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Wen hop? The Search for Planet X


Andrew Davie

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The new "transitioning" between directions makes a lot of difference for the better !

the downside is it introduces a delay that can prove fatal..

 

I'm gonna work on some in-between frames to make it smoother !

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Idea for an additional objective ->   maybe there are stranded astronauts on the various planets that you can rescue ?!?

 

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7 hours ago, TIX said:

The new "transitioning" between directions makes a lot of difference for the better !

the downside is it introduces a delay that can prove fatal.

 

 

No, it's not a "delay" per-se.  It's an animation which happens where none used to happen before.  The actual responsiveness of the joystick is the same. If you're moving up, for example, there's no new delay when you move left or right. It's just that the standing animation has an inbuilt transition to make it look nicer. If you're moving around, everything works exactly as before.

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6 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

 

No, it's not a "delay" per-se.

 

Maybe it's an illusion, but when you start to run (from a standing position), it feels "heavier"..

.

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anyway, moving along here is the latest (v3) sprite sheet,

almost everything have been tweaked/improved, especially the running sequences.

I have also added two more sets:

  • the stranded astronaut, just in case (12),
  • a full rotation animation (13), so that you can pick and choose the in-between frames

 

astronaut-guy-sheet-v3.png.bbd13b9f6bdb6afc710b020535a2c0d6.png

 

Edit:  As I usually forget many of the changes I have done, always consider every sheet as "the latest" !

 

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49 minutes ago, TIX said:

 

Maybe it's an illusion, but when you start to run (from a standing position), it feels "heavier"..

.

.

anyway, moving along here is the latest (v3) sprite sheet,

almost everything have been tweaked/improved, especially the running sequences.

I have also added two more sets:

  • the stranded astronaut, just in case (12),
  • a full rotation animation (13), so that you can pick and choose the in-between frames

 

astronaut-guy-sheet-v3.png.bbd13b9f6bdb6afc710b020535a2c0d6.png

 

Edit:  As I usually forget many of the changes I have done, always consider every sheet as "the latest" !

 

 

TY.  That last sentence is ambiguous. I will always treat always the last sheet as the latest, right?  Not all sheets ever presented as ALL "the latest".

From now on, only facing-right animations are needed.  Left-facing animations are auto-flipped version of right-facing (to save memory).

I'll try and get some updates in, in the next few days.

I'm not sure about the rescue-astronaut thing; I can only put one on any line at the moment, although I do have some ideas where I might get 2 if they are only ever 8-pixels wide (that is, no pickaxe).

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34 minutes ago, Andrew Davie said:

TY.  That last sentence is ambiguous. I will always treat always the last sheet as the latest, right?  Not all sheets ever presented as ALL "the latest".

 

You are right,

I meant every frame in the latest sheet to be considered as changed/edited !

I'm not an English speaker..

 

34 minutes ago, Andrew Davie said:

From now on, only facing-right animations are needed.  Left-facing animations are auto-flipped version of right-facing (to save memory).

 

This causes some trouble, as the reflection on the visor is not flipped.. I'll take a look.

 

34 minutes ago, Andrew Davie said:

I'm not sure about the rescue-astronaut thing; I can only put one on any line at the moment, although I do have some ideas where I might get 2 if they are only ever 8-pixels wide (that is, no pickaxe).

 

It was just a random idea.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, TIX said:

This causes some trouble, as the reflection on the visor is not flipped.. I'll take a look.

 

Nobody will notice.

And those people who do notice, won't care.

And those people who do care, are the artist.

We just can't afford ~87 bytes for reflections in the visor. 

It's fine as it is :)

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I have 12 "dots" which are re-used for all sorts of things. Stuff like the crushers impacting things, and the entangled dogecoin radiating. Previously I'd generated "dots" for all these things, and killed the dots when offscreen. This was a slight logic error, as generating dots would kill one of the existing dots if there wasn't a slot available. But this caused offscreen things to kill onscreen things. Now dots are not generated if offscreen, and so the onscreen dots are super-busy. The players' suit colour now "radiates" -- changes colour - when you are close to a fully-entangled dogecoin which is undergoing rapid (pulsed) radiation. It's not a gameplay thing (not yet, anyway). Just a nice visual... but could be gameplay I 'spose!

 

 

 

 

WenHop_20230320@21_56_44.bin

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13 hours ago, TIX said:

Sprite sheet (v4) with added "crashed" animation, it's a work in progress, I have to see it in game..

 

astronaut-guy-sheet-v4.png.ccfdae3b5917ff82b01ae3b64bbab99a.png      crashed3.gif.002240d79da34ad099af209383d70652.gif

 

TY for these; I will convert shortly. It would greatly assist if in future you could put all sprites on a 16-pixel (x) and 30-pixel (y) grid boundary, so that I can use a simple tool to convert them into source code. Otherwise I have to go through and isolate sprites and do manual conversions or extra manipulation.  As to the extra frames - - for the same reason that I mirrored the walk, there is not endless space for adding more animations. They are expensive (30 high x 2 wide + colours + centerpoints = about 92 bytes/frame).  So I have to cull and only use a subset here.  Having said that, if I do move to CDFJ+ and larger ROM size there would be no problem using them all, so don't discard!  I'm just working within tight ROM space restrictions at the moment.

 

 

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Found an interesting double-draw bug in the "dots" which made everything (a) draw twice and (b) move twice as fast. Fixing this led to me being able to draw more dots at the same time (now 20, up from 12) with the result that the screen has more "effects". Total overkill now of course but it's awesome to see all that stuff going on. I added "dots" as an FX when boulders drop and stop, for example. Previously this was handled with special characters at the bottom left/right of a falling boulder, but that was limited to game speed (about 12Hz). The dots can draw/animate at 60hz so it's all much nicer.

 

 

 

 

WenHop_20230321@21_25_01.bin

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I had a thought - I didn't want the crushers to kill the player, but what if they pushed him instead.  Would it work?  Well, basically.... mayhem!  It's a lot of fun.  So much going on in the screen here, yet for me at least I still feel "in control" in that I'm following what's going on and am still able to get the player to do what I like. The gameplay around the 40 second mark onwards is pretty funny.

 

 

WenHop_20230321@22_00_20.bin

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On 3/14/2023 at 8:19 AM, Andrew Davie said:

When I get comments saying "it's like Boulder Dash" this kind of bugs me. I'm trying to make it quite different. I wonder does collecting things underground and falling boulders really cover "like Boulder Dash" and you can't have a game with these elements?  AFAIK, Boulder Dash was not the first game to do this - "Dig Dug (1982)" comes to mind, and I'm pretty sure there was a much earlier one.  I want to be substantially different from Boulder Dash -- I wonder when that threshold is crossed, so I can safely release and not just claim, but actually have something completely new/different and not infringing. I don't think it's infringing now, of course, but I want to be totally sure.

I just played the latest version of 'Wen hop?' and I really like the gameplay with these crushers, the big worm and the challenge to connect/combine rocks and then mine the diamonds inside them. While a lot of new elements were added, I can see why people would say "it's like Boulder Dash". I think the key/solution is to remove (or change) some of the "signature" Boulder Dash features which are still there:

  • The way you effortlessly 'cut' though the dirt without the need for a drill or blaster. This could be visually solved by giving the player a little drill by default.
  • The distinctive way the boulders fall down. The current physics give me that Boulder Dashy feeling right away. Maybe simplifying the physics and consider the rocks to be squares, so they pile up when they fall on each other instead of rolling off, would make it feel a lot different.
  • The 'escape square' which becomes visible after you collected enough diamonds. This could be solved by using a ladder which appears from the top of the screen, to climb out of the underground mine.

Just wondering: is there a reason you can only mine sideways?

I really like how this game is taking shape!

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Dionoid said:

 think the key/solution is to remove (or change) some of the "signature" Boulder Dash features which are still there:

 

I concur but I did think this would not work in terms of playability. Your overview inspired me to have a go anyway and see what came out of it.

 

14 hours ago, Dionoid said:
  • The way you effortlessly 'cut' though the dirt without the need for a drill or blaster. This could be visually solved by giving the player a little drill by default.

 

I have not added a drill. But what happens now is if you are moving into dirt, you move at half speed. This kinda looks pretty cool, and it now means if you really want to travel somewhere effectively (like, if I add creatures that actively chase you), then digging through dirt is really the last thing you wanna do. You'll be using existing tunnels. Along these lines, and an unexpected consequence -- if you're under a rock and you head downwards, you really do NOT want to be digging through dirt on your way down... because you will get smooshed. It's a completely different mechanic to BD and takes some getting used to. My brain is BD-physics-hardwired, so I kinda expect things to operate a certain way. I do like this new way though.

 

14 hours ago, Dionoid said:
  • The distinctive way the boulders fall down. The current physics give me that Boulder Dashy feeling right away. Maybe simplifying the physics and consider the rocks to be squares, so they pile up when they fall on each other instead of rolling off, would make it feel a lot different.

 

What I've done here is simply disabled the "roll" action of all objects. Now you get vertical columns of things "balanced" atop each other. But I also added a bit of a twist. Remembering that earlier versions of WenHop were demonstrating earthquakes/shake, I re-enabled that code and allow any "balanced" objects to fall to the side (only when an earthquake is happening). It's great.  For this version I have simulated earthquake whenever you are holding the fire button.  So, play a bit, build a few columns of things, then hold the button down and watch falling rock mayhem everywhere. Fun.  This also works as a completely-different-from-BD element, IMHO.  Earthquakes need to be a regular element of gameplay.

 

14 hours ago, Dionoid said:
  • The 'escape square' which becomes visible after you collected enough diamonds. This could be solved by using a ladder which appears from the top of the screen, to climb out of the underground mine.

 

That was just a holdover - there will not be an exit door like this in Wen Hop, I think. Will be removed soon.  Not so easy right now as there's apparently quite a bit of code around it, all over the place, and my first try failed miserably.

 

14 hours ago, Dionoid said:

Just wondering: is there a reason you can only mine sideways?

 

Well, yes, sorta...   because having animations for up-mining is (was) difficult. But I've rewritten the sprite draw since then, and whereas previously I had to predefine the height of the player sprite, now it's arbitrary. So technically I could add some sort of new animation to show mining-up (and down).  But mostly I thought it was kind of cool that you had to plan to attack things from the side.  I'll think about this one and see if I can get to an experiment/test on this suggestion sometime soon.

 

14 hours ago, Dionoid said:

I really like how this game is taking shape!

 

TY!  Your feedback and suggestions most valuable to me.

 

So, here's the result...  remember... button press for earthquake, and you go slower through dirt.  And the new physics -- so moving up/down nothing will fall, unless you start directly under a fallable object and move down.  There may be a few player movement glitches/issues. This was a fairly major change and hasn't had a lot of testing. But overall, I think it's working perfectly and it has, in my view, shifted it significantly away from the BD feel. TY.

 

 

 

WenHop_20230322@21_12_07.bin

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Quick proof-of-concept for vertical (up/down) mining - just seeing here how the pickaxe might look. Of course the player frame would need to be adjusted, which might be tricky. But in principiple it might work.  Mining up - I'm no so sure about - if you're mining a rock, ok, it turns to dust and you can go through. If you mine a dogeode, it changes to a doge, which then falls on you (or does it?).

 

509602867_Screenshot2023-03-22at9_01_19pm.png.f7902f3310bb4440e796440ce7855e0f.png

 

I'm still very undecided about this concept/idea.

Technically, those picks could actually be a lasso and you first throw the lasso/rope around the object and then move to the side, pulling the object out of place.  Maybe. It's an idea anyway.  Not so easy for left/right though because of sprite width limitations.  Vertical is unlimited.

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17 hours ago, Dionoid said:

The 'escape square' which becomes visible after you collected enough diamonds. This could be solved by using a ladder which appears from the top of the screen, to climb out of the underground mine.

Agree with parallels to the BD gameplay…

 

I remember the (impressive) huge rocket from a „technical demo“ from you, Andrew. Why not leaving a solved level with such a rocket - should fit to the space thematic. Man can hop in and lift up or similar. 

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3 hours ago, Bomberman94 said:

Agree with parallels to the BD gameplay…

 

I remember the (impressive) huge rocket from a „technical demo“ from you, Andrew. Why not leaving a solved level with such a rocket - should fit to the space thematic. Man can hop in and lift up or similar. 

 

That was always the intention. You will arrive at each planet in your rocket, collect enough dogecoin for fuel, and leave for the next planet in your rocket.  I think the very first post might cover this, but if not... well, yes, this is a part of the whole concept of visiting 10 planets.

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The red area represents lava. I'd done lava before in my very early WenHop demos. This is a re-implementation. There's lots of work to do yet - bubbling lava characters, exploding rocks, etc. And I can use the "dots" to give surface effects. This is just the very very very preliminary start to the whole thing. Big gameplay element, so I'll be working on this for a few updates.  Looking at the video, it's kinda cool (well, hot...) having under-lava creatures. I might think about that.

 

 

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Hey there!

 

Your "crusher madness" demo had me thinking of an idea that could help differentiate your game a bit more.  But, I was curious about a limitation. I know the idea was always to mine 10 planets in the solar system.  Is there a potential space concern?  The reason I ask is that if you expanded a bit more, it could be fun to have different types of planets and levels with different goals as you go along.

 

I'll give an example.  Let's say you have 40 planets / levels in total.  What if every fourth planet was a "bonus level / asteroid"?  That asteroid isn't populated by anything except crushers.  And, your main enemy on the level is time, not resource gathering-- and that time is severely shortened.  The concept would be that in some locations instead of finding a resource-rich planet, there's nothing there of value.  Unfortunately, the ship already left and caused a small cave-in, so you have to get to a flat area to call the ship, which means running through the terraforming crushers.  But, the planet isn't terraformed, so there are no oxygen reserves.  Can you get through the crushers in 30 seconds?  It could be fun to get pushed all over the place and have a different goal than collecting.

