Work In Progress / Game title: "DefCon1" (temp working title)

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lordjulian
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Posted: 26th Jun 2016 01:06 Edited at: 27th Jun 2016 20:22
Title: "DefCon1"

Game Developer: Julian Henley

Story Liine: Special Forces veteran James Straker is activated to uncover weapon bases in a war-torn region of the Middle East. But. after escaping a POW camp, he stumbles on more complex and unimaginably dangerous threats.

Description: This is an early demo version of Level 1 of a modern day FPS game.




Standby for a download link to a very rough early demo version of Level 1 of this game.

Your critiques, suggestions etc. are what I'm posting here for. I have a thick skin and a determination to perfect my work so don't hold back!
Julian

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lordjulian
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Posted: 26th Jun 2016 12:45
I have just realised the standalone version has a few issues so I have aborted the upload wile I try to resolve them. In the meantime, here's another screenshot.
Julian

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lordjulian
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Posted: 27th Jun 2016 19:29 Edited at: 28th Jun 2016 11:15
Here is a download link to V1 of Level 1:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jsht0n2k2d0t7q9/DefCon1.zip?dl=0

Please download, play and post your critiques.

Many thanks!

GAME CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE[size=xlarge]

Julian
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lordjulian
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Posted: 28th Jun 2016 11:10
Anyone tried it yet?
Julian
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Wolf
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Posted: 28th Jun 2016 11:46
Downloading now, giving it a whirl.

Is the grass growing through the floor and beds in that first screenshot intentional? If so..it might not be the best idea.



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lordjulian
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Posted: 28th Jun 2016 13:34
Yes. But I have been working to fix that. Thanks for trying it out. I look forward to getting your thoughts.
Julian
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Wolf
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Posted: 29th Jun 2016 10:57
Sigh! My download kept failing. Am on my third attempt now!



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lordjulian
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Posted: 29th Jun 2016 11:02
Darn! Don't waste too much time on it. I could PM you a link to a Youtube video.
Julian
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Wolf
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Posted: 29th Jun 2016 14:17 Edited at: 29th Jun 2016 14:20
It downloaded! But thanks.

The game feels like you threw the assets of a few dozen different games in a blender and have it autogenerate a game. Fortunately there are quite a few good ideas in that blender too!

I'll start with what I like: The game opens with me in what I assume is an interrogation cell where a chap in old timey clothes and someone who looks like an LGBT version of "Soap" from the COD games are torturing me. This had me confused because its going on for quite some time with these 2 chars spouting the same sentence over and over. Suddenly a masked chap enters the room and starts shooting. I first figured he'd be an allie who rescues me but it turns out that he is acutally shooting me...so I died the first time.

2nd attempt, I gather the weapons outside of the room, as I can now leave for the masked fellow has opened the door and start shooting. Here I also find a key and exit to what is a desert prison kind of area.

I'd really like to stress that I admire the effort you have put in the escape scene! Nothing works, but I see that you have been working towards the player character actively being beaten and then pulling off an escape. You could have just let the player start over the static corpse of a guard and "assume" he overpowered him but you actually went with a playable sequence. This is why I write a review, because that shows me that you can make a good game sometime.

What follows is mostly standart GG shooter fare and really a testament to what the engine can do out of the box. Enemies ragdoll out of guard towers and the gun mechanics are quite fluid. I like the extra notion that the uzi jams, your work, Julian?

However, as there are way too many enemies on the map, most don't attack the player and just stand around to be shot which really ruins the whole escape feeling to me and made me more of a butcher. I sense that there is no optimisation here. If you try to separate the camp in different areas where you spawn tactically placed enemies, I believe you should get a better results...and better performance on weaker systems.

I'm very pleased with the map showing me allied and enemie characters and the idea that I have to actively free other characters makes the otherwise incredibly dull "look for the key" mechanic at least somewhat interesting. I also like that you added so many voices of the game, even if 90% of them simply don't work.

A general hint I can give you is to never use computer generated voices for people. Its always terrible.

I know from experience that getting voiceactors is tedious but necessary if you want to go with audible dialogue. Some of it sounded kinda well but most of it really didn't.

I have continued to work my way through the camp mostly unhindered until I didn't find the necessary key to proceed and shot one of the other inmates. I was pleasantly surprised to see that you added in a repercussion for that resulting in game over! Nice!.

Now, the game could work like a simple throwback shooter to the days of like "Project I.G.I" but it simply doesn't work as most enemies don't fit visually and are just scattered over the map. The indoor encounter with them taking some cover was way better. You'll need to put in some work though if you want this to be played by anyone who isn't a fellow GG user though. In general: Enemies need to attack you. They should also feel like part of the same military group rather than random armed enemies that have been scattered on a map.

