Author Topic: Kitsune's Curse (Development)  (Read 4635 times)

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Online reidrac

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Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« on: 23:53, 29 August 17 »
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All the time I was working on Magica I couldn't stop thinking that the engine was way better than the iteration I used in Golden Tail. Not that I'm not happy with it, but I think I can do better now.

Golden Tail ended with a "to be continued". I guess is time to know that happened to Kitsune...

I've just started this and it may take a while until is finished, so stay with me. I'll be posting updates on Twitter, and here (although less often, sorry!).
« Last Edit: 00:07, 30 August 17 by reidrac »
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail and Magica for the CPC.

Offline keith56

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #1 on: 06:40, 30 August 17 »
Great to hear about your new project!
I look forward to hearing more!
Chibi Akuma(s) Comedy-Horror 8-bit Bullet Hell shooter for CPC - http://www.chibiakumas.com
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Offline ervin

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #2 on: 09:38, 30 August 17 »
Best of luck with the dev!
Looking forward to progress updates.
 8)
My (cancelled) entry for the CPCRetroDev 2017 Competition http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/programming/my-cpcretrodev-2017-entry/
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Offline mr_lou

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #3 on: 13:11, 30 August 17 »
Always great to get new games for the CPC.  :)
Unfortunately I'm way behind checking new games. Will have to catch up soon.

Offline VincentGR

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #4 on: 15:01, 30 August 17 »
This is fantastic!!!
To blit, or not to blit?
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Online Targhan

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #5 on: 21:14, 30 August 17 »
Grreeeeaaat! Golden Tail is really, to me, the best action game released these last years. I thought the gameplay based on disappearance/power gain was very clever. I'm pretty sure this sequel will be even better :) .
« Last Edit: 00:23, 31 August 17 by Targhan »

Online reidrac

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #6 on: 21:22, 30 August 17 »
Grreeeeaaat! Golden Tail is really, to me, the best action game released these last years. I thought the gameplay based on disappearance/gain power was very clever. I'm pretty sure this sequel will we even better :).

Well, there will be changes, and hopefully that will improve the idea.

I mean, you don't want me to make the same game again, do you? :)
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail and Magica for the CPC.

Online Targhan

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #7 on: 00:25, 31 August 17 »

Quote
I mean, you don't want me to make the same game again, do you?


It would actually be fine to me, the first game was great :) .


Oh, please add a password or save game if the game gets huge!

Online reidrac

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #8 on: 23:39, 12 September 17 »
Not a lot to show yet, I've been tweaking and preparing the sprite engine for the game.

I tried a prototype using a reduced memory buffer, but it was too complicated to even get it right; although the memory saving is tempting enough that I may try it again, but it makes more sense to do it when the game is more advanced (I tried the prototype with Magica and that's not ideal).

So for now I'm focusing on performance and I'll think about memory savings later.

Anyway, also I wanted to announce that Kitsune's Curse will have a loading screen by Vanja Utne.
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail and Magica for the CPC.

Online reidrac

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #9 on: 00:53, 02 October 17 »
I finally decided to implement my engine idea, and I'm happy that I didn't give up because the results are totally worth it!

Basically my usual tile/sprite engine uses a linear back-buffer split in 8x16 or 8x8 cells. That buffer is used to compose the scene (background + sprites) and track the cells that have changed between current frame and the previous. Then the screen is updated drawing only the cells that change, of course as fast as possible. It really helps that the back-buffer is linear, unlike the CPC video memory. Drawing the sprites is trivial and quite fast!

This works very well and I've successfully used the idea in all my CPC games so far, and I'm happy with it: it provides performance in exchange of memory use.

And that's the only weak point of the idea, as it uses a lot of memory and makes quite hard to make big games in 64K (please, don't start with the 64 vs 128 argument; not interested).

Since Magica I've been thinking on how to reduce the memory usage while maintaining the strategy of tracking changes, because most of that back-buffer is not used (there's a limit in the number of sprites you can move per frame anyway).

