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Squidi’s mechanic #035 – Room Conveyor Belt

February 3rd, 2014

I don’t wanna read all that crap edition

Here’s a prototype I made base off Sean Howard’s Room Conveyor Belt Conecpt
Saturday’s completed
Sunday’s completed prototype


There are a few links that take you to external sites. I do not manage the content outside of here
Friday I came home set to work on my pinball machine. I was very clear that I wasn’t going to use the internet or watch tv or do anything that would distract from my goal… I failed horribly at that. 2 hours into this test I had moved on to checking up on something I read in the book and everything spiraled out of control from there. I ended up on Sean Howard’s web site reading over some of his game mechanics. I saw his Conveyor Belt Prototype and thought of how much fun that would be with a little more work done to it. I then embarked on a solo-squidi-jam and decided to make a more complete version of the game over the course of the weekend. I then set out a few guidelines and rules and started from there.


squidiscreenshot

Rules I set for myself

No using flash IDE

I usually use a few base movie clips to do my screens and handle font management. Not this time, I decided to only have one SWF that loaded everything externally. This made for a very bloated project, and it gets worse because…

No modifying, editing, or creating art assets in editor

I decided against modifying any of his artwork that was provided as part of the Free Pixel Project. Which proved to be very challenging. I had to change the way I usually handle art work. With three exceptions, I had to base my game around one character set and one tile set.

  1. I used photoshop to create the map.I read in the maps per pixel
  2. I created the coin and shadow in code pixel by pixel.
  3. I used photoshop to check all of my x/y positions of the tiles that I read in.

Keeping it simple

My mind went 1,000 miles per hour as I was working. All the cool features I wanted to add. All the additional features I wanted to add! All the MORE features I wanted to add! Nope! Had to reel it all back in and figure out what I could actually get done this weekend and do just that. Too many features means I could get overwhelmed and bail on the project. Speaking of which…

Don’t get burned out

I had to make sure I didn’t try and do everything in a single setting. I took breaks. I went and got dinner. I paused to watch a little TV and actually relaxed. I learned a lot from last years Global Game Jam. To keep at a good pace, I made sure to set a stopping point for saturday and a stopping point for sunday. I actually finished earlier Sunday that I originally thought and instead of adding additional features. I just called it a day.

Learn something

This was the hardest thing to do. Because I wanted to make sure I kept it simple, I tried to do everything within my own personal knowledge base. And I wanted to get it done in a timely fashion so I used an existing game engine. Keeping it simple did allow me to reduce the amount of time I had to look up the answer to any problems, but I did hit one road block that caused me to learn something. :)


Yup... it says "Troy"

Yup… it says “Troy”

I found a faster way of dealing with the placement of tiles without having to write really complex algorithms or using a map editor! This allowed me to lay out everything in photoshop and have the game generate all the proper tiles in place that I needed. (Hence how I cheated on the “No external image manipulation…” rule) Here’s a great article on doing bitwise terrain calculations!

What I would have liked to have added

Multiplayer

My brain kept trying to get me to add more. I snuck in a second player, just to see how easy it would be to build off of what I’ve already built. It took me less than 15 minutes (I had to rename a variable here and there)… but I would’ve liked to have seen the game work with four players. It currently being even two players huddled around one keyboard is very difficult.

Trading Card System

I would like to have a system that allows you to pick a series of cards, and the game randomly chooses which cards you have in your “deck” to lay out various parts level. I’ve written down a few ideas I had to expand on this entire concept, but I want to make sure I don’t dump too much out at once.

Better Enemies

Right now the skeletons stick to whichever map they start on. This was in The Prototype this game was based off of. In thinking of the above TCS, I figured it would add a nice balance if the card you chose would only increase the difficulty of that area. But, if I were to expand on this game any further, I had two ideas for enemies…
The Thief
The Thief wouldn’t just compete against you, it would also steal your coins. So if you bumped in to it, it would die but take a percentage of whatever coins you’ve already collected.
The Hunter
The hunter would actively go from space to space in an attempt to find which space you were in. And if it detected you, hunt after until it touched and killed you.

Time attack

There’s a base time that it should take to complete each of the rooms, this is all added together and expanded as a time limit to collect as many coins as you can. This could be fun or frustrating, I’ll possibly play with this in the future.

Accounts (More TCS)

I wanted to create a website and web based accounts so people who play can trade cards that they’ve unlocked with other players. This idea had to quickly go on the back burner because it sounds really expensive for me to develop for a free no revenue generating game.

Map Editor

I wanted to make a map editor. :(

Screens

Right now the game just starts… and ends.

Player Messaging

When the game just ends… it goes right to black. Collecting coins just makes the coin disappear, it would be nice to have some kind of cool effect and all.

Audio

It’s quiet… a little too quiet.

Closing

Thank you for reading this far in to this and not just clicking the link at the top of the post. It really means a lot to me that I got a chance to explain how much fun this project was for me and you stuck around and read. :)

Here’s another link so you don’t have to scroll back up
Sean Howard’s Room Conveyor Belt Conecpt
Saturday’s completed
Sunday’s completed prototype

Happy 2014

January 18th, 2014

I’m hopefully not going to regret this post in 7 months. Hopefully I keep my New Years Resolution which I fail every year of blogging more. So, here are a list of goals I hope to keep this year.

