Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach --- First Info!

Discussion in 'Upcoming iOS Games' started by CommanderData, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    #1 CommanderData, Mar 18, 2010
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
    UPDATE:

    Well, I finally sat down to wrestle with iShowU HD, the iPhone Simulator, and iMovie to create an updated video of Spirit Hunter Mineko's progress! I'm not sure how to set 480P as default with the youtube forum codes, so please switch to 480P manually in the lower right corner to see the graphics in better detail ;)



    Please forgive any choppy parts in the video. Recording in the simulator has never worked perfectly for me! Testing this on my various devices shows the motion to be silky smooth, and very low CPU usage...

    Jump to Page 16 to catch up with the new info associated with this video! :D


    [​IMG]


    Some of you here have been wondering what the heck I've been up to since the last update to Rogue Touch, so I think it's about time to start talking about my next game... one of several I have planned for 2010! Hopefully I don't get lost in the buzz over Square-Enix and Crescent Moon announcements and teasers :D

    Announcing my first new title for the year:
    Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach

    -----

    Preface: Rogue Touch was my primer in iPhone programming. Working on RT taught me a lot about what constitutes "fun" in game design, as well as how to create a touch-driven interface for a game that required a ton of buttons (an entire keyboard!) to play. I was handcuffed to the original concept of rogue for that game, but was able to make a pretty unique experience that still stands out today... including being featured by Apple last year, picked as one of the best games of 2009 here at TouchArcade, and picked as one of the top 10 iPhone RPGs at Gamepro!

    With Spirit Hunter Mineko I'm free to do all sorts of genre-expanding things! The core game remains essentially roguelike / dungeon crawler-ish but with unique monsters, gameplay mechanics and graphics- the world and design are my own, not based on an existing roguelike. The iPhone needs more turn based RPGs, and I plan on helping to fill that gap ;)

    I'll be using this thread to answer questions and show off work in progress images and video for SHM-DR, with more details regularly throughout the development process. A cave spelunking tech-demo will be coming shortly!

    -----

    To begin, let me introduce you to Mineko: she's an average teenage girl, stubborn, short-tempered and rebellious, but with an insatiable curiosity and desire for adventure! Living in a secluded mountaintop village with her family, she finds many opportunities for exploration, spelunking, and sparring with tough monsters. Mineko is a Spirit Hunter, and has been training since childhood in the ways of channeling and manipulating her spirit to perform magical feats. Recognized as very advanced in skill for her age, it infuriates her to still be treated as a child by everyone in the village, especially by her older brother and her own mother!

    One dark night a vicious storm kicks up, tearing through the valley below and whistling through the peaks that she calls home. Upon waking the next day, Mineko and every last member of the village are amazed to see that this was no ordinary storm! Down in the valley that previously contained nothing but dense forest, a huge castle has materialized... apparently from thin air! Its sinister appearance, as though an enormous evil hand was stretching out of the earth towards some unseen desire, immediately earns it the name "Demons Reach".

    The village council decides that it would be best to send a scout into the valley to investigate, and choose Mineko's older brother for the task. Outraged at the possibility of missing out on the greatest adventure ever, she has some choice words for everyone... Unfortunately, this does not help her situation and she is ordered to remain behind, and then (the horror!) grounded and sent to her room!

    Mineko is not one to sit back and take that lightly. Fortunately she's been sneaking out of the house regularly and going on adventures for *years* now. Grabbing a dagger and her trusty crossbow, she kicks back the rug next to her bed and reveals a trap door. Mineko grins... "let them try to stop me!"


    Where did Demons Reach come from? Why is it here, and if things are as bad as it looks, what can you do to stop it? You'll be playing the role of Mineko as she tries to learn the answers to these questions, or die trying!
     
  2. LordGek

    LordGek Moderator
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    THE MAN can't keep Mineko down! :D
     
  3. JoshCM

    JoshCM Well-Known Member

    Aug 11, 2009
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    Congrats man - looking forward to this!
     
