[Prototype] Red-Hot Robot Ultrarena

Comments

  • Man, I'd love to make you some juicy explosions. (Though I know I've been saying similar things for a while, and keep being tied up in other stuff...)
    Thanked by 1Mexicanopiumdog
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    @Elyaradine: That would be brillo. Otherwise, in the absence of fully-formed winsplosions, I wouldn't mind some advice on how I could tweak my existing ones. ;)

    For now the generic explosion effect in the game has three components - a mess of particles, a tinted fresnel-rim sphere for a shockwave, and a standard point light with a halo. That's fine for smaller explosions, but mechsplosions? Those don't seem to have enough meat. :\ Any pointers you have would be appreciated.
  • Looking really neat! The textures almost have a Borderlandsy feel, I don't know if this was intentional or if it just came to be like that...I feel the combat still needs to be ramped up by a Million; maybe larger projectiles and like you guys mentioned earlier, more SPLOSIONS!
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    The textures almost have a Borderlandsy feel, I don't know if this was intentional or if it just came to be like that
    Not initially the plan. :P I was dicking around with postprocessing when Unity 5 first came out, tried cel-shading on a whim (I loved Borderlands and Valkyria Chronicles' look), and realised that it worked really, really well for the game. It's less work for my poor volunteer artist, and makes the game pop visually.
    I feel the combat still needs to be ramped up by a Million; maybe larger projectiles and like you guys mentioned earlier, more SPLOSIONS!
    Balancing good visual feedback with comically overdone Juice Hell is something I've been struggling with for this entire project. :P It's a quality > quantity thing in this game, and hit effects do need some more work to look meatier.


  • Wow @Gazza_N this is really Amazing! I am very new to Game dev and only really started learning Game Programming and Using unity This year. You have some pretty rad stuff man! i can but wonder how to achieve something similar. You have inspired me to try even harder to learn game dev! Best of luck and I will also be following your progress and be cheering you on!
    Thanked by 3garethf Gazza_N Pierre
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    @mkShogun96: That's very kind of you to say. Thanks. :)

    The "secret" is many years of practice, loads of feedback from playtesters, and many, many failures along the way to accumulate game dev XP. This game may still end up one of them. :P

    Go! Make some games! Show us your stuff! Ask us questions when you get stuck! Mutual on-cheering shall occur! o7
  • It's really looking great man, kudos!
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
  • Exploding trees. Because of course.

    Thanked by 3garethf FanieG Pierre
  • Gazza_N said:

    Balancing good visual feedback with comically overdone Juice Hell is something I've been struggling with for this entire project. :P It's a quality > quantity thing in this game, and hit effects do need some more work to look meatier.
    Indeed.
    I have a modest suggestion.

    I find that lately I've developed the size of FX with 2d screen space in mind (not 3d space)....
    In other words... making the visual fx small/big enough (at the average distance) so that it's easy to identify but doesn't dominate the screen.
    For example... if an enemy mech usually explodes at about 20 meters ahead, how big should the fire/smoke/explosion be so that it only covers, say, 1/5 of the width/height of the screen?

    Taking this approach is not necessarily a realistic way, but from a player visual perspective it's a nice fast way for me to achieve the most enjoyable result.

    Just a thought.

    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
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    My personal taste is for in-world effects (especially when it comes to sparks and smoke etc). But more importantly, the audience @Gazz_N is courting is (at least partly) that of the mech simulation audience (like the relatively slow combat when compared to other 3rd person combat games, like Bayonetta, and the managing of resources while in combat).

    Immersion is an aesthetic that this audience appreciates, so whatever explosion/sparks/screenshake etc get implemented, the aesthetic needs to be weighed against how consistent it is with the rest of the game world.

    I thought of a couple example of effects I enjoyed recently.

    1) Although the explosion effects (when a car dies) are actual rubbish in Rocket League, there's a very juicy effect whenever a goal is scored:

    It starts with a pretty cheap flash of light. Then there's probably a few animated blurry smoke effects in the centre (I don't really think the animated smoke suits the Ultra Arena artstyle at the moment), along with some very sudden sparks, and a lot of invisible particles shooting out at incredible high speeds trailing smoke billboards that diminish in size as the invisible particle travels. It's very sudden, and it fills space well, and the knockback and camera shake that go with it are awesome. That knockback, and the effect it has on all the cars in the arena at the same moment, is probably the best effect in the game. Having physics things in the scene, like trees that shake, or debri that gets blasted around, can really help sell a shockwave.

