Wednesday, December 28, 2011

[Review] Star Wars: The Old Republic 10/10

Review:  10/10
  As it has been taking up much of my free time as of late and causing me to slack on my programming, I figured I would put out a review for Star Wars:  The Old Republic.  If you are a classic Star Wars fan, a lore geek, an avid fan of fantasy novels, or just a plain ol' MMORPG gamer, then I highly recommend SWTOR.  Bioware combines epic story telling with exciting game play and puts it all in the mmorpg wrapping.

Graphics:  9/10
At first the graphics were a bit much for my video card on my desktop.  Apparently there is a bug with shadows on some cards and removing the shadow option, I went from 5 fps to around 40-50 ish.   The game runs really smoothly and looks incredible.  From sweeping planetscapes to dark infested dungeons, the game looks magnificent.  The character models stand out and look incredible.  And this is on full low graphics.  I beg to wonder what the game would look like if I had myself a proper gaming rig.  Spell effects and Lightsaber effects really shine in SWTOR and they did a really nice job of implementing different kinds of looks and effects.

Sound:  10/10
Sound is oddly one of the biggest pluses to SWTOR.  There are incredible soundtracks, epic effects that make you feel like a true Sith Lord, but, more importantly than all that is that each quest is fully voiced.  SWTOR immerses the player in the lore and you feel like you are watching a movie, a movie that you control.  Your character has a voice as well and (for mine at least) a pretty snarky voice to go with his attitude.  BioWare has done an incredible job putting in the effort to make every single quest voiced.  It really does make a world of difference.  I am not the greatest lore nerd, but I do truly appreciate the immersion level of TOR.  There are a few bugs here and there with sound, but overall, I keep it on all the time to enjoy the epic music and great story lines.

Story:  10/10
The ability to change and alter your story line is incredibly fun.  To gain dark side points, you really do feel like an ass.  You kill innocent people and with the immersion level, sometimes that is rather tough (for me at least).  I play a Sith Assassin and it just doesn't feel right to be all goody two shoes about it.  Wrecking havok on the world is my goal.  Also if you are a fan of KoTOR, an RPG made a few years back by BioWare, you will recognize some references to characters and plot developments.  It made me really happy to wipe out a clan of Revanites, well, happy to recognize past lore.  I read a lot of fantasy novels, and while Lore in video games has never appealed to me, in SWTOR it draws you in.  It's hard to not get addicted to reading all the codex entries and quest dialogues.  After the disinterest in quest text that other mmos have given me, it's pretty darn amazing how much TOR brings me into the story.

UI: 8/10
The UI is very simple, but still a little buggy.  There are times when you can't access your Ship menu and other small things, but overall the UI is nice, unobtrusive, and has a definitive space style to it that gives it a fresh feel.

Game Play: 10/10
Epic.  That word primarily sums up how I feel about SWTOR's game play.  From dancing with death among a throng of deranged neophytes to blasting force lightning across a pvp battlefield, you truly feel bad ass (even when you die because you think you are more bad ass than you are).  The skill system is set up fairly well and it's easy to figure out how to customize your keys if you are an mmo-expert.  The tabs on the keybind menu is really nice too:  I go to my hotbars and then just select which keys I want to bind.  The one complaint about binding keys is I can't unbind my '\' key which is the stupid help/bug menu which I hit all the time on my keyboard trying to hit enter, but other than that, it's works well.  But, anyway, the game play is great, and I love the fighting mechanics.  You don't just simply auto attack, you have to right click in between spells to do that, which is rather refreshing and gives a more controlled feel.

**will updated later after I examine PVP more**

Overall: 10/10
I am probably a little biased since I am a long fan of Star Wars and absolutely loved KoTOR, but this game is a new fresh break from the traditional MMO scene.  I thank BioWare for their immense effort in producing an amazing game, and look forward to the endgame, and new developments that come in the future.  If you haven't tried out Star Wars:  The Old Republic yet, I implore you:  DO SO.

May the force be with you


Saturday, December 24, 2011

[SBX2] Level Design Set Up

  It's Christmas Eve! Yay, but I do have to work a 12 hour shift tomorrow on Christmas... sad day.

Things are going well, the job is good and all is well, 'cept my darling girlfriend is out of town, (which is why I took the Xmas shift).

Got some progress done in the past few days.  Upgraded some of the enemy movement coding and added in suicide type enemies who will ram you if you get too close.  Also added new level design with a bland basic template that will be upgraded later.  And I also added a new weapon.

New Weapon:  Spike Mines

If you played SBX (the first one) you might remember these.  Well they are basically the same:  Fire them and watch them sit there until an enemy comes and hits em!  In SBX2 though, they are a lot more  useful as you can swap to ranged weapons after setting up a few mines.

