Archive for September, 2011

First version of new random level generator for Super Flying Thing

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Two weeks ago I was working to improve random level generation of Super Flying Thing, the objective was to make the levels a bit more interesting.

Previous generator was really simple, the idea was to define where the starting and destination planet will be and then generate a lot of "garbage" in the way, sometimes with no possible path between both planets.

New level generator does more work to generate a bit more interesting level. Basically the idea is to use some pre generated tiles:

Tiles are defined by SVG groups in a SVG file with custom meta data defining with which tile can be paired.

Based on that information, the generator creates a pattern and based on that pattern and the tiles, it creates the level.

For example, if we have four tiles {A, B, C, D} where A is the where the start planet should be and D where the destination planet should be, and we have the possible links {A -> B, A -> C, B -> B, B -> C, B -> D, C -> B, C -> C, C -> D}, then a possible level could be ABBCBCD (using a regular expression could be defined with something like A(B|C)+D).

So, a very basic pseudo algorithm could be something like this:

	tiles.add(startTile)
	currentTile = startTile
	while (currentTile != endtile) {
		tile = getPossibleNextTile(currentTile);
		tiles.add(tile);
		currentTile = tile;
	}

Where getPossibleNextTile() method uses the meta data of the tile to define randomly a possible next tile.

Here is how a random generated level looks like:

As the title says, this is the first version of the generator, there are a lot of possible improvements to be made and/or create a new generator and throw this one to the trash can.

After writing the post I realized that there is not so much information and the algorithm is pretty basic but I hope it could be of help anyway.

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What's going on with the Super Flying Thing?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

On the last weeks I was a bit distracted working on Vampire Runner and with Mad Jetpack so I ended up kinda leaving Super Flying Thing abandoned, I also have some doubts about which features to work on so I preferred to dedicate time on other projects while deciding what to do with the game.

Super Flying Thing is really fun to me, I love the concept but right now the game could be a bit boring and I want to improve that, not so sure how, but I want to try some ideas I have in mind.

About levels

The main idea of the game is you have to master your flying skills and for that you have to try and fail a lot of times. For that reason, I want to modify the levels to be smaller and harder but not frustrating since you can quickly try again and again.

Random levels are now generated using pre generated tiles (I want to talk about this in a dedicated post), so they are a bit more interesting, however they don't transmit the idea of try and fail a lot of times yet, so I have to work a bit on level generation.

About game modes

The practice mode will be removed since you can practice in both challenge and random modes. However, for starters I want to add a Tutorial where you can test the controls and learn how to play to mitigate the change I plan to do over the levels.

Also, we want to try an Endless mode where you have to go as far as you can, playing through different challenges each time harder and harder.

About content

On some levels there are lasers, moving obstacles and even portals. Despite I love all this stuff, I will probably remove them until I see how they really fit in the game.

Stars will be probably removed as well since they don't contribute nothing to the game for now. Again, this will be probably temporary until it fits in the game.

About game objective

On normal game mode, the main objective will remain the same, travel from one planet to the other. However, I want to add a second objective to add challenge factor to the game, something to make the player want to try again the same level several times. One possibility is to add some kind of local competition, for example, improve the time to reach the destination planet, play against your best time, or something like this. Going further with that possibility, maybe publish that replay/best score online and compete with others.

We have to dig further in this subject since it can contribute with re playability factor.

About controls

Now that we fixed the game behaving different on different devices I will rip off the AxisController and the TiltController and probably one more, and leave only the original one plus maybe some other.

The original control was modified a bit in order to let the player control the ship better based on how new levels are going to be.

Conclusion

That's all for now, the idea of this post is to let you know that I want to to continue this game.

Hope you liked it, even if it has nothing interesting.

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A game prototype : Mad Jetpack

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The previous weekend I started a game prototype named Mad Jetpack, it is a Jetpac remake with Box2D physics and probably more features.

Jetpac is an arcade game where the main idea was to recover parts of your ship and assemble them to fix your ship while different monsters (from each planet you visit I suppose) attack you.

Game prototype is uploaded and it has already some features implemented. As I don't know if I will continue with it or not I want to share the current state with you.

Objective: pick the small circles(ship parts or fuel) and bring them to the greater circle (your ship), avoid the moving circles (enemies).

Instructions: move the character with WASD, aim with the mouse and shoot with the left button, press 1 to restart the game.

PLAY with your imagination

Hope you enjoy it.

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Vampire Runner - Update 02

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

We added some new features to Vampire Runner and also fixed some bugs.

Here are new screenshots:

Here is the change log:

  • Added the best 25 scores during the game (with blood marks).
  • Added an instructions screen showed before start playing.
  • Added pause screen to pause the game and/or return to main menu.
  • Changed game over screen to let you play again faster.
  • Changed main menu screen to show buttons to other screens.
  • Changed wall tiles to something nicer than a black rectangle
  • Changed the profile name to be limited to 15 characters.
  • Fixed a bug when showing highscores on small resolution devices

If you want to play it on PC, you can click HERE.

If you want to play on Android, you can click HERE and here is the QR-code for easy access:

Hope you like the update.

