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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsEvolving the 2D game (Project “SUPERSTAR” )
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Author Topic: Evolving the 2D game (Project “SUPERSTAR” )  (Read 10177 times)
Nash
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« on: November 13, 2007, 09:46:50 PM »

In a world of next-gen gaming, where developers are always attempting to push graphics to the next level, the one thing that has never changed is 2D gaming. 2D games have stayed pretty much the same over time.  The player is confined to the same old X or Y axis.  Well, I want to try and do something new with the 2D space, which brings me to my topic:




   This project is very simple in design, but hopefully it will get me one step closer to making a game that will truly evolve 2D games. Ready? Here we go.       


The Concept:
   
   You play as an ex-mob fighter who is trying to protect a little girl from his former organization. You fight best while listing to your mp3, by timing your enemy’s movements to a tune you can predict your opponent’s next move.  In short “SUPERSTAR” is a music based fighter.



Main Characters:  




Name: Lu
Age: 19
Sex: male

   Lu is Boss Man’s main muscle. Raised and trained by Boss Man himself, Lu is capable of dishing out major damage. However Boss Man raised Lu as the ultimate weapon not as a person, thus leaving him anti-social.  He turns to music for answers to everything from fighting to life in general.




Name: Abigail
Age: 3
Sex: Female

Boss Man’s pet project, Abigail is a little girl who has been experimented on since she was born in hopes of making the true ultimate solider. However, the lead scientist over the Abigail project became attached to the little girl and planned to escape with her. Boss found out and had the scientist killed. But before they could take Abigail again Lu stepped in.





Name: Boss Man
Age: unknown
Sax: male

   Boss Man is the leader of the biggest organized crime ring in the city. He raised Lu since he was a toddler, and trained him to be a living weapon. He also had his hand in the experimentation of Abigail for reasons unknown.


Game Play:

   I’m going to try to make this expiation as simple as I can…. Press the correct arrows that are falling down the screen at the right time.  Simple, but I think it will be mad fun playing this on a dance mat.  It could almost be a karate simulation…. almost.


That’s about it. BTW my name is Nash, I like games and chicken.
How’s that for a 2nd post? Comment away.

Here’s some concept art of Superstar, and I’ll try to post some animation next week.
(thumbnail)

click here for  full view : http://gbenash.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/poster-superstar.png
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Zaphos
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2007, 10:20:11 PM »

In a world of next-gen gaming, where developers are always attempting to push graphics to the next level, the one thing that has never changed is 2D gaming. 2D games have stayed pretty much the same over time.
2D games have changed a lot, though ...

The player is confined to the same old X or Y axis.
Isn't that simply true by definition?  Although games have experimented with changing which axes are the X/Y axis (most recently, see Fez) and done 2.5D-type tricks

Well, I want to try and do something new with the 2D space, which brings me to my topic:
Your game appears to have nothing to do with 2D or 3D, and could work fine in either, though.

About the game itself ... (1) as described it's just keyboard DDR; where does fighting come in? (2) If that art is supposed to be game art and not just concept art, it's going to be a huge pain to create good smooth animations for characters of that resolution, and a whole new pain to load all the animation data in to RAM in a reasonable amount of time.
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Seth
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2007, 07:57:09 AM »

I was hoping this would be a beat em up game where you walked around and had to attack with the rhythm of whatever music was playing for combos

But yeah I don't see how this is anything but DDR with different graphics
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fish
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2007, 08:56:28 AM »

But yeah I don't see how this is anything but DDR with different graphics

yup.

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Keops
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2007, 12:57:47 PM »

I know you haven't really asked for this kind of assistance, but I want to try my hand at drawing the characters you posted there. I want to continue practicing my anime/manga character design skills and these characters seem neat. However I decided to ask first and only if you don't mind, I'd love to try sketching Lu, Abigail and Boss Man! Maybe you can just use them as inspiration? (who dislikes fan art anyway? Tongue)

As a fan of both DDR and fighting games I must say I would be interested in seeing how this turns out, I find it kinda attractive as a concept, so go for broke!
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Nash
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2007, 03:05:25 PM »

@Zaphos

   Maybe I wasn’t clear in my statement about 2D games. When I said they have stayed pretty much the same, I meant the presentation hasn’t changed much. Remember the 3D games with low poly models and cg cut scenes only.  As time went on 3D games advanced so that cg like graphics could be played in real time. That’s sort of what I want to do with 2D.  Some RPGs use 2D animated cut scenes to advance the story. I want to make it so that you can actually play those cut scenes out in real time. 

