Author Topic: 4DRL Success: Chronophase  (Read 11019 times)

Nolithius

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4DRL Success: Chronophase
« on: October 27, 2010, 03:14:29 AM »
Hello everyone!

Fresh out of the oven: Chronophase! A space-shooter-inspired 4DRL, with turn-based, tile-based movement and combat, facing, pew-pew-type weapons, nebulae, and more!

Blog post here:
http://www.nolithius.com/game-development/4drl-success-chronophase

Play it directly in the browser here:
http://www.nolithius.com/chronophase

Enjoy!

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla
http://www.nolithius.com

Fenrir

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 02:56:22 PM »
I have a debug version of Adobe Flash player installed in the event I ever start developing Flash games, and it spat this message out at me once:

Quote
TypeError: Error #1009: Cannot access a property or method of a null object reference.
   at com.nolithius.chronophase.turns::TurnManager/resolveTurns()
   at com.nolithius.chronophase::Chronophase/handleKeyDown()
You might want to wait until someone confirms this, as I don't know if the problem is my version of Flash player. Doesn't sound like that would be the problem, but it's not like I would know.

I also had some enemies that didn't move or fire down toward the bottom-right, some missiles hung in the air at the game's edge (but most of them didn't), and this isn't a roguelike. It's good for something that was made in four days, but it's missing the "RL" part of "4DRL". That is not necessarily a bad thing, of course.

Nolithius

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 05:59:48 PM »
I encountered that nasty bug but was unable to track it down before release. It is caused by an element being set to null within the TurnManager (the priority queue handler that handles turn order for everything in the gameworld: the player, enemies, projectiles, trail effects, explosion effects, etc.). I put several hours into debugging that issue, with no luck, and had to make the tough call to skip it.

Enemies stopping is another known issue, they are somehow removed from the TurnManager and therefore are not allowed to act. Another annoying bug that had to be skipped.

As far as Chronophase not being a roguelike, I checked some roguelike definitions out of curiosity, and it fits:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roguelike
http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=Roguelike
http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=Berlin_Interpretation

Moreso, it feels like a roguelike. If it helps, imagine the ships as elves, the ion shots as arrows, and the space background as an open field ;)

Cheers!

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla
http://www.nolithius.com

Fenrir

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 06:26:55 PM »
Not like it matters much. Good games are good games whether they're roguelikes or not, and I figure "roguelikeness" is a sliding scale rather than a set of hard rules.

Either way, good job, and apologies for being a little nitpicky about semantics.

scaught

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2010, 01:13:46 AM »
As far as Chronophase not being a roguelike, I checked some roguelike definitions out of curiosity, and it fits:
It fits what exactly?  Just being turn-based does not make a game a Roguelike, just as "the ability to swim" does not make something a fish.

Perhaps I'm missing something but this is just a turn-based shoot-em-up.  Even if it was an elf done with ASCII art it still wouldn't even have a passing resemblance to Rogue.  There is no depth.  There is no variant gameplay.  You have effectively made a turn-based Space Invaders.

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A BAD THING.  A turn-based shooter is an interesting idea an should be expanded upon.

So why the attachment to the roguelike label in the first place?  Surely you can't be so desperate for validation that you need to glom onto a random community?  Or if the validation IS needed, surely there's a more relevant community?  Or maybe the goal for the game is to incorporate more roguelike qualities eventually?

Lose the label -- for the sake of your game and for the sake of actual roguelikes.  The world will be a better place. :)

(and before someone chimes in with "who made you sheriff of Rogueliketown"...no-one.  I am, however, someone who thinks language is large enough to have descriptors for everything and that unnecessary sharing of these descriptors is counterproductive.)

corremn

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2010, 10:21:56 AM »
Well he is part of the roguelike community, not trying to attach himself to it.
And if you make a stock standard roguelike game in four days it will be crap, hence the variation in gameplay in the nDRL scene.
nDRL are generally not rogue clones.

The game was too easy btw, but fun for a couple of minutes.
corremn's Roguelikes. To admit defeat is to blaspheme against the Emperor.  Warhammer 40000 the Roguelike

Vanguard

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2010, 11:10:11 AM »
This nitpicking isn't productive.

I thought the game was fun, and the concept could be expanded to make a solid full length game.  One of my favorite parts is how much of a ship can be destroyed without the game considering it to have been destroyed, especially when you have a ship split in two, but both halves are still flying around together.  I also liked how if you fire for multiple consecutive turns it makes a longer solid laser instead of two small ones.  Little touches like that are nice.

