Archer (Working title) Devlog.

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Post » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:30 am

I just took the bold decision of trying to redo the game using Q3D instead. I've been playing around with that plugin again, and finally starting to understand how it works. I'm still going to keep an isometric perspective, and I can reuse much of the assets since they are already quite low-poly.

The reason I'm going to switch over from pre rendered sprites to 3D is mainly because everything is so much harder to do in 2D isometric at this point, as construct 2 is mainly built for platform or top down perspective, i have to do a lot of heavy calculations, for arrows, and using up a lot of memory budget just for characters animations in 8 directions.

It's a little step back in the development, but It seems like i can keep most of the game mechanics, the multiplayer functionality and much else. I'm just going to switch all the graphics and use real-time 3D instead.

Other benefits:
* I can easily use several color versions of the character, by just switching the diffuse-map. (instead of having multiple renders of each character)
* Arrows are going to behave more naturally, and not so heavy calculations to get corrections for isometric perspective.
* I can reuse a lot of assets in different angles and colors, instead of having to render 1 sprite for each object. in the orientation that I want it in.
* I don't have to worry about too many draw calls and Z sorting.
* Character can now rotate freely, and I'm not limited to 8 steps, which doesn't feel natural in a precision archery game.

Performance would be pretty much equal or better, depending on how detailed I do the map, but as I'm not using complex shaders with bump, normals, specularity etc etc, It's going to be pretty fast.

Visual Quality is going to be pretty much the same, except the characters which I have to use a bit more low poly version of, but It should be fine, since they are quite small.

Wish me luck... I'm keeping the old version of the project for rollback if things go south, but from my tests so far I think Q3D will be better.
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Post » Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:32 pm

I see I am not the only one who found isometric tedious in C2. I too switched to 3d for the full 3d benefits.

I am using Unity though. I tried Q3d and did not like it. Working in 3d without a 3d viewport was no fun.
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Post » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:58 am

Just wanted to post a little update on how it's going, moving the game over from 2D to 3D using Q3D. So far so good.

Import models - Works flawlessly, although i have to otimize much of my art to low poly version.
Apply textures/Change textures - No problem here. Pretty easy to do.
Movement/Rotation - Working well with touch input.
Height position based on terrain. - Using raycaster on the character pointing downwards so i can have complex terrain.
Arrow physics (ray based or collision based) - So far seems to be working well but I'm going to try raycaster on the arrow, to stick on geometry rather than colission boxes.
Collisions(Movement) - Still working on this - as I might have the entire map as one model imported.
Multiple animations per character. I had a bit of trouble with this at first but managed to fix it by editing the json file.
Animation blending. - Worked like a charm
Pinning - Easy to set objects as child to other objects.
Exporting baked textures from maya - Takes a bit of work but looks great.
Building complete map in maya. -The whole map is one object, and Just using collision boxes in the C2 - Still investigating this.
Mobile Performance test 60fps - Managed to get 30-60 dps on midrange phone. faster with realtime shadows off.

Seems as things are moving, and it's doable. It's a bit tricky level editing in c2, but I'm trying to do as much as i can in maya.
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Post » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:42 pm

@tunepunk,

Any progress on movement or map-making?

I've gone through a couple of iterations on movement, and basically decided that it is too CPU-intensive to try to raytrace downward to get the height of a player from the ground. This basically leaves creating height maps somehow.

Also, when you export from Maya, what direction are the objects facing? I'm working with an artist right now who doesn't use Construct 2, and I don't use Maya, and we are having trouble getting things facing the right way.
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Post » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:43 pm

@cjbruce
Strange. Tracing the height had almost zero effect on my performance. My exports were also facing the wrong way but easily fix in the model properties. Rotated model. X - 90, Y, -90. I will send you an early test capx on PM somyou can take a look at it. Maybe that helps.
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Post » Tue May 02, 2017 12:17 pm

A little update.

Creating the whole map in Maya works, but exporting the whole map with textures included seems to be a bit tricky, as the whole map with buildings, rocks, plants and everything counts as one object, so the whole map has to use one massive baked texture, it seems. If don't do like this, editing the map in C2 is a pain, and i can't bake the Ambient occlusion shadows, which is pretty crucial for the feeling as I don't want a completely "flat" world with no contact shadows.

So now I have to chose.

1. Export all objects seperately with no baked shadows. (easiest but looks very flat, and tricky to place all objects in C2)
2. Export objects separately with AO, (a LOT of work to place them precisely at where they would contact the ground)
3. Export the whole map with one large texture map... Maybe i would need a texture size of 4096x4096. or even greater, so I don't know how well this would perform on Mobile, or if it will look good.

No3, is probably my preferred option, but not sure how it will perform or look, so I have to try it.
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Post » Mon May 15, 2017 9:12 am

May 15 update.

Playing around with Q3D, everything seems to be working fine, but been struggling with level editing. I've decided to go back to 2D isometric, as any type of level editing with lots of small props and items placed all over the map at various height and sizes is too tedious to work with, since C2 doesn't support any 3D viewport. All of the benefits of Q3D, doesn't add upp when it comes to editing levels. As I can't get a clear view of what I'm doing, as the visual representation in the editor is lacking.

Hopefully at some point C3 will open up possibilities for plugin developers to make a proper viewport..... so ...

What to do?.
The main reason i tried Q3D was memory issues for mobile, as i wanted a lot of props, characters, animations, and sprites on the map, which was hard to accomplish given that I was aiming to use less than 100Mb memory. Currently my game was using about 50mb, and that's only with 1 character, and maybe a forth of all the sprites I wanted to use. So what's my next option?

* Lowering resultion. Instead of using highly detailed sprites, rendering the game at a resolution of 1280x720, i could save a lot of memory by lowering the sprite resolution. So looking for some feedback here? Should I go for really low pixel art 320x180 or 640x360? Check mockup image below to get an idea.

640x360 would use about a fourth of the memory, so that should be fine.
320x180 would be really pixelled but i would have even more memory budget to play with, for assets, animations, etc etc...

Image

Should I aim for 640 or 320? what do you guys think? what would look better?
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Post » Mon May 15, 2017 10:10 am

Based on the mock ups I'd go with 640

320 ruins the look of your game
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Post » Mon May 15, 2017 10:29 am

Darth Crusher wrote:Based on the mock ups I'd go with 640

320 ruins the look of your game


Thanks :) Yeah I think I'll go with that... I think I would save enough memory just by optimizing the assets for 640x360 instead.
Separating trees and other assets to - tree trunks and canopy, i could save a bit of memory as well, and mixing and matching, instead of using several full trees sprites in different variations. Characters and animation I could also separate to smaller parts, to save more memory, but a bit more work.
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Post » Mon May 15, 2017 11:11 am

tunepunk wrote:May 15 update.

Playing around with Q3D, everything seems to be working fine, but been struggling with level editing. I've decided to go back to 2D isometric, as any type of level editing with lots of small props and items placed all over the map at various height and sizes is too tedious to work with, since C2 doesn't support any 3D viewport. All of the benefits of Q3D, doesn't add upp when it comes to editing levels. As I can't get a clear view of what I'm doing, as the visual representation in the editor is lacking.

Hopefully at some point C3 will open up possibilities for plugin developers to make a proper viewport..... so ...


Drat. Now you have me worried, as I am getting close to starting the level design process with Q3D. Using block art and a top-down level layout I hadn't anticipated too much of an issue.

What specifically were you seeing that was giving you trouble? Was it doing things like trying to match up Q3D models with their shadows?

Also, I concur that the 640x360 looks a little better.
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