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Program Announcements / MetalMorphosis - My Indie Game Challenge entry, a 3rd person shooter

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Butter fingers
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Posted: 3rd Nov 2009 16:29
Cash, just a little question... did you re-export the player character through fragmotion or something, because it looks like the biped has been flipped... making him a lefty!

I'm getting setup with Skype in the next few days, so I should be able to have a chat Re- AI.

I want robotic legs.
Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 3rd Nov 2009 17:15 Edited at: 3rd Nov 2009 18:10
@cash,

i lowered to 1024x768 and all is well

add:

one concern - during grenade-throwing animation, mousemovex() values continue to apply toward yrotation of player such that when the animation is complete, the player "snaps" to the new yrotate value. i see that mousemovey()/xrotate object remains "live", which is fine since it doesn't affect the grenade's trajectory, but i feel the mousemovex() values should be ignored during the grenade animation.

another concern - text/dialogue/health bars should remain visible where appropriate and not be hidden/displayed simply based on where the camera happens to be pointing at the time.

suggestion - when i first rescued the lieutenant, i felt dismay that she had no grenades. this quickly turned into "of course, no grenades. she's no heavily armed/armored marine!" and i felt appreciation for the thought put into it. with this, i would like to see a trade off; where she (and her "class of character") cannot be an effective "heavy weapons" type, perhaps, without the extra armor and weapons, she should be a quicker, more agile type. how about, instead of calling the weapon controls "Fire" and "Grenade", you switch to "Primary" and "Secondary" action controls and give her class of character something like the ability to roll to the sides (right-click during strafe) and/or forward/backward somesaults that are more of an avoidance skill. having "classes" like this would lend to the way the player approaches various scenarios based on various "character classes" and their skill-sets.


Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 3rd Nov 2009 23:46
I've fixed a few issues.

1. I added the instructions to the first pause menu displayed while the game is setting up the level
2. I fixed the rotation issue while throwing a grenade, mousemovex() is ignored now.
3. I made dialog display along with the character's name at the left of the screen if they go off screen.

I disagree about the health bars though, if I display health bars for anyone off screen it might clutter up the screen plus I would have to label them in some way. I'm hoping to avoid any type of HUD.
4. I'm working on an optional game launcher that will allow you to change the game resolution and window layout.

I totally agree that the girl should be able to do something else. My first thought was a secondary weapon, some type of stun gun. I dropped it simply because I ran out of time. As it is now her weapon is weaker, she has no grenades, and she has less health. She's useful though, having a third player really helps sometimes.

Something easy that I could do is make her crouch when the second mouse button is clicked. So, while weaker, she'd be less susceptible to enemy fire.

I'm glad that you came to appreciate the fact she had no grenades, it just seemed absurd to me that she would have grenades much less a bottomless bag of them in her back pocket. She's armored but she must have paid extra to get it form fitted.

IMPORTANT!! These guys are not Marines, they're Army. Nothing wrong with Marines but are they the only branch of the military that holds guns in the future? I think not.

@BF - I saw your video for Hate, it looks good. I'm going to take a hard look at my AI. My friendlies are just too passive. They shoot, but they aren't entirely focused. Right now I'm having them shoot if they are attacking and the AI system says that they can shoot. I'll debug the system step by step, I'm sure I'm just missing something simple.

SGT Curtis is left handed, and the artist formerly known as SGT Curtis is left handed...


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Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 4th Nov 2009 08:53
speaking of healthbars - i see them beyond walls, in places we can't go (yet?). i'd have to double check but i think i see them in 2 different areas outside the playable map. will get back to you if thisn't already a "known issue".

re: marines vs army, understood. i assumed they were marines since i saw a marines folder in the characterbank directory (i haven't loaded the models outside the game, yet, so...).

re: crouching Lt - that'll work. and, yah, just having the 3rd ally is nice. when i was talking about the character classes before i was reminded of Planetside and how fun it was to change your character's gear out and play different roles in battle. your soldiers reminded me of the MAX suits and the Lt reminded me of the Infiltrators there.

meanwhile, nice, quick updates. keep up the good work


Butter fingers
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Posted: 4th Nov 2009 11:18
Cash, if I were you I wouldn't rely on the AI system to identify if the enemy can attack... infact I wouldn't rely on DarkAI to do anything other than path finding....even then it's slow as hell.

