Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Transference Devlog #2

I've added a few more elements to this mock-up and have already decided that it definitely won't feature in the final game. I've been analysing the world the story is set in and made some design decisions to add depth. The filing cabinet of paper for example has no place in this future! Trees were in short supply (at least before nature re-took the planet). Random elements of the story may be released during these devlogs but not enough to ruin it and hopefully enough to keep your interest.

Anyway, here is the same scene with more content, plus an example of the mouse cursor highlighting an object. Yes mouse cursor! I think I will plan ahead and aim to release this on desktop as well as iOS.

As Christmas is approaching, updates for this will slow down but I'm aiming to have something to show you next week and maybe the week after. Thanks for reading! -oP

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Transference Devlog #1

Reintroducing: Transference

So I briefly mentioned this game months and months ago, but I decided to put it on hold because I hadn't finalised the story plus I needed to focus on getting my first game Dungeon Burglars out the door (download HERE for FREE). My original idea involved platform game mechanics and a gimmicky 'energy transference' system which enabled you to control other objects. This was all supposed to result in a metroid-vania style game with puzzles and slightly weighty in story (but not too overkill on narrative).

Things change! I decided to go back to my original story and pick it apart, add other elements and flesh out the themes and narrative. I now have a draft outline of the new story, plenty of ideas for scenarios, content and dialogue. The most drastic, yet important change is that now the game is a point and click adventure! I realised that the imagery in my head had always appeared as an adventure game, and as the narrative definitely has some weight to it this time, I felt that this would be a more appropriate way to present the story. 

The art design is based on isometric pixel art: simple and retro, but with careful attention to detail in order to give weight to the atmosphere and maintain an engaging experience. Instead of my usual process of making a working prototype with placeholder graphics, I am making an entire prototype scene (not necessarily as it will appear in the final game) which will demonstrate exactly how I want it to play and look. Here's a screenshot which is in no way finished, but should give you an idea of the style I'm going for. I'm not revealing anything about the story yet except that you play as an robot/android (and no it's not Machinarium fan fiction, but I do want to create a similar sense of whimsy in my own style!). There are some overgrown roots of a plant coming through the window, a strange computer featuring a holographic screen with a sound wave displayed on it and the robot/android player.

I should also mention that I am making this for iOS, however if it was popular I would consider releasing it on android as I would only need to pay for the appropriate license. I was considering starting a Patreon based on the development of this game, for my writing and youtube but what are your thoughts? Those of you who already pledge to other Patreons, what makes you decide to do it? What kind of goals convince you to pledge, or does that even matter as long as content is being produced? 

All the art is subject to change, and comments and criticism is welcome. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy following the progress of Transference! Please spread the word! -oP

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Indies Vs PewdiePie Game Jam

EDIT: So I didn't manage to get this done and bug free, but I liked the concept and so at some point I will return to it. I was inspired by the likes of 100(1) Spikes and Spelunky, and I need to make the controls a lot more responsive for it to play like that. So one day Indica shall return!

Indica: Lair of the Manticore

You play as Ctesias, a scholar, physician and explorer of the stars who crash lands on an uncharted planet: Indica As your ship falls into the atmosphere and deep into a crevice, you lose all your research documents! Now you must find your way to the surface and recover your work as you go!

Gameplay involves basic platforming with a wall jump ability. You have a gun, but the main aim is to avoid the dangers of the caves. I've gone for a simple pixel art style (of course), but it differs from my usual stuff!

Coming soon/at some point/when I get round to it. -oP

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

First Impressions: Courier of the Crypts

Courier of the Crypts is currently indiego-go-ing and unlike a vast majority of crowd-funding campaigns out there, it has a playable demo. Here's a few of my impressions from my short time trapped within the crypts.

It's a 2D dungeon-puzzler, which for me invoked memories of my time playing HammerWatch, however the simple mechanic of looking after a magical torch makes the experience less of a mindless run, shoot and loot. The lingering threat of death should the fuel for your torch run out, keeps you moving with haste, albeit cautiously as scary spiders hide in the shadows. You can extinguish your torch at will to conserve fuel, but the spiders will come for you. You won't be able to hack and slash your way through this dungeon, as being a courier means that you haven't exactly been slaying monsters all your life in preparation. You can throw rocks and fire-bombs as you collect them, but for the most part it's best to avoid enemies and conserve ammo.