  4. drelbs

    drelbs Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2009
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    Nice!

    Will definitely be keeping an eye on this thread! :)
     
  5. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
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    Thanks, I'm honored... always nice to get a nod from a fellow RPG dev, even better from Mr. 3D RPG himself! Of course I'm looking forward to Ravensword 2 and Rimelands as well! Can't get enough of the genre, guess that's why I'm driven to create my own games :)


    I'll do my best to keep updates coming on a fairly regular basis throughout this project! I have a YouTube "tech-demo" processing right now, and will share that little sneak-peek here later tonight. Of course it's still a long, winding road to app-store submission, but I think it'll be worth the wait! :D
     
  6. lazypeon

    lazypeon Well-Known Member
    Patreon Bronze

    Played Rogue Touch to death back in the day, looking forward to it! You have a great history of community interaction / updates.
     
  7. GordonFreeman

    GordonFreeman Well-Known Member

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    #7 GordonFreeman, Mar 19, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
    If I am not mistaken, I think I saw a picture that you throw to us in another thread about a future project. If this is the same it looks awesome! Anyways it is going to be awesome just because it come from the same dev who made Rogue Touch. Can't wait!
    Any idea when is coming out?
     
  8. Maythius

    Maythius Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2008
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    I love you
     
  9. Kamazar

    Kamazar Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2008
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    He can't tell you. Why? Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight...

    Sorry, I just had to.
     
  10. lazypeon

    lazypeon Well-Known Member
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    Putting something like "from the developer of Rogue Touch" might get a few more fans too. Just an idea :)
     
  11. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
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    Ok, let's talk tech for a minute, then an early video demo (sorry this took so long to post- darn youtube had it "processing" for ages, then would not accept my attempts to make it "public" once they finished)!

    Rogue Touch did not require a lot of animation so I used CALayers to carefully group displayed items like the Status Bar, Text Area, Mini Map, and so on into separate transparent layers. That meant for example if I wanted to update the player's HP I did not need to update the main display, or the mini-map. A nice side effect of this approach is it gave you great battery life while playing RT.

    Mineko's a different breed of game though, and needs OpenGL to support the refresh rates required for smooth scrolling of the map, potentially dozens of animated objects, and eventually particle effects. This doesn't mean we're automatically going to kill the battery, but there will be some clever steps required to minimize the impact of "the shiny stuff". Of course, I knew absolutely nothing about OpenGL until recently (by recently I mean sometime last week ;)), and since I'm learning as I go there are many benefits that will take me a while to grasp.

    Even though I'm just scratching the surface I have been able to put together a little spelunking demo using OpenGL drawing, some simple character animations, and a test of some "line of sight" code. This hides areas you should not be able to see while walking around, and does it in a much more realistic manner than Rogue Touch used for visibility. Even though it is a rough test, I want to share this with everyone so you can see the humble beginnings:



    Disclaimer: What you're looking at here is not representative of the final game, and nothing has been optimized. It is only a "tech-demo" to show how some of the ideas (cave generation, smooth scrolling, animation, and line of sight calculations) blend together.

    As you can see, Mineko can wander through these randomly generated caves with smooth scrolling instead of the tilemap "stutter step" that a lot of roguelikes employ. The line of sight code is accurate but a bit blocky looking presently, I hope to create a smooth shadow casting implementation at some point once I understand the math better (if anyone's familiar with 2-D grid based smooth shadowing I'd love to hear about it!).

    In the end, the game will have a look similar to the golden era of 16-bit gaming (SNES, Gameboy Advance, and Nintendo DS adventures are the inspiration here) with some splashy animations and particle effects included for good measure. People familiar with Shiren the Wanderer DS will feel right at home!

    Notes:
    * Normally when exploring an area you would have to walk to your surroundings for the mini map to be filled in slowly as you go, but I am cheating for the purposes of this demo so I can find the exits easier!

