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Work in Progress / Marble Maze Construction Set (Alpha)

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tiresius
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Posted: 19th Apr 2011 07:11 Edited at: 19th Apr 2011 07:12
It's lonely there on Page 2 of the WIP. Nobody comes to visit.

Well I finished up more of the enemy AI and I can now have them stop on a dime. They still run rampant around the level, not heeding any idea of "zones" or "safety". That will probably be next.




A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
tiresius
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Posted: 6th Jun 2011 07:16
Hey folks, just an update on some progress.

I've added support for "props" to be added to the level. These are static objects that are mostly scenery but could be used for other purposes in the level itself. There is a basic prop in the video in the shape of a large round boulder stuck out of the ground.

I also added the ability to place moveable objects, a key feature of any physics-based platformer. So far I can think of a box, a plank, and a marble, but I'm sure other shapes will come to mind. Feel free to give some suggestions! I put planks in the video to show a couple uses for them.




A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Dr Tank
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Posted: 11th Jun 2011 14:54
Looks good dude. Looking forward to the next playable demo.

I think you should work on shadows and making the ball more "marbley" so you can see that it is rotating. That way the player will have more visual cues, making the mechanics more tangible.
Dr Tank
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Posted: 11th Jun 2011 16:05 Edited at: 11th Jun 2011 16:05
I played this on my fancy pants new computer. Much smoother.

However, seems that get catapaulted/boosted further than when I played it before, and not consistently. On level 1, on one occasion the accelerating arrows boosted me enough to jump straight to the finishing circle! On level 2, the catapault always shoots me so fast that i overrun the "catch" zone, hit the wall and fall.

I'm guessing that your physics is affected by framerate or something. You should make it invariant if you haven't already. The other possibility is that you've tweaked some varaiables since making the levels.

I'll try on my netbook later to see how if it's any different on that.
Link102
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Posted: 11th Jun 2011 23:18
tiresius, keep up the good work.
I'm looking forward to the next demo.

Got an idea for a level where you have to race a line of dominoes that will block the path if you do not finish first.

tiresius
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Posted: 11th Jun 2011 23:20 Edited at: 12th Jun 2011 22:31
Hey thanks for trying out it!

Yes I definitely need a shadow for the marble, and a better marble texture is in order. I actually have a card that can handle shaders so I should look into it more.

The physics for speedy tiles is controlled (by Newton) using contact, so if you roll slowly over a speedy tile you will end up going faster than if you are rolling quickly, because there is less contact. I have too many speedy tiles there as a "trick" so the player needs to decide 1 1/2 tiles is enough to get to the next platform, or to limit speed of marble when rolling over them. If you can hop right to the end using too many, that's considered a risky bonus.

The catapult on level 2 thing is just bad design of the level, there are tricks to keep your marble from spinning off (spin backward, last minute, etc.) but it's not very reliable. And since I increased the timestep of the simulation I think it is even worse.

The physics are framerate independent via time-slicing. You're witnessing the inconsistencies of a complex physics solver (Newton) that I can't count on 100% to react the same every time due to the amount of contact and forces on the marble. I might make some things zone-based instead of contact based for this reason, but I haven't decided yet. [EDIT] Actually some of what you're seeing is the difference in physics behavior when I sped up the timestep of the simulation.

Next demo will have moveables, enemies, and some other widgets (black/white holes, new fans, etc.) so there will be more to play with. And I'll try to make some fun levels instead of the 3 basic "proof of concept" levels that are there. People seem to judge the game by the levels provided, where I was hoping the mere potential of it all would be enough. So I'll try to build up some more content.

[EDIT]@Link - that sounds cool.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Mr Kohlenstoff
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Posted: 12th Jun 2011 12:28
Quote: "Next demo will have moveables, enemies, and some other widgets (black/white holes, new fans, etc.) so there will be more to play with. And I'll try to make some fun levels instead of the 3 basic "proof of concept" levels that are there. People seem to judge the game by the levels provided, where I was hoping the mere potential of it all would be enough. So I'll try to build up some more content."


That sounds neat!

tiresius
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Posted: 2nd Sep 2011 06:36
I have been on hiatus a bit from this project, but finally put in enemies that seek the player. Here's a video stress test of the engine.



Hopefully I will find more time to work on this and get another demo out for people to try out. It is nice seeing enemies seek the player. Instead of stupid random enemies I now have stupid seeking enemies. Hopefully they will get smarter with a little tweaking.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
zenassem
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Posted: 2nd Sep 2011 11:33 Edited at: 2nd Sep 2011 11:34
Is this compiled under the latest update? I get the dreaded "The Parameter Is Incorrect" error when I try to launch the .exe under Windows 7 Home Premium.

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tiresius
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Posted: 2nd Sep 2011 15:45
The current version is since I now have Win7, but I'll look into recompiling the original demo, if possible. Sorry about that!


