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So, what do you think of Chacker (the game described below)?
I like it 13%  13%  [ 2 ]
It needs work (please tell us what kind of work) 47%  47%  [ 7 ]
I don't like the concept (please tell us why) 40%  40%  [ 6 ]
Total votes : 15
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 Post subject: Introducing Chacker, The Angry Mockingbird
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:17 am 



Joined: 24 Feb 2009
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Second/Third Edit: Click here to play the game! Or you can read on to experience the EPIC story of Chacker's initial release.

Note that now, it DOES work with Firefox. The initial release was very buggy, as you can see below, but we think we have it straight now. :-D

------

Edit: There was a known bug with Chacker Build 12 which will cause a lot of flickering when the game is played with Firefox. This will be fixed in the next build. Sorry for the inconvenience. (Because we didn't test with Firefox, we got roasted, as you'll see below...)

-------

Greetings,

We have released a two-level demo of our new shmup (and first video game), Chacker: The Angry Mockingbird. If you like "cute 'em ups," you are certain to like this one.

We would like to submit Chacker to thorough academic criticism by shmup veterans and other shmup developers. We won't mind if you think it's too slow, fast, hard, easy, fun, or boring! We have been debugging the game for about a month, but if you find anything that doesn't work as expected, by all means let us know.

There is a thorough manual on the same web site as the game, although the bestiary is still a work in progress. Enjoy!


Last edited by SandtouchLC on Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:56 am, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:43 am 


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I don't even know where to begin taking this apart.

The mouse control is sloppy and the bird character flickers between animation states repeatedly when it should be perfectly still.

The HUD flickered repeatedly, as if it was being drawn on a timer that was out of sync with the rest of the screen. Some graphics, like the bushes, flickered so badly I thought the entire game was about to crash.

The chaning seemed to make no sense, there was no visible timer to show when it runs out. I had to wait something like 10 seconds for it to reset. That is just ridiculous.

The actual levels were repetitive and there was nothing interesting at all. I saw the same 2-3 enemies used over and over. Your ship's hit area is huge and it's easy to get hit by random crap.

The graphics are bottom of the barrel. The background graphics wrap very poorly from the photos you stitched together. The 3d models look like something from a 1992 game.

This doesn't just need "more work", it needs a complete overhaul from the ground up.

I had the game crash on me, once I closed Firefox, I had to go into the Task Manager and manually kill it. It was using up 180 MB of memory and leaking more by the second.

Edit: I'm starting to think this is all a joke, in which case .. IHBT, IHL, HAND.


Last edited by Udderdude on Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:53 am 


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I think that the sprites are too large for the most part. You want a small ship that has a collision mask that is actually a bit smaller than the sprite.

The bullets are small and hard to see also. Loose all inertia too. 8 power ups is just to many. Why not 2 oe 3 that are equally powerful but work differently?
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:09 am 


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Udderdude wrote:
I don't even know where to begin taking this apart.

The mouse control is sloppy and the bird character flickers between animation states repeatedly when it should be perfectly still.

The HUD flickered repeatedly, as if it was being drawn on a timer that was out of sync with the rest of the screen. Some graphics, like the bushes, flickered so badly I thought the entire game was about to crash.

The chaning seemed to make no sense, there was no visible timer to show when it runs out. I had to wait something like 10 seconds for it to reset. That is just ridiculous.

The actual levels were repetitive and there was nothing interesting at all. I saw the same 2-3 enemies used over and over. Your ship's hit area is huge and it's easy to get hit by random crap.

The graphics are bottom of the barrel. The background graphics wrap very poorly from the photos you stitched together. The 3d models look like something from a 1992 game.

This doesn't just need "more work", it needs a complete overhaul from the ground up.

I had the game crash on me, once I closed Firefox, I had to go into the Task Manager and manually kill it. It was using up 180 MB of memory and leaking more by the second.

Edit: I'm starting to think this is all a joke, in which case .. IHBT, IHL, HAND.


I thought you were joking. 2 minutes of trying to play this broke my mind. The flickering was horrible [and it gave me headaches], it looked bad, and it played badly. I couldn't tell if the memory leak was there or not [should have checked], but I really wouldn't doubt it. Honestly, and this is a note to ANY developer: actually test your stuff.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:17 am 


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#shmups IRC responds ..

