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DevLog Day 7: January 8, 2016

Still not 100% over being sick and my focus still isn't quite there. I'm good enough to do things like sprite editing, but the moment I start entering code I start to feel loopy. To that end I added jumping and falling sprites, and powered through the coding to make them work. It took me nearly 20 minutes to realize that I had the falling animation checking for the wrong vertical speed. ;~;

I nabbed another sprite for an enemy, and got an object in the game that can kill you. It's a start for where I wanted to be at the end of the day. Tomorrow is probably going back into animating at least one punch, then getting it rigged into the player object.

Literally as I was writing this post I realized a way to solve a problem I was having: I forgot to put in a way to get to a new maximum hit point value. I forgot to separate the hit points into two variables, one for max and one for current. So that's another thing I did today. Right now hit points are tied to stats as intended, but I decided to make stat increases heal you to your new full for the time being. It's easy to check if it works (and it does!) without much hassle.

Today's friendly little remind is to make sure you attribute credit where it's due for any free assets you use! If you're using it, they deserve credit. Easy as that. I don't have a way currently to show credits in my game so at the moment they're all going into the Game Information panel that GameMaker provides.

DevLog Day 6: January 7, 2016

Been sick the last two days and haven't been able to focus, so I didn't touch my game out of fear of doing something stupid and not being able to remember how I did it (or how to fix it). It didn't feel good to slack but it's probably for the best? Still not feeling 100% but I can focus and that's enough to work.

Decided to cave today and grabbed a sprite off of OpenGameArt.org that I spent today editing into my game. I didn't want what the sprite looked like so I got nitty and gritty with the sprite editer in GameMaker and retouched it to serve my purposes. It took a lot longer than I intended but I have a pretty nice looking sprite now (and it's way better than if I tried to animate it myself).

Speaking of animating: I rigged up a movement animation that plays when my character moves, as well as an idle animation that it defaults to when there's no motion. I also created mirrored sprites for when the player is left instead of right. There's probably a way to mirror the sprite via coding but I'll burn that bridge when I get to it. The move animation bugs out when interacting with my collision detection though; it plays the first frame of the move animation repeatedly as it approaches the obstacle. This bug is kinda on the backburner as I want to spend the next few days inserting enemies and also allowing you to fight said enemies.

Actually, I just realized that the sprite indexing I did was the first code I wrote myself without referring to a tutorial or guide for assistance. I feel good today even though I didn't get a whole lot done.

I'll end the update with a little fun fact since we're nearly at the halfway point of the jam: I called this game project "Enemies" because of the name I want to use for the finished game, which I've had rumbling around in my head for nearly 2 years. The name I want shortens down relatively efficiently to "NMES." I'll probably give up the goat on the title on the last day of the jam but until then it's a fun little mystery.

I forgot where that link went the last time I checked and forgot about it! Thanks for bringing it up, it should help bunches (especially once you get a chance to see my placeholder art).

I'm bad at drawing so I'm super self-conscious about my concepts (and also about ever drawing them!). I guess that's something I definitely need to work on moving forward. I have a lot of ideas in my head but putting them to paper with my imperfect hand seems daunting.

The friends summon is supposed to work like a bomb in StarFox or Contra, only instead of instantly killing things it does damage proportional to how deep a relationship you've formed with that character. They swoop in, use their power or weapon on the screen, and then leap out of frame. For the purposes of this jam the damage is just going to be directly related to the Understanding stat since I won't have any of the relationship building in-game yet.

DevLog Day 3: January 4, 2016

Really slow day, unfortunately. Got started late into the day and kinda felt burnt out from all the tutorials I watched yesterday. Kinda felt in a funk or something. Should pass soon?

I've decided to reduce the scope of the game I wanted to make. I wanted it to be something like an arcade brawler (think Final Fight), but I'm not sure I can rig that up in two weeks so I've decided to make it a single-plane brawler (like most of the levels in BattleToads & DoubleDragon for the NES). This means I don't have to worry quite so much about both player movement and enemy AI patterns on multiple planes. It seems more doable especially since I'm learning from scratch!

I implemented a basic platforming system that should work / serve the purposes of the new scope, and I also added support for increasing player statistics in-game (at least I think I did, I don't have a way to print player stats mid-game BUT I didn't cause any crashes or compiling errors so I think I'll slot this one in the win column). Tomorrow I'm going to try adding some enemies, and with enemies comes a way to defeat them. That means animating a punch, and figuring out sprite indexing (which will also fix my facing-right-while-moving-left problem).

Still unsure quite how to post pictures (like if I have to upload them to imgur first or what) so I'll look into that before I clock out today and edit in the current level mockup I have in game.

DevLog Day 2: January 3, 2016

Not much to talk about once again. Spent about an hour creating some of my placeholder art in GameMaker, then spent the next three and a half hours watching some tutorials. Not everything I watched will end up being relevant, but I figure I can take snippets of code here and there to further my own goals. Tomorrow will hopefully be more action-oriented than tutorial.

