Indie Game Dev Thread!

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Perpetual Motion
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Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:29 am

Hey! Do you like games? Do you like to make games? Do you just want to talk about game design in general? Then this is the thread for you!

I'll start us off by talking about a little project I started recently. I am blatantly ripping off was inspired by an idea Ninetales shared in Discord the other day. The basic idea was an RPG with a rhythm based combat system. I got the blessing from her to pursue the idea, and this is what I've thrown together thus far:



The gist of what's going on in the video is that I initiate battle with the orc, and the player character starts attempting attacks once every measure of the "song" (just a quick placeholder I threw in for testing purposes). If you time a button press with the beep at the beginning of the measure, the attack succeeds, if you don't, the attack misses.

That was just the simple part, though. Next I need to implement things like enemy turns, visual feedback of some kind, and a combo system where you chain actions together for different attacks. I'm sure I'll manage, though. If anybody here has any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas, feel free to share them!

Happy developing! :party:
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perrydotto (?) » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:55 am

That's super cool!! You make neat things and you really have a knack for programming, PL. I hope you talk yourself down less about that, because not being amazing at everything about game developing instantly doesn't mean you are bad or can't learn. Excited to see where you take this, no matter how far it goes!

As for myself, I'm currently playing around with Twine. It's very fun, I hope I can make something small as a proof of concept with it soon.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Tue May 01, 2018 2:03 am

Twine is kinda a Choose Your Own Adventure story engine, right? It definitely seems interesting, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Also, I made some more progress today:



I wrote a plugin to have a meter fill up as a visual indicator of the rhythm of the song. It makes things a lot easier to time, and allows for soundless play if necessary. Going to work on either enemy actions or implementing more player actions next. I'll sleep on it and decide tomorrow.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Tue May 01, 2018 6:24 pm

I ended up doing both :v:



I made a kind of combo system where you store inputs from the arrow keys every measure, then unleash different attacks depending on the inputs stored. Right now all of the attacks are just numbered clones of each other, but that will change once I start actually designing the combat balance and character progression. I also need to speed the game up some, since adding in both enemy turns and storing inputs has made the whole thing super sluggish. After that I need to spend some time optimizing and cleaning my code/scripts to be more universal. I'm really having a ton of fun with this, and I'm excited to see where this takes me.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Fri May 04, 2018 12:32 am

No video update this time, since what I've done hasn't caused many visual changes, but I still feel that it's significant enough to post about. I've cleaned up and optimized my rhythm and input code so that I can plug in any music I want and have it work right away, provided I know the BPM and time signature of the music in question. I've also decided on the direction I want to take the combat flavor-wise. Inputting one of the four directions on your turn will store a charge of one of the four elements (air, water, earth, fire), and the skills unleashed will be themed according to the combination of elements used. If you've ever played DOTA, it's functionally similar to the character Invoker's abilities.

I've also worked out how I want the game to work outside of combat, at least in the prototype. Since I don't have a story to go with the combat system just yet, I've designed a barebones Super Mario World style overworld map, which each "level" being a single battle, and with the difficulty escalating as you move forward. From here, I need to actually design the player's abilties and the combat encounters. It'll be quite the change of pace, considering that this will require minimal coding. Still, it should be fun!
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perrydotto (?) » Mon May 07, 2018 8:04 am

You're making awesome progress! :yay: Don't hesitate to try around with all kinds of abilities to see what sticks. I can imagine there are all sorts of options with a fight system like this one.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Mon May 07, 2018 11:44 pm



In addition to the changes outlined above, I've set up a segmented energy meter to indicate what combination of elements you have stored. I also have all of the placeholder abilities in place, ready to be renamed and flavored depending on what elements created them. Next on my list of things to do, in no particular order, is to design some proper enemy encounters, flavor and design the abilities accordingly, and design a tutorial for the final demo. The tutorial will be the most complicated thing by far, but I have a general idea of how I want to go around implementing it.

Also, thanks for the encouragement, Perry. It really means a lot to me that people find my work interesting. :flutterunsmith:
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Swift (?) » Thu May 10, 2018 4:38 am

Nice to see this thread back. That means I can post something here! :yay:

First, to comment on PL's game: Nice work! I like the idea of a rhythm-game battle system. Reminds me of Undertale's idea of having a shmup battle system. Good luck with the project!

So I've been making games in Unity! Most recently, I completed a one-level-long 2D platformer called Impulse, inspired by the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games, for practice and as something to add to my portfolio.

My main goal was to make a level with momentum-based physics similar to the Genesis Sonic games, with slopes and loops. As such, there are no enemies, health system, or death-state (not even bottomless pits): it's all about the slopes/physics and level layout, as well as exploring/collecting coins. I made my own raycast-based slope/collision system for it, and learned a lot about working with Unity in the process.

