Lumaceon's Mod Design Journal

Discussion in 'Mod Development' started by Lumaceon, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. Lumaceon

    Lumaceon Popular Member

    Hello everyone. After browsing through some of the build journals (and there are some really cool ones here), I thought to myself: "I should do one of these!" The only problem is that all the time I've been spending on Minecraft lately has been developing Clockwork Phase 2. So I decided, instead of a gameplay journal, I'd do a mod design journal.

    Now I say "mod design" instead of just "modding" because I'll be using as many pictures as possible and explaining the design process as opposed to the code logic process. If you actually are interested in seeing code, there's github for that and you're also free to ask me about it (here or there): https://github.com/Lumaceon

    For the first post, lets start with a summery of (almost) everything I've done so far. Afterwards, I'll shoot for one update per week, but we'll see how that goes.
    I began brainstorming. I had created a few test mods before, but I wanted to make a nice impression for my first public mod. Something unique was the main goal. Eventually I came up with a concept: a mod where you'd have to time the activation of certain "rituals" according to a clock. Eventually this clock turned into the "celestial compass" and I never thought of a cool way to create the rituals. Instead, the "phase" mechanic just became some efficiency buffs for utility hourglasses. Thus, Clockwork Phase was born. After a while I realized, it had basically become a random stuff mod because I didn't have much of a "game plan." That wasn't really what I had envisioned for it. I kept up with bug-fixing and the occasional enhancement, but my heart wasn't really in it anymore.
    [​IMG]
    So I was working on a block with a fancy GUI for tinkering with clockwork tools, when I reached a problem. The updated table would actually break all of the current clockwork tools. At this point I finally made the decision to completely redesign the mod and release it separately.
    [​IMG]
    For a while, this rewrite was falling into the same "random stuff" category. I came up with a variety of cool looking things I planned to add and expected myself to work them all together in the future "somehow." Sure, some of it was fun to mess around with, but it wasn't really much of a game.

    An in-world clockwork assembly table.
    [​IMG]

    A wireless fluid tank.
    [​IMG]

    A fancy sky glyph thingy (meant to be a wireless time transferal device).
    [​IMG]

    Honestly, those 3 will probably show up in the final release in some form, but it gives you a good idea just how far spread this "random stuff" really is.
    Maybe not the best term to describe the group, but what they basically were for me was a brainstorm. Not only did they help directly by giving me new ideas, but they also helped by forcing me to flesh out my own ideas beyond "it'll probably work out in some way." @D4rkWulf and @the_j485 especially put a ton of work into making a plan over the summer, so special thanks to the both of them.

    At this point, Clockwork Phase 2 has a much clearer picture of what it wants to be, and how it wants to play. Rather than a random bunch of crap, the mod will now focus on the collection of time to power "instant actions." The pickaxes instant-break, the furnaces instant-smelt, etc.
    [​IMG]

    The second big plan is to gate most of that "fun and random crap" behind something more exciting and unique than just mining and crafting. Something I had always wanted, but had been avoiding for a long while, was time travel. Yes, world generation is hard, but if it's considered the "past," all I would need to do is use vanilla world-gen and make a few changes here and there. Definitely do-able.

    It looks exactly like the overworld, except...it's not. Well that's not 100% true, there's the darkened sky. The brainstorming group (mostly D4rkwulf) really helped me out with this, conceptually.
    [​IMG]

    There was also a very odd glitch where entire chunks of the "past" world would just refuse to generate. Luckily that's dealt with now; no more puzzle worlds.
    [​IMG]
    We're almost caught up here. The current plan is to create 4 ages in the past, with the present being considered the 5th age. As you travel farther back in time, there will be stronger mobs, tougher challenges and more powerful rewards. Each age is planned to have it's own separate theme and lore, as well as it's own unique, indestructible structures that only spawn once. These structures will contain the more dangerous challenges and fancier rewards. So I began coding a way to world-gen a (custom) schematic file in the past and after a few cheese grater style accidents...
    [​IMG]

    I finally managed to get it spawning properly.
    [​IMG]

    However, the timeline will resist your unnatural presence in the past and require you to supply time as long as you're there, eventually removing you, forcefully. I also chose to gate time travel behind Minecraft's achievement system. From the start, all time travel will be locked until you complete enough achievements (vanilla or modded) to unlock a new age. This is great, because it allows me a lot of freedom to create things that are otherwise overpowered. Not only that, but it leads players to use mods that they might otherwise ignore.


