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Introducing Ephesos [part 1]

In the huge 0.4.0 version, we added a big feature that we barely mentioned before. That’s Ephesos.

Ephesos is a new world in Okhlos, and the hometown of Artemis. We still need to work a lot in Ephesos, but we could put enough to have a stable version for the IGF.

 

This makes Ephesos our third world! And right now, we are making a few more! We hope to have quite a few more by the end of the year.

 

So, what’s going on with Ephesos?

THE NAME

We decided to start working with Artemis, and we needed a place. We started with Brauron, which was a good fit for Artemis because it held The Sanctuary of Artemis, and also because of the green. We wanted the Artemis’ world to have lots of green. We wanted some kind of city invaded by plants, and Brauron seemed just right. We even started making most of the world’s assets with that name. However, we weren’t 100% convinced that placing the action in Brauron was a good idea, mainly because of the name. It’s not very likely that you’ll associate “Brauron” with something Greek. Brauron seems more like British.

We knew that the name was not perfect, so we kept searching for a better fit. Finally, we found Ephesos, which had everything we wanted.For starters, Ephesos was famed for having The Temple of Artemis. It’s also very green.  Also, it sounds sooo Greek. Anyway, we are extremely happy with the new name. It was a perfect fit, so we gladly went on to change the names of the assets.

Ephesos

Keep in mind that still is a work in progress.

BUILDINGS

So, apart from the stupid amount of trees, Ephesos has simple buildings because it’s a rural area. It doesn’t have too many shops, and there are lots of farms.

Edificio1

Edificio2

Also, we had to put lots of fences, and we started using special transitions. In Delphi and Sparta, the transitions between a level and the next one were almost identical, with just a texture swap. For Ephesos, we started making these new transitions, and it’s very likely that in future  worlds we  will make many more new transitions, and not just  texture swaps.

Also, a new feature in 0.4.0 is that when entering the boss level, the transition will be slightly different, in order to let the player know that he is about to fight a boss.

transicion1 transicion2

FOUNTAINS & ROADS

Another thing we did was adding some grass and foliage to the fountains and statues. That really made them stand out.

fountain

The roads were a pain. Really don’t know why, but it took us some time to get them right (also, we feel that we might be revisiting them in some time).

roads

 

Next week we will continue discussing the new things in Ephesos!

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Road to IGF 2015 [Part V of V] The Changelog

And so we come to the end of our five-part series, Road to IGF 2015. Just a few minutes ago we submitted a build to the IGF. The last few weeks were a bit hectic but they have also proven to be fruitful. There mere fact of setting the submission date as a deadline to have a new juicy version was a good idea, and it helped us make a lot progress. Plus, we are very excited to have a chance to show the game to the IGF judges. But, enough of that, to the changelog!

changelog040

It has been a long time since last posted a changelog. We’ve actually had three small versions since the last post (0.3.3, 0.3.4 and 0.3.5), which were too small to deserve their own post, so we will be including them here along with the latest one: version 0.4.0. Here are the changes (in pseudo chronological order):

—————-VERSION 033

  • New Heroes: Theseus, Elviros, Jason and Achilles
  • Units in the mob don’t have back animations any more
  • Zoom effect when the last philosopher dies
  • Several graphical fx added

—————-VERSION 034

  • New heroes: Drakularos, Pirithous and Pandora
  • Camera adjustments
  • Tutorial level implemented

—————-VERSION 035

  • New heroes: Pericles, Paris, Atalanta, Antigone, Andromeda, Helen, Castor & Pollux and Electra
  • A new way to generate the levels was implemented, which adds much more variety (and will save us a lot of work)
  • New defeat condition: You lose when the mob meter reaches zero and you have no more people in the mob

