shawn's blog

A New Project Approaches!

Posted in Other by Shawn on March 31, 2011

First things things: I need to worry about not getting in over my head.

That being said, now that I’m actually creating things, there’s this new idea for a project spawned from actually playing video games, something that I need to remember to do every so often. Right now, I’m not going to spew out too many details. However, as of now, things are planned to be difficult. They’ll probably be difficult for me, but I do plan to have things difficult for the player as well. Not complicated. Just difficult.

Right now, the plan is to have another 2D project. The reason for this is because, well, if I tried to go out to make a 3D project, things may get very complicated. Especially with what the project entails. Also, there’s a lot of room for cool design concepts, both artistically and gameplay wise. Oh, did I say the game was a semi-puzzle game? Well, it is. Now, while drawing/writing/dreaming about this, the idea grew much more complex than it should have in its infancy, probably a character flaw of mine. I should probably take my time with the development of this one. Although, I guess I also need to follow some words of others, which is to get a playable version as soon as possible.

I’ll try to strike a balance of some kind.

The last two days have actually been much slower than I would have liked them to be. The problem is that a machine of mine experienced some technical difficulties, ones that I’m actually still recovering from. Unfortunately, I let this affect much more than I should have in terms of development. Today, to save time, I mass pushed a ton of files via git. Probably not the best idea, but I really need to move on. I set a deadline for April 15th, and I still have a bit to do to make the deadline (there’s only so many hours in the day…..).  I still have a lot of sound related things to add to Winshi, which I haven’t seemed to make the time for. That’s why, as I said two post ago, that the A.3 series will probably be mostly dedicated to sound. Let’s hope that I stick to the plan.

As for now, I plan to write down a list of the things that I will need to accomplish to have the base gameplay for the new project. I already create the Project in Redmine, now it just needs to be populated with issues. I’m excited all over again….

…but that’s it for now.

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More Versions!

Posted in Other by Shawn on March 30, 2011

Today, I starting thinking of a version Roadmap for Winshi. How many versions do I want to have before I actually finish the product? Well, not too many. But, it’s something that I will need to think about. If I have a never ending developmental scheme, then I may never be able to actually complete this project. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it should make things more concrete for myself.

Version A.2 of Winshi has a lot of substantial upgrades from the A.1 series. I hope to continue this with the A.3 series. The A.3 series has too main topics that needs to be worked on; story tools and sounds. Sound effects should make the game more ‘gamey’. This means recording tons of sounds, and seeing what I can use. Story tools is creating the medium that will have the story. This Version A.2 isn’t done yet, but it’s nice to know what I want to work on for the next iteration. If all goes well, the A.3 series should be the final A version of Winshi! Then I move on to the B series, where I actually build the final product. Exciting!

Well, these are my plans. I just need to stick to them. But that’s it for now.

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Time Management (100 Hours)

Posted in Other by Shawn on March 28, 2011

Well, according to my project management thing, I’ve recently logged just over 100 hours (100.8) on my project. At this point, I do not know whether to consider this good/bad/somewhere in between. 100 hours may be a long time in terms of a different project. Being that this is the first time that I’m trying to build a project such as this, I can’t say anything along the lines of “Wow, look at all this progress in such little time”, or “I could have built so much more! Why am I slacking?” These 100.8 hours have been logged since February 6th 2011, and I also need to take into consideration multiple factors that can easily alter how much progress I’ve made.

I neglected to install an automatic timer for Redmine, and have been logging time manually. This means that there are probably many undocumented hours all throughout this project. This happened more so in the beginning of developing & designing, as I was not really used to logging time for a project. However, I’ve gotten much better. Now there are less holes; probably still more than I would like. A ‘stopwatch’ like timer plugin could be installed, but I just haven’t gotten around to it, nor haven’t found it of the utmost importance to really install. It would mostly be a distraction from getting my project done, something I want to minimize. Even installing this was more of a hassle than it should have been. If I were for a company, then it would be more important, knowing approximately how much time I spent on a certain task is useful, as it allows me to go back and see if I spent a lot of time on a particular area, and possibly avoid taking the wrong steps in the future.

Probably the other biggest factor in lost time are the various cleaning/optimization that I have been doing. There hasn’t been a task for everything I have done, mostly because there are many things I think of off the cuff. “Hey, I wonder if this will work? Oh it does. Let’s do that here and here and here…..”. This has happened many times, which has led to countless minutes/hours/seconds lost to the world. I have even included a general task (optimization of code or something like that) where I would include all of my general cleanings and updates. Unfortunately, I get so wrapped up in what I am doing that the task has been neglected. This I haven’t gotten better with.