    So there we are. At present, I'm working on building a bunch (around 5) of dungeon-sized buildings to spawn in the 4th age, having completed part of one of them. I'm starting off with just vanilla blocks, but eventually, I'll replace them with indestructible ones (that may or may not have a different texture, depending on the block). Then comes the "dungeonification," where I add all the deadly and desirable stuff.

    This building in particular is going to be a "paradox generation facility." The lore here is that it's a 4th age structure built by an unknown entity that "mines" alternate realities to create paradox cores. These are universes that have collapsed in around the paradox, and are basically blank-slate universes in your pocket. I can explain a lot of otherwise really strange utility items with this lore, so it works out well for me.
    [​IMG]
     
    ljfa, Type1Ninja, Padfoote and 6 others like this.
  2. Lethosos

    Lethosos New Member

    Is there any general theme to the four Ages, other than being more "primeval" the farther back you go?

    Sent from my Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron using Tapatalk 2
     
  3. dragon_fang101

    dragon_fang101 New Member

    :eek:
    Amazing! the first mod was a bit random and hard to understand but THIS!
     
  4. Lumaceon

    Lumaceon Popular Member

    Yes, and they may or may not be more primeval depending on your specific definition of the word. For progressions sake, time magic becomes more common and powerful as you go back (with the exception of the paradox stuff). The residents of said age also become more advanced. So the mod assumes entropy until the 4th age, where you (the 5th age) are considered an improvement.

    Well planned and hard to understand! :p
    and thanks, we'll see how it turns out. It's a big project which could take a long time.
     
    dragon_fang101 likes this.
  5. D4rkWulf

    D4rkWulf New Member

    The think tank xD
    Keep it up Luma :p
     
    Lumaceon likes this.
  6. Type1Ninja

    Type1Ninja New Member

    Yay! Time Travel! :D
    The only question I have is on "structures only spawn once." How do you plan on handling servers using this mod? Plus, what if you want more of the stuff from the dungeons but can only raid them once?
    Other than that, though, this mod looks actually pretty cool, and the concept of a dev journal seems pretty unique (for these forums, anyway). I'm following the thread. :)
     
  7. D4rkWulf

    D4rkWulf New Member

    I'm just a thinker, so I don't know how far we are precisly code-wise, but ideas adn concepts are changed a lot of times so it might be possible that this will change aswell, but currently it just means:
    Good luck exploring.
    About the items you don't need to worry. Some items will be craftable (if you progress a bit further) and for those incraftable rare unique items... well... we'll see.
    We will (Well... Luma will, but...) of course make sure the important items you need to progress will be available.

    ... this was just me speaking btw, I'm just a thinker so I've no idea what's going on inside the head of lumaceon XD.
     
    Type1Ninja likes this.
  8. Lumaceon

    Lumaceon Popular Member

    The fact that they only spawn once means they need to be indestructible to work well in multiplayer. It'll basically be a whole building made of "reskinned" bedrock. As far as dungeon raids are concerned, you won't be opening chests, you'll be messing around with strange devices and machines to create/modify stuff right there. Think of them like special crafting tables that only exist in one place.

