[DevLog] Crater Hounds - Graphics research

Show us your works in progress and request feedback

Post » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:13 pm

Hi,

[Update Thu May 11, 2017: Started concepting for a graphical style, far from done, but not all unhappy with some results. For art stuff the see latest post

[Update Mon April 17, 2017: new version on the arcade - new levels, 200% overhauled mechanics, still no visuals ;)
oh, and brought back the mechs!
https://www.scirra.com/arcade/shooting- ... v-02-17020

[Update Fri Sep 02, 2016: new demo on the arcade - check later post for details]
https://www.scirra.com/arcade/action-ga ... type-10787


Original post:

this prototype is about hijacking powerful Mechs and plowing through hordes of ruthless invaders.

Currently consists of 3 levels:
1. Breach the Gate
2. Rescue your Allies
3. Steal the Heavy Walker

Disclaimer:
All visuals are still placeholders at this point, so please try to look beyond the chunky visuals. Things do get boxy and abstract at times, I guess.
The Warhammer 40k theme will be gone in the end, although the gritty sci-fi vibe is kinda what I'm after.

There are still some bugs at times, like enemies chasing you through walls or allies attacking you.
But that shouldnt hurt the fun (much :P).

At times the level language is probably not super selfexplanatory, due to minimal visuals.
Hopefully the objective tracker and compass help clarify the mission goals a bit.

ImageImageImageImage

Feature breakdown:
- Fight on foot, wielding Blaster and Grenades
or
- Steal heavily armed Mechs and trample smaller enemies
- Gather rage to unleash Berserk Mode
- 3 Mech types to hijack, each with unique behaviours and abilities
- 4 enemy solider types, 4 enemy mech types
- Allied troops to rescue or fight along side
- indoor and outdoor segments (image real pretty graphics!)

Playing with gamepad is recommended!
Tested with Xbox360 pad in Chrome.
Keyboard+Mouse is supported but only for debugging, not quite as juicy atm.

Pro tip: I left in a cheat button to skip through levels, in case you get stuck or have to restart too often

Play here:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/145 ... index.html
Last edited by facecrime on Thu May 11, 2017 9:59 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Post » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:32 am

Very Nice. My only complaints are the controls, but that's because I used a keyboard for this.

The gameplay reminds me a bit of hotline miami.

My only complaint besides the graphics (But I know they are placeholders), lack of sound (That I know you'll add), is that the character moves too sluggishly on foot. If the character and the projectiles were faster it would be better.

The only glitch I noticed is when I clicked on the level ++ icon and my character couldn't stop moving southwest.

Good Job and Improve!
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Post » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:30 pm

Nice work! I was expecting just a few rooms & waves of enemies, but instead got a well-paced & varied campaign.

Some ideas - they might seem overly critical but that's only because it's interesting what you're doing in C2:

Movement of everything could be faster, it would suit the bullet hell mechanics you've got (the slow enemy projectiles) & the player could move around more freely. Right now, the only tactic is to keep circling enemies in one direction. It'd be more fun to be able to dodge around larger fields of bullets & avoid hordes of melee enemies (think L4D sized hordes instead of just 3 or 4 at once).

The cover obstacles don't feel intuitive. You can shoot over them, but they seem to block enemy LOS (they don't approach if you're behind cover). Maybe you could have a cover system useable by both player & npcs, which forces the character to duck if they're next to cover (tested by overlap or distance) & stand if they're shooting.

Rage mode didn't seem to do anything. Something that works well in shooters is to build up an adrenaline meter (typically based on combo scoring) then you can activate slow-motion for a short period - this is great in bullet hell shooters where you tactically use it to get out of chaotic situations.

There could be a bigger difference between being on foot & inside a mech - movement speed, special abilties like charging forwards, new weapons like rockets/grenade launchers, being able to move or crash through scenery.

Flamer-thrower boss was awesome, maybe there could be smaller mini-bosses like that to keep you on your toes.

Look forward to seeing more of this :)
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Post » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:38 pm

@anyarmy40k thanks for your reply and taking the time to try it
taking note of your request for more speed; still got a lot of balancing ahead of me, more mechs to find a spot in the progression for. I didn't want speed to be the standout quality of the on-foot mode, given how much weapon-play it already has. but more overall speed is certainly an option.

