DooM fangame: Progress Report #1 - Re-Setting Up

So, it's been over two weeks since I decided to set a final-ultimate-this-time-for-realsies deadline.

Stuff I've done in this time:
  • Updated the Projects page on this site. Cleaned up a few old scripts and made it all look a bit better. Still needs work, particularly the mobile version, but the whole blog needs a bit of a cleanup as far as coding goes, the standard Blogger template I don't completely like, and it's fun to tinker about.

    I'm happy about the hand-drawn DooM fangame logo though.

  • I've set up the development environment for LWJGL3 properly, mainly by looking up decent tutorials that gave me a basis for all I need (tiles, sprites, shaders, UI) and adapting it to my coding style.

    So I expect to have some workable demo to show here in a short time.

    The code I'm using is from ElegantWhelp's LWJGL3 tutorials.

  • Just right now I found out that my scanner is still alive! I was already looking for replacements, but it seems like the poor thing (it is more than 10 years old!) was just being bullied by the OS, which was taking its sweet time to recognize it over the USB connection.

    This means I've been able to scan the following entry.

  • I got a cover!

    The above is a low res version of the scanned inks. I will colour in and pixelize the whole thing digitally, possibly using Krita, which I'm taking a liking to, although I expect the result to be as pixely as the above (320x240).


DooM fangame: It's the final countdown

Ok, enough.

I've been cleaning up the blog archives, removing obsolete labels and the like, and it is very depressing to see how long ago I began this project and how little I've managed to complete.

So, I've decided to finish the project... One way or the other.


DooM Fangame: Fun with redesign

So lately I've gotten back into designing the content for the DooM fangame (I will call it that until it is done, so I don't have to keep updating the title constantly).

I've been mostly drawing my version of the original monsters on paper, to get an idea of the feel they'll have.

The following are all to scale, I still have to decide the sprite resolution once I pixelize them.

As you can see, there's a mix of creature versions from different iterations of DooM, including both original and DooM 3's Pinky.
I'm pretty proud of how the Arachnotron came out, it is a mix of the original sprite plus that concept art for DooM 3 that floated around for a while.
As for the green guy, it's a wraith. The pens I use for inking do not offer much color range.

While the previous sheet had a bunch of monsters from all over the games, on this sheet I've focused on the creatures present in the original DooM shareware... Plus a couple "extras".
As you can see, I've decided to settle on the DooM 3 Pinky, just because it's more fun to draw.
On the left side there are the Doomie (Player) variants, with helmets based on DooM, DooM 64, DooM 3 and DOOM (4), I intend for players to select their colors, that's why they each have different coloring.
All available weapons are visible in this pic too (Fists, Pistol, Shotgun, Chaingun, Rocket Launcher and Chainsaw).
And yes, the Corpsie Soldiers have their classic green hair... Their very fabulous green hair.

The rest of the page. I want to add civilian Corpsies, mostly as cannon fodder. I also want to try and make Imps wall-crawl. As for that crouching Hell-Knight... I'm not sure if I like it.

I'm very happy with how the Cacodemons are looking. They are so happy. And it's weird how smug this guy looks when its mouth is closed. Cacodemons are not part of the shareware, and I might not add them at all, but I so love drawing them.

Next step, pixelizing!

Oh, and I'm working on the coding too, integrating LWJGL 3 and cleaning up some cumbersome old code.


Mini DooM: Thunder thoroughly stolen

Mini DooM is out!
And it's someone elses! 

So recently I found out about this cute game called Mini DooM by Calavera Studio, which remakes the original game as an action platformer.

It is a pretty good game with a great art style, and the team is working in a "sequel" of sorts including elements from both DooM II as well as all the other DooM games (DooM 3, DOOM 4), which is looking pretty good from the screenshots they have published.

What really gets to me about this game, is not that they've used the same title I was planning on using on mine, it was hardly a groundbreaking idea, but that many ideas they have implemented match ideas I had myself, which underlines the adage that ideas are worthless unless you implement them.