    An example should help. The plan for the paradox facility is that, once you enter it's borders, a phantom-like sentinel will spawn and begin to chase you. Your goal is to lure it to a room where you can time lock it and get it to kill itself in the past. Doing so creates a paradox which activates the building, creating a paradox core (the primary "loot" of the dungeon). I may also introduce "first-come, first-serve" items that only spawn once. In that case, only the first player to get to it could use it, and anyone else would have to kill that player to obtain it. That would take some experimentation though, for balance's sake. We'll see.
     
    Type1Ninja likes this.
  9. Type1Ninja

    Type1Ninja New Member

    Awesome. This sounds very well thought out. :D
    For first-come first-serve - maybe have a config? The issue would be that some troll would come on, make grabbing the item their first priority, and then immediately log off and never come back.
     
    dragon_fang101 likes this.
  10. dragon_fang101

    dragon_fang101 New Member

    makes sense
     
    Type1Ninja likes this.
  11. D4rkWulf

    D4rkWulf New Member

    Don't worry, I was already thinking of something :p
     
    Type1Ninja likes this.
  12. dragon_fang101

    dragon_fang101 New Member

    you are working on this too? am I missing something?
     
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  13. D4rkWulf

    D4rkWulf New Member

    no, just in the think tank.
     
    Type1Ninja likes this.
  14. dragon_fang101

    dragon_fang101 New Member

    oh cool
     
    Type1Ninja likes this.
  15. Lumaceon

    Lumaceon Popular Member

    Update 1
    What I did this week: Small amount of building; also some planning.

    The original plan for the paradox facility build was a giant cylindrical shape. There were two issues with this. Firstly, I'm just really bad at detailing giant cylinders and had no idea where to start. The second problem was the lighting, which would've required a ton of clever light source placement.
    [​IMG]

    So I began with the current build a few weeks back, which has progressed at a decent rate seeing as I'm fairly good at detailing square walls. This week, I started filling in more of the second floor. What's funny is that, with symmetrical builds like this, I rarely build past the center, so it looks like it was chopped in half. There's no point in building the other side, because of WorldEdit's wonderful copy/flip/paste commands.
    [​IMG]

    I really liked this wispy detailing above the main entrance. Unfortunately, it becomes completely invisible from the ground and flying will probably be blocked in the past for balance purposes (maybe). In the end, I scrapped it for a more simple set of details, but at least you guys get to see it.
    [​IMG]

    One thing I've learned while building this is that mega-builds take a long time. I've measured this build at about 300x300 for the base and it goes up 3-4 stories. A fair estimate for the total build time is about a month or two, assuming I can progress a wall or two every day. Based on this, the mod would take roughly a year per age to release (assuming I keep the current plan of 5-7 mega-builds per age). Obviously that's not acceptable, so I have a few plans to speed it up.

    Each age could have only 1 very important mega-build and then the others would be smaller and less significant for progression (like side-quests). Once I finish the first building and confirm that it works, I'll ask a few people from the community showcase section if they'd be interested in "donating" a build or two. I can either modify and re-purpose old builds or request new ones, depending on the builds I need. Either way, if a few good builders are willing to donate, that could help a ton. I also plan on releasing the mod in a semi-perpetual "beta state" with just the 4th age accessible, then adding the other ages in future updates.

    Seeing as there will only be one mega-build per age, each one will need to unlock more than just a new bauble. Most of these will probably build off of the first one the player can access: the paradoxes generated in the 4th age mega-build, which have the lore: "an alternate reality in your pocket." The best gameplay concept I've come up with for that is a "reverse RPG." Starting off, you'd create two different kinds of "controlled timelines" in your alternate reality. The first one would be a civilization. You'd craft events to add into it, which would build up and guide potential rewards. The second would be a character (or 'champion') timeline, where you'd manipulate events in a specific character's life to build up stats. Once you have both, you could match them up and, should your character succeed in taking advantage of that civilization, you could obtain the rewards yourself. This is just a raw concept so far, so let me know if you'd be interested in seeing this or not.
     
  16. Lumaceon

    Lumaceon Popular Member

    Update 2
    What I did this week: A lot of building.