My suggestions (even though you're probably doing some already).

1) Don't use automatic mode. It isn't aggressive enough and is too hard to monitor what is going on!

2) Avoid calling the "AI move to.." and "AI move close..." commands too often. Every time you call it it calculates a new path, so just call it once, and then only call it again if they need to change path. I noticed huge jump in FPS once I eliminated all the unneccessary calls of these functions.

3) Dont use the "AI get entity can see" command. It's basically retarded, and will only account for static geometry setup during the "AI add obstacle/level" commands, meaning enemies won't recognise things like your dynamic crates (the player could hide behind a bunch of barrels, but the enemy would still see them). Instead make your own "getcansee" function that does 2 raycasts. One at the height of low cover and one at the head height. you can then return a value between 1-3.
1 - Can see fully
2 - can see behind half cover
3 - can't see.
Using this system makes your enemies much smarter, because they can account for all collision geometry in the scene.

4) Use Manual mode with state based AI. I did a kind of flow chart for my AI, where the enemies have different states (some only accesible to certain types of enemy), and each state performs a different action. This is also good for eliminating unneccessary calls of the AI move functions, something like:

state2
Set entity move to destination
set entity animation

state3
run a check to see if destination is reached.

State 2 is the one with the laggy AI commands and only runs once. Then state3 just checks if the destination is reached... obviously state 3 should also check if the enemy can see the player, and if the enemy has been shot, etc.

Using states is also great for allys, as you can have their states based on the player actions. Like if the player shoots and hits a target, the ally's will do the same.

That's about all I can think of for now. I was dissapointed with DarkAI. It doesn't feel like it was made in an open ended way. In automatic mode, it's pretty much suited to making 1 game!
Anyway, I hope that helps... I'm no DB expert, but I have been playing with DAI for a while, so anything you want help with I'll do my best (which is not to say I don't think you're very compitent already!)

I want robotic legs.
Van B
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Posted: 4th Nov 2009 12:54
It did the same thing to me at first, then I deleted the .rar and re-started the download and got it in the end.

Haven't had a chance to check the new version yet with WASD control, so maybe it's a different issue altogether. Very nice game BTW; which I suck at, hopefully I'll do better with the new controls .


Health, Ammo, and bacon and eggs!
Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 4th Nov 2009 13:09
Thanks BF, I'll definitely make those changes. I've been relying too much on the automatic mode. I'll take some control back from the system.

@Van B-
If you have version 1.1 you can download a 4mb patch to fix it. It's on the first page.

The WASD feels so odd to me, I guess because I've used the other controls the entire time I was developing it.

Thanks everyone for playing and continuing to give me feedback! I just wish I'd had time to post the game before I shipped it off. They have version 1.1 and I highly doubt they'll upgrade it. If they can deal with the controls it should be okay.

I'm just surprised I've never heard of this contest before. Apparently it's been going for years. I guess it's not a concern for everyone in Europe as it's only for US citizens, but there are plenty of Americans on this board. I mean, it's $100, that's a lot even in dollars.

I'm working on version 1.3, I'm doing more of a comprehensive update for this one. One thing I'm going to do is completely change to Enhanced Animations. I'm using my animation plugin with the animals. DBP is really crummy when it comes to managing animated models, performance steadily drops as you add more to the system. With EA they are basically static models. Sharing animations between all of the small spiders should give me a big speed boost.


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Van B
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Posted: 4th Nov 2009 14:54
Cash, sounds like you need fastbone.fx - you can put the burdon of animation on the GPU, in other words the actual animation is performed through a shader instead of vertex manipulation. FPSC uses it, and my tests showed that it made a big difference, I did post my findings source etc, so maybe worth doing a search for it. It has very little implications or overhead, just apply the shader to a model and it'll use the GPU instead.

Out of interest, what range of animation frames are you using? - I tend to use about 20 frames for instance in a walk cycle, it's just easier in CharacterFX to work in small blocks. But I think that has a bearing somehow - like I've seen models with thousands of frames, usually when they come from 3DS Max, IMO these models would slow things down due to the way DBPro animates.

