So I have been on a business trip to Southampton for two days. During what little time I had on the trip and evenings I have been scratching my head over this lighting bug I had with my power ups. Finally figured it out, which is a good thing because without the light they where hard to see. : )
As I got back to develop something new instead of solving bugs the first thing I added was limited ammunition. Ammunition will now deplete quite rapidly so that a lot of turrets (what the power ups give you) won’t immediately make you the winner without any skill. The Cod (the player’s ship) has a higher fire rate that the turrets and will deplete it’s 100 bullets quicker than them. When a power-up is picked the Cod’s ammo is replenished and a new turret with full ammo is added. Old turrets are however not reloaded.
All of this needs to be tested but the idea is that while a player will benefit a lot from finding upgrades, the player can easily lose that advantage by not aiming well. A good player with few turrets might still win by outsmarting the other player (fooling that player to dispense its bullets while avoiding them) and then take down the player with a few but loaded guns. Used up turrets still function as shields, but it gives the possibility to let the player use them up in some offensive move if that is more useful than a passive shield. The game is starting to get some interesting choices. : )
I have continued to work on the lighting and visuals. I feel that I am getting somewhere. : )
There is this thing with the power up lighting which isn’t working correctly though, it’s bugging me. I feel the sweet taste of progress though.
So I have gotten even further in getting local multiplayer with game pads to work. Now it’s really almost working, however one controller seem to spaz out a little when there are three other players doing stuff. The problem is basically that there is some sort of faulty reading of the data stream coming from the controllers causing the sign for a left analogue stick of one controller to leak over to the next one.
This means that the problem only occurs when the sticks are pushed to their max values (because that’s where it leaks over) which is, sadly, the common case. Therefor, I have to do a weird thing with checking whether the the stick was ever pushed in one direction or not, rather than reading the actual values. However, it’s working good enough for me now to focus a little bit on graphics, so I started adding some lighting effect. It’s important to remember to sometimes work on presentation during development, because many user simply can’t avoid caring a lot about this.
I have also been testing these versions on game evenings which have been held on my old university which I have been invited to lend the new Oculus. Me and a friend also founded the gaming association which is arranging these evenings some years ago. : )
I have a new favorite gaming setup. It’s four 360 controllers, a PC receiver and a laptop. I will not get into detail about how much that setup kicks any modern console’s butt, but instead update on the development of my local multiplayer shooter.
I have a name for it now, it’s Stricod (feels retro like “Galaga”, contains cool word like “strike”, doesn’t mean anything and opens up for in-game terms to be themed on “cod”, somewhat similar to how fighters are called “zigs” in Zero Wing). I have, after a lot of tweaking, almost got it working with four 360 controllers for multi coop. However, the team behind Fusion 2.5 (Clickteam) are not super good and have somehow failed to ship the environment with a working plugin for all kinds of gamepads, including 360 ones. I have almost found a good workaround though. :)
So I attended this game jam called No more Sweden this year and worked on a board game with a friend. However, we often where at the site during different hours, causing us to work on our own little project while the other member was away.
My side-project was inspired from the zooming effect I saw on another participant’s (Hempuli, whom I have never met in person before but played his games) old projects and decided to experiment a bit with that since we are using the same tool (Clickteam’s Multimedia Fusion). It turned out to be very easy to implement, making me very happy as I have been missing a way to have a “zoom” effect in my games so much. It also led to the beginning of this little shooter which I call “Zoom test” so far.
So I took part in this hackathon NASA Space Apps Challenge which is an international hackathon sponsored by NASA through various local initiatives. Here in Gothenburg it was Almi who organized it in the nearby science park. Almi and Interactive Institute have some ties so was there to help out a bit, but perhaps more to participate.
I formed a group with one of my good tech friends and made an early prototype for a pervasive game, using AR, NFC and a bit of GPS. It was based on the engine me and another friend had built for our master thesis, NFC and AR Interaction in Mobile Gaming. The celebrity guest, Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang, even stopped by our station and showed some interest in the idea (or perhaps the seemingly large amount of work done for a hackathon, given that it was based on my thesis).
As for the hackathon submission, it was not super serious. I attended a “fraternity” (not really how it works in Sweden) party on the evening till today together with my team mate. He did not show up today… this plus I had huge problems getting servers and stuff to connect, and I focused on implementation rather than presentation (the latter would have been much more important for success at this event).
Submission site (not very impressive, probably why it didn’t win :P): T.R.E.C.
Image from another presentation which had an interesting concept but even better illustration. :)