Author Topic: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)  (Read 2335 times)

Offline x4000

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Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« on: January 06, 2016, 10:08:20 PM »
Hey there. :D

So, we have a huge number of good things coming.  However, we have a forced release date of January 22nd.  I think we'll deliver a really good game at that time, but I want to take no chances.  With that in mind, I've been expanding the contractor pool dramatically.

Do you have any of the following talents?
1. Room design.
2. Enemy design.
3. Particle effects design (using our custom particle engine plus off the shelf stuff for frames).

If so, I super want to hear from you.  I want to be able to devote all my time toward polish and testing and refinement, and yet still not suffer on content.  Not that we are particularly light on content right now, but I want to be so darn laden with content that we blow people away with it.  chrispark7 at gmail. 

Just note that right now I've got about 18 people corresponding with me daily, and I'm going through over 100 emails I have to respond to a day.  So I'm getting increasingly brief and stressed in them, and please know it's not you.  I'm trying to not come off as unfriendly, but the brevity is required for me to survive. I LOVE this game and think it's super fun, and I don't want to drop the ball right at the last moment.  These next two weeks I'm going to be an insane person, just to warn you. ;)  Any help keeping me sane is appreciated.
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Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 11:28:10 PM »
yea I don't really have the experience for any of that id probably cause more harm than good honestly when you say insane do you mean like in valley? I wasn't involved to experience that obviously but for from what I've heard there was a lot of drama that ended up going on if you don't mind me asking how exactly has the release date been forced? as silly as it may sound I didn't think release dates could be hard forced into place.
c.r

Offline Misery

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 08:44:18 AM »
I'll just quickly point out how amazingly easy the room editor is to use.  Seriously, it couldnt be any easier.  Click where ya want some walls to go, click in some objects, drop in a ton of horrible metallic monstrosities, laugh like a madman, and then you're done.  Okay, that last bit isnt really necessary, but it's there.    And that's all you have to do, and you have a room!

So if you want to help, but think the other stuff is too much (which it can be, sure) know that that, at least, is the easy and quick one to learn.  Even if you want to just try it, do like a couple of quick rooms, and submit, it's something.  All you'd need to do is load them into the test chamber and make sure they function properly before submitting.   Even just a couple of additional rooms is a good thing!  Or if you have some suggestions on possible items, enemies, or whatever.... just drop it into Mantis.   Enemy suggestions though can also be sent to me directly or even just thrown onto the forum here, since I have the most time to actually check the forums.  You have to be specific if you're dealing with me though.  I'm not good at catching concepts/ideas that arent obvious and direct.

But yeah, that room bit is easy and fun, and any ideas also help, so I thought I'd say that.

Offline Misery

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 05:50:47 PM »
yea I don't really have the experience for any of that id probably cause more harm than good honestly when you say insane do you mean like in valley? I wasn't involved to experience that obviously but for from what I've heard there was a lot of drama that ended up going on if you don't mind me asking how exactly has the release date been forced? as silly as it may sound I didn't think release dates could be hard forced into place.

Ya know, I only JUST noticed your comment here.  Ugh.  I need to pay attention!

Anyway, on release dates; I'm not sure of the EXACT reason for this one and I dunno that I should repeat it anyway, but there's ALOT of reasons why that can happen in game design.   The most common or at least the one that's most often heard of is actually pressure from the publisher involved, when there is one involved. Publishers can be A: jerks or B: stupid.  And C: stupid jerks.  But there's aaaaaaalllll sorts of other things that can happen too, with or without a publisher, and they all take the control right out of your hands, and in most cases, you just cant do anything about them.   It's always seemed to me like it would be pretty darn annoying to deal with.  I now know for certain that, yes, it is.

Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 07:45:30 PM »
yea I don't really have the experience for any of that id probably cause more harm than good honestly when you say insane do you mean like in valley? I wasn't involved to experience that obviously but for from what I've heard there was a lot of drama that ended up going on if you don't mind me asking how exactly has the release date been forced? as silly as it may sound I didn't think release dates could be hard forced into place.