Well, that’s time that I could have logged but didn’t. I’m probably missing a few hours, give or take. Now, This time evaluation would not be complete if I didn’t think about other areas where time could have been gained or lost. For example, while I don’t have much of a ‘life’, I do have a day job. This means that there is a lot of time spent doing other things, instead of programming, designing, etc. I also spend about an hour commuting to and from work Monday – Friday. I have worked on the bus, but the ride has proven plenty unstable to do some serious programming. I actually once overwrote an entire piece of code, and had to rebuild it due to a wonderful set of potholes. So work on the bus ride has been confined to updating and maintaining documentation within Redmine. This is good from an organizational stand point, but the I don’t organize ideas/thoughts everyday. This means that there is about 8-10 hours a day where I don’t get to spend on my project.

And of course, there’s the ‘everyday’ activities that I guess I have to do. Like the cooking and cleaning and eating. Oh and sleep. I usually wait until my body just stops to actually fall asleep.

Maybe it’s impressive that I’ve worked 100 hours. Maybe it’s not a lot at all. I still feel like that I have not put as much time as I want. Which I guess is good, because it shows my desire to work? Who knows. Thus ends this 100 hour evaluation. I hope by the next 100 hours, I have a lot more done.

So, that’s it for now.

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Protection

Posted in Other by Shawn on March 24, 2011

I believe (I hope so) that I have mentioned Protection levels making their way to the next build of Winshi. These levels are probably harder than the other levels, due to the player needing to worry about some other floating block that wanders about. Protection levels are not without their benefits though! There are a few of these levels that are crucial to a player’s development! Within a few protection levels, there will be special assets you will need to protect. Specifically these guys…..

Did someone call...err....forget it.......

 

As you can see, these doctors  actually have titles! Which means that protecting a specific doctor will enable the player to unlock specific powerups throughout the game. Using these powerups should assist players having a tough time with some levels.

On the back end, I still need to balance the powerups and determine what percentage of an increase they provide to players (per upgrade). For example, let us say that the health powerup restores 5% of health. It may seem simple, but a decent amount of though needs to go into whether I want the Level 2 of the health powerup to restore 10% of health or 15% of health, as this sets the precedent for future upgrades.

Musically speaking, I sill need to create a few new tunes. My roadmap doesn’t have a new battle theme, but that will probably change, as keeping a consistent number of issues I have to deal with isn’t that easy. Often, many task change from one primary task to many subtask. And let’s not forget the bugs >:| While they can be annoying, they teach me a few things. Such as, I need to write more documentation. Or that bugs are annoying.

Speaking of documentation, I should start writing more, as there are tools that I forget about due to the fact that I haven’t visited them in quite some time. But that will probably be a future post, as I feel that I have digressed too much already!

So, that’s it for now.

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Player Control and Upgrades

Posted in Other by Shawn on March 22, 2011

One thing that I have always liked in games is the ability to control my character. This means more than just the “When I say move, you move”, but rather “I wish I could focus on building up my character’s speed rather than their ability to eat fried goods”. Because of that, I decided to try and add levels of player control to Winshi. This isn’t an advertisement (“Now featuring: Tons of player control!”). Rather, this is me worrying about how to manage these stats.

I first started with the general player statistics, such as their defense, arm strength, leg strength, arm attack speed, and leg attack speed. In Winshi v.A.1 thru v.A.1.4.5, there have been only three levels for each of these. In the final version of the game, which will also be in the next build, there will be eight levels for each stat. The character will be able to become pretty strong, but they’ll need to earn it. The problem is, how hard do I want the player to work? I would rather not have them work for 50 hours and only be able to raise one stat by 5 points. Rather, things need to be balanced. So, what is rewarding? Well, to figure this out, I will need to frequently test the game (Aw, playing games?  >:D). Well, I shouldn’t joke. I hear that being an actual game tester isn’t as fun as it may seem.

