Entries in game development (344)


079 - ASWG "Beats"

I left my Switch at home so I could do some personal work over lunch. Instead, my 11:30a meeting ran late and a surprise 12:30p meeting appeared on my calendar. So I had 10 minutes to eat. I did, ultimately, sequester myself for 20 minutes before my 1:30p meeting so I could do some coding.

I was able to code the "beat" mechanic I decided upon. The idea is that once both players lock in their move (strike, grapple, block), the game chooses a number of "beats" a player has to win (3, 5, or 7). These "beats" are the reaction game mechanic pieces. If a player wins the majority, then they get to execute the move they chose in the beginning. This is also where the rock-paper-scissors match-up happens.

I decided it would take a Pokemon-like buff/debuff in that in the example of grapple > block, the grapple would do 1.2x damage. In the example of grapple < strike, the grapple would do 0.8x damage. In the example of grapple == grapple, it would do a straight 1.0x damage. Or, you know, something to that effect.

067 - Training Mode

Training Mode lets you attempt the reaction game five times and gives you an average of your session. I may use this to determine difficulty level or actual training where if you're able to successfully get an average under a certain amount you're given a boost.

057 - Wrestling Game Coded

It's felt like forever, but I opened up the IDE and actually did some coding. All that I was able to put together was the timer kicking off (as if both players had locked in their moves), and then allow for keyboard input (action button). If you press it too early, it'll say as such. If you wait for the right moment (when it says ACTION), then it will measure your timing.

056 - Wrestling Game Flow

Spent some time working on making the action piece look nicer. Time to throw this into some code.

049 - Wrestling Game Flow

As I continue to write down on paper the different ways the wrestling game will work, I realized that the exercise of mapping out the flow would be useful. At the end of the day, the pace of which the game moves incredibly important and something I want to nail down.

The wrestlers stand face to face, probably in Squigglevision, which is where players choose which move to use (grapple, strike, or block). Then the "charging at each other" animation starts. Somewhere between 1.0 seconds to 2.0 seconds (probably?) the "ACTION" prompt appears, which is where the players press their action button as quickly as possible. Once the buttons are locked, the game then shows a few panels in order to showcase the outcome.

How it showcases the outcome is important and something that will probably only be solidified with actual motioned mockups. Does each panel come in one at a time, using the third on the right to see if the move was successful and for which wrestler? Does the game instead show a close up on the left, then the right, and then have an animated center panel showcasing the move? If so, how does a Create-A-Wrestler get animated? I can't possibly animated every single combination for every single move.

I think this is a good place to start though for the actual demo of the game.

046 - Wrestling Game RPS Mechanic

I talked about the RPS mechanic a little bit before, but I've ironed out a few more details. Specifically, how a move with advantage (i.e. block > strike or grapple > block) will always win unless the weaker move beats the move with an advantage through the skill game. This way it's not simply "guessing what the other player will choose", also known as a game mechanic based strictly on luck, but another level based on skill.

In addition to this will be the momentum bar! This adds a third level to the RPS mechanic. The momentum bar is like a mulligan. However, instead of a free stroke it reduces the reaction time on the skill game. For example, if you have 0.3 seconds built up in the momentum bar, whatever your reaction time is, it is reduced by up to 0.3 seconds until it's 0.0 seconds.

What this does, I hope, is that you may just choose to play "Block" the entire match because you're just that much better at the skill game than your opponent. But if you keep playing the same move, your momentum bar never grows and may actually decrease. Your opponent's will also grow, making it easier for them to land a successful attack even if, physically, you were able to beat them on the skill game.

042 - Wrestling Game Pin Fall and RPS Mechanic

Had a really long day today taking the kids out to the Chinese New Year parade in the city, but hey, I still need to do some kind of creative work. Why not continue to work out the design for my wrestling game?

I spent some time working out the RPS (rock-paper-scissors) mechanic of the game where you have grapples, strikes, and blocks. The RPS mechanic in games is pretty common, but not aways expressed literally as rocks, paper, or scissors. You'll probably have seen it like archers defeat swords, swords defeat pikemen, pikemen defeat archers, or something like that. In the wrestling game it's grapples > blocks > strikes.

In the case of the skill game mechanic, you don't have to "win the skill game" if you're executing a block against a strike. However, if you do, then you get a bonus, which in this case is a "reversal". It plays the highest level available to you for free. Blocks can never beat a grapple unless the skill game is won.

In the case of the strike versus the grapple, you don't have to "win the skill game" for the strike to beat the grapple. What happens is that the mana that you're fighting for gets reset and each player receives 1 (or something similar). However, if you do win the skill game, the strike is able to win all of the mana minus the 1 that is always given to the loser.

I've also decided that the pin fall gets executed when the momentum of a specific wrestler is shifted completely to the other side. I'm borrowing the tug-o-war mechanic from WWE Champions on iOS. And the pin fall skill based game is much like the one seen in WWE 2K15, but a horizontal bar instead of a donut. There will be a sliver in which the pinned wrestler will have to press the action button while a slider moves across on top. The sliver gets smaller as the wrestler is more damaged. The slider also moves faster if the wrestler is more damaged. If the slider reaches the end, that's a count. An extremely damaged wrestler won't even have a sliver for the 1-count, again just like WWE 2K15.

