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Messages - merrak

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1
Journals / Re: A Foresty Game
« on: February 18, 2019, 10:02:04 pm »
Looking good so far. I like the torches and day/night cycle. The only problem I ran into with it is lag--I was able to place 19 torches before the game slowed to a crawl.

2
Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 17, 2019, 10:57:52 pm »
New Goals! I've spent the better part of the week working on save game. I've been very busy at work and haven't had a lot of free time, but I do have some progress. The biggest problem is that the Stencyl code that interfaces with my own "Vallas Engine" code is a mess. I've done a lot to tidy the startup process, but I still have some work to do there.

I'd like to have Alpha Build 3 ready next month. Somehow I feel these deadlines are arbitrary, but I did meet the previous two. Save game is the last core engine feature.

As for core game features, I need a dialog system. I'm not expecting this will be a long endeavor. I already have my UI code I can build off of. I won't need anything elaborate--nor do I really have the space for it. I just need something to let me display more text than can fit in the bottom prompt. I don't anticipate having time to implement NPC conversations for Alpha Build 3, but I can at least use it to give the player some key descriptions (e.g. how to use the front door).

I also want to get my map system working.

The rest of my wish-list is just to clean up some things and add new content. I want some more types of NPCs. I need some finer control over their levels. More decoration objects and interactive objects would be nice. At this point I'd rather focus on adding more to do with the existing maps, adjusting their difficulties, etc., than making new ones. I have a lot more skills implemented than originally planned, so I need to re-think where skill books are placed, add new ones for skills I've coded but can't be used yet, and so on. So--more new, fun things to come  :D

I also have some new level loading screen artwork. I came up with the idea of showing the dominant gimmick in each map. So far I have a map with a lot of spike traps, a map with a lot of projectiles, the dark map, and a map with a higher number of melee enemies than usual.

Hi,merrak! I got inspired by your thread and also wrote a little isometric video game:...

Pretty neat. Looks like it's been in development for just as long.

3
Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 13, 2019, 09:47:39 pm »
Look very cool. Will the scroll horizontal when changing screens?

Yep :) Getting the save game code working has proven to be very tedious. I've been maintaining my sanity by taking some time to draw some cutscenes and title screen art. I liked how the level loading screen came out, but I'm getting tired of seeing the same picture for every level.

4
Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 11, 2019, 09:42:56 pm »
I like this a lot! This would be very helpful. Maybe add the final goal of the level (if there is one) as a yellow pixel.

FPS: I used Fraps which has been a reliable source for me. The game felt fluet all the time and i have never seen something like this. The FPS would not go up to 60 when ideling. It would stay where it was at last. Maybe you pause the system when not getting input form the player? Each direction i went had different FPS ranging from 25-60.

My thought was to add a pixel to indicate anything interesting that Marika becomes aware of. I'd need to think of ways she would become aware of things and their whereabouts, but this would give me an opportunity to add map pick-ups, NPCs to talk to

I'll have to try Fraps out on the Windows laptop. I have my own built-in FPS indicator setup, but there is no display for it in the game. I had it set up for the renderer test. It's interesting that it's direction-specific. Maybe my code that sorts actors within a layer isn't efficient.

Lately I've been working on the save game system. I cleaned all the game initialization (placing enemies in maps, objects in maps, setting door states, etc.) code out of the boot-up sequence. The game is now setup when the "New Game" option is selected. If "Load Game" is selected, I'll be able to set up the enemies and objects in different positions.

I also now have some new game screens. I've set them up in one large image split up into three screens. There are five save slots supported in Desktop version. If I have a Flash or HTML5 version then I'll need to rethink how I approach saving, since I'm using separate files for save games.


5
Journals / Re: Insurgence of Forgotten Fairies
« on: February 09, 2019, 08:26:17 pm »
I think it looks pretty good so far. The dialog system you have works similarly to how my AI system parses instructions.

