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Nexus

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Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« on: July 01, 2012, 01:02:37 pm »
Zloxx II

I would like to present you a bigger project of mine, namely a Jump'n'Run game called "Zloxx II". It has been inspired by various Super Mario titles, some Nifflas games, and probably much more.

Your goal is -- as usual -- to defeat enemies, to collect coins, weapons, power-ups or suits, and to reach the end of each level.






The game is freeware, but currently only works on Windows. More screenshots and a download link can be found on my homepage. Have fun! :)
Zloxx II: action platformer
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eXpl0it3r

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 04:27:51 pm »
This is awesome!  :)

I like everything (graphics, control, sound, genre...) ;)
The minimap in the beginning of each game reminds me a lot of Lemmings.

Why exactly is it called "Zloxx II? Is there a first version?
Is there a background story to the game?
I guess you're not using any physics library, right?

I've only played to the maze where I died too often, but I've a few things I'd like to mention.

  • The rope catching mechanism could be a bit better. If your haning on the rope and move a bit left or right, just a little bit, you'll lose the contact. It's a bit annoying.
  • The text hints appearence is also a bit too small. It's sometimes hard to just find the right spot, where the text doesn't fade away.
  • Sometimes the jump key doesn't work instantly as expected, atm I'm not sure why or when it happens, but it just sometimes misses the key press. Maybe if you press it a few milliseconds before you hit the ground it won't get recognied as a jump although intuitivly it was one.
  • It's intended that you keep your objects even though you die and respawn at a save point, right?
  • The exe file misses an icon...
  • It's kind of annyoing that you have to exit to the main menu to save the game state.
  • In some levels you can walk against an invisible wall/ceilling, i.e. it's not such a nice level design.
  • Not sure if this is intended, when enemies walk on blocks that disappear as soon as you hit it, they will stop if there's a whole, but if you let a block fade away they will fall down.
  • It's kind of confusing that you can't exit the game with Esc but have to to press P first.
Okay enough for now. ;-)

I will keep playing it though.
Jump'n'Run games are my favourit!
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Nexus

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 05:23:26 pm »
Thank you for the detailed feedback! I'm glad you like it :)

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
Why exactly is it called "Zloxx II? Is there a first version?
Yes, some years ago I wrote a first version with SDL, which was never released though. I completely rewrote it and added a lot of features.

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
Is there a background story to the game?
No. :P

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
I guess you're not using any physics library, right?
No, physics and collision detection are written by myself.

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
The rope catching mechanism could be a bit better.
[...]
The text hints appearence is also a bit too small.
I agree. I think I could just make the respective areas a bit larger. However, concerning the rope, I don't want to make it too easy. Now there are some places where it is difficult (but possible) to reach a certain place with the rope, and this should remain a challenge ;)

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
Sometimes the jump key doesn't work instantly as expected, atm I'm not sure why or when it happens, but it just sometimes misses the key press. Maybe if you press it a few milliseconds before you hit the ground it won't get recognied as a jump although intuitivly it was one.
Yes, the jump key is not recognized while in the air, you need precise timing. This is intentional :)

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
It's intended that you keep your objects even though you die and respawn at a save point, right?
Yes.

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
The exe file misses an icon...
Indeed. Some time ago I experienced with Visual Studio's resource files, but I failed to embed an icon that scales correctly, and then focused on more important tasks. But maybe I should give it a try again...

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
It's kind of annyoing that you have to exit to the main menu to save the game state.
You cannot save your game state in the conventional sense. You can only interrupt your progress to continue later, but you can't restore the same state again and again. However the completed levels remain.

Otherwise, a "game over" wouldn't mean much. But here, if you lose all your lives, you also lose weapons, coins and points.

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
In some levels you can walk against an invisible wall/ceilling
That's true, it's an artifact of a quite recent modification. Originally, every level was surrounded by a solid (and visible) wall. Then I decided it would be more interesting if not every level had the bounds of a rectangle, so I made the most outer walls invisible and adapted the most parts, but in some places, I didn't want to enlarge whole level just for a ceiling.

Do you remember where this happened?

