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Work in Progress / Epica Rex

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Grim Gary
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Posted: 14th Aug 2012 03:11 Edited at: 14th Sep 2012 22:22
Finally doing something with all these Dark Basic Pro apps I invested in. Been a long time coming before I settled on a game plan. Made a video of my progress after two weeks of plugging away at it.




Adding in more terrain and terrain heights


Utility written to edit block properties.

Latest update 9/14/2012
Been working silly hard on Epica Rex. Totally redid the way terrain blocks work, and have been tweaking the world gen. Soon the world will be breathing in full with all it's basic glorious biomes in place.

For a while I was mired down in developing tools to manipulate the data more readily such as the block editor featured above. The time end energy spent on these utilities has been well worth it.

Added a ton of server administrator commands that will help keep the peace on servers in the face of random errant players. Also useful commands for teleporting yourself and players around the map if need be. I'll soon be adding in full blown editing commands and an edit mode for world admins who want to customize parts of their world by hand.

I'll be making another video of the progress as soon as I've finished this rather large update.

http://epicarex.webs.com/
Created Using:
Dark GDK / Dark Basic Pro / MS Visual Studio
Dark Data
Multisync
WLGfx's Perlin and Simplex Noise Plugin
Matrix1's Addon's
Smart Packer Pro
-
Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2

-Grim
Fluffy Rabbit
User Banned
Posted: 14th Aug 2012 15:33
Well, look who's a YouTube partner.

The game looks OK, but TBH DBPro seems a little overkill for the graphics. I'm sure it took a lot of coding, but the end product looks rather dated and seemingly complex in all of its 16-bit simplicity. My take on it is that you are some guy exploring the jungle in a sort of RPG. You have to collect items that give you points, and navigate through a huge scrolling landscape to find everything. Not a bad concept, except only the graphics look kind of jumbled.
MrValentine
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Posted: 14th Aug 2012 16:41 Edited at: 14th Aug 2012 16:49


Helps if its here, also you need Screenshots to support the WIP...

GET THEM UP QUICK I WANT TO SEE THIS PROJECT!!!

Quote: "but the end product looks rather dated and seemingly complex in all of its 16-bit simplicity."


He did say it was an idea from 15 years ago

But MC makes me think again in what he meant by that...

EDIT

Oh! I love the background texture and the slice terrain style!

Edit, but for peaks sake DO NOT COUGH INTO YOUR MIC!

Dar13
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Posted: 14th Aug 2012 21:27
@Fluffy Rabbit
Considering how well games with dated graphics have sold in recent years I think that's irrelevant.

Looks interesting, I'm curious to see how you'll handle the water animation and visuals.

Pincho Paxton
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Posted: 14th Aug 2012 23:20
It looks nice so far. I want to see the water as well.

seppgirty
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Posted: 14th Aug 2012 23:34
lookin good gary. sounds like you have a lot of ideas. will keep an eye on this....

gamer, lover, filmmaker
Grim Gary
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Posted: 15th Aug 2012 00:46
I don't think Fluffy was saying the graphics look dated, but rather cluttered. Which I myself tend to agree with a bit, and that's mainly due to the totally random distribution of misc. land decor - which I did in haste to get the engine in a state it could generate landscapes. With a little more work, I'll group up particular types of land decor into 'noise' groups so they aren't so 'all over the place'. Which means there will also be a slight reduction in the number of land decor as well.

As far as the dated look, that is intentional. I like the style and it seems to be a long lasting trend that hasn't worn itself out quite yet.

I'm a Machinima partner rather than a Youtube partner...thought I've gone sort of lax on it this year to pursue other projects in comics/art and this game.

Thanks for the comments folks! =)

-Grim
greenlig
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Posted: 15th Aug 2012 03:15
Wow, very impressed. It's not often that we see games here with a strong visual style, and so well fleshed out. I'm looking forward to playing it!