    2) The sparks that the Batmobile cannon shoots out are awesome. At 2 minutes and 14 seconds it starts: The Avengers movies almost overuse this kind of effect as well, with loads of nonsensical things popping in showers of sparks. It makes things feel very metallic and white hot (like a 90s action movie steel mill), and are very good value for the time it takes to implement. Of course the dark setting in Batman makes the sparks look even better than they have any right to, but it's well implemented. The sparks even bounce against the ground.

    There are other sparks in both Batman and Rocket League that fly out individually. These are a lot like the sparks in Ultra Arena (in their use case), but in both these other games the sparks are much faster and much shorter lived. This helps to make it feel more violent, but without filling the screen with noise.

    I guess my feeling is that it's really only important to support combat feedback at certain ranges. If the combat is happening at great distances, then the combat is just sniping really, which isn't a lot of fun. And the control scheme in this game makes close range combat unwieldy. It's the middle range combat that @Gazza_N should be optimizing for (and seems that he is thus far).
    Thanked by 2Gazza_N Pierre
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    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I'm learning the hard way that knowing the principles of Juice is one thing, but implementing them properly is an art in itself. @BlackShipsFilltheSky has pretty much nailed my intention with the effects, but suffice to say that I'll still be tweaking and refining them for a good while, and every suggestion and bit of feedback helps! Keep 'em coming! :D

    (I especially like those streamers of sparks from explosions in that Batmobile video. That looks incredibly cool.)

    In the meantime, I've been tweaking the UI to make torso rotation clearer. I noticed at the last meet that people got super confused regarding the torso twist, so I've made the deadzone for the aim reticule far more prominent (and adjustable). My hope is that the relationship between cursor position and torso twist is far clearer now. I've also refined the torso twist indicator at the bottom of the HUD. I think it illustrates the extent of twist MUCH better now.

    Short video:
    Thanked by 2EvanGreenwood Pierre
  • So is there a particular reason why you're spawning so few particles? Are you worried about performance? Because, basically, spawn more particles. Spawn ALL the particles. Go crazy and then when they lag, tone them down on slow machines. But do not pre-emptively spawn less particles on purpose... Ever ;)
  • Yeah, it's pretty much been performance concerns, and the desire not to drown everything in special effects. :P

    Regardless, I've been taking all the advice to heart and implementing more elaborate and numerous particle effects for explosions and such. A short video:

  • @Gazza_N that's looking a lot better :)

    I still think you can afford MORE particles. The smoke could do with some upgrades to make it feel larger in the game world (it's very small now, real smoke is expansive and sticks around through dispersal, not by fading to black and then vanishing) I think that could help the permanence in the game. Secondly, the bullet hit particles should flash when they hit a mech, but that flash sticks around too long right now - if you made particles that "glanced" off the mech you'd still know you were getting hit (and be able to see enemy hits) but you wouldn't have bullets feel more permanent than smoke.
  • Quite right. Let me see what I can do about that...

  • @Gazza_N: That looks a lot more grounded, woo! :) The bullet effect is great now, smoke-spewing mechs are easier to follow and obviously damaged, nice. Now all you need is "hanging" smoke around explosion points, it'll slowly disperse (obvs), but it'll help add weight to the explosions and make the floor decals more explicable. Also, bonus for hiding behind smoke in a firefight ;)
  • Why hello, stalwart mech fans!

    A quick note to say that Ultarena has its own Bitchin' Betty Bobby!


    I've also been making huge improvements to the AI pathfinding through the use of vectorfield-based local avoidance (or in layman's terms: "Anti-wallderp stuffles for dumb robots").

