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Dicey is a clone of the old Playstation game Devil Dice. The game is played on a grid of dice. The object is to match the value on the top of the dice by rolling and sliding the dice around. You need to match up two dice with a 2 value on top to make them sink. Likewise, three "3" dice will sink, four "4" dice will sink, and so on. Dice with a 1 will make all the 1's sink when placed next to a die that is already sinking. It sounds complicated, but after a little practice it gets much easier.

Project Status: On hold, possibly indefinitely. I've got too many other small projects, and there's no interest at all in this project.

What Needs to be Done:

     - Verify movement rules. Seems to be finished, needs testing

     - Add game types. Only basic "Go for high score" game is implemented. I'll probably add the "Kill each other players" game type soon.

     - Improve game levels. Currently, the level goes up when 30 dice are sunk. To increase difficulty with levels, the game will fill all the empty spaces except for (20-level) spaces. So, at level 20, it fills all the available spaces every pass. Somehow, I still managed to get to level 32 today...

     - Balance levels based on gameboard size as well as number of players

     - Implement special types of dice.

     - Once game class is set, rewrite DirectX portion. Right now I'm only using very basic graphics, sound, and input, just to test the game class. I'll need to re-do most of it

     - Remove the dependence on DInput from the game class. I'm trying to make the base class as stand-alone as possible.

     - Improve front end and score displays. Draw the die that the player is riding separate (like the original) so you can see hidden faces easier

     - Possibly add network code, to play over a LAN, or hopefully the internet

     - Find a graphic monkey that can do some simple 3d players and nicer dice, at the very least...

     - Make AI rely less on rand()

 

Downloads:

     Grab these at your own risk. Like I mentioned, I'm not even at alpha stages, so it can be very buggy.

 

     12/3/2003 Source Code - I've decided to release my source. It's not as commented as I'd like, but hopefully someone will find it interesting and useful. Its almost entirely game logic, the graphics and sound portions are relatively basic.

 

     Note: These require DirectX 9.

     5/14/2003 Build - I've finally got all traces of random movement out of the AI. It might look like its running around at random sometimes, but it's actually following a computed path. But it is still full of bad logic, so it will do some strange things. Two AI players on a 7x7 board easily get past level 20 though (I saw a couple get to level 35!), so they do pretty well. Because of the lack of random movement, sometimes 2 or more AIs will start moving as a pack, so you'll have to shut off their AIs to split them up. Finally, there might be a crash bug hiding in it somewhere...

     5/5/2003 Build - The AI now has a working brain. It not a smart brain, but it works great under the right circumstances. Try it out, again using 1-5 on your keyboard to toggle between Human and AI for each character. There may be a crash bug or two lurking in this version, also.

     5/3/2003 Build - Yep, finally, an update! I finally finished the framework for AI. Right now, you can toggle a player's AI by pressing their player number (1-5) on the keyboard. But, it's very very dumb AI, don't expect anything good yet.

     Also, I added in another game mode. The rules are the same as always, except that 1s, 2s, and 3s don't do anything, ever. I call it "Hardcore", but on my first try I got to level 19, so maybe its not hardcore enough... :) You can select this game type from the front end.

     3/15/2003 Build - I fixed the remaining movement glitch, I think that's pretty solid now. I fixed some sound bugs that caused sounds to be played twice sometimes. I added a few more sounds, and changed the "Game Over" sound. They sound much better, but still need work. Its pretty solid right now. I think adding game types is next...

     3/12/2003 Build - I fixed the scripting I broke with the DirectInput stuff. I tweaked a lot of colors, and made the screen larger by default. While trying to get rid of the ugly black dots between dice I turned on bilinear texture filtering, and my frame rate improved. I guess I'll be keeping that. Probably a few other minor fixes too. It was a long, tiring week in San Jose...

     3/1/2003 Build - I turned on lighting, which looks nice, but may crash some people. I use directional lights without checking to see if your card supports them. I don't think that's an issue though, if it was a point light I'd have to worry. DirectInput is working, and you can configure input for all 5 players. I only have a keyboard and 1 joystick though, so I cant be positive that it will work. I know that I can control 5 players with just my joystick though. :) I put my old player "model" in. Still needs a ton of tweaking, its far from polished.

     2/20/2003 Build - Can now record and playback games. I've added a sample game (my best ever!) that you can watch. Maybe it will give you a better idea of how to play, until I add more scripting for tutorials. The front end had more options added, so you can record and playback games. For now, it only uses one script, "TestScript", that will be written over if you record a game. I also added a few new sounds. They're still not so great, but better than me talking I think.

