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NaGaCreMo / Empire of the Seas [2014]

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Zotoaster
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Posted: 2nd Jan 2014 13:59 Edited at: 9th Jan 2014 23:40
So I just made the name up on the spot because I needed a name, sounds cool anyway.

So I've been experimenting with SDL2 in C++ and Tiled, a really cool tile-map editor which makes level design easy. For this competition I'm not going to go my usual route, which is to come at everything from an engineering standpoint. This time I want a game, and I want it to be pleasing to the eyes!

Latest screenshot:


Updates
6 January: Made a bunch of new artwork, animations, ability to use sword and bow, got design of first world level started, started on simple enemies, and have written out the basic playthrough of the game. Update: Added moving and animated waves to the background. Starting to feel like you're actually in the world now.

7 January: More graphical updates

8 January: Design of first level completed. Drew the first three NPCs for the first level. There will be more but these are the important ones for the first quest. Got a start on attacking enemies and receiving attack from them (and for enemies to hurt each other too), and on interaction with NPCs.

10 January: Interaction with NPCs completed (barring a couple of details), and first quest has been implemented. Now I just need a few other random NPCs around the level and it shall be complete!



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
BMacZero
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Posted: 2nd Jan 2014 19:57
I know what you mean about always thinking about the engineering! Focusing on visuals sounds like a good plan to improve yourself. It looks quite nice so far.

How is the bridge done in terms of collision? It doesn't look like it's tile-based.

The character seems very small compared to the level elements. This tileset also seems kind of washed-out - but that must be part of the style.

Zotoaster
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Posted: 2nd Jan 2014 20:22
Thanks for the feedback BMac,

The tileset and character are literally just pulled off the internet to test it out. I've found lots of tilesets but not many character spritesheets that have all the animations that I need. I've changed it over to a different link now who has a sword, but he's still about the same size. Maybe I can just scale him up.

Collision is done by drawing poly-lines in this 'Tiled' editor. They aren't visible in the game but you can access them in the engine, and I use these for collision, rather than tiles themselves. This is a flexible solution, I can also draw boxes over the ladders so the player can react to them.

"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 3rd Jan 2014 01:16
Sounds really cool! Can't wait to see more of it soon!


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Zotoaster
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Posted: 4th Jan 2014 02:38
Okay so I've decided that the spritesheets I'm finding on the internet are limiting my levels and characters too much so my only option left was to make my own artwork.

I'm not much of an artist so I've decided to keep it simple. I actually rather like it though. Let me know what you think!



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
BMacZero
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Posted: 4th Jan 2014 02:53
I like the style you have for the trees and the clouds. It's unique, which is the most important thing in my opinion. I'm not sure they match with the terrain tiles, though. Maybe some black outlines or details on those would help? I think you should also try to keep the line weight consistent (for example, the lines on the clouds seem much thicker than the lines on the bushes).

The character looks like Windwaker Link .

Zotoaster
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Posted: 4th Jan 2014 03:19
Heh, I guess you could say Zelda is my primary inspiration!

The background was just a test to see how the style works (I like the jagged spirals as a theme), I literally drew it in 3 minutes. The tiles are essentially just a template but I'm working on adding a few details, although finding the right amount and keeping it minimalist is quite tricky. I suppose I'll sleep on it.

Thanks for the feedback

"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 4th Jan 2014 04:08
Looks good, I like the idea behind your artwork!


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Zotoaster
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Posted: 4th Jan 2014 18:32 Edited at: 4th Jan 2014 18:43
Thanks Yodaman,

I've put a little bit more detail into the tileset and cleaned up the background a little bit. I'm looking for feedback here!



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Zotoaster
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Posted: 6th Jan 2014 02:16
So I decided to brush up on my vector graphics skills and I created the character again, this time with more fluid animations, and the ability to use a sword and a bow. Also started work on the first world, including a better background.

Screenshot:


"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Blobby 101
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Posted: 6th Jan 2014 12:06
Looks cool! It's good to see a platformer that doesn't have pixely 8-bit graphics these days Looks like you've made quite a lot of the level already as well, so good start - can't wait to play it

Good luck!

Zotoaster
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Posted: 6th Jan 2014 19:13
Just created a new tileset for the first level. Here's a screenie with the new tileset and a crab enemy (on the top left)





"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 6th Jan 2014 23:16
I like it! Although the colors for the dirt are a bit too light in my opinion. Otherwise, it is a very good look for the game!


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Zotoaster
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Posted: 7th Jan 2014 00:45
I'm thinking the same thing, but I don't want to make them much darker because that would take away the 'sand' quality, so I'm thinking maybe some outlines would work nicely

Thanks for the feedback!



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Zotoaster
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Posted: 7th Jan 2014 05:16
I'm particularly proud of this new feature. The waves are now no longer part of the background image but separate and dynamic. They move gently on their own, and are scaled and moved accordingly depending on their position relative to the camera and the horizon line. Despite being 2D it really feels 3D. Also added a bit of "fog" on the background to give it that extra sense of dimension.

Of course you can't see the effect on a screenie but I'll post one anyways.


Also put in some "island-y" music and the sound of waves. Starting to feel like a real game now!



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 7th Jan 2014 05:25
Lookin' good!


Come check out my new website!
Zotoaster
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Posted: 7th Jan 2014 17:36
I added some outlines to the tileset (and created a new tree). I think it looks a lot better. Screenie on first post.



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Libervurto
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Posted: 7th Jan 2014 20:22
Yeah, the outline distinguishes foreground from background nicely. The assets don't look too bad, the rope bridge bugs me though: rope bridges don't have solid struts in the middle, they have... ropes.



