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    Bob Thulfram
  Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:21 am
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I've only been a happy Construct 2 user for a few weeks and I'm going to enter the HBGames contest.

Who am I? I've been around computers for a long time. The last time I created games was in the 8-bit era and I'm coming back. Construct makes it easy for me to come back to gaming and I'm excited.

Why do I like Construct 2? I discovered Construct too late to enter their rotary contest, but I was intrigued to see how easy it is to make things rotate. Almost impossible in the old days. I haven't actually looked a the games in the rotary contest, but I've been thinking about a game I saw that involved rotation and so I'm going to try to implement the game. I spent the last week learning about how Construct 2 works. There's a lot of material there, but I'm seeing that it is really simple if you just break things down into:

  • objects (players, obstacles, treasures)
  • behaviors (things that objects do)
  • layouts (rooms)
  • layers (like in Photoshop)
  • events (things that happen)
  • actions (responses to actions)

If you can wrap your head around those six things, the rest is relatively simple. I'm moving fast but the Construct 2 forums are very helpful.

What is my game? I'm calling it Tilt-A-Twirl after the carnival ride. The main idea is that you must move through a rotating platform, avoid obstacles, gather treasure, and get to the next level. The trick is that the platform rotates, but you must use the arrow keys to navigate. And that the arrows move you based on the internal frame of reference of the platform when you entered. So if the platform is rotated 180 degrees, the left arrow moves you right, etc. Simple but difficult. There is a time limit and scoring. The art will be pretty simple but original.

Stay tuned!

-- Bob

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    Bob Thulfram
  Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:16 pm
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It's been crazy, but I've got the workings of a complete game now. I haven't done a complete game since the 8-bit era on Commodore 64, Vic 20, Atari 800, Apple II, Radio Shack Color Computer, Timex-Sinclair, and others.

Here's a link to my game: http://thulfram.coffeecup.com/HBGames/Tilt01/.

CoffeeCup provides a hosting service for users of their software, and I hope it works!

I plan to add more levels and other small tweaks, but I'm happy with this considering that I came into the contest very late. Here's a shot of one level:

Image

Move the blue guy to the pentagon exit. Avoid the pointy stars but grab the red treasures. Collisions make noises, you get a charming chiptune melody, goofy background screens, a help screen, a death screen, and an end screen.

I've learned a lot making this small game. The main thing I've learned is that Construct 2 is really easy and fun to use. Especially I like because it does things that would be very hard to do if you wrote all the code yourself. How cool is it to be able to rotate the room? And no code. And all in HTML5.

So enjoy and let me know if something doesn't work or if you can see some improvements!

In case you're curious, the background art was done in Gliftex 7, the characters were created in Inkscape, and the sounds and music were created in FLStudio (Fruity Loops) with the fabulous Plogue Chipsounds instrument. This is fun!

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    Venetia
  Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:43 pm
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Location: velocitating a straight line
Hi Bob, thank you for joining the forums & this contest :D.

The premise of the game is interesting. I like the music and most of the sound effects, as well. The concept of changing your control scheme based on the rotation of the room seems like a nice new level of challenge.

A lot of things about the game feel like they need improvement, though, so I hope you're still working on it.

I'll list some of the things that you can work on, if you have time.

#1: The graphics: There isn't anything particularly stunning about them. You say in your OP that the game is sort of a play on a carnival ride, and the music agrees with that theme, but nothing else is themed that way. Nothing looks carnival-ish. And that wouldn't be a problem if it were themed some other way, but that isn't the case. There are also no animations--the player sprite doesn't even do a simple flip when changing direction. If you're not very good at making your own graphics, you are certainly allowed to use other graphics you rip or find elsewhere.
Heck, some of the other entries are only comprised of simple squares or circles, but the graphics are all themed or coherent in an eye-pleasing way, showing that you don't have to have a whole lot of artistic skill to still make something that looks nice.
In addition, I could barely even see the HP stat in the bottom right. It's black text on a dark background ... Not easy to see :)

#2: Rotation is choppy. Is there some way that you can make the rotation of the level more smooth? I feel like that would greatly improve not only the game's look, but it's feel, its dynamic, and its challenge. If you had the rotation change based on what items you hit, whether slowing or speeding up or changing direction, that would add a whole new element of innovation into your game.

#3: Too easy. The character has enough HP that if you just made a simple bee-line to the exit, and hit pretty much anything in your path, you'd still win. And since the rotation of the level is so slow, and your character potentially moves pretty quickly, there is no challenge.

#4: Power-ups don't make visual sense. I had to look up the "help" a couple of times before I realized that I SHOULDN'T be collecting the stars and avoiding the red circles. Psychologically, gamers tend to know that stars always mean something good (think of Mario!) and red things mean danger (that's an instinctual thing). Red can ALSO logically mean health, but when a red circle is next to a yellow star, the yellow star looks like the friendlier thing to tag, so people are going to naturally assume that the things that aren't stars are bad.

#5: Level could be bigger. I feel like that, if the viewing space of the game were much larger, then the level could be bigger, adding more challenge, as there will be more space for obstacles to navigate around.