    I'm making a good few extra changes and additions to UI, and with luck will have another playable up tomorrow evening! Yay!
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    @Gazza_N "Vectorfield-based local avoidance"...Don't know what that means, but it sure looks pretty and fun! :) Not going to try and figure out HOW this is all done, just waiting patiently... *tap tap tap*
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    Happy hey! Build's up. You can read more details and links and crap in the original post, or you can just get the build HERE: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/59235601/UltrarenaSeptemberBuild.zip

    You can hit F1 in-match for a terrible info overlay of the game's controls. It's better than nothing.
    konman said:
    @Gazza_N "Vectorfield-based local avoidance"
    "Anti-derp techniques to make dumb AI robots look less dumb". It sounds fancier than it is. More importantly - IT WORKS. :P

    (I'm happy to elaborate on how I refined the pathfinding if people care/are interested).
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    I'm gonna jump into the build as soon as I get home today.
    The videos have prepared me for this... :>

    "Later that day"
    Ah man that was awesome. The new jump jets feel really comfortable and I like the little speed boost it gives me.
    The weapon balance was also refreshing, where the auto cannon felt like it was having a nice tangible effect.

    You've probably considered this already... regarding the trees. They're great, and I totally get that I should take a bit of damage and slow-down when walking into them, but it felt a little strange that the tree didn't break. I feel that if you made them tip (or even explode, lol) it will maintain the fantasy better.

    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
  • Thanks for the feedbacks! I have considered smashable trees, but I need to test and see what the effect of having a bunch of loose vegetation bounding around the map would be. Having them just explode is a tad overkill, yeah? :P

    As for the autocannon that was "too weak"? NO BALANCE CHANGE. It's all in the particle effects. :)
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    @Gazza_N

    As per above, You're prolly aware... Navmesh at runtime is coming in Unity 5.4 (March 2016), for those who are prepared to wait. I presume this due to the term "bake API". Baking currently only available at design time.

    Onwards...Yummie! FEED back (Apologies if I repeat things said previously, tl;dr all posts.

    General:

    Cel-shaded looks the bomb.

    Particles look amazing - especially the smoke plumes and the weird terminator ball just before a mech explodes. Nice.

    AI - this is no walk in the park! :) Really like the fact it's hard. Makes me want to come back for more.

    Computer voice! Now it feels just like I'm driving with GPS, thanks! (Male/Female voice pls)

    I can sense customisation of different chassis and weapons are inbound too. cool.

    Love the controls. And the tactile feel of weapons being fired. Cannot find fault.
    Movement controls and jumping is predictable and works very well.

    Maybe make the minimap not look perfectly square. Would imply there is more terrain beyond the grid boundary somehow?

    Minor menu comment around metric unit usage, e.g. Mass: Tonne versus Ton and also "Units/s" versus "Unit/s". Not sure which is better... I get so hung up on these things.

    Explosions, I would add more reds and orange particles as opposed to blue.

    Wish-list:

    A lot of the directed fire happens low/flat to the ground, maybe a weapon that lobs like a mortar/artillery in an arching fashion could alleviate that and add more variety?

    I would love to see some softer targets in the arena that are easier to explode. Maybe a barrel or two that go up easier.
    Barrel explosions could do area damage visible as a shock wave perhaps to add tactical advantage. If not barrels, maybe a refuel truck. Basically the quicker I get to see something explode the better. Also it emphasis the power of the mech's weaponry which is lost a bit due to balanced fighting against armored opponents who take a while to explode.

    Smoke screen as cover would be awesome for more tactics.

    Shooting off limbs of opponents.

    I feel overheat happens too quickly . Longer grace period = leaves more time for action and splosions.
    Maybe a way of cooling down quicker than just waiting for cool down to happen normally?

    Damn i want a lawnmower like they have! It's sooo smooth, the grass :) Would like to see patchy grass and rocks.
    The water looks amazing. Where's the koi?

    Day/night cycle. (I think at lower light levels all the explosions and lights would look awesome)
    I see that in earlier screenshots though, so would like to choose the time of day/weather etc also in start-up params

    Rockets and criss-cross smoke trails. Swoooooosh, boooom.

    Skybox suggestions (Twin moons would look really cool)

    Pilots have a chance of escaping their mech just before it explodes so I have a chance to stomp on their tiny bodies with my mech. (Hey it does say STOMPY mech sim...)

    A small change...Possibility to walk up the ramp of a landed drop-ship and take off, raining hell from above for a short period of time? The landed drop-ship could add an interesting objective and perspective and cause a combat hot spot.

