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Revolutionizing Visual Basic ORPG Development
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 Post subject: Plauged Dead : Revisited
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:36 pm 
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I wanted some ideas from you guys on what to do with Plagued Dead. Unlike before, though, it won't be a 2d top-down game. Instead, its going to be a platformer MORPG. Heres a few things I got established on what I want to do:

Graphic style:

I wanted to go for a cartoony, but not anime or kiddy, style. Think maybe a TF2 style but 2D.

Image

Graphics engine:

Things are done with Grhs like in vbGORE, but the use of an integrated Grh editor makes things easier. Along with that, graphics are placed on a pixel grid instead of tile. For NPCs, I will probably do Grhs for them to make things easy, but for user characters, I am working on a skeletal joint system right now grouped with inverse kinematics and key frames to take a series of limbs and paste them together to form a body. This would allow for a more rag-doll character and to be able to have theoretically infinite frames with a very tiny texture. This should also be able to allow for a hell of a lot of animations.

World:
- Walls: Walls can be either rectangles or triangular slopes. Most likely won't add circles or other kinds of rounded shapes unless I can find a high-performance way to do it.
- Dynamic: MapGrhs, along with the walls attached to them, can move around in different paths, speeds, etc along with to be able to disappear, break, be created and such. Being able to spawn walls or move them could add a lot of fun and dynamics to fights.
- Trigger blocks: Events trigger when touching the block, doing anything from the basic teleport to stuff like damage, traps, etc.

NPCs:

The main thing I'd want to do is not have retarded NPCs. All those (few) platformer MMOs out there have incredibly stupid AI where NPCs touch you and you get hurt, and they just randomly jump around. I hope to add some pathfinding, fleeing, clustering (like a bunch of rats like to stick together), assisting (NPCs casting spells on other NPCs, guards run to the help of townspeople, etc).

Anyways, thats just some stuff I have planned out and hope to put in some day, but I still want to make a very unique experience. The current platformer MMOs don't make that much of a challenge, but it would be fun to put in some stuff to make it not just a unique platformer MORPG but a unique platformer overall. Let me know if you have any things you would like to see, even if they are completely ridiculous in terms of complexity.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:02 pm 
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what you're suggesting with the rag doll type bodies, you could do some pretty cool stuff with the implant/mutation thing you had in the original outline.
a graphic style that could be cool is cell shaded and over exaggerated features. like tiny legs with broad shoulders and huge arms. i like the style the Adventures of Spawn online comic has too. it's cartoony when compared to the regular spawn books but it's not overly cutesy or animie either.
http://www.spawn.com/features/series30/comic/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:14 pm 
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You know, I didn't even think of doing anything but animations with the skeletal system. I wonder how hard it'd be to adjust the lengths of bones and retain the fluency without having to redesign the key frames. The tiny legs / broad shoulders / etc that you mentioned would fall more under the area of graphical implementation. Since its not a 3d model, I can't just scale the skeleton without having the graphics becoming detached. I could scale the graphics, too, but we all know how undesirable the results of scaling images can be.

What I may be able to do is attach joints to different parts of the body and give them some nice life with the correct kind of math. For example, dreadlocks could be attached to the head and just dangle around with some string-style physics, resulting in dynamic, free-flowing hair. When you run, they'd pick up a little and drag behind you. When you drop, they'd flow up into the air and bounce around. When you come to a sudden stop from a high speed, they'll fly into your face then pull back. Don't think it'd be very hard to do something like that as long as I plan out the correct kind of skeletal layout.

That is a pretty good style. What I am aiming for with the style is to have a non-serious, "fun" visuals without having it overly cutesy or dark. I think I want to head for a more "comedic" feel in the game since well... knowing me, I wouldn't be able to get very far being just serious in a game. Even my code comments end up very sarcastic at times. :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:35 pm 
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the body i was saying was meant to be under the general graphic style, not part of the modifications. i found a better example
http://www.spawn.com/features/series30/ ... nx.01.html
having more of a humorous feel would defiantly be cool. like a morpg with a touch of Evil Dead attitude. i'd be all over that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:39 pm 
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gutterpunk wrote:
the body i was saying was meant to be under the general graphic style, not part of the modifications


Sorry, I was responding to this part:

gutterpunk wrote:
what you're suggesting with the rag doll type bodies, you could do some pretty cool stuff with the implant/mutation thing you had in the original outline.


That definitely would be a nice style. Pretty bright coloring and very simplistic shading. It would also go a hell of a lot better with the skeletal system if the graphics are like that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:30 pm 
(>^_^)>Kirby<(^_^<)

Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:18 pm
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Location: New Jersey, US
I had a post in the misc questions section about where you were getting your info on zombies. I was told that you had a vast collection of zombie movies. I you didn't read my post (Which I doubt) let me recommend the zombie survival guide once again. Great book, very informative and entertaining. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:52 pm 
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I've seen a few zombie movies but thats about it. Zombie Survival Guide? Never heard of it - I'll check it out if I run across it. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:12 pm 
+7 Claymore of Slaying

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:43 am
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So... your skeletal system works like that of flash then?