Greenlig

Your signature has been erased by a mod as it is far too big.
Fluffy Rabbit
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Posted: 15th Aug 2012 07:32
@Gary-

No, I did mean to say that the graphics look dated. This pixelated isometric style didn't age very well. You seem to have implemented it well enough, but it just seems odd to me.
swissolo
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Posted: 15th Aug 2012 19:30
This is a very cool project you have here... but why did you restrict the world view so greatly? I don't see why it can't fill the screen or at least reach close to the edges Regardless, I'm sort of fond of the clutter. It really gives the world character, although I do think it should be managed a little bit Nice work!

swis
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Interstellar
Matty H
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Posted: 15th Aug 2012 19:35
Cool game, I agree with swissolo, I think you could fill the screen a little more and still have the platform effect with a backdrop.

You could also fade objects near the edges, would add a little polish.

I want to explore the world you have created there

greenlig
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Posted: 15th Aug 2012 19:56
Agree with Matty H - want to explore this world.

Your signature has been erased by a mod as it is far too big.
swissolo
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Posted: 15th Aug 2012 20:01
I agree with greenlig, Matty H, and myself I would love to have a look at a demo!

swis
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Interstellar
Grim Gary
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Posted: 16th Aug 2012 04:26
What is in that video is a very early development stage. There are none of the interface options/screen items present that will be there in coming versions. So it may look a little threadbare for a while until there is actual game play.

As far as the limited world view. This may change based on how the screen elements pan out in the end. It may end up that the entire screen becomes the world view, with overlayed panels for the character and information / buttons.

Just keep in mind, that was just showing a very early proof of concept.

-Grim
Cybermind
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Posted: 18th Aug 2012 16:55
It looks AWESOME! This concept sounds promising!

The byte chrunchers are coming...
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Fuzz
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Posted: 19th Aug 2012 09:58
This looks pretty awesome! Good work.

Grim Gary
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Posted: 6th Sep 2012 13:52 Edited at: 6th Sep 2012 14:02
Project is still running. Going to get some more media up again soon. The server/client skeletons are done and working. My temporary web site is here:

http://epicarex.webs.com/

Almost 140 signups for testing now. The earliest working alpha has been released.

Addons used
-----------
Dark Data
WLGfx's Perlin and Simplex Noise Plugin
Multisync
Matrix1's Addon's

-Grim
CumQuaT
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Posted: 6th Sep 2012 13:54
Can I just say, GG, that this looks absolutely bloody incredible!

Well done!


Grim Gary
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Posted: 6th Sep 2012 14:17
Thank ya much =)

-Grim
Grim Gary
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Posted: 14th Sep 2012 22:22
Edited the OP for more info. =)

-Grim
Grim Gary
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Posted: 16th Sep 2012 01:22
Playing around with map rotation and world editing and ended up digging into the side of a hill - The Bat Cave!



-Grim
Grim Gary
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Posted: 17th Sep 2012 12:13
Popped up another video on the tubes showing the latest progress of ER.



-Grim
Van B
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Posted: 17th Sep 2012 12:24
Looks pretty neat. Personally I like the graphics, I'm guessing it took you a while to do those rock sprites.

I think it might be worth considering an AppGameKit port, if you had like 1/4 sized screen, would be pretty nice on a tablet or ipod - this is the sort of game that is missing from the App store, open ended exploration games that aren't just shoddy versions of minecraft. Actually, there's a demo of a map system that might interest you:

http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=198399&b=41 I know it's about 45 degree orthographic, rather than isometric - but it does actually lend itself well to isometric views.

Also, why not alpha fade the sprites in front of the player?, that way you'll always see the player through solid objects, just by checking the Y position in relation to the player and alpha-fading.

Anyway, keep it up, will be interesting to see how this progresses. I have thought about a 2D minecraft style game like this - mainly to adapt gameplay from games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing - farming, mining, survival, etc etc etc. As I said - mobile gaming devices are missing these games.

Health, Ammo, and bacon and eggs!
Grim Gary
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Posted: 17th Sep 2012 13:45
Some of the sprites like trees already fade when the player is behind them. At this point in time, they don't fade enough - and I wanted to provide a shadow of the tree on the ground plane to let the player know there is a tree there still.

