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November 19, 2018, 12:36:58 PM

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ActualDog
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« Reply #620 on: May 07, 2018, 05:35:11 PM »

Not a ton more visual work since last time but I've made some good progress and wanted to do one more update before going on a short vacation this week.

In terms of tangible progress, I've been working on the system surrounding building/upgrading objects inside individual rooms. While working on construction I decided it'd be simpler to do all this outside of construction mode so I put the feature on hold while doing that huge revamp. I'm now undertaking tasks that feel necessary to make the core loop feel solid and the biggest thing that's been standing out to me is that the egg mechanic doesn't feel fully supported.

Currently, dogs lay eggs and you have to keep them safe until the end of the day/night cycle, at which point they're sold off and you get your cash. It's nice that there's a physical thing to protect and manage, and it's nice that the dogs themselves can cause mischief and break the eggs if you don't pay attention, but it's not a fleshed out mechanic and it won't scale. My idea right now is to create an object upgrade path that lets you deal with eggs in increasingly more beneficial ways. At the base level there'll be a bin you can drop the eggs inside of, which will stop the dogs from being able to get to them, and as you go along there'll be upgrades to increase capacity and utility.

To get all this working, I needed to build out the object construction/upgrade system, which has been mostly UI work.



Right now objects won't build themselves until their space is clear (denoted through a cube with temporary shader), and there's a simple gated unlock system in place. I'm trying not to make things too complex at this point but for now it's all enough to let me move forward with creating room objects and upgrade paths. Next up is the actual egg bin functionality.

Also added a little mechanic where dogs will bark if they have a Need to fill that they can't figure out how to, and in the process found out that there'd been a bug in my AI code stopping dogs from ever running non-targetted behaviors, which was cool. That's been in for probably 6 months at least!

Earlier this week I also streamed the game for close to three hours. I had made some fixes and improvements to auto-play mode and wanted to test that out but eventually ended up diving in myself to take control once things got hectic enough. Aside from me managing to run the game for that period of time without hitting any major errors or bugs, I was pretty pleasantly surprised to find that it's actually starting to feel fun. I would've stopped much sooner if it hadn't been. It's clearly missing a lot of stuff, including long/mid term goals, but I've got plans for those and I really feel that things are moving in the right direction.

As a result of the stream I also came up with a few design ideas I'm excited to try out, including a mechanic for influencing dog mutations.

I think I'm actually gonna be able to move this thread's progress ticker again soon for the first time in over a year (two years?) and I couldn't be happier about that. I've effectively just been prototyping until the past month or two. Still lots of big tasks and issues ahead of me but this game is actually turning into something real!
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #621 on: May 15, 2018, 04:33:15 PM »

Congrats!
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ActualDog
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« Reply #622 on: June 12, 2018, 02:21:09 PM »

Congrats!

Thanks! Hoping I can keep the momentum!

--

It's been a while since the last update, sorry! I've been doing a lot but it's mostly not super interesting to look at so I held off on posting. I've got enough stuff going on though that I think it'd be good to do an update.

So first up, the egg bin from last update. The basic functionality here is all in and I'm happy with the idea still.



Eggs only get sold if they're inserted into this bin, and eggs outside the bin are vulnerable.



It's nothing too demanding but you do keep having to bring your attention back over to the bin and it's something you'll need to upgrade as time goes on to increase capacity (and to add in some other benefits).

After putting in something that required you to constantly be accurately dragging objects, it became clear to me that me object dragging system wasn't going to hold up. The first step was to fix the dragging logic so that it no longer caused objects to clip into walls.



In doing so I also decided to remove my previous code that interpreted your mouse speed in order to automatically switch movement from the Z to the Y direction. I'm still pretty proud of how this system worked but it wasn't quite good enough for movement this precise. It worked great for less precise motion but if I was gonna be asking players to drag objects to specific locations, it wasn't gonna fly. So, the default now is that objects are only dragged on the X/Z plane. In order to move in the Y dimension, you have to either use the scrollwheel or hold CTRL. It works well enough and allows for much more accurate movement so I'll probably leave it like this regardless of anything else.

The new dragging code was working pretty well but there were still some frustrating edge cases with objects slamming into walls or getting stuck. In order to fix this stuff I converted the object dragging joint from a FixedJoint to a ConfigurableJoint with springiness.



This lets objects resolve their own physics when put into a technically invalid position and also makes the dragging more fun and satisfying in general.

