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Entry 2018: Deep Zone

intellivision; intybasic

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#26 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 7:44 AM

 

Personally, after running it for literally 10 seconds, I hated it.  I much prefer the way you had it originally.  It's a neat technical trick to do it this way, but it looks too chunky and clunky.

 

   -dZ.

 

P.S.  The in-game music is much better in this one, although it needs work.

 

Have you tried the music with ECS or with plain PSG? Have you seen the new energy bar ?


Edited by artrag, Sun Apr 8, 2018 7:54 AM.


#27 emerson OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:00 AM

I believe the first method of enemy sprite animation is more visually pleasing. The hardware zoom used in post #24 is jittery and overall distracting. Also, the way the animation works it appears the enemies are flying past your ship and directly past the "player camera", or window of view. This could work but your sprite laying draws the ship on top of the enemies, and the enemies on top of the score. It distorts the overall depth of the playfield when enemies as large as these are simultaneously depicted at varying playfield depths. If you decide to keep this animation method, I suggest finding a time to switch the sprite layering from foreground to background so they fly behind background cards, or change the ship sprite layer so it is placed behind the enemy sprites.

 

I just checked your previous build and the same laying "issue" occurs there as well.

 

To end on a more positive note, that new in-game music is sweet! I think the other in-game music is really good as well. Are you planning on having different songs for each level?

 

 

ps - Please explain the keypad controls. I would like to know how to effectively play your game.



#28 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:05 AM

I played a bit more, here's some additional feedback on the larger sprites:

  • I really hate them.  It was much better the way it was originally.
  • The bigger sprites are too shaky and jittery, plus they look like they belong in a different game.
  • Collisions are even worse!  (that could be because you haven't adjusted the bounding boxes for the larger sprites).
  • The player ship spins too slow.  Really, mate, it should go a bit faster, otherwise it is very frustrating.
  • The music is fantastic.  I really like this tune for the game-play, and fits the heart-pounding action.  It also is very reminiscent of the Gyruss tune.

 

On your other questions...

 

Have you tried the music with ECS or with plain PSG?

 

ECS, yes, it sounds very neat.  Like I said, the new music is very good, but I personally would recommend some changes:

  • Extend the movements by doubling the patterns, that way it feels like a much longer song before it starts repeating.  Otherwise, it repeats too soon during game-play, which is distracting.

 

 

Have you seen the last energy bar ?

 
If it is in this last build... no.  I haven't gotten to the boss yet.  The collisions are sooooooo bad in this version that I can't get it.  I'll keep trying.

 

   -dZ.


Edited by DZ-Jay, Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:06 AM.


#29 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:08 AM

@emerson about controls, when you choose a direction on the disk, the main ship will start to rotate to reach that direction by choosing the shortest path from its current position and the choosen position

 

 

@DZ-Jay yes, I didn't change the collision windows yet. It was just to have test.


Edited by artrag, Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:12 AM.


#30 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:11 AM

ps - Please explain the keypad controls. I would like to know how to effectively play your game.

 

I think it's like a 4-way joystick, just like Gyruss, mapped to the arrow keys:

  • Left and Right move from left to right hemishpheres
  • Up and Down move from top to bottom hemispheres

That is, if you are at the bottom of the screen (6 o'clock):

  • pressing left will move clockwise up until 9 o'clock
  • pressing right will move anti-clockwise up until 3 o'clock.
  • pressing up will move counter-clockwise up until 12 o'clock.
  • pressing down will move anti-clockwise up until 6 o'clock.

If you are in the left hemisphere, pressing up will move clockwise until 12 o'clock, and down will move anti-clockwise until 6 o'clock.

 

This actually maps to the rotating disc quite naturally (although I haven't tested it).  It is the same control scheme you use when playing Gyruss in MAME on a keyboard.

 

   -dZ.



#31 emerson OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:17 AM

I aggree the disc works very well but that wasn't my question. It's the keypad I have trouble with. What do all the numbers do? Are they even used? Are the side buttons used?



#32 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:21 AM

I aggree the disc works very well but that wasn't my question. It's the keypad I have trouble with. What do all the numbers do? Are they even used? Are the side buttons used?

 

Well, if you want to get pedantic, the disc wasn't my answer.  That was just a throwaway comment at the end.   ;)

 

Sorry, you were probably responding to artrag. :dunce:

 

 

I think it's like a 4-way joystick, just like Gyruss, mapped to the arrow keys:

  • Left and Right move from left to right hemishpheres
  • Up and Down move from top to bottom hemispheres

 

 

To recap:  Arrow keys to move, and right-CTRL key to fire.


Edited by DZ-Jay, Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:27 AM.


#33 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:25 AM

 

Have you tried the music with ECS or with plain PSG? Have you seen the new energy bar ?

