Work In Progress / [SOLVED] The Amazingly and Unoriginally named SimpleFPSShooter!!!

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DarinM1967
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Posted: 11th May 2021 01:04 Edited at: 29th May 2021 19:25
Developer: DarinM1967

Storyline: A unknown, but honest amateur, game developing hobbyist, tries to show his sincerity in giving TGC a fair shake about GameGuru, the Legendary Fast and Easy to use game engine in the up and coming gangbuster review! He starts by spending a month following tutorials from TGC official like the "GameGuru - Getting-Started, and their intriguing, though sometimes vague Youtube videos. He will try his hardest to stay with in the developing process, but if he needs to veer to the varied and recently updated DLCs, the lengthy Steam and TGC's forums, outside sages of the arcane arts of graphic, animation, sound/music, and game development, he will make note of it here and in his completed review!!! Yes! He is not ashamed to seek help and advice from both fellow GameGuru ethusists, if the need arises and the need always arises!!! He WILL at least try and keep up with future updating this post, on the SimpleFPShooter and his sincere review!!!

Description: This will be at least 2-3 levels of a simple FPS. It'll start outside, but will eventually move into lower levels of an enemies military complex, with strange and perhaps alien things are a foot! Will try to incorporate a score system similar to DOOM and the game play will be very old school so little talk and story, but lots of shooting and blowing stuff up! I've included 3 screen shots of the beginning development of the first outside level, which will be based upon the tutorial level given in "GameGuru - Getting-Started.pdf" which is what you get when you click on the "User Guide" from the GameGuru splash screen. I will need to detour a little from the tutorial if I wish to have the player enter a secret enemy military base, but most assets will be from either what comes with the basic GameGuru Classic or its DLCs. I will try to import objects and maybe a dynamic entity if I can figure out how to do it properly and GameGuru Classic accepts it. We'll have to see. I will be including screen shots as I go in it's development to show that I am trying to both follow the tutorials and guides, and trying to produce something that isn't too sloppy and amateurish, but no promises on the latter.

Now the system I will be developing and testing on is rather high-end so won't be discussing much about frame rates , unless they are terrible because if they are it won't be because this system. I'll include it's stats to give everyone an idea of what my frame rate should average if I do not go over board with the details, objects, light sources and entities per level.

GF65 Thin 9SEXR by MSI 15 Inch Gaming Notebook (Intel Core i7, 64GB RAM, 2x 1TB NVMe SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB, 15.6" FHD 120Hz IPS-Level, Windows 10 Home) Gamer Laptop Computer.

Update: 05-17-2021

Scrapped the level used in tutorial used in "GameGuru - Getting-Started" because it didn't work well with having a cave tunnel as the end point, so spent most of this week creating a new level which I have added a screenshot below. First level is done, has pistol and shotgun enemies, though I am still trying to determine the difference between "Peek" and "Defender" soldier's behavior. Have jungle sound that starts and runs and have completion trigger, just inside the tunnel so that hopefully I'll be able to switch to a score screen, then continue onto the next level. At least that's the plan. Notice enemy like to run up sides of cliffs and stand up there so maybe I'll need to make the cliffs steeper or some sort of invisible barrier so they don't run off. Anyway 1st week over and more tutorials need to review.

Update: 05-19-2021

Still on 1st level after noticing that enemies like to run up sheer cliffs (figure: SimpleFPShooterLVL01-05.png) and over into unplaying areas if they get shot at from a distance. First using "Combat Soldier (Defender) then tried "Combat Soldier (Peek)", but both just go up walls that player is unable to climb even with "jumping" work around. Added screen shot to show issue. Checked AI for both "types" and noted that there was no difference. Also searched forums and documentation, but nothing mention on either. Will have to spend some time putting invisible walls up all around how playing filled to keep enemies from just wondering off. That is a AI bug since there is no way without non-trivial scripting to fix this behavior since it would require putting in a way to force enemy to stay in marked off area or to not try to climb surfaces with a greater then a certain degree of incline. Also FPS are taking a bit of a hit with only 11 enemies in the playing field, even though only 4-5 are seen at one time max. Once they are all dead FPS climbs by 20-30+ fps even on a fast machine like mine, so optimization bug, since cranking up foliage/grass and using lots of objects can run smooth at 120 fps, but add more than 4-5 soldiers and fps drops down to 80s and lower. With a rig like mine loosing that many fps isn't a big deal, but most people trying to develop and/or play this game would notice the difference immediately. Anyway will add invisible walls for the enemies then move onto level 2, if I don't find anything else acting odd.

