TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Everything about this tennis manager game

TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 16 Mar 2017, 18:41

>>> If you have any comment, head there, as this topic is locked for clarity (ie: it'll have only my posts in it) => topic11-27584.php . <<<

Hello,

here the 1st post of this mini Dev Blog, which will let you know what's going on about TEM2 development.
And hopefully, it'll be the 1st of many..! ;)

So, last time I wrote anything about TEM2, it was on last December 23rd 2016 :
manutoo wrote:sorry, this is a big bad news... :(

I worked barely a couple of weeks on TEM2 in the past 3 months, so the January date, either for a final or a beta release is long gone. Now, I'm hoping for a May or June release.
This means that December 2017 for an early Beta of TE4 is the best actual hope, but it may even slip further away again.

On a brighter side, I reworked the ball physics & some of the strike physics and the result is pretty nice so far, although still not perfect, it's more realistic than before, giving a more dynamic and nervous gameplay ; now I have to tune the IA a lot to make it understand the changes, and it also still likely needs more strike tuning to make everything fit together.

www-mylife : (or why I'm getting so delayed)
For the ones of you who don't know, I got a baby with my wife in last June, and it has been a struggle for both of us to adapt to our new life, so I had to help my wife a lot ; also, I love to spend time with my son and see him changing & evolving almost everyday, it's really a fascinating & special time in my life... :love4:

On top of that, I got an incredible and seemingly unending of small and not-so-small annoyances coming into my life, which always stress me, worry me, and take my time, my focus & my energy away from work... Every time I think it's over, new sh*t is coming my way, and I'm really not talented to take care of so many things at the same time... :fear:

I can only hope it'll get better soon... Lately, the streaming of nuisances seems to lower a bit, maybe it'll get dry soon enough...


So since beginning of February, I have finally been able to get back to serious work. To get my mojo back, I actually worked a few days on the Forum Tennis Tournament system, as you can see here : topic13-27321.php .

After, I was able to switch to TEM2.

I didn't go on working on the realtime match improvements, though. It was feeling like a too titanic task to tackle with on a start.

Instead, I picked something more technical and less creative : reworking the player bases ! So I did the new men base, starting in 1973 instead of 1990 and finishing in 2016 instead of 2027.

Why the cut of the future years ? Because now, the fictional years will be generated in real-time ! This will allow more re-playability, as it won't be possible to know in advance who will be the best players. Right now, it's recycling the low ranked players in the base, from the past years, and it smartly randomizes their rank, like it was done in the precalculated base of TEM1/TE2013.

This change lead me to make the player management more flexible, which means now modifying the player base will not invalidate your saved games anymore ! It might crash if you remove the players needed for the Davis Cup, but except that, almost anything should work, and if doesn't, I'll count on you to report it..! :blackeye:

So all in all, I got some work done, even if I'm still not at full speed now. But that's a start ! :yes:

Moreover, kristooph is working on the menu redesign and came up with some very neat stuff :
TEM2 Main menu-011.jpg

It's an early design work only (ie: it's not finished, it's not in-game and far to be in it :P ), but it shows the direction we're taking...

Next step will be to do the basis of the Junior Tour. Right now, the real-time evolving is done only with the Pro players, while it should actually be done with the Junior players in mind.

I'll try to let you know every couple of weeks of the improvements, and hopefully you'll have a Beta to test soon enough.
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 06 Apr 2017, 21:17

Here we go for the 2nd mini-dev update ! (or dev mini-update ? :blackeye: )

So like explained in the previous post, I switched to the Junior Tour.

So now, we have about 300 Junior players in the active player list. To do so, I had to reprocess the player base to get enough junior players every year. I may still need to create some extra Junior players, that would give up tennis life at 18, if there's not enough of them to fill up the draws.

For the Junior Tournament, I decided to go with an objective of about 1 tournament played per month for each Junior player. It might be not exactly realistic, but it will keep things relatively simple, as the Junior Tour will be small enough to be quickly apprehended.

So I created the Junior Tournament base with only 1 tournament per week, with the idea that the minor tournaments will be mostly for players from the same continent/region.

That's about all I did in the past 3 weeks as I have been taken again by a multitude of little things... :sweat:

But I also started to think about the Junior gameplay. In Junior Tour, there's no money gain. So I think we'll have our player be supported by our national tennis league that will sponsor travel to ~12 tournaments per year. In Junior Tour, there's also the 4 Grand Slams and 5 other major events, so I'm still not decided if 12 is enough or not.