 

You may need to put another build that goes directly to the boss level, because I can't get to it in this one.  What's more, after playing it about 10 times, I am too frustrated with the collisions that I've given up and won't try anymore.  I'll wait for a more polished build.

 

You are probably expecting more people to chime in, but you have at least two opinions that the 2x sprites do not work too well.  Personally, I would '86 them and concentrate on the previous rendition, and getting the collisions and speed/difficulty balanced.  To me that's crucial -- all other stuff is just fluff and polish.  You've already nailed the music. :)

 

  -dZ.



#34 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:37 AM

By the way, artrag, are those tunes yours?



#35 emerson OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:41 AM

Thanks for explaining the controls to me, and my bad if I made a big deal over it.

 

I remember with Whale Hunt a lot of people had trouble with the navigation controls. Since then it has put me in a "make the controls intuitive or provide detailed explanations" mindset. There are a lot of buttons on an intellivision controller and it's nice to know how to use them.



#36 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:45 AM

Thanks for explaining the controls to me, and my bad if I made a big deal over it.

 

I remember with Whale Hunt a lot of people had trouble with the navigation controls. Since then it has put me in a "make the controls intuitive or provide detailed explanations" mindset. There are a lot of buttons on an intellivision controller and it's nice to know how to use them.

 

No worries, I think I over-reacted too. :)

 

I was just used to that type of control from playing Gyruss in MAME on my PC, and thought it felt natural.  In the arcade, it is just a 4-way joystick mapped to a clock.

 

I'll try to test it today on an actual console to see if it works properly and intuitive with the disc controller.  Ideally, you should be able to just roll your thumb naturally on the disc and have your ship follow.

 

  -dZ.



#37 emerson OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 8:56 AM

I was just used to that type of control from playing Gyruss in MAME on my PC, and thought it felt natural.  In the arcade, it is just a 4-way joystick mapped to a clock.

 

Ahh, I see. I've never done MAME emulation before so I don't have that background.

 

Off topic, but I have never heard the word 'pedantic' before. That was probably the most accurate word you could have used, haha! Thanks for teaching me something new.



#38 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 10:01 AM

 

I think it's like a 4-way joystick, just like Gyruss, mapped to the arrow keys:

  • Left and Right move from left to right hemishpheres
  • Up and Down move from top to bottom hemispheres

That is, if you are at the bottom of the screen (6 o'clock):

  • pressing left will move clockwise up until 9 o'clock
  • pressing right will move anti-clockwise up until 3 o'clock.
  • pressing up will move counter-clockwise up until 12 o'clock.
  • pressing down will move anti-clockwise up until 6 o'clock.

If you are in the left hemisphere, pressing up will move clockwise until 12 o'clock, and down will move anti-clockwise until 6 o'clock.

 

This actually maps to the rotating disc quite naturally (although I haven't tested it).  It is the same control scheme you use when playing Gyruss in MAME on a keyboard.

 

   -dZ.

 

No, all 16 directions are working. The logic is that you push in a direction and the ship will rotate to reach that direction choosing the shortest angle from its current position.


Edited by artrag, Sun Apr 8, 2018 10:10 AM.


#39 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 10:04 AM

By the way, artrag, are those tunes yours?

 

Library music from Vortex Tracker II, Turbo Sound module (it is using two PGSs).

The PT3 file is anonymous.


Edited by artrag, Sun Apr 8, 2018 10:07 AM.


#40 Kiwi OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 10:10 AM

This is an experiment in order to collect opinions. I have implemented scaling for enemies using hardware ZOOM  for sprites.

When size is <= than 8 the sprite has normal resolution, when size is >8 the frame is taken size/2 and HW ZOOM is activated.

 

I see critical the step from scale 8 to scale 9, where the nicely defined enemy turns in a huge coarse blob of pixels.

There are exceptions, like e.g. the red stars coming backward in the 7th and 8th wave of enemies that seems to scale very well across resolutions, but generally I do not see a real improvement...

What do you think ?

 

PS

I've manually edited the sequence of frames now, it seems better but the issue is there. What do you think?

 

I like the new zoom.  It scales quite nicely and the enemies are faster to come at you. The enemies do shoot faster in this version as they now scale in faster, which I think DZ got killed a lot quicker in this version.  Enemy shot speed at lower level should move a little slower.  They sure panic shoot as soon as the player is in their line of sight, which is risky to attempt to take them out when they are super close to the edge of the screen. Only enemies I felt wasn't really fair is the red enemies coming from behind you.  Not enough warning that they are coming from behind when the level change.  I think they should come to the opposite side or near your ship and then boomerang towards you.  The ship speed is too slow to counter attack these enemies but I was able to take few of these baddies down.   

