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Author Topic: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter  (Read 20099 times)

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AFS

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2017, 07:05:35 pm »
More things! Yay! ;D

Yay, thanks for the interest ;D

Checkpoints sound like a massive improvement on playability but this, of course, depends on whether a player prefers to play the game or compete with the game.

Yeah, at first I was fine without them, but the game is kind of slow paced, with lots of traveling, and doing that thing again and again after dying would quickly become tedious. The missions themselves are already structured in "parts" (that is, you get a batch of objectives, and after you complete them you get a new batch in a different part of the map), so having a checkpoint between each batch seems natural. 

I've been thinking of adding a "Hard mode" after the game is completed, and this mode would disable checkpoints (while also disabling cutscenes and dialogue). That would be neat.

The fuel "burning" during dialogues could have been solved with a much more simple solution: pause the clock! ;)
This allows fuel to burn when hovering (as one would expect), for example, but keeps balanced whether or not one reads the dialogue.

By "pausing the clock" you mean like making it not burn fuel while a dialogue is up? If that's the case, then players who don't care about the dialogue will get the advantage of free movement while dialogue is up, and there's a LOT of dialogue.

I forgot to mention that dialogue popups don't pause the game, they don't behave like proper cutscenes on which you can't control your character and have to skip the dialogue with a button press. No, the popups just appear as you play and disappear after a few seconds. They serve as commentary by the kids that are playing the game, and for the most part is tongue-in-cheek and not critical to completing the mission.

I didn't want to make the dialogue interrupt the gameplay, so the player is always in control, and that's why I can't pause the clock. With that in mind, making it so you don't burn fuel while standing seems to me like the only solution: if you don't care about the dialogue, just ignore it and keep playing, but if you do, you are free to stop and read, you won't get penalized.

Secondaries charging by kills is an odd choice. You've already mentioned that they're a panic button (missiles/charge) or to be used in conjunction with the primary (missiles/freeze). Charging by kills means that once you've used it up, you have to be fine without it or you will die. Charging by time allows the ability to evade until the weapon is available where you can then engage properly.
If 15 seconds charge makes the game easy, increase the charge time! :P

Yeah, even though the secondaries serve as a complement to the primary, you can still play fine with just the primary. The GIFs are kind of misleading, but in the real game you don't fight that many enemies at once, that would be a nightmare. :P

I played around a lot with the recharge timer, but I could never reach a proper "balance". If the timer is too short, you can abuse the hell out of the secondaries (which are VERY poweful), but if the timer is too long, you feel like you should save it for that special moment in the mission where you really need it, and end up only using it once, or maybe never (like the BFG9000 from Doom)

Also, people play differently. A fast, careless player that wants to complete each mission in under a minute would only have the chance to use the weapon once or twice, while a slow player will be rewarded unfairly with more uses. Playing slow is already safer as it is, so rewarding the slow player with even more charges would make this playstyle way too effective.

By recharging it by kills instead of time, it doesn't matter if you play fast or slow, you will only get roughly the same amount of uses. If anything, it makes playing fast more exciting, because you will recharge the secondary sooner.

Another option for secondaries appears with ammo. You can require a certain amount of ammo to use it or maybe have specific "charge" items to pick up.
For example, charge fully in 2 minutes, add 10% charge for each kill, and add 25% charge for each normal charge item picked up.
That way, you can have repeated usage with constant engagement (kills), begin engagement with a full charge (time and/or items) and have the option to build up that charge during evasion (items).

Thanks for the suggestion, although it seems a little complex. I would prefer using only one method to recharge, not a composite, just to keep things simple.

I didn't think about using an item to recharge, though, so thanks for that. However, using a item then makes the secondary be dependable of fuel (because, by finding the recharge item, you spend fuel on the way), so I'll have to add more fuel items to compensate. This brings the problem that if a player never uses the secondary, he will have a huge surplus of fuel. I guess that's a valid trade-off, but I need to think more about it.

The other option is to make the secondary share the ammo of the primary, with the secondary eating a huge chunk of ammo (say, half the bar), which would make the ammo management a little more in depth, but then again, you could only be able to use the secondary if you have more than half the bar, otherwise you are stuck with the primary, and this would force player to use the secondary, find ammo, use the secondary again, find ammo, and repeat and repeat, until eventually you don't have more ammo on the map, and suddenly the mission becomes unwinnable. While that's the player's fault, as the developer I need to minimize those situations.

Man, balancing gameplay is hard  :-\

I think Project threads are (or should be) exempt from this rule, particularly with posts from the creator. How else would updated information be shared? Another (newer) thread would be horrible, right?

