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AppGameKit/AppGameKit Studio Showcase / [WIP] Trapped in the Sky [PC]

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Ched80
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Posted: 3rd Jan 2015 12:47 Edited at: 15th Aug 2015 12:14




Let me play!
Windows version
Linux demo
The Windows and Linux versions can be downloaded via itch.io:

http://ched80.itch.io/trapped-in-the-sky


Android demo
The Android version can be grabbed via the Amazon App Store:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ched80-Trapped-in-the-Sky/dp/B013XG7VFE/ref=sr_1_1?s=mobile-apps&ie=UTF8&qid=1439622843&sr=1-1&keywords=trapped+in+the+sky



What is this all about?
You are a prisoner on a crippled spacecraft. You have 30 minutes to find the last escape pod, repair it and save yourself.

You have been sentenced to 8 years service in the Helium-3 mines on the Lunar surface. As the prison transfer craft approached the Moon, the Ion drive exploded, knocking you out and sending the craft into an escape trajectory away from Earth.

You wake up in your cell with all prisoners released from their cells and the craft’s systems failing around you. You need to find a way off the failing vessel before the guards find you or the oxygen runs out.

It's a spiritual incarnation of the board game Forbidden Island only single player. And set in space. But fundamentally the elements are the same i.e. the game area decays over time, the player needs to collect various items to escape and the player has a special ability chosen at the start that will help them in specific areas.

Here is a short video showing the current version of the game in operation.



and the current state of Beta-3 and the latest build running on an Android tablet:



Where did the idea come from?
The game was originally an idea for short story that I thought up when I was 18 and has evolved over the years to become “Trapped in the Sky”.


The key mechanics are:

Character Specialisation: At the start of the game you pick a “crime” that grants you a unique ability that can help you make it through the game. For example pleading guilty to “murder” grants you with improved weapon accuracy while admitting to “smuggling” grants you increased loot when searching objects. Only "Not Guilty" and "Murder" are playable in the current version.

Random Map Generation: The game world is randomised each time the game is played by creating a grid of sections. The sections are pre-designed, but also contain random elements that vary with each play through. Each section represents a specific area of the craft such as Prison Cells, Cargo Bay, Escape Pods, Guard Accommodation, Engineering, Bridge, etc. The player moves between each of these sections.

Map Decay: As the game progresses the individual sections begin to fail. First to emergency power, but if the section is not repaired in time, the section fails completely and becomes inaccessible. If the section fails completely when the player is in the section; death follows. The player can restore the health of a failing section by using the items they have collected to repair it.

Item Collection and Use: As the player moves around the map they can search objects and collect objects to help them complete their goal. Some objects are purely functional, such as Guns, Pain Pills, Keys, Datapads, etc. while others are required to repair the failing sections and ultimately the escape pod needed to complete the game.

Item Crafting: The player can collect recipes to make items with special powers by combining the items they have found. Only two recipes are in the current version, but many more, including modified weapons, for the final version.


Talk technical to me
The game is a top-down 2D shooter built using tier 1 of AppGameKit v2. The plan is to release it on Windows, Linux and Android. The game can be played with Mouse+Keyboard, A Dual-Stick Controller or Touch-Screen.

Here's me waffling through the touch-control implementation:



The dynamic shadows with normal maps are implemented using full-screen shaders. A lower quality shader is also provided to improve the frame-rate on lower performance machines. The game automatically detects a low frame rate and will automatically switch to the alternative shader.


What’s in the current version?
The current beta is fully playable and contains all the core mechanics that are destined for the final game:
Character Selection: Only two character type can be played. The final game will offer the player the option to play through as one of six crimes.
Random Map Generator: The map is randomly generated.
NPC A.I.: The A.I. is currently very crude. So while they will navigate their way around the map and react to the player’s movement, there is a lot of improvement needed.
NPCs: Only one NPC is in the demo; prisoners. The final version plans to have six types such as Guards, Crew and Cargo Bay Drones.
Weapons: Three weapons are in beta-two; the hand gun, the automatic rifle and the shotgun. The final version plans to have at least six.
Section Decay and Repairing: Sections randomly fail over time and players can repair them by using the items they collect during the game.


I have used SpriteMe to create the character animations and I have taken a lot of media from FPSC-Classic.

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Van B
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Posted: 3rd Jan 2015 16:43
I like it, looks really atmospheric.

I wonder if the gameplay could be a little deeper though. For example, in this situation the chances are that everyone left alive is trying to get the escape pod working, different people might be carrying parts that you need, and you might carry parts that they need, so it might be cool to have more of a stealth and chase element to it. Like groups of guards and groups of prisoners all trying to get the parts to fix the escape pod, if the part they need is already gone, then they go hunting for whoever has it. It might be a good idea to keep hold of just 1 vital part, then make a trap for anyone coming looking for it for example.

I am the one who knocks...
Ched80
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Posted: 3rd Jan 2015 20:54
Cheers VanB, I haven't thought about the hunt mechanic like that and I like the idea. I already want to randomise the missing parts, the layout of the ship and the number of survivors so linking the parts and the survivors will be cool.

Ched80
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 21:06 Edited at: 18th Jan 2015 11:58


No video this week. I only managed to work on this for a few hours last week, but I still managed to achieve the following:

added blood splatter overlays to the scene.
added armed animation for inmate with hand gun.
created two additional inmate animations.
created guard animation.
added code so that each segments identifies where the walls are. This is so I can implement some A* pathfinding for the NPCs.

I'm hoping to add weapon firing over the next week, but we'll see how it goes.

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MrValentine
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 23:27
Tagging in...

Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 01:15 Edited at: 13th Jan 2015 01:18
That looks awesome, especially when you opened those doors.
Nice work dude. This is going to be great!

