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AppGameKit Classic Chat / Ultra Low Rez Tower Defense Game

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GarBenjamin
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Posted: 17th Sep 2018 03:48 Edited at: 17th Sep 2018 04:56
Starting to come to life now.

Added two new enemy types. This time I went for monsters. When I develop it is a prototyping process to quite a degree. Started with a tank for enemy type #1. Now two monsters / aliens which I think are more interesting. Next time maybe will add a cup of coffee and a donut. lol Anyway I just try out ideas as I am sure most developers do and the ones that are the "best" are the ones I keep. Not real big on trying to design and plan everything out up front; instead I just keep a loose overall high level plan that guides everything along but leave the details to just letting it evolve as I develop.

Alright... MONSTERS (or ALIENS if you prefer)... these waves are tiny and accelerated in appearance again just a normal thing I think we all do during development can't be wasting time waiting around for things to unfold at the "real" speed when we are developing trying to get stuff done.



I also spent some time today doing a proper test of working with Construct 2. Just learning the basics and building a simple animated plant enemy and scene.

If anyone can use this plant enemy sprite enemy for anything feel free to use it. I'd guess it could also serve as some kind of claw that comes up from below to grab the player.
The tiled backdrop too if useful but admittedly I knocked that out so quick it might not be useful really. Served my needs well as a test backdrop for a scrolling level.

Frame 1


Frame 2


Frame 3


Which together produces this (in my case I have it spitting out a projectile that travels up)
fubarpk
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Posted: 17th Sep 2018 18:00
Coming along great
fubar
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 17th Sep 2018 18:55
Thanks! It's getting there bit by bit. Have about 3 projects going on at the same time between this game, creating an extended api / sprite behavior library and learning C2 game dev. But I find moving from one to another keeps things interesting. Next dev session I will probably work on the sprite behaviors again and get back to this sometime before the weekend!
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 20th Sep 2018 14:10
So I think I have mentioned many times now about graphics and polish focus... I prefer to wait til the game is (nearly) done to think about fx / polish if only because that is a time when a little bit of effort & focus on graphics / polish can make a big difference and that is a very nice thing after spending time on all of the other stuff required by a game where often it is building systems and so forth that don't have nearly the visual value of stuff like polish but are vital to making the actual game.

Anyway, basicFanatic posted a thread on pixel art games over here showing different styles and fx used in Indie pixel art games and seeing those made me think "well I had thought about adding some eerie type of fog FX that rolls in at least on later levels so might as well knock that out and see how it will look in glorious ultra low res 128 x 90!"

This was the first implementation using thick rolling fog... I think I mentioned 63 sprites over in that other thread and it was actually 64.


This morning right before work I updated it to be a more subtle fog that fades in over time... and I optimized it a little dropping down to 50 sprites...


Figured I might as well update this dev log with these.
Bored of the Rings
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Posted: 20th Sep 2018 14:13
very impressed with your work GarBenjamin. This reminds me of those days when I could create a game on the VIC-20 in low res, have playability and have speed and get the most out of 3.5k. Bookmarking this thread and the other one.
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GarBenjamin
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Posted: 20th Sep 2018 18:18 Edited at: 20th Sep 2018 18:21
Bored of the Rings thanks. What you described is a great way to approach development I think. Basically just look at it like you are on that ole VIC-20 only you have the Super Duper AppGameKit expansion added and everyone who has it their VIC-20 now has a ton more speed, sprites etc. What would you have made? That's kind of sort of how I view 2D dev these days. Like having a super charged C64 or Amiga. Lol

I actually need to focus more on getting this game done. Been focusing on different projects so progress has been slow. But I think I should be able to focus dev sessions on this game project soon so I can get the gameplay wrapped up. Once that critical first phase is done then gets a lot easier. Then can choose theme and style it all accordingly then polish it up and finally HELLO WORLD.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 22nd Sep 2018 04:55 Edited at: 22nd Sep 2018 04:58
Repairing of towers has been implemented.

Obviously, there needs to be some feedback to this activity... later in polish phase.
For now, you can see the repairs have been made when the message changes from Repair and shows that cost and says Upgrade and shows that cost.

Well, that's it. Didn't spend much time on this tonight. In fact this was like 3 tiny functions: TowerCanBeRepaired, TowerGetRepairCost and TowerRepair and then just a matter of wiring it up in the playermanager mouse control section and updating the message section.

I also notice I need to adjust sprite depths on the enemies because the tank's turret appears over the critters. Of course, in reality that scenario wouldn't ever happen anyway so I guess I will leave it as it is. Everything with the wave appearance is accelerated during my development testing.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 22nd Sep 2018 20:06 Edited at: 22nd Sep 2018 20:06
Another short dev session this time focused on movement and firing speeds and ranges of player "tower" units and the enemies.

