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Program Announcements / Snakes On A Plain

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Rapidrory
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 16:10 Edited at: 2nd Nov 2011 23:48
A happy little game of snake, remade in 3D. Basically the same as original snake as far as the game play is concerned, just got some rocks to avoid now as well. The texture for the snake is a bit naf, but anything more complex came out awfully so I've stuck with it as is. Enjoy!

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Rapidrory
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 16:16 Edited at: 29th Oct 2011 13:36
And a screen shot:



Quel
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 16:37
Cute, and not perfect but cool. I like the idea of a completely free movement instead of the original 2d up&down left&right style.

Though tends to stop unexplainably here and there, or completely get stuck until i rotate around enough for it to finally continue moving.

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Rapidrory
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 16:49
Yeah, It does that when you hit the edge of the 'plain'... i used to have a sliding collision on it, but then the body would either curl up inside itself or the head would float off, so because I'm to lazy to think of a non-array based snake body, I just made it non sliding collision instead. I was only making this game quickly because i was bored so didn't really want to spend hours redesigning it

Chris Tate
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 16:50
I rearly download the games here; but judging by the screenshot it seemed like it had potential. (You should display it) I'm glad I used up my limited time to visit this thread.

After playing it I'd say that it is the best game small game I've tried in about 6 months. With certain larger games on this site, I couldn't play for more than 2 minutes without my stomach telling me to stop torturing myself with boredom; but I ended up playing yours for 10 minutes. 10 minutes is not bad considering my level of impatience and extremely difficult to please nature.

Gameplay seems 8/10 considering there isn't much to do and it isn't very challenging; at least what is there is relaxing. I'll keep it installed on my harddrive, worthy of its disk space use on my computer and I'll even make a start menu shortcut for this one. A definate replay.

The terrain looks decent 7/10, the snake works nicely; you see the sphere pop out a bit on steep hills, but the rest of the snake looks 6/10, it does not look easy to produce. Could do with some clouds or sun in the sky.

As a 'low end user', my frame rate seemed to be below the 20s. So something in there is lagging the gameplay for me. 5/10 performance. I will assume that this much slower than yours; and that you are not using timer based movement.

I'm running on an AMD Athlon FX 64, WinXP, 2048 mb Ram. nVidea GeForce 8400 GS 512mb 567Mhz core clock system.

I hope you continue with this game, and add in level music, different levels of difficulty, enemies and a some extra exploration capabilities, secret pathways and power-ups. If you are not continuing with this project then it is a shame, because it has limitless potential once you add in extras and if you feel like it, multiplayer.



Nice work.

Rapidrory
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 17:02
Thanks Chris!

I dunno why it's running so slow on your computer though... i capped it to 50 fps down from the 200 fps it would normally run at on my computer, and your specs are pretty much the same as mine...

Chris Tate
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 17:10
Quote: "your specs are pretty much the same as mine"


Hmm, that doesn't sound healthy; perhaps when others try it out they can confirm their performance experience. The length of the snake does not hurt, it just seems to be the terrain, or something CPU related.

My average frame rate on commercial games such as City of Heroes / Civ5 is 30-40fps, so its just about 10 fps below, but there is far less content on the screen than in these games.

Rapidrory
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 17:25
hmm, well there is very little that could really bring the frame rate down.... i make sure of it in all my games (where possible). Unless your computer reacts differently to the terrain or the scenery objects, but i can't see how that would be the case. You sure there weren't any background process's running at the same time? I have almost none on this computer...

Chris Tate
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 17:31
Nothing but Visual Studio, FireFox and WinAmp. I'll give it a go with them closed....

Chris Tate
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 17:44 Edited at: 28th Oct 2011 17:47
Yep it is a little better now. I feel it was FireFox running a laggy script on one of the web pages; as WinAmp was not playing anything and VS Studio was idle.

Now the frame rate is 25-30ps; according to Fraps. Somewhat normal for gameplay in open scenes on my system. 40 fps is tops in WOW and COH for me. I purposely choose not to upgrade this PC because I like to get a good feel of low end performance of what I build. Plus I'm not that rich.

Edit: And ignore my point about level music, I had my volume turned to 30% but could only hear the menu music, didn't realize there was level music.

