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1  Game Development / Game Play & Game Design / Re: Designing a shopkeeper game, need ideas on: 2016-05-10 14:49:18
The technology is 2D, still the main shop view will look like a 3D shop, but I chose a 3rd person view, so one looks into the shop. Meanwhile I have a mockup for the shop view - look at the attached image of the message on OGA where I also asked for advice:

http://opengameart.org/forumtopic/need-game-design-help-with-shopkeeper-type-game

I'm not very fond of subscribing to facebook to playtest a game. And I'm not even sure if I want to play other games in this genre, otherwise I'm quite sure I'll just make a copy of the game that I am testing. Instead I'd like to hear about it the idea from users/players view - what would you like to see in such a game? What sort of activities will you enjoy as a shopkeeper? What do you expect from such type of game?

I surely will only be able to implement a very few of the wishes, but with the project just being born it's now the time when it's the most malleabe and shapeable.

I have a few ideas, but I don't want to write about them yet, because I'm afraid they will narrow responses to a discussion of just these ideas, while I am looking to collect a broad range of ideas first and then try to select the most promising ones.

2  Game Development / Game Play & Game Design / Designing a shopkeeper game, need ideas on: 2016-05-10 10:33:02
Since a while I'm thinking about sort of an RGP with reversed roles in terms of shopping - instead of playing an adventurer who visits shops to buy and sell items, you take the role of a shopkeeper in one of those towns.

Now, the problem is, I'm a bad game designer. The challenge is, to make this more than just a funny idea. While I surely can implement the mechanics of a shop and I also think I'll be able to come up with some usable graphics for it, I'll need help in making it a real game, keep the player in his role as shopkeeper entertained, challenged, motivated.

Since the items and graphics are borrowed from my Jewelhunt game, they will mostly consist of the typical RPG adventurer equipment, weapons, armor, treasure items and the like.

So I want to start with a sort of brainstorming - what would you like to do in the role as a shopkeeper? What will be fun for you, what should be avoided?

Since this is just starting, feel free to post wild ideas.

Current state of the project - what is there at the moment:

- Item code from my "Hunt for the lost rainbow jewels" project
- Many item definitions and magic item mods from that project
- Item graphics as well
- Some basic code for the shop itself
3  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Concurrency Library 2.0 on: 2016-04-15 13:06:26
I've been thinking: "What if you could create a game server cluster that shared the workload of updating the world?"

Once, I think this is already done. Large scale business applications work on clusters with shared data, scientific applications as well, so I'm pretty sure games can do that, too.

Second, the only effect is that you can run larger worlds with more players, and have less need to separate regions into instances. Instances can always be distributed among a cluster easily, since they are isolated from the rest of the games world.

I don't think it will be a very fundamental change. Instances may be partly driven by technical constrainst, but for most multi player games they are also required for gameplay reasons - players in different stages of the game need to experience different views on the world, and this is usualyl done by providing instances that fit the "story progress" of the characters - e.g. the change of before and after a quest has been completed.
4  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Design pattern for RPG skills (good, bad, horrible?) on: 2016-04-14 13:40:58
I had a hunch and indeed, methods don't actually cause any overhead per class instance as I intuitively assumed and well, that makes things easier.  

I have a slight feeling, that you worry about the wrong things. A method pointer is like 4 or 8 bytes, and even if is was per instance and not per class, this still is very little memory.

In case of this thread, skills for an RPG, I would sauggest to care about two issues first

- Make the system easy to understand. Just in case someone else joins the project to help you, or if you take a break and forget most of it, and need to re-learn it from the code

- Make the system easy to expand. Usually when you start a game, you don't have all the ideas ready yet, and often you face the problem to add new ideas later.

If you load a texture with 1000x1000 pixels, you have 4 million bytes allocated, just for this one texture. You can fit really many skill objects into 4 million bytes. So don't worry about a few bytes for an int type field or a pointer/reference to another class. Compared to graphics and sound data, these are really minor.

Furthermore, unlike graphics which tend to be copied each frame, skills will be evaluated relatively seldom, so they are unlikely to be a bottleneck. Attacks are the most frequent skills, but compared to the millions of bytes of graphics that are copied each frame, there will probably be less than a dozen attacks be evaluted each frame, in a typical RPG. So they are neither memory critical, nor runtime critical. And in this case, the things to care for are clean design and readability of the code.

All coding tricks that you do, have a big chance to bite your backside once you were away from the project a short while.
5  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Realistic graphics -- how can it be achieved? on: 2016-04-13 12:46:45
Think of the brids! They never see any sensible colors on our screens (since they have four color receptors, and not 3 like us ...)

I'm still puzzled that there sometimes are two light mixtures which give us exactly the same color impression. We can't tell yellow light from a mix of red and green light, because both trigger two of our receptors Shocked
6  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: The "impressiveness" of games on: 2016-04-13 12:44:02
I try to create games that have not been created before (as far as I am aware of it anyway). I wouldn't see the point in making a pacman clone because better programmers and better graphic artists than me have done it a thousand times already. But if I can come up with a new (to me) mechanic or a different way of interacting with a game, then I feel happy with what I've done. I'm never happy with the code I've written, I always have the sense it could be done better.

Coming up with new ideas is impressive. At least to a person like me, who an only take an exisitn idea a step further but almost never can come up with a genuinely new idea. So that is a great skill that you have there!

Code must work. Particularly in game projects which end after a while, it only needs to be so good that it gets the job done. I think there is a big diference in application programming, when you face 10 or more years of maintanence, maintanence done by collegues who were often not involved in the firts development phase, and so rely on readable and well structured code, and mostly single person projects which have no long-term maintenence. There code only must be good for you, and only for some years.

Overengineering a solution is often as bad as writing sloppy code. The real trick is to find a middle ground, make it good enough to work, and simple enough not to have any extra effort with it. Unfortunately this is harder than it looks first.

Back on topic: New and interesting game ideas sure are impressive.
7  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Design pattern for RPG skills (good, bad, horrible?) on: 2016-04-13 11:13:47
Right, but isn't that exactly why I'm trying to say?

I've had a bit of a problem to understand your mesages, I must admit. Some days I just can't cut through text and find the meaning of it. So, sorry, if I just told you what you had figured out already.

You can move those skill variables to class, lets call it SkillSet, which is independent from the fighter class, and pass the SkillSet as parameter to the apply() method of a skill. If you do this, you can give players and monsters SkillSets and use the same code for their skills, too. This will streamline a lot of your code.

PS: Don't worry about unused fields. They are a very minor problem. I think in most RPGs item and other stat tables consist of a lot of zero entries, since every instance only uses a few mods or skills ...
8  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Design pattern for RPG skills (good, bad, horrible?) on: 2016-04-13 10:59:26
If the skill effect is a function of the level (eg. more range, more damage), you don't need a separate object for each skill level. You can use one Fireball skill object with a method like

public Result apply(Target target, int level);

and pass the actual skill level as parameter. The method then multiplies the base damage or the base range with the level and applies it to the target. Probably you need more parameters, specific to your project, but the example is just to should the basic idea.

9  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Realistic graphics -- how can it be achieved? on: 2016-04-13 10:29:52
In my opinion raytracing in combination with radiosity has the biggest chances to appear realistic. But even that uses approximations.

But from an artistic point of view, realism isn't very interesting. Reality, we have it all the time around us, and usually it's quite bland and boring. Some painter once said, "A picture must be better than reality" - "better" leaves many ways of interpretation, but my point of view is, that "realism" isn't a good goal, "impressive" is what you should aim for, and that can be done in a variety of styles.
10  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: The "impressiveness" of games on: 2016-04-13 10:24:19
The problem is you gave up.

Sometimes one tries to ride a dead horse way too long.
Sometimes one gives up too early.

It's not easy to tell when it's right to give up a project, but wasting time on a bad project isn't a good thing. But I agree, that sometimes there isn't missing much to the point of success and I tend to give up too early, too.
11  Game Development / Newbie & Debugging Questions / Re: Design pattern for RPG skills (good, bad, horrible?) on: 2016-04-13 10:21:01
I realized that all those FireballSkill objects are virtually the same, except for one field

This seems to be a case for the "flyweight" pattern.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flyweight_pattern
12  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Procedural shooter concept study on: 2016-04-13 10:11:48
Now with more fireworks!



Actually I wanted to take a break from the project, but I felt bored and so I've been working on a new explosion type, which reminds much of firework effects. Also I could improve the former, cloudy explosions a little. Explosions types are 50/50 assigned to the ship types, so each type should show with equal frequency overall, even if in some areas the one or other type is more frequent.

There were bugs in some of the graphics routines, but I'm not sure if they affected more than the explosions. The basic gameplay is unchanged.

Download (30k):

http://www.java-gaming.org/user-generated-content/members/132627/vks-shooter-study-r17.jar

Steer with the cursor keys, shoot with control. Avoid the space unless you're game over.
13  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: The "impressiveness" of games on: 2016-04-12 12:28:09
On the surface, graphics and then sound are the easiest way to impress people.

But they are also the first to wear off, and then some games begin to shine witht heir depth and replay value.

And it depends on the auidience. A technician might be impressed by technology and it's use, which is pretty irrelevant to the casual gamer, who only wants some fun, regardless how the game was made.
14  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Procedural shooter concept study on: 2016-04-12 10:21:00
Thank you. It really isn't much more than a very simple shooter. The special thing is that all the graphics are procedurally generated on runtime, and therefore there can be endless variations of the enemies.

A while I had hope that I can fit it into 4k, to enter one of the 4k gaming contests, but it soon outgrew that, now at 30k code. But I'm still very pleased with that, to generate so much variety and even at times good looking enemies, with such a little program.

15  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Procedural shooter concept study on: 2016-04-12 10:08:11
The next evolution step - bonus drops and extra weapons. Enemies have now a 1.5% chance to leave a power orb, red, gree or purple, which will give you up to three extra weapons. To get the weapon, you need to pick up the orb with your ship.





Download (30k):

http://www.java-gaming.org/user-generated-content/members/132627/vks-shooter-study-r16.jar

Steer with the arrow keys. Shoot with control.

PS: The tunnel wall color overlflow/underflow bug is fixed. If you ever ran into it ...
16  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: The point of games on: 2016-04-11 13:49:06
Short answer: there is no point to games, they're entertainment. You can add in any value you want on top of that. Sometimes they're not even entertaining Smiley

My idea, too. Games are for entertainment primarily. You can mix in some teaching and education, this will open some new audience, but still, the prime motivation is the entertainment.

I think in the classic theory, games are seen as fields where the human mind can go exploring, to try new ideas, strategies and scenarios without the dangerous consequences of mistakes that real life brings.

So games should offer just this - playing fields of whatever sort, where the interested can try their skills, and develop them. Different people like different sorts of games, but in all you find a risk-reward scheme, some learning, some exploration and some amout of tactics and strategy.

There are also toys. Toys miss the risk-reward scheme, but keep the entertainment value, also the skill developement.

17  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Procedural shooter concept study on: 2016-04-11 10:06:48
Slowly it's getting a game. I've changed a few mechanics.

The former "score" is now labeled "power". Your ships gains power for destroyed enemies, and it loses power if hit, or in collisions with enemies and tunnel walls. If the ships power drops to 0, the game is lost.

At the start you get a 15 second grace time, to survive at zero power and shoot some enemies. After that, it's just you or them.

A new scoring has been introduced - a counter at the top right that measures how deep you get into the tunnel. Basically that measures how long you survived. I think it's possible to survive forever, but so far I lost sooner or later in my tests.

The tunnel got some random colors in this release, and the colors change slowly over time.



The new game over screen




Download (27k):

http://www.java-gaming.org/user-generated-content/members/132627/vks-shooter-study-r15.jar


Use the cursor keys to move the ship. Shoot with control.


Still no sound on Linux. I'm not sure how to solve the problem, since on the same hardware, it works with Windows but not with Linux. I believe this is because of the way I try to play samples at different frequencies, by changing the sample rate. The Windows sound subsystem can play "weird" sample rates, the Linux subsystem doesn't. But I'm not sure if this is the only problem.

