Synnah

[Dev Log] Dot Gobbler in Sock Justice

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Posted (edited)

EDIT:

 

The game is finally finished!

 

dj4XlRG.gif

 

PICO-8 BBS / itch.io

 

 

Original Post:

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Hello!

 

This one's going to be a bit of a departure for me, as it'll be the first time that I'm not using Unreal Engine 4 for Wizard Jam. A month or so ago, in order to distract myself from learning C++ for UE4, I bought PICO-8 and started learning that instead. My immediate thought was to make a 90s-era platformer starring Dot Gobbler, but given that Wizard Jam was coming up, I thought I'd hold off for a while, and instead started a demake of the Amiga/ST game Fire & Ice in order to learn PICO-8 and Lua. This is basically where I'm at with it:

 

HHf8fi0.gif

 

I've hit a bit of an impasse recently, trying to get slopes working. I had one approach that wasn't quite working, so I tried a different approach, which didn't work at all (and I still have no idea why; as far as I can tell the maths make sense and it should work, but it just doesn't). In doing that though, I managed to iron out most of the bugs in my original approach. There are still a couple left, but I think I can squish those tomorrow.

 

So, what about Wizard Jam, then? I figured I'd take the lazy approach, and make re-purpose my existing platformer code, and basically make the Dot Gobbler game I initially wanted to make, but with one of the endorsements as a slight modifier. I landed on 'Polar Feet Adults' Non-slip Fleece Socks', and so will be making a game where Dot Gobbler can collect power-ups to change his socks, which change his movement and abilities. It's not particularly clever, but I think I can make it work within PICO-8's constraints (Remember, I'm limited to 128x128, a fixed palette of 16 colours, and a single 128x128 spritesheet, half of which is shared with the map for some reason!).

 

I'm not really happy with the title, either. By the end of the jam, I may settle on one of the following:

 

Dot Gobbler's Sock Quest

Dot Gobbler's Sock Opera

Dot Gobbler's Sock Justice (After this Hbomberguy gag)

 

Title suggestions welcome!

 

 

Edited by Synnah
Game is released!

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Okay, I've finished my slope-handling code! There were a couple of individual bugs that had me stumped, and it turned out in both cases I was just doing something dumb (always pay attention to the order of mathematical operators, kids!).

 

SQtdFu9.gif

 

The code keeps track of the incline of the slope you're on, and uses that to affect your deceleration, making you slide more going downhill. This might need a bit more tweaking, but it feels okay at the moment.

 

Anyway, with that done, I'll be moving onto my actual Wizard Jam game! I was hoping to implement variable jumps based on how long you hold the button (Current the jump height is fixed), but I can do that as part of the WJ game, and then back-port it to the Fire & Ice demake at the end. The first order of events will be creating a bunch of sprites from the Dot Gobbler 3D model, to get an idea of the number of animation frames I'll need. I'm hoping to keep it to around 16 frames, which is going to be tough; PICO-8 sprites are usually 8x8 pixels, but I'm going with a whopping 16x16, which means I have a quarter of the number of frames available to me, and I still have to worry about map tiles, background tiles (I'm planning some swanky parallax scrolling), and enemies.

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This is great.

 

I hadn't been seeing your progress of the pico-8 platformer on twitter (I thought Fire & Ice was referring to the Bakshi movie at first and was confused tho haha) and looks super cool.

 

We need more Dot Gobbler. All the time, all genres. We need an official Dot Gobbler collection. And t-shirts. And a whole franchise! And most definitely more lore...

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Thanks! I don't know if Fire & Ice will be something I go back to after Wizard Jam, but it was a good way to learn how to do some 16-bit platformer stuff that you don't see in a lot of PICO-8 games. In particular, the parallax background is an attempt to recreate the parallaxing of Green Hill Zone/Emerald Hill Zone from the first two Sonic games, which should look pretty good once I've got actual tiles and horizontal movement in there.

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I think there has not ever been a Dot Gobbler platformer yet?! Very happy you're making one now as of course an iconic, timeless mascot like DG deserves to have a cool platforming adventure.

