While I’m emptying my brain, here’s another concept that I actually created a little prototype for a few weeks back. The working title is Snipet as it’s a game in which you control a variety of household pets as they work to clear a sniper’s line of sight to their target. Sniper-Pet. Snipet. Not over the moon with it, but it’ll do for now.
I picture it starting out with you just controlling a cat, as that’s what gave me the idea in the first place. Cats love to knock shit over. There’s a vase on the mantelpiece blocking the sniper’s line of sight, so you jump up and knock it over. BLAM. The sniper shoots his target, hooray for you. Maybe in the next level though, the target has a dog, so you have to complete whatever puzzle awaits (Knocking shit over) and then after you beat the level, you recruit the dog to your team of sniper-helping animals. The dog can do some things that the cat can’t, probably knocking over much heavier things like tall lamps or TV’s or something. Then you recruit a mouse, who can crawl into a vent and unscrew a chandelier to knock it down, then you recruit an iguana, who for some reason I imagine using his prehensile tongue as sort of a grappling hook to get to other areas of the room and perform some sort of task.
It’s obviously an idea that needs some polish, but that’s the basic gist. It’s a puzzle game where you need to use your growing team of animals to perform specific tasks to solve increasingly difficult puzzles. Let me know what you think.
A game idea’s just popped into my head and I want to get all my thoughts down in writing while they’re fresh. The working title is “Drive Up” and that handily doubles as the instruction manual. It’d be a 2D multiplayer game where the screen is constantly shifting upwards and the players control cars who can drive up walls and on platforms that drop through the level. You can also jump, boost and perform special abilities that can be retrieved from floating bubbles. Your primary objective is to outlive your opponents, either by just continuing to stay in frame while they fuck up and drop below the bottom of the screen or by actually making them drop down by way of your special abilities. Maybe you’d be able to pick up something that blasts other cars away from you and can use this to bump them down or off of a wall. Things like that.
This concept is inspired by Rocket League, which I’ve been playing quite a lot recently, but also by Stick Fight: The Game, which is I think one of the most fun multiplayer games I’ve ever played. Maybe it can be a bit whacky like Stick Fight but I’d want to focus on making the controls really tight so that there’s a high skill ceiling, like Rocket League.
It’s also a game that I think would be very easy to add onto. Things like different obstacles and different abilities, differently shaped falling platforms but not different car stats, as I like the Rocket League model of cars being functionally exactly the same and skill being the deciding factor.
I think it’d be a fun game to work on and quite challenging, as I’ve never even attempted a multiplayer game before. Let me know if you have any thoughts.
Hope you’re all keeping well and safe and not having to ride fucking buses or tubes to work if you’re still in lockdown. I hope those of you who are no longer in lockdown… Erm… Just don’t rub it in.
So my plate’s been too full for To Spring lately. I know, I’m so changeable. I’ve actually been preparing Franjo: Slumberland for the last few weeks which has eaten up a fair amount of time, then I had a breakup which left me feeling quite unproductive for a while and then Player Power released, so I’ve been trying to keep on top of fixing bugs and adding little things based on feedback. It’s insane how even in a time when we’re indoors 24/7 I don’t have time to do all the indoor shit I want to do, but oh well.
Player Power’s release has got me thinking about To Spring though. PP’s a small game but I’m comfortable in the knowledge that it’s a complete game. I might add different game modes further down the line, but for now it’s a perfectly functional little arcade game. It’s been niggling me that I haven’t been able to say the same about my vision for To Spring. Currently, technically, you could complete a run in about 2 minutes by just running from left to right, hiding from the bear for 30 seconds and then running some more. Uploading a game to Steam costs £100 and as much work as I’ve put into To Spring, I just can’t talk myself into it being worth that to me in it’s current state. Luckily, this morning I had a brainwave and I want to run it past you.
