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Hugues Ross

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A member registered Apr 26, 2014 · View creator page →

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Oh, that’s disappointing. Inclusion’s good for finding specific things, but it’s an absolutely awful scheme for browsing.

Wait, is there actually an option to hide horror games? I saw this comment but can’t find one anywhere in the interface, it’s not a huge issue for me but being able to filter out a few genres would make browsing a lot easier.

Good to hear you’re doing better! It always sucks when health problems force you to take a break, I had to do the same recently.

These days I use LÖVE at home, mostly because it offers a ton of flexibility and works well for rapid iteration.

As for how I made the decision… I spent a few months testing game engines a couple years back, basically making the same game in a week and changing to another engine at the week’s end. The best prototype I got out of that was from LÖVE’s round, which came as a bit of a surprise.

That’s not surprising, I started around that age and I wouldn’t have been able to wrap my head around Unity or Unreal at that time, had they been around. Have you tried any simpler stuff like Scratch, Game Maker, or GDevelop?

Some folks will gatekeep over not diving into more programming-heavy engines, but I think there’s merit in taking time to get your feet wet in a simpler environment so that you can build the fundamentals that will carry you in the future.

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I would second that, especially given the circumstances. No matter how good it feels in your head today, I don’t think a game about the struggles of game design by someone who’s never designed a game will be particularly good… better to let the idea grow for a few years while you get the experiences that will feed it.

I’d recommend trying to make a ton of small games, experiment with different approaches, genres, etc–that variety will give you more insight into the process and when you finally sit down to make your dream game you’ll be well-equipped to handle the subject.

Yes, though I feel like I need to make an addendum to that.

  1. The vast majority of games, game engines, and frameworks today are rendering with the GPU. Moreover, switching to CPU rendering will probably be slower regardless since your CPU is much slower at the kind of math involved in rendering and the graphics data will most likely still need to pass through the GPU at some point to reach the display.

  2. There’s not just a limit of textures per draw call to worry about. Switching textures bound to slots between draw calls also has a performance cost, which is another reason why some games use spritesheets and/or texture atlases.

  3. Just because spritesheets are better at runtime doesn’t mean you need to author your sprites that way. You can code your game to load the frames individually and stitch them together when your game starts up, or alternatively generate spritesheets from your source textures as part of your game’s CI/CD pipeline (if you have one, I understand many indies do not use them as part of their workflow).

Yeah, the ball got stuck. I must’ve hit it at the perfect angle, because that ‘black hole’ thing at the top put it in a perfect arc between those two bumpers. I gave it about 5min just in case but it stayed up there the whole time.

Fun game, much more content than I expected too!

I managed to get it stuck:

With that said, I love this game. It’s a really neat concept and before I got stuck I was having a lot of fun!

Sometimes as a developer you want to carefully control how your game is viewed by the public, polishing every video and shooting multiple takes to avoid known bugs. But everyone loves a funny bug video, and this is a funny bug video:

Dang, uncle’s pretty fast. Hope I can ketchup to him in time!

More seriously, this is a pretty fun concept so far. Keep it up :)

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I’m back, and this time I have some good news! I’ve decided that the base engine is in a “good enough” state to start work on real game content, so I’ve begun the development of my vertical slice demo. As a reminder, my goal for this demo is to produce 1 dungeon from the game at a close-to-final level of quality.

I’m still early in the production process, so I think I’ll hold off another month before giving a deeper explanation. But I can show one of the dungeon’s core mechanics: Water levels. Take a look!

By moving water between different basins, you’ll be able to open and close off various paths. I think it’s a pretty neat mechanic, though I’ll have to be careful about giving the player a better sense of depth. This will probably come down to a combination of level design and giving floating objects a drop shadow to indicate their real position.

To make up for the lack of detailed dungeon talk today, here’s one last treat. The first piece of concept art for this dungeon:

That little critter is one of several enemies you’ll find in here. Keeping with the theme of water, most of the monsters in this dungeon are forms of marine life. We’ll be seeing more of them as the demo’s development progresses.

