Author Topic: Chronicle of Mars  (Read 9010 times)

Sar

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Chronicle of Mars
« on: February 11, 2013, 03:35:00 pm »
Every year
Most years
When I can be bothered I take part in a create-a-game-in-a-month challenge in March; it's supposed to be a visual novel, but I'm subversive and stuff so I sneak in other things. The last one I did was this Advance-Wars-inspired thing; this year I'm thinking of ripping off Front Mission. I mean writing a mecha-based tactical RPG.

Naturally, design and preparation is all allowed before the month starts, so recently I've been sketching mecha:



...and seeing how they may fit on an isometric battlefield:





There's a bit of Macross, a bit of Assault Suit Leynos/Valken and a bit of Heavy Gear in there.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 03:15:44 am by Sar »

Oblivion Shinma

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2013, 05:23:17 am »
Liking the Mecha, asuming it's not a special or main "character".
I gotta say I'm not so hot on the "stormtrooper" look-a-like though.

Also liking the idea. When there's more I'd like to know about it.
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Sar

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 05:53:33 am »
Liking the Mecha, asuming it's not a special or main "character".
I gotta say I'm not so hot on the "stormtrooper" look-a-like though.

One of the things I like about the Front Mission games is that the mecha are for the most part generic line units; the one the protagonist pilots isn't any different from the one generic soldier #17 pilots. So maybe!

Even leaving that aside, it's actually quite likely that I won't bother to have special mecha designs for main characters, simply because a month isn't a very long time, so I'll be looking to have to animate as few sprites as possible! ;-) Right now I'm thinking of doing a few sets of legs, torsos, arms and weapons separately, and have them recombined into sprites in code. We'll see how it goes when it actually gets to be March.



(The figure on the right is just a quick sketch for scale, and not coloured at all 'cause I'm lazy rather than because he's supposed to be all white.)

iKo

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2013, 02:11:56 am »
It's kind of SD in it's proportions.
Mecha-Moe~~<3<3

Oblivion Shinma

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2013, 05:38:26 am »
I'm sure you answered this last time you posted about game in a month here but...
What programming language do you use and would you recomend I try it out?
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Sar

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2013, 06:02:02 am »
I'm sure you answered this last time you posted about game in a month here but...
What programming language do you use and would you recomend I try it out?

The game will be written using a battle engine I've been working on for some time, which runs inside Ren'Py; thus, all the coding is done in Python.

Whether I recommend you try out Python is dependent entirely on whether you already know how to program or not. A lot of people tout it as a good learning language, but I don't really agree with them; it does a lot of things in a very weird manner compared to other programming languages, and it'd be easy to pick up odd habits which won't help you elsewhere.

Ren'Py is good at what it does (visual novels) and isn't really a good generic game engine, but I started the project thinking of something more VN-like, and the guy who maintains Ren'Py has already done all the heavy lifting to get it working on various different platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac, Android) so I'm happy enough with it for what I'm doing.

If you're looking for a platform to learn how to program while producing something fun, it's not bad, but it's not the greatest either. If you're a programmer already and you just want to make games without the hassle of rolling all your own code, it really depends on whether you're going to make use of Ren'Py's rollback feature, which can revert the entire game state to a previous checkpoint. Or whether you're going to make a VN, or perhaps a tactical RPG? ;-)




(Also: the proportions came about because I wanted there to be an obvious 'cabin' in the mecha where people could sit, but at the same time not make it such a ridiculous scale that I couldn't have regular infantry as well. I like the kind of size of mecha you find in things like Heavy Gear, VOTOMs or Gasaraki, and given the space size (see mockup above) it would be better if the mecha could be even a bit smaller still. But once I settled on that kind of proportions and shape, they did look very pleasing to the eye for some reason!)
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 06:05:26 am by Sar »

Sar

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 10:49:09 am »
I'm not so happy with this one, but it was worth getting out of my system. Supposed to be a more heavy-support type following similar design cues.



I'm more happy with this rough test walkcycle animation for the first guy, although he still needs a bit of an arm-swinging gait, at the very least. I think I'll pick his leg up a bit more on the return, and maybe soften the bounce. You know, into more of a bounce.



(No production assets before March, just rough design/practice work.)

Oblivion Shinma

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2013, 01:59:21 am »
I don't have any basic programming skills. So far all the programming I've done has been work related and done in windows based programs which more or less simplifies the entire thing to drag and drop (I'm over simplifing a great deal but I doubt it's been anything like the kind of programming you're talking about)

I thought I'd get a head start on school since I'm basically in Japan to become a game creator I want to start tinkering with some programming by my self.
Making engines would be nice but I'd consider starting with existing ones.
I've had my on Python but thought it might not be good for the very reasons you discribe.

Why I didn't here of premade Pythons engines when I was looking for both Python and game engines is beyond me.
Are there other python engines already made? Like platform engines, third person etc...?
Would be nice to start in a premade engine, I think?
Really I'm aiming for RPG and platformers.


What's the point of the moving piece underneath the missile launcher?
Looks like something you'd see in an 80's toy that knocks the other toys over for no good reason?
Yay Xnfe!

Sar

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2013, 02:22:26 pm »
Why I didn't here of premade Pythons engines when I was looking for both Python and game engines is beyond me.
Are there other python engines already made? Like platform engines, third person etc...?
Would be nice to start in a premade engine, I think?
Really I'm aiming for RPG and platformers.

