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Work in Progress / Colony Defender

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_Pauli_
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Posted: 25th Feb 2011 13:23 Edited at: 7th Jul 2011 00:36



About This Game:

Colony Defender is a classic Shoot-‘em-up style game, where your goal is to defend an isolated, prosperous colony in the ocean from incoming waves of enemies. You control a moveable artillery and fire ballistic canon balls while gaining points for successful hits. You’re the last hope for these peaceful colonists! Can you survive the enemy encounter?


Features:

* 5 action packed stages with multiple waves of enemies
* Different enemy types (sea & air)
* 3 difficulty levels
* Appealing graphics and effects, even on low-end machines
* Game control using keyboard or mouse


Development:

Colony Defender is written in C++ using DarkGDK. While the gameplay is restricted to 2 dimensions, the shader-based graphics are completly 3D. The game uses Sparky’s Collision for collision detection, no other external libraries were used. Besides the coding, I’ve done all the artwork by myself, which was an equal pain at times. The game is about to enter beta-phase real soon, as I’m constructing and fine-tuning the stages and general game-progressing at the moment. All other gameplay and logic is in place, aswell as most of the graphical effects, such as particles. The menus are almost done, yet simple. One big thing to work on are the sound effects and background music.


Screenshots:






Purchase:
Get this game now on the Intel AppUp Store!

C0wbox
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Posted: 25th Feb 2011 13:25
! This looks awesome. Quite a high quality game for the WIP board.

_Pauli_
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Posted: 25th Feb 2011 13:32
Wow, that was quick! Thanks
As I said it's almost in beta state. The reason it's on the WIP is because I'll release a beta version for testing soon, which will eventually lead to some improvements and fixes. After that, the project will be released under program announcements.

Now the plot thickens, the fps decreases, and the awesomeness goes through the roof.
Ermes
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Posted: 25th Feb 2011 13:46
high quality graphics, nice style of game, i like it!

we need to test the game to talk about gameplay!


Ciao facce da sedere!
baxslash
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Posted: 25th Feb 2011 13:47
C0wbox is right it looks fantastic!

I love the style, mixing 'airships', boats, planes etc!

I look forward to playing it

_Pauli_
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Posted: 25th Feb 2011 13:50
Ok people, now you get me hyped to get the beta out

I'll record an ingame video soon for some impressions of what it looks like in action. Stay tuned.

The Wilderbeast
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Posted: 25th Feb 2011 14:11
The airship/boat combination reminds me very much of a game I played back in the day called Overboard - I spent hundreds of hours on it!

Ermes
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Posted: 25th Feb 2011 17:42
reminds even Dyter 07.


Ciao facce da sedere!
_Pauli_
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Posted: 26th Feb 2011 21:53 Edited at: 26th Feb 2011 21:53
I just uploaded some ingame footage of the alpha version.
Unfortunatly I used a video codec that produced this poor quality, so excuse me for that. I'll upload a better clip soon. Also the framerate is low at times because of the recording. But it should give you a glimpse of what the actual gameplay looks like. Also note that this video doesn't show the stage progression, I just randomly spawned enemies in a debug environment.



zzz
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Posted: 27th Feb 2011 04:45
This game looks like fun! Your shaders are awesome, especially the water shader. Nice work!

_Pauli_
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Posted: 27th Feb 2011 15:40 Edited at: 27th Feb 2011 15:41
Thank you, zzz! Glad to hear that from a member with such a great piece of work like you. I've always been looking up to Soul Hunter as the most impressive game on this forum!

I've put quite some effort into the shading as I've written all shaders from the ground up for this game. The water shader was very important because the sea occupies quite a large area on the screen. I use a rim lighting shader for the objects to make them pop out a bit more.

Ermes
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Posted: 27th Feb 2011 16:57
-I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E- ! Great Fun!


Ciao facce da sedere!
Mireben
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Posted: 27th Feb 2011 17:22
Beautiful graphics and a good game idea. I like it very much!
_Pauli_
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Posted: 27th Feb 2011 20:15
Thanks for your encouraging comments Ermes and Mireben!

