Monthly Archives: August 2011

Minor Daily Update #1: In Which Things are Drawn, Poorly

Hit a massive bout of depression/anxiety today, and barely got anything accomplished after work. I was about to just start drinking myself into a coma for the night when I figured I should at least do something, so I made up some ultra simple inventory art for the three stones and coded up the inventory display:

The desaturated brown and white was going for a kind of hand-drawn pencil type style, which I’d like most of the journal to maintain. As I write this however, I realize that a grid style system is terrible for what the inventory system is primarily used for – keep track of evidence. I think a book style where each item occupies a page in a pad would be a better idea.

However, I can barely concentrate, so onwards to the alcohols.

 

Also, up on the block for the rest of the week:

-Get Journal/reference system up and running
-figure out organization, and how the book will browse
-figure out searching system and UI
-maybe rework inventory into book style mentioned above
-get some coder art going so I can actually start working on making levels and actually playing the game

 

 

All I can think is how you’ll be first to be eaten,

Sigz

Stones and Souls

I got a little bit of ‘real’ work done, mainly fixing up the area loading code so it won’t implode any more. Huzzah for that. However, this post is mainly going to focus on the gameplay, and how you can expect a level in Tyre to play out (as always, remember that this is all just coder art and such, etc. etc.)

So first coming into a case, your first task will be to figure out exactly what the problem is.

You might have to walk around a bit too.

 

Explore around, find some interesting stuff, meet interesting people, etc:

"Help Help our town's an incomplete shithole!"

Once you find out that people are being brutally murdered by a giant snapping turtle (okay maybe not), or the town is being consumed by some Eldritch horror, or that time has frozen for everyone in the area, or any other manner of strange and horrific and exciting things, it’s time to figure out what to do about it.

First thing to do is explore around, and look for clues that can tell you what exactly is going on – weird unidentified objects, newspapers or diaries, clawprints, examining dead bodies – basically be a detective. Evidence that you can carry you’ll be able to store in your inventory to reference later. Other evidence that can’t be carried, like a footprint or a strange noise coming from that cave over there – you’ll be able to note down in your journal.

As you gather evidence, it’s time to piece it all together. Besides simply using all of the evidence together to figure things out, your biggest resource will be your detective’s journal. Besides allowing you to take notes, your journal is also a massive collection of evidence from your character’s past. It will be fully searchable, so, for example, say you found several people who’s hearts all simply stopped.  Search for “heart” and “stop”, and (amongst other entries perhaps), you might find this, a diary from a detective in the past (click to view full size of course):

 

It'll be up to you to determine what best fits the evidence of course.

 

Once you’ve figured out what it is you’re looking for, research further with your journal to figure out what you need to do to destroy it. This will most likely involve exploring your surroundings for tools or materials that you will need for the process (i.e. if you’re looking for a vampire you might want to find a piece of wood).

Along with that, you will also have four tools of your own: three magical objects and an ordinary gun. The magical objects are your Setyr Stone, Menson Stone, and Sevant Soul. Each of the magical tools has it’s own abilities, and most importantly will be modified and enhanced when combined with other objects and substances from your environment.

The Setyr Stone is, ironically, an offensive tool without an attack of it’s own. Together with your gun, it allows you to enhance and change the properties of your bullets to match your target. On it’s own this will just shoot a ‘magic’ bullet- assuming your target is immune to regular bullets it might stun or wound them, but it’ll really only serve to allow you to get away. The Setyr Stone’s real power comes when other objects are placed in it. Say, for example, you’re hunting a soul sucking creature that can only be harmed by the blood of its victims. Rather than carry around a bucket of freshly drained blood and hoping you have the aim of a PETA protester, pour a vial of it into the Setyr stone and now your gun’s bullets will possess their power. Yay!

Correspondingly, the Menson stone is your defensive tool. Basically the same thing as the Setyr Stone, it normally casts a thing shield around you that can protect your from light damage, but putting the right items in will  modify the shield, making you a damned formidable opponent.

The Sevant Soul will light your way, but you won't be able to gain the benefits of the Setyr or Menson Stones with it equipped

Finally, the Sevant Soul is simply a tool. On it’s own it essentially serves as a lantern, lighting the area around you (which will definitely be necessary at times). However it can also serve as a guiding light – if you can get your hands on a piece of the being you’re hunting (no small task of course), the Sevant Soul will lead you right to it. There are numerous other possibilities that can crop up with it, so be sure to experiment!

So, with all of this knowledge, it’s time to make a plan, gather what resources you need, hunt down your target, and take it down. I have no cool art for this, because I’m a noob. Just imagine something awesome for me.

Well, that about wraps up this post. My plan for tomorrow is to do what I should have done today on the inventory screen (this whole blog thing actually takes a lot of time, who would have thought!). That includes making some placeholder graphics for all the items and getting it arranged in the code so that it’s usable. If I have time, I’d like to start on the click menu for the inventory screen as well – click on an item, and it will give you options like combine, view, information, etc. So that’s it, see you tomorrow!

 

I Saw a Ray,

Sigz

 

Currently Listening: Grouper – Soul Eraser 

Distractions, Distractions Everywhere

*looks at date* Oh dear, over two weeks since the last update. Well, this is a wonderful way to start off a blog. Anyways, in the last two weeks not much has been accomplished. First I got a new drumset, then a friend got me to try League of Legends (which could very easily ruin my life), and then Deus Ex 3 came out, so of course I had to play that. By the way, if you haven’t already – play it. It’s absolutely stunning.

However, the time has come to stop being a good-for-nothing noob and get down to business. I’m going to try to update this daily from now on with at least something I accomplished for the day, as well as my goal for the following day.  As for what’s been done since the last post, several major features have been implemented, which, while pretty basic, are really important.

