Project Spikes – Laser Lovin’

LASERS.

26-7-2014-13-37-33

Everyone loves lasers.

*Ahem*, now that I’ve got your attention, this update features laser turrets. Lasers will be used to activate laser receivers, which then triggers moving platforms and other events. The turrets themselves are a half-finished model currently, without a proper texture, which will come later on. The laser itself is pretty much done though – it looks pretty attractive, and it subtly gets thicker and thinner over time so it’s not just a boring, static beam. The laser beam has the ability to reflect off special surfaces, but currently there aren’t any of those in the tutorial level – they’ll come next update. The next update will also feature aggressive versions that try to kill you, and they’ll have red lasers to help distinguish between these lasers, and the hostile ones.

Improvements over last update

Firstly, I’ve made an actual ladder model, rather than the placeholder image I took 20 seconds to make in GIMP. The model uses a grey material with a specular shader, so it’ll look shinier than other stuff in the level. It’s distinctive enough so that you’ll recognise it as a ladder, but it doesn’t look over the top either.

26-7-2014-13-36-59

Yup, ladders in pipes. Because why not.

Two (or maybe three?) things you’ll notice in the screenshot: this ladder is inside a pipe, pipes now have extra grey bits in their model, and you may also notice the shadow fidelity is much higher in this image than during gameplay from the previous update. The grey bits are there to break up the monotony while travelling through pipes, adding a more interesting view and also making the pipes look more solid. While adding pipes, I thought it would be cool to be able to climb up them, hence pipe-ladders. And the shadow fidelity is actually a quirk of how Unity creates shadows – before, the shadow render distance was massive, higher than the size of the level, which actually decreases their quality. Now I’ve made it so that shadows stop rendering after 200m (which can be decreased in the options menu), and the shadows look much better.

26-7-2014-13-38-19

I’ve done the old switcheroo on parts of the level.

The layout of the level has changed a bit to accommodate the extra section with the lasers. There is a large section in the centre that has been moved, so the level is a bit more like a circuit.

The button used for taking screenshots is now configurable in the startup menu, and by default you can now press F5 in addition to F to take a screenshot. You can now also press F4 to toggle the HUD (the user interface, as well as the gun), making it easier to take screenshots, such as the ones above. You can configure this key in the startup settings, too.

So, you wanna play? Well, you can do over at Indie DB! You’ll be able to find the game on the Downloads page, unless it hasn’t finished uploading, or they haven’t authorised the update yet. If you have any comments, ideas, complaints or death threats, you can share them either on this blog, the Indie DB page for the game, or on the Indie DB forum for this game. Have fun playing!

-Daniel

Advertisements

Gravity Gun and Improved Laser Gun

First things first, I’ve added a new gun that allows you to switch round the direction of gravity. When you shoot it at an object, the direction of gravity changes sort of towards that object. That doesn’t mean that stuff will fall directly towards that object, but rather in the opposite direction that the face of the object you hit was facing. It’ll be awesome when I can get together some more puzzles that use it, but lately I’ve had lots of work to do, hence the late update.

spikes-74The gun doesn’t yet have any animations, sounds or particles (and as far as I can remember it probably doesn’t take gravits off you either), but I decided rather than wait another week to update, I may as well put something out for you guys to play. The gun is useful in the new level, World 3 Level 1, in which you need to guide a cube past some destruction fields. This level is also unfinished currently, but it should be enough to show you the function of the Gravity Gun.

Every level and every gun can be accessed from the start now too, so that you don’t have to go back and play every level again each time you boot the game up. When I find a way for players to save the game, then I’ll change this back, but for now I think this will be easier for testing. I’ve revisited old levels and added a bit of scenery and new textures, including new scaffolding-like blocks and an alternative blocky texture which looks a bit like small tiles.

spikes-75The layout to a couple levels has changed too, and some new obstacles and puzzles have been added.