The UFO HP is good.  I like the new scaling and the UFO battle.   

I made it to level 15, falling to those red missile enemies LOL.  The game's getting better and better.



#41 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 10:17 AM

 

You may need to put another build that goes directly to the boss level, because I can't get to it in this one.  What's more, after playing it about 10 times, I am too frustrated with the collisions that I've given up and won't try anymore.  I'll wait for a more polished build.

 

You are probably expecting more people to chime in, but you have at least two opinions that the 2x sprites do not work too well.  Personally, I would '86 them and concentrate on the previous rendition, and getting the collisions and speed/difficulty balanced.  To me that's crucial -- all other stuff is just fluff and polish.  You've already nailed the music. :)

 

  -dZ.

 

I do not want to drop zoomed sprites, not for any enemies or objects at least.

I'm waiting for comments and thinking about it. If I keep it for enemies, collisions will be tuned accordingly.

 

About speed, the plan is to have:

- Bonuses for speed up your ship

- Bonuses for double shoot

- Bonuses for shield (temporary immunity, like now after you die) 

- Bombs to clean all enemies and bullets

- 1up for extra life



#42 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 10:38 AM

 

No, all 16 directions are working. The logic is that you push in a direction and the ship will rotate to reach that direction choosing the shortest angle from its current position.

 

Fair enough.  However, on the keyboard, using arrow keys works rather well.

 

 

 

Library music from Vortex Tracker II, Turbo Sound module (it is using two PGSs).

The PT3 file is anonymous.

 

Cool!

 

 

 

I do not want to drop zoomed sprites, not for any enemies or objects at least.

I'm waiting for comments and thinking about it. If I keep it for enemies, collisions will be tuned accordingly.

 

About speed, the plan is to have:

- Bonuses for speed up your ship

- Bonuses for double shoot

- Bonuses for shield (temporary immunity, like now after you die) 

- Bombs to clean all enemies and bullets

- 1up for extra life

 

The speed of the player ship is too lethargic.  It's not that it makes it "hard" or "easy," it is just frustratingly slow and feels wrong.  At least to me.

 

I can understand that if you spent the effort in implementing zoomed sprites that you might be reluctant to take them off, especially if they represent a neat technical or clever implementation.  However, I think it worked better the old way.  There is not enough screen area to maintain a good perspective in the Z-axis once the sprites are zoomed that big.  They get in the way and will make the game much more cumbersome (not harder, but clunkier) in look and feel.

 

 

 

The enemies do shoot faster in this version as they now scale in faster, which I think DZ got killed a lot quicker in this version.

 

No, it was the bad collision detection that made me fail:  The enemies are bigger but you can't shoot them, and many of them at the same time and close together get in the way visually, impairing your ability to avoid bullets.  That and the slowness of player movement made it very hard and frustrating.

 

    -dZ.



#43 Kiwi OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 11:50 AM

 

No, it was the bad collision detection that made me fail:  The enemies are bigger but you can't shoot them, and many of them at the same time and close together get in the way visually, impairing your ability to avoid bullets.  That and the slowness of player movement made it very hard and frustrating.

 

    -dZ.

The enemies are closer to your ship than the old version, therefore the enemy shots between your ship and the enemy ship are closer, easier for enemies to hit your ships which I was suggesting to slow down the enemies' bullets.  I don't think there is collision between the enemies and your ship yet.  Just the enemies' shots that hits you.  They immediately shoot you only if they are in your line of sight.  



#44 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 1:50 PM

The enemies are closer to your ship than the old version, therefore the enemy shots between your ship and the enemy ship are closer, easier for enemies to hit your ships which I was suggesting to slow down the enemies' bullets.  I don't think there is collision between the enemies and your ship yet.  Just the enemies' shots that hits you.  They immediately shoot you only if they are in your line of sight.  

 

You are also missing something:  The collision bounding-box is still the same size it was even though the sprites are bigger.  They are harder to hit because the are jerky and it's hard to miss their precise center to target the smaller bounding-box.

 

Anyway, artrag can do what he wants, of course, it is his game.  Personally, I think that using the zoomed sprites is a mistake.  It may be an interesting technical challenge to overcome, but does not add anything to the fun or interest of the game.  The fact that we are talking about how it could be fixed in order to "make it work," suggests that an entire new development and evolutionary process needs to be applied in order to polish it, when it wasn't necessary before.  The problems before were clear:  collision, control, and balance.  Now it's those three plus all sorts of usability issues.

 

    -dZ.



#45 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 8, 2018 11:56 PM

I can reach the second boss even now, without any bonus, so it is not unplayable as you say. Anyway I am evaluating different solutions for magnifying sprites. Explosions seem a good candidate for this technique.
Also manually tweaking the graphics for enemies improve the appearance of the scaling. And I have to change it in any case to make room for the bonus items.
I'let you know.