For the Junior Training, we won't have the same system than for the Pro training ; I think I'll let the coach (you ! ;) ) defines in what aspects to train his player, and then the training will be automatic. For example, we'll turn on training for Forehand and Physical, which will lead the related skills to slowly progress when weeks pass by. Every week (or every month ?), we'll have the possibility to change on what aspects to focus our training. The more selected aspects, the less efficient the training for each aspect (but maybe more efficient overall training ?).

Possibly, it could have 3 levels for each aspect : off / light / full.

I might even propose this training Mode for the Pro, as it'll make it easier & faster to play, if you want to play casually. (I'm also planning to add training plans ; ie: macro based training)

I think that having different gameplay concepts between the Junior & Pro Tours will make it more interesting to start at Junior level, as it won't be only 4 additional years of the same old stuff... :)

That's all for this time !
Let me know in the comments what you think about the concepts for the Junior Tour and the Junior Training. Is it ok with you or would you like to see something different ?

Goal for the next couple of weeks is to finish the Junior Tour handling and possibly start on the Junior gameplay.
ManuTOO
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 07 May 2017, 15:43

Pffff, I had a hard time to work lately, mostly because I got taken too much following politics for the French Presidential Elections that are going to end tonight... :yes:
Also, a yelling baby that needs to move around, but can't do it without supervision (or being carried) didn't help either... :fear:

Anyway, I still worked a bit, so now the Junior Tour is mostly working for the CPU players. It might need a bit of tuning to determine which players play in what tournaments, as Junior players play a lot less than Pro ones, so they usually go to tournaments in their region.

I also just added the possibility to define specific tournaments for specific years, including periodic tournaments, which means now I can add the Olympics, by removing 1 or 2 tournaments every 4 years. I can also add the switch for the Roger Cup between Montreal & Toronto. And users avid to recreate the whole historic schedule will be able to define each tournament for each year.

That's all for this time, and yup that wasn't much done in 1 month, but it's still slightly better than nothing... :aureola:

Next goals are to create the rules needed for the Olympics, and work on the Junior gameplay.

Cya soon ! (hopefully :unsure: )
ManuTOO
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 22 May 2017, 12:27

Here we go for a little update.

Olympics are now fully done, with a match for the Bronze medal and a different hosting city & country every 4 years..! I created 12 different events, from 1976 to 2024 and if you play in future fictional years, they'll roll over periodically (eg: in 2028, you'll get the 1976 event).

I also added an engine functionality to help me to work on the design of the menus : auto-reload of a .menu file when it's saved. That makes it very quick to tune the positions on the menu items and see the in-game result.

So far, one of the biggest challenges of working on TEM2 is digging through dozen of thousands of lines of code I have written years ago, some are even from TE2005, including some stuff not used anymore. So although I still remember the general ideas behind the whole code, I forgot a lot of the details, and I have to read a lot of the old code, test out things and so on to get how it works exactly. This has slowed me down a lot because it's both difficult and extremely boring... :sweat:

The good news is that now I already got acquainted again with 60% of the code base and I start to do changes & additions on a more normal pace.

Anyway, I still don't work enough, but it's getting better, and hopefully it'll go on like this... :yes:

Next objective is to work on the gameplay of the Junior players... I'm still not sure what to do exactly... Brainstorm session incoming... Cu soon for the result ! :wave:
ManuTOO
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 23 Jun 2017, 08:52

Hum hum... :oops:
I super didn't work on TEM2 in the past month, except to follow the production of the new menu assets.

Among other things, my son started to want to roam around non-stop, which means I usually cannot work a long time in a row, as he needs my help to walk. :blackeye:

So my new plan is to work on the new menus, which should require way less focus, and I'll move back to harder stuff when I'll have longer span of time available... :fear:
ManuTOO
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 30 Jul 2017, 08:58

Pfffff, I didn't work on TEM2 for almost 2 months ; time flies by when you have to take care of a baby always wanting to run around ! :o
I also spent most of my available time on Dungeon Guardians.

Anyway, I finally got back to TEM2 this week and I integrated the new menu assets & design :

2017-07 - TEM2 - MainMenu.jpg

So the new Main menu is almost done. It's still missing :
- Uppercase text for the big buttons ; I'll create an engine function for that, instead of changing the text, so it'll be more fast to switch between the 2 display modes if the need arises
- a tooltip ; eg: a box showing "Quit" when you mouse over the "X" on top of the screen
- the change of texture when you mouse over one of the big buttons, to give a highlight effect
- the little characters might be changed to the game actual 3D players (except if everybody reading this falls in love with them and don't want to see them going away :P )

So at last, the game progressed a bit. Normally, it should be easier to do the next menus, now that I'm acquainted again with the menu system, and did most of the little new functions required by the new menus.