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Vampire Runner - Update 01

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

We have published Vampire Runner on the Android Market and added a dedicated page on the Games list.

As introduced earlier, Vampire Runner is a Canabalt like game where you have to run as far as you can, in this case as you are a Vampire you have to run from the sun light.

Here are some game screenshots:

For now the game has some issues with of text location on small screen devices, I didn't want to scale everything because fonts look bad when scaling them but could be the only way of making things screen independent.

If you want to play it on PC, you can click HERE.

If you want to play on Android, you can click HERE and here is the QR-code for easy access:

Some stuff to do to consider the game as completed in some way:

  • Fix the text location and color issues
  • Make nicer and more defined obstacles
  • Add a second background to give another idea of movement
  • Add some music and sounds could be great too

As always, hope you like the game.

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Vampire Runner score on Ludum Dare 21

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Ludum Dare 21 is finished and rating time too and we have the rating results.

Vampire Runner was #290, not so good as other of our previous Ludum Dare games, but on the other hand there was a lot of games in this one, almost three times the games of the previous Ludum Dares.

Here are the scores Vampire Runner got in this Ludum Dare:

Position	Category	Score

#87		Community	3.22
#144		Coolness	4%
#159		Fun		2.94
#168		Humor		2.18
#290		Overall		2.75
#305		Graphics	2.50
#339		Audio		1.29
#345		Innovation	2.38
#450		Theme		2.00

Now, I want to share a small post mortem of the game and explain why I feel the score is what I expected.

What went wrong

  • As the game started like some kind of Canabalt clone, because my lack of imagination, I was a bit unmotivated so Saturday progress was really slow and unproductive.
  • I feel I lost too much time making the vampire animations and forgot about the environment assets.
  • The game lack of audio and that goes against the Ludum Dare score.
  • I forgot to reflect inside the game the connection with Ludum Dare's theme.
  • Missing on-line high scores: it shouldn't be so hard to add it as I have Face Hunt (and other games) experience but I was a bit lazy and didn't. One reason to have this one is to make the game more competitive and also to know who is playing the game.

What went right

  • On Sunday, I almost restarted the way I was making the game and focused on making it really small and fun. It kinda worked.
  • Making the game available on a lot of platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows and Android.

Conclusion

I totally agree with the score of the game because I started with no motivation and for that reason I didn't tried so hard, obviously that goes against making a good game. Here is a list of why I agree or not with each score.

  • Community: I shared a lot of stuff: source code, timelapse, made it work on multiple platforms. I believe that counts as community rating, so 3.22 is right for me.
  • Fun: Game IS fun (at least I feel that and some other people does), so 2.94 is right for me (maybe a bit more).
  • Humor: Game has a bit of humor when the vampire explodes, and maybe the vampire graphics are funny too, but only that, so 2.18 is right for me (even more than I expected).
  • Graphics: Only the vampire animation is something worth to value here, the background and obstacles are not so cool, so 2.50 is around what I expected.
  • Audio: Game has no audio, I am not agree with the score of 1.29.
  • Innovation: Game is almost a clone of Canabalt with some modifications, it has a bit of innovation but not too much, so I agree with a score of 2.38.
  • Theme: If you read the game description, it says what was the intention of the theme connection but as I failed to reflect that inside the game I believe 2.00 is right for me.

Thats all, hope you like it.

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Testing Android controls on libGDX PC application using libGDX remote

Friday, September 9th, 2011

When testing our games, sometimes we only need to test the game controls on the Android devices, not all the game, and deploying it on the device is always slower than running it on the PC.

The LibGDX library provides a way to send your Android device input data to through the network, one of the possible uses is to control your libGDX PC application with it.

Here is a demo video using the remote input, made by libGDX team:


(note: magic starts after minute 2)

In the case of Super Flying Thing, we need it when testing and debugging some controls that cannot be tested directly on PC like the TiltController for example (we need device orientation data). Recently, we starting using it also to test and customize other controls like the the ClassicController (despite it has a bit of lag in some cases).

Sadly, my camera is also my android phone so I can't make a video of how we are using it.

One interesting point of this is that we could use multiple android devices (and probably other devices like iPod/iPhone/iPad/others) to create multiple wireless controllers for PC, and that, for example, could be funny if we want to make a local multiplayer game.

Another interesting point is that you could implement your own remote input server to read the device input data sent by the GDX Remote Android Application, so you wouldn't be forced to use libGDX in your server application.

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Super Flying Thing - Update 08

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

There is a new version of Super Flying Thing available, here is the change log:

  • Added replays to show how you died a lot of times :P, could be disabled if you don't want to watch it.
  • Changed the Splash screen to load all stuff once to improve performance during the game and to show loading progress.
  • Changed screen buttons, moved them up to avoid touching the ads when trying to touch a button.
  • Changed to avoid showing a title bar when the game started.
  • Changed Settings screen, moved controllers stuff to another screen.
  • More performance improvement.
  • Fixed (probably) the bug of OutOfMemoryException when the game was left open for a long time.

Remember, you can play it right now, just follow the next links:

PLAY ON PC or PLAY ON ANDROID:

Play on Android

Hope you enjoy it.

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