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Defender / Stargate 2010 in 3D ZOMYGOD!


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Defender / Stargate 2010 in 3D ZOMYGOD!
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alcimedes
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2010-05-24, 16:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by bassplayinMacFiend View Post
I'm trying to remember how many buttons there were. Shoot, smart bomb, thrust, hyperspace and reverse are the only ones I can think right now. The stick controlled 4 directions as well, right?
Yeah, I think there were also buttons for accel, so you could increase/decrease your normal speed. The only way to outrun the smart bombs was to go top speed and make them try to catch you from the front, at which point if you did it right you could shoot them.

So yeah, 4 directions, shoot, bomb, hyperspace, speed up, slow down, I'm not sure there was a reverse?, but that could just be that I didn't do it very often so I don't recall.

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scratt
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2010-05-24, 22:46

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Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
My favorite game on iPhone is currently Tower Madness, which has a great "feel" to it. One of the neatest bits is that it's fairly two dimensional until you zoom in to the field, where you begin to realize the three dimensionality of all the elements... very nice art direction there.
That is very nice. Gives me an idea. I think what might be fun to do on this is to try and set a field of view from the side so that it looks almost exactly like it's the original, and then zoom in, and allow you to look around etc...

Should be quite a neat effect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
Yeah, I think there were also buttons for accel, so you could increase/decrease your normal speed. The only way to outrun the smart bombs was to go top speed and make them try to catch you from the front, at which point if you did it right you could shoot them.

So yeah, 4 directions, shoot, bomb, hyperspace, speed up, slow down, I'm not sure there was a reverse?, but that could just be that I didn't do it very often so I don't recall.
Defender had Thrust and Fire next to each other. What you tended to do was feather thrust and firing at the same time. Thrust was either on or off, but holding it down was what made you accelerate. So feathering it as you hammered the fire button was an art. I bet it is probably the first real cause of RSI in a subset of our generation! Those buttons had hardcore springs in them.

The joystick only went up and down, which was what a lot of people found hard, and to reverse you hit the reverse button with your thumb on the hand that was holding the joystick.

Other than that you had hyperspace, which warped you randomly somewhere on the map, but also killed you 50% of the time. And the Smart Bomb button, of which you only got three. But like lives you could replenish them.

Stargate made hyperspace a bit less dangerous, but not much. And added inviso. Which was about 5 seconds of time you could use up by holding down yet another button. When you were holding it down you were invisible and could collide with things and kill them.

The things you are talking about chasing you are called Baiters (not SmartBombs ). The best way to deal with them is to run, let them build up speed and then change direction quickly, let them slide past, and then change direction again to face them. All the time using the joystick to slip under them, and then back up onto the same level.

Once you are turned around and facing them. Nail them with lasers.

The reason you see Baiters is because you are taking too damn long to finish the level.

The two big problems with Defender or Stargate (and Robotron for that matter) are that they are kind of specialist arcade games. The whole thing is seems to be designed to be a pig to play. But once you master it it's like playing an instrument. When you consider that it was made by Pinball designers that kind of makes some sense. A lot of work went into the control layout, feel, and also the quality of the mechanical bits.

I probably sound like a nut here, but the skill required for Defender and Stargate is the closest I think you can get to a martial art in video games. It seems like it's very fast and frenetic, and incredibly unforgiving to the casual player. But once you get into it it's an awful lot about inertia and elegance. Once you are hooked it kind of changes your life. Like Marmite, or Vegemite, you either love it or hate it. You are either a Defender dude or a n00b. There is no half way house.

Also the control board on the originals had to be strengthened several times in the machines life as they get hammered!
A later mod on them was for an ashtray just above where the Thrust and Fire buttons were as they all used to get a horrible melted divot in the perspex just above there because so many players chain smoked while playing, holding the cigarette in their Thrust / Fire hand. Good times.... Of course at home I had that mod because I smoked something else while playing!

