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Old 01 October 2016, 00:17   #21
earok
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Hi Franchute13!

From my side of development (the coding):

- The language used is Blitz Basic.
- The text editor used for coding is Notepad++ on Windows, I use my own custom language settings for syntax highlighting etc.
- When I need to compile or debug, I just fire up WinUAE and open my code in Blitz Basic 2.1
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Old 01 October 2016, 01:02   #22
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From my part it's:

- Photoshop for most of the pixel art (I find layers quite handy actually) and Personal Paint or Deluxe Paint IV on Amiga for extra work when needed (palette corrections, fixing details, png to ilbm conversions e.t.c.).
- Regarding music I use Protracker and Octamed.
- For the sfx/samples creation and editing I use Wavelab and for the .wav conversions to .iff SoundBox on Amiga.
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Old 01 October 2016, 22:34   #23
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@ExiE: Thanx for the note, though ... I respectfully disagree! Basically weapons changing system is a long debate but this is a good opportunity to say a few things about it. I honestly believe current method is actually rock solid and extremely easy to get into, nevertheless, since it's a system rarely seen or used in any Amiga shooter (or ANY game I've seen as a matter of fact) we did expect that some players could be indeed confused about it.

Let me clear the fog with a few examples:


As you can see here, firing your current weapon is buisness as usual. Press and keep pressing fire continuously and you start firing at the weapon's given rate. Single fire press will release a single bolt.



Now, in order to switch weapons, a simple and quick double fire press is needed. And that's it basically! With the second fire press the new weapon fires immediately, so switching and firing can be almost instant.



Same principle. Only difference with the above pic is that I'm switching while continuously firing weapons 1 and 2. As you can see, this happens in a split second, so there's absolutely no delay or hinderance to the action's flow and your firing!



In addition to the above, with continuous single fire presses you can create this short range "burst mode" effect. It basically means you can bypass the weapons' firing rate and spit out superior firepower but at the cost of much shorter range and manual labour.
You can also see the effect in the following zzielins video (which looks much better than my mockup)
[ Show youtube player ]

It's worth mentioning here that we plan with Earok to include tutorial pics like the above, in-game, to provide players with a visual explanation for the system in order to clear any confusion. Additionally and for those who 'd like an alternative we'll make sure that the player will be able to map fire for the second weapon to either a seperate joystick or joypad button, or another key in the keyboard. Still current solution is the best for 1 button joysticks I think.

Final note: One might also ask 'why such a system is needed at all'? Well, I'm planning to answer this question soon with a future post regarding a detailed introduction to the whole weapons and upgrading system, so stay tuned!

Last edited by Tsak; 10 April 2017 at 23:36.
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Old 02 October 2016, 00:07   #24
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I'm tuned
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Old 09 November 2016, 23:56   #25
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Sneak peek at the new item designs!


Last edited by Tsak; 10 April 2017 at 23:39.
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Old 10 November 2016, 00:13   #26
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Oo shiny things!
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Old 10 November 2016, 00:58   #27
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Looks awesome ^^
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Old 10 November 2016, 01:10   #28
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@ Gzegzolka: thanks for the Gems idea
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Old 10 November 2016, 08:34   #29
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No problem, it's Your game and decision is Yours
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Old 11 November 2016, 07:12   #30
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Very pleasant graphics style! But is there a specific reason why you do not use the whole 320 pixels? It's a pity.
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Old 11 November 2016, 07:22   #31
earok
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazycow View Post
Very pleasant graphics style! But is there a specific reason why you do not use the whole 320 pixels? It's a pity.
In short, we're pushing AGA to the limits.

We're using all 8 bitplanes and all 8 sprites, so we need a narrower window than 320x pixels. But the square display is also a stylistic choice.
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Old 16 November 2016, 21:15   #32
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Introduction to the weapons and upgrading system:
----------------------------------------------------------

Here's the follow up to my 'weapons changing system' presentation above. I had in mind to give a brief account of what's already implemented at the released preview demo but since we're deep into the development of the new version I think it would be nice to give some insight into the (more) complete picture.

The cool thing about Alarcity is that behind it's innocent & simplistic looks, lies a complex and daring design that pushes the envelope quite a few steps further from your generic shoot'em'up routine!
With the ability for extensive customisation and upgrade options as well as an interesting arsenal including weapons, effects and abilities you can use and combine, the game offers a wide array of possibilities for strategy and experimentation!
Let's dig into this a bit:


The weapon slots:
---------------------

The cornerstone of Alarcity's gameplay (when it comes to shooting things at least) lies to it's dual weapon system. This system allows the player to equip 2 different weapon types and be able to instantly alternate between them in-game. For that purpose the player gets 2 weapon slots that he can equip with 2 weapons of his choice from his inventory. Depending on the combination of weapons and their chosen upgrades, the player can then use them to adapt to a variety of situations in-game and apply different strategies to different combat scenarios.


