Garden Cthulhu: The latest trend in landscaping.
Posted on August 07, 2008 at 19:39
This hand-painted Cthulhu statue, dressed in blue wizard's garb, will guard your garden against invaders from R'lyeh (or common garden pests) for as long as he's awake. Buy yours today! (Disclaimer: Any claims of madness caused by staring at and/or holding conversations with Garden Cthulhu are false, and are to be disregarded immediately. Not a real product.)
On a more serious note, here we have the underground portions of Ant. Pretty much your entire base of operations is constructed underground, in a series of caverns and tunnels beneath the surface. Creating your hill is as simple as can be; just click one of the buttons (such as Cavern or Queen's Chamber), then click a suitable spot below the surface. Your unemployed workers will rush down and clear the requested paths for you immediately. Plus, if you want to expand your tunnel infrastructure, all you have to do is create a Connecting Tunnel between two other caverns. It's as easy as one-two-three.
1. Little red ant head icons. These indicate understaffed caverns. Things like the Queen's Chamber and Hatchery need workers, which you must provide...
2. Roots. Each visible root is connected to a plant on the surface.
3. Center interface functionality. Although I will (per user request) redo the overall interface design, it's worth examining as is. You can see the per-unit average health bars (semicircles around icons); overall selection average health bar (green bar); and atk/def/spd/rng stats (numbers below icons)
4. Up arrow. The green arrow allows you to move units to the ground level when you order them into it. Similarly with the Down Arrow aboveground.
5. Unit creation icons. As the queen has been selected, the icons in the interface are unit creation icons, with the currently-being-built number of units in white. If there were units being created, there would also be progress bars...
Unit pathfinding can now find a successful shortest-route path between any two points underground, aboveground, and even in different anthills. This includes navigating tunnel systems...
Resources in game:
* The primary ingame resource is food - used by the queen to create units. For most species, it is gathered from dead animals (other ants) and fallen leaves; for the Leafcutters, an additional building (the fungal garden) is employed.
* Next on the list is living space. The number of available ants is limited according to how many empty chambers you've built.
* Finally, there are your available workers. Workers have three jobs: room-specific tasks (like feeding the queen), miscellaneous tasks (like clearing tunnels), and gathering food (assigned by you). The number of workers in each task is displayed for easy reference.
Posted on August 04, 2008 at 18:04
Well, I think it's about time for an official announcement: Gamer3d and I are working on an RTS project for the Competition Contest at YYG.
Its (working) title is Ant.
Three ant species (leafcutters, army ants, and fire ants) battle to the death in a variety of different maps.
Ant uses ultimate3d for graphical output.
Features (current and planned):
* Five units per side, including Queens, Workers, and Soldiers.
* Pick-up-and-play gameplay - games should take no longer than 15 minutes to finish, and should be quite accessible.
* Three very unique sides. For instance, the Army Ant has powerful Soldiers, but cannot create its own worker units - it must raid other nests to acquire them.
* Three underground levels for 3-dimensional nest-building.
* Full camera and unit control using the mouse. (left-click select/bandbox; right-click move/rotate camera; scroll wheel zoom/switch Z-layer)
* Deformable terrain
* The latest and greatest graphical effects, including bloom, time-of-day lighting, and accurate shadows.
* Random-map and map editor certainties, with multiplayer a planned probability.
Oh look at that...
Posted on July 31, 2008 at 15:15
It's been a while, eh?
Well, what I have for you today is a list of fantastic stuff I've encountered:
0 AD is an upcoming FREE RTS that looks better than AoE3. That's really saying something for freeware, eh?
Looking for Group is a hilariously dark webcomic. A must-read.
Infinity is an MMO Work-in-progress attempting a lot of things, and succeeding brilliantly. Plus, it has a playable combat prototype. Follow it, or else.
Dyson is a procedural strategy game that's good for a couple fun playthroughs. Fascinating concept, really.
Oh, by the way there's a secret in this blog.
Elemental engine demo. Please test.
Posted on June 25, 2008 at 16:16
Ok, here goes. My newest project, my newest attempt at the $1000 grand prize. This time, with 100% more community feedback!
What we have here is a curious breed of platformer/puzzle game called Elemental. You control a group of Elementals in a series of levels, and attempt to get as many as possible to the glowing portal at the end. A radial menu allows you to Combine elementals to create new gameplay elements - for instance, three clicks can transform your Fire and Water elementals into a lifting Steam Jet, allowing your intrepid group to reach new heights... or you can use a Light and an Earth to create a giant rolling boulder, useful for smashing doors or plugging holes... with six different Elements at your disposal, the possibilities are nearly-endless.
Unfortunately, screenshots really don't do the look&feel of this game justice. Download it and see for yourself...
Direct Download here (1.5 MB)
* 4 levels, constituting the game tutorial. These include a truckload of hints, tips, and text tutorials, as well as some actual puzzles.
* Complete interface/main menu/etc.