Another scary / weird thing is if I rest my hands on a flat service and think about Defender my hands contort into the positions ready for the controls, almost the same way that your hands get ready to type as you hovver over a keyboard! And I have not played on my actual Defender machine (which is in storage in the UK) in about 10 years!

The reason it's never been a success anywhere but the arcade is that it is the one game you need that very specific layout of controls for. Otherwise it just isn't Defender.

I hope that we can do something which does it justice in a small way now that we have accelerometers, because we might just be able to pull off a good control system on the iPhone because of that.

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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Last edited by scratt : 2010-05-24 at 23:11.
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alcimedes
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2010-05-25, 11:19

Ah, see I'd only ever played the game on an old DOS machine, so I had to use the keyboard for all the controls, and have no idea what the arcade layout is.

Quote:
The whole thing is seems to be designed to be a pig to play. But once you master it it's like playing an instrument. When you consider that it was made by Pinball designers that kind of makes some sense. A lot of work went into the control layout, feel, and also the quality of the mechanical bits.

I probably sound like a nut here, but the skill required for Defender and Stargate is the closest I think you can get to a martial art in video games. It seems like it's very fast and frenetic, and incredibly unforgiving to the casual player. But once you get into it it's an awful lot about inertia and elegance. Once you are hooked it kind of changes your life. Like Marmite, or Vegemite, you either love it or hate it. You are either a Defender dude or a n00b. There is no half way house.
I did however find this to be true even when using a keyboard, there was very, very precise control necessary in order to play the game, not sure how the iPhone will respond to that, but I hope you could pull it off!

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scratt
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2010-05-27, 00:16

He. Sorry I didn't mean to come across as some kind of zealot!

Quick question for those interested...

2D or 3D?

i.e. Defender side view scrolling (with a 3D "feel"), or go the whole hog and take Defender into the realms of Zarch?

I am playing with both styles at the moment, and may in the end put both in the game.. Might be nice to morph between them.

Am interested in feedback.

When I get some models from Brad I will do some early screenies and post them here for further feedback.


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Brad
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2010-05-27, 00:23

I'd think 2.5 D (think New Super Mario Bros) would be the best way to go.

Still planning to crank out more models and convert them for you by this weekend.

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scratt
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2010-05-27, 00:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
I'd think 2.5 D (think New Super Mario Bros) would be the best way to go.
I've seen both side scrolling stuff (in the style of LBP) and also isometric type views (like Balders Gate).

Which do you mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Still planning to crank out more models and convert them for you by this weekend.
Looking forward to them very much.

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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alcimedes
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2010-05-27, 10:23

I'd say side scrolling. Everyone who played it and loved it had it as a side scroller, and those aren't as common any more. Probably get more nostalgia points (and dollars) if you keep in a side scroller.

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scratt
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2010-05-27, 10:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
I'd say side scrolling. Everyone who played it and loved it had it as a side scroller, and those aren't as common any more. Probably get more nostalgia points (and dollars) if you keep in a side scroller.
I guess I'll have to do both...

Zarch / Virus is also another classic, which I think did the best approximation of Defender in 3D.

If we have both then people can choose.
Of course AppleNovians will all get to play-test it. And we can thrash out what the final version is then...

We can then either put it out as two versions, or a two in one.

I think you're probably right about the side scrolling for authenticity though.
Even though personally I am excited to try a proper 3D take. No-one has ever done that justice.

One of my worries is that on the iPhone screen people might not even notice it's done in a pixel art style, and it might just look like 3D sprites if we're not careful. Which is why I was suggesting having a pulled out camera view at a perspective / position that makes it looks exactly like the original video game, but find an excuse to pan the camera around / zoom in to show off it's pixel dot glory.

You've brought up another issue though.. Pricing? Charge or not charge.

Let me make it clear I am doing this for the fun, and to produce something special. Period.
However, I am more than happy for us to charge for it for normal peeps.. Everyone here is free of course.