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99% of the games on here are garbage

You’re not wrong, but the 1% is why I keep coming back. I like the fact that the lack of barriers allows anyone to try their hand at publishing a title, and once in a while something genuinely good emerges that might not have come about on another platform.

The reality is that 99% of basically any form of media is garbage, you just usually don’t see it because of barriers that prevent people from sharing or major platforms using algorithms designed to only show you what’s most popular. I like that there’s a place on the internet where I can turn up a big rock and see what gremlins come out.

Yeah, that’s definitely a lot harder. Personally I’m just trying to make the RPG I’d want to play and mostly banking on the hope that others would want to as well, but I can probably get away with it more easily since it’s just a hobbyist project that I don’t plan to sell.

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Thank you for reminding me this thread exists, I’d meant to write in it but forgot!

I haven’t gotten to this point in my game yet, but I do have some theoretical ideas for this.

The first is to build the entire game’s combat encounters very early in the process (with placeholders ofc, basically just fighting rectangles with mechanics), essentially bypassing all of the writing and level design to have a ‘complete’ game that’s just a straight corridor of encounters (and then just gradually replacing segments with real game content as the project progresses). The idea I had there was to let me easily work out how to adjust things like stat gains and xp curves on a macro scale, since I’m building a game with a job system where early game choices can have a real impact on later parts.

Another thought was spreadsheets and automation. My game’s assets and formulas are deliberately kept separate from the engine so that I can setup a commandline script that, say, performs every attack in the game on a dummy 1000 times or whatever locally or from my CI/CD pipeline. From there I can probably generate some spreadsheets and graphs to visualize how statistics, balance tweaks, status effects, gear etc. impact how abilities perform in combat more easily.

I think these two points will help me get a feel for balance early on, though I’m definitely interested in seeing other approaches and suggestions for inspiration.

As for playtesting, I don’t have many ideas….. given how my game’s progression gets it’s going to be a bit hellish no matter how I slice it so I’m probably just going to try finding some playtesters and pray :D

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These are all pretty awful things for sure, and I’d concede the point entirely if even one of them refuted my points. But none of them do, they reinforce what I’m saying here–this is an awful merger and we’re justified in being mad about it, but hammering on the virus point masks the current issues and kills the arguer’s credibility. Pretty much every place I’ve seen folks discuss this merger people have largely only reacted to the virus bit and not their scummy present (which, again, I acknowledged in my post) or the shit Riccitello’s been saying lately.

These are the things we actually need to worry about, and the current discourse only serves to hurt small devs currently making Unity games by painting their work with suspicion while ignoring the real problems.

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This is kind of an overblown take. I don’t want to minimize the fact that Ironsource is awful, and given current trends in management it’s probably best to drop Unity as soon as convenient, but the engine will not magically transform into a virus overnight. Far as I’m aware the company also no longer produces malware, pivoting to the similarly-awful business of mobile game monetization.

Does that make them trustworthy? No, absolutely not. But I don’t think the level of “Unity’s turning into a virus!” fearmongering going around right now is healthy, you can criticize this merger and question the engine’s long-term viability without crying wolf.

Most long-running projects generally don’t change engine versions often, if someone has a game in development they can complete it (and probably should, given the monumental cost of switching) in the same version they started in. After that? Probably a good idea to look at alternatives. But there’s no need to jump ship immediately and risk your project in response to this news either.

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It’s been about a month, so I think it’s time for another update! Unfortunately I didn’t get as much done as I wanted this month, because I developed carpal tunnel syndrome early on and went on hiatus for few weeks in order to recover. I’m starting to feel better so development has resumed at a very slow pace, but obviously I didn’t finish everything I was planning on. For now I’m just taking my time, better to work slowly for a while than to jump back in and have to stop entirely.

However, before all that happened I did get some things done. let’s take a look!

