28/04/13 Update

unity_gems_all_1

I’ve done a bit more work on the game today. Mostly, I have been watching some more tutorials to help my understanding of a few concepts, and I have applied what I have learned about making models in Blender to improve the current gem models. The shapes and textures of these models are a lot more aesthetically pleasing than before, such as more defined edges (I worked out how to reduce the smoothing at the edges). The light reflecting of the gems is better, too.

unity_gems_1

The new emerald model on the left. Notice how the edges are more defined than before, making the gem look more clean-cut. The light reflection makes more sense and the colour is much nicer, too.

unity_gems_2

The new ruby, on the left, is much better than the old one, as it’s a bit more realistic (except for the fact it’s not transparent, although this is intended because I want my game to have a cartoon-y feel to it eventually).

unity_gems_3

Again, with sapphire. The gems are also noticeably larger than before, and I think they look better this way.

I’ve also made preparations for some new gems, like amethyst (the layman’s term is ‘purple gem’) and diamond. Both will be worth a lot (eg. diamonds worth 10 gems). I’ve tweaked the value of each gem, so now rubies are worth 1 and so on. This is so I can add more low-value gems, which I like the look of, without ruining the balance of the game. The first new gem I’ve added is the topaz, a yellow gem.

unity_gems_4

This topaz is quite an attractive gem, and I hope that the upcoming diamonds and amethysts will also look great. This is worth 3 gems, whereas the amethyst will be worth 5 and the diamond a whopping 10 gems. Furthermore, the collision spheres of these gems should fit better than the old ones so they shouldn’t look like they are floating in mid-air anymore.

I also had a go at creating trees, as the current levels are lacking in interesting features, and they are really basic, but I’ll have another go in the future at trees and hopefully they will turn out a bit better. Hey, it’s better than my attempt at grass, which I won’t show you out of embarrassment.

unity_platformer_trees_1

Now that I have a bit more experience with Blender, I will try to make proper textures for the portal next, and perhaps some scenery. I will also start to populate the whole level with gems, and have a set number in each level, rather than the random arrangement I have now. In the GUI, I will also have a number for the total gems in each level, to show you if you’ve collected them all yet, and a little gem icon next to the gem count to make it look pretty. Thanks for reading, and please download the newer version for testing here.

-Daniel

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More ideas, planning, modelling and programming (Days 2 and 3)

Today I’ve been working more on the plans for the game, and I have a bit more detail done. I also have a little test version to give you: this is in no way representative of the final game, rather just a test for the player movement and collisions.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0o38di2thg3x9za/N_CvcxejXT

There are two versions here, for 32- and 64-bit windows, so make sure you get the version that will work on your system.

platformer_test_1

My updated plans are thus far:

-Each level will have a few hundred gems to collect (eg. 100, 200, 300…)
and each level has a certain number of gems you must collect in order to unlock it. For example, level 1 could have 200 gems in it, and then level 2 could require about 150 gems to unlock. I will aim for each level to require the player to have around 70-80% of the total number of gems available in the previous levels for it to be unlocked.

-Enemies will have variable levels of health, so some will require 2 or 3 hits to defeat rather than most enemies, that will require 1. The player will also be able to upgrade their health after defeating each boss, starting with 4, for example after defeating the first boss, the player will have 5 health.

I have yet to write a backstory for the game, but I will do that in the future. Right now my target is to make sure all the basic game concepts work, such as respawning, warping to other levels, picking up gems and defeating enemies.

The progress I have made so far is:

-Designing basic models and textures for some gems (ruby, sapphire and emerald). There will also be diamond and amethyst. I figured out the problems I had last time with importing textures and models from Blender, which is rather helpful.

-The player (currently a red cuboid) can be controlled with the WASD configuration, or using a game console controller (confirmed by a friend using a PS3 controller in their laptop). The right mouse button snaps the camera so it faces forward.

-There are some gems scattered throughout the level, and they are affected by gravity, and are solid (they have a collision box, and therefore can’t be walked through). They are also slightly shiny, which I like the look of. They cannot yet be picked up, but this will be implemented soon.

-There is some scenery, in the form of some cubes you can jump on, just to test jumping.

-If you fall off the level, you will respawn at one of the three respawn pads on the level. The last pad you walked over will become the active pad, so you respawn at that pad if you die.  I will improve these pads later.

My next plans are:

-Improve the textures and models of some of the objects, and put some proper scenery in place.

