Archive for the ‘ Design ’ Category

Nordenfelt Dev Log 32

After several weeks of tweaking the explosion sound effects got finished. Ticking off this big task from the todo list was great. 🙂

More illustrative work is the improvement of the gauge graphics. Here you can see a pre-post comparison:

gauge pre-post comparison

I’m quite happy with the result. An essential part of designing the new version was to get inspiration from other gauge designs on the internet. Just a few examples:

gauge inspiration

The longer I’m into game development the more I see how important copying given design is. There is no applause for wheel reinventers.


PS: Just to remind you about the @nordenfeltgame Twitter feed. Feel free to follow and get dedicated info about what’s going on at the the Nordenfelt development front.

Product Box Fun

I’ve just added a 3d product box to the upcoming sales page:

Nordenfelt 3d product box

Drawing this box was really fun, more than drawing game assets. Am I in the wrong business? I don’t think so because coding is even more fun. Sadly the last line of code was several weeks ago. Those were the days … Sigh.


Nordenfelt Dev Log 11

Here is the new Nordenfelt dev log.

During the last few days I was working on the new homepage. Most of the time was spent on fleshing out different logo ideas. Here are some of them:

homepage logo draft 1

homepage logo draft 2

homepage logo draft 3

homepage logo draft 4

homepage logo draft 5

Way too many hours went into these drafts. But I think I’ve finally found the right style. I won’t show it here just to be a little secretive. 🙂

Feel free to subscribe to the RSS feed or @black_golem for further dev log entries.

See you next week.


Nordenfelt’s Core Mechanics

First of all I want to thank everybody who provided feedback for Nordenfelt 0.4. The overall response was quite positive.

One important lesson I’ve learned from feedback so far is that tastes are different. This fact makes evaluating replies sometimes difficult. Finally it is important to have an own position and learn which opinions can and should be ignored. Otherwise there is little chance to get such a project done.

Anyway, thanks to all of you. I’m appreciating the effort you expended in testing my game. Thanks a lot!

Death of the Demo

Version 0.4 was an important milestone. It marked the end of the engine demo phase. Nearly a year of writing the engine was too long for my taste. This experience belongs to the category “if I only had known…”. In case of a sequel of Nordenfelt I’ll exploit this engine as much as I can. That should distribute last year’s effort over one more project. But that’s all still up in the air.

The next few months are dedicated to making the game itself. Thrilling times ahead.

Core Mechanics

After collecting and evaluating all 0.4 feedback from different sources I started designing the core mechanics for the game. By core I mean irrevocable features and rules. It’s quite hard to decide which of the many ideas should be set in stone. Finally it’s good advice to go with mechanics players are familiar with. Therefore I’ve fixed the following points:

Rank System

Many shoot ’em ups have a rank systems. It can be imagined as some kind of automatic difficulty adjustment. For example when the player beefs his/her weapon up to a high level the enemies start to get angrier, faster and stronger. This way the player is kept challenged. Experienced players exploit the rank system by keeping their equipment levels low. There are many more aspects in the game which influence the rank system. Figuring out what affects the rank is essential for beating the game as well as the highscore.

Score Hunt

This should be self-explanatory: get the best score, on your machine or online.

Equipment Selection

There will be a few types of equipment like bombs or bots which can be used for strategical play. Each game level is different and therefore should be tackled with appropriate equipment.

Upgrading Equipment

Equipment can be upgraded throughout the levels. This makes your ship stronger but also affects the rank (speak difficulty). Only equipment mounted on your ship will be upgraded in levels. Therefore you have to choose wisely what to take with you in each level.


Player Ship Finished

After six days of fiddling around with the player ship I’m sick of it. It’s time for something new to work on.

This is the ship as it will be used in the arcade mode of Nordenfelt:

3d view and 2d sprite of arcade player ship in final version

The small wings were mounted recently. This was done for one simple purpose: the birds-view shape did not look like a flying object. The wings are rather useless but provide a decorative hint at the vehicle’s flying nature.

Upcoming tasks on my todo list are making the playable level easier, adding some increments to the available weapon (upgrading) and many small tweaks like faster scroll speed or additional animations. I’m wondering when version 0.2 will be out. Hm…


Revised Player Ship Model

After some feedback I’ve changed the shape of the player ship. The engines became reduced in size and semi-covered by the ship hull, the outward-pointing guns are parallel know. Finalizing details like construction seams and rivets were attached:

3d view and 2d sprite of player ship version 2

I’m not really satisfied with the hull’s birds-view shape. The old hull was rougher:

3d view and 2d sprite of player ship version 1

I’m pondering if the engine covers should be reduced a little bit for restoring the “small hip” of the old hull shape.

What is your opinion?


Upgrade Triggered Refactoring Avalanche

After collecting all feedback from version 0.1 the first point on the todo list became including upgrades in the arcade mode. That sounded simple. I added a new upgrade object type and integrated it into the collision detection system. Here the first problem popped up: Physical shapes were still represented as polygons, upgrade icons were going to be circular. There was a big “TODO: replace polygons with circles” in the code. OK, let’s replace the polygons with circles. I will have to do it anyway. The avalanche started sliding.

While refactoring the collision code and adapting file formats the latter became painful work. The data formats were simple sequences of numeric values. E.g. a 2D vector was just a pair of numbers and a circle was a 2D vector followed by the circle its radius. The lack of meta data within the files, declaring the meanings of the values, forced me to always reference the corresponding loading source code. That was cumbersome so it was time for the next refactoring step: replacing the old file formats with XML. Next job in the refactoring queue.

The newly integrated upgrades had to load their data from files. They needed sprites, animations and body shapes. The third refactoring The Game The Face Of L.A. job accelerated the avalanche. Hey, I just wanted to upgrade my guns! Oh, wait a minute… equipment needs new upgrade definitions, weapons will have different shoot layouts. Dammit! Next job enqueued!

After two weeks refactoring the hell out of the game all viral tasks were finished. It’s a good feeling that the Nordenfelt engine now has proper data formats, a faster collision detection and upgradable equipment. Now I can go on with the funnier things.

For example modelling the player ship.

The Arcade Player Ship

The poll for your favourite player ship design sketches elected concept G as winner:

Steampunk Battle Ship

Today I’ve made this 3D model from the sketch above. It is not finished yet. Details like plates, frames or rivets are still missing:

Basic 3D model of winner concept

Basic 3D model of winner concept

IMO concept G is a good choice. It meets the shmup guidelines (AFAIK them), looks steampunky enough and has two Gatling guns! What would our world be without Gatling guns? 😉

Thanks four your votes!