At higher levels the game will play more along these lines... which is a good thing because just faster firing faster moving.... this kind of thing makes things more interesting & exciting even if it is exactly the same thing as it was when it was a third of the speed.

GarBenjamin
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Posted: 23rd Sep 2018 04:46 Edited at: 23rd Sep 2018 04:50
Wow! According to Steam I have now used AppGameKit for 180 hours since buying it a couple years ago.

Anyway, I just finished up another dev session doing some more tweaking of speeds to get a baseline idea of what the later levels should feel like as far as action and so forth.
And I added a new enemy.

When I get to the polish phase and add all of that stuff like hit indicators on the enemies, towers, the fog, the scanlines, etc I will also change the animation on this new enemy with the top part spinning at a different speed than the lower part. But this works fine for now.

I will add two more enemies (1 to replace the tank since I am going with monsters / aliens I won't use the tank for an enemy but may use it for something else) and then I need to focus on the attacks of the enemies. I would like each one to have at least a slightly different attack style. Maybe the player can drive the tank around. At one time I thought about doing that kind of thing with a separate phase the player would go explore and collect materials for upgrading the towers but see I have this real issue where I believe a free game should be limited and somewhat simplistic. Really don't think making a game for free should have a lot of cool stuff to it because this only serves to raise the expectations of gamers and make it that much more difficult for Indies to actually make money doing something they love. So I try to keep that in mind always.

GarBenjamin
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Posted: 23rd Sep 2018 20:26 Edited at: 23rd Sep 2018 20:28
Another dev session (got an early one in today which is great because I should be able to do another tonight!).

Added two new enemies. Their design is similar (in the interest of efficiency) but are different enough especially since one is the replacement for the tank which was the weakest enemy and the other one is the strongest enemy of the 5.

Next dev session I can focus on implementing attacks for each of the 4 enemies that need it.

Anyway, here they are. And now I am getting out of the house again for a few hours. Being stuck inside during the workweek I really appreciate being able to get off the computer and out in the good ole fresh air on the weekends!

GarBenjamin
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Posted: 24th Sep 2018 02:26 Edited at: 24th Sep 2018 16:44
Got all of the enemy attacks sorted out. Basically I took screenshots of each enemy wave then just made a new layer and drew the attack on that new layer.

Mainly focused on trying to find a balance between simplicity and something visually interesting while also trying to make each attack distinct.

Although I am not on polish mode yet one of the goals I have for this is game is to see just how visually interesting I can make this game in 128x90 resolution without spending an insane amount of time on it.

So mainly I am focused on creating simple (yet hopefully still interesting) designs, pleasing color choices and reasonably expressive yet simple animations always trying to weigh the visual bang for the buck so to speak or in other words how to get the most impact from the least amount of time & work spent.

I'll work on actually implementing these enemy attacks the next time I do a dev session on this project.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 25th Sep 2018 17:31 Edited at: 25th Sep 2018 17:35
Spent a little time last night implementing an attack for one more enemy type. 2 down. 3 to go. But that was the most time consuming one I think. Basically doing them in order of "hardest" to "easiest".
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 27th Sep 2018 04:27 Edited at: 27th Sep 2018 04:30
4 enemy attacks implemented. 1 to go. Figured no sense in posting a video until they were all in.

The tower attacks will need to be updated because they are really outclassed by the enemies now that the enemies have attacks fitting the theme and towers have generic bullets.

Anyway hopefully tomorrow night I can get the attack for the last enemy done. With Halloween and Christmas coming up soon I might start thinking about a holiday game before too long.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 28th Sep 2018 03:51 Edited at: 28th Sep 2018 04:03
Another night another dev session.

All enemy attacks are implemented now except the bombs used by the last enemy (which will do some massive damage) don't have any damage implemented yet.
Will do that next dev session.

GarBenjamin
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Posted: 29th Sep 2018 04:05 Edited at: 29th Sep 2018 04:12
Implemented the damage for the 5th enemy's bombs and did a fair amount of play testing and tweaking things here and there including removing some old testing code such as color coding some of the towers when they detected an enemy.

Overall good progress these past several days.

I think next dev session I will focus on a round of polish. The gameplay is getting solidified and basically moves to levels, waves and more balancing of the two sides from this point on.

GarBenjamin
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Posted: 30th Sep 2018 00:01 Edited at: 30th Sep 2018 01:50
Today I focused on polish for the second time.

Next dev session I will return to working on the game pushing it forward with the remaining functionality that is needed.
Also need to make some adjustments such as the side range on enemy detection as the one single turret on the upper left shows it is detecting too far out and shooting when there is no chance at all to hit anything.
Simple change but didn't notice it until I watched the video. Making videos of your games and reviewing them is a powerful thing really helps tremendously imo.

