Monday, March 5, 2012

World 2 mechanics

Hey folks, Cody here. Sorry I haven't been posting a whole lot, but I'll be spending the next 4 days in San Francisco for Game Developers Conference! This of course means things may not progress too much this week, but I figured I'd drop in and talk about a few of the mechanics I'm working on for world 2.

The first, and most complex thing being added is the new power! As you may have seen in the previous post, world 2 will feature a robot power that allows the player to fire bullets. However, Robot Shadow will be unable to jump! This allows us to focus more on puzzles going into world 2. The robot power is actually being drawn with two separate bitmaps: one for the body and one for the arm. This lets me move shadow around on screen while independently rotating his arm to face whichever direction he's aiming. I'll be adding controls to let the player touch a position on screen to aim shadows arm, then press the fire button (which replaces Shadow's jump button) to shoot! Bullets will both kill certain enemies and hit buttons, which leads into the next mechanic I'm working on.

Buttons! World 2 will introduce buttons and shutters which are closed until the buttons are hit with a bullet. We will be using this to design puzzles in which the player needs to find a robot power and reach the button with it's limited mobility to proceed. The tricky aspect here is that in the past, all collidable objects have been a part of the level. The introduction of shutters means editing the tile map itself, which should be much more efficient than things like the light gates which utilize an independent object which must be updated. My current plan is to iterate through the tile map matrix when the button is pushed, looking for shutter tiles and replacing them with open tiles.

Finally, if all goes well, world 2 will have moving platforms. These are a must for moving robot shadow across gaps, and Marty has been pushing for them since world 1. Since these platforms will need to be animated, it's not really practical to make them a part of the tile map. That means they will be the first collidable object, which means checking their position when they are present. I'll also need to add some code to be sure the player moves with the platform if they are standing on it, so that should be fun!

That's all for now, look forward to all these fun things as soon as world 2 is finished!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Sprites

So, here are some of the sprites I've been working on for world 2.
New Transformation! New power!

These were a lot of fun to do. Trying to really push the cartooniness to make transforming feel really cool in game. I'll talk more about the robot power and its features in a later post.

New Enemy!

Here's the Roboshoot 5000. He shoots at you. He doesn't die like the stingers in the first world, he just shuts down so you can always go back for the power. 

New checkpoints!

In the past we used the light gates as vague checkpoints. That wasn't their original function, and the checkpoint spots were kinda thrown in as an afterthought. We've now made for real checkpoints and are placing them more thoughtfully, which is important because the levels in world 2 are a lot longer. In the future we're also going to revamp world 1, placing them less haphazardly, and reworking enemy positions to ease the learning curve. 

Turrets! They shoot at you!

Oh no!

That's it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beginning World 2

The blog's been a little dead lately. For a while we were focused on just getting world 1 ready for its release onto the Android Market last week. 

That's done now, and we're on to World 2!

Production begins this week, and we have big things planned for the next world. Expect more frequent updates as we get the ball rolling.

One of the biggest complaints I've gotten on the visual side is the blandness of the environments. We remedied that a little bit in more recent builds, but they're still a little lacking. From now on I'm going to try to step it up and put as much care into the environments as I do the animation. Having a fresh start with World 2 will help a lot.

Here's what I have so far for the platform design:

World 2's platforms follow a simple mechanical motif. Lots of beveled edges, gears, etc. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do for the actual backgrounds yet. 

Any suggestions?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Boss Fights

Hey everybody! Cody here, sorry for the lack of updates. Trying to balance a game, work, and a full engineering course load is difficult at best. But worth it!

I wanted to talk about the boss fight. The first world's boss is done, and it took a lot of thinking to figure out exactly how I wanted to do it. I think I found a decent solution though, and Ill explain why it was so much harder than an enemy or something.

Good programming is all about modularity. You find ways to represent general cases, arbitrary values, etc. Why make a screwdriver when you can make a Swiss army knife? For example, the enemy class is a class that can represent any enemy we have created and (in theory) any enemy we will create. I do this by assuming very little about the enemy being created and letting many aspects such as size, behavior, and sprite sheet be defined when I create the enemy.

public Enemy(Assets assets, int type, int height, int width, int cols, int numFrames, int xPos, int yPos, int xSpeed, int ySpeed) { 
//values initialized here

So why couldn't I take this approach with bosses and make a general Boss class? Well, I definitely juggled with the idea, but the one boss that has been designed is much more complex than an enemy. Combine that with the fact that we don't even know what the other bosses will do yet and it just wasn't going to work out. However, I still need to classify all of my bosses under some distinct label that I can pass into my level. Things get really messy if I can't file all these bosses under some category. And that, my friends, is what Interfaces are for!

//Boss interface gives me a standard format for creating and storing a variety of 
//bosses for the different levels. In retrospect, I should have implemented the 
//player as an interface.
public interface Boss {
 public void draw(Canvas c);
 public void updatePhysics(double elapsed);
 public void update();
 public void killBoss();


There's an Interface, short and simple. And yes, I left the comment in which I lament over past mistakes. Hindsight is 20/20.. Anyways, think of this as a skeleton for a class. I can now create separate classes for every boss I ever want to create that implement this interface. That means they are required to define the 4 methods seen above, and I can call those methods without necessarily knowing what sort of boss I'm dealing with, but I can also write completely separate code for each boss. Cool, huh?

So since the boss is only being used once in one level under one circumstance, I more or less wrapped every detail concerning it into it's class. Most enemies are given a position as you saw above, the boss actually has his position defined inside of his own code. He goes there, everyone else deals with it. Then I just had to whip up some code drawing a huge static body, two animated arms, and animated eyelids. The arms switch animation when he charges up, and then bullets fly in every direction! Whenever we start making a new boss, we aren't bound to any of the limitations on how I developed this first guy; I can essentially rewrite everything and pass it to anything looking for a Boss object. So without further ado, here he is!

As a neat side note, absolutely no collision is defined for this dude. We instead created 2 new tiles, both transparent. One acted like a wall, other like a spike. I then pasted the entire boss onto the map, traced over him with the tiles (wall tiles for the black region, spike tiles for the white), and then deleted him off of it. Worked like a charm!

Hopefully we'll have the public build updated soon with the boss fight and the nifty screen shake and fade to black preceding it. And a new cutscene for good measure. Also, I'm working on rooting my phone so I can record some gameplay for those without Androids who want to see what the game actually looks like. Hang tight!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winding Down on World 1

We're THIS close to finishing up world 1. Here's the pre-boss scene to tide you guys over

Commence boss fight!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Backgrounds


It's been a while since my last update, but rest assured we're working hard on getting this game out.

Here are the new backgrounds for World 1
The basic idea is that he's running towards the city

So, with each level it gets a little closer

Almost there!

Be sure to check them out in-game in the latest version.