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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dungeon Colony Version 0.1.8.176. Boars are back, but Flowers are new.




In my last post I released new grass objects so in today's version (v0.1.8.176) I am adding to that some new flowers (see above screenshot).

These flowers grow only in thick grass areas. There are several rules behind the growing behavior. For example, the flowers use the surrounding plant types to determine if the flower can spread there or not. This allows the game to generate larger areas of the same kind, but also limits these areas to reasonable sizes, meaning, the map should not be able to fill up completely with the same kind (though, impossible it is not). Boars now also like to eat flowers.

There have been a lot of bugs again this week which were reported by my alpha testers. Thank you again. I have seen an increase in the number of people play testing the game, and that seems to also correlate to the increase in bug reporting. But there are also some silly mistakes that I have made to increase complaints. For example, in one of last weeks releases, players mentioned that they couldn't find any boars. Well that was because of my change to test boar eating behavior, where I turned down the number of boars generated by the game to only '1' and I did that in order to see how much grass a single boar would eat over time. Or course I forgot to turn that back on. To sum this up, I now use a notepad to mark down changes that need to be un-done before a release is published.

Here is the summary of of changes in this version 0.1.8.176:

New Features:
  • Adds Flowers
Changes:
  • Refactors much code
  • Reduces new tree rate
  • Puts quest hint to quick start help screen
Bugs:
  • Boars are back.
  • Fixes 4 bugs with loading/saving the game
  • Fixes bug that caused game to crash if the recommened screen resolution was not found (thanks alpha testers)
  • Fixes a series of Null Pointer exceptions.
  • Fixes bug with FBOs


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dungeon Colony Version 0.1.8.170

Today's update brings Dungeon Colony to (v0.1.8.170). Free Alpha Download!


Recently, we planted some culinary herbs at home and just yesterday they started spouting:
I don't really remember what seeds I planted into which container, oh well.

So in celebration of this amaazing new growth, this version update of Dungeon Colony adds new plant life to the outside world. For starters new grass patches grow individually over the otherwise bland grass tiles:
There are several different types of grasses that grow each with different growing stages(sizes). When they reproduce, they have a change to changing to another type, but that happens only in about 10% of the time, therefore making larger areas of the same species.

Boars eat grass to gain food points. If they don't find anymore grass they will starve to death. But there's plenty of it available. In fact, each grass patch is it's own entity in the game. In my last play, I counted over 7000 patches on the map. 

So this is the beginning of new plant life and more will be added soon. Of course, grass will not just be pretty to look at but will play a role in dungeon management and be a resource for new object types. But again, more to come. 

Additionally, this version fixes a lot of bugs found by the alpha testers. Here is the summary of changes:

New Features:
  • Grass, it grows.
  • Boars now lose food points and eat grass to refill them.
Bug Fixes:
  • Fixes text disappearing behind other controls when hovering for tooltip info (Thanks Liam)
  • Fixes bug that crashed game if the graphics card wasn't compatible with FBOs by showing an error message before starting the game. (thanks alpha testers)
  • fixes bug caused by null pointer exception when enemy AI was hunting down your creatures. (thanks alpha testers)
  • fixes bug in Graphics Option Menu. (thanks alpha testers)
Other:
  • Improves logic for selecting units or objects that overlap 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dungeon Colony Version 0.1.8.161

This version (v.0.1.8.161) fixes a bug that I thought I fixed a long time ago and which was mentioned to me countless times: when you try to move a dead creature, the carcass is probably too heavy for your minions and when they arrive to try to pick it up, they will say "That's too much to carry". Well if your minions haven't carried out the command yet and if the carcass disappears after a while, the command still exists and can cause your minions to go nuts. To be honest, I didn't really fix the issue but rather patched it. That is because of my larger side project to replace the AI using behavior trees, which, hopefully, will take care of issues like that.

I also made a small visual change. Objects that you try to place in your dungeon, the rendering of the preview now appear below the shadows (except for wall-torches). Before previews would be rendered above the shadows in full brightness. That didn't help much the player and just didn't look that nice either. 

Currently, I have a few larger side projects. Like I mentioned, behavior trees are one, and the other is to upgrade the plant life. So I also began work on grass, flowers and herbs. Here is a sneek peek at some of these new sprite-sheet images:

I am working on the plant-reproduction algorithm, which is fun, well.. more to come.

Remeber to Play (free) and Like Dungeon Colony

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Update 57 - Dungeon Colony Version 0.1.8.158

Today's update is: (v0.1.8.158). This version is coming to completion, and I am soon going to move to 0.1.9 as soon as 0.1.8.x is stable enough.