#6: More levels! The game itself doesn't seem too terribly complicated, so why not add more levels to keep the player going? :D


There're only a few days left, so you may not have time to see to all of these things, but I wanted to give you a laundry list of ideas so that you can make sure your entry is as good as you can make it before the time runs out :D

It looks like there's a lot of potential here so don't feel bad & don't give up! :D

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    Venetia
  Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
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Location: velocitating a straight line
Also I wanted to note, the game's concept reminds me a lot of the bonus stages in Sonic The Hedgehog (the first one, on the Genesis).

Screenshot of that


If you never played it, it was basically rolling Sonic through a semi-pinball-like rotating maze, where he could jump off bumpers or snag rings or what-have-you. The goal was then to make it to the Chaos Emerald somewhere in the rotating maze.

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    Bob Thulfram
  Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:11 pm
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Here's my signature bar:

Image

Expand to see the code.

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Last edited by Venetia on Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Added copyable bbcode for you :D


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    Bob Thulfram
  Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:13 pm
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Venetia wrote:
Also I wanted to note, the game's concept reminds me a lot of the bonus stages in Sonic The Hedgehog (the first one, on the Genesis).

Screenshot of that


If you never played it, it was basically rolling Sonic through a semi-pinball-like rotating maze, where he could jump off bumpers or snag rings or what-have-you. The goal was then to make it to the Chaos Emerald somewhere in the rotating maze.


I've never played any Sonic game. I was between planets in that era. But I think its available on the Wii Virtual system. I'll check it out.

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    Bob Thulfram
  Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:18 pm
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Venetia wrote:
Hi Bob, thank you for joining the forums & this contest :D.

The premise of the game is interesting. I like the music and most of the sound effects, as well. The concept of changing your control scheme based on the rotation of the room seems like a nice new level of challenge.

A lot of things about the game feel like they need improvement, though, so I hope you're still working on it.

I'll list some of the things that you can work on, if you have time.

#1: The graphics: There isn't anything particularly stunning about them. You say in your OP that the game is sort of a play on a carnival ride, and the music agrees with that theme, but nothing else is themed that way. Nothing looks carnival-ish. And that wouldn't be a problem if it were themed some other way, but that isn't the case. There are also no animations--the player sprite doesn't even do a simple flip when changing direction. If you're not very good at making your own graphics, you are certainly allowed to use other graphics you rip or find elsewhere.
Heck, some of the other entries are only comprised of simple squares or circles, but the graphics are all themed or coherent in an eye-pleasing way, showing that you don't have to have a whole lot of artistic skill to still make something that looks nice.
In addition, I could barely even see the HP stat in the bottom right. It's black text on a dark background ... Not easy to see :)

#2: Rotation is choppy. Is there some way that you can make the rotation of the level more smooth? I feel like that would greatly improve not only the game's look, but it's feel, its dynamic, and its challenge. If you had the rotation change based on what items you hit, whether slowing or speeding up or changing direction, that would add a whole new element of innovation into your game.

#3: Too easy. The character has enough HP that if you just made a simple bee-line to the exit, and hit pretty much anything in your path, you'd still win. And since the rotation of the level is so slow, and your character potentially moves pretty quickly, there is no challenge.

#4: Power-ups don't make visual sense. I had to look up the "help" a couple of times before I realized that I SHOULDN'T be collecting the stars and avoiding the red circles. Psychologically, gamers tend to know that stars always mean something good (think of Mario!) and red things mean danger (that's an instinctual thing). Red can ALSO logically mean health, but when a red circle is next to a yellow star, the yellow star looks like the friendlier thing to tag, so people are going to naturally assume that the things that aren't stars are bad.

#5: Level could be bigger. I feel like that, if the viewing space of the game were much larger, then the level could be bigger, adding more challenge, as there will be more space for obstacles to navigate around.

#6: More levels! The game itself doesn't seem too terribly complicated, so why not add more levels to keep the player going? :D


There're only a few days left, so you may not have time to see to all of these things, but I wanted to give you a laundry list of ideas so that you can make sure your entry is as good as you can make it before the time runs out :D

It looks like there's a lot of potential here so don't feel bad & don't give up! :D


Wow, these are exactly the kinds of criticisms I will treasure. Lots to think about and I'll definitely be working on this until the deadline. When exactly and in what time zone is the deadline? Is a link to an exported project what you need?

I find this a new kind of game and very difficult once it gets going. All of your criticisms are good and I'll do what I can in the next few days, but I intend to keep on fiddling with game until I get something I can post proudly.

Again, thanks!!!

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    Bob Thulfram
  Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:31 pm
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Bob Thulfram wrote:
Here's my signature bar:

Image

Expand to see the code.


Hey, thanks! I'm learning so much right now. My first sig, my first hosted game. Again, thanks for your help and thanks for hosting this contest!

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    Bob Thulfram
  Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:53 pm
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I've listened to Venetia and made several changes. There's more to do and little time to do it, but I thought I would share where I am now.

http://thulfram.coffeecup.com/HBGames/Twirl%2007/

Here are a few screens.

