My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

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#31 danm36  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 07 June 2009 - 12:14 PM

@Chuck

The system is perfect for testing. Thats how I got the fire effects correct, though the turret is still a bit missaligned (Should work with proper code). I intend the use unique scaling so there is more detail. I guess they should be at 64x64 until spec is finished.

I'm taking a break from resource making too. Sadly, due to the time difference, I won't be online much longer today and, due to various things i'm doing, I will only be on about 1 or 2 hours tomorrow, between about 9 and 11 your time. I shall be online 9 onwards the rest of the week except for friday, which will be the same. Weekend will be as normal.

The reason I was churning out so much art is so you can use them as placeholders in your code. I would probably do the ultimate final art within the last month and a half, when most of the code, story and spec is sorted.

Talk to you later

Dan

This post has been edited by danm36: 07 June 2009 - 12:17 PM

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#32 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 07 June 2009 - 01:57 PM

*Update*

Here's the initial Game Design Specification.

I've settled on the title "Battle for Kursk" or BSK.

I would encourage everybody interested in reading the document to feedback any thoughts or suggestions. I've stayed away from code and focused upon the game experience from the player's perspective.

@Dan,
I'll use the art for placement art. Take a look at the spec and tell me "honestly" what you think I'm comfortable with the coding requirements. The only thing I really need to practice and learn is improved physics and particle effects.

Regards,
Chuck

This post has been edited by chuckb: 07 June 2009 - 02:05 PM

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#33 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 07 June 2009 - 02:09 PM

Hi,
Just a word to say that Joe has agreed to join the team as a musician. Here's his game site with demos. Joe's Music and Foley Demos.

I must say I'm very excited about this project. In fact my wife pulled out a Time Life book and began to read up on the Battle for Kursk (BFK).

Regards,
Chuck
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#34 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 07 June 2009 - 04:39 PM

@Dan,
Here's an improved version. You can move to explore the world. I've also added two new keywords to the "level1.dat" file that defines world boundaries and the starting screen position. This is the top-left corner of the screen in the game level.

I've increased terrain sprites to 512 x 512 pixels. The world is 12800x12800 pixels or 25 tiles by 25 tiles (512x512 each). This is 3200x3200 feet or roughly 1km x 1 km. Whew! Remember 64 pixels = 16 feet (4 pixels/foot).

You can now move around the entire world using arrow keys or moving the mouse near the edges of the screen.

Battle for Kursk v0.004

Here's a screenshot with the 512x512 textures.

Posted Image

Regards,
Chuck
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#35 Amrykid  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 07 June 2009 - 06:42 PM

View Postchuckb, on 7 Jun, 2009 - 04:39 PM, said:

@Dan,
Here's an improved version. You can move to explore the world. I've also added two new keywords to the "level1.dat" file that defines world boundaries and the starting screen position. This is the top-left corner of the screen in the game level.

I've increased terrain sprites to 512 x 512 pixels. The world is 12800x12800 pixels or 25 tiles by 25 tiles (512x512 each). This is 3200x3200 feet or roughly 1km x 1 km. Whew! Remember 64 pixels = 16 feet (4 pixels/foot).

You can now move around the entire world using arrow keys or moving the mouse near the edges of the screen.

Battle for Kursk v0.004

Here's a screenshot with the 512x512 textures.

Posted Image

Regards,
Chuck

drools....that reminds me of command and conquer.
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#36 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 07 June 2009 - 06:54 PM

@Amrykid,
Yeah it does a bit.:)

@Dan,
I've built in zoom capabilities: x1, x2, x4, x8. x8 is displayed above. At x1 we can see about 2/3 of the entire battlefield. This will allow game play to include longer range shots...keeping everything to scale.

Regards,
Chuck
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#37 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:52 PM

*Update*
This has been a constructive weekend. However, it must come to and end so I can rest before working. :D

I've been experimenting with the Pyro library for particle effects. I've got some work to do but here's the start.

Posted Image

Regards,
Chuck
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#38 danm36  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 07 June 2009 - 11:59 PM

@Chuck

Nice effects. We shouldn't need any explosion animations anymore.
Thanks for the updated program too, and thanks very much for the design spec. Its very helpful. Should I start working on the tank variations now or later?

