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LONG BLOG

Game Development - Hammer Time!

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Good morning (or whenever)!

Save System

Just jumping right into it -- this update sees the completion of the game's save system! YAAY!

This was one infuriatingly complicated task, I don't mind saying. To give you a rough estimate of the keyboard gymnastics involved, to get it up to this point (fully functional, with save slot support and deleting said slots within the UI) took over 60 hours this week -- but it was worth it. 

 

 There were a number of complications I ran into, especially getting those save slots to draw their relevant data correctly. I was originally accessing the appropriate save files (in .ini format for the time being) to draw things like armor, HP, play time... this caused the framerate to plummet like a ton of bricks.

To remedy this, when the game now saves, 'display data' is now saved to a much smaller, seperate file that is only accessed to display the nifty graphics on the load menu. In fact, as I write this, I'm thinking of ways to improve it even further... so everything I just typed will probably change - ha!

 Deleting a slot was challenging to engineer as well -- having to set a flag in another settings file to reset the "working save slot", and also tell the newly deleted and recreated save slots that it has "no data" in it, so the game knows that when the empty file is accessed to simply start a new game.

It's all working and fully functional now, though! The game will save your progress every time you transition from screen to screen -- this will NOT, however, function as a checkpoint. For now, checkpoints are invisible, but will eventually look something like the main character taking a swig of some fun juice (as pictured in the first gif of this post). 

When you die, you will start back at your last checkpoint visited, but will retain all of your items and story progress.

Another challenge moving forward is remembering to save the player's location and state after a big story event or something, like after you're taken prisoner and complete the initial burning village sequence:

Go here to check out the latest archived livestream I captured while working on the save system:

Sorry it's muted -- I was listening to too much unlicensed rock and or roll. I'll re-upload the stream on my youtube channel with some of my own music over the video later on.

Hammer!

The forge hammer pickup is now active in the game, and you now need it in order to interact with the forge. To convey this I threw together some extra UI animations and elements:

 ... And then after finding the hammer, you can go ahead and pound away on the anvil:

 Big Screen!

I have a live build constantly updating via the Steam pipeline, and it feels pretty awesome to access it via the big screen!

 For the past week, I have been doing most of my playtesting this way to get a feel for how everything works the way someone playing the game normally would -- I gotta say, it's pretty exciting to interact with it this way!

Fixed, Completed, and ToDo

Here's a list of fixes and addressed issues:

  • Added fully functioning Save, Load, and Delete save system
  • Added 'Continue' and 'Load Game' options to main menu, as well as some visual clean up
  • Shield doesn't get created when loading or continuing a game  
  • kell can't attack when colliding with anvil object  
  • Slavers no longer drop gold keys  
  • rewrote gamepad and keyboard input
  • there was a problem on Windows 10 while using an Xbox 360 gamepad - button mapping was all messed up and most buttons would not register  
  • removed 'global.fortOpen' checks that were crashing the game  
  • fix burning village NPCs not showing up  
  • pickup forge hammer  
  • static values (like what sprite a weapon or armor should draw in the UI) get messed up on loading a game file  
  • rewrite save system to re-initialize static values  
  • create seperate data file to save load screen display data to so that we are not opening 3 massive save files  
  • display forge hammer in UI if found  
  • can only use forge if a forge hammer is owned
  • Create "up" arrow effect when able to interact with anvil  
  • create 'no hammer' prompt when trying to use the anvil without hammer  
  • going back to burning village after escaping mining prison starts the beginning of the game all over again

... And next up:

  • alt+tabbing is horrible and can lead to the game becoming unresponsive, while keys and buttons become frozen (i.e. holding 'left' is always true), especially when on title screen  
  • when game is minimized, it still accepts input from gamepads and keyboard  
  • dying before getting throwing knives in cave starts you back behind the cave-in, which makes progress impossible  
  • redesign UI interaction with gamepad and keyboard  
  • create little loading icon thing to alert players that the game is auto-saving  
  • overworld hide armor sprites  
  • change some door positions  
  • fix elevator wait time  
  • create a mirrored player attack object when attacking for better attack coverage  
  • if you hit 'enter' during the intro while you are defeated, the game breaks and you cannot progress  
  • candles should also cast light  
  • rewrite certain lines of intro dialogue 
  • lifting enemies is buggy, especially on ramps 
  • cannot lift objects on ramps 
  • pushing down + forward + dodge causes kell to dodge backward 'forever' 
  • Torches can be destroyed and drop items (like a certain super rad video game series featuring a very serious gentleman brandishing a deadly whip) 
  • pickups that get stuck in boulders
  • completely get rid of backpack check
  • completely get rid of hunter belt check 
  • completely get rid of warrior belt check 
  • completely get rid of item pouch check 
  • finish first NPC village including (finally) a vendor 
  • finalize dialogue bits and interaction with the NPCs in the mining prison 
  • finish burning village Maginoch events and boss fight 
  • finish Tra'Tibowt boss fight 
  • updated impact sprites (like jumping on an enemy's head and stunning them) 
  • more general and universal sprites for the overworld encounters 
  • fine tune enemy and item placement 
  • Sort items based on category in inventories (clean up function) 
  • flames hurt and will 'burn' enemies
  • create new 'thug' enemy (less powerful, unarmored 'Brute')

Try the new build here: http://gamejolt.com/games/savage-the-shard-of-gosen-alpha/16310

That's a wrap for this update! Have a great rest of your weekend and I'll continue to keep you all posted!

-Matt

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About toborprimeone of us since 4:13 PM on 01.26.2014

Hello and thanks for stopping by!

My name is Matt and I've been working on an independent video game project, Savage: The Shard of Gosen, for a few years. For the past decade and a half I've had my hands in everything from art and graphic design, film and music. It's been very gratifying being able to funnel everything I've learned into a single project -- and finding out how much I've still got to learn about all that, and game development.

I've been documenting my experiences with the game and presenting them in a blog style format (among other things). I'm here to share my updates (bruises, broken bones and all), and see if I can share any helpful bits and pieces I've learned along the way.

Feel free to ask any questions, chat, talk shop, brutally criticize - WHATEVER!

Thanks, and have fun!
-Matt