One thing that I have to mention is the latest DBPro patch, although not directly performance related - Lee has expanded on the SET OBJECT FRAME command. So, if you had a walk cycle, you could put that in frames 0 to 19 - then on frames 20 to 29 you could have an attack animation. Before, if you wanted to run and attack at the same time, you'd have to animate both motions to work together or seperately, clunky, messy, and a nightmare to work out. Now though - you could play the walk cycle, then apply the attack animation to specific limbs as you see fit - effectively letting you set any limb, to any frame independantly.
It should help cut down on the number of animation keyframes required, but a considerable amount. If you had several weapons too, you could have a short animation of the gun being brought up, shooting, reloading, and going down again - but then play these as you need to, while the lower body gets on with movement. Might be too late for this, but I'm sure your as glad to see that addition as I am - it'll make enemy anim handling in FPS games so much easier to write, I'm actually wondering if it's for a change to FPSC.

I always laugh a little when these things are announced, 5 items down a list of subtle changes there's this new feature that I've been waiting for years on - if people want an enemy to run at the player while swinging an axe, then they can do it properly now.


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Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 4th Nov 2009 16:32 Edited at: 4th Nov 2009 18:31
I wish that had been added long ago, when I made my animation plugin.

Have you used Enhanced Animations? It's really fantastic. It reduces the model to a static mesh then programatically applies the animations to the models, allowing you to share animations between models and mix animations. I used to limit my animations to about 20 frames but with EA that's not a concern any more. Now 20 frame animations look like junk to me. It also speeds up shadow casting substantially. Right now I'm using it for my game's characters.

I'll try the bone animation shader with the animals. That could be an easy way to imporove performance without changing the engine substantially. Thanks for the suggestion.

*Edit*
I found your fastbone.fx post and have tried the shader. It broke my animal animation and lighting It makes sense, I suppose. I'm not using DBPs animation commands, I'm doing frame by frame animation so that I can have animation blending.


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Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 4th Nov 2009 18:04 Edited at: 4th Nov 2009 18:05
ok, back with a couple glitches found:

1) 2 examples of the healthbar issue
2) AI Cash climbing on the ship
3) graphics glitch (black z-fighting squares in red room)



4) physics issue in the first room where i shot all the white boxes, scattering them, yet the top-most box stayed "floating" in place. (not shown in screenshot)


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Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 4th Nov 2009 20:13
@VN - I fixed the healthbar problem and the z-fighting problems. I allow the AT to climb on top of things because the sliding collision worked poorly with them. I might fix it, but it doesn't seem so bad to me.

I've also worked on the AI, they're more aggressive now. Too bad that the fastbone.fx didn't work for me


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Butter fingers
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Posted: 4th Nov 2009 20:48
I wouldnt worry about the fastbone thing, it's very dependent on the users GPU. On my project the way I've exported my x files means that it's actually slower if use fastbone. Plus I can't get it to work with compressed X files, so you have to leave them uncomressed, so instead of like 700KB for a character it's like 15MB!

Glad your getting the AI going, I can't stress strongly enough how important doing your own raycasting is! As a point, I also wrote my own system to find cover spots relative to the player position, so that enemies will only move to cover spots that are avtually going to put them in a spot where they can shoot at the plr

I want robotic legs.
Green Gandalf
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Posted: 5th Nov 2009 12:01
Quote: "Plus I can't get it to work with compressed X files, so you have to leave them uncomressed, so instead of like 700KB for a character it's like 15MB!"


That sounds a very weird restriction - but I admit I don't know what compressed/uncompressed means in this context. Is it to do with text versus binary or something different? My instinct tells me that a 15MB X file is unnecessarily large. That is an enormous amount of information for one object - unless it's the animation data .

I haven't used the fastbone shader in VanB's demo yet although I have seen his demo, so I have no specific experience of trying to use it.
Airslide
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Posted: 6th Nov 2009 06:52
FPSC uses fast-bone for its characters and I'm pretty sure some of them are compressed - or at least saved differently, because most are not nearly that large.

As for the lighting - fastbone.fx utilizes some lighting parameters that were setup for FPSC's "infinite light" system (basically, static lights working on dynamic entities). As such you can only really have one light source but if I recall FPSC averages the positions and color of the light if the entity is being affected by more than one.

Sadly it affects the object as a whole so if you want prettier lighting you'll have to look at something like bumpbone.fx (also from FPSC).

Alquerian
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Posted: 6th Nov 2009 16:17
Cash FTW! I hope you do well with this in the competition Cash. I will download it and give it a go when I get home tonight.