Rapidrory
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 17:54 Edited at: 28th Oct 2011 18:18
Ah ok. Yeah i turned the level music down slightly, otherwise it slowly drove you crazy (from someone whose spent the last 2 days playing it trying to get the game working :L). And i would have done a proper job with the sky, it's just you barely ever see it.. or at least that was the case when i put the sky in, it's a little more visible atm. I'll add some clouds just because it'll neaten it up a bit and should only take a minute :L

EDIT:
Ok clouds added, plus a few other little bits n pieces sorted out. Also, I've added a frame rate counter. The original download has been updated.

Btw, i tried it uncapped, and it was actually around 100 fps, but still pretty nippy. I also tried it around 30fps and no wonder you found it relaxing :L

Chris Tate
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 20:34
Yeah the sky looks alot better. Even with the seamed edges at least it improves the look of the scene. It is barely visible as you state, but its just the way I think; I look at game screenshots everyday for my own research, so I tend to notice glitches or missing spaces quite quickly.

The trees sometimes spawn above ground in the sky, and once the snake spawned on-top of a rock.

If desired, I will not be that busy tonight, I can make you animated snake head and a seamless sky. Just let me know if you want it, whether you want the snake head to look realistic or cartoony.

I think my low end graphics card might be slow with the collision checks; the performance only improves by 5 or 6 fps when I face the edge of a hill with the polycount reduction.

Quel
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 21:05
Damn calling that config low-end is a bit harsh...

I have a laptop with 1.5Ghz CPU and 64Megs of video, now that's low-end.

Chris you have something messed up with your system on the software side if you tend to have 40 fps average with those specs.

And yeah, though some things run just fine here with me, this basic little game was quite choppy and to be honest unplayable, i just really wanted to see the worm grow so i tortured myself a bit .

How do you achieve the worm's body? Do you use vertexdata to align vertices together, or just instance cylinders next to each other?

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Rapidrory
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 23:33 Edited at: 29th Oct 2011 00:57
i just have 2 arrays for each segment of the snake (X and Y coordinates). You basically control the head, and then the head's coordinates are shifted down the array each loop so the segments follow the one ahead...

This is why the body curls up inside the head if you slow it down as the tail catches up with the current coordinates. So instead, I just stopped it shifting the coordinates when it hits the edge of the feild.

I'm rubbish at explaining things, so I'll just show you the relevant code:



And it's a shame you find it choppy, I thought I managed to keep the frame rate reasonably high on this one, even for low end systems...

Chris Tate
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Posted: 28th Oct 2011 23:37
Quote: "Chris you have something messed up with your system"


Definately

Rapidrory
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Posted: 29th Oct 2011 00:56 Edited at: 29th Oct 2011 00:59
Oooh, animated snake head sounds pretty awesome if you could! It's just a sphere atm as you may have noticed... Cartoony would probably be better as i would have thought it would go better with the rest of the game. I'll see if i can sort something out with the snake texture too.

I can do a proper animated sky if were needed, It just takes a little more code and processing power, and for something that's rarely on screen it seemed a little OTT But if you've already got a seamless sky texture then there's no reason why i couldn't put it in :L

I've fixed both the floating plants and the spawning inside rocks problem now btw.

I've also increased the menu speed by 5 times (Damn 'set text size' command dragging frame rates down as usual) but it has made the load up time a little longer. Haven't yet managed to increase uncapped frame rate in-game though...

Chris Tate
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Posted: 29th Oct 2011 01:02
I'll do a snake and sky texture; do you want a cube map dds, or just one image?

Rapidrory
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Posted: 29th Oct 2011 01:07 Edited at: 29th Oct 2011 01:41
For which one? probably just one image. And be warned, due to the way the snake changes in length slightly, if the texture isn't monochromatic length ways then it looks 'orrible :L

EDIT:
Actually, I've found that a single horizontal stripe on a plain green background works really quite well as a texture for the snake, and doesn't go all funny as the cylinders don't overlap that far... I've updated the screen shot at the top if you want a look.

Chris Tate
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Posted: 29th Oct 2011 03:01
Yeah it looks more interesting now.

