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October 20, 2017, 11:42:38 am

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Moon Fields - (VERSUS DEMO)
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« on: May 11, 2017, 11:25:26 am »

Please Check Out The Demo Here!

I've been developing this 2D/3D combat system for over a year now. This current iteration has been in development since January. The combat system is going to be used in a longform single player adventure and a fast paced couch competitive game. I'm close to finishing the first releasable pass for multiplayer with 8 characters, 30+ items and a handful of maps. The end game goals are to have 50+ items, a couple dozen maps, and a full scale single player adventure.

And with that, welcome to...








The multiplayer is fully playable, I've shown it at a few events, and I'm planning a few more. I'm looking for a few more lorels in my crown, so if you run/host a convention or conference I'd really love playtest The Moon Fields with ya'll. Either that or I'll be showing it off here in MKE every month at a local nerdbar.

Outside of the notoriety of having a cool TIGSource blog, I'm also interested in keeping myself on track, planning my next moves with ya'll, getting playtesters, and keeping myself accountable.

The broad roadmap for development is:

1) July '17 - Release first pass polished multiplayer with default "match mode"
2) February '18 - Finish single player demo
3) March '18 - Crowdfund
4) throughout '18 - Update multiplayer as new items/developments in single player are developed, showcase/promote at events
5) End of '18 - Release and drink every alcoholic beverage

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A) Systems Explanations
  01) How To Move
  02) How To Use Items
  03) Match Play Rules
B) Weapon Explanations
  00) Battle Axe
  01) The Mountain
  02) Iron Lance
  03) Grand Blade
  04) Fire Axe
  05) Black Branch
  06) Winged Spear
  07) Knight's Sword
  08) Moon Breaker
  09) Polished Blade
  10) Starlight
  11) Caltrops
  12) Heavy Explosive
  13) Desiccated Head
  14) Book of Occult
  15) Composite Bow
  16) Crossbow
  17) Throwing Bomb
  18) Black Goo
  19) Deep Guard
  20) Leather Shield
  21) Lion Guard
  22) Buckler
  23) Kite Shield
  24) Pavise
  25) Prayerful
  26) Red and White
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 12:52:04 pm by xix » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2017, 11:29:10 am »

And if you somehow happen to be in the Milwaukee, WI or surrounding area our monthly gamedev test night is *tonight* at 6PM at 42 Ale House in St. Francis.
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 07:59:35 am »



This is a Vancer with a standard loadout trying to drop a Knight Sword on a Peregrine. I think this GIF makes it apparent that this is actually 3D with lofi 2D sprites instead of good 2D.
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2017, 08:41:44 am »

The above example are two different characters: Vancer and Peregrine.

Vancer is a beefy, high item capacity dude that is slow and has low magic abilities. They carry two melee weapons, a shield, and a crossbow. The shield lets them walk up to an opponent and force the opponent to deal with their two different melee items. If they can find an opening their long range and high damage Iron Lance should win them the duel, but if they can't they can force their way in with the varied options on the knight sword.

The Peregrine is super fast character with average health, decent magic, and average carry capacity. I like to call Peregrine "Bird Ninja" because they can attack so well from the air. By default Peregrine has the Katana, a parrying shield, and a sack of throwable explosives. Peregrine is meant to move around until they can drop a deadly combo, but for some reason whoever played this Peregrine wanted to go melee.
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2017, 09:58:55 am »

Looks cool so far - and your timeline actually sounds feasible Smiley

Often I'll see posts like this, saying they hope to release within a few months, by end of year, etc....and usually doesn't happen, or it gets rushed and ends up less than it could have been. Sounds like you've got a good approach, with developing both the single player campaign, as well as the vs. mode.

Will definitely follow this  Beer!
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2017, 12:52:15 pm »

Thanks Pixel. That's really encouraging! I'm just trying to generate a papertrail for myself right now to get the hype snowball bouldering up the mountain. Or something. I think it'll also be a way to final pass a lot of my game design choices in case I want to second guess myself before releasing something solid.

Anyways. you start the multiplayer mode by selecting/building a character. The way character select works is:

1) Pick a corner - this determines where you spawn on the map (may change if i make more asymmetrical maps!)
2) Pick a character base class with different Health, Speed, Magic, and Item Capacity
3) Choose to roll defaults or to customize
4a) If "default" - your character is equipped with a xix approved set of items for that class
4b) If "customize" - you pick as many items as you have Item Capacity (between 2 and 5).