[19:39] <Pixel_Out> wow
[19:40] <Pixel_Out> The flickering keeps my attention
[19:40] <Pixel_Out> and the overly large sprites work well as giant bullet pillows
[19:40] <SquidMan> OH GOD
[19:40] <SquidMan> SO ANNOYING @_@
[19:40] <alits> chacker is too manic for me
[19:40] <SquidMan> too many glitches and shit @_@
[19:41] <Pixel_Out> manic depressant
[19:41] <SquidMan> indeed

...

[19:43] <SquidMan> it is really bad
[19:44] <alits> are you still playing that shit
[19:44] <SquidMan> no fucking way, lol
[19:45] <SquidMan> "We have been debugging the game for about a month" <-- LOL
[19:45] <Pixel_Out> maybe they are mentally retarted
[19:46] <SquidMan> lol
[19:46] <Udderdude> i think their cat helped them debug it
[19:46] <Udderdude> 'this doesn't look like a god-awful pile of dog shit, right kitty?' 'meow!'
[19:46] <alits> I want to know if this guy has ever played a game be4 let alone a shmup

...

[19:47] <Necronopt> HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
[19:47] <Necronopt> Chacker is the greatest game ever made.
[19:47] <Necronopt> "We have been debugging the game for about a month, but if you find anything that doesn't work as expected, by all means let us know."
[19:48] <Necronopt> Debugging must mean sitting with each other, legs parted, rolling a bowling ball back and fourth trying to hit each others testicles.

...

[19:55] <Zeether> oh dear lord
[19:55] <Zeether> the bees
[19:55] <Zeether> they are fucking annoying
[19:55] <Zeether> also the music is shit

...

[20:02] <Haiku> why does it pause when i shoot
[20:02] <Udderdude> you might have crashed it by pressing the fire button
[20:02] <Udderdude> i wouldn't totally put that out of consideration
[20:03] <Pixel_Out> "The fire feature is only available in the full version"
[20:03] <Zeether> it's like someone tried to make an Apidya clone and failed
[20:03] <Zeether> also who the hell would pay to get this
[20:03] <Zeether> it's utter shit


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:06 am 



Joined: 24 Feb 2009
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Sorry you had so much trouble. Going to try to organize the reply in a way that is efficient...

Udderdude wrote:
The mouse control is sloppy and the bird character flickers between animation states repeatedly when it should be perfectly still.


We are not proud of the mouse control either. We think we can fix that by making the detection less coarse so we'll give it a try.

Udderdude wrote:
The HUD flickered repeatedly, as if it was being drawn on a timer that was out of sync with the rest of the screen. Some graphics, like the bushes, flickered so badly I thought the entire game was about to crash.

-- snip --

I had the game crash on me, once I closed Firefox, I had to go into the Task Manager and manually kill it. It was using up 180 MB of memory and leaking more by the second.


This might be due to an old Java version or something else. Could you send a PM with your OS, browser and Java version?

Quote:
The chaning seemed to make no sense, there was no visible timer to show when it runs out. I had to wait something like 10 seconds for it to reset. That is just ridiculous.


The chaining (streaking, actually) is not documented and that is our fault. It is based on enemies shot in a row without letting one pass out of the playfield, and not on a timer.

Udderdude wrote:
The actual levels were repetitive and there was nothing interesting at all. I saw the same 2-3 enemies used over and over. Your ship's hit area is huge and it's easy to get hit by random crap.


We've gone back and forth about whether Chacker should have a proper hit box so that grazes don't count as hits. This is defintely a vote for "yes." Well taken.

As far as repetitiveness goes... the difficulty is intentionally low. You might want to try the Extra Mode, which adds random birds to the mix. It is available after completing the demo (but we won't force you to hold your nose.

Udderdude wrote:
The graphics are bottom of the barrel. The background graphics wrap very poorly from the photos you stitched together. The 3d models look like something from a 1992 game.


Background: Do you mean that there should be parallax separation of the background (a feature that we need to add), or that it is flickering (probably Java's fault)?

Sprites: Yes. This is not a PS3 (or PS2, maybe PSX) game. If it was at that level we would charge you $20 for the demo and $60 for the full game. Recession? What recession? :D

Udderdude wrote:
This doesn't just need "more work", it needs a complete overhaul from the ground up.


That's why we made only two repetitive stages before opening it up to criticism. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:17 am 



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Udderdude wrote:
#shmups IRC responds ..
[and there was much of gnashing of teeth.]


