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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMonarch Black - Flying Butterfly Roguelikelikelike
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Author Topic: Monarch Black - Flying Butterfly Roguelikelikelike  (Read 18235 times)
mirrorfish
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« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2014, 06:26:08 PM »

Here's a new build, unity web player, controls are mouse 1 or kb1 shoots gun, mouse 2 or kb2 shoots missile, mouse 3 or kb3 raises shield. The goal is to collect the pollen grains from the glowing green sphere plants by shooting them while not getting killed by enemies. When you collect enough (50) a glowing cube portal will appear somewhere in level, fly into it to fly to evolve level where you get a powerup, then move on. Feedback on core mechanics much appreciated!

http://www.mirrorfishmedia.com/v1/pollen/pollen_091114/pollen_web_builds.html
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #41 on: March 05, 2015, 06:39:20 PM »

It's been a while since I updated, I got a new job and have been pretty busy with that. I've got some new stuff to share on Pollen though, first some new screenshots:

Drowned City Level:





Jewel Sky Level:





I've added a new UI to show the players resources which are missiles, shield, health and pollen collected. I've also made a lot of changes to the game play and code, simplifying many things to get it into a state where I can actually ship. I upgraded the project to Unity 5 which gave me a huge bonus in terms of frame rate due to the new Physx upgrade in 5, I have literally thousands of rigidbodies in each scene and with 5 I can get 80-90 FPS with all that flying around, it's pretty awesome.

I'm using a steering library called UnitySteer which is pretty cool for the flocking and AI of the enemies and I figured out some optimization for that as well (updating each agent less often) which has helped performance without costing gameplay.

I also moved to having a singleton like level settings object in each level which holds and loads all the level data when the level starts as opposed to hard coding it in a huge script which I was doing before. Saving the level settings in a prefab means I can now edit key scene stuff like procedural generation variables in whatever scene I'm in which has made things a lot better. Generally I think the end is in sight (sort of) and I'm just trying to push to get some kind of playable alpha up soon to start getting some feedback. The build linked above is fairly old, I'll be linking a new build soon once things are generally playable again.
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acatalept
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« Reply #42 on: March 07, 2015, 06:22:38 AM »

Love the aesthetic, this is looking better and better! Would love to see it in motion in its current state...

Good luck!
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #43 on: March 07, 2015, 07:49:07 AM »

Thanks Acatalept! I think I'm going to make some kind of demo trailer-ish video something soon since I find GIFs really don't do it justice and I kind of suck at making them. Appreciate the feedback! Hope your project is doing great as well!
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #44 on: March 07, 2015, 07:55:43 AM »

New level design, Cloud Vault City pics:





The level is built out using three nested for loops that instantiate the cube-ish vault prefabs in a grid and then scale them a bit randomly within limits. Every fourth space is left empty to leave some negative internal space. My usually coral structure things grow and snake around in the cracks and collide with the vaults. Trying to vary the gameplay by creating a level space that's a bit more constrained and tight, feels pretty good and I think breaks up the samey-ness of the levels I have so far. I also wrote two new music tracks that I'll post to soundcloud soon.   This is also playing with some of Unity 5's ambient lighting and shadows and new standard shader, pretty happy with the look I'm getting out of it.
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Fervir
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« Reply #45 on: March 07, 2015, 11:58:18 AM »

The Cloud Vault City looks pretty sweet.
Really liking that last picture in the set
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #46 on: March 07, 2015, 03:54:01 PM »

Thanks for the feedback Fervir! Elysis is looking awesome as well!  Coffee
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #47 on: March 14, 2015, 05:55:55 AM »

Made some good progress on the game this week including showing it to a few people at the Studio Time meetup here in NYC. Some of the notes I got there from other devs helped me to turn a bit of a corner design wise, the main one being to change the way the enemies are concentrated in the levels and have fewer, more dangerous clusters. This has solved a bunch of the problems I had earlier. The moral of the story: show people your game in person and listen! I've also signed up for a local demo night event where I'll be able to get some players to play the game, more about that when it's announced.  The reasons for this are two fold: first to get me to finish a build that's reasonably tight and playable and second to get feedback. I'm pretty excited about it.

I've also added three new weapons in the game for the player to get: big non-homing missiles that can explode the sky coral bricks (producing a very satisfying shower of flying debris), clusters of smaller short range rockets and falling mines that the player can drop on groups of enemies. All came together quite quickly last night which was fun and satisfying. Working on mechanics is so much more fun than trying to optimize frame rate or any of the other non-design 'making working software' aspects of development.

Here are some pictures of the new Twilight Ruins level:




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mirrorfish
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« Reply #48 on: April 08, 2015, 08:48:02 PM »

hey guys,

Been working away.  Gomez Got signed up for a playtesting event in two weeks so that's giving me good motivation to get some kind of playable build together and squish the bugs. Things are getting there, sort of. I added some new weapons, one of which you can see which are gravity mines that you can use to explode parts of the level geometry. That's pretty fun Smiley

As requested (thanks for nudging me Acatalept) here's some video of me playing the first two levels. It's a decent look at the game I think:





What do you guys think?
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acatalept
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« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2015, 01:19:20 PM »

The video speaks volumes, always nicer to see things in motion.  I love the way the level geometry grows Wink  And the soundtrack is great!

Two little things that stood out to me:

1) The butterfly seems to be on an invisible pole extended out in front of the camera, swiveling around the camera's location, and it's the camera itself that the player is controlling... But IMHO the look and feel would be much better if the butterfly's motion and position in space were directly controlled by the player, and the mouse orbited the camera around the butterfly.  Even though the mouse is used to steer the butterfly, maybe a little interpolated "lag" in the butterfly changing direction to match the camera's forward vector?  Admittedly butterflies don't have much inertia Wink but a little more "flow" to the movement might be interesting...

2) I'm not sure how much of this is final art or placeholders, but I really like the stark polygonal look of the world -- yet the butterflies' rounded organic shape seems to not "fit" so well in this world.  Any chance you might make the butterflies more angular, low-poly, glitchy?  Maybe even cycling through a glitch animation, making them less corporeal?  For example (although not so involved) something like the animation style in the Autechre Gantz Graf video: glitching through a series of incomplete, angular, butterflyish shapes, that together suggest the whole?

(sorry for big GIF)

Just food for thought, good luck!
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #50 on: May 07, 2015, 03:10:27 PM »

hey Acatalept,

Thanks for the response dude!  I agree 100% with your feedback. The camera issue is one I've experimented with but failed at so far, but I think it's necessary. It's all just a bit weird with the fact that it's 3rd person but first person shooter-ish right now in terms of the firing. Someone gave me a good suggestion about how to do a second layered camera with a reticule though and so I'm going to give that a try. That may allow me to aim straight and control the camera the way I want but still have the avatar drift and lag a bit which I agree would look much better. Still working it out.

I've been taking the game to some playtests (will post more about it below) and gotten similar feedback on the art, that the butterflys etc stand out from the other stuff. I agree and need to figure out a solution, whether that means 3d modelling it myself (which I haven't done in years) or trying to find a 3d artist to pair with. I love the Gantz Graf reference! Huge Autechre fan over here for many years, that's a great reference point (and a great video).  Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2015, 03:17:58 PM »

I did my first public play test event. This was at Playcrafting here in NYC, at the Microsoft offices. Boy I'll tell you: play testing is hard, hard, hard. I felt nervous, sweaty and constantly wanted to tell people: "No, you're playing it wrong!" I wanted to grab the controls from their hands. I also had some pretty serious impostor syndrome, feeling like I didn't belong there amongst the more finished, more polished games and people with their posters and well organized booths and general having-of-their-shit together. But the event was great. I got some very thoughtful, nice feedback from some of the attendees, many compliments on the visual style of the game (which is a bit surprising since I don't identify as an 'artist' but there you go) along with a good amount of constructive criticism.

The main negative feedback was about the controls. They are hard to use it turns out. That was tough to hear, but also valuable. A few people seemed to get it and after a few minutes of playing got the hang of flying around. Still, I realize that there is some fairly significant work to be done. Getting out and showing the game to people felt really good though, and the deadline was very helpful in getting me to focus and do a bunch of stuff I'd been putting off, some of which was fairly major (like fixing the long broken game over screen). All in all I was very happy with the whole experience and would strongly recommend it to anyone considering it. I also wish I had started getting out and showing it earlier and will chalk that up to a lesson learned. Here are some pictures! I'm the tall guy in the black and white sweater. The last pic is of me and Simon the artist from Mushroom 11 which I got to play and was very impressed with, a super innovative mechanic and generally very interesting (and great looking) game.  PRO TIP: Have a bowl of candy on your table to get people to come over and play, that worked pretty well.

ALSO I'm gonna start doing a private beta, if you want to get on the list for it and play a build please send me an email at mirrorfishmedia at gmail

 



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mirrorfish
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« Reply #52 on: June 03, 2015, 02:41:16 PM »





After showing last month at Playcrafting NYC I got some really good feedback and so have been working hard to implement it and get the game in a state where I can send it to people to play. I just finished sending out the first batch of emails with links to a build of the game and hopefully will get some good feedback back from those (or any feedback!)

The stuff I’ve been working on has been fairly nitty gritty and not super exciting, stuff like Xbox 360 controller support, a pause menu and tweaking the difficulty curve. It’s sobering to realize how much work goes into creating what we often thing of as a basic, working piece of games software and how little we think about stuff like pause menus, sound options, etc. There is a lot of work in making a video game beyond making fun game play.

I’m also starting to try to nail down a release plan, something I’ve been toying with but not really committed to. At the moment the basic plan is to try to gather some feedback through a closed beta and then put it up on itch.io to do an ‘early access’ style open beta and get some feedback from players in the wild.  One thing I set up was some simple analytics using the Unity Analytics beta to report back basic game statistics. It’ll be interesting to see how that works and if the variables I’m tracking are useful.  The ones I’ve got in there so far are:

    hitpoints at start of level
    hitpoints at end of level
    time to complete level
    enemies killed
    mutagen resources collected
    player level

My hope in doing this is that if people check out the build and don’t give feedback I’ll at least be able to gather some data. I saw a cool talk from the guys working on SubNautica (which I haven’t played yet but is on my Steam wishlist) about getting players to report how much they’re enjoying things, send screenshots and give other notes about the game. You can watch that here:





Moving into this stage of the game’s life where it’s getting closer to being finished and needs to start entering into the world is pretty terrifying. I’m feeling a lot of psychological internal resistance (aka fear) at each step. At these kind of moments I wish I had a partner or collaborator to talk through this stuff with and to help keep spirits up. Working on your own it’s easy to feel insecure about what you’ve made. My girlfriend has been pretty helpful in pushing me forward and boosting my confidence. That combined with the fact that I really need to try to monetize this project after putting almost two years into it! Regardless, I’m happy I haven’t given up and am taking myself through all of these different parts of the game making process.

If you’d like to get on the closed beta list, please send me an email! I’m mirrorfishmedia AT gmail DOT com.
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FRACTURES
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« Reply #53 on: June 04, 2015, 02:48:30 AM »

Love the design of this - looks beautiful.

Personally, I think the main shooting sound doesn't belong with the rest of it - too old style arcade.
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #54 on: June 04, 2015, 10:10:06 AM »

Thanks FRACTURES appreciate the note. Someone else just gave me the exact same note (with the same language!) calling it arcade-y. I'm gonna change it, just gotta figure out what.
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #55 on: October 07, 2015, 10:12:45 AM »

I made some GIFs. FYI these are great for Twitter and #screenshotsaturday now that Twitter supports them inline, got lots of nice feedback and shares with the GIFs, more I think than I have with stills. If you're not doing GIFs for your game yet I recommend it. I struggled with workflow but eventually got there with a combination of Screenflow (for video capture and edit) and then GIFBrewery for Mac for Video to GIF. I'm sure there are great tools on PC, I use OBS for capture on Windows and it's great and free. You'll need another app to edit / export though.

The GIFs:





I'm working on a video trailer now so that I can try to go through Greenlight, I'll submit that here for feedback soon.
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« Reply #56 on: October 07, 2015, 10:27:24 AM »

GIFs are hard ;)  Too bad .webm video is not universally supported, much lower file sizes for smoother video and more than 256 colors.  I think Twitter even supports gfycat (serving .webm or GIF as supported), but I think it's still kind of hacky.  And this forum has yet to go beyond GIF support :(

These are looking good though!  Do you have a playable alpha yet?
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #57 on: October 07, 2015, 05:23:25 PM »

I need to change the name of the game from Pollen since there's another game called that that's got more money and attention than me.

Which do you like better:

Monarch Black

or

After Us?
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acatalept
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« Reply #58 on: October 07, 2015, 05:38:03 PM »

Monarch Black says it all.
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mirrorfish
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« Reply #59 on: October 07, 2015, 06:29:06 PM »

woot! Ppl on Twitter liked that too, I'm going w/ it for now. I've made a trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwohavt3Cxk&feature=youtu.be

Gonna try to push it through Greenlight soon I think. Notes, comments?

Also, I really liked your suggestion on abstracting the insects more gantz graf style but don't really know any 3d artists. I added some mesh shattering effects on kill that go in that direction (you can see a few in trailer) but would like to push it farther. Do you know anyone?
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