Health is good for tanky characters, obviously. Health is very low (between 2 and 5), so weak characters have to be very careful about getting hit. Beefier characters can tank a projectile or two (or four).

Speed determines how fast you run or walk. There's a "dash" button that you tap to start running. Faster tapping means faster running. If you hold the same button you "jump". Every character has the same jump height.

Magic determines how fast you generate Magic Points while not running. Idling and walking let you "focus" and gain magic. Magic Points are spent when using certain items to cast spells.

And Item Capacity determines how many items you can carry on your character at any time. Players that want to be more versatile should have more item capacity so they can be less predictable.
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2017, 03:13:41 pm »

Had a chance to try this out, and talk with you over the weekend at a local event's testing area. going good, it's a slick look!
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2017, 05:45:33 am »

Ha, thanks Zaibach. Midwest gamedevs go go go.

I'm coming up with ideas for arenas today. For my last game, I came up with ideas based around unique combat elements. The first stage was a temple with a few similarly sized discrete areas to fight in. The next stage was a prarie that is similar to what I have now with a smaller "center" area so fights focused more on the outside ring. Then there was a horizontal ravine with a bridge running vertically that I liked, but I never got as many fights on that bridge as I wanted. There was a room like the first dungeon room in Zelda which I'm copping again and IDC. I also had a castle gate inspired equally by Game of Thrones and Troy that I'm coping again. And the final stage was divided into four corners with elevated planes on the center of each border and a grid of statues in the middle that was more exciting that it deserved to be. The 3D in those stages was less used because jump was an item, but now everyone has jump, so I want to encourage more 3D traversal.

Right now I have one arena that has a large center area to fight with a few trees blocking the corners that look like more cover than they are (which I *love*) and a bunch of grass along the edges. The grass actually makes for dangerous escape space in big 6p brawls because of the possibility of traps, but if you're careful they're just neat places to be.

The biggest rules for these stages is that you can predictably guard against projectile attacks and you always have a chance to stand your ground *at first*. Moving into areas where you are less able to guard against projectile attacks (open areas, areas where you have to block from 2 directions) or where you have less space to stand your ground is the risk you take to take generally better positioning....

So ideas!

1) The upper catwalks of a castle or church or temple. It'd be too tall of a fall to the bottom, so you have to take beams to travel from one side to the other. There is a chandelier in the middle that you can jump on to expedite your traversal.

2) Something with a large central fountain. Walking in water slows you down and if you're covered in water you gain the "vulnerable to electricity" trait that does extra electric damage. I need to encourage players to go into the fountain so maybe its perimeter will have statues for good cover and stones across the fountain for traversal.

3) I'm going to do the castle gate again. I am going to zoom the camera out a bit and allow the wall to be climbable to allow for cowardly running away and perching. The same blocks used for perching can be used to protect yourself against the rain of arrows that comes after a round has been going on for too long.

4) First Room Zelda 1 Dungeon, for sure. This will be zoomed in and the combat is going to be really, really fast. There's a central lane up the middle that "honorable" fighters might try to use, but the light is dark on the sides which will obscure combat.

5) Battle on the steps. This will be the first genuinely asymmetric arena. It will have two shoulders on either end that are raised, a flat bottom, flat top, and maybe a landing in the middle. The steps going up will be dangerous from either end if you don't know what you're doing. I wonder how terrible it's going to be if your weapons don't angle up/down on staircases, but.... we'll see.

6) Graveyard. Gravestones will block off projectiles from sections of the map where most of the fighting will occur. One or two giant graves will be big enough to stand on to have battles.

7) Waterfall. Every fighting game needs a waterfall.

Cool Abandoned village battle. Rooftops, catwalks, balconies, broken walls etc. This will be another asymmetric arena. This one will probably not be very good on first pass, but I think dynamic stages are interesting. I want the players to take dangerous jumps and then defend ground.

9) Somewhere on fire.

10) I want a giant voxel statue ala Sagat's Stage SF2. I honestly don't care what else is in this stage. I might also cop Dictator's Stage, too.
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2017, 12:52:46 pm »



This is the first pass at the dungeon level. I think it needs a few more details like edges by the walls and other walkable areas and more dirt and pebbles. I was actually playing around with flipping over one of the statues or pillars, but I forgot those details are actually stretched 2x vertically, so when they lay horizontally they look ridiculous and totally break any illusions right now.