Quote: "This is planned for PC only as the shaders are quite intensive."

What about OUYA?
Since this game is full screen, it would be a good match for OUYA.
Not sure if OUYA's GPU can handle this (it should be able to, shouldn't it?), but it would be awesome if it can.


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Ched80
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 12:14
Cheers!

I didn't consider OUYA as I don't have one to test the game on, but I will probably consider it as I'm making this with 360 controller support so adapting it for the OUYA controller seems a logical step. I'm going to add an option to run a less intensive shader for lower spec PCs so I could offer this option for OUYA too.

Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 14th Jan 2015 23:57
Quote: "I didn't consider OUYA as I don't have one to test the game on"

I found a OUYA console with controller on Craigslist for $60.
I am anxious to try that out soon, after I make the switch to AGK2.
Still wrapping up those projects already started in v1. (hoping to revamp those for OUYA)

I have read articles that OUYA is dead, but I cannot imagine that it would die so soon with so much potential.
AGK 2 OUYA is my 2015 full screen adventure! So, for me OUYA is just getting started!


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Ched80
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Posted: 23rd Jan 2015 20:39


I think I was a little optimistic about the time needed to implement the weapon mechanics. Plus I got distracted by other bits I wanted to add.

Despite this I did achieve the following:

added scattered bullets overlay to the scene.
added NPCs, or at least a basic version of them wandering around, albeit they are very basic. I started adding a name generator and decided I would use names of the people I work with, but randomly picking first names and family names. This has absolutely nothing to do with the story, but it amused me to see my colleagues as inmates.
added the doomsday clock.
added the super critically important spalsh image.
added a bit of loading screen as starting a new game does take a few seconds to initialise and I wanted to make sure it wasn't getting stuck in a particular function.

I also added the start of an A* pathfinding function. At the moment it doesn't recognise walls so my NPCs just aimless wander through them like ghosts, but I figured it was better to get the basics working before trying to add the complexity of navigating walls and doors.

I'm also realising I probably should have planned out what I wanted a bit more. I think I've got to that stage where my code is at a critical point, but one small change could end up leading to days and days of re-coding. Ah well, I'll just blindly code on.

Ched80
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Posted: 30th Jan 2015 20:37


The gun mechanics are in



I thought last week it was going to be another two weeks before I could do this video, but this week everything just seem to fall together:

improved AI pathfinding.
Guns can now be armed and disarmed.
Guns can now be reloaded.
NPCs can be shot and killed.

I'm hoping to add A.I. hunting and health preservation next.

Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 30th Jan 2015 23:40
Wow, that is looking really good.
The dynamic shadows on the guy pacing was cool, and the blood oozing out from the guy you shot and killed was smoking.
I know it is not finished yet, but congratulations in advance because this is awesome already.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V1 Tier 1
Ched80
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Posted: 6th Feb 2015 21:24


Thanks for the kind words CE - i hope the gameplay lives up to it

This week has been a bit slow, mainly due to a commission project I need to complete before the spring. So it's basically halved the free time I have on this. For that reason I'm going to reduce these updates to fortnightly so that there is more substance to report. So things ticked off the TODO list this week:

Added a second door type (I know! major news, what annoyed me this week was because my brain was a bit fried on caffine, it took me about 2 days to iron out all the bugs just to get the door to open in the right way).
Started the escape pod section, I hope to show this in the next video. This will be the section that triggers the end of the game. The aim is to make it to the escape pod section, find out what the remain pod needs in order to repair it and finally escape the crippled ship.
Added a mechanic to trigger movement in between different sections.
Added a random map creator algorithm (this is because I want the layout of the transfer ship to be different each time the game is played.

I didn't manage to touch the A.I. so that are still dumb wanderers. I'd like to get this second section finished and working before i create another video and possibly I'd like to show the map GUI, but that may be stretching my productivity a little.

Ched80
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Posted: 20th Feb 2015 18:27


Some reasonable progress over the past two weeks. My other project is slowing me down a bit and work is very crazy at the moment so my brain feels like its melting. Any this is what I did:

improved AI movement so that they don't move to the next grid square until they are closer to the middle of the current grid square
added the start of A.i. decision making, so NPCs with guns stand and stare at the player, while non-gun holders walk away.
added the datapad item. Collectnig this enables the player to view a map of the full spacecraft and this shows the health status of each section. Only the names of the sections they have visited will be displayed so the player has to search the ship to find what each section is.
added the escape pod section although it needs a bit of work still like closing all the escape pod doors and added other bits to interact with and search.
added the section decay mechanic. This is something adopted from "Forbidden Island" where instead of parts of the island sinking, parts of the spacecraft start failing. First they switch to redundant systems, but after the redundant systems fail, the section cannot be accessed. I will make it so the player can repair a damaged system, but they won't be able to fix a dead section. I'm hoping this will force the player to hunt out more resources and judge whether to repair a particular section over another due to its value to the player.

Going to keep improving the AI with the aim to get them shooting back next.

Anyway here's a short vid of where I was one week ago.



fog
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Posted: 23rd Feb 2015 14:57
Looking really good. Loving the atmosphere and some simple but good looking animations going on.

If you're still considering OUYA then definitely look at Fire TV too. I've got one and it's a lovely piece of hardware with potentially a much bigger audience. Both require minimum effort in AppGameKit with all but a couple of button mappings identical to the 360 controller.

Ched80
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Posted: 30th Mar 2015 22:36


Just a short update on current progress - not enough, the longer version goes like this:

tiny tweak to the AI so that half of them actively point a gun at you if they can see you. They don't do anything with the gun. They just sort of stand there looking all mean.
added sounds, nothing earth shattering, just simple things like foot steps, doors opening, gun fire, reloading, empty firing, search rustle, etc.
improved the random section damage so that it is very clear something bad has happened. You can see what's gone wrong by bringing up the map (assuming you've found the datapad).
added a few more items that can be collected, but there is currently no logic where they can be collected so at the moment you can find 10 gallons of fuel hidden in a cloth bed. hmmmmmm.


