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Work in Progress / Ball Blast development thread

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Santman
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Location: Inverness
Posted: 20th Sep 2011 20:35
Hi all, welcome to my thread. I started this thread to basically get feedback on my (still very early - three weeks to date) in development game. It's basically a very simple "guide your little ball around a maze and activate triggers to unlock the exit to the next level before time runs out" style of game, however it (will) feature multiple ball forms (plastic (working), stone (working), wood, glass, floating etc), numerous traps (blocks break when used too many times, falls break glass, spikes pop plastic, rock breaks blocks instantly when falling, fire pops all but rock etc). This will be set to the tune of 30-50 standard levels, in 3-5 themed worlds (two active at present) - cmplete with built in editor for endless possibilities. It will be non commercial as I'm playing to get the techniques down for a more commercial Civ 5 style project next.

Anyway, the techy bit - this is the wood world. At present maps can be 10x10 tiles, over three levels (possibly to be expanded upwards - got confusing in trials). The engine supports a wide array of adjustable detials, however the screen shot is it maxed out at 1680x1050. So far:
* 50 high detial tree's, wind animated
* 30 shubs/bushes, wind animated
* dense, lush grass effect, wind animated (200 meshes, 20 tufts each)
* 3 layer sphere mapped sky with alpha blending moving independantly (looks nice moving!)
* generated "invisible" clouds drift overheard casting shadows over the entire scene
* procedurely generated background sound effects

My rig is an athlon 2.6 quad, 3gb, nvidia gtx260 - this scene runs at 40-45 fps (though with engine optimization I hope to bring this back to 60) and has about 60-65 million polygons (including textures).

Any feedback is greatly appreciated, though bear in mind that this is only 3 weeks (part time) work and I am learning.

Development :
week 1 - http://www.thegamecreators.com/?m=gallery_view&i=1839
week 2 - http://www.thegamecreators.com/?m=gallery_view&i=1843
week 3 - attached here. Youtube video out soon.

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CumQuaT
AGK Master
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Joined: 28th Apr 2010
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posted: 21st Sep 2011 03:06
This actually looks like it'll be a lot of fun! Great use of shaders!

Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox
www.msoa-game.com
www.facebook.com/malevolencegame
tiresius
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Location: MA USA
Posted: 22nd Sep 2011 03:09
Yes this looks very nice. Looking forward to a video!


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Santman
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Location: Inverness
Posted: 22nd Sep 2011 21:44
Thanks for the moral support guys, it's slowly coming together, and with a bit of luck there will be a full video of an early Beta walkthrough of a few levels by mid to end of next week, depends how much time I get to devote.

Checked out Sword of Ahkranox too - look very promissing indeed, will keep my eyes firmly peeled.
CumQuaT
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Posted: 23rd Sep 2011 18:14
Heh thank you

Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox
www.msoa-game.com
www.facebook.com/malevolencegame
Santman
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Posted: 3rd Oct 2011 03:29
Well, A LOT of work later (most of which down to the initial lack of design in the engine and slightly later than hoped for) I've finally uploaded a video featuring a full walkthrough of the first 4 "VR" training levels of Ball Blast on to YouTube. This is a simple, graphically unimpressive world but it shows the actual game mechanics on action, and eases players into the fundamentals of how the game is played. At the moment this is still an early pre-beta though hopefully by the end of this week I will launch a downloadable demo of 5-10 levels over two worlds if anyone wants to try it - though is that is the case I would appreciate any feedback at all about any errors encountered, and performance for each spec of machine (average framerate is constantly displayed on screen).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPnW55tHtF0

Any comments on how it's shaping up?

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tiresius
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Posted: 5th Oct 2011 03:16
It looks very interesting. I wasn't expecting a cell-based movement from a marble game but the visuals look nice. The different material marble concept has been done before, and is a proven winner for fun gameplay. Looking forward to a demo!


