Today I am introducing a new super move which I have completed as well as discussing what I have been working on in the past months and what is planned for the future. Some of the topics covered today will include:
- Super move No. 12
- Interactive super move
- Project update
- What's next?
With the addition of dynamic interactive super moves, they bring a whole new level of immersion to the player. Long gone are the days of pre animated and baked super moves or attacks, when providing real time input and decisions to the player it brings a much more dynamic and cooler gaming experience. The added detail to super moves also blends and compliments the detailed world of Corpses 'N Souls.
Some may have noticed a few months have gone by where I have not been updating indiedb and have been quiet. Rest assured I have been very busy and hard at work on Corpses 'N Souls and made massive progress on the project on all fronts. During the last couple of months I have re written many systems, squashed hundreds of gameplay, rendering and performance bugs as well as added new systems and been working on the gameplay mechanics.
During the last couple of months I had to also make some difficult decisions as to what tech I would have to let go and if I had to proceed with a graphical and tech "downgrade". I am extremely happy to announce that I have kept all my current tech, added even more graphical features/systems, and improved all the current tech and actually managed to overcome some severe issues and been able to achieve a upgrade the visuals and systems rather than a "downgrade" them.
In short the project has never been more stable, run so fast and efficient, looked graphically better and been in a better state.
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Today we take a look at one of the new types of super moves in Corpses 'N Souls. Like Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts the player holds down the attack button on the selected weapon slot in your HUD till the super move charges to full with its associated HUD. Once fully charged the super move charge HUD at the top of the screen will change color. You will see the particles around you character change color as well to notify that you are full charged. Once you release the attack button it will start the super move ability and remove a large portion of your SP pool if not all of it.
Depending on the grade of weapon you have equipped and selected you may need to have a certain amount of proficiency in that weapon type in order to enable/activate its super move. There are other talents/skill points that will be needed to allow you to perform super moves in general since its considered a special ability in the RPG mode of Corpses 'N Souls.
Here we see the super move no. 12 aka "Mega Sword Thrasher" that has been released from the Legendary sword called the "Varrax Blade". The current super move is called the "Mega Sword Thrasher" and is a dynamic type of super move, that you control its action with your right joystick or mouse.
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Once the player has acquired/unlocked the skill to perform super moves and has also invested in the current weapons proficiency they simply just hold down the attack button to start the charge. If the player does not have a large enough SP pool the super move charging HUD in the below pic will not charge until you level up and expand your pool or have replenished your SP pool.
Here we can see the super move charging its HUD in its cool-down state and all the way to fully charged state along with the user notification of fully "Charged" in a ready state, which can be turned off.
Here we see how the current selected weapon slot dynamically changes its weapon UI icon to its corresponding super move icon once you start to charge the super move and when its fully charged. All the HUDs are not pre baked and are dynamic.
When charging your super move the selected weapon mini weapon stats summary in the bottom right will also dynamically change to the super moves stats, grade and UI graphics. In this case I have not changed all the stats so that is why they are the same in some cases. In the final version of the super move stats will of course be much greater than the default weapon dmg etc and have other bonuses listed. Both the regular weapon stats and the super move stats are place holders right now but they both are hooked up to code and extract loot stats etc and are working.
Here we see the visual FX for the player when they charge a super move. First the player will start out with a color in this case light blue and then it will switch to a alternate color to let user know the charge is ready. In this case with the Varrax blade uses purple as its visual key that the charge is ready to be unleashed. The super move charging FX take full advantage of the engines advanced interactive physics particle system.
A new addition to the re worked super moves is the ability to let the player control the super move's actions on demand. On demand means that the player can dynamically interact with the super move using a button or in this case the actual joystick or mouse. In the case of the "Mega Sword Thrasher" you actually control the blade with the right joystick. By pressing right or left on the joystick will force the blade to drop and raise.
In the image below we can see a cool optional Arcade like joystick visual queue, this tell the user to press the joystick to interact with the super move. Other super moves may also show a certain button needs to be pressed or some other sequence. Note the current super move is not built with a baked animation that is played on a button press. Instead the super move is built from code which allows the user to have full control over the super move in this example.