Where the game really falls apart is the way it looks. Models have been placed seemingly with zero reguard to what they are and how they look. You should pay more mind to this as GG is essentially a "what you see is what you get" editor. Nothing should be floating in the map and you shouldn't use objects with missing faces. If you are having a hard time placing items you can always work off of photos.

FPS games need the map to work, otherwise they fall apart. Especially single player FPS games. You don't need good graphics, but the aesthetics and the design has to work. Doesn't need to be good...just has to work. Here this is simply not the case. Everything is awkward.

I applaud you for using custom content! However, the content does not fit the map it is in. Especially the vehicles in a single, solid featureless colour, the seemingly randomly furnitured building (note: Many older shooters had very little furniture in buildings. This is a better choice than using whatever objects you had and just placing them randomly.)

A lot of the furniture is also sticking in the floor or floating.

My hint would be to look at the object in the editor and determine if it makes sense in that place or room. Having modern surgical equipment right next to rusty torture tables after a random corridor full of barrels is weird. (I liked the toilet bucket gag though, at least that shows that these maps aren't randomly generated.) The NPC's looked strikingly out of place as well...most seemed more like they are waiting in line for a popconcert rather than being incarcerated by what I assume are terrorists.

Look! I could go on for a long time as most things in this map don't work yet, but I can see that you have it in you to make it work and don't want to be a voice of discouragment. I think you get the general feel of what I am trying to say.

This is what you are trying to do:



This is what it kinda feels like:



I'm not qualified to tell you what to do but I'd tackle it like this: Fix general map layout, fix gameplay and optimisation, replace ill fitting props with fitting ones, adjust incoherent and out of place textures (at least colourwise, you don't need and photoshop skills for that), reedit audio, get intro sequence to work properly.

Happy developing!



-Wolf

"When I contradict myself, I am telling the truth"
"absurdity has become necessity"

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lordjulian
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Posted: 30th Jun 2016 20:58
Thanks so much, Wolf. I wasn't expecting such a thorough review and you made some very useful points.

I guess I did use an odd variety of assets I did some research on POW camps but couldn't really find a standard arrangement. I did wonder whether my choices were appropriate. If I wasn't rubbish at modelling I would try to make my own. When the EBE is released I will probably replace most of the buildings with my own custom structures.

Maybe I need to adjust my script so the interrogator only says "kill him, kill him" once along with Straker's response. It didn't occur to me that the intention of the masked soldier was unclear. I'll figure out a way to make that clearer. The old timer punching Straker - he was the only character I could find who punches. I am aware that he's supposed to be medieval and I will probably retexture him.

Thanks for the positive comments on the escape scene. I worked quite hard to make it work but I know it needs refining. I'm quite proud that it kind of works because I am a novice at Lua,

I can't claim credit for the Uzi jamming. I think it must be a feature of GG.

I agree the performance is poor. I have already been thinking about having the characters spawn only when they are needed. I think I will also remove some of them. The POWs do a Destroy(e) when they check a certain distance from the player. I did that for performance but I think I will reduce the distance.

I'm not happy with the computer voices either and I have been scouting for voice actors. Most of the real voices were done by an American Facebook friend of mine. I think they are pretty good.

I take your point about the enemies not looking like they belong together. I guess I wanted them not to look like clones. I might try giving them all the same uniform and just giving them different faces.

I will also work at making the buildings and other entities for fitting. I think the EBE will allow me to transform the look of the map. I will rethink my choices of furniture, etc. and check they placement.

I agree with your comment of the POWs not looking right. I don't have the skills to create custom characters outside of GameGuru and the Character Creator is currently very limited. I have created a few characters in Makehuman and managed to get them working but they didn't work properly.

Thanks for being so frank and thorough. That's a really helpful review.

BTW, where did the picture of the POW camp come from? I would like to take a closer look.

Julian
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Wolf
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Posted: 30th Jun 2016 21:33 Edited at: 30th Jun 2016 21:34
Hello LordJulian!

Quote: "Thanks so much, Wolf. I wasn't expecting such a thorough review and you made some very useful points."


Only because you're going places. If you where a lost cause I'd not have bothered to write all that.

Quote: "If I wasn't rubbish at modelling I would try to make my own. When the EBE is released I will probably replace most of the buildings with my own custom structures."


I know the feeling. I wasn't able to model until mid 2012...it was just incomprehensible to me. Then I was suddenly able to model. Pretty much just like that...no tuts or anything. Before that, I adjusted textures with paintshop to get a coherent look. Hey! Maybe thats a good idea for a tutorial.

