Thursday, August 14, 2014

The thing I hate more of making games is.... - Little dev update

The Save/Load system.

I enjoy deeply programming all the systems, making the pieces tie together, (C+ scripts, Playmaker visual scripts, pre-made Asset...)..

But Hell... decide how to save, how to load, what to carry on all the game and what to instantiate when needed, what need to be an abstract system and what to be a physic one...

And the worst is, as I said, you do the programmer job mixing C+, java, Playmaker and pre made assets.

And then Save it altogether. And then repeat all the steps to Load it. In programming there are a lot of mechanical chores, non-creative and ape work that nobody is gonna do for you, so you have to do it anyway.

I'm making the first simple save/load system for Ancient Relics now that has a good core (the Space Chart where you do half of the game play is nearly done), and, I have done so many saving systems to date that is only automatic work, (meanwhile I try to calm the cries of my baby), but is Dull, Dull, Dull, and I just come here to say that, if there is only one thing that I really hate of designing games, scripting or making graphics, is the Damn, Save, Load, System. Gaaaargh!

Playmaker scripting a save/load system

So, I gift you this little game art with the WIP system, Some creativity I had to create to don't bore me to death!


PS: I hope I could work more and update more right now, but I really need a nanny for my little kid!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Galactic Battlefare Ancient Relics: Recapitulation for losts & founds.

As I introduced GBF:Ancient Relics to IndieDB (a web for promoting indie games, indie developers get the hint!), I wrote them a good introduction to 7Ye and GBF:AR. And as I'm a kind (but brutal and insidious) good man, I'm gonna reproduce it here.
And a bonus Art for you!
Galactic Battlefare Gameart
(try to zoom it... the bigger the better!)
Where to start...
(From the beginning) 
Ten years ago I began to write and sketch a big Space Opera universe; a universe where political, racial and territorial conflict between (and inside) different governments (three very different human factions and more than ten huge alien empires) were deep, with background, with personality, and really interesting to make a Role-playing Rulebook. (A big one). Was a colossal job, so I worked on it every now and then. The years past and I discovered my hobby to make free computer games. (Adventure games in this time). I didn't see any better idea than to port Galactic Battlefare Universe to this games (If you want to now about that, read the developer blog!). Those games were nothing special, apart from the love I put in them. (but was GREAT to make the art for the games, I've been always a fan of pixel art and got a way to express it).
(Recently)
Years past away, finished my career and thought; "Gak, it's time to make something good, something special that I can give to sci-fi lovers like me to remember and make it keep growing". Me and some collaborators decided to start Seven Years Entertainment and begin to work in some commercial games. In the start of the year (2014), we worked hard making our first prototype, Galactic Battlefare: Pangaia. At first it seems ambitious. But wasn't; or better said; Wasn't so much ambitious to compete in its genre (sci-fi Rpg/FPS). The story was good (Damm, 10 years of Background story making), but the game not yet that good. 
We take some steps back, worked on little projects (myself, made some silly android games (One of them is unreleased, Hearts Date Club, but is a good one that will see the light soon or later)....
 (And Now)
Now is time; Some months ago I started programming and making the graphics of this new and shinny GBF: Ancient Relics. From week to week, the concept grow stronger and defined, and now I can proudly announce that is the game I always wanted to do, and moreover, the best first game to commercially distribute showing the Galactic Battlefare Universe.  
And what is GBF: Ancient Relics? 
That's easy. It's a Sci-fi-3d-Retro-Dungeon-Crawler with Complex-Pirates-and-merchants-simulator with Turn-Tactical-Combat. Ahem...
Galactic Battlefare Introduction image

In tabletop roleplay we say one thing: "the game is about the story, or the game is about the place". And this game, is about "the place". And the place are 3 playable subsectors full of dozen of systems (full of more than half-hundred planets) where you will explore, hunt treasures, knew the flora and fauna of terran space and neighbour aliens, trade cargo and resources in a rogue trader way, build a team of charismatic companions and upgrade your ship to 'fend yourselves and fly further and bolder. 
Too much to explain; What I strongly recommend is watching the videos. They're mildly alpha right now, but a lot of things will be here in the final build. In the first video I updated to IndieDB we have the Character Creation in a RPG retro way that affects gameplay, Deep and long dialogs with most of NPCs, the Eye of the Beholder retro kind of movement...
Soon enough, I'll upload the video showing the space charts, where you will plan your navigation and discover all the playable systems, and I really think you're gonna like it. 
I'm not sure right now how I'll update the news of the game, I was using a devblog until now. It's time to think and regroup!
I'll keep making this devblogs here of course, and other kind of post, if you start to know me a bit. It's just I don't know how to update the news in IndieDB exactlly, apart of just "state updates" and some images.
Well, Happy Holidays!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

GBF Ancient Relics Devdiary #3 - Character Creation and Dialogues.

We have been without publishing three weeks; The reason:

1) Alar is now a daddy. His firstborn is here and have time to him and to work in the game, but not so much to also publish often.