Ya know, I only JUST noticed your comment here.  Ugh.  I need to pay attention!

Anyway, on release dates; I'm not sure of the EXACT reason for this one and I dunno that I should repeat it anyway, but there's ALOT of reasons why that can happen in game design.   The most common or at least the one that's most often heard of is actually pressure from the publisher involved, when there is one involved. Publishers can be A: jerks or B: stupid.  And C: stupid jerks.  But there's aaaaaaalllll sorts of other things that can happen too, with or without a publisher, and they all take the control right out of your hands, and in most cases, you just cant do anything about them.   It's always seemed to me like it would be pretty darn annoying to deal with.  I now know for certain that, yes, it is.
I thought your last post was an indirect response to mine but hey what ever thing is Chris has no publisher(unless he has a secret one he's kept hidden from us of course) but of course Chris is the only one who can really answer my question if he even wants to but to sort of vaguely respond to your last post

1 so its pretty much just an editor? I thought id have to do weird shit with files and code and stuff if so then id be happy to have a go at least to try out the vague idea for a room I had involving turrety style hazards and a maze like structure(kind of) were you have to collect certain things to unlock the doors and get out it'll probably be terrible but I'm sure you'll be able to help there.

2 not from any apprehensions I have about giving ideas its just when I try to theory craft I don't really get any were for some reason.
c.r

Offline Misery

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2016, 08:06:24 PM »
yea I don't really have the experience for any of that id probably cause more harm than good honestly when you say insane do you mean like in valley? I wasn't involved to experience that obviously but for from what I've heard there was a lot of drama that ended up going on if you don't mind me asking how exactly has the release date been forced? as silly as it may sound I didn't think release dates could be hard forced into place.

Ya know, I only JUST noticed your comment here.  Ugh.  I need to pay attention!

Anyway, on release dates; I'm not sure of the EXACT reason for this one and I dunno that I should repeat it anyway, but there's ALOT of reasons why that can happen in game design.   The most common or at least the one that's most often heard of is actually pressure from the publisher involved, when there is one involved. Publishers can be A: jerks or B: stupid.  And C: stupid jerks.  But there's aaaaaaalllll sorts of other things that can happen too, with or without a publisher, and they all take the control right out of your hands, and in most cases, you just cant do anything about them.   It's always seemed to me like it would be pretty darn annoying to deal with.  I now know for certain that, yes, it is.
I thought your last post was an indirect response to mine but hey what ever thing is Chris has no publisher(unless he has a secret one he's kept hidden from us of course) but of course Chris is the only one who can really answer my question if he even wants to but to sort of vaguely respond to your last post

1 so its pretty much just an editor? I thought id have to do weird shit with files and code and stuff if so then id be happy to have a go at least to try out the vague idea for a room I had involving turrety style hazards and a maze like structure(kind of) were you have to collect certain things to unlock the doors and get out it'll probably be terrible but I'm sure you'll be able to help there.

2 not from any apprehensions I have about giving ideas its just when I try to theory craft I don't really get any were for some reason.

Well, keep in mind you cant add in like, custom objects or something.  You'd be working with all of the different blocks/tiles you've seen in rooms so far, though there are some new blocks/tiles on the way too (there's some entries in the editor for those upcoming ones already, but it tells you when you cannot use them).  As well as enemy spawning points, which are organized by category, and when the room is loaded into the game it pulls something from that category at random and sticks it into that spot (meaning you cant set extremely specific enemies, just which TYPE goes in which spot).

But yeah, it's just a simple, basic room editor.  You've got a grid on the right, a bunch of stuff to select on the left in a simple layout, and you just click on the grid where you want things to go.   And it shows you where the doorways that lead to other rooms are, so you can make sure you dont accidentally put walls in front of them or something.   It's really very easy to use.

Technically you have to use a test chamber XML script to then load the room up in order to test it out and make sure it works, but that's extremely simple and I can show you just how to do it.  It's like, 5 lines long, if that.  All you'd do there is just put the proper file name into the proper spot, save it, and then load the test chamber.