I'd like to tweak the lighting/floor material so the shadows are more pronounced, but that'll happen later. Edit: tweaked. Still not perfect, but close.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 05:26:35 pm by xix » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2017, 07:12:58 am »

The lighting and the shadows look very cool in that last one! All of those stage ideas sound good...don't really have any ideas to add right now, but looking forward to seeing some other stages in action.

You did mention the idea of weapons angling up/down for tiered/sloped combat. I'm not sure which way I'd go, to be honest. Sounds like the kind of thing that will need to be tested to see which feels better.
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2017, 10:10:05 pm »



Just wanted to show off two things that are in the game.

First, picture on the left: this is a small mechanic in the game where real objects exert real forces on your real capsule collider body. When you're going slowly the battle debris doesn't really effect you, but if you're running at high speed it's possible to trip and lose even more control of where you're going. If you can predict this it's a really good way to nail someone for not watching their step.

Picture on the right: this is a very quick demo of the magic system. The general idea is that "the player has to focus their magic powers". You gain up to 5 spinning magic cubes by standing or walking. Using an item or spell will postpone your magic focus. And using an exhausting action (heavy weapons, running) will expend all of your magic. You'll have to choose between doing the big bad moves or charging up to spam a few magic spells.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 06:04:40 am by xix » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2017, 06:04:25 am »



It's 3D!

One of the things I wanted to do was take advantage of 3D animations and hitboxes. Sometimes that leads to more problems than not.

1) Jumping
I wanted the jumps to feel momentum even though there's no momentum when you're on the ground. I turn off physics when the player is in control and on the ground so footsies never feel floaty. Being disabled for any reason (being stunned, being in the middle of an attack) turns on physics. Being in the air is halfway between the two systems. When you are in control and leave the ground for any reason your player character will take a percentage of your analog stick's control as horizontal (XZ) velocity as air momentum. The remainder of that percentage is converted into your ability to control while in the air. In the current settings of 37.5% (3/8ths) air momentum and 8m/s movespeed a fully extended jump will give you 3.75m/s horizontal movement, 18m/s vertical movement, and allow you to move 6.25m/s in any horizontal direction. The 37.5% seems low initially, but when I was testing higher values of air momentum the lower amount of player control seemed, uh, patronizing.

2) Real Hitboxes
Finding the right angle of attack is about understanding your attack's swing and a shield's collider size and likely positions. Swinging into your opponent's non shielded side is your goal. I'm hoping that the attacks and their swing trajectories are still understood even w/ the orthographic camera. There's going to be a lot of weird edge cases like the one above where the weapon collides with the backshield. We'll see how it works! I think the above looks but we'll see how receptive people are.
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2017, 08:58:06 am »

When you equip your character you attach different buttons with different items. In addition to the dash/jump button, characters have up to 5 different item slots. Each item has different uses depending on if you're standing moving, standing still, or in the air. I will generally use Smash Bros. terminology to differentiate Tilt, Neutral, and Aerial attacks, though Neutral has a wider margin of error because there is a low aiming threshold before your player character starts moving.

The versatility afforded by some weapons makes them especially powerful in mixup and mind games. In general attacks are one of the following: Straight On, Vertical Slices, Horizontal Clockwise, or Horizontal Counterclockwise. Straight On and Vertical Slices generally work best on enemies that are not moving or moving slowly; while the Horizontal attacks work against nimble fast moving enemies. Clockwise attacks will spin into an enemy's main handed side where there is generally no shield. Counter Clockwise attacks will spin into an enemy's shielded side. Hitting a side shield will result in a less than successful attack



1) Battle Axe
This weapon is the crux of the current design. The aggressive Tilt Attack is a relatively fast CCW attack that covers a lot of ground. It's strongest against retreating enemies, but if you hit someone's side shield (which you will), you push them away. The Neutral Attack is a tricky CW attack that spins 360*, activates Hyper Armor, and then spins another 360* degrees. It can do a ton of damage, and its CW movement will avoid a side shield, but it can be baited. And the Aerial Attack is a hard to hit hugely damaging attack. It reaches around smaller shields, but it is hard to land - essentially the "fancy" attack.