The well presented lighting effects play an important accompanying element to the main gameplay mechanic, and the level in the demo seems carefully designed rather than procedural. Each tile placement seems precise and deliberate, a feature that some games with generated dungeons lack. Care has gone to add levels of detail that frankly the developer could have gotten away without doing. In the opening area, the crumbling ceiling and dust effects combined with the simple, atmospheric soundtrack brings the eerie crypts to life, and the animated gravedigger, shovelling away in a brief cutscene, makes you appreciate the world a little bit more.

There is a brief example of a puzzle-based boss-fight, which requires timing your movement to avoid fireballs, spike traps plus avoiding a spider. Despite the simplicity of this, I can foresee bosses becoming progressively more interesting, requiring brain-power rather than spamming the attack button.

So would I recommend CotC based on the demo? I would because I want to see what the rest of these 'hand-crafted' levels can offer. It's time to take a break from running down algorithmically generated corridors, and do some thoughtful, well paced puzzle solving. If you want to find out more check out the indiegogo campaign. -oP

Courier of the Crypts Website
Indiegogo Campaign

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Silver Revisited #10 - Evil Eye Bears

Part 10 of my LP of Silver. Today I make some burglars pay, and I meet with an old friend. Oh and we end some wildlife.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Dungeon Burglars wins an award!

I'm proud to say that my game has won the award for Game of the Month October 2014 on Game Salad's website. I'm very happy that my first ever project has had such a great response from the community and I can't wait to get my next stuff out there. I'm taking part in some game jams at the minute, and intend to polish off and release the games I submit (even the ones I don't quite finish during the allotted time). Thanks for the support from you guys, I appreciate it! Keep playing and reading my stuff! The announcement and interview with me can be viewed at the link below. -oP


Monday, 20 October 2014

Why Do We Buy Old Games?

This is a 300 word article I wrote as an application to Rock Paper Shotgun. -oP
So you’ve just just built an epic gaming rig, you prepare to crank up those settings to ‘ultra’; you imagine the difference will be similar to Anakin Skywalker’s sensation of going from 0 to 588mph in his podracer. Shaking, you attempt to grip your £200 gaming mouse without accidentally pressing one of several (hundred) buttons; then you stare into the face-enveloping abyss of your quad-monitor setup. You click on Steam and… What? Baldur’s Gate is 50% off? Um.. ADD TO CART!

As a lover of old games which don’t like working on newer machines, I am guilty of doing this. Unfortunately I haven’t really got the time for digital deja vu; you know, with life ’n stuff. The truth is: if it wasn’t for digital download services acting as facilitators of our pixelated hoarding addiction, then we probably wouldn’t be revisiting old games.

These services have been a boon to the indie ‘scene’ (if anyone is still calling it that), as it’s now easier than ever to get your game out to the masses. Although, this isn't necessarily a good thing - as a quick perusal of Steam Greenlight will tell you. We love pixels, hell we love pixels so much we’re now starting to hate pixels (and the word ‘crafting'), so perhaps this torrent of modern, yet low-res 2D stylisation is a catalyst for our nostalgia.

There’s also very little risk in buying a game that we already know we’ll like, whereas investing in early access is probably, at it’s core, the biggest risk for us as the consumer. So for now I think I’ll close down Steam, finish browsing Kickstarter and dust off my copy of Theme Hospital; cranked up to ultra, naturally.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Dungeon Burglars: Complete!

Dungeon Burglars is my first complete game for iOS. It's FREE to download here. An update is already in review and I will continue to update it if any bugs raise their ugly heads. As I said this is my first game and I don't deem it perfect in any way! However I am proud of my achievement, as I have been trying to finish projects since I was a kid and have struggled to maintain focus. I have already made lots of progress into my second project which is another simple concept, but there is a lot less work 'under the hood' than there is in Dungeon Burglars. So this game will be in development for a considerably shorter period. I have learnt a fair amount from a design perspective, and about what game mechanics work and what don't.

Any feedback is welcome and I will take it all on board. I won't be altering the build in response to suggestions as I want to move on and upwards, but if you discover any bugs then let me know and I will do my best to fix them. Again this game is FREE so please give it a go! Also thanks goes to my brother for his bit of testing. -oP