EDIT: I made that fix real fast and recorded another video. Basically because I will be releasing this game sometime within the next few weeks (or I surely hope anyway now that I am focusing the majority of my game dev time on it alone) and that means I need to start doing some marketing for it very soon like tomorrow or tonight.
fubarpk
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Posted: 30th Sep 2018 19:27 Edited at: 30th Sep 2018 19:32
Looks really good
Some of those enemies sure seem well equipped with firepower too and yet still stoppable
Which isn't a bad thing when the balance is right it gives the player a sense of achievement
Quote: " I will be releasing this game sometime within the next few weeks"

What platforms will you be releasing on ?
fubar
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 1st Oct 2018 03:19 Edited at: 1st Oct 2018 03:25
Thanks Fubarpk! That's it for sure I put a lot of importance on playtesting and balancing for a game. If that is off the game just isn't much fun at all imo.
It's not an easy thing either and for me it is just an iterative process of playtesting and refinement even when I start out with a mathematical base for the difficulty growth.
That's actually what I have been working on tonight.

I was thinking I would release it on HTML5 and Windows at GameJolt and itch.io ... if I go free then both web & desktop download versions will be the full game. If I decide to charge $2 to $3 for the game I will make the web version a tiny demo like 1 level only just enough for people to be able to try. I'm a tiny bit tempted to throw it up on Steam for $2 to $3 just to see what the reaction would be. Honestly, I just haven't thought much about it yet I just know from past experience I need to actively market it to get people to even know it exists. I'd be gung ho pursuing the Indie thing if things were like they were 10 years ago before the markets became so flooded and a person could just throw a game out there on a major market and had a MUCH MUCH better chance of it being discovered without needing to actually do anything else. But cannot do anything about that except work on it.

--------------------------------------

Tonight's dev session I focused on the core game again.
Now the game plays through 7 multi-wave days (here a day is equivalent to a level) of increasing difficulty.
Mainly focused on balancing speeds & difficulty progression from gentle leading the player in on day 1 to things finally starting to get a tiny bit intense at day 7 as well as occasionally throwing in a bit of a twist to keep things from becoming too monotonous.

Next dev sessions will be more of the same until I have all of the days defined. Currently I am shooting for 20 days. And from days 8 on I can ramp up the speed much more because by this point the player should have established a good structure and be very familiar with the game.

I've never been a huge fan of tower defense games at least not the big name ones although over the years I have played a couple of smaller efforts that I enjoyed. I do like them but I generally like other kinds of games more.

So I am hoping maybe I can bring something fresh to this by making a tower defense that remains fairly close to "the norm" while offering enough of a difference that it would catch my attention had I come across it on the web some place.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 1st Oct 2018 18:39
I have ~54 hours poured into this game already. I'm glad I focused on another round of polish Saturday because for some reason that always makes the time seem more justified despite in reality much more time being focused on all of the other stuff up to and after that point.

Ah well today is the start of a new month and plan to focus only on this project to complete it by end of the month. Tonight gonna work on defining waves for days 8 through 14 and then tomorrow night days 15 through 20. Then probably take a break for a day or two. Always think my game dev is taking way too long. Where does all of this time go but this stuff just takes time and more time and then more time.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 2nd Oct 2018 14:15 Edited at: 2nd Oct 2018 18:27
Despite putting in 2 hours last night I only added days 8, 9 and 10. Reason being so much focus on balancing. Focusing on the critical aspect of gameplay. In fact I needed to revamp the money awarded per kill with a scaling bonus based on the current level as well as adjust the rate of fire of one of the enemies that scaled too much by day 9 and also reduced the amount of money needed to repair towers which also was too much at higher levels.

I place a huge amount of importance on the gameplay / balancing / feel side compared to the other stuff. It is kind of "in the trenches" work that can't really be seen but makes a massive difference when actually playing. So basically a huge amount of progress as far as gameplay feel was made but as far as what can be seen there are 3 more levels in. With this solid foundation I should be able to knock out 5 more days tonight.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 3rd Oct 2018 21:41 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 21:42
Definitely need to take a break soon. Put in another 2.75 hours last night. I hit my target of adding five more increasingly difficult levels of waves. Then I had to again go back through and tweak things restructure things on difficulty progression.

I now have three systems for this. One is per wave, one is per level and another is what I call "ramp up" points meaning every x levels the difficulty increases a tiny bit beyond the increase provided by the other two systems. This seems to finally be what I am after for "the feel".

I am going to focus on adding the remaining 5 levels tonight and then I will almost certainly take tomorrow night off from game dev. Been pushing hard on this project and need a break.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 4th Oct 2018 04:23 Edited at: 4th Oct 2018 04:26
Another dev session complete including playing through the entire game.