Regardless, there is a lot of work that needs to be done, something I blogged about in the past. But now, we’re going to step things up a bit! We’re adding powerups for the main player! These are:

  • Power – Increases overall strength
  • Speed – Increases movement speed, arm/leg attack speed
  • Defense – Increases Defense
  • Health – Restores Health
  • Rage -Increases Power, Speed, and Defense all for a price(a certain percentage of your health)

The player will be able to use the stat as long as they have them in their inventory; they’re also purchasable from the exp page. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to just spam these powerups and destroy your headbandless foes. So, you can only use one powerup at a time, and it last for ‘x’ amount of seconds. Furthermore, there is a cooldown time after using a specific powerup. In terms of upgrading, each powerup is upgradeable and has three components. Level, span, and cooldown. Upgrading level provides you with a greater amount of points when you use a powerup, span increases the amount of time a powerup is active, and cooldown decreases the wait time after you use a powerup.

This sounds fun for a player, but for me, well, there needs to be a lot of work in balancing this. I even made a fun little outline detailing what I need to track:

  • Health
    • Level – Starts at 10
      • level 1: +5 = 15; cost:
      • level 2: +3.5 = 18.5; cost:
      • level 3: +2.5 = 21.0; cost:
      • level 4: +3.5 = 24.5; cost:
      • level 5: +5.5 = 30.0; cost:
    • Cooldown
      • One:
      • Two:
      • Three:
      • Four:
      • Five:
  • Power
    • Level – Starts at ‘x’
      • level 1: cost:
      • level 2: cost:
      • level 3: cost:
      • level 4: cost:
      • level 5: cost:
    • Span
      • One: cost:
      • Two: cost:
      • Three: cost:
      • Four: cost:
      • Five: cost:
    • Cooldown
      • One: cost:
      • Two: cost:
      • Three: cost:
      • Four: cost:
      • Five: cost:
  • Looks wonderful! This doesn’t include speed, defense and the rage powerup either, which means that there is a lot more work to be done. If I had a full day to dedicate to this, then I probably would make significant progress at the end of such. Unfortunately, this is not the case at this moment in time. No worries though! Maybe this means that moving slower will allow me to think about details for longer, meaning less holes?

    One can only hope. That’s it for now. This bus isn’t really the easiest place to type.

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    Art(or lack thereof)

    Posted in Other by Shawn on March 21, 2011

    Well, one goal of Winshi is to actually finish something. Which means that I don’t really have time to worry about “Oh no, I won’t be able to actually have amazing game art!”. This lead to this:

     

    The Main Character

     

    Impressive? Well, not really. But it’s fun, which is important. Plus, it adds a bit of character( haha?) to the game, something that has been lacking. The enemy art has been added as well. They have been made in the same style as the main player. The only thing that their lacking is some hair. Not really important, in my opinion. Why should bad guys have hair?

     

    The Bad Guys

     

    They don’t look to happy. Well, why should they? They don’t have cool hair like the main character. More importantly, they don’t have a cool headband.

     

    They want the headband

    Actually, that headband is making me jealous :/ That blue hair also. Now I feel a bit inferior to a blocky character who is ten times simpler than me. I don’t know how I should feel about that.

    That’s it for now. Before I get too mad/depressed.

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    Versions

    Posted in Other by Shawn on March 18, 2011

    Version A.2 is in progress, and my roadmap is getting smaller, as I am completing more and more task. I wanted to take a moment and talk about how versions of being handled.

    In a nutshell, randomly.

    I always forgot/don’t bother to/don’t worry about keeping an update about how many changes that I am making to a code. I could probably keep track, as I’m using git, but, as I’m working independently, this may not be that big of a concern. I was planning on not releasing anything between Version A.1 and Version A.2, but that failed, as I had to release Version A.1.1, due to some bugs that caused a player the inability of moving on to a new level :/

    I then released Version A.1.4.5. This wasn’t really a scheduled release. There were many behind the scene changes, as well as some noticeable changes. These big changes were being saved until the version A.2 build, but I also wanted to see if I could upload the project online. I was successful, and figured, I might as well let people play it! I was planning on saving the weather effects(rain, lighting), the night level w/ stars, and the deadly enemy for version A.2. However, I can still play with these existing features. For example, I need to edit the weather effects to automatically start after a certain period of time in a level. You can start in a sunny level and finish in a rainy one!

    Version A.2 should still have some pretty interesting new features. Like a new enemy feature! They sparkle.

    Seriously they do.

    But it’s not just for fun. The player will not be left behind though. They should be able to do some fun new tricks as well. Interested? Well, I’ll provide more details closer to vA.2’s release date.

    That’s it for now….

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