     2/16/2003 Build - Basic front end is in place, and a level system is working. If you can make it to level 20, you're pretty dang good. If you can make it to level 30, well, you wont get to level 30. :P You can select up to 5 players, but only players 1 and 2 are usable. Players 3-5 will just sit there.

     Also, I added an orthographic camera. Toggle between perspective and orthographic by hitting P. increase/decrease orthographic volume (zoom) with V and B. I cant decide which camera I like better. Perspective looks nice, but dice in back get hard to see. Orthographic is disorienting at first. Maybe once I get lighting in, the shading will make it better.

     2/14/2003 Build - Fixed Win98 bug. Started to work on a level system. Now, the game is much easier. So easy in fact, that you cant lose. The game will occasionally fill up the board so up to half of the board is covered. This has problems, as well, but at the very least its much easier to play.

     How to Play - Due to popular demand, I typed up some quick instructions. I hope they make sense. Its very hard to describe things without being able to show you in game. But I am working on in-game tutorials.

     2/10/2003 Build - Player moves accurately now, including animation. Still much too hard, but the foundation of the basic game is there.

     2/3/2003 Build - Includes very ugly sound. I talked into a microphone for some quick placeholder sound. I don't recommend playing it, its too annoying. :) Use the arrow keys to move player 1, and WASD to move player 2. You can move the camera with the keys IKJLYH; IK for the y-axis, JL for the x-axis, and YH for the z-axis.

 

     Old version. I made this a long time ago, but scrapped most of it. Because of the way I did things, it became very hard to tweak movement rules, and add features. I was focusing on graphics at the time, and adding a game to it while I learned. That didn't go well. :)

 

Screenshots:

DiceyV0.6

DiceyV0.1

Old Dicey

3/1/2003 build

2/3/2003 build

Old version

 

 

Project Diary:

     2/11/2003: It looks like I fixed the problem with Windows98. I'm amazed it worked at all on XP. I'm still having weird issues with VS.NET. I have problems disappear by commenting code, compiling, uncommenting the code, and recompiling. Going to start running things through VC6 when I hit a strange problem.

     2/14/2003: Started game level system. Need to make it so dice spawn, regardless of how full the board is, after a certain time. Started using CVS for source control. Now if only I could make it auto-increment my build number.

     2/14/2003 part2: It seems that I'm stealing a lot of CPU cycles somehow. Running Winamp and Dicey on a slower computer is interesting. Independently, they show almost no CPU use. Together, both of their CPU usage spikes. Bugger.

     2/15/2003: Huh, it seems drawing text with full transparency makes it so you cant see the text. Who'd have thought? :P

     2/16/2003: The game actually seems like a game now. Still need to add a tutorial, but that'd involve adding some sort of scripting, and I've been putting that off. Still a movement graphic glitch I need to fix (smashed players look unsmashed for a sec when they move).

     2/19/2003: I've got the basics of scripting in. I'm using the game to build script data, and then replaying it back. I actually got it to work halfway decent, but the way it runs now the replays only work for a few seconds. Then, because of differences in frame rates while recording and playing back, the player in the replay ends up diverging from what was recorded. I think I have a fix for that, but that's going to take some rewriting of my main game loop. So far it also only works if I make a game with 2 players, otherwise it crashes on a free(). Yay!

     I've also redone some sounds. I made a new "clunk" by hitting my laptop case while my cheapo microphone was pointed on it. I made a new "slide" by sliding a box on my laptop case. I then processed the heck out of both using FruityLoops, so they don't sound quite as crummy. I got a new "zap" from some zappy sound I found online, and just adjusted its pitch a little and added a touch of reverb. And, it still sounds pretty bad. I guess I'm no sound engineer.

     2/20/2003: Holy cow, scripting works flawlessly. Although I only have 2 script commands (make rising dice, and change player input), but thats enough to record a game and play it back. And it works! Holy beans.

     2/25/2003: Took a few days off, and played a lot of games. Bad me. Started working on DirectInput, so I can get joystick and gamepad support in. So far, Dinput says I have 2 mice. Hmm.

     2/28/2003: Got DirectInput working pretty well. Now I think you can actually play with 5 people, if you have enough controllers or can crowd around your keyboard. Enabled lighting, which looks nice, but will probably cause trouble. Put in my old player "model". Found an ugly bug that allows players to move dice out form under other moving players, causing them to fall on the ground. That's no good...