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Chris Tate
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Posted: 3rd Sep 2011 02:18
The enemies look cool, not seen such a concept before.

zenassem
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Posted: 3rd Sep 2011 04:19
Quote: "The current version is since I now have Win7, but I'll look into recompiling the original demo, if possible. Sorry about that!"


Thanks,, I'll check back on this thread to see when an updated compile is done. It look really cool so far. Keep up the good work!!

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tiresius
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Posted: 3rd Sep 2011 06:59
This is awful, I don't have a copy of that version of the source anymore. I've made 15 backups since February of this year and it dropped off my "keep around" list.

I am back on track making a new demo so hopefully people with Win7 SP1 won't have to wait long. Sorry!


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 4th Sep 2011 08:57
Tiresius, this is looking better and better!


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Link102
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Posted: 5th Sep 2011 17:35
yo Tiresius,

you should update your sig

tiresius
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Posted: 6th Sep 2011 03:22
Update to what? Took me forever to make the darn thing.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 7th Sep 2011 00:19 Edited at: 7th Sep 2011 00:20
So I just downloaded Alpha 2 again on my computer, and I keep getting the error "Incorrect parameters" when I'm just trying to launch the darn thing!

SP 1 for Win7 just installed on my computer, so I'm wondering if that could be the issue? It worked a couple of months ago, so I think it must be related. :\

EDIT: Read through some previous posts...see that you're already working on it. Yay!


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Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 4th Oct 2011 16:02
Any news, tiresius?


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tiresius
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Posted: 5th Oct 2011 07:25
Ugh real life responsibilities have capitalized a lot of my time this month.

I have been working on and off on the black/white hole widgets, which will pull/push the player. The models will look bad no matter how much time I spend on them, so I should just move on. Besides, directional gravity is a very cheap effect since there is a real physics engine behind this.

I need to make some editor changes to incorporate the possibility of a widget hanging out on its own in space and not on a tile (currently a flat tile is a requirement for widget placement). Along with this I will make it so speed arrows can be placed on slope tiles as well for some added purpose.

I also need to finish up enemy chase logic to not fall off cliffs so easily. Right now I lovingly call it Artificial Stupidity. The Finite State Machine model I have setup for the enemies will make this relatively painless to improve upon.

Thank you for your interest. I know you're waiting for a demo working in Win7 so I will try to get more time in on this and get something out. Quite a lot has been added since the initial demo and I hope people will have some fun with it.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 8th Oct 2011 03:11
Quote: "Right now I lovingly call it Artificial Stupidity"


Hehe, yay for AS!

Glad to know it's at least coming along! I'll be waiting for the next demo eagerly.


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tiresius
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Posted: 27th Dec 2011 07:17 Edited at: 28th Dec 2011 04:36
Well updates are few and far between. I have been working on this on and off for the past several months, and I am close to releasing a second Alpha-demo of the game. Last thing I need to do is smarten up the enemies so they don't just roll off the cliffs, and fix a few bugs with the AI system.

Click the signature below for the latest blog entry showing an adjustment to one of the widgets (speed arrows), they can now be placed on certain slope tiles. I think this will add a bit to the gameplay... no more crawling up ramps slowly (unless that is the intention of the level builder).

What has been done since the last demo released Jan 1, 2011:
Coins/Gems are collectable
Moveable objects (crates, planks)
Enemies (random, chasing)
Black/White Holes
Minimap image in loading screen

It would be a funny thing if I could get the next demo out on Jan 1, 2012. No promises, but I will try.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 27th Dec 2011 19:33
Quote: "It would be a funny thing if I could get the next demo out on Jan 1, 2011"


Ooh! Can you travel through time in this game?

Glad to hear from you, tiresius! I've been waiting for the next demo. I'll be one of your first downloaders, I'm sure!


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tiresius
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Posted: 28th Dec 2011 04:36
Fixed the dates, thanks for the catch.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Stormwire
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Posted: 1st Jan 2012 05:27
This looks great but I have a problem with the editor. I cant place any of the widgets on my map. There is no problem placing tiles just the widgets. Anyway great job I will be keeping an eye on this one.
tiresius
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Posted: 2nd Jan 2012 02:21
That is a weird problem. In the current version available Widgets can only go on flat tiles. Do you at least see a ghosted widget hovering where the cursor is?