So hopefully, see you soon enough for the next dev-update ! :jap:
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 06 Aug 2017, 13:04

And another relatively decent week of work ! :woohoo:

Ok, normally I should have done 3 times more stuff, but working at 30% of full speed is already infinitely faster than 0%..! :blackeye:

Anyway, I did everything planned last time :
- option to change any text to uppercase within the engine
- the tooltip (texture may change)
- swap of texture on mouse hover

So the menus below can be considered more or less final except for the funny little characters that might still be changed.

I also added the Month & Day in the World Tour menu, which was a several years long request from Curtis (IIRC :unsure: ).

Main Menu :
2017-08 - TEM2 - MainMenu §2.jpg


World Tour Lobby :
2017-08 - TEM2 - WorldTour.jpg


Tour Info :
2017-08 - TEM2 - TourInfo.jpg


3 menus done ; ~50 left to do... :sweat:

Cu next time for more progress ! :jap:
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== Mana Games ==

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 22 Aug 2017, 13:26

Pffff, for 10 days after the last post, I have been once more taken by Dungeon Guardians, thousand of little things, and a needy baby... :sweat:

I got back to TEM2 on end of last week, and I finally made some progress !

The new menus are taking more time than expected because they required me to update the menu system, as it didn't have all the features needed to handle the new menu stuff.

Anyway, now the required menu system enhancements should be almost all done, so hopefully, it'll be faster to convert the next menus.

Here the new Audio menu :
2017-08 - TEM2 - Audio.jpg


Now, to convert the other setting menus ! :bounce:
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== Mana Games ==

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 27 Aug 2017, 13:14

Ok, actually I had to modernize even a bit more the menu system, to complete the jump from a 2002 system to a 2007's one... ':D

Initial menus were inspired & improved from Quake 3 Team Arena ones, and they were very simple. Now, I added a few things to handle more easily the combination of image & text so it's faster to create a button with a label. Like this, it'll be a bit faster to convert the menus, the menu scripts will be smaller & likely easier to maintain.

It's still not 100% done, but it's in a decent state, so I have able to finish the conversion of the Setting menus (except a couple of confirmation screens when changing the video settings & deleting a profile).

So we're left with something like 45 menus to go... Still slow, but it's getting faster..! However, most of the remaining menus will be more complex with a lot of stuff in them (eg: draws, characters, etc.). We'll see how it goes in the following weeks.

Next week, I might be taken a bit on TE2013 so I'm not sure how much time I'll be spending on TEM2.

See you soon to know the answers to all these intrepid questions..! :blackeye:
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 17 Sep 2017, 12:31

Pffff, 3 weeks ago & 2 weeks ago I have been taken by Dungeon Guardians & TE2013 (as you may have noticed if you have followed the update topic in TE2013 forum).

Anyway, now both games are more or less done and I will likely not work on them anymore except for emergency bug fixes, if any arises.

So this week I have been back to TEM2 and I went on converting the menus, 1 by 1.

I did all the little pop-up associated with the settings & exiting the game, plus the credits menu which is still not done, as I'll add there the registration process, as it won't have a separate Key Register anymore for TEM2/TE4 (coz they give too much hassle with nowadays protections).

And here the 2 big menus I did after that :
2017-09 - TEM2 - Last Week News.jpg

2017-09 - TEM2 - Rankings.jpg


At the current rhythm (which isn't very fast), I should finish to work on the menus by end of October.

But it seems that my lovely screaming baby is now close of not taking a nap in the morning, which is the only time I can work a bit efficiently, so I'm not sure what the future holds for me... :fear:
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== Mana Games ==

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 24 Sep 2017, 14:31

Another decent week of work !

I didn't do everything I hoped for, but close enough of it.

Here the resulting 3 freshly converted menus.

The "Tour Info" section is now almost done, as it's only missing the Tournament Archive & the past Champions screens, which shouldn't take long to do. So next week, I'll likely be diving into the Player section (or the Coach section, it's still undecided right now :P ).

A comment, cheer, critic, praise or question ? Go here => topic11-27584.php

PS: my little adorable baby stopped to take a nap in the morning since a couple of days, so working is even more a struggle than before, as he's constantly calling me when his mum doesn't let him do exactly what he wants... :sweat:
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== Mana Games ==

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 01 Oct 2017, 12:19

Woh, best week of work since a very long time ! :woohoo:

I'm now pretty used to the menu conversion process, so it's getting significantly faster, even if I still can't work really full time on it.

The downside is that it's also getting boring so I'm getting impatient to be done with it... ':D

So I finished the Tour Info section, and did the whole Hire & Buy section, except for the Coach Center that still uses the legacy TEM1 art ; I'm planning to change it to a prettier version but got an issue with the 3D format of the assets... :sweat:

And I even started the Player section !

