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Last updated on Oct-18-2019 Download

GemVenture

GemVenture
by on (#47307)
GemVenture is the game I'm working on for the pdroms contest. It's a PuzzleQuest sort of game. Here's some screenshots:

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I've still got a bunch of things to do, but I'm looking to see if anyone wants to test out an early version. I can check that it works on hardware, I'm looking for gameplay testing. Send me a PM if interested.

by on (#47312)
That's fun I had to programm almost the exact same thing in C++ for scool and I'm having to defend the project in a few hours. So yeah I'm used to "test early versions" of this game.
Re: GemVenture
by on (#47315)
Tom wrote:
GemVenture is the game I'm working on for the pdroms contest. It's a PuzzleQuest sort of game. Here's some screenshots:


I've still got a bunch of things to do, but I'm looking to see if anyone wants to test out an early version. I can check that it works on hardware, I'm looking for gameplay testing. Send me a PM if interested.


Awesome! That looks a bit like the prototype I was mocking up for an NES puzzlequest, but much cooler :D

Image

Looks great so far. I probably don't have a lot of time to devote to playtesting, but I will be sure to play the contest release!
Re: GemVenture
by on (#47350)
Cthulhu32 wrote:
Awesome! That looks a bit like the prototype I was mocking up for an NES puzzlequest, but much cooler :D


Thanks! I was worried about the graphics, as it's not my strong suit, but I was pretty happy with how they turned out. It helps that a lot of things were cut due to time, so that cut down on graphics needed.

Your prototype looks pretty nice. Did you get to spells yet? It looks like you were doing a more direct port of PuzzleQuest. I tried to mix things up a bit, like having 6 types of mana.

by on (#47351)
Alright. um... I think it was on the Orc level, when it's computer's turn it makes the noise like a successful move was executed, when in fact nothing happened at all. On the Will O Wisp level, it sped up really fast for no reason at all. And, finally, on the Dragon level, I was never given a turn at all and died as a result. I don't know if any of those situations were intentional but they seemed weird so there you go. Also, as a personal opinion, it needs music (I made some if you want to use it lol), and I felt that it started out challening and only got easier and by like the sixth level it was a cinch and I almost didn't really have to pay too much attention or use too much strategy. But, all that having been said, I do sincerely think the game is awesome and addictive. Thanks for letting me test it!

by on (#47366)
Thanks for testing it! Yeah, music is one of those things I need to do. The other big one is having more character classes (ie different sets of spells). I'll look at those issues you saw, tweak the difficulties, and maybe have a version with some character classes later today.

Just out of curosity, which stats were you leveling up?
Re: GemVenture
by on (#47370)
Tom wrote:
Cthulhu32 wrote:
Awesome! That looks a bit like the prototype I was mocking up for an NES puzzlequest, but much cooler :D


Thanks! I was worried about the graphics, as it's not my strong suit, but I was pretty happy with how they turned out. It helps that a lot of things were cut due to time, so that cut down on graphics needed.

Your prototype looks pretty nice. Did you get to spells yet? It looks like you were doing a more direct port of PuzzleQuest. I tried to mix things up a bit, like having 6 types of mana.


Yeah the graphics look great, I'd suggest maybe loading an initial background before you start running the game engine if that's possible so you have a backdrop? I have a 4 color map optimizer I wrote in python if you'd like it, it outputs a CHR file and a map file in binary format for all tiles.

Nah I only had the basic gameplay running in Python/Pygame. I really just wanted to see how hard the logic would be and if I could do it in the 6502 ASM cause I'm still pretty crappy at it. Spells was next on my list, then life points. But I like the way you did it, not as much of a direct port :D

by on (#47378)
At first I was leveling up all of them but after about 6 or so levels I just kept doing attack out of laziness. Also, I think that's one of the reasons it got really easy.

Also, I personally don't think it makes sense to have all of your power-ups when you have to start all the way over. That's probably what it was that was making it so easy to fly through it. I think you should either start over on the level you left off on with the same power-ups or start all the way over with no power-ups. It's kind of an easy way of cheating, actually, the way it's set up right now.

by on (#47394)
eleventhirtyfour wrote:
Also, I personally don't think it makes sense to have all of your power-ups when you have to start all the way over. That's probably what it was that was making it so easy to fly through it. I think you should either start over on the level you left off on with the same power-ups or start all the way over with no power-ups. It's kind of an easy way of cheating, actually, the way it's set up right now.


Oh yeah, that was a bug. Stats are supposed to go back to zero when you lose. Fixed now.

Anyways, I've got a new version. Bugs fixed, monsters tweaked, and character classes! Behold the mighty class selection screen!

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Re: GemVenture
by on (#47395)
Cthulhu32 wrote:
Yeah the graphics look great, I'd suggest maybe loading an initial background before you start running the game engine if that's possible so you have a backdrop? I have a 4 color map optimizer I wrote in python if you'd like it, it outputs a CHR file and a map file in binary format for all tiles.

