New Hub and Help Text – Project Spikes 01/04

Today’s update has a graphical update for the Hub World. As I’m planning on having the first iteration of a story in the game pretty soon, I’ve re-re-re-done the Hub as a spaceship, which will play a small part in the eventual storyline. In the new Hub World, you’ll find everything is a bit more compact, with a room for each world, containing level selection cubes and secret cubes for each level. The small room you start off in (the cockpit of the spaceship) has a few new decorative items, such as lights, flashing blue accenting for the tops of walls and improved models for TVs and laptops, which were present in older versions of the Hub as decoration. There are also new models for chairs which are a lot like the old ones, but look nicer.

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I’ve added a couple new textures, for example the window texture you can see above. There’s also a decorative texture for a solar panel, which are also visible on the spaceship, and for the spaceship I used a particle pack by Unity I found on their Asset Store, a helpful resource for anything from small particle effects to completed projects. The pack I used can be found here. I used the fire particles from this for the boosters on the wings of the spaceship. On the subject of particles, I’ve also improved the activation particle effect for when you walk into a powerup. I will add these into the game properly soon, in later levels. It’s hard to get a screenshot of a fast-moving object, but I had a (poor) try:

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Another helpful addition to the game is text fields, where useful information will pop up on-screen for a few seconds at points where you might need it. You can turn this help off from the options menu if you wish, but in the future this will be replaced by a voiceover system, so at that point the options menu will only disable the subtitles for that person speaking. I’ve not added many hints but I will continue to place them at points where the player might need them, for example at the start of the World 1 boss battle, where it’s probably not obvious immediately what you should do.

I’ve also now finished World 3 Level 1, with a second section of the level at the top of the lift. This second portion introduces a new type of cube – the Alignment Cube –  which never rotates and will stay aligned to the world’s XYZ axes. This makes it very useful for standing on and riding all the way to the top of the level.

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The full level looks pretty nice, and I’ll aim to get some of the older levels upto this graphical level in future updates.

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That’s all for this update. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the player turn round along with the direction of gravity, or make the world turn round either, because quaternions appear to be the bane of my existence. I came pretty damn close, but it wasn’t smooth at all and felt confusing, so I’ll leave that for a future update. It can be played at the usual place here, and if you have any ideas for features or comments on the game, feel free to leave them below. Thanks for reading and have fun playing, tell your friends/family/dog!

Now The Hub Isn’t Confusing – Project Spikes 09/02 Update

So, I realised the hub world is one of the most confusing things ever. There were so many ways to go, and it wasn’t clear where anything is. So I changed it.

spikes-56The large room under the purple glass dome is just a corridor; all the main stuff is in the room in the top-left corner of the image. Each world occupies a floor in this building, and all of the levels are contained on each floor, with a bit of a practice area. To gain access to the next floor, you must complete all the levels on the current one, then you’ll be able to access it – for instance, entry into the second floor requires use of the laser gun, hence you need to complete the world 1 boss level beforehand. The trophy room is also present, in the top-right of the image, and looks much the same inside as before, except with a couple floors inside for other worlds’ secret cubes.  To the bottom of the picture is the ‘incinerator room’ from before, which s just there for decoration, although I’ll add something in there to give it a function.

There’s also some new button-activated spawners that’ll throw out a cube or gravit when you press them, which will be useful for levels that have puzzles requiring use of cubes. here, the spawner on the left will throw out the new ice cubes (read below about them), and the one on the right will spit out extra gravits.

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This will let you play around for longer in the hub world without having to trail back to other rooms. The physics cubes now have a cel-shaded-like style (which was entirely by accident, as I was experimenting with the cube’s overall appearance and came out with this awesome style), and this might become the new style for all physics items, I haven’t fully decided yet. I’ve also added ‘ice cubes’, which will slide around and produce snowflakes as they move, and ‘live cubes’ that spin around by themselves, and also happen to be bouncy, as are the walls of the room itself. In the screenshot below, the blue cube above the player is an ice cube, and the bright orange ones are the live cubes.