I didn't want to create a game where you're button mashing. The really old wrestling games of yore, like Saturday Night Slam Masters or WWF Wrestlefest in the arcades, were all about mashing those buttons. While I'm not approaching it from a simulation game, like the 2K series, it is still more skill and timing based.

The ideas of what sets one wrestler apart from another, however, is a different story. I haven't figured that out yet. The individual move sets themselves are probably more fluff than anything else. The critical parts are the stats, namely the strength for the moves and how quickly the "super bar" fills up. So maybe for a very popular wrestler, it only takes 3 fans to fill up the super bar one level (thus able to execute a level 1 grapple), while a jobber requires 6 fans to fill up their super bar one level.

I also started thinking about how the computer AI would even be coded, but I sort of dropped that for later. I have the sense of a computer has better and better reaction time buffers as they get harder, but I'm at a loss of how to have the computer "make an educated guess of what move to execute" without it literally cheating and first evaluating what the player selects and then making an appropriate decision on its own in the background.

041 - Wrestling Game Horizontal Orientation

Decided to flip the game design to a horizontal orientation. At first I was thinking of approaching it from a mobile standpoint (vertical), but realized the inputs I need in the game are better suited for a controller or keyboard.

So I've settled on the type of mechanic: it will be a mix of Fire Pro Wrestling + Yu Yu Hakusho. The character's actions are determined by which direction you hold and which button you press. Each direction will allow you to access one of four different actions, each costing different amounts of "mana" to execute.

The different types of attacks are: agility, block, strike, and grapple. Blocks and Strikes are all free and standard across all wrestlers. Agility moves are also all standard across wrestlers, but players will need to learn what each one does. I'm thinking Irish Whip, Climb the Turnbuckle, Taunt, and Roll Out/Into the Ring.

Mana distribution is shown by the little people standing above the wrestlers in the center of the screen, but right under the tug-o-war bar. Whoever wins the grapple will get those pieces of mana added to their wrestler. You could call that "momentum", I guess. The loser of the grapple will always get at least one of those.

A block will always block a strike, but a wrestler will still receive damage. They will also never receive the majority of the mana when blocking. How will reversals work? If the opponent is able to play a block and beat the opponent executing the grapple during the skill game mechanic. They will also have to play the "right" block. For example, if the opponent is executing a Level 3 grapple, the player will also have to attempt a Level 3 grapple. So you will always have a 25% chance of guessing the right one. The player is then able to execute their Level 3 grapple, in this example, for free.

If the player is successful in beating their opponent in the skill based game with a block vs. grapple, but they guessed the wrong button, then the grapple is canceled and the opponent loses the mana. If the player is unsuccessful in beating their opponent in the skill based game with a block vs. grapple, the grapple will do 1.5x or even 2.0x damage.

Gameplay also has to keep moving, so there will be a timer that counts down forcing players to choose an action. If they don't choose any action by the time the timer runs out, then they are locked out of the skill based game and the other player gets to execute their move for free.

039 - Wrestling Game Screen

Here is the thumb of what the wrestling game's screen would look like. You have the profile pictures on top with the tug-o-war bar between. Beneath each profile picture is the current "mana" count for a wrestler. Beneath that are the little "people", which represent the amount of "mana" you're fighting for in the next lockup.

Beneath that is the "sexy art" part where the motion graphics live. Beneath that are the grapples to choose from.

Once a grapple or move is selected, the skill game sequence starts. I've also decided if you lose the skill game, you're still entitled to some of the "mana". Maybe just 1. This way you always have enough to at least execute the weakest attack.

036 - Wrestling Game Design Exercise

Does anyone remember the Yu Yu Hakusho games (part 1 and 3) for the Super Nintendo/Famicom? It was a fighting game with a very unique mechanic. Each of the face buttons corresponded to a level of attack, from 1 - 4 (weak to strong). To execute those attacks, however, you had to hold down a direction on the D-Pad. Down would be for a special attack, I think left was a normal strike (i.e. punch), right was for dodge/block, and up was for agility/powerup type moves (like charging or jumping into the air). The longer you held the D-Pad, the more "advantage" you were given to the attack. So if both players held down and hit the B button, the person who held it longer would actually get their attack to count.

In addition to the fighting part, each move cost some amount of energy. Energy was accrued by successfully attacking the opponent. At the start of every standoff, a random number of energy (spirit, I guess) was shown in the center of the screen. If you won the standoff, you'd get that energy to use for attacks. This meant you couldn't just spam the strongest special over and over because you wouldn't have enough energy to execute it.

The intricacies are worth looking into if you're interested, but I thought this was a perfect mechanic for the wrestling game. Each grapple can only be executed if a player has enough energy, or in this case "momentum". Momentum is gained by being the one to execute the special move (the skill based timing game for when the lockup animation happens). The amount of momentum gained is based on what is currently in the pot, which is randomly selected like in the Yu Yu Hakusho example.

You lock in your grapple before the lockup/grapple attempt happens. You also expend your momentum regardless of being the one to successfully execute. It also allows for the ups and downs since gaining a large lead in the beginning won't necessarily win you the game if the opponent has better timing than you and is able to secure the momentum for a big move.