I’ve Made A Third Of A Game
To Spring, in it’s current format, follows a fox running across the tundra and diving under the snow to find lemmings while evading bears. What if the game starts out with the player as the lemming! You come out from your little hidey hole to eat the frozen plants that already litter the tundra while avoiding bears and foxes. It’s the same deal though, you can find as much or as little food as you like and this will determine how many of you and your young will make it to Spring. Then you play as the fox, hunting the lemmings that you’ve hopefully grown relatively attached to and then you play as the bear, hunting both but having both try to evade you. This way there are 3 acts, you make your way up the food chain and the final “Spring Room” that I’ve still not got around to designing can just pan across and allow you to see which creatures (if any) survived, along with their young. This feels like a more complete game to me and is one that would be easily worth releasing on Steam.
So, What Still Needs To Be Done?
Right. So we’ve still got to build the Spring Room for the ending, but now we’ve got to add the following things:
Lemming sprites and animations
Lemming mechanics, including walk, run and dive under the snow to evade predators.
Make foxes able to roam, similarly to how bears do at the minute.
Make bears controllable.
On the face of it this looks like a hell of a lot of extra work, but I don’t really think it will be. The first 2 points I will have to make from scratch, obviously, but the last 4 I think will be just copying and pasting from objects already present in the game. The lemming and bear controlability (WordPress says that that’s not a word, but WordPress can shh) can be copy/pasted from the existing player object or even worked into the existing player object, which is probably the smarter, but more fiddly way to go as I’ll have to cordon different sections off into the different animals.
I’m still splitting my attention at the minute but I’ll have a go at implementing some of this and let you know how I get on.
Stay safe, wash your hands and Merry Christmas, you filthy animal.
Ello ello! Hope you’re all alright and staying as germ-free as possible. You’ve caught me in a good mood today as not only is To Spring approaching completion, but I’ve finally got around to getting Player Power to the “In Review” stage on Steam.
It turns out that publishing your first game is just as difficult if not more difficult than creating the bloody thing. I made this simple 2D football arcade game in 2 weeks using a Macbook Pro and pretty much all of my evenings and weekends back in August. Yes that’s right, I stayed in and avoided human contact before society collapsed and it became cool. My plan was to release it on the Apple Store (OSX only, not iOS), which I did after jumping through a million different hoops which involved getting an apple developer account, downloading and wrestling with Xcode and filling in a metric tonne of forms. Then I would build the game for steam on Mac and use a friend’s PC to build it for steam on Windows. As it turns out, there’s not a lot of documentation whatsoever to help release a game on steam for OSX so after 3 actual months of banging my head against that brick wall, I gave up.
The steam page was pretty much complete from when I’d filled in all the details in August. All I needed was a working build and a trailer. Then my macbook died and I resurrected my old desktop computer in the new year, but it’s taken me 4 months to build up the strength to try and tackle this again. On Friday evening though I downloaded the extremely unintuitive video editing software named Lightworks and brute forced my way to a trailer, which you can find below, and then by lunch time the next day, the build was ready too. Turns out it’s a lot easier on Windows to upload things to Steam, although I did have to pull a little bit of my hair out and ask my mate Chris to share my screen and help me.
All this is to say that it took me a while, but we’re finally at a point where Player Power is up for review on Steam. Hopefully it’ll be released fairly soon, although there is a notice on Steamworks saying the review process is taking longer than usual, what with the apocalypse and everything. Here’s hoping To Spring doesn’t take me until bloody Christmas to release.
I’ll post again when Player Power is available to download! Until then, cover your mouth your sneeze, wash your hands and keep the drawbridge to your house raised when not in use.
Afternoon! Hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend and I hope even more that you’re maintaining your primary and secondary portcullises. Portculli? Who cares. I’ve just finished watching season 2 of Afterlife on Netflix. I cannot think of a single Ricky Gervais television series that doesn’t know how to punch me directly in the heart. Anyway, the game. I’ve been putting in a few little touches and tweaks the last few days, most of which won’t really be noticeable but there are a couple of things to note:
My Bear Scared The Shit Out Of Me
I got some feedback from my mate Chris that the bear could do with being able to run after the player instead of just plodding along behind you at a safe distance. To be honest, I think I always knew this deep down but I just couldn’t bring myself to make another bloody run cycle. I powered through however and the bear will now run after the player at a speed of 13 pixels per frame. The player’s run speed is 12 pixels per frame, so the bear not only chases you, but now it’s faster than you. Get hiding.
