The deadline for the ‘discovery’ comp is coming up quickly, and I don’t think I can realistically complete Speck in time.
Therefore I need to stop myself from rushing the development of Speck and consider the ideas, so screenshots will come later. =D
PS: Mac versions of Caveman Craig may be available soon!
To keep my game design fresh and exciting I like to work on a side project every so often. With the help from a friend of mine I developed a concept for a game which I’m hoping will be ready for the “Discovery” YYG competition which has a deadline of August 31st. The game is called “Speck”.
I’d like to keep information about the concept blurry both during and after the development of the game but the goal of the game is to “discover as much about Earth as you can before you burn out”, and is a solo project; I’ll be doing the music, graphics, and of course the programming.
Screenshots will appear on this blog entry later this afternoon, once I get home =)
The great thing about working at a private school is that I get holidays whenever the kids do (more or less – I still work but the hours are very flexible). So I’ve been kicking myself into completing some more work on Caveman Craig 2.
I’m getting closer to the point where I can say the core engine is almost complete. The game is “playable” and extensible. All the cavemen do what they’re supposed to and when they’re supposed to. Everything is in place. I do however need to spend some time optimising what I’ve done (which I have been doing anyway), as the game lags a little once there are 60 cavemen on the map with ‘something to do’. If there are 60 cavemen just walking around without any dinosaurs to kill or vegetation to gather, it’s still a consistent 60/60 frame rate. However, this is one of the major downfalls in having a Core i7 920 CPU and 6GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM… I can’t tell how slow a game is going to be on other machines when mine is overkill!
Once the core engine is complete and optimised, I can start working on expanding the game. This’ll include:
- The “Director” – the little engine that’ll create dinosaurs, vegetation, and such. Much like the director that handles zombies in Left 4 Dead.
- The enemy leader & tribe director – A CPU caveman that is able to perform everything, just like Craig. There’ll also need to be a second director which manages when enemy tribes create new cavemen, attack tribes, etc.
- Dinosaurs, bonuses, and all that good substancey stuff.
- I’m hoping, an explosion of conceptual sprites from Tim to start working on the visual element.
Thanks for your support, everyone.
Firstly, thanks for your suggestions on the previous blog post. We’ve got some cool idea for tribe defences now we’re hoping to build on.
A month or two ago we hit a wall with some of the game mechanics we had planned and recreated our plans for the main gametype. We didn’t make sacrificed, we were able to both improve the gameplay and improve the practicality in programming the thing. So I’ve had to take a few steps backward in the development process and redevelop parts of the AI to make sure it’s all consistent.
In short, instead of leaving your ‘map’ and going to an enemy base which is an entirely different map, you and an enemy tribe ‘share’ a piece of land. The aim of the game is to take over the enemy checkpoints, and eventually their main base. Of course, the enemy tribe is going to attack you at times too, and you don’t want your warriors to be sleeping when it happens! As you conquer each tribe, you will advance to more difficult terrains with more dinosaurs and smarter tribes.
With a few new techniques, there should be some big performance increases even though there’ll be twice as many cavemen running around, and not to mention with much greater intelligence.
I wish I’d more interesting screenshot teasers to show you but at this point it’s still all very unappealing. Here’s a snippet of our Hunter AI – this is what a hunter executes every frame. Primarily, the hunter looks at what ‘status’ he’s in (i.e ‘normal’, ‘throwing a rock’, ‘dodging’, ‘sleeping’, etc) and executes code accordingly. The “normal” status is like his main menu. It’s where he determines where he needs to go, and what he needs to do when he gets there. What he ‘does’ is usually another status (which, once completed, returns to his ‘normal’ status). The comments and resource names should provide some cryptic clues to some of the features of caveman craig 2.
For a bit of fun, I challenge you all to point out some features that Caveman Craig 2 is going to have based on the PDF below.
Click here to view the PDF
I need your help once again!
In Caveman Craig, you have various bonuses which help you grow your tribe faster. Things like spits to cook carcasses, flaming rocks, and so on.
In Caveman Craig 2 we need a new type of bonus – something which will help defend parts of your land against enemy tribes. These sort’f bonuses can be purchased multiple times and placed whereve the player wants them. So, give me your ideas! And please, only ideas of bonuses which defend against enemy tribe cavemen, not suggestions for the game itself.
Some ideas I already have include a spike trap, fortification / wall, an outpost of sorts, and “maybe” a catapult.