Created a new topic [DevBlog] PROJECT 'enemies'

Project 'enemies'



Terrifying monsters have shown up in the little university town you live and study in and everyone's running for cover. In the bedlam you see a familiar face, stock still and staring down the monster. You move to grab your friends hand but before you can there's a flash of light - your friend is a super hero!
It turns out they're not alone! All of your new friends come out of the woodwork and start fighting back!
There's a noise behind you - one of the monsters is making its way to you and there's nowhere left to run. You have no choice but to fight!




Overview:
Project 'enemies' is a side-scrolling brawler with story elements delivered via a Character Builder visual novel system where you make friends and become strong enough to face the perils bearing down on the town and, eventually, maybe the world? The idea is your friends (and eventually you) have the ability to fight back and you can call on your friends to help (essentially a super joy or a bomb in arcade terms).
The visual novel aspect allows you to build your character the way you want. Punch McHugefists? The quickest thing alive? A leader among your friends, perhaps? All these options will ideally be available in the finished product. But don't neglect your intelligence! People will get suspicious if you fail too many exams.
The project is influenced by superhero teams and TV shows, as well as a few games I enjoy. Imagine Persona 3 or 4 meets Castle Crashers.

However, for the purposes of the deadline and the jam I'm going to be focusing primarily on the brawler aspect. I only have so much time to spend on it after all, and while the whole is the goal I want to have something to show by the end of the jam. If I'm too busy split between two different things I'm worried that both will end up sub-par by the end.



Assets:
After assessing all the engines, I think GameMaker is the best fit.
Woefully, I am not an artist. I'll likely be using placeholder assets for most of the jam while trying to make passable concept art. I'll likely have to learn GIMP on top of GameMaker over the course of the jam.
Also, I am not a musician. I know what I like to have things sound like, but I can't read music and most certainly can't write it. This will likely mean that I won't have music by the end of the jam, which is something I'll just have to accept and move on.



Synopsis:
You play as Lee/Leigh Clover, a freshman at Rayner University. With no friends and no interest in joining a frat/sorority, you just kinda aimlessly travel from class to class until you bump into Aaron DeMarco who decides to show you around and show you his friends. You make fast friends when suddenly there's an explosion and when you reorient yourself your friends are gone. You later catch up with one of your friends who tries to play down what happened but it's clear they're hiding something. Later on, there's an earthquake and suddenly monsters are on the streets. While fighting these enemies off you're granted the same powers your friends received from a mysterious old gentleman. You live out your school lives in between monster battles and uncover a devious plot to conquer the world for its arable land.

Lee/Leigh Clover - Basically intended to be a generic character for the player to assign themselves to. Can choose gender between male and female. Medium build.


Gameplay:

During the course of your school days, you'll be able to spend time improving your relationship with your friends or focus on improve your own characters statistics, like Strength and Agility. All statistics increase your maximum health, on top of their other effects.

Strength is pretty straightforward, it increases the damage you do.

Agility increases your movement speed and very slightly increases how fast you attack.

Knowledge improves your ability to pass tests, as well as increases the chance of dealing critical damage.

Understanding improves the rate at which your relationships improve, which is important as having a higher relationship with your friends makes their summon stronger!


DEVBLOG Day 1: January 2, 2016

So far, not much. Fleshing out characters and putting together some ideas since I've been trouble-shooting GameMaker for most of the day. Watching tutorials for it and probably gonna do the same for GIMP since I need a way to produce placeholder art that isn't MSPaint.
A day of learning and evaluation, mostly. Got some good ideas for the characters throughout the day so I've been fleshing them out little by little.
I've had plans and ideas for this game for a while so even if I don't 'finish' it by the end of the jam I intend to keep going with it, so even though I'm focusing efforts during the jam on the brawler engine I'll eventually tie in everything, so there's not really any wasted effort as far as time goes.

I'll probably continue working on it later on into the night, but I wanted to get something posted sooner rather than later.

Replied to J in Support: 2D Engines

Decided to get it through Steam and it worked, instantly, with no fuss. So there's a work around if anyone else needs it.

Replied to J in Support: 2D Engines

Oh right, that would have probably helped. Oops.

OS: Windows 7

GameMaker Studio 1.4

Also I'm on a laptop with an integrated graphics chip, which shouldn't affect anything but who knows.

The program just doesn't launch. I don't get a splash screen or anything. My computer does the whole 'thinking' cursor thing for maybe a second and then nothing happens. There isn't even a process or application to kill from the task manager.

Right now I'm trying to uninstall anything that I newly installed (mainly other game making engines because I wanted to tool around for a bit with a few to find the right fit).

I can't for the life of me get GameMaker to run. I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling, restarting my computer, running as admin, basically everything I can think of. Anyone else experience this problem, or have any idea how to solve it?

Posted in Game Jam Goals!

My goals for the jam are fairly simple, because I'm going into this with very minimal knowledge regarding game design.

  • Learn, learn, learn. There's a lot to learn and I think this is a pretty good place to start!
  • Have a playable prototype by the end of the jam (preferably one that's fun to play).
  • Have fun. I know game design isn't all sugar and roses, but I'd rather try to have fun with it than not!

I've been having ideas for games since 2004 or so and never thought I'd get around to making them a reality. Here's to a good jam!