The Lockdown Protocol project has progressed quite lot during past month. Many of the changes improve the overall look of the game. There is a new enemy type called "spider", completely remodeled human characters (by an actual artist this time) as well as shadows for many dynamic objects like dragon eggs and barrels. Check out the screenshots below to see what I'm talking about.
Although there is already enough improvements to justify a new alpha release, it's not time for that yet. I have still a lot to do. The next task on my list is to experiment with a separate jump/fall pose for the human character to make jumping look more natural. Unfortunately I have also created some new bugs that will need to be resolved before the release.
Once everything else is done I will have to take on the most time consuming task of going through all existing levels, fine tuning their difficulty and adjusting them to look more consistent.
With that in mind, any input on overall game difficulty is welcome. Do you think the game in its current state is too easy or too hard?
Posted on 2014-04-19
Lockdown Protocol 0.17.0 alpha released
The main theme in this release is collectible items. There are new ammunition and supply packs, force field generators and crates revealing collectible items on destruction. Guards now drop their weapon or random items when killed.
This version adds an update checker function that notifies you when a new version is available.
Here's full list of changes since 0.16.0 alpha release:
- Added ammo pack power up item.
- Added supply pack power up item.
- Added force fields (destructive/protective/damping) and matching power up items.
- Added one more single player level.
- Turned the small green crate into a destructible container that reveals random items.
- Added floating labels on power up pick ups.
- Added a music loop playing during action.
- Made ambient background sound play even if music is set off in settings.
- Fixed a bug that prevented controller help (F1) overlays from being shown.
- Made guards randomly drop their weapon or power ups when killed.
- Made walls block explosion damage and impulse.
- Made dragons fly a bit faster.
- Made dragons coming out of eggs spot nearby targets immediately.
- Miscellaneous improvements to particle effects.
- Fixed bug causing badly oriented bullet hit particle effects.
- Minor improvements to enemy line of sight testing.
- Added smoke trail to rockets.
- Improved explosion particle effects orientation and timing.
- Fixed invisible smoke and fragment particles blocking light glow.
- Fixed heavy weapon aim animation problem that made AI aim too high.
- Many bug fixes to dragon and jellyfish AI, especially to target detection.
- Fixed all weapons misaiming slightly to the left.
- Made human AI switch target if a visible closer target attacks it.
- Added automatically randomized orietation for certain elements (e.g. barrels) in level editor.
- Floating labels from power ups are now shown on clients too.
- Show in-game error message on many level loading errors that previously killed the game.
- Editor now loads levels with invalid entity references so you can fix them.
- Fixed a serious bug in visibility data updating to clients.
- Retextured dragon eggs.
- Added alternative game pad controller jump by left stick up.
- Added update notification when a new version is available.
- Prevented respawning after level/match completion.
- Updated first level tutorial with more instructions.
- Minor fine tuning to character animations.
- Fixed match statistics not always getting cleared on multiplayer match restart.
- Improved network latency estimation making client side movement a bit smoother.
- Fixed multiple serious bugs that caused jerks in client side movement.
Single player level design is a bit inconsistent at the moment, simply because the first levels were initially designed over three years ago when the game itself was very different. I'm planning to do some systematic redesign to existing levels before the next release.
Posted on 2014-03-07
Multiplayer game jerkiness issue solved
I have finally managed to resolve the bug that has made Lockdown Protocol's network game practically unusable on anything but near-ideal connections. Client side motion has been horribly jerky, especially jumping.
I have been trying to fix this bug countless times over the years, always failing to pinpoint the real root cause. I was already considering dropping the multiplayer support completely, when I rolled up my sleeves for final debug attempt and found it. It was actually a combination of multiple errors.
Here's a technical explanation of the problem (in case someone is interested):
One thing I already knew as a cause of jerks was bad connection latency estimation that resulted in way too frequent tick counter adjustments to keep "time" in sync with server. I rewrote the filtering for latency measurement., which lead to smoother movement of non-player controlled objects. The most critical part, movement on player controlled objects, was still as bad as ever.
The root problems was combination of two serious bugs. Jumping state was not properly updated to client, which caused client side prediction to randomly miss jump commands in it's prediction. When rolling simulation back in time after receiving an update from server, player's physics body state was not properly reset. This resulted in really bad movement prediction on client after big changes in player's velocity (for example jumping).
After these fixes the client side movement is radically better. It's still not perfect, but this is a HUGE step forward. I will have to do some real-world testing before I can say exactly how much latency and jitter the game now tolerates and if it is playable on average (bad) internet connection.
I have the next alpha release already wrapped up, so unless I find any more critical issues, it will be out very soon.
Posted on 2014-03-06
It's been quite a while since last alpha release. I'm currently in a point where I will soon need to decide whether I should release a new alpha version with what I have done so far or post-pone the release and continue working on new features.
In addition to the new collectible items mentioned in last progress report I have added force fields. There are three types of force fields: destructive, protective and damping. First two do what you'd expect them to do. The last one damps movement and allows falling long distances without damage. Here's what a protective force field looks like in action:
I have also created one more single player level that lets you use the force fields. The following screenshot from the new level shows the damping force field:
Many of the existing levels have been edited to take advantage of the new collectible items. Adding force fields to existing levels will require more changes to levels, so I'll leave that to the point when a couple of other gameplay changing features are done. I will inevitably have to do some redesign on existing levels at some point, because the game itself has changed a lot since the time when the first levels were designed.
Starting from next alpha version the game will automatically notify you when a new version is available.
Posted on 2014-02-26
Latest bigger change I made was fixing the long-standing bug that allowed explosion damage through walls. Technically that was more like an feature than a bug :) Either way, you can no longer cheat by killing enemies behind walls using rockets or grenades.
I'm adding more collectible items for next release. Currently there are two new items: ammo pack and supply pack. The latter gives a random power up (ammunition, health or power cells). Killed guards now randomly drop their weapon or other items.
I'm also planning to turn the small green crates into destructible containers that reveal collectible items. After all, in their current form they are completely useless as they are too small to be used as cover.
If you have ideas for new power ups and collectible items, please let me know!
Posted on 2014-01-30
2014-01-14 Lockdown Protocol 0.16.0 alpha release
2014-01-11 Next Lockdown Protocol alpha release coming soon
2013-12-29 Lockdown Protocol's Year 2013
2013-12-16 Progress report
2013-12-01 Vote Lockdown Protocol for Indie of the Year on IndieDB
2013-11-24 New Lockdown Protocol alpha video
2013-11-05 Lockdown Protocol 0.15.0 alpha release
2013-10-03 Progress report
2013-09-19 Multiplayer matchmaking fixes
2013-09-01 Lockdown Protocol 0.14.0 alpha release
2013-08-07 Progress report
2013-07-09 Lockdown Protocol 0.13.0 alpha release
2013-07-02 Next release is shaping up
2013-06-09 Progress report
2013-05-22 Changing the physics engine part 2
2013-05-13 Changing the physics engine
2013-05-06 Lockdown Protocol 0.12.0 alpha release
2013-04-28 Website update
2013-04-23 No more hiding enemies
2013-04-14 Lockdown Protocol 0.11.0 alpha release
2013-04-07 Progress report
2013-02-25 Progress report
2013-02-08 The Platform Shooter 0.10.0 alpha release
2013-01-23 Level editor rework
2012-12-31 How to improve The Platform Shooter?
2012-12-25 The Platform Shooter 0.9.0 alpha release
2012-12-04 The Platform Shooter progress report
2012-10-29 Level sharing progress report
2012-10-24 The Platform Shooter 0.8.0 alpha release
2012-09-23 New video from The Platform Shooter 0.7.0 alpha
2012-09-16 The Platform Shooter 0.7.0 alpha release and 40% alpha discount
2012-09-04 The Platform Shooter 0.6.1 alpha release
2012-09-03 The Platform Shooter 0.6.0 alpha release
2012-07-10 The Platform Shooter 0.5.0 alpha release
2012-06-26 Plans for the future
2012-05-18 A little progress
2012-04-08 The Platform Shooter 0.4.0 alpha release
2012-03-18 Crouching and explosion improvements
2012-02-11 The Platform Shooter 0.3.0 alpha release
2012-01-26 Progress report
2012-01-07 Sentry guns and callable elevators
2011-12-14 The Platform Shooter 0.2.1 alpha release
2011-12-09 Bug fix release coming
2011-12-01 The Platform Shooter 0.2.0 alpha release
2011-11-21 Progress report
2011-11-06 Client side prediction rework
2011-10-22 Decal improvements
2011-10-20 Bend from the knees
2011-09-20 I can hear music!
2011-08-29 One bug fixed, one more revealed
2011-08-01 About mouse aiming
2011-06-20 The platform shooter public alpha release
2011-05-25 One more single player level
2011-05-22 First release is nearing
2011-05-10 A new game play video
2011-04-30 Level editor improvements
2011-04-20 Situation report
2011-03-23 Fighting network latency
2011-03-14 Level editor improvements and a HUD
2011-02-22 Single player level scoring
2011-02-13 Progress report and in-game video footage
2011-01-26 Network code changes
2010-12-22 The Platform Shooter
2010-08-16 Final Duel 2 is now free