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AppGameKit/AppGameKit Studio Showcase / [WIP] Monster Smash [Arcade]

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Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 15th Jul 2015 16:14 Edited at: 15th Jul 2015 17:10
Yet another WIP, but this one is going to get done for sure.

Think Demolition Derby with driver's like Count Dracula, Frankenstein, The Big Bad Wolf, or a Mummy!

My thoughts are on coin-op arcade machines right now, and getting a home made 360 degree steering wheel working for this title.
I had hacked an old roller mouse for a rotary encoder to make one before, but I am working on a 4 player design, so using the mice won't work.
The idea is to have a 4 player cocktail table with a player and control on each side all sharing the same screen and cpu.
I was going to network four single player machines together, but this new design would save a bundle on monitors and motherboards.
The only drawback is a shared screen, which limits the options for multiple games in one unit.
I could use Joysticks for controls, but a driving game should really have a steering wheel.



This is in the early stages right now, with work being done on graphics and game mechanics, so not a lot to see at the moment.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1

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Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 15th Jul 2015 16:56 Edited at: 15th Jul 2015 16:57
Here is the GUI so far, and as you can see, it is still very much a WIP...




Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1

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Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 15th Jul 2015 17:08
Here is a (choppy) video of Dracula's car running around a test track for a racing level. (if I can pull off split screen then the race is on)
This video was done in Fraps and was so choppy that I had to adjust the car's in game speed x5 to get a decent speed in the video.
That resulted in a choppy look anyway, since I am jumping too many pixels at a time, but at least the speed is close to average.
The car runs very smooth in AppGameKit, so this video doesn't do the game's track any justice.
Good news is that my track turned out okay and it is text based data, so adding new tracks will be a snap the way I am coding the game.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1

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Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 15th Jul 2015 17:13 Edited at: 15th Jul 2015 17:29
I really want to build my own steering mechanism from scratch rather than buying them already made.
That way, I can beef them up to be virtually indestructible for cheap, rather than spending more money for something that will break easily.
Here is what I have in mind for that, but if anyone else has a better idea, then I am all ears.

Originally, I had designed this to be 4 single player machines, and I may go back to that if the cocktail design is too much trouble.

The game has a 2 slot shifter.
For racing the shifter offers low and high speeds.
For demolition derby the shifter is forward and reverse with single speeds for each direction.

The single player machine design uses an old roller ball mouse for input.
The roller ball's X wheel is used for right and left steering, and menu navigation.
The roller ball's Y wheel is used for shifting up and down.
The left click button is used for the Start/Enter button.
The right click button is used for coin insert for adding credits.

That would recycle old mice and save money on encoders, but involves some serious hacking of the old mouse.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1

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SpecTre
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Posted: 15th Jul 2015 19:16
Hey CE,

this is a fantastic idea for a game, Monster Smash! You have great characters and game concept with this one, really like it.

Looking forward to see how this progresses


http://kenneynl.tumblr.com/post/123542270369/kenney-game-assets-is-50-off-on-itch-io-today

Found this track and car asset pack which is license free if you want instant gfx for testing etc.

The Amiga and Amos were great!
My website LEAP - Download Paint Pot here!
Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 16th Jul 2015 02:56 Edited at: 19th Jul 2015 03:07
Thanks Paul,
I find myself a bit preoccupied with the hardware end of the machine right now.
I went on a hunt today for a steering wheel, and found a used one off a junk lawn mower for $10.
A trip to the hardware store resulted in the parts needed to do a mock up of the steering wheels shaft, sleeve (pvc instead of steel bearings), nuts, washers, and a grinding disc for the peg wheel using #6 x 3/4" machine screws for the pegs (16).
Total so far is under $18 with only the 2 micro switches and needle left to find.
I have an old Arcade to TV handheld game laying around that I have cannibalized for the switches, but they may be too weak.
If so I'll use a momentary switch from the auto parts store made for car horns. (they are rugged)
May use a crocheting needle or a small spring for the needle, whichever works best.

I already made one shifter from a bolt through a rubber cork inside of a spring, but may beef that up too.
It uses cabinet door clasps to hold it in gear, and has a wheel off of an old toy car hot glued on the top for a knob.
Micro switches from the buttons of that same Arcade to TV game, mentioned above, serve the shifter.

I didn't bother fooling with connecting the switches yet because I have not decided on buying a USB encoder for this or attempting a keyboard hack.
Leaning towards buying the board for input though, because the keyboard hack will take up too much time and probably be too frustrating.



Thanks for the link, but I am doing all the graphics myself on this one.
As simple as they may be, they should be fine for the age group that I am targeting this time.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1

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Wilf
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Posted: 16th Jul 2015 11:06
Great mix of hardware and software on this project, very interesting! I greatly respect those who can build real, physical things.

Twitter: @itanican
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PushdownGame
Website: www.push-down.com
Funnell7
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Posted: 16th Jul 2015 22:03
This looks great CE, love the hardware stuff you got going on here, looking forward to see how that pans out... There have been a few top down racers lately, I think I might have a crack at one also.

