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Thwaite: stuff blowing up

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:34 pm
by tepples
Video of stuff blowing up

You may need to install the Xvid codec if you don't already use VLC media player.

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:36 pm
by clueless
Really nice. Looks polished. I like the particle effects on the missiles and bombs.

Great job!

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:37 am
by NESHomebrew
Can't wait to try it out. Looks really nice. I love games like this :)

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:59 am
by miau
I love the houses, they're super cute.

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:12 am
by tokumaru
tepples, by now you probably know how I feel about single screen games, so I will not talk about that and will focus on the presentation instead.

It looks OK, but there's something about the presentation that makes it look like it was made in 1985 rather than 2010/11. The title screen is a good example of more modern design, with interesting stylized fonts and all, but the actual game screen is pretty bland.

The font in the status bar is boring. The scene is too static, nothing besides the projectiles moves. Maybe you could flicker the stars a bit (and make them blue instead of gray?), add (very) little people running around in panic... You know, add some complexity to it.

The houses are indeed very cute, but the explosions look very cheap. Maybe you should try giving them a more interesting shape, like Memblers did in an unfinished game he once showed us (I think it was Memblers, I can't find the post right now). It doesn't have to be realistic, just more interesting than a circle.

Another thing that bothers me is the lack of any kind of screen transition. There's only black between screens and that is very typical of first generation NES games. Add some fading, or scrolling, or anything that makes the transitions more dynamic.

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:13 pm
by 3gengames
I like it, very cool. Can't wait to see what gets added. Yeah, more polish like Tokumaru said would be nice, I'm sure your just messing with the games core engine right now though.

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:37 pm
by MottZilla
It looks like a good solid start to a Missile Command type of game. Can't really think of anything at the moment to suggest. I do like the smoke trails and while the explosions looks uniform and very circle like, I didn't find them unfitting or anything.

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:55 pm
by haroldo-ok
Very nice Missile Command clone. The missile trails are a quite nice touch, and the explosions manage to look better than usual for the NES, while still keeping some of the feel of the original game; I do agree, though, that the game needs some more variation: even something simple, like a powerup that gives you ridiculous firepower for a couple of seconds or some sporadic additional tricky enemy that must be defeated in some different way would serve to improve the game. Then again, maybe keeping it short and simple could also lead to better gameplay...

There I go trying to sound like some expert... well, just do whatever sounds fun to code, and you should be okay. :P

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:09 pm
by tokumaru
I just found a video of the explosion I was talking about before. It's a bit too realistic though, so I don't think you should do exactly that... A bit more cartoony maybe? If you really want to keep them as circles, maybe you could have them fade out less uniformly, like in this Mega Man intro.

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:29 pm
by tepples
Thanks for the constructive criticism.

Stars: I could do like Balloon Fight and randomize which of eight star tiles I have at each star tile location. That wouldn't be too much of a problem compared to the current location. But blue would invite other palette problems, as the only blue palette I have is brown-blue-white, used for the blue houses and player 1's silo.

Font: I'm currently using a variant of Chicago because Susan Kare did a damn good job of making a readable font. I tried a more artistic font for body text in another program (Multiboot Menu) and got complaints that it hurt readability, just as the font in Caveman Games hurt readability. Even other games whose logos use the same "artistic" font as this (Animal Crossing, Big Brain Academy, Puppy Palace) use a plainer font for body text.

Panicked villagers leaving houses: Another good idea. I'd have to make them more active early in each wave while the player is waiting for the first incoming missiles, so that they don't eat up too many OAM slots. (Smoke uses a lot, which is why it tends to fade faster when lots of action is happening.)

Circular explosions: The collision detection assumes the explosions are circles, as in the original. But you're right that it might be worth spending a few more tiles on explosions that aren't so symmetric in their shading.

Transitions: A short cut scene for the sunrise and sunset transition every five levels is planned. A (skippable) opening cut scene involving panning from the stars down to the playfield would be a good idea too, and it'd give me a bit of a chance to explain the excuse plot behind this sugar apocalypse. Strangely enough, it involves the O in Mario Paint's title screen.

Additional tricky enemy: I thought about a missile type that tries to avoid explosions, somewhat like the diamond-shaped missile from the original. But I'm not sure how to work that into the setting.

And in case you're wondering, it speeds up movement by roughly 20% if it detects a 50 Hz console.

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:25 pm
by marvelus10
This is cool, the closest thing I have seen to Ganja Farmer (a DOS game I loved to play). Keep up the good work.

Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:20 pm
by bigjt_2
This looks really cool so far. The generation of the missile's locations and their angles of decent look truly random. Pseudo-random generation was something I had a real pain-in-the-ass time with, myself. Everything's moving pretty smoothly, as well.

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:41 pm
by tepples
I haven't had much time to work on the game over the past week, seeing as I've been making the MGC multicart's menu, helping clueless test nesyar for MGC, and taking advantage of above-freezing mornings by getting my legs back in shape for cycling.

In a game with missile silos and villagers who help one another rebuild a house every five waves, it pays to have ligatures.

The pseudorandom number generator here is the same polynomial counter + least recently used structure that I've used before. Choosing targets with LRU has three benefits here:
  1. Allow a non-power-of-two number of targets: the 8 that can be picked at any moment and the 4 that are too recent.
  2. Don't aim consecutive missiles at a single target.
  3. The LRU is preloaded so as not to aim at a silo at the start of a wave. This is an anti-frustration feature so that players can learn to play the game without being in actual immediate danger of losing. A beginner gets his 2:30 to get the hang of it and put in another 25 bells.
The original Missile Command (MAME "missile") uses a 1.25 MHz 6502 CPU, same arch as NES. But rest assured that I'm not reading that code any time soon. MC is 12 KiB, but this game is already bigger: NROM-128, currently with 8 KiB PRG and 6 KiB CHR used. MC also uses a full-screen frame buffer, something I can't be assured of having on an NES, and some hardware support for read/modify/write an individual pixel from the four in a byte.

Control is through the standard controller. The only thing keeping me from supporting a Super NES Mouse is that I haven't learned to solder.

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:46 pm
by qbradq
I'm glad to hear your project is progressing Tepples! What are your plans for it? Will you give away the ROM when you are done or are you going to publish it on a cart?

I'm obviously not familiar with how folks release their games. I am trying to get a handle on it :lol:

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:21 pm
by tepples
tokumaru wrote:(very) little people running around in panic
This is in the latest build, along with a minor shout-out to Metal Gear series. And yes, they're very little, as in 4 pixels tall during gameplay and 8 pixels tall in the cut scenes.

I tried asymmetric explosions like the ones in the Mega Man 4 (GB) intro; they made it a bit harder to see the hitboxes' center of mass.
qbradq wrote:I'm glad to hear your project is progressing Tepples! What are your plans for it? Will you give away the ROM when you are done or are you going to publish it on a cart?
That depends on what last minute changes are made to the rules for the competition.

Anyway, I'm finally getting around to writing the scripts and drawing the graphics for the cut scenes.