[DevLog] Crater Hounds - Rogue-lite shooter

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  • Hi,

    Update Mon Sep 23, 2019:

    Added some Gifs

    Update Mon Feb 02, 2019:

    Rogue-lite version playable here: gamejolt.com/games/craterhounds/367742

    Update Sat July 28, 2018:

    First dungeon generator online

    Update Sun May 21, 2018:

    Experimenting with lighting

    Update Mon May 14, 2018:

    Been a while! Integrating a first pass of environment tiles

    Gif added below

    Update Fri Sept 01, 2017: Update on visual style, first tilesets

    Update Thu May 11, 2017: Started concepting for a graphical style, far from done, but not all unhappy with some results. For art stuff the see latest post

    Update Mon April 17, 2017: new version on the arcade - new levels, 200% overhauled mechanics, still no visuals

    oh, and brought back the mechs!

    https://www.scirra.com/arcade/shooting- ... v-02-17020

    Update Fri Sep 02, 2016: new demo on the arcade - check later post for details]

    https://www.scirra.com/arcade/action-ga ... type-10787

    Original post:

    this prototype is about hijacking powerful Mechs and plowing through hordes of ruthless invaders.

    Currently consists of 3 levels:

    1. Breach the Gate

    2. Rescue your Allies

    3. Steal the Heavy Walker


    All visuals are still placeholders at this point, so please try to look beyond the chunky visuals. Things do get boxy and abstract at times, I guess.

    The Warhammer 40k theme will be gone in the end, although the gritty sci-fi vibe is kinda what I'm after.

    There are still some bugs at times, like enemies chasing you through walls or allies attacking you.

    But that shouldnt hurt the fun (much <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz">).

    At times the level language is probably not super selfexplanatory, due to minimal visuals.

    Hopefully the objective tracker and compass help clarify the mission goals a bit.

    Feature breakdown:

    • Fight on foot, wielding Blaster and Grenades


    • Steal heavily armed Mechs and trample smaller enemies
    • Gather rage to unleash Berserk Mode
    • 3 Mech types to hijack, each with unique behaviours and abilities
    • 4 enemy solider types, 4 enemy mech types
    • Allied troops to rescue or fight along side
    • indoor and outdoor segments (image real pretty graphics!)

    Playing with gamepad is recommended!

    Tested with Xbox360 pad in Chrome.

    Keyboard+Mouse is supported but only for debugging, not quite as juicy atm.

    Pro tip: I left in a cheat button to skip through levels, in case you get stuck or have to restart too often

    Play here:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/145 ... index.html

  • Very Nice. My only complaints are the controls, but that's because I used a keyboard for this.

    The gameplay reminds me a bit of hotline miami.

    My only complaint besides the graphics (But I know they are placeholders), lack of sound (That I know you'll add), is that the character moves too sluggishly on foot. If the character and the projectiles were faster it would be better.

    The only glitch I noticed is when I clicked on the level ++ icon and my character couldn't stop moving southwest.

    Good Job and Improve!

  • Nice work! I was expecting just a few rooms & waves of enemies, but instead got a well-paced & varied campaign.

    Some ideas - they might seem overly critical but that's only because it's interesting what you're doing in C2:

    Movement of everything could be faster, it would suit the bullet hell mechanics you've got (the slow enemy projectiles) & the player could move around more freely. Right now, the only tactic is to keep circling enemies in one direction. It'd be more fun to be able to dodge around larger fields of bullets & avoid hordes of melee enemies (think L4D sized hordes instead of just 3 or 4 at once).

    The cover obstacles don't feel intuitive. You can shoot over them, but they seem to block enemy LOS (they don't approach if you're behind cover). Maybe you could have a cover system useable by both player & npcs, which forces the character to duck if they're next to cover (tested by overlap or distance) & stand if they're shooting.

    Rage mode didn't seem to do anything. Something that works well in shooters is to build up an adrenaline meter (typically based on combo scoring) then you can activate slow-motion for a short period - this is great in bullet hell shooters where you tactically use it to get out of chaotic situations.

    There could be a bigger difference between being on foot & inside a mech - movement speed, special abilties like charging forwards, new weapons like rockets/grenade launchers, being able to move or crash through scenery.

    Flamer-thrower boss was awesome, maybe there could be smaller mini-bosses like that to keep you on your toes.

    Look forward to seeing more of this

  • anyarmy40k thanks for your reply and taking the time to try it

    taking note of your request for more speed; still got a lot of balancing ahead of me, more mechs to find a spot in the progression for. I didn't want speed to be the standout quality of the on-foot mode, given how much weapon-play it already has. but more overall speed is certainly an option.

    mattb thanks for the in depth response,

    appreciate your proposals and ideas, some are truly tempting.

    I actually have the dashing ability, I just took it off the 2nd mech cos it was so powerful. will have a dedicated mech for that later on.

    Rage not being noteable looks like I toned it down too much, it's actually increasing your fire ratio. nerfed if too much, it seems.

    Obstacles are a pretty broken design, I have to admit. It started out mostly as an excuse for more navigation challenge, but enemies don't really handle it at all. Cover sounds great but I'm cautious to add more features atm.

    Seems a recurring theme that I toned all my balance down too much, with mechs and walking feeling too similar too.

    Good pointers, will certainly consider, thx!