@spectrepaul, nice link, that'll get me going Cheers.

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Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 17th Jul 2015 16:54 Edited at: 20th Jul 2015 07:01
Thanks for the encouragement guys.

Quote: "There have been a few top down racers lately, I think I might have a crack at one also."

Yeah, come on and join the fun!

Edit
Thought I would update this a little by showing another quick video of the wheel prototype... (see attached video)

This prototype has a lot of adjustments to be made, but the basic idea is coming along.
The push arms on these micro switches are hard to see, but you can if you look hard.
I need to reduce the friction on the pivot points and springs, and reduce the number of pegs on the peg wheel, but it still works now.
I also need to use a drill press for drilling all my holes, because I was a bit off doing it by eye and hand, which made a big difference on the peg wheel alignment.
Another change will be with the clevis pin being changed to a bi-fold door pin, so it has a compression spring built in.
That would prevent any damage in the event that the end of the pin comes in direct contact with the peg on a direction change instead of the peg hitting the side of the pin as it should.



Anyway, the finished one will have the improvements, but the basic idea is working.

Now I can move on to design #2, and use a small voltage DC motor attached to the wheel's shaft.
Spinning in opposite directions will change the polarity, so spinning one direction will have lead #1 hot, and spinning the other way will have lead #2 hot.
As long as the voltage is regulated not to exceed the board's limits, then it should work without burning anything up. (5v maybe)
That should be easier and less noisy, but little kids like noise makers so the mechanical design might be okay anyway.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1

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Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 25th Jul 2015 05:18 Edited at: 29th Jul 2015 07:19
Update:

I have been working on the code for the game a bit more, and thought I would test out Keyboard controls for the 4 cars.

Anyway, I have all 4 cars turning left and right with keyboard keys
All four of them can turn anytime independently without affecting the others. (any four keys (of the eight used) read at once)
Now for the shifters and the algorithms needed for their propulsion, and I'll have them all running on the track at once.
As long as the encoder is emulating keys that have no pair conflicts (which it should) then we are in business.
If they don't work out then I have to go the keyboard hack route but at least I know which keys I need to hack.

I got hold of a broken 270 degree steering wheel and took a look inside.
It had what looked like a hobby motor at the end of the shaft, but it turned out to be a two lead switch with off in the middle.
It turns smooth though of course, instead of notches, which is turning out to be hard to find ready made.
I may go with 270 degree wheels though, if I can pick those switches up somewhere other than tearing apart working steering controllers.

EDIT
I made a short video of the four cars in action! (see attached)
It was hard to try to control all four cars at once though without hitting the wrong keys, so...
Once again fraps lagged, and bad this time.
I was getting 199 FPS in full screen mode and it dropped to 14 fps when I turned on Fraps.
So, I had to speed up the video playback to get it close to what the in game speed is, hence the choppy recording.




Edit
Okay, so I got tired or the screen capture lag and dug out the video camera.
The background noise is terrible, but you can still hear some of the sound effects. (engines humming)
This will give you an idea of the progress on this thing so far...




Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1
Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 1st Aug 2015 00:57 Edited at: 8th Aug 2015 01:59
Well, I guess this game concept has more challenges. - -
I have been using virtual buttons, and knew the limit was 12, but I did not read the documentation on real buttons.

It turns out that my encoder card in recognized as 2 joysticks and 22 buttons.
I had planned on using the 4 way joysticks as left and right for 2 cars, so the 2 joystick inputs would cover all 4 players steering.
Then, I was going to use the buttons for the shifters (forward/reverse) 2x4 = 8 buttons.
I was going to use 2 more buttons also, one being for the coin door and the other for the Start button.
One coin would be used for a 4 player game, so only one start button was needed. (trying to minimize inputs since it is a 4 player game)

Now that I read further into AppGameKit docs, I realize i can only use 1 joystick, and 5 buttons.
That is not enough for a 2 player machine, because after the 4 buttons for the shifter I only have 1 left for coin and start.
Only option now is to auto start when coin is dropped in for a 2 player version.

It would really be nice to have 2 joysticks for input if AppGameKit is going to be Arcade Machine friendly. (4 would be even better)
But, I guess AGK's focus is on mobiles and networked games, instead of PC based arcades.

Sure I can build 4 separate machines and network them, but that is a lot of waste and is exactly opposite of what I had in mind. (using less physical resources)

Oh well, back to the drawing board.
I'll just have to scrap the encoder card, and hack a keyboard. (since I do have all the controls working via a keyboard)
I don't want to give up on this but that keyboard hack may defeat me, because my soldering skills suck. (arthritis and bad eyes)

PS
I have been editing my last post instead of bumping the thread, so there are new videos of the progress.
The last video is at full speed (199 fps without Fraps lag), so it was hard for me to try and control more than 1 car at a time.
All the buttons work at the same time though, because a friend and I tested them in lag mode, and we each were controlling 2 cars, so all 4 cars were turning and shifting using the keyboard input with no problems.