The weapons:
----------------

The design and specs of the weapons themselves is the next pillar.
Currently the 'Rapid fire' and 'Spread' weapons are implemented and available, the first allowing fast frontal attacks and the second, slower ones but with a wider area of effect. Besides those we have in mind to implement a whole range of extra weapon types with different attributes and uses. Here are a few basic concepts we're considering (amongst others):
- "Backfire" and "Sidewinder": designed to attack to your rear or sides respectively
- "Superloop" : a short ranged powerful weapon designed to swing around you and delivering massive hits to incoming enemies
- "Charger" : offers superior R-type like frontal firepower
- "Grenadier": designed to overcome obstacles and decimate enemies over a large area.


The weapon effects:
-----------------------

A cool innovation of Alarcity lies with the so called weapon effects. Besides different weapon types the player has the ability to purchase and apply different effects to his available weapons. Those effects are stored in their own inventory and can be used with all the weapon types you own.
Currently we've got 3 of them available:
- Red (default) : does the most damage
- Green : pushes enemies away*
- Blue : causes slow down to enemies for a short period of time*
Other effects we're considering include destroying incoming enemy bullets, make enemies confused or prone to attack other enemies e.t.c.

* Blue and Green effects have been exchanged with v1.0. Green used to cause slowdown and Blue pushing with v0.2

The upgrades:
----------------

Not only you get a nice selection of options already for different weapon types and effect combinations, you can upgrade each one as well! The game gives you the ability to upgrade a weapon you own, making it faster (Speed upgrade) or bigger/stronger (Power upgrade). Weapon upgrades you take are either Permanent to each weapon or Temporary meaning you get to pay less, but the upgrade lasts only for a small amount of shots. In addition to that, an extra option is the ability to also upgrade your purchased weapon effects! Player will be able to either raise the amount of damage each color offers to the weapon as a base or maximise the effect itself, f.e. make enemies pushed back further away or stay slowed down for longer period of time e.t.c.


The extras:
-------------

The picture could not be complete without a set of upgrades and goodies just for the player character! Current list includes a speedup upgrade, your ususal life & health candies and those special 'GOD mode' powerup pills!


The Verdict:
--------------
As a closing part to this introduction I'd like to bring up some examples, only to indicate the strategic possibilities all the above can provide. Let's take some scenarios and see the actual combinations you can have and how those can affect the gameplay or playstyle (I'll limit the examples just to weapon/color combos for now).


- 'Slow them and pound them!' : Red 'Rapid' + Blue 'Spread' : the Green effect is given to the 'Spread' gun so as you can apply slowness to as many enemies as possible. The strategy is simple: Slow incoming enemies with the 'Spread' and then blast them safely to pieces with your 'Rapid'.

- 'Greed for coins!' : Red 'Rapid' + Green 'Spread' : same here, the Green is given to 'Spread' so as you can push away as many enemies as possible and over a wider area. Quite useful to clear large packs and pickup lurking coins (quickly before they dissapear)!

- 'Safe and from afar!' : Green 'Rapid' + Blue 'Spread' : this combinations will provide you with maximum safety from incoming large packs of enemies but will make enemy destruction a more time consuming task.

- 'Hit and run!' : any strong frontal weapon + 'Backfire' : Slap your enemies with your frontal weapon, switch to 'Backfire' and hit the road while continuing your attack!

- 'Not moving an inch!' : Any strong frontal weapon + 'Superloop' : sit comfortably at a single location and quickly switch to 'Superloop' whenever an enemy (or more) comes too close to you from any direction.

- 'Boss killer' : Any strong frontal weapon + 'Charger' : use the frontal weapon for continuous attacks and switch to 'Charger' when maneuvering to charge and unleash a deadly blow. Very effective in quick boss and mini boss destruction!

- 'Cannon fodder time!' combo: 'Rapid' + 'Grenadier' : An all time classic combination! Need to say more?


So, what will it be for you?

