Some more work on the fourth boss, this time he has a name and sprite. Presenting... Sir Theodore Thunderbolt!
Got another update up on the website, this time on the third level Museum Mayhem;
Museum Mayhem Level Profile Added
We've been showing off this stage on our Twitter account for sometime now but now is the time to officially announce the third stage, Museum Mayhem!
After protecting an ancient artifact discovered in the Gazadiaz Ruins and stopping the attempt to steal it in Beehive Battleship, Brock finds there's some mysterious goings on in the museum that threaten the artifacts safety again. Spirits of warriors passed long ago, mummies and living demonic skeletons wander the halls of the museum... But is everything as it seems?
So far in the development of Brock Crocodile I definitely had the most fun in designing this stage. It also, combined between both stages, the smallest level so far in the game but don't let that make you think it's the shortest. Completing either stage should take you more than 2 minutes even knowing the most effective route to the goal. While Gazadiaz Ruins only had baddies standing in your way and the Beehive Battleship need you to wait for hoops to drag you to the next location, Museum Mayhem has a few different kind of obstacles.
Firstly the biggest hindrance to players is going to be the secruity system of the museum. Through out the stage the players will find laser beams that are meant to discourage any thief who dares enter (Why a museum has this system we may never know... ) The second and third gimmick are mostly safe, a moveable block and crates blocking your path. One just requires a push from the player whilst the other needs them to find the levy hook attached to the crate to move it upwards. But be careful with the crates, if you want too long under it it'll come and crush poor Brock (No instant death here but a 1HP damage to our scaly friend.)
I also had the most fun in designing the baddies for this stage but that's a tale for another update. Until then head over to the stages section and read up a bit on Museum Mayhem. We've done some basic changes to our website now linking our Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Google+ pages on the header and you'll find you can share or retweet this entry at the article's title. Hope you've had fun reading this and be sure to look out for more future Brock Crocodile content!
I am curious, are you using a level editor or the standard frame editor?
I'm using the standard frame editor though from stage 4 onwards I'll be sticking to a 32x32 tileset so it makes life slightly easier!
Levels are usually first designed on paper and than I place each tile in the frame editor. Here's an example of the second stage of the Gazadiaz Ruins level. I think I did a pretty good, multipathed, varied level. Trying to make each level individual from others using gimmicks, baddie types and secrets.
Looks really good. I was curious because I am debating for my game and I know this type of game you are doing has complex, large levels. Good job!
^ Definitely make sure you draw it down (Graph paper is the best!) before you attempt to do make a large level. I've found it helps me a lot if I have a design down and then whilst constructing the level, If I feel some parts need changes its easy to remedy knowing how much space I have to play with!
Some Men- err Crocodiles... Just want to watch the world burn...
*Sneakpeak of the fifth stage Breakout Prison*
Wow, looks like really layered level design...will take multiple playthroughs to discover everything. Super cool!
Probably my longest developer's blog yet, this time talking about the work carried out on the flamethrower for the fifth level;
Developer's Blog #4: Making a Gimmick
Welcome back to another developer’s blog, this time we’ll be taking at how we design a certain gimmick in the fifth stage, Breakout Prison, where Brock finds himself in the high security Navadash Prison.
Jump in to get this blog post started!
In this particular blog we’ll be looking about the design process that went into making the spotlight. Some context on the level itself, the player will find herself/himself confronting all manners of traps that have been activated to deter any prisoners in trying to escape from laser beams, spikes hidden in the floor, trapdoors and the gimmick we’ll be focusing on this blog the spotlight that activates the flamethrower! Just like the museum, we’re not quite sure why a prison has a flamethrower…
The level itself has one thing that differentiates it from the previous 4 levels and that is a distinct lack of bad guys, save for the 5 hidden through out the level that help the player reach the maximum attack bonus. Outside of that the player will simply be facing an onslaught of gimmicks that will attempt to impale, fry and electrocute our poor reptilian friend. With this in mind it really came down to making sure the gimmicks themselves had a bit more personality and above all else, managed to combine well together when placed in succession or together.
