This user leads a boring life.

Joined on August 15, 2010, 9:43 PM Visited on December 26, 2016, 5:05 AM

death posted on October 05, 2015 at 9:59 PM

Humble Monthly Subscriptions?

So Humble (from Humble Bundle) launched a new service, a monthly subscription that gives you random games each month. Currently $12/month and 5% goes to charity. You even get Grimrock II instantly for signing up. Sounds like a deal since that game is going for $24 on steam right now.

So what do you think of this as a gamer? Personally i think it sounds pretty interesting though it is a hefty amount of money to put down each month for random games. My plan is usually to save up money for a game i really want as opposed to buying whatever is cheap and on sale. My experiences with impulse buys have usually been pretty bad. That being the case, i see a lot of potential for getting complete garbage from this.

Now, as a developer, does this seem useful? Getting people to try your game is hard as hell now a days so a service like this could be really nice for those random indie titles that no one has tried yet and didn't get any press. Of course, who knows how the devs are paid with this system but that's probably less important than the exposure it could give you if you were to volunteer for this.

I might give it a shot just for Grimrock II but after that, i don't know. We will have to see what people say about it. If they give us nothing but garbage and a small number of games i can't see it being successful. It'd be nice if there was more information on it but the store page says very little as to how the games are selected and what you will be receiving other than the fact that the games didn't previously appear in any other bundles. This hints at the games being more obscure than the big bundle titles we usually get.


death posted on July 12, 2015 at 10:42 PM

Deathmatch and Game Design

So online multiplayer is the big thing going on with games now. Every game needs a multiplayer mode, usually of the competitive variety. That being said, I have been thinking about how to implement the classic Deathmatch into my multiple-year spanning FPS game. I don't want to do something generic and typical but I also don't want to get too experimental and end up with an experience that fails due to oversights in design caused by trying to cram in gimmicks and cool mechanics without much thought in how they effect traditional game designs. Like, you know, most indie games do.

I have a number of ideas and thoughts about Deathmatch and competitive game modes for a shooter. The way I see it, there are 2 (vastly generalized) types of Deathmatch mode in shooters:

1. Old school Doom/Quake like, where players are spawned into an arena, run and gun their way to victory, picking up guns, ammo and armor as they go. Dominating players will often stock up on the powerful weapons and armor and rule the map until completion.

2. Modern Counter-strike or Team Fortress like, you have a load out, you don't tend to pick up shiny weapons and armor during the match, often team oriented with or without objectives, this seems to be slightly more balanced giving each newly spawned player a better chance.

I like the charm of the old school style but it obviously has some flaws. I experienced them in a game like Quake-live where being new to a map was a huge disadvantage as experienced players knew where the best weapons and items spawned and made sure to routinely suck them up as they respawned to prevent others from getting to them. These players dominated the maps and had massive kills compared to everyone else. It can be fun sure but it can also be frustrating as hell as you have to fight against a 200 hp 200 ap Quad-damage bastard blasting you with rockets every time you spawn before you can even get a grip on whats going on. On the other side though, sometimes a newer player gets a lucky shot and the kingpin dies and loses all their stuff, turning the tide briefly and the noob will feel like they did something worthwhile during the match.

Meanwhile, the modern design attempts to correct those issues by removing all the pickups and allowing players some freedom of choice in choosing loadouts, an item and weapon set chosen before the match, or after death. This seems promising, no longer will you spawn into a map with enemies that have vastly superior weapons and armor, everyone is on a somewhat even playing field and the deciding factor is not memorization (at least not as much) but skill. However, this style seems to get a bit... boring at times and because it lacks some of that random loot/pickups from the old school design, there isn't much chance of a noob getting a kill or two on a pro. Just from the first few minutes of a match, a player can get a feel for where they stand in the hierarchy of skill from the rest of the players in the match and they simply have to accept their place as they won't stand much chance against those that are superior in skill no matter how hard they try.