2) Had been working hard in the basic systems in of the game, and make graphics, enough to show you a good video.

I have to write the transcription of the video here, 'cause the english accent is very terrible (I'm sorry for your ears), and I kill two birds in one shot so you can read what I explain in the video if you cannot hear it in the moment.

Some GBF Ancient Relics Art


We'll upload the transcription in another the moment, there is a little baby that need care!

3) Big news here. This game is gonna be Huge, and you'll hear about it. Right now is very alpha, making some basic systems, but I'm proud of the work i'd done 'till now.

Here is the second video of Galactic Battlefare!

 I'll edit this post later on, cheers!
 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

So much to do so little time - GBF-Ancient Relics General Ideas and Art Guide

It's have been days that I have thinking of record a video of actual development of GBF Ancient Relics, first to show you the dialogue system, then to talk about inventory ideas (manage Ship upgrades, cargo and crew thru inventory), and later for showing off the character creation system.

Captain Janeway, aka the only way

About Character Customization and it's reflection in gameplay

But so much to do, so little time. The dialogue system is nearby finished (the work will be make all conversations to the level of the old RPG immersion that I pretend. That was the reason for the character creation system; every choice you make will be tangled with the conversations. The way they speak to you, conversation options, or whole conversations can depend on your choices on character creation (for the time being; gender, faction, personality (that is linked to the aesthetics of portrait).

Personality code for GBF Ancient Relics


 I'm wondering if keeping the user selections simple (you select simple things and the scripts make of you a complex character), or adding so much choices as you will remember from the first Elder Scrolls or Ultima character creation, like homeworld, studies (if any), and career choices 'till the moment where game starts,  class specialization (engineering, science, etc) that affect stats, but, the idea I'm working on is that the main character is the captain and will depend on having the right companions (that they sure will be engineers, scientific, military, etc) on roster. One can say "I can let that for the next game", but hell, I'm gonna be working hard for months with this, and the success can determine If I release another sci-fi retro RPG of the Galactic Battlefare Universe.

The thing is whatever male, female or androgene sex the character has, former faction, or personality, the main character of Ancient Relics is a retired naval fleet captain with problems with the Terran Confederation, and will find old friends and make new ones. You don't write letter by letter what your character say, or what he is done in the past. The character is already created, you customized it. It's not like Ultima's Avatar, where the only thing the main character say is "Job", "Name", and "Bye". So in the context of Ancient Relics, I think simple character selections, that will return in more complex conversations via script, is the way to go.

Note: Dialogue system reminds right now more to the first Elder Scrolls games, where you select a keyword of action (Trade, Accept, Reffuse, Attack, Leave...), of conversational tone (Calm, Harsh, Interested..) or game story keywords (ask about certain person, or certain place). But the option trigger a real conversation between the characters, with bracketed narration included (so yes, I think the closer experience is first Elder Scrolls Games. I'm working around the idea of having a max of 9 conversational options at every moment, or make a scrolling window of options that will let me open or close global dialogue options, precisely like in the best old rpg games. That you can be in one point of the galaxy "doing a quest", asking people if they know how to make it to somewhere, and go back to the other point of the galaxy and ask the first npcs you encountered if they know where is it. This will be preferable in inmersive narration, but will build scripting expensiveness, so I'll see what I do.

¿Told'ya that I love how my dialogue system is right now?

About the art
some GBF Ancient Relics NPCs

I established the cannons of 2d art in Ancient Relics; 3d realist toon shaded sprites of guys and gals and multi-limbic aliens. There is a lot of art just for npcs here, companions, and Player Portraits (there are 30 in total of the last, today I did 7).

a NPC that you can come across during any town shop day or dungeon friday, need a 1024px ingame sprite. NPCs that you can talk with (most of them), will need (at least, maybe some of them need more) one 1024px Dialogue Sprite. NPCs than can be team up (recruit as your companion) need a 516px portrait, and NPCs that can be part of the ship crew need an 256px Inventory Crew Icon. I'm not sure yet if all Crew members can be companions and viceversa, I will think of that when time is on the essence.

The second NPC I put in the test level was a placeholder  NPC take out from Hearts Date Club, but finally get fond of she and remake the graphics for Ancient Relics standards. She is a NPC that you find in game, can talk, and can be recruit, so need all the graphics. This way, I made a template so you can see the kind and variety of graphics I'll use per NPC:

SunKim Companion Art for GBF Ancient Relics
Don't miss detail, zoom this commie.


The Character Creation system is functional,( but I have to fix the script 'cause when cancelling and making a new character, portraits doesn't show well), when I'll have the other 24 player portraits (in a few days I hope), I'll have enough to justify a new video (character system and dialogue system with the first conversations, so you can taste the flavour of the game).