To give people a clue of what the actual game mechanic is like:

It somehow plays like throwing grenades in the classic Worms games (but in realtime). You move your canon left or right (arrow left/right or horizontal mouse movement) and aim by pitching the canons barrel up or down (arrow up/down or vertical mouse movement). Then you hold down fire (spacebar or left mouse button) as long as you need to control the force of your shot.
Just a side note: There was once the idea to include wind to make shooting harder at a certain stage/difficulty (like in Worms, too). But I deactivated this feature (although still fully functional), because I didn't see it fit for heavy canon balls made of iron to be affected by wind... And it didn't really improve gameplay on a tougher level as much as I expected.

Butter fingers
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Posted: 28th Feb 2011 17:38
very nice,

I love the art style, you've really excelled yourself there.

Like the "hyper real" look too - the water is very realistic, but everything else has a bloated look.

Do you get powerups or anything in it? Like the ability to have an auto-firing gun? Shells you can burst in mid air? Cluster shots etc?

Would be nice if the gun ramped up as the game got harder?

Anyway, by far the nicest looking project I found in my breif scrolling of the WIP board. Goodwork.

Sleep is over-rated.
_Pauli_
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Posted: 28th Feb 2011 22:50
Thanks, glad you like it!

Quote: "Like the "hyper real" look too - the water is very realistic, but everything else has a bloated look."


Yeah, indeed once I had the water working like that it boosted the visuals quite a bit. The general theme came from the fact, that at the real colonialism times there wasn't anything going on in the air and just shooting objects on a flat plane would have been too boring. Then the art style of the aircrafts was more or less a logical consequence. I wanted to keep the overall feeling a bit fantasy-like but still grounded in a believable world.

Quote: "Do you get powerups or anything in it? Like the ability to have an auto-firing gun? Shells you can burst in mid air? Cluster shots etc?"


Infact I've already implemented shooting cluster bombs, which you will get as a reward for a certain event (which I didn't determine yet). Have a look at the attached image. There is no other way of attacking planed. I should mention that falling aircraft also cause damage, so combos are possible when the timing is right (think of double or triple kills, etc.).
There will be two bonus items, which you will gain when you shoot them. One gives a big score bonus and the other repairs the colony by a certain amount. These will appear after a certain event in hard to hit spots.

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Ermes
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2011 13:24
cluster bomb = great idea!


Ciao facce da sedere!
bergice
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2011 14:33
The graphics look very professional, the logo image also looks appealing.

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Ermes
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2011 14:37
any way to test the game?


Ciao facce da sedere!
_Pauli_
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2011 19:27
Quote: "any way to test the game?"


Well, I'm on vacation (in Italy actually!) for the next 5 days, so I can't work on it. But give me like a week (+/- x) after that and I will have the beta out. Stay tuned.

Ermes
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2011 19:33
Quote: "Well, I'm on vacation (in Italy actually!)"


my beautiful country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and where?


Ciao facce da sedere!
_Pauli_
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2011 20:03
To Val Senales (in the alps) for Snowboarding with a couple of friends. I went there already a few times and it's a beautiful area! We have to drive there like 7 hours, but it's manageable...

TheComet
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2011 21:42
Nice game!

You should be able to somehow counter those bombs dropped by the aeroplanes. I also think that the die animation of the enemies could be improved. Don't get this wrong, but the spin and fall currently just looks silly A more realistic spin (rotate on all axes+smoothing) and a more realistic falling path would look much better The explosions when they die are also pretty small, I'd make them a bit bigger, and, if possible, add some debris with smoke trails.

Anyway, those are the only things that seem out of place to me

I would like to offer you the code I used in Mega Mash Mothers that create those distortion effects:



If you are interested, please contact me via e-mail, and I will throw together the functions required + an example

Keep up the excellent work!

TheComet

_Pauli_
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2011 22:12
Quote: "You should be able to somehow counter those bombs dropped by the aeroplanes"


Well, the fact that you can't do anything against them when dropped is part of the difficulty, because you have to shoot the planes down before they come too close.

