Lostcast 149: 3-Death


  • LDG



  • Hi i am just listening to lostcast right now and I wanted to throw you guys an idea. Instead of going diying then becoming a ghost then choosing who to possess, Did you think about diying and possessing the monster who killed you and killing all the other monsters inside the same room with a big explosion. It would give the player time to experiment with the new monster, which I think is a must have if you are doing possessions, otherwise you will feel cheated if you die before knowing how to Control the monster. Obviously there are other design problems with that, like bosses but maybe you just die if you are fighting a boss. Just a thought and btw if you find errors in grammar or spelling (you probably will) you can keep them. Great cast as always PartTimeIndie


  • Tiger Hat

    I love the idea for a death mechanic, and the monsters needing mana - the logical extension to this is monsters always needing mana.

    I’m guessing that mana is something that pops out of monsters when they die, you run around and scoop that up, and blow more monsters away, in turn, if there is red mana littering the floor, monsters that use that could be attracted to it, and consume it. This could be a larger circle than the player detection circle, or based on the amount of mana there is, meaning that killing monsters would draw more monsters that you have to fight. If a monster consumes mana, it could be dropped when you finally slay it (although the larger drop would be bait for other monsters).

    This would not only add a bunch of emergent gameplay, but would teach the player what mana they need, pig-heads are always trying to steal my red, and now I need red when I’m a head.

    I also think there’s some value in carrying the essence of something you possess, perhaps possessing a pig head leaves you stinking of bacon, and it attracts nerds (or something).


  • LDG

    @PartTimeIndie said:

    Hi i am just listening to lostcast right now and I wanted to throw you guys an idea. Instead of going diying then becoming a ghost then choosing who to possess, Did you think about diying and possessing the monster who killed you and killing all the other monsters inside the same room with a big explosion

    Cool idea! We’ve been prototyping many ideas and will continue to do so. We’ve already got a script that kills all monsters on screen (when you kill a boss, its adds are destroyed) so that would be easy to implement. Possessing what killed you particularly is a little tough because you won’t be able to possess every single thing that can hurt you (e.g. spike traps, floor vents), but heck even that sounds pretty funny :) Good stuff, we’ll keep that idea in mind.


  • LDG

    @salmonmoose said:

    monsters that use that could be attracted to it, and consume it

    Interesting … off the top of my head I wonder if that might make some monster behaviors a bit complicated. Because AWL1 behaviors got too complex we’re trying to keep monsters simple this time. Maybe a simple “HUNGRY FOR MANA!” script could temporarily override other behaviors.

    I also think there’s some value in carrying the essence of something you possess, perhaps possessing a pig head leaves you stinking of bacon, and it attracts nerds (or something).

    I definitely like increasing the meaning of possessing things via bonuses or hate tables or other properties, good stuff. Bacon attracts EVERYTHING! … except vegetarians, I guess ;)


  • Tiger Hat

    @richtaur said:

    Because AWL1 behaviors got too complex we’re trying to keep monsters simple this time. Maybe a simple “HUNGRY FOR MANA!” script could temporarily override other behaviors.

    It shouldn’t - you likely already have a ‘hunt for player’ state, this would be an extension of this with a higher radius.



  • Can’t believe my question was answered! Made my day no joke.

    Loved the discussion about if the game was 3D. liked the idea of it being a “what if” TV episode, however I thought it would be an alternate universe (bringing it back to Futurama) where there’s another Matt and Geoff (Gatt and Meoff) who made AWL in 3D whiles wearing Mongoose hats and answering forum questions like “what if AWL was 2D”.

    Also love the Death mechanic ideas you guys have. I haven’t played AWL 1 but I think I will defo pickup AWL 2 because being able to control NPCs sounds cool as heck’


  • Tiger Hat

    I found the topic about 3D to be quite interesting and it sparked a lot of thoughts for me, which i’ll proceed to ramble here.

    First, don’t be scared of 3D, just like your art tips, you can do anything if you practice all day every day. Making tons of models that never get shaded with the daylight of the scene (never see the light of day). I’m very much a programmer artist, but I know that given enough practice I could get decent, and perhaps one day even “good” :)

    Animation and characters I think (just like 2d) are going to be the hardest parts. Much easier to start with architecture and landscapes. Then weapons and things like that. Getting to the point of characters and animations will take more time.

    I’ve mentioned before, that I work on a 3D webgl MMO called Ironbane. It looks like this:
    ironbane
    We take the “easy” way out by having our characters be 2D sprites rendered onto a 3D plane. The buildings and terrain and trees and such are all full 3D models. (BTW for the curious, this is three.js). In our case everything is also very lo-fi so it’s easier to cover up our lack of 3D skills, but we get the job done and it’s fun to play. Also a side note, we throw all our weapons (2d sprites formed into planes) because melee is very hard to get right in this perspective.