Your signature has been erased by a mod, because it is larger than 600x120.
Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 6th Nov 2009 23:20 Edited at: 6th Nov 2009 23:22
I've totally fixed the AI. Now everyone works as a team. They're a little too effective now Per Butterfingers' recommendation I wrote my own 'ai get entity can fire' function, in addition to a few other things. Works great.

I'm over the whole 'fastbone.fx' thing. That only works if you use DBPs object animation commands which are tragically flawed because they depend on a stable framerate. I've designed my animations so that they are framerate independent. EA already does this, so does my animation plugin. If the framerate drops to 25 I can't afford for everything to slow down, it will wreck the gameplay.

Plus it does its own lighting, and I tried to disable it but I couldn't make it work. I've already got good lighting in the game, which isn't infinite nor does it affect the whole object. Infinite lighting is just weak.

@GG - the FPSC models are HUGE. They've got lots of bones and lots of frames. The binary models are around 6 mb, the ascii models easily twice that size. DBP doesn't handle them so well. Fastbone.fx takes a lot of the burden off of DBP (depending on your graphics card, I bet that lots of laptop graphics cards with shared memory would actually be slower), but EA makes it feasible with other lighting systems.

@Alquerian -
Long time no see! Hope the game works okay for you, version 1.2 is pretty good. Let me know what you think (if it's horrible then just secretly email me )


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thenerd
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Posted: 7th Nov 2009 00:40
oh, Cash, i figured out the media player problem. my computer/hard drive crashed, and all the media drivers got uninstalled. i didn't notice it because i had just turned on my computer.


forever loading...
Airslide
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Posted: 7th Nov 2009 01:27
I was using Enhanced Animations in a project and still got a performance boost with fast bone. It's not handing the actual animation frames, but how each vertex get moved(from what I can tell).

EA doesn't remove the skeleton, it just tells it how to position itself. It still has to handle the mesh deformation as it normally would - so fastbone still affects it.

Regardless though, if you can get good speed without it, good, because lighting with it is a little...bleck...

Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 7th Nov 2009 02:23
@thenerd -
Thanks for posting back about it.

@Airslide -
I'll give it another go. When I applied the shader to EA and my plugin's models it froze them. Maybe it was the lighting shader's conflict? Not sure. I'll look into it.


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Airslide
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Posted: 7th Nov 2009 04:28
That's strange - I never had a problem with it. How are you performing the lighting? Is it just standard hardware lighting or another shader (as you seem to suggest)?

Green Gandalf
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Posted: 7th Nov 2009 16:55
Quote: "Is it just standard hardware lighting or another shader (as you seem to suggest)?"


Should be possible to add extra lighting, etc, to fastbone.fx if necessary.

Quote: "@GG - the FPSC models are HUGE. They've got lots of bones and lots of frames. The binary models are around 6 mb, the ascii models easily twice that size. DBP doesn't handle them so well."


I wonder what the problem is? I'll have to look at those FPSC models more closely sometime. I still think 6 Mb is an enormous amount of info for one model. Perhaps they are intentionally high poly because they were made for per vertex lighting rather than per pixel?
Butter fingers
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Posted: 9th Nov 2009 15:56
GG, I don't think it's to do with the poly count. Most FSPC models are say 2000-4000 polys, which isn't that big. I think it's because the FPSC models have a keyframe in every frame, also, instead of just changing the torso pose and using the same animation for the legs, the FPSC meshes have different walk,run,idle,reload,jump,fall etc etc etc for each weapon type (pistol, rifle, smg, etc).

This means that there are probably a massive number of frames not needed on each mesh. if your character uses only pistols and rifles you can delete the frames for SMGs, Launchers, Miniguns. I think that if CC is ruthless he could probably chop down the character frames to a quarter of what they are currently. If he's using enhanced animation, then probably even less!

I want robotic legs.
Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 9th Nov 2009 18:50
I hated FPSC models before EA. Now I think they're great for a shooting game. The animations look great and are extremely varied. The extra frames make the mode's movements look very realistic and non-robotic, unlike models that I'm accustomed to using.

Part of the reason I made the enemies of this game robots is because their animations looked robotic. The final boss wasn't even meant to be robotic but it worked out nicely.

