Dang it’s hot. Not the most fun time to be programming in a room full of heaters (that’s what I call my computers). Anyway, despite the weather I’ve managed to get a lot of work done on the not so fun stuff about making games… optimizing. Well it’s kind of fun to see your games perform more efficiently, but at the end of the day, 10 hours can go by and all you have to show for it is the same exact game (hopefully without many extra bugs) but one that runs a bit more smoothly. So unfortunately I don’t have any cool new flashy animations or graphics to show off, but I can say that you’ll start to see more fun stuff in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. But I did manage to dig up my fireworks demo from last year and integrate it with the main page. Now you can change between the Spaceship Demo, the Plague Demo, and now the Fireworks Demo.
Check out some new and exclusive character animation and background artwork. Feel free to right click and zoom in to get a better look. This is just a sampling of the many types of units I plan on having in BM2.
I got a lot done on optimizing the collision detection of arrows against objects. I was trying to get away from using hitTest on the character movie clips and instead use my own BoundingBox class which works with my Vector class. In short, I can now better detect fast moving object collisions so things shouldn’t appear to move through things at high speeds. I don’t have a demo of this in action, but I did modify my current build of Bow2 by increasing the Hero’s bow power along with the gravity. I was just playing around, but the end result felt a lot like the fast moving arrows of BowMaster 1, and there was a greater sense of power when you released a fast moving arrow — something very satisfying about it. Nothing is definite, this inspired me to seriously consider allowing you to upgrade the bow power like in the original and maybe slightly increase the gravity in this next version so things fall at a more realistic rate (but not too real so you have time to dodge enemy fire if need be ;).
Another thing I’ve been working on is this "plague" effect that I plan to make implement as part of a new ability, perhaps for the hunter or mage class. I created a non-interactive demo of this just for fun, and the actually implementation in BM2 may vary. To see it click on the green orb at the top right of the main page above.
Just to explain a little about the demo: The blue squares are host cells (pretend they are footsoldiers or something living). The green orbs are virus cells that feed off of the host cells while slowly killing them. Then just for the heck of it I added some medicine cells which heal host cells and kill virus cells.
The cool thing about the ball particle is that it can be used for many new types of weapons, spells or other reactive environmental effects. For example, imaging a boulder placed at the top of the hill. Perhaps you might be able to dislodge it with a well place bomb arrow, sending it rolling down the hill crushing all the ground troops in its path.
I’ve implemented it so I can adjust the bounciness and friction levels of the ball and surface the ball collides with. This alows me to simulate very different particles using the same code (e.g. boulder on grass, vs boulder on sand, or rubber ball on grass etc.)
Test Boulder Rolling (meteor graphic)
The other new technology I added is the effect the terrain has on ground unit speed. Ground units now travel relatively faster when moving downhill and relatively slower when going uphill. The amount of boost or slowdown is proportianl to the steapness of the terrain. Click on the image below to see a sequence of screenshots that kind of demonstrate this. It probably would’ve been more obvious if I used only one type of unit in this example, but I didn’t have time to do this just for this demo.
New and Exclusive Bowmaster 2 Character Artwork! This picture shows you the three playable character classes in BowMaster 2. Each class will have special unique abilities that help them defeat their enemies. The big dude on the right is an expert in demolitions and heavy siege weaponry. The lady in the middle is a mage with fierce magical attacks. The young lad on the left is a cunning hunter and expert marksman.
Bowmaster 2 Character Artwork
The skill upgrades available in BowMaster prelude will, for the most part, all be available in BowMaster 2. Several of the common skills will be shared among all three classes, but each class will have new skills and perhaps attribute enhancements for some of the common weapons (e.g. the mage may get a bonus to ice and fire arrows, while the demolitions dude may get a bonus to the bomb arrow, even though both classes may use these abilities).
It’s been a busy week, but I managed to work on a few things in my free time. I worked on an animation for a battle mage unit for BowMaster 2 (seen below). I worked on illustrating another background for BowMaster 2 but I can’t show you because it’s top secret ;). I also was toying around with a zombie game idea I had. I’m only releasing this early screenshot now, but I may have a non-interactive demo in the near future. Oh and a few were confused about the previous week’s update, those screenshots were of BowMaster 2 which has not yet been released.
This week I’ve implemented two new skills to Bowmaster: Rapid Shot and the Chain Lighting. See the screenshots below for examples.
Chain Lighting causes bolts of lightning to stream from enemy to enemy, causing lighting damage. This is useful for damaging enemy troops that are spread out along the terrain or in the air. There is some randomness in how each bolt jumps from one enemy to the next, but for the most part they choose whatever enemies are closest and within range. Right now the arrow needs to be detonated like the flak bomb.
Rapid Shot causes several arrows to be shot in succession at the angle and velocity you choose. The arrows are shot out at slightly different angles than you original shot.
I updated the space background with the ability to zoom in and out using -/= keys. You can also cycle through the ships with left or right arrow keys. You can now also aim and shoot the turrets of the Destroyers (medium sized single turret ships) using the mouse. The motherships now have Devastator Laser Cannon in addition to their four turrets.
This week I spent time working on the “multi-shot” arrow which works like the original BowMaster. Also I’ve been optimizing the code and fixing some bugs. I may post an update to the original Prelude to fix some of these minor issues.
I have been playing with new backgrounds and graphics. I made a multi-fire-arrow and cranked up the max arrows. I was in the desert scene and it looked really cool with ground littered with dancing flames. I might just feature something similar in the final release. Take a look at this exclusive screenshot.
With respect to the space game, I already have code developed for manually piloting the small fighter units. You can fly around with the WASD or arrow keys, shoot lasers and homing missiles. You can target enemies. I plan to have mines and flares too. Mines you can drop behind you and flares will distract enemy rockets that are fired at you. Currently the enemies only fire lasers dots.
And the last thing I worked on today before posting this was the ability to control the Medium sized ships turrets. I may post an updated version of the background demo so you can play with it. You can’t control the ship and where it flies, just where it shoots. It’s kind of fun just playing as the gunner, trying to take out the fast moving small ships as they whiz by. Kinda feels like being in the Millennium Falcon shooting down ties (in a more simplified 2D environment 😉
What is the DevLog? It’s shall be a journal for the progress of my current projects. I’m not sure how often I’ll update it, but the goal is to keep me in the habit frequently updating my site.
Lately I’ve been working on updates to BowMaster Prelude. I have a really great artist helping me with the project and the end result will be really special. I may release some new screenshots when I’m closer to release.
I’ve also been working on a space game on the side. I may release it relatively soon actually so stay tuned for that. I need to focus on BowMaster, but this space game is so much fun to program… I’ve never done a true “scrolling” game before so it’s been an interesting challenge.
Back to BowMaster… I watched the Movie 300 again this weekend (probably the last weekend it’s on the big screen, now that Spider Man’s here). That movie made me want to make a Spartan-like unit with Phalanx squad AI (of some sort). I love how they alternated attacks between blocking and spear thrusting. We’ll see.