  • facecrime

    If you decide to experiment more with an npc cover system, I did this rough test last year & it might be useful:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/523 ... ystem.capx

    It shows how you can get a decent cover formation with npcs keeping their distance & getting behind different cover objects with quite few events. With a proper state-based ai setup I'm sure you could make some challenging opponents.

  • Oh wow, that's a great demo there, thanks a bunch!

    Loving the behaviour, that might indeed be a cool addition. Evaluating.

  • Bringing this back to life with an update on enemy behaviours:

    After my first prototype I decided to rework my then very basic AI.

    Each enemy is now configurable in a sort of a shared state machine that actually turned out rather complex.

    I put a small Demo on the Arcade to showcase my overhauled enemy behaviours:

    https://www.scirra.com/arcade/action-ga ... type-10787

    All enemies now have distinctive patterns, each archetype aiming to demand it's own play style.

    I now have fairly diverse enemy types, a few of them can be seen in this little demo:

    Standard Melee Units - approach the player and try to land a hit

    Standard Ranged Units - approach and circle the player, firing dodgeable bullet salvoes

    Ranged Sniper Units - seek cover in environment, avoiding the player, firing single shots

    Warper Units - try to teleport into the player's back to land a melee hit.

    I might update this with more levels and enemy types or the truck loads of new feature that I built since the last post as I go.

    Right now I'm busy tidying everything up and taking the project to the next stage.

    I'd be grateful for more of the very productive feedback you guys provided me with last time.

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  • I just played the small demo on the arcade, it has good vibes.

    The fights are dynamic (I didn't know the purple boxes were destructible and that you could shoot above it, maybe a visual element to show this) the "swarming corridor" is intense, blood when an enemy died is always a good thing. I wasn't lost in the level thanks to the indicator top right. I understood how the gun ammo works really quickly.

    For the difficulty, I would say a 4/10 (10=apocalypse ) One thing, the boss needs a grenade to be killed (I spent the first play shooting at him without any results)

    I know that it's a work in progress but some little sounds could add a lot.

    The player is a little slow and sometimes there is lag (when you pass the first door and before the melee enemies spawn in the corridor)

    Keep up the good work!

    Ps: I watched Robot Jox


    I played the dropbox version, it's really good. I had to stop because I was stuck at the end of the 3th level (Leave your vehicle and find the hangar) the game is a little too easy

    -The enemy sprite could change when he's dead cause sometimes I don't know if the blood is from another enemy.

    -The enemy spawning with a jump (ork jetpack I guess) is nice.

    -The level 2 boss is too easy.

    Riding the mech is great, the shaking screen makes the experience enjoyable. )

  • Thanks for your feedback Hope you played with a controller

    Good that you mentioned the boxes, the cover system is perhaps a bit lazy, but I think it works; only 50% of bullets get past cover, the idea is to encourage flanking of enemies in cover and avoid entrenching behind boxes. Curious to know if it woks out like that.

    Surprised by your difficulty rating, I might need to crank it up a notch ;P

    In my defense the first enemy is kinda broken, he should be dodging/circling you. Needs fixing.

    The boss actually has a weakspot in the back, thats what the red ball is about.

    But it's not very clear, so an expensive grenade is kind of a good alternate solution.

    Robot Jox was good silly fun right? They don't make em like that anymore (not really tho)

  • New version on the arcade now

    https://www.scirra.com/arcade/shooting- ... v-02-17020

    Pretty much everything has been overhauled by now and it's beginning to feel like a game.

    I built some new levels to see all the changes in action, the expanded AI, the collectable weapons, the refined camera.

    There's one more killer feature I decided to bring in, to enable a less linear experience and I hope to start working on it soon.

    That said I might have rushed this upload a bit, I found a few visual glitches in the version, but I should get that fixed fairly quickly.

  • Minor update as promised:

    Adressed the visual glitches

    Activated the objective tracker and compass

    https://www.scirra.com/arcade/shooting- ... v-02-17020

  • Finally managed to produce some results in graphics research.

    Some concepts for the player mechs:

    Not quite as exotic as I wanted them to be, want to work towards more of a scrap metal/model kit bashing style.

    Finding this a bit too tame and star wars-y.

    A small collection of first draft tiles for a sci fi base / spaceship setting.

    Also including early enemy sprites for the standard rifleman.

    Animation of the enemy sprites is currently the biggest issue; haven't really gotten the hang of Spriter yet and I'm considering actually painting the frames. Awefully time intense either way as it seems.

  • So the prospect of animating those organic characters seemed like I'm biting more than I can chew.

    I experimented a fair bit, tried to find a simple and easy to produce style. And I just didn't get it to work.

    I found a style that feels appropriate to the gameplay I want. It works for technical stuff, and I still havent resolved the organic enemies yet. I'll probably rather rethink my character designs and make them fit the mechanical style. It's all more work intensive then I'd hoped, but I feel better about it.

    Here's what I'll be going for, will be working towards a minimal must-have tile set for now. The mechs are meant to be player vehicles, the legs are placeholders.

  • A few new tile sets, combined into an interior scene mockup.

    (Also updated the image above, not sure its for the better.)

    Any pros got some input on the overall readability or quality as such? Any feedback is appreciated.

    Really need to finish those mechs ...

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