2) Grand Blade
At first glance this weapon seems to be much more straightforward, but I want it to involve lots of tricky movement. The Tilt Attack is a double Vertical attack. ***The second part's hitbox usually activates through a shield which registers as a successful attack, so it's agility and strength functionally "break guard". The Neutral is a relatively fast CW attack, but it is vulnerable to being counter hit especially by any of the faster attacks. And the Aerial is a very slow CCW attack that pushes back anyone that guards it. Both the Neutral and the Aerial are good at swinging around shields if the angle of attack is not directed directly at the enemy.

3) Iron Lance
The Iron Lance has one move. It is fast, attacks far, and does a lot of damage. It has Hyper Armor so it's useful for heavier characters that can take a hit, but it should be fast enough for any character low on life to have a comeback. The attack also has forward force to get extra range either on the ground or in the air. This is one of the less versatile weapons, so baiting and avoiding is the general counter strategy.

*** This hitbox thing seems to work for my game, but it very contradictory to what Fighting Game Players expect. Blocking is supposed to be useful from range, mildly useful in midrange when you "guess correctly", and up close it's supposed to be weak. Functionally it all works this way, but explaining it as "activating a hitbox through the shield" seems like it would be annoying to players.
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2017, 01:01:01 pm »



1) The Mountain
Like the Iron Lance, The Mountain is a unitasker, and its one task is to do tons of damage. It does absurd damage very slowly. It has less range, but it can curve around shorter side shields when in close range.

2) Knights' Sword
This is a very versatile weapon. Its Tilt Attack is a direct sword stab that does OK damage, stuns well enough to 2f link into itself, but pushes back so pokes from far away tend to not combo. Its Neutral Attack is a 3 swipe flurry that also happens to pull out a shield (if you have one). Each swipe does very little damage, but the swipes both pushback and come from CW and CCW directions. The Aerial Attack is a downward stab that kills everything except the strongest enemies. Like all Aerial attacks its hard to pull off, but if you can it's pretty great.

3) Fire Axe
The Fire Axe is the first weapon that syncs with a lot of the Systems type of weapons. It only has Tilt and Neutral Attacks. The Tilt is a very fast CCW axe swing with mild pushback so it can combo into itself. The angle is very poor so it's best to come at an angle, and in that case it makes it difficult to maintain the combo. The Neutral on the FA is a vertical swing that does OK damage but also sets off a small flame. The flame ignores shields and can ignite things in the environment like Black Goo drops.

re: Systems type weapons are the weapons that do things like ignite combustables or send electricity through water. I know I want to have water as an environmental hazard that is difficult to wade through and makes lightning weapons/spells more dangerous. I have also considered wind based attacks that push or pull things towards points on the map (e.g. a Wind Totem that pushes or pulls rigidbodies with respect to itself). I don't want this to feel like I'm filling out a list of "cool elements" or binary things. Mostly I want to pull things that seem consistent with a logical world, make silly gameplay systems out of them, and then see what kind of weird side effects happen.
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2017, 01:02:39 pm »

Also, I forgot to post here, I'm going to be showing this off at Combo Breaker in St. Charles IL this upcoming weekend. If you see me there please come out and say hi. It'd be cool to see TIGSource folks at an event.
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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2017, 11:55:40 pm »

Unity, probably, but I still love the graphics style. Except for the strange two-frame idle animationen, to me it looks like the guy is giggling all the time about some joke I didn't get. I'm looking forwards to the Single Player part.
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2017, 07:22:33 pm »

Alright, 3 new weapons to show off today. These are longer range weapons, so bare with me and my tiny GIFs.



1) Composite Bow
This weapon has two uses: Tilt and Aerial. On the ground the Neutral and Tilt both shoot an arrow straight ahead without gravity. It is very spammable but is hard countered by an enemy with a shield. The Aerial is the way for an archer to get around shields, pop into the air and get a downward shot that does double damage. Charge up that jump and then go for the overhead arrow.

2) Throwable Bombs
Throwable Bombs, and all throwable items, have three ranges. The Tilt launches a damaging bomb across the screen. This is most useful in multiplayer maps from far away. The Neutral is the midrange throw. It is relatively tricky and even if you can't hit an aggressor you can change their course. The Aerial is the most deadly with the shortest throw trajectory, though you have to spend the time jumping into the air to utilize it.

3) Crossbow
The Crossbow has one use - a fast and straight shot that's pretty slow. It does decent damage and stuns for longer than it takes to reload, so you can stunlock any enemy to death - that is, if you can account for the pushback and hold your aim steady. Also note, the release of the crossbow is higher than the Composite Bow so it can shoot above the crate.
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2017, 05:06:19 am »



Alright! Three more!