And of course you can load up any already-made room just to see how exactly it's made.

Offline ptarth

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2016, 05:12:53 AM »
  • What's the best way to submit stuff (e.g., enemies, rooms, etc)?
    • Zip file emailed to chris?
    • Just email chris for contractor data?
  • How can we request features most efficiently?
    • Mantis?
    • Examples:
      • Movement that follows a fixed path.
      • zamboni movement that specifies initial direction and then subsequent movement attempts
      • Boss spawning new ships with coordinate/velocity/orientation
      • Neutral and aggressive to everything ships
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.

Offline x4000

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2016, 05:20:55 AM »
If you want to just submit stuff that you create on your own, then just emailing it in is easiest.  If you want to be a full contractor and get paid and do a fair bit of it, then email me and I'll set you up with svn and all that.

For new features, mantis is the most efficient way, but bear in mind that we are VERY close to feature-freeze when it comes to the engine itself.  We're pretty much there in most respects, but there are a ton of enemies and whatnot that can be created already with the stuff that is in and that's new since the current (super outdated) version you have right now.  The new mega-version drops tonight.

That said, stuff that's reasonably quick to implement and that isn't going to be too likely to create more bugs we are still adding until maybe Monday or so, depending on how many bugs we start seeing in general.

Also, regarding feature freeze: I want to clarify that means code features, not xml and rooms and all that.  This next week is going to be seeing a lot more enemies and rooms, and things like visual effects and sound effects, etc.
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Offline zharmad

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2016, 09:59:01 AM »
 This is giving me echoes of what happened to Chaos Reborn at launch, with their user-created realms being not-well designed, released un-vetted and alienating a lot of new players. However, cannot conclude until I've actually played the beta.

 I hope your floor generation algorithm has a system that will rank room/enemy difficulty and control the distribution of challenges. :P Also posting to confirm that you're sending a short design guideline for esp. room content submitters (volunteer and contractor), who will have hopefully played the game a bit as well.

Offline Misery

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2016, 11:34:40 AM »
This is giving me echoes of what happened to Chaos Reborn at launch, with their user-created realms being not-well designed, released un-vetted and alienating a lot of new players. However, cannot conclude until I've actually played the beta.

 I hope your floor generation algorithm has a system that will rank room/enemy difficulty and control the distribution of challenges. :P Also posting to confirm that you're sending a short design guideline for esp. room content submitters (volunteer and contractor), who will have hopefully played the game a bit as well.

Shouldnt be a problem.

This gets tested alot, and problems tend to be fixed quickly.   Additionally, anything submitted by anyone is going to have a seperate name attached to the file that contains the XML code or the room data, depending on which it is.  Makes it easy for us to keep track of submitted content.

As for the difficulty control, ah, that's not quite ready yet.  Right now enemies are not entirely gated by floor like they should be (because I havent done it yet), though, new ones are being created for certain floors only, now that some of the overall balance of the game and the player's ship overall is starting to appear.

Some enemies are also mis-categorized.  The rooms do not have enemies that are specifically set, or rated by difficulty.  What's done instead is that enemy categories are chosen and placed within those rooms, the game then chooses an enemy randomly from that category pool every time it loads the room.  The trouble is figuring out what category each enemy goes in to begin with (this is typically the job of whoever made the enemy, though for submitted ones, either myself or Chris are likely to set that ourselves, probably).  I have found this difficult at times.  The more complicated the enemy, the harder it is to do.  And as a rule, everything I make is complicated.  I'm not good at easy/simple, as anyone that knows me is probably aware of.

Now, when it comes to enemies specifically, you can also send them to me to have a look at, since part of my job is to keep the blasted things as balanced as possible.  Often, submitted enemies will need some tweaks or even additions/subtractions to their overall pattern.

Right now, my priority is making more bosses, so any normal enemies that anyone can come up with are appreciated.  Not looking for super-complex ones; if it's complicated as all hell and tough as nails, well... that's my own realm of design and there'll be enough of that in the game already. What I'm NOT good at is making easier foes yet at the same time keeping them INTERESTING.  When I try to make something interesting, it becomes a screaming murder-ball.  Early or mid-game enemies are needed, as are enemies in low-power categories.