Quote: "I also think that the die animation of the enemies could be improved. Don't get this wrong, but the spin and fall currently just looks silly"


I know they are not very realistic and such, but they are all code based (no keyframe animation), so improving them is quite a tough task. I don't know if I can fit that into my time schedule, as I'm trying to get this finished as quick as possible. Other projects are waiting
But maybe I'll add some debris as you said.

Quote: "I would like to offer you the code I used in Mega Mash Mothers that create those distortion effects"


That's an awesome offer TheComet! I think they would fit well, but I wonder how they slow the framerate down. Are they shader based or are you doing some kind of vertex deformation? Please keep in mind that I want to keep the game running at 60 fps even on low-spec machines!

Anyway thanks for your constructive comments!

Matty H
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2011 22:22
This looks awesome, all that time you put into shaders is really showing here. Is this your first game with GDK?

Can't wait for a demo, would be happy to test this for you

_Pauli_
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Posted: 4th Mar 2011 00:02
Thank you!
It's not really the first game, but the first one that I'm actually about to finish
Stay tuned for the beta version!

TheComet
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Posted: 4th Mar 2011 14:35
Ah, I didn't read the "This is being developed in C++ using Dark GDK". Will you be able to convert the DBP code?

The way I chose to do it proves to be faster than a shader, so you don't have to worry about framerates. It's basically a subdivided plain object in front of the camera, and it is textured with the current render of your game (I used set camera to image so the main camera draws to an image, and the second camera holds the textured plain locked on to the screen). And the rest is as you guessed, I used vertexdata commands to distort the vertices.

Implementation of the functions should also be quite easy, there are only 3 functions:

load_distortion(MaxDistortions) will load all of the media, set up the cameras and set the maximum amount of distortions that can occur at once.

spawn_distortion(PosX,PosY,PosZ,BendSize,BendRestore,Speed,Divisions) is called when you want to start a distortion effect. You can define the position in the 3D world, define how intense the distortion is with BendSize, define how fast the bend restores to it's original orientation with BendRestore, define the speed of the ring that expands, and set the how many divisions the circle should have.

control_effects() is called once every loop and takes care of all of your effects (in this case, the distortion).

Anyway, let me know if you still want it, and I'll send it to you

TheComet

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Posted: 6th Mar 2011 00:06
This looks amazing! Keep up the great work. I definitely am looking forward to playing this game
_Pauli_
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Posted: 28th Mar 2011 21:46
Ok folks,
it took me a bit longer then promised, but the public beta version is almost done. I had to struggle a bit with exams and stuff, but I should find some time in the next few days to pack it together and upload it for some testing, bug hunt and feedback.
Stay tuned.

_Pauli_
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Posted: 10th Apr 2011 23:13
Ok, everyone:

The public BETA version 0.81 has just been released!
Check the updated first post of this thread for more information.

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Posted: 10th Apr 2011 23:39 Edited at: 10th Apr 2011 23:39
Awesome! Downloading
Cliff Mellangard 3DEGS
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Posted: 11th Apr 2011 01:42
Extremely cool looking game!
You must sell the final version to get some dollars
_Pauli_
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Posted: 11th Apr 2011 02:13 Edited at: 11th Apr 2011 02:14
Quote: "You must sell the final version to get some dollars"


Thanks! Well, maybe I'll do that, but I'm not sure yet. The game definitly has to be improved before that happens, and if so I'm aiming at a pricing of 0.99€ - 2.99€. I think a simple game like this shouldn't cost more than that. What do you guys think?

Not matter if I sell it or not, I'm considering distributing it on AppUp, so it would be great if somebody with a netbook could test it.

Next thing is, I've just had another play-through. And I think it's too long in general (took 25+ minutes to complete all 5 stages!). I guess I have to re-think the whole stage progress a bit. At first I thought about presenting one new enemy type per stage and have one final stage where everything goes crazy and hectic with all types of enemies to bring the player on his knees
But it gets kind of boring at times. Or is it just me, the developer? I'm glad about feedback regarding such things!

Ashingda 27
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Posted: 11th Apr 2011 02:46
This is really awesome just played the beta I like it! You got an appealing interface and HUD and artistic taste.