* 4 Elementals and 2 Combinations (out of 6 Elementals and 15 combinations)
As always, I'm looking for feedback - ESPECIALLY bug reports. Also, if something seems obtuse, and you've gone through all the available hint bubbles already, I'd like to know. Thanks, all!
June the 21st. Three days in.
Posted on June 21, 2008 at 17:38
So there are ~3/4 MILLION Spore creatures out there so far. That's 250 thousand PER DAY, or an average of 2.892 creatures EVERY SECOND for the past 72 hours.
Madness? THIS IS SPORE!
If people keep making Spore critters at the current rate (as of this writing, ~200 creatures per minute), before a week is out there will be more Spore species than there are real life species (1.1 million). And the game itself isn't even out yet.
You see, I've figured out why they released this thing early. They realized that if they wanted a fully-populated universe with enough randomness to its creatures, they'd have to have a backlog of creatures to draw from... hence, the CC.
It's done amazingly well. And produced some outrageous defiances of reality, (AKA the Steam Engine and Car that were featured recently) some really, really good ones, (incl. a bunch that look like real animals) and a host of immature-teenager productions which would make wonderful targets for Death Star practice.
In other news, I have two projects on front burner right now: platform-puzzle combine-a-thon Elemental (due August), and epic action adventure/trading sim/exploration game/RPG Cloud Ocean (due WHEN IT'S DONE).
The CO menu:
I've made a building generator and a city generator, which will be put to good use ingame. This makes 5 different viewpoints/area types total: shipboard (airborne flight game), in-building (hand-to-hand combat), in-city (exploration), shipboard combat (hand to hand again), and countryside (exploration).
I'm currently working on all things interface-related, as well as transfer scripts.
Cloud Ocean - indoors, night, city
Posted on May 04, 2008 at 12:43
1. The Pass is on YYG; currently hovering in obscurity. Please play and rate. (highly is preferable)
2. Three new screenshots for y'all, showcasing some random new additions to the CO engine.
(0x AA. Resolution 640x480)
* Nighttime scenes - a simple recoloration of the output produces a brand new effect. Also, this is the second of 11 "pillars" in the game world.
(2x AA. Resolution 1280x960)
* The interface - as minimalist as possible. Known cities/ships' names are displayed in an overlay, and all available special commands (for instance, Go to and Land at) are displayed in the upper-left corner. The only permanently shown interface bits are the Manage Ship/Manage Crew buttons at the bottom of the screen.
* New, more detailed city models. And by "more," I mean "insanely." Of course, it's not done yet - I'll want to add a bit of detailing work such as windows and doors - and probably just remake the city entirely - but the current is about the final level of polygonal detail. Notice the frames per second.
I do wish I had a method for casting shadows in screenspace, though.
(3x AA. Resolution 2560x1920)
And finally, the indoors environment. Environments are procedurally generated and assembled from stock components. (for instance, wall tiles and roof tiles) Doors are placed at predefined locations, while windows are randomized.
You can see a bit of the environment outside the building through the window; the lighting isn't quite right yet, but I'm working on it. Windows and other lighting objects (the candle) cast their own light onto the scene. This image is of the same room I showed in the debug-style screens last blog. The captain model is (for now) static and not colored properly (notice how comparatively vibrant his coloration is?); and is equipped in the style of a 1700s sea captain. This will change.
His face IS fully animated/rigged; he can smile, frown, show surprise, move his eyes around, glare... at the moment he has rather a severe "angry" expression. Total captain polycount: 2700. FPS with 4 captains in the room, all running high-quality AI: 115. FPS without: 130.
I'm still looking for a good format for animated models in X3d. SMD is difficult to work with (exporting issues from blender) and md5 is not really supported...
Posted on April 30, 2008 at 00:02
So LotAII is no longer a ship game... at least, not a water ship game. I've changed the focus and the graphical look and feel, while keeping the gameplay idea the same...
LotAII is now Cloud Ocean
So it's looking good. Really good. Commercial
good. I honestly think this project has the best graphics ever made with GM. I've managed to add in the following:
* 2-4x Antialiasing
* LOD and a gigantic world
* "Semisepia" color filter
All running at >30fps (normally ~120) at the same time.
Plus, X3d doesn't bat an eyelash at high-polygon models - 12000 extra polygons only caused a 3-4fps dip. I'm thinking fully-explorable cityscapes integrated with my brawl engine...
Images, then my brawl engine description:
My AI maneuvering engine for CO is titled Brawl. So far, it handles retreating and cover; eventually, it will handle split-second decisions as well. It has the potential to work on procedurally-generated maps (although at present the map used was custom-designed) and should act realistically in a fight.
Above: The base "starting" configuration. All enemies spend about two seconds "looking around" for a hiding spot if you have a gun and they don't. Possibly eventually if they /see/ you with a gun they'll run; if they see someone else running they may come to investigate.
