Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Skymorrowindblivion

I'm a fan of the Elder Scrolls series and wanted a project where I could just experiment freely (despite the scope obviously being way too vast). At the moment it's just a pet project where I can do what I feel like and have fun. Here are some screenshots (you can click on them to enlarge).



Silverglade Village South



Silverglade Village North. In the distance to the left you can see floating wizard towers above St Pork Knuckle Church. If you walk under the bridge to the right you arrive at a market place.



A grassy meadow in Silverglade Village.



Entrance to a small market place.



Animals grazing near a pond.



I've been toying with the idea of having an oil painting effect to give the game a more unique look. This is one variant.



A slightly more extreme variant of the experimental oil paint look.



Introductory text displayed at the start of the game inside the Adventurers Guild.



I've enjoyed working on the lore of the game. The game contains 21 books so far. Each book typically is about 4-10 pages long.



Chaos in the battle arena. You can choose which animals, monsters or characters to pit against one another. I chose to throw in cows, wild boars and some monsters ('void scuttlers' and 'rip friends'). It was a noisy and bloody affair.



I have a full Elder Scrolls style character creator in place. It is built on top of something called the UMA framework.



Another screenshot of the character creator.



Floating in the sky is the 'World Engine', which allows the player to do things like change time of day, weather conditions (rain, lightning storm, snow storm etc), wind strength, moon phase or even to enable the aurora / polar lights effect.



It's a book!



Sunday, September 30, 2018

Battlescape

Back in 2014 I started work on a real-time strategy game called Zyrtuul. I knew that it was too much work for a single person, but often I just want to work on what I love rather than focusing on what is feasible, so I went ahead anyway.

I made a lot of progress over the year, but eventually (and inevitably) I ran out of steam. RTS games are complex and a lot of work, so I chose to rather change course and focus on games with smaller scope that I could actually release.




Since then I have released a few games on iOS. But although I had fun with them (despite the torture of the iOS deployment process) the problem with games that are small in scope is that, put simply, I'm not really passionate about them. Often I ask myself, would I play this myself? And usually the answer is no. I'm into games with more complexity and depth, and those are the kinds of projects I'd like to work on. Those are the kinds of projects that challenge and excite me.





With the games market so over-saturated the chances of getting your game recognized are pretty low anyway, so I thought "well fuck it, I'm going to work on whatever the hell I please, it's just a hobby in my spare time anyway."

And so I resurrected Zyrtuul. Except this time I decided that I'd go all out and make it multiplayer.





Back in 2014 when I first started work on Zyrtuul I was still fairly new to Unity and C#, and the idea of RTS networking admittedly scared me off a bit. Fast forward to 2018 and I have a fair bit of experience with Unity and C#, and my way of doing things has shifted significantly (coding conventions, design patterns that work well with Unity's world-view etc).

And so... I decided to start 'from scratch' (create a new project) and just drag in / re-factor the useful bits of code. I also decided to expand the scope and go all out. I wanted to challenge myself -- multiplayer and the full shebang.

The new project's work-in-progress name is Battlescape. It's a squad-based multiplayer game focusing on co-operative gameplay. I've always loved games like Starcraft and Warhammer: 40k, and back in the day LAN battles of Starcraft were inspirational for me. However, they've become very niche and overly competitive over the years (for example, the only way to be competitive in Starcraft 2 is practically devote your life to the game). I miss RTS games. I feel that they have become a niche genre; almost abandoned.




So I'm thinking, why should they be? I love them. Other people used to love them. I honestly feel that the mutliplayer RTS genre does not need to be inaccessible or intimidating to average players.

My idea with Battlescape was to focus on the co-operative aspect of it. It's multiplayer RTS, but you're all on the same team working together to overcome increasingly difficult challenges. Team-work, camaraderie, low pressure and a focus on allowing you to easily choose to play with your friends as if it was an old-school LAN.





I've made some really good progress so far. I'm quite proud of my squad formation logic. You can change formations on the fly and the units handle it intelligently (I was tipsy when I wrote the code and had to do some fair bit of math-wangling with a fuzzy brain). The core logic of the game is in place. However, as with most pet projects of large scope, I ended up burning myself out a bit.




I'm still in love with this project, but I've decided to take a break and come back to it later with fresh eyes. Also, I have unfinished older projects which (as with this one) I've abandoned due to burn-out. They need to be re-visited. Check out my posts on Araxxis Squadron and Lyntheria for more info.




Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lyntheria

Back in about 2005 during my very early days of tinkering with game development I put together a puzzle game called Lyntheria. It was the first complete game I wrote, using DirectX 8 and knowledge acquired during my Computer Science undergrad degree.


It was very rough around the edges and unpolished. At the time I thought fixing the resolution to 800 x 600 was perfectly fine, and I hadn't yet encountered the concept of making the gameplay frame-rate independent. And so... the original game is pretty much completely unplayable now.




Often you'll have a grand idea for a game, but upon execution you find it's not as fun as you imagined. Lyntheria wasn't like that. With Lyntheria, when I shared it with my friends I found that it sucked them in.


Getting people to pay attention to a game you've made is often difficult, but with Lyntheria people seemed to take it as a personal challenge, even sharing it with wifes and girlfriends.





Looking back I decided to see what it would be like if I re-created it with my current level of knowledge and experience. This was during 2017.


I really loved the result. It's a simple game (though some of the puzzles are mind-boggling at times, even to me, the creator of them). It was pretty much complete as of late 2017, though I never ended up releasing it because I wasn't sure if there is even a market for these kinds of games nowadays.





Often when I work on a game I'll have a period of intense involvement and focus, but I'll burn myself out on it (especially since I'm doing it outside of normal work hours). I tend to jump onto other new projects and then forget about my previous projects.





In retrospect I decided it's wasteful to spend some much time on a game without at least attempting to make a go of it, so I've decided to resurrect the project and try release it on Steam.




It has a puzzle editor (the same editor I used to create the puzzles). I've tried to make it user-friendly so that players can create their own puzzles and even upload them for their friends or other players to try. The process is pretty simple (one-click really). The main difficulty I faced was preventing unsolvable puzzles from being uploaded. I solved this by requiring the player to play and solve their own puzzle before allowing them to upload it.







There is a single bug remaining where very occasionally reversing gravity in some puzzles doesn't allow the puzzle-matching logic to execute correctly. In addition to that I added an additional campaign at the end without creating new puzzles for it (feature creep!). But on the whole it's very polished and the closest I currently have to something ready for release.


I'm thinking I should probably put my more glamorous and overly ambitious current pet projects on hold and focus on releasing games again. Anyway, enough rambling. Here are the remaining screenshots.























Sunday, February 12, 2017

Araxxis Squadron Alpha Completed

I've completed the alpha build of Araxxis Squadron and plan on uploading it to get some feedback soon. Here are some screenshots...













Saturday, January 28, 2017

Araxxis Squadron

My real-time strategy Zyrtuul was probably my favourite project. However, over time I came to realize that the scope of it was too large and that, as a result, it was unlikely to ever reach completion. So I decided to cut my losses and put it on hold indefinitely.





Out of the ashes rose a new, simpler game, Araxxis Squadron. I had put in so much work on Zyrtuul, and didn't want to let all of that time and effort go to waste. So I salvaged the game and decided to convert it into something new.





This new game is called Araxxis Squadron -- Into Legend. It has the feel of an old-school arcade space shooter, but there are also strategic elements, in that you have to penetrate the enemy's base to destroy their outpost core. So it feels like what you'd get if you took the old Asteroids or Space Invaders games, and added in strategy elements.