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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsCaesar's Revenge - Retro FPS
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« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2018, 03:05:04 PM »

In my case, it's probably mix nostalgia and still something different/new that gives a good feel regarding the game. Smiley

By FPS, you mean First Person "Sworder" (or Swordplay)?  Hand Knife RightGrin



So ... is the title Caesars Revenge  or  Caesar's Revenge?  Wink

That image is looking great though! Smiley

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« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2018, 04:20:19 PM »

Really love the resurgence of retro fps games and glad to see one going the melee route. Keep it up!
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« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2018, 10:40:06 PM »

Caeѕar’ѕ Revenge: Weapon Wednesday – IV

Fire Pots are the grenades of ancient Rome. Clay Pots full of Flammable liquid. They are the perfect solution to a room full of archers that you just don’t want to deal with. Just light it up then smash it directly over traitorous heads or simply roll one into a room full and wait for the screams.

An overarm throw is the first alternative attack. This powerful throw will explode on impact with the ground or an enemy. The second attack is a gentler underarm throw. This attack causes the pot to bounce along the ground. The pot will then explode after a time when the wick has burnt down. Both attacks can be charged up for a longer throw by holding down the corresponding mouse button. Be careful not to take any damage while charging as this will cause you to drop the pot at your feet. I’m sure you can figure out why that’s not a good thing! Check it out on Sketchfab: https://skfb.ly/6vPRM
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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2018, 01:31:34 PM »

looking good guys!! keep it up Wink
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« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2018, 01:49:32 PM »

I love everything about this project. Amazing work!
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« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2018, 03:13:38 PM »

I'm with MatthewRock. I like everything we've seen so far. Really looking forward to more.
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« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2018, 07:24:17 PM »

Thanks so much for your positive words and encouragement everyone. @io3 creations, First Person Sworder Sounds great! Interestingly, the flat plane movement complements the melee fighting quite well too. Also, don't worry, we will be adding that apostrophe Wink  The project still has quite a way to go in terms of content but we are working away at it every week. Seeing these posts today inspired me to type up what we have been working lately which has been the main menu.



A unique aspect of this menu is that like the gameplay itself, the mouse control is along a single axis. In some ways this has made it easier to also offer keyboard as well as controller support as we don’t need to worry about a mouse cursor. At first we wanted all levels in one scrolling list but without a free mouse or scroll bar it felt weird. The next iteration was one long list of stages but too many items in a row looked a bit messy and ultimately would limit the number of levels to what would fit on the menu which would be a terrible idea. What we have decided to go with is an episode system - though we prefer to call them acts as it is more thematic as well as avoids any confusion with episodic releases.

For the background art we liked the idea of a burning Rome and experimented with a bunch of approaches. Originally we were going to go with a pre-rendered still (like the Age of Empires I title screen) but it distracted from the logo (which still needs some work on readability/contrast and the dagger. A painted look gives some balance to the rest of the game while conveying a strong mood. Three inspirations were the cd booklets you might find in metal albums - to emphasise a darker tone as well as the importance of individual tracks or in our case, levels. Second point of reference was intermission screens in old epics like Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments to evoke a sense of grandeur. And finally the third inspiration for the background images was Alphonse Muchas’s painting “Nero watching the burning of Rome” 1885-1886:



Our menu image has both has detail and elements of abstraction. A slight parallax on the background brings it all together and stops it feeling too static. Some more polish can be done but it is in a good place for now (the gif at the top is a little cropped at the bottom, the actual spacing is much better).