—————-VERSION 040

  • New worlds: Sparta and Ephesos
  • New enemies: Shield Bearer and Centaurs
  • Alpha transition for buildings
  • New hazards: Fire, Spikes, Giant Bear Trap and Cart with explosives
  • New bosses: Ares, Phobos, Deimos and Artemis
  • The finish moves system is now less lenient and has better feedback
  • HUD elements now fade out instead of disappear bluntly
  • Adjustments to tutorial level: we playtested it and made several changes based on that
  • Healers now regenerate other units health slowly over time and healing items (pork leg) heal a lot health at once
  • Heroes in the market are no longer random, they now follow a set of rules
  • A new unit’s stat system implemented (as seen in this post)
  • New life bars for the bosses
  • Heroes that you can/can’t buy are now highlighted in the heroes market
  • Random skill generator added
  • Difficulty adjusted in Delphi and Sparta adjusted (so as to have a difficulty progression throughout the three world)
  • New Sounds straight from Gordon, including but not limited to,  footsteps, attack/victory/death unit shouts, and sfx for all the enemies in Delphi (including Apollo)
  • More chunks (our level generator’s main component) to add more variety in the levels
  • FMOD sound engine implemented
  • Hero markets now show up only between levels: Markets used to spawn randomly somewhere inside the levels, now there will always be a market at the end of each level
  • Minor performance optimizations (you can now get a larger mob without your cpu dying in the process!)
  • Brand new displacement marker sprites, as seen in part I of this series
  • New Heroes: Cadmus, Daedalus, Hippolyta, Medea, Meleager, Narcissus, Patroclus, Penelope, Gaspode and Midas
  • Poppy, catchy and flashy introductory animation added (with corresponding sound and music)
  • New fx for the bureaucrats, so that the unit they affect is easily recognized
  • New artwork for the gates that lead to boss levels
  • More fx added to all the gods (now a 76% more imposing!)

… and lots of minor changes, bug fixing, bug adding and polishing.

 

As you can see, we have been pretty busy, but we still have a long way to go so we will keep on working. And hopefully, it won’t be so long until we can show you a new changelog!

And because you are worth it, spoil yourself with a few screens of the new version!

0001 0000 02 03

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Road to IGF 2015 [Part IV of V] Effects for the Gods

Hey there!

Just one week to the IGF! And we still have a lot to do!

 

For starters, besides the IGF we have to give a talk at Tecnopolis on Saturday, so that will take some of our time.

Because we have to be there on Friday too, we must have the build almost ready by Thursday. After that day, we decided that we wouldn’t add anything new to the build (so you can imagine how hurried we are).

logo

As I said before, on Saturday 18 we will be giving a talk, so we can’t work on Friday or Saturday. The next Wednesday we will have to  submit it to the IGF, so we have Monday and Tuesday to fix any issues that we may find in Okhlos’ new version.

oradores

All of this is stressing us a lot, but we are glad that it’s almost over!

 

Anyway, as we have so little time, I think it’s a good idea to brag about some new effects we are working on! The game still needs a lot of “Juicy“, so adding fx is a good way to give feedback to the player, letting them have a good idea of what’s happening . We still need to push a little further the audio in that part, but Gordon is working on it.

 

When you have done 3 different gods for Okhlos, you start learning things you will use for the remaining ones:

1.- Be consistent

2.- K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

Following these rules, one thing we decided last week, is that every god will fly. I was finishing Artemis walking loop, when I stumble upon these rules. We already had two flying gods (1), and is much easier to do a flying animation than a walking one (2). So I threw away the ongoing animation, made a new one, added a wind blowing fx below the gods, and voilá! They are flying.

Apollo Flying

There it is! (WIP!)

 

Another thing we changed was the death animation. Ares was the first God I drew, so he had a lot of issues, and I learned a lot since I made him. For Apollo and Artemis I made a much more cool / powerful death animation,  so, following these two simple rules, I changed Ares’ death animation.

aresmuereViejo

This was the old death animation.

 

AresMuerte2

This is the new one.

As you can see, there is a big difference between the animations. The second one is more “epic”.  Also, it’s just a little bit easier to animate. And finally, it’s consistent with the rest of the gods.

 

We learned a lot after working a few gods, and that gave us a better understanding of what we are doing.  The best advice we can give in this matter, is that if you have to make 12 Olympian gods in your game, make 3 or 4 together and that will give you a better idea of what you are up to.

 

Next week, we will be writing the final post of ROAD TO IGF series!

 

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Road to IGF 2015 [Part III of V] Inheritance 101

Last week, while working on some the heroes, we ran into an almost a textbook example of the use of inheritance and we thought of sharing it. If you are programmer this will post will most likely be too basic, but perhaps you are just taking your fist steps at coding, or it is something you just dabble a bit in. In that case this may be useful, and also it is a chance to show you a bit of the game’s code and structure.

