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Messages - Gix

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I find this kind of funny, because if there is something we roguelike players don't care it's pretty screenshots from a graphical engine. But I hope the game will be nice as well. If we get an actually good role-playing game with graphics like this I'm not against it at all.
It's less about visual quality and more about what's going on under the hood to get it running; it just so happens that we're already using a good engine to make it look pretty.

I hope that we can make a good game out of it, too.  What we sacrifice by using a first-person view and a quasi-real-time game, we hope to make up for it in the dialogue and multi-player systems.  There was a focus on visuals for a long time because, like any developer, we needed to figure out how we were going to make the computer build and draw the environments/dungeons; similar to how one would need to figure out how to compute/display tiles and line-of-sight on a more traditional rogue-like.

Ironically, I think the biggest obstacle we face while making a game with visual fidelity a this level is that, something as simple as potion colours becomes hard to make distinct from one another.  By focusing on visuals, you make a statement of "show, don't tell" so using text kind of defeats the purpose.  16 colours reads really well on screen, but any more than that confuses the player.  So, right now, we're being really choosy on what effects each potion should have... but I kind of eventually want to expand the list of potions available.

Development Process & non-technical / Re: Dungeon generator protoype
« on: April 20, 2017, 04:45:43 AM »
Here's an update on the project.  This time we've stepped away from tiles and are using voxels for the terrain and have been working on exterior scenes.  Here are the results:

I'd love to show you some of the new caves environments to compare it with the original screenshots but I've yet to reintroduce some of the elements that made the caves interesting since we reworked on the tech.  It'll most likely take another month or so to get them back up to snuff.

I found that the best method (at least for me) to solving problems wasn't so much taking a step back and letting it "simmer" but it was to actually attempt to explain your problem(s) to a friend.  Whenever or not he/she had programming experience is irrelevant; the exercise is to get your brain to re-structure the logic.

What would happen most of the time is that I'd stop talking mid-sentence because I'd already figured out the solution.  Of course, now a lot of my friends think I'm crazy.

But it works (for me).

Development Process & non-technical / Re: Dungeon generator protoype
« on: January 12, 2015, 01:05:19 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions; it's greatly appreciated.  This is one of the many aspects of game design that requires a lot of iteration and testing so, at this point, no one really knows how it's going to end up being.

Adaptive real-time (or a variant of) will most likely be the solution.

PS: I would advise against trying to find a 'one size fits all' speed beyond a general beginner default speed.  Not only do people vary widely in their perception of time and their reflexes, but also as a player learns the game they will generally be more and more capable (and probably desiring) of playing at a faster pace.
For the time being, keeping the amount of options as lean as possible is much more simpler to test to get an idea of where we're going.  We're definitely looking at player options in the future, though, it's a PC game after all.

Development Process & non-technical / Re: Dungeon generator protoype
« on: December 29, 2014, 10:23:17 PM »
It's actually not that bad.  While it may not be a roguelike, Legend of Grimrock is nicely done.

We opted for real-time for numerous reasons

I hope you avoid Legend of Grimrock's "hit->strafe->turn to face previous tile->wait for monster to follow->repeat" combat exploitability.
Yeah no kidding.  I was merely pointing out LoG's take on the first-person view.

Right now, everything that moves in the game is clocked at the same rhythm.  Like, every X seconds, everything moves by Y squares; Y being that particular entity's speed value.  It's clunky but serviceable until we figure out how fast/slow things should be moving.

Development Process & non-technical / Re: Dungeon generator protoype
« on: December 29, 2014, 07:04:36 PM »
I really can't imagine that turn based gameplay is going to work very well in a first person roguelike
It's actually not that bad.  While it may not be a roguelike, Legend of Grimrock is nicely done.  Granted, the viewport is fixed like the old Wizardry games but it works.

We opted for real-time for numerous reasons; one of which is the opportunity to pull off multi-player.  Being able to delve into a inhospitable/harsh environment with a friend and go against the odds is a concept I find very appealing.