Hmm, where to start.

Flickering: Again, we don't have this problem and it has not been reported before by the outside testers. But there's 3 folks reporting it here so we will look into it.

Sprites too large: We hear you loud and clear.

Music: There are no musicians at Sandtouch (we're photographers, not doctors!) and we're having a hard time compressing full songs--hence, annoying loops. But we want to do better and will work on this.

The bees: They ARE annoying. Which is why you can eat them, which is supposed to make it satisfying. :)

Udderdude wrote:
[20:03] <Zeether> also who the hell would pay to get this


Who said anything about charging? Does this mean we can send you a bill? :) Just kidding.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:22 am 


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Quote:
This might be due to an old Java version or something else. Could you send a PM with your OS, browser and Java version?


I'm using XP, Firefox 3.0.6 and Java 1.6.0_03. Although this information will most likely not help you, seeing as everyone else who played it had the exact same problem. It is a bug in your game.

Quote:
The chaining (streaking, actually) is not documented and that is our fault. It is based on enemies shot in a row without letting one pass out of the playfield, and not on a timer.


And here I thought streaking was getting drunk, naked and then running down a street at 2am yelling "YEAHHHHHHHH!"

Quote:
As far as repetitiveness goes... the difficulty is intentionally low.


This doesn't have to do with difficulty, it has to do with variety.

Quote:
Background: Do you mean that there should be parallax separation of the background (a feature that we need to add), or that it is flickering (probably Java's fault)?


I mean that the point where one photo ends and another begins is very abrupt and you can see a seam between them.

Quote:
Sprites: Yes. This is not a PS3 (or PS2, maybe PSX) game. If it was at that level we would charge you $20 for the demo and $60 for the full game.


There are plenty of games that are free with graphics much more competent than what you've put together. You are completely off in wonderland if you think anyone would buy this thing for $60, even if it had better graphics. Most budget games are under $20, and those are the ones that are being sold on the PS3/360!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:24 am 


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I can see that the goal of the game is to draw attention to the site. With that said please ensure that your graphics are consistent. If you want to use photography then make it consistent. The cartoon sprites clash with the realism of the backdrops. Consider making the game play a bit faster and make the player only move while buttons are depressed. I know it may seem more natural to have inertia and air current but it only frusterates the player. Also ensure that the collision box is smaller than the player's image. You don't want bullets colliding with the player if they are not intersecting the sprite.

Consider adding enemy firing patterns.

There are many kinds of shots, bursts of shots in all directions, shots that are aimed and also shots that have pre defined angles. Make sure that your shot patterns are ALWAYS avoidable by the player.

Good luck. :)
Sorry about the roasting.

The key to good shmup control is letting the player move quickly with precision. Good arcade players do not like floaty movement.


This is a picture of the game in mid flicker. Imagine all the sprites flickering with white boxes over them.

Image
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:34 am 



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Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
I think that the sprites are too large for the most part. You want a small ship that has a collision mask that is actually a bit smaller than the sprite.


Roger that. Do you think it is fair to give the player character a hit box (say, half the ship's size) and use full-size rects for the enemies?

Quote:
The bullets are small and hard to see also. Loose all inertia too. 8 power ups is just to many. Why not 2 oe 3 that are equally powerful but work differently?


Bullet size: Do you mean Chacker's, or the enemy bullets too? Chacker's bullets get larger at seed level 3 and up. We were originally going to start the player at that level, so maybe it would be better to do that. For the enemies, we made them flash yellow for precisely this reason; is that OK or should they be bigger too? (If we make them bigger, we will hitbox them so that it is not a completely unfair change.)

Power-ups: R-Type Final had what, 500 of them? :-/

We're kind of bound up by the concept of the game. He's a mockingbird, and so he is supposed to steal powers from the other birds. If some of the birds dropped power-ups and the others didn't, it would be kind of confusing. So it's kind of hard to do this without abandoning the 1 power up per bird rule.

If we were to do that, which ones would you keep? This is the current list:

Sonic Coo: Shockwave projectile with a short range, which expands when you get the second level powerup. The third level (maximum) causes a shockwave when any shot hits an enemy, too. The first two levels are intentionally kind of weak because the final level is pwn.

Jalapeno Seed: Shots leave a fire wake, which is nice against the fast-moving enemies. It gets larger and more continuous with each level up.