So to compare the two more closely, we have one design with a huge gap for random factors in the match, players stumbling across items that recently spawned and getting an upper hand briefly and feeling the rush of using a big f*cking gun against their enemies. And the other design removes all the messiness and goes for a straight forward, balanced match where all players have no advantages or disadvantages over each other (aside from balanced stat and weapon differences). To me these seem like two extremes so why not come up with some sort of middle ground, a hybrid of the two.

How can one create a design that is both fun and exciting with the unknown waiting around every corner while also maintaining a sense of fairness and balance in the match? A difficult question to answer but I have a few ideas I have been thinking about...

1. A timer / counter that when activated gives all players the same new [random] weapon/item, allowing players to switch to this weapon at any time through out the rest of the match. For example, assume all players spawn with a shotgun and after 1 minute has passed, the Machine Gun gets unlocked and all players can choose between the shotgun and machine gun at any time, and every set interval of time a new weapon or item gets unlocked. This keeps things exciting and fresh every match but also maintains fairness with every player getting access to the same stuff, no chance of hoarding or camping item spawners in this design. However there might be some cons to this idea, such as most players always using the same weapon at the same time, resulting in a less diverse match.

2. Item spawners that spawn completely random weapons and items. This breaks any chance of experienced players memorizing the locations of the good stuff they want/need. It also keeps things interesting with players stumbling across interesting gear and almost forcing them to experiment with the random stuff that they pick up. Of course, this still would cause balance issues as some players will pick up stronger stuff that will give them an upper hand against everyone else but it would be less common and not something that can be easily reproduced by experienced players. It would come in short bursts and everyone has an equal chance of coming across a BFG or super armor.

3. Mayhem. Just complete craziness, give everyone everything and watch all hell break lose. It's fair at least, everyone has everything so only skill and strategic choices will win and it'll certainly be quite interesting, exciting and diverse in how people play. The only downside is that it may be a bit overwhelming to newer players. Might also get a little stale after a while as each match has the same set of rules and options that never vary because there is no randomness.

Well those are just some of my ideas, I want to chose one design and implement that for my Deathmatch mode. Seeing as this mode is just an extra feature and not the main core of the game, I am not consider adding in more than 1 design for Deathmatch mode even though that would be the best option, giving players the choice of which rule set to play with. So any thoughts? Criticisms? Ideas of your own? Good or bad experiences with other Deathmatch games?

death posted on December 22, 2014 at 6:34 PM

I hate programming

Yeah that's right, I said it. I hate programming. It's such a pain in the @ss. I don't think I've ever enjoyed programming which is ironic considering I'm a computer science major. Programming is the skill I need but not the skill I want. I've forced myself to learn it just like I've forced myself to practice pixel art because the real goal of it all is to make games.

Games are what I love, not programming or drawing. I love to design games and to sketch up huge documents and plans for a game. I get all deep into the mechanics and progression of a game's design, that is pure joy for me. Best of all, I love seeing it all come to life when a project is finally starting to feel like a game.

But damn if the process isn't tedious as hell. I can spend whole days trying to fix simple bugs only to end up punching myself when it was so obvious. Or worse, when I decide my programming sucks and I need to start all over again to get something right. It's usually better to build a newer better machine than to patch up a faulty one isn't it? It's this process that makes me feel like I'm going no where with a project. I spend more time redoing the things I already did than I do adding new content to the game.

This explains why it takes me forever to make any progress on my projects and why I'm terrible at game jams. I'm plain and simple, not a good programmer. I'm just somebody that forces myself into creating something fully functional before I call it complete and this is a really long process for me due to my lack of skill. I refuse to release something I would call complete and not have it be to the best it can be. (this obviously excludes WIPs)

well wasn't that a nice rant? I just get pretty frustrated with programming and even more frustrated with Game Maker Studio. That damn program seems to always work in the opposite way than I expect it to.

Currently working on an old project of mine, Land of Death, which should be a simple platformer, really simple actually. Just jump and slash at stuff. 1 color sprites and 2 color tiles is all I'm working with. Trying to keep the enemies simple but programming challenging AI and basic physics that work with it seems to be something I apparently suck at.

Over 6 years of programming and developing games and I still can't get smooth collisions for a platformer. WTF am I doing!?