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Feldherren
Feb 21, 2011


The problem with procedurally-generated descriptions of that sort is you need to do a lot of work to prevent them from looking very samey. With the example given, players are going to very quickly notice that the general structure is the same, probably as soon as the second time they see it.
It is possible to also vary the overall structure, by using multiple levels of randomisation (randomly pick the structure, then fill in the smaller random elements), but it's a lot of work to make something look unique, and it's spoiled as soon as one general structure repeats itself if the player has a functioning memory. It's easier to spot repetition in structure the longer the framing structure is, mind you, so for short things (like [adjective] [noun] structure), it takes longer to look samey, because it's such a common structure in general.
Just look at Dwarf Fortress' semi-randomly generated artefacts, or dwarf descriptions; they're all fill-in-blank segments slotted together as appropriate, and they're all very recognisable as what they are because the structure doesn't change.

That said, weapons and stuff...

Peacemaker (Primary/Secondary Weapon?)
I've made his peace with myself.
A weapon for pacifists. Does short-lived bad things to the target's weapon systems, preventing them from shooting as often (or at all) for a while, but doesn't deal any damage itself. It's probably relatively-easy to harden a ship's systems against this kind of thing, so this may be less effective, or not effective at all, against more powerful enemies.

Ace in the Hole (Active Weapon)
Short range, single projectile, but high power. Not sure if this would be balanced on bosses, but the idea is it's a pretty-much-melee thing that you can't do too often, and is risky to use, but has a high payoff.

Dilly Dally (Active Weapon)
Doesn't deal much damage, but causes the enemy to move and/or fire slower for a bit when used (and maybe bullets, too?). Reduced effect on bosses.

Big Guns (Trinket)
The designer of this weapon system augmentation clearly believed that bigger was resoundingly better. You're not too sure; certainly your projectiles are larger, but they also seem more diffuse.
Makes your bullets bigger. Maybe comically bigger. Reduces overall power in accordance with how much larger it makes the bullets, though.

Fair Shake (Trinket)
Every time your ship or shields gets hit (or grazes?), this retaliates with a shot of its own - a basic bullet, not too powerful, but a free shot. Something about harvesting and redirecting energy or material from what people shoot at you.

Piecemaker (Trinket)
Makes your weapons break bits of gribble off of the target when they hit. Maybe gradually debuffs the target. Maybe serves as an indicator of total target health, if it's not displayed. I don't know, the idea just sounds fun, but it also sounds like a pain to animate and an annoying change to make.

Feldherren fucked around with this message at 23:13 on Feb 11, 2018

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EponymousMrYar
Jan 4, 2015

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.


My own idea-factory for new stuff is getting tied up in my own planning, so I'll just throw some flavorful descriptions onto the pile.

W Machine Gun
Description: An incredibly fast-firing machine gun that shoots gravity-compacted detritus as it's projectiles. Popular among the Independants for how utterly inexpensive it is. You don't remember what the W stands for, just that it was long, perforated with crass adjectives and pretty high on the list of problems every Settler has to deal with.

Ostensibly this weapon relies on a supply of ammunition but you've never heard of anyone actually running out of it. At all. You do know many stations are happy to see a spacer with this equipped as they say it allows them an opportunity to offload their unwanted excess. The exact mechanisms of this still escape you however, despite records on your computer which say that you've made such arrangements with many stations in the past.

Matchfire Laser
Description: This laser is little more than an emitter connected directly to the ship's capacitors. Very powerful, but very inefficient. The more energy it has to draw from, the hotter the beam runs. Spacers love how the beam changes color depending on how much juice is in their capacitor.

You remember that the invention of this weapon was based on a popular colonial saying that goes something like this: 'Where there's smoke, there's fire. Where there's fire, there's a match. Where there's a match, there's someone trying to burn down your house and steal your land. So fight fire with fire and light that sucker up.'

Settler's Beer/Ale/Stout
General Description: There is no better example of the Settler's ingenuity than in what they drink. With hard lives and entirely too much work to do every Settler enjoys a home-brewed drink at the end of the day. And if for some reason they can't drink everything that they've brewed they made sure that it'd still be able to do something useful for them.

Beer Description:
Settler's Beer is best enjoyed cold from a chilled bottle, never on ice. Drinker's say that it's flavor peaks when you can swirl the liquid and see a lump of it start to gel together in the middle. When kept cold for too long, the resulting gel is capable of freezing starship hull plating into a brittle mess. The cryogenically frozen case you have is centuries past it's drink by date.

Ale Description:
Settler's Ale is best enjoyed in a tall glass on cold days. Constant swirling of the mixture is preferred in order to keep it together and control the intense burn one feels as it travels down their throat and into their belly. When fully separated and the heavier liquid is exposed to light the resulting thermal reaction is capable of burning through starship-grade structural materials. You make sure to check the integrity of the ages-old bottles you have regularly, in the dark, by touch. Can't be too careful.

Stout Description:
Settler's Stout is an unusual drink first discovered when one colonial somehow managed to distill some dark matter into his brew. Reports say that it has a very inscrutable yet pleasant flavor and that heavy drinkers eventually have their teeth, gums, tongue, esophagus and in exceptional cases, the inner lining of their stomach turn black in appearance. On every single bottle there is a bright, very noticeable warning label that says 'Do Not Expose To Hard Vacuum' accompanied by the standard vacuum-reactive hazard symbol. You can't forget the last idiot who thought that was a joke, no matter how hard you try.

EponymousMrYar fucked around with this message at 00:20 on Feb 12, 2018

Fish Noise
Jul 25, 2012

IT'S ME, BURROWS!

IT WAS ME ALL ALONG, BURROWS!


Elentor posted:

* Ideas for new weapons.
SECONDARY WEAPONS

Surplus Rocket Pod
Rapid fire rockets missing their warheads, resulting in sustained but low damage. Rockets have a chance to glance for even less damage on hit, and go careening around.
Desc: Whoever was working on disarming these was apparently so fixated on removing the warheads that they completely forgot about the motors.
Desc: A display piece with the warheads removed, but the motors inexplicably left intact.
Desc: 50% off! Reduced weight! Safe handling! Present membership card for 100% extra ammunition free!

ACTIVE WEAPONS

Carnival
Vomits out randomized self-propelled projectiles in a wide arc for a long duration. Single use.
Desc: A cargo container stuffed full of assorted rockets and missiles, wired up to a launch sequencer with a single button: fire.
Desc: Semi-improvised weapon system. Occasionally seen around colonies with old stockpiles and a sudden, desperate need to use them.
Desc: Devastating, unpredictable, barely controllable, cannot be reasonably stopped once started.
Desc: The party only stops when the last missile drops.
Desc: You're having some doubts about this one.

Hauler Net
Fires huge rocket-propelled net that scoops up enemies and certain projectiles, crashing them into each other. Cheap, higher ROF than average for Active weapon. Has own health, can be damaged and even shot through by enemy projectiles. Fast enemies take extra damage, large enemies might drag net and contents around, causing chaos.
Desc: Common basic mining and salvage gear, repurposed... aggressively.
Desc: Hey, as long as it works.

Aged Demo Crate
Literally shove a crate of demo charges out the window. Inherits momentum. Cheap, lower-than-average ROF, smaller-than-average AOE. Big quarter-screen explosion, smaller secondary explosions.
Desc: A box of demolition charges, nearing the end of their stable shelf life. Manually launched.
Desc: Comes with a free space suit. Implications horrifying.