Anyway here's a short vid of where I am as of this evening.



unfamillia
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Posted: 31st Mar 2015 11:35
Ched!

This looks AWESOME! I haven't really been around these forums for a while and I missed this thread! The video looks great! I would love to test this game.

I noticed that you had a typo. When the player collects the Guards Key; you have mixed the 'u' and the 'a' around. Other than that, it's looking solid.

Hope everything is good with you and yours!

Cheers

Jay.

Ched80
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Posted: 2nd Apr 2015 15:15
Cheers Jay!

With GG having a separate forum there is less cross-traffic in general. I also haven't started the main marketing push yet. I'm going to wait until I have a demo I'm happy with before kicking that off. I just want to get to the stage where the AI are a real threat and you can repair the escape pod and end the game. At the moment the game isn't a good representation of what it will finally be and I think if I released a demo now it'd only generate bad feedback. I'm not far off having a demo ready, a few weeks I think, so watch this space.

Cheers for spotting the typo - I've since corrected it

The family are good thanks - same to you and yours

Ched80
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Posted: 8th Apr 2015 00:10
Felt like the game took a leap forward today. I've been concentrating on the AI recently, specifically the shooting aspect. So today I implemented code that would make the NPCs react when the player generated sounds, turning to them, seeking them out, etc. And it was amazing the difference that made to the feel of the game. It's like it's got a life of its own.

Ched80
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Posted: 10th Apr 2015 23:03


Managed to dedicate some decent time to this over the past two weeks and I've made some decent progress. Like I posted a few days ago, the game is really starting to take shape now. Most of the core mechanics are there and the very basics of the complete game are in. I'm really lacking a lot of content, that's the biggest task, and then honing things like collision and AI:

changed all the music. I'm now using 3 tracks by Kevin Macleod (http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/).
added foot step sounds to the NPCs - including volume adjusted for distance and balance adjusted for relative position.
added escape pod damage, console and permanent door status for them so only a single escape pod is accessible during the game.
added 5 character types to select from at the start of a new game: Not Guilty (no special skill), Murder (improved gun accuracy), Smuggling (improved loot), Robbery (access doors without a key), Cyber Fraud (Access consoles without a password) - although none of the actual abilities have been implemented yet.
added a lower performance shader for integrated GPUs - simple shadow mapping without normal mapping.
fixed awful frame rate bug that got worse the more sections were visited.
added AI shooting and the ability for them to change their target destination if they hear the player
added two new items - CPU and Transceiver - both repair items for section damage.
added player death code and game over screen - GO screen displays stats of the game (number of kills, number of repairs, etc.) not sure what to do with the data, but thought it might be nice for the player to reflect upon their performance.

Still a long way to go, but I think the game is actually interesting to play now - I find it quite difficult so I will have to implement a cheat system so I can actually test some of the hard parts.

Here a video of the current game. I also explain the core mechanics that have been implemented up to the game breaking bug in the final section. That'll teach me to record a video before testing new code



Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 11th Apr 2015 19:27
Looking good except for the crash.
I hope you got that sorted out.
The elusive escape pod has foiled my survival plans again!


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1
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Posted: 12th Apr 2015 03:13
Really nice Ched, i like the idea and the atmosphere.


Ched80
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Posted: 19th Apr 2015 11:32


Thanks CE and Gekko, yes the crash has been fixed.

I was all set to release the demo on Friday, but an opportunity appeared mid-week that I couldn't refuse so while the bad news is that I won't be releasing the demo for at least another month, the up side is that I'm bring forward my 360 controller and touch-screen support. I will also be adding more content for that release.

I've also added a health pill feature that works like the pain pills in Left4Dead. By that I mean the pill add to your health, but their effect wears off over time. I originally didn't want any "health pack" features in the game as I want this to be a difficult game, but since I'm including a medical wing section into the game I felt it makes sense to have pain kills on board. And I think the feature works well. It still leaves the game difficult, but ads an little bit more hope to the players.

Ched80
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Posted: 23rd Apr 2015 17:19
Hi, I'm opening up my game to a closed beta group. If you fancy being part of the test group send me an email to:

christopher.chetwood (at) gmail.com

On a side note, 360 controller support is almost 100% implemented.

Ched80
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Posted: 30th Apr 2015 22:56
Short update.

360 controller is now fully supported, as is touch screen controls.

The difficulty now is to try and make all 3 control methods play well. The touch screen is the hardest to balance as it's just not natural to play shooters using touch.

In other news, I've fixed a lot of bugs and generally improved the frame rate, even on my basic machine. I've also changed the lighting to reflect the status of the section such that it's darker when running on emergency power.

Ched80
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Posted: 1st May 2015 23:11
So I thought I'd report back on my adventures into appying touch screen controls to a top-down shooter as I think I've found a nice imlpementation that seems just a good a using a mouse and keyboard.

So this game was only really focused on mouse and keyboard as the primary control input, although I always did want to implement a 360 controller scheme since a lot of gamers prefer this when playing games and I felt it was a nice feature to add. And imlpementing it is pretty easy as we've all played games using a dual stick controller and so the mapping of actions to the input is fairly logical (trigger for shooting, right stick to look around, start button for map, etc, etc.)

But touch input was never intended to be implemented and I was sort of forced down this road to imlpement it.

so i started off by trying to add virtul joysticks and buttons to replicate a dual stick controller, but on the screen a bit like what you get on shooters on mobile games. But this was awfully cumersome as you get no physical feedback on your finger movements and generally the virtual joysticks made movement and shooting terrible. Basically playing with touch input was horrible and felt crowbared in.