I just had new animation rigs made for Geisha House in this manner, lots of animations and lots of frames.


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Darth Vader
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Posted: 17th Nov 2009 01:02
Downloading now. Will let you know how it runs on a beast!

Darth Vader
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Posted: 18th Nov 2009 05:48
I get a runtime error 105, File does not exist at line 146.
I'm running Windows 7 64bit.

Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 18th Nov 2009 16:32
Which one did you download? Did you download the two part zip files? If you didn't download both and unzip both to the same location you'll get that error. You shouldn't otherwise. That error is for the configuration file. I'll provide a better error message in version 1.3.


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Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 18th Nov 2009 20:44
I was at work today so I was a little off on the line number of your error. Line 146 is loading the game level. That's in the file "http://www.cashcurtis.com/files/MetalMorphosis2of2.zip". Did you only unzip the first one, or unzip them to different locations?

I guess I'm going to take down the two part installation. I'll have a separate drivers file.


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Darth Vader
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Posted: 19th Nov 2009 03:14 Edited at: 20th Nov 2009 01:20
Ah that's probably it! I unzipped the first one, but I assumed that it would automatically unzip part 2! It normally does though that's the weird thing...
Oh well let me try it now


EDIT: Okay it now works! Very dark game! Looks awesome...

Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 21st Nov 2009 14:58 Edited at: 21st Nov 2009 14:59
I'm glad it works for you now DV.

I just posted version 1.3. I've fixed a number of issues we've discussed here. Team AI works correctly, z-fighting issues have been resolved, the deformable walls are now lightmapped correctly, and a game launcher has been included that allows you to change game settings when you load it.

The new version, game only, is 90 mb. The complete package is 240 mb, 32 mb less than the original. The PhysX drivers are 47 mb and DirectX9.0c Aug09 is 103 mb. They are provided as separate downloads.

The download page is here... http://www.cashcurtis.com/html/setupMetalMorphosis.htm. There is also a direct download link on page one of this thread.


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Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 22nd Nov 2009 18:03 Edited at: 22nd Nov 2009 18:18
hey, cash. back with some comments on 1.3, etc:

1) AI fix is noticable but i wouldn't call them "too effective"; "better" is accurate enough.

2) the first couple times through version 1.3, i had a suspicion that i've now confirmed regarding the mis-placed health bar problem. it's mostly gone but i think one of the final spider-boss bars sometimes finds it's way out of the map, same as before. see screenshot.

3) the last couple times through, i ran at 800x600 with all the extras turned off giving me 40-50 FPS, for the most part, which was refreshing (pun intended ). with that boost, i'll say the grenade distances are definitely tied into the FPS (not purely timer-based) as i can now grenade from the comfort of the barricade into the final room (just inside the last doorway), taking the bosses out easily; i was never able to have a grenade go that far before (added distance was consistent from the start room on). since the grenades are physics-based, (and, bear with me since i've never worked with a physics system), some work will have to be done to ensure consistency or players will exploit this fact, affecting the challenge level of the game you're shooting for. either capping the FPS or the number of "physics checks" for the grenades, etc, would be a start but the low-end should be considered, as well, where a minimum number of checks are made. or, maybe, a pre-defined GrenadeDistance variable (or tight range of variables for some randomness) should be set (again, bear with me) and, as the grenade travels (being affected by physics), each loop's distance is subtracted from that variable until it finally comes to rest. *not that you need my "solution"; i'm learning something here and thinking out loud



4) the launcher app is nice; thanks for that. alas, i don't think those settings are being saved, requiring us to run solely through the launcher vs setting it once and then being able to run metalmorphosis.exe and have it read those settings. something (else) to consider?

5) i made a gameplay vid; it's something i like to do sorry for the mediocre quality but my system struggles to run the game and record at the same time.


looking forward to the next update!

add: something else i wanted to suggest regarding the dialogue system. since the fix/tweak, you do keep the dialogue visible even when the speaker isn't on screen, which is appreciated. but, it gets parked in the top-left corner and easy to miss/overlook. i suggest keeping the screen Y-value the same as when it was last visible, lending to the "direction" the dialogue is coming from.

also, cash. i know i'm bringing up some "fine-tuning" type issues/suggestions. are they appreciated or should i just keep the feedback to the basic mechanics stuff?
i don't want to nit-pick if now's not the time


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Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 22nd Nov 2009 19:36
1) AI - That's good. The game is ridiculously easy for me and the added AI made it even easier. I was just hoping it wasn't too much for everyone else.