    I won't mention camera shake as I see it is a sore topic. ;-P
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
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    Oh wow. Wall o' feedback! That's the best kind of feedback! :D
    konman said:

    I can sense customisation of different chassis and weapons are inbound too. cool.
    They are! In fact, I just got a few new weapon models in! I'm wiring them up now, and they are teh smex.
    konman said:

    Love the controls. And the tactile feel of weapons being fired. Cannot find fault.
    Movement controls and jumping is predictable and works very well.
    YASSSSSS. I'm super pleased to hear that. I'll keep tweaking, but I think I'm getting there. :)

    I'll take a look at your other aesthetic comments as well. Any particular reason you don't like seeing the minimap constrained?

    As regards your wishlist, thanks for all the suggestions! Some stuff is planned, some stuff will need to be prototyped once I get the basics down, and the rest? We shall see! The game has a ways to grow yet!
    konman said:
    I won't mention camera shake as I see it is a sore topic. ;-P
    Naaah, it's not a sore topic, it just wasn't something that I felt was necessary to add early on in the project when I was still trying to get my mechanics and controls nailed. Now that I'm in semi-Polish Mode, shakery is something I can look at in more detail. (Also, I'm against OVERUSE of screenshake, not screenshake in itself :) ). Anywhere specific that you felt it needed to be applied or changed?
    Thanked by 1konman
  • Sorry for the wall-of-feedback... I do get carried away sometimes. :)
    Any particular reason you don't like seeing the minimap constrained?
    The game has boundaries, I don't like being boxed in. It's like being in prison. You wonder what is on the other side of those walls? By expanding the minimap you could be hinting at a wider world out there which is interesting? Just a thought.

    Not to go off-topic, but I played resonance for the first time today as well and thought it was very cool.
    Thanked by 1Gazza_N
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    Nooooo. Wall of feedback gooooooooooooood. Gazza likey!

    It's fairly trivial to extend the minimap to the surrounding terrain. I'll try that out, but I need to have SOME sort of demarcation of play area. My concern is that the player might think those areas are passable, and end up confused when they ram into the big blue boundary forcefields at the edges of the arena.

    And in other news:

    As mentioned above, I got a few new weapon models this week, and after hooking them up I cannae wait to show them to all of you. So here you go!


    konman said:
    Not to go off-topic, but I played resonance for the first time today as well and thought it was very cool.
    I can't remember where I even posted that. Thanks for trying it out, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! Metroidvanias are hard to make, man. Also, 3D sucks in GM. :P
    Thanked by 2konman NickCuthbert
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    Surprise buiiiiild! While a lot of you are cranking out rad stuff in NAGJam, my own Multi-Month Mech Jam continues. Latest target? Revising the craptastic main menu system to something a bit more elegant.

    image

    It's still to be refined (and likely revised to suit the new Garage set that's being constructed (and definitely revised to make it look prettier)), but it's a start.

    You can play the latest version of the game, including the prototype menu system, by clickenating this here link (PC - 22MB ZIP)
    Untitled.png
    1633 x 921 - 508K
    Thanked by 1konman
  • @Gazza_N I like the new build. Had a quick look at the weekend and fired it up again today.

    Apologies if my feature observations are from earlier builds, might just be noticing them now for the first time, so here goes...

    The Mjolner mech looks awesome in Yellow/Black/White BTW. Like some dangerous insect nature intends to warn possible predators against with those vivid colours... DANGER.

    I also really like those weapon load-out models.

    I do notice when I click on an item on the right of the garage/loadout there is a distinctive orange flash visible on the hard-point weapon of the mech.It's slight, but it's there. Might just be my monitor/card combo?

    It would be cool to outline the mounted weapon on the mech when you select it on the right, or show a 2D brochure like image at the bottom where the description is to emphasize possible. You know those arms dealers. See it in magazine, now see it on the new shiny mech... Did I say I love those weapon models?

    In game I saw trees catching fire, wow and also the power-ups that drop (Mechanipacks?). Not sure what they do yet, but it's nice to be rewarded for a kill and it's even better to get rewarded for another players kill, muhaha :-P

    Awesome progress, keep the gadgets and features coming. Where is the subscribe button for a forum thread on MGSA?

