New Force Gun! – Project Spikes 02/03

Yup, you read that correctly, there’s now a new model for the Force Gun! Not only that, but I’ve figured out how to properly make animations in Blender (because Unity’s built-in animations are terrible), and figured out how the heck Mechanim works (that’s Unity’s animation controller that blends animations for you), so the gun now comes with a much better animation system. That includes animations for picking up the gun, shooting, holding cubes, trying to pick up/shoot cubes that are out of reach, as well as an idle animation. There’s also a couple more sounds, and later I’ll be adding more particle effects.

spikes-66This is a much better model than the old one in my opinion, as it has a distinctive look and textures that continue the ‘blocky’ theme. Eventually I’ll get round to upgrading the other two guns, but it’ll take quite a bit of work, as I also need to find proper uses for them and integrate them into puzzles more.

Another pretty big feature for this update is an enhanced pause menu, which follows the theme of the newer options menu.

spikes-70For this, I lumped together a few existing scripts into one to make things easier and a bit more efficient. The Start Menu’s also had an overhaul, with a few new things added to the background, but most importantly it has a new GUI to match the new style. It looks approximately 27% more glorious than before.

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In this update are two – yes, you heard right, TWO – new levels, both in World 2 and both with pretty unique puzzles. The first is World 2 Level 4, which features another puzzle with the Force Gun and vapourising fields. It’s pretty fun and I hope you all like it – I’m going to aim for one new level every update, although if another important feature is taking a while, then that might not be possible. There’s some new textures in this level too, which are transparent like windows, but not destructible like the others.

spikes-69The new texture can be seen on the roof here. Then there’s World 2 Level 5, which is a fun but rather difficult level in the later sections. Basically, you’re given some ice cubes, an icy runway, and you have to avoid obstacles that are dotted throughout the whole track.

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Just look at all those obstacles! I stopped short of adding turrets too, as there’s too many hazards here already, including spiked walls (see below screenshot), vapourising fields that’ll destroy the cubes you’re using and holes in the floor, but the main addition to this level is a new type of field that harms the player rather than cubes – I call them harm fields, or hurt fields, basically any synonym for “ouch, looks like I’m dead” followed by “field”. They’re the red fields in the screenshot. There’s many ways you can get across this level, for example you could lay out a series of cubes on the floor over the fields so you don’t touch them, or just make a small runway of cubes so you can take a run then jump over them, but my favourite way to get across is to hop on the cube and shoot at it downwards, so it acts like a sledge. The floors are all icy, so you;ll need to be careful and try to go slowly, but at least I didn’t make the floor at an angle, then it would’ve been extremely difficult… *gets idea for next puzzle*.

I’ve been going back and adding small new things to older levels too, such as gravit spawners for levels that didn’t have any, more hazards and more puzzles. Just have a look at World 2 Level 2, which now has some moving spiky walls, a couple turrets and more scenery, as it was pretty bare before.

spikes-68Those same spiky walls are improved versions of the ones in World 2 Level 1, and they’ll mess you up. I mean look at them, red obviously means they’re dangerous. Back in the Hub World, to provide a better sense of scale and immersion, you’ll find some building-like scenery in the background – these buildings are supposed to be the other worlds, as the whole game is set in some sort of facility, perhaps to test ‘Project Spikes’. That opens up a possible storyline, which may be an interesting direction to take the game in. spikes-67

It’s subtle, but it does add to the general feeling of immersion, it feels a bit more like you’re in a large facility. The small room you start off in is also a tad bigger, so I’ll add some sort of bedroom or living space there later on. The boss level for World 1 looks a little different too, mainly that the exit door’s been moved to the top floor, there are spawners for cubes and gravits dotted around, and the death sequence is a bit different although I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t played it yet. Plus Squoid himself now obliterates cubes when he crashes into them, accompanied by copious amounts of particles.

There’s also many little changes, such as in W1L5 there are more boxes in one of the turret rooms, and in W1L4 the small pathway where the spike balls fall from the ceiling has been removed. All across the board, older models for cubes have been replaced for the newer ones, and I’ve used new textures to make old levels look sexier. All this basically means is you have no excuse to be not playing this update, so give it a try 🙂

The game’s also now on IndieDB to drum up a bit more support, so you may want to have a look at its page for a bit of additional info and news, or you can look at the new Twitter page for the game and help spread the word! You can then play the game at the usual places, and you can leave a comment if you have anything to say. Have fun playing!

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Project Spikes

I shall teach you new things! Project Spikes 9-11-13 Update!

