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Thread: What are you making?

  1. #501
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    Don't ever, ever use conEdit. :P (Deus ex conversation editor)

    Actually, do use it, just the once, to see how much better every other system is.

    My best tip would be to keep what you want to say to the player to a bare minimum. Pare it down to a few key salient facts. Make the conversation tree that communicates those facts to the player as robust and solid as you can, then play with incidental (i.e. actually fun) stuff.

    Oh, and if you're going into the depths of flagchecking things like "did the player comment on liking pineapples back in level 2", just keep subsequent conversation elements that address those flags as simple as possible ("oh and by the way, I got you a pineapple"): most of the time the player will just be pleased that the game is paying attention to them, you don't need to have branches that end up in logic trees like

    Code:
    if(player.likesPineapples && (player.hatesGrapefruit || player.hatesUglifruit) && !player.isAmbivalentAboutFruit && fruitconvoplayed_once_already)
            gotobranch("Oh by the way, I know I mentioned this already, but we got rid of those really citrusy fruits and bought you a pineapple instead");
    because down that route madness lies.

  2. #502
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia


    Work continues when I have the time on version 0.50 on my remake of Dragon's Lair on the NES. Moving spike balls are in and unlike the original game cause damage on hitting the player rather than insta-killing them. Moving grey ghosts are also now in and damage rather than kill on contact. Crumbling block tiles are now in as well.

    Two standard enemies remain to be added in plus the boss encounter with the Grim Reaper at the end of the level. Then I'll do an additional level as per usual then release it.

    I've also since become aware that there were/are two differing versions of the original NES game. The US version which I had seen in the AVGN episode (the originator of my inspiration for the remake) and a PAL version with sped up game speeds for everything, extra enemies and an extra boss encounter. Those extra enemies and the boss I'll be adding in, in the next version. The extra enemies have given me inspiration for a better 1st level lead up to entry into the tower.

    If you've played the 1st Actraiser game and recall the forest platforming stages, it will hopefully be something along those lines. Though not as elaborate. I look forward to the challenge.

  3. #503
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by DDL View Post
    My best tip would be to keep what you want to say to the player to a bare minimum. Pare it down to a few key salient facts. Make the conversation tree that communicates those facts to the player as robust and solid as you can, then play with incidental (i.e. actually fun) stuff.
    Mmmhm, that's sort of what I've been thinking, especially since I tend to get distracted and spin into tangents cause they're fun to write (but dear lord do they make a mess).

    Like, lay out key plot nodes (things that MUST be said) and then just add tangents from it, but always culminating in the next plot node. Kind of like "beats" and "scenes" in film script writing I learned about

    THIS IS WHY IT PAYS OFF TO GO TO COLLEGE KIDS!

    (wait my college wasnt a film school and I learned that on my own... and programming... and game design... and)

    NEVERMIND COLLEGE IS A WASTE OF TIME!*

    Oh, and if you're going into the depths of flagchecking things like "did the player comment on liking pineapples back in level 2", just keep subsequent conversation elements that address those flags as simple as possible ("oh and by the way, I got you a pineapple"): most of the time the player will just be pleased that the game is paying attention to them, you don't need to have branches that end up in logic trees like
    Good point and I agree, I love getting my actions noticed. I did "grouping" (gray squares in my image) so flag-checked tangents are somewhat contained (and maybe happen only once), but it sounds like you are simplyfying it even more (aka not creating a whole tangent or modifying the plot nodes, but just adding an extra node "btw got me pineapples" as an extra step that doesn't really affect anything).


    Code:
    if(player.likesPineapples && (player.hatesGrapefruit || player.hatesUglifruit) && !player.isAmbivalentAboutFruit && fruitconvoplayed_once_already)
            gotobranch("Oh by the way, I know I mentioned this already, but we got rid of those really citrusy fruits and bought you a pineapple instead");
    Heh, this is what my prototyping looked like, where I wrote out a simple convo in text file where each node was just a line/function-like-object. It didn't take me a long to realize it was nigh on impossible to understand the flow, and that yes I really do need a graphical node editor for this.

    I also remember fumbling with the NWN convo editor which would lead to some deeply nested collapsed items. I wanted to avoid that as it's very easy to "forget" about some loose ends that way. Don't have DX installed, how does its editor work?

