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Vapourware Codexian Game Development Thread

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by 20 Eyes, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. zwanzig_zwoelf Graverobber Foundation Developer

    zwanzig_zwoelf
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    Or just swap two letters or change one if you're making a fan remake of something.
    That's how Joerg Winterstein came up with Takatis and Hurrican.
     
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  2. LESS T_T Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    LESS T_T
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    Codex 2014
    May be interest people here; design and other docs of the original Sims: http://donhopkins.com/home/TheSimsDesignDocuments/

    Spotted via HackerNews. I think these were posted on Scribd or something, and DCMA'd by EA in 2012, but somehow still available on its programmer's personal site, heh.

    samples (open)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
    Joined:
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    Making an entire level in World Machine takes a long time. Then it takes a lot of tweaking after you put it into the game engine. UE3/UDK's built-in landscape tool is great, but it doesn't give you the kind of detailed control that World Machine gives you. I needed the kind of detailed terrain features that World Machine can create combined with the quick hand-drawn updates you can make in the game editor. To help out with that I bought a popular background mountains pack from the Unity Asset Store, but it isn't going to give me exactly what I need. So I created my own meshes exactly how I want them:

    [​IMG]

    Those are four meshes ranging from about 1500-1800 triangles, with 1024x1024 normal maps that give sufficient detail. (And you'll never know how low-poly they are in my game, which will have kind of a faraway tactical camera.) The shader blends three textures together according to a splat map for each mesh. And with a little bit of shader magic, I made the scale of the textures independent of the scale of the mountains, so I can scale them up or down and the textures stay the same size. (The big green valley is actually just the foot of a mountain offscreen that I blew up really big.) Any time I want a new landscape palette or textures, I keep the same splat maps and just change the textures they use. And I can load those textures into the UE3 landscape tool and hand-draw any details I want, and it all looks perfectly blended. If I want a new mountain shape, I already have a template saved in World Machine, and I can crank out more with very little effort.

    It feels good to get something done that I know will help me to do stuff better and faster.
     
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  4. Agesilaus Antiquity Studio Patron Developer

    Agesilaus
    Joined:
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Codex USB, 2014
    I'm going on holiday soon, so I tried to cram in as much progress as possible. Wound up in a position where the first town is playable.

    The combat needs to be made more interesting, and I need to improve the graphics and add sound, but it's actually a game now. You have 3 time units, then the town ends.

    Here's an executable if anyone wants to try it out:

    http://keksociety.com/Theseus/Theseus.exe

    I am all ears for advice/criticism. I know it needs a lot of work. I'm going to implement an animation and delay so the game doesn't immediately boot you to the end screen when you run out of time units.

    If you click on "help" at the character sheet you can read the instructions, but basically WASD to move, Space to talk. The remaining time is shown in the top left corner.
     
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  5. Zed Codex Staff Patron

    Zed
    Joined:
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    Codex USB, 2014
    "having a child", "going on holiday"

    sounds like perfect opportunities to be working on projects!

    myself I'm simply waiting for Fusion 3. doing some minor art stuff in the meanwhile.
     
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  6. barker_s Cipher Patron

    barker_s
    Joined:
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    Poland
    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Grab the Codex by the pussy
    To my defense, the project was conceived first :D . Besides, I keep hearing that once you become a parent you also become an expert in time management, and God knows I really need to learn to spend my time more productively.

    While I'm posting anyway, I might post some more of my project. I recently changed my approach to rendering forests. Now, instead of using static sprites, I create a procedural mesh for each clump of trees and use a custom shader to animate them. This approach reduces the vertex count, while increasing overdraw (I'll have to do some research to see if this is going to be a problem or not - they seem pretty performant so far).

     
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  7. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    A common complaint with some of my earlier builds was that the game lacked cohesive art direction and that the environments clashed with the 2D characters. To correct that, I've spent a lot of time trying to nail down the right cartoony look where some 2D animated people would seem at home.

    [​IMG]

    That scene makes use of some of the shaders I've been working on. It feels kind of like a senior project, putting to use all of the techniques I've learned over the years. Here we see a mix of mountains and hills made in World Machine, cliff meshes with constant-scale triplanar-projection sides, handmade landscape, and the most complicated water shader I've ever done.

    [​IMG]

    That's over 300 instructions to make the water flow in 8 different directions or just sit there, to get the normal vector and blend the flow based on which way is downhill, to switch to a waterfall when the surface is steep, to reflect the sun and the sky (simulated, because as you can see in the top gif, there is no sun or sky), to fade the opacity near the edges, to distort the shallows, to displace the pixels with a combined normal map and bump map (bump saved in the alpha channel of the normal to reduce total texture count) and animate the displacement to simulate waves.

