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Program Announcements / Hnefatafl - The Viking Game

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Lucas Tiridath
AGK Developer
15
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Joined: 28th Sep 2008
Location: Kings Langley, UK
Posted: 31st Oct 2009 21:49
Hi,

This is the first game I've ever posted here and is one of the first games I've ever written (technically the second but the first still has placeholder graphics).

Hnefatafl was a real board game played by the vikings who spread it thoughout Europe before it got pushed out by the later and more popular game of chess. The rules are quite simple compared to chess and can be found in the game.

Here are some screen shots.

GUI:


Board Ready for Play:


Board with Interface:


If your tempted to try it, you can download the full game here. The file you want is Hnefatafl 1.1.zip.

The game has been tested to work on 3 computers, 2 running Windows XP Home Edition and one running Windows Vista Home Edition (vista is slower). I have no idea how it will work for you pioneers with windows 7 though...

Anyhow I hope you enjoy it and your comments would be greatly appreciated.
demons breath
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Joined: 4th Oct 2003
Location: Surrey, UK
Posted: 31st Oct 2009 22:01 Edited at: 31st Oct 2009 22:31
Downloading it now. Just from the screenshots in your post though, the score and stuff don't look too easy on the eyes. Especially compared to that board which looks great but is a lot darker. The entire game should keep with that theme, in my opinion...

I'll edit with any more feedback when it's done downloading.

EDIT: Going on quick game right now. I think the graphics style on the menu and suchlike isn't the easiest to read - the sort of yellow text on a yellow background especially

Also finding the bit where you type your name for a quick game a little dodgy. Keeps getting things like JJ instead of J and my name's at Jaameess at the moment because I couldn't be bothered to delete it and start again.


EDIT 2: Playing the game now; one time, a defending piece (I'm playing attacking) moved to between 2 of mine, and one of mine disappeared. I thought it might have just been a rule I didn't read properly or which wasn't written down, but now another one's done it and nothing's happened - both of my pieces are still there...


EDIT 3: Maybe I just need to reread the rules but the king's just bumbling round now, and one piece he landed next to just disappeared but the rest don't... I don't know. He just won himself the game though. I'll give it another bash after re-reading the rules but I do find the colour scheme on them quite hard to focus on.

EDIT 4: Ok a few turns in now. Couple of points - first, sometimes I can't get it to go to the tile I'm clicking on. I'm not sure why, but it just doesn't want to move sometimes. Secondly, there are a couple of things that have taken me by surprise so far (the things that I mentioned earlier, and also I just got taken by the king moving so my piece was between him and an empty king square). I'm not sure about these things - whether they're glitches, or whether you just need to extend the documentation for the rules - but I found them a little offputting.

One suggestion as well - would it be possible to have a moveable camera in this setup? Something along the lines of when you right-click and move the mouse the camera moves around, while staying pointed at the center of the board?

I've also figured out I'm a bit rubbish.


EDIT 5: OK Last one I think. Just played as the defender (they're the ones with the king, right?). It was ridiculously easy compared to the other side. It may well just be the way the game is naturally weighted, but if not, then is there some way you can redress the balance?

Also, would it be possible to have something show when a certain piece has been selected? If you're clicking on one in the middle of several others, it's sometimes not so easy to see that you've got the right one...

"The fools may crash down upon us in thunderous waves, but we shall Jeku slap them back from whence they came"
-BiggAdd Oct 28th 2009
leo877
15
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Joined: 6th Mar 2008
Location: san antonio, tx
Posted: 1st Nov 2009 04:12
lucas...okay downlaod and paly it. a very weird game...was kind of to play it but kind of getting was happening...

everything demons said....change the yellow color text darker. a more better camera control...and the main thing i found confusing is when u select a player to move...when i want to move a location that is high light.. it wouldn't move there....maybe make a amarker dofferent color were u want to move..

but it still a good game program..
Lucas Tiridath
AGK Developer
15
Years of Service
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Joined: 28th Sep 2008
Location: Kings Langley, UK
Posted: 1st Nov 2009 11:24
Thanks for the comments, these are most useful. Just to give you some feedback so you know what I will try and do.

demons breath:

Quote: "I think the graphics style on the menu and suchlike isn't the easiest to read - the sort of yellow text on a yellow background especially"


Point taken. Version 1.2 will have a more contrasting text and background. Any thoughts on what colour might be better?