I should have mentioned that I was talking about the sky.

The snakes head is about 75% done, but we will need to see how it works in the engine, and you can judge it for how you want it.

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Posted: 29th Oct 2011 03:31 Edited at: 29th Oct 2011 03:33
potential fun here

request "difficulty" levels as, i believe:

snake moves and turns too fast.
snake grows too much (it seems to be adding more than 1 "segment" per flower consumed?).

otherwise, a little too frantic for a "relaxing" game, to me.

lots of room for replay-ability here if you added some additional features: (randomly generated?) maps (with various sizes, terrain types, flora, etc?). maybe even a "poisonous" (unlockable?) mode where you can wreak terror on new-born hares, unsuspecting field mice, or other delicious prey? and, all this while avoiding the shadows of impending (spine-crunching, sharp-taloned) hawks or other aerial predators?

thanks for sharing!

edit: to re-emphasize my (too subtle) request for shadows to be implemented

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Chris Tate
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Posted: 29th Oct 2011 06:15
Here is the snake and some dds textures. The sky is now seamless, and your textures have precalculated MIP maps, for fast loading times; so they say.

The Snake has glitches but hopefully from they will not be too obvious in the game; at least for the time being.

You should handle the rotation of the head on the X axis when a bite occurs; the animation does not rotate the head on the X axis.

Limb 0 = Root
Limb 1 = Head
Limb 2 = Eye White
Limb 3 = Pupils
Limb 4 = Armature (Bone)
Limb 5 = Armature_Neck
Limb 6 = Armature_Jaw
Limb 7 = Armature_TongueBack
Limb 8 = Armature_TongueMiddle
Limb 9 = Armature_TongueFront
Limb 10 = Armature_Mouth
Limb 11 = Armature_Head
Limb 11 = Armature_Head_002 (Unused)
Limb 12 = Armature_Eyebrows

Frames 0 - 100 - Idle Movement
Frames 0 - 200 - Every 18-20 frames the snake makes a bite; larger bites towards the end. There is a glitch where the mouth cannot close fully, and the tongue is a bit too low res.

You can also pause the animation and play around with the armature limbs in code.

Looking forward to the next update.

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Rapidrory
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Posted: 29th Oct 2011 13:18 Edited at: 29th Oct 2011 13:50
Love the snake head! I've matched up the body colour with the head and added it to the game. Also added a little curvevalue to the camera so you see more of the head in game. I've updated the media where possible, including the sky. The whole thing's looking pretty awesome now The link at the top's been updated.

@ Virtual Nomad
Yeah, It moves and turns pretty fast cause I set it to a level that i found playable... but since I've been playing it for the last 3 days that level is now pretty high I've slowed it down very slightly in the latest update (by 8.3%), but i doubt if it'll be that noticeable..

And it's supposed to add more than one segment per flower (15 to be exact) as otherwise it takes for ever to get to a realistic length..

...And i suck at shadows :L

Chris Tate
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Posted: 29th Oct 2011 14:07
Looks good; I will download it later on.

Rapidrory
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Posted: 29th Oct 2011 18:05 Edited at: 29th Oct 2011 18:51
Well I've given the random terrain generator idea a try, and it's not too bad, does make it a little more interesting... however you get the problem of rocks hidden under hills which you can't see which is always irritating.. if i can sort that then it should be good..

EDIT: sorted it now. Won't upload it just yet though...

Chris Tate
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Posted: 30th Oct 2011 00:34
Yeah, the snake looks more detailed now with the stripes. The seam in the sky is now gone aswell. I knew the snake mouth would get buried under the surface but it doesn't look that bad.

I'm playing at half the speed so its feels more relaxing than challenging from my standpoint, it would be nice if the FPS delta was used to multiply the movement speed.

The random generation was a good idea; alternative terrains would extend the gameplay. And goals, stopwatches and acheivements would prolong it further.

If you need help getting shadows done let me know and I'll assist with it via the forum. I'm not bad with shaders either.

Nice game. I think the snake needs a name, and could do with eating some real snake food.

The game stimulates a desire for more terrain exploration for some reason...

