RoX: early alpha

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by dima, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. dima

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    Feedback Request: RoX-early alpha

    Hello all,

    Not sure if I started out well in these rofums, but I like people here. This is something I've been working on for the past 2 months: RoX : early alpha

    ARROW KEYS to move around
    TAB select a different level
    SPACE + ARROW KEYS to grab stuff remotely
    (WASD+SHIFT for player 2, some levels only)
    ENTER restarts the level
    ESCAPE quits the game right away

    F1 toggles music (I suggest listening to the whole track)
    F2 toggles fullscreen/window

    F6 saves a replay
    F5 loads and plays a replay

    This hopefully will turn into a game soon. The core is pretty much there, but the graphics and sounds are still to be added. There are only a few levels available and they are not really levels.

    This was done with HGE, which is a great library. HGE is very stable and fast to the core. Took no time to set up, and delivers well.

    Please keep in mind that this is not a game yet, but any feedback or criticism is very welcome, if you can spare some. I think it has potential, but not sure if If anyone else thinks that. Practically I learned most stuff from these forums.

    Thanks in advance,
    Dima
     
    #1 dima, Mar 4, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2005
  2. dima

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    I'll leave some comments...

    I'll start by mentioning the gameplay. I was always very fond of this style of play. In the old days I played supaplex and boulderdash, those games were one of my favorites, as there is good action, and tons of logic involved. So I decided to give RoX a shot.

    My main decision was to make the levels non-scrollable. Some people might think this was a bad idea, but I believe that it was the better idea. Small levels will probably appeal to the casual gamer better in terms of visual design and known obstacles. With levels that are not scrolled, players will see the whole level at once, making it easier to grasp the difficulty of the level as well as always see the visual representation. The levels can be tweaked to look very artistic, and the player will always see them as is. Also, small levels are easier to design, but at the same time can contain a good amount of puzzle and action. Anything bigger than that for this type of game I think will confuse the casual gamer, as big levels tend to get tedious at times, and people get lost easily. Small levels give less feel of adventure, but better understanding of the goals, and definitely better visual representation.

    Another great addition from small, one-screen levels, is warping. I call it warping, others may have a real term for this, but the effect is of pacman like. Anything that moves of the screen, appears of the oposite side. Honestly, I think its a great addition, as levels can be made much more dynamic, and gameplay features can be greatly increased. Things can fall forever, or hidden passages can be made in a weird way. Anyways, I personally think this was one of the best choices along with one screen levels.

    I definitely refined the gameplay from the other games that inspired me. Objects can have different speeds, accelerations, rolling effects are much better, everything is animated, and the feel is a bit different. But the core mecanics are very similar. There is the gravity, and objects roll off each other. Tons of puzzle elements will be added, as I use a morh/trigger type of system. Most of the game content isnt there yet.

    My biggest issue was using 3D hardware to make a 2D game. I have tried setting up SDL and drawing some stuff to the screen, the performance was soo bad that I stopped right there. At 800x600, with a fullscreen background and 475 sprites app ran at about 30 fps fullscreen (16bit) and much worse in windowed mode (32bit). All the surfaces were in software, and I used default SDL blitters to do the job. Anyways, that was very slow, without any game logic I was getting horrific performance. I know that there are ways to optimize that, like using dirty rects and other tricks, but it seemed that it would take a long time to develop the right technology to get the game playable at good speeds. So I decided to stay with the 3D accelerated graphics.

    I think that was the right choice. The specs are raised a bit, to DX8 + 3D hardware, but the outcome is way much better. The game is smooth, pushing up to 3k polys per frame, and I dont have to worry about things like ditry rects, I was able to start working on the game right away and not the technology. HGE made it very easy.

    Other advantages that I now have is that obvious ones first, like;

    rotations - when things roll off each other they rotate from code, making it seem very smooth and real. That cannot be done with pure 2D (unless you have good code that does it), and prerendering different angles as frames is not an option for this game, because of the rock/unid animations which require alot of frames for the effect they give now. With the 3D rotations, this is much simpler for me, and the effect is better IMO.

