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September 1, 2022: Light At The End Of The Tunnel - Progress Report Twitter Facebook

Tags: General, DevDiary, ProgressReport

The point has been reached where the end is so near, I find my attention waning and drifting to other projects. This month I spent nearly a record low number of hours on SHD, and yet my todo list is still quite short. Today I went through the list of ideas/issues/features remaining. Most are not worth doing, or are code improvements for the next game (they will make no significant difference to this one). The ones left I grouped by theme and numbered by importance - the last is #5. The first is the long-planned full AI; second is the online componenent. The others are not worth mentioning.

So what did I do this past month? The first couple of weeks was spent finishing off the r/roguelikedev tutorial event (see this post for more info). Then I spent some (too much!) time moving all my websites from Linode to GitHub Pages. Not because I’m unhappy with Linode (they have been great), but to same time by not managing my own virtual servers for a couple of simple static websites. Then I did a little daydreaming of ideas. Lastly a few hours fixing up bugs, tooltips and unlocks before starting work on the AI.

SHD tasks for the coming month are to just finish the damn thing (maybe not this month, but hopefully next).

Last month’s completed tasks:

  • Little improvements & bugfixes
  • Move websites/repos to free hosts
  • r/roguelikedev tutorial event complete (see this post to play)
  • Multi-frame AI framework

Over the next month:

  • Full AI
  • Little improvements & bugfixes
  • Next version of prototypes
  • Online component
  • Try not to get distracted


August 17, 2022: Roguelike Tutorial 2022 Twitter Facebook

Tags: General

As a distraction from other things I should have been doing over the last 6 weeks, I completed the /r/roguelikedev Tutorial 2022. An event to teach people how to write roguelike games like Nethack, Angband, and my old favourite, Omega. I wanted to learn some Javascript, and this seemed a good way to go.

It is done now. There is a playable version here and the source code is here.

The controls are:

  • movement/target: arrow keys or wasd (+qezx)
  • look: ‘/’
  • pickup: ‘p’
  • message history: ‘v’
  • drop/leave: ‘l’
  • activate/use/equip: ‘u’
  • character screen: ‘c’

/r/roguelikedev Tutorial2022 Logo


August 1, 2022: Joining The Club - Progress Report Twitter Facebook

Tags: General, DevDiary, ProgressReport

In July I joined the club - the Covid19 club. Luckily it was a fairly mild case but it still stopped work for nearly a fortnight (2 days in bed, a few days feeling sick and then a week super-tired). As a result I did very few hours on SHD, especially since the few hours I did spend coding were for the /r/roguelikedev annual tutorial event (repo, playable version).

So achievements are light this months. I have completed weeks 2 through 5 in the /r/roguelikedev challenge, with only 3 more weeks left. It has been worth doing (learning Javascript can only be useful) and without the structure I doubt I would have bothered. Given me a few more ideas to add to the list. As for SHD, I added and hooked up all the remaining planned unlocks/achievements. Plus a few bugfixes, that is it.

SHD tasks for the coming month are the same as last month: AI and cleanup. I’ll hopefully also get to move the websites, and of course, the last 3 weeks of the r/roguelikedev event.

Last month’s completed tasks:

  • Wk 2-5 /r/roguelikedev tutorial event
  • All unlocks/achievements done
  • Some bugfixes

Over the next month:

  • Full AI
  • Little improvements & bugfixes
  • Next version of prototypes
  • Move websites/repos to free hosts
  • Online component
  • complete r/roguelikedev tutorial event


July 1, 2022: Holiday - Progress Report Twitter Facebook

Tags: General, DevDiary, ProgressReport

As expected June was a truncated month. A weeks holiday interstate and a couple of days dealing with house issues (the joys of living in an old house) put a big hole in my productivity and definitely slowed progress as I lost momentum. Maybe that is what has lead to me deciding to join the /r/roguelikedev annual tutorial event. “Wait,” you say, “don’t you need to finish SHD first before starting another game?” Yes, you are right. This is almost certainly a bad use of my time, especially since I am trying it in a Javascript, a language I haven’t used properly in over 20 years (also, trying to relearn Git & Github at the same time). However, I think it might be useful for future work and I hope to spend no more than one day per week on getting it going (Week 1 took 2 hours, so far so good). If you want to see the WIP, the repo is here and a playable version here.