Do you mean having some graphics around the border of the gameboard? The large black areas in the upper left and upper right were reserved for character/monster portraits, but I'm not going to time to do them now. Besides those areas, there's not a whole of space to work with. I don't want to make the screen too busy. But maybe I can put something else where the portraits were going to go if I have time.

by on (#47425)
Yeah nothing too distracting but maybe some kind of pattern. For example take a tetris nes screenshot, and remove the sides. You'll see it doesn't have tje same finished feel. Plus its a pretty easy fix since you should only be writing that map data once. I also was playing with some graphics and even like a picture frame looking border grabs the eyes really well. Great job so far.

by on (#47469)
Cthulhu32 wrote:
Yeah nothing too distracting but maybe some kind of pattern. For example take a tetris nes screenshot, and remove the sides.

You mean like this?
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by on (#47506)
tepples wrote:
Cthulhu32 wrote:
Yeah nothing too distracting but maybe some kind of pattern. For example take a tetris nes screenshot, and remove the sides.

You mean like this?


Exactly! Compare these two pictures, and imagine even removing the border around the tetris box.

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Notice how much better the one on the right looks, even though ALL its doing is adding a background tile set. Even with just the single picture frame it looks better than if it was totally black.

by on (#47509)
I ended up putting in a simple frame. Unfortunately there's not a lot of space for it, and I couldn't put anything directly around the playfield due to the attribute tables. I might have been able to shuffle stuff around for it, but I didn't want to make such a large change at the last minute.

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by on (#47516)
Could you do a border with a vertical column of sprites, like Super Mario Bros. 3 does?

by on (#47520)
tepples wrote:
Could you do a border with a vertical column of sprites, like Super Mario Bros. 3 does?

Hmm, possibly, something I didn't think of. Although it'd take up 32 sprites, and it's pretty easy to get a lot of sprites on the screen when breaking gems, so it'd increase flicker a lot.

by on (#47521)
Tom wrote:
I ended up putting in a simple frame. Unfortunately there's not a lot of space for it, and I couldn't put anything directly around the playfield due to the attribute tables. I might have been able to shuffle stuff around for it, but I didn't want to make such a large change at the last minute.

Image


I like it! Since the compo ends tonight, you shouldn't probably try anything too crazy, but a post-compo version of the game would be awesome with cool moving gems down the sides and everything.

Great work!

by on (#47523)
There are two kinds of block matching games:
  • In some games, the playfield is always full of blocks, and it is not useful to move the player sprite away from blocks. Thus the absence of blocks defines the playfield walls. These include mahjong solitaire, SameGame, Yoshi's Cookie (vs. mode, and to a lesser extent single-player), Russian Square (part of Microsoft Plus! for Windows XP), GemVenture, and every other Bejeweled clone.
  • Other games have a more empty playfield within which the player may move a shape. There needs to be some way to distinguish in-bounds from out-of-bounds: either a frame or at least a contrasting color. These include Tetris, Klax, Columns, Dr. Mario, Pipe Dream, Zoop, and numerous others.

That's why I didn't remove the border around the playfield in my doctored screenshots: they're the only thing that delimits the playfield.

Tom wrote:
tepples wrote:
Could you do a border with a vertical column of sprites, like Super Mario Bros. 3 does?

Hmm, possibly, something I didn't think of. Although it'd take up 32 sprites

Only 16 if you use 8x16s like SMB3's map screen. Or you could make it the background and turn other things near it into sprites.

Quote:
and it's pretty easy to get a lot of sprites on the screen when breaking gems, so it'd increase flicker a lot.

When you break stuff, there's supposed to be flicker.

by on (#47525)
Cthulhu32 wrote:
Since the compo ends tonight

It actually ended last night, so it's done and submitted. If I work on it some more, I'll probably make a lot of changes (my original vision was a lot more ambitious). But I'm feeling pretty burnt out on the project now so I won't do that for a while (see how I never finished my other contest nes game, from what, 4 years ago?)

by on (#47530)
Tom wrote:
Cthulhu32 wrote:
Since the compo ends tonight

It actually ended last night, so it's done and submitted. If I work on it some more, I'll probably make a lot of changes (my original vision was a lot more ambitious). But I'm feeling pretty burnt out on the project now so I won't do that for a while (see how I never finished my other contest nes game, from what, 4 years ago?)


Ahh I thought it ended at midnight tonight, I've been so wonky on time since I bought my new house and moved in. Well good luck on the judging, I am really excited to try your entry once they get the judging underway.

Tepples: yeah I totally agree with you, and I think the way Tom did it was very good for a quick and dirty background hack. Also Pipe Dreams is awesome :D

by on (#47684)
Well pdroms has posted GemVenture (contest results are going to be next week), so everyone can check it out now if they want.

http://pdroms.de/files/2172/

by on (#47811)
I have a suggestion for you for when you get back to working on this.

If you keep the pattern you used for the border in the final, you should use the same color phase (bits D0-D3) for the two colors that make up the dithered pattern on the top, bottom and sides of the screen. If you don't, you'll get nasty-looking diagonals that will show up on NESes with RF/composite video. It's because the chroma (color signal) is switching too fast, and when that happens, it interferes with the luma (brightness signal), which creates an alternating light/dark pattern on each scanline of the pattern. From what I can tell, you're not using the second background palette in the game play screen, so you could use that for an entirely new border palette that has the same color phase for each palette entry. But if you do decide to use it for something else, there are other options if you want to minimize or get rid of the diagonals. You could use horizontal stripes of the two colors you're using now, or you could use a dither that's 2 pixels wide and 1 pixel tall.

But yeah, switching between two different color phases every pixel is generally a bad idea.