    So I think the point there is that you can still go 3D and get a lot done fairly “easily”. You can avoid animations and complicated models for some things. We can still have moving platforms and what not, not using traditional animation, but just moving them around in the world. Oh and actually I forgot about Minecraft, those models AFAIK are all super basic animations just in code, no fancy frame animation or skinning and blending there.

    Speaking of perspective, what’s really difficult about the sprites is perspective. In order for us to achieve 3D camera panning with 2D sprites, we need to do 8 direction sprites. Having to draw a sprite in 8 directions sucks. One thing that I was thinking about while you guys were talking about this was that you could possibly save time if you got a 3D model, posed it, and then used it as the reference for 2D perspective. A lot of the creatures of course would be somewhat unique, so it might be difficult to find a reference model. But for say like a spider, you could get a 3D spider pretty cheap from the Unity asset store, pose it, take screenshots and then draw on top. Might also be an option to contract a 3D artist for a few things.

    Oh and I’m not 100% certain that most people prefer 3D. I think there are still audiences for both. And you shouldn’t worry about what AAA is doing anyway, maybe III … I’m pretty sure Darkest Dungeon is 2D. Also people are crazy, I’ve been playing Fallout 4, and I noticed when it first came out that some people were saying that the graphics look bad and you can tell they are “5 years old”. That made me think “what??? These graphics are awesome!” … I have no idea what these other people are playing, but clearly everyone has different tastes.

    Of course, remember, above all else, 2D, 3D, VR, AR, none of the graphics matter, gameplay is king. :)


  • Tiger Hat

    @Warspawn said:

    I’ve been playing Fallout 4, and I noticed when it first came out that some people were saying that the graphics look bad and you can tell they are “5 years old”. That made me think “what??? These graphics are awesome!” … I have no idea what these other people are playing, but clearly everyone has different tastes.

    Witcher 3 - seriously, if you enjoy Fallout, and have not cracked out Witcher 3, you should, ignore 1 & 2, they’re not representative of 3.

    Fallout 4 is awesome, but the engine is showing its age, on more than one occasion I’ve been wrenched out of the game because it’s suddenly playing like FO3. I’d be completely unshocked if someone back-ported the game to the old engine.

    @richtaur : have you played with Spriter? http://www.brashmonkey.com/ You may be able to get the majority of the grunt work done in that - even if you have to touch things up later.

    There’s a lot of work in 3D, now it’s starting with Sculpting, then retro-poly layout, mapping, texturing, rigging and finally animating. There’s an art to each step, and I’ve heard it said that 3D software is likely the most complicated software there is, it gives Unity3D a run for its money. My original background was animation, but I found web development more lucrative.

    There’s a reason why my 3D projects are flat-shaded static objects :)

    The asset store is great, and you can modify an asset’s mesh although, depending on how it’s been built, this may completely break the rig. But my biggest issue with it is that there is no consistency, I can download a great medieval village tile-set, but chances are that artist hasn’t done a graveyard, so I’ll have to get someone else’s set for that, and they’re just not going to match, the scale will be off, or they won’t match styles, or they’ll have different ideas how to architect a level. For the moment, I can only see the asset store as useful for place holder assets, if I need the real deal, I’m going to have to get an artist.

    Further; I’m getting the impression that a lot of what Unity gives you “for free” is completely useless - at least as it stands. I’ve got 3 open prototypes at the moment, two are isometric games, and one is a side-scrolling platformer. In each case, I’ve trawled through a tutorial to do it the “unity way” and the results have left me unsatisfied. This would have hit the LDG guys too, I’m sure. You can get “good enough” physics out of Unity, but they’re not crisp (largely because they’re realistic). I suspect the tools can do what I’m after - but the defaults are all for “realism”. The cars in Micromachines hardly behaved realistically, but they were fun the Unity3D car dynamics seem to work well for a real car (although, even that doesn’t work out of the box), but that sharp, fun, arcadey feel is just not there.

    I suspect, that along with visual style, out of the box physics is why many games “feel like unity”.


  • Jammer

    Bro-cares. Let’s get this going!

    https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2F1.bp.blogspot.com%2F_Y8dVgrlzuG0%2FS7PJQF_7VSI%2FAAAAAAAAHeg%2Fy4xLN9UfN7k%2Fs1600%2Fcare%252Bbears%252B4.jpg&f=1


  • Tiger Hat

    @jamessimo said:

    …being able to control NPCs sounds cool as heck’

    Yeah, I think so too. Reminds me of an early access game I’ve been eyeing on Steam called Crawl - http://store.steampowered.com/app/293780/

    One player plays the standard dungeon crawler, and the other people he’s playing with possess stuff in the dungeon to try to kill him.


