Allegro.cc - Online Community

Allegro.cc Forums » The Depot » Vectorzone Public Alpha is Out!

This thread is locked; no one can reply to it. rss feed Print
Vectorzone Public Alpha is Out!
Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

After many months of design work and a little over a month of programming, I can finally announce my current game project made with Allegro: Vectorzone!

The ultimate goal of the project is to create a 2D shooter with world-building and dungeon crawl elements, along with several multiplayer modes. While the game is still many months away from that goal, I decided to open up the alphas to the public to gather suggestions and bug reports as I develop the foundation of what this game will become.

Once all the systems that will make the game work are implemented and it comes time to add the vast majority of the content, development will switch over from public alphas to private betas, and then eventually from there to a full commercial release.

I haven't created a Depot entry for Vectorzone yet because I want the game to actually play like a game before I do so. At the moment, the current v0.01a public alpha is nothing more than moving a ship around and exploring the beginnings of random map generation, but I will be releasing updates once or twice a month so there's plenty more to come! ;)

For any of you who want to download the current public alpha and get more information, point your way over here: http://www.pixelships.com/vzone

Here's a few screenshots of v0.01a which you can click on to see them at full resolution. As said, lots of work to do still, but it's a start!

{"name":"vzscreen_001a_01_thumb.png","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/f\/d\/fd602b96ab1664f46afe882ccc1b6315.png","w":480,"h":270,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/f\/d\/fd602b96ab1664f46afe882ccc1b6315"}vzscreen_001a_01_thumb.png {"name":"vzscreen_001a_02_thumb.png","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/d\/1\/d117077ebd596f6de3e51013b4daf550.png","w":480,"h":270,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/d\/1\/d117077ebd596f6de3e51013b4daf550"}vzscreen_001a_02_thumb.png {"name":"vzscreen_001a_03_thumb.png","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/d\/c\/dc7592fc3f492f6ead557a476973f64f.png","w":480,"h":270,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/d\/c\/dc7592fc3f492f6ead557a476973f64f"}vzscreen_001a_03_thumb.png {"name":"vzscreen_001a_04_thumb.png","src":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/0\/3\/03cf3b6744f77dd4c595f643adfde3db.png","w":480,"h":270,"tn":"\/\/djungxnpq2nug.cloudfront.net\/image\/cache\/0\/3\/03cf3b6744f77dd4c595f643adfde3db"}vzscreen_001a_04_thumb.png

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

Max Savenkov
Member #4,613
May 2004
avatar

I'm a big PixelShips fan and I'm very glad to see a new game from you, even if I'm not really interested in world building games.

Now, as for version 0.01, there isn't much to do there for now, but I have one suggestion: get rid of that animated "water" (is blue wriggling things are supposed to be water?). It really hurts the eyes, especially when I'm rotating and it's in sight.

I'm not so hot on the whole "glowing lines" idea, because there were many games in past few years which used such graphics, and I find it inferior to good pixelart, but I suppose it's easier and faster to do, which is a big plus for one-man team.

Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

I'm a big PixelShips fan and I'm very glad to see a new game from you, even if I'm not really interested in world building games.

The world-building aspect is only minor. The main focus will be shooting stuff and finding/identifying loot. :)

Quote:

Now, as for version 0.01, there isn't much to do there for now, but I have one suggestion: get rid of that animated "water" (is blue wriggling things are supposed to be water?). It really hurts the eyes, especially when I'm rotating and it's in sight.

I'm not so hot on the whole "glowing lines" idea, because there were many games in past few years which used such graphics, and I find it inferior to good pixelart, but I suppose it's easier and faster to do, which is a big plus for one-man team.

It's actually a favourite style of mine, which is why I'm going for it, plus yeah, I can actually do such graphics if I have to since my graphics artist isn't 100% certain how much work he'll be able to do for me.

The water at the moment is tentative. Every prior attempt to make glowing vector-line water was even worse or didn't look like water. It could also be though that your monitor brightness/contrast is too high, or that your monitor's response time sucks, because I've spent many minutes on end staring into that water with no issues and I have VERY sensitive eyes! ;)

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

AMCerasoli
Member #11,955
May 2010
avatar

Aww... Can't you link to the VC libraries statically? I don't have those.

Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

Aww... Can't you link to the VC libraries statically? I don't have those.

Meh... statically linking stuff has always caused problems for me. Even when I follow tutorials or directions and even when the linker gives the all-OK, it just never works properly. :P

I've got a link to the VC2010 redistributable package on the download page now.

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

Max Savenkov
Member #4,613
May 2004
avatar

The world-building aspect is only minor. The main focus will be shooting stuff and finding/identifying loot. :)

Good, that I can play with :)

Quote:

The water at the moment is tentative. Every prior attempt to make glowing vector-line water was even worse or didn't look like water. It could also be though that your monitor brightness/contrast is too high, or that your monitor's response time sucks, because I've spent many minutes on end staring into that water with no issues and I have VERY sensitive eyes! ;)

Hard to say. I suppose I'll have to see how it will look later...

Felix-The-Ghost
Member #9,729
April 2008
avatar

Downloaded it, tried to play it, but it gave me a black screen with a cursor and crashed. My computer hates A5 games :(

=============================
The ghost with the most!

Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

If it at least got as far as blanking the screen the configuration file should've been created. Search for "Vectorzone.cfg" on your computer, open it, and try setting Windowed to 1. Failing that, try disabling vSync. Failing that... umm... get a new video card. ::)

Actually, another possibility is that you have a virus scanner installed that's automatically sandboxing the application. Three weeks ago when I updated my virus scanner to a newer verison and tried to test my game, it auto-sandboxed it (despite the fact I had disabled this behaviour before the update) and it then proceeded to kill the system with a screen of blue death. >:(

Seriously, virus scanners can sometimes be very annoying when you're a programmer. :P

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

Felix-The-Ghost
Member #9,729
April 2008
avatar

Coincidentally my new graphics card came in today.
As someone pointed out, the water kinda hurts eyes.

The cursor stays in the middle of the screen in void areas and stays below the ship if it's over certain tiles.

the [ and ] seem to change opacity, and not brightness?

Not all tiles are in the hotbar. Also it seems you can't place tiles yet. When you implement this it'd be cool to have a "pick tile" function that automatically selects the tile the cursor is over.

=============================
The ghost with the most!

Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

Coincidentally my new graphics card came in today.
As someone pointed out, the water kinda hurts eyes.

The cursor stays in the middle of the screen in void areas and stays below the ship if it's over certain tiles.

the [ and ] seem to change opacity, and not brightness?

Not all tiles are in the hotbar. Also it seems you can't place tiles yet. When you implement this it'd be cool to have a "pick tile" function that automatically selects the tile the cursor is over.

That's still weird about the water... The question is, is it because of the animation, or the brightness? I need to know which aspect to change!

In terms of the cursor, since the ship isn't meant to fly in the void or overtop of solid walls, this is why the cursor behaves like that. Once collision detection is in, this won't be a problem.

As for opacity/brightness, since the ship is drawn using additive blending, [ and ] can be said to do either. ;)

And yeah, tiles can't be placed yet. Grass isn't an item you can normally acquire; you have to plant grass with Grass Seeds. In terms of tile picking, this would be a little tricky to do. In a 3D game like Minecraft, you pick the tile you're looking at. In Terraria, you pick the tile your mouse cursor is over. In Vectorzone, your cursor will only stay over floor tiles normally, but will move over solid tiles when you have a tool selected that will affect them, and the tile-highlight disappears when you select something that isn't world-building related, like weapons.

However, even though a tile picking button would be tricky/confusing to implement, the inventory won't work anything like those two games. When you open your inventory, you just have to highlight anything and push a quickslot key to instantly assign that quickslot, whereas in both Minecraft and Terraria you have to first pick up an item in your inventory and put it in that slot and if there was already something in that slot, you now have to put that item somewhere else. Because of how rapidly you can select inventory tiles in Vectorzone, missing a pick-tile button isn't too big a deal.