Vine Shot: Typical laser powerup, it also goes through the obstacles. Since it causes each shot to count 3x-7x depending on level, this is what you want for the bosses.

Pigeon Bomb: It's, uh, a bomb. This is nice against enemies who fly under you and certain bosses (like the one on stage 2).

Homing Firefly: Self-explanatory. The first level is disappointing since it tracks only once a second, but the second is much better and the third is pwn.

Baby Mocker: Option. Not much to say there.

Speed Up: Ditto.

Spread Shot: Ditto. It is worth saying that the 3rd level is so good that the charge-up shot goes obsolete.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:35 am 


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Here is a game with a similar concept.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d1lNyNNmuo

You might notice the relative size of the player and enemies in regard to the screen. 8)

About powerups. I think only special birds would drop powerups. Not every bird must have something special. It would not be confusing once the player learns which ones to shoot. In many games of yesteryear any enemy can have a powerup. Maybe have 3 or so different weapons then maybe 2 or 3 levels of power for each weapon. I think it is a bit overwhelming to have to choose between so many types. Look at Raiden, there are two different weapons and each one has just a few levels of power. You have one wide weapon for taking out swarms and a focused weapon for pinpointing. I don't object to having different types of weapons but make them fire differently and make sure that you aren't forcing them into the game. The best two are a wide but weak weapon for waves of enemies and a strong but focused weapon for sniping. You can also experiment with ranges. In theory the more enemies you can hit at once the weaker the gun should be. A spread weapon should be slightly weaker than a focused gun. Don't feel that you need to design the game around a complex concept. Rather make the base game work then start adding in visual themes.

It is best to start with a very simple design and then add in elements only if they help strengthen the theme wile not disturbing the simplistic gameplay much.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:48 am 



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Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Sorry about the roasting.

To quote the legendary Orz Space Marines, it's normal to react like that when there is an INTRUDER! :-D Especially if he made a REALLY bad impression, and based on the screen shot, that looks like the case. Again, can you shoot over a PM with your setup?

Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
I can see that the goal of the game is to draw attention to the site. With that said please ensure that your graphics are consistent. If you want to use photography then make it consistent. The cartoon sprites clash with the realism of the backdrops.


That was the opposite reaction from what we wanted. :-/ Since it is illegal for us to go out and trap a mockingbird and make him pose, these are the alternatives:

1. Switch to pixel art (we were going to do that initially, but settled on simple CGI because we THOUGHT it would work better. Insert coin to continue.)

2. Use CGI, but up the poly count--have individual feathers visible and so on. (REALLY realistic CGI would be out of the budget since Chacker will be free if we can keep the game to a reasonable bandwidth usage level.)

3. Get a bird that we CAN keep in a cage, pose it, and photoshop it into the various birds shown in the game.

Which would you like better?

Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Consider making the game play a bit faster and make the player only move while buttons are depressed. I know it may seem more natural to have inertia and air current but it only frusterates the player.


That's easy to fix, we'll do that for the next build.

Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Also ensure that the collision box is smaller than the player's image. You don't want bullets colliding with the player if they are not intersecting the sprite.


Hitbox FTW!

Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Consider adding enemy firing patterns.
There are many kinds of shots, bursts of shots in all directions, shots that are aimed and also shots that have pre defined angles. Make sure that your shot patterns are ALWAYS avoidable by the player.


The grackles (solid black birds), and the bosses, have a firing pattern. The other birds fire at fixed intervals. We could add firing patterns to the other birds in later stages. Thanks for the tip!

Quote:
The key to good shmup control is letting the player move quickly with precision. Good arcade players do not like floaty movement.


Roger that. Removing inertia is a snap. As for the mouse... The computer we're using for development is a MacBook, and we know the mouse control is almost intolerable with a trackpad. We will work on making the mouse more precise.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:00 am 



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Udderdude wrote:
I'm using XP, Firefox 3.0.6 and Java 1.6.0_03. Although this information will most likely not help you, seeing as everyone else who played it had the exact same problem. It is a bug in your game.


None of the testers had Firefox (just IE and Safari) and that seems to be the common denominator (so far). We'll look into it. Yeah, it's unacceptable NOT to test with Firefox since it is widely used and has awesome plugins. Mea culpa.