After all this I played the game for a bit. I balanced some stuff, fixed some bugs, and ultimately realized that dragging objects wasn't fun enough to be something I constantly ask the player to do. Tossing dogs between rooms is fun. Dragging a block of food to a dog's mouth is fun. Dragging 15 eggs into a bin is just annoying.

So I did some prototyping to try and figure out a way to make getting objects into a bin less irritating to do.

The first thing I tried was multi-selection and dragging.



It was pretty entertaining but there are a good amount of physics complications that make this more trouble than its worth, both from an implementation and a performance standpoint.

I also toyed with the idea of in-world item containers having a little sentient tendril that lived inside of them that would reach out and help collect the objects for you.



Again, I got it mostly working without too much trouble but it was pretty obvious afterwards that the effort it'd take to get it fully shippable wasn't quite worth it. I'd likely have to spend about a month or so over the course of the project on just this feature and there are better ways for me to spend my time on this already too ambitious game.

I have a simpler solution in mind now that I'm going to try next, and I feel pretty confident it'll work. Nothing quite as funny as the above solutions but I think it'll still be good and also probably won't steal as much of my support time.

Otherwise, I also added in the start of a feature that's been noticeably absent for a while.



I don't want poop to be too gross, so I've made it look a bit like candy. Also it bounces. Later on I wanna try making the color dynamic based on what the dog's eaten, but that's for another day. The main reason for adding this is that I've also been working on gardening as an in-game way for you to get more food and I wanted you to be able to make fertilizer for your crops.



The idea's that you'll move poop (and other things) into the mulcher, similar to how you move eggs into the egg bin, and it'll let you make fertilizer from them.

I also fixed a bug that'd prevented long-legged dogs from walking correctly (I give legs extra gravity when they're grounded but also needed to remove this boost during walk cycles when the legs wanted to lift off again). Nice to see them moving again.



And that's about it! I'm still working hard on nailing this gameplay loop and I'm still excited about it all.

Some final miscellaneous gifs:




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Tattomoosa
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« Reply #623 on: June 12, 2018, 02:38:36 PM »

Been following this for a few years as a lurker but never commented before. The dogs are wonderful and I'm glad to hear that you've found a satisfying game loop!

Have you considered leaving the dragging and dropping mechanic feeling a little tedious, but allowing you to train the dogs to drop the eggs off safely on their own?
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« Reply #624 on: June 12, 2018, 02:48:55 PM »

 Hand Money Left Waaagh! I can't wait. This looks so perfect.
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ActualDog
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« Reply #625 on: June 13, 2018, 08:34:11 AM »

Been following this for a few years as a lurker but never commented before. The dogs are wonderful and I'm glad to hear that you've found a satisfying game loop!

Have you considered leaving the dragging and dropping mechanic feeling a little tedious, but allowing you to train the dogs to drop the eggs off safely on their own?

Yeah I've thought a bit about that but haven't been able to come up with a good and scope-friendly way of doing it. I think for now I'm gonna try and keep it player controlled but I also don't think I'm locking myself out of the dog training approach if I did come up with a good way to do that later.

Hand Money Left Waaagh! I can't wait. This looks so perfect.

Thank you!
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ActualDog
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« Reply #626 on: July 02, 2018, 01:14:08 PM »

Quick update!

Been doing lots more work but nothing too exciting for you to look at.

I've switched to allowing you to collect things like eggs and poop by entering a special collection mode and then clicking on them.



The effects and models are placeholder, but the idea's just that there'll be a lever or button on each collection bin that you'll press to enter "collection mode". From there, it'll highlight all the objects you can collect. It limits collection to objects inside of the room the bin is in, so there's still work you have to do to get everything in the right spot, but this is way less frustrating to deal with when you have a lot of objects. There's also still potential for upgrades. For example, an upgrade that sucks up all the objects at once, or even automatically collects things. We'll see if this sticks around, but it's better than what I had previously and solves my problems for the time being.

Finishing this up let me also finish up my implementation pass at the gardening and mulch systems.

I've also been trying to tackle a larger issue that's been bugging me since this re-design, and I think I've actually got a good solution. The main design problem plaguing this game used to be that it was too chill. You used to not have any goals or progression and although that was cool for a bit, it wasn't gonna make long term play that interesting. After this latest re-design, the pendulum swung the other way and the game became too frantic. There was no real down time, and in fact, the game actually kind of actively punished you for chilling out and relaxing with your dogs. I didn't mind this at first because I'd been so desperate to fix my previous issue but the past month especially it really became apparent to me that this wasn't gonna work.