2) I'll look into the healthbar issue some more. It must be an error, the final boss shouldn't be on that side of the map.

3) The grenade issue is actually entirely Dark Physic's fault. I used to control its trajectory, which was entirely timer based. I turned it over to DP because I liked how it bounces off of things correctly and I was having trouble turning it into a physics body after it collided. I did this because I ran out of time.

I'm using Auto Fixed Timing with Dark Physics. It's unfortunate that it doesn't work correctly. That is the one single thing in the game that depends on the physics acting predictably. I'll take back control of it though, I can't stand it when gameplay changes with game speed.

4) You're right about the launcher. I was once again in a bit of a rush to get 1.3 out, the time it would take to rewrite my script reading and writing functions in Purebasic would take too long so I cheated and used a command line parameter passed from the launcher to the executable. I'll definitely fix it though.

As for the dialog, I'll definitely change that. Easy fix and I know it will look better.

1.3 is pretty much the end of the demo. However, this is by no means the end of the game. I appreciate all feedback, I'll definitely address these issues.


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Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 25th Nov 2009 18:37
@Virtual Nomad - What are your computer's specs? I just want to gauge the game's minimum requirements.


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Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 25th Nov 2009 19:17
was gonna change back to my old "System Spec sig" soon anyway so now's the time

Virtual Nomad @ California, USA
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Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 25th Nov 2009 19:20
You have a good computer, the same speed and number of processors as me and twice the RAM. Your graphics card also has the same RAM mine does. The two differences are - I have Intel and Nvidia. It sure is a shame that it doesn't run the same.

I'm using Vista 32, I don't know if that matters.


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Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 25th Nov 2009 19:48 Edited at: 25th Nov 2009 19:54
dunno why i've stuck with AMD & ATI over the years... old habits are hard to break. the extra ram & cores aren't helping much unless multi-tasking, i guess. i expected video/dvd production times to drop when i went to this system (from single 1.7ghz w/ 1.5 gb of 333 ram) but i don't think it made a difference at all. i'd probably realize a benefit if i bought software that utilizes all cores and resources, etc, but i generally use a lot of freeware stuff since it's mostly all "hobby" projects that i do and can't really justify the expense, so...

by the way, what FPS do you normally get with MM (and in what res?)?

another btw, i am gonna try this in various modes, vid settings, etc. i'm probably not running an ideal environment and may be able to squeeze a few more FPS out of it. it's something i've been wanting to do (develop a performance profile) so, when i have time...

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Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 25th Nov 2009 20:18
I get 30-45 fps depending on how many enemies are on screen in, 1280x720 (widescreen) with everything turned on.

You might get extra FPS if you lower your desktop res to the res you want to run the game in (800x600, for example) and run the game at desktop fullscreen.


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Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 25th Nov 2009 20:38
ah, as mentioned earlier, i get 40-50 fps @ 800x600 so it seems consistent with your performance. i'll try your settings @ 1280x720 (and the suggested 800x60 FS) in a couple/few days and compare... right now system is producing a DVD (and i don't want to chance wasting the past hour of work if it hiccups) and then i'm leaving town.

Virtual Nomad @ California, USA
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Hockeykid
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Posted: 29th Nov 2009 23:32
Found a bug

The guy died and I switch allies before he recovered and later when i went back to him this is how he turned out (full health, and I can walk shoot run etc with him but all side ways.) Picture attached

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Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 29th Nov 2009 23:42
Can you help me reproduce the bug? I have an idea what could have caused it but it would be easier if I could see it happen myself.


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Hockeykid
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Posted: 30th Nov 2009 01:06
Quote: "Can you help me reproduce the bug? I have an idea what could have caused it but it would be easier if I could see it happen myself."


Not 100% sure how it happened, I went through the first door way and died (like on crates) switched allies and when that one recovered I went back and thats how he was.

Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 30th Nov 2009 10:28
That sucks. It used to happen to me in Geisha House. I found out it was because the character was turned into a physics body accidentally. I thought I'd fixed it, I'll take a look at it tonight.

You say 'on crates', was the character standing on a crate or just among some?