Edit: We confirmed that this bug only occurs with Firefox, and that it occurs on OS X and Windows XP. Ouch... back to the drawing board.

Quote:
This doesn't have to do with difficulty, it has to do with variety.


Second edit: Forgot to answer this concern, sorry. If you can get around the flicker bug with Firefox (maybe try Safari if you can't stand IE, or wait for the next build of Chacker), try turning on the Extra Mode at the end of the demo. You will then encounter all 8 birds randomly in both stages. Remember at the beginning of UN Squadron, the same enemies were attacking you the whole time but in slightly different patterns? That is what we were going for (and since Capcom added that whole 1-hit kill thing for the SNES version, bet you were thankful for it back then :P )

Quote:
I mean that the point where one photo ends and another begins is very abrupt and you can see a seam between them.


We know of 2 places where this occurs in the first stage, and the second does not use fixed photo backdrops so it would not occur there. One of the breaks is an off-by-one pixel error in the decompression of the backdrop, and the other is due to a poor pano shot. If you see any others, could you count them (we can probably find them if we know how many there are?)

Quote:
You are completely off in wonderland if you think anyone would buy this thing for $60, even if it had better graphics.


That was intended as a joke... maybe this is a cultural disconnection? If so we apologize.

We are not expecting anyone to pay for this game unless it sucks up all our bandwidth (in which case we will probably give up, open source it and call it a wash.)

Quote:
Most budget games are under $20, and those are the ones that are being sold on the PS3/360!


XBLA and PSN, yes, but not on the retail shelves. Unless you are referring to used or previous generation games.

XBLA/PSN/WiiWare games have the advantage of dedicated access to the console's graphics and enough processing power to decode JPEGs on the fly or at least at a reasonable loading pause. Java... doesn't. So as you have probably noticed, most of the sprites, as well as the backgrounds, are upscaled/pixelated.

If we were using DirectX 5000 or whatever version MS is on now, and developing only for Windows [insert version here], and had an unlimited budget, we could give the Crysis guys a run for their money. But yeah, that is wonderland.


Last edited by SandtouchLC on Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:01 am 


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I have java version 6 update 7.

Build 1.6.0_0_7

Running the game via Fire Fox.

Windows Vista home basic edition.

1.5 Gig ram
Radeon Xpress 1100


Java is fairly competent for games. The2bears has been using it for some time now to make games. If you click the link in my signature you are more than welcome to post your game there. Shmup_Dev is a shmup development forum targeted at all skill levels.

The flickering makes the game almost unplayable however, so that should be your first fix. It is as if your screen drawing is out of sync.


Once that is done consider tightening up the way it plays. You are going to remove inertia and that is great that will help a lot. Start watching some videos of past shooters and notice the ratio of screen area to sprite size. You mentioned you were going to scale back and that is good. You want to give the player a smaller craft so they can use more screen. Smaller sprites and smaller hitboxes will give the player more space to move around in. This means that you can work in more shots, movement, action and such.



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:19 am 



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That is a 32X game?! Whoa. 8-) That is very decent pseudo-3D especially for the time period and the limited palette of the Genesis.

It seemed that the hummer had a very "cheap" homing weapon at the beginning, though. Even the Level 3 Homing Firefly in Chacker is not that good, because it would own everything.

Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
You might notice the relative size of the player and enemies in regard to the screen. 8)


It should be pretty easy to downsize the Chacker enemies or use hit boxes to get an equivalent difficulty.


Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Maybe have 3 or so different weapons then maybe 2 or 3 levels of power for each weapon. I think it is a bit overwhelming to have to choose between so many types.


Well, you don't really choose--they are cumulative, like the stackable beams from the Metroid series. You can turn the crappy Seed Shot into a weapon of complete dominance depending on which power-ups you get. (Vine Shot being the fastest way to lower the difficulty, because some of us were enamored to the laser beam in Raiden and the Bulpup in UN Squadron. Speaking of which...)

Quote:
Look at Raiden, there are two different weapons and each one has just a few levels of power. You have one wide weapon for taking out swarms and a focused weapon for pinpointing. .... In theory the more enemies you can hit at once the weaker the gun should be. A spread weapon should be slightly weaker than a focused gun.