Quick Update: 05-19-2021

Add invisible walls and it keeps the enemies in, but now they follow along the invisible wall (figure: SimpleFPShooterLVL01-06.png) which makes them an easy target. Well at least they won't run off the playing field so that's a good thing I guess. Will say as a positive that the game engine is running a lot more stable. Haven't had a single crash even when running game as a Standalone. Did learn which I couldn't find in documentation that if map was saved in a subfolder of the main mapbank folder which is good for separating from the gameguru map assets, then the game is "Save Standalone" then when the player starts up the game they begin in a gigantic ocean and eventually drowns. Now if the map(s) are moved out of the subfolder into the main folder and saved or if they are moved out of the subfolder into the main mapbank folder in the Standalone then the game loads fine. Again this isn't mentioned in the documentation or tutorials.

Update: 05-21-2021

Bugs I've encountered so far, in addition to the flaky wandering AI, have been minor, like grenades are through in a straight line from right arm and not towards cross-hairs, a crash occurred when I fired at a wall to see if the solider on the other side would fire back, which may have been caused by playing YouTube video in the background, and dead soldier standing in default aiming position with collision off. I've included a picture of the standing dead soldier. Good news is the soldier on the other side of the wall didn't react to me firing at him from the other side. Saw a bug on YouTube of an earlier version of GameGuru where the soldiers were able to shoot player through walls. Still working on 2nd Level and it's going well and should have a screen shot of that shortly. So far Frame rates are good with 5 soldiers on same level, but will update if it falls after adding the rest of them. Also will be using both exterior cave entities and EBE for this level so looking forward to seeing how this goes.

Additionally wanted to thank Wolf for showing their interest. Wolf your work on Acythian looks awesome. This game isn't going to be even close to that level since I'm pretty much using Assets that come with Gameguru and the scale is tiny comparatively. My little project is going to help refresh my memory and to point out the positives and negatives I've encountered when using Gameguru for a Steam review I'll be doing later. I'm giving myself a month to build something that's uses all of Gameguru's features for my review. It's not to try and make it a balanced or enjoyable game, though I will be doing my best to make it a minimum viable product (MVP). Basically it'll be something that if I wanted to later go back and spend more time polishing and revising to increase it's balance, flow and fun. Anyway thanks again Wolf for showing your interest.

Update: 05-24-2021

Added a couple of pics of level 2 which is almost finished, though had to keep removing ceiling for easier access. It's got 5 room like area, an entrance, barracks, bathroom, prison, and a storage, with about 9 or so enemies to fight, some health powerups, etc. It's not very big but will use light sources, though don't know which type yet. I've included some screen shots to give an idea on how it's going. No adjustments to ambience, surface lighting or bloom has been adjusted yet, so with the ceiling off they'll look odd. Right now it's using dynamic, but want to give static lights a try too to get an idea of how well they work and how day differ for my review. New very annoying bug came up that the Forums have only mentioned in one posting even though 29 months have passed and it was still not fixed. It's all of the doors, save for auto sliding doors with an EBE structure bug. Basically if the door isn't sticking just outside of the EBE wall cavity it's sits in it never detects the player and never prompts to be opened. I've tried using all of the Gameguru scripts that come with the engine. I was able to find a working script in the forums under https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/220375 by Corno_1. Its hard to believe that such a simple bug has been around for at least 29 months since being reported. Anyway I'll probably have level 2 finished and starting on level 3 in a few days.