I've toyed with the idea of "slow" projectiles that only move a set number of spaces per turn in RLs like this, but ultimately decided that it would generally either be too easy or it'd turn it into a memorization game instead of a tactical game.

Anyway, good job.

scaught

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2010, 05:34:23 PM »
Well he is part of the roguelike community, not trying to attach himself to it.
I said nothing about him being part of a community, it was specifically in reference to the game he made.  If Thomas Biskup went and made a run of the mill FPS would you still call it a roguelike?  

Quote from: corremn
And if you make a stock standard roguelike game in four days it will be crap, hence the variation in gameplay in the nDRL scene.
Hyperbole much?  If someone could legitimately make Rogue in 4 days, I'd tip my hat.

Quote from: corremn
nDRL are generally not rogue clones.
No, but by definition they should be ROGUE LIKE.  As in LIKE ROGUE.  As in having something in common with the things (plural) that make Rogue Rogue.  If you want to make a game in 4 days - great!  Why not call it a 4DIG (4 Day Interesting Game).   Maybe I should make a Rock Band clone in 4 days and call it "Rogue Music" and submit it as a 4DRL!  It's got permadeath!  It's a roguelike!

Quote from: corremn
The game was too easy btw, but fun for a couple of minutes.
With this I agree.  I think there's a lot of potential for a fun game there.

Quote from: Vanguard
This nitpicking isn't productive.
On the contrary.  It's nothing but productive.  Education leads to knowing, and knowing is half the battle.

EDIT: Misquoted due to bad copy/paste

jim

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2010, 09:37:39 PM »
I think people around here generally need to be making fewer sweeping statements about how everything should or should not be, especially when the platform being used to make these (mostly arbitrary and argumentative) statements is the sweat and intellectual effort of hardworking, independent designers. What the developers are doing is more important than all the stuff being said about what they're doing.

I enjoyed the game, btw.

Nolithius

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2010, 12:12:30 AM »
Hi scaught, thanks for your feedback.

Were you able to participate in this 4DRL challenge? I ask because it is worth pointing out, as jim alluded to, that there is a marked difference between sitting back/armchair designing/backseat driving/recklessly criticizing vs. understanding firsthand the realities of participating in a challenge.

If you were unable to participate, I strongly suggest that you do so the next time around. It is a humbling experience and will break down many of your assumptions about game design, game development, the essence of a roguelike, and what degree of fun, completion, or depth can be achieved within 4 days.

I made a choice for this challenge to stay away from cloning Rogue. As corremn mentioned, I did not feel that four days was sufficient to make a stock standard roguelike that was better than forgettable. There also was not any standard roguelike feature/trope that I wanted to put out in a smaller format that I would not rather spend the time working into my larger-format roguelike Dance of Death.

Few, if any of the 4DRL participants have either depth or variant gameplay. The spirit if a 4DRL challenge is not to put together a complex, ever-changing epic game. 4 days is enough to tweak an engine, set up some basic rules and controls, and provide some mild variation where possible. And if you are working with any new techniques you had not tackled before, like facing, or non-rectangular multiple-tile characters that rotate and precisely collide with projectiles, or turn-based missile trail effects, or a stitched/continuous world: those will take the bulk of the already tight timeline. Add to that playtesting, bug fixing, and polishing up for release.

Best of luck!

Regards,

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla
http://www.nolithius.com

scaught

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2010, 08:11:21 AM »
Hi Nolithius, thanks for taking the time to read my criticisms and to respond.

Were you able to participate in this 4DRL challenge? I ask because it is worth pointing out, as jim alluded to, that there is a marked difference between sitting back/armchair designing/backseat driving/recklessly criticizing vs. understanding firsthand the realities of participating in a challenge.
(Un?)Fortunately, I am gainfully employed as a game programmer (one whose game recently shipped, no less) and it takes up the bulk of my time.  The spare programming cycles I do end up with all go towards a game that won't be n-Day.  I can assure you, however, that my criticisms were very pointed and directed - a fact apparently lost on the people 'rising to your defense' - and it's this defense I find both amusing and befuddling.  It's as if by my questioning the roguelikeness of your game I somehow deemed it...inferior?  Case and point:
Quote from: jim
What the developers are doing is more important than all the stuff being said about what they're doing.
...I mean really?  Nomenclature be damned, it's hard work?