This update brings a few new features that give you more information about your dungeon and the items you have gathered:

1. You can now see how much food you and gold you have collected. The Gold Count and Food Count are located above the game window:



It count's only food that is in a dining table and gold coins that are inside a chest. Food stored in a crafting bench or coins laying on the ground for example are not included in the count. Food count isn't showing individual food items, but instead its a sum of all the food points for each food item stored in the dining table. So if you have 2 items, say 2 stews, each valued at 50 food points, then the food point counter will show 100 and not 2.


2. The second feature adds an object info box to container and machine type objects, such as the chest, workbench or cooking pot and alchemy table. This info box displays more information than just the name of the objects:

 Depending on the additional attributes the object has, determines what will be shown in that box. Food shows food points, wood shows fuel point, potions show strength points, traps show uses remaining, etc.

Balancing
- Reduces meat food output from 500 to 200

Bug Fixes
- Fixes Bug that prevented food from storing it's food points when saving a game to the server.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Update 56 - Dungeon Colony Version 0.1.8.156

Hello, This update brings the following fixes, updates and balancing adjustments:
Download this free alpha built at: (v0.1.8.156)

Also, visit my new facebook page and Like it if you will =)

New Updates:

  • Randomizes cluster Sizes (AI).
  • Adds number of selected objects to machine type objects when selecting the output in an output frame.


Balancing:

  • Reduced output of lumbering trees.
  • Crafting walls out of 9 resources produces 3 new walls.
  • Reduces output of iron ore when mining rock walls.
  • Triggered traps do not cause collision for friendly creatures any longer.
  • Enemies now steal as much as 80% of their carrying capacity, instead of max 5 items previously.


Bug Fixes:

  • Fixes problem with Enemies when they attack or steal from an object. 
  • Nuts are not used as fuel in the cooking pot any longer. 
  • Fixes issue with Enemies attacking objects. 
  • Fixes issue with Enemy AI Behavior where they would get stuck in the grass-lands. 
  • Fixes issue with finding the dungeon entrance in enemy AI.
  • Fixes issue with machine type objects when ordering to remove a large number of objects but only few are actually taken 
  • Fixes inacuracy with selecting items in machine type objects. 

New Screenshots (2)



The first screenshot shows a recent construction of a larger Workshop I built in order to see how resource management balanced out:
Click to enlarge:

the second shows the new vegetation algorithm, which adds more diversity to growing trees:

Click to enlarge:


Download Dungeon Colony Alpha free at www.DungeonColony.com/Download

Thursday, July 18, 2013

1 Year Anniversary Dungeon Colony public alpha : new facebook page & new blog.

A few of days ago marked the one year anniversary of Dungeon Colony in open alpha.

To celebrate you will continue to be able to play the alpha for free a little bit longer. Additionally, I moved to this new blog and made a new facebook page.

Please like the Facebook page and share it with your friends: https://www.facebook.com/DungeonColony

It's been a successful year and I like the way development is moving forward. This is my first attempt at making a game and I can say it has not always been easy; dealing with the process of creating something from scratch without important experience has often put me back by either mistakenly recreating the wheel, or hitting roadblocks and needing to learn new concepts. That last part says it all, it has been a great learning experience and each moment of experimenting and creating is what makes this entire project worthwhile.

I hope you follow me in my efforts to create a dynamic dungeon simulation game.

Sebastian

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Behavior Trees

I have spend some time thinking about the problems I face with the game AI. To this point my 'expert system' is crumbling under it's own weight and it's time to make it more robust. This became apparent when enemies started behaving strangely. They start twitching horribly and you know that an enemy is trapped in some decision loop. Then there is the next game/dev feature that I am planning for, which will be an editor. Eventually I want to be able to script event's in that editor as well as build maps. Having a behavior tree in place seems to be ideal for scripting events. 

I started looking into some resources and the best I could find was the one everyone's been talking about: Alex's presentation [requires free signup as of this writing]. It's really well explained and he goes on about the second gen. Behavior Trees. I think I will start of with my own implementation of using the first gen method. The second gen methods are mostly performance improvements which, apparently, can be implemented later.

