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October 24, 2021, 02:06:27 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsBattleJuice Alchemist – Action RPG with deck-building mechanics
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Author Topic: BattleJuice Alchemist – Action RPG with deck-building mechanics  (Read 18889 times)
JobLeonard
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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2020, 06:18:47 AM »

>  but I know I'm in a minority for even caring about this in the first place so I won't push it

That also has a lot to do conflict-based progression and looting being so normalized in games though, which does beg the question what happens if a game gives alternatives and also reminds us that it's kinda not OK
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Alain
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« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2020, 12:08:29 PM »

Wow so this is really elaborate AI for just little critters walking around! Very nice!

Regarding written vs video, my idea was written, but in shorter form. Basically, letting know what's new, scratch the surface and more details in video. If one doesn't have much time, he/she can still follow compressed info in written devlog. In case of more free time and raised interest, there's video with nitty gritty details.

But anyway, you write very good, despite of longer post I red it entirely, it was very interesting to read this enemies AI behavior. Also I checked video quickly, you have talent for making it and talking to camera. Gentleman

Thanks for the feedback! I totally get what you mean and I will try as you suggest: The next time, I will make a shorter version of the post which sums up the video more. Those who are interested then still can get more info by watching the video.


Super interesting read, really cool system you're putting together there! Of course the more real they are as individuals the eviller it feels to fight them. Sad I feel like Hades solved this well narratively by making everybody literally immortal underworld gods. Cheesy I guess they could retreat in defeat instead of dying to signify the end of an encounter, but I know I'm in a minority for even caring about this in the first place so I won't push it; just some thoughts that came up in my mind. Tongue Didn't know Unreal has a built-in visual AI editor, that's really cool!

Thanks! Yes, the behaviour trees in UE4 are a nice tool. I had to get used to them a bit, but they definitely do their job. I'm glad you like the idea of that kind of AI. I also think it makes the world feel more alive, which was one of the reasons why I made it.


That also has a lot to do conflict-based progression and looting being so normalized in games though, which does beg the question what happens if a game gives alternatives and also reminds us that it's kinda not OK

I fear in BattleJuice Alchemist, you also solve most problems with combat. But I really like when games go a different route and I totally agree that it is important to remind us sometimes that violence is only a solution within games.
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Phodex Games
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« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2020, 07:05:40 PM »

So I finally found time to give you some feedback. There already is quite a lot of stuff going on here and I don't know where to start, but I guess I will stick to the basics.

I really like that you are going for your own artistic style. It can be dangerous but can help your game to stand out. I personally, as you may have guessed already, like to follow already proven patterns. That's why I consider myself more of a designer than an artist. So keep that in mind when reading my feedback.

What I also like is the general setting and the name of the game. I mean there are not many games that are about alchemy or have to do with the topic and I think the name of the game fits just perfectly.

I also really like the general presentation of your page here and of your YouTube videos. I can see that you have some sense of design, which I like to see.

Regarding the gameplay, I can't say much about it yet, because it's hard to see what the game will feel like in the end. I mean I haven't spent a lot of time following your project yet, but from my first impression, I am a little bit unsure what the game is all about and what the main game loop will be.

I am also a fan of random and procedural generation and it seems to me you have done a pretty good job with that. I haven't seen enough from the world yet, but from the first impression I got, I think it would be cool if the generator would place some unique points of interest. Like I don't know a castle, a village, like the stuff you want to explore. But I don't know enough about the game yet. If exploration is secondary it may not be a good idea. But from experience, I can tell, that the challenge you are facing with the level generation, is to make it feel natural and worth exploring, but still, so far the world does look pretty good and I think you can be happy with the result of your level generation.

I think the only larger issue I see so far is the UI. It feels a little bit overloaded. Style-wise, it's nothing I would do, but it fits the style of the game very well and I think that's a good thing. But when I look at it I feel overwhelmed. It's like my eyes are burning a bit from looking at it Tears of Joy. Don't get me wrong there are a lot of cool ideas going on in your design, but there are a lot of high contrast colors and generally, a lot of different colors, that make it unpleasant to look at.

I would recommend to make it a little bit more subtle and to trade a little bit of the style of your UI for readability and user-friendliness. Like using the font you use for "Draw Speed", "Walk Speed", "Max Load" for other important elements as well, because it is much better readable than the main font you use for the character name for example. Also to I think the elements in your UI don't have enough room to breathe. That's a very common design mistake and it happens to all of us. A good idea to solve it would be to make two separate windows you can switch from and to for your inventory and character stats, so that its not all on one screen. That will allow you to use more space for single elements.

By the way one of my favorite UI's from a fantasy game is this on from the game "Risen": https://blog.chordian.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Risen-2016-02-13-10-02-29-94-1024x576.jpg
Yes it's a full-screen menu, not everybody likes that, but it manages to display everything you need on one screen, although this really is a pretty complex RPG with lots of stats, items, etc.