Part of the problem was strafing. Using WASD, strafing works well as you have clear physical feedback when your moving forward, back, or strafing left and right. But using a virtual joystick I found my character was strafing randomly and walking into walls and doors and generally being annoying. So I thought, why don't I just remove strafing from the joystick? So I tried this and it made a huge difference, navigating was so much easier and I felt I didn't miss strafing anyway.

However, aiming was still an issue, again I believe this was partly due to the lack of physical feedback. So I was lying in bed last night and I thought, why don't i just let the player aim the gun when touching the screen? So rather than sing a virtual joystick to point the character in the desired direction, the character would point to wherever you touched on the screen. It made aiming feel so much better and more precise, it suddenly felt as good as having a mouse. The problem I had now was that to navigate the character, the left hand was holding the screen and controlling with the thumb and the other hand was in the middle of the screen controlling with the finger.

It felt messy. It was also a problem because all the action buttons were on the edge of the screen so the right hand was constantly moving from the middle to the right or to the bottom.

Then it hit me, why don't i combine the aiming and moving on the right hand? By this I mean if you want to walk up/north, you would start your touch motion from the player and hold your finger just north of the player. To move Left/East you would start at the character and drag left. The implementation was pretty easy as I already had the "aim at pointer" code working so all I had to do was grab the coordinates for the start of the drag moiton and test if these hit the character sprite. A smiple distance calculation later and you effectively have an invisible joystick in the centre of the screen for moving and aiming. For info, static aiming is basically the same, but since the drag motion doesn't start from the character sprite, the movement code is never triggered.

I also expanded the code a little so that tapping the character sprite triggered the main acion, which then removed the need for the right hand to constantly move from the middle to the edge and back again.

The left hand is then basically free to fire the gun and support the screen.

Honestly the system works suprisingly well, it felt natural, it felt immersive and felt as precise as using a mouse and keys. It's made me reconsider touch input as a baseline input, alongside mouse, keys and dual sticks, for future projects.

So to summarise how it is implemented:
1. First I check if any of the normal buttons have been pressed by the touch event. If not, I know the touch event is either, aiming, moving or triggering the main action.
2. If the touch event is just a tap (using GetRawTouchType(TouchID)=1) then it's just the main action being triggered.
3. If the touch event is a drag (using GetRawTouchType(TouchID)=3) then it is either just aiming or moving. Either way, the character needs to be set to point at the touch event's current position.
4. Finally I test if the start of the touch event hit the character sprite (remembering to conver the touch coordinates from screen to world since the sprite exists in the world and is not fixed to the screen). If the event hit, movement is triggered. I also check the distance of the current position of the finger from the start and if above a set threshold, running is triggered.

Sorry for the essay, just felt I needed to share my experience.

Ched80
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Posted: 10th May 2015 18:44
We have demos!!!

Windows demo


Linux demo


Android demo


All feedback is appreciated.

Ched80
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Posted: 16th May 2015 10:41
Not much to add since the last post since I've been away on holiday with the family. Only to add that I submitted Trapped in the Sky into the Intel Level Up 2015 competition. Apparently there were 218 entrants into this years' competition with 32 in the Adventure/Role playing category, which is the category I submitted this into.

Not sure of my chances as the game is some way off being complete, but I figured it was worth a punt.

Will be back on it next week.

Ched80
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Posted: 22nd May 2015 21:34 Edited at: 22nd May 2015 21:37


Back into the development this week. No video as I'll save that for when the next beta is available, but in summary

Added a camera wobble when a section is damaged. I plan to expand it so that the wobble is stronger when the section you are in is damaged and i also want to add in some explosion and creaking sound effects to make it feel like the environment is decaying.
Altered the shadow shader slightly to blur the shadows at the edge of the screen - it's slowed the frame rate a little, but the visual effect is worth it and makes the lighting more natural.
Started adding a new section type - the crew quarters - which is similar to the cells except the crew get bigger rooms, the furnishings are nicer, and there is am R&R room and a weapons store.
Altered the looting system so that objects can only be found in logical places. No longer can you have 5 CPUs in a toilet. Instead, hardware can be found in creates, while keys, bullets, etc. can be found on people. The idea being that you need to search the different sections of the ship to get the items you need.
Expanded the map generator to now create multiple floors (the current beta only creates a single storey world). I also added the mechanic for the lifts (so you can access the different floors), but it's current interfering with the exit doors. One step forward....

Not excessive progress I'll give you, but creating a section takes about 3 days while coding a mechanic takes about 1.

Ched80
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Posted: 30th May 2015 15:46


This week was all about planning. So far I'd been a bit ad hoc with features and content for the first beta. I mean I knew it had to contain specific bits, but I didn't really have a plan for the next beta and I was aiming for a new beta each month. So I drew up a map of what I want in the game and what should be introduced at each beta, but I quickly realised I'm never going to make all the stuff I want for the next beta before the end of June, so I think I'm going to aim for a beta every other month. Anyway, this was the progress this week:

Started to add two new weapons - an automatic rifle and a shotgun. Not tested them yet, so far I've just been adding the icons, the animations and the audio for them.
Started adding a few more collectable items such as Gaffa tape, batteries, etc. Which all sounds a bit dull, but I'm also adding a new mechanic that will make this all a bit more interesting.
Started work on a 'hacking' mechanic. By this I mean that you can alter or create items by combining the stuff you have collected. For example combining lock picks with bullets creates bullets with 25% more damage. The hacks are only available when you collect the recipe for the hack so you won't be able to hack right off the bat, you'll have to hunt for them. I'm introducing 4 hacks for the next beta.
Added a few more items for the crew quarters, such as a bed and table, but I've got a lot more to add yet.