    Colors - Objects can be set to any color I choose, adding tons of variety to the game in terms of visuals. Ofcourse in pure 2D I could pre-render all these colors, but that's alot of art on the HD. This way I can tint things any color and not worry about anything. (maybe ugly colors)

    Effects - Ofcourse with hardware accel. I get all the neat effects, scales, rotations, colors, shadows, and alphas all add to the experience.

    Tweak Grid - This is my favorite feature. Only with 3D hardware this is possible to do so easy. Regular block tiles can be tweaked by the corners, making level design and feel look very different. With the same tiles I can make levels look completely different, adding artistic feel. Tomb Salamone level shows this pretty well. With this feature the game doesnt look as repetitive, and other goodies can come from this. Again, this is very hard to do with pure 2D.

    Ok, so basically by using 3D hardware I can save tons of resource space and memory. The level design is much more flexible, as I can tweak the levels to look any way I want them to. And ofcourse the game runs and animates much smoother. The bad part is that the minimum reqs. are raised a bit, and not everyone will be able to enjoy the game.

    Another good feeling I have is about MOD music. We use XM files, which are to be onverted to MO3. This saves a ton of disk space for all the music, and allowes to have longer tracks. We can have a 5 minute track in under 200kb, ofcourse there are limitations with what you can do, but I think for this game its fine.

    Mmm, this is it for now, pelase if you have any feedback, it would be greatly appreciated. It is inspirational, no matter how negative it is. I am also interested in performancem but what Im really interested in is of anyone find potential in this game. Do you guys think it has a chance when completed? And what do you guys think needs to be there for that chance.

    Thanks again,
    Dima
     
    #2 dima, Mar 4, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2005
  3. GBGames

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  4. dima

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    Haha, negative... I've never heard of that software before, and the name RoX was in my mind for at least 5 years or so. I have made a previous RoX game which was released free: RoX Freeware

    I might have to rename this game though, not sure how people will think of it. Maybe something more adventurous or exciting. But I like RoX for now...
     
  5. Nauris

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    Just judging from screenshots now, but really nice visual style. Me likey. The electro-yellow-green blobs leave me cold, though. The overall feel is kinda ancient, that color doesnt work well there IMHO.

    oh, your http://malakite.central-havoc.ch/Images/rox_scrn1.jpg screenshots seems to be missing.
     
  6. dima

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    Thanks for the thought. The graphics arent final, and not all environments will look ancient. There will be futuristic as well as ancient worlds. The game is more futuristic than old style gold gathering, the yellow blobs are called Unids, and they arent only yellow, colors can be mixed and change with different levels. The best part about the Unids is their animation IMO, you can see that in one of the test levels, kinda trippy effect. I will definitely rework what needs to be in order to deliver the best I can. If the animated Unids dont work for people, I will change them.

    Again, thanks for the thought.

    P.S. the screenshots I dont have control over, a friend of mine made that little page and he's in control of everything there, I'll ask him later about the screenshot.
     
    #6 dima, Mar 4, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2005
  7. GBGames

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    I don't think you have to worry about the name. It was just the first thing I thought of. B-)
     
  8. mrhollow

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    I'm excited to read that you are still around and working on a new project. I really liked the original RoX, and thought it had great potential as a shareware title. The graphics look great, and your idea of single screen maps is intriguing. I look forward to getting to play the new version.

    Cheers and good luck.

    -- Aaron
     
  9. dima

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    Im not worried too much about the name right now, but I am worried about the rest of the game, not too sure if it will sell or not.
     
  10. AndyN

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    Really nice style, the warping of the level tiles make the levels look a lot more interesting.

    Regarding the comment by Nauris about the yellow blobs, they look a hell of a lot better in motion than they do in the screenshot.

    The only real negative I can mention is that I'm not mad keen on the main character, he looks a bit like a pissed off punk pacman, not sure if that was the intention.

    I wonder if you maybe need another hook to the gameplay, are you thinking of introducing new tile and enemy types etc? One of the levels had two main characters in it - does that mean theres a two player element planned? That would make a great gameplay feature, racing for the pickups and trying to drop rocks on your opponent would add a lot to the game.

