The never ending feature and bug fixing phase

At the moment I’m facing what might be the hardest part of game development. I have to make the decision: “The game is finished”. That is with the exception of game breaking bugs that might need fixing later.

This decision is hard, since I at the moment have a quite good and fun game ready, but there is a continuous stream of small changes I could do to make functionality better. None which are really needed for gameplay, but that make the game slightly more enjoyable. It is often really hard to evaluate which of these are important for player, or if it is a strive for perfection that no one will ever notice. Weeding out what is important with a small beta tester staff is hard.

On another front we have decided that the game will be harsh and hard. To use a term often used by Sirlin, it is quite slippery slope. I decided along with my main gameplay tester that it actually does not take that much away from the fun. This was also part of the decision to have an easier difficulty available, which really makes it easy to use the powerful tools you are given. What makes me very happy is that the tools really feel powerful, and can be used for nice tricks that are not all that apparent in the beginning. It is probably the part I’m the most happy with along with orb design.

That’ll be all the game design/development ranting for today

Game and application progress

The last weeks I have been very busy trying to finish my game.

The experience so far has not been great. I’m using a Java library called Slick for rendering and basic container for my game. While I was developing my game I have figured out that a lot of the stuff I have made is already present, but often not supporting the exact function I need.

Some of my code is also quite old and naive, and it does have some bad quirks that I have now hopefully fixed.

Anyway I have now added sound effects for many of the mechanics in the game, and it became even more fun. Sound is actually very hard to get perfect, and I have in some areas settled for not perfect since it would take me way to long to find something better.

As far as my other summer programming is coming along, I have got QT and OpenCL cooperating nicely and my prototype program seems to send the stipples to their correct position, what is left of the main tasks is rendering the stipples. Once that is done I will focus on making a GUI for specifying options for the stippling. This includes.

– Scaling up image to have more weights for the stipples.
– Selecting stipple size.
– Specifying threshold for weight value in initial random distribution of stipples.
– Specifying iteration number.

Game update

Since the semester at school ended I have been focusing on finishing my game, today I got rid of at least 5 issues which has been irritating me:

– Figured out what was causing staircase artifacts in scaled down game windows.

– Added some graphics to be shown while loading.

– Realized that a a screen in the game might need a complete makeover, it currently does not fit the rest of the interface.

– Added text which shows when the game is paused

First Post!

It is alive!

My blog has its first post, and all is well.

As a first post I’d like to share the current status of my game as well as some interesting CG topics I would like to look into during summer.

Artifact

My game is called Artifact, and it is an arcade style game. For those who have played Ambrosia Software’s Barrack, my game is very similar, and it was major inspiration for creating this game. The game itself is pretty similar, but introduces some different challenges and a system for better resource management, making the player more in control of the resources he or she has access to.

At this moment the game is fully playable and quite fun. What is left is balancing, and adding sound. The big issue is sound since this is a topic where I have no experience. Hopefully there will be some progress in that domain during summer, so that I can release the game itself this fall or winter.

Summer CG

During this summer I also have some projects that I’d like to finish. During the last semester I implemented a weighted k-means algorithm for creating stipple images. The algorithm was made using GPU through OpenCL for computation. The algorithm worked nicely in Mac OS X, but when transfered to Windows(the assignment used a windows only application) it stopped working properly and instead started crashing when I used above 200 points, though I had tested it on the same graphics card in Mac OS X with 5000 points. Since I had no time to fix it during the semester and I really want to make it work, this summer I will try and create an application to turn any image or animation into a stippled video or animation. I have decided to make it in C++ and QT since I feel I need to be more comfortable with C++.

I also want to test the image space ambient occlusion on some models, and see how well it would function for different types of games.