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Ksyon

Mighty Miners

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Ksyon

Well this is awkward.

 

I've been working off-and-on at what was originally a fan-remake of - stop me if you've heard this one before (no, please don't) - Lego Rock Raiders for about three years now. I eventually decided to rebrand it into a new IP so that I could use it to properly christen a new game development circle, Rocket Jumping Spiders. Upon making that decision, I decided to wait until I had scrubbed all of the assets I had ripped from the original game out (got to keep myself safe legally, after all) before I went showing the project around too widely (though I haven't exactly been hiding it, and I'm sure some of you probably already know what I'm talking about because you stumbled upon my site via Google - the steady trickle of new Discord members I've gotten over the years has to have come from somewhere). Well, now the game is clean - everything in the game is either self-made or comes from a royalty-free database, leaving a functional, if not very pretty, work-in-progress build I'm comfortable getting out there and promoting! Yes, I am aware that there are a good many "Rock Raiders Remake" projects on this forum - ones that look a hell of a lot prettier because they don't want to be anything more than fangames and thus happily use the textures and models from the original game - including one that made it's public debut... let me see here... five hours ago. Like I said, this is pretty awkward. But I made a promise to myself, and I'm kind of in a tight spot in my life where I kind of need to be bold, so it's time to submit myself to the terrifying ordeal of being known!

 

Mighty Miners, is, as mentioned previously, a spiritual remake of Lego Rock Raiders. Unlike most of its contemporaries, I'm designing this game with a fully original IP in mind to be sold on Steam as hopefully the first of many games under the banner of my game development circle, Rocket Jumping Spiders (so putting this under "Fan Games" is a bit of a misnomer, but this is were all the other RR remakes on the site make their home). Because of this, the game has no assets directly taken from the original game, which means that in it's current early stage of development, it looks kind of like... this:

Alpha%201_0%20Screenshot.webp

It's... minimalist, to put it lightly. Actually it's barely functional and one of my top priorities that I hope to have done by the end of the month is to redo the textures to be a bit more readable.

 

So what does the current build have? Well:

  • 14 levels, all of which are technically brand new, but most aren't exactly subtle about their roots. Mind, you, not all of them are beatable, because the game doesn't have water or air vehicles quite yet. By this time next week, I plan to have all 34 of the levels planned for the game put into place - I've got them all mapped out as image files, it's just a matter of actually making real levels out of those maps, and I ran out of time before I promised my Discord channel I'd have a new build out.
  • After clearing the mission on a given level, you unlock the ability to play that level in excavation mode, where you're given a time limit and scored on how quickly you can collect as many energy crystals as you can. You also unlock a free play mode, a pure sandbox mode with no objectives or restrictions. Levels in the game are designed with excavation mode in mind - most are significantly bigger than you'll ever have reason to explore when clearing the mission alone, with the intent being that you come back to it in the other modes for the "full" experience.
  • Five of the ten planned buildings are available to build, though the tech tree is slightly different from what it was in the original game. You also have access to 3 vehicles, the equivalents to the originals' Hover Scout, Small Digger, and Small Transport Truck.
  • Priorities are fully adjustable, and saved to your save file. No more having to re-adjust your priorities at the start of every level! Oh yeah, there are also save files.
  • A functional in-game level editor! It's not pretty, and has some notable features missing, but it's 100% operational - you can build and save levels and then immediately load up your save file and play them! Custom levels are only playable in excavation and free play mode.

 

Plans for the immediate future (as in, by the end of this month) include implementing the remaining 20 levels and replacing the textures to make them more readable. If you want to hold off until at least then to give the game a spin, I perfectly understand, this post was mainly to announce to the world that this is a thing that I am doing. I'll be coming back here to update everyone as the project continues to progress.

 

If you do want to try out the build as it currently stands, you can download it here.

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aidenpons
4 hours ago, Ksyon said:

Well this is awkward.