TRINKETS

Macros
Enhances The Colonizer. Grow plants on enemies one tier up. Effect stacks.
Desc: Repurposed agricultural supply. Effects unclear. Label reads "12-12-12 general purpose agricultural grade"
Desc: Repurposed agricultural supply. Effects unclear. Label reads "10-10-10 general purpose agricultural grade"
Desc: Repurposed agricultural supply. Effects unclear. Label reads "20-6-4 lawn use only"
Desc: Repurposed agricultural supply. Effects unclear. Label reads "3-20-20 production phase agricultural grade"

Micros
Enhances The Colonizer. Grow plants on enemies one tier up. Effect stacks.
Desc: Repurposed agricultural supply. Effects unclear. Label reads "trace elements general purpose agricultural grade"

Mycorrhizae
Enhances The Colonizer. Grow plants on enemies one tier up. Effect stacks.
Desc: Repurposed agricultural supply. Effects unclear. Label reads "5 species endo - Glomus"

Grow Lamp
Enhances The Colonizer. Emits pink-purple light in short range arc in front of ship. Explosive plant growth in area of effect.
Desc: Repurposed agricultural equipment. Effects unclear. Eye-searing to look at. Label reads "730nm/660nm/630nm/580nm/460nm/440nm/3000K"

Lechtansi
Mar 23, 2004

Item Get


I had a hilarious image when i first read the boltshooter description, so here we go

Boltshooter Somehow, somewhere, an engineer is perplexed that their entire box of miscellaneous parts is now empty. How those parts ended up in the gun is a mystery even to the designer of the weapon. Needless to say, no one has yet to figure out how this thing reloads.

KillHour
Oct 28, 2007





Active weapon - Hacked Nanobots: These tiny medical robots have been reprogrammed by space pirates to seek out the crewmembers of other vessels and "remove them from combat." You would rather not know how exactly they do this, but you have been assured that the bodies are still mostly intact and there won't be much extra cleanup before your newly acquired ships can be resold. Increased droprate from neutralized ships. Not effective against AI ships.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Gungun. Guns break, it's a fact of life. And sometimes they break badly enough that they aren't worth repairing. That's when the gungun comes in. Fire those guns at your enemies! Warning: guns may not be fully unloaded.

It fires guns, like the name says. Low energy costs / plentiful ammo, doesn't do much damage, except sometimes they explode on impact in a starburst of shrapnel.

KillHour
Oct 28, 2007





[Random Name]: Slave [Occupation] - Unlike real crew, slaves don't require a salary, decent food, entertainment, or morals (which is good, because you don't have any of those things). Technically illegal, but everyone already hates you anyways.

Effect depends on occupation:

Gunner - A veteran from some war you don't care to ask about. Knows their way around a gun and improves rate of fire.
Engineer - Can make sure all your ship's subsystems are running at peak efficiency. Reduces energy consumption.
Pilot - Supposedly a pretty adept flyer, but considering they were caught by slavers, you're not so sure. Improves mobility/speed.
Navigator - Claims to have been places you've never heard of. Some of them might even exist! Chance to add additional jump point option.
Mechanic - Not trained on your ship specifically, but how different can it be, right? Performs minor repairs between stages.
Civilian - Not useful for much, but knows which end of the extinguisher to point at the fire and you're not particularly concerned about their safety. Small reduction in DoT/negative effect duration.

KillHour fucked around with this message at 02:08 on Feb 12, 2018

KillHour
Oct 28, 2007





Trinket: Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator - Originally designed for unmanned spacecraft, the RITEG was designed to provide a small amount of constant power for millennia. It lacks proper shielding and you'd have to be a moron to put it anywhere on your ship. On the other hand, it provides a permanent passive boost to power regeneration. That just might help you survive long enough to die from the radiation poisoning!

Secondary Weapon: Laser-Designated High Explosive Salvo - Launches a constant stream of rockets that home in on a small laser beam fired from the nose of your spaceship. Be careful where you point it.

Primary Weapon: Symmetric Particle-Cascading Thorium Reactor - SPCTRs fire a pair of particle streams that pass through most materials unaffected. Anything unfortunate enough to be between the beams, however, has its charge uniformly redistributed. This typically involves protons and electrons violently liberating themselves from their atoms. Since the beams don't directly interact with matter, they will happily continue on to wreak havoc on anything behind the target as well, giving rise to the weapon's infamous moniker: Spectre.

KillHour fucked around with this message at 02:05 on Feb 12, 2018

KillHour
Oct 28, 2007





One of the things I'm noticing is we're kind of all over the board in terms of mood/theme. Obviously you said the really crazy stuff is going to be justified by high exoticity, but what exactly is the ratio here? Are we expecting most of the weapons to be generic sci-fi stuff with some crazy thrown in, or is the universe generally Hitchhiker's Guide style camp? I think as much as people want to come up with ridiculous stuff, if it's all crazy, none of it will stand out as such and just the whole thing will just seem LOL WACKY RANDOM!

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



drat that's a lot of ideas. I'll be reading them carefully.

KillHour posted:

One of the things I'm noticing is we're kind of all over the board in terms of mood/theme. Obviously you said the really crazy stuff is going to be justified by high exoticity, but what exactly is the ratio here? Are we expecting most of the weapons to be generic sci-fi stuff with some crazy thrown in, or is the universe generally Hitchhiker's Guide style camp? I think as much as people want to come up with ridiculous stuff, if it's all crazy, none of it will stand out as such and just the whole thing will just seem LOL WACKY RANDOM!

Exotic stuff has a naturally lower chance to drop even if you're in a very exotic area, so the ratio starts off as very low (1 to 100). It's part of the plot point of the game that things become more nonsensical as you leave the "bubble". I guess the tone I have in mind is a bit like Starcraft/oldschool RPGs, in that there is a darker story in the background punctuated by camp. Tyrian/Starship Troopers are a bit like that though they delve a bit more into camp.

I might tone it down/up depending on how it feels, your criticism is pretty valid and finding a proper balance between those elements might be easy, might be impossible. Usually comic relief comes in the form of hyperbole and delving into surrealism/absurdism is a pretty big gamble. Either way I think some ideas are pretty harmless, since at the very least some of the wackier things would not be out of context in the history of the genre.

Very light spoilers for the campaign:

For the fourth and fifth stage you travel to a fringe system that's classified as Exoticity 6 and the thought of that terrifies you, and your AI tells you that it hates when things stop making sense. There you have a chance to see some of the high-exoticity items and you're introduced to overall weirdness but after you're back you don't see high Exoticity items for a while.

During that stage you delve into a planet to extract an immortal friend of yours. The planet exists between two realities, the other one being a flora that can phase through realities but was until then contained. The rift is unstable and comes in and out of existence chaotically but it opened enough for the planet to be overgrown.

The concept for the stage is very neat with these trees phasing in and out of existence, and you get to see them telegraphed by their roots phasing in first, and it gives you an idea of why it's not a good idea to colonize in systems with high exoticity.




As a general guideline, exotic items are not necessarily man-made, not all of them are crafted. They can be objects with anomalous properties (think Warehouse 13) that can be used by you. Outside the local bubble things become non-entropic, in a very uncanny way. A planet may be hit by asteroids just enough to be shaped like a cube out of "coincidence".

Elentor fucked around with this message at 14:01 on Feb 12, 2018

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Lechtansi posted:

I had a hilarious image when i first read the boltshooter description, so here we go

Boltshooter Somehow, somewhere, an engineer is perplexed that their entire box of miscellaneous parts is now empty. How those parts ended up in the gun is a mystery even to the designer of the weapon. Needless to say, no one has yet to figure out how this thing reloads.

Okay this is a hilarious description. The image of someone very confused because of this is great.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Bonus Chapter - Weapon Ideas, Part I


If you're from the future, this chapter is responding to all the weapon ideas posted since Chapter 25.

Alright, just reviewed this first batch. So re: Ideas that I liked. Since I got a lot more weapon ideas than I expected (silly me), I'll try to include them in other factions. Some are really good matches. I'll go over the ideas that I liked:


Fish Noise posted:

Oh, great, now there's yet another text file on my desktop.