The menu features our current logo as well as a cool spinning dagger as the selection icon (perhaps one of the daggers that was plummeted into Caesar himself?). The pugio is a dagger like blade carried by all Roman soldiers. Identifiable by its wide blade shape. A lot of pugiones are speculated to have doubled as mini digging and multi-tools but their importance to Roman soldiers is unknown; perhaps a final backup after a javlin and gladius were lost.
Check it out on sketchfab here: https://skfb.ly/6w6XT

I haven't talked much about music here but the soundtrack will all be original. This piece is unfinished but is a style test of what we are aiming for with the menu music - the blending of darker metal with faux-ancient sounding instruments. The music in levels will be a lot more thrash-y with faster tempo so the menu is a good chance to take a breathe and set the scene. Here is the direction for the title screen so far:



The game has a pause screen! I have never coded one of these myself before and it ended up being easier than I thought. How it works is the game takes a screenshot of the game then deactivates all of the objects in the game except the a controller which draws the screen grab with a transparent black overlay. Right now it is just showing the game is paused but later might include a menu selection to resume and quit (there won’t be saving mid level). I find it whimsical that it looks like objects are frozen when really we are just looking at a screen grab!



I have also been working on the save file system. Data is now tracked and encrypted with the framework in place for tracking level unlocks, best times and other statistics. One thing we have been debating is whether or not weapons should carry over from level to level. This would be in line with classic shooters and gives the player a good sense of progression as well as making ammo usage meaningful. On the other hand, starting each level without a weapon opens some interesting level design possibilities (only bow, or melee only stages). This also incentivises players to use the weapons they find instead of saving them. A disadvantage of this however is that secrets are less important and people may not like having to start from scratch every time. All of this can of course be balanced around but currently needs some more thought. What do you guys think about this? Also, we're bumping the project's completion up to 20%!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 07:31:25 PM by jb » Logged


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« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2018, 02:39:23 AM »

This past week we have been working on gameplay scripting through trigger objects. This will allow for more dynamic level designs with the ability for us to create simple puzzles, traps and events in game that break up the general gameplay. An example of this are gates are activated by proximity and can be locked open or shut by various conditions. On the fly we are able to create gates that only open once, lock behind the player, are activated by a switch or even when enemies in a room are killed. Gates can control the flow of a level as well as offer an opportunity for gameplay scripting to create unique and memorable situations. Invisible triggers are used in conjunction to design this functionality but the same kinds of interactions can also come from switches.


We have had the functionality of switches in the game for a while but only this week have we finalised them into a suitable aesthetic. Previously we toyed with buttons but the lever look better suits the Roman theme and also stands out visually as a gameplay object. A cool feature about this design is that they will snap to the ground or walls depending on how they were placed. Interestingly, these are also the most complex 3D objects in the game in terms of draw code due to the multiple parts and octagon ends!


In terms of gameplay, a point of difference in our game is that levers can be activated by weapons - meaning you can fire an arrow down a corridor to activate a switch.


Doors are similar to gates in terms of gating progress and either open when approached or require a key to open. In terms of visual communication, doors and their corresponding keys will always look the same (iron key for an iron door) to ensure that players immediately understand what they need to find. While these mechanics are fairly typical of a classic fps we are also aware that their overuse can become worn out. For this reason not all levels rely on these mechanics and their focus is to open up creative level designs where spaces can be recontextualised and reused. There are also secret push walls that can reveal hidden passages. Unlike other games, these are activated by proximity rather than a keypress as we don’t want to encourage the tedium of pressing A on every wall in the level.



These keys were modeled after various Roman key finds. Roman keys have a wide variety of shapes and sizes all because lock making was in its infancy. Roman locksmiths had not yet figured out what locks worked the best and which were harder to break into. The majority of historical examples don’t even look like keys! Here are the photographs our keys were modeled after:


We have also been developing a variety of levels in different styles to get a feel for the gameplay over longer sessions. These stages are turning out to be a lot of fun and should be something we talk about in future posts.

