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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogs[2022.03 demo released] Shardpunk: Verminfall (xcom/darkest dungeon/steampunk)
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Author Topic: [2022.03 demo released] Shardpunk: Verminfall (xcom/darkest dungeon/steampunk)  (Read 43186 times)
bryku
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« Reply #280 on: November 26, 2021, 02:05:06 PM »

Let's talk about the latest addition to the game, and (hopefully) the last major gameplay change that I've implemented: I've added new character types: automatons/bots.

Lore-wise, the Empire has recently managed to create a prototype of a new, bleeding-edge technology energy source that will allow humans to gain a significant advantage in their war against the vermin.

A few days prior to the surprise rat attack, the Empire's scientists have been able to install that new energy source in a machine - an automaton. Then the attack happened.



Your job as a player will be to make sure that this new energy source does not end up destroyed or get intercepted by the enemy - which basically means that the player's job is to make sure that the bot stays alive.

Now, the automatons are not defenseless. Depending on the type of automaton the player chooses at the start, it will be providing significant bonuses on the battlefield. The one that I have added to the game so far is a support unit. Its main ability is the "support mode" skill, which makes the automaton immobile, but generates a support aura that makes sure that player weapons do not gain heat when firing and increases their % to hit. Therefore, it works great when the player is setting up a defense spot somewhere on the map.





Other skills include the ability to taunt enemies in the area, forcing them to attack the automaton.



Also, the unit is equipped with a stun grenade, which does exactly what it says.



The automaton is able to heal on its own and can be healed in the shelter by other characters.




I believe that introduction of the automatons will add even more variety to the gameplay. The player will always be choosing one automaton type at the beginning of the game, and its type will significantly change the tactics. This means more fun - and as games are all about fun, I believe that's a step in a good direction!

That's all for this entry. Take care, and have a great weekend! And do join Shardpunk's Discord server!
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Ramos
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« Reply #281 on: November 26, 2021, 11:13:45 PM »

I like the little automaton and its animations, I also appreciate the animated fire you added in the background on those barrels, it gives more atmospheric value to the environment.

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Igor Sandman
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« Reply #282 on: November 27, 2021, 02:01:50 AM »

I'm loving your automaton. Your animations look great btw!
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Alain
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« Reply #283 on: November 30, 2021, 05:02:11 AM »

I could not agree more with the others: The automaton is super cool. It gives me more original-X-Com-vibes although your automation has a lot more personality than Heavy Weapons Platforms.
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mishe-
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« Reply #284 on: December 01, 2021, 03:13:27 AM »

Been seeing your game I think for more than a year now, very glad you are still working on it and making good progress. Good luck hopeful it will be worthwhile for you.
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bryku
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« Reply #285 on: December 10, 2021, 02:10:52 AM »

Been seeing your game I think for more than a year now, very glad you are still working on it and making good progress. Good luck hopeful it will be worthwhile for you.

Thanks! Well, it's already worthwhile for me! My indie gamedev journey is a blast, and there's a tremendous amount of stuff that I learned, especially through this year - as that was my first year of full-time development.
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bryku
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« Reply #286 on: December 10, 2021, 02:12:43 AM »

I like the little automaton and its animations, I also appreciate the animated fire you added in the background on those barrels, it gives more atmospheric value to the environment.

I'm loving your automaton. Your animations look great btw!

I could not agree more with the others: The automaton is super cool. It gives me more original-X-Com-vibes although your automation has a lot more personality than Heavy Weapons Platforms.

Thanks for the good words! Yup, Heavy Weapons Platforms were not really my thing. On the other hand, SPARKs from XCOM 2 were pretty awesome!
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Alain
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« Reply #287 on: December 11, 2021, 04:09:28 AM »

Thanks for the good words! Yup, Heavy Weapons Platforms were not really my thing. On the other hand, SPARKs from XCOM 2 were pretty awesome!

I had to google SPARKs to find out about them, because I never researched them. Or maybe I did not have the  Shen's Last Gift DLC back then. Now I have a reason for another playthrough Wink
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bryku
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« Reply #288 on: December 11, 2021, 06:47:33 AM »

The last two weeks were a little bumpy due to hardware issues. Basically, my PC is dead for a week due to a faulty power supply and the incompetence of a shipping company to deliver the new one. I am still waiting for it to be delivered.