We have that already on some level. The Vine Shot is the standard boss pwnage weapon, but it is not helpful against swarms of sparrows and cardinals--although the "fast birds" are 1 hit kills, they are hard to avoid and shoot in groups. However, if you get Vine Shot + Spread Shot or Jalapeno Seed, or use the charged shot with good timing, you can take them out easily. And the Sonic Coo prevents the cheesy fast birds from even being able to hit you.

We are trying to go for a Street Fighter II level of complexity: you need to learn the adversaries' moves as well as your own, with the added Rockmanish twist that you can take their weapons when you are done beating them up.

Quote:
Don't feel that you need to design the game around a complex concept. Rather make the base game work then start adding in visual themes.


Unfortunately we are kind of bound by our concept, because of the kind of business we run (i.e. nature photography). With that said, we could simplify it, chuck the existing code out, and start over (or save the simple-Chacker idea for a sequel.)

Quote:
It is best to start with a very simple design and then add in elements only if they help strengthen the theme wile not disturbing the simplistic gameplay much.


That is what we were going for, but it seems there's still a ways to go. Again, that's why we didn't make the WHOLE game before dragging it over here to get the ritual beating. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:04 am 



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Pixel_Outlaw wrote:
Running the game via Fire Fox.
....
The flickering makes the game almost unplayable however, so that should be your first fix. It is as if your screen drawing is out of sync.


It turns out the flicker only occurs in Firefox, and it happens on both Windows XP and Mac OS X. But we think this can be straightened out, so stay tuned.

Quote:
Start watching some videos of past shooters and notice the ratio of screen area to sprite size.


We did that... and we started watching Cotton 2 a lot... and that might explain the whole problem :-P

Quote:
You mentioned you were going to scale back and that is good. You want to give the player a smaller craft so they can use more screen. Smaller sprites and smaller hitboxes will give the player more space to move around in. This means that you can work in more shots, movement, action and such.


You won't believe this, but the game was originally going to be 640x480... :D

But yes, we will scale the sprites down a bit if adding proper hit boxes alone doesn't do it.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:05 am 


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Flicker happens in Chrome too. Haven't bothered to test it in Safari. I'm running Windows XP. I have Java 6 Update 11.
Also: this is not the Java of 3 years ago. You have decent processing power now, and Java itself is a bit faster [or maybe people have been able to code better within the last 3 years...].
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:24 pm 


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Not really one to blow my own horn, but you may want to check out this Java game I made back in 2002.

http://rydia.net/udder/prog/spdudes/index.html


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:56 pm 


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SandtouchLC wrote:
We will work on making the mouse more precise.


I strongly suggest you lose the mouse altogether. I have seen very few shmups that succeed with mouse control, and I don't think it's worth (or possible) trying to fix it in your game.

Bill
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:19 pm 



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the2bears wrote:

I strongly suggest you lose the mouse altogether. I have seen very few shmups that succeed with mouse control, and I don't think it's worth (or possible) trying to fix it in your game.

Bill


Well, there is already keyboard control. Arrow keys to move, shift to fire/charge, ctrl to wing flash, and hold space bar to auto-fire. The moment you press a key, it shuts off the mouse until you click something, to prevent accidental movement if you bump the mouse with your elbow. :)

The mouse control is only there for those who don't grok the keyboard. It may seem unimportant to have something that a typical user of this forum would not want; however, the mouse control is what makes it possible for Sandtouch's existing audience to play the game. It is more intuitive for older people to use the mouse than the keyboard, as unorthodox and wrong as that sounds.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:22 pm 



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null1024 wrote:
Flicker happens in Chrome too.


This is bizarre, since it doesn't happen in Safari, and Chrome & Safari have the same rendering engine. That means it is not Firefox's fault (at least not exclusively).

We'll keep kicking it around.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:52 pm 


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Possibly easy fix: double buffered drawing. Therefore, no flicker, as you're not erasing and then painting, you just paint to an offscreen buffer.
However, I have no clue how easy [or hard] this is to implement.

PS: I'm still wondering, how can the browser affect it?
PPS: What Java version are you using on the dev system?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:52 pm 



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null1024 wrote:
Possibly easy fix: double buffered drawing. Therefore, no flicker, as you're not erasing and then painting, you just paint to an offscreen buffer.
However, I have no clue how easy [or hard] this is to implement.

PS: I'm still wondering, how can the browser affect it?


We're already double-buffered, the problem is that the AppletViewer is forcing a redraw at random, or so we think. It is the AppletViewer that differs between browsers, along with the rendering engine (though that has been ruled out.)

null1024 wrote:
PPS: What Java version are you using on the dev system?


