KREEP, radioactive.

Hi everyone!

Long time no see. It is, that time of the year, everyone gets sick, first my fiancée, than me, and shortly after my cat followed :(. Still had some time to work on KREEP, but had no energy to prepare and post updates lately, sry. But, HUGE update this time 🙂 !

It looks like I can keep the middle of October release. Last two weeks were mostly about extra content, polish and “would love to have it, if time allows” features, upcoming two will be similar as I’m preparing for launch 🙂 ! Biggest addition this time is a so called “graphics revamp”. After I’ve finalized the menu, I looked over the remaining tasks, plans and parts where I wanted to beef up the atmosphere and looks of the game. I’ve introduced some new audio-visual effects where I felt it was necessary to have more cues about certain events (e.g.: re-spawn, teleport etc…), and tried to enhance the overall visual looks of the game with a glow and scan-line effect.

I know, that people are divided regarding pixel art + programmed effects, like: glow, scan-lines and shaders, so the effects, as seen in the video, can be fully disabled, but I really like the end result, and I think it fits and enhances the style of the game, so they will be on by default.

Little technical details: I know, adding effects like these to a game is no biggie from a technical standpoint (just a few line of HLSL or GLSL from the net and you are done 😀 ), but I thought I throw in a fun-fact about my solution. I used the fixed pipeline only, no shaders. No I’m not out of my mind :D, also I know how to apply a simple blur in a shader :P. Simply I found it refreshing/interesting to do it this way, and since it was a relatively simple thing (XNA/MonoGame due to it’s DX9 roots allows it without any hustle), it wasn’t more complicated doing it in an old-fashioned way.

Here is a little technical overview of my rendering steps:
KREEP graphic effect renderer pipeline.

Little cheat: the actual glow part (steps #1 to steps #5) is repeated multiple times, due to groups of sprites covering each other and hence the “glowing” pixels too, like one for the map and one for the UI elements on top of it…
The core logic is essentially down-sampling than up-sampling using an off-screen buffer and LINEAR clamping (blur) and overlaying the result using ADDITIVE blending (glow).

Added some new sprite effects, for more “readability” of what is happening. They work like a charm!

Teleporter effects:
GIF from KREEP, teleporter sprite effect.

Re-spawn effects:
GIF from KREEP, re-spawn sprite effect.

Score counter:
GIF from KREEP, kill counter sprite effect.

Latest addition to the UI was the “KREEPometer”, showing the progress of the KREEP occupying the level:
GIF from KREEP, the "KREEPOmeter" ui widget.

Also, I think the glow and scan-line effects add a great deal of extra life to the UI:
KREEP screenshot #14

Been active adding new maps to the game. Next time I’ll post some more screen-shots, but here is a pic about the “Gargantuan”:
KREEP screenshot #15
The pest alarm signaled the crew into the engine room of the largest ship in the fleet.

By the end of next week, the game will be in a quasi finished state. I think only minor patching will be needed here and there. I will try to come up with an exact date (probably somewhere around 16th of October) and other details about the release, plus will put together some cohesive writing about the project.

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