1) Book of Occult
This is currently called the "Book of Occult", though I might change the name. This is a book of magic that enables magic generation. Different characters generate magic at different rates, and the amount of magic you have is represented by the five cubes floating around the player (about as close to a HUD as I'll get in game). The Tilt Attack is a magic orb that does one damage on collision and generates a double damage magic burst. The orb is very, very slow but it takes up a large space. The PC can chase the orb and set up traps. The Neutral and Aerial both drop magic seeds that grow into Magic Barriers. The barriers don't do any damage, but they stun for a period of time.

2) Large Explosive
One of two legacy items from the prototype, this bomb does fatal damage and the explosion's hitbox is slightly larger than it looks. I generally use it to deter any opponents from giving chase, though the quick dash through drop is useful in large groups.

3) Desiccated Head
The head shoots black goo and fire. The black goo is flammable and will spread more fire once inflamed (ha). The Tilt Attack shoots sticky black goo. If it touches another player, their movement speed and rotation are both slowed. The Neutral Attack shoots a flame to ignite any gooed characters. Fire explosions like the ones from the Throwable Bombs or Large Explosive will also ignite the goo.
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2017, 06:23:26 am »

Ok, I've updated the OP with a ToC that includes groups for Systems Explanations and Weapons Explanations. And while it looks like I'm filling out the armory, the Systems seem like they're lacking. I'll start with player movement.

How To Move


Code:

[__6L___]        [__5R___]

 0 000 0           (/\)3
  \|||/     
0--\|/--0   
0---*---0    2([])      (())4
0--/|\--0   
  /|||\     
 0 000 0          1(><)

 *ANALOG     *SIX ACTION
  STICK        BUTTONS


That's my GameFAQs ASCII generic dream controller. The game is controlled with an Analog Stick (D-Pad axes double up) and Six Action Buttons. The Analog Stick controls both Movement and Aiming while the first Action Button controls Dash and Jump. I started development with a PS4 controller, so I will use that naming when applicable.

Walking
When the character is under the player's control and on a walkable surface, the player character is 1/2 to 1 with the Analog stick. Until the 50% threshold the Analog Stick controls the direction of the player character, and then after the 50% threshold the player's movespeed begins changing the player's direction as well. And while the player is controlling their walking, there is no momentum. This allows 1:1 360* movement for most players, but lets the experts fine tune the details.

Dashing
In order to have a variable way to run and also to force players to "pay an Attention Level Upkeep", Dashing is mapped to tapping the X button. You push a direction and mash on X to go fast. The lighter your touch the faster you go. What is happening under the hood is while the X button is held you are going at 25% speed and then when you let go of X you are given a speed boost. The "Attention Level Upkeep" cost is a way to force players to exhaust themselves or even allow stylistic points (e.g. the jaunt is my favorite way of chasing someone. It isn't exactly fast, but I'm able to concentrate a lot more).

Jumping
Jumping is mapped to holding the X button. The current timeToJump is 3/16 of a second of holding X. After that you are launched 4 units into the air (the height of one player character). This is both regular movement and an 11f charge up for big attacks. So while you can jump up ledges and traverse terrain with the jump; you also get into position to do bigger, trickier moves.

*The air movement has been pretty contentious. Some people want instantaneous jumping. Some people say it's hard to read movement with the orthographic camera and the angle of the jump. I feel like getting those players to the understanding of how the jump works would let them get around the lack of knowledge, so I'm designing a lot of the game around 4 units. Most statues are 4 or 8 units tall. I just want people to get a grasp for what heights are like when they jump.

Other Technical Things
1) Because of the perspective, the jump height, and the size of a character(4 units, about ~12/13 ft), gravity is 4x normal earth gravity. This worked out mathematically so it's kind of amazing.
2) I also cut the default Unity friction by 4.
3) Like in real life it is not possible to jump over other players. From flat ground.
4) My movement script is 496 lines long. I am pretty sure a lot of that is unnecessary.
5) I use Rewired and it's amazing. I cannot imagine having to code and bugfix for PS4/360/One controllers
6) I am thinking about moving onto XBox One controllers because you can only connect 4 PS4 controllers to a PC, and this game is 6 players.
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« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2017, 07:29:18 am »

I don't find bird's eye view games visually appealing. Because I can't really identify, or make a connection, with the top of a player's head. Maybe it's just me, but that's how I feel about it. 
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