Epilepsy Simulator 2014

After staving off sleep for the past couple days, me and my friend Tom finished (well, sort of) our entry for the Warwick Game Design society’s two-week challenge, which had a theme of ‘reflect’. I showed a screenshot of it in my last post, but it’s come very far since then. It’s now got a name, Epilepsy Simulator 2014, which is only half a joke, because it will probably give you epilepsy (disclaimer: if you have epilepsy and play it, please don’t sue, we’re too nice to go to jail). So without further waffling, here’s a short video!

The basic premise of the game is: you have a laser gun. Black spheres drop down and try to kill you by touching you. Stave off said spheres using the laser gun. The laser will reflect off the walls, and when a sphere crashes into the wall, it has a chance of activating a strobe light on that tile of the wall (this is where the epilepsy starts). The lights get all colourful sometimes, and the more lights going, the easier it is to see the enemy spheres. The laser was ripped straight from one of my old projects, and was one of the easier bits to add.

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It looks so pretty when everything’s lit up like this.

Tom (the other guy who was making this with me. Lives in the same flat as me. Cool guy.) had never used Unity before, so a lot of the programming for this project was me showing him how to do stuff with Unity, but he’s learning very quickly, much quicker than I did in the beginning. He also made the textures for the walls, which are about three times better than what I would’ve come up with, so have a gold star, Tom!

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Dem textures, yo.

The next competition, which started yesterday has a theme of ‘Spooky’, which we’re currently in the process of thinking up ideas for. We didn’t win this first competition (sadface), but this game was so fun to make (because it’s completely bonkers), so here’s to another two weeks of game design. You can download it from the downloads page on IndieDB, my Dropbox, or the Warwick Game Design games page. Also, the music isn’t ours (it’s Savant – Snake Eyes), but we’ll change it if we ever do anything with this project that isn’t purely for fun.

-Daniel

Lasers and Why Gravity is Hard to Change

Just to start with, today won’t have an update, just a sneak peak about upcoming features and stuff I want to add, but will be difficult to implement. First of all, the next update will have a vastly better Laser Gun; much like the previous one improved the Force Gun, with a new animation controller, new model, new everything, I’ve now done the same for the Laser Gun.

spikes-73I’ve also been busy adding lots of scenery to each level. So far all of World 1 is complete, and some of World 2 as well. Basically, I’ve added a roof and some scaffolding-type blocks to make the whole place look more facility-like. Along with that I’ve added some decorative textures that light up and look like they’re moving, but you’ll have to wait and see what they’re like.

Gravity is a constant, and it’s really bugging me *lol puns*

But the main reason why this update’s taking a while is because I want to add a new type of gun, one that switches the direction of gravity. Changing gravity for physics object is literally one line’s code worth of work, but I want to be able to turn the character controller round too, which is proving to be much more difficult. I may just make the gun turn gravity for physics objects around for now, but that’s much less fun than being able to drop down onto a faraway ceiling, which is the feature I’m going for here.

The system doesn’t work

Also I’ve been trying to add a timer and score counter for different types of level and game modes (such as a time trial mode), however I’ve run into trouble with how the system will work. Long story short: it doesn’t. I’m not entirely sure how the score should relate to the time, and how timed levels should be, if I implement them. Also I’m unsure whether any actions you take in the game should give the player points, and if so, which actions. Another problem I had was with the display, as the built-in Unity OnGUI stuff is horrible, but I’m unsure of how to implement my own GUI for this. I’ll have a score system eventually, but if you have any ideas on how to go about it, they’d help a lot.

These are some of the many problems I face when adding new features, such as how to add them, how to make sure everything works, but also how fun it ends up being. Things such as lives, which seemed fun to begin with, ended up detracting from the gameplay a lot, stopping the “one more go” approach to solving puzzles. That’s extremely counter-intuitive, when you think about it. I’m also considering getting rid of gravits, as they also seem to make little sense. Feel free to leave our views on where I should take this below.

Guns, Lasers and Powerups – Project Spikes 24/11/13 Update

I swear the game will have a proper name soon enough, but more importantly there’s a new update, and it has lasers in it!

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The laser gun, shown above, is used to burn obstacles in front of you, such as these cubes. They will then shrink until you’ve burned them into nothingness and they disappear, with loads of particle effects, and of course a vibrant blue laser! There’s also the new Destruction Gun, which is a one-shot device that will instantly kill the cubes and vapourise them. Even better, these two guns can be used against turrets to destroy them. There are icons for each gun to sit at the bottom of the screen when you’ve found them too. To switch between them, you can use the number keys 1-3, and later I will add scroll-wheel support too. The destruction gun costs 2 gravits per hit, the laser gun 1 gravit per half-second, and the force gun still guzzles 1 gravit every hit.

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I’ve also been working on optimisation, taking out as many unnecessary parts of the game as possible so the game should run as fast as it can, even at high graphics settings, which is why I’ve changed the geometry of the levels by switching most of the level from 3D cubes made of 6 sides to 2D squares with only two sides. That still allows me to texture the level in pretty much the same way, but reduces the number of draw calls by about two thirds, so it’s a massive optimisation which will have minimal effect on the actual gameplay.

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There are also new powerups, which will be placed in levels so that the player can use their unique abilities to solve new puzzles. This one, for example, gives the player an ‘antigravity jump’ which causes gravity to be reduced greatly, another speeds up time so the whole level moves quicker. They’re all pretty cool effects, which you can try out in a new level, the Testing Area, which you can access through the Start Menu. Talking of the start menu…

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…it’s also had a bit of a makeover. It looks a damn sight better than the boring old screen, but does pretty much the same thing. All the information signs in the game have been changed so they are unlit, which means they won’t appear too dark, after feedback I received. Additionally, the field of view changes when the player is running, and a set of crosshairs appears under the player when airborne to show where you’ll land, two more features suggested to me. Also, in the options menu, there are a few more graphical options that disable shadows, in case your computer is extremely slow. You can play this new update by clicking this link.

Have fun playing, I hope you all have some good feedback for me 🙂

Oh yeah, and it’s probably best to avoid World 1 Level 5, it’s not been fixed yet. Just a heads-up.

-Daniel