Edited by artrag, Sun Apr 8, 2018 11:57 PM.


#46 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 9, 2018 3:08 AM

I can reach the second boss even now, without any bonus, so it is not unplayable as you say. Anyway I am evaluating different solutions for magnifying sprites. Explosions seem a good candidate for this technique.
Also manually tweaking the graphics for enemies improve the appearance of the scaling. And I have to change it in any case to make room for the bonus items.
I'let you know.

 

I didn't say it was unplayable.  I said I -- myself -- didn't like it, and it frustrated me too much, enough for me to not want to keep trying.

 

You do as you wish, of course.

 

  -dZ.



#47 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 9, 2018 2:32 PM

I edited manually the frames in order to keep the current approach (i.e. if size>8 you reuse size 5,6,7,8 zoomed by 2)

What do you think ? 

To me some shapes work better than others... but it is only a first attempt. 

;)

Attached Thumbnails

  • scaled_enemies_manual_wave2.png
  • scaled_enemies_manual_wave1.png


#48 emerson OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:57 AM

I like the variety. The tie fighter and metroid ones are probably my favorite. There is still a lot of jitter in the animation, probably because you are using only one sprite per enemy. Since you are sticking with the hardware zoom effect, I suggest you allocate more sprites per enemy and add greater detail when the enemies are up close to your ship. I drew an example to better explain myself. (this is the third row from the top of your second image)

 

sprites.gif

 

I think the overall graphic could work but the jitter is distracting. Also, it doesn't look right when the the enemy loses its legs and grows them back as it approaches. The image I drew can be drawn with two double-y sprites and I think better depicts the 'flying towards you through space' effect. Of course, my method is more expensive in terms of code space so that's one downfall. If variety is a concern, you could select the most unique enemy styles and draw them with different colors. I think a smaller enemy selection with greater detail for each will work in your favor. You have a lot of cool enemies, and as you said this is your first attempt, so keep at it.

 

Here is the full image I drew outlying each animation frame. Feel free to use it if you wish.

 

Attached File  sprites.bmp   10.05KB   42 downloads

 

 



#49 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:57 AM

Thanks, but your solution needs 4 tiles per frame and (even more critical) 2 sprites per enemy, when the invaders are bigger than 8 pixels.

There are already 4 enemies active at time + 2 bullets (4 with multiplexing) and 2 sprites for the main ship, so I cannot spend extra sprites for zooming enemies.

 

Actually I was thinking about a less demanding solution, using these attributes 

 

CONST DOUBLEY = $0080 ' Make a double height sprite (with 2 GRAM cards).
CONST ZOOMY4 = $0200 ' Make the sprite quadruple (x4) the normal height.
 
CONST ZOOMX2 = $0400 ' Make the sprite twice the width.
 
In this way I could use 1 sprite and 2 gram tiles but with a reduced X resolution.
 
Anyway, even as it is now, a lot depends on the shape of the enemies one chooses.
Some scale better than others. I've removed some that look very bad replacing them with other shapes.
Look at them animated and tell what you think
In case I could change some of them or try to use the above options to increase the Y resolution.
 
 
 

Attached Thumbnails

  • scaled_enemies_manual_wave1.gif
  • scaled_enemies_manual_wave2.gif

Edited by artrag, Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:09 AM.


#50 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:23 AM


Thanks, but your solution needs 4 tiles per frame and (even more critical) 2 sprites per enemy, when the invaders are bigger than 8 pixels.
There are already 4 enemies active at time + 2 bullets (4 with multiplexing) and 2 sprites for the main ship, so I cannot spend extra sprites for zooming enemies.
 
Actually I was thinking about a less demanding solution, using these attributes 
 
CONST DOUBLEY = $0080 ' Make a double height sprite (with 2 GRAM cards).

CONST ZOOMY4 = $0200 ' Make the sprite quadruple (x4) the normal height.
 

CONST ZOOMX2 = $0400 ' Make the sprite twice the width.
 
In this way I could use 1 sprite and 2 gram tiles but with a reduced X resolution.
 
Anyway, even as it is now, a lot depends on the shape of the enemies one chooses.
Some scale better than others. I've removed some that look very bad replacing them with other shapes.
Look at them animated and tell what you think
In case I could change some of them or try to use the above options to increase the Y resolution.
 
 
 


Putting aside that I think any game with 2x pixels looks cheesy and crappy (sorry, in my opinion, there is no point in "fixing" it), I think the fact that the origin or center axis changes at different zoom levels will make the sprites jerky and jittery.

You can compensate for this by shifting their positions, but that is even more code to overcome yet another bad effect of the zooming feature.

dZ.





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