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Hockeykid
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Posted: 30th Nov 2009 21:50
Just among some

Rich Dersheimer
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Posted: 1st Dec 2009 14:28
WAY TO GO CASH! Congrats on being featured in the newsletter!

Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 1st Dec 2009 19:45
Quote: "WAY TO GO CASH!"

i'll echo that cheer; a very worthy mention!

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baxslash
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Posted: 2nd Dec 2009 15:41
Well done fella! Great game!
Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 2nd Dec 2009 18:21 Edited at: 2nd Dec 2009 18:23
Thanks guys

I posted on Gamedev.net. I sure hate that place. A tiny piece of my soul dies every time I post there. For example, the first and only reply I've gotten in the MetalMorphosis thread...

Quote: "Eh, I didn't really care for the game at all. In the beginning it was kind of confusing, I chose 800x600 without full screen but it decided to start maximized.

Of course that was easily fixed and not really a worry. BUT!
The resolution isn't clear at 800x600 without full screen. :/

Then we're at the little talking/space ship arriving or
something? Kind of felt like an Alice programming game, heh.
:X No offense. The sounds could have been better, decided to
skip, not out of not caring about the intro, but out of
annoyance of the voice.

The planets were badly modeled as well, and there are tons of
planet tutorials out there to make some pretty decent looking
planets.

Got an error within 10 minutes of gameplay.

Game is not optimized - 205k memory? D: That's not what I'd expect for a game like this.

I love the character model, animations, and the gun. (Don't
know if there are more guns)

I found combat, the main attraction for me, to actually be the
biggest turn off. "Armor malfunction"? That instantly made the
game boring. I would walk into the room, get shot by these spider
things, not knowing where they are really, and end up getting
knocked down. D: Like 7 times per room.

Also, the grenade, if you get an "armor malfunction" while the
grenade is thrown, it doesn't go off. It disappears until your
armor works again, then it miraculously appears again and finally
blows up.

:/

Found it very dull and poor quality, no offense. I'm sure you could do a great job though if you put a bit more effort into it,
like you said, was only 2 and a 1/2 months?

Keep it up, mate. I'm no where near being able to create something like your engine or games, but keep it up! (Quite the extensive resume
too)"


Maybe the game is dull. I was going for intense, but maybe my gameplay is all wrong. I thought it was pretty self explanatory too, kill anything that moves. If it is dull I need to overhaul this to get it right.

I'm really surprised that he thought it was low quality. I thought I was on point with looks and mechanics. The engine is really stable. I don't even understand the error he said he got, some kind of DirectX error, which usually only happens to fullscreen exclusive games. This game looks exclusive but it's not.

If the game is dull I need to fix it. I'm planning on this being much bigger but I shouldn't continue if it isn't fun to play. What do you guys think? I'll consider changing any aspect of the game.


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Green Gandalf
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Posted: 2nd Dec 2009 20:18
I wouldn't worry about a single lone reply on that site - you get far better, and more varied, feedback here.

It's quite possible a professional could pick holes in everything we do here - but should we care?

What I saw when I last tried this looked good - and far beyond my fumbling "real-time" keyboard abilities. I usually play turn-based games for that reason - but I like the graphics, etc, of real-time game play. I guess you can't have everything all the time.

Good luck with this.

The real test is going to be the quality of the opposition - not the carping of one, solitary, respondent.
Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 2nd Dec 2009 22:26 Edited at: 2nd Dec 2009 22:29
first of all, i saw this demo as a testing grounds for your engine, which is solid. don't doubt that. issues have been mentioned here and you've put work in toward fixing them. progress has been made, and, in my opinion, promptly, which tells me you're keeping a close eye on all the "moving parts" of your engine.

my "no holds barred" opinions thus far:

AI - never should AI characters been seen facing the wrong way, appear idle for no reason, climb objects (that players can't climb) or move without purpose. this has, and will be, improved. you're on the right track so it's only a matter of time before it's dialed in. if you want a more "teamwork" oriented AI, then states such as providing cover fire (or recognizing that the player is causing a distraction that the AI can "take advantage of") should be implemented. you've got the military background so you decide how this might work

also mentioned was a difference in the female Lt's "role" and what abilities (and inabilities) she might have compared to the heavily armed/armored soldiers. this dynamic has much potential and will lend heavily toward "variety" and "fun" factors; i look forward to where this may lead.