So, I am stuck working on my old laptop, which is not a developer-friendly situation. Still, I managed to get some work done - mostly technical one. To be more specific, I've added key bindings for mouse+keyboard control scheme.

First, I studied how the bindings are handled in similar games (think XCOM, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, or Pathway) and then took the stuff that made the most sense to me.



Few notes here:

1. Camera movement is not rebindable, and stays at WASD/arrow keys
2. Bindings are not unique - so the same key can appear in more than one binding (example: speeding up enemy turn and displaying to hit preview both use the "alt" key, which is OK - as the player is never able to perform both actions at the same time). Technically, these actions could be defined under a single binding, but I don't feel it would be better.
3. The Main binding for the "Cancel/Pause" action cannot be cleared (XCOM 2 has the same approach). Otherwise, there might be a situation where the player has no possibility to pause the game and re-enter the bindings menu. Of course, I could add a physical UI "pause and enter the menu" button, but I don't want to make the UI more cluttered.

From other things, I have started working on tuning the visuals up more - for example, making more use of HDR and bloom:

An original image:


HDR, more colors:


Bloom effect:


I believe the visual changes are going in a good direction - do let me know what you think.

Take care, and don't forget about the Discord server!
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Ramos
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« Reply #289 on: December 12, 2021, 12:03:39 PM »

I feel your pain bryku, I am working on a low-level laptop for some time now, a real nightmare, even the web browser pages god loading time for me lol

I like how the atmosphere totally changes based on the lights, my fav one is the middle iteration. You can also add some animated flyes on some of those lights for a boost in atmospheric value

As for the Discord, I just joined it, but that seems to be your publisher Discord, is it the same one I mean don't you plan to make your own Discord community?



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bryku
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« Reply #290 on: December 13, 2021, 07:25:10 AM »

I feel your pain bryku, I am working on a low-level laptop for some time now, a real nightmare, even the web browser pages god loading time for me lol


I was finally able to move back to my PC today. Man, the difference is huge.

As for the Discord, I just joined it, but that seems to be your publisher Discord, is it the same one I mean don't you plan to make your own Discord community?

Yes, we're having a single Discord server for all upcoming games from Retrovibe. I guess that's a good tradeoff, as each of the games can help attract potential buyers to other ones.
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Alain
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« Reply #291 on: December 14, 2021, 12:42:43 AM »

It sucks to not have access to your main computer, glad to hear you could fix it!

The bloom effect looks great!
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bryku
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« Reply #292 on: December 31, 2021, 07:35:00 AM »

Well, another year ends! And it's my first year as a full-time indie game developer. The feeling's awesome!

Now, there will be time for a yearly summary, but let's wait for the year to end first. And now, let me show you something else.

I was recently thinking about how to make the game visuals even more appealing. One of the ideas was to make sure that the animations are as smooth as possible.

Take a look at this animation:



In here, there are no transition animations between the crouching and standing stances, and no turn animations. Now, the lack of them does not break the game, but I believed that filling in these gaps might be worth the effort.

Here's a new approach, with the transition animations in place:



Feels smoother, doesn't it?

The other thing I've worked on was adding some emission map-based HDR bloom effects. It allowed me to add extensive glow on specific things, like this grenade explosion animation:



Now, these are just some of the things I've started to implement to up the visuals/feel of the game. This, combined with a pretty nice gameplay loop will result in a fantastic game!

In the meantime, I wish you all a Happy New Year! Take care!

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Alain
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« Reply #293 on: January 04, 2022, 12:38:39 AM »

Happy new year to you as well! I think the transition animations in deed make movement look nice and smooth. How many of them do you plan to add? I can imagine it would be quite a big amount of work to add them everywhere.
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bryku
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« Reply #294 on: January 12, 2022, 01:37:58 PM »

Happy new year to you as well! I think the transition animations in deed make movement look nice and smooth. How many of them do you plan to add? I can imagine it would be quite a big amount of work to add them everywhere.

