So this week was the computer games arts course game jam! Myself and a fellow member of the course incubator ran and took part in it. There were not as many participants this time which was a shame but we still saw some good games!
The game we made was a digital card game. Each card has a good and bad effect. Only one will happen when the card is played but this is determined by a dice roll. This produces some fun rng moments and led to the name of our game; The Good, The Bad, and The RNG.
Working with another programmer is something I have not done before and was really interesting to try. Obviously we had some difficult moments where we both wanted to work on a code related aspect of the game and couldn't due to the conflicts this would create in the code, but we managed to find a balance in the end. We split the project into two projects which we could then combine: one was for card mechanics and the majority of coding, the other was for visuals and dice rolling which I worked on. To ensure I was still doing things while I couldn't code, I came up with some card and enemy ideas and created the art for the game.
We wanted things in the game to be very physics based to create those satisfying yet sometimes frustrating moments where the dice slowly roll onto the right or wrong face. It works pretty well, especially when the cards stack up creating a more interesting surface. Visually we tried going for a cyberpunk western mix. It looks good but I don't know if that's the right description for it!
I know its not a Squillamorph specific post but I hope you like it anyway! Here's a link to the build by the way: LINK
This week's update might be shorter than normal, but its about some fun additions to the shark level. Also, the new project has yet to corrupt, which is a good sign!
This week I thought it was the right time to start implementing the centrepiece of the shark level, a large trash compactor. This was an interesting challenge to undertake with my custom physics. The green placeholder shapes move through Unity animation. I ended up making the crushing 'walls' push physics objects rather than collide with them because the objects were going through the walls and being pushed up or down out of the compactor. Even with this solution, you can still see things are quite messy but I'll fix that soon enough. So the walls push things away which leads to objects getting trapped between them once closed. I haven't yet made the compactor kill anything yet. I'm still trying to find the best way to do it. I've also yet to add in a reset function for it. We don't want the crusher to go off the whole time as it plays an important part in the boss fight for this level. There will be several reset switches in different areas of the level, which the player will have to activate after the compactor has been used a few times. Still trying to work out the best way for this to work too but for now the compactor adds a cool dynamic to the level.
Furnace & Pipes
So the pipes are now pretty much finished, mechanically at least. They heat up and cool down in conjunction with the furnace and they now kill the player on contact. The furnace now kills both the player and any sharks when it is active. This adds a very interesting dynamic to gameplay. I have yet to play-test it but I think it will create interesting scenarios.
In a little over a week's time, I intend to make a play-test build for some of the students on the university course I am part of. To do this properly though, I must implement a menu system. All this requires is a simple main menu with a play button and a checker in-game to return to the menu after about 30 seconds of idling. I have a script from the original demo we made last year which does this and I quickly made a main menu this week.
The rush to get this menu done is because I am running and partaking in another university course game jam this coming week! This means there won't be a Squillamorph specific post next Sunday. The theme for the jam is Blind Luck and I am excited for it! Anyway, that's it for this week's post. I hope you found it interesting! :D
Hello again everyone! It's a much better post this week after the disaster of last Sunday. As you are probably aware, the Unity project corrupted for reasons unknown. I have been able to recover the assets after much annoyance but the problems had not all been solved.
In the last post, I mentioned that I had not tried to load the project after the recovery. I have since done this and what a surprise it was still corrupted. I decided that rather than spend an age finding out what was wrong I would just copy the assets over to a clean Unity project. To stay on the safe side, I tried to backup the recovered project before moving things to a new one. However, I could not move or copy the folders. There was no explanation or error, they just wouldn't budge. On the bright side, the only folder that I could do anything with was the assets folder. I concluded that it was not my files that were causing the corruption and it must be something on Unity's end. So I moved the assets one by one into a new Unity project. To kill two birds with one stone, I made sure it was the latest version of Unity because I have been using a slightly older version for some time.
Reassign, Rename, Rejig
The only downside to moving everything to a new project is that I had to plug in all of the, now empty, script variables again that had not been turned into prefabs. I also had to recreate the level editor scene as it had not survived the move. I actually intend to move the level editor and its assets to a separate Unity project as this will drastically decrease the file size game. Another asset that did not survive was the design for the new level I had just finished. Luckily, I have an older version of that which I will have to rebuild the end product from.
The newer version of Unity brought a few issues with it. The lighting intensity values have been tweaked quite drastically. When I first loaded the shark level, it seemed to still be corrupted as everything was white. Turns out the lights I use for the furnace were completely over exposing the scene. So I thought I should take the opportunity to improve the furnace. I've improved the particle movement, tweaked the lighting, and added a fake light in the form of a sprite to increase the look of heat. I am also now using particle force fields, which are great fun to mess around with.
Turning up the Heat
There are a couple of things I have added to the game since the last proper post. I have worked on a large part of the environment, the pipes. Until now, the pipes have been using an existing tile set, which to be honest doesn't look like pipes. I took it upon myself to make something a little more suitable and have implemented it. I have also connected them to the furnace, so whenever the furnace is active the pipes will be hot and will kill the player on contact. This gives the player another reason to infest the sharks because they are resistant to the heat. Obviously they can't survive in the furnace, or at least they won't when I finish coding it. I haven't finished them yet, so apart from looking hot they are harmless.
I think that is everything. The corruption conundrum threw me out of kilter big time so I may have missed something. I hope you like how things are looking now and I'll have more exciting things to talk about next week!
I'm the game developer for Squillamorph. I'll post here on the devlog as often as I can.