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

weapon_S
Member #7,859
October 2006
avatar

I really really really like how the mouse handles the ship's turn rate. I can make a miniature adjustment just as fast as a 180 degree turn.
I'm getting a crummy 12 FPS, and at that rate flying over repetitive tiles gives a disorienting effect. I have no problems with the water.

Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

weapon_S said:

I really really really like how the mouse handles the ship's turn rate. I can make a miniature adjustment just as fast as a 180 degree turn.
I'm getting a crummy 12 FPS, and at that rate flying over repetitive tiles gives a disorienting effect. I have no problems with the water.

Only 12? What kind of hardware do you have? Does changing the resolution/vsync/windowed settings help?

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

weapon_S
Member #7,859
October 2006
avatar

Athlon II 2.9GHZ x3, Nvidia nForce630a (Comparable to low-end Geforce7)
Vsync off: +2 FPS. 800x600 about 15FPS. 640x480 about 18FPS. Not much difference between full-screen or Windowed.

AMCerasoli
Member #11,955
May 2010
avatar

You had a problem with my game too... I would recommend you to update your graphic drivers or something.

Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

weapon_S said:

Athlon II 2.9GHZ x3, Nvidia nForce630a (Comparable to low-end Geforce7)

Ouch... your video chipset is over 10 times less powerful than mine and I'm only running a 9800 GT! >_<;

Actually, at the moment, the pixel shader quality in Vectorzone is locked to "High" which uses a 1024x1024 texture for all pixel shading effects. Once implemented, there will also be a "Low" setting which only uses a 512x512 texture and for someone like yourself, that should really kick the framerate up since it's 4-times less per-fragment processing that needs to be performed. There's also going to be an "Ultra" setting which uses a 2048x2048 texture though the options menu in-game will warn against using this setting without a really powerful graphics card.

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

weapon_S
Member #7,859
October 2006
avatar

Heh, what effect exactly justifies the shader? :P I'm guessing: glow + custom AA/Subsampler. I'm worried that scaling down the texture won't decrease the amount of shader logic ran (i.e. you go through all the trouble with zero effect).

Quote:

9800 GT

I was actually thinking about buying that second hand. But then decided it wasn't worth the money '>_>

Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

Pixel Shaders can actually burn a lot more power than you might imagine. Just changing the texture size down by one power of 2 cuts 75% off of the amount of shader logic needed per frame. Also, only half as many samples are needed at that level to achieve the glow effect, so the amount of shader logic necessary is already almost 8 times less for the smaller texture size. I'm willing to bet that once this is implemented, your framerate will at least double. ;)

There are three pixel shaders in use per frame right now: Vertical Blur, Horizontal Blur, Glow Enhancing, the later of which uses the alpha channel to enhance the glow on edges while preserving the actual tile graphics. (So 16/24-bit rendering is already out of the question for improving performance.) Eventually, I have to implement lighting and while I know exactly how I want to actually process it, I'm trying to decide whether to render the lighting effect using a blender or shader, because either would work.

But yeah, if you can get a 9800 GT for cheap, by all means do so. It runs virtually anything. 8-)

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

Michael Faerber
Member #4,800
July 2004
avatar

Looks nice so far -- works on Linux via Wine.

However, after a minute or so, the fans of my laptop started to howl, so I think it might make sense to limit the FPS to save power. (I get around 250 FPS).
Also, changing weapons (with the mouse wheel) sometimes needs multiple turnings of the wheel.

--
"The basic of informatics is Microsoft Office." - An informatics teacher in our school
"Do you know Linux?" "Linux? Isn't that something for visually impaired people?"

Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

There IS a vsync mode that is enabled by default, so if it's not engaging this then your system likely isn't honouring the game's request to use vsync. You should check your graphics card settings (and perhaps Wine's settings too) to see if vsync is being forced off or not in general or just with OpenGL.

I also just double-checked the source code. The mouse wheel is coded in such a way that wheel ticks are incapable of being missed; Immediately following the mouse update code is the code which processes the results of the mouse wheel and updates as necessary, so if wheel ticks are being missed this is likely related to your system configuration and/or using Wine... or your mouse could be broken... :-/

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

Go to: