Problem Machine

[Dev Log] The Convergence Compulsion

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I came up with a bunch of possible ideas for this jam at the end of December, but right now this is the one that really catches my fancy. I had originally imagined something really fast paced, like Super Hexagon, where you rotate objects around to make them line up... or something. However, reflecting on that idea, I came up with a variation on it which I like much better. I'm thinking of a first-person puzzle game somewhat along the lines of The Incredible Machine: Each level has a goal that must be achieved by placing a few pieces of equipment or machinery, all based around the proper usage of SOUL ORBS. Soul orbs spray a steady flow of SOUL POWER in all directions: This power is tremendously useful, but before it can be used it must be concentrated. Thus, you place level elements to guide and channel this power where it is needed, by attracting or repelling, reflecting or focusing the soul particles. These then power machines which either are the objective of the level or affect the level in some other way.

 

I'm hoping to get a basic prototype going within a few days, because what's actually going to make this project live or die is its level design. Right now I'm planning this as a solo project but if anyone else is interested I can adapt it to bring more people in. I'm hoping to stream some of the development, but I'm not sure when I'll start doing that -- regardless, if I do stream it, it will be at twitch.tv/problemmachine .

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Oh, this sounds neat! The idea description reminds me of that one music game where you have to redirect streams of music bits or whatever...can't remember the name.

 

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Oh I'd be interested in knowing more about that music game if you happen to come up with a name! I had a similar idea for a game based around music at one point and if their idea is close to mine I'd be interested to see how they approached it

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Spent today experimenting with particles. I currently have the emitter for the soul orb and a gravity well for the converger, and have a pretty good idea of how I'm going to handle the lens/focuser/aggregator (not sure yet on terminology), reflector, and collectors (the machines which are powered). Most of my time, actually, was spent wrestling with the IDE (VSCode), trying to get code completion working properly. Still haven't figured that out, and having to look up every member function is incredibly tedious, so hopefully I can get that ironed out tomorrow.

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On 1/11/2019 at 5:51 AM, Problem Machine said:

I'm thinking of a first-person puzzle game somewhat along the lines of The Incredible Machine: Each level has a goal that must be achieved by placing a few pieces of equipment or machinery, all based around the proper usage of SOUL ORBS. Soul orbs spray a steady flow of SOUL POWER in all directions: This power is tremendously useful, but before it can be used it must be concentrated. Thus, you place level elements to guide and channel this power where it is needed, by attracting or repelling, reflecting or focusing the soul particles. These then power machines which either are the objective of the level or affect the level in some other way.

 

 

Please make this

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Got the particles looking a bit more the part today, and got the collector elements working -- that is, the box on the right is absorbing those souls for power, though so far all it does with that power is output however much of it has to the console. A bit more difficult to see, in this default-texture hell, is the little orb to the left of the box: This is the converger, and is what is making it so those souls are flowing into the box instead of haphazardly around the level. The lens/aggregator and reflector elements are still in progress: I think I need to set them up with their own emitters which, after they collide with a particle, create the same type of particle with the correct new position and direction.

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Worked on the appearance of the different elements today. Had a lot of trouble getting reflections to work well, and the reflector, which is supposed to look like a big mirror, still kind of doesn't. Other elements are starting to look pretty good, though. I also got the aggregator (the big lens-looking thing) and the reflector (the big rectangle on the right) working, though the effect isn't quite what I'd like it to be. However, right now I have a design issue where the converger's gravity forcefield tends to overwhelm everything else -- you can see that immediately after bouncing off of the reflector they just start to curve right back around, and I had to put the reflector right up against the aggregator here to even demonstrate its functionality. I probably just need to spend a couple of hours carefully tweaking the parameters of the converger's force field, but I may also need to do something weird where the reflector and aggregator actually spawn a different kind of particle which isn't affected by force fields that then switches back to the normal particle after a few seconds.

 

More immediately, though, I need to get the code for picking up objects and moving them around working. Once I have that and the particle tweaks done I can start building levels!

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Today sucked.  Spent 2-3 hours trying to figure out what was going wrong with my particle system -- any time there was a second camera active in the scene (including reflection probes), which I needed to make the reflective surfaces work, the particle trails would bug out and either get way too big or disappear into a line. Eventually I came to the conclusion that this was probably a Unity bug rather than something I was messing up, so I reported it and can move on with my life.

 

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Next I need to make it so the player can pick up and move objects, then create some mechanisms for them to play with. Still need to finish the code for placing objects. Also need to make some machines to be powered, which I forgot last time. I think the gameplay is largely going to revolve around trying to corral 'Civilians' to where you need them, sort of like Lemmings, and constructing the apparati you need to make that happen.

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That effect looks really nice! The intricacies of the particle system have always been a mystery to me, so it's cool to see someone making them the central part of the game.

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