Quote: "I am a novice at Lua,"


Me too! I get my gameplay working through trial and error.

Quote: "I'm not happy with the computer voices either and I have been scouting for voice actors."


Hey! I'm not too bad at shouting military lines and I have a weird foreign accent. I can voice some enemies for ya if you wish.

Quote: "I will rethink my choices of furniture, etc. and check they placement."


I think thats important for the mood of everything.

Quote: "BTW, where did the picture of the POW camp come from? "


I was googling "desert prison" LINK TO ORIGINAL PIC


Quote: "I have created a few characters in Makehuman and managed to get them working but they didn't work properly."


Hmm! No, thats way more work than what its worse. It will always look kinda awkward with makehuman.
I think a good skill for you to learn would be basic retexturing!! You can do almost anything with that.

Thanks for reading my review. Responding to criticism like you do is a sign of good character.



-Wolf
"When I contradict myself, I am telling the truth"
"absurdity has become necessity"
lordjulian
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Posted: 1st Jul 2016 01:02
Thanks again. I might take you up on your offer to shout some military lines! This evening I tried some voice acting of my own to replace the computer. Due to my cerebral palsy it's quite hard to get a good voice so I'm not convinced my efforts are an improvement on the computer generated voices.

My friend (a fellow GG fan) who did most of the other voices is paralysed from the neck down but he's still got a good set of lungs. He's very generous and kind. I think his voice acting is pretty good. I'm very grateful for his help.

Thanks for the link to that pic.

Judging by your own WIP thread you are obviously a very talented game designer so I feel particularly honoured to have the feedback you provided. Watch this space for improvements to my level.

Good luck with your projects.
Julian
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Wolf
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Posted: 1st Jul 2016 14:17
Oh! I have heard that this condition can affect speech as well. (My former neighbor's daughter had it.)

You can always send me a PM if you need some help with textures or voiceovers and aside from that: Best luck with your project! I'll keep checking on it.

Quote: "Judging by your own WIP thread you are obviously a very talented game designer"


Thank you! I hope the final result won't disappoint then.



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lordjulian
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Posted: 1st Jul 2016 22:52
Thanks!
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lordjulian
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Posted: 2nd Jul 2016 00:57
I have made a minor change. I've given all my POWs a prison uniform. Hopefully, they look less like they are going to a rock concert:
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lordjulian
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Posted: 2nd Jul 2016 17:44
Thanks, Bod! I think I could certainly use that. You're a talented modeller!
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lordjulian
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Posted: 2nd Jul 2016 17:58
The latest news is that I have been trying to improve performance of my level. As you can see by the attached screenshot, I haven't succeeded. I got most of my characters to spawn only when the player gets reasonable close to them but this doesn't seem to have had any positive effect on the frame rate.

Seems like polygons and draw calls are the main culprits. They are almost maxed out despite this scene being in a small enclosed room with no terrain visible.

If someone could please suggest a way to fix this I'd be grateful.
Julian

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lordjulian
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Posted: 2nd Jul 2016 22:03
Excellent work there!
Julian
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lordjulian
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Posted: 4th Jul 2016 02:30
Very Nice!
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Wolf
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Posted: 6th Jul 2016 17:03
Already lots of improvements and additional content! I really like what I am seeing.



-Wolf
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lordjulian
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Posted: 9th Jul 2016 11:45
Thanks, Wolf.

I have also been trying to make my prison look more like a prison and less like a soup. Attached is screenshot.
Julian

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Wolf
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Posted: 9th Jul 2016 15:18
Very believable from a structural perspective. Good job in my opinion
"When I contradict myself, I am telling the truth"
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lordjulian
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Posted: 9th Jul 2016 20:17
Thanks again, Wolf. Very pleased to have you monitoring my progress - it makes the job less lonely.

Today I have been group-selecting and dragging entities from outside my new prison structure to within it. This has resulted in a couple of run time errors. Luckily, I always make multiple backups with incremental numbers attached to the filenames so I was able to take a step backward and avoid disaster!

I have wondered whether it might be quicker just to add these things again from scratch but I think, on balance, my current approach is probably quicker. It depends on whether I get too many errors.

I am also considering breaking the level into four separate levels because the most I've managed to squeeze out of it is about 14 fps which is unacceptable. It also takes ages to load. However, splitting the level will involve plenty of new challenges. Watch this space!
Julian
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Shadow man
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Quote: "I have also been trying to make my prison look more like a prison and less like a soup. Attached is screenshot."