I was hoping to get a bit further than I did, but I'm hoping having a plan will keep me focused on getting the next version out before July.

Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 1st Jun 2015 04:47
Quote: "Started work on a 'hacking' mechanic. By this I mean that you can alter or create items by combining the stuff you have collected. For example combining lock picks with bullets creates bullets with 25% more damage. The hacks are only available when you collect the recipe for the hack so you won't be able to hack right off the bat, you'll have to hunt for them. I'm introducing 4 hacks for the next beta."

That sounds really cool, and I like other games that offer this to create new weapons.
I will probably be passing that feature by often though do to the urgency in this game, unless the hack is necessary for survival.
Having the same item used multiple concoctions brings in a strategy element though, so I might run out of oxygen experimenting.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1
Ched80
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Posted: 5th Jun 2015 22:00


Thanks CE. I wasn't actually thinking of an experimental crafting system, but now that you mention it, I think that would work well. I still want to stick with my "hack" method of predefined combinations, with these giving you specific predefined bonuses. My plan is to have a large number of these bonuses, with the aim that you only find a set few in each play through. The idea, hopefully, is that the bonuses will change how you play through the game, even though the ultimate end is the same, the journey their can be slightly different.

I think I will save the experimental crafting mechanic for a later release.

Speaking of releases, I've now moved the game on to Desura, although as I'm writing this, I don't actually have confirmation that Desura have accepted it. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, this week was about working through the plan. I focus almost entirely on the hack system. I added two hacks, I've got the HUDs working and a few other bits, but hacks don't actually have an effect yet. That's next week's job.

No coffee cups this week as I was focused on a single element, but I did finished off the guns and they now fully implemented.

So next week will be finishing off the hack system and then moving back on to finishing off the Quarters section.

Ched80
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Posted: 12th Jun 2015 16:13


I had a little trip to Norway and back for work this week so I was able to get a few hours on this during the flight.

The hacking mechanic is now fully implemented for two hacks - Vile Bullets and Bullet Lotion. The 3rd beta will have a lot more, I just wanted the core mechanic working for the 2nd beta.

The final aspect of the 2nd beta is the crew quarters section. Which is already running in the game, but many object are missing from it so the level currently feels sparse and disappointing. With this being the crew's area I want a lot more stuff to be around, and that means creating a lot more media, something which is taking me longer than I thought.

But I'm still on track for the next beta to be out before the end of the month. Next week I am focusing on this final section as well as removing any silly bugs I find. Then I'll package the three platform versions up and put together a short video shows what's been added since beta one.

Still no feedback from Desura, but giving that their parent company has filed for bankruptcy I have a feeling Desura may not be taking on any new games.

PIXIMID
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Location: Somewhere your currently not. ^^
Posted: 12th Jun 2015 20:14
Hi Ched! First off, I want to congratulate you on this amazing game project

Your game title really fits the game perfectly and it has a deeper meaning in a way when you think about it, but anyway your 'hacking mechanic'....

Dude! If you add that option in, that would add another branch to your game, making it less limited and add more varieties of objects
that are able to be constructed together.

Sweet progress bro, this game WILL by far draw some big attention sooner or later.

Keep up the massive work.

#B.B IN DEVELOPMENT.
Ched80
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Posted: 19th Jun 2015 20:03


Cheers PIXIMID! Thanks for the vote of confidence, to be honest I've had the rough idea for the game/setting for years, I just never got around to fleshing it out. The title was actually the name I game another game I have in pre-development, but it seemed more appropriate for this one. Plus I like the acronym

This week I had a little trip to Toulouse in France and back for work this week so I was able to get a few hours on this again during the flight and the second beta is ready for deployment. I just need to package the various platform versions and host them.

So this past week was spent polishing the game and bug fixing. Although the 360 controller features have not been fully added into this next beta (I'm still thinking of how to implement the hacking part using the controller), the annoying snap at the four quadrants has been solved. It was actually embarrassingly easy. AppGameKit, by default, sets the dead zone for the analogue sticks to 0.15, so now I just force the dead zone to 0.0 for a much smoother motion.

I also added a simple pre-damage sound so that it sounds like a part of the ship has exploded just before the alarm sounds. I think it adds a bit to the atmosphere.

I also slightly adjusted how player collision is done so that collision with non-occluding objects works as I wasn't happy with the fact you could walk over chairs and tables.

Still no feedback from Desura, so I'm now looked a itch.io as a hosting platform and any others I can find.

Anyway, after the beta are up I'll create a little video re-capping all the new features and post it up.

Ched80
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Posted: 19th Jun 2015 23:58
Video of Beta-2 made earlier than thought:



Ched80
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Posted: 26th Jun 2015 17:21 Edited at: 26th Jun 2015 17:28


This week was spent holidaying with the family so development progress was zero, but I'll be back in the saddle from Monday.

So in between trips to the zoo and walks around the park I've mainly been planning what's going to go into beta three. This is what I've drawn up:

As I've mentioned previously, the hacks are going to be expanded and these are the first 10 I'll be adding:
Automatic shotgun hack
Electro Handgun hack (add electric shock damage)
Enviroshield hack (allows you to access failed sections)
Exploding bullets hack
Field Scanner hack (increases loot yield)
Flame gun hack (my personal favourite)
Lazer Rifle hack
Omni tool hack (reduces the number of items needed for repairing)
Skill Tonic hack (perfect shooting accuracy)

The Armour mechanic will be adjusted so that it degrades with damage taken.

The A.I. will be improved, to add actions such as running away.

Some objects will be breakable, such as keys and guns.

The Experimental Crafting mechanic will be added.

Two unlockable crimes will be added:
Robbery Crime
Smuggling crime

Three NPCs will be added:
Guard NPC
Robot NPC
Megabot NPC

The bridge section will be added. The bridge will be a unique section and will contain the medical bay.