Well, there's two main approaches to making your own game:
- Write everything yourself
- Use a Game Creation Engine that does all the heavy lifting for a particular style of game and just plug in your own assets, design and scripting.

(Ren'Py is a GCE for visual novels, but I'm extending it quite a bit, since it allows pretty much complete overhauling and extension through Python, so what I'm doing is probably halfway between.)


If you're looking to do traditional FF6-style JRPG games, have you looked at RPGMaker? I've not used it myself (I like playing them, but I can't imagine creating one) but from what I gather it's fairly flexible and scriptable, and scripting stuff is probably the easiest start to get into 'proper' programming.

I don't know of any platformer GCEs (not to say that they don't exist). The RPGMaker people do IG-Maker which purports to do platformers.

A step up from specific game creation engines, there's a platformer tutorial for Unity, which is a Javascript/C#-based generic 3D game engine:
http://unity3d.com/gallery/demos/demo-projects

Unity is more advanced than a lot of GCEs, since it doesn't focus on just one game type and everything is fairly generic. There's helpers for stuff like "moving a third-person-action-game character around with the keyboard", but nothing really that game-specific or even genre-specific. But you can also do more or less anything with it, and it's got a reasonably large and reactive community.




In your shoes I'd probably try and find a GCE which fit the kind of game I wanted to make, then play with it and make a couple of games with it, and then see where I could go from there. Most of the ones I've seen have been fairly simple to make simple games in, and you can expand more as you learn. Don't worry too much about finding one which uses a particular scripting language - it's more important to get a head for the concepts involved in programming than to learn a particular syntax.


If you want any general programming assistance, I'm pretty much always happy to give any help I can - and of course, most GCEs (and both the things I mention above) have communities and forums and so on where you can get more specific help.

(For what it's worth, I don't know of any other GCEs which use Python, but there's a fairly comprehensive library called PyGame which a lot of people use to make games with Python. That's more along the "do it yourself" lines, though.)




Lastly, remember that if your goal is creating games, there's absolutely nothing wrong with using someone else's engine/library/code/whatever - the hard part is the game design, not the programming. Any monkey can program, but making a fun game is actually hard!


What's the point of the moving piece underneath the missile launcher?
Looks like something you'd see in an 80's toy that knocks the other toys over for no good reason?

Damnit, I've been rumbled - it's for knocking over all the other mecha! ;-)

The idea was that it would be a chassis for any artillery kind of weapon, so the bits which move out would be stabilisers - either counterbalance to keep it more steady when firing or simply stabilisers which touched the ground and held the whole mecha still. But I don't like that part of the design that much, and without it there's no particular reason to have the huge chunky thing on the side.

Oblivion Shinma

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2013, 02:56:16 pm »
Wow.
Great answer. Now I have something to on. Thanks.

About the mecha: Couldn't you put another weapon there?
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Jay

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 10:49:38 am »
Well, from a gamist perspective you might reason that giving it too many weapons could affect gameplay.

From a realist perspective you may reason that the legs cannot support much more weight without suffering in stability/speed.

Though really whatever you want goes ultimately as long as you think it's fun w

Sar

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2013, 03:34:31 pm »
From a realist perspective you may reason that the legs cannot support much more weight without suffering in stability/speed.

I prefer "mecha pilots are all idiots and giving them more than one weapon just confuses them". ;-)

(Seriously, that handful of milliseconds while you select the best weapon for this particular shot could be fatal one day!)

I did a couple more upper body designs, but because I'm lazy I'm hoping to be able to implement a build-from-parts model they're using the same legs as the previous two...




That top one is planned as a starting-out not-really-military mecha; the latter obviously is a metal gear more-tooled-up support unit. I've done one rough anim of chicken-walker legs walking, but it's kind of crappy.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 03:38:16 pm by Sar »

Oblivion Shinma

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 01:11:27 am »
Cockpit a more standard center on these I see.
Are you sure about loosing the arms on the support unit there?
I'd kinda like to see him in an arm as they say in fashion.
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Sar

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2013, 01:52:33 am »
Cockpit a more standard center on these I see.

Well, it makes sense most of the time. I just like the look of having it off-centre once in a while, reminds me of things like the M7 Priest or the old BTech Cauldron-Born before they genericised the design.

Are you sure about loosing the arms on the support unit there?
I'd kinda like to see him in an arm as they say in fashion.

Well, the thinking was along the same lines as the torsos and legs - the player would have a choice between attaching a regular arm which could hold a rifle and have a rear-mounted rocket pod or something, or replacing the entire arm with a giant gun.

(Realistically, I don't already have that functionality in the battle engine code which I'll be using for this project, so whether it actually happens or whether that mecha will just be limited to support weapons only comes down to how much time I have to extend the engine.)

Sar

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Re: Mecha design
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2013, 12:43:51 pm »
Well, it's March, so I've started work in earnest. And naturally, the most important thing about a new development project is a snazzy logo:



(It's a pun, you see, because the game will be mostly about fighting!)

Naturally I had to do some other work to make it seem like I didn't just waste half my weekend on a title card, so I started theming up Ren'Py and putting together a system to display whole animated mecha based on lots of little sprites of just one arm or a torso or whatever:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWzE9LMPIMo