Update 5-26-2021

I have finished Level 2 and right now pondering whether or not I'll even want to make a level 3. The biggest, most noticeable and most Game Breaking bugs I've seen so far is with the lighting system. In game I switched the sky to dark, even though the sun light and shadows are still visible if a ceiling title is removed. I dropped Ambient down to 20, left Surface lighting at 50. I left bloom alone for now. I then placed spot lights and area lights throughout the area to illuminate the space without over saturating it. All the lights are set to 100 strength. In the cave leading to the underground installation you can already seen that the static lights are way duller and dimer than the dynamic ones (i.e., SimpleFPShooterLVL02-07 is Static lighting/Light Mapped, and SimpleFPShooterLVL02-08 is dynamic lighting/Realtime). Both lighting types are buggy and do not light up all of the light sources used (52 lights total though only about 8-10 are in camera at any one time) . Dynamic lighting causes rending issues some objects (i.e., SimpleFPShooterLVL02-09), and some lights don't even light at all, until set to static, saved, tested, then set back to dynamic, saved then tested (i.e., SimpleFPShooterLVL02-010). This is the opposite hallway with 2 dynamic lights that are lit the same strength and roughly the same distance apart (SimpleFPShooterLVL02-11). Static lighting also has problems lighting all the lights too (SimpleFPShooterLVL02-12) and the lighting is a lot, lot weaker. Also static lighting causes the cave walls to glow (SimpleFPShooterLVL02-13). Anyway, I think I'm going to just stick with 2 levels and start working on contenting them together and modifying the Generic Menu system before I wrap up my adventure into game creation with Gameguru. I've included a few additional screens screen shots of other areas of the installation with dynamic which to me looks better.

Update: 5-27-2021

Went back to level 2 and removed 16 lights, tested with both static/light-mapping and dynamic, but same issues so unless the number of lights has to be dramatically lowered, which doesn't make sense since according to this forum post: https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/221691 a mesh should be able to handle 80 lights simultaneously, even though as Preben said back then "after a mesh have more then 20 per pixel light all other lights for this mesh will use per vertex light ( this is faster but don't look as good ) ." This wouldn't cause the strange lighting issues I've been seeing and since my current computer is more than powerful enough to handle what Gameguru could through at it at least with the lights. Still noted that with just 10 standard Gameguru enemies I loose 20-30 fps and they do not have any patrols and no more than 3 enemy are in camera shot at a time. Anyway I'm going to be going over menuing tutorials so I can customize mine and tie the two levels together. I'll see if I can put some sort of scoring, but that's going to depend on how Gameguru allows such things. Have included top-down screen shot of level 2 which shows amount of objects, enemies and lights used.

Update: 5-28-2021

Discovered that health.lua causes health items to deduct health from player, instead of adding it. Seriously tested it both levels and walking past a bag of chips, or medkit causes player to loose 1 pt. Also thought since I had increased Player's initial hitpoints to 1000, I returned it to 100, saved level, tested and still broke. Even saved level as "Standalone", tested and still broke. Tried several modifications, but unless I want to learn the Gameguru functions and like "addPlayerHealth()" then it's a bug I won't be fixing. It's not that learning the script is all that hard since I learned several languages like C, Forth, x86 Assembly, etc., it's just that this is a "main" script which should have been corrected and continually bug tested between each update release. Hopefully I'll have this wrapped up and will give my final observations on this originally 19.99 Euros ($24.37), now $19.99 dollar game, which on Steam currently on sale for $11.99, but normally for $39.99.

Additional:

I've just finished adding custom title, loading, end, about and lost images, tested the whole game and save for the bugs I've mentioned earlier, and an occasional crash while playing it is finished. It only has 2 levels, but appear to be easy enough for me to survive some of the time which is balanced enough for my review. It is a MVP (minimum vain that it does the bare minimum to qualify as a game and for the most part it works. It isn't the most exciting thing and other than a texture swap or two it's vanilla GameGuru assets and scripts. According to Steam it has taken me about 34.8 hours to compete, this does not include reading forums posts, following GameGuru's Starting Guide, and Youtube videos. I'm guessing it's more like 40 hours which means that while it's a MVP (Minimum Viable Product), it's not even close to a feature rich, exciting well balanced and bug free experience. Not by a long shot, but it did give me a good exposure of GameGuru's features, bugs, positives and negatives. Now steam shows my overall time using or trying to use GameGuru as 332.6 hrs., so hopefully I won't have an issue explaining my familiarity with this engine. Anyway, I'll begin going over my notes, and typing out my review of Gameguru over the next day or two. I'll add one more update on this posting with my completed review so that if any one is interested they don't have to go to Steam to read it. I have also included screen shots of my custom menu screens.