I'm also attempting to add an end game animation, but given my art skills this may not get added.

I'm aiming for beta three to be completed by mid August and when it does I'll be increasing the selling price. So just a cheeky reminder that beta two is currently available via itch.io for $0.99.

Ched80
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Posted: 28th Jun 2015 20:17
I made a short trailer:



Ched80
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Posted: 3rd Jul 2015 22:12 Edited at: 10th Jul 2015 21:22


This week was spent back in the development seat and I\'ve made better progress than I thought I would. I did have thoughts of getting the Android version properly working and pushing it out to Google Play, but I\'d spent the previous week dealing with publishing and marketing so I fancied a week back in the code.

Here\'s a summary:

Added breakable keys. Basically what it says on the tin. Keys randomly break meaning you need to seek out a new on or use lock picks again.

Added a text prompt when you hover over a collected hack. This describes the benefit of the hack and if you don\'t have the correct ingredients yet, it tells you what you need.

Added five new hacks:
Skill Tonic - gives you perfect shooting accuracy for 90 seconds.
Auto Shotgun - is kinda obvious as it\'s a hybrid of a shot gun and an automatic rifle.
Electro Handgun - deals additional electric damage, but can also be used to shoot doors open.
Field Scanner - increases the number of items you find by one.
Exploding Bullets - bullets that do double the damage.

Adjusted the Murder Crime image to make it look better.

Adjusted the Game Over screen to show the moment of death, rather than the Moon\'s surface.

Adjusted the map screen to make it more clear, by high-lighting only the floor and the section that the player is in.

Adjusted the camera wobble to a time based system as the effect was almost non-existent on higher end PCs.

Adjusted the way Hacks are discovered so that they are limited to one per section. Meaning you won\'t have the same hacks available to you in each play through.

Adjusted Floor and Section numbering to start from 1 to make it more logical.

Fixed player collision with dead NPCs.

Fixed gun ammo text disappearing when new items were found.

So over all I\'m pretty chuffed with the progress this week. Hopefully more of the same next week!

Before I go, just the usual cheeky reminder that beta two is currently available via itch.io for $0.99.

Ched80
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Posted: 10th Jul 2015 21:41 Edited at: 10th Jul 2015 22:15


This week was another week of development making my way through the features for the next beta.

Here's a summary:

I spent half of this week re-working the NPC logic. I did have this big mass of code that was handling all the NPC decisions and animations and it was getting a bit messy and I wasn't really happy with how the NPCs behaved in the game anyway. So I went back to my note pad and sketched out the logic I wanted the NpCs to follow. Here's a cleaner version.



The sketch helped a lot and I was able to re-write the code fairly quickly. Was took the time was checking and debugging all the weird behaviours this logic brought to the table. And while it's not 100% complete yet, I am much happier with it.

Added a new NPC type - "Guards" while at the moment behave the same as in mates, they will be adjusted before the beta goes out so that they are always armed, are tougher to beat and can track the player better. For these reasons, there will be clearly fewer guards in each play through.

Adjusted the Robbery and Smuggler Crime images to make them look better. I'm thinking of unlocking the Robbery crime if you complete the gamewithout using any lock picks and unlocking the smuggler crime if you complete the game while carrying over 100 items.

Adjusted the normal maps for the flooring in the crew quarters to be more subtle.

Added showers and Gun racks to the crew's quarters.

Adjusted the player's text when a section fails for the second time so that it is more clear that the failed section cannot be accessed any more.

Fixed NPCs walking through the top row of walls in the cells section.

Fixed the game showing the next section before the level has began.

So while there was less progress this week, improving NPC behaviour was key to the next beta and I'm more happy with how that's working now.

Here's a quick vid of how it all looks



I also took advantage of the Game Dev Humble Bundle this week. While I already had AGKv2 and Game Guru the amount of assets provided with the bundle was worth together with a few nice tools.

Before I go, just the usual cheeky reminder that beta two is currently available via itch.io for $0.99.

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Ched80
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Posted: 17th Jul 2015 21:43


I think I'm just over half of the way through all the features I want to add to the next beta. The majority of the hacks are implemented, the new NPCs are there, what's left is the basic crafting and the new explorable section. Both will take considerable time.

Here's a summary of how I got on this week:

Added 'Laser Rifle' hack. Basically a laser rifle, but uses power cells as ammo instead of bullets. As part of this I added a neat laser line that is drawn on screen.

Added Wood and Stone footstep sounds. This wasn't a planned feature, but I was getting annoyed with the metallic foot fall sounds when the player was walking on wood or stone.

Added 'Flame thrower' hack. This is what you can imagine it is. It uses fuel as ammo instead of bullets and spews out a stream of fire. I'm not 100% happy with the decal implementation for this yet, but the fundamental mechanics are in and working.

Added 'EnviroSuit' hack. This allows player to access failed sections and repair them. This has an added benefit that if the escape pods section fails, the games does not end as the suit grants the player to still repair the escape pod.

Added 'Smuggling' crime. This boosts the items found when looting. This can be used in combination with the field scanner hack to get even more loot per search.

Added a new NPC type - "Spider bot" which patrols the craft armed with a laser rifle. Being part of the ships defence systems, the bot can detect the player better than the guards.

Adjusted how Weapons are handled so that they can accommodate multiple ammo types. This was in before, but I had implemented a rather clumsy way of doing it. Now I list the applicable ammo types in the weapon definition file and the code handles the rest. The makes adding new ammo types easier in the future.

Adjusted the Armour mechanic. This now blocks all damage until it is destroyed, rather than reduce the damage by a set %. The condition of the armour is shown together with the player's health bar.

Adjusted Warning text to be semi-transparent. This is so it is less obtrusive when exploring the sections.