A couple of other little touches I added is that now if the bear has been alerted to you but has then lost track of you because you’ve hidden, it will come over to the last place it saw you and stand there for a moment before moving on. Also as you may have noticed, it now spawns to your right as oppose to your left. I’m not sure how I didn’t think of this earlier, but spawning the bear between you and your destination seems like a pretty obvious thing to do.
I’ve not forgotten what I called this section by the way. My bear did scare the shit out of me, but I need to tell you about another touch first…
“x Lemmings Caught” alert
This one of the more game-y touches I probably should’ve added earlier, but I’ve added a little line of text that comes up and drifts to the bottom of the screen when you catch a lemming, letting you keep track of how many you’ve caught so far. It also plays a tone to compliment the tones for charging your jump, although as this one represents the payoff of your dive, I made it a bit more special by giving it some echo and mixing in a bite sound.
But Anyway, My Bear Scared The Shit Out Of Me
So yeah, there I was testing out my new text line and tone. I went across the map catching all the food I could and seeing if I liked the way the tone sounded and how fast the text drifted down etc. All the while I’d completely forgotten about the changes I’d made to the bear. So I’m running across to the next foodspot and all of a sudden this massive fucking beast appears to the right of my screen, roaring at me as it’s feet thunder across the snow, the dissonant music wailing in my ears. I jumped out of my fucking skin, tried to run away, got hit twice in quick succession and died, after which I grinned to myself. “I’ve done alright with that bear.” I thought. It was a nice feeling.
Please enjoy the above demo. I’ve also made a new tileset for the cave, in which all I’ve really done is replace the snow with more dirt so didn’t think it worth getting into detail about. We’re really getting close to a finished game here! I’ve done everything I wanted to do in the Winter Level, now I just need to make that Spring level I mentioned last time.
Until then, keep your hands and germs to yourself and take care.
Evening ladies and gents! I sincerely hope that no strangers from a rival household have touched your face since last we spoke. I’ve got a lot to catch you up on so hold tight, I’m delving straight into the deets.
Zoom, Glorious Zoom
I made the mother of all breakthroughs! Get the fuck in there! I was showing my mate Tom the newest video (Over Whatsapp, not in person. I’m not a fucking psychopath) which included the bear. His feedback was that the bear wasn’t big or imposing enough. It didn’t feel like enough of a threat. I didn’t really want to make the bear any bigger, but this did give me a fantastic idea: What if instead of making the bear bigger, the camera zoomed further in the slower you’re moving and zoomed further out the faster you go?? It’s a brilliant solution to the vision headache I’ve given myself over the last week or so, even if I say so myself. For example, if you’re running along searching for food, the view opens up and you can see more of the map, but if you’re cowering under a pile of snow as a bear passes by, the camera zooms right in, making you feel insignificant and helpless as it’s huge, beefy legs crash down in front of you. Tom then capped off his fantastic performance in our conversation by saying “Maybe too cheesy, but could the frame or the ground rumble slightly as it walks?” Yes it fucking could, Tom.
The astutest of you will notice I gave the rumble the same treatment as I’ve given the bear sounds, in that it gets “louder” (or more intense) as the bear gets closer and fades away as it walks off. So the above video is the condition I left the game in last night and I felt chuffed to bits. In about an hour and a half of extra coding I felt like I’d created much more of an atmosphere of horror in these moments where you’re hiding from predators. The thing is, the bear didn’t actually do anything if it saw you. Until today.
I spent this afternoon writing a looooot of logic into my bear. If you get within it’s inner radius, it stops. If you get to the other side of it and it sees you, it turns around and follows you. Eventually though I took a long breath and dived back into sprite work. It didn’t take long actually, as I only ended up creating a neutral pose for the bear and moving one of his front legs up as the attack. It’s not the best animation I’ve made and I may come back to it later when I’m looking to add finishing touches, but it’ll do for now. I sorted the bear’s footprints too, as they look quite janky in the above video but now look basically fine. I’ve also added new sound effects for the bear. You may have noticed the booming footsteps before, but there’s also now a roar, a swooshing sound made when he swings his arm and a… Sort of splatter sound when he hits the player. This brings us to our next point…
Death Comes To Us All. Even Foxes
Now THIS sprite work took me a while longer and every moment was heartbreaking. If the bear can attack, the fox has to be able to die. Every game needs a lose condition. I made an animation that starts with the neutral player pose and sort of falls awkwardly to the floor. As it stands I think a 2 strike rule is fair enough. The player can withstand a single hit from the bear, but after the second, it’s game over.