A Big AI Revamp

In the original demo video at this start of this thread, the enemies don’t have AI so much as a list of moves that they randomly select from. That may be enough for a very simple encounters, but for boss fights and more complex enemies there needs to be something more complex. So, I added 3 new features to accommodate that:

Behavior Trees

The first thing I added was a simple behavior tree system. It supports a small set of useful patterns, like conditional branches and performing actions in sequence over the course of multiple turns. I don’t want to load this post with too many details, so instead here are a few examples showcasing the kind of flexibility I have:

Attack pattern: Alternate between attacking and using a random special attack

ai.sequence {
    "fight.lua",
    ai.shuffle {
        "special_attack_1.lua",
        "special_attack_2.lua",
    },
}

Attack pattern: Perform special attacks in order, randomly interspersing the pattern with regular attacks

ai.shuffle {
    "fight.lua",
    ai.sequence {
        "special_attack_1.lua",
        "special_attack_2.lua",
    },
}

Attack pattern: Randomly select a regular or special attack. When health gets low, change to a different special attack

ai.shuffle {
    "fight.lua",
    ai.condition (low_hp,
        "special_attack_1.lua",
        "special_attack_2.lua",
    ),
}

This is a good start, but what if we want monsters to use attacks in response to what the player’s doing?

Reactions

Reactions are special behavior trees that sit separate from the monster’s main AI. These allow the monster to immediately respond when a hit with an attack or when the monster dies. It’s not uncommon to have counters and revenge moves in turn-based games, so I felt it would be useful to make the system available to any actor in a fight. In theory this can also work for party members, though right now it’s only being used for monsters.

Unlike regular moves, reactions are called immediately after the attack resolves and any attack that comes from them takes priority over anything that was already queued. They also only trigger if the original attack that caused them wasn’t a reaction… mostly to avoid the possibility of two actors reacting to each other forever.

Anyway, these are nice but you don’t usually want them all the time… Usually you want counters to come with characters changing their stance or form to indicate that attacking is a bad idea. This could be accomplished using status effects, but I elected not to do that because it could be a mess to manage. I also could’ve used the old-school RPG trick of replacing a character with a different one and copying over certain stats, but historically that trick has caused a lot of bugs in various games. So insteaaaad…

States

…I added states. States are very simple, they’re basically a set of overrides for character properties like their appearance, stats, AI, etc. When a state change is triggered, the actor refreshes its properties and takes any values in the state over those in the base stat-block. That way, the monster stays the same and only replaces the values that need to change. It also means that if I add new features to monsters, states can automatically take advantage of them.

With all that in place, I’m able to produce some fairly complex interactions and strategies for the AI. Nothing on the level of what you’d need to mimic a human opponent, but enough to present interesting and unique challenges to the player. And that’s exactly what I want!

The New FX System

One more thing that I started prior to my health issues was an FX system for the game. I want to accomplish more than what simple pre-rendered effects can give me, so I set up a more concrete system with various forms of animation, tweens, and particle effects. In the long term I also want the ability to assign customs shaders to parts of effects and fullscreen post-processing as well, but I’m not there yet!

Right now I’m only using the initial version of the system for attacks attack animations in combat, but eventually I’ll be using it on the map in cutscenes and pretty much anywhere I need it. I also want to add a way to integrate existing values and objects in a scene into FX to allow for things like a projectile that moves from one object to another, or a particle effect that accompanies a certain sprite animation. I also really need to make some kind of editor for these, as the animation data can get really complex and verbose. But again, health issues… we’ll get there eventually.

Putting it Together

To demonstrate of what I discussed above, here’s a little video:

This is the same mimic fight from the first post, but with AI adjustments and combat effects. It plays out a little bit like a typical 1st boss of a Final Fantasy game–it sometimes closes its box, and counters with a powerful attack if disturbed. You can also see a status effect in this video, poison. I don’t remember if I mentioned adding support for those in the past, but they exist.

As someone who develops on PC I don’t have a lot of specific recommendations, and in general the best tools are exclusive to it. However, I think it might be possible to do some gamedev on mobile with gdevelop? The software can be used via a web browser and it supports exporting to android, so you might be able to try that. No guarantees, but it’ll cost you nothing to give it a shot.