The Laser Gun upgrade that was mentioned in my last post has also been added here – it’s just a new model with new textures and animations. The actual laser beam itself is the same as it always has been, but there has been a useful tweak – the crosshairs will move to the point the beam is hitting while in use to help with aiming the gun properly.

spikes-73

The hub world has had a couple changes, notably the cube crusher room and the main level selection area. The cube crusher room is actually empty now, as I decided it adds nothing to the game and uses resources that could be better used elsewhere, and the main level select building is now slightly larger, with an additional floor for world 3, and some more decorations. Each level now has a name too, which floats above the level selection cube. The spawning room also has a few experimental textures and new decoration, and a dispenser for a new type of cube, the bouncy cube, which is purple.

spikes-76

That’s just about it for today’s update, but I do have more plans for the future, in the form of a main storyline and perhaps voice-acting in the form of background dialog. I want to have another protagonist in the game who communicates with you throughout, giving you useful information about what to do next. Also, the facility in which the game is set will probably be made into a space station by next update, and the game as a whole will have a more sci-fi theme around it. Have fun playing!

You can play it using the tab at the top of this page, or here.

Textures, Finally! – Project Spikes 20/10 Update

I’ve been busy the past two weeks with my UCAS application and wasting my life playing Pokemon Y for hours on end, so I skipped last week’s update and worked towards this week instead. I’ve started the second world, which I’ve decided will be a maze world (it’s gonna be a-maze-ing, I promise).

spikes-23As you can see, I’ve also added blocky textures to the floor and walls, giving the game a nicer feel; I will make some textures to add to world 1 too, in the same blue colour scheme as the rest of the world. World 2’s colour scheme is brown, and as such, the skybox is also brown. I have redesigned turrets slightly, and applied similar textures to them, in red.

spikes-22To show players what to do, I’ve added a little tutorial screen, accessible from the start menu, that demonstrates the contents of the game and what the aims are. As features are added, I will expand this screen and perhaps make a playable level that guides the player through the game’s controls, features and aims.

I’ve had a lot of feedback asking for checkpoints in the longer levels, and in this update I’ve added them; currently they’re only invisible areas you can walk through, prompting a little box saying “Checkpoint reached” to pop up, but later I will make a proper object to stand on, and perhaps some particle effects to accompany respawning. Once you die, you now have a choice to return to the start menu and start the game again, or return to the level you dies in and try it again from the start, preventing you from having to do every level again to reach your death point. There is another new option on the start screen to go straight to the newest level too, if you don’t feel like playing all of the first world beforehand.

spikes-24

There have been a couple of tweaks to some levels too: level 4 has been redesigned a bit to make much more sense than it used to, and the upper section in level 5 with the moving spikes has been moved, as crouching and avoiding the spikes at the same time was annoying.

You can play the game in the usual place, any feedback is greatly appreciated. Have fun playing!

-Daniel

Big Spiky Death Balls – Project Spikes 27/09 Update

I’ve finished the fourth level and improved the existing three slightly with features from this update. Firstly, I’ve added large spike balls. They’re rather deadly and tend to fall on your head.

spikes-15They were pretty fun to experiment with with positioning, along with Unity’s physic materials (especially the bouncy one) to make them hop around the stage like kangaroos on meth. I also added mini posters/ billboards that warn the player of dangers ahead, and one at the start of each level to tell you the level number.

spikes-16

If you wondered what the player looks like in my scene view, he’s a bright purple capsule. He’s a little bit feminine and proud of it.

I’ve used some existing objects to devise new traps for the player – you’ll have to find them for yourself though! Along with this comes a new health bar, which is much more colourful (and hence, better) than before; it’s a nicer way of displaying remaining lives and health. There’s a few new features such as a start screen and pause screen; the latter of the two is accessed through the escape key. The cursor stays frozen in the centre of the screen and hidden while the game in unpaused, meaning it won’t stray from the game window and interfere with other applications.

spikes-17Also, as some players pointed out, some moving platforms used to stutter when stood on, but this has been fixed now by updating their position in the FixedUpdate() function rather than Update(), as the former is ran before the latter. Turrets have also been improved, as their bullets get destroyed after coming into contact with any collider, not just the player, and they aim better.

CHANGELIST / TR;DR
-Added large spiky balls of death and physic materials
-Added a fourth level
-Added small warning posters
-New trap variants
-New health bar
-New start menu
-New pause menu -  press "esc"
-Fixed bullets only being destroyed after hitting player and turrets' aiming
-Fixed stuttering platforms

For next update, I will be finishing up World 1 and perhaps starting work on World 2. The fifth and final level in this world will be a bit bigger than the previous ones, and feature a puzzle in order to advance forward. So far, it looks promising.

If you want to try the game out, the link is the same as it always has been: play it here! And thanks for playing!

