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Old December 24 2010, 11:28 AM   #16
Itisnotlogical
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

^^

Try mixing some flickery neon in with the industrial feel. Add in a theme song that evokes kind of a "times gone by" feel and you've got a pretty emotional title screen.
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Old December 24 2010, 03:37 PM   #17
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

Very cool. I wanted to make my own 8-bit games...NES nostalgia. I looked at some software...but I guess programming it from scratch is better? I manly wanted to make some platform games...like Super Mario. Any advice?
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Old December 24 2010, 04:38 PM   #18
Jadzia
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

Hi Jetfire.

It depends on how customised you want your game to be. Programming things from scratch gives you full control, and you aren't relying on other people's programs (which may or may not work correctly nor do what you want them to do).

But using a ready made game engine or game creation tool can be easier if you aren't confident about programming.

In my experience, if I can't see how I'm going to make a program before I start, then I will probably get stuck somewhere down the line. I have to have a rough overall framework in my mind before starting, and flesh that out with finer details as I dive into it. I find it's best to aim for projects that are right on the cusp of what I know I can do. That optimises the chance of success, vs the sense of achievement vs the learning experience.

I have no idea how much programming experience you have, but given what I've said above, and given that you're asking for my advice on how to proceed, I'll say that perhaps a platform game is too challenging a project for you to program from scratch at the present time.

A game creation tool may be the way to go. Take a look here for two such tools:

http://jumpcraft.com/

http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker
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Old December 24 2010, 05:11 PM   #19
Jetfire
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

Ok...I have no programming skills...so those 2 programs look pretty good. Thanks.
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Old December 27 2010, 11:37 PM   #20
Jadzia
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

With christmas out of the way, I've returned to this.

Today I've adjusted my interface textures so that the neon and industrial graphics look right together.

I've also been creating my title screen, rather than the game itself. I've decided to not use industrial textures in the title screen, and work purely with the futurist/airy feel of the neon logo.

Following in the style of many 1980s arcade games, my title screen tries to be entertaining, so in addition to high score tables and other info, should a player want to sit and watch the animation and listen to the music, they may do that.

When the game is done, I'd like to insert a sequence to the title screen where the computer plays through a random level.

I hope to make some progress with the programming tomorrow.

Last edited by Jadzia; December 28 2010 at 12:10 AM.
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Old December 28 2010, 04:47 AM   #21
Brandonv
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

I was just thinking, if you want to make the programming really challenging, you could (cue dramatic music) have the dungeons be procedurally generated.
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Old December 28 2010, 01:29 PM   #22
Jadzia
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

I have already considered procedural generation, and I haven't ruled it out.

I made a PG dungeon algorithm a year ago for a friend, but his project didn't go any further than asking me to make that algorithm, which annoyed me. It's quite bit different, but I could reuse the ideas I had then as a starting point here.

However, I'm concerned that the end result wouldn't be worth the effort. Levels designed by a human can be clever, interesting, and with balanced difficulty. I think these qualities are important for arcade games with fixed level sequences. Procgen all too often produces data that seems to lack those qualities.

So I'm undecided. It's something I can look at towards the end.
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Old December 28 2010, 03:48 PM   #23
Robert Maxwell
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

One thing you could do as a halfway measure to procedural generation is to have a batch of fully human-designed level chunks and then have a generator mix and match them to build levels. That way, you can have the cleverness of human design while allowing for unexpected level arrangements. It seems like the best of both worlds although it would admittedly be a bit of a pain. You'd probably need rules to determine what kinds of chunks can be adjacent to each other and so forth.
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Old December 28 2010, 08:13 PM   #24
Jadzia
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

It's a nice idea, and something I'll consider.

But wouldn't we run the risk of having a section of some levels being obviously the same as a section from an earlier level? Wouldn't that feeling of familiarity/repetition be negative?
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Old December 28 2010, 09:01 PM   #25
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

That's why you allow variability in orientation and so forth, and not have the chunks so big that their similarities are obvious.

Plus, if you have enough unique chunks there should be very little repetition.
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Old December 29 2010, 01:36 PM   #26
Jadzia
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

What might work is having chunks different sizes.

If all chunks are big (24x24)--> (+) Potential to be clever and interesting. (-) Familiarity/repetition is bad.

If all chunks are small (8x8) --> (+) Easy to get unique layouts. (-) Could look scatty. Unlikely to be clever or interesting.

If chunks are mixed sizes --> (+) Potential to be clever interesting and unique. (-) Not as easy to fit together.

A different idea I had last night was to:
  • Design the overall layout/flow of a level on maybe a 3x3 upto 8x8 grid. (eg, Spiral to centre, Zigzag from bottom to top, Randomly branched). Each location in this grid is a 'room'.
  • Decide on the 'room' size (8x8, or 12x12, or 16x16 tiles).
  • Place those main structural walls.
  • Decide if there's going to be any symmetry (Left=Right, Top=Bottom, Quarters, None).
  • Decide if the level is going to have low/intermediate/high wall density.
  • Select appropriate detail for each of those 'rooms'.
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Old December 29 2010, 03:46 PM   #27
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

That sounds good. I actually was thinking about chunks of multiple sizes before you mentioned it! Since your levels are going to be gridlike to begin with you could get away with having chunks of any size. To keep things sane, you could require that they are all square, though rectangular chunks could allow for more variety--it would just make the random distribution trickier.

The rules for detailing each room are where the real interest would lie. One thing you could do is try to equally distribute powerups throughout the level. Use a pathfinding algorithm to find the quickest path through the level and then drop powerups every n steps (plus or minus a random fudge factor) along the way. This would keep the levels "fair" and avoid concentrating powerups/items too close together.

Something else that occurs to me is that you could add a lot of variety by having multiple tilesets. So you'd have a set of predefined chunks which are just arrangements of walls, but you'd randomly choose a tileset for each level's graphics, so each level would have a "theme." Combined with random decorative details, the same chunk would look decidedly different between a snow level and a desert level, with different decorations, powerups, and orientation.
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Old December 29 2010, 05:26 PM   #28
Jadzia
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

Okay. Here is output from newly made random dungeon structuring algorithm.

This is tree like at the moment (so ignoring symmetry). It wouldn't be hard to make additional connections between the room nodes, if we wanted to.

Too many dead ends might be undesirable too. We could preferentially make any additional connections through these so that they're no longer dead ends.

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Old January 3 2011, 08:24 PM   #29
Jadzia
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

I've had a lot of rest and relaxation these past few days, so I didn't do anything to my program over the weekend.

This afternoon I've created 12 other procedural generation algorithms in addition to the one above, which produce a variety of different shaped dungeons.

One produces long snaking passages with a few small side shoots. (a derivative of depth first search) which is possibly my favourite algorithm of them all. Two algorithms produces simple patterns: spirals and zigzags. Some produce random dungeons with lines of symmetry, or different near the middle than they are near the edge. Some produce dungeons with greater connectivity than a tree.

This has become a bit of a digression, adding breadth to the project. I believe it will be all the better for it, and it'll all come together eventually.
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Old January 3 2011, 08:32 PM   #30
Owain Taggart
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Re: My Dungeon Game [work in progress]

Interesting. The direction you seem to be heading in seems like you could make some sort of Tron RPG, The dungeon made up of lightcycle trails or something.
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