What happens when pigs fly ?! (Fluffy Gunners dev update)

flying-pig

 

The last few months development of Fluffy Gunners has been at a hectic pace. But the long days and late nights are starting to pay off with new levels, enemies, prizes, spawning system, bosses and animations, amidst a-plenty of cups of tea. I’ve found that drinking from a cold cup a sure sign of a productive session!

The Alpha testing group feedback has also been instrumental in knocking the game into shape. I can’t thank those enough that have taken part, the feedback has really given me the boost I needed to step up gears over the last month.

THANK YOU TESTERS!!    YOUR ARE THE BESTERS ! !

Apart from development of Fluffy Gunners itself, I have been kept busy with the nuts and bolts of getting Nicemojo up and running. Doing it all has been a steep learning curve in the myriad of things needed to plan and start an indie games company.

I was also lucky enough to be eligible for the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme,  NEIS program, a government run program which provides training and support while getting  your business on its feet. They give you lots of information on book keeping, tax, marketing, financial plans etc. Its been really helpful in getting everything set up. It also helps that my trainer has previously  released an app, her understanding of the specific needs of people starting a games company has been awesome.

Also the community of indies is one of the most sharing and friendly out there. There are so many insights into other peoples experiences, their processes, successes, tips and pitfalls. Gamasutra and the GDC vaults are great resources with such a wide variety of articles in one place. Local meetups and social groups you can find on Facebook, and sites like Meetup.com are also great ways to get mingling with other game devs. For a solo developer these groups are  a great way to socialize, present ideas and get feedback, they are super friendly and helpful and its great to be a part of and support local developers.

There is still a lot to be done on between now and release, and if (computerized) pigs can fly, than anything is possible! I’ll be sure to keep you updated on latest developments.

 

John

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Fluffy Gunners dev blog: alpha milestone.

Christmas has come and gone and I hope you, as I did, thoroughly tested the limits of ham consumption and spent a great day with family/friends/pets .

The few weeks leading into Christmas I set my sights on getting Fluffy Gunners to alpha version to get some much needed player feedback. By Christmas eve I had it ready, just in the nick of time for a relaxing Christmas day!

For the alpha release I’ve added sound effects, UI menu transitions, a new enemy type (with a nod towards Tempest) and the main game loop implemented to be able to test gameplay.gameplay-28-12-16

During development I’ve been using Shooty Skies as great example in achieving satisfying animations  explosions and sound effects, such as increasing the pitch of each enemy being hit until they explode.  The use of a small unobtrusive sound for player shooting feedback is also something I have used. The gun sound is what the player will hear the most, I originally had a gun with a lot of bass, but found it drowned out other sounds effects so I ended up using a typewriter sound and modified it a little.

I found that could be a lot more particles able to be used on screen at once than I originally thought ( I was limiting the particles count quite a lot). So I’ve added sub particle sub-emitters and timed effects,  which though very fast, give a more dynamic look. I also added bullet casing that pop out of the players guns.

There is now the option to pay coins to continue, based on how far you have progressed, or by watching an ad if the player is short of coins. At timed intervals the player will also be able to watch an ad to earn coins for unlocking new characters, upgrades and continues.

gameplay2-28-12-16

Since the alpha release I’ve already started receiving some constructive feedback, which I will be implementing in the next version.  I’ll be working on tweaking the power up item and scene lighting in the game over the next few days, along with making changes based player feedback.

So as I finish off the last of the Christmas puddings, until next update in the new year, I wish you all the best for 2017!

John

PS. Here is a peak at the cockpit view upgrade! Happy holidays!

screenshotsat-fps-mode

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guns, Explosions and Unity 5.5 Upgrades

Wow, the last 2 weeks have flown by! Fluffy Gunners is really starting take shape as the game loop has been coming together. I’ve been busy working on integrating the game UI, gun upgrade and character select system and juicing up the explosions.

I also purchased a Unity Plus license subscription, which means I can now have a professional looking game splash screen, and also bask in the only  previously glimpsed dark skin Editor UI. On the back of this I also bravely upgraded to Unity to 5.5. Upon doing so, I immediately regretted it, the Gunners build repeatedly crashed during testing. That was until I found, deep in a hidden subdirectory, the much needed Error logging files which gave me the info needed to fix the engine crashing bug. It was simply the Unity Ads and IAP services that needed reimporting, pretty obvious with 20/20 hindsight.

A feature of the Unity upgrade is new trails effects for practical systems which I think look pretty darn cool. I’ve been busy implementing them to make colorful explosions with streamer-like trails. It now feels a bit like smashing open a piniata everytime I destroy an enemy.

