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    LowRezJam – Report 9

    2014 - 05.11

    So much new stuff :)

    Today’s Progress Report : I added two extra pixels to the health bar


    Na, that would have been a lazy day. I’ve added quite a bit of stuff 🙂 There are two extra pixels on the healthbar now, but that’s only because I’ve been busy destroying hundreds of harvesters 🙂 First one was a bit of a boring update : troopers are now a lot more sensible in selecting harvesters to shoot at. And they don’t scan the entire planet for harvesters. And if they don’t see a harvester for a while, they take a nap for 10 seconds so they don’t hog all that precious CPU. They will always move toward the closest harvester and shoot the closest harvester, changing targets if the situation changes :

    Must kill nearest harvester!

    Secondly, worms now actively track harvesters. But *ONLY* when they are harvesting. As long as they are not collecting the orange, the worms will not seek harvesters out. However, if a harvester hits wormsign even when not harvesting, it will take damage. These small worms cause a lot of damage, fairly quickly – if you are harvesting, it is very advisable to move your harvester off the orange field quickly :

    Micro :)

    Here, the worm starts moving toward the harvester as it’s grabbing the orange. I manually give the harvester an order by right clicking to move it off onto normal sand – therefore stopping it harvesting. The worm moves off randomly, now uninterested in the harvester. Until I move it back onto the orange field. Then the worm attacks suddenly.

    And the final thing I’ve added, well, I’ll just show you the GIF

    Nom nom nom

    Yes that is correct. The worms can swallow troopers whole. The larger worms ( remember these are the small ones ) will be able to do that as well … to harvesters 😉 Still a WIP animation, but fairly happy with how it looks – I feel the shadow really helps adds to the depth of the game.

    Ugly but workable

    Oh and finally fixed the healthbars – I shall leave you with a gif of a bunch of troopers attacking a harvester with its health bar rapidly shrinking ( the pause is the example of all the troopers sleeping at the same time … zZzZzZz 🙂 )



    LowRezJam – Report 8

    2014 - 05.10

    The battle for the sands ...[This may take a while to download, but worth it]


    Today, I spent my time finding ways of killing harvesters. Only one has been completed so far.  Troopers damage now works correctly and can destroy a harvester!  yay 🙂 !  I’ve also updated the trooper AI a little bit, so they path around each other in a bit more of a sensible fashion.  The trooper bullets just originate from the middle of their sprites at the moment – once I have the trooper sprites finalized I actually want the bullets to come out of the end of their guns ( which are supposed to be some sort of shoulder mounted weapon – the sprites have so few pixels it is quite hard to tell ).

    I’ve also sped up the search algorithm for the harvesters, still a four second delay but internally its a much faster way of doing things, as I started to see some frame rate drop on my mass harvester tests.  This was mostly due to the reason I was running Age of Mythology – Extended Edition a lot of the time in the background.  Excellent game and hitting my nostalgia pleasure centers rather hard 🙂



    Though harvesters are not totally defenseless; as seen above they can now run over troopers.  Again, the spawning is a little off, as I’ve not finalized the trooper sprite, but it is rather satisfying to run over a large group of troopers as they shoot at you.  I’m wondering if I should be nice and give them some AI to run away if it is clear a harvester is going to hit them.  But then I remember it is far to much fun to run them all over 🙂









    LowRezJam – Report 7

    2014 - 05.09


    An ambush! scareh!  Well not really, as harvesters still don’t take damage.  Tonight has been spent mostly re-factoring some of the movement routines so they are not entity specific but are more generic in nature ( so all the entities can re-use the same movement codes).  So no real graphical progress to show, so I thought I’d add these guys in.  They seek harvesters around them, and move toward them.  When they are in range ( 15 pixels at the moment ) they open fire.  Not quite happy with the animation of them, I may change them to 2 frames of animation instead of 3, as the third frame tends to look a bit silly.  Projectile is also very much a work in progress.

    Trooper style sheet

    I’m sure I’ll get round to tweaking them at some point 🙂


    An army approaches!

    The troopers currently seek  harvesters over the entire game world, which isn’t as much of a process hit than I thought it would be, but that will be changing soon anway.  You’ll notice in the clips above the health bar is pretty borked at the moment.  Bullets causing damage to entities is WIP as well.  So the plans over the weekend are to finally start causing some damage to harvesters 🙂  Current loose ends at the moment that need work on are :

    • Fix health bar of harvester
    • Give the worm that hides in the sand an attack
    • Make the worm that lurks in the sand look more worm like
    • Have bullets cause damage
    • Have the harvester be able to defend itself against troopers ( any guesses how? )
    • Have harvesters explode




    LowRezJam – Report 6

    2014 - 05.08

    Something lurking under the sand ...

