Krieg Jam

This weekend is Krieg Jam. "What's Krieg Jam?" I hear you ask? Well, it's a sorta game jam thing where a bunch of us will be making a playable prototype of Space Krieg.

For those of you not in the know, Space Krieg was an awesome MOBA* made by the late, great Richard Reed. It was brilliant, as anyone who was around the offices of Lost Toys, Mucky Foot or Big Blue Box at the time will surely attest. Sadly, we lost Richard to cancer before he had a chance to finish the game.

So that's what we're doing.

Right now, the aim is to make a playable prototype that follows the basic gameplay that Rich set out in the original. This is very important as trying to just explain what the game was and why it was cool is actually pretty tricky.

You start by explaining that it's a space dogfighting game viewed in 3rd person that is constrained to a 2D plane. Then people ask you why it isn't fully 3D.

Then maybe you explain that it's sorta turn-based, and people ask you why it isn't real time.

No, it's much better to sit someone down with a copy and say "Play this" and then they'll realise how awesome it is (and why it's important for it to be not fully 3D and not real time).

Show always beats tell.

The Crew

To this end, we have assembled a crack team of developers and holed them up in our living room.

We have a pair of infuriatingly young yet very clever coders in Alex Parker and Oli Carson who will be in charge of all the technical stuff. We already have the network code up and running, which is a great start.

Then we have industry veteran Mike Man providing us with art from his homebase in Ireland**.

Leanne is taking on key project management and UI tasks as well as being chief Baby Wrangler - a job whose importance cannot be overstated.

And I shall be doing my thing. This will mainly consist of starting sentences with "In the original game..." but may also end up getting my hands dirty with the code or art side of things as well as trying to keep you guys updated on this blog.

Wish us luck!

The Basics 15:30

Krieg Central. Plus some bunting from Willow's birthday.
Not much to see, but the wall is starting to get covered in post it notes again. This can only be a good thing.

The coder types have decided upon the best way of organising stuff like the network model and how the events are going to work. This makes me very comfortable, as that's some scary architecture things right there.

Although I have just heard the words "Quick and dirty" from Alex. Which fills me with fear...

And now we have a front end scene with a spinning spaceship and nebula skybox, both downloaded from the Unity Asset Store for free.

I love the Unity Asset Store...

The Best Laid Plans 16:58

Oli and Alex have thrashed out the architecture stuff in proper coder-debate fashion. It was like watching rutting stags as the various merits of two different approaches were considered.

Mike has dropped out of Google Hangouts to go into Maya - which I can only assume means that cool spaceships are imminent.

Willow has woken up from her nap, which means that productivity for Leanne and myself has taken a bit of a nosedive***.

Concerning Noises 19:04

Pretty soon after deciding how we were going to do the events and stuff, a flaw was discovered in the thing we were going to use for our serialisation. This meant that we've had to roll our own. Which we've now done. It's never a good sign when you hear programmers complaining about some system or other locking up...

Then Oli had a problem with his source control. But we've fixed that, so we're back on track.

We've got a grid and a starfield and stuff. Pretty soon, the network and event stuff is going to talk to the moving ship about stuff and then we're really going to be cooking with gas.

There were less concerning noises when the coders managed to connect to each other's game and see some debug text in the top left hand corner. Apparently, this is a good thing.

Willow has almost finished her dinner, which means it'll be bath time and then bed, so I might be able to get back to work. Leanne is in the kitchen, roasting a chicken.

It smells nice.

Dinner Done 21:55

It tasted nice too.

The code monkeys also made some very excited noises when they managed to get the ships moving around on multiple machines using the Space Krieg input method.

Mike's ship design is undergoing the mind-numbing process of UVing and currently looks like a colourful fruit bowl.

Willow is in bed. Note - not actually sleeping. Instead she is chatting to her toys.

I'm making explosions and have been put in charge of the in game camera.

Redesigns and refactors 00:18

The code geniuses have taken it upon themselves to re-write huge swathes of code to try and work around Unity things. It sounds like they're coming up with a whole new engine. None of this scares me at all****.

The prospective UI has already undergone a re-design. Part of the initial work was bearing in mind that we would like to do a tablet version in the future. BUT! This is game jam - not the future. So out it went.

New UI is looking a bit cleaner. New UI design, however, was done on a web-based shared whiteboard that just ended up covered in cocks...

Damn you BST! 02:13

We just lost an hour. Perhaps this wasn't the best weekend to do a game jam?

Calling It 03:24

Code monkeys need sleep. Willow will be up in a few hours.

Tomorrow, we jam some more!

The Bomber that magically appeared this morning

I'm Alive! 10:14

The Code monkeys are still asleep though. But I've managed to get some nifty missile effects in.

Also, the art fairy visited in the middle of the night and left us a lovely Bomber to play with.

I'm not entirely sure how well we're doing. The network stuff has taken a while but it all feels like it's about to come together nicely. That is, if the system works. But I have every faith that our dedicated monkeys have got it all in hand.