Rapidrory
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Posted: 30th Oct 2011 01:19
Problem with the speed is that you have to rescale the segments if it needed to go faster than it is atm as they are already as close as they can get in terms of the array. other wise the snake starts to break up. I mean, its not impossible, but it does make it trickier :L

As for shadows, I'll see what i can do. if I'm honest never actually tried adding shadows to a game (or at least haven't tried very hard). So I'm sure I'll manage eventually :L

I know what you mean about the further terrain exploration, but if I make it bigger it would take too long to get get from place to place, so would only work if the terrain was more interesting instead, and that's pretty tricky to achieve most of the time, especially with a random matrix. But I'm not writing off that idea just yet :L

I'm trying to keep the original snake + flowers thing going like in the old games, but i may well re-design the flower and give it a more cartoonish look to go with the rest of the game...

And going back to an earlier post of yours, i actually really liked the multi-player idea, It could be done like the old Tron light cycle games where the other player dies if they bite your tail. Unfortunately, i DO suck at online multi-player, and have tried many times to get it to work... I'm fairly sure I just never manage to set it up right rather than the actual code being wrong. May just do a wasd+arrowkeys one with split screen and add it as an option on the menu.

Quel
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Posted: 30th Oct 2011 01:54
Awesome, the speed and playability has increased a lot since the first version!

Oh yes a multiplayer one would be really cool, there are lots of tutorials for that topic, jump into them.

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Chris Tate
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Posted: 30th Oct 2011 01:59
Cool, I didn't remember the original flower+snake theme so that makes sense.

I agree with the rest of your points. There are different ways to make it less repetitive.

I don't struggle with multiplayer; I find GUI to be the most annoying part. Probably because of my web-development background. I find it easiest if the actions where triggered by operation codes than direct function calls, then multiplayer is just a matter of sending an operation code to the server instead of the local operation array.

I understand about the snake parts breaking up now; wierd that it runs so slow; other games run ok. My machine needs a fix up.

Hope it all goes well.

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Posted: 30th Oct 2011 22:01 Edited at: 30th Oct 2011 23:41
Ok, just quickly updated the game upload to include both the random terrain generator and the adjustable speed based on the fps. That plus a few other little tweaks. Will start work on the more major upgrades later.
Turns out having spent all of yesterday working on it, I was supposed to be at work (I entirely forgot ) and so almost got fired , but I'll get this finished soon hopefully, just progress will be slower as my half term has ended now.

Oh yeah, just so you know, the speed adjustments work fine until it gets down till about 30 fps, then you start getting some steering issues, but it's only really a problem nearer 20 fps...

Chris Tate
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Posted: 31st Oct 2011 00:13
Cool; I had to leave my job to work on my game; this stuff is so time consuming because it is an art form, so much perfection required for a game to stand out.

I'll give the update a go later.

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Posted: 31st Oct 2011 00:32 Edited at: 31st Oct 2011 00:49
Wow, how very dedicated of you! which game was that? :L fortunately my forgetting to go to work was unrelated to the game, it was more because my memory sucks... I'm not a good enough coder yet to justify spending all my time on it :L

Also, a friend's suggesting I publish this on steam or similar at some point... any thoughts? (obviously with a fair bit more work done on it etc.)

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Posted: 31st Oct 2011 03:39
My game hasn't been disclosed yet but I will be working on it for a few years. Hopefully a WIP will be posted up in January.

I agree, it has potential. Over time its level design will start to generate curiousity and anticipation between them and the goals.

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Posted: 31st Oct 2011 18:26
Cor, so it's a pretty major game then! I'll think I'll stick with arcade games for the moment Good luck with it!

Back on my game, just starting on shadows. With any luck should have something to show for it by the end of the evening.

Chris Tate
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Posted: 31st Oct 2011 21:34 Edited at: 31st Oct 2011 21:38
Quote: "Ok, just quickly updated the game upload to include both the random terrain generator and the adjustable speed based on the fps."


Yeah, the movement is more challenging now; although new problems have occured, at least I have a feel of what pace it is supposed to run at.

I see what you mean about the cylinders; I'm not sure how you are doing it and whether it is posible to run a number of cylinder creation steps based on the quantity of frames missed; but you know what you are doing.