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Santman
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Posted: 5th Oct 2011 03:23
Yeah, I played with a simple physics engine as well, deciding to see if that worked better or not, but I decided to go more down the "puzzle" route than the "skill" route. Even toyed with the idea of allowing the user to choose, but I don;t want to spend forever and a day on it (just figured out image blocks!!!). Demo (fingers crossed) by the weekend as the game is basically playable now with a functional front end, just need to work in some error trapping, then add some ACTAUL puzzle levels. Lol.

How many people are working on your project tiresius? Just you?
tiresius
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Posted: 5th Oct 2011 07:13
Just me, and it shows!

Like I said, looking forward to a demo of your game. Judging by the video I would suggest making marble move a bit faster, especially since the levels are timed. At that speed it could frustrate the player, but I'll reserve judgement until after I get the demo.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Santman
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Posted: 9th Oct 2011 03:46
Ok guys, it's FINALLY here - the very early pre-beta test code as promissed. Remember, I'm just learning so please be patient with any errors, I'll get around to them all eventually! Lol. If you can let me know errors, your rig, and the framerate please? There are 6 levels to play with - the first ones are boring though, so apologies.

It's on rapidshare, but you can direct download it - just hit FREE DOWNLOAD - it might make you wait 45 seconds or something but it does work.

Game:
https://rapidshare.com/files/3129950443/Ball_Blast_Alpha_3.rar
Direct X 9 (if needed):
https://rapidshare.com/files/465409750/DX9.0c.rar
Santman
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Posted: 12th Oct 2011 04:17
UPDATE: I forgot to tack out some lines of debuging code so people with laptop's will likely be getting errors. This exe should fix that.

https://rapidshare.com/files/1163458525/BallBlast_resolution_error_fix.rar
Yodaman Jer
User Banned
Posted: 13th Oct 2011 07:03
Arrgh. I've got Windows 7 with service pack 1 installed, which wreaks havoc with DBP exes. :\ Any chance you can re-compile under Win7 SP 1?


^ Click for my Deviant page!
Santman
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Posted: 15th Oct 2011 01:37
Hey Yodaman. Not sure what you mean - doesn't DB just compile it the way it compiles it?? What error/problem are you getting?

Attached here is a new screen shot - after much deliberation and work, the forrest engine has improved notably. It has gone from a somewhat sparse looking wood (at best) using 100 dotted tree's which ran at 41-43 fps, to a new, improved engine drawing 200 tree's for a lovely dense forrest, keeping a constant 60 fps. A good weeks work I feel.

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tiresius
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Posted: 15th Oct 2011 02:47
Santman,

Use DBPro U77 RC 7 version from this thread, so Win7 SP1 people can play the game.
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=180294&b=1


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Santman
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Posted: 20th Oct 2011 20:37
Well I would say thanks tiresius, but I installed that and the shadow shader stopped working. Lol.

I already had the newest update, so not too sure why I would need one that old, thinking the error may have had nothing to do with SP1 myself.

Trying a new version soon with far more advanced error capturing at the start.
Santman
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2011 04:09
Newest video of the revised forest world in action.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_LWx6EKeBI

Any thoughts anyone?
Santman
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Posted: 27th Oct 2011 00:48
Well, after much negative feedback about the gameplay being boring, I have decided to discontinue development of BallBlast in favour of something more mainstream. Thanks for all the comments and support though guys, I've learned a lot and will (hopefully) be back with something decent in the future.
Santman
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Posted: 20th Dec 2011 02:20
Development has resumed. I was off for a good long while as I had to develop some complex VB applications for my actual work, which ate heavily into my free time as well. Anyway, now back on the development front for myself.

First up, the first revision of my Framerate Control System is in place and working - effectively this tries to maintain a set target framerate by either slowing the engine down if the machine is fast, or dropping non essential processes to boost it if the machine starts to struggle. This has allowed for fluid and reasonably "jerk" free gameplay so far (previously if looking at the level then turning around away from it the framerate could vary by as much as 50%!!!) at a constant 60FPS (said I'd get it back up there), though I will continue to refine this.