   You are also correct on your assumption about the concept art.  It is our target animation quality.  As for it being a pain, I doubt that it will be.  It’s just going to be time consuming, but what isn’t.   


@Seth

   True you can say this game is DDR with different graphics, but is that really a bad thing. Also “SUPERSTAR” goes a little deeper (or I hope it will go a little deeper) since the arrow keys will be planned to the particular scene.  So you should never feel like any of the moves is unnatural.

   If you’re looking for a beat ‘em up game with combos attached to rhythm, there’s a game sort of like that coming out for the PSP with little monsters.  The name of it escapes me right now, though. 

@Keops

   Go ahead.  Knock yourself out.  When you finish, post it here.  I’d love to see it. 

We’ve just started animating, and so far it’s going smoothly.  I’ll try to post something next week.
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Mr Peckerston
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2007, 03:24:26 PM »

Unless I'm missing something, this is very similar to

and

. I don't really understand how that's "evolving the 2D game", but it still sounds like it could be fun Smiley
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Jimbob
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2007, 03:51:24 PM »

Dragon's Lair anyone?
That game didn't even TELL you what buttons to press...
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Chris Whitman
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2007, 03:57:27 PM »

Maybe I wasn’t clear in my statement about 2D games. When I said they have stayed pretty much the same, I meant the presentation hasn’t changed much. Remember the 3D games with low poly models and cg cut scenes only.  As time went on 3D games advanced so that cg like graphics could be played in real time. That’s sort of what I want to do with 2D.  Some RPGs use 2D animated cut scenes to advance the story. I want to make it so that you can actually play those cut scenes out in real time. 

Look, we're not saying your game sounds bad, but I don't think you're being as innovative as you think you are being.

Technical innovations analogous to those achieved by 3D games over the past several years are certainly possible within 2D games -- algorithmically generated animations using skeletal systems or area preserving optimization techniques, high dynamic range lighting, shadowing, normal mapping and ambient occlusion are all possible within a 2D context. Furthermore, a lot of other people are already doing these things; just take a look at Gish 2, for example.

People will tend to react negatively to your proposals if you erroneously claim that you are innovating when you are not, because it seems disingenuous. Also, for the record, the whole 'angsty teen killing machine' is kind of a cliché.
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Nash
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2007, 05:58:31 PM »

I think everybody missed this statement in my first post:

 
Quote
This project is very simple in design, but hopefully it will get me one step closer to making a game that will truly evolve 2D games.


I’m not trying to sound defensive, but not once did I say “SUPERSTAR” was evolving the 2D the game.  I’m simply trying to make the first step by getting the basics down.



@Mr Peckerston

   Take those two videos you posted, put them together, and that’s pretty much what we are trying to do with “SUPERSTAR”.

@I Like Cake

   As for the cliché of the “angsty teen killing machine” we know it’s been done before, we just have to do it differently.  And by different, I mean cooler.
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Zaphos
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2007, 09:42:15 PM »

That’s sort of what I want to do with 2D.  Some RPGs use 2D animated cut scenes to advance the story. I want to make it so that you can actually play those cut scenes out in real time.
As mentioned by others: this has been done before, so probably wouldn't qualify as "evolving" 2D games.

You are also correct on your assumption about the concept art.  It is our target animation quality.  As for it being a pain, I doubt that it will be.
By painful I mostly just mean time consuming.

It’s just going to be time consuming, but what isn’t.
Generally there are plenty of ways to decrease development time, and a lot of indy projects are not relatively that time consuming.


... Initially I thought the visuals in this would be like a fighting game, but now it sounds more like the visuals will be more like in Elite Beat Agents or Gitaroo Man -- playing out a story that changes based on the player's performance?
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Blaster
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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2007, 12:00:53 AM »

I'm a little confused, Is this topic about game design/art design, or do you want feedback?

Actually, now I'm confused in general. Is the feedback forum reserved for actual playable games? Or should concepts get feedback there too? Or do they belong here? Hmm!



Anyway, regarding 'SUPERSTAR'.

Creating a game with the visual equilivant to a 2D animated cutscene has been something I've wanted to do for a long time, so naturally I'm quite keen to see how you go about it. However, I can't help but feel this is... well, a bit doomed. ^^;

How many people are working on the animation? If the concept work is setting the animation standard, I can't help but imagine you're going to run into problems. For example, you have all sorts anatomy issues going on that simply aren't going to work when you start animating. Similarily, if the concept work is to judge by, I think some time spent learning about lighting/how light works would be well spent. Even if you're working in 2D, I think it's important to think of them as consistant 3D objects. Add animation to this, and it's... SEVEN times as important.