Quote from: Nolithius
If you were unable to participate, I strongly suggest that you do so the next time around. It is a humbling experience and will break down many of your assumptions about game design, game development, the essence of a roguelike, and what degree of fun, completion, or depth can be achieved within 4 days.
As true as that all may be, it is completely irrelevant to my criticism.  If I set out to build a house-like structure in 4 days, and I end up with a stake of wood in some concrete, do I honestly have the right to call it house-like?  I mean, it might be the coolest wood statue around, but it's still not like a house.  (No, I don't know why I feel compelled to keep writing these analogies.  I'm obviously not getting through the emotional baggage people are throwing in the way...)

Quote from: Nolithius
I made a choice for this challenge to stay away from cloning Rogue. As corremn mentioned, I did not feel that four days was sufficient to make a stock standard roguelike that was better than forgettable. There also was not any standard roguelike feature/trope that I wanted to put out in a smaller format that I would not rather spend the time working into my larger-format roguelike Dance of Death.
There's a loaded question I could be baited into asking about nDRLs based on this paragraph (and bits of others), but it's not worth being answered.

Quote from: Nolithius
Few, if any of the 4DRL participants have either depth or variant gameplay. The spirit if a 4DRL challenge is not to put together a complex, ever-changing epic game. 4 days is enough to tweak an engine, set up some basic rules and controls, and provide some mild variation where possible. And if you are working with any new techniques you had not tackled before, like facing, or non-rectangular multiple-tile characters that rotate and precisely collide with projectiles, or turn-based missile trail effects, or a stitched/continuous world: those will take the bulk of the already tight timeline. Add to that playtesting, bug fixing, and polishing up for release.
So why call it a roguelike?  THIS is what I was getting at.  THIS is ALL I was getting at.  You're attached to the concept.  Fine.  You're exploring potential for future (actual) roguelike work.  Super.  The game you created is fun.  Excellent!  So why burden it with the roguelike epitaph?  Why broadcast to everyone "hey, come play my game even thought it's not what I'm telling you it is".  Why set a level of expectation, only to have that expectation not met?  Why not just write "inspired by roguelikes" or "in the mode of a roguelike" or something that gives you that linguistic out that would make my single, pointed criticism never possible?

One last attempt at a thought experiment: What if you changed your title screen to read "Chronophase: A 4 Day Star Trek Game" but left the rest as is?  Does that illustrate my point any better?

Continued success,
-scott

jim

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2010, 01:30:46 PM »
This guy's beard must be AMAZING.

Fenrir

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2010, 12:24:23 AM »
Fenrir wrinkles his nose in disgust.
Scaught is right.

Were you able to participate in this 4DRL challenge? I ask because it is worth pointing out, as jim alluded to, that there is a marked difference between sitting back/armchair designing/backseat driving/recklessly criticizing vs. understanding firsthand the realities of participating in a challenge.

If you were unable to participate, I strongly suggest that you do so the next time around. It is a humbling experience and will break down many of your assumptions about game design, game development, the essence of a roguelike, and what degree of fun, completion, or depth can be achieved within 4 days.
I retracted my statement earlier because I just didn't feel like bothering getting people pissed at me over this, but I can't let this go by without pointing out how ridiculous this reasoning is. You don't need to be a mechanic to know that a sewing machine isn't an automobile. "Well, if you imagine if it was bigger and had wheels..." "Have you ever tried making an automobile in four days?" Not gonna fly.

You participated in the challenge and succeeded in making a little game in four days that would probably take me months. Hats off to you, big guy, but don't come around here telling us that apples are oranges and expect us to just smile and nod.

Nolithius

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2010, 01:44:04 AM »
scaught, Chronophase is closer to Rogue than a stake is to a house.

Fenrir, apples are orangelike.

Please realize that, as members of this community, you have a responsibility to not be abrasive and disrespectful to others.

I am truly saddened by the pedantry and poignancy of this conversation.

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla
http://www.nolithius.com

Hi

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Re: 4DRL Success: Chronophase
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2010, 05:10:39 AM »
scaught, Chronophase is closer to Rogue than a stake is to a house.

Fenrir, apples are orangelike.

Please realize that, as members of this community, you have a responsibility to not be abrasive and disrespectful to others.

I am truly saddened by the pedantry and poignancy of this conversation.

Ebyan "Nolithius" Alvarez-Buylla
http://www.nolithius.com
not much to add, but it took me a few readings to see the not in that sentence.