So, I needed to come up with a way to re-introduce chill into the game without compromising the gameplay I'd been working on since the re-design. My solution? To split the game up into two modes, work and home. I've scrapped designs in the past for containing two separate modes of play, but the key difference in this case is that I won't have to build anything majorly new. Work and home will both use the same over-arcing systems. There will be slight differences; you'll have different objects available to build in each mode, the locations will have slightly modified AI, work will have a time-limit while home won't... but I'm not actually adding anything major to game that I wasn't already planning on.

The idea is that while at work, you only focus on work. You have X amount of time to be as productive as you can; to produce eggs, expand your pen, keep your dogs out of trouble, etc. After that's done you'll have the option of returning home for the night. At home, you have an entirely separate pen full of decorative objects, toys, and playpen-style rooms to goof around with. The currency used at home is going to be separate from the currency used at work (though you'll earn both from doing well at your job) so you never have to worry about sacrificing efficiency in order to play around, and since there won't be time constraints for you to worry about, you'll be able to chill with your dogs as long as you want. This also means I'll probably be able to keep my fixations/distractions AI system in the game in a meaningful way.

I have an extremely basic version of this functioning already and I think it's gonna turn out to be exactly what the game needed!

ALSO, I've got some super exciting news to share! I was invited to bring Wobbledogs to Portland this September for XOXO Fest!



This'll be the game's first major festival, and the first for me as a solo developer. I've shown the game a few times before at smaller events but only as a sort of dog character creator, not as a full experience. This time, my goal is to have a demo-able version with the full gameplay loop. It's going to be a lot of work but I think I can do it!

Anyways, we'll see how it goes! I'll be sure to post an update on how the festival goes after it's over.




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JobLeonard
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« Reply #627 on: July 03, 2018, 04:44:06 AM »

Yay! Update!

BTW, are you using a new capture system? The gifs look a lot cleaner now
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ActualDog
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« Reply #628 on: July 03, 2018, 06:46:43 AM »

Yay! Update!

BTW, are you using a new capture system? The gifs look a lot cleaner now

Haha, I just started disabling all the post processing components before recording anything. It pains me a bit because the game looks so much nicer with all that stuff active, but this way is still better than having gritty, bloated gifs.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #629 on: July 03, 2018, 07:07:40 AM »

The gifs look amazing though.

BTW, the forum now embeds YouTube videos so you can also just do a screencapture, upload it and link to that. Is a lot smaller in terms of bandwidth too!
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DuskedSky
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« Reply #630 on: July 03, 2018, 07:59:39 AM »

This is so friggin' cute and  weird. Definitely giving this a follow.

I love the way the dogs(?) walk and wobble. It's like watching jello on legs.
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ActualDog
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« Reply #631 on: July 10, 2018, 05:03:14 PM »

The gifs look amazing though.

BTW, the forum now embeds YouTube videos so you can also just do a screencapture, upload it and link to that. Is a lot smaller in terms of bandwidth too!

Thanks! It's just that I know how much better they COULD look. Appreciate the heads up about youtube. It's a bit too much work to make all my gifs into youtube videos but that's nice to know going forward for larger captures.

This is so friggin' cute and  weird. Definitely giving this a follow.

I love the way the dogs(?) walk and wobble. It's like watching jello on legs.

Thanks so much!

--

So I've finally got the game set up to work with the new home/work cycle design I mentioned in the last post. Persistence, time, AI, and everything else now correctly respects this scene change cycle and I'm still feeling like it's the right way to go! It'll feel nicer once I have content in but even without much to do at home it still feels exactly right that you have that chance to just chill out with your pups.



In other news, I've also started working on the shopping system for when you arrive at home. I don't have any "real" buyable objects yet but the whole flow is set up and works great, so I'm all set up for the next step!



The idea's that you'll get a semi-random selection of 6 items you can purchase each day. Some items will be more rare than others so you'll have to make some priority choices. Planning on that shop dog being temporary (hopefully replaced with something by an actual artist at some point), but I wanted something halfway decent in place in case I don't have time to get it updated before the festival. Anyways, I'm really happy with how the screen's turned out!