I do want to go ahead and give a big "Thank you for your patience" to Wolf and anyone else who may have been keeping up on this posting.

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Wolf
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Posted: 12th May 2021 12:27
Best luck with your project I'll keep an eye on it!
DarinM1967
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Posted: 29th May 2021 22:34
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My review of Gameguru after spending 30+ hours creating a simple FPS game

Scale: 1 = Trash or very primitive like 3DRad to 10 = High Quality Professional like Unreal Engine

GUI of Editor: 6/10 ( nice to look at, but limiting, not customizable and no way to swap mouse buttons for the 10% of the population. )
Graphical Quality: 5/10
Sound & Music: 3/10
Game Editor: 7/10
Scripting: 4/10
Lighting: 3/10
Tutorial & Guides: 3/10 (while adequate for the very basics and assumes your skilled already)
Forum: 10/10
Marketplace: 6/10
DLC: 4/10 (mainly due to price to quality and variety)
Overall: 4.5/10

After spending over 30 hours building a simple fps with 2 complete levels, one outside and another indoor with a cave connecting them, enemies to fight, new weapons, and healing power ups, and custom menu screens with title music, here is my review.

Overall the GUI is pleasant to look at but very limited, but gets the job done. It is pretty easy to use if you're right-handed, because there is no way to swap mouse buttons for left-handed people like myself. Also it’s not customizable at all, so no docking/undocking or moving the icons around, but since there aren’t many icons in the first place it’s not that big deal.

The free graphical assets that come with GameGuru are equivalent to the 2008 to 2010 generation of 3D games. Now recently the textures to most of them have been upgraded to “Physics Based Dynamic” textures, but many are either way, way too shiny, or their resolution is still too low to make a noticeable improvement. The free “Expansion” DLC has 2004-2006 equivalent quality due to their low polygons and low resolution textures.

Gameguru does have a large selection of shades like Depth of Field, Motion Blur, Bloom, Ambient and Surface Lighting, which can be adjusted with sliders in game “test mode”, but there really isn’t any official guidance or tutorials available to describe how to adjust them properly so a lot of time will be spent in “test mode” tweaking them to make them acceptable.

Gameguru comes with 2 lighting systems, dynamic and static lightmap. I tried using both with 30-50 lights in the 2nd level of the game and both lighting systems are broken. While it’s advertised in Gameguru’s forum that they are upgrading the system so that an individual mesh could have up to 80 different lights, not all the lights will work. Using dynamic lights there were 3 point lights in one of the hallways that wouldn’t work no matter what I did, including deleting them and creating new ones. The static lightmap lights were extremely deem and 3 point lights in the barracks area wouldn’t light, even though the 3 in the before mentioned hallway did. In the forums there are posts that are at least 2 years old that point out that the lighting system is completely broken. Since games require good and consistent lighting which makes this a major issue in my opinion.

The free sounds, sound effects and music are very limited in both number available and quality and while most of them sound good, overall they are reminiscent of 2002-2004 high energy beat or dark horror, and has only a small handful of musical and ambient files.

The free demos or maps, both single player and multiplayer, show off some of the features of what Gameguru has to offer, but they are extremely basic and only one (the great escape) looked like it really had some work on it. The other ones look like they were done by complete amateurs and while they were pretty bug free, appeared to have been done in the afternoon.