Fixed a bug where doors would still open even if the play's key had broken or had ran out of lock-picks.

So I'm on track for an August release of Beta three. I am a bit worried the game is too hard. I find it very difficult to get very far as I have tried to make it punishingly hard, but I have also tried to make it fair (i.e. the A.I. shouldn't cheat, they don't have infinite ammo for example).

A slight change to the usual cheeky reminder about beta two. It is still available via itch.io but now you can pay whatever you want for it. Take it for free if you like.

Feedback, as usual, is always appreciated.

SpecTre
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Posted: 17th Jul 2015 23:37
Really looking forward to playing this game but unfortunately I have a really busy weekend this weekend so going to get on the case Monday with it

The Amiga and Amos were great!
My website LEAP - Download Paint Pot here!
Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 18th Jul 2015 02:57
Quote: "Added 'EnviroSuit' hack. This allows player to access failed sections and repair them. This has an added benefit that if the escape pods section fails, the games does not end as the suit grants the player to still repair the escape pod."

I like that hack the best.

Quote: " Added a new NPC type - "Spider bot" which patrols the craft armed with a laser rifle. Being part of the ships defence systems, the bot can detect the player better than the guards."

I like this a lot too.

You have done a lot, and this sounds awesome.
Looking forward to August.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1
Ched80
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Posted: 24th Jul 2015 23:47


Cheers spectrepaul, I hope you enjoy it, I'd like any feedback as it's difficult to be objective when it's your own baby.

Cheers Conjured Entertainment, I always think you should pack as much as you can into each update and I think b3 is sizing up to be a substantial update. I hope you enjoy the new beta when it arrives. I believe I'm looking at an August 14th release, but if next week goes well it might be sooner. Watch this space.

So this week was another good week of development, focused mainly on adding the next explorable section - the bridge and medical wing.

Here's a summary:

Added the bridge and medical section and eight items (beds, plants, sinks, hobs, etc.) to furnish it out with. This section is a little different from the previous sections in that you can't access the whole section, you can only access the bridge from the right doors and the medical wing from the left. Introducing this has required a bit of a change to the A.I. so that they don't try and target players on the 'wrong' half of the map, but other than that, it works quite well and forces the player to keep more sections fully operational and it acts as a dead end forcing the players to take alternative routes through the map.

Added the 'omni tool' hack which fully repairs a whole section. Which may sound too powerful, but the hack is expensive to produce requiring at least 5 items so I think it's got the right balance. That and the fact that not all the hacks will be available to the player so the omni tool won't be available in each play-through.

Added the Robbery crime which enables you to unlock any door without a key or lock-pick. To unlock this crime you need to have escaped the craft and unlocked 100 doors using lock-picks (cumulatively, not just in a single session).

Adjusted the blur shader to be faster and actually produce a nicer blurred shadow effect. I originally picked a number of points in the x and y axes away from the target pixel, covered these points into an angle around the player and tested to see if it was in shadow or not. It was quite intensive and although my dedicated GPU could handle it, my integrated GPU struggled and the resulting blurring for both set ups wasn't anything to write home about. This modification, performs the in-shadow test directly on the angle and the result is a much smoother, consistent blurring effect with improved performance. So I'm chuffed!

Adjusted the oozing blood from recently shot NPCs to ooze in a time based system, rather than a frame based system so that the blood oozes at the same rate on all set ups.

Adjusted normal maps for the galley tables and added gun-racks, cooker and sink to crew quarters section.


Fixed the cargo-bay doors from being open allowing the player to wander off the map.

Fixed cargo-bay section from causing A.I. pathfinding crash.

Fixed user data not loading correctly, so now all player settings and stats are recorded properly.


So I'm definitely near the end of this beta cycle now and August 14th looks like the date I will be releasing it. Just a few more features to add, which I'm hoping to complete next week.

Here's a loooooong vid of how it all currently looks - I apologise for how long it is, that's mainly because I die so many times. I am so bad I am at my own game!




Before I go, just the usual cheeky reminder that beta two is currently available for whatever you wish to pay for it via itch.io.

Digital Awakening
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Posted: 26th Jul 2015 11:17
I really like the tension and feel of this game. The light effect is also very nice.

I have 2 suggestions that I think will make the game more enjoyable to play. But they will make the game easier so you may have to compensate by adding more enemies. More enemies and more ammo might make the game more interesting to play. You want a balance of combat and exploration to avoid the game to feel like all you do is explore.

1. Make the AI have multiple modes. If it hasn't seen the player it won't look inside the rooms, so you can hide in rooms. If you are seen but run away then the AI will start to look into rooms for a certain time. Maybe the AI will pause in front of each room while in this mode?

2. Add a graphical effect to indicate noise if the source is in the dark. So the player can see where the footsteps are coming from. For example a faint blue pulsing ring for each step.

Ched80
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Posted: 27th Jul 2015 21:49
Cheers for the pointers DA.

I partly disagree with point 1. The other prisoners and guards would be searching in cells; not for the player, but searching for ammo, etc. so it does make sense for them to be exploring. The robots though, would just be patrolling so you're right I should have multiple A.I. modes, but I think I need to take care to limit the modes to different types of enemies.

I think the graphical "echo" would really help, especially if you play on full mute (like I do since I work on this on the train).

I think ultimately I need to work on the balancing between overly powered enemies (the current situation) to overly powered players (making the game boring). And then there is the tuning to make sure the game stays within the flow channel.



Trapped is currently well within the Anxiety area

Ched80
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Posted: 31st Jul 2015 22:14


Following the pointers from Digital Awakening I added a visual aid for the sounds generated by the NPCs. The effect works pretty well and does tip the balance of the game more in the player's favour. It also helps fill out the black void that is most of the screen so it's a double wammy! So thanks DA!