 
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« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2018, 12:24:50 PM »

the menu music is real nice Gomez

throwing weapons at switches sounds hectic as hahaha

good stuff!
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« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2018, 07:22:34 PM »

Caeѕar’ѕ Revenge: Weapon Wednesday – V


Rats of Rome: This week’s Weapon Wednesday has been overrun with an infestation of Rats! So unfortunately, no weapons. But Instead, I will present to you our newest enemy: the Rat. Rats are the first animal to be added to Caesar’s Revenge. Rats were a common site in ancient Rome and still thrive in modern Rome today. Rats are excellent survivors and opportunists and flourish around cities due to the abundance of human waste. Ancient Rome was no exception! Rats could be found anywhere from the slums and sewers to granaries and markets. Thriving on the excess and vastness of Rome. Rats in these conditions have been known to grow bigger and bolder than wild counterparts. In Caesar’s Revenge rats are a menace in the backstreets or Rome and will no hesitate to try take a bite out of undead Caesar. Although the Rats grow bolder, a rat is no problem for an experienced warrior. If you can hit em!


Rat Stats:
What a fat rat model! a total 1256 Triangles, how disgusting (and excessive). His coat is made of 1x trashy 1024×1024 diffuse. Ratty was made quickly to render as a 16 frame run animation at 8 directions as 128×128 sprite (once of these directions can be seen below). A benefit of working with the lower resolution of this retro project is how it presents shortcuts in the modeling, animation and texture processes. shortcuts that would not be acceptable in a modern 3D pipeline become available and speed up development time.


Rats In Gameplay: below you can see an example of the Rat sprites in-game (behaviors are not final and could change). Rats much like in real ancient Rome are found in levels that are set in lower tier areas. Rats have always been destined to be the weakest enemy in Caesar. There attack is weak and they die in one hit from many weapon. But they do have some redeeming factors. They are small, many and determined! these abilities attribute to a slightly “hard to hit” combat style. Alone they are the weakest enemy in Ceasar’s Revenge……. But watch your back buddy.


Ratty Run:during that animation process I looked into how rats move an discovered that rats have an interesting gait. One kind is called a Half Bound, this type of gait is an asymmetrical “true bound” found in rodents predominantly rats: “True floating phase (extended position only). Hindfeet land before forefeet take off – this creates a brief period of 4-point support/contactHindlimbs take up as much as 90% of propulsive force. Forelimbs function more for shock absorption and steering.” Info courtesy of the Animal Movements guide for animators by Sumid very cool reference animating animals. I find it very helpful not only to follow a pose to pose walk/run cycle reference but to learn about the locomotion of the animal itself. this entails: where pressures are being applied like push and pull and importantly the pattern of the footfalls. knowing this gives you a better idea about what your subject animal is actually doing rather than solely relying on copying poses from reference and hoping for the best.

if you wanna have a close look at Ratty, check him out on Sketchfab: https://skfb.ly/6wyQZ

cheers for the support Mark!
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« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2018, 03:25:19 AM »

It has been a while since we last updated! Never fear, while progress has been a bit slower lately we have been doing a number of things behind the scenes. There will be a bigger blog post on it all later but for now here are some of the latest additions:



New lion enemy that is super fast and also interesting as it attacks other units as well as the player. Lions also feast on the flesh of corpses meaning that they can be avoided if kept distracted by a fresh kill. There will surely be a coliseum stage at some point and what would that level be without lions?



These boats are props to decorate sea side levels and harbors.They will be used as billboard sprites to give the impression of a vast ocean even if the fog draw distance is actually quite low! While this model may be overkill for its purpose (it totally is) the advantage of this approach is that we have plenty of props for cut scenes and promo shots. As mentioned previously, it is also about the excess of Rome!  



Finally, here is our first pass at the level completion screen. The stats kill count will pop in incrementally with a sound cue ala classic fps games. There will be variations to the eagle depending on the victory condition - completing time trial will show a golden eagle. The pursuit of a par time should add more replayability to levels and will hopefully act as an opportunity for early stages to offer experienced players a challenge.
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« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2018, 02:20:48 AM »



For the past few months we have been working on a number of levels. One of the most immediate goals for us is getting the first act laid out in terms of content so we can balance and polish to the point of a playable build that could be potentially released. For this post we wanted to showcase one of these levels - tentatively named ‘The Quarry’. There is still tweaking as well as additional art to implement but the bones are in place and hopefully documenting this stage of development reveals something interesting about our approach and process.