The easter weekend was a great opportunity for me to catch up on some CC2 development work. It’s pretty comical watching everything ‘work’ but with minimal eye candy. Cavemen spinning around 360 degrees to represent picking up a rock, growing and shrinking to represent sleep, and hideously unrealistic tree sprites to represent vegetation on the map.
Despite this it’s still exciting to see the cavemen going around doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I guess it’s similar to writing an application in unix and seeing it ‘work’, even though it’s not visually very appealing.
I was working last night trying to fix what I thought were epic glitches in the AI of the preparers and gatherers. They were prioritising meat, yet preparing fruit, or vice versa. Or, I’d set all cavemen to go to sleep and only half of them would. This morning I discovered that in most cases, they were actually doing the right thing after all. They might’ve been prioritising meat, but they [i]weren’t actually trained to prepare meat[/i]. It’s just nice to see the system come together, especially considering that in Caveman Craig 2 there are a lot more factors to everything that cavemen do. Particularly energy and interaction from Craig. For example, below is the line of code that makes a caveman walk the correct speed when dragging a carcass. His speed is dependant on his intelligence / skill in dragging, how heavy the carcass is, who else is dragging the carcass with him (the more people, the faster), *AND* how much energy he has, which degrades slowly throughout the day.
walkspeed = -((3*skill_meat)/harvestID.myWeight)*max(.3,min(1,myEnergy/40))*harvestID.carriers
Now, I’m no mathmatician, so when I see this code I wonder how in the hell I managed to conjure up such a calculation.
In other news, I’ve changed the blog look again (with a nice custom header), and I’ve locked the suggestions page – I’ve had an overwhelming response and I need to process what I’ve got
Here’s a (very, very, very early) screenshot from Caveman Craig 2. As you can see, very little has been done on the graphic side of Caveman Craig 2 – beyond the base running animation of Craig.
This comes later in the development process – most of our work has been behind the scenes.. the engine, artificial intelligence, all the concept on paper, etc.
If you can’t work out what’s going on in this shot, then I don’t blame you. Basically, the gatherer happens to have a spear (0_O, gossip!) which he’s using to kill green spots (herbivores, eventually). Why’s he glowing? Well, that’s his ‘throw spear’ animation for now.
Probably the coolest looking thing on this screen is the sun. Mainly created out of real-time effects, it glows and flickers. We’ll probably add some cool lens flare later on, but it’s mainly there to signify what time of day it is. It’s clearly around 12pm in this shot.
These Christmas holidays have been pretty constructive for me.
Game Maker 8 came out, and it’s been a lot of fun trying out the new features (PNG support!!).
I have been working on a solo project called “Oh No More Zombies!” on and off during the year, and it’s nearing its completion. It’s a simple wave-based shooter, mainly to keep me busy on the game design side @ times when Caveman Craig 2 couldn’t be worked on (recently we made the decision to wait until GM8 came out before continuing development on Caveman Craig 2 – this has lead me to working on Oh No More Zombies in the meantime).
Tim and I have also decided to design an entry for the new YoYo Games “Handheld” competition. We already have a concept and we’re working hard on getting it completed asap so that Caveman Craig 2 can have the attention it deserves.
Some might say that we shouldn’t be working on anything else until CC2 is completed, considering it’s a large project and it has a seemingly large anticipation brewing – we understand, but as a designer I feel the need to release side projects, even if small, from time to time, to keep my mind motivated on game design at all. Hopefully these 2 projects will get Tim and I’s wheel turning again.
Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year.
I’vre been reading all your comments, and I really appreciate your enthusiasm! I know some of you are worried the project has died down, but don’t despair! This is simply because Tim and I are both working full-time (I scored a full-time position as a network administrator for a private school), and with Tim’s recent marriage there have been many other things on our minds.
I’m aiming for some solid weeks of development these christmas holidays – I won’t lie to you, progress IS slow and I’m unsure of a release date as yet, but again, don’t worry.
Keep those suggestions and kind comments coming!
Development for CC2 is now well underway, after many months of planning and conceptualising. To keep you guys excited about its release, I’m going to post very small features that will be included in the game every now and then. The BIG features are for later on
So far we’ve developed the main backend for how the cavemen interact with the environment. The major bugs we’ve had with the previous versions of Caveman Craig involved getting stuck in a loop, or cavemen positioned incorrectly when being eaten by a raptor or something. This new engine for caveman actions will prevent such bugs.
In Caveman Craig 2, cavemen can help each other take carcasses into a cave – it’s no longer just a one-man job. If you’re dragging a dead dino, another caveman can come up and help out, and you both lift it and walk much faster. Some dinosaurs are too heavy for one man to carry, and requires two.