Quote: "Very believable from a structural perspective. Good job in my opinion"


Wolf is right, and a +1 from me,...much better.
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Belidos
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Posted: 11th Jul 2016 08:54
Quote: "I am also considering breaking the level into four separate levels because the most I've managed to squeeze out of it is about 14 fps which is unacceptable. It also takes ages to load. However, splitting the level will involve plenty of new challenges. Watch this space!"


Before trying to make 4 different levels, try breaking it into four section, with each section in its own corner of the map with huge gaps between them, then to travel between them you can set up doors or zones with a teleportiinzone script to move seamlessly.

Having them in smaller chunks large distances away should help increase your FPS a little, there's a distance slider in the tan tab settings that controls how close to objects you have to be before they render, if that's set so only the area you're in renders then that will help your FPS, and objects and scripts don't run if they're over a certain distance from the player unless they have always active on. All that should help your FPS a little.

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lordjulian
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Posted: 12th Jul 2016 14:30
Thanks, Shadow Man!

And thanks, Belidos for the advice. I'll try it out. My only concern is that I guess it won't help the loading time because all the entities will still need to be loaded.
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lordjulian
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Posted: 14th Jul 2016 20:48
Still in the process of trying to improve performance. Also, the level takes a really long time to load. Not sure why as I have only utilised about 0.25% of the available map space apart from some background terrain.

Maybe it's my computer, which is an all-purpose laptop.
Julian
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lordjulian
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Posted: 15th Jul 2016 09:15
I've noticed that most of the game's loading time is for loading the entities. I've done a little test and put down loads of the same entity on an otherwise empty map, some of them rescaled or rotaed. Despite the larger number of copies, the level loads quickly.

So my plan is to see how many entities I can reuse in place of others. I'll try to disguise the fact they are the same using position, rotation and scale.

If this significantly reduces loading time without unacceptable loss of variety then it's a good lesson learned and a pat on the back for my late-night revelation!
Julian
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lordjulian
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Posted: 16th Jul 2016 18:53
Latest news: I haven't been able to resolve loading time so I am thinking about scrapping the level and starting over. Six months' work flushed away but I can't afford to compromise.
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Shadow man
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Posted: 17th Jul 2016 01:38
Quote: "but I can't afford to compromise"


With GG in it's present sate, you will have to, yes it is annoying, I,m trying to make a game
myself at the moment, but like everyone else I am struggling with performance,.....you start
to build your game, you get half way there, and your fps is already below 30,....the point
at witch your low fps is noticeable on screen.
In my opinion GG needs two more rounds of performance work before we can even start
to build the worlds that we have in our heads,....until then, it's compromise,....or simply
tell people they will have to have a high end super comp to play your game,....witch most
people don't have at the moment,.....frustrating.
Anyway,....for now, welcome to the GG "Low FPS Club" ,.....we are all in it,.......lol.
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lordjulian
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Posted: 19th Jul 2016 15:10
I agree. Further work needs to be done on performance. However, I notice that The Big Escape (which is a perfectly reasonable level) loads quite quickly on my system, so I still think I need to redo my level.

I've decided to wait for the EBE.
Julian
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lordjulian
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Posted: 21st Jul 2016 20:59 Edited at: 21st Jul 2016 21:18
Check out the attached screenshot of a torture table. It was created by the same man who has kindly done some voice acting for me. Excellent for my game's interrogation scene! I really think he would be a great asset (no pun intended) to the Store!

I don't know whether he reused some stock textures for this. But no matter - it still demos talent and is very useful.
Julian

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Posted: 21st Jul 2016 21:08
Here's another shot showing the table's "special features"! Nice!
Julian

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lordjulian
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Posted: 1st Aug 2016 19:25
Still nothing new to show. I am waiting for the EBE. I am not much of a modeller and I don't want to use too many stock entities because I want my game to be truly unique. My hope is that the EBE will allow me to achieve this.
Julian
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mguy1122
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Glad you liked the table! Sorry to hear your scrapping your level. I'm waiting for the easy building editor myself. I can model buildings but for some reason they always have some little problem that makes me hate them, mostly glass. So, the ebe couldn't come soon enough for me . If you don't mind the windows not being clear I might be able to whip you up some stuff. Just let me know if you need anything Julian!
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lordjulian
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Posted: 16th Aug 2016 19:53
Thanks Michael. You're really good at modelling and animating. I've been Beta testing the EBE. It has a few bugs and you can't save your buildings yet but I think it will be good when it's finished.
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Posted: 14th Sep 2016 17:42
No progress. Just posting to keep the thread unlocked. Work will resume when we get the EBE. The wait is killing me.
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Wolf
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Keep in mind that you can also send me a PM to unlock stuff.
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Posted: 25th Sep 2016 11:53
Thanks Wolf.
Julian
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