Just thinking about one of your points (The lives). What if, when the player died, they gain control of another NPC tank (Of the same type and side). That would keep it more realistic too. Just a thought

Dan
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#39 JamesR  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:16 AM

Hi Guys,
Iím still on board to work on the project. I missed the idea bus because of E3 but Iím cool to work on a top down tank game. Below is what I would call a brain dump. A bunch of ideas and comments about tank games and what I think we should do. Read this as if we were sitting down for coffee, beware its a lot of rambling.

Brain Dump
Tanks are fun, when they are larger then life. Crashing through things, over things, smashing things, and of course a big gun. Tanks are not agile, if can be difficult to control them but its usually part of the fun if your bashing through things.

If you look at popular top down shooting games, Geometry Wars, Asteroids, Smash TV, Robotron, usually the player is very mobile. Part of the ďskillĒ is dodging and avoiding enemies while shooting them down. But what tanks lack in mobility they for in strength and dexterity. There is nothing really strategic about tanks. They bowl over and through its enemies. I think we should give players that type of experience. A way we translate this into the player experience is having the tank run over enemies like a monster truck. Squishing them instead of dying like in all the other games listed. I think the twist on the mechanic will help this game stand out and make more sense as a tank. We could add this mechanic to the terrain as well. There will be parts of the terrain that the tank can climb over and through but enemies cannot. On the reverse end, if the player drives into a ditch they are slowed down. Making it easier for enemies to surround them.

Tank Speed
The tank reaches top speed it does not take damage from running over smaller enemies. Also a specific speed, say 70%, must be reached before the tank can crash through a wall.

Tanks VS Zombies. Sounds weird but stay with me J.

Normal soldiers wont ruin toward a tank. They will take cover, fire from range, and pretty much try to avoid going up against the tank. If we want the player to run over things we need to have some dumb enemies that will run at the tank. Also I think dumb enemies might be easier to program.

So lets throw hordes of zombies at the player and make it like a game of surviving each level. We could still set it in WWII, however the Call of Duty World at War game has a pretty popular Nazi Zombie mode, but I donít care. I also feel having zombies as the enemy has a fun selling point to it, better than a normal war game. The game would play more like the Cindyís game than the Rommelís Revenge game.

Zombies and vehicles? It could happen. Recent zombies films, zombies tend to return to their old jobs. Their behavior is similar to muscle memory. There are funny shots of zombies trying to pump gas, was a car, and drive. We could have basic enemy vehicles.

Game mechanics - Controls
Like I said before tanks are hard to control, so tank driving skill should be rewarded. Movement controls the same as Rommelís. They player should be able to spin in place, to line up a angle for attack. The tank should be bigger on screen, giving it a solid presence, and more surface area to splatter things. Players press the up key which moves the throttle forward. Something we should show visually on screen. Players get up to ramming speed and crush over enemies maybe even leaving red tread marks behind.

Mouse controls would diffidently be nice for the targeting the cannon. We should limit target range so it doesnít become just a point and click fest.

Different weapons.
A main turret that always fires machine gun bullets forward at short range. An idea I had is players can pickup comrades that will ride on the tank and fire automatically. Maybe we could have 3 or for slots on the tank where they sit.

I donít players should be able to stock pile weapons like in the Cindy game. I feel there is more strategy when players have to choose which weapon they want at that time. Or which is best for is right for different scenarios or play styles. I recently read an article about how innovative Halo was because it limited players to two weapon slots. Players had to pick and choose which weapon they wanted and what they thought would be best for the upcoming scenario. I think we should do the same as opposed to letting the players be prepared for everything all the time. Once a new weapon is collected it has a set amount of ammo, unless another is picked of the same is picked up, then the ammo is refilled.

Upgrades
Maybe if you pick up the same weapon you get an upgraded version of that weapon. More needs to be discussed here with ammo and weapon upgrades ill get to that later, if we like this direction.

Cannon fire variety
Projectiles that fly straight
Projectile that fires multiple angles like a spread. 3 and 5
Bombs that launch up and land on a direct spot causing splash damage. (Hits multiple enemies with a range)
Flame thrower type that is a constant fire and heavy damage

Variables
Rate of fire.
Charge time (I press the button, projectile fires 2 seconds later)
Arcing or liner (straight out like a bullet, or arching like a catapult)
Damage
Damage radius
Range

Levels
Players progress can progress through levels, or through waves. Waves would entail the same screen. Levels would be a new map and environment. I think we should do both, each level has a few waves before you can move onto the next. Maybe between levels players can spend money or points to repair and upgrade the tanks armor. An increase in armor would be like increasing the total health bar.