Though, things like rooms are just as important too; the more rooms in the game, the more variety there will be in exploration, and that's ALWAYS good.  If we can have a huge number of rooms, that'll really help alot.  In addition, rooms are the easiest to make.  The room editor is nice and simple.

And again, these rooms are going to be looked at and tested before being stuck in. 

Generally, if things dont meet the standards or are wildly imbalanced or messed up, they probably wont be used.  And it's not hard to figure out when this is the case.

The important thing is NOT TO RUSH when designing stuff.  Take your time, and test the hell out of it, regardless of what "it" is at the time. 

And rule #1 to me, when it comes to design:  If *you* dont think it's fun, others likely wont either, so make sure that you enjoy it before you submit it (this doesnt guarantee it'll be used, but it sure as heck helps a ton!).  When this rule is broken is when things go all wonky.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 11:38:03 AM by Misery »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2016, 12:51:00 PM »
And rule #1 to me, when it comes to design:  If *you* dont think it's fun, others likely wont either
Absolutely.
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Offline zharmad

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2016, 07:31:10 AM »
Well, I can see the room editor ion the game folders, is there an enemy editor that we can use to put into a test room?

Offline Misery

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2016, 08:07:46 AM »
Well, I can see the room editor ion the game folders, is there an enemy editor that we can use to put into a test room?

There's no editor for enemies; they're all made in XML.  I've been using Visual Studio for this, and Notepad++.

If you look in the configuration folder, there's... a whole pile of other folders.  Enemies are split up into 5 different XML file types:  EnemyBosses, EnemyShips, EnemySystems, BulletPatterns, and BulletVars.   Bosses/ships are seperate and are not connected really, but both of them connect to the other 3 in order to form a complete enemy.   Enemy "systems" appear in-game as things like turrets on the enemy sprites, though many of them are also invisible.  The systems can either control a fairly simplistic pattern, or call on the patterns/vars files for more complicated ones.  Or both.   The patterns file is what those call on directly, and that pulls stuff from the vars file.

They're named based on who made them, too, so mine all look like Misery_BulletVars, and such as that.

If you want to examine these and see how they're made, just open them in pretty much any text editor, though it really is best to use one that's made to work with XML. 


For test chambers,  they're all in, well, the TestChambers folder, which is also in the Configuration folder.  They're very simple, mine looks like this right now:

<root>
  <room_setup script="Boss_RectEdged/CMP_LeftHorseshoe" skip_normal_enemy_population="true" />
  <entity type="PlayerStandard" category="Player"/>

  <entity type="BlazeCannon" category="Enemy" offset_from_center="-800,0" />
  <entity type="PurpleBubble" category="Enemy" offset_from_center="-500,0" />
 </root>

It pulls that specific room at the top, sets up the player, who appears on the green "test location" tile that can be seen in the room editor, and then pulls up the enemy entities and places them in specific spots.    If there is no enemy entity, the game will kinda flip out and you'll "win" the room like a bazillion times per second.

Within the game itself, all of these files can be reloaded (for when you've made changes) by hitting control + F4.   Some changes also require that you reload the test chamber, for which there is an option in the escape menu.

Offline zharmad

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2016, 07:50:09 PM »
 Ok, well I've got about 9 rooms done so far rated at a medium difficulty (i.e., tested 10+ times, almost always clear with with no permanent damage on normal difficulty, with some of them specifically giving health drops). The design style is a bit dense & intense because I tend to like tighter spaces, and not as appreciative of the low intensity of the existing rooms.

 Where should I send them, since I'm not looking for a contractor's arrangement & an SVN?
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 07:52:16 PM by zharmad »

Offline ptarth

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Re: Chris says: Help!! (Contractors wanted)
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2016, 08:21:02 PM »
If you want to just submit stuff that you create on your own, then just emailing it in is easiest.
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.