    * Caves are just one environment you will have to explore... there are four distinct regions that I have tilesets for presently but I was particularly happy with the early results of my cave generation algorithms (I described them recently as "drunken burrowing")

    * If you follow me on twitter, not only do you get more up to the minute info and images (many have been posted in the last two weeks), you also get to read about some of my adventures like the recent hurricane force storms in New England that trapped me without power for days! Go on, you know you want to :D http://twitter.com/ChronoSoft
     
  12. Chronical

    Chronical Well-Known Member

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    The shadows look pretty messed up to be honest, how about making appear round like a circle around your character?
     
  13. Vovin

    Vovin 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Nov 28, 2009
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    Errr....

     
  14. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
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    Thanks Vovin! You're correct to note that this is only a "tech-demo", not the final game view, just so everyone can get little peeks at the progress. Maybe I should be more clear:

    Since the game is a *true roguelike* it is turn based and locked to a grid. Even though the world scrolls smoothly you are always standing in the middle of a distinct "square" when you finish walking. The walls, and the shadowing sample I've implemented here show the nature of the grid.

    The idea of Line of Sight or LOS for short is to show what the character can actually "see", and shadow the rest of it. This means that monsters can hide in the shadows and wait for you to come closer ;)

    Can we show a smaller circle (actually a group of grid squares) around the character and leave everything else dark? Of course! This shadowing implementation is much more flexible than the primitive stuff done for Rogue Touch (this is a variant of "Precise Permissive Field of View" for the curious)... In some cases I might do exactly that, and vary the size of the radius based on what you're wearing for magic gear, or if you're carrying a torch for example.

    I did mention that I'd like to create a smooth shadowing system at some point before release. The trick is translating grid based line-of-sight data (which is required to know if monsters can see you, or if you can see them) over to smooth angled geometry that I can quickly apply to the screen. Right now it's easy to make a grid square light or dark based on the visibility data, but that does give a blocky look even though it is technically 100% correct. Honestly since I've just started with OpenGL I have no idea how I'd create the smooth data I need but maybe I'll invent a method :p

    Hopefully some of you enjoy the technical side of game programming and learning about it, if not I'll try to keep these kind of posts to a minimum :)
     
  15. GordonFreeman

    GordonFreeman Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2010
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    Don't know the rest of avid readers of this thread, but I do enjoy all the tech info you are giving here. The game is looking great!
     
  16. LordGek

    LordGek Moderator
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    Ditto!

    I find it neat to see this "behind the scenes" stuff!

    This will still be turned based, right? I guess with no baddies moving about and her continuously moving, it isn't clear.
     
  17. RankoSao

    RankoSao Well-Known Member

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    I see nothing wrong with the shadows! I like them actually, i havent seen shadows like that since Ultima on the NES. Very nostalgic.
     
  18. CommanderData

    CommanderData Well-Known Member
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    Correct, it is still turn based, and on a grid. It's definitely not obvious with the lack of enemies on screen at the moment and smooth scrolling motion. When you stop moving, she comes to a stop at the center of the next grid-point and strikes an "idle" pose. Monsters will do the same...

    Glad that behind the scenes detail is welcome :)


    Thank you! The early Ultima games used similar shadowing and line of sight algorithms.

    I can see the appeal for smooth, geometrically perfect shadowing, but the current solution does look great from the retro standpoint. If I ever come up with a smooth shadow overlay method, maybe I'll make it an option so people can enjoy the game either way. Keep in mind the current shadowing will be much better on battery life ;)
     
  19. medianotzu

    medianotzu Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2009
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    Wow, great! Had been wondering about this project since seeing that screenshot a while back. So many good-looking RPGs and dungeon crawlers slated for this year...it's a great time for an RPG fan to own an iPhone/iPod Touch!
     
  20. JKK Photography

    JKK Photography Well-Known Member

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    Its looking really nice so far!
     

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