I ended up only making 18 levels (days) because I was thinking... you know... I have been so focused on adding levels and then spot testing to check difficulty at random levels I really don't know how long it takes to play through all of this.

18 days of waves... it took 49 minutes to play through them all. The great thing is it didn't seem like it was nearly that much time. The progression seemed very good starting out only able to purchase a few basic towers each at level 1 and finally having many different towers each maxed out at level 5.

While playing through it I had the idea to further the sense of progression as well as keeping people from forming a "winning" strategy early on I will be making another update where only a few locations are available to build towers at level 1. Every few levels one more location will be available to build a tower on.

I could add another few levels to push the play time up to 1 hour but I think I would much prefer to add some kind of break in the gameplay. I think that would add more value. Originally I had thought about having two modes of play where player had to gather resources for building the towers. Decided not to do that. BUT now that I am thinking every x levels to have some kind of alternate gameplay modes (mini games basically) I could definitely do that. Add one that is gathering resources. And thinking about it now I think that would be perfect to synchronize with the last level before the new difficulty ramp up every x level system. So basically, that other gameplay mode is entered player gathers materials and when that is complete the main tower defense mode continues on with the difficulty scaled up a bit. And this also helps to provide a nice break to keep things from getting monotonous. Could even have two different mini games. But for now I am just going to think of having one.

61.5 hours on this now. Of course 49 minutes of that was doing a full playthrough but that is still something I consider very much a part of game dev.

At this point, especially since I will be adding a mini game, I think I will make this my first game for sale in 16 years. I definitely need to focus on marketing but just have been too busy focusing on the game development. Maybe tomorrow night when I take a break from game dev I will spend a little time on marketing. I don't know. I might just take a break from it completely. Although it is quite fun since it is very playable now I am still getting burned out from all of the work put in the past week.
fubarpk
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Posted: 4th Oct 2018 06:16
Quote: "I was thinking I would release it on HTML5 and Windows at GameJolt and itch.io "

I think you would have to submit as a facebook game just need a SSL website this would give you a large audience
and be great if you submitted as coin based with links to perhaps googleStore and appStore for example where
versions could be purchased for a phone or perhaps links to steam without the need to purchase more tokens etc

Quote: "18 days of waves... it took 49 minutes to play through them all"

Yes testing all levels is difficult and selecting them in the right order but if a couple are out I don't think it really matters
lots of arcade games had these issues
fubar
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 4th Oct 2018 16:13
Ah I have no interest in FB games. I think it would be more trouble than it is worth. I do have an interest in testing FB paid ads. I think they would probably work better for mobile games but I think it is worth testing them.

That is how I approach all marketing. Run a test. Track results. Do that dozens and hundreds of times with different methods. Keep what works axe the rest. That is the only way I know how to do it and only way I think it can be done. I spent 7 years learning and using Internet marketing and that was my biggest takeaway. Test. Analyze. Keep best of best. Axe the rest.

Of course there are other things like landing page design, lead capture, follow up etc. I don't know how much I will get into all of that. I am fully planning on just dabbling my way forward. As long as I am having fun I will continue. When it starts to feel like work like a second job then it is time to stop. Lol

GarBenjamin
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Posted: 7th Oct 2018 01:15 Edited at: 7th Oct 2018 01:17
67... this project seems to be sucking up my time fast. Hoping to wrap it up before too long. Definitely would like to complete it before I pass 100 hours!!

Anyway... I made some good progress last night and today. As usual focused on what I thought were the most important things at this time.

The game now starts with 3 places to build towers and every few days a new place appears. It is a sequence non random defined to enhance the gameplay a little more.
Then I added "health" bars to the towers so the player can easily see their current condition.
Then I added "level" indicators to the towers so the player can easily see their current upgraded level.
Then I tweaked enemy speed and health a little again just a real quick adjustment to each.
Then I upgraded the towers health system so instead of being based solely on their level it is now based on the kind of tower and level. This impacts overall "hit points" for the towers which also impacts repair cost.
Then I decided to implement that increasing fog system I think I mentioned at some point in this thread. The idea is an eerie fog rolls in and that is when the monsters appeared. The fog thickens with each passing day bringing in increasingly stronger monsters.
Finally, I made a new shader to use for the enemies hit indicator FX. Again that was very simple, just a copy, paste, edit of the original hit indicator shader I created previously.

And that was it. It was a busy time to get it all done and tested.

And here is what the fog looks like near the very last day... except obviously it is animated, moving, rolling, etc.
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Posted: 7th Oct 2018 21:20 Edited at: 7th Oct 2018 21:33
I created two new "explosions" for the enemies. Thinking the towers will keep the circle explosion and the enemies will either use one of the two new explosions based on their type OR each enemy will randomly use one of the two when it is destroyed. Can sort that out later when I get to the final polishing phase.