  1. Finish Updating TroyDPatterson.com Goodness it’s been 4 years I haven’t finished yet
  2. Finish Icarus Ascend See above comment of it being 4 years
  3. Finish Pinball Machine Personal project for more than 4 years that I’ve been making killer progress on
  4. Learn Unity

That doesn’t seem to be too tough. I’ve started over programming Icarus Ascend (again), I’ve dumped making my own level creator for a better tool. I’ve passed information on the game off to various audio guys that I know and I believe I have a guy for the music (I don’t want to make any promises that I’ll regret in another year)

As far as TroyDPatterson.com goes, I’ve completed the base update and just haven’t updated this site yet. I have the site working in HTML5 (not because I hate flash, I just hate that so much of my traffic came from iOS devices… mainly mine). I’ve dumped the 3 section system (Toolbox, Developer, and Play) it just didn’t make any sense. I completed the migration as you can see from earlier posts, and now I have a bit more stability and freedom.

I’ve had a few things with my pinball machine get pushed to the wayside as work picked up. It eventually had to be shelved until I got/get more free time.

I’ve been meaning to learn Unity for years now, and it’s getting worse now! After I finish Icarus Ascend I’m going to move on to actually learning it. First… I have to finish Icarus.

Be Well, All.
(Have we done this before?)

The Idea – Mini-Pinball

February 3rd, 2013

I’m not sure if I’ve been too cryptic or just plain didn’t give the information but, I’m building a pinball table that can fit on my desk at work. Granted I can go to Toy’s R Us and hack apart a pinball machine and do that (Believe me I tried). Since that video 3 years ago, I’ve picked up a few tricks and things that will benefit me greatly. I also decided to not only build it from scratch and document it, I’m also going to release all of my eps files and circuit boards (possibly Eagle files) so that you(or someone you love) can build one yourselves.

In all of this building I also want to make as little work necessary to actually build and get the machine running. With the exception of the electronics everything should be able to piece together like Ikea furniture. I’ve been using Ponoko to get all of the parts cut and making trips to various stores to get additional hardware. Again, my goal is for there to be as little work needed for the end user as possible.

With that goal in mind, the casing of the pinball machine is more of a kit to JUST have a box. I’m going to separate the table itself from the box so that it can be completely customized. When I have the entire thing up and running I will release eps files for the table that I create as well as any other notes for building a functional table.

At the time of this writing here is the current purchasable parts list for me.
28 x #4-40 x 3/4 Machine Screws(& nuts)

Yup. That’s it so far. I’ve excluded the parts that I haven’t finalized and I haven’t delved deep enough into the solenoids and servos side yet. I’m trying to figure out the easiest way to make the flippers move without having an extremely complicated parts list. I’m also trying to keep this machine as dry as possible (meaning no need to glue anything)… We’ll see where we end up.

Pinball Parts arrived

January 31st, 2013

IMG_0659

Here’s my test pieced together

Pinball Size Test

January 26th, 2013

68402_10200369591583494_1803421489_n

I’m not building a diorama. This is one of the many test I’m doing to build my pinball machines. Waiting on some parts to arrive(maybe today because they’re shipping from Oakland)

Happy 2013

January 22nd, 2013

I’m hopefully not going to regret this post in 7 months. Hopefully I keep my New Years Resolution which I fail every year of blogging more. So, here are a list of goals I hope to keep this year.

  1. Finish Updating TroyDPatterson.com Goodness it’s been 3 years I haven’t finished yet
  2. Finish Icarus Ascend See above comment of it being 3 years
  3. Finish Pinball Machine Personal project for more than 3 years that I’ve been making killer progress on
  4. Migrate TroyDPatterson.com I’m sick of the downtime I keep experiencing
  5. Learn Unity

That doesn’t seem to be too tough. I’ve been working on a map editor for Icarus Ascend for the past few months, it’s almost ready to pass off to a level designer. Then I have to think about stuff like music and sound effects. I have a few folks in mind I’m going to pass out a line to, to see how well that goes.

As far as TroyDPatterson.com goes, I’ve been working on it in the background when I get bored. The site isn’t super buggy right now, but I want to experiment a little more and try and compress everything again. The 3 section system doesn’t seem to work well for me. I don’t know how often you’ve been visiting, I’ve been experiencing a lot of down time for stupid reasons. I’m going to fix that this year.

I’ve been working on a lot of pinball stuff in my spare time, learning how they work and testing various things out with Arduinos and my Raspberry Pi. I’ve been putting together a prototype, but it’s not ready to show anyone just yet.

I’ve been meaning to learn Unity for years now, so much so it’s becoming a nuisance. After I finish Icarus Ascend I’m going to move on to actually learning it. First… I have to finish.

Be Well, All.

Zizzle Machine I picked up a few years ago.

November 30th, 2012

This is a pinball machine/toy that I picked up a few years back.

Since I’ve had all of my stuff sent out here, I realize I now have reasons to talk more. I can talk about all of the projects I had back east that I didn’t get to finish. This little baby here is a pinball machine I was given as a present. It’s more of a toy than a machine, the flippers lost their strength really quickly and all kinds of other problems (that seem to be common in these things).

But I held on to it and had it shipped out here. When I did ship it, I didn’t include the legs, power supply or the pinball itself. Which makes for a space wasting box sitting in my closest. I’ve decided to do everything that I can, to get this thing in a somewhat running state again. I purchased a new power supply and a 7/8th pinball. (I was reading that 7/8″ was too big, but it seems to fit just fine) I’m still trying to figure out what to do about the legs, these things were extremely custom.