Quote: "Also finding the bit where you type your name for a quick game a little dodgy. Keeps getting things like JJ instead of J"


Yeah... I find this too. I've been working on some text box modules separately because this is a problem I've had in both the games I've made but I've still had no luck. Either it duplicates letters or misses them out. Any thought on how to fix this would be great but I think I may post a separate thread to discuss this.

Quote: "Playing the game now; one time, a defending piece (I'm playing attacking) moved to between 2 of mine, and one of mine disappeared. I thought it might have just been a rule I didn't read properly or which wasn't written down, but now another one's done it and nothing's happened - both of my pieces are still there..."


OK that doesn't sound right but I can't say its ever done that to me. The thing to look out for is that if a hostile piece moves between two of yours, it is not taken. Thus in a horisontal row of the board, there are the following pieces:

[Attacker] - [Empty] - [Attacker] - [Defender]

And a defender moves into the empty space, the result will be a row which goes:

[Attacker] - [Defender] - [Empty(taken)] - [Defender]

I don't know if this was the reason the piece disappeared...

Quote: "king's just bumbling round now, and one piece he landed next to just disappeared but the rest don't"


Pieces are taken when there is a hostile piece on either side of them. The king counts as a hostile piece if you are the attacker.

Quote: "I do find the colour scheme on them quite hard to focus on."


Do you mean the board color scheme is difficult as well as the GUI or do you mean the side pannels?

Quote: "sometimes I can't get it to go to the tile I'm clicking on."


Point taken. Thats a glitch and I will try my best to fix it.

Quote: "I just got taken by the king moving so my piece was between him and an empty king square"


Yes I'm afraid the defender may use any of his pieces to take an attacking piece by having a king square on one side acting as a defending piece. This should only work on the corner squares though. It is just to prevent the attacker placing a piece on all 8 ways to the corner squares, thereby stopping the king from ever escaping. I had forgotten that this was not in the rules though. I will add that to a new page of the documentation.

Quote: "would it be possible to have a moveable camera in this setup?"


You can already move the camera with the arrow keys and the mouse wheel but I can change this to mouse control if you think it would be better. I should probably mension this in the rules section too.

Quote: "Just played as the defender (they're the ones with the king, right?)"


Yeah thats right.

Quote: "It was ridiculously easy compared to the other side."


The game is not clearly weighted either way so this is probably poor AI programming on my part. I will see what I can do to make it a little more challenging.

Quote: "Also, would it be possible to have something show when a certain piece has been selected?"


Sure, I can highlight the texture of the piece or something as I do for the squares which a selected piece may move to.

Leo877:

Quote: "a more better camera control"


Could you tell me what you don't like about the current camera control so I can try and improve it.

Quote: "maybe make a amarker dofferent color were u want to move.."


Not quite sure what you mean by this. The program highlights the squares which you can move to and you click on the square you decide to move to. What would the marker do?

Anyway thanks for all the comments. That should give me lots to do - shame its back to school tomorow so I'm unlikely to get any of this done much before Christmas! Please to continue to comment though. I'm noting everything down on my to do list for Hnefatafl 1.2.
demons breath
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Joined: 4th Oct 2003
Location: Surrey, UK
Posted: 1st Nov 2009 14:51
Quote: "Do you mean the board color scheme is difficult as well as the GUI or do you mean the side pannels?"

Quote: "Version 1.2 will have a more contrasting text and background. Any thoughts on what colour might be better?"