Also I might have a graphic artist/backup coder on the team!  This would essentially give me what I need to start the team in January officially.  I look forward to getting progress really under way and moving forward with SBX2.  So far it's all been testing, fixing bugs, refining the engine, etc, but I still have a lot of stuff to implement.  Once I get the Map and Save System Figured out as well as the AutoShop added, then the rest will be cake.  From there on it's just level design and implementation.

Things I will be adding soon:  New Graphics, Map Level, Save Functions, AutoShop (introduced through the story), New Characters, New Enemies, and a whole lot more!

Also I've been working on refining and consolidating a lot of my code as it tends to get lengthy.  I can probably re-work a few sections of code to make them better as well and more organized.

Well that's all for now, there will be more updates as the new year rolls out.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

[Design] Character Design Document - LoL - Feiron


Doing a little bit different of a post today.  I made a character design document for a new character for League of Legends.  I sketched up a rough draft on my break at work and put it into a document file and sent it to Riot Games.  Now who knows whether they will even look at it, but I figured I'd share it with you.

Here is the sketch:

I'll go ahead and copy over his moveset information from the file as well:

Moveset Descriptions:  (New information copied from the LoL post)

Note: Feiron Auto attacks at a range (500) , shooting a small amount of electricity out of his glove.

Feiron can alternate between positive and negative magnetic states. In his positive state, Feiron takes 5% less damage from all sources. In his negative state, Feiron has 5% increased damage.

Q – MagneRods Range: 150 CD: (10/8/6) Mana: (25/50/75)
Feiron plants a MagneRod in the ground at the target location. MagneRods are magnetically attuned to Feirons current magnetic state. Magnerods pulse every 3 (affected by CDR) seconds doing 10,20,30,40,50 (+.2*AP) damage to all enemies within 100 range and last for 5 minutes (affected inversely by CDR, as in longer duration by a %). Feiron can plant (2,3,4,5,6) magnetic rods total at levels 1/2/3/4/5. MagneRods grant 125 range sight. Placing a MagneRod will also change your state as well after placement.

W – Lightning Ball Range: 650 skillshot CD: (30/26/22/18/15 sec) Mana: (40/60/80/100/120)
Feiron fires a ball of electricity forward hitting any enemy champions doing 50,100,150,200,250 (+.3*AP) damage. If an enemy champion is hit Lightning Ball will jump to the nearest enemy or MagneRod within 200 range. Lightning Ball can bounce between (3,4,5,6,7) champions or minions (Champions are prioritized) (MagneRods not counted, but Lightning Ball cannot bounce from one Rod to another).

E – Flux Jump Range: 700 CD: (4/4/4/3/3) Mana: ([0 at level 0],10/20/30/40/50)
Feiron transforms into electricity, jumping to the nearest MagneRod of the opposing magnetic state within 700 range. Any enemies he passes through take 50,80,110,140,170 (+.5 AP) damage and upon landing Feiron unleashes a smaller weaker version of magnetic pulse wave out in a circle around the rod (200 range, 10% damage). In addition Flux Jump alternates the magnetic state Feiron is in (activating after his pulse). If used outside the range of a MagneRod, Feiron will pulse in place (still doing a mini Mag pulse Wave) and alternate his magnetic state. In addition, while in negative state flux jump will pull all targets 100 range toward the MagneRod he is travelling to, and positive state will push them 100 range away from the MangeRod he is travelling to. Flux jump can be used at level 0 only to alternate between states.

R – Magnetic Pulse Wave Range: 500 ( wide cone) CD: (60/45/30 sec) Mana: (50/75/100)
Feiron fires a magnetic pulse in a cone in front of him doing 150,280,410 (+.8*AP) damage to all targets. In addition, while in positive state, Magnetic Pulse Wave pushes all targets away from Feiron 200 range, and when in negative state, MPW pulls all targets toward Feiron 200 range (or to him if they are closer than 200 yards).


Shadow Stalker Feiron:

Cyborg Feiron:

Lightning Fused Feiron:

If you like League of Legends, let me know what you think of the Design Document.
If Riot uses it by all means GREAT!  However, my goal is to just get my name out there and have someone say: "eh this is interesting, WakeskaterX  /  Jason Carter... noted"

Because I would love to work for Riot some day. 

Well that's about it for today, I got some of the profile screen coded in for SBX2, I already had the graphics.  It doesn't utilize saving yet, but when I add it in, it will be an easy transition with the profile screen up already.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

[SBX2] Tilesets

This week has been going by quickly!  With Christmas coming up soon, I must set aside time for buying everyone the things they want >_>.  BUT!  I did get my girlfriend a gift already, and it's pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

The holidays are pushing back my savings for a car though, but it's all good, it's nice to have money to get things for people.