Image

Image

Image

The changes I've made:

  • When the hero turns left or right, the sprite does too.
  • I changed the danger and reward sprites. Yellow is good, red is bad!
  • I added two more rooms.
  • I increased the rotation speed every time you move to a new room. Making it harder.

The more I use Construct 2, the easier it is. Changing the sprite direction is two lines. Changing the sprite image is easy.

Adding new rooms is pretty cool. Event sheets can be reused and overridden. This is cool stuff.

NOW is the time for further suggestions. I'm still fiddling with how much health to start with, how much to subtract if you hit a red spike, and how much to add if you hit a yellow star.

Also I'm considering adding a timer for each level. If you go to slow, you can stop and think which key to press. But I'm not sure. I'll definitely add more levels, and I'm still testing.

You can test too. Play the game, see how it works. It might warp your mind, though, since you have to learn a new style of control. Or maybe you're used to living in a backwards world. :biggrin:

I'm listening to Roland Kirk's, I Talk With the Spirits, while I'm programming. What do you listen to?

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    Bob Thulfram
  Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:23 pm
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As I come into the home stretch, I think I'll do two more levels and then after the 5th level, I"ll go back to the first level, creating a repeating cycle. It won't seem that way exactly because each level increases the speed of rotation, so it will be much harder by the time you get back to the first level. Wooo!

I'm also liking a timer for levels, maybe 30 seconds. I'll need to add a timer display for each screen and maybe an absolute counter of the number of rooms you go through, which will then be your score.

And I think I'll make it harder by making the death spikes more heavily weighted and the health stars not as helpful.

There seems to be a trend at making things hard.

If I had more time, I'd add a way to make the game easy, medium, and hard.

Any ideas from anyone on all this? I imagine everyone is pretty busy :crazy:

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    Bob Thulfram
  Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:49 pm
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Your member name: Bob Thulfram
Your project name: Tilt-A-Twirl
URL to your entry thread: viewtopic.php?f=293&t=76349
URL to your final version of your entry: http://thulfram.coffeecup.com/HBGames/Tilt-A-Twirl08/

Did you make a userbar for your entry:Yes
If yes: URL for your entry's userbar's image (no img tags): Image

Write one short sentence describing your game: You enter an endless series of rotating rooms that are spinning out of control!

Do you agree that your game is self-contained (not a demo), that it was not started until March 3rd, 2012, that it was created within the confines of the Free Edition of Construct 2, and that, should the judges ask you to submit your unmodified .capx file to ascertain this, you will be able & willing to do so?: Yes.

If you are under 18, do you have your parents' permission to receive winnings, should your entry win? (N/A if over 18): N/A

Whew! First game contest I ever entered, first game I've written since the 8-bit era!

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    Bob Thulfram
  Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:37 am
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Sorry about messing up the BBCode. This is the first time I've done anything like this.

I must sound like someone who's been away a long time. :biggrin:

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    Venetia
  Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:42 am
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Location: velocitating a straight line
No worries. Half of the entry submissions were done wrong somehow, lol. :P
It's certainly a fun challenge for me to fix all of them while setting up the judges' forum ... @_@
:P

Looking forward to judging your entry, thanks for entering :)

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    Bob Thulfram
  Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:18 am
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Venetia wrote:
No worries. Half of the entry submissions were done wrong somehow, lol. :P
It's certainly a fun challenge for me to fix all of them while setting up the judges' forum ... @_@
:P

Looking forward to judging your entry, thanks for entering :)

Thanks for doing so much to make the contest fun and a real learning experience. I think you worked harder than any of us and you didn't even get to make a game. :biggrin:

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    joannesalfa
  Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:54 am
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Not bad at all, but still fun.

I would like to leave my feedback, i think it maybe special for mobile devices what they can rotate the devices for fun, otherwise this desktop it makes me to confuse and rotate my face lol, there an idea what you can simulate the clock in the background may be awesome.


Good luck!


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    Wink
  Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:23 am
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Nice job Bob :) This is a cool little game I like your graphics. I think this would make a fun mobile device game. I hope you continue to develop it after the contest.

Good luck with the contest :)

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    Bob Thulfram
  Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:30 am
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joannesalfa wrote:
Not bad at all, but still fun.

I would like to leave my feedback, i think it maybe special for mobile devices what they can rotate the devices for fun, otherwise this desktop it makes me to confuse and rotate my face lol, there an idea what you can simulate the clock in the background may be awesome.

Good luck!


You're supposed to rotate it in your mind. :haha:

Cool idea about putting a clock in the background. I found I need to be careful where I put something important, because things rotate in and out of view.

This was a fun game to create and I hope to create more! Thank you for your feedback.

PS: your entry reminded me of a board game called Formula D. Fun!

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    Bob Thulfram
  Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:35 am
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Wink wrote:
Nice job Bob :) This is a cool little game I like your graphics. I think this would make a fun mobile device game. I hope you continue to develop it after the contest.

Good luck with the contest :)


I definitely plan to improve the game and release it on as many platforms as I can ... probably as many as Construct 2 will enable. I'd also like to do a cool dungeon game like yours, but that will take more time. Thanks for your kind words and for liking the graphics. I made them with Inkscape and exported them as bitmaps.

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