SHD is still getting very close to the end now too (about time!). I have added a bunch of new gameplay mechanics: base recharging; base powerups; and bombs. Last time I said the game quickly devolved into a slow defensive slog. Now, not so much. It is not a great game, although definitely a little better than before - and importantly, shorter! There was also some visual improvements and work on achievements. Not the best month in terms of hours worked, but there is clear progress. It was gratifying to see how easily the new mechancis were added due to the earlier framework tasks.

The remaining SHD tasks are now AI and cleanup. That is the plan for the month.

Last month’s completed tasks:

  • Wk 1 /r/roguelikedev tutorial event
  • Reorganised achievements
  • Little visual improvements
  • Reworked gameplay to make game faster more interesting - recharge, powerup bases, bomb hex

Over the next month:

  • Finalise unlocks/achievements
  • Full AI
  • Little improvements & bugfixes
  • Next version of prototypes
  • Move websites/repos to free hosts
  • Online component
  • r/roguelikedev tutorial event


June 1, 2022: Done? - Progress Report Twitter Facebook

Tags: General, DevDiary, ProgressReport

May was a solid month of work. Could have bee a record if not for losing 4 complete days to sickness and probably lower productivity for a few days after. There is a new AI and lots of little improvements. If a player want to keep going forever there is also now an “infinite” mode.

The biggest task completed was the engine rework - now finished and all (known) resulting bugs cleared. It took 6 weeks total. I thought in the best case it would require nearly 2 weeks, but gave myself 4 weeks due to experience :) So 6 weeks is not great, but not bad. Of course not all the time was taken with refactoring, there was also some prototype and time and a jaunt into the land of node servers and docker (just to learn about them) along the way, but that sort of thing is expected. Still think it was worth it, the final code is much better and more flexible! I’m happy.

June will be a short month (I’m away for a week), so of course I have a totally unrealistic list of tasks. The big one is to improve the gameplay. Playing against the new AI quickly results in a defensive slog of a game - not what I had intended. Hopefully I can think of some ways to improve it.

Last month’s completed tasks:

  • Rework engine complete
  • New AI - but now game bogs down into defensive slogs
  • Infinite mode
  • Little visual improvements

Over the next month:

  • Improve gameplay?
  • Rearrange unlocks
  • Full AI (current version does not take advantage of all gameplay possibilities)
  • Next version of prototypes
  • Move websites/repos to free hosts
  • Look at online component


May 2, 2022: Refactoring - Progress Report Twitter Facebook

Tags: General, DevDiary, ProgressReport

April was a month of steady progress. I managed to get 3 games of the IPO prototype played and one of the Ci2d prototype. All went surprisingly well considering expectations. In particular the Ci2d prototype was not completely broken, it played (as intended) like a simplified version of the original - definitely will put some more work into a v2. The mechanics of IPO are fairly steady now. The game drags a little in the mid-game, but that is because I removed some of the more interactive cards (I hope). Now I will try to derive a formula for card strength and add back the interesting cards so combos can be built.

The rework of SHD’s engine is continuing. It works and is so pretty. Now it just needs to be fully implemented and the old code removed. Hopefully that will complete be before the end of this month. Strangely the new system went through a few design changes to handle cases I didn’t initially consider, and now it looks a lot like the engine in CI (just more abstract). Hmmmm.

Last month’s completed tasks:

  • Played IPO v4 prototype x3
  • Played Ci2D v1 prototype x1
  • Rework engine

Over the next month:

  • Finish work to improve and componentise/abstract the action system, plus AI (basically build a reusable simulation engine as a backend component)
  • Fix infinite mode, separate random mode, and rearrange unlocks
  • Better AI
  • Play new prototypes


April 5, 2022: Sticking Point? - Progress Report Twitter Facebook

Tags: General, DevDiary, ProgressReport

I have now reached the same point in SHD where I stopped AHB (the “prototype” that went too far). When I decided to stop and restart, I estimated that the work required to fix the problems would take weeks and not be worth the effort. I think the same work will take a week or two with SHD - much better. Also, once done it should be reusable for other turn-based gamedev. Of course I reached that point less half way through the last month, so why isn’t it finished? Well, I haven’t started yet. Instead those distractions (household work and a one week holiday) I mentioned last month took focus. Knowing this was going to happen I worked on tabletop prototypes and little tasks.