The next demo is still being worked on, with tweaking the AI.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Stormwire
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Posted: 2nd Jan 2012 03:19
Yeh ghosted widget is there. What symbol is the flat tile. Maybe I am using the wrong type of tile lol
tiresius
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Posted: 2nd Jan 2012 04:40
Flat tile has no arrows on it. Arrows show slopes (where marble will roll if left alone). Load up some of the included levels that you played to make the mental connection between the 3D level you are seeing, and what it looks like in the 2D editor. A manual/tutorial would clear up any confusion but I'm not at that point yet. Good luck.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 16th Apr 2012 06:24
Any updates, tiresius?

tiresius
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Posted: 25th Apr 2012 06:26
Hi Yodaman Jer,
Thanks for asking about this! I'm glad someone remembers the game. I have not worked on this as often as I would have liked but I will be gearing up soon to finally get the AI the way I'd like. Although I have fairly modular code and use some nice methods like Finite State Machine for the enemy behavior, controlling a rolling sphere in a physics environment with some intelligence has turned into quite a job.
Even if I get it mostly improved and not perfect, I will post a new version soon so people with Win7 can try the game out.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 26th Apr 2012 02:04
Cool! Any idea how long that will take? When can we expect an update?

I loved this so much when I was first able to run it on Win 7. I miss it terribly and can't wait to see what you have in store for it!

tiresius
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Posted: 26th Apr 2012 08:15
Given my track record and sporadic development I won't promise anything, but I am shooting for early May 2012. I think it is doable with a little elbow grease.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
mr Handy
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Posted: 26th Apr 2012 10:41 Edited at: 26th Apr 2012 14:35
win7 can't run the demo

good project, reminds me of "Balance" by german developers with havoc physics but no enemies.

how did you managed with so many objects? as i understand, all your level consists of small blocks, as editor screen shows?

btw, i can help you with any models, textures and shaders - i like your project + want to practice.

edit: I've made a real diamond object, if you want:

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tiresius
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Posted: 27th Apr 2012 03:19
Hi MrHandy,

This next version will work with Win7.

Maybe when 7.7 release is cut I can have you help with the marble shadow. I haven't had much luck with that stuff. Your gem looks nice, what I'd like to do is get my gems translucent a bit and a little see-through but my attempts have failed miserably. You can tell I'm not much into special effects. Funcy, not fancy.

The level geometry is stitched together with like materials, and chunked in 3x3 zones. So on a big level there could be 9 Ice objects, 9 bouncy objects, 9 regular floor objects, 9 wall objects, etc. I do things by attaching limbs and rebuilding a bigger chunk object with mesh commands. I build the walls by hand and optimize it to not build unseen walls. It took me a while to get to that point but it works pretty well.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
mr Handy
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Posted: 27th Apr 2012 09:33 Edited at: 27th Apr 2012 10:58
Quote: "I'd like to do is get my gems translucent a bit and a little see-through"

I'll make a shader, and upload it with diamond object. Anything else?

P.S. I would like to recommend my favorite ball game 'Ballance' for examination:
Game page: http://www.ag.ru/games/ballance
Game demo: http://www.ag.ru/files/demos/ballance/2987 (follow the second or third yellow buttons)
mr Handy
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Posted: 29th Apr 2012 11:03
Shader is 70% complete. Also, I forgot my diamond model on other PC so I have to make another one. Do you want some different jewels? Or just classic form?

p.s. my shader requires extra camera for refraction!

«It's the Shader, shader me this, shader me that»
mr Handy
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Posted: 30th Apr 2012 14:53 Edited at: 30th Apr 2012 21:05
Shader is ready, sir!



«It's the Shader, shader me this, shader me that»

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mr Handy
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Posted: 30th Apr 2012 14:57 Edited at: 30th Apr 2012 21:00
Here is your files, sir!

edit: files updated

«It's the Shader, shader me this, shader me that»

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tiresius
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Posted: 4th May 2012 06:56
Mr Handy that looks really nice. After I get this latest release out I will look into those and see how they fit within the game. Thanks for sharing!


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mr Handy
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Posted: 4th May 2012 10:53 Edited at: 4th May 2012 10:55
Thanks.

Marble is a special sphere object, it was made to have perfect UV mapping for 6 sides, as box has.

Also, both objects' rotation point is at their bottom.

Do you need anything else?

«It's the Shader, shader me this, shader me that»
Mr Kohlenstoff
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Posted: 11th May 2012 11:29
Any news on the project? I'm not having too much time recently (which is a shame considering how many project I'd wish to be working on right now...), but playing your marble game every now and then would be a nice option.

Have you heared of the new Portal 2 DLC? It brought a simple map-editor as well as the so called Steam Workshop, which allows people to share their maps with the community. I'm not sure about your ambitions with the game, but given that there already is a nice editor, an easy way to share those levels with the community might be an option once you've got time for that.

tiresius
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Posted: 24th May 2012 20:21
Quote: "I'm not sure about your ambitions with the game, but given that there already is a nice editor, an easy way to share those levels with the community might be an option once you've got time for that."