Wow. Yes. Definitely. :P

 

I gave it a whirl- no, actually, I tried to give it a whirl, but couldn't get past here:

large.umhelp.png.665610f5b154075ed979d77fcc5345e9.png

 

I can read Breaking New Ground just behind the text there but seem to be unable to click on it. Hammering keys on my keyboard does nothing too. And it took me way to long to work out how to scroll down. Just move the mouse to the bottom of the screen. I should have thought of that sooner.

If I scroll all the way to the bottom, Unlimited Drill Works appears as what looks like a clickable button, but trying to click it does nothing. I could read the text and I did like the level puns, so well done there ;)

 

I'm also a little unsure on how to use the level editor - how do I play a level I've created and how do I actually put down a starting builder or miner? (Also where does it save its levels? I want to poke them to see if I can do stupid things with them :P)

 

4 hours ago, Ksyon said:

Unlike most of its contemporaries, I'm designing this game with a fully original IP in mind to be sold on Steam

You know, that's actually a pretty good idea. :P Do you have any ideas for a different theme or is it going to be more miners drilling more stuff in more caverns? I noticed explicit references to slugs in some of the level names. Also if it's moddable we would be able to create our own themes

 

Regardless of how awkward this may be, I would like to give some nice comment but am afraid I'm unsure how to progess past the level select screen final boss OP pls nerf. :P

 

 

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Ksyon

That is unusual. What's happening is that all of the buttons are covered up by the "veil", that's supposed to prevent you from selecting levels lower down that what you've unlocked (those buttons should be non-interactable anyway, its main job is to put the message saying how to unlock the next tier in the correct place). I had noticed some discrepancies between how the veil was placed when testing in-editor and how it was placed in the actual build, but I didn't expect it to get that bad. I'm pretty sure, though, that it's an aspect ratio thing - try setting the window to a wider resolution for now, and I'll put "make the level select veil not aspect-ratio dependent" on my list.

 

Custom levels aren't playable on a given file until you've unlocked excavation and free play modes by beating two levels. Once you've done that, two arrow buttons should pop up on the sides, and you can get to your custom levels by clicking the left one. Obviously I didn't expect such an egregious obstacle to clearing two levels in the first place. When editing a level, you can place starting buildings and miners by clicking on the "objects" button on the right. Note that the only things you can currently place are Tool Stores and basic Miners - no other buildings or vehicles (yet). Also, you can't rotate them - they will always face directly up. Keep this in mind when choosing where to put your Tool Store, and leave the tile directly above it clear so it can lay down it's starting power path properly. Unit placement is probably the most blatantly unfinished part of the level editor and is only barely functional, but it does work.

 

I found my save data under AppData/LocalLow/RocketJumpingSpiders, so I'd recommend looking in that direction.

 

Update: I looked into the aspect ratio issue, and turns out it's really easy to fix. Hotfix incoming - please wait warmly

 

Update 2: Hotfix done and uploaded! Follow this new link to download the fixed version: https://www.patreon.com/file?h=29274243&i=4320487

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Ksyon

While playing through, I noticed that We Will Rock You wasn't finishing properly, which is kind of important, given that it's one of the major bottlenecks to progress in the game at large! New hotfix is up: https://www.patreon.com/file?h=29294796&i=4323552.

 

I'm not sure if this constant stream of hotfixes reflects well on me (because I'm responding promptly to any issues that come up) or poorly on me (because it's obvious I barely tested this build in the first place).

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aidenpons
9 hours ago, Ksyon said:

I'm not sure if this constant stream of hotfixes reflects well on me (because I'm responding promptly to any issues that come up) or poorly on me (because it's obvious I barely tested this build in the first place).

I mean, the only difference between this and Manic Miners was that I put all my bugs under a Discord server where they are fixed, a patch comes out, and then the bugs are buried under miles of text (usually more bugs found by me. :P ), whereas yours stay in a post available for all to clearly see. :P

 

I did try again in a different resolution which worked!. I haven't yet played enough (only a couple of the early missions) to know what I'm doing or make a full evaluation, but some things I'm sure you're aware of:

- you cannot tell miners to directly pick up dynamite, which kinda sucks

- Dirt is too similar to Ground for my liking, although I understand you're revamping the textures

- when trying to place buildings, if the power path (the "not building" bit, the bit that's the extra Power Path) is not valid it shows up as red correctly, but if it is valid it doesn't show up at all (which can be a little confusing)

 

I'm impressed with how far this has gone! Hidden caverns, vehicles, priorities (which I have not yet tried to break), and an impressive AI.

