Live Streaming and Video Tutorials – Playing Strike Suit Zero on Twitch.tv

I’ve figured out how to set up a Twitch.tv account and how to do better screen cast videos on my computer. I hope to have better videos (HD) to show off future games. I also hope to start doing more How to Make Games tutorials for beginners on the web and my students. The Badger Head Games Twitch.tv channel is http://www.twitch.tv/badgerheadgames and my Youtube Channel is https://www.youtube.com/user/mikedolan03/videos. I’ll post relevant videos here, but you can subscribe to those channels as well.

As you will see from the video, while I love making games, I am not the best video game player! While I enjoy playing games, I also play stuff that I can get ideas from. The folks behind Strike Suit Zero have made a pretty impressive space battle game. I love the feeling of being in a big space battle with lots of fighters and capital ships flying around. The mission in the video also has a space station. I spend a lot of time trying to blow up a frigate and take lots of damage getting hit by its turrets. Each turret is targetable and destroyable. In my game, charging into Point Defense Turrets like that will probably make for a quick end to your ship. Taking out cap ships will require some strategic targeting of the defensive guns before making any type of bombing run.

Things I love about Strike Suit Zero:

  • Big cap ships engaging in battle
  • Nice small fish in a big fight feeling
  • Engine trails that make it easier to see enemies
  • Turrets on ships
  • Cool HUD targeting system – arrows pointing to available targets, boxes on targets, circle that tells you you are aiming right
  • nice explosions, shield effects, player hud static effects when damaged.
  • Comms w headshots  – moves story along with cinematics
  • Being able to survive but still lose a mission (sometimes the game doesn’t continue on tho, you have to play until victorious)

Anyway, look forward to my future videos. I am planning to make an intro to Unity tutorial featuring hover tanks and rockets. It should be an ‘easy’ to follow tutorial to get folks started on making their own Unity games.

Dev Log: The State of Space Wars and October’s Game

Over the last few months I’ve been teaching myself various programming strategies and concepts so that I might one day put together a complete version of Space Wars (or whatever it will officially be named.) I have made a a few 3D space combat games, a 2D multiplayer space combat game, some mobile games, some first person shooter games, even some games that were more about explosions and effects than anything else. All of these games are stepping stones to help me work out problems and figure out what will ultimately make my game the way I want it.

screen_249.6802

Last month, I created a rendition of a space dog fight game as well as procedurally generated star systems linked by jump gates. The map system was never implemented and thus you can never really travel back to previous locals. In fact, the game is so randomized, you might not ever see the same star system again! One sticking point was that I wanted to link the systems so you could fly back and forth, but in the end didn’t code the algorithm to make it work.

Things that really stumped me were: if the system is generated randomly, how do you know you have enough jump gates, if no real map exists how do things link, can you randomly generate a map and fill it with random star systems? How do you account for cool stuff like space stations or enemies if everything is generated randomly? What about planets? How will the game know what type it is, if there are cities there or animals or mining resources? We were getting into Dwarf Fortress level thought experiments like — what about history generation, empire generation, colonial expansion of factions, ancient civilizations wiped out with remnants on desolate planets like that scene in Guardians of the Galaxy. All these things are possible, but they will need some thoughtful coding.

This month I want to do some random map generation that I can apply to the space system problem in the future. However, since it is October, I think it is necessary to do a horror themed game! My idea is a procedurally generated ‘castle’ map of corridors and rooms with doorways. The map will build on the fly, have a starting point and at least one exit or goal. The castle will be haunted, of course, by 3D pacman style ghosts who will chase the player, but will also be easily fooled making for a stealth hide and seek element of gameplay.

In the end, this map generator will be able to port to my space games because doors will become jump gates, the rooms will be the random star systems. Perhaps the starts and finishes could be starting points for home systems of various factions. Whatever method I use to store data about the maps might be my way of implementing space stations and things. At least some of the needed code will be generated this month despite not working on a ‘Space Wars’ game.

When my #1GAM challenge is over, I plan to devote most of my programming time to working mainly on a real space wars game — exactly what I was doing before I started the challenge. Of course, now I know a lot more than I did back then!

Space Wars Team Battle Demo is Here

The month of September was devoted to experimenting with procedurally generated space areas, hyperspace jumping, and dog fighting AI.

The result is affectionately named Space Wars Team Battle Demo. The team means AI teammates, no online play for this one… yet. Technically, if you fly long enough you can arrive at the planets. The game will eventually feature some sort of landing, probably not seamless atmosphere flight as that is just magical to me.

screen_249.6802

There are also jump gates that are functional. Again they require flying far into space. They are glowing spheres. Hit one and you will jump to a new system. These will eventually link between systems in a way that makes sense. For now they are random… The main ‘game’ of this demo is just destroying the enemy fleet and then auto-jumping to the next round. It’s hard. Here is the link to the Webplayer (PC and Mac Coming soon)… Frame rate seems ok when I play it, but mileage may vary –should run real fast on the standalone build.

Tips:
On the web version – Right click and Go Fullscreen. This will allow the mouse to lock and give you the ability to use the right mouse button to do a barrel roll.

Here is a video of some gameplay:

Surprise – more work on Space Wars!

spacewarp

My September game of the month has been an exploration of procedural (kinda random) generation of star systems that players can travel to through jump points. I’ve been using Space for Unity Construction Kit which makes really pretty stuff even when I write code to completely randomize its elements. I haven’t done the math, but just to choose a random seed, if picks a random number between 1 and 5 million or something so there are at least 5 million variations of star systems I suppose. Some might be more interesting than others.

Here is a video:

Hope to have a demo online soon!

spacewarsfight

New Space Wars Build – Missiles, Single Player Mode, Bigger Cooler Map #1GAM

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 6.59.45 PM

Ok so here it is, I’ve been posting video of this work in progress so now you can play it!  Here is the link to Space Wars Net. 

It’s not perfect – missiles don’t really work in multiplayer because of targeting. I have to rewrite the way I handle missiles to get that to work. They work fine against AI enemies tho.

The controls have changed a little – F or Right Mouse for Missiles. Space or Left Mouse for lasers.  Mouse Look to steer. Q-E to strafe.

Update: On further testing – I think I made the multiplayer cooperative… can’t seem to hurt the other player due to the collision detection. Didn’t want players to blow themselves up with their own missiles. I will fix this in the next update. Perhaps I need to add a teams dialogue to the log in screen.

 

Dev Log: Space Wars now has missiles! And it’s pretty… #1GAM

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 10.50.58 PM

A little more progress this week – I’ve added in multiple cannons and missiles to the mix. The missiles involve targeting enemies which I made automatic by just aiming at them. Aiming puts a red box around the enemy that is currently being targeted. From their a missile will chase the target for a period of time usually resulting in a hit. I tried all sorts of ways of doing the missile trajectory and while big arcing ones looked cool, they resulted in lots of misses. So the current missiles are pretty vicious and accurate. Check out the video of some highlights…

Another added feature is I’ve included Space for Unity assets in the game. They are much cooler looking than my stuff and I picked it up a long time ago so it’s best I put it to some use. In adding the cool planets and nebulas, I also expanded the map to about 4000 square units. Seems big enough to explore now. The mini map is a little crammed but I have plans to make it a little more zoomed in and then have an expanded area map UI at some point.

I’ve noticed with some of my updates, I need to test again online since some of the effects only show up for one player. Also the enemies are super jumpy if you are not the server it seems…

I’ve also been trying to figure out an offline mode but the Photon directions are unclear how to implement it… 🙁

Space Wars Update – Video with Scores, Sound, Hit Points!

I’ve added better(?) AI, explosions, sound effects as well as hit points and a score to the game. It might be getting too complex for the webplayer soon. We may need to switch to stand alone PC/Mac downloads. Here is a link to the web version of Space Wars…

Rewatching the video, I notice the AI is doing a lot of spinning. I am still trying to figure out how to make the AI better, I’ve tried a lot of things. Sometimes it works great, sometimes it does random silly things while it works out its rotation. I plan to implement a waypoint patrol ai, a search ai, a follow/guard ai and a defend area ai soon… Those will be sooner rather than later. Further on I’d like to have goal oriented AI and preferred targets where AI will assess enemy ships and decide what is the most important target. Fighters set to skirmish mode will rate other fighters highly as potential targets, but other fighters whose mission is to destroy a space station or carrier might skip other fighters to prioritize travel and attack their main target. This will be important as ships diversify, we can have capital ships chasing every little fighter buzzing around them if there is an enemy cap ship pumping them full of lasers…

Also up for the AI will be factions so that some AI bots can be on the player’s team. Then the real space war will commence…

 

Networked Space Wars: My May One Game A Month is Online #1GAM

The month is just about over and my attempt at creating a multiplayer game has yielded some interesting results. First of all, I did make a multiplayer game where players can host and join a server and then fly space ships around and blow each other up. I haven’t tested it too excessively, but I know it works on multiple computers over my home wifi. I am not sure how many servers can be created or how many players can join!? Here is a link to the networked Space Wars Online – you will need a friend to join you to make it fun…

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 10.09.20 PM

Game controls:

WASD – Move and Rotate

Space – Fire weapon

-+ Zoom in and out

I couldn’t get points or multiple hits working in time. Every change you make to a networked game seems to break it and require lots of debugging. I hope to refine it in the future and make it more fun. I’d like to be able to show who you are targeting, have ships that can take more than one hit. Selectable types of weapons to use.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 10.08.57 PM

The start page has a place for players to enter their names and also customize their ship color. While not mind blowing, since I am still learning, it took forever just to get these two simple pieces of information to be shared across the multiple players. Colors would not show up for the longest time. I think I am getting the hang of it, the names are an attempt at a larger player management system with a shared scoring system but I need to wrap my head around handling collisions of projectiles and giving credit to the player who shot them. One day!

I used a lot of references to make this thing work –

Paladin Studios Unity Networking Tutorial – helped me figure out RPCs the best…

Palladium Games Unity Networking Tutorial

Unity Cookie networking tutorial -its in Javascript though so I had to change it to C#

Unity Multiplayer Games book by Alan Stagner

Unity Networking book by Lawrence Grant

Thanks to all of you for doing your best to explain a super complicated topic. After going through all that stuff, I can see the need for a few more tutorials. Perhaps if I ever understand it well enough I will give it a try.

Dev Log: Updates on Tap Invasion, SpaceWars, Giant Pixelated Robots and GIFs

#Screenshotsaturday Making gifs is an easier process than I thought! Enjoy this Tap Invasion action gif.

tapinvasiongif

Above is one of my students making an epic run in Tap Invasion.

Dev Log Updates:
My April game (Tap Invasion) has stretched far into May! While the game was mostly completed in May, I wanted to port it to the Android Google Play store and get it out to the mobile audience for which it was designed. In that I succeed by about mid-month. I still need to port it to iOS. It was really created with the iPad in mind.

With that being said, I still am making good on my #1GAM challenge. I originally had noted that my next big attempt would be multiplayer. This weekend I finally got something working! The basic game for May is a multiplayer player vs. player SpaceWars game. It may not be super polished by the end of the month, but my goal is to have a game 4 players can join with one player hosting the server, a bunch of obstacles to fly around and hide behind and a scoring system.

Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 5.35.39 PM

Currently the game has been tested on the desktop and through the webplayer on a server and both work so far. I will be adding interpolation optimization to the game to make everything smoother  in the next few days and then I will probably publish for folks to try out. Maybe one day I will rig up one of my old computers as an always on server for folks to log on to.

One of my main frustrations has been loading new players with their own perspective camera so that they could all fly around a bigger area on their own. The problem seems to be something a lot of Unity programmers have to deal with. I have tabled it for now, but I am hoping to make the space wars concept a little more massively in the future once I figure this thing out. So in the spirit of completing things in a month, the game now just takes place arena style on one screen with really small players.

Additionally, I came up with a one screen game – sort of smash-brothers meets joust meets explosions. I’ve been calling it Robot Destruction Dome for short. I couldn’t really make it this month because it took me so long to launch Tap Invasion and then learn networking (still learning that!). The RDD would require lots of new pixel art and I want to do it right! Here is my drawing of the game…

robotbrainstorm The guys with the motorcycle helmets are player one and two. They fight an infinite army of procedurally configured robots.

SpaceWars Cubed Update

The newest version now has the enemies with a little different AI – finding random waypoints and taking shots at the player. They come for off screen in waves now as well.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 8.13.00 PM

The laser graphics have been tweaked a little as well and a rudimentary score system is in place. It’s uploaded to the exact same spot and filename so if the nebula in the background is not purplish then you may have to clear your cache. Here is a link to the SpaceWars Cubed.