I have lofty ambitions of course. An easy way to share user generated content would be great, and ease up on any role I played in "providing" this stuff to players myself. Something automated with minimal supervision would be best. I've thought of having some kind of portal like the Web-based Super Mario game that boasts 10k levels, and possibly a separate CMS website using Joomla or one of those that the editor could directly connect to and update.

~~~

Almost done with wrapping this up for this next Alpha release. The enemies are still quite stupid but I'll try to tweak as much as possible before it goes out. Currently working on a handful of levels which are hopefully entertaining, and not just the proof of concept work I did in the first release. I will still be relying on the great talent of others to come up with some cool things, and I'm excited to see what people do.

Favorites such as "The Whole Nine Yards" and "I Named Him Frank" will be rolled into the release for all to enjoy. I'll see if I add any others I did not create myself as well.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 27th May 2012 06:58
Quote: "Favorites such as "The Whole Nine Yards" and "I Named Him Frank" will be rolled into the release for all to enjoy."


"The Whole Nine Yards" is mine! Thanks for including it in the next release, it was so much fun designing that level.

Chris Tate
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Posted: 27th May 2012 20:05
Looking forward to seeing more screenshots and content

tiresius
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Posted: 2nd Jun 2012 05:10 Edited at: 2nd Jun 2012 05:11
I've uploaded the Alpha version 3.

http://www.funcygames.com/downloads/MarbleMazeAlpha3.zip

It has been forever since the last update but what can I say. All the major mechanics of the game are accounted for and have a foundation, they just need to be improved upon.

Here is what has changed since Jan 2011:


I hope you all enjoy it and please update the thread with comments, levels you have made, and suggestions to improve what I have so far!

Here is a screenie:



A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.

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Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 2nd Jun 2012 07:42
!!!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Great update. Works even better than the last alpha and is a lot more fun!

It had been forever since I played through my own level though, God is that thing a mess! I may work on an updated, cleaner version.

mr Handy
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Posted: 4th Jun 2012 13:13
Played your demo.

Ball moves like cast-iron, covered with flubber™.
Ice can do ball "moonwalk".
Pink thing is just pink... okay.

I strongly recommend to watch this gameplay:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmXA6WowTAs

«It's the Pony, pony me this, pony me that» — Bronies
«I sell apples and apple accessories» — Applejack
Derpy delivers: watch?v=g4Kgz4Us_RI
tiresius
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Posted: 4th Jun 2012 19:48
Hi mrHandy-
Thanks for trying it out. Did you not like the way the ball moves or its handling? Or is cast-iron covered with flubber a good thing? Did the marble behave differently on ice than expected?

I've seen Ballance, Monkey Ball, Marble Blast, etc. I never personally played Ballance but I get the gist of it. Are you suggesting I make it so there are several materials for the marble, or something else about the game?

Thanks again for the feedback!


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mr Handy
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Posted: 5th Jun 2012 09:07
My bad I wasn't clear enough

I don't like your current physics settings. The game itself is good. I have marbles at home so I know how they rolling

Materials and railings are gameplay main feautures in Balance, you could borrow it if you want to. I talk only about physics. You should make your marble behaviour like wooden ball in Balance. That's it.

Currently your ball is too heavy and has strange recoil with high velocity than before impact. A lot of tweaks it need.

Ice is too... icy Make it less icy. Ball is twisting like in space and do MJ's moonwalk. Funny but not suitable.

And I don't know what pink thing is doing

P.S. You don't need to play Balance, you could just watch walkthrough on youtube, it's over 12 levels and won't take much time but give good ideas. Maybe

«It's the Pony, pony me this, pony me that» — Bronies
«I sell apples and apple accessories» — Applejack
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Mr Kohlenstoff
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Posted: 7th Jun 2012 20:16
@mrHandy: the pink thing is bouncy. Useful when you fall on it from some height.

But apart from that I have to agree to some degree: the ball is quite heavy, the whole pacing is really slow (although that's nothing new actually). Changing directions on the ice is almost painfull. In one level (I think it was the first one in the list) I respawned on some ice tiles several times in a row and had to gain speed every time, which felt like a minute of watching the ball in slow-mo.
Another thing is the bouncing of rails. Maybe you should reduce the ball's velocity by some factor (something between 0.5 and 0.8 I guess) each time it bounces off a wall to make it easier to get near it without bouncing away all the time.

One thing that is highly irritating is the fact that dynamic objects don't respawn with you. I had to start the pusharound-map a few times because the objects fell out of the level. Also it is not very logical that the ball-object (the one you can push around) is immune to the air-vents.

That's all I've got to say so far. The new features are nice and enhance the game (although I'm not too sure about the black/white holes - they didn't bring much fun but rather frustration in my case, and are not that much of an enhancement due to the air vents doing basically the same, but in a somewhat more intuitive way).

Hope this helps.

greetings,
MrK

tiresius
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Posted: 8th Jun 2012 00:31
Thanks for the feedback, you guys have given me a lot to think about.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.

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