It's only one level long, but it's the most involved game dev project I've done so far, and took me... quite a while to make, especially since I started over with a new approach to the physics multiple times.

If anyone's interested, they can play the game in-browser on itch.io:
https://emeraldstreak.itch.io/impulse

I'd love to hear feedback on it from people here! :modesty:

Edit: Apparently the framerate can be slow in the in-browser WebGL build on less powerful machines. I added downloadable builds for Windows/Mac/Linux, so you can try downloading one of those instead to get a better framerate. When I tested it on an older laptop, the downloaded version runs much better, at least on Windows.

Here are some screenshots:
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Tue May 15, 2018 9:43 am



I've added a basic tutorial that plays over the first battle, as well as named and (somewhat) designed the player's skills. Numbers will need a ton of tweaking over time, but what I have now is a good start.

I also realized that I could just stick whatever music I felt like into the demo, and nothing screamed “laid back tutorial” more to me than the Game Boy Pokemon TCG battle theme.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perrydotto (?) » Tue May 15, 2018 11:05 am

The Pokemon TCG music is amazing in general, and the battle theme just never stops being catchy and fun. Good choice.

A tutorial is a fun idea. You have a solid foundation to build on here, that's already great progress!
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Mon May 21, 2018 6:04 pm

No real visual update at the moment, but I've finished the last step before designing the combat encounters in the prototype: Enemy logic. Since I'm basically doing and end-run around the battle engine's whole turn structure to get the rhythm system to work, I needed to mock-up my own logic for what skills the enemy uses. I've basically hijacked the enemy skill "rating" system and re-interpreted it as weighting for the random selection of abilities as opposed to the more complex system it governs in the base engine. There's still more I can do with the system, such as adding support for the parameters the skill original skill system used for further customizing enemy behavior, but what I have right now should do for demonstration purposes.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:22 am

Bumping this thread to show off something new that I've been working on. The rhythm RPG is kinda on the back burner for now, since I'm not really feeling super inspired to work on it right now



The basic idea here is that you have a platformer where whenever you touch a surface, the direction of gravity shifts to cause you to stick to it. It's pretty heavily inspired by games like Super Meat Boy and VVVVV, but I feel like it's different enough to be interesting. Things I'm hoping to add are moving platforms and objects affected by gravity. Anyway, I hope you all here find this interesting. It's definitely something fun to work on.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:55 pm

Got a simple, but important update: moving platforms!



I have them set up for easy creation, with all of the platforms sharing the code of a parent object. All you have to do is set how far they move on the x and y axis, as well as how fast you want them to complete a cycle (and thus their speed). There are a few more additions I'd like to make before I go all in on designing levels for a small demo, but most of my tools are here.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Princess Flufflebutt (?) » Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:12 pm

Oh gosh. I love this idea. :allears:
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:10 pm

Got something working that utilizes gravity other that just the player:



These blocks should allow for some neat puzzles and platforming challenges.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perrydotto (?) » Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:12 pm

I love gravity puzzles and plattforming. This is really neat :allears:
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:40 am

Thanks! This game is an idea that I've had for quite a while now, and I'm really glad to finally put it to use.

Also, since I'm on a roll today:



I've added some light shooting mechanics! Like the previously shown special blocks, the bullets you fire can be manipulated by altering gravity, allowing for trick-shots to hit targets around corners. This likely won't be an ability the player will start with in the final game. I plan on introducing it once the player has been shown around all the other mechanics the game has to offer in order to up the complexity more organically.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by SigmasonicX (?) » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:44 pm

While moving the Delta Rune installer to my games folder, I took a look at when my save data for Super Lesbian Horse RPG was made and holy shit that was back in January 2014? In just two months it'll be five years since I finished it!


It's a pretty good fan game, BTW. Very silly, but it's very cute (and runs better than what's shown in the trailer, from what I remember) with a surprisingly good lesson about being respectful in relationships. The original upload was deleted, but you can find a reupload here.

I was surprised to see that the creator is converting this to an original IP, which is why I'm posting it here.


It looks pretty good! It seems to have the same rough story, at least with not!Twilight building a huge dungeon in not!Rainbow's basement for no particular reason. Demo here, which I haven't played; I generally prefer to stick to final games.

Her Patreon (which I'm now supporting) had a post about the game in late September this year, and her Tumblr is very active (including with frequent pony image reblogs, so no fandom abandonment here), so this is definitely still being worked on.

