Today I am going to be going over advanced dynamic interactive particles and how they are used for specific gameplay and not only for enhancing the visuals and experiences in Corpses 'N Souls. Some of the topics covered today will include:
- Advanced Interactive Dynamic particle system : Part 1
- DOT aka Damage Over Time effects
- Environmental hazards
- Using advanced skill techniques to manipulate the environment and particles
- Sprite tinting for special effects
- Advanced Interactive Dynamic particle system : Part 2
The key thing that I am going to try and bring across in this article is that you don’t have to just have awesome visuals you can tie in that detail and high visual fidelity directly into your gamplay. After you view the new video and read the article hopefully you can see how you can synergize the two concepts to create something very cool and engrossing.
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[Part: 1] With the new dynamic interactive particle system you can not only take the visual fidelity to a next level more importantly you can take you gameplay to the next level. When merging both robust visual levels with detailed gameplay will result in awesome new experiences. Awesome visuals and gameplay was a fundamental design concept when I created my interactive particle system. Other forms of similar technology only focus on adding to the visuals while ignoring and having no impact on the gameplay. I wanted to do the opposite and make it as much as part of the gameplay as well as adding to the visual aka "damn that looks cool". Hopefully in the end I have come close to achieving that goal.
In this example I have a poison field blocking the way to the other side of the level. The fog is not designed as one large collision box. Commonly you would program the case [on] or [off] for poison damage if the poison fog's collision box is hitting the players collision box(lets exclude per pixel collision in this example to keep things simple). With my interactive particle system I instead check each dynamic poison fog particle(which is not static) against the player's collision box. More importantly the particle system is interactive so if we run through it and back the trailing fog will follow us and still damage us even though we are not in the exhaust area(hit location aka hot spot). The poison fog's drag from the player's motion will still cause the fog to be calculated as long as it is drawing and check if it is hitting us to apply the DOT(damage over time).
Taking things to the next level what if we could create wind and blow the poison fog away so we could pass, would that work? This is the sort of example of taking cool technology and creating cool gameplay that is highly detailed and interactive and no longer a boring [on] [off] scenario commonly seen in games.
Looking at a poison fog patch:
Using a advanced skill "Matter Bending" to produce wind effect to move the poison fog patch:
Here you can see how I am interacting with the particles dynamically with the wind produced from spinning my spear. Looks like we can almost move to safety, it will take skill for there is a back draft and the fog will keep spawning it does not simply disable if wind hits a collision box. That would simply make it a little bit more sexier than the basic example.
Here I am showing off the new poison damage effect applied to the player and how the main HUD reacts to the damage effect. As you can see in the two pictures the hud will dynamically change depending on the damage effect that has been applied to the player. In this case the HP(hit point) red skull has turned green as we are poisoned and losing HP during the DOT(damage over time) effect. You might also notice that a small icon is beside the HP red skull. This is a poisoned icon for when you get a DOT applied to you. Note there is also a number indicating the number of stacks that are applied. I have also completed a nice stacking system that will increase the multiplier which will be displayed next to the damage type icon aka de-buff.
Regular HP(hit point, the red skull) HUD :
Poisoned HP(hit point, the red skull has dynamically turned green to show the damage effect type) HUD :
Here we can see how I ran into a poison field and the same DOT poison icon that is next to the HP HUD also shows up as a nice visual aid for the player. The poison damage icon type will float up for a bit to let the player know what type of damage was inflicted on them. As well an optional damage number read out if [on] in the options will float down for any damage type. For each DOT tick it will show the damage amount that is being taken. Positive effects will float up so that the player knows up = good down = bad.
In this picture I am using a advanced skill that I unlocked "Matter Bending" to create wind effect to move the poison fog so I don't receive the powerful DOT.
Added to the world of Corpses 'N Souls are cool environmental hazards that are based off my interactive particle system. In this case we have a poison field that is in our way. The idea is to have interactive environmental hazards that the player can think there way out of and actually manipulate them to disable or over come them. I like to make it a more of a organic experience that blends into the environment and also lets you interact with the hazard.
In this example we have a poison field made out of interactive particles that if touched will apply a initial burst damage and then apply a DOT(damage over time) effect. Since you can interact with the fog particles if you run into the fog and run out your velocity will drag fog behind you like in real life with smoke and fog. This sort of detail make a big difference when an environmental hazard is not static and does not change.
There are many awesome hazards planed for the environments of Corpses 'N Souls that will be interactive as well a visually engrossing.