@mattb thanks for the in depth response,
appreciate your proposals and ideas, some are truly tempting.
I actually have the dashing ability, I just took it off the 2nd mech cos it was so powerful. will have a dedicated mech for that later on.
Rage not being noteable looks like I toned it down too much, it's actually increasing your fire ratio. nerfed if too much, it seems.
Obstacles are a pretty broken design, I have to admit. It started out mostly as an excuse for more navigation challenge, but enemies don't really handle it at all. Cover sounds great but I'm cautious to add more features atm.
Seems a recurring theme that I toned all my balance down too much, with mechs and walking feeling too similar too.
Good pointers, will certainly consider, thx!
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Post » Sat Dec 19, 2015 5:05 pm

@facecrime
If you decide to experiment more with an npc cover system, I did this rough test last year & it might be useful:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/523 ... ystem.capx

It shows how you can get a decent cover formation with npcs keeping their distance & getting behind different cover objects with quite few events. With a proper state-based ai setup I'm sure you could make some challenging opponents.
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Post » Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:47 pm

Oh wow, that's a great demo there, thanks a bunch!

Loving the behaviour, that might indeed be a cool addition. Evaluating.
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Post » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:10 pm

Bringing this back to life with an update on enemy behaviours:

After my first prototype I decided to rework my then very basic AI.
Each enemy is now configurable in a sort of a shared state machine that actually turned out rather complex.

I put a small Demo on the Arcade to showcase my overhauled enemy behaviours:
https://www.scirra.com/arcade/action-ga ... type-10787

All enemies now have distinctive patterns, each archetype aiming to demand it's own play style.
I now have fairly diverse enemy types, a few of them can be seen in this little demo:

Standard Melee Units - approach the player and try to land a hit
Standard Ranged Units - approach and circle the player, firing dodgeable bullet salvoes
Ranged Sniper Units - seek cover in environment, avoiding the player, firing single shots
Warper Units - try to teleport into the player's back to land a melee hit.

I might update this with more levels and enemy types or the truck loads of new feature that I built since the last post as I go.
Right now I'm busy tidying everything up and taking the project to the next stage.

I'd be grateful for more of the very productive feedback you guys provided me with last time.
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Post » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:49 pm

I just played the small demo on the arcade, it has good vibes.

The fights are dynamic (I didn't know the purple boxes were destructible and that you could shoot above it, maybe a visual element to show this) the "swarming corridor" is intense, blood when an enemy died is always a good thing. :D I wasn't lost in the level thanks to the indicator top right. I understood how the gun ammo works really quickly.

For the difficulty, I would say a 4/10 (10=apocalypse :twisted: ) One thing, the boss needs a grenade to be killed (I spent the first play shooting at him without any results)

I know that it's a work in progress but some little sounds could add a lot.

The player is a little slow and sometimes there is lag (when you pass the first door and before the melee enemies spawn in the corridor)

Keep up the good work! ;)

Ps: I watched Robot Jox :lol:

EDIT:
I played the dropbox version, it's really good. I had to stop because I was stuck at the end of the 3th level (Leave your vehicle and find the hangar) the game is a little too easy
-The enemy sprite could change when he's dead cause sometimes I don't know if the blood is from another enemy.
-The enemy spawning with a jump (ork jetpack I guess) is nice.
-The level 2 boss is too easy.

Riding the mech is great, the shaking screen makes the experience enjoyable. :D (Sad moment when you have to leave it :cry: )
Last edited by Pandadoor on Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:52 pm

Thanks for your feedback @pandadoor. Hope you played with a controller ;)

Good that you mentioned the boxes, the cover system is perhaps a bit lazy, but I think it works; only 50% of bullets get past cover, the idea is to encourage flanking of enemies in cover and avoid entrenching behind boxes. Curious to know if it woks out like that.

Surprised by your difficulty rating, I might need to crank it up a notch ;P
In my defense the first enemy is kinda broken, he should be dodging/circling you. Needs fixing.

The boss actually has a weakspot in the back, thats what the red ball is about.
But it's not very clear, so an expensive grenade is kind of a good alternate solution.

Robot Jox was good silly fun right? They don't make em like that anymore :P (not really tho)
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Post » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:12 pm

New version on the arcade now

https://www.scirra.com/arcade/shooting- ... v-02-17020

Pretty much everything has been overhauled by now and it's beginning to feel like a game.
I built some new levels to see all the changes in action, the expanded AI, the collectable weapons, the refined camera.
There's one more killer feature I decided to bring in, to enable a less linear experience and I hope to start working on it soon.

That said I might have rushed this upload a bit, I found a few visual glitches in the version, but I should get that fixed fairly quickly.
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