I can't help but feel that it's too similar to LRR, especially if you're trying to create something different that you might be able to eventually commercialize. There just didn't seem to be anything that wasn't in LRR already - and the levels didn't hint at anything that wasn't a part of LRR (I noticed an explicit mention to slugs and IIRC there was erosion in too).

 

That's not bad, and it's nice to get that LRR feel, but for something new it didn't feel like it had enough that wasn't LRR.

 

I will hopefully write a little more when I've played it a bit more!

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JimbobJeffers

Awesome, there's nothing to feel awkward about as this is a great project standing on its own! Where are you going to be getting the textures from? Texture libraries like Poliigon can be used in commercial projects if that's the end game

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Ksyon
6 hours ago, aidenpons said:

- when trying to place buildings, if the power path (the "not building" bit, the bit that's the extra Power Path) is not valid it shows up as red correctly, but if it is valid it doesn't show up at all (which can be a little confusing)

 

Believe it or not, this is actually because the textures are so crap right now! What's supposed to happen is that the tile gets tinted yellow, but the brown tile has no blue in it so when you try to make it "more yellow" you get the exact same color out. You'll notice it working better when you play an ice or lava-themed level.

 

6 hours ago, aidenpons said:

I can't help but feel that it's too similar to LRR, especially if you're trying to create something different that you might be able to eventually commercialize. There just didn't seem to be anything that wasn't in LRR already - and the levels didn't hint at anything that wasn't a part of LRR.

 

I'm definitely banking a little hard on the fact that LRR is a 20 year old game that can't be bought anywhere, doesn't run properly on modern hardware, and the company that made it doesn't exist anymore. The biggest contributions are definitely the addition of a score attack mode and level editor (and I also have plans for a procedurally generated "level of the day" feature"), but outside of that I'll readily admit that this is a LRR remake in all but name. I feel reasonably safe going down this path as long as I avoid using any assets directly ripped from the original game and change up the names of anything that seems particularly "trademarky" (mainly the vehicles).

 

1 hour ago, JimbobJeffers said:

Awesome, there's nothing to feel awkward about as this is a great project standing on its own! Where are you going to be getting the textures from? Texture libraries like Poliigon can be used in commercial projects if that's the end game

 

For the time being I was just going to draw up my own textures in PDN - I can't promise they'll look great, but I can make something that works better than the current setup. Making the game look good isn't something I'm going to concern myself with until I have all of the features in place, and I'm hoping by that point I'll have enough support to get real artists to help me spruce things up, though I'll keep Poliigon in mind as an potential option as well.

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Ksyon

Version 1.3, which includes all 34 levels planned for the final game, is out now! You can get it here: https://www.patreon.com/file?h=29486822&i=4354557.

 

It has 25 missions to complete, just like the original Rock Raiders, but as you clear levels, you will also unlock "bonus" levels playable in excavation and mission modes. Many of these bonus levels are "retro" levels paying a bit more direct homage to levels in the original game.

 

Because you can't actually unlock every level from a fresh save yet, I've included a little "cheat code": holding down Left Shift while starting a new game will give you a free 100% clear file with every level beaten and five fully-trained miners to start with.

 

My next priority is drawing up a new set of textures, to make the game a bit more readable.

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Slimy Slug

That latest link throws a 403 error when I attempt to open it.  Not sure what's up there since the previous Patreon links worked for 1.1 and 1.2 respectively.

Also unsure if this is a thing on my end or not.

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Ksyon

Figured it out - I'm using Patreon for my file-hosting and I forgot to set the post to "public" instead of "patrons only". I think I fixed it - try downloading it again.