It looks very interesting.
I got some good ideas for my own project just by looking at the screenshots.

The map layout is good, good connectivity and the multi level sections are great.
I like the depth of field filter, though I hope it doesn't interfere with gameplay. Sometimes these kind of visual enhancements look fine for showcasing level design but don't work once you get in to gameplay.
I noticed a bit of repetition of elements in some of the smaller corridors, especially picture number 3. Do you have a way of dealing with that?

When are you thinking of making a gameplay demo? I'd suggest making that a priority. Even a reduced function demo where you run around and engage in a little combat with some simple monsters will get people to engage with the game and give you some useful feedback.
We're playing around with different builds that have different levels of depth of field values and various other things like Bloom.  There's currently a toggle for these effects and, while I'm trying to find a good setup, I like the idea of having and "advanced visual settings" category to calibrate to everyone's liking.

The repetition you see (or noted in picture #3) is mainly an issue with our current shufflebag algorithm that (should) prevent the same random values from reoccurring too frequently.  We're confident that, once that's rectified, that a lot of the repetition will be subdued if not eliminated.  My main art guy is also keeping a close eye on the art (adjusting the textures and models) while I'm focusing on bigger-picture aspects of the development at the moment.

The combat prototype is nowhere near presentable at the moment and our main concern for it is the pacing.  It's one of those aspects that we believe we need to be satisfied with before looking for feedback from outside sources.   With that said, I expect our "playable" demo that showcases the dungeon generator to be available sometime in the spring.  It might be boring to just look around but we figured it might be interesting to see how the environment plays out (with traps and such) before introducing monsters.

We're actually putting a lot of thought into keeping that feeling without using grids or turn-based game-play.

A common mistake when trying to do this is to simply make a game real-time but very slow-paced, which I think rather misses the point.  Turn-based roguelikes allow you to take half an hour deliberating per turn if you like, or you can keep hitting the keys and be the other side of the level in a couple of seconds - they are as slow- or as fast-paced as you want them to be at that moment in time.  Roguelikes can be killed stone-dead by an enforced slow pace (for example, those with too-slow animations).

The turn-based gameplay is one of the aspects of the genre that I love and I also agree on the pitfalls of real-time... it's probably why our combat prototype hasn't come along as far as the dungeon generator.  Structurally and visually we know how we want it to look like but, for the combat, we only have an idea of how we want to feel.

Right now, what we've got is what I've come to call a clock-based system.  Every X moments, entities are synced and moved and their motions take (currently) X amount of time to complete so that they don't look like they're waiting for those moments (to avoid that constant stop-n-go feel).  X is whatever seconds we're playing around with at the time.  It's basically "1-2-3" ballroom dancing and/or how one reads sheets of music.  That allows us to quickly adjust combat speed to figure out what's comfortable and fun.  From a player perspective, you feel a bit detached (as some actions aren't instant) so we know that's not the answer...  or (at least) that there's more to it than that.

We've even played with the idea of stopping the clock whenever you let go of the controls.  These systems are still up for debate internally and I'd be curious to hear your feedback once we got something that we're satisfied with.

To explain an idiosyncrasy of this forum: Krice is perpetually making posts, whatever the topic may be, about how his never-seen-but-always-talked-about twenty-year project is going to do everything much better than everything else that has ever been made.  In retaliation, Mushroom Patch has started making parody posts in the same style.  Taking anything either one of them says seriously is a waste of time.
Noted.  Thanks.

Development Process & non-technical / Re: Dungeon generator protoype
« on: December 20, 2014, 03:13:36 AM »
For now, I don't think there's much point in using 3D graphics, but at some future date when the technology I describe is commonplace and the world is ready, then perhaps I will realize my true vision of MPS (to the rapturous praise of all).
What you're describing is stereoscopy.  As to whenever or not there's a point in using a 3D engine; it's just another tool of expression like text, ASCII graphics and sprites.  I'm a believer of "show, don't tell" so my team and I are always looking at ways to increase visual fidelity... not to mention that the entire team (as we are now) knows how to do 3D video game art.