Project Spikes: 14/09/13 Update

Play it here!

This update has quite a few new features, so give the game a try –  any feedback is appreciated! Firstly, I added a few coloured skyboxes (a skybox is a textured cube that will appear really far in the distance in your game and surround the game world, like a background), with all of World 1’s levels having a light blue skybox.

spikes-6

This is much better than the really horrible basic blue skybox from before. I’ve also done a bit with the GUI, adding some crosshairs and a lives bar at the top with 5 icons representing one life each. If you collect the secret in the level, another icon will appear in the corner, but I will change this in the future.

spikes-7The crosshairs were added to help players sense the direction they’re facing; I will also be adding a shadow for the player to help in the future. One of the green rectangles turn red when you lose a life. I’ve been doing some optimisation of scripts and some modifying of the levels –  they should be more interesting now. One new addition is platforms that will trigger an event when stood on, for example standing on certain platforms will cause it to be influenced by gravity and will fall until it hits something. This may be used in the future as an obstacle for the player. Along with this I’ve added a button that will also trigger certain events when pressed, such as initiating the movement of platforms.

spikes-8

The playable version this time around has fewer levels than before, but they will be added back in later on. This is because I wanted to improve the levels I already had and thought it would be easier to start from scratch. Plus, every level now has a collectible secret in it. I will also be working on more game mechanics to add in future worlds. Also, if you didn’t click the link at the top, here it is again: play the game!

The Actual Actual Plan. Sorry For All The Vaporware!

Okay. I swear this time, I have a plan for real. I was dawdling about at home the other day and stumbled upon a video that explained why people sometimes have trouble completing projects (much like myself). One of the main reasons was over-ambition. I thought I’d be able to make a game full of unheard-of ideas, fantastic graphical displays and bug-free gameplay. However, I found myself at a dead end when small changes to one script started to completely ruin others, forcing me to pull back some changes and eventually, I decided to put my tower defense game on hold too, for a while. I’ve gone back to the drawing board, and found an idea that works: trying to make the most basic game I can, with a super-simple graphical scheme, focusing on the gameplay and trying to make the game more entertaining and much longer. So, now I’m working a new game where the objective is to get from the spawn point to a cube located somewhere in the level, and I will slowly start to add new gameplay elements and hazards as the player progresses. It has been codenamed “Project Spike” for now, as the first and only hazard so far is the spike.

spikes-1In fact, this is the first level. Just get to the goal, simple as that. The levels do increase in complexity, and so far I have included small platforms, some of which move, which means there are some minor jumping puzzles (don’t worry, they’ll get worse. Everyone loves jumping puzzles.), as well as spikes in the later levels. They are in no way challenging, but currently they teach the player simple game mechanics that will feature later on.

spikes-2This, in contrast, is level 7, where there are many spikes and more challenging jumps and moving panels. This method of level design is actually quite a lot of fun for me, as I can place more hazards and remove them at will to find the perfect balance of fun and challenge. I plan to have more worlds, which will each feature an important new mechanic, for example turrets (which I can take from my tower defense game) and some kind of pitfall or tripwire traps. The spikes take 10 health of the player each (so two spikes together will take 20 health), but the groups of 5 spikes are an insta-kill. The player has 100 health at the beginning (which I will show graphically at some point), and 5 lives. Falling off the level is also an insta-kill, and will respawn the player at the start of the level. Losing all of your lives will eventually cause a Game Over screen to appear.

spikes-3My favourite graphical part of the game so far is actually the advance cube; I simply made a .png of a swirly cube thing (it was originally going to be simply an outline, but my hand slipped and I messed it up, but it looked cool, and this was the result of a couple minutes’ work), made a material with the transparent/cutout/diffuse shader, and this fancy-looking cube is the result (well, it’s one cube in another actually).

spikes-4

In every level you’ll also be able to find a ‘Secret’, a collectible item that should be hard to find. It’s a re-coloured advance cube, and it looks rather attractive. It’s currently not actually able to be picked up, but the locations of them won’t change, so if you find some, great going! I’ve not yet put them in every level (at the time of writing, there are only actually two), but they will be in every level at some point.

Most importantly, I actually worked out how to make a Unity Web Player build of the game and host it through my Dropbox, so you can try it out right now hereCurrently, there really is not much to see, but I will be adding many more levels over the coming weeks, and perhaps I will actually get this project done!