EDIT
So, the keyboard hack is not that bad (fun actually).
I only used electrical tape to hold the wires on in the video below when using a microswitch, so the wires pulled loose at the end.
I'll use alligator clips the next time I am fooling around with testing these things.
Soldering tomorrow, so wish me luck. (then it is back to coding for some car damage animations!)




Edit
Keyboard hack complete, and I didn't even have to solder anything.


SK - 8115

Edit
Good luck to all of you guys entering the competition.
I have come to the conclusion that even if I got my game presentable as a four player game, it still wouldn't be up to their standards.
It has no AI for the cars since it is designed for 4 human players. (I will add it later but it doesn't have it now)
It has keyboard controls for the players to accommodate the players instead of joysticks or steering wheels. (it will have the steering wheels in its cabinet)
So, they would think it is the lamest game in the contest, and maybe it would be.
With that said, I am not entering.


Edit instead of bumping
A peek at some crash debris.
If you think it looks like crap, then it's your fault for not leaving me any feedback.



Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1

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Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 13th Aug 2015 01:30 Edited at: 13th Aug 2015 02:06
Bump

My first idea for a steering wheel is junk.
Not that it doesn't work (better when needle is spring loaded tip), but that it is too much work and too many parts.
So, in an effort to simplify the construction process, and reduce consumption, I have opted to go electrical instead of mechanical.
Linear Potentiometer is the proper term for that switch used in some store bought PC and console steering wheels.
Thanks to all the geeks who knew this and said nothing. [/sarcasm]



Anyway, after finding the name for this little switch, I visited RadioShack and picked up a 10k ohm .5 watt Linear-Taper Potentiometer and tested it.
Works like a charm hooking each button lead to the outer connectors and hooking the other wires to the center connector.
Either direction fires that button, while the center position is firing both buttons.
So, checking for button 1 on and button 2 off will sort out one direction, and button 1 off and button 2 on for the other.
Not checking for both on will ignore the center position and not effect steering in that "play" part of the steering wheel.
I'll test different ohms tomorrow. (5k and 100K) (local shop only had 2 10k pots and I need 4)
I think these can be salvaged from audio mixing boards, so I will have a look inside any that I have laying around.
Two springs and a couple stop bolts, and the 270 degree wheels should be simple to build using the 10 inch go-cart steering wheels, which look great and are very rugged.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1
SpecTre
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Posted: 13th Aug 2015 01:59
@CE,

WOW, just managed to have a read through this thread after coming back off holiday
This is looking very interesting work, really looking forward to seeing this progress.

Nice job.

The Amiga and Amos were great!
My website LEAP - Download Paint Pot here!
Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 13th Aug 2015 02:17
Thanks Paul,
I am glad that you are back, because I was starting to feel like I was talking to myself in this thread.
I picked up a square glass end table today at Goodwill for $5.99 that has a nice beveled edge piece of glass for use as the cocktail table top.
I have a bad feeling though that the glass will end up broken within a weeks use, but we'll see.
The cabinet is planned for this weekend, so maybe I can have partially functional machine in my next video clip, followed by the end result.
I can always upgrade the software later, but the Arcade is anxiously awaiting the machine, so I have to get version 1 ready soon!


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1
SpecTre
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Posted: 13th Aug 2015 15:28
Quote: "I have a bad feeling though that the glass will end up broken within a weeks use"


Just make sure you don't make the game too frustratingly difficult for fists to be slammed down when the person doesn't win

Quote: " but the Arcade is anxiously awaiting the machine"


Oh dear this sounds like my Paint Pot where the program was awaiting the pictures to colour

Great project!

The Amiga and Amos were great!
My website LEAP - Download Paint Pot here!
Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 16th Aug 2015 03:03 Edited at: 22nd Aug 2015 01:33
Quote: "Oh dear this sounds like my Paint Pot where the program was awaiting the pictures to colour "

Yeah, they are already making requests for more machines too, but that is a good thing.
I am going to make a skee-ball machine next per request, and then I am going to make more of my games into arcade machines.
We can put coin doors on our games legally, unlike MAME machine that are restricted to non-commercial use.

On a side note:
Make sure you guys get the 10k ohm linear taper potentiometer, because the 5k ohm (as pictured above) will not work.
I tested it with the hacked keyboard and a generic USB joystick encoder.


Edit
A special THANK YOU to "Fluorescent" for pointing out that the Input-Raw commands allow for 4 joysticks and up to 32 buttons!!!

The keyboard hack is fun though, and saves money.
That 2 joystick encoder is a lot faster though.

Thanks again Fluorescent for pointing that out!

Wow, if each steering wheel can have 32 buttons...watch out Porche!
(with the encoder card + the keyboard hack, it can be done)


Just kidding.
A nice multi-player driving game with some buttons for things like Machine Guns, Missiles, Oil Slicks, Smoke Screen, Mines, etc. would be nice though.


Coding things my way since 1981 -- Currently using AppGameKit V2 Tier 1

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