I think it is readable, well structured, but still looks stylized and fancy. Maybe this can give you some inspiration.

Wow sorry that got longer than expected xD. But there you have it some pretty detailed feedback.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 07:15:40 PM by Phodex Games » Logged

marcgfx
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« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2020, 05:26:23 AM »

Ï like that your AI has actual needs it tries to satisfy. I have noticed with my own AI experiments, that it's often very hard to actually notice anything this elaborate. Some of my enemies try to retreat when hurt, but they usually have no chance to do and I have not really noticed it happening.

I was wondering about your use of the word enemy, in a way I feel like your critters are not evil? Is there a way to maybe just frighten them away or maybe even ally with them by providing for their needs? I feel like some additional system like this might make the first system you described more meaningful.

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JobLeonard
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« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2020, 11:08:11 AM »

Could be interesting if you have to avoid "overharvesting" them for ingredients
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Alain
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« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2020, 01:00:01 PM »

I was wondering about your use of the word enemy, in a way I feel like your critters are not evil? Is there a way to maybe just frighten them away or maybe even ally with them by providing for their needs? I feel like some additional system like this might make the first system you described more meaningful.

That's a great question! At the moment, all critters are evil. I just made them not attack the player to be able to record their behaviour for this video. It is exactly as you say: the system as it is now is just a way to make enemies move around. The player can interact with the system only by dropping an item to attract enemies. The player can figure out that some items dropped to the ground can fulfill needs of the enemies, so they can be made more happy and less aggressive. I'll leave it at that for now, but I will definitely come back to the whole thing to give it more gameplay depth.


Could be interesting if you have to avoid "overharvesting" them for ingredients

That is an interesting thougt! I will keep that in mind when coming back to working on the system.
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Alain
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« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2020, 01:04:59 PM »

Thank you so much Phodex for the in depth feedback and all the nice words! And it is great that you included the things you dislike, because this way I can work on improving.

I think the only larger issue I see so far is the UI. It feels a little bit overloaded. Style-wise, it's nothing I would do, but it fits the style of the game very well and I think that's a good thing. But when I look at it I feel overwhelmed. It's like my eyes are burning a bit from looking at it Tears of Joy. Don't get me wrong there are a lot of cool ideas going on in your design, but there are a lot of high contrast colors and generally, a lot of different colors, that make it unpleasant to look at.

I totally agree with you here. The game and especially its UI can be overwhelming to look at in places. I have to consider working on it more. Btw. I am also a big fan of Risen Smiley
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Alain
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« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2021, 05:48:21 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
Old School Games & Enemy A.I. Inspirations



Hey everyone! I hope the posts for my DevLogs keep evolving. From your feedback I understood that the last post was quite lengthy, especially because you could simply watch my video to get the same information. So this time, I'll try to give you a brief overview here. If you then decide, you want to know even more, you can watch the full DevLog video on YouTube:



click GIF to watch on YouTube ↑

I thought, I'd like to start 2021 by looking back at some of the great games from my childhood, whose A.I. inspire my work on BattleJuice Alchemist at the moment. I got a bit carried away when opening the box of the original X-Com, because 1990s big boxes are basically the coolest thing ever and I am really nostalgic for them. As some of you might know, I have a Windows 98 machine with a CRT next to my workstation, so I can pop in a floppy disk any time. It is always amazing to take a look at those boxes and manuals and feelies that once sparked my interested in games.


Back on track, I thought about Half-Life a bit. The behavior of enemies of that game has much more depth on the second look than one would expect from a shooter from the late 1990s. But Half-Life is not any shooter, of course. I already talked about Half-Life's Houndeye when explaining my need-driven idle behavior in BattleJuice Alchemist, but there is a lot more to learn from enemies like Half-Life's assassin. For example, the most elaborate or realistic enemy behavior is not necessarily the best one for a game. The impression an enemy makes is often way more important than the programming logic behind it.

I am currently overhauling the combat A.I. for BattleJuice Alchemist. This is what I will get back to now and the next video I make will be exactly about that. I had a lot of fun reminiscing about these games and I hope some of you did too.

As always, thank you for reading this and maybe watching the video. Have a great start into the new year!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 03:11:31 AM by Alain » Logged

JobLeonard
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« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2021, 07:13:02 AM »

Oh man, I both miss and don't miss 90s game boxes. Miss them because they were full of goodies, like you said. Don't miss them because I simply wouldn't have space for them these days

Looking forward to hearing more about that AI overhaul!
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Alain
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« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2021, 08:35:44 AM »

Oh man, I both miss and don't miss 90s game boxes. Miss them because they were full of goodies, like you said. Don't miss them because I simply wouldn't have space for them these days

I totally agree, space is the big problem with big boxes. I have one shelf dedicated for my games and it is full. If I want to get a new one, an old one has to go Wink
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Phodex Games
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« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2021, 12:56:26 AM »

I am not a huge fan of collecting stuff, but I share your passion for boxed versions. I bought some games in a collectors edition, even years after I played them, just because I like to have that feeling and the goodies. I for example bought the collectors edition of Risen, which we talked about earlier, a year ago or so. Funnily there was a beta access key for Risen 2 in it, when that game long has been released Tears of Joy

Regarding AI, that was a huge undertaking in my project as well. Lately, I got it working pretty solid but it was lots of hard work, and I redesigned the system multiple times. I think you are using a state machine? For my project, I made my own kind of system that's a hybrid of a state machine and GOAP (Goal Oriented Action Planning). I think especially GOAP is an interesting approach and I always went for it.