Development Process & non-technical / Re: Dungeon generator protoype
« on: December 19, 2014, 03:53:21 PM »
Given its presentation, the purists might not call this a rogue-like

Oh, why not? Everything is a roguelike now :).
It's a pet-peeve of mine when people mislabel things; particularly in the context of video games.  I find that RPGs and rogue-likes seem to have suffered the most in this regard where:
- If you kill things and gain character levels, it's considered to be an RPG  ::)
- If it's got permanent death and a random playing area, it's a rogue-like  :'(

I believe that the people who use these skin-deep definitions to describe the genre kind of miss the point.  They have every right to do so and (technically speaking) they're not wrong.  They're true but inaccurate.  I just (strongly) feel it's a disservice.

On the other side of the coin, Rogue-likes have often been described as top-down grid-turn-based games and they kind of need to be for them to have that strategic "last turn might be your last" appeal...  which I agree and is why I put the disclaimer.  We're actually putting a lot of thought into keeping that feeling without using grids or turn-based game-play.

Funny, it looks a lot like I've imagined my RL project Kaduria would look if it was 3D. Even this is not a roguelike it's interesting. This kind of 3D procedural generation must be quite complex to code.
It's certainly complicated from a technical and art standpoint.  Because of its perspective, you have to account for performance when rendering a horizon.  On the art side, you have to figure out how to draw the ceiling in interesting ways and do things like procedural lighting.  You have things like light shafts that are dictated by points of interests (treasure chests, boss monsters, etc) which, in turn, influence other aspects of the environment such as flora.

I think the most complicated thing there was to code was the pathing; making sure that the generator knew where the player could and couldn't go in 3D space and build ramps where it needed them.  It's really important for numerous things, like figuring out where the player is most likely to be looking and where to lay traps.

Gix, don't mind the troll. I love the screenies. Anywhere I could find a beta and give you guys some feedback?
The project is in early prototyping phase and we're slowly transitioning to production for a pre-alpha.  I want to at least incorporate traps in the generator before letting anyone delve in because, otherwise, there wouldn't be anything to do.  Monsters can spawn but the AI and animations aren't in yet; we got another prototype for that.

Development Process & non-technical / Re: Dungeon generator protoype
« on: December 19, 2014, 03:30:07 AM »
Looks very nice.  The shafts of light in particular add a lot of atmosphere.  Are the meshes being generated fully procedurally or are they being assembled out of pre-made chunks?
We craft multiple (small) custom-built meshes that are procedurally laid out which are, then, stitched together into larger chunks.  It's an elaborate tile system (in the sense that there can be multiple pieces per tile) that creates each room.  If we were to generate two flat walls, they would look quite different from one another.

We're trying to push for as much procedurally generated content as possible.

Development Process & non-technical / Re: Dungeon generator protoype
« on: December 18, 2014, 09:09:02 PM »
This is being accomplished with the Unity engine and, while it's in first-person, we hope that it won't be perceived as a shooter (not that this is what you were implying).

Or goal is to build a rogue-like where you're very much in the shoes of your character while keeping the combat at a much slower pace.

Development Process & non-technical / Dungeon generator protoype
« on: December 18, 2014, 04:14:50 PM »

Given its presentation, the purists might not call this a rogue-like but my team and I are working on an ambitious first-person rogue-like.

After a year of development, the dungeon generator is starting to take shape.  Internally, we're very excited so I figured we'd share.  Here's what we've got so far:

Development Process & non-technical / Re: Roguetemple Spotlight Submissions
« on: December 04, 2014, 09:56:11 PM »
What "state of completion" are you looking for for these kind of submissions?

My project is in really early development and I was planning to show some environments in the first quarter of 2015 but I do have some screenshots.

I've been following the Temple for a while and I'd be cool to see/talk about what the roguelike crowd is expecting out of their games.  From your "Roguelike interpretation" article, my project fails the turn-based and grid feature requires to be a classic roguelike.

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