We needed a level that introduced slaves who can be freed to fight alongside the player. The obvious answer would have been a prison (which we will probably do at some point) but I wanted to branch out from the corridor focused texture sets we have been using so far. Both of these intentions were met by recalling the slave quarry scene from the opening of Spartacus (1960) - the setting fits thematically, mechanically and offers a new outdoor location that could be achieved within the limitations of our aesthetic.





The architecture and environment of the quarry is mostly made from rock formations with a theme of wooden scaffolding and makeshift structures throughout. The two main areas are the soldier’s camps and fortafications, the mining pit as well as a cave. Conditions in Roman mines were brutal. Many of these slaves were criminals known as “damnati in metallum” - which translates to “those condemned to the mine". Other slaves in Rome could earn or purchase their freedom, these slaves however would work until their death.



In terms of gameplay, this level experiments with having the sling as a primary weapon as well as the gladius. So far we have used the sword as a staple starting point so introducing a ranged weapon with a bit of ammo management adds a bit of variety as well as strategy to the gameplay. The sling’s behavior was tweaked quite a bit to make it viable - running a level with a single weapon seems to be a good test of not just its usability but also fun factor. Currently the sling can be held for a strong shot or tapped for a faster but less damaging throw. This dynamic in addition to the extra damage dealt on surprise attacks makes for some interesting encounters.





The overall level is fairly linear and so the cave section breaks this structure by offering two seperate paths to take which should keep the level fresh on repeated plays. Both routes have a few pickups as well as allied slaves to free who will fight alongside the player (art is still being developed). An important design consideration was the placement of these benefits; they are far away enough from the fastest route to be of little use to speed runners but are also easy enough to find that players struggling with the level could go both ways to collect all of the slaves and items. This is a thought process throughout the entire game as we want levels to be challenging to speedrun but also provide options for players who want to take the game at a slower pace.



The game is very much a revenge story and so this opening shot of the level sets the tone of the tyranny and brutality of the senators that you are assassinating. Crucifixion was a method of punishment used in Ancient Rome. Mass crucifixions took place throughout Roman history with 6,000 of Spartacus’ followers suffering the torturous death after rebelling. Thematically this scene fits the context of a corrupt slave quarry as well as motivates the player to show little mercy to the ruling senator and his troops.



This level introduces a dog enemy type who runs quickly towards the player and alerts other units by barking. While not particularly high in health, the dog can be dangerous due to its high speed and potential to cause a chain reaction of opponents closing in on the player. This gif also includes a campfire with a roast leg. One of the great strengths of the Roman military over its opponents was superior nutrition. This versatile prop can be used throughout camp areas and provides a bit of flavour to the environment. I’m sure the dogs would love to sneak a bite!



Something fascinating about making this game using GameMaker is the way in which 2D design sentiments translate to a 3D context. We’ve definitely been inspired by looking at Wolfenstien 3D editor and the intricacies of zoomed out video game maps. There is something very rewarding in laying out disgusting 2D sprites in a flat editor, then hitting ‘play’ and seeing the world come to life. Below is a side by side shot of the Quarry in editor as well as the same view in game through the 3D camera. Some new cinematic debugging features were implemented this week which definitely helps in capturing more dramatic screenshots - it is also quite strange seeing our flat-plane environments form a different angle!





That’s all for this post! It will be interesting to see how the level changes going forward as a lot of the balance depends on where it is placed in the game. We probably won’t do a post on every level like this (a little surprise is always good) but expect to see a few more areas being fleshed out in the coming months.

Bonus content: Have you ever wondered how many stone quarries were in Ancient Rome? Have you ever wished you had a tabulated database and location map? Well, during research for this stage we found this great paper. Ben Russell has your back.
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« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2018, 05:22:03 AM »

That slave quarry level seems like a great idea and a great design!
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« Reply #33 on: May 30, 2018, 04:52:09 AM »

Caeѕar’ѕ Revenge: Weapon Wednesday – VI


First off cheers for the props Zireael Grin , we will be sure to share some more behind the scenes on our other levels soon!
but in the mean time Yo its weapon Wednesday!