Can you attach a particular description to a particular instance of a weapon, for instance...
Proton Emitter
Desc, starter-specific: Museum piece. Literally. The heist started forming in your head the instant you spotted your initials, in your handwriting, engraved on the barrel. You're still not welcome back there, and the more you think about it, the more you get an uncomfortable feeling that you may have donated the gun to them in the first place.

That's a nice idea (that the weapon was donated by you and you can't even remember it properly).

professor_curly posted:

Independent Weapon Ideas

Frontier Revolver - A slow firing but powerful weapon which uses entire canisters of plasma with each shot, loaded by a large rotating cylinder. The plasma canisters used in this weapon are standard fuel cells for prefabricated fusion reactors which are common in independent settlements. Each shot could provide power to a medium sized settlement for a month.

DS-X Pattern Mining Laser Named for the X small lasers involved in its construction, the DS Pattern is an improvised mining system that uses many small lasers converging fire at a single point to replicate the power of larger and more advanced lasers. Fires in an hourglass pattern, dealing higher damage the closer to the convergence point the target is.
Higher levels add more lasers/have a bigger X

Trinket?
Asteroid Wrangler - Automatically/Randomly targets a nearby enemy and lassos them, disabling their weapons. Can be used to swing enemy ships into one another. (Alternatively you reel in the ship and if you survive a level with the ship intact you get bonus money and/or potentially get a random part from the lasso'd ship). Originally built to transport valuable comets and asteroids to colonial processing centers, it turns out it works fine on small enemy ships too!

Frontier Revolver - Not sure if I need to create a new weapon but I like the description. Reminds me of one of EVE's chronicles about how a unit of your ammo costs enough to feed a family for a year.

DS-X Pattern Mining Laser - The hourglass pattern is a very nice idea, I'll probably use this weapon for the Mining Guild.

Asteroid Wrangler - This is perfect and it also goes well with the Independents.

KillHour posted:

Ionic Recycler: A secondary weapon originally designed for scrapping old ships. A beam of negative ions charges all the components of the ship, causing them to mutually repel. Doesn't do damage, per-se; but as a ship becomes more and more charged, it comes under immense strain - effectively reducing the minimum health of a ship. When the structural integrity of the ship falls below this level, it fails catastrophically, exploding in a cloud of deadly shrapnel. The more charged the ship is when it fails, the faster and more powerful the resulting explosion. Make sure to stay far away!

Bonus interactions if not too hard: Mutually charged ships should repel each other. Electrical weapons should deflect away from charged ships. As charge builds, greebles should fly off and damage nearby ships. At high charge levels, electrical components should fail and make the ship's AI unpredictable.

This can probably be used for one of the high-tech factions. The interaction idea is nice, you're basically a Void Ray that absolutely needs to focus on something to be useful.

nielsm posted:

Diamond Ray - a powerful beam weapon, it takes a while (1-2 seconds) to charge, while charging shoots out a small aiming laser showing where it will hit. The shot itself is a powerful instant-hit beam active for a short while, it completely penetrates most common shields. Downside is it has a long cooldown, and your own shields go down as well while the beam is active. Also the aiming laser telegraphs your intention.

This can work as a passive weapon trinket for the Mining Guild.

SIGSEGV posted:

Lazy Laser: A big, large, powerful laser. To make the weapon more powerful, it trades beam speed for power, this causes the beam to slowly swing across targets like a hybrid of a whip and a pool noodle.

Catling gun: This would be a museum piece of a garage gun but for the serials which indicate it was built at most a decade ago. Shoots cat-shaped pastries, inflicting both hull damage and tooth decay. As it is gas operated it needs to be wrapped in space plastics to fire properly in the void.

Lazy Lazer - Hahaha I like how nonsensical this is. This is probably a good match for the Junk Gangs, it should be a great visual. I wonder if I can rig it with some nurbs.



KillHour posted:

Antigrav Module: This handy device bends spacetime around your ship so incoming bullets are inclined to curve around your profile instead of hitting square on. Only a perfectly-placed shot will strike a target equipped with the highest levels of these - and at a far-reduced kinetic impact, at that. This affects your own weapons as well, causing them to accelerate away from you (albeit not necessarily in a straight line). Bringing this field into contact with other gravity-based tools or weaponry is ill-advised, as the side effects of gravity-antigravity field interaction are unknown but almost certainly spectacular.

Bad diagram:



This is really, really, really good. I'll save it for an Armor item for the Positronics or the Rogues.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Dyno-bolas. Launch a pair of grenades connected by a cord; they lazily spin about each other and detonate on impact. If you've ever played Einhander, the "Ptyhon" [sic] weapon works similarly.

Recycle of Violence (activated item). Creates a vacuum (in space? Well, whatever...) in front of the player that sucks in projectiles, debris, smaller ships, etc. for a few seconds, then launches everything it grabbed as a big ol' ball of damage. Size and power of the ball depends on how much stuff it grabs. Basically a temporary shield that turns into an attack at the end.

I like these two ideas. The bolas are probably a bit hard to get going (again, probably gonna need some nurbs or at least force some video game physics) but the Recycle of Violence is a cool idea for a defensive active weapon.


Feldherren posted:

Big Guns (Trinket)
The designer of this weapon system augmentation clearly believed that bigger was resoundingly better. You're not too sure; certainly your projectiles are larger, but they also seem more diffuse.
Makes your bullets bigger. Maybe comically bigger. Reduces overall power in accordance with how much larger it makes the bullets, though.

Fair Shake (Trinket)
Every time your ship or shields gets hit (or grazes?), this retaliates with a shot of its own - a basic bullet, not too powerful, but a free shot. Something about harvesting and redirecting energy or material from what people shoot at you.

The other ideas kinda already exist in some shape or form but I liked these:

Big Guns - This is a good idea. Maybe the trinket dynamically increases the size according to your energy % so your projectiles can vary even within a stage.

Fair Shake - Seems obvious in retrospect but I hadn't though of a counter-attack item. Thanks!


EponymousMrYar posted:

A bunch of descriptions

Thanks! These are some nice descriptions, I'll definitely make use of those ideas.

Fish Noise posted:

SECONDARY WEAPONS

Surplus Rocket Pod
Rapid fire rockets missing their warheads, resulting in sustained but low damage. Rockets have a chance to glance for even less damage on hit, and go careening around.
Desc: Whoever was working on disarming these was apparently so fixated on removing the warheads that they completely forgot about the motors.
Desc: A display piece with the warheads removed, but the motors inexplicably left intact.
Desc: 50% off! Reduced weight! Safe handling! Present membership card for 100% extra ammunition free!

Hauler Net
Fires huge rocket-propelled net that scoops up enemies and certain projectiles, crashing them into each other. Cheap, higher ROF than average for Active weapon. Has own health, can be damaged and even shot through by enemy projectiles. Fast enemies take extra damage, large enemies might drag net and contents around, causing chaos.
Desc: Common basic mining and salvage gear, repurposed... aggressively.
Desc: Hey, as long as it works.

Aged Demo Crate
Literally shove a crate of demo charges out the window. Inherits momentum. Cheap, lower-than-average ROF, smaller-than-average AOE. Big quarter-screen explosion, smaller secondary explosions.
Desc: A box of demolition charges, nearing the end of their stable shelf life. Manually launched.
Desc: Comes with a free space suit. Implications horrifying.

TRINKETS

Surplus Rocket Pod - Good idea for the Junk Gangs. I think I'll probably tune this to have decent damage to make up for the likely-to-be incredibly frustrating glancing around, like a really loose cannon.

Carnival - Already had the exact same idea, same with the Aged Demo Crate. Name is nicer than mine though.

Hauler Net - Interesting idea.

Trinkets - I'm considering turning these into trinkets that enhances floral/plant/agriculture-related weapons in general, not just the Colonizer. For example they can also improve the Fungal Phasefield.