It all started with Orpheus. Quite a while ago we decided to add Orpheus as one of the heroes in the game, and that giving a boost the units nearby (the units that were close enough to hear him sing) would be a suitable ability for him.  And so we did. Roque drew him, animated him, we added some code and voilà. Orpheus was in the mob, all was right with the world. However, some time later we thought about adding more musicians to the mob, and giving them the same ability as Orpheus. It seemed like a good idea, half the work was already done and it made sense that musicians would have similar abilities, so we created Elviros.  You can see below a bit of the code for them.

 

Elviros_800x700

A chunk of Elviros’s code … which you can see was oddly similar to Orpheus’ code

Orpheus_800x700

A chunk of Orpheus’ code

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unsurprisingly, since they both do pretty much the same, the only difference in the code were a couple of values (Orpheus is better at what he does, sorry Elviros). Not only this, our plan was to add a few other musicians as well, so we were probably going to have to copy that code a few more times too. Here is when inheritance comes to the rescue. We created a new class called HeroMusician, which contained all the code for the special abilities, and made Elviros and Orpheus inherit from that class.

 

HeroMusician_800x700

One script to rule them all (or at least those two)

 

Now if we have to make any changes the musicians abilities we only have to change the code in the HeroMusician class instead of doing it throughout several classes. And Orpheus and Elviros’ code is now much smaller, pretty much nothing but setting their stats and modifiers. The magic of inheritance.

 

NewElviros_600x300

Brand new Elviros’ code

NewOrpheus_600x300

Sparkly and shiny Orpheus’ code

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The real trick while dealing with inheritance, however, is not learning how to use it, but learning how not to overuse it. Your code can soon become flooded with tons of classes that do almost nothing but look neat in a hierarchy tree. It is very tempting to start adding classes because it makes sense object-wise, to scrape a couple of lines of code from some method, or because you may need them in the future, but you should think carefully before doing so. Having a thousands little classes can make your code as unreadable as having classes with thousands of lines of code.

This is why our policy has from day one adding classes only when needed, like in the example above. And based on that philosophy that we ended up with our current class hierarchy:

Units_Hierarchy

 

You can see the new class HeroMusician in the lower level, which means that Orpheus and Elviros not only inherit from Hero Musician but also from Hero, Unit and Destroyable. Is this the best way to do it? I can’t tell for sure. The hierarchy may change in the future, but we will try to keep on working with the same strategy, without abusing the wondrous inheritance.

 

Edit: There have been some very interesting and accurate comments on reddit, mostly about the subject of composition vs inheritance, which point out a couple of things that are worth mentioning here as well. Several people pointed out that the problem of the musician heroes could have been solved using composition, for example making the musicians ability a component and adding that component to the appropriate heroes. It’s true. I never mention composition in the post but as is it also pointed out in the comments, favoring composition over inheritance is a more scalable approach, and can be an effective method to avoid ending up with a cluttered class hierarchy.

 

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Road to IGF 2015 [Part II of V] Stats that Matter

Let’s talk about stats. Every creature in Okhlos, from the Gods to the bureaucrats, has a series of stats that describe how hard the creature hits, how fast it moves, and so on. We didn’t want the game to revolve around micromanagement so these stats are mostly hidden from the player. They are there, and we are doing all kinds of jazzy things with them, but for the most part you don’t have to worry about stats. However, if you do want to get a sneak peek of what goes on behind the curtains you can do so at the pause menu.

Attack 22, Defense 8, Speed 12, Morale 10, Poetry 10. I guess he writes pretty bland verses.

The mighty pause menu, featuring the stats of Eudokos, the warrior.

There, you will be able to see the stats for all the units in the mob.  Most of them are self explanatory: strength determines how much damage that unit will deal, morale determines how prone the unit is to leave the mob when things get too nasty (we’ll see more about that later),  defense reduces the damage taken, etc. However, you may wonder about the values. Where do they come from? Is a twelve good or bad? How about that eight?

