Thunderforce sequel, old-school shooter with GameBlender ?

Hello,

I’m a freelance designer and journalist working in France.
It’s been a long time since i came first to Elysiun. I’ve only read and never wrote.

Ok i think now it’s time for me to ask you some questions.

In 2001 i started to work on a game project.
I’m a fan of old-school shooters, like R-Type, Gradius, and specially, the Thunderforce Serie that came out with the Genesis in early 90s.
There was a fifth episode on Saturn and Playstation also.

I have a nearly complete base of artworks, screenshots, musics, roms of all episodes. The features of the gameplay are writen, but it’s not closed for discussion.

The goal of my game project, is to have a sequel to Thunder Force (the team will have to choose which one, cause the fifth is not considerated as the best one, unfortunately).

That means, to respect 90% of the original gameplay.
10% left are for some new elements we can add without loosing the gameplay balance.

This sequel has to be in a modern 2D/3D mixup (see what Treasure studio has done with IKARUGA or GRADIUS V !).
I also want to be OS independant. It has to run fine on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X (ok, at the end of the project, we’ll add some special optimisation to Windows version, with an installer, etc).

You are not alll Thunder Force fans, so i uploaded a video of the Stage 1 :

edit : i’m uploading all the videos another (bigger) server.
edit2 : ok, here they are :

http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S1.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S2.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S3.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S4.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S5.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S6.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S7.mpg

That was to present the global project, now i have some questions for Game Blender users :

  • is Game Blender engine capable to handle this type of game ? there will be a lot of small “3D sprites” (yes, nonsense !) to display without killing the CPU

  • is the physics engine will allow us to set up a fine collision mask surrounding the ship ?

  • is Game Blender able to use a TCP/IP connection : for net ranking primary, then possibly for multiplayer, but it’s still planned as a solo game.

  • what about controllers ? I’ve read many issues about controllers here. It’s not our priority, because there are some tools available on the net to map Joystick buttons to keys…but :slight_smile:

I’m interested in Game Blender because it’s a unique tool for everything, and a fine one in each domain.
Moreover, it’s quite difficult to build a team, and Blender is multi-OS, so we can recruit people that don’t forced to use Windows to participate.
Coding an 2D+3D engine with some physics is a long hard task, with GB we could focus on the gameplay and graphics.

OK i think i’ve said what i wanted, it’s time to excuse for my poor english, and for this so long post :expressionless:

Thanks in advance for your answers !

Regards,

:o Whow a lot of special effects and really hard if I take a lookf. :stuck_out_tongue:
Ok back to Blender.

When I took a look, the game looks like it can be made. But it needs a lot of work, as well as using some python to archive these results. The models, textures and special effects seams no problem. It’s more the amount of enemies and things shooting around. Also the way you design a level the scrolling way needs some work to fixgure out how to do that nicely.

All over all, it’s possible but needs a huge amount of works. Now the points you asked:

  • Well looks like it can handle that way of games. I think they are better then full 1th or 3th person shooters and adventure games. The only problem will be the amount of things flying around that can drop the fps a little or even to 0, but I think the best way to test that, ismaking some test files. The best engine for this will be Blender 2.36

  • Physics of this type of game will work pretty fine. Using ray sensors to detect if a rocket comes in or get hit will work fine. The collision around the ship can be made better using a boz or sphere around it detecting collisions. This has been done of quiet many game demo’s and tests. Also handling a lot of things and avoid controller problems, you can better script that with python. Scripting a python controller can avoid missing detections and calculations I experienced on a python test.

  • TCP/ip and UDP/ip is posible, but remember this isn’t inside the game engine itself. The best way doing this is creating your own network code using python or c++. Develope a server and client included a nice way to send data, and you can create a nice way to play it online. Which I’m currently working on together with Nor.J using TCP and UDP.

  • Yep, I did a little test on having just 1 controller that runs a python script dealing with more then 25 sensors/actuators to handle calculations and choose which should and which shouln’t be used. Like hadnling collision, ray and near detection, while the user gives 3 keyboard inputs and shoots the enemy total dead. Using 1 script.