    All in all, I think I finally have all the right building blocks for making a good-looking game faster. And now I can get back to building the game levels.
     
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  8. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

    Jaesun
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    Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    That actually looks really good. Do you have someone who IS doing the Art Direction? Or is it just you?
     
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  9. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    Thanks. It's just me. A long time ago I decided that I can't keep saying "I'm not a web developer. I'm not a UI designer. I'm not an art director." Because I'm now a lone developer, I have to be all of those things. I do them with varying levels of ability, but I do them.
     
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  10. Snorkack Arcane Patron

    Snorkack
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Those gifs are really beautiful and this mindset of yours deserves some F.
     
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  11. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
    Joined:
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    1.) I hit the ESC button and was very surprised that it quits the program automatically. I think most gamers nowadays expect it to go a menu that preceeds leaving the game.
    2.) The idea of walking into NPCs to talk to them seems weird as hell to me. But it's even weirder to have to end the conversation by walking away. Getting close to them and clicking on them seems more natural. As well as a "Ok that's all, thanks" kind of option that ends dialogue.
    3.) Speaking of dialogue, I found it awkward that it's navigated via mouse only. I kept wanting to hit enter to move the dialogue along.
    4.) Some weird collision bugs I'm encountering. Sometimes I'm able to turn a corner and sometimes I'm not. See image attached. The screenshot shows me not able to walk forward although it clearly has space. If I back up and approach it from a slightly different angle I'm able to walk through the blocked area just fine. It's weird.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    Man I gotta say I am impressed. Looking really really good there Nathan. Don't feel hesitant to throw in some flowers or colorful mushrooms here and there. Maybe try experimenting a bit and see what look you can generate? For example:

    Mushrooms and flowers by the bridge add to color variety. Also, notice the stone is not just gray but has a hint of a purple hue to it. Adds to the color palette in general. Finally, notice that even though the houses are basically the same color as the one in your image, it has flecks of color here and there to help break up that brown, grey, green look.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]



    Another example of use of color here. Note the use of colored flowers here as well as colors in some items that might not need it from a realistic standpoint, but definitely adds to the atmosphere. For example, the red awnings or the bluish flint of the stone steps to the right side of the picture. Another common trope in bigger JRPG towns, not small ones, is the use of colored banners to help add color or add color cohesion. In the case below you have red awnings as well as red banners. Finally, maybe try pushing some of the brighter green colors for your trees? Nothing too crazy, but enough to give it a more JRPG feel? Can't hurt to experiment no?

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]



    Anyhow, thought I'd post some more examples for inspiration. But yeah man, I am impressed. Keep up the good work!

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Anyhow, I'd say the hardest thing about art is picking a look and staying consistent in terms of how bright/washed out/colorful you want to look without making everything look the same. It's a hard job, but keep at it man!
     
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  13. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
    Joined:
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    Thanks Mustawd! And thanks especially for looking up some examples for me. Yeah, I guess now that I more or less have the basic look together, I need to make little touch-ups to really make it something beautiful. I have some mushroom and flower meshes, but I didn't put any in that scene. I should try that out. I have some banners that I was only thinking of using for dynamic waypoints, but I could definitely make some variations and put them to use as static decorations.

    I've found that attractive scenes filled with plants and color are not random. Things get bunched together, often in corners, with the tallest thing in the middle. I don't know of any way to do that with the UE3 foliage tool. Even for my trees above, I painted one kind of tree at a time, in bunches. For smaller meshes, like mushrooms, grass, flowers, and ferns, I think I might have to arrange the clusters myself.
     
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  14. DavidBVal 4 Dimension Games Patron Developer

    DavidBVal
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Woah, I leave this thread unwatched for a couple months and so many interestingg projects come out... Nathaniel3W that's impressive, but kudos to imajia , Agesilaus and barker_s
     
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  15. StaticSpine Arcane Patron

    StaticSpine
    Joined:
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    I'm involved in a small project now as a writer and I have some difficulties. Maybe someone here can give me advice or just hear me out.

    I came up with a story, made a flowchart structure with all branches and now the story is complete. I have troubles writing the text itself: sometimes I feel a strong desire to write, so I sit and do so, after couple of hours of writing I feel like I'm devastated and need to recharge. After that I'm not able to write for several days or even weeks.

    Plus I can write a lot of text (I only write about things which are necessary for the story - and most likely the game will be to short even considering it has different branches), which may be a good thing - the text is not bloated, but I'm still worried. I'm not in a hurry since this is a home project and it's progressing rather slowly (but we are pretty serious about finishing it). On the other hand I feel guilty for wasting time.