I think the menu and the GUI are a little dodgy colour-scheme-wise. I really like the appearance of the actual board and the game environment, but the 2D stuff seems a little off. Possibly more muted colours? Something parchment-y? Maybe you could even stick with a similar palette to the pieces - cream, textured background with darker brown text? (I think that was what you were using, I'll load it up in a bit and check)

Quote: "[quote] Also finding the bit where you type your name for a quick game a little dodgy. Keeps getting things like JJ instead of J"


Yeah... I find this too. I've been working on some text box modules separately because this is a problem I've had in both the games I've made but I've still had no luck. Either it duplicates letters or misses them out. Any thought on how to fix this would be great but I think I may post a separate thread to discuss this.[/quote]

I don't remember having this problem, but possibly the same sort of thing which people have with mouse clicks? If the key is down (and it's a letter key) don't accept any more input from that key until it has been released? Could check with if keypressed(j)=0 sort of thing (not sure about the actual code you'd need but I'm sure there is a command which does in essence what that suggests, haven't done much of this coding malarkey in ages though so I can't remember the exact commands).


Quote: "
Yes I'm afraid the defender may use any of his pieces to take an attacking piece by having a king square on one side acting as a defending piece. This should only work on the corner squares though. It is just to prevent the attacker placing a piece on all 8 ways to the corner squares, thereby stopping the king from ever escaping. I had forgotten that this was not in the rules though. I will add that to a new page of the documentation.
"

I think some of the things I thought were glitches might have had something to do with this. I'll try again later with this in mind.


Quote: "The game is not clearly weighted either way so this is probably poor AI programming on my part. I will see what I can do to make it a little more challenging."


Hey man I still thought the AI was better than I could have done It could probably do with a little more balancing up but bear in mind that I'm a bit rubbish so it might just be me.

"The fools may crash down upon us in thunderous waves, but we shall Jeku slap them back from whence they came"
-BiggAdd Oct 28th 2009
leo877
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Location: san antonio, tx
Posted: 2nd Nov 2009 03:26
lucas:

okay in this pic...after i click on a pieces..u see the red boxes inside the yellow i can't click the red box, U SEE THE BLUE X IS were i want to move my piece. and red cicrle is show what i am talking about camera movement....can't see were i want to move my pieces

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Lucifer
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Posted: 2nd Nov 2009 04:54 Edited at: 2nd Nov 2009 04:57
Nice, i'll check this out tomorrow

I didn't know about hnefatafl before, but the name means "Fist chess (chess was skáktafl in those days but now tafl means chess, but you get the picture. Tafl = board game.)". I guess a better translation would be "Fist board-game"

Lucas Tiridath
AGK Developer
15
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Joined: 28th Sep 2008
Location: Kings Langley, UK
Posted: 2nd Nov 2009 17:56
Thanks for all the kind comments .

To continue to give some feedback:

Quote: "2D stuff seems a little off. Possibly more muted colours?"


Fair point, I really should stop using MS Paint... I can certainly do more muted colours. The initial idea behind the front page was that it should look like the stripes on the sail of a viking longship (although those stripes did tend to be vertical). Anyhow I can still darken the colours to make then less garish as that would probably be closer to what a viking sail would actually have looked like.

Quote: "and red cicrle is show what i am talking about camera movement....can't see were i want to move my pieces "


Thanks for the pic leo. The piece you've circled in red would be much more visable if you rotated the camera 90 degrees to the right using the right arrow key... I don't know if that helps... I take your point about the difficulty of getting pieces to move though, they sometimes do seem to stick for no aparent reason.

Quote: "I didn't know about hnefatafl before, but the name means "Fist chess (chess was skáktafl in those days but now tafl means chess, but you get the picture. Tafl = board game.)". I guess a better translation would be "Fist board-game""


Wow I didn't know any of that stuff! Perhaps I should put it in the history/background section.

Thanks again, your comments are most welcome.
demons breath
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Joined: 4th Oct 2003
Location: Surrey, UK
Posted: 10th Nov 2009 03:24
How's the progress going?

"The fools may crash down upon us in thunderous waves, but we shall Jeku slap them back from whence they came"
-BiggAdd Oct 28th 2009

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