Project Spark and more Zombie Mall…

Okay, so I haven’t gotten as many opportunities to work on my zombie game this week as I originally hoped, but I was still able to make some improvements since I posted the Post Mortem. Here are the additions I’ve made in this version:

  • Added a rudimentary “lighting system”.
    • It’s not really a lighting system, but it severely limits the area the player can see clearly. On top of that, it doesn’t make the rest of the game pitch-black, but it does make it very dark, and thus zombies can more easily take you be surprise. I’m going to keep working on it and am already working on a true lighting system, I just wanted this uploaded for now.
  • Fixed an issue where your ammo would not reset when you started a second or third game.
    • Previously, any ammo you used or gained in a previous concurrent session would still be used or gained when you started a new game. I’ve fixed it so that the ammo variables reset correctly each game now.

As usual, click the image below to go to the game:

Screen1_05

The other thing I wanted to mention in this post is that I was able to get a Project Spark beta key yesterday. I will be downloading the game soon and hope to start playing with it tonight or tomorrow. I’m going to see what I think of it overall, and depending on how I feel about it, I may try and use Project Spark to build my game for the Global Game Jam. I’m not sure if it will work out since I don’t really know how I’ll feel about the game yet, but I am tentatively excited about it. In any case, I’ll have some thoughts on the game posted soon, so be on the lookout for those.

Ludum Dare Progress Post 5

Well, things have definitely gotten interesting since my last post.

In the time since the previous post I’ve done a lot.

  • I laid out, the entire level.
  • I came up with a full scenario for the game
  • I created a comprehensive list of assets I’m going to need.
  • I got the level into the game with basic functionality.

I wish I had gotten more done in the past few hours but I got distracted by a few things, and lost an hour or more of work because my computer insisted on crashing twice, and then Construct 2 decided to follow suit. Eventually the problems let up and I’ve been working consistently for the past hour or so.

The scenario I ended up going with for my level is a pretty classic one when it comes to zombie apocalypses, you are trying to get out of a mall.In this case the main character is stuck in a mall which has been locked down. It’s your goal to get to the security room and deactivate the gates so that you can leave. Obviously if you get bitten you lose.

Below is an image of the map I put together.

Map

The gray areas, except where noted on the next image, are playable areas, but are gray because they have “fog of war” when youa re not inside of them. In my original plan I wanted to have a fake lighting system that would make it so that you could only see a certain distance, but that seemed too ambitious earlier today so I decided to go with something simpler. Currently you can still see what’s happening in a dark area, but it make it harder. I plan on eventually making it so that the dark ares light up when you are in them, and then slowly fade to dark again after you leave them to represent the information changing. I also plan on making it so that when a room is entirely dark, zombies are not visible to the player. Finally, I chose to make the main hallway visible at all times since it is the area the player will spend the largest amount of time in, and is visible from almost every room in the game.

Next is an image of the map as I designed it, and what every area is supposed to represent. You’ll also notice I’ve labeled where different pickups will go. Originally I was considering doing something like Left 4 Dead where the pickups are random, and you aren’t always in the same place, but right now I am going with a pre-designed arrangement.

CommentedMap

Finally I have an image of the map labeled based on the frequency of zombies in the area. Yellow  has the lowest frequency of zombies, Orange has a mid-range, and Red has the highest frequency. This map does come from in-game, but I haven’t yet modified spawning so that it adheres to these rules, that’s just my plan going forward. I’ve already set it up so that the zombies only spawn in playable areas, I just have to start playing with the spawning system to see what I can do with it. even if I can’t get spawning to work this way though, I want to make it so that the zombies prioritize these areas based on the color, so they are more likely to go to a random destination they choose if it is in a red zone, than a yellow one. This would work well for gameplay since it would mean that the player would mostly be in high occupancy areas and would have to be very careful most of the game.

MapWithPopulationZones

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this update. from here, I’m going to focus on making the scenario and things I mentioned above work. Then I’m going to add music, and sound effects. Finally, I’m going to work on the art. I wish I had the time to really put into the art, because I know I’ll enjoy it and be stressing about it later, but I think it’s important I get to the other elements first since at this stage they will have a bigger impact. Most likely I won’t be taking any more breaks beyond 10 minutes at this point. Luckily I still have almost half the time left.