Also, as said before, the story is very cliché. Cliché can be done cool, you're right. But I can't help but feel your character designs are also rather uninspired.

That's just the impression I get with what you've shown so far, but I'll hold further comment until I see some more work. Animation will give you the opportunity to flesh out a lot of the personality that I think the concepts are missing, use it well!
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Derek
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« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2007, 12:28:49 AM »

Actually, now I'm confused in general. Is the feedback forum reserved for actual playable games? Or should concepts get feedback there too? Or do they belong here? Hmm!

The feedback forum is for games, at any stage of development, that require feedback.

But generally, only games that you are planning on making should be discussed there.
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Gainsworthy
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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2007, 01:58:59 AM »

Sounds like it'd look great, helluva project though. As... already mentioned.

Also, he's a very young, fresh faced looking killing machine. Even for a 19 year old [though maybe I'm just blind to how we look at this age]. 'Course, I guess Quote and Curly are, but, well, you know the deal. Unless you don't, in which I shouldn't say why?

BUT it sounds like fun. Always thought music based games which don't simply involve arrows and abstract visualisers are pretty killer. Not that all that many exist. But for doing more with music in a game than just BGM-ing it, commendation is in order.
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Nash
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2007, 05:34:31 PM »

@Zaphos
   Yeah, the game will be something of a mix between Elite Beat Agents and Gitaroo Man.  For visuals, just think anime. 

@Pita

   This topic is about both game design and feedback. Although, I don’t think I expressed that well with my initial post. If this topic should be in the feedback section, I am sure a moderator could move it. 

   As for this project being doomed… I hope not. I think we should have a little more faith in people. There are two animators working on this project: one key animator and myself. Anatomy shouldn’t be an issue; you have to understand that not every thing is going to be absolutely perfect. As long as it runs smoothly and looks good it will be alright.

   Like I said before, I am going to have some animation up next week.  Feel free to dissect it when I post it. 


@Gainsworthy

   Thanks for the props.  I was thinking today about adding other elements to the game that will keep it from being an arrow masher, but I don’t want the player to become too distracted from the story (visuals).

@Everyone

   Thanks for all the comments.  Good or bad, it really helps keep me focused on the task at hand.
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Chris Whitman
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2007, 06:09:44 PM »

Have you considered using some kind of automagical interpolation to reduce the need to draw a whole bunch of inbetween frames?

For example, you can populate a graph of interior and boundary points on the image and then deform those points using a skeletal system, or simply move some points while using optimization techniques to minimize local coordinate deformation.
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2007, 04:58:59 PM »

@I Like Cake

   To be honest, that hadn’t even crossed my mind.  That’s mostly because I have no idea on how to start such an undertaking.  Plus, it seems like that will only work for the environments and only work for things going back into space.  So for now it’s all about drawing.


   So, after six days of part time animating (which was really just testing a few things out) we did some of the basic character animations. Although this is far from production quality work, it gives you a basic idea of our current skill level.     
(Note:  gif animations are not at corrected speed, but should still be smooth)




Basic run cycle



Camera Spin (only plays once, to see again refresh page )


Bad guy with a Stick




   It takes about 2 hours to put together a cycle.  We have other cycles completed, but they’re just transitional animations that move the story forward. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re going to iron out a complete fight sequence.  Then we’ll move on to making the animations that will actually go into the final game.  We plan on doing a type of cross hatching shading in the final animations that will give it a trip-y feel sort of like this.

   
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Keops
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« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2007, 02:55:48 PM »

Hey there Nash!

I have some sketches of the characters! I'll scan and upload them soon maybe tomorrow, I've been very busy lately. But I wanted to say that those animations look quite good for first testing. Of course they need to be polished, but the start looks decent enough!

I'm not an animation expert, in fact, I can barely animate at all, but I'm going to try studying those and coming up with suggestions!

Keep it up.
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« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2007, 12:23:23 AM »

@Keops

   Sweet, looking forward to those sketches and any suggestions on animation will be much appreciated.  Also I will have an update for “SUPERSTAR” in a few days. More artwork for the win!!
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Nash
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2007, 03:00:36 PM »

Update Time!  So we planned out the basic look for the game.  Now, it’s time to build the world and the inhabitants that makes up “SUPERSTAR”.



(full view)
Character design/concept of the psycho twins, 1 of the 5 planned bosses for “SUPERSTAR”.


(full view)
Mock up of In-game game play featuring Lu and the psycho twins.


So there are three rows in which arrows fall. The arrows change color as they fall Obviously, red means don’t hit.  Its okay to hit yellow, but you get the best score for going on green. 
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