Well, to start, each type of unit will be better or worse at certain skills. The table below will show you:

CITIZEN                     Attack: Med           Def: Med        HP: Med     Morale: Med       Speed: Med
WARRIOR                 Attack: High           Def: Med       HP: Med      Morale: Med      SpeedHigh
DEFENDER               Attack: Med           Def: High       HP: High     Morale: Med      SpeedLow
PHILOSOPHER      Attack: Low            Def: Med      HP: High      Morale: High      Speed: Low
SLAVE                          Attack: Med            Def: Med      HP: Med      Morale: Low       Speed: Med
LARGE ANIMAL     Attack: Med            Def: Med      HP: Med      Morale: Med       Speed: High
SMALL ANIMAL     Attack: Null            Def: Low       HP: Low      Morale: Med       Speed: Med
BUREAUCRAT        Attack: Null            Def: Med       HP: High      Morale: High     Speed: Med

Then to translate these low/med/high values into numbers we use this table, selecting random values from these ranges.

LOW          0-8
MED          8-14
HIGH        14-20
HEROIC   20-30

You can see that there is an extra tier, heroic, and you can guess what we use it for. That’s right, heroes. Heroes can have stat values that go beyond that of regular men and women (and oxen), that is why they have their own tier in the stats table. Enemies also have stats that go beyond this table (specially gods, you don’t even want to know the attack value a god can have). And then there is also the subject of multipliers and bonuses but we’ll stick to regular stats for now.

Finally, the last step to generate the stats is to add a little extra deviation to make each unit unique. There is always a little chance that any unit may be particularly good at something they are not supposed to, or even better at what they are supposed to be good. So, this is how the mighty warrior Eudokos, ended up with an impressive 22 in strength (way above average). I hope I could say the same about the rest of his stats, but they are not so impressive. Low defense and hit points, he may not last very long…

And so we come to the end of this little tale of stats. I hope by now you can get a better idea of how the units in Okhlos work, and also that you can appreciate how messed up the image below is. Until next update!

Strength of 1428, this is a seriously beefed up slave

Keep in mind that we do not approve the use of steroids

 

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Road to IGF 2015 [Part I of V] The displacement marker

Last year, we wrote about how we almost submitted Okhlos to the IGF. We were about to do it, but we decided to back off because we thought that Okhlos wasn’t in proper shape for something like the IGF.

This year, we are much more confident. Okhlos is far from complete, but in its current state, it has lots of crazy things happening that we think are cool. Also, the visuals are on more solid ground. And that’s without mentioning that the game has changed a lot from those days, when things weren’t procedural, and we didn’t even have a roguelike foundation.

That’s why, this week, we are starting the “ROAD TO IGF” updates. They will all be very brief and straight forward, in order to make the most of our time from now on until the 22nd of October. The final update in this saga will be just two days before the deadline, and that will include a changelog from this version to whatever we have in a month.

Now, for this week:

The Displacement marker

There are certain GUI elements that are crucial in a game. In Okhlos, one of the most important elements is what we call the displacement marker, that little flag that shows you where are you directing your mob.

At first, this was a very difficult concept to explain. People didn’t seem to grasp the idea of moving the mob alongside their character, or using the stick in order to attack.

displacementMarker_Viejo2

Ye olde displacement marker. So long buddy…

So we solved this (at least for now) by changing the graphics according to the context.

mueve

So, if you need to move the mob, your displacement marker will show you where they  will move (approximately). But if you are near an attackable thing, the displacement marker will change. We think this will help tell what’s interactive and what’s not.

ataca

Right now, we drafted some ideas about how it should look, but we aren’t quite sure about which direction should we go. They are very showy, that’s for sure, but when you have 50+ people around, maybe you need showy. We still have to try something more subtle though.

displacement_Contexto

Here, you can see the displacemen marker in context

Also, we prepared an alternative, which is the arrows rotating, and the swords pointing and scaling. Exactly the opposite of the previous one.

Mueve_Alternativo

Here you can see the arrows rotating around the marker.

Ataca_Alternativo

And the swords scaling down

We’ve just arrived at these options, so any comment or feedback about this is super welcome!

Finally, another thing we had to decide is to make the displacement marker a billboard or not. All the units in Okhlos are billboards, which means they always face the camera. Opposed to that, not being billboards means that they will be just stand there, and that they will not rotate according to the camera’s position.

I think, in this case, the best solution is to not use a billboard. This will give the player a better sense of depth, and a better idea of the position of the marker.

comparision

It’s veeery subtle, but it’s there!

 

Anyway, that’s it for this week! We will be working hard in order to have a cool build for the IGF. Wish us luck!

 

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