What I am thinking is that we vote for a charity for 50% of the revenue, and put the other 50% into AN running costs. We can brand it as an AN community project too if people want...

We might only sell a few copies anyway. But if it's super popular it would be nice to do some good with it, and roll some into a nice server package or something for AN.

If anyone, Brad?, wants to chime in with their thoughts, or put up a poll... That would be cool...

I am easy with whatever people here decide, of course.

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Brad
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2010-05-27, 10:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by scratt View Post
I've seen both side scrolling stuff (in the style of LBP) and also isometric type views (like Balders Gate).

Which do you mean?
Side scrolling.

Wait... Don't tell me you haven't seen New Super Mario Bros!

New Super Mario Bros Wii (Wii, circa 2009)
New Super Mario Bros (Nintendo DS, circa 2006)

It's a mix of 3D and 2D sprites in what's effectively a 2D space, and it feels both new and nostalgic at the same time.

edit: Yes, like Little Big Planet.

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Xaqtly
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2010-05-27, 11:27

I would charge for it, personally, but I would keep the price low. No more than $1.99. Personal opinion based on what I'm willing to spend for apps and games depending on their worth to me. I'm a huge fan of Stargate/Defender so I will pay $2 without blinking, but to rope in the more casual "Oh I remember that game" crowd I think $2 is a good price point.

I am wondering about the controls. Stargate was pretty button heavy, no good way to make that work for a touch interface. I have a driving game that, instead of making you work the throttle, brakes and steering, just accelerates on its own, you steer by tilting, and you tap the screen to brake, I thought that was a nice solution.
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scratt
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2010-05-27, 11:46

I was thinking about making up and down movement driven by the accelerometer... Tilt up, tilt down...

We'd obviously have to have touch equivalents, but I think that is worth experimenting with. It may take a little getting used to, but would become intuitive after a while... I think... Maybe?

If we did that we could cover Fire, Thrust and Reverse almost identically to the arcade.

Reverse on the left. Fire and Thrust on the right - mash-able.

Smart, Hyperspce and Inviso were always stuck slightly away from other controls so could be in the middle of the screen at the bottom..

Those are my initial thoughts. Obviously we'll have to try it and see.

I am all for configurable sensitivity for controls. And have GUIs for that already done from other projects.

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scratt
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2010-05-27, 11:51

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Side scrolling.
edit: Yes, like Little Big Planet.
Cool we'll focus on that!

I am a Mario n00b I am afraid.. The last time I played any Mario game was on an arcade cabinet on a ferry going from the South of England to The Isle of Wight, when I was still at school!

It had Mario and some turtles in it.

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Graculus
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2010-05-27, 12:17

Sidescrolling for me, and the tilt for up down should be natural enough I'd have thought. Howsabout a panic shake for hyperspace?

When you've done with defender (prob my fave game), can I vote for Phoenix next (prob my most played game).

On a serious note... are there likely to be copyright issues in this venture, particularly if paid for?
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scratt
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2010-05-27, 12:25

I don't see there being copyright issues. There is already a total rip off of Defender in the App Store. Been there for ages.

What we are doing is an homage, and an augment.... So we are investing new IP.

I am happy to take the risk.

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Graculus
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2010-05-27, 15:10

Cool. And the hyperspace by panic shaking? You know it makes sense.
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scratt
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2010-05-27, 23:19

Ok.
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alcimedes
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2010-05-28, 12:23

Except if you have to shake it to hyperspace, won't you have a hard time establishing your accel etc. when you stop shaking it and try to figure out where it warped you to? Warping was a crap shoot under the best of circumstances, not sure that having to shake your phone around is going to put you in a better spot when you're done.

Google is your frenemy.
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scratt
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2010-05-31, 12:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
Except if you have to shake it to hyperspace, won't you have a hard time establishing your accel etc. when you stop shaking it and try to figure out where it warped you to? Warping was a crap shoot under the best of circumstances, not sure that having to shake your phone around is going to put you in a better spot when you're done.
You do have a point. And that has occurred to me...