So for this new week, the goal is to do the whole Player section except the Training screen, which is the most complex.

Once all that will have be done, it will still have to do :
  • Match section
  • New game section
  • A bunch of little info screens (eg: Week Result)
So right now, the objective to finish the menu conversion by end of October is still achievable.

A comment, cheer, critic, praise or question ? Go here => topic11-27584.php
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== Mana Games ==

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 08 Oct 2017, 13:17

Another decent week of work, as I did everything planned and even more, but actually I didn't work too much, it's just that it got much faster to convert everything, especially as most of this week menus were simple enough... :blackeye:

So I converted all the menus of the player section except the training one, and even started the submenus of the training menu (eg: choosing how many hours to train, choosing sparring partner, etc.).

So for next week, I'll be converting the Training Screen, plus the Customize Player screen, both are 2 big ones, but hopefully, I'll still have time to convert the New Game menus before next Sunday..! :)

A comment, cheer, critic, praise or question ? Go here => topic11-27584.php
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== Mana Games ==

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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 22 Oct 2017, 16:48

pfff..! :sweat:

2 weeks ago, things really went badly, and thus I almost didn't work on TEM2. The Windows AppStore of Dungeon Guardians is crashing and I had to look into it and it's still not fixed right now as it is an Unity bug (the Engine I'm using), and after many tries I had no choice but to upgrade the game to a new Unity version, and now I'm waiting for the AppStore Team to check if it's ok or not.

On another topic, the most painful thing happened when I wanted to change my SSD to a bigger one, to stop worrying & spending time to try to save space. I cloned my current SSD with CloneZilla, but it bugged and was super mega slow, so I had to cancel the operation and that idiot destroyed my Windows : I couldn't boot with the old drive ! And of course, every time I tried a fix, something came into the way, and then something more, snowballing into a giant mess that stressed the hell out of me for more than 24 hours ! :suicide:

Fortunately, I have backups everywhere, so I managed to restore a week-old version of my Windows onto the new SSD (my work is on a 2nd drive, and fully back-upped on a 3rd, just in case ;) ), and this week I got back in business, although I was still slowed down with that DG issue.

However, to top it off, as I said in an earlier post, my baby almost doesn't sleep anymore in the morning and now he super needs me to play around, so my work time is cut into 20 or 30-minute sessions at best, which makes it hard to go into big things (even more than before). So I put aside the Training screen for now and I worked on the smaller & easier World Tour screens. I did a good part of the info screens popping here & there when we cruise the World Tour. There are still more to do, but we're getting there ; if I can work correctly for 2 weeks, menus should be finally done..! :yes:

A comment, cheer, critic, praise or question ? Go here => topic11-27584.php
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ManuTOO
== Mana Games ==

>> I don't answer Private Message, except if it's really a _Private_ topic <<
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Messages: 15807
Gaming Since: 24 Jan 2004, 15:38
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Re: TEM2 mini Dev Blog

Postby manutoo » 30 Oct 2017, 13:03

A new decent week of work, but nothing too crazy either..! :blackeye:

I finished the World Tour messages ; it was fast enough once I defined the couple of required templates that matched most of them.

I then moved to the New Game screens, as you can see below.

And I updated the Main Menu icons, so no more mobile kiddy stuff there..! :P

So now, I'm left with :
- Training (ie: Character Sheet)
- 3D Player Customization
- Match
- Match Presentation & last New Game screens (all based on Character Sheet, so they should be quick to convert once the Training will be done)
- Likely a few menus I have forgotten here & there, but nothing major

It's unlikely I'll finish everything this week, but let's hope so, and if not, it'll be for next week, except if bad luck comes into the way... :fear:

To answer a question in the comment section, let me show a bit of my tools : TEM2 code is in C++, using DirectX 9 as a base. I code with Visual Studio Community 2015 which is pretty nice.
However, once TEM2 1.0 will be finished, I'll port it to the Unity Engine, which uses C# instead of C++. It's not mandatory for TEM2, but it'll be for TE4, so I'll port them both, as the code base is same.

The menus themselves are in a script language I designed, and the basics look like this :
Code: Select all
item
{
   Text Player
   Image MenuSB/MenuWhiteBg 200 50

   pos 640 360
}

This shows the text associated with the code "Player", with an image under, at the center of the screen.

A comment, cheer, critic, praise or question ? Go here => topic11-27584.php
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ManuTOO
== Mana Games ==

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manutoo
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Messages: 15807
Gaming Since: 24 Jan 2004, 15:38
Location: France

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