About RPG systems

Player inventory - Ship inventory

As I'm immersed with all the above, I'm letting flow in my head different ideas about the inventory. Right now, I have one basic scripted in place (items, equip, stats..), but my priority is making two kind of inventories, Player and Ship. How much you will can customize the ship thru his inventory, or how well by compatible the dual inventory idea, I don't know yet. Sure, you can purchase merchant cargo in a spaceport and take it directly to your spaceship.. But when you're roaming a derelict spaceship dungeon, the only cargo you'll can handle will be personal size? Teleport is not of human use in GBF (for teleporting merchant cargo directly to the ship from spot. Maybe you can tag cargo for, when you return the ship, send the minions to take the load? Hmmm...

Combat system

No idea yet. Wanna do something original, fast or slow, but engaging. Two days ago, a found a Success $100k Kickstarter grid-based space RPG (Space Crawlers). Nothing to do with my retro-conversation inmersive-space opera universe, just procedural dungeons and some kind of nintendo old style RPG first person combat system, but with appealing AAA graphics (I don't need nor want AAA graphics, but I congrats space crawlers developers). I thought before about a  first person perspective rpg turn based combat, but thought that was bland. Face it, in Eye of the Beholder, Ishaar trilogy, Lands of Lore, the real time first person timed actions based combat works, at least for its age. But in a sci-fi enviroment (yes, they will be close combat enemys, but mostly ranged) with grid-based movement, I don't see it. A Realms of Arkania isometric-grid turn-based hardcore combat system is a naughty idea, but really costly to achieve, out of my possibilities or budget.

Real time? Turn-based? First person, isometric, top-view? Minigame, hardcore RPG? Any suggestions will be appreciated, in the meantime I'll think about it.

From the time being, I'll keep working day and night, soon you'll see more or less the results of first (and maybe second) week of work!


And a message of our advertisers, in Ken Williams key of humor;

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

First Person Grid-Based Sci-Fi RPG - Development Diary #1

So, after releasing my first real thing to the mobile gaming world (this), (learning in the way methods to finish Hearts Date Club programming), I decided to take a pause and trying to do something good (or, let's say, for PC)

The idea of developing a simple engine for a Retro First Person Grid-Based RPG in my Sci-Fi context  (FPGB for now on) was heavy on my head. Without hesitation, the second day free to work (more on the first day later) I started early in the morning how possible was to make the Grid-Based Movement in an easy way, compatible with the rest of gameplay.

My first stop was at Unify Community, to see if some clever guy put a free script out there to do all the work for me. I found GridMove. A good little script, capable of make the character move in unity units with a simple animation, and allowing or disallowing diagonal moving or running, but not Turning (I guess, was a good script for isometric views). Also, didn't hold collisions per se, and a SIMPLE FPGB don't need real physics of rigidbodys and gravity and all the fuss to work, just a way to say "you can walk here, but not there".

Then I make my second stop at this compatriot youtube channel that have a series of three basic videos explaining how to do Retro RPG 3d-Dungeon movement. His Script has forward/backward and turn movement, but not side movement, and handle collision by seeing if there is a thing in front out you, but regrettably didn't differentiate Triggers (a must for gameplay flow, for triggering cutscenes, dialogs, actions..) from every other thing.

So I said; TO THE HELL WITH YOU!


So I thought that could not be very hard to "script" in PlayMaker my own movement script. Well, I thought maybe I couldn't make it fluid as the C# movement scripts, but I could try.

I was wrong, I made a wonderful movement script. Forward/Backward, Turning, and sidestep movement, everyone with different animations and sounds. 

I named it Movement "Octopus of Doom" (for OBVIOUS reasons), and you can take a peek on it!

Movement Octopus of Doom Script
Zoom-it!, Love-it!, Wallpaper-it!

First, the StateMachine checks if movement is not deactivated (for cutscenes, for example... Later I can make that if you are hurt or in a confused step, movement work in another way...) Then Just check if you are pressing movement keys (movement arrows and WASD, Q and E for sidesteps); Checks if anything blocks the way we want to go, and execute the movement with a nice Tween and sound. 
The Collision system that uses is any object Layered as Block Movement. Then, I can make the 3d scenario anyway I like (with fences, grass, trees, columns, NPCs, etc), and I put Invisible Blocking cubes in the Block Movement Layer, so when I create the level I easy-designated where the player can go and where not, nevertheless the scenery. 

And... I made this little video, just to show you what a fantastic job can you do with Unity, Playmaker, some imagination and some placeholder art (except the Korinesti (the blue alien), that is GBF Universe Art)





PS: As I was telling you before, the first day free for work, I updated Unity to 4.5. OH MY. They created some "Tooltip" that conflicts with Playmaker and Playmaker third parties, so until I update manually every asset I usually use, I got to manually fix the scripts to go along with 4.5. And was hell. Errors and more Errors. I fixed half the scripts and I fell surrendered to others, delete them and wait to the developers to upload a fix, and decided to work in the things I can actually can work (And made the fantastic Octopus of Doom)

Friendly tip: WATCH OUT WITH UNITY UPDATES!
And if you don't listen..
Swarzennager is cool... They said.