Cyber Shield – Progress Report from Day 1 to completion

Bellow you will find all the Progress Reports I made on the Ludum Dare website regarding my entry in the 22nd edition. As a summary for those who don’t know, Ludum Dare is a 48hour competition, in which, the participants must make a game on a given theme. All assets, media and code must be written by them in this time period.

My entry is called Cyber Shield, and can be viewed and downloaded here (source included).

Progress Report 12 hours in

It seems that 12 hours have passed since the compo started. It’s time to look back on what I have accomplished in this 12 hours.

I’m going to start with a small description of what is going on in the game:

The game takes place in a vritual environment (tron-like grids). Both the player and his enemies are virtual bots, living in cyber space. The player’s goal is to collect the “Intelligence” briefcase, and send it to the drop off zone. You win points by scoring touchdowns (dropping the Intelligence in the designated area), you loose points if you get killed.

The enemies (baddies as I like to call them) are not hostile towards you at first, but become so when you steal their precious briefcase. In order to reach the drop zone, the player must push (while carrying the briefcase) through the enemy lines. Once the touchdown occurs, the briefcase is reset to it’s original position.

Think of it as a Top-Down Shooter meets Team Fortress 2 and American Football. Up till know I have the following things working:

  • Player controls
  • Collision and Gravity
  • Enemy spawning and a shitty AI that starts to follow you when you pick up the briefcase
  • Dropping and picking up the briefcase
  • Player bullets (enemy bullets to be added soon)

Here’s a rough concept of the playing field:

Here’s a Screenshot:

Progress Report – 16 hours in

I’m back with a new post. 16 hours have passed since I started working on the game, and things are looking bright (hope it’s not cause I have industrial quantities of coffee in me right now). I managed to implement a basic AI system for the baddies, and I’m building upon it. Since my last progress reported the following changes have been made:

– In order to focus more on the scoring mechanics and gameplay, the player can no longer shoot at the enemies. Instead he must dodge, run, jump and avoid the entire swarm of baddies that charge gun-first towards him.

– Enemies now feature two AI mode: Idle and Hostile! If the player hasn’t pick up the Briefcase, the baddies will run around the arena, acting cute and minding their own business. When the player steals the briefcase and heads towards the Touchdown Area, the enemies enter the Hostile mode, which has them engage the player. Right now I’m working on splitting the enemies in two groups: Attackers and Defenders. Attackers are the baddies that charge towards the player, while Defenders maintain their position near the Touchdown Area firing at the player, defending that position.

– Got the HUD to work, both the HealthBar and the “Special” bar.

– Collision detection between the baddies! Now they bump into each other, turn around and mind their own business. (Only in Idle mode).

– I suck at 3D modeling and graphics, but I’m doing what I can. Right now I’ve added the Player and Baddies models (who are subject to change if I will have enough time left), which look like a low-poly cell-shaded version of R2D2 from Star Wars.

Here are a couple of new screen shots, and a video showcasing the Idle-ing robots.

Progress Report 20 hours in

Ok, 20 hours have passed like a breeze. I’ve kept myself busy, coding and doing my best to create 3D models that can be identified with ease! Got most of the Core Mechanics working quite well. I now need to polish them and focus on Level Design and media (textures, models, music). This is a full list of features that have been added today:

  • Collision
  • Player and Camera controls (1st person, 3rd person, top-down – although top-down is what I am going to use)
  • Bullet handling for the Enemies
  • Enemy AI. There are two types of enemies, Attackers and Defenders. The Attackers will engage the Player gun-first, while defenders will rush towards the TouchDown zone, in order to defend it.
  • Switching between levels.
  • HUD (Health Bar, Special Bar/Stamina Bar)

I’m happy with my progress today, managed to do most of the things that I had planed. Gonna take a quick nap (2-3h maximum) and then I’m back to adding the rest of the features, and polishing the game.

As a bonus, here’s my Timelapse video. Hope you guys like it.

Progress Report – 32 hours in

Thinks are starting to tie up together, now that I also finished adding the Shield Mechanic for the player. Now, besides being able to dash for a limited amount of time, our little lonely-protagonist can spawn a shield that protects him from evil bullets, and also tosses baddies aside!

The AI has also been improved, Attackers now have a FieldOfView distance. They only engage the player if they spot him, so good bye having a huge swarm of enemies behind the player. This also allows better tactics in the game, as enemies are now evenly spread through the field.

Here’s a small video showcasing the shield:

Progress Report – 38 hours in

 

Ok, all basic mechanics are in place. I’ve decided to remove a few stuff in the end, but it’s for the better. The shield mechanic is now in place and it is the main attraction as o now. Dashing and Shielding are now separated (Shift – Dash, Space – Shield) from one another for better control over the character. The Main Menu is in place, although it lacks a Background. I’ve also finished the 1st level (easy), with 8 pits that warmly wait for the enemies to fall into them.