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It's been a fairly productive second day of the jam! I used the 3D Dot Gobbler as a basis for my sprites, and created a 6-frame run cycle to scale down and import into PICO-8:

 

cAgQySR.gif

 

I scaled the arms and legs down slightly, to give the face more prominence. I'm just noticing that the upper legs are still way too long, though, so the lower legs are all squashed up. I'll fix that tomorrow. Anyway, I wanted to see what it looked like in-game, so I made a super-terrible placeholder tileset and slapped some stuff in place:

 

I1a5KGJ.gif 

 

It's not particularly impressive, but given that I didn't edit the sprites at all it doesn't look too bad. I downloaded Pyxel Edit, on atte's recommendation, which I'm hoping will make animation and tile editing a little easier.

 

Next up, make sprites for the following:

 

- Standing

- Sliding

- Crouching

- Rolling

- Jumping

- Other vague stuff

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Given how much I still have to do, I feel like I haven't made a huge deal of progress this week. I do have basically all of Dot Gobbler's animation frames rendered now (though not all of the actions that use them are in), and I spent today getting my parallax background in:

 

lIlgsDC.gif

 

I still need to add some hills in the background, and I kind of want to have the occasional boat on the water. I haven't quite decided on what I want the environment to be, though. My initial plan was for a forest in front of a lake, with hills in the background, but when I chose non-slip socks as the theme, it made sense to reduce Dot Gobbler's default level of friction, in order to make the grip socks more meaningful as an upgrade, and as such a snowy landscape makes more sense. I'll think about it some more.

 

Next up, I might tackle more of Gobbler's movement options. I also need to put enemies in at some point...

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Haha, looks great, I love that jump pose. You might consider changing the horizon to something that isn't yellow, Gobbler gets lost in it. Or you could give him a black outline.

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Thanks! Yeah, I'm going to go with a black outline, because he does get lost in it, and because Pico-8 has a fixed 16-colour palette I can't use a similar-but-different shade of yellow to make him stand out. It's easier to do the outline in code than to add it directly to the sprite, however, because the latter would essentially limit me to 14x14 pixels for the sprite, and I need all the pixels I can get!

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So so pretty! The colors and animation are so satisfying to watch. It has that "blue sky" happy feeling that they always talk about when referencing things like Sonic.

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Okay, big update! I didn't make amazing progress over the weekend (there are still so many systems that I need to implement), but I did a lot of spriting, and I'm a lot closer a finished look. Here, check it:

 

mgMuZmr.gif

 

It occurs to me that there's a lot of brown in the tileset, but I think the background, and Dot Gobbler himself, do a decent job of balancing things out. I'm really happy with how the sprites turned out, though. While the scaled-down versions were pretty messy and indistinct, it was easy enough to pick out the features, and make them consistent across all frames.

 

Outside of visual stuff, I implemented the start of a system for changing socks (Gobbler's sprite actually has green socks, but they get replaced with yellow by default); I do need an actual user interface for that, along with socks to actually collect, so maybe I'll work on that next. I also implemented the start of a system for rolling, which I'd also like to finish pretty soon. Both of these systems are relying on me to fix a collision issue I discovered when you got faster than the default speed, where Dot Gobbler will get stuck in walls, or walk inside slopes instead of on top of them. There's also a bug where he sometimes does a little hop on landing, which can really mess up your platforming. Not really sure why that's happening, but it's going to be fun* debugging it.

 

*not fun

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With the outline and the art this is looking very good!

I found the green holey blocks pretty off-putting(it sort of triggered my trypophobia), the new sprites are very nice, super crisp.

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Woah, I don't think I had seen the trees and outline update, this is looking so good! How are you finding PICO-8 to use? I tried it a while ago (like a couple years) but bounced off :/

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On 24/07/2019 at 7:36 AM, Zirrrus said:

With the outline and the art this is looking very good!

I found the green holey blocks pretty off-putting(it sort of triggered my trypophobia), the new sprites are very nice, super crisp.

 

Ah man, sorry about the trypophobia, that didn't occur to me at all! Let me know if there's still anything that's a bit weird, and I can change it.

