One day last week I went back to High for the first time in a while. The day went really well as I was able to code completely from scratch without having to hunt through forums to get a footing on where to go and without getting frustrated. This felt great and is proof enough that Burg Zerg Arcade has made me a much better programmer. The result was a combo system for the multitask elements (see image below) which works pretty well so far and a bit of an overhaul of how I was previously handling scoring.
The pink text keeps track of the bonus score and adds it once the combo is over. Not the best solution visually but really happy code wise so far
However because of my time spent attempting to improve as a programmer, going back to High is pretty tricky as it currently stands; I was pretty crap a few months ago and my code reflects this (comments are few and far between, debugging shonky and scripts poorly organised). So now I’m at a bit of a crossroads – do I just continue with the project as I did the other day, or start fresh? I’m leaning towards the latter currently but worry that in doing so I will lose the progress the game has made to this point.
I reckon I’ll consult the Old Gods and the New and get back to you on that one. For now though I’m really happy and excited that I can see my progress.
Liz Programmer Level Up
Just a short update to show off some more progress: improvements to the HUD and addition of a main menu.
The main menu is essentially a prototype in itself but I wanted to see what would be possible in terms of re-using assets and getting the base functionality going. Turned out pretty well.
Also demonstrating a few improvements I’ve made to the HUD; adding a flicker when low and empty, as well as improving the re-fuel flicker. Pretty happy with the results.
The Metric lyric (Dreams so Real is the song, hey why not listen while you read this?) which is my title for today is now my new programming mantra. In that sense it means: you’ll figure it out eventually, just don’t give up until you do. With this on my mind I had a pretty good day today:
- Watched a few BergZergArcade videos and learnt a few new coding tips (I’ve mentioned them before but they are still super awesome)
- Stumbled across customising the unity editor which was fun and definitely something I’ll be looking into in greater detail (particularly when it comes to the mammoth task of level design)
- Pretty much completed the fuel tank GUI adding indicators for refilling, low levels and empty
- Thought up a few more details to add a bit more polish (got a little bummed when I found out that something I want to do comes standard in pro. Nevertheless I carried on)
- Updated my design and tech docs
- As always, documented my ‘game idea of the day’
So that’s about it for today: only a short update. Because I like pictures, I leave you with a screenshot of my editor from today.
This past month has been a bit up and down, mostly because I have made very little progress on High, nor have I really attempted to do so. I feel the Anchorman quote sums this up pretty well. That doesn’t however mean that I haven’t been working on it; I had a pretty crappy day programming wise which started a programming dry spell but I have dabbled in the design side of things.
I’m at the point where I’m not sure I want to continue with High but know I will regret it. I have a tonne of ideas that I want to make a reality (as much as a reality as a video game can be I suppose) but need to keep in mind that I won’t be able to do everything all at once or even at all.
I’ve gained this new-found perspective as a result of a talk by Epona Shweer (creator of indiebits.com among other things) at Sydney’s iFest yesterday. She spoke specifically of the benefits of self-publishing but what I took out of it was that you aren’t gonna be able to everything on your first try (some things even at all) but not to let this discourage you.
The whole event has actually resparked my desire to make games in seeing the work of my fellow devs (by the way check out Time of Ages) who have been or are currently in the same situation as me. Next year I want to showcase something of my own.
In my High absence I’ve been working on a few different things:
- I’m writing a gamebook as a prototype for a larger idea I’ve had. It’s still super early stages and likely rife with spelling and grammar mistakes so read it at your own peril here
- Working on a core design doc for an adventure game (watching the Double Fine Adventure updates seems to have given me the bug)
- Writing and contributing more to indiesandwich.com
- Something which is still secret for now…
I vow to continue working on High alongside these new and exciting projects and will try not to beat myself up so much.
Just a quick note to demonstrate some more progress I’ve made with the HUD, in particular the fuel gauge. I’m really happy with how it turned out: it depletes perfectly, indicates when refilled and being used, and the pickups are working great. I’ve also added the fuel functionality in code which means that you can now only accelerate when the fuel is above 0. A small bit of progress which I think brings a nice level of polish (evident in the always satisfying exclaims of “oh cool!” when outsiders catch a glimpse).
Here are the fuel pickups at the moment. I’m not quite convinced so I may rework them if I get the time/urge. I would like to add a bobbing sort of animation as well or even a particle effect to make them look less weird just floating in mid air.
Keeping in mind Quick Finger’s method of focusing on tasks I want to do but still need to be done at some point anyway, I’ve ignored collision detection today to focus on GUI.
I’m still a little bit stuck in trying to get sprite clipping to work as advertised (I’ve enlisted the help of unikron to aid with that) but my logic and chosen method should work really well assuming I can get clipping going. Basically I’ve set up my fuel gauge in four parts:
- a base element – that which will be revealed once the tank is empty
- a fill element – the sprite to be ‘clipped’ when depleting
- an outline element – to neaten things up
- a fire animation – to play when accelerating
These are looking pretty nice together though I may redo at least the outline in order to get cleaner lines.
I’ve also had a bit of a break through with scoring which was something I had a little trouble with in the proof of concept. I’ve discovered the InvokeRepeating method which made the task of scoring over time super easy. Just as easy was increasing score with multitasking elements. I am however yet to tackle combos which will be an interesting challenge.
I haven’t made a tonne of progress today but every little bit goes a long way.
UPDATE: I heard back from unikron and I’ve fixed my issue with the fuel gauge woo hoo! More pictures added below to demonstrate.
I’m having a bit of an up and down week with high at the moment; some things are coming along pretty well while others keep causing a nuisance. I have been able to get acceleration working as I had hoped and improved the camera movements to go with this and added another obstacle in the form of birds.
What’s proving to be a giant hurdle is collision detection, more specifically, getting invincibility to function correctly. I finished off yesterday with the guts working okay but when it came to properly checking if conditions were being met it appears my code is barely functioning as I’d hoped. What I have figured out is getting high to flicker during the invincibility period which I’m happy with but this happiness is failing to make up for the oh so frustrating and, to my brain, illogical incorrect functioning of the rest of the code.
I think my next attempt I will need to start from scratch as I’m just digging myself a hole of crappy, ill thought out code. There is method I should probably employ instead which I have been avoiding because it means changing over a lot of pre-existing code. At this stage if it can stop my brain exploding out of sheer frustration I’m happy to give it a try.
With any luck I will have better news to report next update…le sigh