I think before doing this you should get some knowledge about the engine, and learn a coding langauge like python and maybe c++ to steer python modules and do some quick caculations outside blender itself (like the network code)

Next to this long bla bla, I’ve got a old Windows demo of a game that looks quit simular to this. It has never been finished and it’s really small but looks quiet well.
http://212.123.169.51/files/smashblaster.zip
Sorry for the slow connection, but it’s better then don’t sharing stuff that could be usefull for someone else.

I made that.

Heh

a big fan of thunderforce,

RonC

Ok thanks for your reply.
In fact i won’t code myself, but i have to study the choices available to start recruiting : should i look for coders able to create our own engine, or only c++/python coders able to handle game blender api…etc

I know i can’t do this myself, moreover i’m a designer, i’ll have enough work on the design itself of the game.

I’ll try to get deeper into Blender to see it’s worth using it.

Thanks !

I’ve just tried it.
Ok so it’s too difficult but it’s not the purpose.

It seems to have all the shooters need : bonuses, ships, controls…

I forgot to mention that the stages of the game will be separated by cinematics using the game engine (as Thunderforce 5 and Ikaruga do).

:o
Now THAT would be a LOT of work.

But it could be done.

As I said though, it will be a TON of work. :wink:

Yep a lot of works. The best is, break each level into blender files, and load afther a level is done, the next blend file. That’s something I would do. Keeps the blender files low at loading time because it’s not all in 1 file. And you can easly append models and another things from blend files into another file. :slight_smile:

Why not just use multiple scenes?
Scenes load only when they are set as active…

it wouldnt be a lot of work, blender could handle it i think, but you might be better off with other engines if you can code c++

RonC

Thanks all for your replies.

It’s clear that coding our own engine would be the best thing but, i’m not sure i can recruit enough coders for that.
So for the moment, i have to find an easy solution, to be focused on graphics and gameplay, and reduce the number of coders to find.

There will be also a ton of work to create an engine as good as blender’s one. Moreover an engine which is cross-platform !
So i prefer to see the coders spending time on other parts of the project.

By the way, what about the compatibilité between OS ?
The game should be available on Windows, Linux and OS X.

Do you have experience in benchmarking the engine on these OS ?
For exemple, is the OS X version as fast (or as slow :stuck_out_tongue: ) as Wiindows’ one ?

WOW :o !Thats ThunderForce?Ive always liked these oldschool games , but this one is the best - the graffics,the action , the weapons , the enemys,the bosses…WOW!

I think that the Blender Game Engine can materialize your game concept…

  • Simple logicbricks to control the ship
  • simple (well, maybe not so simple) python script to make something like ENEMY AI (maybe we can make it in logic bricks too)
  • How much detail you want to add to the ships? I think Blender will handle it just fine, can’t it handle like 30 ships on screen? (in space, there wont be much of a landscape to render besides a nebula a planet or two…)… now things will get REAL interesting in an Asteroid field…
  • And the special FX… well… lot’s of COOL textures… :wink:

Maybe I’m being simplistic… maybe not… but, I think Blender can TOTALLY handle this endeavour of yours… :smiley:

Hope my post helps :slight_smile:

In shooters, there are no “IA”.
The movements of the ships are pre-rendered on a fixed path.
The boss of the stage could have n type of movements and attacks, chosen in random.

So there is no proper I.A. in my case.

It’s an old school game, which mean old school look, as you can see in the video i posted.
I want to keep it 2D/3D mixed up, but without the pixel effects and low resolution (Saturn hardware was not able to accelerate 3D, and resolution was 640x480; basically a TV res).

That’s what i’m thinking too, even if i don’t know Blender that much.
The most difficult thing in this type of game is the gameplay balance.
You have to set up the collision mask very carefully, and keep in mind that shooters are played by hardcore gamers (and nostalgic !).
So it has to be quite difficult, and to offer an interesting scoring method.
Score is the main goal of shooters, because without I.A., the game is the same everytime you play it. After the first discoring period, you’ll play only for score ranking (that’s why a net module is planned, to post your score on a worldwide hall of fame).