 

9 hours ago, phill said:

Woah, I don't think I had seen the trees and outline update, this is looking so good! How are you finding PICO-8 to use? I tried it a while ago (like a couple years) but bounced off :/

 

I like it a lot! There's the initial hump of 'how do I apply the way I make games in UE4 to this', but I spent some time looking at other people's code (One of the example games, Jelpi, was pretty useful for general platformer and collision stuff, and the fact that you can just look at the code of any game that was uploaded to the PICO-8 site means it's really easy to get ideas) and kind of built up a framework for doing basic stuff that it was quite easy to do more complicated stuff on top of (though maybe I wouldn't call the slope handling 'quite easy'). In general, I'm having fun thinking about the limitations, and being creative with ways to work around them. I'm super glad CPU cycles aren't one of the limitations, though, because I am NOT being efficient with my code!

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Looks awesome. The art is very pleasing and reminds me of Sonic.

 

I like the idea that if Namco had made Pac-Man a platformer, they might've actually made Sonic the HedgeHog like 10 years earlier.

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Hello, yes, I'm still working on this! I was away for an extended weekend, which was particularly bad timing, but I've been frantically cramming features in since I got back. Mostly I've added support for other objects (socks, enemies, sock-changing stations). Here are some enemies, which don't currently do anything except play the walking animation:

 

syPRi8M.gif

 

I haven't touched up their sprites yet, so they look a bit pants, but I wanted to see what the animation looked like. I've also fixed the issue where Dot Gobbler is being drawn underneath the ghosts, so that's good.

 

Today I mostly finished implementing the sock-changing stations, so you can now walk up to them and press the X button to bring up the following screen:

 

ArsdfNa.png

 

It shows which socks you currently have equipped, but I still need to allow you to change between feet and select different socks, and then have the socks impact on your movement. I don't think any of that will take too long. My concern is that there are still movement and collision bugs when you go over the standard movement speed, and I feel like it'll take me a while to fix them. I think all I can really do is implement the systems, and then hope I'll have time to fix the bugs before I release the Jam version on Saturday (I'm definitely going to have to work on it after the initial submission, because I do want to polish it, and upload it to the PICO-8 site).

 

On 26/07/2019 at 12:26 PM, z_bill said:

I like the idea that if Namco had made Pac-Man a platformer, they might've actually made Sonic the HedgeHog like 10 years earlier.

 

Namco did actually make a Pac-Man platformer, 7 years before Sonic the Hedgehog, and it was... not really anything like it:

 

pacland2.png

 

I did initially consider making a Dot Gobbler platformer a knock-off of Pac-Land, but then I remembered that it wasn't very good, so I decided to make it a knock-off of Sonic the Hedgehog instead (I still need to implement rolling).

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Still awaiting the release of Sock Justice (we call it DoGoSoJus in the fan forums)!

 

I actually like Pac-Land... sorta. I think its style is really impressive for the time and the controls not too bad seeing as how it used buttons only and no stick. Also, the z-positioning of sprites seemed super high tech. Anyway, DoGoSoJus will be better.

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Okay, I don't know who's still paying attention to this, but I finished the game! Almost 6 months after starting it. Have a look at this:

 

dj4XlRG.gif

 

PICO-8 BBS / itch.io

 

So, this obviously got away from me a bit. If I'm honest, I'm not really sure why it took so long; I think it's mostly because some other stuff came up, and after a certain point I figured it had already taken so long that there was no point in just rushing it out without getting all of the features in and fixing the bugs that had plagued me for most of the game's development! I didn't quite get all of the features in, because I wanted Dot Gobbler to have a jumping dash attack (and there's an animation frame in there for it, which isn't being used, and seems pretty wasteful given how precious spritesheet space is in PICO-8 [you get 128x128 pixels for all sprites and background tiles, and half of that is shared with the map]), but in the end I just ran out of space. That happened as I was implementing the enemy fireballs, so I had to start refactoring the code in order to allow them to collide with the scenery and the player. It's tough to fit a game into 15K!

 

So yeah, give it a try and let me know what you think!

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I love it, but it's pretty tricky! The sweat beads coming off DG are a nice touch!

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