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November 20, 2014, 02:51:26 PM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsLovers in a Dangerous Spacetime - Devlog #11: Timing is Everything
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Author Topic: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime - Devlog #11: Timing is Everything  (Read 21689 times)
tuckertuck
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« on: October 05, 2012, 07:21:06 AM »




Devlog #1: In a Galaxy Far Far Away


Current Screenshot

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a 2-player co-op micro-platformer set inside a pink Death Star locked in battle with hordes of space baddies. Players work together running back and forth between ship control rooms, manning turrets, lasers, shields and thrusters to rack up points and stave off a vacuumy demise. In mish-mash terms you could describe it as Jumpman meets Asteroids meets Han saying "Don't get cocky."

We are somewhere in the middle of our development; I'd say at this time we have a nicely polished prototype. What we are really struggling with is whether or not there'd be enough of an audience to make it commercially viable for us to continue developing it. We're starting this Devlog to explain the story behind this game.

Our team, Asteroid Base is made up of myself (Jamie Tucker), Matt Hammill and Adam Winkels. We're a group of indie developers who frequently get together to make games and other apps. You may recognize Matt Hammill's work from his iOS hit, Gesundheit. As a group, we released Shuriken Skies, a 4-player party game which started off as a jam game at TOJam.

Similarly, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime started off at the Toronto Global Game Jam early in 2012. Being veteran jammers, we were invited by Troy Morrissey, who organized the GGJ Toronto space, to take part in the jam and get interviewed for the documentary he and his crew were filming, www.gamejamthedocumentary.com. We had a great experience that was filled with ups and downs and a lot of silent typing.

After the event, the folks at Indiegames.com were kind enough to include us in their roundup of some of the games created at GGJ2012, based pretty much on this single screenshot. It was the only thing that anyone could see of it, except for the other devs in Toronto who were at the event.


Final day of TGGJ 2012

The game was playable, but had some bugs. At the time we were worried of showing too much because it was still rough and we knew there was a lot we could improve upon both visually as well as gameplay-wise. So as jam games often go, we took a break from it and planned what we should do next...
« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 09:10:38 AM by tuckertuck » Logged

zede05
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 07:48:02 AM »

This looks totally rad! Great job guys.  Coffee

Will the pink death star come in any other shapes?

As far as commercial viability, which platform is this intended for?
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gears
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 04:11:41 AM »

Interesting concept. If it's intended for two players, I would assume there is plenty for each player to do beyond running from station to station (or is that enough?). It seems like you could have a great 1-player game with this concept as well with the right controls.

I'm interested in the logistical challenge of moving your character around. If it's simply moving from A to B, would it make sense to have a top-down view instead of a side view?

Although this looks entirely different, I do have FTL on my mind in terms of allocating resources/personnel to various ship functions or tasks. Anything here along those lines?
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tuckertuck
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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 08:22:16 AM »

@zede05
Thanks zede, So far we have one ship and a possibility of multiple layouts. But we have talked about the mechanics of various ship types that each encourage a completely different playstyle.

We're making this game in Unity, so far the platforms we are aiming for is PC and Mac with a possible Web only version. That being said, this game is played best with two controllers so it would be awesome to be able to develop it for PSN or XBLA, but that is a ways away right now.
We realize that not many people who play on their computer, play 2 player games with controllers, it is just not in the PC culture. That is why we are worried about commercial viability. Possibly, we will develop a 1 player version, but the 'real' way to play this will be co-op.

@gears
Yeah, we developed the core game for 2 players. They are always moving around the ship and are doing something. The key for a successful playthough is communication between the players, because they can get in eachothers way if they're not careful. It is also more of an action / arcade experience so there is a lot of frantic running around no time to really stop and plan strategy. (will be explained better when we post the trailer next week)

On the other point of it being top down vs side platformer, we are actually planning on addressing that in the next DevLog that we are working on because it was one of the first big decisions we made.