Here we case a poison field to determine the best case of action to pass it :
Having run into the poison fog we notice that it not only damages us initial with a burst damage there is a DOT also applied to us. Hmm this will take something more advanced then brute force running through it.
The poison fog moves as we run in and out of the fog bank it is not static and is interactive. You can also see a cool poison effect applied to the player when poisoned. A green smoke emanates from the player as well as some skulls. There is also a green tint on the all of the player to visually notify the damage type to the player. Having plenty of visual indicators is an important design philosophy of mine.
Having the ability to increase the visual fidelity also allows the increase in the players interactivity thanks to the new interactive particle system. Here we see a emerald water fall which is using the interactive particle system. If the water hit the player it will roll off the player and fall around its body.
Using the advanced skill that I unlocked "Matter Bending" will create a force field of wind that will shield the player from the water. You can imagine if this was lava, acid or any other damaging hazard how it be cool to interact with the hazard than rather turn a switch on or off. With a dynamic interactive particle system each interaction is never the same since it will always behave differently depending on what you do. This is a prime example of adding both a highly detailed visual component and gameplay component to the the game world. It really is on another level once you get to this level of detail and interactivity, sky is the limit of what you can create.
Checking out the emerald water fall :
Water streams over the players body under the water fall. Each water particle is being checked for collision against the player and interactive forces like wind and others. This is where mutli core CPUs and their multi thread capabilities come into play to help crunch through the work of all the particles as well as the GPU.
Here I am using a wind force field from spinning my spear from the "Matter Bending" skill. You can see how it suspends the water away from the player. The force is strong with this one :) , just messing around with the water feels really cool. When combined with meaningful gameplay it just shows a glimpse of how far you can take the games design and concepts. It sure is a powerful particle system and feature in Corpses 'N Souls it was worth all the work that is for sure. The best part is that the particle system is not specific to any GPU it only needs DX11 API or OpenGL to work. Same with the CPU it does not matter what brand you use, of course the more logical cores you have the better.
Taking the damage systems in consideration a tint system was created to accommodate the damage effects applied to the player. At any time the entire player with all its loot, main sprites etc can be tinted a certain colour that will override the colours on the original sprites. So if we have a fire effect we can tint everything orange, yellow, or blue for being frozen etc. In this case we picked green for the poison effect, it adds a nice visual indicator once you get poisoned.
Poisoned effect tint green [ON] :
No tint [OFF] the player is in regular form :
[Part: 2] Can also be used for visual effects and provide a more engrossing effect than you standard static pass through particle systems.
Not only can the interactive particle system used for fog in loot chests, water falls, grass cuttings, soul crystal shards from harvesting it is also used in the corpses of mobs. Here we show the advanced skill "Corpse Explosion" which uses the dynamic interactive particle system.
When using the dynamic interactive particle system it provides an awesome feed back and detail to any effect and visual design you are creating. Here when we explode the corpses of a fallen mob there are hundreds of blood particles, meat bits, meat chunks that procedurally explode. When falling each particle will collide with the surroundings and interact with what it hits. Having the particles interact with the environment and stopping on impact make a massive visual impact and engross the player in the event or action at hand. Blowing up corpses never felt so good its another past time that never gets old. Exploding corpses yields valuable Soul as loot drops.
Gameplay can be added to the corpse explosion depending on what perk you unlock and how you upgrade the "Corpse Explosion" skill. So if you unlock the poison branch the meat bit and chunks can emit poison on impact. Such a effect could not be possible with out a interactive particle system.
About to explode a corpse :
Thousands of interactive dynamic particles fling in the air and interact with the environment as they descend from the air and impact the ground :
The out come of the "Corpse Explosion" skill. A ncie effect of the blood and meat bits slowly streaming down the platforms and then falling off is made possible only by the interactive particle system :
This concludes the interactive particle system combined with gameplay for Corpses 'N Souls. I hope you enjoyed the article and it has opened up what is possible when you have a advanced interactive particle system and not only focus on visuals. As you can see from the video and article once you combine the two concepts(high fidelity gameplay and visuals) you really do take the your game to the next level and remove that repetitive static un-organic feel that so many games have.
Well I hope you are excited as to what I will create next in Corpses 'N Souls with all my advanced systems and awesome 2DEvolved engine, till next time. Remember to stay locked to indieDB and @SideScrollSTUs for the latest info on Corpses 'N Souls.