Sunday, June 5, 2011

Redesigned HUD

Over the past few days, I've been working on redesigning the HUD. The HUD (short for Heads-Up Display) is a visual way of allowing the user to know there stats in game. Different games are going to have different HUDs. For example, the HUD can be designed to be simple (Super Meat Boy) or complex (World of Warcraft).

For Canine Combat, I had debated a long time as to how simple or complex I wanted the HUD to be. In the early alphas of the game, I decided on a more simplistic design:

As you can see, the game has a radar, a picture of your pilot, and some bars on the side...but...that's about it. Something you might notice is that the HUD is not very well marked. For instance, simply by looking at it, you can't tell what those blue, yellow, and red bars stand for. It turns out, the blue represents the planes boosting power, the red is the player's health, and the yellow is the amount of ammo you have. But again, just by looking at it, you couldn't tell. Now lets take a look at the players picture and the number next to it. What do you think that number is? Turns out, that is how many lives the player has left (ok, ok, you might have been able to guess that one).

I think the only part of this HUD that makes any sense is the radar. I mean, it should be pretty obvious that red dots on the radar are enemies, green dots are friends, and yellow dots are neutral.

Now, after having examined all the flaws with this HUD, lets take a look at the new one below. The following screenshot was taken this morning:

As you can see, the HUD has changed considerably. Looking at the radar, it has stayed about the same, however, the right side definitely had a makeover. For starters, the yellow and blue bars are now "prettier" and the red bar (referring to health) has been denoted as so by encircling the players picture and having an image of a cross snapped to the top of it. I'm still debating whether the intention of the blue and yellow bars are clear enough, but so far, I think yellow bar is clear due to the fact that text saying "Machine Gun" is right under it (the blue bar might get some text or image for it latter).

As for the bottom right section of the HUD, well, this might not be so obvious, but the currency used in Canine Combat is bones and the dog bowl (and number on it) refer to how much money/bones you have. As for the backpack, well I plan to add a bar next to it letting you know how filled your inventory is. Again the HUD is looking much better and after implementing said tweaks I think the intent of everything will be even more clear.

Really, complex or simple, there is no right way to design a HUD. If you are making a game, you might find that at the start, your HUD works better with a simple design, but as you add features you might find you need to starting packing more information on the screen.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Forum Registration Down

Hey guys, you may have noticed that you aren't able to post or register on the forums right now. The reason is because I've been having a ton of trouble with spambots lately. Fixing it isn't a huge priority right now for me, so I'll get around to it when I get around to it!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


*WARNING: Tech Post*

When porting Canine Combat between my Windows (NVIDIA) and my Mac (ATI), I've been noticing that my game doesn't render quite right. The reason for this is because ATI is more "strict" about what they allow you to do with your shaders. This isn't so much of a problem as it is a pain. I basically have to re-write my shaders so they work on ATI.

Basically, for any web developers out there, ATI is like the Internet Explorer of graphics cards!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine...

Can you feel it, can you smell it? Yup, it's almost summer!

So anyhow, I've been busy working towards optimizing Canine Combat. So far, I've been getting great performance on all three of my target systems: Windows, Linux, and Mac. Whatever OS your using, you should expect Canine Combat to run fast!

In other news, I had an email the other day from a Linux user who was wondering what version of OpenGL Canine Combat is using. This is a good question because Linux (via Mesa) only really supports up to OpenGL 2.x. Well, I thought since it was such a good question, that I would share the answer with everyone. Canine Combat uses OpenGL 2.1! For those Windows users out there, OpenGL 2.1 is basically the DirectX 9 equivalent. And as for you Mac users, you'll be fine. After all, Mac's just work!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Gameplay Footage

It's been a little over a month since my last post so I figured I would give you guys a treat: New gameplay footage!

The video showcases some of the new art for the game as well as outdoor/indoor transitions (seen at the end).

For some reason, the colors look a little "off" in the video from what they really should be. Not sure if it's my recorder that's causing the problem or what. It may simply be that some colors are lost in compression.

Regardless, I will post some still screenshots in the coming days, so stay tuned.

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Website In Works

Over the past few months I've been working on redesigning this site. As some of you may know, I started Gribble Games back in high school as a way to catalog my hobby, gaming projects. But, with the release of Canine Combat, I plan to take things to the next level.

Canine Combat will be my first commercial indie title. I've been putting a lot of work into it's development to try to make it the best it can be. Some of the other games I have on this site do not reflect my current ability as a developer. I feel that with the release of Canine Combat, which takes my games to the next level, that it is only fair to update the site as well.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to release more information about it's development. For right now I will say that the new site will be much more dynamic and feature packed then the current one.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Canine Combat... Offensive!?

I had a friend tell me a while back that Canine Combat seems "offensive." Our conversation went something like this:

Him: "So what is the game about?"
Me: "It's a World War II aerial-shooter game set in the dog universe. You basically fly a plane piloted by a dog and face off against other planes/dogs."
Him: "Isn't that a little offensive and disrespectful?"


You get the idea.

Anyway, back when I was talking to him, I had billed the game as a "World War II aerial-shooter game set in the dog universe." However, this is no longer the case. In fact, Canine Combat is NOT (nor was ever) intended to be set in World War II. What I really meant to say was, "The art style, technology, and theme of the game will resemble World War II, but the actual plot itself has nothing to do with Hitler or the Nazi's."

For instance some of my art is reminiscent of WW2. Take a look at the "bad dogs" flag and "good dogs" flag:

Looks familiar doesn't it?

Now, my question for you is: "Do you think Canine Combat is offensive?" I'd love to hear your emails or posts on the forum.