Cliff Mellangard 3DEGS
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Posted: 11th Apr 2011 17:47
Quote: "and if so I'm aiming at a pricing of 0.99€ - 2.99€"

I think you will earn enough cash with an small price to make it worth it
A smaller price tag will make more people buy it
Quel
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Posted: 11th Apr 2011 23:24
Well, it is your job, as the developer, not to make it boring.

As for the process from start to finish, it does have its downhills from time to time. But there is always some new interesting area which brings life and fun into it again.
_Pauli_
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Posted: 11th Apr 2011 23:48 Edited at: 11th Apr 2011 23:50
Quote: "This is really awesome just played the beta I like it! You got an appealing interface and HUD and artistic taste."


Thank you very much! I'm glad you like it!

Quote: "I think you will earn enough cash with an small price to make it worth it"


Even seeing a game, that once was just an idea in your head, coming close to completition, is so satisfying that it's worth the workload. Then every cent is just a bonus. I'm still not sure about selling or not... we'll see.

Quote: "it does have its downhills from time to time. But there is always some new interesting area which brings life and fun into it again."


Yeah, I think the same about certain downhills. I'm about to improve a couple of things for the next beta.
Those things are sometimes hard to find out, when you play a game that you've created. So I have to rely on the opinions of all the people who test this!

With that said, version 0.82 is on its way. And it will feature audio output this time. Most of the sound effects and music is done. Should be out in the next couple of days.

Matty H
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Posted: 13th Apr 2011 00:40
Wow, awesome, very good work Pauli

Graphics are superb, this would sit well in the appup store I think. You might even make more money making it free and popping some adds in there, appup have released a library or something to help you do this.

Love the beta, although I only got to shoot at targets, it that right? I want to shoot at ships and planes too.

From looking at the video, does shooting the ballons onto the ships do more damage, if not then this would be a cool feature, bombs on air baloons but if you get them first you can destroy ships below.

Good luck with this, keep us informed.

_Pauli_
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Posted: 13th Apr 2011 01:12 Edited at: 13th Apr 2011 01:14
Thanks matty!

Quote: "You might even make more money making it free and popping some adds in there, appup have released a library or something to help you do this."


Yeah, I thought about that. I think the lib is called "mOcean", which displays some kind of ad-overlay on top of your app. I haven't heard much about it, but so far it sounds very interesting. I may have to ask about that in the AppUp developers group thread...

Quote: "although I only got to shoot at targets, it that right?"


Well, then you didn't play long enough to reach stage 2 As I said earlier, the whole game progress is a bit lengthy in this version. I'm trying to make it all more exciting and tweak the pacing. To see planes, airships and all that stuff, you should take 10+ minutes time

Quote: "From looking at the video, does shooting the ballons onto the ships do more damage"


Very well observed my friend Falling enemies cause 5 times as much damage than a normal shot (cluster bombs too, if they hit a target before exploding into smaller canon balls).
But be aware: falling enemies also cause damage to the colony! So watch where you bring them to fall.

To everyone else who downloaded and played the beta: Please post some feedback (like the people above) and don't be afraid to criticise! I have to rely on peoples opinion and want to make this an enjoyable game for as many people as possible. Thanks.

baxslash
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Posted: 13th Apr 2011 11:19
Quote: "Yeah, I thought about that. I think the lib is called "mOcean", which displays some kind of ad-overlay on top of your app. I haven't heard much about it, but so far it sounds very interesting. I may have to ask about that in the AppUp developers group thread..."

The mOcean component is something I started looking at with Diggsey for AppUp. I'll let you know how I get on with getting it working. The dll is compatible with DBP if you are selling the game on AppUp but I'm having trouble finding time to look at it. If you want to try yourself the thread (with some nearly working code) is here:
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=182139&b=18

This is a truely great game. Well done!

_Pauli_
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Posted: 14th Apr 2011 01:28
Quote: "The dll is compatible with DBP if you are selling the game on AppUp"


Ok, this game is written in C++ using DarkGDK. I think it shouldn't be too complicated to integrate mOcean.
Thanks for you comment!


@ Everyone:

The new BETA 0.82 has just been uploaded.
Check it out and post some feedback!