Basically, I wanted to start getting some content ready for marketing purposes and knew I wanted to change the explosion for enemies so knocked them out.



68 hours on development now and 0.75 hours on marketing work. These will change with development winding down and marketing focus increasing in the coming weeks. I will need to get a dev log going over at Itch.io and GameJolt and probably a workshop or Early Access set up on Steam as well.

So much simpler when I did it 100% as a hobby. Make game. Publish game on a site or two. Do a tiny bit of marketing. Done! For what I am doing with this game the development is basically just half of the work (and I always keep this in mind which is a big part of why I don't want to spend a long time on development alone). And who knows maybe I will decide "ah to heck with all of this work and just throw it out, do a tiny bit of marketing just so a few people beyond here know it exists and call it DONE!" lol
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 9th Oct 2018 03:48 Edited at: 9th Oct 2018 03:48
Tonight I created an 8x8 font and a SpriteTextPrint system.
I'll convert the tower GUI messages over to this next dev session which will probably be tomorrow night.
basicFanatic
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Posted: 9th Oct 2018 12:53
Wow, some really solid progress here! Have you had anyone playtesting it? One hint when animating things that goes boom: Explosions are FAST. It's the fastest movement you encounter. So you want to use only maybe 3 frames for the actual explosion, and then lotsa frames for it to fade away.
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Posted: 9th Oct 2018 17:26 Edited at: 9th Oct 2018 18:39
Thanks basicFanatic. Haven't let anyone playtest it yet but am getting close to doing a testing & feedback release. I'll probably do it here on these forums first then over at GameJolt.

One thing I learned from previous experience is if there are things you planned on doing you should do them before releasing. Otherwise the bulk of the feedback will be nothing you don't already know and haven't already planned to do.

Used to run into that again & again on the Unity forums. Of course 85%+ of the feedback there was always "make the graphics better" which was completely useless. Lol BUT in fairness that was my own fault simply because people who either primarily love AAA style 3D uber looking games or place much more importance on presentation than the game itself obviously wasn't my target market. And there was some good feedback there and I did appreciate those folks taking the time to give their feedback on important things gameplay aspects, concept, etc.

Anyway I am working on getting to that point and should be there very soon! If you're interested in giving it a try let me know. Thanks!
blink0k
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Posted: 10th Oct 2018 00:26
Looking sweet GB. Very nice work
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Posted: 10th Oct 2018 04:17 Edited at: 10th Oct 2018 04:18
Thanks blink0k I appreciate that.

----------------------------------------------------

70.25 hours. Last night I spent time creating an 8x8 bitmap font because the AppGameKit text system I had been using was antialiasing everything which wasn't cohesive.
However, tonight I disabled the UseNewDefaultFonts option and found it created excellent pixel text so I didn't have to bother updating everything to use the SpriteTextGrid system I built last night. lol
Time wasted on that stuff but maybe I can use it in a future project.

Anyway, tonight I focused on some more prep work towards making the playable demo.
My strategy is inspired heavily by the old shareware model. I will release a free playable web demo of the game with only a very few levels just enough to give people a taste of the game.
If they don't like it that's cool they can move on to one of the other hundreds of thousands of games out there. If they do like it and want to experience the full game they will be able to purchase the desktop version.

I've never got into mobile although I do test mobile games for other devs from time to time. I absolutely hate the ads in mobile games. If I ever did a mobile game I would use this same model. Completely free version with only a very few levels. No ads. If people like it they can buy the full mobile game that also would have no ads. Mobile markets seem really messed up to me. All of these developers basically just giving their games away for pennies and people sitting there with all of these ads on the game screen which breaks immersion. I guess I just don't get it. The ads no matter how well done they are also make mobile games look amateurish to me. Anyway just a ramble there since I was talking about this aspect of game dev.
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Posted: 10th Oct 2018 22:27
I also hate adverts in games
Im sure there must be others that wont install them if they don't have ads
fubar
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 11th Oct 2018 04:19 Edited at: 11th Oct 2018 04:23
I am sure there are numerous people who will only ever install a game if it is 100% free for them to do so. I read a few times this is why developers started using the ads model. BUT... I honestly wonder if these kind of people are actually who we want for our "customers" to begin with. If you have the clout to get premium well paying ads displayed in your game or achieve enough reach you may move up a payment tier then it probably makes sense. Like AAA companies it probably pays off well for them. But it seems like it would be far better to have only 1 very happy customer that paid $1 for a game than it would to have 100 customers complaining & wanting more and more stuff added all while generating 30 cents in ad revenue. But I don't know that is just my own personal view.