Now, this is the idea: instead of having one large buffer, each sprite splits the draw operation in cells (e.g. 8x8), using  the cell's linked mini-buffer if it exists, or allocating a new one. Every time the screen is updated all mini-buffers are unlinked, so in practice only "sprite height x 2 + 2" mini-buffers are require per sprite in worst case (the sprites don't overlap). Say that you want to move 10 sprites of at most 8x24 (like in Golden Tail), and your buffer is just 2816 bytes.

How big is the difference? Well, in Golden Tail that back-buffer is 13056 bytes (plus the structures to track the "dirty" cells). So that's a lot!

The downside is that drawing the sprites is quite complicated now. Other operations are simpler and I save bytes and time (for example, the translation from the linear back-buffer to the CPC video memory is gone), and that helps a bit to compensate for that complexity drawing sprites; but I don't think a game like Magica would be possible with this engine (although I haven't tested it, yet).

Anyway, I think I can't more or less get the same performance than in Golden Tail, with a lot of less used memory; which means that Kitsune's Curse will be a larger game.

I'm starting now with graphics and re-implementing the platforming engine to "fix" some bits in Golden Tail that could be better (based on feedback from players), and I'm experimenting with some new ideas that hopefully will add to Kitsune's Curse gameplay.

And that's all for this update!

Offline Joseman

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #10 on: 01:34, 02 October 17 »
Good news! i read you on twitter all days.


BTW i'm playing Magica right now!!

Online reidrac

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #11 on: 09:31, 02 October 17 »
Oh, now that we can embed Tweets here, let me share a video I shared last night!


https://twitter.com/reidrac/status/914603011095318528

Testing Kitsune's animation and few other things. Ignore the background graphics, I'm use Golden Tail tiles as placeholder.

As you can see Kitsune has shape-shifted. I'll explain later.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #12 on: 17:03, 03 October 17 »
That's so damn cute, as always!

Online reidrac

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #13 on: 00:47, 06 October 17 »
Quick update!


https://twitter.com/reidrac/status/916055728577761281

I'm still testing the new tile/sprite engine and found another bug, but it should be stable soon.

This new video shows Kitsune's sprite and animation, still keeping part of the style I used in Golden Tail (it is the same character), but I think this one is better animated. Also it is closer to the human-fox thing I had in mind.

I've finished with the collision detection, way more efficient than the one in Golden Tail (although not as good as in Magica, but that's because Magica uses a different type of platforming anyway).

I've started with the kõga magic, and it currently works very similar to how it works in Golden Tail (you may not need to re-learn how to use it), but there's a small detail I don't like and I'll try to improve.

I'm still using Golden Tail as placeholder graphics for the background; and for now that's all!
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail and Magica for the CPC.

Online reidrac

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #14 on: 16:18, 07 October 17 »
I just had an idea to help people not understanding how the kõga magic works!

In this video Kitsune is visible when the magic is on.


https://twitter.com/reidrac/status/916652449007587329

The challenge, and the fun I think, is learning to control it when you don't see the character because he's invisible.

I'm considering a "practice" mode where you can do stunts in a single room and you'll be able to see Kitsune like this for part of the practice. I don't like tutorials like that, I prefer to teach the player just by playing the game and forcing the action just a bit more each screen; but I understand that some people can find it too hard and give up.

What do you think?
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail and Magica for the CPC.

Offline khaz

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #15 on: 16:56, 07 October 17 »
How magic works is weird, in the fact that jumping and running appear to work differently:
if you run and disappear: you reappear further away
but only if you press both fire and jump at exactly the same time do you jump higher.

For example, it doesn't seem like you can input a jump command while being invisible, but you can start going left or right.
If you jump and then press the button, you will keep your original momentum and won't go higher, but you will still land further away if you were doing a long jump.

At first I thought it worked like a teleport, where if you press both a direction and the button simultaneously it would teleport you n pixels away in that direction. But even as you describe it, a mix of invincibility and bigger momentum, it doesn't match with the controls in game.

Online reidrac

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #16 on: 17:08, 07 October 17 »
How magic works is weird, in the fact that jumping and running appear to work differently:
if you run and disappear: you reappear further away
but only if you press both fire and jump at exactly the same time do you jump higher.

For example, it doesn't seem like you can input a jump command while being invisible, but you can start going left or right.
If you jump and then press the button, you will keep your original momentum and won't go higher, but you will still land further away if you were doing a long jump.