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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Jill (?) » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:36 am


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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Jill (?) » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:40 pm

drew up a sprite for the playable character, a robot girl
Image

she's based loosely on a thing i drew a long time ago

i've got a bit of the game's story planned out already. it's gonna be a bit of a downer at first, but hopefully something that other people who struggle/have struggled with religious faith (be it their own or those around them) can find comfort in

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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:35 am

So, I'm picking this up again, because frankly it's what I'm better at. Went in and fixed up a few things in the game, the biggest one being overhauling the falling blocks. They actually behave with acceleration and momentum rather than just snapping to whatever direction gravity is pointing.

Also did some rudimentary sprite work and settled on the basic style I'm going to be using unless I somehow get someone else to do the art:

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Now it's just draw more sprites as needed for the various game objects, and actually design some levels. And I don't know the first thing about level design :-I
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perrydotto (?) » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:44 am

You learn by trying! Generally I think level design is about figuring out what you want the player to do/accomplish, and design a path towards that goal. Try around, it's really fun. I have fond memories of the times I built silly levels in the Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Editor or RPG Maker 2000 where I didn't hold myself back and just tossed stuff together to see what it would do, and I think that sorta approach can be really good for the first steps!
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:16 am

On suggestion of someone on SA, I've added a few new things to help flesh out the mechanics some more:





The last one is particularly important, because it lets me creatively restrict the player's movement abilities without resorting to death pit/spikes everywhere. I'm going to hash out a few more mechanics, then make a sort of sandbox build to share around here/with my family so people can test it out and tell me how it feels to them.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:47 am

I'm bad at art and art programs, but I came up with an idea of a design for a logo for the title screen, so I roughed this out:

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Obviously the ideal would be to not use just flat colors, and to have stylized text instead of just a generic font, but I'll probably just commission somebody for that when it comes time.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:25 pm

I've set up and uploaded a basic prototype for people to try out!

You can download it here: https://perpetual-motion.itch.io/gravshift-prototype

All I have at the moment is a list of test levels and a simple sandbox for messing around and testing the movement, but I'd definitely appreciate feedback on the mechanics I do have.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Jill (?) » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:58 pm

Perpetual Motion wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:25 pm
I've set up and uploaded a basic prototype for people to try out!

You can download it here: https://perpetual-motion.itch.io/gravshift-prototype

All I have at the moment is a list of test levels and a simple sandbox for messing around and testing the movement, but I'd definitely appreciate feedback on the mechanics I do have.
The mechanics are interesting and I like what you have so far.

I'd suggest making acceleration/deceleration quicker so the game's physics don't feel as floaty. You might also want to change the default shoot key because Windows by default will think you're trying to enable Sticky Keys if you mash Shift.

I also found what seems to be a bug where the starting direction of gravity isn't consistent. Like for instance, the non-stick ground test level would have me fall to the left and die immediately unless I pressed against the floor to change gravity.

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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:26 pm

Jill wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:58 pm
The mechanics are interesting and I like what you have so far.

I'd suggest making acceleration/deceleration quicker so the game's physics don't feel as floaty. You might also want to change the default shoot key because Windows by default will think you're trying to enable Sticky Keys if you mash Shift.

I also found what seems to be a bug where the starting direction of gravity isn't consistent. Like for instance, the non-stick ground test level would have me fall to the left and die immediately unless I pressed against the floor to change gravity.

Thanks for the feedback! Just for clarification, though, by "floaty", do you mean the strength of gravity, or acceleration in the air? I could see either of those being a problem, though the fact that acceleration in the air is slower than on the ground is intentional. I was looking to imitate other platformers in that regard, though I may have overdone it.

As for the starting gravity glitch, I think I know what caused that. I have things set up so that gravity direction is saved between rooms unless specifically overridden by the room. Of course, such a feature is useless and even detrimental in the prototype, since I don't have any sequences of rooms, just a bunch of standalones. That should be an easy fix. Thanks again!
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Jill (?) » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:33 pm

Perpetual Motion wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:26 pm
Thanks for the feedback! Just for clarification, though, by "floaty", do you mean the strength of gravity, or acceleration in the air? I could see either of those being a problem, though the fact that acceleration in the air is slower than on the ground is intentional. I was looking to imitate other platformers in that regard, though I may have overdone it.
Both. "Floaty" is admittedly a cryptic term that gets tossed around a lot by critic sorts who can't be bothered to describe the phenomenon it represents. In most cases it means "Too much trajectory, not enough traction." in the sense that the player's immediate control over the playable character isn't as tight and responsive as they want it to be, such as when the character accelerates too slowly or is forced to spend too much time in the air after every jump.

