Update: Wave Challenges

One of the features I’ve been working on lately is unlockable bonuses in the form of so-called “wave challenges”.  I really want to create a lot of opportunity for the players to strategize to achieve high scores – while also making the game harder.

Basically, here’s how it works:

  1. The player does something (for example, flap around a lot).
  2. After a while of doing something, a special item drops (for example, a dog biscuit).
    getting a biscuit unlocks the dog challenge
  3. The player obtains the special item before any of the other pigeons do.
  4. The next wave will have an extra challenge (for example, the dog).
    dog challenge occurs the next wave

Eventually, a challenge will reward the player with some kind of point multiplier for the duration of the wave.  I’d also like these to be able to stack, so if the player has multiple challenges activated, the point multipliers would, well, multiply.  These multipliers also would stack against the point multipliers from bonus foods.

Basically, the harder you make the game for yourself, the higher score you can get.  Which is really the whole point of this game, you know?  I mean, never mind difficulty settings – let the player’s competitiveness set their difficulty.

Other benefits of this – the player can (try to) plan ahead, activating challenges based on what the next wave is.

activating challenges is the player's choice

Only get the biscuit if you can handle the challenge.

Because there is no more dog wave.  Now the dog can appear on any wave!

challenges can occur on any wave

A dog in the crowded wave.

The dog running through the crowded wave is actually kind of fun to watch – maybe I’ll put together a video of it.

Other changes I’m working on:

  • Alternate endings – based on score, active challenges, player behavior, etc.  These will help to tell my story – yeah, there’s sort of a story in the game, nothing big.
  • Different kinds of foods and bonus foods – pretzels, ice cream cones, hot dogs  – I’ll be adding a bunch.  The bonus foods are like the fruits and vegetables in classic arcade games like Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Burger Time, etc.
  • Fixing the collision issue so pigeon heads stop detaching from their bodies when standing too close to other pigeons (or so it appears).

We’re getting close to the assets and polishing stage!

Update: Keyframe Animation Integrated

I spent a good part of the weekend working on keyframe animation, so that’s why this update is so late.

Keyframe Animation - Pigeon

Really the only improvement I made last week is that I finished the new animation logic, and integrated it into the game.  It’s looking pretty smooth:

 

I have animations for pigeons:

 

I have animations for dogs:

 

As usual, everything is still placeholders – I want to get the logic right before I really start polishing the graphics, and this change in animation methods was a great example of why.  But things are getting better.  Slowly.

Weekly Update Animation

I made a lot of progress on one of this game’s big projects this week: I have been working on revising the game’s animation.

pigeon-frames

Currently the game just displays a few sprites which are moved/rotated slightly, which I guess is okay except that it is all hard-coded. So I’ve been working on adding keyframe animations.  The interpolation between frames makes for much smoother animation.

New walking animation, using keyframes.

New walking animation, using keyframes.

Well, it would be smoother if I didn’t use the same placeholder artwork.  However, with this keyframe animation, I have a lot of flexibility to create new types of pigeons, even with different physiques, so that’s kind of cool.  I still have to integrate the animation logic into the game of course, but that should probably be easy.  I’ll be working on that in the next week.

New flapping animation

New flapping animation

I actually want to write an article on how I am implementing this feature, for anyone that’s interested.  I mean, it’s really nothing special, but there are a lot of little tricks I’m using, maybe some people would find such an article useful I hope?  Anyway, look for that in the next week, hopefully I’ll get something up.

Also, in case you are here for in-game footage, here is a closeup on pigeon crowd dynamics:

Now you can see why it’s so important to shove other pigeons out of the way sometimes. You can probably also see pigeon heads floating around due to a collision bug.

 

Project Update

pigeon-sketch-20160702

Hello.  It’s been a while. Well, maybe not that long really, but too long I think.  I’ve been planning/researching/testing changes to animation and figuring out how to market the game.  Also been thinking of a new name for the game.  Things are going slow right now and I don’t really like it.

As for actual work done, I still haven’t made a lot of observable changes to the game (without looking at the code), and I just don’t know how useful it is to say I’ve been cleaning up messy code and similar tasks.

Although I have also been working on a game development article that I hope to post here some time in the next week focusing on the changes I’m making to animation, so if that interests you, be sure to come back and read it!

Weekly Update

Not much to update this week.  Almost all of my changes were to the underlying code – optimizing it for readability and maintainability – hopefully these changes will make it easier to develop some of the remaining features in the game.

I’m also going to try to update more often this week, rather than making you guys wait until next Saturday.  Maybe I’ll make some promotional artwork?