The Editor for Gameguru is pretty much the easiest one I’ve ever seen and is only starting to be duplicated by other engines. It makes it pretty easy to adjust the landscape or tile down floors, walls and ceilings. The landscape can be raised, lowered, flattened and the flatten level can be temporarily saved, then used by somewhere else on the map! The engine allows for 16 texture at anyone time to be used on the landscape from stone, sand, gravel, cobblestones, etc., even though it does come with a rather annoying “banding.” The reason for the “banding” is to allow textures to blend is a logical way from one ground texture like stone to another like grass or sand, etc., each game engine that allows for landscape texturing have their quirks, but allowing the user to spray paint the layers individually themselves is usually the best, though probably harder to implement and more resource intensive. Also the engine required that all entities used in the game have to be placed on the map and cannot be created on the fly, even from scripts, which requires hiding enemies or placing them in the far corner on the map somewhere then having them teleport or become visible to mimic spawning and you have to determine ahead of time how many your going to use, because once they go “ragdoll” they cannot be reused again in the game. The editor also makes it fairly easy to drop enemies, powerups, and props onto the map too, though it can be buggy at times causing items to appear far away from where the user intended or under the ground. With the latter issue this will require a reload of a previous save since Gameguru doesn’t provide a list of assets that are currently deployed so that they can be quickly retrieved or removed. No matter what game engine a person uses, saving regularly is a requirement and Gameguru makes it pretty painless.

One of the great features that Gameguru offers is the EBE Editor, which allows squarish buildings of varying heights, widths, and lengths to be created easily, including doorways, windows and stairs. This system does have a few bugs like doorways blocking doors from normally working or enemies/players getting stuck in doorways and corners. Also exporting EBE buildings is hit or miss. Meaning that I didn’t appear to have a problem exporting them, but oftentimes when I imported them back in they were buggy or it wouldn’t load them at all. I was able to save and load them fine if they were saved in the map I was working on, but having the ability to export and reimport them bug free would make them so much more useful across levels and games.

The scripting system that Gameguru uses is Lua, which is a fairly easy language to learn from, but the documentation and tutorial provided assumes that the user is a knowledgeable programmer and there is no hand holding. Also you will need to use a separate text or script editor like Notepad or Notepad++ if you want to create or edit scripts. The scripts that come with Gameguru have not been documented very well and at the top of many of them it reads like “-- AI : Soldier Behavior”, “-- LUA Script - precede every function and global member with lowercase name of script + '_main'”, with something below it like “-- Player Enters Story Zone”, “ -- Player Collects Weapon”, but most of the scripts do not document beyond this. Now there are a few scripts that do have some documentation throughout, but the majority will require the user to try and learn Lua and to review the TGC’s (publisher The Game Creators) and Steam forums, which is a Godsend to say the least. While working on these game levels and testing them I discovered that many of the scripts that Gameguru provides are either broken or buggy and will require repeated trips to the forums or user re-scripting them to make them work right. The ones I encountered that were messed up were “health.lua”, “door.lua” and the complex soldier/combat A.I. Assigning the health script to a new object would cause that object to deduct health from the player, instead of adding it, or the object would just do nothing. If a door was placed inside an EBE building’s doorway the door would fail to detect the player and not work at all. Also the scripts for the “exploding” barrels are flaky because while some of them will cause an explosion sprites and sound to occur the barrels never disappear and either fell over or flew across the map! The A.I. for the soldiers/enemies are weird at the very least or downright insane. The soldiers often would not follow simple 2 point patrol markers, stand still and ignore the player until shot at, or if shot from afar would walk the opposite direction from the player up sheer mountain cliffs that the player couldn’t possibly attempt to climb. It eventually required placing invisible walls all over the place not to keep the player in, but the soldiers. Even then the soldiers would ignore the player and keep climbing, following the edge of invisible walls making them easy targets. Also in the indoor level when a soldier was killed they would oftentimes just stand there with their collision turned off or freeze in crazy, and twisted or disturbing poses. I’m sure a lot of these scripts could be fixed or replaced with better ones, but these are the scripts that normally come with Gameguru!

The forums for Gameguru are truly amazing and that is the truth. The dedication of many fellow users trying to help or answer questions is what really makes this engine. Seriously, they are great! Many of the people at the Gameguru forums are friendly, well knowledgeable and eager to help a newbie learn the many quirks, tricks and caveats of the Gameguru system.