J2RE build 1.5.0_16-b06-284 on Mac OS X 10.5.6. (Apple is notoriously slow about updating their JRE, therefore no Java 6 yet.)

Safari 3.2.1 -> No flicker
Firefox 3.0.3 -> Flicker

:roll:

We may end up converting it to a Java Web Start application to avoid the browser silliness. Stay tuned...


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:04 pm 


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I have never seen a Java game with a problem like yours, so I really doubt it has anything to do with Java itself. Check some other Java game source code and see how they do it. Chances are you are just doing something wrong.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:24 pm 



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Udderdude wrote:
Chances are you are just doing something wrong.


We picked middleware that is tied to Java 2D/AWT, while most recent Java games use JavaOpenGL. That is why you haven't seen this kind of bug before.

However, if we have to redo it, we will probably just use JavaScript (which has gotten much faster in modern browsers).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:41 pm 


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SandtouchLC wrote:
However, if we have to redo it, we will probably just use JavaScript (which has gotten much faster in modern browsers).


And isn't supported very well by massive tracts of people [i.e., anyone with IE6]
Also, I'm wondering: why not make this in Flash?

PS: Just ran this in Safari [WinXP], and the flickering is still there.
PPS: Just ran this in IE7, and the flickering is still there...
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Last edited by null1024 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:45 pm 


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SandtouchLC wrote:
Udderdude wrote:
Chances are you are just doing something wrong.


We picked middleware that is tied to Java 2D/AWT, while most recent Java games use JavaOpenGL. That is why you haven't seen this kind of bug before.

However, if we have to redo it, we will probably just use JavaScript (which has gotten much faster in modern browsers).


Why would you use middleware for something like Java? It's slow enough as it is.

Also JavaScript is not a good idea for any kind of game.

You might have better luck with Flash.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:26 pm 



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Udderdude wrote:
Why would you use middleware for something like Java? It's slow enough as it is.


True, that. The simple answer is "To shorten the development time--without sacrificing quality." Edit: IOW, we wanted to focus on the gameplay and not on the code. Chacker is not intended to be shovelware, even though we have admittedly taken major shortcuts, i.e. middleware. Which is why we are cleaning up the mess after we got roasted.

Udderdude wrote:
Also JavaScript is not a good idea for any kind of game.


Last year, even, this would have been true. But now Safari and Firefox are adding JIT bytecode compilations for their JS engines. The Web is becoming "the platform" and there are enough giants behind it (Apple, Google, and Yahoo, to name a few) that this will really happen. It is a ways off, though, and Java was a good second choice (or so it seemed when we started out.)

Also, part of the reason we chose Java as the target platform is because there is a large portion of the population that has been trained not to click anything that ends in ".EXE." There is also a large(r) portion of the population that doesn't know what "SETUP.EXE" is, anyway.

If we were developing natively for, say, Windows, we wouldn't have half the problems that we are now having with debugging Chacker. But our audience would be much more limited.

Udderdude wrote:
You might have better luck with Flash.


Most likely so. But again, we would use AJAX for the reasons just stated--it's more future-proof.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:28 am 



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null1024 wrote:
SandtouchLC wrote:
However, if we have to redo it, we will probably just use JavaScript (which has gotten much faster in modern browsers).


And isn't supported very well by massive tracts of people [i.e., anyone with IE6]

Also, I'm wondering: why not make this in Flash?


IE6 is gradually going away (Ding! Dong! The witch is dead!) and IE7's JS is passable. The iPhone is arguably a bigger platform for this kind of game, anyway (at least if we were to revamp the controls).

Quote:
PS: Just ran this in Safari [WinXP], and the flickering is still there.
PPS: Just ran this in IE7, and the flickering is still there...


This is most disturbing... you are the first to report the flickering in those browsers.

Well, let's try Web Start. Here is Chacker Build 12 in JNLP form. Want to try it and see if it flickers?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:34 am 



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Udderdude wrote:
Not really one to blow my own horn, but you may want to check out this Java game I made back in 2002.

http://rydia.net/udder/prog/spdudes/index.html


FINALLY got to try it out.

The control and creature comforts are really good. It was very playable even with the trackpad (too bad the real mouse is put away). It brought back memories of Robotron...


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