    Alright, so this week (and a half) was dedicated to finishing off the roof. I started off with a rough outline to follow, which looked great in theory. I should also probably mention that the glowstone is a placeholder for a more complicated, decorative multi-block I'm planning on adding there.
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, this roof didn't actually reach all the way to the edge and looked strange.
    [​IMG]

    So I pushed it forward a bit and filled in the roof some more. While most of the top looks great, there's the issue of the corners, which look absolutely absurd from most angles. These corners completely defy physics, and my attempt to add supports made it look even worse. I'm currently trying to salvage the corners by slicing blocks off of them, but it really does show my inexperience when it comes to roofs.
    [​IMG]

    The roof was frustrating me so I took a little break from it to add lights, illuminating the darker parts of the building. In my opinion it looks a whole lot better just by adding lights to show off details, especially at night. I also redesigned the front windows to the tint I've been using across the build, instead of just lava. Believe it or not, the windows actually have the same light level across the whole edge. Each window has a gradient going from white-tinted panes on the bottom to black-tinted panes on the top. This gives them a flood-light look that appears to effect the whole window.
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, I chose a bad time to start a modding journal, seeing as I've done nothing but build this thing for the past few weeks. There are already plenty of fantastic build journals here, so next week I'll try and work on some real mod stuff alongside the building. I tend to focus on just one thing at a time, so I'll push myself to diversify.
     
  17. Lumaceon

    Lumaceon Popular Member

    Update 3
    What I did this week: Temporal utility coding and texturing.

    I know I said I'd try to diversify, but I didn't build at all this week. At least you'll get to see something new though. Anyways, I added a simple low-end time energy storage for the start of the game. Currently, there's no way, outside of cheating, to get time energy, but that'll be fairly easy to do later. A lot of people may be against this, but the plan is for time to be a 100% manual generation process. Rather than automating days of time energy while the game runs without them, the players will need to actively gather time. As you progress in the mod you'll be able to get time significantly faster, but if I do it right, you'll never be able to truly automate it (or maybe automation will just be an end-game thing).
    [​IMG]

    I'm not super happy with the GUI, so I'll likely change it later and make it more unique. It provides a simple way to input or extract time energy to/from time storage items. Hourglasses work roughly like flux capacitors in that other items pull from them to "work their magic."
    [​IMG]

    As I said before, having time energy should feel like you're capable of skipping a tedious wait. One of the most common "waits" a player will have to deal with is block breaking. This is especially painful when breaking, say, obsidian. As long as you have some time in your inventory, the temporal excavator instantly breaks everything a diamond pickaxe, axe or shovel can break. Soft blocks like sand cost a fraction of a second per break, but obsidian will cost almost 10 seconds for just one block. Still, it's a lot of fun saving up a few minutes and ripping through a ton of obsidian.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Alexiy

    Alexiy Well-Known Member

    You do some fancy stuff. I can't even render lines properly.
     
    Lumaceon, Type1Ninja and dylanpiera like this.
  19. Lumaceon

    Lumaceon Popular Member

    Thanks very much. I basically render squares and dress them up with fancy textures; that's pretty close to lines. On another important note, sorry I haven't updated this in a while. I've been trying to avoid posts that say roughly the same as the previous one or posts that involve nothing but bug-fixing. The big reason though, is that a few people offered to help out with development, so I had to take the time to document everything and make sure they knew what the plans were.

    I'm hoping we can release an early beta version of this mod (without the time travel) by the end of December, but I won't guarantee anything; especially with December being so busy.
     
    Type1Ninja likes this.
  20. kalmondo

    kalmondo New Member

    Hey Lumaceon! I was trolling around looking for the other stuff you hinted at in the crafting paradise thread. This looks like it could be a lot of fun! did you ever get that early beta out? Also, you need any help with whipping up a wiki? Or anything else equally mundane? Can't code a Karrol more than to get a few dots, but I can do monotonous stuff all day!
     

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