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1340999 Posts in 61268 Topics- by 52792 Members - Latest Member: raisen

June 22, 2018, 04:46:07 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsGhoulhouse - Haunted House Virtual Pet
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Author Topic: Ghoulhouse - Haunted House Virtual Pet  (Read 229 times)
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« on: March 12, 2018, 08:41:54 PM »

Ghoulhouse is a haunted house virtual pet. Keep a colonial farmhouse's spirits up by feeding it human visitors, maintaining its integrity and befriending its resident ghost.

  • Lure unsuspecting victims to the house via an old phonebook
  • Invite a familiar face over by using your enemy's - or friend's - likeness
  • Take pride in the upkeep of an 18th century farmhouse or let it fall into disrepair
  • Real time seasons with weather, seasonal events and a day/night cycle
  • Use over 100 objects and antiques for play or slaughter


Website - Twitter - Tumblr - Facebook - Instagram




I hope starting this devlog will hold me accountable for progress. My original aim with Ghoulhouse was to create a "small" project to finally teach myself how to program. A lot of learning, scope creep and a few years later it's still not done. I love and am dedicated to completing it but I also abhor and suck at programming. Because of this I'm always on the lookout for someone to round out our team for future projects.

We haven't shared much about this game publicly yet and I'm changing that RIGHT. NOW.


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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 09:01:49 PM »

Stairs Animation & Pathfinding
Pathfinding was one of the first things I tackled since it was the most intimidating. I came up with a few ideas that only worked situationally before settling on a node based system. The floor and stair tiles have nodes generated at the start of the game. When it comes to stair landings, the fastest path isn't always the correct path. Characters would jump through railings or approach from the wrong side, so I assigned a direction variable for every stair node depending on the direction its tile faced. This made the nodes smart enough to know which neighbors were viable connectors.

Now to animate it. At first I treated the stairs like a ramp; I slapped on a stair climbing animation and let it go, watching in horror as the character floated up an invisible escalator. That wouldn't do.

Characters have a node hitbox separate from their sprite hitbox that I use to control their positioning. I first tried snapping it to the next node at the end of the animation but this had them walking on air or putting the same foot forward every time they climbed. Only having one leg moving really irked me, I needed them to use both realistically. My solution was when the character reaches stairs, a unique frame is played before snapping to the next node. This time it plays a separate animation that begins offset, aligning with the previous frame. When the animation finishes playing its four frames, it snaps again. So on and so forth until they reach the next floor. If that made no sense here it is in action:

I now understand why stairs can be really wonky in games.

Sprites & The White Pages
Deep into development I was overwhelmed by the giant pile of animation required. 40+ sets of walking, idles, death, etc. I only had a couple of sets complete for testing purposes. I was also at a standstill with the design in general; it was missing something. At that time you only called predetermined victims with set jobs from the yellow pages. But why stop there? Why not let you create the people you hate and send them to this place? Why not also the white pages?

So I broke up the victims into individual sprites that get pieced together. This opened up tons of possibilities for variation but most importantly it meant that once it was all set up I only had to animate outfits and long hair. I created more work for myself upfront but cut out a giant chunk of animation time.

Notice how the arm behind the victim has to be separated, this is so they can have wild hairstyles. Outfits and skin tones have palettes whereas glasses, hair and eyes just get color blended.

It's a feature I think adds a lot to the game's replayability. Hopefully there will be enough options for you to terrify and kill everyone you know in various horrific ways! ❤

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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2018, 04:46:58 PM »

Hey, this looks super neat! I'll be watching with interest, hope to see more devlogs from you soon Smiley
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