Author Topic: Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck  (Read 7739 times)

Eastfist

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Level 2 is 90% completed. So far, it takes 17 minutes to test-play the first two levels... whew... still chugging alone.
"What's in a game?"  Juliet says to insult Romeo.

Orion Pax

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Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #1 on: 2005-03-21, 11:29:45 AM »
17 minutes? damn. My largest demo, I can speed through in under two minutes from title screen to the end of level 1 (where it stops working).

How recent are the screenshots on your website for Runsetter 1.5?

Eastfist

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Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #2 on: 2005-03-21, 10:31:53 PM »
I changed the color some and added more detail (as I'm learning is quite important). Right now, I have 2 screens from the same level. The purple background one is the older one. I decided not to post level 2 screens yet because if you've played Runsetter 2's water level, it'll look similar, except more detailed and expanded.

I think at this point I'm set at finishing this baby. Even if it takes me a while (lets me do things my way). I've got the essential know how now, so I just need to go back and work on the graphics...  ;)

It's always a learning experience and it's a helluva portfolio builder. For me anyway.
"What's in a game?"  Juliet says to insult Romeo.

Eastfist

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Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #3 on: 2005-04-12, 08:40:17 AM »
My brother bought "God of War" for PS2, and in the behind the scenes featurette, I learned some enlightening stuff about design. Of course, what they do are on a professional-level, but imitation is the best form of admiration. right? My ambitions are running high now... trying to top myself with every new incarnation...

However, that shouldn't be confused with outright plagerism.  ;D
"What's in a game?"  Juliet says to insult Romeo.

durnurd

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Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #4 on: 2005-04-12, 09:49:44 AM »
So can we expect full 3D rendering and gratuitous amounts of blood then?  I mean, if you're imitating "God Of War"?  ;)
Edward Dassmesser

Eastfist

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Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #5 on: 2005-04-15, 10:23:20 PM »
Imitation only in work ethic. Unfortunately, not skill, sir. Ah well.
"What's in a game?"  Juliet says to insult Romeo.

Eastfist

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Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #6 on: 2005-06-17, 10:21:24 PM »
My "bonus" level is fleshing out. I drew a lot of new tiles to purdy it up. It comes after level 2 as sort of an intermission gameplay.

I'm trying to make it really easy for users. Shoot and go. Plus, it makes it so I don't have to problem-solve during development heh heh heh. I think I've learned some good tricks.
"What's in a game?"  Juliet says to insult Romeo.

Eastfist

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Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #7 on: 2005-08-04, 11:31:05 PM »
I remember I told Ben once that I never really planned my games (and he used that to add another star to SGDK's pros).

Yup, I improvise. I admit it, I'm a hack game designer. Well, that's gonna be quite noticeable the first few levels.

This time, I plotted out the story and gameplay (the rest of the game anyway).

I just completed implementing a 2nd boss, which I hope is more engaging than my wannabe active-time-battle boss in Mienh Commando.

I think if I had four more complete months of development time, I'd finish this. But school's starting again, which means less time to work on the game.

So far, the game clocks at about 15 min (but that's because I know what to do). So new users will probably get about 20-25 min of gameplay. So for the entire game, I'm aiming at 45-50 min total.

Notice how long it took me just to add about 5 more minutes of gameplay...? Sheesh.  ::)

I must think: first one's for portfolio, second one's for lots of moolah... gotta work, baby, work!  ;)
"What's in a game?"  Juliet says to insult Romeo.

Eastfist

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Re: features
« Reply #8 on: 2005-12-31, 01:40:11 PM »
Here's a recap of gameplay features so far:

- traditional run and shoot (count hit per enemy)
- bomb throwing
- boss fights
- fighting (punch, kick, jump kick)


Development progress report:  Right now I'm working on the fight level.
"What's in a game?"  Juliet says to insult Romeo.

Eastfist

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Re: Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #9 on: 2006-04-06, 05:54:22 PM »
Holy heck, I'm noticing it's been MONTHs since I've worked on my project.  Anyway, I've over-estimated my map size and it seems I can't shrink it now because I've placed the tiles on the bottom, expecting to have a stair-climbing type of level.  The fighting is still working swell.  I've used up all the collision interactions for elaborate animations for this particular map, so now I have to improvise.  I have captured a 20 MB video of the "fight" level with sound, but I couldn't match the sound properly with the video.  I'm also working on transitions between the levels, maybe cutscenes or a graphic still... because honestly, even though I'm ripping on my own game, map-to-map don't make sense right now.
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Dr Obvious

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Re: Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #10 on: 2006-04-09, 08:18:47 AM »
I personally have never played your game, but something I noticed was that you don't like to plan things.  Not planning your game is pretty much an automatic killer and dooms your game to fail.  You'll find that the more you plan out your game and the more detailed that plan, the better chance you'll have of success.

If you plan on finishing your game, you should probably plan it.  From what it looks like to me, while you're placing stuff in the editor you think "wouldn't it be cool if..." and then try to implement whatever you think would be cool.  Don't do that.  Things like that absolutely ruin games and add a horribly long amount of time to its development. 