 

It would be interesting to see if every few planets had something different from the "collect coin / leave" concept.  Some could be "collect the 5 broken terraform machine parts to fix it for the colonists"; some could be "find the missing colonists and rescue them"; some could just be impassible until later due to not having enough pickaxes and needing to stock up over the whole game.  I think with different goals, the variety could go way up.

 

It looks great so far, and I'm really enjoying following this thread.

 

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9 hours ago, Propane13 said:

Your "crusher madness" demo had me thinking of an idea that could help differentiate your game a bit more.  But, I was curious about a limitation. I know the idea was always to mine 10 planets in the solar system.  Is there a potential space concern?  The reason I ask is that if you expanded a bit more, it could be fun to have different types of planets and levels with different goals as you go along.

 

The screen/level you see in the demos I release are a sort of testbed, where I trial new forms of gameplay.  All the things you see - crushers, slergs, dogeodes, the physics, lava... these are all elements which I intend to use in various combinations when creating the actual planets.  Any space concern will disappear when I move to CDFJ+ -- but for now I have about 4K free (of 32K), so in reality not much because I have lots disabled (e.g., spinning planet interlude, speech, multiple planets to play etc).  But it was always the intention here that I had significantly different gameplay on each planet and different goals.  So just treat these demos as a hotbed of ideas as to what could go into final planets.  For example, the crushers might only appear on certain planets.  There might be a "mechanical world" which is pretty much exclusively crushers and you need to find the one/only pathway through.  I just don't know yet, exactly what will be on each planet. But adding as many "things" as possible will give me options.  The crushers turned out fantastic, and yet I did not think they'd be very useful. Hopefully I can come up with some more. Lava is in progress now; I have a pretty strong feeling lava (and water, later) will be strong gameplay elements.  A water planet, for example, where you swim around... and have to come up for regular oxygen refreshment... that might be cool.

 

 

9 hours ago, Propane13 said:

I'll give an example.  Let's say you have 40 planets / levels in total.  What if every fourth planet was a "bonus level / asteroid"?  That asteroid isn't populated by anything except crushers.  And, your main enemy on the level is time, not resource gathering-- and that time is severely shortened.  The concept would be that in some locations instead of finding a resource-rich planet, there's nothing there of value.  Unfortunately, the ship already left and caused a small cave-in, so you have to get to a flat area to call the ship, which means running through the terraforming crushers.  But, the planet isn't terraformed, so there are no oxygen reserves.  Can you get through the crushers in 30 seconds?  It could be fun to get pushed all over the place and have a different goal than collecting.

 

Yep. If you press F1 to get to the next level, you'll see I already have preliminary ideas along these lines -- that is, paired crushers you need to go through.  As an aside, and for fun, clear the dirt around a pair of crushers and stand in the middle.

 

 

9 hours ago, Propane13 said:

 

It would be interesting to see if every few planets had something different from the "collect coin / leave" concept.  Some could be "collect the 5 broken terraform machine parts to fix it for the colonists"; some could be "find the missing colonists and rescue them"; some could just be impassible until later due to not having enough pickaxes and needing to stock up over the whole game.  I think with different goals, the variety could go way up.

 

Some good ideas there;  I had considered a "tool resource limitation" which does lend itself to having to restock.  Unfortunately due to the PF graphics I can't have high-resolution objects lying around so I'd have to find a meaningful way to do the restocking. Maybe an asteroid supply outpost where you stop in between planets to replenish supplies (purchased with dogecoin of course).  But the scope is getting bigger and bigger and this would turn it into a years-long project.  Along those lines, I've been half-thinking about trying to get a single-planet "planet 0" release out there sooner rather than later, just to have said "at least I released something".  I tend to do lots of very big projects/demos and never release.  I'd be interested in a small run of "prototype planet 0" carts just to at least have shared the technology and understand the manufacturing costs these days.

 

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Here's the next update for implementation of lava.  The dots work perfectly for giving that active feeling. I have put in some basic animation characters for the lava but need to revisit these and make them kind of blend together when side-by-side. There are 4 chars there, randomly swapping between each other.  It'll look good when finished. Then I need to sort out a few issues like there should not be blanks in the lava area, and objects under lava will eventually explode.  Also, I'm going to allow rocks to roll/fall when under lava, just like earthquakes do.  So, a few things to do still. But, very pleased with the dots/effect so far.

 

PS: as an aside -- the dots here are being drawn from a pool of 8 "dot slots".  That is, there are only ever 8 dots on the screen at the same time. When a new one is generated it "kills" one of the existing ones in the 8-slots.  Looks way more to me!

 

PPS: This was really cheap to do, both in terms of ROM space and processing time - because it essentially uses existing systems. The major changes were to define the 4 lava character shapes (120 bytes), modifying the palette code to give the lava colours, and... well that's it.

 

 

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