At first I thought it worked like a teleport, where if you press both a direction and the button simultaneously it would teleport you n pixels away in that direction. But even as you describe it, a mix of invincibility and bigger momentum, it doesn't match with the controls in game.

That's right, you can't jump when already invisible (I found it too uncontrollable because without visual queue is almost impossible jump at the right time).

Other than that, is as described... if you look at the video, when moving left-right you still walk (but he's be able to walk over water as part of being "invulnerable"), but in the case of jump you have to initiate the jump with the magic.

I need improve the instructions, but it is hard to explain!
« Last Edit: 17:10, 07 October 17 by reidrac »
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail and Magica for the CPC.

Offline khaz

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #17 on: 17:12, 07 October 17 »
That's right, you can't jump when already invisible.

Other than that, is as described... if you look at the video, when moving left-right you still walk (but he's be able to walk over water as part of being "invulnerable"), but in the case of jump you have to initiate the jump with the magic.

I need improve the instructions, but it is hard to explain!

It may be how you want it to be, but it still feels like broken gameplay. Sorry. There is no logical reason as to why you can't jump while invisible, or why your jump momentum can't be accelerated as well. It's only discoverable through trial and error, and used correctly after acceptance by the player.

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #18 on: 17:23, 07 October 17 »
It may be how you want it to be, but it still feels like broken gameplay. Sorry. There is no logical reason as to why you can't jump while invisible, or why your jump momentum can't be accelerated as well. It's only discoverable through trial and error, and used correctly after acceptance by the player.

Do you think it would be better if you can jump invisible? How would you be able to control that? Golden Tail doesn't even force you to make the highest possible jump to progress (there's always a platform nearby to make thing easier); but if you learn to control that jump, the game is more fun as is a bit harder.

If jump is restricted to the start of the magic you can calculate where you want to jump. It takes practice, of course. Also the magic not only allows you to jump higher, it makes you fall slower. And you get that with practice.

But you're right, is has its special rules and part of the game is learning how to use it. For some people is frustrating and too hard, for other people it was a fun game and they enjoyed the learning process.

It's OK if you don't like it or if you don't find it fun; the game doesn't *click* with everybody and I'm OK with that. Is not an usual game, fair enough.

There are always arguments in one way or another, and no matter what I choose, there will always be someone that doesn't like it.
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail and Magica for the CPC.

Offline khaz

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #19 on: 17:26, 07 October 17 »
In regards to exposition to the controls through gameplay, I'm a big proponent of that. but the game may have been too difficult too quickly. There is no room to breathe, even in the first screens: in the first screen the skull traverse the whole area horizontally, the player has to be on edge to avoid it any time he's staying on that screen; the second screen have another skull storming right at the player with barely enough time to react (even less when it's the first playthrough ever). Falling down (is it a hole? is it a bridge) shouldn't be optional that early in the game if you want to educate the player that falling down isn't bad: it probably would have been better to have the screen on the right to be a dead end to force further exploration. In the first screen underground, you are very likely to fall directly on a monster, and there is a barely a place to breathe (I'm starting to see a pattern here). Only on the screen on the left of it, the dead end with a pool of water on the right, do you have time to actually hone your skills. And the one jump that matter ends up in the water if you do it wrong. This is unnecessarily harsh. You have plenty of time to implement trick jumps and delicate situations in later screens.

I'm sorry if I sound antagonising, I know it's not fun to receive criticism, especially on a finished product. I really like what you have done so far and I couldn't dream of doing anything remotely similar. I just believe you have the talent to make it "just a little bit better".

Online reidrac

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #20 on: 17:39, 07 October 17 »
In regards to exposition to the controls through gameplay, I'm a big proponent of that. but the game may have been too difficult too quickly. There is no room to breathe, even in the first screens: in the first screen the skull traverse the whole area horizontally, the player has to be on edge to avoid it any time he's staying on that screen; the second screen have another skull storming right at the player with barely enough time to react (even less when it's the first playthrough ever). Falling down (is it a hole? is it a bridge) shouldn't be optional that early in the game if you want to educate the player that falling down isn't bad: it probably would have been better to have the screen on the right to be a dead end to force further exploration. In the first screen underground, you are very likely to fall directly on a monster, and there is a barely a place to breathe (I'm starting to see a pattern here). Only on the screen on the left of it, the dead end with a pool of water on the right, do you have time to actually hone your skills. And the one jump that matter ends up in the water if you do it wrong. This is unnecessarily harsh. You have plenty of time to implement trick jumps and delicate situations in later screens.