I just started playing FTL last week. It has given me so many ideas. I love the resource management system they have, but we haven't planned any of that for Lovers.
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peanutbuttershoes
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 05:06:16 PM »

Where's matt's account? He has an account right? Is he too busy to talk anime with us nerds or what?
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 06:10:32 PM »

So coooool <3
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tuckertuck
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 08:25:20 AM »

Where's matt's account? He has an account right? Is he too busy to talk anime with us nerds or what?

What am I a pile of puke?  Tongue
You want to talk anime?
ROBOTECH AS A WHOLE IS SUPERIOR TO THE SUM OF MACROSS DYRL, SDC SOUTHERN CROSS, AND GC MOSPEADA

Matt's out of the office this week and after he get's back he promised me he'll start posting, as I've been bugging him for a few weeks now.
He's going to do an art pipeline DevLog soon.
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Joshua
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 11:10:54 AM »

I'm totally digging this concept, and the execution is looking really great so far.

Any thoughts on supporting more than 2 players? With different ship configurations/sizes it might make it doable.
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2012, 11:17:27 AM »

When can i play?
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tuckertuck
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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2012, 12:31:37 PM »

@Joshua
Thanks, can't wait to show the trailer
In the current version, we don't want more than 2 players because there isn't enough for 4 people to do, that would warrant them to have to change stations. Players could potentially just stay at a turret the whole time.
If we can push this project far enough to be able to include more ships, ship-to-ship, etc... It is something we have talked about expanding to.

@Cellusious
The most important question of all!
Since this is strictly a multiplayer game we have been sending builds out to festivals and arcade events, IMO that is the best place to experience it.
So far we have these dates confirmed:
Canzine, Toronto | Oct 21, 2012
plus some that aren't officially announced yet..  Tongue

All in Toronto, but if you have any festivals or gaming groups that have arcade events near you, hook us up!
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 06:31:20 PM by tuckertuck » Logged

tuckertuck
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2012, 08:59:23 AM »

DevLog #2: Great Kid, Don't Get Cocky!

A little over a month after the Global Game Jam (where we started Lovers) we, and the rest of the world awoke to FTL. In an email chain titled "RE: uhhhhhhh oh shit" we discussed mainly how cool FTL looked and "Holy shit they raised over $200,000!" Actually we we're freaking out when they raised $40,000, but they quickly quintupled that figure. Unfortunately for us, from then on we knew that anytime we would show our game, people would make the connection to FTL and be in it's shadow.

Rewinding back to a week or so before GGJ started Matt, Adam and I had a design meeting where we agreed to create some sort of multiplayer co-op game. From that starting point Adam told us about his experience playing Artemis; a co-op game where each person played a role on a Star Trek-like spaceship. Our high concept then became, each player could only control one crew member and through their character they had to be able to control the ship.

Matt's initial sketches for Pirate Ship and Space Smugglers

Originally we were thinking it could be a pirate ship, but we soon scratched that idea because there didn't seem to be enough fun things for players to do. The view was top down to show the separate rooms – seemed like the obvious choice because it was the easiest way to navigate between them.

My first sketches look eerily similar to FTL.

The first problem we could foresee was that the art had the potential to be boring. From Matt's and I background as animator and illustrator, we knew that characters that were head and shoulders would be hard to make interesting, especially if we wanted players to identify with them separately.

Additionally From a gameplay perspective we strived to capture that scene from SW: A New Hope, where Han and Luke run to the Millennium Falcon's turrets to fight off the TIE Fighters. There was an urgency and... verticality to their movement, we wanted our game to be a fast paced and arcady space shooter rather than something purely tactical. A side view platformer became the best solution to move around the ship, because we could have better character animation, and control for the player would be far more exciting.

Revised sketches by Matt

Here are just a few games that inspired us while conceptualizing Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime:

Artemis
Loved the concept of each player assuming the role of a separate crew member.
Cephalopods Co-op Cottage Defence
Great asymmetrical co-op play; players had separate roles.
A Friendship in 4 Colours
One of the games that inspired us to do a co-op. Loved the fact that the players really need to communicate well to be able to succeed.
Asteroids
Grand daddy of all space shooters.
Subspace
One of my favourite game in high school.
Geometry Wars
strong and simple visuals.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 09:07:38 AM by tuckertuck » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 09:47:05 AM »

@peanutbuttershoes
Yup, just dusted off my old account, oof, so much dust! My natural habitat is to be buried in Photoshop and Maya, but Jamie's poking me to post a Lovers devlog, so hello! hello! and there's an art post coming soon. We've also been doing last-minute prep for some fests--if anyone's in Toronto, we're showing the latest build at Digifest and Canzine this weekend.

And btw, Macross 7 is better than any of that stuff Jamie mentioned; I mean he flies his robot with Guitar Hero.
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2012, 10:25:06 AM »

Definetly interesting   Hand Joystick
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matthammill
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2012, 04:33:25 PM »

DevLog #3: Drawing Inspiration

To continue from Jamie's last post with the sketches...

So after we'd decided on our concept for Global Game Jam, we started thinking about visual style. Jamie and I both have an illustration background; this is the fun stuff for us. Because a spaceship with guns is hardly a rare concept in games, we really wanted to avoid a default look, so leading up to GGJ we were gathering references from outside video games--plus I've always found this keeps you honest about how much you're borrowing from any one source. Even though at the time it was "just" a jam game, we wanted to be coming from the right place.

Since the game features a ship's cross-section, right away we hit on our nostalgia for the sci-fi technical manuals we had as kids.


Battletech


R2-D2 by Kevin Tong

This started leading us further back in time to older sci-fi and space illustration…

Russian matchboxes

…not to mention this frickin' wicked Russian Star Wars poster.


We also turned to contemporary illustrators playing with the same geometric and pseudo-scientific vibe.

Chris Ware


Mike Lemanski

And looking for references for the ship controls, we searched for vintage music gear and came across these awesome fake retro paper sculptures by Dan McPharlin.


And finally, there were these two music videos that we just totally loved and they inspired us tremendously.
Rendezvous - The Murf http://vimeo.com/28683405
Dance of the Neon Knight http://vimeo.com/6140404

And then the funny thing is that taking inspiration from all this led us full circle back to video games anyway, as all these references end up relating to Tron and Asteroids and Geometry Wars. But hey, at least we paid our dues.


(Oh and further on the subject of influences, Petri Purho's got some funny diagrams starting at 7:25 in this lecture)
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2012, 05:53:44 PM »

The art style is nice except for the super bright pink ship walls, it's really overpowering visually.

Is there any chance to go out and float around the outside of the ship?  It would be cool if there was an airlock and you had a reason to go outside.  Maybe some aliens can't be killed with your lazors and cling to the ship, and you have to fly outside and knock them off manually.
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tuckertuck
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« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2012, 01:38:08 PM »

We released our trailer today. Hope you like it
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« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2012, 01:49:21 PM »

Omg, I’ve been wanting to make a game like this for years. I’m so glad this is getting made. Love the fact that you have to run around to different stations to use different stuff. Love the style.

I keep throwing my wallet at the screen but it’s not doing anything.
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2012, 01:56:55 PM »

I didn't have any interest in this at first, but I just saw a indie game reviewer I follow on twitter post the trailer video and now that I've watched it I think it looks fucking awesome.
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Schrompf
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« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2012, 02:55:09 PM »

Awesome! Don't know if it really plays that cool, but just from the video it looks hilarious! I'm eager to try it out.
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tuckertuck
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2012, 10:30:37 AM »

Is there any chance to go out and float around the outside of the ship?  It would be cool if there was an airlock and you had a reason to go outside.  Maybe some aliens can't be killed with your lazors and cling to the ship, and you have to fly outside and knock them off manually.

Yeah that was something we were thinking, but there was always the problem of losing the character outside. Also put thought into some sort of EVA droid that you could pilot around from within the ship. Although those things are low on our priority list right now.
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