This week we added this big hook thing which strikes fear into the hearts of any roman legionary. This guy is the: Dacian Falx or Thracian Falx or just Falx. In history it is described as an Anti-Roman/Anti-Armour weapon with a punch. It’s shape is perfect for hacking at roman troops hiding behind shields. The blades themselves had different degrees of hook to blade proportions, lengths and angles and came in one handed and two handed variants. The two handed variant is the one you will find in Caesars Revenge. These two-handed Falx often had a handle at a similar or matching size to the blade. This gave a lot of leverage and power to the wielder but use of this weapon would cost protection due to the two-handed operation of the weapon using a shield is silly. This trade, however unorthodox did pay off and was devastating when matched up with a classic roman shield and Gladius style of combat. The superior reach plus the power and design necessary to punch through aand over Roman Armour particularity the shields made a lot of common roman fighting techniques and strategies useless.

Fun Fact: roman helmets received modification during Trajan’s Dacian wars with the addition of cross-bars across the dome of the helmet, this change is often accredited to falx and its effectiveness at punching holes in roman heads. thats pretty wild aye.



But why is Julius Caesar Using this heathen weapon? lets just say when Mars gives you lemons you make lemonade. The Falx has become an iconic and infamous anti-roman weapon in recent times and although its actual effectiveness and use in history is disputed the legend of its effectiveness provides the perfect alibi for the powerful, heavy hitting, shield splintering and armor breaking weapon type Caesar needs on his conquest for revenge.

Gameplay: The Falx like all our weapons has two attack types and primary and a secondary. The primary attack is is a powerful overhead strike from above, this is the shield splintering one! it ignores an enemies shield and deals damage directly , perfect for pesky roman soldiers turtleing behind shields, it also applies a knock back. This attack due to its over the head nature is powerful but can only target one enemy at a time. The secondary attack is horizontal sweeping attack like the Gladius. A sweeping attack does not break armor as effectively but does apply knock back, it can target double the enemies of the Gladius currently a whopping 6! both attacks are balanced by longer wind-up and cool-down times. Attacks also slow you down to a walk while triggered, this means you have to tank a lot more damage while attacking. That's the payoff to such great power. What I like about this balance is that it does not make the weapon "just a stronger Gladius" like we originally feared, but instead it it performs a different job completely. The Falx needs to be used with a different style of play, more patience and planning is involved in a Falx strike than with any other bladed weapon currently in the game.

Unique feel and divergence between the look and gameplay of each weapons is important in Ceasar's Revenge. As always Mechanics and Visuals are subject to change as we tweak the Falx Further but I hope you have all enjoyed this chunky sneak peak. You can check out the 3D model on sketchfab:https://skfb.ly/6zrXO plus let us know what you think, thanks.

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« Reply #34 on: June 08, 2018, 06:49:08 PM »

Gaius Julius Caesar


The production is plodding along behind the scenes, we have been looking into new weapons like the falx, making levels and talking about what other assets we will need in our post-Roman Republic future. At this stage, we have had a pair of floating arms wielding the deadly weapons and issue justice, but what we did not have was a model of the world first true dictator, leader, general, Gaius Julius Caesar. What else would signal excess on this project that is striving to be the paragon of pixel grit but a multimillion polygon 3d sculpt of our fearless leader? I present to you multimillion polygon Caesar.








This model will be retopologized and textured, most likely be used in the trailer and maybe reposed for some statue sprites. The head model itself peaked with 20 million polygons at one point. The head was modelled separately from the body has just been merged in. For some historical facts, Caeser was  5 foot 7 inches (170.18cm), by some accounts, his hair was brown as were his eyes. Considering our Caesar will be re-animated it will most likely be white head of hair and evil glowing eyes. Hope you guys like it.




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« Reply #35 on: June 09, 2018, 03:18:53 PM »

Yeah this looks badass. Like Quake only with swords.

Gonna remember this one. Make sure you finish it.
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