This site (Introduction to Behavior Trees by Bjoern Knafla) is also a good resource and he also points to Alex's presentation

My plan is to roll in the behavior tree alongside my current decision manager, by starting with npc creatures like the boar's AI. This should be an easy starting point, boars are not particularly smart :don't run into a tree and that's it (ok they can fight too). Then, move on to implementing the spiders, enemies, then minions and the dungeon master. Working my way up from simple creatures to more complex ones could help identify what type of Nodes I will need in the tree. The two standard and essential nodes are are commonly referred to as Sequences and Selectors. Other specialized nodes include Concurrent/Parallel nodes, Decorator nodes, Looping nodes, Randomized nodes, Weighted Nodes using some Machine Learning result...  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Feature Screenshots

The following screenshots show some of the new capabilities of the engine. You can place items anywhere and create more decorative scenes. I am going to start working on a level editor, which will allow me to make the the missions for the main quest. But I also want to open up the level editor to players.
Please like, share or favorite. Thanks =D
If you haven't tried the alpha yet and would like to contribute in debugging, balancing or just playing, feel free to download the alpha built at here. You may also back the game and make a financial contribution if you wish. =)
Spiders Den:
image
Hunter's Camp:
image
Treasure Trap:
image

Update 55 - Dungeon Colony Version 0.1.8.150

Greetings Dungeon Lords,

    I have been waiting for this moment a long time and I am happy to be able to post a new version again (v.0.1.8.150). As you will read, this version caused many bugs, and bugs seemed to appear exponentially. But most of them are now fixed and the engine has become more stable.

In the past, I had been releasing a lot new game features without tending to some other important game engine needs. Finally, I began tackling them a few months ago. The engine upgrades had been on my to-do list for quite some time, and I now regret not having started work on them earlier because the main issue here was that they concerned changing much of the core engine, which in turn affected almost every element, feature and game content created thus far. The only regret, really, (and my learning experience passed on to other game devs) is that of time and taking longer than needed, but nonetheless, it was tremendously fun to make the changes and see the engine improve upon it. As an independent developer however, and if you are one you will most likely agree, life often comes in the way of the thing you'd like to work on. For me, it was personal family matter, my day-time work, of course, including tight deadlines, but also a much needed break and a vacation to go back home to Europe and recharge the creativity batteries and get a bunch of new inspiration from some amazing landscapes and medieval structures. If you have been on my contact page, you may have noticed a picture of me there, in front of a castle. During my vacation, I finally hiked again to that same castle, a place of inspiration to which I used to go to constantly when I was younger.

A big apology to all Alpha testers who have already constructed big dungeons and saved them to the server: Anything saved before v0.1.8.150 is incompatible with the new engine; the changes in the game engine made it impossible (or way too much work) to be still compatible with the new engine. In the past, I tried to avoid that as much as possible, however, since this is still Alpha, and the main architecture of the engine is still not complete, this is something that is unavoidable and will still happen in the future.

Below is a rough summary of all the primary engine changes that were implemented since the last release.

The main objective was to improve three core features:

  1. Allow creatures and objects to be positioned freely on the map, regardless of the bounds of tiles.
  2. Allow objects and creatures to have bounds/sizes that match their image.
  3. Improve movement and path finding based on the two previous changes.

 

The game was originally based completely on large tiles, which also governed movement, object placement, object triggers, collision and much much more. The upgraded engine required granulation in tile size that affected nearly every class in code. Back when I started Dungeon Colony, the first thing that I defined was the tile sizes. Here is the first screenshot I made after a few hours of coding the game. image These are the different tile materials (stone, water, ground). The new engine is much more defined and can handle arbitrary sizes, removing the tile contraint and opening up amazing new game object possibilities than before. Size matters and brings new strategies to the player with regards to where objects are placed and so forth.

Reducing the tile size constraint also allows objects to have sizes that are bigger or smaller than a tile. For example, in terms of collision boundary, a rock is now around 8 times smaller than it previously was. This also reduced the selection boundary, the visible white rectangle that you see around a selected object on the map.

So far, I have never had that many bugs at once and with careful iteration, I managed to get the game back into a working shape, but I still need your help to find any remaining bugs left uncovered, especially when it comes to saving a game. I believe that there are still some bugs left that don't save objects properly.

 

Summary of changes:

Website:

I moved to a new web server which caused the website to malfunction for a few days. The only problem was the registration page which is now fixed again. I am also trying to decide on a community forum and looking for different services. If you have a preference, I'd like to hear from you. The website is written in .Net, so something that is compatible would be good.

