Game Maker Woes

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Matt Barton
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Is there anyone out there willing to help me with some game maker issues? I thought I could figure this out on my own, but unfortunately have not stumbled onto the key (and it's been almost a week of frustration).

The problem seems simple, but is apparently quite complex. I am trying to create a game with some 2D-elements like the classic Kickstart.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP4yJDGHZBc

Does anyone understand the math and physics involved here? I'm totally and completely stumped. It seems so simple, yet I'm just entirely baffled by it. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.

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Matt Barton
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it's mattbarton.exe

it's mattbarton.exe

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Nous
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I see

What's your google talk id (for IM) ? So far as I can tell you're using GM's own collision detection system - but that may not be a good option for this kind of thing. I could clarify and explain everything in IM.

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Matt Barton
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Tiles

@nous It's called "objects" in GM, not quite the same as tiles, which in GM means something decorative (IIRC). In my case, it's cubes (ground) and ramps (a 45 degree ramp).
RampsRamps

My next big task is to figure out how to make the second wheel and keep it a fixed distance apart. That's where I got stuck last time and started over from scratch.

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Nous
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How have you setup the

How have you setup the environment (the ramps, etc) ? Do you use predefined "tiles" (segments) that you lay one after another? Is it a continuous bitmap that you've made in photoshop? Is it a sequence of vertices and line segments?

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Matt Barton
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Nope. I have skype, google

Nope. I have skype, google talk, and facebook chat. I seldom use them, though.

At any rate, I was able to make some good progress today (I think, at least). I got the wheel moving up ramps. Not realistic, but I think it'll be good enough for my purposes. Now I just need to create a down ramp. I'm having a lot of trouble making the wheel go back down the ramp when it's stopped; I just had to kludge something to make that work at all and am not very happy with it. I don't know how familiar you are with GM, but I can post the code if you're interested.

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Nous
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IM

Do you have a yahoo IM or msn account ?

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Matt Barton
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Wow, thanks, DavyK! I didn't

Wow, thanks, DavyK! I didn't even know that game was based on a show, and I played it incessantly as a kid. My sister and I liked the split screen two-player mode.

I'm having lots of different kinds of problems...!

I did find one tutorial that was basically what I wanted (I can't seem to find it or I'd post a link). It had a truck and two wheels, front and back, going up and down ramps. He set it up so that the angle of the truck body would change depending on the orientation of the tires. I took that for my model, but the part I can't figure out (for the life of me) is his code for keeping the wheels on top of the road. Also, his physics isn't quite right; acceleration remains constant even going up a steep incline. Obviously, it needs to accelerate slower when going up and faster when coming down.

The biggest problem I'm having is keeping the wheels a fixed distance apart. I've tried everything I can think of, but have consistently failed. As soon as one of the wheels goes above or below the other's y, they get out of whack. Nothing I've come up with has worked.

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davyK
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Kick Start
Matt Barton wrote:

The problem seems simple, but is apparently quite complex. I am trying to create a game with some 2D-elements like the classic Kickstart.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP4yJDGHZBc

The music of that game brought back memories of the BBC programme "Kick Start" that inspired the game - they even used the theme tune...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pja9Y7JIJBg

Nous
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2 problems for the price of 3

Well you need to conceptualise two separate things and then bring them together:

1) the vehicle (shape, contact points, motion mechanics, e.g. velocity, acceleration, suspension perhaps, rotational behaviour / tipping over / etc)
2) the environment probably made out of track segments, ramps (with angle per segment, perhaps material per segment / friction)

Then you need to conceptualise how you put together a whole track and how the two (track + vehicle) work together via player input, collision detection and physics behaviour.

There is no single way of doing this - you can do it the complex way, by using a full blown 2d physics engine (I don't think that's an option here - both because you'd need to use some pretty heavy math and because game maker might not allow it) or you can choose to make a number of simplifying assumptions that compromise realism and flexibility for ease of coding and debugging.

This is probably not much help right now (so we'd need to go into a lot more detail) but it gives you a rough idea of the nature of the problem.

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Matt Barton
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Thanks
Nous wrote:

Like most things in game development, it may look simple but it really isn't unless you're familiar with the math&physics behind it!

It's always easy to profoundly underestimate the complexity of even relatively simple game systems.

Feel free to ask though, I'll try to help! Give me an idea of what exactly you're trying to do and I'll give you some advice.

Too true!

Well, the Kickstart game I showed is a big part of it. I want a vehicle (probably a dune buggy type of deal) that can go up and down ramps. I don't want to a jumping mechanic. Instead, I want players to have to figure out how fast they need to go over a ramp to leap over a chasm.

What's the right way to conceptualize that? I've been trying fruitlessly to create two wheels and go from there, but that hasn't worked.

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