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On Edge

January 15th, 2009

I won’t go into really deep detail here about the workings of what’s called Edge in Neox. I’m pretty sure I covered the basics in an earlier post but I’ll recap a short version of it. Edge is a way of keeping track of who has the upperhand in the battle and by how much. If the sword is far to the left - the player has the advantage, if it on the other hand is far to the right - the enemy has the advantage. The exact formula and what will be positive and negative Edge is by no means determined in the video I will post here, it’s just to show you how it looks in the battle system at the moment. It has no real implementation more than moving depending on what action you and the enemy take.

For a brief video of how Edge looks in its first stage of design, click the link below.

Video: Edge Demonstration

The platform implementation, how it affects the game from the platform perspective, is that when you get the jump on the enemy catching them off guard you’ll probably start the battle with the Edge at your advantage, being surprised by an enemy however will probably result in a disadvantagous Edge at start. Special mechanics in the game will manipulate Edge in favorable and non-favorable ways.

On other notes regarding Neox, I’ve been working a lot on rewriting some systems in the engine, the generic game menus are becoming more versatile and I struggle with the general design right now. Nothing is final this early in development, so it’s not going to take a lot of my time.

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Generic Game Menus

January 12th, 2009

Game Menus

Finally, an update! It’s been about five, six or so days since I updated last time about Vm and Charm. I’ve been wanting to update really bad, but the stuff I’ve been working on until now has been quite dull to report about. Mostly it’s been some code cleaning. However, I’ve run this latest progress through my main idol of game-worship Kael (check his site out!) and he thought it was ok to tell you about my generic game menus.

So here goes. First a movie!

Note: Fire 1, Fire 2 etc are just test-spells, the names for the real spells will be things like “Flicker”, “Char” and so forth and have different uses. I’m quite sure I won’t do the whole Fire, Fira, Firaga thing FF does, or any sort of Fire Bolt 1, Fire Bolt 2, like World of Warcraft. Each spell will be different and usable throughout the game is my intention. (this part added to Concept & Design)

This movie shows a few things, let me walk you through why this not so spectacular-looking menu is great in some ways!

This first game menu is created by deriving from a class approperiately named GameMenu. Something like this.

public class ItemMenu : GameMenu { … }

What it does is, handle most things. Like the categories scrolling (All, Consume, Equip and Quest items) and keeps track of how you’ll be able to scroll through each item.

In this case, one Item has Quantity, it has flags that tell if it’s consumable, equippable, nonsell, nondiscard and so forth. It might have mindamage and maxdamage values because it’s a Weapon and so forth. This is all nice and being able to filter for any of these sorts is a handy function. What becomes really nice is that the second menu is done like this..

public class SpellMenu : GameMenu { … }

It inherits the same baseclass and uses the same UI and rules, except that I can override a few things that makes it behave differently. Like the filter categories, spells aren’t consumable, equippable and so forth, they don’t share the same information items do. So we need to make GameMenu be as generic as possible, even allowing custom filtering. Which the SpellMenu does, it filters on All, Fire-spells, Water-spells, Earth-spells.. etc so instead we check Spell for it’s SpellElement flag which contain this information and filter the list approperiately.

If you switch Fire 1 with Fire 3, so that the order in the general list is Fire 3, Fire 2 and then Fire 1, that’s how the filtered Fire-spell list will look as well. It basically just skips any non-fire spell. These filters can be as customized as you’d want from a developer’s view. I could filter out all the Earth-spells of level 3 and higher AND all the Fire-spells of level 6 and higher, to appear in one list and exclude all the others.

Enough about game menus..!

Other

I have been working on stencil buffers as well, and eventhough I have no video, I have had some progress on it. Took me a long while to figure out just how to get spritebatches to cope with writing to a mask that I can decide myself by drawing into the buffer first. It’s going to allow me for some simple swiping effects (like when something appears/disappears one horizontal line at a time).

Gruedorf

For any new viewer, let me tell you a short thing about Gruedorf and why it’s so awesome for all of us!

All competitors are making games, and the goal is to update your blog ATLEAST once every week, this makes the circle of gruedorfers a rather updated blogosphere to keep track of. So, my advice to you is that if you fancy more than my little indie project, check the others out as well. My nickname there is “zaril” and I update atleast once every week, so keep yourself updated! There’s RSS to help ya!

Link: Gruedorf

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Charm & Vm

January 6th, 2009

#2

#2

I’ve decided that the Neox Strip is not an attempt to be funny, but instead it’s an attempt at being funny (even if agonizingly poorly so) and informative of any news to Neox with the spirit of the game’s own thoughts about it. This is just to invite you to the world of Neox even more so, because I want to make this a living world in more than one sense, I want things to matter more in this game - if you’re going to play a game that’s pixelated by me you might as well get something cool along with it. A side-order of interesting environment perhaps?

Charm

What’s with the title then and the strip? Well this is an old idea in my head for Neox that I just haven’t written about. I have plenty more to go around, but starting off with this, yes - you will be able to charm most of the enemies in Neox. The code is basically already in there so it’s more of a fact than a “I’m going to code it.”.