  • Tiger Hat

    I was thinking the death system to take over npcs was kinda like Enemy Mind which I know has been talked about before in the podcast.


  • Jammer

    Finished listening to the episode. I was recently tinkering with the idea of re-doing snowball effect in 3d. For the environment stuff I want to do, having the scenery change, go along cliff sides instead of the same hill. I originally drew a static slope that looks like it goes down hill. I use tweens with a bezier curve to tween the objects at you. I tried doing pieces of cliff side art using the same math, but it just is so finnicky to get right.

    I love how this game looks, and it takes on the old school 2d style racing game: http://www.horizonchase.com/. You can see it uses flat back drops, but you actually drive in a 3d setting. I think this would be so amazing to apply to snowball. Use proper shading and such. But before i go down this massive 10,000 mile rabbit hole, I’ve been reading through this concept: http://codeincomplete.com/posts/2012/6/23/javascript_racer_v1_straight/. Why not try to apply this to flat textures instead, much like the old games? Instead of drawing the arcs, create them through code. It would seem that example just uses colours, but i should be able to map images to path drawings in canvas.


  • LDG

    @Warspawn said:

    I was thinking the death system to take over npcs was kinda like Enemy Mind which I know has been talked about before in the podcast.

    Yeah I had Enemy Mind in the notes but we didn’t get to it for some reason. Really cool hook, and executed fantastically. I especially dig how players can even possess static objects like asteroids. Doesn’t make sense in every scenario, but it’s hilarious and memorable in the levels where they have them.

    An interesting note is that Enemy Mind’s ships all have pretty limited ammo resources. For example you might see your favorite enemy ship, possess it, and want to play as it for a while, but if it’s only got 3 ammo, you’ve gotta hop bodies quick. Encourages body hopping! And encouraging the hook is probably good.

    So far there’s Crawl, Little Nemo, and Enemy Mind with kind of either “possession” or “YOU control the monsters!” mechanics. Anyone think of more games with similar things happening?


  • Tiger Hat

    If you’re looking at mechanics, you can’t miss Messiah: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah_(video_game) or Omikron: The Nomad Soul https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omikron:_The_Nomad_Soul both center entirely on a possession mechanic - far more than would be useful in AWL2

    Dishonored contains a possession mechanic too, which took over how I played the game, you can possess at range, but leaving the bodies pulls you out the back, making it effectively a highly accurate teleport.


  • Tiger Hat

    What makes raga able to possess another monster? Also, why does the monster’s soul have no ability to fight the possession? Seems like once possession happens you should be able to leave and body jump without dying inside a chicken. Might add some interesting mechanics to purposefully bring a chicken into a room that previously had none and jump out. Also seems like there could be a spot of badness if I reach a situation where through lack of mana I have little choice but to kill myself and use something else. Will there be secret areas only accessible via chicken or other possessed monsters? How about friendlies, meaning if I take an owl do the others still protect me?

    • thoughts I had while listening in no particular order :)

  • LDG

    @Warspawn said:

    What makes raga able to possess another monster?

    We have some ideas for the narrative to explain that, but in this universe we can always say “magic!”

    Seems like once possession happens you should be able to leave and body jump without dying inside a chicken.

    Yeah we’re going to prototype the ability to leave your body at any time. We stream the game for each other every couple days, and noticed that the “revival rooms” are kind of a pita when you’re in a monster body. The ability to leave at will would be good.

    Will there be secret areas only accessible via chicken or other possessed monsters?

    That’s one of those “probably eventually” kind of things :)

    How about friendlies, meaning if I take an owl do the others still protect me?

    Probably not – monsters like pig heads and clams regularly kill each other so there’s not much of a camaraderie feeling going on that we’d need to sustain.

    • thoughts I had while listening in no particular order :)

    Thanks for your thoughts! I’d give you a penny if I could ;)


  • Jammer

    Love the cast. Thanks guys!


  • Jammer

    Quickly, just a thought based on Warspawns comments.

    @Warspawn said:
    Might add some interesting mechanics to purposefully bring a chicken into a room that previously had none and jump out.

    I think it would be an interesting idea to either use more spirit, or maybe the designated mana color as a resource to leave a body. I think that could a really interesting trade. If you love pig heads, but your in a clam, is it worth it for you to exchange something for the transition?

    Anyway, always a blast reading what all you guys write.


  • LDG

    Tweaked the death mechanic so that possessing a monster takes a “spirit” resource. Now instead of a timer running out, you can possess as many times as you have spirit. Gives us way more design control, now we just have to see if it’s fun!


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