I have to watch your video about AI when I have some time Smiley
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Alain
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« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2021, 08:31:24 AM »

Regarding AI, that was a huge undertaking in my project as well. Lately, I got it working pretty solid but it was lots of hard work, and I redesigned the system multiple times. I think you are using a state machine? For my project, I made my own kind of system that's a hybrid of a state machine and GOAP (Goal Oriented Action Planning). I think especially GOAP is an interesting approach and I always went for it.

Yes, I'm using a state machine. I hadn't heard of GOAP before, but I briefly googled it and it sounds super interesting!
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Ramos
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« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2021, 10:03:34 AM »



I saw your topic a couple of times, I definitely find the art style very attractive and unique.ANd no weapons just positions seems like a nice mechanic.

I also just checked your Steam page and must ask out of personal curiosity, is your Wishlist amount between 400-800 by any chance?
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Alain
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« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2021, 12:11:29 AM »

I also just checked your Steam page and must ask out of personal curiosity, is your Wishlist amount between 400-800 by any chance?

That's totally correct, it is at 500 at the moment. Growth is steady, but very slow. I hope more people will get interested when there is a playable demo in a few month and I feel like I still have to figure out a lot about marketing.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2021, 02:33:17 AM »

Quite different from the last videolog I saw from you, I enjoy the variety! So will the world be getting big box BJA? Cheesy
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Ramos
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« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2021, 10:15:31 PM »

I also just checked your Steam page and must ask out of personal curiosity, is your Wishlist amount between 400-800 by any chance?

That's totally correct, it is at 500 at the moment. Growth is steady, but very slow. I hope more people will get interested when there is a playable demo in a few month and I feel like I still have to figure out a lot about marketing.

You can also use Gif`s for marketing(demo is the cherry on the cake) and since you have a very attractive art style here I am sure you can do some eye candy gifs for social media and Journalists
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Alain
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« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2021, 03:17:19 AM »

Quite different from the last videolog I saw from you, I enjoy the variety! So will the world be getting big box BJA? :lol:

Thanks Prinsessa. At first I was a bit hesitant to make a devlog like that and I hope the editing is not too "Youtuby".

I would sooo love to make a big box for BJA. I am fantasizing about having a big box and roll up a colorful paper with a Steam key on it, putting that rolled paper into a flask that then goes into the big box. Maybe I can at least make a limited edition of 1 and put it into my shelf ;)


You can also use Gif`s for marketing(demo is the cherry on the cake) and since you have a very attractive art style here I am sure you can do some eye candy gifs for social media and Journalists

I will definitely keep in mind to make more gifs in the future and I'm glad you say the art style is attractive :)
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2021, 06:31:25 AM »

You could make a freely available design for people to print out and make their own boxes with Wink
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Alain
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« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2021, 10:50:26 PM »

You could make a freely available design for people to print out and make their own boxes with Wink

I hadn't thought of that! One of my best friends is a packaging designer and already said he'd love to help if there ever was a boxed version. I was flattered, but I thought this would never happen, because I hadn't thought of just designing it and let people print it out themselves. Thanks for the great tip, JobLeonard!
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Alain
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« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2021, 05:33:57 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
Enemy Behavior: Combat A.I.




click GIF to watch on YouTube ↑

Hey everyone! I finished the last entry in my A.I. overhaul video trilogy and it is about the most juicy topic in my eyes so far: Combat A.I.! I tried to make the video entertaining and snappy and kept it under 5 minutes.

As you might know already, there are two types of combat in my game: close and ranged combat. Close combat is fought in 1 on 1 fights with slow motions. Ranged combat is fought from classic action RPG top-down view, except with a bit more kiting. The overhaul I worked on is that of the ranged combat.

I connected the combat A.I. to the enemies' wellbeing, which I explained before in the need-driven behavior video. Enemies now have various states of aggressivity and act accordingly. They also alarm each other, work together to give the player some real trouble and got a new sprinting ability. I also added some UI that telegraphs the attack an enemy plans to execute so the player can react accoringly.


To raise the stakes even more, enemies now level up themselves. In my story, the world is overrun by spirits from a realm called the Crossroads. They possess animals and humans and are lead by demons that spawn under certain conditions. Now, enemies who defeat the player in close combat get promoted to demons.

Thank you so much for reading (and watching) and I'd be happy to know what you think!
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 03:11:42 AM by Alain » Logged

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