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
Not sure if this is intended, when enemies walk on blocks that disappear as soon as you hit it, they will stop if there's a whole, but if you let a block fade away they will fall down.
I don't know whether I have understood that correctly, but enemies treat the "volatile" tiles as solid, only the player triggers the disappear mechanism.

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
It's kind of confusing that you can't exit the game with Esc but have to to press P first.
I wanted to avoid that one accidentally (or as a result of habitude) presses Escape and loses his whole progress. Furthermore, the pause menu states "don't save" to make that clear.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 05:25:02 pm by Nexus »
Zloxx II: action platformer
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aBallofWin

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 05:52:38 pm »
Looks very nice! Just two things:

Maybe you should put it in a .rar or .zip instead of .7z. I'm sure not everyone has 7-zip and it saves them having to go download it themselves :)

How did you pack your resources into .zlx files as well (plus loading them)? I'm intrigued, as that could really help me in my game so people couldn't see the images and that!

eXpl0it3r

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 05:55:21 pm »
Quote from: eXpl0it3r
Is there a background story to the game?
No. :P
Too bad... What should the character of the player ressemble? Any eye with four legs? ;D

I agree. I think I could just make the respective areas a bit larger. However, concerning the rope, I don't want to make it too easy. Now there are some places where it is difficult (but possible) to reach a certain place with the rope, and this should remain a challenge ;)
Yes don't make it easier, although it can get frustrating sometimes. ;)

That's true, it's an artifact of a quite recent modification. Originally, every level was surrounded by a solid (and visible) wall. Then I decided it would be more interesting if not every level had the bounds of a rectangle, so I made the most outer walls invisible and adapted the most parts, but in some places, I didn't want to enlarge whole level just for a ceiling.

Do you remember where this happened?
Yes, in level 1-3 and 1-4.

I don't know whether I have understood that correctly, but enemies treat the "volatile" tiles as solid, only the player triggers the disappear mechanism.
What I mean is, if the block haven't gone yet, the enemies walk around and turn at the end of the blocks instead of falling down, now if you jump on one of these volatile blocks, the blocks disappeares and the enemy will fall down, where the block was before. I guess this is the easier solution for implementation and seeing that you've seperated the walking path from the 'physic' (i.e. lvl 1-3, the enemy turns one tile before the edge) it makes kind of sense, but in my mind it would make more sense if the enemies turn also if a block disappears unless they're standing on it.
Was that more clear, or do you need a video? :P

I wanted to avoid that one accidentally (or as a result of habitude) presses Escape and loses his whole progress. Furthermore, the pause menu states "don't save" to make that clear.
Yes I understand, but couldn't you trigger the pause 'menu' too when pressing Esc?
What I 'fear' is that some players don't read/remember that pressing P will open the pause menu...

Maybe you should put it in a .rar or .zip instead of .7z. I'm sure not everyone has 7-zip and it saves them having to go download it themselves :)
On the contrary, people should start using 7zip! I love it! ;)

How did you pack your resources into .zlx files as well (plus loading them)? I'm intrigued, as that could really help me in my game so people couldn't see the images and that!

It seems like he's created his own format with his own loader and packer. ;)
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aBallofWin

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 06:01:08 pm »
Quote
Maybe you should put it in a .rar or .zip instead of .7z. I'm sure not everyone has 7-zip and it saves them having to go download it themselves :)
On the contrary, people should start using 7zip! I love it! ;)
Don't get me wrong, I do love 7zip too! It's just that I know that some people don't like to install stuff on their computer, or they've got that god damn awful WinRAR ... :@



Quote
How did you pack your resources into .zlx files as well (plus loading them)? I'm intrigued, as that could really help me in my game so people couldn't see the images and that!