-Add another level, along with a portal to allow travel between these levels.

-Allow the gems to be picked up, and then add some kind of system to count your gem totals per level and total throughout the whole game.

-Add a GUI to sow the player their remaining health, number of gems etc.

It would help greatly if you could keep coming back every so often to test these updates, and give feedback or bug reports. Also, feel free to tell me anything you would like to see in the game. Thanks for reading!

-Daniel

Current Progress (Day 1)

I’ve been working on my game for a few hours today, and the progress I’ve currently made is:

-A small plan of what’s going to be in the game, and the game objectives. The structure detailed in yesterday’s post is basically what I’m going to use, in other words a hub world with levels accessed through this. The levels will be accessed through electronic teleporters, and to power these you need to collect various gems found in the game’s levels.

-The gems will come in various colourful varieties, and some varieties are more expensive than others. The gems will be things like rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds etc, with diamonds worth the most.

-The enemies will be very varied; some will look like normal animals, and some will be strange unearthly creatures. Bosses will be more spectacular than normal enemies, such as an awesome dragon thing I drew.

-The models of all the creatures and objects such as the gems will be made in Blender. I haven’t used Blender’s animation features before, so I’m not sure how that will go, but I will try to figure out how that works. I’m having huge problems importing my Blender models into Unity though, as parts of the model’s mesh is missing and for some reason the textures don’t work. They all look fine in Blender but for some reason after importing into Unity the model is very broken, and this is frustrating me. If anyone can help fix this problem, that would be great.

-The sounds and music for the game will be made using Linux MultiMedia Studio (LMMS), although I’ve just begun to use this so sounds aren’t a priority just yet.

I will continue to draw up the concepts for the game on paper and I hope to post pictures soon. After this, I will get a basic hub world working, but this is hard to do right now because I’m unable to import Blender models into Unity, and I’m kinda relying on that working… Again, if anyone can help here it would be great.

-Daniel

The Challenge Plan

The April game challenge starts tomorrow, and I have decided to develop this game as the 3D platformer RPG I have been planing for a while, and I will see how far I can get with it in a month. This is a small change of plan, as I had originally planned to make a completely different game this month, but I decided it’s easier to just develop most of my platformer during April.

The game will be structured in the following way:

-A large hub world (there may be several of them), featuring minigames and other interactive stuff to do. I may not be able to get the minigames all programmed/implemented in time, but they will exist eventually. The hub world will feature some method of accessing levels, for example portals or doorways.

-Different levels accessed through the hub world(s). They will be clustered together. These levels will differ by theme, size and objective, for example there will be forest levels and volcano levels, small and large levels, linear and branched objectives for completing levels. I am aiming for at least 5 fully completed levels for the end of the month.

-Bonus levels accessed through each levels. These will be a fun breakaway from the level, continuing the theme of that level, and the objective here will be to collect everything without dying or before time runs out. Think Crash Bandicoot on the PS1 for this.

-Boss levels that are unlocked by completing each cluster of levels, then you have to defeat the boss in order to progress to the next cluster of levels. Some bosses are easy and some are hard, and obviously as the game progresses, the bosses get harder. This will be a challenge for me, as the AI required for a boss is so much more difficult to implement than a more rudimentary AI used for normal enemies.

As it starts tomorrow, I will be doing some planning of the game stages on paper and drawing up some concept art for the characters or enemies for a few days to begin with. I will also be making some blocky initial versions of some stages, and perhaps the character along with a 3rd person camera following him/her. I will also hopefully be implementing travelling between worlds, which isn’t hard to do.

The general aim of the game is for the main character to collect some kind of collectible. I have yet to decide what this is, but I have narrowed it down to three things (however I may think of more):

-Gems. You’re enticed by shiny things and therefore want to find as many shiny gems as possible.

-Computer chips/components. You’re making a really cool contraption and you need computer chips to finish it. However, you’re fresh out of them and you need to go find more.

-Light. In a world of darkness, you must find the light and return it to the Sun so he can shine brighter and light up the darkness, purging the world of the monsters that roam it.

It’s gonna be a busy month for me indeed, but I hope to get a nice prototype version out at the end of the month. I’ll update regularly and give links to a development version of the game for downloading and testing, so you can see what I’ve done. When I reach significant milestones I will write updates on this blog, so keep reading to see how I’m doing. Thanks for all your support!

-Daniel