I Feel Awful (But Fairly Smug)
Hey let’s dwell on this whole death subject for a bit longer because when the bear hits the fox, blood now spurts out too! It’s not too gory, just a few flecks that fly off in the direction you’ve been hit. I was actually quite pleased with myself for the way I implemented this. You may remember a few dev blogs back I mentioned that dust effect that I nicked from Shaun Spalding. Well the dust now takes a colour into consideration: Grey if I want snow to fly up, red if I want blood. Quite a tidy use of code if I say so myself.
Final Touches Of Note
Last couple of things before I break out the demo video tying all of this together: Firstly, I’ve added a lot of fade outs and fade ins. After deaths, before the title screen etc. And secondly, I’ve just implemented a logo screen that comes up before the game starts. The logo is a reused sprite from Player Power and is essentially an in-joke with myself until the game launches on Steam, along with my initials underneath. I call it “Sad Chicken” and it too fades in and out.
So yep, that’s been my extremely sedentary weekend. Hope you’re all keeping well and have a great week.
Hello you wonderfully resilient bastards. Hope you’re not going too stir crazy and that you’ve not yet resorted to cannibalism or worse still charades. To Spring’s undergone a bit of surgery since I last posted, including major changes to 2 of the things I mentioned in the last blog:
Goodbye Pre-Created Snowpiles
I never did solve that bug that made only 1 of the 10 snowpiles on the map work properly as a hiding place. I don’t know the problem and I no longer care, because now we hold a middle finger up to society and create snowpiles wherever we choose, like James Dean would do if he were a 2D arctic fox. Holding the Down or S key will now build up snow around the fox and hide her until she stands up or steps out of cover. You can also lie down behind snowpiles that you’ve already created to hide! I much prefer this way of hiding as it doesn’t rely on being close to a randomly generated hiding spot and offers a more organic solution. It also looks a bit better IMO.
Goodness I’ve been quoting myself more than is probably healthy recently, haven’t I. Enable your manliest voice for this one:
“So what did I do with this behemoth of code that I’d built up over days, maybe weeks of tinkering? I binned it.“
“Fuck off, Spotlight.” I thought as my cursor hovered over the “Delete” option. I never liked it but for a short while I wanted to persist in making it work as it’d been such a pain in the arse to program and was the first time I’d ever messed with different surfaces in GMS2. My right index finger came hammering down on the left mouse button like an executioner’s axe, obliterating the shit feature from my game. It felt good. I’ve not yet decided how I’m going to achieve making the visuals more obscured while moving slowly or standing still, but it’s not like that.
Hello Menu & New Fonts
I’ve implemented a very very simple starting menu. As before, the protagonist starts lying on the floor to the left of the screen (Now covered in snow) and the menu appears in the middle, with a title and the option of New Game or Exit. I don’t think I’m going to have a save function as the game will be very short unless I decide to drastically lengthen it. The title and menu options are written in a brand new font:
And the tutorial messages now use the font:
Both of these are from http://www.1001fonts.com and are free for commercial use, unlike the previous tutorial font I had installed.
Oh yeah, also I made a bear
Now that the important stuff like menu font is out of the way, there’s just time to mention that I made a fucking bear. Finally. All he can do at the minute is spawn after the player has collected a certain amount of food and then walk slowly to the right of the map. I have also implemented the logic that means it is aware of the player when you are close by and not hidden, but as it stands this does nothing to change its behaviour. Also the walk animation is janky, but as I’ve mentioned before, I find walk and run animations reeeeally difficult so that’s a work in progress.
I think that’s all the new info I have for you today, so please enjoy this short demo and have an excellent weekend. Ciao bella, ciao bella, ciao ciao ciao.