The first was ‘zone’ changing – basically different areas within the same level. In some games (take Zelda for instance), each area is the size of a single screen, and there’s no actual scrolling. In Tyre, the areas are considerably larger, and the camera follows the player around until they hit the border of the area, at which point they’ll continue into the next zone. Woo.

Also checked off the todo list  is the inventory screen/system, which is basically done mechanics-wise, but needs a lot of front-end work. With this the player will be able to keep track of any evidence they might have collected, as well as any other tools which may assist them in their hunt.

I’ve been putting off coding the journal, and at this point I’m still unsure of how to go about it. At first I was just going to use an XML file to contain all the text and images, but the problem with that is that I feel like the journal would end up looking very homogeneous. To give you an idea of what I’m shooting for, look at the Holy Grail journal from Indiana Jones: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonniegrrl/2469303990/ Old, packed with sketches and notes in the margin, lots of bookmarks and cool stuff like that. Right now I’m almost considering hand making each page and then just rendering the journal as a series of sprites. It’s a lot more work, but I think it’d look a lot better as well. We shall see.

Anyways, my goals for tomorrow are: 1) make the inventory screen presentable, 2) Work out some kinks in the area changing/loading code that could screw things up later, and 3) finish  putting together a post that will go more in-depth in describing the gameplay, as well as have something nice to look at.

Droning on,

Sigz

The First Week

The current build of Tyre looks as such:

It’s a little bit of an improvement visually over the last post, I suppose, but the real work went in under the hood. Some things to note:

  • The player character is now the one on the right, and the previous PC sprite has been demoted to NPC Placeholder #1.
  • You can’t tell, but the player is actually standing on the ground now. Previously he was just floating over the background, but now terrain collision detection has been implemented, which is a big step once actual levels start getting made.
  • The NPC class has been implemented. NPCs won’t play a major role in the game, but the player will run across them here and there, and they will (assuming they haven’t gone insane), be able to provide at least a small amount of useful information to the player.

I’ve also implemented the animation code and made a rough walking sprite strip for the player, It’s a bit choppy, but right now the code is what I’m concerned with:

Also also, I implemented the player aiming/shooting mechanic. It probably won’t actually come up much, but it works well enough. Press F to draw, aim with the mouse (oh and ignore the mismatched arm, it was made when the previous PC sprite was still being used. Ironically it’s now about to shoot him):

Besides all that, a lot of the background code for loading and creating levels/NPCs/etc has been made, so overall I’m rather happy with the progress so far. Next up on the bill is to code out the journal and reference system.

Don’t worry it’s only contagious if I breathe on you,

Sigz

Currently reading: The Dunwich Horror

 

The Beginning

 

…and with a two-tone background, a four color sprite, and a little bit of code, the process of creating Tyre has been started.

The screenshot above is probably not the best way to start off this devblog, but it was the first ‘playable’ version of Tyre, and thus deserves it’s position.

However, before the blog gets into full swing, it’s probably best to introduce what exactly it’ll be talking about. In general, this blog will cover everything related to the game development work of Hedgehog Hugs Studios. Since Hedgehog Hugs is made up of precisely one lonely Hedgehog named Ian Sigsworth (AKA Sigz), he’ll be doing all the talking, at least for now… And since Ian is me, I guess that means I’ll be doing the talking.

Anyways, now that our pronouns are in agreement, it’s on to Tyre, my current project. Tyre will be a 2-D paranormal mystery game where the player hunts down dangerous supernatural people/creatures/entities and destroys them. The keyword in that last sentence is mystery. While there will be action, the focus of the game will be on exploration and investigation: gathering evidence, researching whatever ungodly thing it is you’re hunting, and figuring out exactly how you can kill it. Following along with this, the burden will really be on the player to figure things out.

Another major focus is on world and lore building – I want the world of Tyre to be interesting and original. And while that certainly means making it look nice, the real focus will be on creating around the supernatural element of the world that is interesting and original. While the player will most likely see some of the ‘standard’ paranormal things in some context – ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc, there will be many more original enemies for the player to face. This is a mystery game after all – the player should be asking themselves “what the fuck happened here?” when they see a dead body, not “oh it’s a vampire, let me grab some wood and garlic”.

But most importantly for the game, I want these two focuses – on mystery/exploration gameplay with a strong lore – to work together. This means that the game is never going to tell you what it is the player is facing or how they’re supposed to kill it, no matter how many clues they collect – it’s on them to research into the game’s lore to find out. Of course, the player will have a lot of tools to help them, the most important being their character’s journal/encyclopedia. You see, the player’s character (we’ll get more into him/her later on) has killed a lot of supernatural beings in his time. I mean, a lot. We’re talking Pol Pot and Stalin combined-levels of  supernatural genocide here (okay maybe not that much but you get the point).

Over this time he’s collected and maintained a massive journal containing invaluable information on all manner of supernatural things, which will serve as the player’s most useful resource in putting the evidence together. Find some weird glowing gel on the ground? Search through the journal and see what kind of things leave glowing gel. The body was dismembered and reassembled backwards? Better see what kind of horrors out there mutilate bodies. Of course, this will require some reading on the part of the player (don’t worry, not too much unless you want to), which I’m sure turns some people off, but I’m okay with that. By the end of the game, I want the player to actually know something about the game world, and feel like they no longer have to consult the book blind – they’ll find a clue,  it’ll ring a bell “hey, I remember reading something about that!”, and then they consult their journal. And that would be perfect, because that’s exactly what the character would be going through. To me that is what immersion is really about, and it’s part of what I hope to achieve with Tyre.

 

More incoming soon,

Sigz