At the end of the day we can have an option screen and let people tweak it to suit.
I think I may prefer a button in the middle of the screen, or even a jesture. And am happy to have them all in there for all tastes..

Brad, how's your hangover?

Any joy on the models.... No pressure.

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Robo
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2010-05-31, 16:22

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Originally Posted by scratt View Post
I am a Mario n00b I am afraid.. The last time I played any Mario game was on an arcade cabinet on a ferry going from the South of England to The Isle of Wight, when I was still at school!

It had Mario and some turtles in it.


I am officially giving you permission to emulate. Or shoplift. Steal a Wii if you have to. Just...play some form of Super Mario. Good god man! <3

I got my copy of SMG2, so it's Mariomorial Day here in the States.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Brad
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2010-05-31, 16:59

I didn't forget! (And technically the weekend isn't over here in the states since today's Memorial Day! )

I've made a few additional models in the mean time...

Bomber:


Baiter:


Swarmer:


Pod:


And even though it seems to only be used in Stargate and not Defender, this guy looked too cool to not make.

Yllabian Space Guppy:


Is that it? Am I missing any? That's all I was able to find sprites for, at least.

I'm about to start making the plastics! exporting to 3DS.

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Brad
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2010-05-31, 18:10

And here are the 3DS versions. After some experimenting, it looked like the 3DS exports weren't keeping the color-polygon assignments. So, I split each model into one part for each color. The swarmer, for example, has two model objects: one red and one green.
Attached Files
File Type: zip 3d-defender-models.zip (35.5 KB, 4 views)

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scratt
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2010-05-31, 22:01

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
And here are the 3DS versions. After some experimenting, it looked like the 3DS exports weren't keeping the color-polygon assignments. So, I split each model into one part for each color. The swarmer, for example, has two model objects: one red and one green.
Brilliant..

And you are a genius on the parts for colours stuff.
That problem occurred to me last week, but as you'd already started I decided to just see what you came up with because I didn't want to make more work for you. I was going to write a script to work around it.

But.. My engine actually expects different parts for each colour, and then either makes a vertex buffer for the entire model with colour info spliced in, or batches models and draws all the instances in one colour, and then all the instances in the next colour, and so on...

So that is perfect.

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scratt
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2010-05-31, 22:06

Oh, and btw the Pod is used in both Stargate and Defender, and is probably one of the most important characters.. It's where swarmers come from.

But you'll see all that soon...

I have some coding to do.

@Roboman - OK OK! I'll see what I can do on the SMB thing... The Wii is gathering dust at the moment.

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turtle
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2010-05-31, 22:21

I'm loving the work going on here! Really, it's looking good and making me really look forward to a public release.

Or private beta.

Last edited by turtle : 2010-05-31 at 22:33.
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Brad
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2010-05-31, 22:27



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scratt
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2010-06-01, 01:10

Can I suggest that we lock off the download in some way?
Obviously not from members.. But it would be frustrating if your excellent work pops up in some other piece of software before we get our version out.

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Brad
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2010-06-01, 07:28

Good point. I've re-upped the archive with a password. If you want it, PM me.
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scratt
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2010-06-06, 23:33

Just a quick update. I am about 50% of the way through the first stuff I can show here... Want to make it a bit more pretty yet.

I am also supporting a couple of things at WWDC so will be busy this week, and have a deadline on some of my other software, so will be back on this at the weekend again... when I hope to make a couple of vids for here, for initial feedback

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Brad
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2010-06-06, 23:51

Thanks for the update, scratt!
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Graculus
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2010-06-07, 03:27

Quote:
Originally Posted by scratt View Post
I am also supporting a couple of things at WWDC so will be busy this week, so will be back on this at the weekend again...
Wo, woo, woooah.

You mean Steve's not going to use this as 'one more thing'. darn.
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