Yeah, it will take a while before all of them will be present. It'll be around 13 extra transition animations per character, each of them having only a couple of frames - still, this stuff is time-consuming.
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Alain
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« Reply #295 on: January 14, 2022, 07:19:32 AM »

Happy new year to you as well! I think the transition animations in deed make movement look nice and smooth. How many of them do you plan to add? I can imagine it would be quite a big amount of work to add them everywhere.

Yeah, it will take a while before all of them will be present. It'll be around 13 extra transition animations per character, each of them having only a couple of frames - still, this stuff is time-consuming.

13 transitions per character in deed sound a lot, but I am sure you will get through it Wink
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bryku
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« Reply #296 on: January 15, 2022, 05:10:22 AM »

Howdy! In one of the previous devlog entries I was figuring out how to deal with a situation in which the player somehow ran out of Fusion Cores.

For those of you that don't know what Fusion Cores are, and how they are used in Shardpunk, here's a brief introduction:

Fusion Cores are battery-like items that look like a jar with a bolt of lightning inside. They are powerful energy sources that can be used in a few different ways.

First of all, you can use them to power up and open entrances to further levels, which allows you to finish the combat phase and advance to the shelter phase:



Secondly, you can use them as lightning bolt throwers during combat. Good AOE, always hits, ignores cover:



After the automatons have been added to the game, Fusion Cores can now also be used to "revive" your broken mechanical buddy:



You can find Fusion Cores on your journey, scattered on the map, or as part of the loot from dead enemies:



Now, let's focus on the first ability - opening up entrances to shelters. It is obvious that a player can run out of Fusion Cores, so a scenario in which there was no means of opening up the shelter had to be handled.

Initially, I decided on allowing the player to pick an alternate escape route from combat - one that would still allow them to finish a mission but would punish them by not making the shelter phase available afterward. That worked pretty well, but as the game progressed, the punishment became too big - as the shelter phase has evolved so that the player can upgrade their weapons during it - and weapon upgrades are important.





So, sometime after I introduced automatons, I've decided that the player will always be able to unlock a shelter. If they don't have a Fusion Core to spare, they can use the automaton to do so. An automaton is a prototype unit, holding a unique and powerful energy source - and so it can force the shelter door mechanism into an overloaded state, which, in the end, opens them up. The only downside of such a Fusion Core-free approach is that it takes more time to open such doors - there's basically a number of turns that need to pass before the bunker opens.



The support automaton is right about to electrify that entrance. But it won't do it now, as I don't have an animation ready for it yet.

This way of handling things - while maintaining a risk/reward approach - greatly simplified game rules when it comes to entering a shelter. I could assume that there will always be a "safe place resting" phase between missions. Which also allowed me to simplify parts of the UI.

Here's how the feeding phase UI looked like before this change:



It was basically pure UI, with no resting characters rendered in the background - and that was because I was using it also in scenarios when the player was not entering a shelter (which right now is not possible anymore). I could not simply state that in such situations the player would not have to consume food, as that would lead to an exploit - players would be intentionally skipping a shelter phase to avoid hunger damage/penalties.

In the new "shelter is always there" approach, I was able to embed the feeding UI into the shelter visuals. This is how it looks like right now.



I like these new mechanics - and the refreshed feeding phase UI - a lot. The idea that there is always a resting phase after tough combat is also comforting in a way. After all, we all like to have that "safe place" vibe from time to time, right?



Thanks for reading! Take care!

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Ramos
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« Reply #297 on: January 15, 2022, 06:16:33 AM »



Great mechanic design on the fusion core usage!

And I totally love how the camp gameplay evolved, it is very good also for building empathy with the character along with the tactical decisions the player must make. I am a fool for this type of game element. GJ  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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bayersglassey
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« Reply #298 on: January 16, 2022, 11:18:25 AM »

Man, this looks fabulous. The atmosphere and animation are just... chefkiss.jpeg
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Alain
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« Reply #299 on: January 17, 2022, 01:26:48 AM »

The safe place vibe of the shelter is great. Regarding the fusion cores it seems like you are quite far already in the process of balancing!
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