Once I had finished building my levels I had to do the very boring and very tedious job of customizing the game’s title, about, lost (a.k.a player lost) and ending (a.k.a. Player won) screens. What made them annoying and tedious wasn’t the fact that you had to copy an existing folder with all of the screens, then open the individual files for each screen and button you wanted to change, then editing them in a separate 2D paint program like Gimp, Corel Paintshop Pro, or Adobe Photoshop. One of the annoying parts was having to either keep using the same button dimensions, or modifying the script files to put them where you wanted to. There is no built in GUI to help line anything up. The other is having to resize and save individually every screen for every resolution available which there are 8 different resolutions. Now there is at least one app available on Gameguru’s MarketPlace, but this really should have been built into the engine because it is very easy to miss scale 2 or 3 and not even know if someone else plays the game with one of those unlucky resolutions.

Gameguru allows the user to create stand alone games and even encrypts the files so that people don’t worry about having their art and sound assets stolen, which is a great feature that only a few engines have, but due to the numerous game crashing, A.I. and lighting bugs, games created with this engine and sold on steam have received very, very bad reviews due to them. There are like 3-5 of these games and while a couple were very simplistic and obvious cash grabs the others were done with a lot of care and sold at low prices, but with the buggy behavior, quirky lighting system and random crashes none of them have been even remotely successful. Now there are a few games that Gameguru hobbyists have created that play well, but again they can and do crash, have buggy behavior and even quirky or limiting lighting. Even TGCs have changed the Gameguru front page to discourage users from trying to sell their games created with their engine.

The last part of the very long review I’m going to talk about Gameguru’s DLC which I feel is rather overpriced for what you get. You can go on Youtube and look up these DLCs and see for yourself that while they are not bad, they are definitely for either old-school games or hobbyist and lack the polish that most indie studios release. Also the format of all of these art assets both that come with Gameguru, their DLCs, and most of the authors at the marketplace are DirectX, which makes it very difficult to import into other engines or even editor with Blender, even though the Gameguru developers have repeatedly stated that you can modify and use them in other engines and editors. The only 3D editor I know of that works easily with these assets is Fragmotion. It’s not a bad editor and is for sale at $35.00 USD, so it’s not expensive, and you can use all of its features without limitations for free for a week at a time if you type in the “Lord’s Prayer”. It’s UI and features are very old-school, but it does have a lot of very useful features like texture painting and skeletal animations. The Marketplace also has a lot of scripts, textures, art assets, but read carefully about their licensing because some are rather strict and their quality like Gameguru in general ranges from poor to good, but only a small handful are what most people would call polished quality, because many of them like most users of Gameguru are hobbyist.

To summarize I would say if you want an affordable game engine to build and sell indie games, that has a lot of documentation and high quality assets for free and purchase then Unreal, Unity or even Godot which doesn’t have a whole lot of documentation or even assets it’s completely free!

If you wish to just quickly plop down some baddies, props and build simple outdoor/indoor maps to play with your steam friends or share via Steam’s workshop then Garry’s Mod is only $9.99. It has Lua scripting and a ton of steam workshop stuff for free!

If you want something like Garry’s mod, but creates standalone games to understand how to create a complete game from top to bottom and maybe create a proto type or demo to show your progress, meet and talk to an amazing, friendly and helpful forum and don’t mind some bugs in the engine that you will never be able to fix or get the developers to fix, then wait till Gameguru and it’s DLCs are on sale.

If you look you’ll see that I’ve spent over 300 hours using Gameguru over the last 2 years and while I’m looking forward to and kind of dreading the $90+ Gameguru Max, the people at the forum are really amazing. They have so many suggestions, fixes, advice, that they keep you coming back for more. Gameguru itself gives such an illusion of ease of use and potential that it seriously breaks my heart that it has so many negatives and limitations. It has gotten better over the years, but seriously some of the things the author has done to get more money out of their fans is infuriating, especially with what they have given back to them in return. It’s just sad really. Anyway, I am very sorry for such a long and dragged out review, but I am writing this not to the Forum, but to the next person with dreamy eyes of making the next great FPS out there, to help me see things for what they are and not with what they appear they could be.
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