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You may be asking “But where’s the new levels? New puzzles? Anything new?”. Most of what I’m doing at the moment is a sort of framework, getting all of the core components of the game in place and getting them to work before I actually get some proper levels in the game. Too many times now I’ve made a level, then added something else and then had to blitz back over the level and add the newer stuff, so it’s easier and more efficient to add all the stuff, then add the levels. In the end, it should all work out. But for now, I have finished re-texturing World 2 Level 2, as promised, so now you can enjoy a horrible super-maze level! Plus, I’ve re-textured the Test Area level, so that’s back up and running too.

spikes-57The new maze level, in all honesty, is a bit bare, so eventually it’ll get stuff added to it. But that’ll all come when I’ve added more actual gameplay features. The Test Area looks much the same as before, but with some of the newer ‘soft panel’ textures rather than the whole thing being the classic blocky textures.

The Options Menu has had a re-design too – well, not so much the level itself as the GUI. It no longer uses the Unity built-in GUI stuff, rather it uses my own system of a load of actual objects in the scene that you click on. It acts much the same as a GUI, but looks nicer than the old one. Much nicer.

spikes-58It follows the style of Project Spikes, rather than the boring old grey buttons. In time, this will get rolled out to the in-game menus too, however I encountered problems due to how this system works, so I’ll need time to figure out a work-around, and then it’ll be happy colourful GUI’s all over the place! I think I’ll work on the main menu’s GUI first, as this shouldn’t produce any problems.

spikes-60I have a short list of things to do, including, but not limited to: changing the model of both checkpoints and powerups (see screenshot of Test Area above, in the window), adding more audio (such as collision sounds when physics objects fall to the floor), different models for at least one of the guns, as the laser and force guns have the same basic model, some kind of saving/loading system so players don’t need to pay through every level every update just to see new stuff, and of course the aforementioned GUI updates. But for now, have fun playing this update, I hope it’s enough to keep you all entertained. Feedback is much appreciated, so if you have any comments about the game, just leave a reply to this post below. Thanks for playing 🙂

Play the game at my Dropbox public folder here! The game plays best here, but if you love this site soooo much…

…here’s a link to the page on this very blog to the game! It’s just at the top of the page too. Just letting you know. Hint hint.

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

April Challenge! Make a game in a month!

Hey guys, I saw a really nice idea on another blog and decided to give it a go (credits for the idea go to this blog: http://benlowden.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/1-week-challenge/ ). What is this idea you ask? Make a game in a week. This seemed like a great challenge to me, although I have a lot to do in terms of work round about now, so I decided to make it a month-long challenge for me to compensate. I will start the challenge at the beginning of April, and I will try to make a working game by the end of the month. Any ideas will be welcomed, and if your idea is used by me in the final product, your name will be featured in the credits. I will try my best to get a working game finished by the end of the month, and I hope you will help and support me in this, especially if you can give me any good ideas on what genre the game should be, what kind of characters should be on it, and what general direction to take the game in.

I will also be properly starting development on my main game project extremely soon, it will be a 3D platformer/RPG blend created using the Unity game engine, featuring a mix of open environments and more enclosed levels, as well as fun minigames and an intuitive battle system. My thoughts are for a Crash Bandicoot-like platformer, but with a rich ecosystem of creatures to battle, with a more RPG-like feel to fighting enemies, and colourful and varied environments to engross the player into the game world. The game will feature one main open hub world to act as a tutorial and a fun area to play around in, then lots of worlds connecting from it, with increasing difficulty as you progress and unlock new levels. You will have to find some sort of collectibles in order to progress to the next level, and fight bosses to reach new worlds. I hope you look forward to playing it, I will periodically update you on its progress, and any ideas are welcome and worthy of mention in the game’s credits. Thanks for reading!

-Daniel