Lechtansi posted:

Boltshooter Somehow, somewhere, an engineer is perplexed that their entire box of miscellaneous parts is now empty. How those parts ended up in the gun is a mystery even to the designer of the weapon. Needless to say, no one has yet to figure out how this thing reloads.

Like I said, I loved the imagery of this description.

KillHour posted:

Active weapon - Hacked Nanobots: These tiny medical robots have been reprogrammed by space pirates to seek out the crewmembers of other vessels and "remove them from combat." You would rather not know how exactly they do this, but you have been assured that the bodies are still mostly intact and there won't be much extra cleanup before your newly acquired ships can be resold. Increased droprate from neutralized ships. Not effective against AI ships.

Nice, this is horrifying. Probably a good match for the Rogues/Junk Gangs. I also don't like the idea of a magic find meta so instead I'll change the effect to make it so it greatly increases the chance of a ship drop being the seed of the ship you killed instead of a random ship, but it doesn't increase the drop chance in the first place.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Gungun. Guns break, it's a fact of life. And sometimes they break badly enough that they aren't worth repairing. That's when the gungun comes in. Fire those guns at your enemies! Warning: guns may not be fully unloaded.

It fires guns, like the name says. Low energy costs / plentiful ammo, doesn't do much damage, except sometimes they explode on impact in a starburst of shrapnel.

I think there's a roguelike/lite/procedural game (enter the gungeon maybe?) that has a similar weapon but we can play with the concept. An interesting idea would be for its ammo to be randomly picked from existing weapons and the damage dealt per projectile be relative to the original gun's damage.

This can be an interesting procedural weapon. Another idea would be for it to consume, say, two random traits (Can shoot Independent Weapons, Can shoot Blood Tribe Weapons). Also a nide idea for the background could be that it's a junkyard portal device used to quickly empty junkyards when no one's looking.

KillHour posted:

Primary Weapon: Symmetric Particle-Cascading Thorium Reactor - SPCTRs fire a pair of particle streams that pass through most materials unaffected. Anything unfortunate enough to be between the beams, however, has its charge uniformly redistributed. This typically involves protons and electrons violently liberating themselves from their atoms. Since the beams don't directly interact with matter, they will happily continue on to wreak havoc on anything behind the target as well, giving rise to the weapon's infamous moniker: Spectre.

This is a nice idea, this can be TSID's version of the horror movie "moving laser that cuts stuff" trope.


Anyway that' s it for now! Thanks a lot for the ideas and contributions, I wasn't expecting so many, that was a really pleasant surprise. Since the Independents already have way too many weapons for me to do, if you want to suggest a new weapon try to consider one of the other factions.

Elentor fucked around with this message at 13:22 on Feb 12, 2018

nielsm
Jun 1, 2009




Fallen Rib

nielsm posted:

Diamond Ray - a powerful beam weapon, it takes a while (1-2 seconds) to charge, while charging shoots out a small aiming laser showing where it will hit. The shot itself is a powerful instant-hit beam active for a short while, it completely penetrates most common shields. Downside is it has a long cooldown, and your own shields go down as well while the beam is active. Also the aiming laser telegraphs your intention.

After getting a bit of sleep, some flavor text:
Industrial hole punch, works on any material, even at long distances. Guaranteed, or money back. (Warranty void if used for combat.)
WARNING: Discharge disables any local shield generators.
WARNING: Do not look directly into the aiming laser, may cause permanent eye damage.

Lechtansi
Mar 23, 2004

Item Get


Elentor posted:

Okay this is a hilarious description. The image of someone very confused because of this is great.

Thanks man, I'm happy to contribute to this! If I come up with anymore I'll make sure to post it.

TheGamaniac
Nov 6, 2010


A weapon idea that probably works best with the Junk Gang more than anything...

Backblaster (Active): You're fairly sure this was supposed to be a thruster at one point, but whether through persistent glitching, excessive overclocking, or some other reason, it expends so much raw power so quickly that even a second of use could cause it to go critical. More like a cannon now, it's nearly useless for standard space travel, but for those few short moments? Your speed and acceleration are nothing short of explosive, with an exhaust plume to match. Just need to make sure you can handle well enough to not smash yourself against an asteroid or another ship. ...Accidentally, anyways.

Tiny (0.66s? 0.75s?) duration of extreme (and unstoppable, but not uncontrollable) speed combined with a short-to-midrange whitehot plume of fire (always against your direction of movement, aka. basically pushing you in that direction) that deals savage fire damage to anything you actually manage to tag with it. Maybe can end early by being button-hold based to be more usable? Enormous temporary speed plus a situational super-highdamage bonus option is an extremely versatile combo both on it's own and for synergy with other things, but the whole "can't stop moving" part at such speeds is dangerous, and the potential reward for clipping them with the exhaust (or especially managing to focus it on them, like if you get immobilized or something) can easily lead to you overextending real bad. But it sounds like it'd be a fun thing to build around. Momentum-modified attacks at super speed? Tackling enemy ships? Filling the screen with things that trail behind you and are duration-based instead of distance-based? Could be lots of fun.

professor_curly
Mar 4, 2016

There he is!


Rogue Weapon Ideas

Some of these are better than others, but here is what came to mind after pondering for a little while.

Primary Weapon Ideas

Chatterbox - A power intensive but extremely rapid firing plasma weapon which fires projectiles shaped into ones and zeroes. The name "chatterbox" comes from the tendency of rogues to encode taunting binary messages into the weapon before going into battle.
Basically weaponized matrix code crawl, but binary instead of gibberish.

AnTaser- - The Anti-Taser system fires fast moving rockets tipped by penetrating prongs, connected by high capacity power cables to the firing vessels. Enemies vessels hit by this weapon have their power systems rapidly drained, powering up your ship while leaving theirs drifting hulks. Rogue flotillas use this weapon to capture sensitive electronic equipment without causing system overloads on their victim's ship.
Doesn't fire very often, but if you land a hit your shields/weapons get a boost (even above the natural shield drain Rogue ships impose)

EMK-Blade - A close range melee weapon which uses the curves of a thousand folded magnetic fields to form an incredibly destructive plasma blade, able to cut through matter as well as disrupt electromagnetic waves. Certain Rogues follow an ancient code they call "Ebushido" and eschew the use of ranged weaponry altogether.
Short range space katana, does high damage, cuts through shields and can sweep away projectiles.

Tag, You're Me A weaponized combination of hologram emitter system and hacked IFF-tag, this system fires projectiles that embed themselves into enemy ships and project an image and IFF code identical to your current vessel for a short time. Typically used by Rogue smugglers to create red herrings for authorities, when employed in battle it can give new perspective on the phrase "with friends like these."

Active Weapon Ideas

/Invasion/ Beacon - Summons a large wave of friendly Rogue ships to the current location, which warp in and and enthusiastically begin firing on everything in their vicinity. There always seem to be a group of Rogues waiting in the wings ready to descend like a horde on any target for good reasons, bad reasons or even no reason at all. Of course they don't stick around to deal with the consequences.

stop_hitting_urself.exe - An extremely powerful hacking program attached to a broadcast system powerful enough to pierce through almost any interference. Temporarily flips the targeted procedures of enemy ships, forcing their computers to view each other as hostile and you as friendly. Entire squadrons have been reduced to a single survivor by this system, left to live with the guilt of having killed their friends, family and squadmates.

Blackout - Sends out a pulse of anti-energy, disabling enemy vessels that are caught in the wave of unnatural darkness. More than a mere EMP, the Blackout system absorbs all energy that it encounters, including lasers and plasma projectiles.
Sends out a pulse that blocks energy beams/projectiles and disables enemy vessels caught inside for a significant period of time. Short range anti-bullet hell system kind of thing.

