016, 04:32:17 am »

This is kind of beautiful. Excited to see more, love the palette.
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2016, 05:32:21 am »

I loved physics game's like good old porrasturvat and this looks fun, can't wait to play with it Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2016, 06:11:52 am »

I am in love with this.
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2016, 07:26:14 am »

This is looking great so far, I really dig the gifs. Got so much character for a pink box!
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ActualDog
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2016, 07:04:14 pm »

Thank you so much everyone! Really glad people are liking these guys. One of the big reasons I'm excited about this project is that these dogs are the main focus of it and I don't have to feel guilty devoting all my time to fine-tuning them and really making them shine. It feels so good to deep dive into one specific thing like this.

I can't wait for this to have actual graphics!

I'm not 100% sure what I'm gonna do in that area yet. I'm focusing very heavily on personality through motion and I'm a little worried about the graphics undermining things. I think I'll want to stay fairly simple with them. It's easy to project emotions onto these box dogs because they're so abstract and you don't really expect anything from them. With more complex graphics there might be a weird uncanny valley thing. I need to experiment though! Once I'm farther along I'll think a lot harder about it. Depending on what I do, I might have to bring on an artist.


Today I played around with the boys some more.





And then I made them dislike having stuff on their backs. They'll buck to try and get whatever's there off.



Polishing that up a bit more also gave them the ability to untangle themselves after getting stuck in piles.



I really like these little bucks and I'm super excited to get in a few more layered behaviors like this.
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2016, 07:10:58 pm »

This is looking spetacular. I hope you can pet the pets because I can't wait to pet the pets.
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HIDEJI
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2016, 07:15:06 pm »

Quote
I'm not 100% sure what I'm gonna do in that area yet. I'm focusing very heavily on personality through motion and I'm a little worried about the graphics undermining things.
Don't be coy. I knew the answer to this question before I even read your response. You plan on keeping the graphics basically the same they are now, because it looks fucking hilarious with these animations. For what it's worth, I stand by this decision 100%. :')

Or, maybe something like Burrito Galaxy. I'd keep it super simple though, which is what I imagine you're planning to do. These graphics suit the super goofy procedural animation/physics you have going on right now. Rather than being a detriment, I really think they add to the whole "lol, what %#%^ am I watching" factor that's making this game so charming right now. Your monster's faces scream "why am I alive?! What's happening?!," which is just so perfect. :'D

Basically, I like this a lot so far. I'd say try new things, but make sure you don't lose the atmosphere you have now. Not every game needs to look like the next iD or Epic game, heheh. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2016, 07:50:43 pm »

This is definitely interesting and fun to try to wrap my head around. Awesome  Toast Right
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« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2016, 04:14:21 am »

This looks great ^^
How much variation will the genetics allow? Will they all still be dogs or will you allow for things with different physically shaped bodies? I guess making procedural animation would be pretty tricky if you did.
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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2016, 11:27:55 am »

Looks good. Smiley  From an entertainment perspective it looks amusing, from a developer point of view it looks intriguing.


Today I played around with the boys some more.




When I saw those, the song "Who let the dogs" came to mind.  Big Laff

And then I made them dislike having stuff on their backs. They'll buck to try and get whatever's there off.



Polishing that up a bit more also gave them the ability to untangle themselves after getting stuck in piles.



I really like these little bucks and I'm super excited to get in a few more layered behaviors like this.
Those behaviours look really good.


As for the graphics, you'll probably have a better idea once the coding is done.  If you want to keep the gameplay comical then the current cartoony, colorful style would fit well.  If you want to go in a more serious direction,


Have you seen the following robot videos?  They seem to have some resemblance in terms of movement.
MIT cheetah robot lands the running jump 


Boston Dynamics All Prototypes 


The "balance kick test" at 1:45 is interesting.  Grin
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