The problem with fading on the terrain stack or even when a player is allowed to build stuff at some point is that the alpha starts piling up on itself and eventually becomes a scrambled opaque mess. So, instead I'm going for culling things that are in the way utterly and the player can manipulate the view by rotation to catch the other sides of the area.

Interestingly. It would be easy to swamp the iso engine with any other engine as it is now. I made sure that I could do that with little pain as possible just in case I found some sort of skill at 3D modelling or wanted to change to a oblique view instead. The whole program has been written modular fashion thus far. It wouldn't take much to switch out the network protocol either.

-Grim
Agent Dink
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Posted: 18th Sep 2012 06:33
This game looks like it's the biggest pain in the arse to make. I applaud you. It's looking pretty awesome
Grim Gary
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Posted: 19th Nov 2012 04:28
Been a while since I reported to my thread here. Been working more behind the scenes on data creation utilities for items, pre-genned map chunks, and game tiles.

However...

Epica Rex has gone Kickstarter.

Kickstarter Link

I'm sort of swinging between AppGameKit or Unity 3D. Just started playing with AppGameKit the other day. Unity while nice doesn't seem so keen on much 2D action, but there is some 2D support. AppGameKit seems to go for the same platforms, while being primarily 2D but has less overall support. Kinda torn. LOL.

-Grim
MrValentine
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Posted: 19th Nov 2012 04:33
[quote]while being primarily 2D but has less overall support.[/quote]

Please elaborate...

With the nearing release of 108.X+ I think you should consider AppGameKit, and it has T2 which should allow you to port over code relatively quick... I am hoping for a 108.X+ .NET AppGameKit release myself...

Grim Gary
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Posted: 19th Nov 2012 05:29
Not direct company support mind you. TGC has been my favorite for a long long time now.

Overall community participation just seems far more active when I look over at Unity's forums. I'm not sure if it's just shinier, and of course it is geared more towards the popular ease of use 3D environment.

Like I said. AppGameKit seems to be geared towards what I am looking for though...and at a much lower price.

One thing I haven't really touched on is Plugin support. Am I able to use the same plugins with AppGameKit as I am with DBP?

-Grim
Phaelax
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Posted: 19th Nov 2012 06:18
Project looks nice, and I think the graphics look pretty good. It's the lack of shading that gives it the out-dated feel. I'm not sure if that's something you can implement or not with this type of system.

Did you draw all those graphics?

"You're not going crazy. You're going sane in a crazy world!" ~Tick
Grim Gary
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Posted: 19th Nov 2012 06:53
Yeah. I've probably put well over 200 hours into the sprites so far, and still many more to do. Each one doesn't take too long to do individually though. It's just that I will likely end up with nearly 3000 sprite elements by the release of the project.

As far as shading. I never got to light levels before stopping work on the tech demo. But there will be light levels. It does throw off perception without any sort of rendered shading for the terrain.

-Grim
MrValentine
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Posted: 19th Nov 2012 07:09
Thanks for elaborating

Sadly I do not know much about plugins in AGK... at this time...

I think if you continued this in AppGameKit and came across snags... You could keep close contact with TGC and they should be very keen to assist... Specially if you got this on kickstarter and got it funded!

Chris Tate
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Posted: 20th Nov 2012 16:50
Great looking project. I like the way you designed the levels and got all of those sprites organized into place; I am sure that is harder than it looks.

I understand that this well underway, and you've got plenty of ideas to help differ this from minecraft as much as possible (if that is what you want). What about using a different, or more versitle shape such as the isometric triangular prism? (extruded triangle).



Quote: "The problem with fading on the terrain stack or even when a player is allowed to build stuff at some point is that the alpha starts piling up on itself and eventually becomes a scrambled opaque mess. So, instead I'm going for culling things that are in the way utterly and the player can manipulate the view by rotation to catch the other sides of the area."


I don't really play these kinds of games, but it looks quite daunting to figure out what is above you in the mountain video; but perhaps you can get used to it. Would it not help to clamp the alpha blends; for each layer above reduce the opacity of the blocks; even disaturate their colours to help? Or maybe even a alpha faded character above the blocks as an overlay, as they do in RTS games.

