Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hammer devlog 38


Some new visual effects: First off: fixed the pop-in that was happening with FX layers.

More notable: the "scanlines." (they're not actually scanlines, but hell if I know what they're called) But, yeah - now there's a neat little screen overlay effect that emulates the line artifacts between the physical pixels on the Game Boy's LCD screen, which makes the low-res pixel art here look a lot more natural. I actually have a script attached to the camera that generates that overlay texture based on the screen resolution, which lets me create these rigid borders between my giant pixels no matter what you're actually rendering at, and successfully creates the illusion of a lower-resolution display. Advantage of going after the Game Boy aesthetic: it's not a CRT, it's just a really shitty LCD, and that's way easier to fake convincingly.

Also visible: there's a subtle color-accumulation motion blur on the main camera now. Just a standard image effect, but it took an embarrassingly long time to calibrate it - goal was to capture just a bit of the authentic ghosting, but without actually doing DMG-001 fuck-this-shit ghosting. Targeting a look more like the Game Boy Pocket or the Game Boy Color - slight ghosting, enough to be perceptible, but not enough to hurt playability. Can't really get the aesthetic to work without the ghosting effect, though - the LCD ghosting creates this gauzy, dreamlike effect, which is a big part of what makes Game Boy games look like Game Boy games.

Also also: an enemy that's nowhere near done.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hammer devlog 37

Testing some more art for this tileset. Just a quick video to get some feedback on the how the tiles work in use. No real gameplay - just wandering around that new room. Couple of tiling goofs with the snowdrift up top, but it's a good general idea of how these exterior ruins areas should look.

Also notable: firing the gun that teleports you where your projectile lands in a room that's mostly pit is a bad idea. I'm fine with that behavior - it's silly, but in a "what did you expect" way. The room is nothing but shoot-through walls and pits! Of course that thing's not a good idea!

Tempted to add a background tilemap to this room and write up a parallax scrolling system; I think I like the buildings, but they'd provide a much stronger sense of the depth of the gorge if you had a decent parallax setup going with them. Layered scrolling would break the aesthetic a bit, but I've already got effects going on here that are well outside of what the Game Boy could do - that blizzard is in "probably doable in a demo" territory on GB hardware - and I don't think it would hurt the feel more than the illusion of depth would help.

Speaking of that blizzard: yeah, doesn't really work in this room. There's a snowdrift at one end and some scattered patches elsewhere on the structure, but you've got that wind SFX going and that crazy blizzard flying around. Probably gonna do a light-snow FX layer for rooms like this.



Parallax and a light-snow effect.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hammer devlog 36

Anyone paying attention to this devlog may have noticed that I've stopped being as good about updating it as I was. Well, uh, when I started this project it was just "something to do a devlog for." As is, this is a game I'm actually looking to make and to release. Unfortunately, that does mean I'm reflexively going to hold my cards closer to my chest - if I'm looking to create moments and sequences that have specific effects on players experiencing them for the first time, I'm going to be somewhat more timid about talking about exactly what I'm doing there. Sorry! I'll still try to keep a decent flow together, but odds are the devlog's gonna get increasingly high-level and detached from finer design points.

Anyway, though: this is just a technical thing, so that's not a problem that we really care about.

I hacked animated tiles into the off-the-shelf tilemap class I was using. Basically, I can set a specific tile ID to represent an animation, and give it references to other tiles in the tileset that it'll cycle through at a predetermined interval. Nothing fancy, but it's something that'll let me do a lot of really cool things with environmental details, background effects, etc. What you're seeing here is just a floor that cycles through some random wall tiles, lol - but the feature is in place and it works great, which is the important thing. If I want, say, animated water tiles now: I specify the way the water tiles animate, and then I just lay those down as part of the tilemap and they do their thing.

You can also see some other things - the least visible (but most notable) is the player movement, which is a little faster, more responsive, and feels a lot nicer in combat scenarios. TBH I'm probably going to have to set a deadline after which I can't touch that, lol. Otherwise: gonna be pushing git commits five days from launch with the same "character movement is less terrible" commit message I've used way too many times already. But getting that right is really important, so I'm more than willing to go back and try to massage it into something nicer as often as is necessary, right now.

Also visible: the energy meter is gone. I'm still prototyping the mechanic that you see there, and I'm not really entirely happy with the way it works right now. When I am, you'll see a detailed explanation of what the hell that meter is and how it works.