It seems like he's created his own format with his own loader and packer. ;)

Hmm, If Nexus doesn't want to share, I may have to look into this :)

eXpl0it3r

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 06:17:29 pm »
Yey I found a 'hack' (at first really by accident, later I had to confirm that this wasn't just randomly). In level 1-4 you can avoid the spawing of some enemies if you jump over the invisible action blocks. ;D
I marked the approximated location: http://pitload.org/3107

Hmm, If Nexus doesn't want to share, I may have to look into this :)

You can take a look at libMy, although it's outdated and the code design isn't the best, also since sfmluploads is once more down, you can't download it atm. ::)
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aBallofWin

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 06:24:03 pm »
You can take a look at libMy, although it's outdated and the code design isn't the best, also since sfmluploads is once more down, you can't download it atm. ::)

Cheers! I'm just going to have to wait for sfmluploads then! :(

eXpl0it3r

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2012, 10:43:28 pm »
I've kept playing a bit and I've now run into a nasty frame drop 'bug' which leads to some strange slowing down and speeding up the entities. :o

I've only noticed that slow down at one place although it might happen on many diffrent places. I've made a recording with PlayClaw so you get a visual: http://pitload.org/3108 (Don't worry the screen grabber seems to not really like the mp4 format...)

In the top left corner you see the FPS calculated by PlayClaw, they might be a bit lower than expected but the FPS drop near 0:45, from ~40fps to 29fps in 2seconds and then quick spike at 0:52 followed by a drop to 29 messes around with the animation and movement pretty badly. Note the slow jump at 0:54 and the speed at 0:57 (can be seen quite good on the enemies).

This can be repeated, so it's not just something in the background...  :-\

Edit: It happends during the whole level.
Edit2: Deactivating VSync solves the slow down/speed up problem.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 01:01:06 pm by eXpl0it3r »
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Nexus

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2012, 11:32:43 pm »
Maybe you should put it in a .rar or .zip instead of .7z. I'm sure not everyone has 7-zip and it saves them having to go download it themselves :)
I think WinRAR supports .7z as well. I prefer 7z because of its open nature.

Quote from: aBallofWin
How did you pack your resources into .zlx files as well (plus loading them)?
I wrote a format only for that game, thus it is quite limited and specific. Actually I had the idea to improve everything and make it open-source, but I currently really don't have the time besides Thor, Aurora and other game projects.

In case you come across other useful libraries, please let me know. I've also taken a look at the LZMA SDK (for .7z files), but its API is the hell itself, and PhysicsFS, which is actually very nice, but doesn't provide a way to encrypt files.

Too bad...
I know. I could have done a lot, but I have invested much time in bugfixing and gameplay during the last months, and I didn't want to delay the project any longer. But that doesn't mean this remains forever ;)

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
What I mean is, if the block haven't gone yet, the enemies walk around and turn at the end of the blocks instead of falling down, now if you jump on one of these volatile blocks, the blocks disappeares and the enemy will fall down, where the block was before.
Ah okay. To guide enemies, I have created a special sort of tile which blocks enemies, but is invisible. This allows me to easily specify seemingly-intelligent behaviors like turning at a cliff or patrolling between two points. But it also means that enemies don't react specifically to volatile tiles -- on the other side, I think this way one can pointedly trigger the tiles to let enemies fall (especially later, where they fall into death).

Quote from: eXpl0it3r
Yes I understand, but couldn't you trigger the pause 'menu' too when pressing Esc?
What I 'fear' is that some players don't read/remember that pressing P will open the pause menu...
Then they'd leave with double escape, although one assumes that escape quits the pause menu, not the game. Players must read those signposts, they contain many useful advice (even if it isn't always obvious).

Yey I found a 'hack' (at first really by accident, later I had to confirm that this wasn't just randomly). In level 1-4 you can avoid the spawing of some enemies if you jump over the invisible action blocks. ;D
Yes, this occurs in some places. And it's interesting that this is a typical programmer's observation, "regular" players don't think in terms such as "invisible action blocks" :D

Yes, I could easily fix that... But then again I think, sometimes it's nice if the more experienced players find abbreviations or ways to make a level easier :)

I've kept playing a bit and I've now run into a nasty frame drop 'bug' which leads to some strange slowing down and speeding up the entities.
This is a known issue, it results of the attempt to fix an FPS anomaly by dynamically adjusting the framerate. That is also why I added an option "fixed framerate" which you can choose to disable the dynamic control system.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to found the cause of this behavior yet. The fact that seemingly independent factors as described in the link affect the framerate drastically doesn't make it easier...
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 11:35:50 pm by Nexus »
Zloxx II: action platformer
Thor Library: particle systems, animations, dot products, ...
SFML Game Development: first SFML book