Sorry I’ve took so long with this update, I’ve had stuff to do. And things. But without further delay, here’s the latest update! 

spikes-30There are new particle effects when you use a checkpoint, and a little “whooosh” sound effect that plays, hence they are infinitely cooler than before. More importantly than that, I’ve updated World 1 levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 (again) so they’re a little bit cleaner and, of course, textured. A newer level 5 will be coming soon, but so far it’s proven to be a bit of a nightmare, given how much is in the level. Each tile I’ve used to create the levels can now have a separate texture applied to each side, so each level should look tidier at the edges in particular.

spikes-34Perhaps the most important change in this update is the inclusion of an interactive tutorial, which guides new players into learning the mechanics of the game. This feels much better than the previous tutorial level and is a lot more enjoyable more than before, plus it’s much more useful at teaching the player the basic concepts of the game. Dotted around the level are mini billboards, which now have 64×64 images as opposed to the previous 32×32 textures, so my doodles are more detailed than before.

spikes-35I’ve also added a proper options menu, which is  copied just a little bit from one of my older projects (ctrl-C and ctrl-V are my friends). Here you can change your graphics and sound settings (from “basic” to “ermahgerd” for the video settings and 0-100 for audio), as well as check out your computer’s specs.

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That’s about it for the bigger features in this update, here are a few smaller things:

-Turrets have sounds now! *pew pew*

-More scenery that can be blasted around using the force gun

-Medpacks will replace grapes as a health pickup (see picture above). I guess I’ll add food back in at some point though

-Running! Hold down left-shift to run, it’s a much better way of getting around

-Super-subtle code optimisation, it’s (probably) made things quicker than before

-Removed a random directional light in level 4 which was slowing things down rather a lot

I hope you enjoy playing! Have fun 🙂

-Daniel

Fun With Physics – Project Spikes 26/10/13 Update

Play it here!

This update is pretty sweet, it improves greatly on some previous levels, particularly World 1 Level 4, which has been redesigned and textured, and now features a new game mechanic: the Force Gun!

spikes-25This gun can apply forces to certain objects, such as the cubes in the background of this picture, or the spiky death balls introduced in Level 4, when the mouse is clicked. If you left click, it’ll blast the object away from you, and if you right-click, it’ll pull it towards you, both accompanied by a particle effect, an animation and a sound. This paves the way for new puzzles which require moving around crates and other objects, and enables you to shoot away incoming hazards.

spikes-26As part of World 1 Level 4’s revamp, I’ve re-textured the entire level to fit the world’s light blue theme, such as the walls and spike balls. The main new addition in this update really comes into play in this level, as you must use the Force Gun to move wooden crates and enable you to jump over a wall. The small yellow thing is a new pickup that fills the force meter, the yellow bar under the health bar which shows how much power the Force Gun has left. They’re called gravits, after the force of gravity, showcasing how bad I am at naming things, part of the reason I can’t think of a name for the game yet. They have pickup sounds too, a bit like a retro coin pickup sound.

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Each world will now have a level that acts as a hub: these levels have a practice area to get to grips with new features, and a cube to transport you to each level in that world. In the future, you will only be able to access the next world after beating all 5 levels, but right now you can simply challenge level 5 in the first world and finish that to advance straight to World 2. The practice area in World 1 gives the player the Force Gun and a few cubes to practice firing them around the place and get used to the gun. In addition, the black cubes at the beginning of each level will return you to the hub, rather than to the previous level.

spikes-28The tutorial screen has been improved too, adding textures, more boards to show you the controls, and a button to take you straight to the newest level in the game (also present on the start screen) – currently, this is World 1 Level 4, and in the future will be used for easier testing of the levels and to simplify getting feedback from people.

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Another noteworthy update is the addition of a model and particles for checkpoints, making their presence a little more obvious.

There are even more features listed below. Here is the link to the game, and as always I hope you have fun playing!

NEW FEATURES:
-Redesigned World 4 Level 1, adding the Force Gun and textures.
-Force Gun, left click to blast away objects, right click to pull them in.
-Force meter to show the remaining Force Gun power.
-'Gravits': new pickups to fill the Force meter.
-Sounds added for pickups, menu selections and the Force Gun.
-Hub levels for each world, World 1 Hub has Force Gun practice room.
-Black cubes return player to hub.
-Much better checkpoints - model and particles.
-Textures and test button added to Tutorial screen.
-Spawners that spawn objects in the level - present in World 1 Hub.