System Crash - An arcane weapon that warps spacetime itself into a form that inspires rage and confusion in those that observe it and vessels caught within suffer incredible damage. Your AI partner refuses to integrate with this weapon system, requiring it to be deployed manually resulting in a much lower rate of fire.
Screen wipe effect, blue-screens the space-time continuum around you.

Trinkets

Z-Control - Resets enemy vessels and projectiles to their position 1 second prior. An extremely mysterious system that seems to give credence to the rumors that the Rogues are in possession of one or more of the Tools of the Settlers.
I don't know how possible this is, but basically reset the enemies/their projectiles to a previous location a short time in the past. Give you an extra second to get to the edge of a big projectile wave, or style on some enemy by shooting where it was and then teleporting it back in front of your bullets.

Comm Hacker - The classic tool of the Rogues, this system hacks into enemy comms and gives warning of enemy reinforcements and attack patterns. Used by the Rogues to ambush helpless supply convoys, your use it against... somewhat more effective enemies.
[i]Give some sort of warning about where new enemies are going to enter the screen from/help keep from getting blindsided

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



These are pretty much great for the Rogues, you got the gist really well. Maybe Z-Control I'll save for the Positronics but they're overall pretty great.

TheGamaniac posted:

A weapon idea that probably works best with the Junk Gang more than anything...

Backblaster (Active): You're fairly sure this was supposed to be a thruster at one point, but whether through persistent glitching, excessive overclocking, or some other reason, it expends so much raw power so quickly that even a second of use could cause it to go critical. More like a cannon now, it's nearly useless for standard space travel, but for those few short moments? Your speed and acceleration are nothing short of explosive, with an exhaust plume to match. Just need to make sure you can handle well enough to not smash yourself against an asteroid or another ship. ...Accidentally, anyways.

Tiny (0.66s? 0.75s?) duration of extreme (and unstoppable, but not uncontrollable) speed combined with a short-to-midrange whitehot plume of fire (always against your direction of movement, aka. basically pushing you in that direction) that deals savage fire damage to anything you actually manage to tag with it. Maybe can end early by being button-hold based to be more usable? Enormous temporary speed plus a situational super-highdamage bonus option is an extremely versatile combo both on it's own and for synergy with other things, but the whole "can't stop moving" part at such speeds is dangerous, and the potential reward for clipping them with the exhaust (or especially managing to focus it on them, like if you get immobilized or something) can easily lead to you overextending real bad. But it sounds like it'd be a fun thing to build around. Momentum-modified attacks at super speed? Tackling enemy ships? Filling the screen with things that trail behind you and are duration-based instead of distance-based? Could be lots of fun.

Backblaster can be a lot of fun if done with a reasonable cooldown.

Sordas Volantyr
Jan 11, 2015

Now, everybody, walk like a Jekhar.

(God, these running animations are terrible.)

I love the implication that nowhere, no matter how far, how hostile, or how many laws of physics and chemistry are broken, there is always a squad of 20 or so space-hooligans ready to throw down for their buddies.

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

we vibin'
we slidin'
we breathin'
we dyin'


Clever Betty

Sordas Volantyr posted:

I love the implication that nowhere, no matter how far, how hostile, or how many laws of physics and chemistry are broken, there is always a squad of 20 or so space-hooligans ready to throw down for their buddies.

I thought I was in the FOOF thread for a second so... Nice job I guess

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Okay so, progress report: I'm working on a full-fledged stage right now. It's a lot of work. Next update will probably take longer than usual. I don't want to spoil it.

So in the meanwhile I've been thinking of doing something slightly different. Since I've doing a lot of analysis on games and stages, would you guys like one (or perhaps two) chapters breaking down some famous games' level design?

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

we vibin'
we slidin'
we breathin'
we dyin'


Clever Betty

Elentor posted:

Okay so, progress report: I'm working on a full-fledged stage right now. It's a lot of work. Next update will probably take longer than usual. I don't want to spoil it.

So in the meanwhile I've been thinking of doing something slightly different. Since I've doing a lot of analysis on games and stages, would you guys like one (or perhaps two) chapters breaking down some famous games' level design?

sounds good to me!

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Yeah, that sounds great. Game analysis is a critical part of game design; give us your insights!

Rosalie_A
Oct 30, 2011


Elentor posted:

Okay so, progress report: I'm working on a full-fledged stage right now. It's a lot of work. Next update will probably take longer than usual. I don't want to spoil it.

So in the meanwhile I've been thinking of doing something slightly different. Since I've doing a lot of analysis on games and stages, would you guys like one (or perhaps two) chapters breaking down some famous games' level design?

Yes, but only if it's You Have To Burn The Rope.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Sorry for going back on it, I started the chapter but I noticed that to get it to the level I want I'd have to spend way more time than I intended on it. I have a lot of ideas for a series of chapters regarding level design analysis and I don't want to rush them. I think it would be a cool thing to do when I'm done with my current milestones and need a week or two for a break, but right now it was just getting in the way of how much stuff I'm having to do.

At this point I'm working on a full biome for a stage as well as the algorithm to implement them. I'm having to solve a few procedural generation problems that are kinda busying my mind. This is a very important part of the development because it will tie up the core gameplay loop.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



A bit of an update since I haven't posted much here or in my log. I'm dealing with some health issue at the moment, and movement of my dominant hand is impaired. I'm still working and doing progress but at a lower pace.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Oof, yeah, self-care comes before projects. Hope you heal up cleanly!

Pooncha
Feb 15, 2014

Making the impossible possumable

Hereís hoping itís only temporary. Feel better!

Phrosphor
Feb 25, 2007

Urbanisation


Elentor posted:

A bit of an update since I haven't posted much here or in my log. I'm dealing with some health issue at the moment, and movement of my dominant hand is impaired. I'm still working and doing progress but at a lower pace.

Get well soon Elentor!

Boksi
Jan 11, 2016


Hope your health problems aren't anything permanent, I know from personal experience how much having difficulty using your dominant hand sucks. I'm also sad that I managed to miss the whole weapons design stuff that was going on. Especially since I have a bunch of ideas! In fact, I'll just be rude and post them anyway, regardlesss of whether you asked:

Boring stuff:

Repeater Laser (Primary Weapon)
Originally developed as a high-powered strobe light, a mistake during the blueprinting phase that went undetected caused it to incinerate seven people when it was first switched on. The funding company quickly converted it into a weapon in order to salvage the costs that went into its development and to pay off the families of the deceased.
(Mobile rave party, changes color with each shot)

Sentinel (Primary Weapon)
A favorite of podunk military juntas and pirates alike, the Sentinel 160mm Railgun is quite literally a tank gun in space. Originally designed as a weapon for ground vehicles, it was found to be easily modified to operate in outer space and capable of maintaining a high rate of fire for extended periods of time. Also, the corner of its left heat sink has been found by various troops to be an excellent impromptu kitchen stove.

Kinetic Kill Missiles (Secondary Weapon)
Also known by their nickname of 'bottle rockets', KKMs are missiles without a warhead, only doing damage via crashing into things at very high speeds. Their main selling point is that you don't have to aim them thanks to a rudimentary guidance package; they are typically fired by dumping a group of them into space, after which they orient themselves towards a target and rocket off.

The Circus (Active Weapon)
Nobody knows the origin of the name, but every pilot worth his salt knows what it means.
(It's an Itano Circus, baybee! Loads and loads and loads of missiles.)

Assblaster (Active Weapon)
Officially known as the Drive-Assisted Ultra-Heavy Plasma Weapons System, its unofficial nickname is so ubiquitous it's used even in official documents. When turned on, it uses a large containment field to capture all the energy ejected by the ship's drive system. As a result, the ship is rendered immobile while more and more energy builds up in the field. At the push of a button, the pilot can launch the entire contents of the field forward and resume normal operations, content in the knowledge that whatever was in front of him isn't anymore.