You should start off by writing a pseudo Game Design Document, or even a full one, and stick to that.  Having that GDD will give you a basic map for making your game and will keep you on track.  At any point in your development if you feel you must change or add a feature, update your GDD.  Hopefully though, having that roadmap document will keep you from just adding stuff.

After finishing your GDD, you start making Level Design Documents.  Now that you know what your gameplay is going to be and you know exactly what's happening in those games, you need to plan out ech level.  For each level you make, you need an LDD that has the maps, the critical paths, mood, items, key areas, easy, medium, and hard areas, ect.  Everything that goes into that level should make it into your LDD.  Of course since just like the GDD, your LDD can be a mini LDD since this isn't something that is going to be published but it's nice to make a full one because it gives you that roadmap to follow.

After you've finished your documentation, I would just block out the levels with basic placeholder graphics and implement the key gameplay.  Blocking out the levels shouldn't be too difficult since you have them in your LDD and implenting gameplay might take some time, but better now than later.  Now that the levels are blocked out, test them.  Are your levels too long (17 minutes for the person that built the level sounds like a bit much)?  Are the levels doable?  Is the key gameplay fun?  The main point of this step is that if you can show that your game is fun without the graphics, you know that you have a good game.  If the game turns out not to be fun, you haven't lost too much and you just go back and rework your documents.

Finally, if you've blocked out your levels and implemented the key gameplay and the game is fun, add the nice graphics with the spiffy animations and add the 20MB movie.  I know this step is the most fun step and you would much rather mix it with all the previous steps, but your game will be much better if you just plan ahead and do all the previous things before finally making your game look pretty and add extra things like cut-scenes.



Anyways, just my .02 from reading your posts.  You're probably too far to follow this exactly, but I would seriously advise trying this for your next project.  You'll see that things run much smoother.

-edit-
Just for some examples of GDD's and LDD's.

Here is the Bob the Unlikely GDD.  Sadly, I don't really know where the version that I proofread and kept up to date ran off to, but this was the game I did in SGDK.

Here's the GDD for an Unreal Mod we just finished a few weeks ago.  This one is actually complete and edited (hopefully).

NOTE: These are large .pdf's so please right click and save as if you do decide to look that them.
« Last Edit: 2006-04-09, 08:22:16 AM by Dr Obvious »

durnurd

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Re: Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #11 on: 2006-04-09, 11:00:21 AM »
This is generally true of a lot of games.  However, if your game is something with one simple gimmick, once you figure that out, the best way to create the game is just by going into the editor, and seing what you can do.  Example in point: Gold Yoink.  Sure, it's based on an existing game, but the level design is much easier to do in the level editor itself rather than on paper.  Mostly, this is because the same rules apply throughout the entire game, so a template can be made, and all the level designer has to do is place blocks where he wants things to go.  No programming involved.  And moving things around is twenty times easier when a sprite is represented by a mere tile rather than an entire path.

So, if your game is a simple puzzle game, then after you have the idea behind it down, it's just plain easier to go at it.  If, however, your game has complex rules that differ from level to level, with a storyline and bosses, and intelligent enemies that act based on their surroundings, it would be a much better idea, as stated above, to have a pretty solid plan before you start the game.
Edward Dassmesser

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Re: Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #12 on: 2006-04-09, 09:35:42 PM »
I must admit, it came as quite a surprise that such a formal process would be advised when using GameDev.  I kind of see the whole point of the Scrolling Game Development Kit as being to get around the need to design in advance, and I would actually expect (and have suggested) the exact opposite: don't plan your GameDev games around a design.  Instead, just see what GameDev can do, and be inspired by whatever features are available and whatever strikes your fancy.  Start a small project and continually expand on the idea until you have a game -- that's one method I suggest for people who have trouble getting started.  One reason I have suggested this and similar methods is because some people tend to over-think and over-design things and then never get around to actually doing anything.  And even those who do complete a valid design might hit a dead end, serious snag, or significant delays due to the reality not matching the theory/plan.  I often find, with the quality of development tools available today, (even the programming languages and not just the high level design tools) doing the design "on the fly" works quite well for me because I can program/develop about as fast as I can design now, and then I have the added benefit of immediately knowing what will and won't work so that I don't base an entire design around a flawed premise at the beginning of the design.

I've worked on projects with designs and documents, and they're great for communication among team members and documentation so you can remember what your whole plan/idea was at one time.  But I've never gotten the impression that a design has ever actually helped me, especially if it's expected to be synchronized with the actual product.  It's always just been a hinderance and one more thing to maintain and get in the way.  Now this is just my experience; maybe it's just me.  I was rather odd in school in that I never took notes (even in college) and tended to do a lot of the work in my head rather than on paper, but still graduated with honors.  And I yield to anyone who says otherwise that this is just my own impression/experience.  And I still believe it when people say that designs are good way to do things, but I've never actually experienced it, strange as that may sound.  Like I said, they are great for communication purposes, and there's nothing like the great feeling of a clean, polished project based on a well-documented design that you can pass on to someone else to admire your handiwork.  But in my experience, the design tends to evolve as the project develops, and adds difficulty to the project (in having to maintain the design) without adding much value beyond the documentation it provides.

I would be interested to hear others' experiences in comparing formally designed projects with the alternative.  Has development evolved beyond the need for design at all?  The proponents of pre-designed software make sensible statements, and I can't refute them, but I just haven't experienced it.  Is there a point at which a developer just has enough of an instict that they can work without a design?  Can anyone cite specific examples of how a design has saved them in some aspect of their project/plan that would have been a disaster without the design?

Eastfist

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Re: Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #13 on: 2006-04-09, 10:40:24 PM »
I think there is always room for organization.  But since SGDK is still a new program, most users don't know how to utilize it to its maximum potential without scripting (I'm still advocating the "out-of-the-package" stubborness).  I'm not going to lie and say my Runsetter incarnations are totally original.  This project is probably going to be the most elaborate tech demo I've done, out there, under this engine.  I'd rather figure out how I "did this" and "did that" before I get into my "hardcore" projects.  Obviously, I've stuck around for years because I'm learning it as I go.  Trust me, I'm documenting my tricks...  ;)

Maybe part of having a neat plan has to do with conformity.  I believe it keeps developers from truly coming up with unique and innovate gameplay.  So you gotta leave some of that up to chance.  But for me, it's still a hobby, and I'm not under the gun, so I'm going to try to pack in as many "gimmicks" as I can.  Part of that has to do with creating a template for my future projects.  It provides me with a recipe book, gives me more flexibility in the future.  I mean, wouldn't it be hard to make a plan unless you had all the parts ready?  ::)
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Dr Obvious

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Re: Runsetter 1.5.2 still... crawling... in... development heck
« Reply #14 on: 2006-04-10, 09:40:12 AM »
I've done projects with documentation and projects without documentation and I must say that it is much easier with.  It is a little more effort making that documentation, but it is worth it in my honest opinion.

Before I learned the wonders of using things like a GDD and such, I would have agreed that making those things would be a huge waste of time; of course then my track record for completed games and actual well laid out games and levels was press low.  With smaller things like NWN levels and modules, a nice LDD does wonders because it just provides a road map and keeps you on track.  When I made my NWN levels and modules, I just started with an idea and made things as I went.  It sounded nice and I thought it was a great way of doing things, but I either rarely finished things, decided the level wasn't as good as I thought, found out some things wouldn't be feasible, or just wasn't fun.  The same thing happened to me when I made games using the RPG Maker.  I would start with an idea, story, and gimmick and just go.  I would know I wanted whatever area and some dungeons along the way, but nothing was really planned and things just easily fell apart and became too complicated.

Now that I know that documentation actually does help, I love it (of course not asking you to love making documents, I'm just weird like that).  Making those documents provides me with a nice little road map that keeps me on track, makes me think about what I'm putting into a game, and lets me decide if the game is fun and even feasible.  Even with a smaller puzzle based game, I would still like to have something that resembles a GDD just because it would help keep everything in the game consistent.  Without something telling you what the feel of the game and other things like that, it's just too easy to add the "wouldn't it be cool if..." features that can easily ruin a game or turn it into a never ending project.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to tell people to write 30+ page documents in their spare time, but for a pseudo GDD you could just have your story, feel of the game, art style, key gameplay features, and things like that.  For a pseudo LDD, you could have quick more detailed notes about the look and feel of the level, the wow moments, maps and other things.

Maybe part of having a neat plan has to do with conformity.  I believe it keeps developers from truly coming up with unique and innovate gameplay.  So you gotta leave some of that up to chance.  But for me, it's still a hobby, and I'm not under the gun, so I'm going to try to pack in as many "gimmicks" as I can.  Part of that has to do with creating a template for my future projects.  It provides me with a recipe book, gives me more flexibility in the future.  I mean, wouldn't it be hard to make a plan unless you had all the parts ready?  ::)
Plans don't really keep developers from truly coming up with unique and innovative gameplay; they're what lets them come up with unique and innovative gameplay.  I've seen people create games with no real plan other than we're making an unreal mod, it needs to be in a house, and we want ghosts.  By the end, they had indians, vikings, New york lawyers, chefs, and rune based magic all because they didn't really have a plan.  I just don't think you know the huge amount of planning that goes into every little step of creating a game.  Everything down to the day is planned out before production of the actual game begins and is very important.  Without those type of plans, you have things like Daikatana and Duke Nukem Forever. 

I'm truly not trying to start any type of flame war here, but you say that it would be hard to pan without having all parts ready.  Why would you even consider starting to make a game if you didn't know everything that was going to be in it?

« Last Edit: 2006-04-10, 09:47:09 AM by Dr Obvious »