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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogs"Walaber's Pro Gymnast" gymnastics/acrobatics game (Physics-based)
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Author Topic: "Walaber's Pro Gymnast" gymnastics/acrobatics game (Physics-based)  (Read 2322 times)
walaber
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« on: August 29, 2018, 10:19:15 PM »

Hey everyone!  I figured it's time to start a develog of my current project, an as-yet-untitled physics-based gymnastics/acrobatics/parkour type game.  It's generally a re-imagining of an old freeware game I created called "gymnast".

The core idea is a very direct control over your gymnast character, similar to something like Ski Stunt Simulator or QWOP.  In this case, the game is best played with a modern gamepad with 2 analog sticks.

The left stick decides the shoulder angle, and the right stick decides the hip angle.  You can also use the left/right triggers to "pull in" either the arms, or the legs, respectively.
With just these controls you have an amazing amount of different things you can do with the gymnast.


When designing games I find it pretty useful to try to express the "core pillars" of a game, which help make sure that you have a clear idea of the game, and what's important (and also not!) to the design.  This should help make other design decisions easier because you can bounce options off of the game pillars and see which one makes more sense as it pertains to the pillars.  So here is my first pass at the pillars to this game:

1. Realistic Physics

2. Any Solution Is The Right One

3. Exciting But Friendly Tone

 

As you might imagine from the physics-based control scheme, the game is very difficult at first, as you need to learn how to move the gymnast's body in order to swing, generate momentum, and release, fly through the air, and catch the next bar.  But with the commitment to realistic physics also comes great expressivity.  Most levels should have any number of valid ways to complete them, and even the 'same' line from two different players can look quite different due to the 'style' of how they move the gymnast.


The current idea is that the game will have a lot of small levels, which generally consist of starting hanging from 1 bar, and then having to leap and traverse from bar to bar, eventually completing the level by grabbing the "target" bar at the end of the level, or sometimes landing on a target landing mat, etc.  These levels will track not only whether you've completed them or not, but also your best (fastest) time, and also your highest score (based on tricks and combos).  So hopefully players will get a lot of replay value out of each level given that you can try to optimize for speed or score after the main task of just completing it.

I have some other ideas for different content types as well, but I'll save that for another devlog.

Please note that the current graphics of the game are completely placeholder.  The physics are simulated in 2D,  but the eventual graphics will be 3D.  I'm imagining a look somewhat similar to the Trials HD games, where the gameplay is confined to a 2D plane, but the visuals are attractive 3D.


Also feel free to follow me on twitter (@walaber), I post lots of higher quality videos on there as I develop the game.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2020, 07:58:35 PM by walaber » Logged

Indie developer, especially interested in physics of the human body, currently working on untitled gymnastics/acrobatics game.
EJlol
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2018, 11:39:51 PM »

You say the graphics are a placeholder, but I personally actually quite like the current style Wink
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walaber
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2018, 10:20:44 PM »

Lately I've been doing a lot of the invisible work, things like code to create player profiles, save their results when they complete a level, put a list of levels into a sequence and allow access to them based on progress, etc.  And of course making simple placeholder menus that allow all of this to actually be used in-game.  The good news is that this means I should have a playable build pretty soon that I can open up to testers to gather feedback as I develop the game.

One more visible thing I worked on today was the start of the scoring system.  It can now basically track when you're doing a trick, and rewards increasing amounts of points for both flipping (rotation), and airtime.


Next I need to make a combo system that rewards chaining tricks together.

After that, add a "K.O." system to detect when you biff, and then on to adding some more object types into the game, and make some more test levels!
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walaber
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2018, 03:38:00 PM »

Quick post today.  Good progress on the trick scoring system, including differentiating between a flip that's the same direction as the swing leading up to it (normal flip), and one where the rotation is opposite to the swing direction, similar to when a gymnast does a "Tkachev" move on the bar apparatus.  I've also got a combo system now in and working, which heavily rewards chaining tricks together.  All the point values and timing need to be adjusted of course, but the system is in!


I also created a new item, a track for sliding/free bars.  This was also a nice excuse to show how the in-game level editor is coming along.  All of the levels that ship with the game will be created with the same editor that players will be able to use to create their own levels.


prettier version of the above video on my twitter feed
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2018, 11:27:38 PM »

I like the current graphics style, too <3

The sliding bars also are amazing!
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walaber
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2018, 09:42:07 PM »

Good progress lately.  I now have a “stun” / “K.O.” system implemented now.  It’s pretty simple: if you get hard enough in the head, your gymnast will “K.O.”, losing their strength and releasing any bar they are gripping, requiring a level restart.

If you hit an object hard (but not hard enough for a K.O., or with a body part other than your head), you can be temporarily “stunned”.  This briefly reduces strength to the joints, causing the gymnast to react more realistically to a strong impact.