What I am Reading:
Temple of the Winds  by  Terry Goodkind.
Great series (Sword of Truth Series) and just got the 4th book.  Excellent fantasy series if you like that kind of stuff.

I haven't had much time to work on the game this week, but I did set some aside today.  I reworked one  of the tilesets that was provided to me by TheUltimate, and upgraded some of the pieces to fit properly.  I'm so slow at spriting so it took me a while, but I did get it to a state I like.

After that I reworked the tutorial level to change it from this boring flat layout:

to giving it a bit more depth and variety, and making you use your gun:

Overall, it gives the tutorial a less boring feel, and a good industrial background will make it pop out more.

I think the next update will be the save system, I will try to get that in place, I think I will just use .ini files again, since I know how to use them and I like the control it gives me.

Well, that is it for now, just a short update.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

[SBX2] Story Work

Well, today is my first day off since Thanksgiving, and boy am I glad to get some programming done!  Later tonight and tomorrow will be spent with the girlfriend, so I'm trying to get as much done this morning as I can.

Last night I went to my sisters A cappella concert and she had 2 solos.  I have to say, I really didn't think anyone was even close to as good as my sister.  Maybe I'm just being a proud brother, but my sister does have a set of pipes on her.  She can really belt it out.  She sang a rendition of:  Love me like a rock.  And honestly, it was way better than the original.

Looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend, and am going to a fun coffeehouse event tonight.

Ok, down to business.  The most time consuming thing this morning was the portrait for General Bradsworth. I used a script developed by:  J-Factor and modified it for my purposes.  I'm using his sample text blip sound and font file at the moment but will replace those later.  But here is a sample of what the textbox looks like including the portrait added in:

I took a generic photo of some German general and sketched over it and added the features I needed to get the portrait.  I think it turned out alright, it could be better but it isn't too bad.

Edit:  Lt Hawk's portrait done: Check it out:

Kudos if you guess who I used for the base to draw off of.

The game now includes fade in and out text that tells you the instructions at the beginning.  I made an object that acts as a tool and you just pass in all the parameters you want and it fades and loops through an array of strings and deletes itself when you get to a string of 'end'.

Overall, I am excited to get more work done and here are some things to look forward to in builds coming soon:

-Save System
-Adjusted Ship Acceleration
-Lt Hawk Portraits
-Reworked Story
-Reworked Background Graphics for Tutorial area
-Reworked Graphics for GUI HUD in Test Space Area

So keep checking back  for more updates to SBX2!

Thanks for reading

Friday, December 2, 2011

[SBX2] New Job / New Character

The first 5 days of my new job are done.  I logged 40 hours, but will have another 12 on Sunday for an operator training shift, so i'll have 52 hours total for this week.  Pretty darn sweet!  The new job is some tough work, and I have worked 8 days straight so far, (3 were at my previous job), but it should balance out soon and give me some days off to program a bit on SBX2.  There  is a lot to learn at my new job and I have been getting up super early and setting off for the day before the sun hits the ground.  It's tiring, but rewarding.

I look forward to these next few weeks and saving up some money to buy both a car and some holiday gifts.  This job is finally paying decent: something that is somewhat worthy for a person with a collidge collage college degree.  I am definitely looking forward to being able to program some tomorrow, and I have a hot breakfast date with the GF as well.  Of course it is contingent upon whether or not I get called in on my one day off... : /   But hopefully I won't.

Anyway some things to look in SBX2 soon:

Coming soon:

  • Introduction Story Line
  • Tutorial Level and Level 1
  • Profile Saving
  • Fixing bugs and things in  the test room
So I'll start working more on my days off, but I have just been crazy busy with the job switch.

Edit:  Added this later today:  A new character has been drawn up.  I am working on the sprites for the first NPC you come across in the game:  General Bradsworth.

General Bradsworth is the General for your platoon and will help you out a bit at the beginning of the game.

Here is a sprite of him:

He's sportin his sexy medals!

I'll be adding a few more sprites to Gen. Bradsworth, and am combining previous sprites into whole sheets with different character options.  This will let me use him in the story line and give a nice visual to follow with.
Stay tuned for more updates.


Eh, I'm also going to add a new preview of what some of the upcoming graphics will look like.  This at least is a slightly better representation of what I hope to have at the end:

I plan to add nebulae and asteroids and various space items.  I also did something special with the planets.  They don't move at a 1 to 1 ratio with the level.  I programmed them to move closer to you (a little bit) so it seems like they are moving around the level a little, making it seem like there is depth to them and they are farther away, but closer than the stars.