Last edited by Tsak; 10 April 2017 at 23:44.
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Old 17 November 2016, 00:18   #33
DamienD
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Thanks for the new details Tsak. Sounds absolutely wicked and gives numerous possibilities; depending on one's play style

Very much looking forward to the final product whenever it is released (no rush / pressure; good things come to those who wait)
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Old 17 November 2016, 18:24   #34
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More I see it, more I love it
Does enemy ghosts/blobs got formal name in Your game? Like in Ruff'n'Tumble there were evil robots called Tinheads.
Would it be possible to create new type of enemy? I have an idea. It could be blob thief, just add him black strip near eyes. He could collect coins left be his fallen comrades and when die release them on ground or just one coin (worth money he stole). It could be even more hectic and he could remove treasure on touch from map so he could be primary target.
Other idea for blob is ghost who carry treasure chest but avoid battle, player would have limited time to hunt him down and if fail ghost will disappear leaving no coins for player.
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Old 18 November 2016, 00:06   #35
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No names yet. Basically as far as enemies are concearned I haven't decided If I'll stick with the blob/ghosts (at least for the full game) or go for a new design, but this is purely a cosmetic change if it ever happens. More important is the enemy behaviour, attributes and patterns differentiation which is the next big step in our development process.

I like your ideas
We're considering a treasure holder blob indeed. But this is low priority. Our goal for now is to complete the basic set, meaning implement the passive enemies, different enemy sizes and shooting ones.
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Old 18 November 2016, 00:19   #36
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Looks great guys! Lots of stuff with the weapons to put into a manual to look up whilst playing the game!
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Old 18 November 2016, 01:34   #37
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Looks great, keep it up!
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Old 18 November 2016, 20:43   #38
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Enemy lance takeoff and hit!


Last edited by Tsak; 10 April 2017 at 23:45.
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Old 23 November 2016, 17:51   #39
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The "Zoid" controversy and how to convert hard or embarrassing criticism and (seemingly) unfair public input to your advantage:

One of the points a developer has to endure and overcome is how to cope with criticism regarding his/her work. It's quite a sensitive issue actually and a double edged sword depending on how you approach it, that affects both the relationship with the public and of course the development process itself.

In an ideal situation, any criticism (from positive to fully negative) if kept civil (albeit not cannibalistic or over the top offensive) can be actually quite constructive if the developer is willing to -truly- take on it and address it in an equally constructive manner.

Of course I'm not talking about becoming a leaf in the wind, swaying from opinion to opinion and constantly changing your design direction depending solely on public input. Rather than having the guts to honestly dig into any feedback (however 'painful' this may be in some cases), refine it, acknowledge the parts you like and agree on and let your work gain some extra quality points from it.

Let me use Alarcity and its main character as an example for this:

One of the most common complains we've heard or read in posts and comments during those last months of development was that our game's character looks, well... like a sperm! I remember reading a particularly funny comment calling him a "SpermatoZoid in the park" followed by a complain about the use of strange or uncommon main characters in recent Amiga games.

At first glance, the argument itself doesn't make good sense (at least the complain part). Having strange characters or not goes hand in hand with the artistic vision and concept of each game and it's often a very desirable or needed necessity and a way to add variety to our gaming world and experience. So, why not a Sperm? I mean would it be better if all new game characters were plumbers perhaps? Or anyone thinks that using as your main character a yellow dot (eating other dots) is less obscure or something worth complaining about?

And my above counter argument could very well close the issue, shoveling politely any future 'sperm' complain below the rug.. if only the real concept was indeed to have the main character being as such in the first place! But that was not exactly the case...

You see my original idea was that of him being a fireball (and that alone) but since not everything works out always the way you intend to , inevitably our little character got its current looks and reputation and -in all truth- deservingly so!


Meet "SpermatoZoid", park resident

The important part of the story is how this seemingly negative -or rather embarrassing- feedback actually affected the character development itself: Our interaction with the received criticism regarding that matter actually inspired us to embrace and work on it rather than blatantly reject or deny it. Refine it -if you like- to the parts that made sense and the parts we could use to take the design (and the character in general) one step further.

Contemplating on the above we knew some facts for sure:

1) We still love the original fireball character idea (obscure or not).
2) Old animation design was not as true to the concept as we wanted and could be much improved.
3) Labels tend to stick with you, particularly the ones coming from the purest expressions of public outcry, so it's our duty as developers to attend to them with the proper creative respect! Enter Alarcity's main character: son of the Fire god, barer of the holy light, flaming sperm of destruction!
4) 'Zoid' is a pure GOLD for a name in a game that is not (or should not) be taking itself too seriously!



Meet "Zoid", seed of the god of Fire!

Last edited by Tsak; 10 April 2017 at 23:46.
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Old 23 November 2016, 18:09   #40
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Sperm is lifegiver, so you can interpet in many ways;

-Birth of a new Amiga game hero
-Birth of a new developer power house
-Birth of a game series based on the said hero
-Rebirth of the Amiga gaming scene

...

Im sure there are more silly comparisons available, but Ill stop here.

Other than that; I love the design of your game, and are looking forward to the release
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