Also I’ve been developing a stackable weapons upgrade system. It starts with a basic double cannon then continues wide shots and/or quad shots, a little gunny pal to assist in destruction, and also there is am upgrade  which changes the view to a first person perspective, for maximum shooty accuracy.

Check out the gif to to see the gunny chicken pal and the juicy new explosions.

FluffyUpgrade2.gif

 

At the very moment, in an effort to make the game as compatible as possible, I’m testing Gunners on a few different phones ranging from the old and clunky to the new and shiny variety. I’ve had to make a few tweaks to some images and shaders but so far it has been playing as smoothly as I’d hoped on older devices. Also like a good Christmas helper, I’m aiming to have to a beta test version ready before the festive season.

Until next post, stay free radical gamers, y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

A week full of character(s)

As promised here is a blog update on Fluffy Gunners, which by heck or high water, I am determined to keep updated as often as possible!

This last two weeks I have spent creating a slew of in-game characters and working on the UI and shop. Here is a screenshot of the character selection screen so far.

game_characters

And also here is a quick rundown on how I created the characters and shop. I used 3d base animal models, in the style of Crossy Roads and easily available in the Unity Asset store. I then jazzed them up and made them unique using ProBuilder, a 3d modeling tool that’s actually used within the Unity editor. This allowed for fast production time compared to using an external application such as Maya to alter each one, also they could  be tested  straight within the editor. For the character images, I snapped screen shots using the game camera, added the lighting and bold outlines and assigned each one to the shop database.

For the shop system I have used Simple IAP, a plugin which can handles in app purchases through the play/App store and also manages the database of items, and the encryption of data to prevent players hacking your save files and adding in-game currency or items. This asset has saved me a lot of time I would have spent designing and coding a similar in-game shop system.

I’ll  be linking the shop and main screen to the gameplay and testing it over the next few days, before going on another iteration of the core gameplay.

In other news I have finally invested in a Mac Mini and an iPhone so that I can begin developing for Apple devices! The process of developing and publishing on the App store is obviously more expensive in both time and money, but the exposure and revenue from the App store should offset these challenges. The actual experience of going through the process will also be invaluable for future projects, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!

Until next blog, which will have a more info on upcoming  beta testing. Adios amigos.

A new twist of fate!

As the new world order ushers in, take your mind off terrestrial problems with my blog update and game announcement!

It has been a dang long while since my last post, for a quick catch up I returned to civil engineering for 8 months, workin’ for the man to fund games development.  So as of July, apart from a bit of travel, I’ve been back into the fray , keeping Maggi noodles shares high and striving to reach the dream of a games developer (professional).

It began while researching ideas to make a mobile game in a short amount of time, (initially around a month or two max – yeah right..). While meandering around the internet, I came upon Tempest by Dave Theurer from Atari. Apparently the original designer was inspired by a dream about creatures crawling out of the ground.

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Tempest Atari

The early prototypes of Tempest were meant to be a 3d version of space invaders, but due to technical constraints the design was changed into what became Tempest, a sort of 2.5d space invaders.

The unique look and frantic action inspired me to create a game using the idea of enemies coming toward the player in 3d space while traveling on circumference of the tunnel.

Here you can see the player movement, a power up weapon and suitcase enemies.

FluffyGunners.gif
Fluffy Gunners!

 

I’ve created a variety of different level shapes with increasing enemy waves, weapon power ups, unlockable deadly/cute animal characters,  (who wouldn’t want to play as an augmented rabbit given half the opportunity?). It is being developed for Android, but of course if will be on Apple if it gains interest.

As usual I am developing in Unity and C#, (my white board went through a few iterations of spider webs post-it notes) The 3d assets were modified purchases from the asset store. Also fortunately I also have my talented sister on board who created the players ship, the brief I gave her was: something similar to Roger Ramjets jet, and oula! As you can see in the animation it looks pretty spiffing!

I am also in the process of implementing a purchasing system so that players are able to unlock characters. Actually building an economy into a game is more than a tad daunting. Having spent a huge chunk of time and effort learning  programming, Unity engine and games design. And then actually making something that is not only hard to put down, building a meta game that keeps players returning and make a  purchase is a whole other beast!  Talking to other people who sell there arts or crafts, they had similar feelings, not believing in the worth of their creations usually until getting into the market place and putting themselves out there, they found there work is actually worth more than they give themselves credit for.

So the core gameplay is a stage now where as Winston would say: “Further testing is required” (..I play too much Overwatch)

In other more understandable words, I need awesome people to test the core gameplay, feedback how to make it pop, shimmer and glitter more.  Help me get it to the stage where it is thus proclaimed: “FUN!”.

I’m asking you my  developer friends, friends of friends and future friends!