The entire system is quite flexible, including thresholds for a small stun to large stun, duration of stun, curves for describing how the strength is lost and regained in the joints, etc.  Each boy part even has a multiplier on how hard a hit is required to cause a “stun”.  Torso, Pelvis, etc are sensitive, with arms and legs being less so (you have to hit them harder to cause a stun).  hands and feet are basically invincible.



I’ve also made many small improvements to the bar release/re-grab logic, as well as various features in the level editor, such as undo and redo.  Overall it’s coming along nicely!


Here’s a fun little test level I made today while play-testing the new fixes:
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2018, 03:56:01 PM »

Sausage people are the best people. This concept looks like a lot of fun. I know its still really early in dev but have you thought about the possibility of having tandem or two player levels where puzzles must be solved together whilst scoring points?
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walaber
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2018, 10:25:52 PM »

I've put a very small amount of thought into it Smiley

I agree two player could be really fun.  I suppose it might require some kind of dynamic split screen option...
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walaber
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2018, 10:28:28 AM »

Do any other devs here have a recommendation for how to run an alpha of their game?  I’d like to get a small group of testers to play early builds and gather their feedback etc.  I don’t mind if the testers end up getting the game for free of course, but would like some control over the distribution of the game since it will be so early and rough.
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2018, 11:06:40 AM »

For very early alphas, many posters here ask for testers in the thread and then send a PM links to download from Wink
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walaber
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2018, 02:21:47 PM »

This devlog is getting pretty heavy with GIFs so for a while now I'll just link to videos I've posted to twitter.  I don't see any way to embed twitter videos into the posts.

Lately I added ropes into the game, which I'm enjoying swinging on already Smiley
they will look nicer once the game has some, you know, graphics.

https://twitter.com/walaber/status/1041451165265756161
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walaber
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2018, 07:30:31 PM »

nothing particularly visual to show for recent progress.  Mostly I've been hooking up a 2nd type of level, one that doesn't have a specific "target" object that you have to grab or land on.  These levels will be more open-ended "arenas" where you instead will have a time limit to rack up as many points as you can, finding your own line through the different objects around.  It's mostly hooked up at this point.

Hopefully pretty soon I'll have a build ready to start getting some feedback from players.
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2018, 03:17:41 AM »

This looks pretty cool. I'm curious if it's horrifically hard or not. QWOP is great, but so limited. I'd be interested in testing if you need more people.

I recommend Itch for managing limited early builds. You can leave the page hidden and just send people the link, you can add a password to access, you can have a public page but disable downloads except for people you send keys to, or you can use the "rewards" system to limit access to a certain number of people (for a price of 0, or whatever). Also there's a possibility that if you want other features, they will add them for you.

(P.S. Oh, also, Itch has a command-line tool for updating/uploading builds. It generates patches so you don't have to upload your entire game over and over.)
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 10:51:27 AM by -Ross » Logged

braaaur
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2018, 03:56:01 AM »

Cool!

What platform you aim at? You mentioned two analog sticks, so it could be problematic for most PC owners (I personally don't have a pad for my PC, only for console) :> Mobile/console?
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jctwood
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« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2018, 12:35:56 AM »

This looks like a lot of fun!
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walaber
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« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2018, 06:33:43 AM »

Thanks for the comments everyone.  Yes, the game is definitely designed around a game controller with 2 analog sticks and triggers and shoulder buttons.  I'll be supporting as many controllers as possible on PC and Mac (as well as a somewhat crappy in comparison keyboard control scheme).  Ideally I'd like the game to come to consoles as well, we'll see.

Itch looks pretty great for early feedback testing, I think I'll probably go that route.  Hopefully I'll have a first alpha build available soon.

--

Progress continues, although most of it is pretty invisible, behind-the-scenes type stuff around data formats, level editor improvements, menu flow, etc.

Recently though I decided to create a system to show a generic “controller overlay” so that you can see how the controls map to the gymnast more visually:

Left stick = shoulder
Right stick = hips
Left Trigger = “pull in” arms
Right Trigger = “pull in” legs


Hopefully this gives an idea of the physics-based control scheme of the game.  Up next is working on a checkpoint system, adding a few more item types, and preparing for an alpha version to get feedback from players.
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« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2018, 10:40:52 PM »

That controller overlay is brilliant!
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walaber
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« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2018, 09:44:37 PM »

Progress continues toward a playable alpha version of the gymnastics game.  The most visual thing I’ve done lately is to test out implementing an actual human character model into the game and start figuring out how I will pose a 3D model to match the 2D physics of the game.

Here’s a look at how that turned out, this video seemed to get a lot of love on twitter:

Overall I’m happy with the progress.  I’m also working on lots of other little issues like properly working checkpoints, adjusting flip detection code, supporting twisting(!), etc.

As always, the most frequent updates happen on my Twitter.
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« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2018, 10:31:49 PM »

Wow, great slow motion effect!
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Devilkay
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Hi! First game-dev experience!


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« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2018, 11:41:28 PM »

very nice work! It's not so easy to make a game with a so important movements! Huge work!
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