    * may not reflect the views of the poster

  4. #504
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    If anyone is interested, I finally posted my ROTT Isometric Mapper and Wad Extractor on my website (+ source code, since it's Python).

  5. #505
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2002
    Location: ColoRADo
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post


    Work continues when I have the time on version 0.50 on my remake of Dragon's Lair on the NES. Moving spike balls are in and unlike the original game cause damage on hitting the player rather than insta-killing them. Moving grey ghosts are also now in and damage rather than kill on contact. Crumbling block tiles are now in as well.

    Two standard enemies remain to be added in plus the boss encounter with the Grim Reaper at the end of the level. Then I'll do an additional level as per usual then release it.

    I've also since become aware that there were/are two differing versions of the original NES game. The US version which I had seen in the AVGN episode (the originator of my inspiration for the remake) and a PAL version with sped up game speeds for everything, extra enemies and an extra boss encounter. Those extra enemies and the boss I'll be adding in, in the next version. The extra enemies have given me inspiration for a better 1st level lead up to entry into the tower.

    If you've played the 1st Actraiser game and recall the forest platforming stages, it will hopefully be something along those lines. Though not as elaborate. I look forward to the challenge.
    That's awesome
    I loved Dragons Lair 1 & 2 in the arcade. They were just so expensive and tough.

    I actually found Dragon's Lair original on a CD for PC at one point but never played much of it, max res was 640x480. Such a tiny little window... I should dig it out though and retry.

  6. #506
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks. Just be warned that the NES (as well as the Commodore 64) versions of the game are VERY different to the arcade game. Expect 2D side scrolling platforming style thing compared to the cinematic cartoon style of the original.

    Here's an example of the NES game (PAL version) in action:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAFdBm-MspI

  7. #507
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by Yakoob View Post
    Don't have DX installed, how does its editor work?
    It's basically a linear list of conversation "events" (speech, goto statements, flagchecks, camera angles), and for exactly the reasons you describe, it's damn near impenetrable at times*. It's all your node diagrams flattened into a single list. Also the scrollbar doesn't really work.
    I like the node layout, incidentally: what are you using for that? I'm assuming from your descriptions that it's simply for you to visualise the connections in what you're writing, rather than an actual in-game editor, but either way, it looks nice.


    *yes, I'm still DX editing. A man needs a hobby, right?

  8. #508
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I don't know what Yakoob used, but in another context Jay Pettit used Labyrinth for plotting his FM and it looks great (see it here), but it's for Linux. But he also says in that blog entry that Inkscape does the same thing, and it's for Windows.

    Edit: BTW for what it's worth, since this is the "What are you Making?" thread, the most useful organizing tool for me making mods, or any project, is ToDoList. I recommend it or something like it for everybody in this thread. It helps thinking through organizing big tasks, breaking them down into manageable pieces, & you feel good checking off steps.

    Edit2: Oh, doing a little research, Task Coach is getting good reviews too. Hmm... looking at it more. It's getting mixed reviews, some people find it too complex, some think it's the best app ever.
    Last edited by demagogue; 15th Oct 2012 at 07:10.

  9. #509
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by DDL View Post
    I like the node layout, incidentally: what are you using for that? I'm assuming from your descriptions that it's simply for you to visualise the connections in what you're writing, rather than an actual in-game editor, but either way, it looks nice.


    *yes, I'm still DX editing. A man needs a hobby, right?
    Nope, not just visualizer, it's my actual editor. I spent a few days looking at various graph libraries for C++/C#, WinForms drag/dropping tutorials, prototyping, until I realized - wtf am I wasting my time

    yEd

    It's a simple graph making program that exports to xml and allows to create node templates. Nodes have a label and hidden description text field. Are you thinking what I'm thinking ???

    So I made a bunch of pre-made nodes with specific shapes/sizes and gave descriptions like "NodeType=speaker", "NodeType=response", "NodeType=script" etc. and gave them a main displayed label that acts as node contents. Then got myself a PugiXML library for parsing, and within a day I had a robust, node-based conversation system for my game

    Works like a charm so far, and this can totally be extended to other uses, like Unreal's Kismet for scripting. I've actually been considering providing a tutorial + source code on how to do all that.