Next up is getting the major buyable objects (fertilized dog eggs and mutation swaying injections) implemented and put up for sale. My schedule has me finishing them by the end of this week, so hopefully they don't give me too much trouble!
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« Reply #632 on: July 11, 2018, 01:46:57 AM »

Looking great, I hope the festival goes well for you! Your shop plans sound good, but most importantly I'm in love with that shopdog and his excitable eyebrows.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #633 on: July 11, 2018, 04:30:30 AM »

> It's a bit too much work to make all my gifs into youtube videos but that's nice to know going forward for larger captures.

It might be easier to capture video first, then convert to GIF later. Just a thought. Video capture can usually be hardware accelerated, so you might even be able to turn on those post-processing effects too!
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ActualDog
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« Reply #634 on: July 11, 2018, 11:14:30 AM »

Looking great, I hope the festival goes well for you! Your shop plans sound good, but most importantly I'm in love with that shopdog and his excitable eyebrows.

Thanks! He turned out way better than I thought he was going to.

> It's a bit too much work to make all my gifs into youtube videos but that's nice to know going forward for larger captures.

It might be easier to capture video first, then convert to GIF later. Just a thought. Video capture can usually be hardware accelerated, so you might even be able to turn on those post-processing effects too!

Oh yeah, I can capture high quality video with all the effects no problem. Converting video to gifs still has the same compression issues though so that's not really possible unless I capture the video without any post FX. As far as being a lot of work, I was more referring to how long it'd take to splice up all the little sections and individually upload them to youtube. Capturing the video itself is easy.
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« Reply #635 on: July 11, 2018, 11:43:03 AM »

I would've come down to Portland (from Seattle) to see this but it looks like xoxo fest registration is closed, and it's a lottery anyway.
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ActualDog
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« Reply #636 on: July 16, 2018, 04:48:07 PM »

I would've come down to Portland (from Seattle) to see this but it looks like xoxo fest registration is closed, and it's a lottery anyway.

Oh, sorry about that. I probably should've made a post about it earlier. Hopefully there'll be other festivals in the future!

--

I'm about a day behind schedule but I think I can make up for that in the next few weeks. I've just finished up the remaining bits of functionality necessary for me to have my core loop structure completely set up without any debug buttons or cheat commands needed to proceed! I need to balance and set up some content still but the structures are all there and it feels great.

So first of all, I added in injections that sway dog mutations.



You buy 'em in the shop and administer them during the cocoon stage. I'm still playing around with the idea of limiting you to using one per-dog, per-day, but I want to play around for a bit and see how it feels like this first.

And then the other big thing I did was get in the egg incubator. (The eventual idea is for the egg on top to be a functional egg timer while something's incubating inside).



Fertilized eggs will occasionally show up in the shop for you to purchase, and if you get a hold of one you can hatch it yourself with the incubator. Eventually I'd like incubation to take about 1 day of in-game time so you have to do a work cycle or two before the egg's ready to hatch, and I'd also like it to hatch a puppy instead of a fully grown dog, but for the purpose of the XOXO demo I'm making this process much quicker and simpler so I don't bloat play sessions too much. It's kind of funny to be working on a demo where I'm worried about having too much content rather than too little.

The next step for me is to get in some sort of basic tutorial. I have the next two weeks carved out for that. I'm not 100% sure how to approach that yet but we'll see if I can't figure something out.
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« Reply #637 on: July 16, 2018, 05:28:14 PM »

love the injection idea. everything is coming along swimmingly. good luck on the tutorial work Hand Metal Right
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« Reply #638 on: July 17, 2018, 05:11:04 AM »

Is this gif only a mockup?

There is a flaw in the timing of dog hatching and naming:
I want to see the dog before i'm giving him/her a name.

You are building up tension to the hatching moment (with the timer and additional mouse click) but instead of showing the interesting result, the new dog, it is blurred out instantly and you slap the player a (well made but at this time) rather boring menu in the face. Cheesy
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« Reply #639 on: July 17, 2018, 07:59:47 AM »

love the injection idea. everything is coming along swimmingly. good luck on the tutorial work Hand Metal Right

Thanks!!

Is this gif only a mockup?

There is a flaw in the timing of dog hatching and naming:
I want to see the dog before i'm giving him/her a name.

You are building up tension to the hatching moment (with the timer and additional mouse click) but instead of showing the interesting result, the new dog, it is blurred out instantly and you slap the player a (well made but at this time) rather boring menu in the face. Cheesy

Yeah you're definitely right that there needs to be more focus on the actual dog that hatched. For the time being my focus is just on getting everything functioning at a base level. I have next month carved out to polish things up and fix issues like that. Definitely on my list!
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