Righ Hook/Left Hook (Trinket)
Causes the rightmost/leftmost bullet of a salvo to be larger and more damaging. Does not work on single-shot weapons, and the two hooks don't work with each other.

Interesting Stuff:

Ionoclast (Secondary Weapon)
Each of these mines is engraved with a passage out of religious scripture, with no two alike. There is no apparent logic to the passages chosen, with some beginning or ending in the middle of a sentence and few having any relevance to warfare, nor is there any sense to the mish-mash of religions on display. It's as if they were made by an intelligence with no understanding of religion.
(Fires magnetized mines that are attracted towards enemy ships. If a mine hits an enemy, it latches on, and then detonates after a short period, dealing electric damage. Now, the interesting part is that lighting will arc to other nearby mines, causing damage to anything in between and detonating those mines as well. If you manage to tag multiple ships with it, the lighting arc between them will be bigger and can cross a longer distance because both mines are charged.)

Psi-Ripper (Primary or Secondary Weapon?)
The user's manual states that it uses biological components to generate a psionic field that distorts space-time, causing severe damage to anything in front of your ship. What it fails to mention is that it does this by inflicting intense pain on a non-sentient species of ambulatory psionic fungus, which is contained in a small box in the center of the device, and the rest of the device then channels the resulting psychic agony into a 'useful' form. You don't remember why you know this, but you do remember that you do not want to be anywhere near that weapon if the fungus gets out.

Diamond Dust (Secondary Weapon)
Developed by a team that took the instructions 'build me the coolest gun ever' a little too literally, the Diamond Dust fires supercooled carbon rods. Although they do little damage on impact, the brittle rods shatter into innumberable little razor-sharp particles that cause outsized damage to any ship that flies through a cloud of them.

Furnace Launcher (Active Weapon)
An improvised weapon used by the Mining Guild, the Furnace Launcher does what it says on the tin. More specifically, it launches the business bits of a factory ship's electric arc furnace into the enemy along with a power cable, and then turns it on when it hits. Being originally designed for a much larger ship, the power requirements of the furnace are staggering, but all that power gets transferred into whatever it hit.
Does loads of heat and electric damage, but drains all your energy while it's active. Eventually pops free once it's melted the chunk of ship it hit, if it doesn't blow it up first. Once it's free, or if it goes out of bounds, it's towed back with the power cable.

Radiation Sprinkler (Trinket)
Connected directly to a ship's main reactor, this device's function is not to stop the spread of radiation but to enhance it. When in a combat situation, it sprays the area around it with highly irradiated particles with a short half-life but a potent punch. While the user's manual promises that it also repels those same particles so you won't have to worry about irradiating yourself, you still find yourself wanting to install some additional radiation shielding around your cockpit.

Weird Stuff:

PGC (Primary or Secondary Weapon?)
Every time you look at this gun, it looks like a totally different weapon. You're not sure why, but you're pretty sure you don't want to know why anyway.
Procedurally generates its salvoes every time it fires. It has a base DPS, but the number, type, damage and spread of projectiles are all random; it simply waits longer to fire the next round if it generates a powerful salvo, and vice versa for weak salvoes. Or maybe that doesn't work for how you coded it, I dunno.

Fist of God (Active Weapon)
As far as you can tell, this gun is simply an empty cylinder, sealed on one end, with no actual mechanisms to operate it, but when installed the option to fire it mysteriously appears on your console. On it are engraved two simple words: "gently caress You".
Has no visual effects, but any ship directly in front of you takes damage and is blown away by the invisible force. Imagine an invisible fist flying through space, basically, if it glances a ship that ship goes spinning, if it hits that ship goes bye-bye. It also has noticeable recoil that pushes the player back.

Bayonet Mount (Trinket)
While a tremendously stupid idea on the face of it, when in the presence of an actual ship-sized bayonet, you can feel welling up in yourself an irresistible desire to CHAAAAAARGEEEEE!!!

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Thanks for the words. I got an injury in one of the tendons. Still doing some exams to figure out the cause, if it was the gym or something else. It really sucks because I'm having to do everything with my other hand. I wanted to play the new Path of Exile season but it's pretty undoable so my entertainment has been reduced to mobile games.

I'm doing some progress on the game but it's at a very slow pace.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Add a weapon that gives the pilots of enemies ships RSI, causing them to be able to shoot or move but not both at the same time because they only have one working hand.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



I'll go over all the new ideas in a future update but for now I'd like to mention that-

Boksi posted:

Ionoclast (Secondary Weapon)
Each of these mines is engraved with a passage out of religious scripture, with no two alike. There is no apparent logic to the passages chosen, with some beginning or ending in the middle of a sentence and few having any relevance to warfare, nor is there any sense to the mish-mash of religions on display. It's as if they were made by an intelligence with no understanding of religion.

I love this description.

Boksi posted:

PGC (Primary or Secondary Weapon?)
Every time you look at this gun, it looks like a totally different weapon. You're not sure why, but you're pretty sure you don't want to know why anyway.
Procedurally generates its salvoes every time it fires. It has a base DPS, but the number, type, damage and spread of projectiles are all random; it simply waits longer to fire the next round if it generates a powerful salvo, and vice versa for weak salvoes. Or maybe that doesn't work for how you coded it, I dunno.

Fist of God (Active Weapon)
As far as you can tell, this gun is simply an empty cylinder, sealed on one end, with no actual mechanisms to operate it, but when installed the option to fire it mysteriously appears on your console. On it are engraved two simple words: "gently caress You".
Has no visual effects, but any ship directly in front of you takes damage and is blown away by the invisible force. Imagine an invisible fist flying through space, basically, if it glances a ship that ship goes spinning, if it hits that ship goes bye-bye. It also has noticeable recoil that pushes the player back.

All of these weapons give off an uncanny valley, a really uncomfortable feeling, I love it. I'll probably change the Fist of God idea a lot but I like the concept of a weapon that is just a cylinder that is empty.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



I'm back to development. Still got a few health issues but my hand is working and I want to do some actual progress.

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

we vibin'
we slidin'
we breathin'
we dyin'


Clever Betty

Elentor posted:

I'm back to development. Still got a few health issues but my hand is working and I want to do some actual progress.

Glad your hand is better and I hope the rest of ya heals up soon

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Bonus Update: What I've been up to and personal bits

Hey guys, this is a small update. I'll talk a bit about myself and some of the progress that I've been doing, and open up a bit. I reflected a bit before writing this but I think that this can be a good post. You all have been very supportive of the project and I'm very glad to have had readers and followers on SA such as all y'all.

I think this project can be good. And even if the end product isn't, I think our journey will be good. I'm not sure if what we're doing is unique, but it's definitely something I'm proud and I'm glad to be documenting all the process in such a unique way.

With that said, one of the things I ask from you all is patience. Not that you guys haven't been a patient crowd. If you read my past LP you know I'm not one to give up. However, I might spend a few weeks and maybe months at a time (although I think I never spent two months without an update) between updates.

Posting Schedule and I

Man it's been 7 years since I started a Let's Play. That's a lifetime. I never stopped to talk about myself because I figured that I'd let my work speak for myself, for better or for worse. And I write a lot. But I'm not sure there's a lot to talk about to present myself that people won't have caught already. I'm Brazilian. I'm mixed Japanese and Black and I'm incredibly proud of my heritage. I would probably look like a very different person to you, but maybe not. I want to work on my accent so I can get to do more videos eventually.