     3/10/2003: Spent last week at the Game Developers Conference. Noticed that I borked my scripting with the last update, and fixed it. Also fixed a movement glitch, and gave players a position offset so they don't draw on top of each other. Probably caught a couple other things while I was gone too. Started trying to make some nicer dice with free 3d tools. That's not going well... Maybe I'll work on music or something. Still need to fix one movement bug. You should be able to push players that on the floor with sliding dice. Currently, players in the way get smashed, and that looks odd...

     3/12/2003: Still mostly working on making better assets. If anyone can recommend a decent 3d modeler that's free or cheap, let me know. I've been playing with Blender, and that's not going well. Just building a cube, texturing it, and exporting it to a useful format is like pulling teeth. Actually, pulling teeth is probably easier. I played with the Milkshape3D trial version too, and its not nearly powerful enough. If I cant make a cube that is exactly centered at the origin, and exactly 1 unit cubed, then that's not powerful enough. Keyboard entry is a must, I cant do things freehand.

     4/22/2003: Woo, been a while since I updated. I've gotten sidetracked with other things for a while. I've been trying to beta test four games simultaneously, and trying to find places that need programmers. In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about the direction of Dicey. I will finish it, but I don't think it will be nearly as full featured as the real Devil Dice game. There's nearly no interest in Dicey so far, so I'll probably just polish up the basic game, and maybe see about making some AI. Then I'll be on to my next project. But, it will get finished!

     5/3/2003: Framework for the AI is in place, I just need to finish writing all the AI utility functions. Then maybe I can get to writing actual AI logic. Right now the AI picks a direction solely through the use of rand(). Its fun to set up a large game with 5 players, turn on all of their AI, see how far they get and who wins.

     5/5/2003: I've created a monster! My AI's brain is starting to work. Right now, the brain only knows how to make paths to positions that create a match. So, the AI will see if it can find a path, and if so follow it. Unfortunately, when finished it will fins a path from that position. So, if it finds another path, it will destroy the match it just made. I put in a quick hack so the AI will potentially leave newly created matches alone, but it is far from reliable.

     The AI will only knows how to roll dice to make matches. If it cant find a good path, or its on an unrollable die, or its on the floor, or anything else, it will move randomly. So, it still looks like a mess. But you can tell the AI is working. With 5 completely random AI's on a 7x7 board, I saw them get to level 13 on normal, and only level 1 on hardcore. With 5 new AI's on a 7x7 board, they got to level 33 on normal, and level 10 on hardcore. Thats quite an improvement. Level 33 and over 3000 points isnt too shabby for AI that goes in a random direction over 80% of the time. Later I'll record myself playing against 4 AI, and see how poorly I do.

     Edit: I just finished a game with 4 AIs, in normal mode, on a 7x7 board. I beat them as far as points goes, with the closest AI having 3000 points less. But, we made it to level 71! There's a sure sign that the level system needs work... I should really use an 11x11 board with 5 players, at least.

     5/10/2003: I've been making progress on the AI, but I haven't released a new version because I've actually made it worse. If it doesn't get stuck, it does amazingly well. But it gets stuck a lot, moving back and forth over and over, and that needs to be fixed. I've also fixed a few crash bugs, and hopefully the last movement bug.

     5/12/2003: Well, the AI gets stuck a lot less. But, it still happens now and then. I have the AI keeping track of dice that it is matching up, but it seems like it's ignoring that list. It actually looks much more random now, even though it doesn't use rand() anymore. It still doesn't know how to get to a rising die, so if it gets stuck on the floor it will sit there. I've also got a new crash that has me confused. A few more days, and I should have a new release ready.

     5/14/2003: The AI does really well, but it still does some stupid things. Lots more work needs to be done. I think I'm almost at the point where I can focus on AI logic though. So far, I've been writing little tools that the AI will use in pretty basic ways. Once they're bug-free I can make the AI use them better.

     12/03/2003: I finally decided that this project is dead for a while. While I've always had ideas for improving it, I havent had the time or drive to implement them. There is virtually no interest anyways, which makes it hard to bother with it. Plus, Devil Dice 3 (Bombastic) was released in the US, so I have that to play, instead of being forced to write my own version. :)

     I've also put the source code up for download. Maybe it'll help someone.

 

 

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