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June 23, 2021, 09:24:45 AM

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ROWAN FUTURE
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« on: May 31, 2021, 01:31:11 PM »

I started Blue Energy on the 4th of March 2019 hoping it would be "released in 1 year" Wink
Yeah,
anyway I've been working on it a lot since then, not very consistently - but there has been a lot of progress.



The first Twitter post.

At some point I released an in-dev version on itch.io since it was taking so long to develop, I felt like I would be pro-active if people could playtest a bit.
itch.io
This version of the game has always been slightly buggy and hard to play considering there are pretty much no instructions.

latest itch.io release (images):

menu / title screen

furnace + drill set-up

factory



On the 23rd of February this year(2021), I started a small game experimenting with a new(for me) artstyle that I hadn't tried before: billboarding pixelart + 3D camera.
This was going okay until I wasn't sure how to continue it/make it more interesting and became depressed.

[Around this time I released the Steam page for Blue Energy]

I then returned to Blue Energy on the 25th of April to continue working on it, but decided to remake the game almost completely - start again from the beginning applying the skills I've learnt during this time.
The new Blue Energy is 3D.


Twitter link.

water - 25th of April

added rocks and wavy plants -> 27th of April

added hovercraft - 30th of April

added crafting table - 1st of May

added shadows - 2nd of May

-small side note: when the camera rotates, the shadows can become infinitely thin, since the billboarded image is flat.
To get around this, when I render sprites onto the shadow map, I rotate them relative to the sun angle so there is always a small minimum rotation that creates a shadow.
Twitter link.

started working on factory mechanics - 3rd of May

added crafting - 9th of May

added multi-size items - ->14th of May
At this point my development speed slightly slowed down as I got more used to the project.
I tend to feel lazy even though I am actually making progress.


added changing daylight - 16th of May

add world generation - 18th of May
The world of Blue Energy is meant to be an archipelago of islands so I tried to make that by generating the islands in a squiggly line, with islands that are too close together becoming mini-islands.


20th of May - At this point I added the island generation into the chunk loading system, also I made a small map on the side that shows you where your camera is relative to the world.
As you go off of the edge of the world, the chunks wrap back around so you don't feel a change.


23rd of May - added some plant/rock population with a few new rock types(they will be mine-able)
Twitter link.

24th of May - simple mining, currently you can only mine directly under your feet, but I will add a directional mining check aswell.

25th of May
1 month since I started re-developing Blue Energy, it has taken longer than I expected to make progress, I have to take breaks every few days where I barely do anything gamedev.
At this point I decided I wasn't quite happy with the aesthetic of the game, so I made a poll on Twitter asking people what artstyle they preferred. In the end I decided to go with the popular opinion (100% pixelart), and since the original game was crunchy pixelart, it felt more in-keeping with the style.
31st of May
Since then I've made a sub-pixel camera and now a depth-based post-processing outline shader, instead of the previous inverted mesh.

I'm now working on more factory-focused stuff/system, starting with: foundations to build your factory on & furnaces.

I hope you've found this interesting, I will hopefully continue to post here over time ^^ - and probably clean up/improve this post - I will also try to go more in-depth into various techniques/things I've used.

You can follow me on Twitter, or join my Discord to keep up to date with the project aswell.

Thanks Smiley - Rowan
« Last Edit: May 31, 2021, 01:37:02 PM by ROWAN FUTURE » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2021, 02:47:43 AM »

That is just adorable.

Makes me want to play all game genres in that engine :D!
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2021, 10:33:40 AM »

Interesting game, I like the graphics and the atmosphere in the game is really nice overall. However, it is little bit unclear what your game is about; there could be some info - both here and itch.io - on the setting of the game and what you are supposed to do in it.

I actually went and downloaded the game and tried it about 10 or 15 minutes and here are some quick thoughts. I could not figure out what I was supposed to do at all. The controls are kind of nice, but it would be good IMO if front part and the back part of the hovercraft would look different - now I do not know what way I am facing. Also it was little bit weird that the smaller enemies would knock me out of the hovercraft if I ran into them. I probably need to get back to the game when I have more time...