Only problem is that there is a keyboard input glitch. I can't turn left. Infact sometimes it turns right on its own. And when I get to the edge hill, I get stuck. Perhaps I am missing input command calls during the skipped frames.

Maybe you could reproduce the problem and see for yourself; my FPS is 20-25.

I like the generated terrains; it feels alot better trying out new levels; and rocks behind steep hills is a challenge one has to prepare for by being observant before going over hills; no big issue in my opinion.

Let me know if any modelling, FX shaders or 2d graphics needs doing; during my spare time I don't mind contributing as an excuse to practice some modelling and FX coding. I am pretty much working 100% in Visual Basic DGDK at this development stage in my project and do not want to forget how to use Blender and HLSL shaders. I can code in DBPRO too (obviously), but I doubt you'd need help there.

Rapidrory
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Posted: 31st Oct 2011 23:39
Ah ok, yeah, i experienced the same problem when i clocked it at 20fps, i didn't think yours ran that low any more... Never mind, I was planning to do a little more work on it anyway. Shouldn't be too hard to fix, it's just trying to turn too fast whilst using a curve angle and getting the same effect as you do when looking at something turning fast on TV (you know, the way it looks like it's spinning backwards? Anyway...)

Yeah, the rocks hidden behind hills is at an acceptable level now. Before I got the terrain as smooth as it is now, you'd constantly be plunging blindly into rocks and it was just irritating. Btw, I'm publishing the random terrain generator function on the code snippets section, since it can actually be quite a useful bit of code.

And thanks, I've never been particularly good at making my own media, so i may well take you up on the offer at some point

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Posted: 1st Nov 2011 23:42
I got 21. Great remake. Super smooth and well made. Loved it

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Posted: 2nd Nov 2011 02:18
I got 2, and that was hard work. On my computer the game is super fast. I mean way too fast to control. The gameplay just seems set to make a game last 20 seconds. But the idea is good.

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Haha, I challenged my brother to beat my 21, and he got 34, so just to get competitive I tried again and managed 52 before getting trapped by my big tail.

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Posted: 2nd Nov 2011 12:54
What's your FPS Daygamer? (Number in on the bottom right corner)

Daygamer
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Posted: 2nd Nov 2011 15:20
It's hovering around 55-56.

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Posted: 2nd Nov 2011 17:45 Edited at: 2nd Nov 2011 21:37
@Daygamer Wow! my best score is about 34 and I wrote the thing The max score you can get is 132 before the snake array runs out and it crashes so be warned if your feeling ambitious, but by that point my fps is down to around 3 and it's entirely un-playable :L Sounds like you'll enjoy the multilayer version when i get round to it :L And it's capped to 50 Fps so that sounds about right.

@Pincho Paxton, For that reason it shouldn't have caused you any difficulties as it should still be running maximum of 55 Fps no matter what the computer specs....

EDIT:
Ok so updated the upload to include high scores and a pause menu, plus a few other little tweaks like fixing the control problem at lower frame rates. Nothing special, just like to keep it up to date.

Quel
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Posted: 3rd Nov 2011 11:15
...Guess it's easier for people with slow computers

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Rapidrory
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Posted: 3rd Nov 2011 19:09
@Quel Well it shouldn't be if my time based speed controller is working

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@Rapidrory, yeah, I imagine I probably have the perfect computer to play it on. I should see if I can do it again.

Wow, you're going to add multi-player. Sweet! I'll look forward to that. My brother's going down. haha Better watch myself here

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@Rapidrory, thoroughly good game, I managed 37



DarkGDK is good
Quel
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Posted: 11th Nov 2011 00:15
There's no time based system that improves any game running at 10 FPS... however most of them will make it worse!

I just guessed it was easier for me to maneuver the wormy, but if this is the speed what i'm experiencing here with hundreds of FPS, then i don't know what's so hard about it. I just quit around 40 because it just took too much time already.

...Or yup your time based method doesn't work the way you imagined.

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Rapidrory
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Posted: 11th Nov 2011 17:27
Hmm, well I've tried it at many different fps speed and it was pretty much the same difficulty through out, And since it's capped to about 55 the computer speed shouldn't matter above a certain point...

Maybe your just pro at snake?

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