More importantly, and I didn't get to it on my FFVII LP, one of the main reasons why I disappear from time to time is because of some long term health issues. Generally speaking, I prefer to let people think I'm burned out or giving a pause than to say personal stuff, but since this project is so personal to me I think I don't mind as much and lately I've been feeling less shy of opening up. There are chronic pains that I deal with and most of the time meds tend to make me drowsy. It's not fun but I don't have anything life-threatening that I know. Like most humans I have assorted stuff that life tossed my way, but I'm privileged and grateful for all the good things that I have. Depending on how affected by meds I am it makes very hard to focus so I work twice as hard when I'm clearheaded and try to play competitive games (like LoL or PUBG lately) to keep my mind stimulated when I'm not. Sometimes I do a lot of amateur composing because guitars relax me.

Recently I had some hand-related issues, in this case it was a glanglion cyst that was interfering with my tendon. It seems to be going away on its own so no surgery, but it's been slow and boring. No gym for a while (and that's 5 pounds gone already in a month), and then I tried to play some mobile games (namely the new FF Opera Omnia) but I can't say they're my thing. I tried to play some PUBG since FPS = more arm movement than wrist movement and it was fine for a while but then I stopped because why push my luck? Best to rest for a while.

Luckily it's not an RSI but I'm not gonna lie that coding and typing is far easier than modeling, a task which I do with my dominant hand and that end up using a lot of wrist movements. In fact, one of the reasons why I created the ship generator in the first place was so that I wouldn't have to do that, hah.

Development Schedule and I

On a very personal level, I have a lot more fun programming than doing art. I actually tend to feel my creative side flourish more while coding, because (ignoring any discussions of whether games are or not art) if the game is the canvas, then coding it feels more like the realization of my vision than doing the actual graphic work. Of course, I know a lot of artists who studied with me who feel the exact opposite. But the conclusion of the backend heavy code makes it so a lot of the pleasurable problem-solving part is gone. I can't wait to crack my head trying to implement some of the bizarre weapon mechanics you folks came up.

The other reason for some of the delay is that I'm funding the development from my pocket. Part of the income I saved over the years but from time to time I do some freelance 3D arts to keep things rolling and that takes some time off TSID. I'm considering selling some of the assets I work for TSID separately for developers to keep things rolling as well. People think of asset flipping and buying assets as a thing of indie games but I've seen so many reused, bought and sometimes even free assets in AAA games (and really major ones at that) that doing that wouldn't bother me at all, especially if I'm the one selling.


What I've been working on

In order to release the polished things I want to I realized that they'd take a bit more work. Much like the ships it involves reusable assets, which is good, but the amount of assets is pretty large.

I estimate that it will take around 2000 assets to get to 1.0. I'm not worried about how long it will take, I think around 2 years would be a realistic estimate though it can be less or more than that. However that does change a lot of things in terms of my release plans. This is the kind of thing that makes - urgh - early access more realistic.

I still maintain the plan that I want a campaign and a procedural stage available for playtesting before I take any further action. My idea is to have a game like D1/D3/Binding of Isaac with a campaign supported by random elements to spice it up.

My next proper LP update is already underway. I've been working on tilesets and the tech behind them since a lot of Shmups use tilesets for the stage art and background, and I think it makes up for a great chapter. I've done 30 assets and a new shader (about which I'm super happy because it really brings everything up) but there are still a few hundred assets needed for this particular tileset. Some of the current results look really gorgeous and I think you guys will like it.

Anyway that's it for now. Thanks for reading and again, thanks for the support.

Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

we vibin'
we slidin'
we breathin'
we dyin'


Clever Betty

Elentor posted:

Bonus Update: What I've been up to and personal bits
good words

Still supporting you! I often point to your FFVII LP as the definitive look at that game.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Captain Foo posted:

Still supporting you! I often point to your FFVII LP as the definitive look at that game.

Thanks a lot!

So, I have a bit more news on the development and what kinda got me stuck for the past month.

I got the basics of tilesets working:



And this is great but I've been having issues mixing the existing systems with procedural generation and my necessities. Between assets being good but not open source (ughhh) and unmofidiable, or they having a feature I need but not being good at all, I think I have to roll my own asset for tile handling and I'm not a fan of reinventing the wheel but that's what I'll probably have to do.

Ch26 and 27 will be about my tileset artwork and a bit of some information on how tilesets in general work, it's a fun chapter to write since I'll go over some games' examples that I like very much so and I think it's instructional. I already have a bunch of artwork bundled together, if I can't make a robust system in the upcoming weeks I'll make a simplified one and put it in the backburner to work on other stage generation related things.

One of the lights-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel was that I've been considering using sub-tiles but that sounded too inelegant. Watching the Sonic post-mortem at GDC however made me realize that it is not, and would probably make a lot easier for me to implement more natural-looking backgrounds and fit in destructibles in a cool manner, so I'll be researching it for the moment.

Elentor fucked around with this message at 21:21 on Mar 23, 2018

EponymousMrYar
Jan 4, 2015

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.


You'd think that between coding and making assets you'd have a 50/50 workload of each.
When really, 25-33% is going to be coding and the rest is going to be making your assets, polishing them until they shine and look nice and make people go 'that looks/feels nice.'

Hooray for recovery and progress though!

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



EponymousMrYar posted:

You'd think that between coding and making assets you'd have a 50/50 workload of each.
When really, 25-33% is going to be coding and the rest is going to be making your assets, polishing them until they shine and look nice and make people go 'that looks/feels nice.'

Hooray for recovery and progress though!

Yeah man, you got it right. Making assets is a huge chore. I can code for hours and hours and hours without rest but something about making assets is just dreadful, because of the repetition and the overhead. I could probably make an entire chapter about the pipeline for making one asset.

1 Have an idea
2 Draw a concept for it
3 Model it
4 Unwrap it. Possibly have to do it in a way that doesn't overlap with future objects to keep everything in a single texture.
Z If you absolutely must, open ZBrush and do a whole other bunch of things in it.
Z2 Just an extension of the previous step because that's how much time you're gonna spend on it.
Z3 Somewhere along the line realize that there's no youtube tutorial under 4 hours of slow, slow speech even at 2x speed, for the feature you need to use.
5 Bake a bunch of maps that the player is never gonna see but programs need it.
6a If it has a handpainted style, painfully handpaint it which is actually cool and relaxing but takes an incredible amount of time.
6b Or use a bunch of the haxor programs that are pretty much cheating but you kinda have to to keep your sanity. DDO, Substance Anything, Surforge, whatever it takes to make texturing in PBR less of an incredible pain.
7 Wait, you still have to setup the model in such a way that is suitable for them, learn their pipeline, their bugs and idiosyncrasies
8 Use some 3 or other 4 programs for reasons
9 Manually fix stuff because they look different in your engine than they did in the other programs
10 Congratulations, you have now made 1 out of 2000 3D assets for your game.

Elentor fucked around with this message at 23:19 on Mar 23, 2018

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Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Bonus Chapter - Making of a Rock


You need to model a rock. You don't want to admit it, but you're stuck by choice paralysis. Your anxiety grows.

Another day goes by. You can't get much sleep. As you try to figure out where to start, you hear words. Voices from a different world. The Old Gods tell you that you're theirs. They whisper words of madness, and your paranoia forces you to consider every step along the way. You musn't give in. No, you must. No, don't. You must buy low quality, cheap models and use them. It's the only way. You can't do so many models on your own. "It's futile", you second guess yourself. Your face contorts in horror as you realize that even futile is a name for a graphics framework.

You remember a video talking about tiled textures. How to make good tiled textures for mountains - manually model a bunch of rocks and stick them together on ZBrush on top of each other. You never quite got how the pipeline works for doing that, or how they tile in the first place, but then again ZBrush was never your forte. But you know that even games with a more hand-painted look like World of Warcraft do that. You don't have to restrict it to texturing, you can make good terrain out of compounding a bunch of more angular rocks. Rocks and stones. They don't even have to sit on terrain, you can make terrains out of them. You're almost sure Miramar mountains from PUBG are made that way.