I'm sorry if I sound antagonising, I know it's not fun to receive criticism, especially on a finished product. I really like what you have done so far and I couldn't dream of doing anything remotely similar. I just believe you have the talent to make it "just a little bit better".

It's OK, I like feedback; even if it is criticism. Thank you very much!

You can crouch, all the screens have a places were you can be out of the way of enemies (even with the bats that follow you, they have limited sight!).

In my opinion the game only has one screen that is quite unfair when a Kappa jumps from the water without warning (previously there was a warning sign); but in general I don't think it is as bad as you say specially when early in the game it means you may lose 2-3 screens of progress before starting again. Even if you die further on, it is a short game that can be finished in less than 20 minutes when you know the map and how to play.

Golden Tail is a hard game (is it unfair? not convinced, but it could be), and I thought a lot about it.

I don't like 80s-hard games in 2016 (when this one was released), but I've tried the other approach (not too hard) and people play it for an afternoon and the game is forgotten. There's too much competition, too many good games to play!

If you think of the time I put on making Golden Tail, is fair to say that I want you to play it for few days; if you like it. If you don't, because it is too hard, that's fine. There are more games that you can play anyway, just don't waste a minute with this one.

I got very good feedback from people that found it a bit hard but manageable; and to be honest, I liked that they enjoyed the game a lot, even if that means for more casual gamers it'll be a missed opportunity. This is a game for an Amstrad CPC anyway! Have you played Rick Dangerous? :D

Does this make any sense? :)
« Last Edit: 17:42, 07 October 17 by reidrac »
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail and Magica for the CPC.

Offline khaz

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #21 on: 17:54, 07 October 17 »
An example I like to give for gameplay and difficulty progression is Super Meat Boy. You can't argue that it isn't a difficult game, but it's also an incredibly accessible game, with how it starts extremely easy in the first few screens, progressively adding the difficulty elements until it becomes incredibly difficult. It's also a totally fair game where you can only blame yourself for the mistakes, as there is almost no surprise difficulty. You know what's coming for you.

Online reidrac

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #22 on: 17:57, 07 October 17 »
An example I like to give for gameplay and difficulty progression is Super Meat Boy. You can't argue that it isn't a difficult game, but it's also an incredibly accessible game, with how it starts extremely easy in the first few screens, progressively adding the difficulty elements until it becomes incredibly difficult. It's also a totally fair game where you can only blame yourself for the mistakes, as there is almost no surprise difficulty. You know what's coming for you.

Yes, that's a good example.

I like to think I didn't do it that bad for a CPC game, considering that it was really hard to include 4 songs, 6 different enemies and 30 40 screens; in a 64k game.

I'll try to do it better with this one, specially now that I'm going to have a bit more memory!

EDIT: Golden Tail has 40 screens and not 30!
« Last Edit: 19:49, 07 October 17 by reidrac »
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail and Magica for the CPC.

Offline khaz

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #23 on: 17:59, 07 October 17 »
You can crouch, all the screens have a places were you can be out of the way of enemies (even with the bats that follow you, they have limited sight!).

Crouching isn't relaxing though, you're clamping your controller and you know you'll be in danger as soon as you let go. I truly think an extra safe ledge on the right of the first screen would have been interesting. You're not removing any difficulty and add a resting place for the person who is playing for the very first time and don't know what to expect.

Offline khaz

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Re: Kitsune's Curse (Development)
« Reply #24 on: 18:01, 07 October 17 »
Yes, that's a good example.

I like to think I didn't do it that bad for a CPC game, considering that it was really hard to include 4 songs, 6 different enemies and 30 screens; in a 64k game.

I'll try to do it better with this one, specially now that I'm going to have a bit more memory!

Oh you did incredibly well! Again, I don't dream doing a tenth of what you achieved.

I'm just the ghost of what could have been.