I’m more worried about controls options offered by the game blender engine. Side-scrolling shooters mean very precise movements of the ships.
If your ship explose every 5 seconds because you can’t move it the way you wanted, it’s not worth playing.
Controlling the ship has to be intuitive and easy, an extension of the player’s hand.
Player’s focus has to be on ennemy ships and bullets coming, not on his own ship.
The same with your car : it has to run smooth, to accelerate when you push the throttle pedal, brake, etc. I mean, you don’t have to fight with your own car to keep it on the road, you have to forget it, let the car be an extension of your body, and just focus on what’s coming up in front (and back) of you !

Ok, i’m writing to much :slight_smile:

Thanks for your post !

Sorry, the video is too big for my dial-up connection… :expressionless: , so I can’t download it… but I’m watching some screenshots on Google now…

Hehehe, by the way you talk, I can see you’re REALLY an old-school shooter fan… That’s good, you LOVE your project.

Ok, about the movement, (again I might be simplistic) it’s just up, down, left, right… right? The acceleration and de-acceleration rate is just a matter of tweaking a couple of sliders till you get the desired speed (and now that Blender has an improved implementation of it’s physics, logic bricks, and python, you won’t have the nasty problem of having one computer play the game TOO fast and the other TOO slow).

So, you’re willing to learn some Blender, and assemble a team?

Another question, a fine collision mask? what’s that? YOu mean like if the game is going to recognize collisions when the bullets hit your ship’s hull instead of using an invisible bounding cube to recognize collisions? the game engine is capable of that… and more :wink:

One note: I so love old-school shooting games!

I’d love to spend more time on it, but that’s life (work, girlfriend, etc %| )

The game should be running at 60fps all the time, because this type of gameplay is arcade based, and PCBs run at 60hz.
So yes, it’s a compromise between acceleration / de-acceleration and overall game speed/scrolling on a 60fps basis.

For the moment i want to know if Blender is able to handle this type of project.
Then i’ll recruit people to assemble a team.
I’m a designer, so i can’t help for coding process.
But i know shooters and specially Thunderforce, so i can’t explain what has to be coded.
I’ll have to found a lead programmer, who can learn Blender API and explain it to others coders.
I’ll concentrate myself on the general design process : models, textures, colors, cut-scenes.
And of course on the gameplay :slight_smile:

Yes, you got it. Sometimes in shooters the enemy bulllets won’t do anything if they “touch” your ship by one or two pixels.
But after that, the game considers you were hit, and you die.
These “one or two” pixels" can be only one (hard game !), or five, depending of the difficulty level you want.

In Thunderforce serie, the collision mask is 1 or 2 pixels around the ship.

Me too, and Thunderforce 3 on Genesis was my first good one !
My father bought it when i was only 7 years old :smiley: [/quote]

The best-looking for sure, not the “best-played”.
It’s quite easy but if you look at the others shooters released on Saturn, this game should be better.

Radiant Silvergun and others are a lot better.

IMHO the best Thunderforce in the 4th one.

Again… I think blender can handle it… I don’t know what the REST of the Blender users think… hehehe, everyone’s a bit quiet… :slight_smile:

Again… I think blender can handle it… I don’t know what the REST of the Blender users think… hehehe, everyone’s a bit quiet…

I think so too , i think blender could handle it very well.I still have that thunderforce trailer in my desktop and everytime i log on i watch it and visualize how it would go - the ai is pretty simple or there is no ai at all for some enemies , the graffics should be no problem , models are really easy to make and besides he wouldnt even need dynamic objects in this game at all,and that would allow him to make many many of those flying objects in the game too.Thats what i think.

edit : the 7 stages of Thunderforce 5 in video :

http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S1.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S2.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S3.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S4.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S5.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S6.mpg
http://www.p-n.fr/thunderforce/videos/TF5S7.mpg

Is anyone interested in helping with a mirror, thanks to mail me !