Last month’s completed tasks:

  • IPO v4 prototype (unplayed)
  • Ci2D v1 prototype (unplayed)
  • Level loading system & screen
  • Simple AI
  • Audio setup

Over the next month:

  • Improve and componentise/abstract the action system and AI (basically build a reusable simulation engine as a backend component)
  • Fix infinite mode, separate random mode, and rearrange unlocks
  • Better AI
  • Play new prototypes


March 1, 2022: Short Month, Record Hours - Progress Report Twitter Facebook

Tags: General, DevDiary, ProgressReport

Despite being the shortest month of the year, the February was my best for hours worked. Mainly due to one week being almost full-time on the game - the benefit of it being too hot to be outside (ahh, I love my A/C). I’m not going to publicise the hours I worked - it is still well below my (already low) target. However, in the last report I wrote that I hoped to complete: targetting, shooting, extra actions, handle the end of a game, and unlocks. I did all of that and more: context sensitive tooltips and some framework niceties.

Unfortunately, this month is not expected to be as productive. There are several house related tasks that got paused waiting for more inclement temperatures - and today the weather turned! Despite this I expect good progress as the biggest task remaining is the AI, and after no further significant functionality is planned (online multiplayer would be such an item, but I’d want to have a version on stores before starting that). Instead, it is all things to make the game prettier and nicer. Thus, I have added a couple of new tasks to the possibles for the month - new prototypes and some library work.

Over the next month:

  • Work on SHD (play screen, AI, playability improvements)
  • Create IPO prototype version 4
  • Decide which projects to pursue immediately, and which to put on pause.
  • First paper prototypes for the next 1 or 2 games
  • Common library work (card and backporting SHD stuff)


February 2, 2022: Moving Again? - Progress Report Twitter Facebook

Tags: General, DevDiary, ProgressReport

Before compiling the results for January, I was a little disappointed in myself. I remember it taking a couple of weeks to get moving as other home tasks took precedence. However, after going through my notes, the result looks more like a normal month - a couple of better than average weeks after a couple of worse than average weeks. Consistency is my problem.

The game is coming along nicely. The UI is complete and working well (apart from tooltips, to be done later). Forming and moving bases is complete; targeting and firing is in progress. Everything so far works better than before. Perhaps the second time I know better what is required - a point of evidence in favour of prototypes.

Another two entries have been added onto the game ideas list - time to start culling it. I have also bought some tabletop components as I have plans to create tabletop prototypes of my next games - it is such a great way of iterating through designs quickly. With these new components I will be able to prototype Ci2d, plus a couple of others. I just need a week or so to come up with a set of starting rules.

Over the next month:

  • Work on SHD (targetting, shooting, extra action, end of game & unlocks)
  • Create IPO prototype version 4
  • Decide which projects to pursue immediately, and which to put on pause.


January 2, 2022: Standstill - Progress Report Twitter Facebook

Tags: General, DevDiary, ProgressReport

As we ring in the new year, it occurred to me that my current game is about at the same playable state as this time last year. Hmmmm. Of course, I now have a reusable library (hopefully, the test will be in the reuse) and the code is much nicer. However, it seems as bit poor to make no progress on the ultimate measure of a game - its playability and fun.

Over the last month the game has become playable again. The turn structure is in and stamps complete. I’ve have also replaced the health/strength/time displays with shader based radial sprites, rather than the weird looking 3D line drawings in a 2D world. Work has now started on the player UI - my worst gamedev skill.

There has been no work on IPO, but I am getting more ideas for various games. I need to get this one finished before my interest wanes, as I feel it doing. I started December with a rush, but that slowed greatly over the fortnight for Christmas and New Years. I need to get back that previous productivity. Time sinks over the next month include a ton of house issues (old houses!), but thanks to the current pandemic lockdown and heatwave, exercise time is minimal.

Over the next month:

  • Work on SHD (get UI working)
  • Create IPO prototype version 4
  • Decide which projects to pursue immediately, and which to put on pause.


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