----------------------------------

So... I spent 45 minutes tonight just designing a title screen for the demo release that will be happening soonish.
A crazy amount of time for what I ended up with but I went through 3 to 4 different versions and color changes on top.

Excellent name for the game, right? LOL Working title and will almost certainly change.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 12th Oct 2018 03:57 Edited at: 12th Oct 2018 03:58
Another 1.5 hours tonight. Having fun!

I hadn't actually made a proper program structure for this game before tonight.
Previously, I ran the program and the game immediately started and I began playtesting.
So tonight I created the structure for Title Screen and Gameplay overall states.
And I did some refactoring clean-up on asset management.

Then I started creating the help / instruction screens.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 13th Oct 2018 04:15 Edited at: 13th Oct 2018 04:49
Another dev session more progress and another 2.0 hours that makes 74.5 total now . Making help screens is kind of tedious glad these are knocked out.
I didn't spell it out Click to continue (to advance through those screens but am hoping people will have the sense to do so or simply try it and see if it will work. I will probably make it so space also advances through them on to the gameplay).

Anyway I finished off the rest of the 5 "How to play" instruction screens and implemented them in the program.
fubarpk
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Posted: 13th Oct 2018 07:18 Edited at: 13th Oct 2018 07:23
Quote: "I didn't spell it out Click to continue"


Really you shouldn't have to, but with my experience people are dumb and go like what do I do now and write bad reviews etc just
cos you didn't spell it out for them. The other option is to timer base them as you would have to have a timer wait event to use the click
screen anyway. Possibly timed that you can advance as you click if you chose to just a thought

Mind you my help on last two games I don't think I added the click to return cant remember but those showed a completely new screen
and not a transparent overlay which I think may cause confusion
fubar
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 13th Oct 2018 19:20 Edited at: 13th Oct 2018 19:23
Quote: "Really you shouldn't have to..."


LOL well I kind of see it like that but we have to keep in mind that we know everything about our games. We know them inside & out. Other people see it for first time without any previous experience or insight into it.
And so many developers implement things different ways. Even for controls I have seen games instead of using the standard arrow keys or WASD for movement will use keys such as j and k to move left and right and e and d to move up and down ad other seemingly random keys to jump and attack, etc.
So with that in mind I do get it so will try to make it all as clear as I can to make it a better experience for people. It won't be perfect but I'll give it an honest effort all the same.

-------------------------------

Spent 1 hour remaking the 5th instruction screen text and implementing title & learn screens properly now with clicking on Learn bringing up the instruction screens and Start kicking off the game.
Pushing to get the demo version complete.

GarBenjamin
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Posted: 14th Oct 2018 17:57 Edited at: 14th Oct 2018 18:52
Last night I spent 1.5 hours on marketing work so that makes a total of 75.5 hours on development and 2.25 hours on marketing = 77.75 hours so far.
I hate seeing the hours increase continually because the higher they go the more sales that are needed to cover the investment but I am trying to "do it right" and that just ... takes ... time.

Anyway, I have created a dev log over at GameJolt and made 3 dev log updates. The page is not published yet. I will try to get another 2 to 4 dev logs posted and then I will activate the page so it is live on that site.
Basically, I am just playing "catch up" posting the dev logs starting back at the very beginning. So it will be accelerated over there with every dev log representing 2 to 3 entries over here until it is caught up.
I need to do the same thing over at Itch.io and some other sites.

And while I am ramping up marketing I am also focusing on the development to complete the game or at least the playable demo version. It is very close now.

Today I will implement the Player Loss based on enemies making it to their target position. I will probably add 1 or 2 more screens to the Learn sequence as well.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 15th Oct 2018 02:23 Edited at: 15th Oct 2018 04:40
Okay, I finally did some work. Honestly tonight I just needed a break from this. BUT I finally motivated myself to spend 45 minutes and implement the penalty for allowing an enemy to escape along with the FX for that happening.
76.25 hours on development + 2.25 hours on marketing = 78.5 hours
Yeah I didn't do any marketing work at all today. I've been focusing on this working on it basically every day for a while now. And tomorrow is back to work (at the day job) again so it was nice to just take a break.

Anyway, it is now at a good point where next time I can focus on the Lose Screen and adding one or two more screens to the Learn sequence.
I might just take tomorrow completely off and do absolutely nothing period. That way I can return on Tuesday fully recharged.
blink0k
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Posted: 15th Oct 2018 22:20
Hey GB, How easy is it to scale your project? Is it easy to say, scale up the tile size to 64x64? or scale up the window to 1024x768 etc?
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Posted: 16th Oct 2018 02:13 Edited at: 16th Oct 2018 02:23
Super easy to change that. It's made for wide screen so the actual AppGameKit window/screen size is 1280x720. I use a render image that is 128x90 and that is displayed by a sprite. This render sprite is scaled up 10x8. I mean we can easily make the screen / window / tile sizes whatever we want, right?