Nice work anyway, this looks fun to make.

Grim Gary
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Posted: 26th Nov 2012 23:23
The triangle shape would work fine in the system, but still based on a cubic tile boundary. The rooftop tiles that I have, are angled and I have some good primitives I work with for ramps, stairs and mountain sides now.

Mountains will look and operate a lot different in the upcoming versions.

Adjusting right now to see what the pros and cons of using AppGameKit or UNITY are.

So far (based on free trials)
AGK:
PROS: Very easy to use. Easy Setup. 2D sprite support is good. Runs smooth (but I still need to load it down and find out what my limits are going to be). Has a nice network framework by default. I can use it at Tier 2 if needed.

CONS: No Linux or Browser base yet (though the Browser is on some sort of list to do). File read/write is limited. Need the ability for random access read/write which just isn't present. As far as I can see there are no plugins, or plugin support (Note that I can use some of these things at tier 2, but takes more setup time).

UNITY:
PROS: Ability to create objects and script properties into templates is greatly helpful. The project manager cannot be beat, better for IDE developers to follow the lead and try to aim for something similar. The ability to use Javascript or C# for coding. Supports a vast amount of platforms (PC, Mac, Linux, Browser, iOS, Android, Wii, PS, XBox).

CONS: Very daunting for the uninitiated. Simple tasks take more steps and work to do. No native 2D support (have to use plugins). And even still, 2D is just 3D planes. The built in GUI scripting commands are god awful slow to draw simple things (which would have been perfect and easy for 2D if not for the unprofessional slowness).

Unless I switch to 3D, it doesn't look like I'll be able to get much out of UNITY vanilla. And switching to 3D means spending months again re-creating assets I already created for 2D and then loosing the retro look I definitely want in the game.

AGK needs only to broaden the scope of the platforms it uses, and give a random access file system somehow. Plugin support needed to broaden the base.

-Grim
Chris Tate
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Posted: 27th Nov 2012 00:10
I am sure you will work out the best solutions. I must say that I've seen a DarkGDK 1.0 game run in a browser; and that is the most unstable TGC product I have used so far.

If DGDKt can run in a browser, then with some research you might be able to get AppGameKit to work in an ActiveX, SWF, Silverlight or Java file. There's also cloud gaming, in the worst case scenario if a year later no browser support; you could stream it into an SWF or HTML5 document; that is the future.

You'll probably figure out a better solution, doesn't that happen sometimes when you hit problems; it happens to me quite frequently, I end up at a dead end, and force myself to think outside of the box, then end up with an idea 100 times better than the original and realize the problem was not a problem in the first place. lol.

Grim Gary
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Posted: 27th Nov 2012 02:34
Yeah. Would have loved to have gone with DBP/DGDK in the end, but the ties to DirectX are some heavy chains to bare.

I am loving AppGameKit at the moment. Going to register my free copy and try to make something with it even if Epica isn't that something. ...But I think I can develop my own workarounds over time to overcome some problems I'm facing. All about time. Tick tick tick. LOL.

-Grim
MrValentine
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Posted: 27th Nov 2012 02:36
Pretty certain that GDK in the browser would have been GDK.NET... C#...

Dar13
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Posted: 27th Nov 2012 20:01
MrValentine, it was straight up DGDK 1.0 in C++. Not GDK.NET.

MrValentine
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Posted: 27th Nov 2012 20:10
Interesting... They must have used some kind of wrapper... Question is... What...

Dar13
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Posted: 28th Nov 2012 19:28
It was an ActiveX Control IIRC and it only worked in IE (of course). Other than that, I don't know.

MrValentine
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Posted: 29th Nov 2012 00:22
Awesome, hence why I truly love IE... you an keep your silly WebGL crap XD, thans for that

Cybermind
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Posted: 24th Mar 2013 21:34
Dont tell me that this project has gone into oblivion

The byte chrunchers are coming...
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Quel
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Posted: 24th Mar 2013 23:14
Whatever the case, i'm glad for have seen the Youtube demonstration, i usually ignore such games, but this one has a certain charm that i really love it!

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