18  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Procedural shooter concept study on: 2016-04-08 13:30:57
- Player ship can't leave the screen anymore
- Improved generator for dendril type ships

Download:

http://www.java-gaming.org/user-generated-content/members/132627/vks-shooter-study-r14.jar
19  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Procedural shooter concept study on: 2016-04-08 10:35:26
The shell/fan type ships had a too large hitbox, gave too little score in average and had no hitpoints.
This is fixed in r13, also the shell/fan type ships got a little visual tuning.

Download:

http://www.java-gaming.org/user-generated-content/members/132627/vks-shooter-study-r13.jar

Preview:

20  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Procedural shooter concept study on: 2016-04-07 14:11:36
I dug out an old project, and worked a bit on it again. The old thread is here, but it got locked meanwhile:

http://www.java-gaming.org/topics/procedural-shooter-concept-study/28716/view.html



There is a new version out, r12:

http://www.java-gaming.org/user-generated-content/members/132627/vks-shooter-study-r12.jar

Changes:

- A new base type of enemy ship
- The tunnel has better chances not to end up all on the screen bottom
- Improved placement of enemy waves
- Slightly improved star background
- Higher enemy density

But it's still the same ... endless tunnel, endless variations of three basic enemy types, endless life, it's just a fight for the highest score. And yes, the score drops if your ship takes damage.

Known problems:

- Sound doesn't work on Linux
- Player ship still can leave the screen
- Still no extra weapons

Edit: forgot it again ...

- Use the cursor keys to move the ship
- Press ctrl to shoot
21  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: The hunt for the lost rainbow jewels on: 2016-04-07 13:58:52
Tried it out again. The delay with the movement still exists. In fact, it took a while for attacking enemies too. Whenever I clicked it didn't immediately respond.

I finally found the reason for this. I'm still puzzled why the problem did not show up on Windows, but I have a theory ...

The problem was, that the code only handled one mouse event per frame. So if you moved the mouse to a spot to click it, most often there were a lot of mouse move events in the queue, and it took a while till all had been handled, and the click was processed. It's fixed now, but I didn't want to publish a new release just because of this fix. Still I thought I should post an explanation what's been the problem, since a while garbage collection was suspected to be the culprit, or the old java/lwjgl versions, but it was the event handling.

My explanation why this showed on Linux but not on Windows is, that Linux reports more mouse move events than Windows does. So on Windows the number of events to handle after moving the mouse is generally lower and the 60 FPS often were enough to keep the queue rather short, while on Linux many more mouse move events were queued.

But it shows again, that I'm not a game designer, but a programmer ... I still have problems to create quests and events in the game world, and not purely make it a technology or graphics demo. This was a problem in my former projects, too, and probaly it will be a problem here as well, even if I return to the project now and then to add new things.
22  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Making Games for Nobody on: 2015-11-04 14:30:30
These days people get more and more conditioned that they can get everything on the computer for free. Pictures, music, books ... programs and particularly games. Legal? Most don't care.

I think these days it is really difficult to make money with a game. Not only that making a game is hard already, making money with a game is substantially harder. Except for a few who are very lucky ...

And you know what? The bad news is, that people who had one successful project have it easier to establish another successful project.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_effect

23  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: What are your java conventions? on: 2015-11-04 13:53:00
I like braces on their own lines. My brain needs a lower information density on screen.

Other than that I try to stick to what Sun had defined long ago. I hope Oracle hasn't changed too much of those in the meantime ... if you work with other people it's best to have some sort of official standartd.

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/codeconvtoc-136057.html
24  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: The hunt for the lost rainbow jewels on: 2015-11-04 13:50:28
Thanks Smiley It's going slower these days, but I'm working on a UI and some code to transmute items, much like the horadric cube in Diablo II did - the basic idea is to have a magic device that takes a group of items, and transmutes that group into a new item. I liked that game mechanic in D2 a lot.
25  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: The hunt for the lost rainbow jewels on: 2015-10-29 12:11:28
I finished the basic code for a new game mechanic: Items with gem sockets, and the option to place gems in those sockets:



Calculations of the effects of gems in sockets are missing currently. It's only the data structures and the UI to add gems to items that's done. Calculating the effects will be the next step to implement.
26  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: The hunt for the lost rainbow jewels on: 2015-10-22 11:23:58
Thanks all, for the encouraging words. I'm dabbling in game creation since about 20 years, there have been ups and downs. In between I had become ill, so that there have been years, when I could not work at the computer, and this was the end of all the former projects. It's better again, but I've no more the stability and power that I once had in the past.