Death cam and Victory cam have been added (camera zooms in on the player, and rotates). Gonna add a special kind of mood to both cams (dark/grey for death, something else for victory).

I’m going to spend the next 4 hours adding more visual goodies (blur for dash, slow-mo camera when enemies fall into pit, a damage overlay for the player). After that I will try my best with sound and music. Time to get back to work, hence not much time is left, and more is needed to be done.

Here’s a Screenshot of the Main Menu:

And here’s the shield animation:

 

Last Progress Report – 46 hours and Release

 

My entry for LD22 has been completed and uploaded. Tomorrow I’ll make a full Post Mortem containing a Game Design Document, and my thoughts on what went right, wrong and what could have been done to improve it further. For now, all I can say is the following:

  1. I’m proud of my entry. During the past 48 hours the game has gone through allot of design changes. What first started as an FPS, soon became a morph between a Top-down shooter with a capture the flag (briefcase) mode, with American Football elements (such as Touchdown). Only during my second day did I realize that the game was by no mean fun when chased down by an entire team. Writing AI for the team mates was a no-no due to the short amount of time left, so I scraped the basic mechanics and came up with a new one.
  2. I’m happy with the current gameplay mechanic. Using a defensive weapon for offense is something not many games tackled, or at least no any that I know off. In this prototype I tackled two ways of using the shield, one in which the player acts a bulldozer, pushing his enemies into pits, and another where the shield is used to deflect bullets towards his attackers.
  3. I’m not much of an artist but I feel that the current art style is decent.
  4. I’m happy with the amount of features this game contains (although not all are used now). In just 48 hours I managed to integrate a TDS camera (with an alternate FPS version, currently locked), collision, AI (when the prototype was meant as a Capture the Flag game, I implemented two types of behaviour for the enemies: Attackers and defenders. The Attackers charged towards the player if he was near them, while defenders rushed to the touch down zone, forming a human/robot shield) and basic physics.

As I said before, a Post Mortem will arrive soon, in which I will explain how I have arrived to this current gameplay mechanics, what I had to scrap and why. Till then, I’ll leave you guys with today’s Timelapse, and a bunch of screenshoots.

Download Cyber Shield.

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[Challenge]: Constant Distraction Drummer – Postmortem

This year I plan on entering Ludum Dare #22, and since I haven’t worked on anything in a while (besides what I do at @Gameloft), I decided to tackle a few types of challenges to get ready for the competition. For the first challenge of the day I had to develop a game in 4 hours or less, based on one of the themes suggested for Ludum Dare, and the one I chose was “CONSTANT DISTRACTION“.

Constant Distraction Drummer was a major success by my reckoning, as it was completed in time (3h 20m), with a few minutes left to spare for packaging and writing this postmortem.

Things go like this: You have acquired a set of drums, which your brother hates. He threatened to brake them after his soap-opera was over. So the drummer hired a ninja-assassin to kill his brother. The goal is to annoy your brother and distract his attention so that the ninja could enter the house and drop the Big-screen TV on him. You play the drums using keys 1 – 3. The level of annoyance is represented by an Annoy-O-Meeter, in the upper right corner of the screen. Once the Annoy-o-meeter is full, the ninja enters the house and can be controlled using the MOUSE, while continuing to bash the drums. Once in, the ninja must pick up the TV (by clicking when over it), and dropping it on the annoyed fellow.

What went right

As soon as I picked the theme I knew what I wanted to do. It took me less then 10 minutes to write the idea on paper, including details about the characters and sprite animations. I must be honest, I had to cut-down a few things in order to make the deadline, but overall it was a straight-forward development process, something I consider to be a “major WIN”, hence most of my projects get dropped due to the high number of features that need to be implemented.

It was a good idea to plan everything before opening Visual Studio, including making the assets first. Since it was a 2D Game, I first created a fake “screenshot” of how the game should look. Once I finished it, I exported all the assets, and opened up Visual Studio. The fact that I already knew all about the libraries I used allowed me to develop a prototype in the first 30 minutes, and then build upon it.

What went wrong

It was a bad idea to search for drum sounds near the end, hence adding sounds in a hurry kinda broke the code. And because this was a small challenge, I didn’t backup anything, so even though I meet the deadline I have two bugs that kinda brake the gameplay, when it comes to playing the drums. There were a couple of features I wanted to add, but had to cut due to time constraints(for example, dialogue between the drummer and his brother).

Conclusion

All in all, I’m happy that I could finish it in 4 hours, which was my goal. It’s a boring game filled with bugs, but it’s a completed game.

Here’s the Time-Lapse:

Download: Link

Source: Link

The drum sounds where acquired from here, and are royalty free.