Anyway, very soon I will be once again asking for testers (this time for a far more stable and ready version), and anyone wanting to contribute to graphics would also be enormously appreciated.
Dr Tank
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Posted: 20th Dec 2011 04:59
This looks pretty cool. Nice graphics. The rapidshare files seem to have expired though. I get that you're going for "puzzle" rather than "skill", but still, it might be nicer if the player moved a little faster.

Also, having a ball makes people expect smooth rolly mechanics rather than grid locked jumping. If you made it a bouncy blob with eyes (like Blob for the Amiga), it would make more visual sense.

I'll try running it when you post a demo i can download.
Santman
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Posted: 20th Dec 2011 13:14
Yeah, a few people have commented on the speed of the movement, but fear not - the screen capture software is halving the framerate of the movement - when running at full speed it moved quite a bit faster. I actually am very intriuged by the idea of the blob though - was trying to think of a way of making the ball more endearing (a smiley face or something - but it faces the wrong way!).

I may give that consideration.
Dr Tank
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Posted: 20th Dec 2011 20:42
Nice. If the blob had big googly muppet eyes then you could still see them from the back.

Also if you want to make your videos faster, assuming your game is slowed mostly by rendering, halve the set framerate, then every loop do something like

update_screen=1-update_screen
if update_screen then sync

I've done this in the past when recording with FRAPs and it works pretty well.
Santman
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Posted: 14th Feb 2012 01:02
Been ages since I updated, but I've been plagued with problems from alpha mapping not working correctly to shadows not casting, right up to the entire editor dying and my project compiling at less than 25% of it's normal framerate.

Still, tenasity normally wins out, and now everything is back up to speed. All graphical glitches sorted, the engine is running faster than ever before (now up to 65fps+ maxed out), and the new FCS (framerate control system) has just had an overhaul so that the game can dynamically alter the engine function to keep even slow machines throwing it along at a fare old speed.

So, the first playable demo (which is still early - many more features to bring in, in engine physics to re-write) should be available this weekend. You guys still good to test it for me?
tiresius
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Posted: 14th Feb 2012 01:39
Glad to see this continue.

Are you going to make a Blob character? I like that idea for the reasons given above.


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Santman
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Posted: 14th Feb 2012 02:20
At the moment no, I'm sticking with a ball character, but what I aim to do is perhaps introduce an animated face overlayed on top of it to give it cartoon style expressions. I've played with it to do a new title screen, and it works ok (screen attached). Thinking spot animations as you think, drop etc - all facing the player for effect. May still change, but a full animation system is yet to be implimented for the ball to allow things like stretching etc. May alter at that point.

The game system has altered slightly though - instead of timed levels, the level timer now counts upwards, and a medal system will be introduced depending on how quickly/many moves you used to complete the level. Thus, all "pressure" is removed.

Just introduced LOD to some on screen objects, the next major change is going to be the blocks themselves - static cubes are going to be replaced with actual objects so the surface can be genuinely 3D to compliment the bump mapping (which the changing LOD will hopefully mean that performance on whole can be kept up).

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Santman
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Posted: 23rd Feb 2012 23:20
Santman
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Posted: 25th Feb 2012 01:58
Guess what - the playable preview of BallBlast Alpha 3.2 is FINALLY ready. The link below will take you to a free Rapid Share download that will allow you to try it - all I ask is you let me know if it runs (it hopefully will - Win 7 SP1 won't though till Lee fixes the latest update), and if it runs let me know what average FPS you get (this is displayed on screen at all times) for what settings and roughly what your machine has.

Enjoy folks, and be nice....I'm literally doing this completely by myself!!!

https://rapidshare.com/files/2017033175/Ball_Blast_Alpha.zip
Santman
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Posted: 2nd Mar 2012 20:18
Development has ceased once and for all, no further posts will be updated.

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