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Shatterloop updates / playable alpha
Posted: Posted April 28th
Edited June 27th by Xhin
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  • You can't currently save the game. Whenever you refresh or reseed, all your progress is lost. Don't get too invested in anything.

  • There will probably be weird bugs until I rehaul the codebase. I do know that discoveries are currently buggy ever since I added biomes and caves.

  • I'll be working on it intermittently (going to try to start doing it daily or every other day, along with NIFE) adding various new features which I'll post here. These features might be broken and/or might break other stuff.

  • I guess the point of making this an alpha is so other people can experiment with it while I implement various stuff. I'll try to make it stable enough for that.

    Basic Stuff
  • The game procedurally generates a landscape, which I've posted about here:
    http://gtx0.com/read/some-procedural-generation-ive-been-making-video http://gtx0.com/read/procedural-generation-can-sometimes-give-some-crazy-unexpected-results
  • The landscape is generated with a three-color palette. One of those colors will be "solid" (which means you and non-flying animals can't move through it). There will also be some random "resources" which are almost always a different color than what's in the palette.

    How to play

  • You are the O.

  • Use the arrow keys to move up, down, left and right. You can also hold these keys down. You can't move through solid stuff. When you move, the landscape will just scroll around you.

  • Press the shift key to move down a dimension, or press the spacebar to move up a dimension. You can do this without restrictions or limits (and this is something that's staying in the final game).

  • If you get stuck, start out surrounded by solids, or want to get past a barrier, you can move down a dimension and then move back up, or vice-versa. It's a useful traveling technique.

  • If you press z and then a direction, you'll move two spaces in that direction. You can also press z 2 times and move three spaces in that direction, and so on. Useful for skipping over solid tiles.

  • If you press x, then when you move you move 2 spaces and can move through walls. Useful for surveying an area. Press x again to exit this mode. Also there are some bugs here -- nothing game-breaking but you might quit moving fast randomly. Just press x twice to fix it.

  • There's a big "Reseed" button down at the bottom of the page. This will change the entire universe.


  • Step on a space that's colored differently from everything else to "collect" that resource.

  • At the moment, this can either be a "coin" in one of 5 currencies or a "shop" where you can buy and sell various random crap. (more on that in the Trading section). Coins are usually between 1-2 in that currency, but occasionally you'll get something worth 5 and even rarer you'll get something worth 20 or so.

  • Once you collect a resource, it disappears, which unfortunately means that you'll have to find another shop with the same color if you want to buy/sell stuff there again.

  • Resources are also palletized -- at the moment, normal dimensions have between 3-5 resources, while Cities have 5-10 and Troves have 10-15.

  • Any resource you discover will go into the "Discoveries" list which will load whenever you visit that dimension again.

  • If you're lazy, you can press M and it'll scan all the discoveries in the dimension for you. This currently doesn't have any limits, but will at some point.


  • When you're on a buy shop, you'll see some amount of random crap to buy. Click "Buy" to buy it. You'll have to keep clicking it if you want to buy more than one of that item.

  • When you're on a sell shop, you can sell any item in your inventory. Again, you'll have to keep clicking "Sell" to sell it.

  • The value of a piece of random crap varies depending on the dimension's currency. So you'll need at least two buy shops and two sell shops to set up something profitable, and that's even assuming you can afford some smaller items in the first place.

  • On any deal, you can click "Jot" which will then rename that shop to that deal in your discoveries list. Useful if you're trying to set up something profitable.

    Building stuff

    At the moment, this serves no purpose unless you're trying to trap an animal or clear out a path through solid stuff. I'll be working on it some more over time (see the planned features reply below).

  • Press Q and a direction to add the color in that direction to either your "floor paintbrush" or your "wall paintbrush" depending on whether it's solid or not. You can see these colors in your inventory, in the two circles after "Paint".

  • Press W and a direction to paint a solid wall in that direction.

  • Press E and a direction to paint a floor in that direction.

  • Press D and a direction to paint a "Door" in that direction. A door has to be bordered north and south by a wall you've placed and east and west by a floor you've placed, or north and south by a floor you've placed and east and west by a wall you've placed. A door appears as a gradient based on what's around it and you can walk on it as though it were a floor.

  • Press P and a direction to place a Portal. At the moment all a portal does is teleports you to dimension -5 and pretty close to the origin. Maybe useful if you want to get back to the origin without refreshing and losing all your progress, but probably not.

    Dimension types, biomes and caves

    You can see whether a dimension is a "Trove" or a "City" next to its number.