  10. #510
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2007
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Yakoob View Post
    Bravo, sir. I do wish, though, that there were tools to just edit a very plain Graphviz-like graph format visually. The GraphML which YeD uses is just overkill for lots of things, though I guess XML libraries make it easier.

  11. #511
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    While it is overkill, it took me only like 2 hours to write a parser with PugiXML to extract just the data I needed. Not really that big of a deal, and I can always re-save it to my own format down the line.

    EDIT: It also supports about 5 different formats too, including some really simple JSON-like ones. But I found they cut out some info I needed so just stuck to the full fledged XML for now

  12. #512
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Progress update:

    Well after working on this on and off over the last few months since the last release level 5 has been completed (level 3 of the original) complete with boss battle at the end. Now all that's left is to do my extra level + add in 1 additional enemy for that level and then the next release should be ready for public consumption.

  13. #513
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Well, I finished creating isometric maps of Shadow Caster, much like my previous ROTT project. I'll probably take a break before the next map set.

  14. #514
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    Nicely done. I remember getting frustrated with the game and plan to revisit it at some point. I suspect it hasn't aged well, however.

  15. #515
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    No. It hasn't.

  16. #516
    Taking the Death Toll
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: they/them mayhem
    Wait, isn't Shadow Caster that weird game Raven made before Heretic?

  17. #517
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Yep. The one where you get to shapeshift and whatnot, in what looked like a slightly more advanced Wolfenstein engine. I got it off a friend's SoundBlaster AWE32 disc back in the day (which, incidentally, also bundled the best game of all time alongside it and started my first gaming obsession: Ultima VII), and it was... well, freaking weird. You can see bits of Heretic's genesis in there.

  18. #518
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Small update on my end: after being the ManOfUnfinishedProjects™ I have reached a new milestone in my current game: for the first time in years I have a completely playable "game" from the initial menu, through the basic mechanics, all the way to the end-game screen and back to menu. Yes, 95% of the content is missing and all art is just Arcanum placeholders, but... it's frekking playable! It's no longer about making it, it's now about expanding and polishing May not seem like much to all you dedicated and motivated people, but it's a big "step" in my indie/hobbiest gamemaker career.

    Which brings me to my current challenging realization: planning writing is hard. I have all the backstory, world and characters set but the question is - how do I effectively communicate it to the player? I only have a few ways to present story (i.e. newspaper clip, a book, conversation, intro cinematic etc.) so how do I distribute and fit all this information in those few opportunities, while keeping logical progression and making it interesting? Challenges, challenges abound...

    Also, I feel, the time to make my project official and recruit art/audio/writing help is looming near...
    Last edited by Yakoob; 11th Nov 2012 at 15:33.

  19. #519
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    If you need help with the writing, I can offer you some assistance when the time comes.

  20. #520
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Yea I could probably use an extra hand soon, even if just for a second-opinion or edits. Not to sound pompous, but do you have any samples of game (or any other really) writing I could have a quick look at
    Last edited by Yakoob; 11th Nov 2012 at 18:51.

  21. #521
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    He wrote this and I'd love to see more - although it might not fit what you have in mind for your game, of course!

  22. #522
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    There would be more if they made a sequel to Orca.

    Sorry, 'koob: samples of my serious writing are from, like, 8 years ago. The less serious ones are more recent. I'm not as predisposed towards adjective abuse as, say, Dan Brown any more, so I've probably improved a little. I think. Most of the time I write something, it ends up here anyway. You lot have been reading it for a while.

  23. #523
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Well no worries, I was just curious; you certainely seem literate if TTLG posts are any indication I'll contact you when the time comes

  24. #524
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    Quote Originally Posted by Yakoob View Post
    certainely seem literate
    Forum rule 768: When commenting on grammar, spelling or literacy you're guaranteed to make a spelling mistook somewhere in your reply.

  25. #525
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Version 0.50 goes public as of today and includes level 3 of the original converted over (level 6 in mine) + an extra one, new enemies, boss battles, music, improved shooting. And much much more. Expect a much higher difficulty level in the new levels. Enjoy:





    Download Link:
    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?ah4ynoache7dnl4
    Last edited by icemann; 21st Nov 2012 at 18:46.

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