When you're working on the permanent backgrounds, I think you should keep an eye on the font. I'd prefer it to be easier to read, so that I don't have to take my eyes off the game action as long. Maybe add a black shadow around the characters to give them more contrast?

6
Ask a Question / Re: Flash Error on Mac
« on: February 07, 2019, 10:23:54 pm »
I tried testing my game on scene on Flash (Player) but it first has a black screen with a thin gray rectangle and it then shows the scene but not what I made. It shows two monkeys (I only put one) along with a message that says "An Action script error has occurred" along with a ton of coding flash gunk. I am new to Stencyl so please help me  :'(

Can you generate and post your logs here? The more information the better--especially the "coding flash gunk" :)

It might be helpful to show some screenshots of your code, too... but let's start with the logs since there are a lot of possibilities and we need to narrow them down.

7
Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 07, 2019, 10:03:27 pm »
There's nothing special about that chest. It happened to me on another one--I think it's just a quirk in the timing between when the Actor attribute that stores that actor is set and its previous value deleted. I'm not too concerned about it, since that whole setup was a temporary solution. I really want the buttons to dim/highlight like the inventory cards do, but I didn't feel like drawing dim versions of all those graphics at the moment.

Map : COOL ! But to be honest I kind of would have an option to see only the parts that I have visited and my current position. It will be a spoiler when for instance there are 'hidden/dark' areas visible. I like the adventure type of thing : looking for clues/keys and knowing that there is a hidden treasure or path is especially cool.
Maybe have a switch on the map for the lazy ones, and default it only tells you wich paths you have taken?!  I don't know: just throwing ideas

My thought on the map was to take something like Bombini suggested (mock-up below) and implement it as a skill "Perception" that you can get in the hub area.


The graphic shows Marika's relative position in the map along with anything that makes sense for her to be aware of--so not secret areas :) I'd like to have a more elaborate map that can be brought up that shows more detail, but it would either fill in as the map is explored, or fill in with details as maps or other pick-ups are found.

The ones that I did encounter where either nicely fooled (Keep that ! I like the fact that one of the enemies was looking at a different spot and didn't follow m.e. !)

That's a definite feature of the AI :) When an enemy loses sight of its target, it stops and looks around. Right now they're programmed to look in random directions. Smarter enemies would be better at scanning. I want to be careful how ambitious I get with the AI on the first run, since AI is challenging to debug--but I would like to at least have enemies react to sound. If they hear Marika's footsteps, they'll turn in that direction (making "Sneak" a skill book you can find), or other enemies can alert their colleagues on her position.

Various observations:
  • Options screen is not working
  • The font in the about screen is very difficult to read
  • The big door in start room which cant be entered still confuses me
The version you shared is fantastic, its fun, its great. Has its unique style. Here are a couple of things i would like to have to make it even better.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! That font definitely needs improvement. I'd like to add a dialog system so I can give books text, pass along Marika's observations to the player, etc. That would also fix the door at the beginning of the game... have a prompt along the lines of "I can't leave until I finish my mission..."

I don't have any game options yet, but for desktop build I want to add controller support. Those controls will go there. Maybe a mobile port, too? I'm not sure.

Your system is far better than my old Windows 7 laptop I was using. It's some kind of Core i3, 4GB RAM. I'm surprised you only got 25 FPS... but then again, I never tested the game with a FPS monitor on the laptop. I checked for numerical bugs (there are some rooms that don't render correctly if the floating point math is off), but not FPS. What monitor are you using? I can squeeze some better performance out of the renderer. Ultimately I'll need to move away from software rendering, but if I can get acceptable performance out of software I don't want to get diverted by that job yet.

What i would like to add:
  • The game feels a bit empty right now. I would add more interactions. Either more small/weak enemies or more switches or more traps or more lootable objects.
  • Level progression: I dont know how far i am in a level. How far it will spread. Either add a map (that you already think about) or some sort of progression bar to see how far i am to keep me motivated
  • More interactions with enemies: One of the features i enjoyed most was that enemies follow me. Why not have enemies which attack each other. Lets say monsters or lions which i can lure to humans and so on. This would be great.
  • Navigation: Adding a map would be great, or a compass to show me where to go next. Where the next main objective is. I would also add tiny arrows add the level borders to show where you can move to. Its not alwys clear from the lighting.