So if you are up for a bit of arcade space pew pew pew, and want to keep in the loop on  beta testing connect with me on twitter, follow  this blog or send me a good ol’ fashioned email!

Follow this blog for updates and get more information,  -you wonderful fancy person you!

Email me antspantsgames@gmail.com

Twitter me at @John_Garrad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ludum Dare 34 (Dec 2015)

Title screen

This year I entered the Ludam Dare Jam with a team for the first time, the fabulous duo from GeekWuv, i.e. game designer/artist Rosie and screen writer Sean. From the feedback of Potbelly Parasite, and we didn’t do too badly overall #738 overall out of over 2500 entries aint bad, right?

In the week before the jam, not knowing what the theme would be, we knew it would be story driven and funny. We had a  writer on board and we all have the same sense of humor so it made sense. I made and uploaded a very simple warm up game (Lazer Sharks 2015) in the days leading into the jam.  This was a good exercise as it gave me confidence and refreshed all of the things needed to be done to create and upload a game from start to finish.

We all had the time off to participate in the jam from midday Saturday until we had to go back to our days jobs on a Monday. So though the jam ran for 78 hours, we had to limit ourselves to 48 hrs. With this in mind, we were determined to keep the scope of the game small enough to complete within the weekend, while working reasonable hours (approx. 8 – 10 hrs each per day). We also decided we would segregate our tasks and roles so that we could each focus on our own parts, with regular meetings to integrate each others work and discuss what needed to be done next.

I took care of programming and working in Unity. Rosie’s role was creating  game art, and Sean’s role was to write the script and story. The game design itself was performed by all of us, as we discussed what could be reasonably be done in the small amount of time.

Saturday rolled around and the two themes were announced:  “Growing” and “Two Button Controls”. We decided early that we would spend the first few hours brainstorming ideas, and at the end of it have enough of the game ideas formulated that we can jump into our respective tasks. After a few hours we had about  five semi-complete game ideas. The ones that most interested us we then roughly combined the best elements of together and reworked into our final idea, being:

You play as a growing parasite within the body of a very dislikeable person, who you can hear everything he says. With a simple arcade like shooting/collecting game, food is attracted to you with right click, left click shoots enemies (two button controls, check!) food makes you grow larger, antibiotics make you shrink.

Somehow, it all went to plan, and though the game could have done with a lot of polish, it was complete, worked, and it even had our crazy voice acting!

 

ScreenShot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story based infinite runner and Doodle Jump with tap/slide controls.

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Concept character art for story based infinite runner.

Over that last few months I have been busy alternating  working on two mobile games. One is a game with a simple system, but quite a lot of artwork required to make it interesting. The other uses public domain art only, so that I can concentrate on creating fun gameplay mechanics. Alternating between technical work and creating art and story has kept me motivated and sane.

The first game idea came about over coffee with my sister, where we discussed to make a small game together. The idea was to make a story based game using existing mechanics, but introduce our own unique storyline which can be unlocked as in-game missions are completed. The game mechanics we decided on was an infinite runner, because of the manageable scope of creating the system,  which meant we can focus more on creating an interesting setting and story. In a steampunk universe you play as young girl looking for her eccentric father who has gone on Quixotic adventure.  As you trace your fathers whereabouts, you are told stories about him, and meet interesting characters along the way.  We thought this game might be interesting to people as it could be played in small chunks, and the player rewarded with a developing story and interesting characters.  For the storyline elements we have been prototyping a basic motion comic style in the vein of The Thrill Electric and the Axe Cop series.

The infinite runner portion of the game is similar to jetpack joyride, with a scrolling background setting that changes as the player progresses.  For the first time we opted to use an existing infinite runner system from the Unity Asset store and modify it to suit our needs.  This method is working quite well,  the time spent modifying the system is much less than it would have been to create one from scratch. Also learning code created by a much more skilled programmer than me has taught things I wouldn’t have found out otherwise.

The biggest challenge of this game so far has been the amount of artwork required to create all the obstacles, scrolling background layers and also the character development and storyline. We are getting though the list of items to be created, and learning a lot about making good consistent characters with professional looking outlining and shading. Check out the one of the created so far at the top of the page to see the style we have adopted.

The other game is one I have been working on is based on Doodle Jump (DJ). The difference being that the character jumps and moves via a tap and swipe system because I am not a fan of the tilt control system used in DJ . After a few failed prototypes I have found a system that most people can learn within a few plays, that gives fine control over the characters jump.

Because all of the art used for this game so far has been from the public domain, I have been able to focus on creating prototypes of the level generation. character control and the main game loop. It is at a stage where I can begin fine tuning the level design and creating player incentive.

So that has been my last few months in games development, look out for the release of the above games in the coming months!