Summary of Changes/Upgrades in version 0.1.8.150:

New Features:

  • Coal Resource: This resource can be found when mining Rock walls. It replaced wood as the fuel for the furnace. You can use coal to smelt raw iron into iron rods. Iron rods into steel plates. Sand into glass flasks, and clay into clay pots for water storage.

image

  • Sub-Tiles: Sub-Tiles allow objects to be placed with more precision on the map. This means that placing a chest for example does not have to be constraint by a tile anymore, but instead, can now be placed almost freely on the game map. The new sub-tile grid still constraints object placement to a certain extent, which gives the player pleasant feedback, when object stick to the area where placement is possible.
  • Cancel Orders: Allows players to cancel command by selecting the object that has been assigned a command to. In most cases a button will appear on the right hand side labeled "Cancel Command".

Upgraded Features:

  • Upgraded to LWJGL 2.9.0
  • Path-finding: Given the new sub-tile constraints, the path finding algorithm needed to be upgraded to work with smaller tile sets and with arbitrary object sizes. The new path add new strategic elements since placing objects can change the outcome of your tactics tremendously. A bit of optimization is still needed, but that's left for a future version upgrade.
  • Objects & Creatures resized: Nearly every object has been resized to scale better with the game world. Previously a log of wood or a pile of coins had been too large and misrepresented when laying on the map. Enemies also appeared to big and their bounding rectangle often extended beyond their actual position, which caused inaccurate collision detection.
  • Object & Creature selection. This improves selecting creatures and objects on the map. Moving entities, like creatures, does not require clicking within their boundary (selection frame), some tolerance allows you to select a creature even if the mouse is not covering the creature completely. However, non-moving objects do require the mouse to be intersecting the selection boundary.
  • Creature movement: Movement has also been updated with regards to the new subtitle system. Idle creatures walk slower and have slightly better intelligence. (more to come)
  • Light/Shadows: Light sources have been updated to match the new sub-tile position constraints.
  • Traps are now obstacles that your creatures can't walk over any longer. Unlike enemies and neutral units like the boars, your creatures still know where traps are placed and will walk around them. Placing traps requires more strategic planning since you can't just fill a corridor with traps for enemies to step in. You also need an open path for your creatures to pass by.
  • Lumbering wood: To lumber wood, you now select a tree and right click on it. This is the standard way to activate any object that can be activated. Similarly, you right click on a leg trap to re-arm it, or you right click on a patch of mushrooms to collect them...
  • Creatures recalculate path when following another creature and if the followed creature has moved a certain percentage away from the original target point of the calculated path.
  • Adds red attack indicator over target when a creature is attacking a target
  • When selecting a creature the crosshair shows the target center position if this position is walk able. If an object is selected, the target position is shown using the actual object sprite.
  • Placing objects over themselves is now possible. This allows to move larger objects by a fraction.
  • Changes the trigger area of traps using a reduced boundary than the selection boundary.
  • Increases stamina potion strength 10fold.
  • All friendly units return used/empty potion flask back to their original container after drinking them. If it was in the creatures bag, then that's where they stay. If the potion was taken from a container, like a chest, then it's returned back into that container.
  • Re-prioritizes eating before getting paid.
  • Updates tree growing and reproducing behavior. Trees grow slower and can only reproduce when reaching a certain size. Tree's also return different amounts of nuts given the size. And nuts are less calorie rich then before.
  • Allows player to place items outside of the dungeon.
  • Increases the uses of leg-traps.
  • Changes the recipes for certain objects (Campfire, firebowl, and bookstand)
  • Adds Alchemy bar to study items.  

 

Bug Fixes (unrelated to game upgrades)

  • Fixes bugs with new web-server and problems with the registration page
  • Fixes some issues when transferring objects to other objects.
  • Fixes many issues with attacking enemies, including facing enemies correctly, collision with enemies and other issues, such as enemies trying to attack each other when separated by non-walk able objects. Friendly creatures will ignore blocking objects while enemies will try to destroy them.
  • Fixes bugs with transparency issues in OpenGL drawing methods.
  • Fixes issue with consuming potions where health had to be lower than max. Also consumes only one at a time. Fixes button for consuming stamina potions for the workers.
  • Fixes issue where objects like the table rotated into other objects or walls.
  • Fixes bug when selecting items produced in the furnace, alchemy bar or cooking pot.
  • Fixes bug when the Frame of the Study moved after closing and reopening

 

I would greatly appreciate your feedback, comments or suggestions. You can reach me via twitter or check my contact page. Finally, if you haven't tried it yet, you can download the game free at http://dungeoncolony.com/Download. Support is always very much appreciated.