I really liked the navigation arrows idea. I sketched out a system where arrows flash/pulsate to indicate a new direction, and solid to indicate a direction already explored. Of course, secret areas wouldn't have arrows. I don't remember if it's accessible in this version, but there is one map that has a lot of 1-tile-wide doors. Those are easy to miss, since they blend in with the half-walls.

I'm slowly adding more pick-ups, skill books, and such. I like the idea of having more interactions with NPCs. I need to nail down the story line, though, which at the moment is vague. Although I like the idea of having NPC/NPC interactions (like enemies that fight each other), at this point I can't say if that makes sense with respect to the game's story. I have a vague idea, but I need to write down details.

Just thinking "out loud" here, but I realized that the armor items you find in the game would probably be the armor items the guards use. If you're wearing enough of them, or the combinations of items that the rest of them would use, the dumber ones might be fooled into thinking you're a guard :D

I do need more enemy types at least. For the longest time my focus had been on the engine side of things. I'm still in the process of shifting focus to the actual game. There are still some core features missing, though. Right now I'm working on the save game system. I got the hardest part done--planning how to redo the game boot-up sequence to work with save files. I just need to implement and debug the code.

8
Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 06, 2019, 10:32:58 pm »
Thanks for checking it out!

Was this the rectangle that showed up?


It's a separate actor that overlays a button. I had to throw together a new button highlight at the last minute, since the existing one didn't work right on HTML5.

A map is definitely on the agenda. In fact, I pretty much already have the code for it. The "AI Sector Graph" tool I made for the map editor's AI tools is essentially a map. I just need to change the way the output image is drawn so that it fits in the game better.


...reading it awards you experience points without actually reading anything :D :D

That's the way textbooks work in school :)

I don't think my hit/damage model spreadsheet is doing a bad job. I just took my best guess at assigning difficulty ratings. I definitely noticed a difference between actual scenarios the model predicted as "1" vs. "10"--but difficulty is very subjective so it's good to get some feedback on how others perceive it.


I think I missed the mark on estimating how much more difficult groups of enemies are. The two maps accessible from the stairs furthest from the starting point are particularly difficult. I did want them to be a little more difficult than the closer maps, but I might have pushed it too far. I made sure to place the keys in the hub area so that the nearest "A" map is one of the two easier ones. The harder ones guard better objects and books, though. I had the most fun making the dark map where you need the lamp. There are a few hidden passageways that reveal themselves if you pay close attention to the way the lights interact with the walls and floors.

9
Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Build 2 Released
« on: February 06, 2019, 04:54:19 pm »
Windows Wednesday I now have a Windows build (link added to original post above). I remembered that a laptop computer I replaced a couple of years ago had Windows on dual boot. It's a seven year old laptop running Windows 7, but I managed to get Visual Studio 2015 up and running on it.

The game seems to run pretty well on it, even with the minimal RAM that the computer has installed. The Windows build even runs on Linux through Wine. So I think I have all my desktop build bases covered.

10
Journals / Re: A Foresty Game
« on: February 05, 2019, 10:33:04 pm »
This is looking pretty cool so far! I like the change in time-of-day effect... although I would prefer a bit slower progression.

Also, of course, I began coding this when I first started Stencyl, so a bunch of my code is super messy. Not sure what I'm gonna do about that. Guess it's like leaving a tangled ball of Christmas lights for future me to deal with.

Yep, been there! I'm currently pulling apart a tangled mess myself.

11
Journals / Re: Merrak's Isometric Adventures -- Alpha Release 1
« on: February 04, 2019, 10:11:29 pm »
Alpha Build 2. GBJam 6, Day 165, I made a new alpha build of Towers of Vallas. I was on the fence whether or not to release this build. A lot has improved, but there's also a lot to go, including a few known issues that I haven't gotten to yet. Ultimately I decided I wanted something better than the first build to show interested people.