Changes:

* Added sound and music (improves the whole experience A LOT)
* Some small bug fixes

Quel
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Posted: 15th Apr 2011 17:18
Well i was suprised how nice it runs on my crap with a half screen shader (ocean) on. It ran with a steady 30 fps with a little decreasing when there were much particles around.

Since it is designed for 60 fps, i guess it felt very slow paced for only me with my 30 frame per sec. But if you perhaps did something to it like time based movement, change the tempo because this is too slow. Though i guess 60 or 30, it needs to be made faster anyways.

I am usually very frustrated with shooting in these type of games, it was actually very friendly, i liked it.

The overall presentation of the idea is spectacular, but needs serious tuning for an at least as decent gameplay.

I played through stage 1, so don't worry i'm not talking about the "am i going to shoot at something else other than ballons?!" thing

Something what may could increase the challenge, is that your bullets should harm your colony. Right now they don't. I wanted to kill myself with my 10 cluster bombs i collected, and i was very dissappointed

-InDev: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~5%
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS ~15%
-TailsVSEggman: An Sonic themed RTS under development for idea presentation to Sega ~15%
_Pauli_
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Posted: 16th Apr 2011 21:53 Edited at: 16th Apr 2011 21:53
Quote: "Since it is designed for 60 fps, i guess it felt very slow paced for only me with my 30 frame per sec. But if you perhaps did something to it like time based movement, change the tempo because this is too slow."


I can imagine that it felt very slow with 30 fps! I didn't integrate timer based movement (not the smartest move, I admit).
But you have to have a very slow system then, since I tested it on my old laptop (1,6 Ghz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon Xpress Mobility) and it ran fine at 60 fps most of the time. I'll have to see if I will add time based movement or just set some sort of minimum system requirements. Could you post your system specifications please?
Did you test the first Beta without sound or the newest with sound?

Quote: "The overall presentation of the idea is spectacular, but needs serious tuning for an at least as decent gameplay."


Thanks. I'm going to tweak the whole game flow quite a bit to make the experience more exciting. Not an easy task though... Any specific suggestions?

Quote: "Something what may could increase the challenge, is that your bullets should harm your colony."


Ok, this could be easily changed. I think turning friendly fire off in Easy mode would be allright, while being turned on in Normal and Hard mode.

Thanks for your feedback!

Quel
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Posted: 16th Apr 2011 23:25
My specs are the same, but your GPU is an ATI Radeon while i have something called VIA Chrome whatever, i guess the lowest-end thing ever. It was new 3 years ago, but was already very outdated i guess.

I generally always had the feel that the DBP engine (i know you are working under GDK, but that uses the same graphical environment) is pretty nice, but i never had a decent video card in my possession to be able to experience it.

I had some specific tips but browsed through all the screens now and i can't tell you any new thing right now. I'm sad i couldn't wait out those air units.

Maybe some more kinds of powerups, like temporary time-stop, or anti-gravity for the cannon so you can shoot at a straight line for a while. Or maybe the ability to lay underwater mines also gained as extras like the cluster bomb. Here i did a little preview how it could look like.

...or maybe the level of the cannon could be upgraded. To have a less wide ground piece on top of the standard, and you can switch any time where you want your cannon to be. The lower is a nice overall field for action, while the upper gives you a little zoom-out to be able to see more while you can shoot farther as well.

-In.Dev.X: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~6%
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS ~15%
-TailsVSEggman: An Sonic themed RTS under development for idea presentation to Sega ~15%

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_Pauli_
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Posted: 17th Apr 2011 21:12
I'm trying to implement framerate independant movement right now, so there is hope even for your system
I think it's necessary because the game should also run at normal speeds on netbooks. I always knew this, but I was too lazy in the beginning of this project, and I thought my laptop would be the low-end of systems here.

Your image looks nice. I'm thinking about adding mines, because they could serve as a marine counterpart (in a sense of a more powerful attack) to the cluster bombs, which are more effective against aerial units.
Thanks for your creative input!

