Project Spikes Update #4 – Improving Physics

This update doesn’t have a download to accompany it, but I decided to at least tell you guys how things are going. Or I could disappear for a couple months, but would I do that? (Please don’t answer than, I’m a terrible developer. Development team. Developtron.)

I’ve been working a lot on the cubes and laser turrets in particular. Whereas before the cubes would simply disappear when the fell of the end of the level, now they have a death sequence, where the cubes now shrink into nothingness, but by the next downloadable version, there will also be a particle effect when the cube dies.

Additionally, the evil laser turrets can now harm good turrets and cubes (we offered them anger management classes, but all they did was turn their lasers on us). To show the level of harm inflicted upon the poor cubes/turrets, their texture will change as they get more hurt, to look increasingly abused. I’ve finished the beat-up textures for cubes, and by next update I’ll have done so for turrets, too, along with textures for turrets.

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From the bottom-left, going anti-clockwise: Pristine, Used, Chernobyl.

I’ve also made slightly better models for turrets and I’m halfway through texturing them. The good turrets look much the same, just with a couple more details on the legs and parts of the front, but evil turrets look more like the good turrets in construction, with a bit jutting out of the bottom with the second laser coming out of the lower part. But the best thing about the evil turrets: they now have angry faces!

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I’m not sure if the angry turret is funny or creepy. Or both.

This was a very comical suggestion from a friend, but maybe it needs more work. However, the angry eyebrows will stay. When either of the turrets dies, it turns into a pile of debris, which you can see in front of both turrets. Then you can fling the debris around like no tomorrow! You also can’t collide with the debris, so you won’t be subjected to a horrible bumpy ride while walking over it, and when you pick up a not-dead turret, you won’t collide with it, which was a problem before.

Under the hood there have been a lot of optimisations with turrets too, mostly that evil turrets now don’t have two turret scripts attached to them as I’ve re-written some of the laser’s code, so they use less memory. Which is always a bonus, because everyone loves having RAM lying about. There’s also a couple less interesting tweaks and additions to the pause menu, but no-one cares about that because it doesn’t have eyebrows.

Well, that’s about it for this update. I’ll keep you posted on how things are going, and I hope to put out a new download soon. I may also have a new level done by then, but we’ll see how that goes, because I might improve other stuff first.

-Daniel

Another new Level! Project Spikes 20/02

I’ve added another new level, World 2 Level 3. This also brings with it new textures for walls, including a texture for the walls that cubes bounce of loads so they can be distinguished from normal walls, and a new texture for transparent walls, which uses a transparent version of the classic ‘blocky’ style texture. The models for cube spawners and gravit spawners have been made much smaller, saving space vertically (those things used to be huuuuge!), and a load more sounds and particle effects have been added, just have a play around to see what’s new.

spikes-64Right here, you can see the transparent textures on the left and the altered cube spawner on the right. The puzzle for this level is that you have to get a cube onto a pressure plate just outside the starting room – but how can you get there without the cube being destroyed by the field you can see in the screenshot? Oh, and those pressure plates are one of the things with a new particle system, as are destroyed cubes. Both also have sound effects to go with them.

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On the main menu, you’ll find a button to go straight to the newest level, so you don’t have to go through loads of previous levels to look at the new stuff, so you can save time and just see the new stuff. I hope that’ll help with you all testing stuff out, and the easier it is for people to play, the more feedback I can get and, hopefully, the better I can make the game.

There’s a few other small things I added: a shiny ice texture for icy floors, like the one in the Hub World, new sounds for the force gun (the sound for shooting something not held by the gun is new, the sound for an object shot while held isn’t), running particles, sounds for objects colliding with other stuff, a sound for opening/closing doors, and a few script optimisations.

You can play the game at the usual place, either the tab at the top of this page, or here. Have fun playing!

 

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

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