I'm somwhat prone to the the "I've got a better idea and start newly" syndrome, but "better idea" seldom is a better game idea, but means to either simplify the program, if the former solution was too hard to use or maintain (e.g. a former RPG attempt had detailed creature body structures, modelling all limbs, which turned out not to be really useful but just a huge overhead and cause of errors), or the other way round, to make something more flexible, becuase the former solution was too limited.

So far I'm pretty sure though, that this time it's a good compromise between "simple enough, so that it's easy to work with" and still powerful enough to let my ideas come true. The only big question left is weather to add multiplayer support, and if yes, how exactly. At the moment the decision is to stay with single player.

I've uploaded a new snapshot, because two things felt so unfinished in the last release. There was the pyramid, but you couldn't enter it. And there was the experimental item graphics overlay feature for the PC, which had a shield overlay, but no weapon. Now there is also a weapon overlay, that is shown if the PC is actually wielding a weapon, and there is a new map generator for the pyramid. It only produces a group of empty rooms though, but well, at least you can actually enter the pyramid.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/jewelhunt/files/jewelhunt/r021/

All changes since r020:

- Added pond and waypoint graphics.
- All item defense values were multiplied by 10, to make a +5% mod more meaningful.
- Added new blacksmith graphics.
- Added stronghold graphics, not used in game yet.
- Fix: Monster lairs should no longer overlap.
- Added pyramid dungeon.
- Added PC graphics sword overlay.
- Added UI spell icons.
27  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: The hunt for the lost rainbow jewels on: 2015-10-20 21:48:29
I wish I could make better looking water surfaces - today I made a pond for the rainbow temple map:



And the village map got a waypoint:



Today I feel a bit disappointed - the project isn't looking bad, but I can't get it the way I want. The controls are clumsy, the magic system is largely non-existing, I have no real idea how to make good looking graphics effects with OpenGL, and still the project feels like bloatware: 12MB download for a walkaround demo - which even stalls on slower systems.

Maybe my winter depression is creeping at me again. There is little to be happy about these days. It's dark, cold, and the autumn leaves are dropping, soon the world will be brown and gray, dirty. Pale, colorless, like baddies in my project want it to be, too.
28  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: Plasmoid on: 2015-10-19 09:33:30
It's terribly time consuming to make games, at least for me. Some people seem able to speed up the process, but I wouldn't be surpised if yours takes a few years to be completed.

I tell myself that it's alright to spend the time as long as it's fun, but also to stop a project once the fun turn into a chore.

Unless you plan to sell your project.
29  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: The hunt for the lost rainbow jewels on: 2015-10-15 20:03:57
I've published a new development snapshot. This time it's a more "in-between" version, because the pyramid interiors are not done yet, and the pyramid map is done only partly.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/jewelhunt/files/jewelhunt/r020/

The only noteworthy change in terms of code is the switch to A* pathfinding. My priority queue implementation is cheap, and not optimal, but it produces less garbage than the old breadth-first pathfinder from the former version. I don't see any performance change on my system, but in theory, this new version should be better.

There is also a change that allows to display "equipment overlays" for the PC, depending on the used equipment. I've done only one overlay yet, though, for shields. It's only a visual goody, and quite a lot of effort to make the overlays, so I feel uncertain if I want to continue this. In the current release the system is active, though (for shields).
 


30  Java Game APIs & Engines / JInput / Re: Multi mice - swallow or hook event from system on: 2015-10-15 13:30:07
afterall the moto is "write one and run everywere"...

No, you#ve got that wrong. It's "write once, debug everywhere".
I can't help with the extra mice though ...
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