re: armor malfunction vs death. this is your baby and i've read your opinion and decision on how this should work. it's a non-issue for me as both options can lend toward gameplay. as is, i would improve upon the "effects" of armor malfunctions. ie, what if, say, at 50% structural damage, movement is slowed or limited, for example. maybe it affects our vision or "communication" with the rest of the team somehow (ie, we cannot switch to another teammate?)? i think "death" in games gives us something to fear, and "survival" a sense of accomplishment. example: my armor gets down to 20% so i decide to hole up and lob a couple grenades to buy some time for my suit to repair itself. if i haven't kept aware of my immediate surroundings (and noted places to hide, if need be), then i deserve to be forced to stare at the ceiling for awhile. if i have, then i experience a small victory; my plan worked. i'm a better soldier now. personally, i can appreciate the armor malfunction feature over an "ah, i died but i'll respawn in 10 seconds approach". it's how you might "make it work" for the game that matters. (side note: what if AI (and player) can moved toward a downed comrade and "assist" in the armor recovery process, speeding it up, etc? you get the overall point here).

the movie intro:
needs slight tweaking. the vocals are out of sync with the typed lines. ie, "line one" (and subsequent lines) shouldn't show until she begins speaking the lines and should be shown as soon as she begins the lines. you've had feedback on the text quality (and the stray mouse pointer being visible). once these items have been fixed, it's a fine intro (the comment on planets, graphics, etc, is rubbish).

on gameplay:
the potential for "intense" is there. with this demo, there was little set-up, just "move to the next room, clear it. repeat". but, so much could be added. example:

room 1: we're presented with a stack of crates; of course i'm going to blow them up! say the room was a bit bigger and, as i move in cautiously to investigate, i hear chittering, causing pause and re-assessment. closer yet and the chittering grows more excited. something inside senses my presence! closer still and a box drops off the top of the stack, bursting open, freeing it's angry arachnid prisoner, my foe. i fire without hesitation, strays striking surrounding crates, releasing the full array of hidden enemies; a sign of what's to come, and a lesson: this is no "blow everything up without thought" situation.

i don't think you tried to "tell the whole story" with the demo here. it's a "test". but, with the tools i've seen at your disposal, there are so many ways to deliver "intense".

i'm running out of time here. gotta get to work soon, but please know the potential here is great, and you're definitely on the right path. and, by the way, if you're worried about "dull", i've got a million ideas as far as level design, storyline, etc, so if you want someone to bounce ideas off of without publicly revealing your secrets, i'm all ears and, obviously, happy to provide feedback.

Virtual Nomad @ California, USA
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Cash Curtis II
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Posted: 3rd Dec 2009 02:55 Edited at: 3rd Dec 2009 03:18
VN, you're awesome. Thanks for the ideas and feedback. Send me an email, I'd love to discuss the direction that this will go.

The engine demo was rushed. It should have spent time in WIP properly.

GG, thank you. I just see ugly truth in this though. All that matters is if the game is fun for players. It doesn't even matter if a game looks perfect in 3D, just that it's fun. The best games I've ever played were older 2D ones. They just captured the right elements of gameplay. I need that.


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Van B
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Posted: 3rd Dec 2009 13:32
Quote: "I'm no where near being able to create something like your engine or games"


Which if you ask me, immediately voids any opinion he might have beyond the actual gameplay of the thing. That's why the best feedback is usually found on Apollo - we have a better idea of what is involved, and what it takes to create a game as complex as MM. We also know what is important, the tone of voice in the intro movie, the ship in the intro movie, and the planet in the intro movie are scarcely important, yet he seems to see these things as almost inexcusable.

That feedback you got from gamedev is from a skewed perspective, I dunno, it seems like these so-called pro's have less value to their feedback than anyone else. Frankly I think that an indi developer has a lot more weight to their opinion and feedback than any professional bar John Carmack, Peter Molyneux etc.
It's like a mechanic trying to tell Louis Hamilton where he's going wrong, then admitting at the end that he doesn't actually drive that much. Thing is, if we give feedback, it's because we want the game to improve and get slicker.

Personally, I don't really promote my games beyond pure gaming sites and Apollo. I like the freeware game sites where the admins have a good attitude, like www.caiman.us - for actual feedback, advice and critique, well we don't really have to stray from this forum for that stuff.


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