Enemies are red dots; you are the green dot; little white dots are "cover spots." Certain cover spots have "leaning" tendencies; characters near here can lean out to shoot at enemies. Other cover spots are associated with actions; so, for instance, an enemy can tip over a table to create additional cover. Different spots have priorities associated with them as well, making AI response more realistic.
Above: The situation a few seconds later. Note how most of the enemies took up hiding spots facing away from you and as far away as possible. (Although proximity to the enemy also plays a large factor)
Above: I moved up to scare away all the enemies in the left side of the room. After a bit of rabbit chasing (they may just walk around the table to get away from you) they were all corralled in the other room. Note that certain enemies are still running; if a hiding spot is too crowded, they won't tend to favor it. In this case their response is more one of "terminal situational indecision."
Above: And again, I scared them back across the room. Some enemies will cluster around the sides of a table facing you; it's far enough away/close enough to them that they feel safer there (but probably aren't). My stated goal for these fights is that they should realistically involve up to 10 characters in a single region or area. I think that this system does adequately complete my goal; hence, I am quite pleased with it.
Basic rules of engagement:
One or two swordfighters may engage someone else in a swordfight. People with guns should stand a ways away and fire at their enemies (moving back if needed; they can be cornered if you can avoid the stream of bullets)
If you have a gun and someone else does as well, they may either begin firing at you or (if more prudent) run for a coverspot with a leaning opportunity, then lean out and shoot at you.
If you have a gun and they don't, they run for cover, as seen above.
If they don't have any cover (say, a square room), they may simply charge you, or cower in fear or back away. The goal is to make your enemies seem human.
You have an extremely limited number of hit points (5 at the moment; attacks may take up to 4 at once) and 8 balance points (needed to perform various attacks). Balance points recharge with time, but slower when blocking. Almost all attacks and blocking take balance points to perform; the blockbreaker will damage an enemy's balance and bring him out of block. Blocking and using initiative is crucial; oftentimes a major enemy attack will leave him open for a few seconds.
Posted on April 09, 2008 at 23:30
* I have a map of the Caribbean, which I am busily turning into a set of 56 3d islands and 2 3d continents. Procedurally.
* Each island has about 500-8000 polygons. Normally only 1-3 islands will show up at a time. Large islands are divided. (Cuba makes about 20 different models...
* I have created a mouse gesture recognition system to use for fencing/swordfights. It recognizes 6 different attacks - could almost beat the Wiimote. Heh.
* On that note, I wonder if I could make the entire game with mouse controls... hmm...
* I have also created and rigged a 3d model with high detail for use in third-person "explore, adventure, combat" modes. He has animated hands, mouth, and eyes! And 3000 polygons!
* I'm 19. Woo. Doesn't feel any different from last year...
* NetHack. Got a wish from a water demon, got a silver dragon scale mail from that, got -10 AC and I'm only level 7. Fun... I might get to Gehennom this time.
* 1/3 of spells have been implemented for The Pass, and all spell icons have been created. I've implemented a multifaceted help system and "keycard" tutorial to pass the time during loading...
%done: 95. Remaining: 18 spells, Reflect application.
Posted on April 04, 2008 at 22:03
So I purchased an M3DS (homebrew card) in order to play some roguelikes on my DS. I'm still waiting for the SD memory, though...
Apparently, model quantity doesn't make much difference at ALL in terms of game speed. The completed ship (with destruction animation rig) is 1255 polygons; the following image shows 16 ships on screen at once (20k polygons), along with normal-mapped water and full reflection (partly obscured by the not-yet-perfect normal mapping). With one ship, game speed is 90-95fps.
As my plan for the game involves 5-ship-capped fleets (up to 10 ships in a battle) and modeled islands probably consisting of less than 5000 polygons, this is a Very Good Thing (TM). Even in the most hypothetically demanding situation I can think of, the game should still hit 30fps on most modern computers. (That's including game processing, ostensibly the slowest part of the whole affair)
Posted on April 03, 2008 at 17:10
What might be my next project following The Pass (EG late april):
So far I have a rendering engine (w/X3d); a sample scene; (see above) and a good bit of planning documentation done.
The game would take place in the Caribbean this time around, and would feature a much more involved plot than the original. In addition, it would make use of a different perspective system, with the 3d view being the default and the map view only used when needed. (no more zooming in/battle restructuring, etc.)
The engine so far is quite efficient; the above is rendering at 120fps with full reflective detail, and I was able to obtain 330fps without reflections.
The ships will average about 1000 polygons apiece; and you will be able to have up to 10 on the screen at one time. The fighting model this time around will be much more detailed, with animated mast damage (masts can be broken, falling into the ocean and disrupting your maneuvering) and a more involved viewpoint (You command one ship; your captains command the others)
In terms of non-combat gameplay, the game would keep the major elements from the original LotA - trading, combat, fleet expansion, and citybuilding - while adding in an expanded crew-control element and an almost RPG-like captains feature.
I hope to finish the singleplayer/main multiplayer functions of The Pass in about a week; at that time, I will commence work on my next project. (whatever it may be)