TheComet
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Posted: 17th Apr 2011 23:09
@ _Pauli_

Sorry, still haven't sent you that distortion function... I just didn't get around to it. I do have something else up my sleeve though, it's a function that handles timer-based movement. The special thing about it is it will regulate how fast the loop runs without having to multiply every single variable with a delta time. Here it is:

Put this at the top of your code:



And replace every sync command you have in your game with this function:



I found setting c_update to a value of 500 works the best. Instead of this:



Do this:




I haven't had the chance to play your game yet, but from what the others say I can see that this must be a really fun game Well done!

TheComet

_Pauli_
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Posted: 18th Apr 2011 00:09
@ TheComet:

Thanks for your offer! I appreciate it, but I have already implemented time based movement (from some old project). It averages time factors over one second to smooth out movement.

@ Everyone:

BETA 0.83 has just been released.
Check out the download in the first post.
Comments and critics are welcome!

Changes:

* added time based movement (frame rate independent gameplay)

I almost forgot to mention it, but I tested the game on another system today (Windows XP, 2 Ghz, 2 GB RAM, Intel graphics chip). Everything ran fine as expected, but the strange thing was, that the background music did not play! It does play on my development machine though.
Please report if you don't hear the music (in the menu and during gameplay)!
Are there some known bugs with OGG music files and DarkGDK/DBPro?

Mireben
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Posted: 18th Apr 2011 00:18 Edited at: 18th Apr 2011 00:21
I finally had some time to play with the demo. The visual look is beautiful, the explosion effects and the sounds are very good too. I felt that the first level with only the balloons was too long, but on second try, I realized that the whole purpose of that level may be to collect as many exploding bombs as possible which are very useful on later levels. After that I shot those balloons with more enthusiasm.

I had a problem with the controls. It's easy enough to control the gun when it faces left, but when it faces right, then the up-down directions are reversed. Even after half an hour (when I thought that I'm already used to it) I still got the controls wrong several times because it's not intuitive, and it's annoying to miss because of that under time pressure. Maybe it would be better if the gun not only moved left/right when using the left/right keys but also turned around. Then the up key would only raise the gun until vertical, but not go over to the other side. To point the gun to the other side you'd need to use the left/right keys.

I would have liked some more visual indication when a ship takes damage, and how much damage it has taken. Although there is an explosion effect but sometimes it's hard to tell whether the ship was really hit or the bullet just went into the water, and difficult to judge how many more times the ship has to be hit to sink. (Using regular bullets, not the super bombs from which only two hits are enough.) It's not necessary to show more and more damage after every hit, it would be quite enough to show a hole on the ship's side or maybe remove a sail, when it reaches half the damage. In addition to making gameplay easier it would also be more fun to watch.

And a funny thing on a higher (I think fourth?) level: the aeroplane flies backwards!
_Pauli_
AGK Developer
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Posted: 18th Apr 2011 01:58
Quote: "I felt that the first level with only the balloons was too long"


Yeah, I feel so too. I definitly have to tweak things there. But as you guessed the first intention was to give the player some time to experiment and get used to everything while collecting cluster bombs.

Quote: "Maybe it would be better if the gun not only moved left/right when using the left/right keys but also turned around."


That's a good point! I'll definitly have a look into it. Your suggestion sounds quite well and wouldn't be too hard to implement.

Quote: "sometimes it's hard to tell whether the ship was really hit or the bullet just went into the water"


Ok, you can see if you hit if you watch your score display. You will get +10 points for hitting an enemy. But you're right, a better damage indicator could do well. The easiest I can think of would be a little health bar on top of each enemy. But that may ruin the visual appearance of the scene a bit... maybe I'll add rising smoke from heavily damaged enemies (similar to the smoke effect of the colony - people may not have realized that yet).

Quote: "And a funny thing on a higher (I think fourth?) level: the aeroplane flies backwards!"


Yeah, I know (added that to the known bugs list in the first post). But when I first saw it, I had a good laugh too
Will be fixed in the next release.

Thanks for your constructive comments!

Quel
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Posted: 18th Apr 2011 09:47
I actually didn't like the thought about the controls being reversed to the right, but for Me it didn't feel bad at all...

-In.Dev.X: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~6%
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS ~15%
-TailsVSEggman: An Sonic themed RTS under development for idea presentation to Sega ~15%

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