For a first game, this is actually really neat! Lots of little details and bits of polish added to this.

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Anyway, let me know your thoughts and suggestions.

I think the house itself looks quite nice! But the environment around it is a bit bare and lacking by comparison, and I think the trees and bushes are a bit poorly shaded. Instead of just making a big blob with bands of light and shadow, breaking up the canopies into smaller chunks and adjusting the lighting to better reflect their 3d form would probably help.

You’re obviously going for a very stylized look, so you don’t need to go all the way with the rendering or detailing (For instance, the trunks are fine for the aesthetic you’ve chosen), but I think referencing how light strikes real-life canopies (perhaps you can try with more “top-heavy” trees like rubber trees and baobabs) could help inspire some big improvements to the foliage.

Anyway, sorry for the big wall! As I said before I think the house itself is good, so I have no doubt the rest will be fine if you give it another pass or two. I’d offer some more concrete suggestions, but sadly I can’t draw rn due to an injury.

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I am not a lawyer, but my general advice is this: Fangames are pretty much never safe from the copyright holder, free or no. Nintendo in particular have killed a lot of fangames of their properties, so even if you upload to your own site you will get Cease & Desist’ed if your game ever gains traction.

However they only control the trademark, characters, names, setting, visual designs, etc. Last I checked game mechanics and general concepts are not copyrightable, so if you want to make a fangame I’d recommend the “spiritual successor” route where you take inspiration without directly copying names or designs. Done properly it’s completely legal, which means your game is not likely to get sniped by Nintendo’s legal team and you can develop it in peace. So while I’d avoid the phrase “pocket monsters” (I’m not sure if there’s a trademark on it too or not), your second idea is fine.

Looks great so far! Can’t wait to see where it goes.

Big improvement imo, I think the problem’s solved in this version.

I’m in the funny position where gamedev is both my hobby and my full-time job. This also affects my games a lot, since I don’t really want to do the same things I’m doing at work in my free time. For that reason, I make smaller games that might not actually sell but are personally interesting to me.

For the record, the shots with the wooden floors are much better in that regard! So I’m sure it’ll be fine once you adjust those.

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For a first post, this is rather nice.

As far as crit goes one thing stands out:

In this shot, the floor and walls have poor contrast. I can see where everything is, but it feels like it takes longer to parse the environment because of that. The tops of the walls and railings are a lot clearer than the rest of the wall, so it could help to adjust accordingly.

May’s just about over, so it’s time for another update. Like April, this was another month of laying foundations. But unlike April, I have a little bit more to show this time.

Game Flow

One slightly boring but very important addition is all of the scaffolding needed for the main menu. This includes letting the game track and adjust its state, which means that getting a ‘game over’ can actually take the user back to the menu to try again (or load a save, once I have those)… before then, losing would simply close the game!

Sprites and better Movement

A more interesting addition is sprite animations. I added a basic animation system that makes it very simple to animate existing elements in the game. It’s not applied everywhere yet (there’s no combat animations yet, for instance), but walking around is a lot nicer now that you can actually see characters walk. Even with placeholder sprites, it definitely adds something:

Another detail you may or may not have noticed, movement is a lot smoother than it was in my first demo. I reworked the movement and collision code a bit to allow sliding off solid surfaces instead of just stopping, and that makes the controls feel a lot better!

Cutscene Scripting

One last important addition to the code is a system for cutscenes! This is definitely needed for an RPG like this, and the new system is pretty nice. By giving it a relatively simple script like this:

context:show_dialogue("course/entry.lua")
local player = context:get_player()
context:fade_out(0.2):await(false)
context:move_to(player, 1, 0, true)
context:change_map("course.lua", 10, 29)

local npc = context:get_actor("dude")
context:fade_in(0.2):await(false)
context:move_to(player, 0, -1, true)
context:show_dialogue("course/welcome_sign.lua")
context:move_to(npc, 1, 0, true)
context:wait(0.20)
context:turn_towards(npc, 180)

…we get a cutscene:

That’s all for this month! Things are really starting to come together on the tech side, I don’t think it’ll be too much longer before I can start on real game content instead of test data and placeholders.