I guess you are right. Still feels weird to post on a thread whose last reply was made 10 months ago, though.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by. :)

eXpl0it3r

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"Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2017, 12:29:07 am »
Project threads can and should be updated whenever you have something new. Like it doesn't matter if you have a 3 years old thread you just created a new version for. It's"your" project thread. :)

Nice to see this game still going strong!
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FRex

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #32 on: March 23, 2017, 10:28:38 pm »
I've not commented before but I have to say I really really like the paper cut outs art style. It's very stylish, unique and looks SO well in motion on the gifs.
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AFS

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2017, 07:34:44 am »
Nice to see this game still going strong!

I've not commented before but I have to say I really really like the paper cut outs art style. It's very stylish, unique and looks SO well in motion on the gifs.

I know I've said this thousands of times, but I'm not good at making assets, I'm not a game artist at all, so I'm really glad that you guys like the art style, as simple as it is. So thanks a lot, guys ;D.

Nowadays I've been working on making a video, and it's taking me more time that I thought it would take (yeah, what a surprise). In the meantime I made a little GIF at 1080p 60 FPS. I don't know if I can embed it here, so I'll just leave the link: https://gfycat.com/HoarseSmoggyDolphin

Cheers!

AFS

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2017, 06:53:24 pm »
Hey, I made a new video if you guys are interested. It shows a full mission, with a set of objectives, dialogue popups, getting items and so on, all the way to the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2FA5esHWwk

The mission (or level or whatever you want to call it) was specifically made for the video, so it's a little bit rehearsed, but I want the real missions to be similar, although a little longer, with bigger maps and not as linear as in the video, but overall with the same structure: get a set of objectives that you can complete in any order, shoot stuff, get items, and then go home.

It was supposed to be a short video but it ended up being 4 minutes long without realizing it, but hey, at least it represents the overall gameplay well enough, so people can know what to expect, and now I can focus on making shorter, more specific videos in the future, like showing an specific enemy, a new weapon, things like that.

In the last few months I felt that I wasn't making enough progress, but now that I watch this video and the older ones back to back, the game indeed feels different. I still have a lot of stuff to do, though.

Cheers!

Mortal

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2017, 08:10:49 pm »
awesome, i really like your work.

sjaustirni

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2017, 08:19:26 am »
I love the dog part  and the self-destruct button :D I hope that you will keep things like these in the release. (I'd probably work a bit on the dialogues though, they could really make the game more fun. I understand however, that the dialogues featured in the video are just a temporary placeholder until the real ones come)

At 3:08 though, are those guys worshipping the box? It made me smile :D

AFS

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2017, 05:30:28 pm »
awesome, i really like your work.

Thanks man, glad that you like it :D

I love the dog part  and the self-destruct button :D I hope that you will keep things like these in the release.

First of all, thanks a lot. I was a little nervious about the vid, because it's the first time that I upload a proper gameplay video showing a full level, so I'm glad about the positive comments so far, thanks a lot.

Yeah, I want to make each level to have little fun "moments", so to speak. In the video it's the dog, the volcano, the little guys that are indeed worshipping the ammo box, things like that. Those moments are not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny, and frankly that's not my goal, I just want those moments to make each level somewhat different from each other, to reward exploration and hopefully crack a smile in the process.

(I'd probably work a bit on the dialogues though, they could really make the game more fun. I understand however, that the dialogues featured in the video are just a temporary placeholder until the real ones come)

Oh, man, the dialogue. To me that's the biggest challenge in making the game. I've never written anything in my life, and english is not my native language, so it's pretty hard to me to write decent dialogue.

The game is supposed to have three characters, codenamed Blue, Red and Green, that are playing the paper game, and they have dialogue popups on different parts of the screen with their respective color, so I need to write some good banter (which requires wit, which I lack) while also making each character have their own distinctive personality.

So far, the only things that are well defined is that Blue and Red are kids while Green is an adult that is invited to the game. Green is grumpy and thinks that the game is stupid; Red is a tomboy that enjoys destroying everything, and Blue, the youngest, is the only one who can break the fourth wall. Besides that, I'm still trying to define their personalities, and only after that I can start writing the "real" dialogue, but even right now with blank personalities is extremely difficult for me to write the lines.

Writing code seems trivial in comparison :P, so I'll be grateful for any pointers regarding the writing.

Anyways, thanks for passing by, glad that you guys like it!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 05:34:37 pm by AFS »

Mario

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2017, 11:28:44 am »
Is it on Steam Greenlight already? Don't remember. But I'd say that "gameplay video" should be enough to get the game greenlit in no time. :)

AFS

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2017, 06:11:35 pm »
Is it on Steam Greenlight already? Don't remember. But I'd say that "gameplay video" should be enough to get the game greenlit in no time. :)

Wow, that's a huge compliment, thank you.

No, it's not on Greenlight. Honestly I don't feel confident enough to do so, I feel like the game is gonna get destroyed in the comments (I've seen other greenlight projects and the comments can be absolutely vicious :o).