    So, those pesky harvesters have had an easy time.  They mine, they can’t get damaged as nothing in the game does damage.  So I decided that tonight’s dev time would be dedicated to ending their serene existence.  There is something monstrous lurking under the sands – sensitive to the vibrations the harvester make when they are harvesting the orange from the sand.  It moves swiftly and quietly through the desert, the only sign of its passing is trickling cascade of sand on the surface.  It will approach a harvester, biding it’s time, and then, without warning :

    It will attack !




    Actually, no it won’t at the moment, as I ran out of dev time tonight – d’oh.  So those harvesters are spared for another day.  This is a giant worm that lurks under the sand.  Actually, this is one of the smaller ones, it will just slam into the side of harvesters and cause them damage.  Enough attacks will eventually destroy a harvester, causing it to spill it’s stored load all over the desert sands.  The larger ones will have a slightly more interesting attack.  This attack will be a lot more fatal 😉

    I tried several ways to get the worm moving and looking worm like.  Originally I had each of the sections following the other ones center point and ignored collisions.  Which was fine as long as the worm went in a straight line, but if it decided to go back on itself, all the sections of the worm would end up traveling as one – which just looked pretty lame.  I tried turning collisions on each section of the worm, and that ended up with bits of worm being randomly teleported all over the map, which again wasn’t much help – and wasn’t as amusing to watch as I just made it sound.

    In the end I went with giving each section of the worm a movement history.  When head of the worm is spawned it records it’s position in its history log and then moves.  Every time the head moves, an entry is created detailing its location in the history log.  After it has moved once, it spawns a body section, and tells this body section to use the heads movement history to determine it’s path.  The body section records its position and moves to the first point in the heads movement history.

    Now the head spawns a second body section at the point where it was first spawned, and moves one step recording its route.  It tells this body section to follow the first body section.  All the body sections are instances of the same entity, so all the above happens to both body sections.  A third body section is spawned and told to follow the second.  And volia, after a few more frames, you have a nice worm living in the sand.

    Not quite sure I’m 100% happy with the looks of it, diagonal movement looks a bit dorky, I may smooth that our some what, so it is less apparent its just a bunch of moving squares.


    LowRezJam – Report 5

    2014 - 05.07

    Search Mode Pathfindingg

    After many tears and screaming at harvesters doing idiotic things, I’ve got the search mode working.  Harvesters will now look for material to mine.  If they are near mineable material, they will move toward it and if there is nothing tasty to harvest around it, they do a long range scan ( indicated by a green flashing eye icon ).  This long range scan will take four seconds to do, and once complete the harvester will start to move toward anything they have found within their search range.  There are still a few tweaks I want to do to this system.  For instance : harvesters don’t share destinations and if they both decide that they want to head to the same pixel of harvestable material, they will constantly ram into each other trying to get to it.  Hilarious to watch, but buggy looking alas.

    The search range is determined by a variable within the harvester instance – this variable is something I want the player to be able to change at some point.  Currently the radius is about quarter of the screen, but the idea would be that as you trained up the harvester’s crews experience, they would look further and further afield – eventually locating off screen resources.

    The harvester actually performs two searches: one is a short range ( just around the harvester ) which has no time sink associated with it and then the second green icon long range search, which has the four second time associated with it.  The short range search is designed so that the harvester keeps mining the patch of material it is currently on.  I’ve added some debug code to the following gif just to give you an idea of the searches and when they happen :




    The dark puce square indicates a short range search, the dark blue indicates a long range search.  So the events in this gif are :

    • A harvester is spawned and does a short range search, it finds nothing and then does a long range search, it finds nothing again and a mouse click tells it to move to a new position.  The green icon indicates the search is happening gameplay wise, but the search doesn’t happen until after four seconds, hence the blue square appearing after the movement.
    • A short range search of same harvester, finding nothing ( just ) – then a long range search to find more.
    • A second harvester is spawned and does lots of short range searches and as it is surrounded by harvestable material it never needs to do a long range search.
    • The third spawned harvester does some short range searches, then gets sent to another location – harvesters don’t search while directly ordered to move by the player.  It does a short range search when it arrives at the waypoint and finds some more stuff to harvest.
    • Then back to the second harvester, showing it turning the field to dark puce 🙂

    Once I had battled with the searching, I decided to do something pointless and sand being expelled from the back of the harvester while it is mining.  The idea being that the orange harvestable material is mixed in with the sand, so the harvester sucks it all up, grabs the orange and shoots out the sand.  It has no game play use whatsoever, but I think it helps it look a bit more interesting.

    And dark puce is a colour before you complain 😛