    Anyone?
     
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  16. DavidBVal 4 Dimension Games Patron Developer

    DavidBVal
    Joined:
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Every person is different regarding creative cycles and habits. I've written a lot so far, and yes, it is an extremely cumbersome task to write long dialogues even when you love to write. I can code all day, but writing is draining. My own way to deal with it is to force myself to sit down and do it a couple hours per day at least, even if I'm just making a draft version that will need to get refined later, usually more than once as you put it in perspective and read it again.

    As for bloating, even if you the writer have doubts about being too long, then the players will likely find it too long. It is your duty to cut everything innecessary in your text, as your players' time is valuable and you shouldn't waste it. Yeah, probably all you are writing is "necessary" in a way, but consider that over certain thresold, people will begin fast-reading or even skipping all the text. It's better that you perform the "surgery" yourself, rather than let the players choose which parts to skip at random. In my experience, the actual writing is a 30% of the task, and then refining and cutting all the excess crap that only you consider beautiful is the 70%.
     
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  17. Agesilaus Antiquity Studio Patron Developer

    Agesilaus
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Codex USB, 2014
    Thanks, the dialogue system is going to be updated, I'm talking to another programmer who is making some suggestions regarding how it works. Right now, though, I can add an option to each dialogue that says "Ok, nice conversation, bye" and closes the window. I don't know why I didn't do that; probably because when I test it I just run from person to person a lot and click through dialogue quickly. Also, you can use the keyboard to skip through, just press spacebar, but I didn't mention that anywhere. I can make it work for the enter key, as well.

    Before compiling the game I implemented new walking code that lets the character go right up against the walls. However, the invisible collision object is a large square that I drag out over areas, so it's very inaccurate. I will have to make more accurate collision objects.

    After getting a lot of other feedback from the shoutbox, I'm going to totally replace the combat system. Maybe some sort of mini chess style thing, and the items can give special abilities. I'm a big fan of AoD, so I'm trying to put in a lot of choice and consequences and make branching plot and questlines, but the combat system will have to be something much different.
     
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  18. ProphetSword Arcane Developer

    ProphetSword
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
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    1,579
    Location:
    Monkey Island
    Just looking for some feedback on the "Wizardry" inspired monochrome CRPG engine that I've thrown together over the past week. Just want to know if it looks like something old-school players would be interested in.

    These screenshots are works in progress. Saving throws and skills show up as "0" or "00%;" because the characters don't have any scores assigned to these fields yet (the screens are actually working as expected and giving the correct numbers...the numbers just happen to be 0). So, I'm not looking for feedback on errors or anything, just about the art direction...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Zep Zepo Titties and Beer Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual

    Zep Zepo
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    /\ Looks nice, man.

    Zep--
     
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  20. Zombra An iron rock in the river of blood and evil Patron

    Zombra
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I like the font, color scheme, and layout. The character portrait looks great. Looks like your menus and use of real estate and hotkeys are well thought out and very playable. The "wireframe" dungeon looks too boring for me. If there is a lot more art, I would be visually stimulated enough to stay interested. If not, I wouldn't get more than a few hours out of this. I'm just not that retro any more.
     
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  21. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

    Jaesun
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    Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    I like this. It also allows you a better control on consistent art direction and feel (being monochrome). Very smart.
     
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  22. gaussgunner Arcane

    gaussgunner
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    Sounds like the flowchart structure is stifling your creativity, for one thing. Don't try to write the final text in one pass. I mean, sure, sometimes I know exactly what I want and I write it and I'm done. Otherwise I just write whatever I can think of, I don't worry about structure or consistency or anything. I'll shift between dialogue and narrative, past and present tense, whatever. Edit or rewrite it later.

    You should hurry. Try to trick yourself into meeting rush deadlines, like a professional writer chasing his next paycheck. If that fails, try to squeeze in an hour of writing before you leave for work or appointments or anything where you have to leave the house by a certain time.
     
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  23. Excidium II Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
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    Anybody who played Grimwah probably jizzed looking at that UI.
     
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  24. Merlkir Arcane Developer

    Merlkir
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    Yeah, love the portrait and the limited palette, but the wireframe environments might be too oldschool for me.
     
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  25. ProphetSword Arcane Developer

    ProphetSword
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    Monkey Island
    Thanks for the feedback on the walls. Found it helpful.

    Since I had already begun creating "Gold-Box" style walls for my other project, converting them to the same palette was simple enough. Does something like this seem better?

    [​IMG]
     
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