Nexus

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Zloxx v2.1
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2012, 12:06:38 am »
Zloxx v2.1 released

I have realized many of the suggestions and other improvements to the game. Changes include:
  • Added more signposts and improved a few existing ones
  • Extended area to read a signpost
  • Extended area to cling to a rope (is slightly easier now)
  • Got rid of most invisible walls, changed some level boundaries
  • Added many triggers for enemies, it is now harder to bypass them
  • Added an icon to the executable
  • Drew outline for floating texts, they are now more readable
  • Rewrote music handling, should be more robust now
  • Removed VSync option, doesn't make much sense for fixed framerate
  • Framerate option change doesn't require window recreation
  • Fixed bug with jumping
Savegames of version 2.0 remain compatible, therefore you can continue your progress.

Have fun :)
Zloxx II: action platformer
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SFML Game Development: first SFML book

eXpl0it3r

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2012, 12:27:55 am »
Nice! :)

I've spotted the folder where I've put Zloxx and was thinking about playing it again for a bit, now I've another reason to do so! :D

Let's see if I spot some bugs...ehm...features again. ;)

Edit: Here I am again... ;)
Start the game, kill yourself until you don't have any lives left and then the application will crash. Since you've provided a release build the callstack doesn't reveal anything, but I guess you can reproduce it too and find out the problem.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 12:39:03 am by eXpl0it3r »
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Nexus

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2012, 06:20:49 am »
Argh, sorry. That was really dumb, I recently changed something with the music, and tested only the effect on the overworld. I corrected the mistake, and by doing so, I probably introduced another bug :D

No, currently I don't have time, I'll test it more intensely soon. But I uploaded a fixed version so you can at least play ;)
Zloxx II: action platformer
Thor Library: particle systems, animations, dot products, ...
SFML Game Development: first SFML book

greeniekin

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2012, 06:46:33 am »
Looks good from the pics.
Would be good if you could upload a video. Sometimes I can not download stuff.
Also I am downloading it and half an hour and it is not halfway yet><
I have unreliable net and it is a surprisingly large file and 50mb compressed.

Do you think you will incorporate any other sf mods like "let there be light"?

You know what this would look great on.... Android. I'll volunteer you :P

Though honestly I do not know if it can live up to your airport game.

I played that for hours. It had perfect graphics, great game play. You really outdid yourself on that project.


Edit

I played it and the animations are great very smooth and nicely done in the menu and ingame. I also like that if you click out of the window it automatically pauses. I have always wondered why commercial games do not do that.

That being said I got to the sign your jump height varies based on how long you hold it.
the special environment things were pretty good and of course animated as well.
Though it does not live up to airport.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 07:12:07 am by greeniekin »

Nexus

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Re: Zloxx II - An action Jump'n'Run
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2012, 04:42:06 pm »
I have unreliable net and it is a surprisingly large file and 50mb compressed.
Yes, the biggest part is music, I use about 15 different themes. I don't think I can shrink the size a lot without loss of quality.
 
Do you think you will incorporate any other sf mods like "let there be light"?
I have not planned it. I know I could polish the game endlessly, but after a long time developping a Jump'n'Run I want to do something else. And there is still Thor...

You know what this would look great on.... Android. I'll volunteer you :P
Thanks, but as long as SFML doesn't support mobile platforms, this requires a rewrite of large parts.

Though honestly I do not know if it can live up to your airport game.

I played that for hours. It had perfect graphics, great game play. You really outdid yourself on that project.
Cool that you like Airport so much :) I wouldn't have expected that, considering its simplicity. I mean although I put some effort into the graphics, it's basically just a static background and moving planes with some particles and shadows ;)

Though it does not live up to airport.
I see. Zloxx probably isn't as addicting, especially once you have beaten everything ;) I think it also depends on the personal preferences, some people simply love Jump'n'Runs.

Also thanks for the other feedback which isn't explicitly quoted here!
Zloxx II: action platformer
Thor Library: particle systems, animations, dot products, ...
SFML Game Development: first SFML book

 

anything