  • "Cities" have a black/white/gray palette and have fewer coins (which are also only worth 1-2 always) but more shops of both kinds. The terrain also generates differently.

  • "Troves" have more resources, but a larger color palette which makes them confusing to find. The terrain also generates a bit differently.

  • If you move onto a blurry-ball looking thing you go down into a cave. Caves are smaller, grayscale (sometimes confusingly so) and generate differently. They also have different resources. In a cave you can press the spacebar to go back to the main world, or find another blurry-ball looking thing to go down a cave level (you can't press shift). There are some differences below level 5 if you can make it down that far.

  • On non-trove non-city dimensions, every 300 tiles you'll enter into a new "biome" where things generate differently.


    This is the featureset I'm currently working on so it'll change a lot over time.

  • When you're in Dimension 0, some symbols/letters will randomly spawn and move around in different ways. Nothing you can really do with them right now, though if you wanted to you could try to trap them (the ! is particularly hard to trap).

    Point of this post

  • I guess play around with it if you want. I'm going to be adding things over time and posting updates here.

  • If you see any generation you like (that isn't on a Trove, Cave or City), there are some numbers and symbols at the bottom of the map. Copy those down and post them here with maybe a picture and seed/dimension and I'll try to favor good generation like that.

    In my next reply, I'll outline what I want to do with the game / am working towards.

  • There are 33 Replies
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    This sounds like it will be fascinating!
    I’ll see whether I can try it out!

    Posted June 1st by chiarizio
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    Animal behavior works pretty well, I've coded out all the basic movesets and the "random pattern" movegroup in general. I also implemented "move rotation" which has enabled a kind of "circle around something" pattern that all the animals are currently doing. It also paves the way for spin attacks.

    I have some other more complicated systems I'm working on, but I'd rather get a skeleton of the whole combat system in place before I start adding more depth.

    I did a bunch of reorganizing of my code too -- a single 2000-line javascript was waaaaay too unwieldy, so I have the project separated into 8 files now, and will add more over time. I've also got keys separated out as part of an upcoming keymapping update.

    As far as hardcoded keys go, you can press i to idle in place -- good way to see what animals are doing without moving (right now they're circling around you, which is neat).

    So up next, I'll be setting up a basic combat system and then I'll start doing some basic player attacks and enemy attacks as well. Whenever those are done, I'll flesh them out a lot more and maybe start trying to randomly generate enemies and particularly battles (for the next few updates, battles are going to happen all the time in dimension 0).

    The end goal is to have:

  • Some interesting combat mechanics that makes the procedurally generated terrain actually mean something besides just blocking your path to resources.

  • Interesting player combat that encourages players to buy and/or craft useful weapons.

    I can then maybe actually get started on towns or resources.

  • Edited June 1st by Xhin
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    Sky's the limit

    I've got some basic combat in place now. Here's a good seed to test things:
  • Each animal has a background color, which corresponds to a section on the right that records their health.


    To turn on attacking mode, press caps lock. Now when you press a direction, you're attacking in that direction. There are also other things you can do here. To turn off attacking mode so you can move around again, press caps lock again.

    If you press control and then a direction, you can attack diagonally:

  • up -- up+right
  • right -- right+down
  • down -- down+left
  • left -- left+up

    Attacking mode will show your current weapon and its properties below the map, and will also give you a list of weapons on the left. While in attacking mode, you can press a number that corresponds to a weapon to change over to it (ex -- pressing 3 swaps over to the Staff Knock weapon).

    Each weapon works a bit differently:

  • Thrust -- This is a basic attack. Press one of the arrow keys (or use ctrl+arrow key for diagonal directions) and if there's an animal there, it'll hit it with 5 damage.

  • Skewer -- This only does 3 damage, however it has a Ram of 1, which means if there are two animals in a row, it'll hit both for 3 damage.

  • Staff Knock -- This doesn't do any damage, but it has a Knock of 3, which means it'll hit the animal back 3 spaces (provided there isn't anything solid there). This will also knock animals past other animals without issues.

  • Shield Smash -- Similar to the Staff Knock (with a Knock of 2 instead of 3), except it has a Crush of 10, which means if there's a solid where you're knocking the animal to, it'll deal it 10 damage, which in this limited test run means it'll instantly kill it.

    Random stuff

  • I have the system set so if an animal dies, a new one is created to replace it.

  • I've got animals spawning closer to you so they don't get stuck in walls as easily.

  • Animal movement is the clockwise rotation pattern I made earlier, and their speed is randomly set to between 1-3 (meaning you get 1-3 turns before they get a turn).