The most important one would be the spotlight. I broke it down in two parts, first of all the spotlights that alternate between themselves and then the flames that start shooting out if the player is detected. First of all required research, as people are aware of by now that with Brock Crocodile we’re attempting to create a platformer from around the 90s. There were plenty of methods I found on how to do a flamethrower but all of them seemed far too advance so I decided to play some good old fashion classics from the 1990s.
After seeing how it was done in SEGA’s 1994 release Sonic & Knuckles (Who says games don’t teach you anything!) it came down to trying to emulate it. This brought a lot of fun and quirky techniques that I learned after messing around with the Sine and Cos that should definitely provide some future use for me! Now to tell you how it’s done, I’m sure there is a more effective way of doing it but for someone who hardly programmed it worked almost as I wanted it to.
The mask that creates the flame, which we shall call the generator from now on, has four different versions (Up, down, left and right.) and one alterable value (Flame direction.) In the initial testing the game would create a dozen or so new flames every 5 seconds at each specific generator points. Once the flame hits the generator, a specific alterable flame in the flame would change (from 0 – 3 representing up, down, left and right.) once this happens, the current y position of the flame would be subtracted by 1 or plus 1 depending if it was going up or down and like wise for the x position if it was going left or right.
The second alterable value is a bit more tricky and makes it needlessly longer. Everytime a flame hits the generator, the generator’s type of movement value would go up by 1. This same value is copied into the flame’s alterable value for type of movement so it knows if it needs to be more slightly left, be in the centre or slightly right allowing for a slight “wavey” movement. Depending on the type of movement, the movement value of the flame would change (From -6 to +6) and a forumla is used to calculate just where the flame should be. In this case it would be;
[Set X position to X( "Flame" )+(Sin(Movement( "Flame" )))]
Now depending on how far I want the flame to be to the right or left, a multiplication will occur. Finally after the flame reaches the end of it’s life cycle (Around .35 seconds.) it extinguishes, leaving its slightly younger predecessors to take the reigns as the top flame for the remaining .10 seconds of its life, ha!
Next up the much less frustrating thing was to make the spotlights. The spotlights are controlled by an object, called the Prison_System from now on, in the background that makes use of it’s 5 alterable values (BrockSEEN, BrockACTIVATION, FlamecreationTimer and LightSwitch.) Whenever Brock overlaps a spotlight, BrockSEEN changes from 0 to 1 and 1 is constantly added to BrockACTIVATION and FlamecreationTimer whilst BrockSEEN equals 1. During this time the FlamecreationTimer creates one flame at the various generators and is reset to 0 every time it reaches 6 so we don’t have an overload of flames!
Though you may ask how does Brock get past these spotlights? That one is easy, the LightSwitch is constantly adding 1 until it reaches the maximum of 120 when it’s reset to 0. At each successive 40, one light switch turns on and the other two turn off. A very simple system for a rather complicated secruity system in a prison! All in all, 3 days of work saw me complete the system which I think looks rather pretty and retro in motion. There’s still somethings to sort out (Such as where exactly the fire comes from.) but for now enjoy this GIF.
I believed I’ve covered everything and hopefully you can take away with you the sort of planning that goes on behind the scenes to get something as simple as a flame to work in a game! I must admit when I first started working on Brock my preparation for gimmicks was step by step, I was just winging it, nowadays I plan beforehand, what is the system’s purpose? How is it going to do? How many parts is there to it etc and it’s helped me give greater admiration to some of the industry’s best programmers in the past and future who had to deal with vastly more complicated systems!
Thanks again for reading and you can always share the link via our share buttons above the topic title, until next time!
Finally showing off the fourth level City Lockdown. Monkeys have taken over the city, kidnapped the mayor and demanding a ransom, fairly typical day in the life of a video game character.
Here's the funny thing, that stance by Brock is actually a glitch, his lower body sprite should be completely different from what you see. But the glitch works so well I think I'll just leave it in there!
Was doing some rough work on the hubtown. In the process of actually "modernizing" the graphics, the original use to look like this.
Next up, fixing up the background.