Phew, let me know what you guys think. Going forward we should figure out a Tone for the game. Tongue and cheek, serious, gritty bloody, dark. Itís important because the art and design should share the same tone for overall game polish.

Also what time zones are you guys in, Iím in Pacific.

-James
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#40 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:03 AM

Hi James,
Iím glad youíre still interested. Hereís what weíve got so far:

Dan Ė SFX and 2D graphics
Joe - Music
Self - Programming

Youíve done a great job expressing elements that have been weak inherently in my previous games.

I like to toggle between historical type games and silly type of games. Iím leaning in this project toward a more serious type of tank game. Although the zombie idea sounds hysterical we wonít include any this time. Iíve posted a game design specification above somewhere. The link is in color text.

I have left out all sorts of details such as damage %, speed, ammo limits, range, etc. I really need help with that. In fact I can code a data file that allows the designer to specify ratios and values so games can be tweaked without recompiling.

From a programming perspective Iíll be focusing on improving my skill at adding particle effects (primarily smoke and dirt), improving physics, and developing more challenging AI. At the same time I hope to maintain a frame rate of 50 FPSÖso Iíll be reworking a lot of code. This will be a time consuming activity.

Letís think of this project in stages. The goal is to polish each stageÖthen if time permits we move to the next stage. The self-imposed deadline is 9.22.09.

1) Tank on tank warfare, flat terrain (reduces the need for 2D art to look 3D). Smoke, lots of smoke, fire, explosions, sound, music track fading in and out with vintage German or Soviet type music providing sound cues are the emphasis of this stage.
2) Obstacles that may be smashed as you suggest. Trees, buildings, walls (lots of walls), vehicles (stationary and mobile AI).
3) People. Soldiers maneuvering along side tank for support and enemy soldiers that may be run down or shot with machine gun.

This time around, Iím looking for a simple, casual shooter with some realism and minimal silliness.

As a game designer for the project your responsibilities would be as follows:
1) Design the details for the game. E.g. refueling options, re-supply of ammo, number of lives, strength, mobility, armor, damage of game entities, etc.
2) Assist in designing the various game levels in collaboration with Dan.
3) Perform ongoing testing of the game and levels to evaluate the amount of fun and engagement experienced by the player.
4) Design in game instructions (help option).

Let us know if youíre still open to joining the team. Iíll be building a collaboration document soon describe team member responsibilities along with details pertaining to the game engine.

Regards,
Chuck


@Dan,
I'm okay with dying and jumping to another tank.

@James,
East coast of the US for me.

Regards,
Chuck
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#41 danm36  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 08 June 2009 - 09:21 AM

@James

I had thought of some of those ideas, mainly the new and upgraded weapons but, due to the time frame, I decided not to meantion them unless we had some spare time. Also I see what you did with Tanks vs Zombies (Plants vs Zombie for the uninitiated people out there). Your ideas are quite good

Also to note, I am in the UK, so in your time zone (Guessing -7 hours), I will be online 5am till 2pm (12pm till 9 pm in the UK) at weekends and 9am till 1pm during weekdays. Sorry I wont be around in the afternoons but I guess this will mean the game is constantly in motion-ish.

@Chuck

I am a little bit confused to the physics aspect of a top down game but anyways. Today I though about the ability to shoot buildings and, depending on where the tank is, the building would explode and spray debris in a certain direction. This would be more possable with your particle library.

Also, just a thought if you were ever thinking about various campaigns, maybe we could have most of the code there in the .exe and various .dll files , but the stuff like sounds, gfx, level files and campaign data files (What text to show at what time, etc) locked away in a 'diguised' zip file (Make the end .dat instead of .zip or something) in a similar way to Doom's .pak files or Operation Flashpoint's/Armed Assault's .pbo files. This means if we ever want to release an expansion/mod, we just allow the players to download another .dat (Or whatever) file and the game will detect it, alowing the player to choose between Battle of Kursk and Battle of etc in a sub main menu. This will also allow other players to make new campaigns and do more with your engine than you thought possible.

Just a though and probably not implimentable in our current time frame.

Dan

EDIT:

Woah, 41 posts already!

This post has been edited by danm36: 08 June 2009 - 09:22 AM

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#42 Amrykid  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 08 June 2009 - 12:28 PM

if you need a storyline writter, I can help with that....I'm good at sory writting because of my imagination.
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#43 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:28 PM

@Dan,
We should add campaigns as a 4th item to priority list above (my response to James). Who knows...maybe we'll complete something worth extending after the deadline. :D

Physics? As James points out the joy of commanding a tank is blowing things up and ramming/running over things. My physics code from "Rommels Fantasy Revenge" has some wee flaws. So, improved collision detection and reaction is a goal. I've got a physics class "CFizzix" that I'm building for 2D games. It's not elaborate as Box2D or other libraries but I believe it will suffice.

Blowing up buildings is a challenge. Let's say the building is 100x100 pixels and the explosive impact is 50x50. Typically, for simplicity, we could blow the whole thing up. Or for more believability we could damage the forward edge of the building facing the oncoming tank shell. I've got some ideas on how to achieve this effect without too much coding or art asset pain. :)

@Amrykid,

Quote

I'm good at sory writting
only two spelling errors. Now that's funny. :D j/k

Let's see what James is interested in doing. There is a significant amount of vocals in the background such as banter occurring among soldiers in a tank, outside the tank, etc. Friendly banter, fear, anger, celebration....all of which will be translated into German and Russian. Let me know if that is of interest to you. Don't worry...we have spell checkers. It's the content that's of interest.

@Team,

At the moment the teams consists of:

Dan - Art and SFX
Joe - Music
James - Game designer? Waiting to see what he thinks after reading the original design spec.
Amrykid - Writing? Awaiting his response.
Myself - Programmer, Team Leader

I've recruited a German engineer from work to "record German vocals". He says he has several 'voices'. He's checking with a Russian speaking colleague for those voices.

Regards,
Chuck
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#44 chuckb  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:40 PM

@Dan,
The particle effects I'm working with is a bit complex...and I've got a sharp learning curve to overcome. I like sprite animation for these effects instead of particles because of the lower hit on frame rate. So, it's possible we'll limit particles to enhancing the animation.

For now, lets continue with animated sprites for effects as placement art. You're free to increase the number of frames from 4/6 to 10 or more. This may add more richness to the effect.

I appreciate your early efforts to create art. It really motivated me.

90% of projects like ours generally fail for a few reasons:
1) Loss of team motivation...decrease in project enthusiasm.
2) Unrealistic project goals.
3) Failure for members to follow through on deadlines and commitments.

So, I'm not so concerned about the skill and knowledge of our growing team. I'm confident we can produce a product to make us proud. Feel free to remind me if I "drop the ball". Is that a British expression? :)

Regards,
Chuck
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#45 JamesR  Icon User is offline

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Re: My Summer Game Programming Project - Due: 9.22.09

Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:44 PM

Hi.

Tanks V Zombies was just a visual theme, I donít mind not doing that. However I think we should keep some of the game ideas I pitched.

What I said about how the average person views being a tank is important and should be apart of the game. I think tank V tank is a little boring. Its not as exciting as jet vs jet, or soldier vs soldier because they are not very agile. The player needs to have that feeling like heís unique, like heís The Man, heís going to win the war.

To show off the power of the tank we should start with soldiers that can easily be dispatched, then build up to vehicles and tank. Variety is good for a shooting game it allows for depth. From a design stance we can throw different combinations and patterns at the player, expanding range of game experience.

I feel we can only do so much with tanks v tanks. As the level progress and there will not be many ways we change the experience. Sure we can change the background, and the color of the tanks, but those cosmetic changes donít last long. They are not fulfilling when conquered. Improving the AI is good, but it is not something that translates to the player well.

@ Dan

You mentioned some ideal game play strategies. They tended to be focused on movement, hiding behind a wall, using others as decoys. Tanks are generally hard to control, especially since the controls are indirect (you donít press left to go left like Mario, you turn left then go forward).

RE: Realism + Weapons
I think we should take some liberty with realism to make a fun game, primarily with weapons and items. I really think we should have weapon pickups. I think it adds depth to the game, especially if we add stronger weapons at higher levels when we have harder enemies. We should make the player feel special, they can use all these weapons and the enemy cannot. I really like the idea of mounting a flame thrower on a tank.

RE: Buildings
In terms of blowing up buildings, maybe we can do something where you shoot them and they crumble down / self implode. Then the tank can drive over the rubble. Flying debri would only be for visual interest.

I have more to write but I figured this was a good foundation. We need to get the same page on the ground floor before we can move forward.

-James
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