  • Animals move immediately after you take an attack if their speed is 1, so knockbacks might look kinda weird.

  • It might make more sense to test close-range combat in a seed that's less open -- this is a good seed for that:
  • On the whole, I've got a pretty nice framework set up already so the other weapon types I've covered in other sections should be pretty easy to set up as well.

  • Posted June 3rd by Xhin
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    Sky's the limit

    I added a few new weapons:

  • Half Spin -- In weapons mode, when you press a direction, the attack affects everything within 180 degrees clockwise of that direction -- so for example if you press east (right arrow key), the attack will affect anything directly east, southeast, south, southwest or west.

  • Full Spin -- Hits everything in all directions around you (north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, west, northwest).

    Both of the spin weapons have a knockback of 2 so it's easier to see their effects.

  • Crossbow -- It'll hit anything within a range of 4 in that direction. Should be pretty intuitive, except for the lack of animations.

    These properties are customizable already -- The "spin" property for example dictates how many other directions an attack will hit, and the crossbow's range can be tweaked as well.

    I also made it so 9 animals are spawning at a time so these and older weapons are easier to test.

    Animal colors are also fairly randomized -- I want to fix the text color thing before I make them universally randomized.

  • Edited June 4th by Xhin
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    Sky's the limit

    A couple more weapons changes:

  • Changed the "Range" property to "Max Range" and added a "Min Range" property -- crossbows now have a min range of two which means you can't hit anything immediately next to you.

  • Renamed the "Ram" property to "Pierce", and added it to ranged weapons like the crossbow.

  • Added Stun Arrows -- these are a ranged weapon that don't do damage but stuns the animal for 10 turns (preventing movement and also attacks when those start happening)

  • Added a Grappling Hook -- a ranged weapon that pulls an enemy 2 spaces closer (or whatever the "Pull" property is set to). It's basically just a negative knockback.

    I don't really have much left at this point:

  • I want to add a "hammer" weapon where you strike the ground and reverberate damage through it.

  • Thrown weapons and thrown weapon techniques

  • Grappling and leapfrogging type moves

  • An ammo property for ranged weapons and axes

  • I need to generalize all the weapon functions at some point so they're easier to work with.

  • I want to set up some kind of combo system for damage bonuses or other perks that chains together basic moves.

    Anything past that point is going to deal with what weapons actually *do* rather than how they *act* -- something I'll save until after I build a skeleton for animal combat and possibly magic attacks as well.

  • Posted June 5th by Xhin
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    Sky's the limit

    Is this a flash game? Or something that we can download?

    My advice to people making a game: Keep it simple. Eliminate bloated concepts that have nothing to do with the core gameplay, then simplify the mechanics you have already come up with even further until the game is comprehensive and fun.

    Many first-time game developers make a vast mistake in that they try to make an overly-complex game. It's just not worth it when you're one person... You've got to keep your sanity!

    Posted June 7th by Laxan
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    It's all written in javascript so yeah, you can either play it online or you can download it and play it offline.

    Posted June 7th by Xhin
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    Sky's the limit

    Eliminate bloated concepts that have nothing to do with the core gameplay

    Yeah I've done that a lot already. The core of this game is basically interacting with a big open world where everything is randomly generated -- but there's some actual depth and design here, for example:

  • There's a lot of depth in the actual generation. I've already got the terrain to a point where I have no idea what the generation will do anymore. Ideally the whole game is like this -- algorithms so convoluted even I can't predict what will generate.

  • Things are randomized, but they're also "palettized" -- meaning you get a limited range of things per area. Each dimension uses only 3-4 colors for example, but then there are also a limited amount of biomes, each with a limited amount of resources. You have to actually go to different dimensions to see different things. Similarly, enemies are extremely limited -- you get maybe 3-4 different types per dimension, which allows you to learn how to best interact with them. Towns don't contain every building type -- sometimes there won't be a Smith or an Aviary or whatever and you'll have to go to a different town to get what you need.

    I'm trying to emphasize fun over grinding / inventory management / other traps these kinds of games tend to fall into.

  • Posted June 9th by Xhin
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    Sky's the limit

    I should probably check it out, send you some feedback.

    Posted June 9th by Laxan
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    It's rough. Very very rough.

    There shouldn't be any game-breaking bugs, but the user input/interface is the opposite of polished and most features simply don't exist yet, including saving. Don't get attached to anything!

    That said, it's come a long way from this:

    Posted June 11th by Xhin
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    Sky's the limit
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