I just chose 128x90 because (a) it reflects me as a person, (b) I really like the ultra low resolution aesthetic and (c) it is a way for me to manage graphics workload.

On (a) I actually just wrote about that on the Unity forum today replying to someone's post...

I have a huge passion for creating ultra low rez and ultra low poly games. For a long time I didn't quite understand exactly why that it is the case. I knew I really liked the simple aesthetic and I knew using such a style would allow me to manage the workload and create interesting visuals in a reasonable amount of time.

But it is more than that. I realized it is a reflection of myself where I tend to be a very anti "judge a book by its cover" type of person. Kind of as I have been told a "diamond in the rough" meaning I am pretty laid back and rough around the edges... a "simple man" on the surface if you will but have a lot of depth inside. Lol


For quite a while I struggled with that because I guess I make some interesting stuff sometimes and other devs would often ask me to change to HD fancy graphics, etc and it just never connected with me. Sometimes I did focus more on that but it always felt wrong to me like it no longer had as much meaning to me.

Then I finally realized why that is. It is because all of us when creating something are expressing ourselves to some degree. So I finally got over that struggle because I now understand what drives me to a simplistic visual style. I choose to place much more importance on the gameplay and inside of the game and choose a simple visual style because it resonates with me... a reflection of who I am. Simple outside deep inside. Like my goal is to get to making bigger games with more depth to them but still have very simple visuals. Simple outside. Complex inside.

Sorry for the long ramble but that was quite an enlightening moment to me. But yeah can use any resolution basically. Like you could just not even use the render image at all and go with hd 1280x720 and I might even do that sometime but still I'd stick with very simple graphics style. Or can change render image to 640x360 and just scale up the render sprite 2x2. I am thinking my next game I might try 160x120. It would give me more real estate to work with but still keep in line with what I was saying above.
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Posted: 17th Oct 2018 16:18 Edited at: 17th Oct 2018 16:21
I had a nice break and returned to work last night ready to get stuff done.

Actually got 3 hours in. Creating graphics for a city scene that will be the basis for the won game ending. Then I destroyed the city including making animated fire fx for the lose game ending.

Then I started programming to implement that. Made it right to the point where I was ready to do a test. Good stopping point.

Next time I work on this (tonight!) the first thing I will do is run the program fix any issues then can start on the test & tweaking of the game lose ending.

Getting closer all the time and still hoping to complete it in 100 hours or less. I still need to implement the game won sequence adding some fx probably fireworks, etc.

Also need to get more marketing work done.
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Posted: 17th Oct 2018 22:13
you have put allot of work into this Garbenjamin and it looks good and I imagine the time spent will give good gameplay.

Hope you get the downloads/sales etc you are after
fubar
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Posted: 18th Oct 2018 03:58 Edited at: 18th Oct 2018 04:11
Thanks @fubarpk it's good to be making a full game again. I'm enjoying the work despite needing a break occasionally.
Ah... I see it all like an experiment and a process. Experiment is I will release it and see what happens. Process because I expect it will take a consistent stream of games to build up any kind of decent business.

Another 1.75 hours of development tonight refactoring code, testing the lose game scene, updating, etc, etc.

LOL! 81 hours of development now (doesn't seem possible but it just adds up fast!) and 2.5 hours on marketing work = 83.5 hours

Getting closer to that demo release!

Failure...
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 20th Oct 2018 00:04 Edited at: 20th Oct 2018 01:06
Another 2 hours between last night and my lunch break today working on the Title Screen and more refactoring of the code for the program state and game state management. I think everything is tidy enough again now.

I didn't want to polish up the title screen too much but wanted to have a little fun with it anyway. Just subtle things mainly... I like doing little subtle things here and there. The rolling fog backdrop makes the biggest overall difference and since that is a big part of the story of the game makes sense to have it here.



Inching closer to that demo release.
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 21st Oct 2018 03:45
84.5 hours of development now (doesn't seem possible but it just adds up fast!) and 6 hours on marketing work = 90.5 hours

For development I implemented the arrow sprite hover light up & click detection for moving forward / backward through the help screens (previously these were just part of the screens) and the Esc sprite hover light up & click detection for returning to the title screen. Also made the left arrow turn red when on the first help screen and the right arrow turn red when on the last help screen.
Then I implemented keyboard control using left and right arrows to also navigate through the help screens.

The bulk of my time today was spent on marketing stuff. Adding more content to the GameJolt page and recording videos converting to gifs, etc, etc. Did another post on Twitter.
I am about burn out from all of the video and video to gif work which I did over and over for nearly 3 hours steady. Also uploaded couple videos to YT.