Something to consider is that in most well-regarded platformers, momentum is a very subtle thing if it exists at all. For instance:
  • Mario games beyond SMB1 are only influenced by acceleration mechanics enough to make stopping/pivoting take a bit of foresight when you're going full speed. Being in the air doesn't make a significant difference in how much traction you have, but it does prevent your speed from naturally decaying to a stop until you land.
  • Kirby games are nearly* unaffected by acceleration mechanics. With the exception of the slide move, most forms of movement in Kirby games only spend a few frames at anything under their max speed. (*It actually seems as if 2D Kirby games use integer coordinates and movement speeds, which would explain why most things in the game don't gain/lose speed gradually, because in order to do so they'd need to do things like throttling an object's movement to where it moves a pixel X times over Y frames.)
  • Many platformers never even bother with acceleration except in special cases (such as ice floors). Some examples are: any Metroid game (beyond the NES one), any Mega Man game, any Castlevania game, etc.
  • The glaring exception to all of the above is Sonic games, which I feel have some fundamental design issues, but they are nevertheless games about "going fast" which gives them an excuse to be as heavily influenced by acceleration as they are
As far as gravity is concerned: Consider that if you stand in place, it currently takes something like 1.5-2 seconds to land after jumping in your game. That is kind of on the long side when you compare it with any of the above games.

Ultimately what would be appropriate for your game is up to you, but I would personally suggest tweaking things just for the purpose of making the player object feel more agile and fun to move about. That's usually achieved by reducing the time things spend in between 0 and 100% speed, as well as the time it takes for gravity to make a significant difference. The actual ideal platforming physics for any given game are in the eye of the beholder, but when a platformer is said to be rough around the edges, "floaty physics" is a very common complaint.

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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:49 pm

Jill wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:33 pm
Both. "Floaty" is admittedly a cryptic term that gets tossed around a lot by critic sorts who can't be bothered to describe the phenomenon it represents. In most cases it means "Too much trajectory, not enough traction." in the sense that the player's immediate control over the playable character isn't as tight and responsive as they want it to be, such as when the character accelerates too slowly or is forced to spend too much time in the air after every jump.

Something to consider is that in most well-regarded platformers, momentum is a very subtle thing if it exists at all. For instance:
  • Mario games beyond SMB1 are only influenced by acceleration mechanics enough to make stopping/pivoting take a bit of foresight when you're going full speed. Being in the air doesn't make a significant difference in how much traction you have, but it does prevent your speed from naturally decaying to a stop until you land.
  • Kirby games are nearly* unaffected by acceleration mechanics. With the exception of the slide move, most forms of movement in Kirby games only spend a few frames at anything under their max speed. (*It actually seems as if 2D Kirby games use integer coordinates and movement speeds, which would explain why most things in the game don't gain/lose speed gradually, because in order to do so they'd need to do things like throttling an object's movement to where it moves a pixel X times over Y frames.)
  • Many platformers never even bother with acceleration except in special cases (such as ice floors). Some examples are: any Metroid game (beyond the NES one), any Mega Man game, any Castlevania game, etc.
  • The glaring exception to all of the above is Sonic games, which I feel have some fundamental design issues, but they are nevertheless games about "going fast" which gives them an excuse to be as heavily influenced by acceleration as they are
As far as gravity is concerned: Consider that if you stand in place, it currently takes something like 1.5-2 seconds to land after jumping in your game. That is kind of on the long side when you compare it with any of the above games.

Ultimately what would be appropriate for your game is up to you, but I would personally suggest tweaking things just for the purpose of making the player object feel more agile and fun to move about. That's usually achieved by reducing the time things spend in between 0 and 100% speed, as well as the time it takes for gravity to make a significant difference. The actual ideal platforming physics for any given game are in the eye of the beholder, but when a platformer is said to be rough around the edges, "floaty physics" is a very common complaint.
Thanks for the clarification. I can see what you mean with the jump time. I've barely tweaked that any since I got it working, and I guess I was just used to it. As for acceleration, I was thinking along the lines of Super Meat Boy, but upon hearing your examples and thinking it over a bit more, Meat Boy's slipperiness in the air was probably designed to complement the game's large focus on wall jumping, something my game doesn't have. I'll tweak the gravity and work out the acceleration issues and update the prototype.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Perpetual Motion (?) » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:43 pm

I've gone ahead and updated things to control tighter and switched the shooting controls off of Shift. The gravity bug should be taken care of, too. I'll leave this prototype up for a while to collect feedback and just let things settle in my head before moving on to level design.
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Re: Indie Game Dev Thread!

Post by Princess Flufflebutt (?) » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:54 am

I don't have a lot to say other than I love what you've got there :allears:
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