Here we see the visual queue fade away after the player has taken control of the blade. Once the blade hits the ground we get a nice screen shake effect that further increases the experience. Originating my gaming roots from the Arcades its really cool to bring some of my child hood into Corpses 'N Souls, I just love the little joystick queue.
Having re built my interactive physics particle system I can now freely use it any where I want with out a budget that limits my designs. The interactive physics particles help advance the visual fidelity of the super moves or any other aspect of Corpses 'N Souls.
This animated pic shows a the start of the super move emerging from the ground. Again the interactive physics particles are heavily used and show the beautiful effects they can create. The blood spewing from the hole in the ground stay on impact of the ground and then slowly drip into the water.
At this stage of the super move we can see how the two separate blood effects create a cool visual effect. The new interactive physics particle system is now fully programmable at a particle level, the old system had a lot of limits and fall backs them have been all removed in the new system.
A new screen shake effect has been added to the engine and can be hooked up to any event or action in the game. By adding a robust screen shake framework we can easily highlight attacks, animations, events, actions or anything else that we want to visually highlight. The screen shake feedback is a great new addition to the games powerful game engine.
So what have I been up to? In the last couple of months I have been working very hard fixing bugs in both the gameplay mechanics, game engine and rendering issues. Having built my own game engine comes with a lot of responsibilities and challenges but if you stick with it the lows are bound to get to the highs and you will reach a certain threshold where everything just works. I am happy to announce I have hit that threshold and the engine is at a point where I can focus on the content and mechanics. It is game show ready/stable.
At a certain point when I started some long play tests I found some major engine stability and performance issues. A main issue was found in interactive physics particle engine and some core multi threaded base engine code. Both issues where so severe that I had thought of removing certain features all together(like the advanced particle engine). During the Ultra mode under very heavy particle load(multiple water falls, raining on ultra etc) the particle system would not clean up its data structures properly and it had a major complex conflicts with my main core multi threaded engine code. The rendering would get artifacts and certain draw sections would collide and turn into gibberish. On top of this the CPU and system memory would keep getting consumed at a certain threshold 5+ hours in the same scene. Basically I had to remove the particle system or re design it. Use multi threading patterns in your game engines design makes certain bugs extremely difficult to isolate.
The last thing I wanted as a gamer was for my own game to get what is called a "downgrade", I was very close to this conclusion as my solution. The good news is I am stubborn/refuse to fail :) and I re wrote my whole interactive particle system and its better than ever, more advanced, and efficient. Most importantly I have removed all of my multi threaded conflicts and everything runs perfectly, stable and even faster than before with a even better CPU core load.
I will talk about this stuff in greater detail in another update. So I have spent massive time and effort on the backend and engine so that if I had all the content complete the code is in shippable state and stable. Tasks like background loading, key mapping, changing resolution in game, changing options in game etc have all be taken care off at this early stage.
On top of the major system re writes I have increased the visuals in all departments and have introduced a bunch of new systems to the game and engine.
In other departments none engine and rendering I have been busy working hard on the gameplay systems and made good progress. I am currently at the point where I am designing enemies and animating them. This is a major milestone in the project and the next video will show the combat of enemies where I can kill them etc.
In summary things are at a very awesome state right now and I am moving forward. Again this video is just a small teaser and to assure followers and fans that I am still alive :) and that the project has never been better and is moving forward.
So the plan is to complete a enemy type or two so that in the next video where I show the new changes over the last couple months in detail that I can actually kill the enemies in the demo and show how everything works.
During the next video I will also be launching the Steam Greenlight Concept page, this will help the game gather more fans and a larger user base. Basically I will start to share the game more openly to the gaming world.
After that I have another major mile stone that I talk about at a later date.
This concludes the super move no. 12 and the project updates article for Corpses 'N Souls. I hope you enjoyed the article and it gave you a cool glimpse of the new super move system and a brief but important update on the project current state and the knowledge that things going very well and moving forward.
To not have to worry about the game engine anymore is a massive achievement and lets the project move forward with out constraints. Remember to stay locked to indieDB and @SideScrollSTUs for all the latest info on Corpses 'N Souls and stay tuned for the months ahead for more news about Corpses 'N Souls development.