Ludum Dare Progress Post 4

Things are coming along pretty nicely. In the last four hours I’ve done a couple of things:

  • I added a stamina bar which keeps prevents the player from running everywhere.
  • I redid the zombie movement with a better pathfinding system so that I can more easily change up the level configuration.
  • I re-evaluated the zombie pursuit AI and set it so that they pursue longer and see the player from a greater distance.
  • I set it up so that zombies will not longer spawn on the same screen as the player.
  • I created ammo pickups which can be randomly generated to be any type of ammo.
  • I changed the weapon switching system to use the mouse wheel,
  • And,I  fiddled around with player movement a bit.

At this point I am going to start fleshing out my level idea, and then I am going to implement it. I am also going to attempt to implement a mechanic which allows the player to move objects and create barriers for zombies. So conceivably they would be able to block doorways, or maybe even set traps for zombies. Since this would obviously affect level design I will do this before I start designing the level.

I also just posted a screen capture of a minute or two of gameplay on screenr.com The video doesn’t seem to want to embed in my blog for some reason, so just click the picture below and you can go straight to it.

VideoPreview

At this point I’m going to take a short break and see if I can shovel a bit of snow since it’s been snowing all day here. but hopefully I’ll be back soon to add more functionality and get a basic level in place.

Ludum Dare Progress Post 3

Okay, I think it’s been almost 4 hours since my last post so it’s time for another.

Since I woke up I’ve been focusing primarily on enemy AI. Right now I have some decent slow-moving zombies which will alternate between wandering around the game area, and standing still doing nothing until the player comes within their field of view. Once the Player is in their field of view, or the player bumps into them, they will become alert and start chasing the player. as long as the player stays in their field of view, they will continue chasing him, but once he leaves their field of view they will only attempt to chase him for 4 seconds, and then they will return to their wandering behaviors. I originally had this set to 5 seconds, but decreased it after some testing. I’ll probably end up playing with those numbers a lot tomorrow, but for now I like them.

Post3Screen1

I don’t currently have anything in place that causes zombies to notice each other, and I also have yet to make any obstacles for them to walk around. I’ll probably integrate obstacles next, but I’m still not sure what I want to do for zombies noticing each other. I’ll probably deal with that once I integrate the second zombie type since it’ll become much more important at that point. If I had more time I might try and do some flocking behavior, but for now I’m going to stick with what’s working and try and get more features in.

The other thing I want to work on with zombies is setting it up so that they don’t spawn on the same screen as the player. Hopefully this won’t be too hard, but I have already thought of one or two issues that could come up.

On top of the zombies I also created a game over screen, and I gave each weapon a unique reload time so that they would feel more distinct.

 Post3Screen2

After I finish the zombies I will move on to designing a basic level for the player to run around in, and will integrate some sounds to help make the game feel more interesting.

Obviously I’m still using a lot of temporary art. I currently plan to spend the majority of the second 24 hours working on art and animations, assuming that I don’t encounter any major hurdles completing the rest of the gameplay.

Finally, I also spent the last half hour preparing one of my upcoming meals in a slow cooker. It won’t be ready until about 9 pm, at the halfway point, but it should be a good way to relax at the middle of the jam. I also hope to upload the current version of the game here to my site around that point, but I’ll see where it’s at.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for now so I’ll see you back here in a few hours…

Ludum Dare Progress Post 2

In my previous post I said I would be waiting till 7 to make my next post, but I’m starting to feel the lack of sleep so i figured I would post now instead and would take my first nap earlier than originally expected.

At this point I have given each gun a unique firing system, and I’ve created basic zombies. The zombies don’t currently have any working AI, but they do die when I shoot them enough.

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like when I use the flamethrower.

Flamethrower

And this is what it looks like when I fire the shotgun.

Shotgun

Now that I actually have the zombies in game and dying, the next thing I do will be to add AI. I’d like to make it so that the zombies spawn randomly(right now there are just a bunch placed in random positions by hand), wander around randomly and in random intervals, and move towards the player when he is within a given range. I also want to make it possible for zombies to “hear” you when you are within a certain range, even if they cannot actually see you. If possible I’m also going to make a second type of zombie which will actively seek out the player or wander with more intent. I’ll see what time permits though.

In any case, I guess I’ll take a 2-3 hour nap, and then hit the ground running when I awake.

Ludum Dare Progress Post 1

Okay so Ludum dare has been going about 5 hours. while I wish I had gotten off to a faster start, I think I’m doing okay right now.

So far, I’ve set up some basic movement for the player, I’ve done some planning for what I want to have in my game, and I’ve started working on the weapon system. Currently I’m planning on having 4 weapons with 5 states the player can be in, Unarmed, Pistol, Shotgun, Uzi/Machine Gun, and Flamethrower. Most likely I will either add a melee weapon, change unarmed to be fists or a melee weapon, or switch the flamethrower for a melee weapon.

At this point I’m only planning on having two enemies, Slow Zombies and Fast Zombies, but I may add some others if I come up with more ideas.

Anyway, here are two progress shots. they look lostly the same except for the weapon that’s equipped, and even that isn’t represented on the player yet.

Shotgun UnarmedAs you should be able to tell, I am still using entirely temp graphics. I wanted to make sure that the gameplay was working before I started actually working on graphics.

Right now I have a pretty simple weapon system which allows the player to fire their weapons and reload( not at the same time though). I haven’t setup the firing system yet for the Uzi or the Flamethrower since they don’t work the same way as the pistol and shotgun, but that’s what I plan on doing next. From there I will most likely make some basic zombies to walk around and fight/avoid, and add ammo to be picked-up. Finally, after I have the basic interactive elements down, I plan on designing the level.

I’ll probably do my next update sometime around 7:00. See you then :)

Finally have an idea…

So it took me a while, but I finally settled on an idea for Ludum Dare.

I am going to make an top-down shooter which is a zombie game where you can only do one ting at a time. It’s not the most original game idea in the world, but I think it’ll be fun to work on, and it will allow me to make a horror type game and an overhead shooter at the same time.

Some of the things I want the player to be able to do include scavenge for items, shoot with various types of guns, lock doors, and build barriers. Also, the player will obviously die after 1 hit. There are a lot of ideas here that I’ve never done before, but even if I fail, it’ll be worth it to try and make something new.

Anyway, here are my tools.

Engine: Construct 2

Art: Photoshop

Sound: sfxr

Well, I guess that’s everything. I’ll try to have an update soon on my progress.

 

Meditating on Ludum Dare Theme…

You Only Get One

That’s the theme of this weekend’s Ludum Dare.

I’ve been meditating on this theme for about and a half, probably more once this post actually goes live, and I’m still not sure what I want to do. I decided to start typing my thoughts out and see what I come up with, so I’m doing that here on my blog. So here’es what I have so far:

A western-themed dueling game where you only get one chance to shoot your enemy. It seems kind of obvious, but you might be able to do cool stuff with it depending on how you built the shooting mechanic.

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A rising block puzzle game(I know, big surprise right?) where there are Blocks of various colors and you can only destroy one color at a time. So I guess the Blocks would be rising and they would be varying different colors. At the bottom of the screen, you would have different buttons. each button would be one of the Block colors, and when you hit it you would destroy all the Blocks of that color? Maybe you don’t destroy all the blocks of a given color, but you could destroy groups of blocks as they rise. Choosing a single group kind of fits, but I feel like it’s stretching farther from the theme then I want to go.

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What if you only have one life? So I could do a platformer or a shooter and only give the player one chance to complete the game. It could be kind of like a rouge-like where the player has to try and complete the whole thing in a single-run. It seems like an obvious choice but it could still be fun.

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Another idea I had earlier was to make an action game where all the enemies were based on a given number, and the player is the number. The idea centered on each number being a weapon of some kind. So 1 is a sword, 2 is a sickle, 3 is a bow and arrow, 4 is an axe, etc. This would probably lend itself to a stylized story about assassins or something. I’m not sure if I have the time to make that much content.

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I have been wanting to make a bullet hell game for a while so I could try something like that. You could do something where the player can only shoot one shot at a time. Maybe the bullet has a forking ability and they are not allowed to shoot again until all instances of the bullet have disappeared. the player is trying to make the longest chain of destruction they can. This could be interesting but it would be hard for the player to plan attacks unless the bullet moved quickly or they had some kind of slowing mechanic. You could also do pre-designed levels where the player has to determine the best place to make their shot and cause the largest damage. That could be fun as a problem solving game.

If you went with just the standard bullet hell gameplay though, you might be able to make it interesting by varying up the enemy design. Some enemies could stop the bullet and it might just not fork off of them. You could also have enemies which change the forking angle so that it spreads out in a different way. Not sure what else to do there yet.

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You could also do a game where you only need to score once to win. That would probably work best as some kind of multiplayer game. Maybe a virtual board game where the players are trying to eliminate a specific piece?

That’s all I’ve got for now. Hopefully I’ll be back soon with an idea I want to use.