    Damn impressive tho, a frame rate of 350+ on my machine and no drop in framerate even with a ton of yellow molecules dropping down the screen. I'm going to have to check out that HGE stuff.
     
  11. dima

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    thank you very much. Not sure if I know you, but Im glad you liked the original RoX. I am very pleased with the single screen maps idea, as it really introduces better visuals as well as game play mechanics.

    Definitely looking forward to hear from you again :) .

    thanks,
    Dima
     
    #11 dima, Mar 4, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2005
  12. dima

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    Thanks you too for the comments.

    The Tweak effect is definitely a huge thing, as same tiles can be reused to make original looking geometry.

    About the blobs, yes... motion is what they are all about. Sometimes I stare at it for a while and get sorta dizzy. Screenshots dont do them justice.

    The main character is ripped from my original freeware game. All the graphics will be redone in the near future, but I kinda like the look of the main character, he has attitude. He wont stay the same though.

    About the gameplay.. there are a TON of new elements to be added. The current system is very flexible using morphs and triggers. It already currently supports many many puzzle type tiles, like keys can be pushed into doors, tubes, sliders, bombs, armored tiles that can break or be broken, at least 5 different monster types, 2 payer mode, pure puzzle mode, score multipliers, color combinations, and at least another 20 or so puzzle tile elements. All these are asy to do now with the morph system. Each tile can be simply morphed into another tile, and a few of these can result in complex objects, such as remote switches, keys/doors (sokoban like), multi-animations, and many different possibilities. Look into the defines folder and check out hte ini files, they have tons of properties that define object actions. Not too organized though, but works well.

    And I am very happy with the performance of HGE, its really down to the core. Still a few options will be included to disable stuff like shadows and background rendering for slow videocards. I just got a copy of T2D, and looking over it now, seems to be good, but definitely not as fast as HGE, thought HGE requires more from the coder, but it sure is much faster. Still trying to figure out how to setup T2D with C++ and get stuff going without the scripts, doesnt seem as stable or as fast as HGE, but has more features for rapid development, and o yeah, cross platform. If I am able to port this game to T2D without much hasstle and keep good performance, I might do so. If not, I'll just keep working on this one with HGE and use T2D later on for other projects.

    thanks again,
    Dima
     
    #12 dima, Mar 4, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2005
  13. dima

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    No one has any more input on this one? I know its still early and many things left to do, but does anyone think some things should be different from what they are now?

    Any way to implement good mouse controls for this type of game? It seems that having mouse controls are a must for some people who just dont like they keyboard, but it seems hard to make the controls smooth with a mouse for this type game, as there are some twitch reflex parts. I was thinking about not displaying the mouse cursor, and having a direction arrow above the main character, and when you move the mouse up, down, left, or right, that direction will change, and holding the mouse button down would make you move in that direction. Any ideas?

    I'm also contemplating on what the level requirements are. By requirements I mean things you must do in order to complete the levels. Currently you have to collect al the Unids on the screen and the exit will open. I was thinking about adding some more mendatory things, but then thought that it might be too much for some people, who don't really want to get into the puzzle that much. There will be a few different puzzle types ingame, like matching different color gems, or pushing keys into doors, and likttle fuzzy creatures that you should guide to the exit. I was thinking about making some things mendatory, and some optional, just for better score.

    any thoughts at all are very welcome

    thanks,
    Dima
     
  14. Dominique Biesmans

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    Take a look at Iggle Pop, that game has implemented an interesting control scheme for grid based movement. (sort of like what you described, but leaves the mouse button free)
     
  15. dima

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    Yes, I've checked out that game before, its a very nice game actually. I do like how their mouse controls are, but for my game that might not be precise enough, so I thought of using the mouse button for movement and the mouse for changing directions. Not sure how all this will turn out, but I am sure that I need mouse controls support for this game, as some really like the mouse.

    thanks again
    Dima
     
  16. dima

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    No one has anything else to say? Or is everyone just busy stealing my ideas :rolleyes:
     

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