That aside, I was wondering if the back ground will be just a parallel wallpaper or an interactive background.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:50 pm 
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ComicNin wrote:
So... your skeletal system works like that of flash then?


A little... not exactly. Flash uses vector rendering. I was going to just use bitmaps. This should give you an idea, since it also uses a skeletal system (or something similar) with bitmaps attached on the joints.

http://www.playedonline.com/game/14/Rag ... ics-2.html

ComicNin wrote:
That aside, I was wondering if the back ground will be just a parallel wallpaper or an interactive background.


I was thinking of just a parallax-scrolling background. What do you mean by interactive?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:43 am
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Not entirely sure myself, but for me to depict it, I will have to go with:

(somehow) Objects in the background can be shot, things can be thrown to and from the background, or players can be seen in the background(on their screen, you are the background).

spodi wrote:
Let me know if you have any things you would like to see, even if they are completely ridiculous in terms of complexity.


Well, maybe add a system called "flipping" as in upon pressing/double stroking a key, the screen flips and we appear on the background(which after flipping is the foreground).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:07 pm 
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So a map could be composed of two maps, one a "background map" and another the active foreground map you are on? That would be pretty interesting. It would require a lot more bandwidth on a theoretical level (could easily get away with removing a lot of the data used in the background and use less updating and accuracy), and definitely wouldn't be applicable to all maps (probably not even a whole lot of them), but I definitely think it would be a nice thing to see. Even just not being able to jump from the back to front but just seeing people and NPCs move around in another map in the background would be fun to see.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:49 am 
=^.^= Kitty =^.^=

Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:46 pm
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Location: Sydney Australia
Spodi wrote:
ComicNin wrote:
So... your skeletal system works like that of flash then?


A little... not exactly. Flash uses vector rendering. I was going to just use bitmaps. This should give you an idea, since it also uses a skeletal system (or something similar) with bitmaps attached on the joints.

http://www.playedonline.com/game/14/Rag ... ics-2.html


That is a really good concept and has given me plenty of ideas! I thank you muchly for this Spodi!!! ^_^


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:30 pm 
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Heres a little demo of the character animation system:

www.vbgore.com/temp/charanim1.wmv

Theres a few things I need to point out. For one, you can't see the control form (which is why you see my cursor running back and forth over the screen but doesn't seem to be over anything). Secondly, right now the graphic attaching is very hackish. I just programmed in approximate offsets and origins to place the graphics on the joints. When I finish doing it correctly, each graphic will be able to select two joints to connect to along with the offset on the joint (to correctly center the graphic) and to choose the origin of rotation (though this can probably be assumed to be the same value as the joint). The second joint it is attached to will determine the rotation. I may even go farther and snap the graphic to the second joint to allow for easy scaling, though haven't decided on this yet.

One more thing I wanted to add is that when the animation changes (as you can see from the walking -> standing and vise versa) is that a new keyframe is generated on-the-fly of the current skeleton position. This is set as the "current keyframe" and the "next keyframe" is set to the first frame of the new animation. The frame count is then reset and the animation continues. This allows for a fluent transition between animations.

I plan on having the following objects to use for the system:
- Skeleton: Basically just the container of the joints. Contains a few operations it can do (mostly I/O) and a reference to the root joint (the pelvis in this skeleton).
- SkeletonNode: Is a joint that contains a reference to the parent joint (null if the root) and all the children joints under it, along with operations for recursive movement (like the video shows, how you can move a joint and have the children all maintain the same relative angles or not).
- SkeletonFrame: Holds a skeleton and a speed multiplier that defines the time spent on the frame so keyframes don't all have to be evenly spaced.
- SkeletonSet: Contains a set of SkeletonFrames. Basically, just holds all the keyframes for an animation. May expand later, but having it its own object for easier reuse. Every frame must contain the same Skeleton structure.
- SkeletonBody: Contains the graphics attached to the nodes and the information about them. Still deciding how to define the joint objects since they aren't always going to be the same object reference.
- SkeletonAnimation: The root of the whole animation system. Contains a SkeletonSet and SkeletonBody, along with a deep copy of the first SkeletonSet frame to create its own internal structure of the joints. The internal deep-copy skeleton is the one used for animations. The SkeletonSet is never modified, it is used just for reference. The SkeletonBody would only have to be set up once, too, this way, which will allow for very easy rendering.

Hopefully I will get it all polished and ready to try using some real-world tests on it in the next few days. So far I am pretty happy with it and it works very well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:06 pm 
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dude, that's pretty friggin sick.
you planning on using for anything like dynamic hit animations?
something that just occurred to me too, the few platformer style orpgs ive seen use the single plane old run and jump mario style map. what about going with a multiplane sudo Z axis like golden axe and double dragon?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:07 pm 
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Thanks. :D I was thinking about dynamic animations, but thats easier said than done. It'd be pretty hard to apply but I may be able to come up with something. It definitely does present the ability to do it, though, and I designed the objects to allow you to "inject" keyframes so it'd be possible.

A pseudo Z-axis... hmm, that'd definitely be something to think about. I have a hard time seeing the benefits from it outweighing the complications it presents, namely in the development area. If you think it'd be worth having, mind throwing out some suggestions on what kind of benefits it could bring?


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