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So as you may have noticed, we haven’t been updating this blog too much. Sometimes when there’s a lot of work to get done, things go on the back-burner. Sometimes, those things on the back-burner are actually really important things that should be routinely getting done rather than shoving them on the back-burner.
But I digress.
One of the biggest news is that we will be coming into beta in several more days! We’ve definitely come a long way since our last posts. Here is a brief overview of some development accomplishments/features/whatever that has happened:
- We will have SIX areas: Dungeon, Forest, Snow, Cave, Swamp (graveyard), and Desert
- The Story Generator now includes SAGAS! Basically, a Saga in a story that you continuously play over several adventures. So rather than having little tid-bits of stories, Sagas have a good story build-up and ending. This is especially good when major things happen in the story world, such as a Boss’ defeat.
- We will be implementing Shops/Special Rooms in the levels, as well as random shrines that will have some sort of cool (possibly meta) functionality.
- The three heroes all have different fighting styles: The Knight is a melee-based fighter with combo attacks and blocking, the Wizard picks up spell runes that give him special abilities, and the Rogue is equipped with a Crossbow and has extra sight for stealthy distanced attacks.
- A whole ton of fun, wacky items that help you build strategy as you play.
- An amazingly solid Marmalade game engine that houses our awesome game.
- Awesome art, music and writing that give MicroVentures it’s own whimsical style.
There’s many more, but you’ll just have to wait and see. The next steps, as we reach our feature freeze, is to hammer out all the bugs, get in every art/sound asset we can, and give the final product a pristine polish.
We will be creating a demo video soon after the beta, so stay tuned!
Here’s some screenshots of our game. We’re still in the process of replacing all the programmer art, but that should be relatively soon.
I wanted to post the pictures up for now. I’ll come back to blog a little later. =)
Phew. We just finished up our 2nd sprint today and ended it with another late night coding session. I have to say, I am incredibly impressed with what our team accomplished this sprint. There are a ton of new things since the end of our last sprint including: phone deployment, item usage, HUD screen, item spawning, boss spawning, pathfinding, menu screens and much more. Needless to say this was quite a successful sprint.
This sprint, the gameplay team worked on a number of key features that needed to be done in order to complete our MVP. At first, Clement and I started on item mapping. This was very technical and forced us to learn new coding techniques like function pointers and we also had to learn how Marmalade implements text file parsing. After many tries we got this kind of working. We still had no way to test because HUD hadn’t been implemented. In the mean time, Gerrit and Dan worked on pathfinding. They implemented an A* pathfinding technique, that basically checks the cost of each potential path to the target and chooses the one with the smallest cost. After a little polishing, they got this working great.
After items, I moved on to bosses. Bosses proved to be a lot harder than anyone could have imagined. Basically, all the regular enemy code was implemented on the idea that every enemy is only 1 square. Unfortunately for us, bosses are 4 squares. This led to problems of adjacency checking, attacking and moving. Dan really saved the day on this and had an idea in his head of what he wanted to do. 20 work hours later, after testing and checking all possible cases we got bosses partially functioning, but they don’t currently move. Just shows how hard it was getting this to work.
Like I mentioned earlier, we had another late night coding party equipped with a Costco run and Rockstar energy drink a’plenty. (Just as a side note, Lemonade Rockstar Recovery is really not good. First it only contains 3% lemon juice, which should be a red flag already for a “Lemonade” flavored drink. Also, it contains something called Milk Thistle, which does not sound like something that you want to be in your energy drinks.)
Anyway, I managed to start my sugar crash literally minutes after consuming my first Rockstar and struggled to stay focused for most of the night. I ended up staying until about 3:30AM, drove home, got a couple hours of sleep and then came back for our final scrum of this sprint. Clement and I were the scrum masters this sprint and this was our last scrum with that title 😦 Seems like only yesterday I was just a naive little kid learning how to master a scrum. Boy, how the days fly by…
Overall, this sprint was an amazing success. I am incredibly proud of the team and really am looking forward to implemented all of these cool features we thought of for future sprints. Until next time, I am signing off.
-Sam “I hope Rockstar isn’t one of our sponsors” Jenkins
Hey guys it’s Mark again.
We’re nearing the end of sprint 2 now, so that entails yet another blog post.
Good news, the BSP algorithm is finally operational. There were definitely quite a few rough spots but we powered through them well enough with assistance. Part of the algorithm needed tweaking as the rooms generated at first tended to the side of extreme proportions. Rooms would look like corridors or almost appear non-existant.
Michael Mateas here at UCSC is teaching a Game AI course that everyone on the team is taking, including myself. Part of the class involves us taking up a final project involving artificial intelligence in games. For our level generation team we’ve decided to do an extension of our current workload with a bit of help from some of the other guys. Chris, our engine guy, and Clement, an upstanding resident of the game lab are with us on this.
Long story short our group is planning on incorporating a third algorithm and doing work towards having multiple algorithms used within the same level. Rather than having a level purely generated using digging or BSP, we can instead have two or potentially three different algorithms operating in the same area. So an outdoor clearing could be a made with the digging algorithm connected to an indoor section made with the conventional BSP algorithm. We have plans on refactoring BSP code to operate in this context, seeing as it does a good job of dividing an area into reasonable chunks.
The third algorithm we haven’t really ironed out yet. My suggestion was using a pre-established maze generation algorithm then simply filling in dead ends to make it appear less sparse. Maze generation algorithms are easy to come by, the logic for filling in gaps is a little less defined. Alternatively Chris suggested we do something with particle systems that connected particles together to form a level. It bears similarity to a cellular automata building algorithm, but it sounds interesting nevertheless. I’m excited to see where it all goes.
-Mark “I really can’t find time for pictures” Zablan
This post was supposed to be made quite a while ago, but smartphones are a cunning beast to extract media from.
A couple of weeks ago, the team decided to take a break and go to the boardwalk until it was time for dinner at Woodstocks. The journey was perilous, and sadly, we lost Mark and Clement along the way. We did not grieve for them though, for they would have wanted us to have fun regardless of their mortal well being.
Much fun was had. We left some advertising on the beach, had a 4v4 minigolf game (my team inadvertently had the worst scores), and then we played a bunch of old arcade games, about half of which were broken. Then, to cap off the completion of the first sprint, we went to Woodstocks for dinner with James’ friend Peter, who also happens to be a member of SyzEG, a UCSC project form last year. Much fun was had.
Ignore the fact that most of these are pictures of us standing on the beach together. Don’t question us.
-Kyle “last person you should give a camera” Huey