You cannot control the charmed pet, it’s more of a mystical bond you’ll have to explore for yourself, the charmed pet will be of more use than harm to you - at least a Chomper will be. They all have their different effects from the charm, one being that they continously doubt what they’re doing and are therefor not as powerful fighting for you as they would be if they fought against you. As the strip is supposed to explain, if a Chomper sees your defenses lapse for a moment he might just bite you instead. If the loyalty of your pet seems to harm you, you can simply kill it off - since you can attack any friendly or non-friendly targets at all times. Chompers are the easiest though, encountering big problems with them would surprise me.

Different enemies that you charm will behave differently, and with their great powers might come high disloyalty or a poor use in selecting what action to take. The different effects on charming an enemy will be one of the things to explore. If you decide to keep a charmed creature he will gain levels with you as you fight, as long as it survives the battle.

Vm

This is the currency of Neox. Since long I’ve found using Gold a rather boring reocurring idea of roleplaying games, well eventhough it’s plausible that gold could be a valuable resource in the galaxy - it will not be the common currency of a million planets. Instead I present you this story, it might just be rewritten a bit because it’s just my first doodle, but I am certain that I will keep the spirit of it:

“Any inhabitant of space knows that finding a uniform currency among millions of inhabited worlds, that is not only suitably rare but also inedible, is just way more work than anyone wants. In the year of Gri’ko Masz²ti, roughly translated to the Year of the Eight Drunken Tentacles, a space-faring traveller began a list he called ”Mangen Ting” that would change the universe as they knew it. The list was a complete collection of things that he had encountered on his journeys to different planets. His curious nature demanded him that he ask others what they had encountered during their travels, which he then added to his list – the section known as ”Mangen Andra Ting” which is the much larger subsection in his work.

This list grew larger and larger and was later published and automatically sneaked its way into merchant stores as a reference on how to correctly appreciate the value of foreign items. This was soon enough caught on as a general rule and a large list was derived from ”Mangen Ting” and redistributed as often as possible through the Universal Information Highway with a brand new name Valued Material List. Any item not on the VML usually gets rejected until enough data has been collected to admit it onto the list. The items that do make it to the VML are called Valued Materials (Vm) and each have a respective value that tells just how much it is worth.”

This concludes this post, I will consider posting something more about Edge in battle in the future, I think I might have uttered something about it in previous posts. Edge is something that makes battles in Neox a bit different from that of a typical RPG, because it will matter. Without it in battle you might just face difficulty unaccounted for.

I’ve noticed I’ve got some new users registering, either you’re all bots or very quiet. Comments are encouraged, it would be nice to have more feedback on your expectations or other.

Oh! I also added the ability to submit posts to Digg and so forth, below any post you’ll find a “Share This!” if you fancy using any such forms of sharing. I tried the Facebook one, and it works! If you experience any problems with them do tell me or if I’m missing one you’d like to use!

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Coin Particle for Mugging

January 2nd, 2009

Minor update this time, I’ve been working on changing how rendering is done in the whole engine which means quite major work for me, but little worth to expand on the blog. I have had a few minor and a few major design ideas in my head recently and I’m starting to get a better grasp of what Neox will be all about.

This video is me playing with the Coin Particle I just coded, it will most likely be used when you use the “Mug”-skill on an enemy in battle, but I felt like using it in the platform version for some fun “Neox Dropping His Coins” action!

Play to your hearts desire! If you want to see more, head over to the Videos page.

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Battlesystem Progress

December 31st, 2008

The battlesystem has been recoded and now animations are alot easier to add and edit but there’s a lot of work to be done. In this video I’ve posted on youtube you can see Neox attacking with some sort of light-explosion, this was just to give his attacks some form of animation.

You can also check this video on youtube in High Quality or Low Quality.

Something slightly annoying about the recording is that after the mapeditor part it sort of forgets the parallax information and the background gets awfully boring, but I bet few actually notice this without being told, this is just because the mapeditor removes the parallax which I don’t want when editting. I’ll toggle this and have it behave properly later. The editor won’t be availible during anything but development anyway.

The battle dynamics have yet to be introduced here, right now Neox does anything from 0 to 9999 damage just to be able to kill off the enemies rather quick. Enemies attack obeying to the current rules of melee damage and damage reduction calculations but they are just made in haste and need a real version in the future.

I’ve been working on this same Testmap for ages now, I think I’ll work on aspects of the game that would allow a demo sooner than later. It’s a long road though, I need to make art again, and a start menu, possibly save/load and more game-design calls like where you get to save and not and so forth. I’m happy with this progress and it’s by no means any reason to slow down - full steam ahead and HAPPY NEW YEAR in advance!

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Shine Particles

December 27th, 2008

Shine Particles

Shine Particles

This test was mostly curiosity over how easy it would be to add another particle effect to the engine and make it behave like I want to, as well as testing a bit of “stress” and see if anything starts getting affected. This particle test you see in the image created approx 1000 particles per second.