    K
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    Thanks, @konman. I'm lucky to have a damned fine artist doing the models for me. I'm as chuffed with them as you are ! :P

    I'm pleased that the special effects made an impression! I've had to cut down on particles in subsequent builds for performance reasons, but the lessons are well-learned re: dat joose. ;)

    Not sure about the flickery models, but I'll see if I can repro on other machines. As for the preview, I got rid of that with the last menu iteration, but I agree that having a miniature spinner like before would look pretty cool again. Screen space is at a premium though - I'll have to work out where to put it...

    The mechanipacks are repair and resupply pickups. They restore a portion of your health and a small amount of ammunition for your ammo-based weapons. I'm concerned that it still wasn't obvious what they did. Looks like I have more visual feedback on the HUD to work on.

    Dev goals over the next few weeks are as follows:
    - Bug fixes and performance optimisations.
    - Two new mechs.
    - New maps with different ambient heat/gravity conditions and layouts.
    - Some reworking of the camera, especially for the cockpit (specifically a free-look mode), and better shaky screen shake.
    - Perhaps some new weapons. Lots of ideas, but I need to prototype them!
    - Lest I forget: The long-awaited locational damage system may well become a thing...

    Finally, a video of the Mjolnir mech with its prototype shield bubble in action:
    Thanked by 1Pierre
  • The RED PLANET! Shadows! Gaaaah!

    OK, I'm going to stop posting here cause I sound like a groupie and I am just a humble fan! I am very excited about this game. I know it is a Death-match focused type game, but my heart yearns for a full-on quest system and deep story having looked at this video. *Sigh* :)

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    It's been... a while since my last update. Again.

    Here's what the game looks like now.


    Tweaking. Endless tweaking. Locational damage and corresponding debuffs. A lot of effort on a new HUD to make the new systems clear and make playing the game easier. Hopefully I can finish it up soon and get a tutorial in there, and folks can play it. That would be nice.
  • I just watched your latest video and I noticed a minor issue that I think you should consider when you're polishing.

    When you land from a jump, your speed stays the same if you're on level or down-sloping terrain. I feel there should be a slight drop in speed as the legs regain traction, and then builds back up again.

    Is the jump purely vertical? Shouldn't I get an increase in horizontal speed when jumping on up-sloping terrain?
  • @Gazza_N when are we going to get to play this? The progress has been amazing. I like the scorched earth marks that get left after explosions. Also the HUD is so much better than earlier versions. I personally prefer the cockpit view. Mechs are so friggin' awesome.
  • @Fengol: Thanks for your comments. I'll see what I can tweak. With all my AI and UI work I've not been focusing terribly much on the jump physics lately. :P

    @FanieG: It's not ready for prime time yet. There's a lot of UX work that needs to go in to better convey mech state (especially in cockpit view). Also, I need to get a proper tutorial in there first - Ultrarena's not as complicated as the MechWarrior games of yore, but it's not an FPS. You can't just jump in and play it perfectly from the get-go. Rest assured, when I have something I think is suitable for people to play without snapping their keyboards in half, it'll find its way to this thread. ;)
  • I'm sorry to say this is the first time I've checked out anything but twitter screenshots >.> It looks very cool, reminiscent of Robotech Battlecry with the cel shading :)

  • Nice work sir! keep it up this is looking awesome!
  • Thanks, gentlemen! That Robotech game looks a bit more actiony than UA, but I'm always a sucker for well-done nonrealistic rendering like cel-shading. :D
  • Uh... Sorry for the necro? Do the kids still call this necroposting? Where'd I leave my walker?

    Arrogant of me to pop in from years of silence just to punt my own game? Yeah, totally fair comment. As weird as it feels to be posting in this thread for the first time in two years (and this forum in... uh... a while...), this is where Ultrarena started, and it's where it should finish.

    End of November. That's when the game, at latest, will be available on itch.io for all to play, for the low low price of sweet bugger-all. It's not even close to a commercial product, and shouldn't be treated as such, but it's a solid, fairly polished vertical slice of a quickplay stompy shoot-o-rama with a healthy dollop of mech simulation-y goodness. Don't believe me? A-checka-checka out this gameplay video from a couple of weeks ago.



    There're a lot of little tweaks and dabs of polish I've added since then, but I hope you look forward to it! Or don't. Either way, it'll finally be done. See ya in a couple of weeks!
  • @Gazza_N Good to see you back man. Love the progress :D
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