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aidenpons

Yay, now I can actually tell the walls apart! :P

The style reminds me a little of Vector Raiders. (Mostly just because it uses few colours and doesn't intend to look like real rock yet. :P)

 

Will give it a whirl when I don't immediately have everything due yesterday :/

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Ksyon

New Alpha, and this one's a pretty big step forward! You can get it here: https://www.patreon.com/file?h=30169700&i=4479614

 

Alpha 1.5 adds 7 more vehicles to the game, bringing the total up to 10 of the 12 planned for the final version! Every vehicle except for the two laser-based ones are in the game, including the Levi Lifter, Mighty Miners's version of the much promoted but never playable Tunnel Transport!

 

With seagoing and aerial vehicles now in the game, levels that were previously unbeatable due to needing to cross water or lava can now be cleared, making this the first build of the game where every single level planned for the final version is not only included, but beatable.

 

Finally, the criteria for placing buildings has been changed. Previously, buildings had to be placed on regular ground, and the front-most tile that would not contain the building itself but instead provide access to the building had to be adjacent to a regular power path that was not already part of a building or providing access to a building. Whenever I got people who weren't already familiar with Rock Raiders to try previous builds of Mighty Miners, they unanimously got tripped up regarding what exactly they needed to do in order to actually place a building. It just wasn't intuitive at all - just look at how much of a mouthful it was to explain it above, and those who don't already know what I'm talking about are probably still scratching your heads! The new system is that buildings can only be placed on top of already built power paths, and no longer care about what's adjacent to any of their tiles; only the tiles that the building will actually be placed on matter. You still can't make use of a power path that's already housing or providing access to an existing building, but the game is more upfront about telling you "hey! this tile's occupied and that's why you can't use it". The weirdness of building a power path to place a new building next to but only in a particular way has been replaced by a system of building paths to serve as the foundation for each new building, which should hopefully be easier to intuitively understand for new players.

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Ksyon

I'm planning on streaming myself playing the latest build of Mighty Miners tomorrow from 6-8pm central time, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the original Rock Raiders game!

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Ksyon

The next major update (Monsters) is making slow but steady progress, but in the meantime, we have music now! Jiggery Ponkery has agreed to provide Mighty Miners with an original soundtrack, the beginnings of which you can hear in this build! I also took the time to fix some bugs and add some requested quality of life features.

 

Full Changelog:

  • Music will now play within the game's levels. 3 tracks are currently included, of varying lengths and levels of completion.
  • The game will be muted if you alt-tab out of it or focus on another window. An extra button has been added to the Advanced Options to toggle this feature on or off if you wish. (Feature suggested by Jiggery Ponkery)
  • When you teleport a vehicle into the level, a miner will automatically come to drive it if they are able to, without needing to be directly ordered to do so. The Priorities Menu has been updated to allow you to toggle this on or off if desired. (Feature suggested by Trotim)
  • Fixed a bug where volume settings would reset to default values on entering the main menu or loading a new level.
  • Fixed a bug where landslides would not adjust their volume to match your SFX volume setting.
  • Fixed a bug where unmanned vehicles would rotate when you recalled your miners.

You can download the new version here: https://www.patreon.com/file?h=32333583&i=4843436

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Ksyon

Possibly. I've been acutely aware of the lack of attention I've gotten over the past few months, even when I was updating regularly, and I figured that everyone was just happy with Manic Miners and the demand for my own project just wasn't there, so I have been considering other options for my "first release". My current plan was to get out tiny demos of other ideas and then put it to a vote on my Discord channel on which project to develop further; my hope is to have that ready by Mid-May, at the latest. If the people here voice a lot of support for Mighty Miners in the meantime, I may come back to focusing on this, otherwise I'll make a post here announcing when the other demos are done and the poll is open, so that people here can take a look and cast a vote, either for Mighty Miners or another game, if one of my other concepts catches their fancy.

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Cyrem
On 3/22/2020 at 12:12 AM, Ksyon said:

Possibly. I've been acutely aware of the lack of attention I've gotten over the past few months, even when I was updating regularly, and I figured that everyone was just happy with Manic Miners and the demand for my own project just wasn't there, so I have been considering other options for my "first release". My current plan was to get out tiny demos of other ideas and then put it to a vote on my Discord channel on which project to develop further; my hope is to have that ready by Mid-May, at the latest. If the people here voice a lot of support for Mighty Miners in the meantime, I may come back to focusing on this, otherwise I'll make a post here announcing when the other demos are done and the poll is open, so that people here can take a look and cast a vote, either for Mighty Miners or another game, if one of my other concepts catches their fancy.

