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Last Updated July 28th 2007.
July 28th 2007I haven't updated this in a while, but I have been working pretty steadily on the game. I decided to make it into more of a Contra/Metal Slug-type game. This is for a number of reasons. The big one is that it must be difficult to make a good skill-based brawler, because there are very few, and even then they have manditory hits or can be beaten with constant jumkicks/slides. If you go back and play the X-Men arcade game, you will find it to be extremely boring. On the other hand, Contra and Metal Slug still hold up very well, and are so well crafted that they can be beaten without taking a single hit. This is what I aspire to.
I have made a number of additions to the game. Some of these are:
Slopes: There are now slopes in the game. By this i mean ramps. Mario 1 and Contra did not have these, but Mario 3 and Super C did. These are actually pretty tricky to implement. I am in awe at the old programers ability to get these to work on the NES. I think that they were at fixed angles in the old games. I am able to create them at any angle currently. They only slope side to side, since forward to back slopes don't make much sense in a side-scroller.
Grass: This is used to cover the ground, of course. While many modern games have it, I use it a bit differently, for better or worse. Most games have coarsly knit, but detailed grass 1-2 feet high. Mine is 2 inches to a foot, with low detail. So I have tens of thousands of tiny blades of grass. This sways in the wind, but it is a little stiff. I also use this to make small patches of wildflowers. Think of it as 50 layers of parralax, but with skewing and actual z-coordinates.
Animation System: While I still maintain control over every frame when necessary, I am able to generate in-between frames at any framerate, individually for each body part (currently head, each arm, torso, and legs). It goes like this:
In Game Level Editor: I spent quite some time creating a level editor in Java. It was a little slow for my tastes, and after a while it got way too messy with all the features I added (my fault). After messing around with vertex buffers, I discovered I could make the level editor in-game. Basically, when you are playing the game, you can press a button and a menu pane will pop up and the view will zoom out. You can use the mouse to choose which type of shape you ant to make, which texture, grid size, orientation, etc, and then you just drag the cursor and a grid appears, showing the alignment of the textures. Release the button and the geometry appears. Press the editor button again and the view zooms back in and you are playing.
This feature is a pain to implement, let me tell you. Work on it is going faster than I thought it would, but it is quite an ordeal. The way it is shaping up, it looks like I will leave it in the game for users, because it is very intuitive . It is way easier than making levels in Domm or Quake/Half Life, but a bit more involved than in the old Command and Conquers.
I will try to get screenshots up shortly. The newest one below is over 2 years old!!
April 28th 2005
Un-Named Fighting Game
IntentI started learning Microsoft DirectX 9 in August 2004, though I didn't start in earnest until this February. I started out with the goal of making a clone of the old Nintendo game River City Ransom that would run on my old 800mhz P3. I started working on the programming side first, to see what I could come up with. It turned out to be far easier than I thought it would be, and the technology started to far exceed the target. Now the plan is to have the running around/beating people up part of the game to serve as a hub to a number of different mini games. I am still working on the programming aspect, with placeholder art that looks way too close to South Park.
Game PlayThere are three buttons for controlling your character. Punch, Kick, and Throw. Punches and Kicks can be charged to three levels. Punch+Kick jumps. With throw you will be able to throw objects up, to the side, or at a 45 degree angle. Throw will also be used to catch Items thrown by other players, and to grab stunned opponents. The game will have a well-developed and consistant physics system, so that all attackes will have a force and angle value. This will allow every object (boxes, guns, trash cans, stunned opponents, corpses, heads) to be hacked (as in hacky sack). Double-tapping in any direction will cause the player to sprint, altering the movelist accordingly. There will be a 3-button menu system (menu left, select, menu right) to control helper ai and other stuff. Right now it is a cross between Metal Gear Solids item selection and Secret of Manas ring menus. The game will support at least 4 players.
As for mini games, there can be 9 on 9 basketball minigames, not to mention football/soccer/hockey. Something with the depth of Tecmo Bowl is not out of the question. The obvious hacky-sack game will be in there too, and of course, dodge ball.
Art StyleThis is the part that is still up in the air. I really hate grainy-looking American art with random lines of detail for the sake of detail, and the pre-rendered sprite look. I also hate it when americans try to draw anime, because it always looks flat and stupid. Looks like I am screwed then. I want to go with a clean look, big areas with a solid color, kind of like the coloring in Street Fighter Alpha. I hold Capcoms artists in the highest reguard, and could never hope to match them. I hope to make some clean, easy-to-see-what-the-hell-is-going-on art, since it would be a shame to waste the technical edge I have over just about every 2-D game ever made (The closest competition is 2004's Gamecube Paper Mario).
ThemeThis is still undecided, and is another reason I haven't started work on any final art. I need to think of a decent story. It will most likely be set in modern times, and involve gangs (or high school students if I want to take out the guns). A Rival Schools thing might be cool, and would be a good exuse for all the mini-game competitions. I guess it all depends on the level of violence.
Technical AspectsIn River City Ransom, there can be 4 Characters on screen at once. In the Street Fighter games, only 2. Most modern fighting games allow less than 10. On my old computer my game can support about 90 characters at once without slowdown (at 70 fps 1280x1024). I doubt I'll have that many onscreen at once in the final game, but this does open up some interesting options from a design standpoint, such as 25 on 25 gang wars.
I Have a particle system in place that handles blood, dirt, smoke, and rubble. It's far enough along to allow lots of blood and junk to stick around instead of dissapearing after 10 seconds like most games. The game will run great on most computers, though it may be stuck at 640x480 on computers with integrated graphics cards. I will have to do more testing on other computers, since I have a Geforce FX5600.
There is the potential for this game to be the best looking sprite-based game ever. If you look at the pitures below, there is room for more detail in the guys pants that there is for a whole street fighter character. The Alex from Rivercity Ransom can fit into his shoe. While Guile is limited to 32 colors, my guys are capped at 16.7 million colors (though I will most likely not use more than 64 per character). It all comes down to either making some good art myself, or finding an artist who shares my love of clean design (and a decent work ethic).