I need to sort out the damage model and implement the HUD that Leanne's done.

Perhaps I should rouse the monkeys? Then hopefully we'll be able to have a game soon.

Damage 13:32

Finally worked out how the new damage model should work. There's some stuff in place to blow components up and have damaged ships smoking - now we just need Oli to hook it all up to the game code so that it affects the way the ship flies. We've got a skunkworks scene where I can just tinker with things and the test ship in there seems to take damage nicely.

The new damage model will also cope with smaller increments of damage, meaning that bullets and other smaller projectiles are back on the cards and we're not relying solely on missiles.

Willow has gone down for her nap and Leanne's about to rock up with a Full English. I'm not sure I could ever do another game jam where our team didn't include a cook.

Alex has got the old stretchy arrow tech in. That means that the player will have something to see when they alter their rudder and throttle and be able to position their ship accordingly. Of course, if the ship happens to take vital damage along the way, they might not end up where they wanted - but that's what you get for taking damage.

I think we're all pretty eager to get the first playable going. It's a bit frustrating that it hasn't happened already, but that's what you get when you try to write a multiplayer LAN game from scratch and it's better to make sure everything works.

Danger Zone 15:34

We've done the Air Punch playlist on Spotify. Now we're on to the Highway To The Danger Zone one. I can think of nothing better to jam to.

Mike sent me some concept art of what he wanted the engine effects to look like, so I've been adding a nifty little afterburner thing to the Bomber. Then I fixed a bug in the damage model and properly hooked up the camera - or, more correctly, ensured that the camera didn't fall over when it's target gets destroyed. Think I might implement the tumble-then-blow-up thing next...

Mike is now working on a new Fighter to go along with the Bomber we already have. It also sounds like he's dying from a terminal case of coughing. I think Ireland might be filled with the Black Lung. Also, it may have been a mistake telling him that we were kinda thinking about letting some of the ships transform into mechs...

Parker is putting Leanne's UI work into the main game and making all the little buttons bounce when they're pressed. There has been a small amount of swearing at Unity's animation stuff, but otherwise it looks like it's going okay.

Leanne is adding the damage readout to the HUD and bemoaning the fact that adverts ruin so many awesome songs these days.

Oli is trying to fix undetermined things so that we can play.

Willow is still asleep.

Head's Up 17:29

It should look something like this
We have finally got Leanne on to source control. This involved more than a few choice words to be said about the quality of the software involved and the odd exasperated gasp from her poor laptop as it struggles with running Unity, Spotify, Skype, Photoshop and Sourcetree all at the same time.

Leanne needs a new laptop.

But it also means she is able to furnish us with things like HUD mockups so you can see the sort of thing we're aiming for.

I've done the tumble-then-blow-up thing and that looks pretty cool. That doesn't seem like much for the last couple of hours, but there is a crucial piece of information that I missed out:

Willow is awake.

She's also in a happy, giggly mood, which means either Leanne or myself is playing with her.

The code monkeys have been... doing code things. They seem confident that, in five minutes time, we'll be able to set a game***** up and have everyone join in.

Drawing To A Close 23:00

Well, this jam is nearly over. One of our code monkeys has to go home very soon and we still haven't really played the game.

We've managed to create and join sessions and fly spaceships around using the standard Space Krieg controls and turn structure though. Even from this tiny snapshot, the people who haven't played it before seem to think that there's definitely something there as they swoop majestically onto each others tail shouting "pew pew!".

Now we're in some kind of crazy state where people are just throwing code and objects into the build in one last hurrah.

Mike's sent us a bunch of new ships. Oli's got missiles (kinda) working. Alex has broken the UI.

But now we've all just pulled the latest build from source control and are definitely going to try and play.

Chaos Reigns 23:26

And that was a 5(!) player game of Space Krieg.

It wasn't without issues, but it was great fun - even in this supremely rough and ready form. I'm calling it a victory for Team Orange (Parker and myself) over Team Teal (Leanne, Oli and Mike) but most of that is down to Oli contriving to be a total meatshield and 'scooping up' all of his team's missiles that were bound for us.

We've run out of time for this jam.

It's a shame we're not further along than we are but at the same time, what we've accomplished in a little under two days is pretty cool. It has been enough to convince those on the team that hadn't played Space Krieg before that it is a really cool game and definitely worth continuing with.

My thanks to our diligent code monkeys and to chief baby-wrangler for making all of this possible.

This week I might be starting a new job, which is going to come with a bitch of a commute, so I don't know how much time I'll have to tinker with Krieg. But I can certainly see us throwing down another weekend soon.

Possibly even roping in a couple more of the old hands.

Now that'll be fun.

* Proper MOBA - not a DOTA thing. See previous post if you're confused.
** Thanks to the wonder of Google Hangouts. Now, if only I could stop doodling on his face...
*** Although she seems to be enjoying Kiki's Delivery Service.
**** But we have had some wine, so maybe that's a factor.
***** A fly your ship around and precious little else game. It still counts.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts