Sunday, August 31, 2008

Drum Solo Sections

Today I had some free time that allowed me to work on Guitar Zero again. As you know, I'm right in the process of making the game ready for drums. Today I worked on implementing the drum solo sections and I figured this would make a nice blog post / preview:

Also, I figured I'd give this update to the blog readers first, as a small incentive for checking the blog from time to time ;)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Change Impact

People might wonder why it takes so long to add "Drum-support" to GZ. After all, it's just another type of controller and a bit of change to how frets are handled, right?

Not quite. I'll give you a small example of why this seemingly easy task has quite an impact on how GZ works "under the hood". Topic: input handling.

GZ used to have two players and each of them has an active Guitar controller. The guitar controller is either a keyboard, joystick or xbox 360 device. Its keys can be configured using the input configuration dialog.

For drum support, you might think it's ok to just keep that scheme and display a dialog upon entering the setlist that asks, which kind of instrument the user wants to play. But stop: Does it really make sense to allow the player to play a drum line with the Guitar?

Nope... so then you think "ok, so we look at the configured controller and that determines, which instrument he wants to play". Sounds good at first. However, I probably want to have all my instruments connected at the same time - so having only one active instrument (as previously) doesn't cut it.

Well, then you think: "The controller that the player used to open the setlist" will determine which instrument he plays. Right....but what about the keyboard? Is that a guitar or drums? Especially with software like "joy2key", the keyboard should be allowed to represent both controllers.

Ok, so now all instruments are connected at the same time and your controller determines what instrument you're playing. But previously, each player used to pre-configure HIS instrument. So how do we now distinguish the two players. Mmmh.... turns out that the whole concept of having "two players" is broken. I mean, picture yourself playing multiplayer and one of you plays drums, the other one guitar - what does it matter, whether you're "player 1" or "player 2"?

So that's how a seemingly small change ripped apart the whole previous input concept.

Task for you: Consider the implications of adding a Mic to the input system, which doesn't even have buttons on its own.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stage Diving

GZ2 doesn't have 3D stage - yet. It's got a pretty moddable 2D stage, video stages and one that shows a static image. Still, I struggled for quite some time to get a 3D stage, because none of the models presented by the GZ community would import. The .fbx or .x importer would always throw one error message or another and most people didn't have the patience to try different exporters until it worked out. I know, it really sounds like the simplest problem in the world, but try fixing a broken file when
a) People don't have the patience to use different exporters
b) You don't actually have a modelling tool yourself.

However, I just tried the model that derelict68 sent me and....*TADA*'s the first one that actually imports into the game ;) It might look simple to some, but I'm really happy that he obviously managed to find a working exporter! Here's one of his screenshots, so you get the idea:

If I didn't currently work at the "heart of the game" to implement drums, I would immediately start playing with his stage - nice work!

The game without a name

Right.... so I agreed to write a blog about my game development efforts. So, before I actually get into blogging, let's establish some common ground:

What are you working on?
I'm currently working on a game that doesn't really have a fixed name. People common call it one of these:
  • Guitar Zero 2
  • GZ2
  • GuitarZ
  • Frontman
What is the game about?
It's a Guitar Hero-clone. It basically lets you play famous rock songs with a plastic guitar.

What does it look like?
Have a look at these two Youtube-Videos that feature the game with different mods:

Guitar Hero Mod:

Rock Band Mod:

Looks pretty good already. So what are you working on RIGHT NOW?
Well, Rock Band came out and pretty much added a whole new dimension to the genre. I wanna do the same with my clone, so I'm trying to get Drums, Mics and basically even full band play working within my game.

So it seems that it doesn't matter that the game does not yet have a final name. "GuitarZ" just ain't gonna do it anymore...