Besides, I barely have "presence" online, and as far I'm aware (reading post-mortems and stuff like that), most of the votes from Greenlight don't come from within the site itself, but from external sources. If I just post the game there, it'll probably just get ignored.

That, and also Greenlight is getting shut down soon, so it complicates things a little bit.

I'm still on the fence about it.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 06:20:38 pm by AFS »

AFS

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2017, 01:33:10 am »
Hello everyone. Just making a small update.

I've been making a "ransom text" class for the game. So far looks like this:



To make this I needed two classes: one class that creates a single sf::Text with a paper background (which was previously done, I've been using it for most of the HUD already), and another class that holds several instances of the previously mentioned class while also managing the random colors, random fonts, rotations and everything in order to create the whole text and place it on screen.

I had to manually make a list of background/font color pairs to avoid situations where I could randomly get backgrounds and fonts of the same color. The rest of the properties are generated at random, which includes size, rotation and font, with the latter being chosen from a pool of four different public domain fonts that I found.

The whole thing still needs some tweaking, but so far I'm liking the results.

I'm planning on using this for the little cutscene at the beginning of each mission. For reference, check the video a few posts back: at the very beginning there's a little cutscene with the helicopter sideways and the name of the mission pops up at the right side. Imagine that text but with the ransom text style.

Besides the text, I also made a rain effect, which as of now looks like this:



More and more rain drops appear over time. The screen will get slightly darker depending of the amount of drops as well. Keep in mind that I made the transition much faster in the GIF to keep it brief.

Back from the days when I wanted to make an open world game, I made a Map class that loads stuff on screen in an array of 3x3 "chunks" of 2000x2000 pixels each. So, for instance, if the camera moves to the right, the game unloads the column of chunks on the left and loads a new column on the right, and so on. Same applies to rows.

The following old, crappy gif explains the idea. The cross represents the center of the camera, which follows the player:



As the chunks are big enough, the unloading/loading happens off-screen, so you don't notice it while playing.

So, for the rain effect, I simply re-used this Map class, but I made it so the camera always moves up at a constant speed, creating the illusion that the drops are falling, and most importantly, forcing the unloading of the bottom row and the loading of the top row every few seconds. At the same time, using a clock I modify the data that the Map class looks up to when it loads a chunk, so that new loaded chunks contain a different amount of rain drops. At first, a whole chunk only contains one drop, but over time it contains four, then nine, and slowly continues to over a hundred.

It sounds complicated for such a simple effect, but I made it this way to use what I already had, avoiding writing new code. It works so far, but just like the ransom text class, it still needs some tweaking to do.

Besides those two things I haven't made much progress, because lately I've playing GTA Online non-stop. I'm not obsessed at all, I swear...

Help! :'(

GameBear

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2017, 07:55:28 pm »
I really love this project, and follows it religiously.. reminds me of all the "games" we made back in the school years (age 10+ i guess)

So much imagination and such awesome presentation!

One question, the shadows (in your video above) are all the same offset from the objects that cast them.
Have you considered dynamic distance? so the helicopter will cast a shadow higher up. misiles shadows will change distance as the get near the ground?
(okay, last one will require they know where/what they will hit.... but that could be done with ray casting)

dont know... just thinking out loud... either way... its an awesome game so far...

keep up the good work and thumbs up :)
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Elias Daler

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2017, 08:11:33 pm »
Your looks cooler and cooler every day. :)
Love how the text looks with that effect, the whole "paper" stylistics is executed very well. :D
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AFS

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #43 on: May 21, 2017, 12:21:05 am »
Your looks cooler and cooler every day. :)
Love how the text looks with that effect, the whole "paper" stylistics is executed very well. :D

I really love this project, and follows it religiously.. reminds me of all the "games" we made back in the school years (age 10+ i guess)

So much imagination and such awesome presentation!

Thanks guys, I'm flattered!

One question, the shadows (in your video above) are all the same offset from the objects that cast them.
Have you considered dynamic distance? so the helicopter will cast a shadow higher up. misiles shadows will change distance as the get near the ground?
(okay, last one will require they know where/what they will hit.... but that could be done with ray casting)

That's a neat idea, I love little details like that, but the thing about projectiles is that they can hit other helicopters too, so it wouldn't make much sense to make them look like they are going to the ground. Besides, even things on the ground, like buildings, cast shadows too, so even if I make dynamic shadows for the projectiles the difference with the offset wouldn't be much, being barely noticeable.

The point of the shadows is primarily to let the player differenciate between the interactive stuff (shadows) and the background (no shadows).

Thanks for the suggestion, though!

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Re: "Our Dear Paper Fighters" - Top down shooter
« Reply #44 on: June 11, 2017, 06:00:27 am »
I love the custom text you've made.  It really fits the game nicely.  Well done!