This time I made Desktop builds.




The game seems to run just about as well on my lowest-end 2015 Mac Mini as it does on my higher-end Linux machine. Level loading takes a bit longer on the Mac, but that's the only difference I noticed. I reduced RAM usage by a lot, but I still have some more work to do there.

Unfortunately, I do not have a Windows machine set up for development. The first thing I'd need to do is get a Windows computer... maybe build a cheap one. I tried making an HTML5 version and it works pretty well, albeit a little laggy in rooms with a lot of light recalculations. It does have a weird numerical bug with combat hit/miss calculations. Vallas uses a normal distribution to calculate strike damage. I suspect the algorithm I used to pick a random number from a normal distribution doesn't play well with HTML5, but that's only my best guess. Until I get to the bottom of that, the HTML5 version will have to remain on hold.

Screenshot S'Monday. Summary of improvements known issues afterward...

   

   

   

What's New.
Engine Features: Dynamic lighting, interactive objects (switches, doors, and keys). Reduced RAM footprint (about 80% to 90% less memory used). Skills system and books to gain skills.

Game Features: Added all "A" level maps and new objects to find in the hub (level 0) map. Added projectile weapons and different kinds of melee weapons. Added fuel for the lamp and dark areas to explore. Revised inventory system to make it more usable. Added UI icons to display equipped weapon, light fuel remaining.

Unresolved Issues: Did not yet add in-game tutorial features. Jumping animation still not implemented.

Known Issues: Hitting inventory buttons too quickly can cause a segfault crash. Projectile walls are currently out of commission. No player death or save system implemented, so player character can get permanently stuck if falls into a pit. Gameplay balance still questionable. Some enemies are probably too hard in low-level areas.

12
Ask a Question / Re: How should I go about a lighting system?
« on: January 30, 2019, 09:23:18 pm »
It is possible to achieve the images you posted using software rendering, but probably* not with the built-in tools the Image API gives you. (* as of build 9867. I haven't looked to see if there are changes to the Image API in the recent 4.0). I used a third party library to render the image below in software.

http://www.anorthogonaluniverse.com/misc/vallas/2017-07-17-03.png

Assuming you aren't constantly refreshing the screen, you're familiar with working with Haxe code, and you're good with memory management, you should be able to get something like that implemented and get acceptable performance. Just note that I'm planning to replace this software-based solution in my own game before too long. If you're targeting Flash then take a look at it, but otherwise you're probably better off using shaders like rob1221 said.

13
You'll need to initialize PlayerChar in the behavior. Using the scene inspector, you can customize that one specific actor. But the new enemies you create using the behavior don't have that customization applied.

A simple way to fix this is to add a loop in an "On Created" event:
Code: [Select]
For every actor of type (your player actor type),
    set PlayerChar to actor of type

You should also put this line in your "Always" event:
Code: [Select]
if PlayerChar has no value or PlayerChar is dead
    stop

The "has no value" block can be found in attributes > functions, and above will stop your code from executing if PlayerChar is null or has been killed.

Finally, keep in mind that enemies created at the point where the scene loads may be created before the player character loads. So every so often you can run the initialization loop again. I'd put that loop in a custom event and call it whenever the player character is created. This will reinitialize the value of the PlayerChar variable when your player is reborn in the scene after death, assuming that can happen.

14
I am pretty sure what is happening is that PlayerChar is not being initialized properly with the newly created actors. Is

How are you initializing PlayerChar?

15
Ask a Question / Re: What project/import scale for Pixel Game?
« on: January 27, 2019, 01:48:35 pm »
If you want to keep the file size down, keep in mind 4x images will be huge. If you want pixelated graphics, you should scale up (with no antialiasing or smoothing) , not down. Work with 1x images only and use 2x, 3x, or 4x scale.

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