In your mind, you stick to the basics when it comes down to terrain. World-Machine is good value. Doom uses it. It has an awkward user experience, but compared to the horrors of ZBrush's interface it's nothing too complicated. But a whisper echoes inside your head. "Vue d'esprit". That's a name you haven't heard in a long time. Now known as Vue, you wonder how much of the program has changed. It belongs to a different time. With a single click you could create spikey unrealistic mountains in Bryce 3D, but they all looked glorious for your young self. Vue. You know why the voices whispered it, they take you towards the route of landscape 3D software, and soon you reach a new destination.

Terragen.

"Maybe I could use Terragen for the background terrain" you think. "I'm tired of graphic nodes anyway, plus I heard that some artist from EVE uses Terragen for rendering nebulae in space, so it would be useful for that too, in a completely unrelated but good way."

But you know, you could always sculpt terrain by hand on ZBrush - haha no not that. "It'd be easy with voxels" another voice said. What kind of voxels, even? Could we do some old-school metaballs with voxels? I don't wanna learn marching rays. Are we talking retro-pixelated voxels like Minecraft's or those fancy voxel terrains from Crytek that allow you to open up caves with nice triplanar mapping?

"The former. It would be easy. Use procgen methods" a voice said. That's what you do Elentor. Procgen. And why stop at the terrain? You can make worlds using dynamically tessellated quadrilaterized spheres. No, go away. Not another one of those. They're hard and take years to make right. Space Engine already exists, and it's pretty awesome. "Do real people know any of these terms? Wait, why am I saying 'real'? Am I not real? Is this real? So many names, so many programs, so many fads, so many buzzwords, have I dreamed them all?"

Not to mention, terrain shaders. Another Pandora's box. Shaders. Ah, you remember the days of writing shaders on NVIDIA software. When you moved on to Unity's own Shader language, it wasn't so painful at first. But then graphic Nodes, graphic nodes, graphic nodes everywhere. They give a new definition to spaghetti code, because sometimes the splines connecting them literally look like spaghetti. But we can't blame graphic nodes. It's easy to get lost in a visual workflow, but it's also easy to get started. And where do you start when writing a terrain shader? Will you make a bunch of PBR texture support for materials defined by vertex color? So many textures in a single terrain. PBR. Physically-Based Rendering, three words that really made you wish Photoshop was updated for game development. You know a software that allows you to paint directly on the model? ZBrush.

ZBrush will not let you paint in PBR, though. You no longer live in a world where you paint with colors. No, not anymore. Now your single brush must paint the albedo, the normal, the glossiness, the metalness. Or the specular. And if it's specular, then it's not glossiness, it's roughness. Or is it the other way? "Don't forget the emissive map". Not all textures need to be painted, though. You remember "Crazybump", a software that would convert height maps into normal maps, all for you. But then there is, and always will be xNormal. xNormal will guide you through dark days, whether you need to bake the difference between a high-poly and a low-poly model, or whether you need a good old Ambient Occlusion map.

You miss the days where you could just paint a texture in Photoshop. But Photoshop doesn't deal with PBR, it's just not wired that way. Maybe you really want to paint? Painting by hand is a bit old-school, but there's Substance Painter for that. Did you know to paint gold, you need to paint black? The albedo, that is. Also known as "base color". Then you paint the specular texture yellow, which is for reflection. Or maybe you're using the metalness/metalicity workflow, in which case it has a metal index of 1 (like in a white texture if you're being wasteful), and an albedo of yellow. Or is it diffuse instead of albedo in this case?

Maybe painting things is too much work. You can use PBR textures that are ready to use. There are many libraries out there. Megascans is used by EA. GameTextures is used by Activision. Sure they got rock textures. But yours are space rocks, maybe they need to be rougher than usual.

You can always make procedural textures. You have experience with those. But with which program? You like Filter Forge, but FF doesn't offer anything for a PBR workflow. Substance Designer? You're too lazy to learn it. Plus it takes you back to Substance Painter, and it puts you in a loop of indecisiveness. Plus when it comes down to procedural textures, it all goes back to Perlin Noise anyway. Will it ever find rest and peace? Perlin Noise has given us everything, and more. Clouds, Mountains, Metal, Cloth, Fire, Procedural Dungeons. But maybe we must move on. Maybe not. All hail Perlin Noise.

Before texturing, you'll have to create an UV map for the model. That's when you "unwrap" the 3D object onto a 2D plane, flattening it without allowing parts to overlap. It's not the most fun aspect of 3D modeling, I'll tell you that. I had a professor who enjoyed it and found that it felt like solving a puzzle, and I (and the other students) envied his glee. Unwrapping is never easy. Most programs have a tool that gives you some automatic solution but they're seldom perfect, and there are dozens of third-party programs to do that but they're not flawless either. You can always go back to ZBrush and use "UV Master" and forget about it. No, it won't work very well for inorganic/mechanical objects. But it would for a rock.

Before Unwrapping, you need to make sure the object, whether you modeled it in Maya, 3DS Max, Blender or any other program, has a mesh that is suited for games, in the polygon count, density distribution of polygons and shape. The "topology" of the object per se. The process of turning an ill-suited mesh into a game-ready asset is called retopology. My friends used to like a software called Topogun to do that. I usually model my stuff in such a way that I don't have to retouch it later. I could always use ZBrush to do that retouching if needs be. ZBrush has a retopology tool. Why do I have to create a sphere to activate the topology tool in ZBrush? Best not to overthink it.

Instead, you keep thinking of voxels. They're all points on a cloud. Point clouds. Point clouds. Point Clouds. You know what's made of point clouds? Photogrammetry models. Photogrammetry is when you take a bunch of photos of an object, in different angles, throw them to a program and the program magically recreates a 3D object from the photos. It's simple. Yes, that's the answer. Go out, pick up a bunch of rocks and scan them. Apparently the quality is excellent even with a mediocre cellphone camera. Let's see how many photos per rock.

Uhmm, 100? 200? 300? Make sure to do it in a neutral light condition. I think Unity has got a tool to remove lighting from photogrammetry textures. That's a lot of work, but still, maybe it's worth it. Now, which software should you use?

Oh no.

No free software does everything from start to finish, apparently. You need to mix up multiple programs. Sometimes up to four different programs. Not again. No. No. I just want to take some photos of rocks. Why is it so hard?

Perhaps you should consider ZBrush. Typing in "zbrush rock" on Youtube will yield 67,200 results. You take a look. There's a 25 minutes video. That's short, for a ZBrush video. "Part 1". That makes sense. Nevermind.

Running away from the madness, or perhaps towards it, you open up Maya LT and start pulling and deforming a sphere. It's just rocks, it's just rocks. "Did you know there's a procedural rock generator for Maya?" No, go away, it's rocks. You watch in horror as the rock has a singularity at the top. "SHOULD HAVE USED GEOSPHERES", one of the voices screams, loudly. "HAVE YOU NOT LEARNED POLYHEDRONS IN SCHOOL?" Screw you, as soon as I run this rock through some polygon-reduction algorithm all the singularities will disappear. Like Dynamesh, in ZBrush. Or Decimate, in ZBrush. Or ZRemesher, in ZBrush. Or I can remove it with ClipCurve, in ZBrush. Or I could have started it with a Sphere, in ZBrush. And pulled it with the Move Tool...

You've been baited. You've been baited into thinking you could escape. That you could have it simple. You can't. No one can. You won't ever know all of ZBrush tools, or shortcuts, or even the basics, but maybe... maybe you won't have to.

Yes. Yes... your resigned eyes look at your ZBrush key. It's not a subscription, it's not a live service. It's a key, that entitles you to ZBrush. Forever.


"This - this is my ZBrush."



"It was made for me."


Bonus: https://twitter.com/FFXVEN/status/655096152954572803

Elentor fucked around with this message at 18:01 on Feb 19, 2019

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