deadlines and delays

Only 24 days left for the Pandora Angst Coding Competition. What the Frack happened to me having like 40 days left? Yay I win at procrastinating…

What I was working on was a top down version of that cubicle stealth game that I never finished for PC. Since it was going to be primarily for GP2X it would be sprite based and even more 2d then the previous Escape From The Cubicle but I was actually putting a lot of focus on giving it somewhat of a pseudo 3d look. In some ways its already more complete then the 3d original. It has some nice A* path finding for example well the original still leaves them trying to walk through walls when trying to catch you.

Anyways I dont know when I’m going to go back to it. I’m kinda unhappy with it right now and more in the “frack it I dont want to deal with this” kinda way rather then the “Hellz yeah lets fix this” kinda way.

I’ve got some frustration over cmath apparently not working right for me for some reason on GP2X (it compiles fine but returns majorly incorrect values) and nothing I do seems to fix it. I’ve found ways around needing to use cmath though (using a trig table for example works fine for my purposes and is probable faster anyways). Its not ideal but I can manage without it.

What I’m really unhappy with are the visuals. I think I can make the pretend 3d thing work. I know whats wrong with it. I just need to make the sprites for the cubicle walls larger per layer by the correct amount (rather then using the same sprite each layer), make the character sprite atlas larger with the pre rendered people in more positions so the transition isn’t as jarring when they move along the screen. Make sure they get properly offset on screen based on where there feet are in the sprite.

But the problem is that even if I finished everything up and polished the hell out of it to the point where everything looks correct and completely convincingly 3d it would still suck. It does a terrible job of communicating what you need to know to play the game. Not only is it hard to tell that the characters are people but at such a low resolution and such a steep angle its way to difficult to tell what direction they are facing which is important to know for a stealth game. Plus when they get in crowds they kinda all blur together and it just looks like pixelated static. The problem is made even worse by the bubbles over there head obscuring parts of the screen but those bubbles are kinda necessary for informing you of whether or not they see you and/or suspect that they know where you are.

The character design and the idea for the over head bubbles where both based around the game being visually 3d and at a more over the shoulder type angle not 2d and top down and its just made more obvious that it doesn’t work well this way by the restrictions of the low resolution.

Also: apparently warble is a real word. I typed that in as randomness to test that text was being rendered correctly. Also I regret looking on google to see if it was a real word cuz its disgusting and that squirrel on its wikipedia page freaks me out. You’ve failed at desensitizing me, internet.

My first coding competition

I started working on something new to submit as an entry in the Pandora Angst Coding Competition. I dont expect to win or even manage to rank in the top three but I’m still kinda nonsensically psyched about it. I’ve never taken part in a coding competition before.

I’m making it primarily for GP2X (F100) but if I get it completely 100% done early enough (which is totally plausible with over a month to work on it) I might look into porting it over to some other platforms like Dingoo and track down someone to test it for me (I dont own a Dingoo). Regardless of that though it will definitely get a Wii and PC port.

The games far far far from done but I think its progressing fairly well for the amount of time that I’ve put into it and how much time I have left. I’m doing some kinda cool stuff with it that I’ve never done before.

The deadline for submissions is Sunday March 28 and it will presumably only take a few days for the judges to decide on and announce the winner (“Entries are not to be released to the public until after the contest has closed and winners announced. Private beta testing is of course allowed.”) so you can expect to see me putting this up at the end of March or the very beginning of April.

Anyways that’s all for now. I’ll talk more about it later.

Escape from the cubicle.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYSZ5C5Vo2I&hl=en&fs=1&]

Escape from the cubicle is another one of the games that I half made and maybe sorta kinda intend to get back to some day. It was intended to be stealth game about a cubicle dwellers attempt to leave work early. At the moment though all you can do is walk around the office. Everything is physics based (once again using Box2D) so you can push chairs and boxes and coworkers and everything like that works great. Your coworkers also have a simple kind of AI (which was also going to be the basis for a zombie game I was/am working on) though there lack of path finding combined with the lack of openness/linearity of the environment makes them seem more moronic then they are and leads to them getting stuck trying to walk through cubicle dividers.

When coworkers see you they follow you and also inform nearby workers (who will then go investigate). If they lose sight of you they will continue to head towards the last known position but will stop looking if they fail to find you. You can tell what there level of awareness of you is based on thought bubbles above there heads. An exclamation mark means they see you and a question mark means they have suspicions about your location. When they are completely unaware of you there thoughts drift to random things which admittedly tend to be somewhat inconsistent. They are intended to seem absurdly sheeple like but well they praise the bible and its age based legitimacy they also prefer both The Beetles and the Flying Spaghetti Monster over Jesus and well they also obsess over TPS reports they also seem to be fully aware of there pointlessness. Anyways well I would probable rewrite most of them if I continued work on the game I still really like the idea of the thought bubbles. I was also going to make some of them go to sleep but I never got around to that and since there is no path finding yet I didn’t see much point in trying to have some of them wander around.

Another half finished feature is your interactions with walls. The plan was (and hypothetically speaking still is) to make it possible for you to lean up against cubicle walls (making you less visible) and also climb over them (which would make you visible to anyone facing the right way well doing so regardless of whether something would be obstructing there view well you where on the ground. Crawling and running where also on the list of additions to make.

Well the gameplay may be less then complete I’m still totally in love with the graphics. Though my love of it is somewhat lessened by the fact that its a total rip off of a preexisting design. To clarify I never intended to copy anything else. It just kinda happened. I wanted to make it cartoonish and stylized because making anything photo realistic when your working alone on a free game is truly a pointless effort and squares are more or less the official shape of conformity so I figured I would make them square. There heads where always cubes and there bodies consisted of a grouping of rectangular shapes. The protagonist on the other hand had a spherical head and before getting the blue shirt he has now (which was at one point also a Homer Simpson inspired pink) he wore a pro piracy t-shirt. But his head just looked lame and no matter what I did with it his hair always came out looking weird so he eventually ended up with the same character model as the other workers. And I wasnt really as crazy about the arms and legs as I thought I would be so I merged them Lego character style (The upper arms and forearms for example where previously separate shapes that just happened to touch each other) and made the mesh curve a bit at the joints so they could bend more naturally if needed. Well I was still to retain that rectangularness I had originally wanted I figured since I was rounding out the elbows and knees it wouldn’t hurt to do the same to there bellies and make them look a little more detailed. Then well wandering around google images looking for pictures of cubicles (I had began work on the level design at that point) I cam across a set of toys called The Cubes. They look stupidly identical to the characters I made. Not similar. Identical. Just a reminder that originality is a myth. With an estimated 6.777 billion people alive on this planet you can be assured that nothing you have ever done or thought of is new.

So if your interested here it is to download. Its for Windows only and requires DirectX 9.0c or higher. Need a reason to download? It has lolcats!

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