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Directional Obstruction

December 26th, 2008

Directional Obstruction

Directional Obstruction

I have been busy implementing directional obstruction because not only does it have many uses like allowing upward “climbing” by jumping through platforms upwards without hitting your head into obstruction, and also making “fall-traps” you can’t get up through, but it also is absolutely necessary to make my level design a lot better. I have 15 tiles in height for every screen (480 / 32) and most characters are about 45 pixels tall, which means they already take up about a tenth of the screen height and since a jump is basically around 96 pixels high - a jump takes up about 141 pixels which is more than a fourth of the screen. This means that I can have something like three “levels” of height for platforms that I could fit on the screen, if they are this close to eachother the screen gets cramped with lots of obstruction and I want to be able to have the player feel less restricted and the game feel more roomy. This is where you need Directional Obstruction which in essence takes up very little space and only in one direction. The arrow up directional obstruction doesn’t bother checking your position unless you’re trying to move in its opposite direction (down) through it, if so - it starts checking if your feet are on their way to push through the top of the obstruction.

The particle system is now working quite well I’d say, and my work has gone back to the Battles which need a revamp - and it’s on its way. The looks and gameplay is the same, I just needed to recode everything because animations in that system I had would feel like an awful hack - I want one that’s more centered around the animations where if any hack would be unrelated to that part of the battle gamescreen.

Since I basically have two types of games to balance I need to make sure NPC (monsters, and other entities not played by you) can work in both the platform-game and the battle-screen. This means that an attack in platform world would likely be a charge at you to put you into the battle-screen and hopefully (for the monster) get a surprise on you - this is why the Chomper is your first enemy in the game. They do have a little “run charge” but they fall asleep which opens up for a surprise attack from your side. This game mechanic is usually only used as a determination of who gets the first round, but this will have a much larger importance in this game. If you get surprised you will have a harder time using Flee, if any chance at all - and the reverse if you surprise the monsters instead. The effects of surprisal lasts a portion or the whole battle in ways I will not get into in this post.

I’d say for any gamer, that this game is a turn-based RPG game, because any “action-maniac” would probably get upset with getting caught by monsters and have to do turn-based battles even if you can try avoiding them. However this turn-based RPG will have the “benefit” of allowing you to develop skill in avoiding/surprising your enemies to your own advantage.

Do feel free to register to my blog if you want to comment on anything, it’d be nice to hear any feedback - my work however continues with or without it!

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Particles In Action

December 24th, 2008

Small update, I guess this is cheap for gruedorf, but don’t worry this is not my weekly post since I always aim to do two or three posts per week at least. However, I felt like showing off a screenshot of a Chomper charging Neox, now they kick up dust as they charge for you.

Dust Particles

Dust Particles

More to come, but for now this little screenshot will have to do..! Celebrated xmas with my family today since we celebrate it on the 24th of December, I guess every country has their version of the religious background and significance of the correct date of whatever that guy who liked crosses did related to this holiday.

Edit: I added this new image because I made a more suiting dirt sprite for this specific particle effect.

Dirt Particles

Dirt Particles

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Hot!

December 24th, 2008

I’ve been working on the particlesystem, much because Kael made one and I’ve been lazy in doing effectscode so I figured I’d make one as well. I was thinking of being lazy and copy a bit of Kael’s ideas I must admit, but it ended up being unique using my own helperclasses to create particles over time if needed and so forth.

You can find the video in the Videos Section.

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Neox Preview

December 22nd, 2008

Time for an update!

I’ve been busy coding actually, I haven’t been able to decide until now when I should write a post about the progress. I’m definitely behind comparing to Kael.

What have I accomplished lately?

I’ve been working a lot on making my editor work with any game/project I make that uses the same engine I use for Neox. Since the MapMaker was its own project I had a few statics that needed to be attented to, like an inputmanager and some other stuff. However, now all you need to do is:

Gamescreens.Add(new EditorScreen());

This, and telling it what map to load, will allow you to edit it, since it’s within the same system you don’t need to save because we’re manipulating the current map used for the PlayScreen, but ofcourse you’ll have to save it if you want it to load that way the next time. It’s a tool I will have a lot of use for, in order to make changes when I find a gameplay flaw, maybe something like a jump that you can’t make or some other error.

What more.. let’s see. I have worked a lot on the BattleSystem, eventhough it really doesn’t seem like much in the video I’m about to show. It can do a lot of things that I just haven’t used a lot yet. Things like adding different criteria to a selection such as “it has to be a Monster”, “sort after Highest HP” and it will sort and fetch you a list of the “best suited” targets in order. It’s easy to say “the spell Fireball can only target Enemies”, “the spell Heal can only target Friends” and so forth, and have the targetselection system behave itself.

I don’t actually know what to add more to this post, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work done that isn’t representable in code. I guess I should try to code one thing at a time for once. Anyway, on with the video!

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