 

To be completely honest, I'm more interested in this remake than Manic Miners. First and foremost I value traditional programming (rather than visual) like you've done here. Most of your effort has been toward the game play first before graphics, an excellent direction.  Lack of advertising for popularity and honesty about your intentions with this shows you're just out to build a good solid game, which I admire. Unreal is even more bloaty than Unity. Though I realize your intention was to develop this into your own game with no RR assets, it would be great if this was open source, myself or someone else would happily pick it up and continue it should you decide to do other things. That said it's your project and I'm sure anyone can respect your choice as to what you will do with the project. You've done really well.

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baraklava

I don't think you should give up on it unless you don't feel like working on it anymore. You've already established that you are making a game different from Rock Raiders though, so why let Manic Miners discourage you? While Manic Miners has a lot of content and focus on Rock Raiders fanservicing, you have a more solid/pure coding base that performs well and is remarkably bug-free. Manic Miners has taken more shortcuts through the Blueprint system and will require some serious coding optimization efforts before it performs well on all sorts of hardware. For me to transform it into its own game and launch on Steam it'll take quite a bit of effort, effort that you've put into your game already.

 

I have played Mighty Miners a few times but I always find some frustrations in design decisions and in how the game plays, such as how there is almost no user feedback and how the AI appears very basic. If you'd like, I can give you a detailed feedback list and maybe a reflection on how I'd solve those issues. I don't know how dynamic your base code is though, maybe there are more problems with the programming base that discourages you from working on it.

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Ksyon

Sorry for the late response - I had to be away from my main computer for two weeks and was having trouble logging in on my laptop.

 

I still want to see this through as far as I can take it, but I also want to be living on my own and have a real budget to pay people to help me on the art side of future games. I have about five ideas that I can scale back enough to be workable as a "first release", but scraping the money together to get proper art/modeling/animating done for even one of them will be a tall task, so I have to be very selective with which one I actually commit to.

 

When I first visited this site in late 2016 to scope out what kind of reception a project like Mighty Miners might receive, there were about a half dozen RR Remake projects that had gone a year or more with no updates without getting much farther than the prototype I was sitting on at the time. I had held back from sharing my work at the time because I wanted to debut with something way far ahead of the "competition", something that would wow everyone and convince them that this was the one that was actually going to happen and not just fizzle out like the others. Manic Miners was the last thing I expected when I came back to these forums to make my announcement, and while I'm well aware of two cakes theory, if my goal is for a game to sell enough copies to fund at least another small game, maybe the project that is, by all appearances, deep in the shadow of a free fangame is not the one, and Mighty Miners may have to wait until I have the money to put a few thousand into commissioning modelers/animators and not have to sweat bullets over how well it will perform on Steam. Sure, Mighty Miners is "different from Rock Raiders", but not enough, I feel, to avoid bumping shoulders with Manic Miners, and if I was going to alter the game enough to truly avoid such comparisons, I would ultimately shed the Rock Raiders veneer off entirely and just make an entirely different game out of the same basic foundation (the game that this would result in is, in fact, one of my other four "first game" candidates).

 

When I last left the project, I was in the middle of implementing monsters, and I want to at least finish that sooner rather than later, but I think once I get monsters and slugs into the game, it will be at a point where I'll be content to leave it for however long it takes for me to get a better ground under my feet that will let me push the game to its completion without it being a huge risk. At that point, the only major features missing will be the minimap/geology system and laser mining, which aren't really essential to the core gameplay, and the game as it is will be a more or less complete, if rather sparse and not very pretty looking, experience.

 

With all that said, nothing gets me more motivated to make games than talking about the games I'm making or want to make, so I very deeply appreciate the responses I've gotten and the chance to respond to them in turn. I'd love to see a more detailed feedback list, from Baraklava or anyone else!

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