Anyway here's a summary of the rest of this week's work:

Added the visual 'echo' to show the NPC's location as explained above. I have a feeling this will over-power the player later in the game so i may need to adjust how it works as the player gets stronger. Anyway a video will help and I'll post one tomorrow.

Added the alternative crafting mechanic. So far I've only added four working craft combinations. Clearly I'll be implementing more, but these four help me test out how it all works. I'm not going to reveal what I've added as the point is that these are little gems that you'll need to discover off you own back

Added blood pools to where already-dead bodies are. This does nothing except make it all look a bit nicer.

Adjusted the shadow shader again. This time altering the alpha threshold for sprites drawn to the screen. This was because the visual 'echo' was producing some horrible effects.

Adjusted the A.I. so that the guards target other inmates.

Adjusted how the movement is handled on the 360 controller, moving it from the d-pad to the left analogue stick. This is because I want to use the d-pad for crafting and hacking.


So I'm basically in the polishing phase for this beta now and I've already started drawing up my list for the next one The main feature to tackle is the Android platform version as this has boring technical problems to solve. But I'm sure it'll all be solved next week


Before I go, just the usual cheeky reminder that beta two is currently available for free via itch.io.

Ched80
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Posted: 1st Aug 2015 21:59
Here's a short vid of a few attempted play throughs with the new echo system.

You can see, although I still die, the echos enable me to play for more than 5 seconds each time. Even for the first death, I could have ran away, but I was too slow to realise.



Digital Awakening
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Posted: 2nd Aug 2015 00:21
Quote: "So thanks DA!"

You are welcome I think it definitely adds to the game.

Here are a few more things you may consider. They are only suggestions so do what you want with them

Looking at the latest video, the game currently contains a lot of walking around looting rooms. It seems quite repetitive to me and might not encourage multiple replays. One way to change this would be to have most of the cells open, and contain fewer loot-able objects. Instead increase the likelihood that the player find something when objects are looted.

Also, having an AI or two walking around in each area makes the game more intense. Now the player can see and avoid them. Have them stay away from rooms that connects to other areas to ensure that the player can travel around without too much trouble.

I don't know if you are already planning to change this. Some walls are colored black, although I would assume that the character is able to see at least part of them since they are close and in the same room. This looks a bit weird to me. Showing them to the player would make the game a little less black without spoiling anything.

Your 2nd death in the video shows the AI killing the player from outside of the screen. This isn't exactly fair to the player in my opinion. In most top down games like these the AI cannot detect the player until they are quite close, unless the player uses a weapon. You could also add in a sneak walk to allow the player to move even closer without detection.

Ched80
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Posted: 7th Aug 2015 22:26


Thanks for the suggestions DA.

Quote: "Looking at the latest video, the game currently contains a lot of walking around looting rooms. It seems quite repetitive to me and might not encourage multiple replays. One way to change this would be to have most of the cells open, and contain fewer loot-able objects. Instead increase the likelihood that the player find something when objects are looted."


I agree each play-through will be similar, essentially each one has the same objective: find the escape pod and repair it. I am confident the hack system and the crime type add enough variety to change how you play through each run. One thing I am considering is to unlock all the crimes from the start, rather than unlocking them by completing a run. This would instantly give the player 5 different abilities to play through the game with and could encourage more play throughs when the player is still new to the game.

I'm reluctant to change the looting system as I actually think it works quite well as you get further in the game. I play with an intensive looting bias, but you don't have to play it this way, there is nothing stopping the player searching through the map to find a more useful section.

Quote: "Also, having an AI or two walking around in each area makes the game more intense. Now the player can see and avoid them. Have them stay away from rooms that connects to other areas to ensure that the player can travel around without too much trouble."


I totally agree with this and I've already increased the number of A.I. generated in each map.

Quote: "I don't know if you are already planning to change this. Some walls are colored black, although I would assume that the character is able to see at least part of them since they are close and in the same room. This looks a bit weird to me. Showing them to the player would make the game a little less black without spoiling anything."


This is on my beta-four list already. I felt the wall and object visibility code needed a complete re-think before I attempted to fix it. I have a few ideas, but I want to roll them around my head before I start messing with the code.

Quote: "Your 2nd death in the video shows the AI killing the player from outside of the screen. This isn't exactly fair to the player in my opinion. In most top down games like these the AI cannot detect the player until they are quite close, unless the player uses a weapon. You could also add in a sneak walk to allow the player to move even closer without detection."


Stealth was an element of the game I had already implemented. I just hadn't balanced it until now so the A.I. was "hearing" the player from the other side of the map. The stealth system still needs tweaking and I'm planning on introducing a stealth suit 'hack' and crime into the next beta to expand on this system.

I've also adjusted when NPCs shoot the player. Previously the sprite just had to be on screen, even by a pixel, but now I've adjusted it so the enemy has to be further onto the screen until firing.


So apart from these points, there hasn't been much additional content added or tweaked this week. I've mainly been polishing and debugging the game ready for release on August 14th. I had foolishly believed the game was ready on Monday so I created all the packages and started work on generating all the footage for the new trailer only to find an embarrassing number of bugs. That'll teach me!

One thing to mention is that I got the Android version running on my tablet. Here's a short video of it running. As you'll see the normal mapping shadows run well and I'm very happy with the frame rate.



Before I go, just the usual cheeky reminder that beta two is currently available for free via itch.io. Beta three will be available here from Friday 14th August.

Digital Awakening
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Posted: 9th Aug 2015 15:33
Never expect anything is ready for release until you have given it a few more play troughs. There's always something you have missed. Talking from experience

Deciding what to have as unlock able and what to have from start is always a good question. As a player, it is fun to have things to unlock. Maybe not require a full play through for an unlock? Also, have you thought about adding multiple difficulties?

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