Formerly OBese87.
Zotoaster
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Posted: 7th Jan 2014 20:27
Ah yes, well spotted. I was basing this tileset on one I found on the internet and I copied the bridge design from that, but I think having ropes would look much better!



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Zotoaster
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Posted: 8th Jan 2014 22:44
Okay finished the design of the first level and created 3 NPCs which will guide you through the first quest. There will be other ones too just for conversation and to make it feel more "home-y", but I can add them in later. Screenshot on first post.



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Zotoaster
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Posted: 9th Jan 2014 20:40 Edited at: 9th Jan 2014 20:42
Okay interaction with NPCs is working.



The dialogues are stored in XML files in the level folder and different speeches can be accessed. The cool thing is that the system requests which speech to use from the level. That means you can create a class for each level and have very flexible character-driven quests



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Zotoaster
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Posted: 12th Jan 2014 23:11
So I haven't posted in a couple of days because I'm working through refactoring my code a bit. I wanted to make a sailing system between levels, but I had designed my level system to only work with tilemaps. So I thought while I was fixing that I'd organise everything else too, and it's all about back to normal.

BUT, the combat has been removed (and thus the first quest, which requires combat), because I want to improve it significantly. As it stands I have to put all attack animations into the spritesheet. 64x64 pixel frames is not enough room to have a decent sized sword and attack swing, so I want to separate the sword from the player.

I've found a clever technique for doing this. I have two pixels on the player's hand in each frame which are special colour values. I'm trying to record in the positions of these pixels and store them, and then they should be enough to position and rotate the sword. Unfortunately I can't get this code to work yet, but I'll report back with results as soon as I do.



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Zotoaster
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Posted: 17th Jan 2014 00:13 Edited at: 17th Jan 2014 00:33
Just a quick update, I've finished refactoring the code and it's all much neater and more modular, so new levels can be put together like lego.

I've also significantly improved the combat system. The pixel idea I had posted previously was a nice idea but it didn't work, SDL wasn't reading in colour values properly. Besides, if I ever wanted to tweak the animation a little bit and export the spritesheet again, I'd have to redraw every single pixel again.

For this reason I've created a small editor that loads in the spritesheet animations and lets you step through them frame by frame, and you can draw a line where the sword is. I'm hoping for my next game to make a similar editor to do full-fledged bone animations, that limbs can be attached to afterwards. This means I can do away with spritesheets altogether and reuse animation data across multiple actors. But that's for later.

So yeah, the player now has a nice big sword, with a long swing and a "swoosh" effect and sound. I've also made some damage animations for the crabs and found some better damage sounds too.

Next step is to create some attack animations for the crabs to make combat better on their end, and then I'm ready for level 2, or, more precisely, the sailing between level 1 and level 2.


[edit]

Here is a screenshot of the sword swing in action. Granted it's not truly appreciated unless you watch and hear it, but nevermind. Also included is a better looking wave over the boat. This is achieved programmatically and the wave gently moved from the front to the back of the boat. Quite proud of it




[edit again]

My dad's partner asked "why are there waves in the sky?" Does anyone feel the same as her? Should I change the clouds?



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Phaelax
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Posted: 29th Jan 2014 03:39
Quote: "So I've been experimenting with SDL2 in C++ and Tiled, a really cool tile-map editor which makes level design easy"

Just a little FYI, Clonkex has been continuing the work on my Tiled map loader for AGK


As for the rope bridge, I think that gives you a great opportunity to add some physics to the game.

I like the graphics so far, but I have a suggestion in the last pic. Perhaps ditch the bottom border on the grass that sticks above ground. That way you don't have an extra thick black line in only the places where the grass sprouts up.

Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 29th Jan 2014 04:26
The clouds look good, maybe just make them stick out a bit more by changing the shades a tad?

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Phaelax
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Posted: 29th Jan 2014 08:06
You don't want the clouds to stick out too much, otherwise it could distract the player.

Zotoaster
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Posted: 29th Jan 2014 17:07
I'm with Phaelax on the clouds, I don't want them to be any more distracting than they already are. Besides I'm not much of an artist and I don't really know how to add decent shading to them without making them ugly. Perhaps some extra on the bottom to give them a flatter look and add more dimension.

As for the grass, that's a good idea. I've been having a hard time getting line thicknesses to work correctly, but this is a quick and simple fix so I reckon it's possible.

I haven't got started on the second level yet because I was messing around with too many ideas about how to get there and the mechanics thereof. Also I got kinda lazy towards the end. But I have a working first level so it should make for a good demo.



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
Zotoaster
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Posted: 30th Jan 2014 23:08
So...

My Macbook crashed. I restarted it and it won't boot up. Talking to some tech support now and it seems my OS is completely hosed. I will have to reinstall it but there's a chance that I'll lose all my work. If that happens, I'll break something. Perfect timing huh.



"everyone forgets a semi-colon sometimes." - Phaelax
BMacZero
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Posted: 31st Jan 2014 00:15
Gah!

Phaelax
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Posted: 31st Jan 2014 09:19
If you do have to reinstall, hook that harddrive to another computer and see if you can get your project from it first.

29 games
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Posted: 1st Feb 2014 01:38
That's a tough break on your Mac going down. Hope you can get your project back. It looks like you've put a lot of effort in. It was, hopefully still is, looking good. I like the bright art style and there was something about the swirly pattern of the trees that reminded me of the old Pink Panther cartoons (but I might just bee seeing things as it's late and I aught to go to bed).

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