So, with a jolt of jealousy I've gotten back on track to develop my own game, although I'll have to rename it now... Truth be told, I had already been considering renaming it to pixelDooM, a name that can be seen in previous posts, so I might go with that for now, until some other project takes that name and I'm forced to rename it to doomdeeDooM or something.

Also, it was rather interesting that I found out about Mini DooM originally... Through the news section of DOOM 4 on Steam, which seems to indicate that ZeniMax/Bethesda/Id Software are somewhat flexible regarding fan games. We'll see.


Getting an education: Followup

TL;DR Minish Cap is cute and fun, but not nearly as well designed as Link to the Past

So I finally completed Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and despite its many qualities, I do have some major gripes about it.

Playing A Link To The Past back to back with The Minish Cap does give some interesting perspective on the design of both games, the major point being how well designed A Link To The Past is.

Without getting into too much detail, the major concern is regarding game flow, both in the implementation of game mechanics, as well as the game progression, The Minish Cap feels clunky, unintuitive, and at times over complicated.

Graphics are very cute though
Game controls, for example, do not feel as well mapped. The game works on the basis that certain actions, like jumping or sprinting, are triggered by assigning an special item to either the A or B buttons.
In theory this allows for more movements than the control layout might allow, but in practice means that very useful abilities, like sprinting (which greatly reduces travel time) require using one action slot, instead of binding it to a shoulder button as the older game did.

Then there are horrible elements like the matching game, a minigame used to unlock secrets or advance the plot, but that quite often has you running around completely lost trying to find the character you need to match pieces with.

Or, worse yet, the collectible figurines you obtain through a dispenser with an increasing change of failure, which results in massive amounts of time spent grinding the currency needed to get them all.
Protip: There's a red rupee buried just left of Link's home entrance, use the Mole Mitts to dig it up, enter and exit the house, and repeat until full, then go buy shells at the town store to use for figurines.

Not to mention that the best shield in the game, as well as the last figurine, are only available after you complete the game (defeating the final boss), thus making the shield particularly pointless.

All in all, though, I enjoyed both greatly, and The Minish Cap does improve on many things, and had some very imaginative ideas.


Getting an education

TL;DR -- Zelda games good - Must simplify design -- 

Funny story, I set out to make a hybrid of classic Zelda games and DooM, without actually having played through any of the classic Zelda games.

As a kid, I had my trusty NES, and the only Zelda game I ever had was Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, which doesn't quite fit the bill as far as top-down games are concerned.
I rarely got to play the original Legend of Zelda, mostly when at friends' houses, and I personally never took a liking to it back in the day, I sincerely preferred Zelda II (which sounds like heresy to Zelda fans nowadays).

In any case, now I have an old second-hand Gameboy Mico (GBA) I've been slowly adquiring games for, which is harder than it seems, not because the games are not to be found, but because the collector's market results in obsecenely marked-up prices.

So I finally got my hands on two Zelda titles: A Link to the Past and The Minish Cap.

I've played all the way through A Link to the Past and quite enjoyed it. I'm even considering writing up a review or something. In any case, it did give me a lot of perspective regarding my current struggle to develop my silly little game.
I'm currently playing through The Minish Cap, and I'm linking it a lot too, although with some reservations (yes, the written review idea might be worth it). Still, it really is helping me shape up some ideas.

Funny fact, I originally used Link's Minish Cap sprites as a basis for the design of my own sprites!

As for the original Legend of Zelda, I got it too (classics series for the GBA) but... There's something about it that just doesn't engage me, and after wandering around for a bit I tend to lose interest.

Additionally, I also played through Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, which, despite being an RPG, has a level design pretty much exactly as I intend my game's design to be, and I got to experience the confusion such layout generates first hand.

I generally have a tendency to over-engineer, and this project has greatly suffered from it. After playing this games, I'm of a mind of restricting myself to replicating what these games can do, and then look into complicating matters. You know, the advice everyone gives you when you start out... The advice even I give out to others. 

Self-criticism is hard.