I started pretty early, back in middle school with Game Maker… I’ve never sold any indie games though, I just treat this as a hobby. I technically have shipped a commercial title, but that was a porting job for work rather than something I published myself.

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I don’t really know the specifics, particularly what costs or requirements might be involved… but I believe DLSite allows developers outside of Japan to publish their work on the site. At the very least their registration guide indicates that they have options for devs outside of Japan to collect payments, which implies that.

If you’re still looking for other places to sell, it’s an avenue you could investigate.

That may be the most suspicious question I’ve seen someone ask all year

To add on to that, some games will ship with a license file that indicates what you’re allowed to do with it. In that case, you can refer to that and see what terms (if any) allow redistribution.

It’s still probably best to ask the creator though, as a matter of courtesy.

Thanks! Golden Sun is one of my inspirations (if it wasn’t obvious enough from the pillars in the first video), so it’s good to hear!

It has been about a month, so I figured it’s about time for a small update. This past month has been pretty slow, mostly focused on filling in gaps in the mechanics (ie. gear, status effects, encounter maps, etc). With that said, one new thing I can show off is the initial work on map skills.

What are map skills?

Map skills are tools you use to interact with the world. Each character that joins the party brings their own unique skill, opening new paths for exploration and puzzle-solving as the story progresses. While I’ve only just started on these, I have a very early video showing 3 map skills in an initial functioning state:

The three skills currently implemented are:

  • Elemental, a context-sensitive interaction for casting elemental magic on certain parts of the environment.
  • Chain, allowing the player to grab movable objects and shift them as they move. This not only allows objects to be pulled, but also enables limited movement of objects across gaps.
  • Throw, for picking up, placing, and throwing lightweight objects.

Plans

Since this update’s a little short, I figure I should give some indication of my long-term plans for the game. Currently, my target is a small vertical slice public demo. My hope for the demo is to ship a single dungeon from the game at close to final quality, in order to get a grip on the pipeline and validate the game’s mechanics. My hope is to release this by the end of the year, though we’ll see how it goes as things progress. Beyond that, I’ve currently broken the game up into 6 chapters and I’m hoping to release&update the game chapter-by-chapter. But of course, that’s a ways off. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Ah, you’re not alone. Most people have those worries, especially early on. I wouldn’t sweat it too much though, for a few reasons:

  • IANAL, but I believe in most places Copyright is automatically assigned to the creator of a work. Making and posting a character, provided it doesn’t already exist, is enough to make it legally yours… so as long as you don’t have people taking your designs directly off of your hard-drive there should be proof that you own your work.
  • With that said, while IP theft does happen and reports/DMCA can be used to deal with them…it’s not usually something that will hurt you much in the long run and it’s not worth the time to actively hunt down unless you’re a big business that can spare the effort. Personally, what I do is deal with anything I run into (usually starting with a quick message) but otherwise don’t spend time looking for folks who infringe. Most people copying work don’t mean badly, they just don’t know better.

In other words, your worries are totally natural but I’d reassure you that it shouldn’t be a major issue.

I think the redesign is an improvement, overall. I’m not really sure what you’re asking about re: copyright infringement though… are you worried people will take your art or something? Worried that you’re infringing someone else’s work? Not really clear from the question.

You should probably offer more detail if you want anyone to help… people will probably want to know things like:

  • What art style/medium are you looking for?
  • What genre of game, or at least what sort of projection is everything supposed to be drawn in?
  • Do these sprites need animation? Is it 16 still images, 16 animations, 16 characters worth of images? (The latter of which could wind up being way more than 16 sprites total)

Writing about the game itself would probably also help people decide if they want to help as well… in general, the more you share the more likely someone might help. If the request is too vague a lot of folks will avoid it since they don’t know if they can even complete it, much less what sort of workload is being asked for.