But if you would like have more playtesting I think you could put this also in the Playtesting section here. Also - regarding playtesting - you should maybe tell what kind of feedback you want.

Nice game. This could be something. My top wish is just that the goal/objective of the game and gameplay would be more clear - you could make a tutorial or a manual to fill these gaps.

Good luck with your project.
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ROWAN FUTURE
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2021, 11:56:43 AM »

That is just adorable.

Makes me want to play all game genres in that engine :D!
Tysm! <3

Interesting game, I like the graphics and the atmosphere in the game is really nice overall. However, it is little bit unclear what your game is about; there could be some info - both here and itch.io - on the setting of the game and what you are supposed to do in it...
The game is about survival + building factories.
Apart from that -for now, I'll keep it mysterious until I start showing proper gameplay. Things aren't completely decided and, I can explain things but it'll be more fun to see it working ^^

I actually went and downloaded the game and tried it about 10 or 15 minutes and here are some quick thoughts. I could not figure out what I was supposed to do at all. The controls are kind of nice, but it would be good IMO if front part and the back part of the hovercraft would look different - now I do not know what way I am facing. Also it was little bit weird that the smaller enemies would knock me out of the hovercraft if I ran into them. I probably need to get back to the game when I have more time...

But if you would like have more playtesting I think you could put this also in the Playtesting section here. Also - regarding playtesting - you should maybe tell what kind of feedback you want.

Nice game. This could be something. My top wish is just that the goal/objective of the game and gameplay would be more clear - you could make a tutorial or a manual to fill these gaps.
Thanks for trying it out!
The version currently on itch.io is pretty bad, but I'm not looking for playtesters for it or anything really since its out of date and I'm reworking the game completely :)
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2021, 01:35:55 PM »

Quote
Apart from that -for now, I'll keep it mysterious until I start showing proper gameplay. Things aren't completely decided and, I can explain things but it'll be more fun to see it working ^^

Since it's called Blue Energy I'm going to take a guess. Do you use the ocean to generate power to run your factories?
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ROWAN FUTURE
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2021, 01:53:12 PM »

Since it's called Blue Energy I'm going to take a guess. Do you use the ocean to generate power to run your factories?
sadly not, but that's a fun idea!




Since my last post, I've spent a lot of time optimising for rendering lots of factory.

The game probably won't run well on a low-end computer yet, but at least now I can cover the entire screen with factory objects and have it run smoothly on my gaming laptop.
Most of the optimisation is achieved through rendering every single factory object possibly visible at once, and then using a shader + array uniform to disable/enable objects by setting the vertex coords to 0.

Since the furnaces in the game aren't restricted to a grid when placed on the islands, they also have information in the shader for a position offset. Furnaces can't be placed in more places than if they fit in a grid since they're rectangular so its fine if internally they are still grid locked.

Also I decided to use more realistic shadowing for factory objects, while keeping 1 color shadows on terrain.




The last(ish) thing I did, was adding 3D lights.



Twitter link.

The lights are rendered using a screen based method.
I create a circle vertex buffer with 16 edges (can be lower or higher - just makes the light shape less complex), the vertex colors on the inner edges are black, and on the outer, white.



Inside the lighting shader I take the vertex color directly to calculate the distance from the light to the world position using the screen depth.



This has the added effect of being able to make the light into interesting shapes.



Also thanks to @XorDev I added surface normal detection to the lights using the screen depth, and then just take the dot product of the normal and the light direction and multiply the light by it.
Also I added a minimum value for the light color if the depth is negative, so there's a sort of glow.

The lights are all rendered onto a surface with additive blending, which works fine as long as there aren't too many super bright lights super close together.
This surface is then subtracted from the subtractive screen overlay that changes the color tint based on the time of day.

And the last thing is, since the lights don't cast shadows, I can put lights inside objects, which makes them look like they're glowing,


Twitter link.

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