The first level is a slow pace but no more so and probably not as much as most tower defense games at least the ones I have played and seen.
This is so you can get used to the game.


Difficulty increases each level as the fog thickens and the monsters come in faster, stronger, 5 different enemies each with a different kind of attack.
So I focused a LOT on designing an ultra simple control system for this game. Everything is just a left or right mouse click. So that means even things get intense you can still easily interact to implement your decisions such as building, destroying, upgrading or repairing.


Well I am basically at the point where I am ready to get some feedback on this. So I will put up a demo version tomorrow (brain is too fried from all the video / gif stuff to do any more now) for folks to try out.

Cliff Mellangard 3DEGS
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Posted: 21st Oct 2018 22:10
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2018 00:49 Edited at: 29th Oct 2018 02:09
Thanks Cliff. LOL Yeah I am trying to make it unique to me. Something a little different.



Well if anyone would be willing to playtest it please do so. <-- I AM NOT YELLING puzzler I am formatting this... lol



MY DESIGN GOALS - HOW THIS GAMES INNOVATES TO BE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TOWER DEFENSE GAMES
Basically this game is my answer to the following question that I asked myself: if there had been an arcade tower defense game what would that have been like?

So my goal is to create what I envision a tower defense game made for an arcade coin-op machine would be like as far as gameplay & feel are concerned.

To that end I...
* Added complexity in the underlying systems while innovating on the controls to simplify the user interface so everything is controlled with either mouse over or using the right or left mouse button based on the context of what you are currently doing.

* I focused on giving the game more of an arcade action feel than is typical in a Tower Defense game basically striving for a balance of strategy and arcade action feel.

* Made the game real-time in the sense there is no "countdown to next wave" on the game. The enemies are coming and you will be alerted to their arrival but you can always do everything at any time.


HERE IS WHAT I ALREADY KNOW

* Not all of the feedback / polish is in yet particularly on the audio side where it needs more sounds such as a BEEEEEP negatory kind of sound when clicking on something that cannot be done or speech such as "YOU DON"T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY!!!!!"

* I don't have the actual story bits written yet explaining the fog why it is on the Title Screen and in the game.

* And of course I don't have the information done in the text that scrolls up after completing each level.


HERE IS WHAT I'D LIKE FEEDBACK ON

* Controls... obviously it will take a bit to get used to it since this is completely new game to you... but after one or two plays do they feel natural and "get out of the way" so you can focus on your command decisions of building, repairing, upgrading and destroying?

* Strategy... even in these early levels there are multiple ways to layout your units and upgrade them to create a winning strategy. Did you find one that you like the best?

* Arcade action... did you get any arcade action vibe from the game?

* Anything that was confusing to you and what you think I can do to improve that

* Any area of the feedback you feel is particularly lacking... like I side I am aware of this so may already know BUT definitely is there something you feel is very important let me know.

* What you liked least about this game

* What you liked the most about the game

You can play it in your browser at itch.io

PLAY THE GAME HERE!


Thanks so much to anyone taking the time to try it out!
GarBenjamin
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2018 15:14
Alright folks there's been about 15 views of this thread and some plays of the game since making this post but no feedback yet. Lol

Can anyone give some feedback? You don't need to give feedback on every single thing I asked for... even if you just give feedback on one or two of those items that would be fantastic. I only listed them for convenience because often people want to know what are you looking for feedback on.

Thanks!
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Posted: 22nd Oct 2018 20:19 Edited at: 22nd Oct 2018 20:26
That's great you put a demo up on the web

FEEDBACK
Love the look of it

The Controls are great for that style of game (once I worked them out ie rotating before placing and what the units did but thats just me)

I made it through one day a couple of times not doing much but when I played it next time I thought I did everything right and didn't make it through
the reason why I say this is I expected it to pretty much similar each game but it wasn't and when I did make it through I don't think I had really done
much but maybe I upgraded a gun but only had one.

not really sure what the upgrades where about when the message popped up I was worried about getting some units down. I had aliens coming lol

The big spider like aliens that walk through were bigger than the road this effected my OCD by the way I have CDO not OCD as it should be lol

The help screen was very good if I may suggest a small pop up near the arrows or some indication to click don't know why maybe its cos its 5am but
I was clicking the screen to advance through them. But that is prob me as I use a screen clicking method

I liked the feel of the game, didn't really get an arcade feel I think using the mouse kinda stopped that impression but more of like a classic apple
/commodore 64 feel to it. Which I thought was good

Loved the game concept and will def try the demo again. Over all feedback its a great game
Dislikes I wanted more credits lol




PS: Putting a demo up as HTML5 is a great idea. Even if its just so as people can test on this forum
fubar

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