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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsDemons with Shotguns - The Ultimate Couch Fragger - On Steam Now!
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Author Topic: Demons with Shotguns - The Ultimate Couch Fragger - On Steam Now!  (Read 28953 times)
Neeko
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« Reply #40 on: October 03, 2014, 01:39:24 PM »

It's with great honor that Demons with Shotguns has been selected to showcase at the next NYC Games Forum Playtest Night on October 30 at the Microsoft offices!



On October 30th, game developers will have the opportunity to show off their newest games one-on-one to the NYC Games Forum crowd. Once again we're taking over Microsoft to offer more developers the opportunity to get in front of players, demo their games and get feedback. Each game will have its own section of a booth and players will get to try out whatever strikes their fancy.

For further ticket and event information, visit

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/nyc-games-forum-fall-playtest-night-tickets-12942859441

If you'll be in the area, be sure to come by and check out not only Demons with Shotguns, but all of the games currently in development by local NYC developers. There'll be video, board and virtual reality games; I'm actually excited to try out an Oculus Rift for the first time.



This will be the first time MindShaft Games is showcasing Demons with Shotguns outside of close friends and family (ignoring the playtest builds I've posted here), and we think it's time to get a wider spectrum of feedback. It's estimated that 250+ people will be in attendance. This will also be great practice on pitching the game to players and press members.

I'll be bringing a stack of business cards (of course) but I'll also be getting small flyers printed up that'll essentially be a summarized, printed version of the game's landing page. If anyone has any other advice on what to bring and how to prepare for the event, please let me know!
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« Reply #41 on: October 05, 2014, 08:12:42 AM »

I've gotten to the point with Demons with Shotguns that I need to start focusing on level design now that all core features and mechanics have been implemented; I still have to implement a few other game modes but I digress.

I'm currently struggling with creating depth with background layers. I simply can't seem to nail it and I'm hoping someone can point out why and how I can improve what I've done.

Probably worth noting, my biggest limitation is that I have no pixel artists on board right now, so I'm forced using open licenses art (from sites like opengameart.org). I know this causes issues because I'm forced to scale up sprites, creating a mix-match of pixel sizes, which may be the reason why I can't seem to nail a sense of depth.

Anyways, here's an example:


My first attempt is to shade the background trees a lighter or darker shade of blue so they seem closer to the foreground, or farther, respectively. Studying games like Samurai Gunn & Broforce, they do essentially the same thing. However, when I attempt to recreate the same effect, it simply doesn't look right in my eyes.

Alternatively, here's the same level, but in a different style:


This looks better IMO (the background tiles could possibly be shaded darker to appear farther away), but I still want to be able to create outdoor levels, which I'm clearly failing at.

Any insights on how to improve is greatly appreciated. And yes, I really, really do need to get a pixel artist on board! If any pixel artists are interested (rev share), let me know.
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« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2014, 11:17:14 AM »

I think I may have figured out how to create a better sense of depth in my levels. Here's a before screen shot of one level.



The biggest issue I think I was having was with the shading of the foreground and background objects. For example, the trees all shared the same shade of color. Depending on your lighting, foreground objects should be shaded lighter, while background objects are shaded darker to give the illusion of being farther away; I've seen some games invert this, again, depending on the lighting.

The size of the trees were also the same. More variation was needed. Also, the background trees were all on the same parallax layer, along with the moon, so they scrolled at the same speed, creating the sense that there’s only one background layer. Here’s the latest iteration.



Much better! Trees are shaded appropriately based on how far back they are meant to appear, more variation in size to give greater sense of a looming, dead forest, an additional parallax layer has three total layers scrolling at different speeds, all adding to a greater sense of depth between layers.

All that said, I’ll admit this is far from perfect. Those pixel sizes mismatching is killing me! There could be much more environmental pieces than just reusing the same three tree sprites at different scales, and the trees themselves are a bit more detailed than they need to be for background layers. But it’s still an improvement and a pixel artist will help me make this even better; I'm in contact with some potentially interested artists so hopefully I'll have another team member to help out soon!

Anyways, the game’s backlog is getting smaller and smaller each day. I have a few more game modes to implement (next up is Last Soul Standing) and once I get a pixel artist on board, I’ll be focusing purely on level design. The idea is to have four separate themes (one for each character) and I've been looking into PGC for creating them. Lots of questions regarding that, but I think it's worth exploring at least.
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« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2014, 09:28:26 AM »

I'm sure he didn't feel a thing...

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« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2014, 08:46:32 AM »

Classic Deathmatch game mode has been added to Demons with Shotguns. It was so easy to add, I figured why not. I figured it was good to add for those that simply want to frag each without any soul collecting mechanics involved. Sometimes, it’s just satisfying to play to see who can earn the most frags.

I also completely redid Cemetery01 in preparation for the NYC Games Forum Playtest Night this month.

« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 08:51:59 AM by Neeko » Logged

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« Reply #45 on: October 20, 2014, 03:24:40 AM »

Big news! I've finally started working with an actual pixel artist! Kyle Nunery (http://kylenunery.blogspot.com/) has been working on creating a whole new set of tiles and backgrounds for the cemetery levels.

Here are some iterations on Cemetery02.



With this iteration, there's clearly some contrast issues with the background and foreground; the background is fighting the foreground too much for attention.

Here's another with the background blended in with the background color much better, and some of tweaks done to make the foreground pop out more. I was using a vertex color tint on the entire tile map to give it a bluish tint, but I removed it as it may have been overdone.



And here's with just the tiles given a more bluish tint.



Please let us know what you think of the new tiles and direction!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 04:15:34 AM by Neeko » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: October 31, 2014, 06:17:58 AM »

In my previous post, I discussed how we've started to redo all of the graphics in Demons with Shotguns. We started with the cemetery tiles and we felt they have a very flat, one dimensional look to them, making use of a smaller color palette creating a look that's very reminiscent of a NES game. This is a great, retro style look but I've always envisioned Demons with Shotguns in a more 16-bit SNES style. Thus, we took the tiles a step further, expanding the color palette, using more colors per tile to create a more 3D dimensional look and feel to them.

This is the final iteration (I know I've said this before, but it's true this time Wink )


 
The world feels much more real and alive, and the tiles really stand out from the silhouette background. We also added some finer details to the background such as a horde of zombies roaming around. We still need to redo some of the foreground pieces to make them less flat, but this is definitely the direction we'll be taking the game moving forward.

Next up is redoing the characters! As much as I love the current work, we need to bring the characters along to the 16-bit world too. I'm excited to see how they turn out.

On a side note, Demons with Shotguns first public appearance was a wild success! I presented the game at the NYC Games Forum Playtest Event last night to over 250 people and 43 developers. Everyone that played the game absolutely loved it, playing not just one match of Capture the Soul, but several. The most common question I was asked was "can I buy the game now?" or "when will it be released?".



The event was also great to see how well people were able to just pick-up the game and play. I did notice some patterns in player confusion about some things that I need to address, but for the most part, people were able to easily pick-up the game and play.



Now I'm off to fix some bugs that popped up during the event!
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« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2014, 08:14:20 AM »

I'm actually designing more levels! Holy crap Shocked





I'm also working to fix some movement flow issues with the original cemetery levels that were uncovered during recent playtesting.

The characters are getting the 16-bit treatment as well. Death was the first one to get redone.



The sprite on the left is the old design.

The character sizes are being increased slightly. This is to make their movements much more expressive and detailed. We're also going to use this time to smooth out some of the current animations by adding additional frames, as well as adding entirely new animations.

Demon is the next character to get redone. Here's some of his concept art.


Finally, I implemented team based game modes.

  • Team Deathmatch
  • Team Soul Reaping
  • Team Capture the Soul

Players can select 2v2 or 3v1 teams. And of course, there is friendly fire on/off options.

Here's a video of Team Capture the Soul.




In terms of currently planned game modes, I only have Last Soul Standing and Antichrist left to implement. Antichrist will be a co-op game mode where one player is the Antichrist, who's super strong and bullet spongy, and the other players must work together to bring him down within a time limit. Players will also have a limited amount of respawns to go through.

Last Soul Standing is your typical round based game mode. Each player has one life and the last player standing wins for that round. Each round takes place in a new level in the level rotation. Best out of 3, 5 or 11 rounds wins.

Lots of great progress the past month. Once the characters are completely redone and the cemetery levels are wrapped up, I hope to start working on the Hell levels! 
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« Reply #48 on: November 06, 2014, 12:20:02 PM »

Designing another cemetery level. This is a larger level where the camera pans and zooms.



Still very much a WIP and subject to being scrapped if it doesn't play well Smiley
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« Reply #49 on: November 06, 2014, 04:47:23 PM »

Be careful with the Power of Christ tarot card! An explosion can now set off a chain reaction.

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« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2014, 03:10:50 PM »

Been following development on this for a while now. Looks like it's shaping up to be quite a fun game! I'm a big ol' sucker for the aesthetic of comical Catholicism so a fast-playing multiplayer shoot-em-up with gun-wielding demons and priests sounds like a blast to me.

Made this to show my appreciation/support. Hope ya like it!

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« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2014, 04:51:40 PM »

Thank you! Incredible to see someone take the time to actually make something based on the game Grin
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« Reply #52 on: November 07, 2014, 05:05:19 PM »

That gif is freakin huge and your sprite clarity is pretty off. I have a hard time figuring out what some things are supposed to be. Like your palette looks washed out and muddy is what I'm getting at here. Harumph.
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Neeko
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« Reply #53 on: November 07, 2014, 05:43:46 PM »

I have a terrible habit of creating full res gifs. I'll replace the ones on the front page with smaller ones.

Thanks for the feedback! I'll keep it in mind as we continue to work on the art.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 05:56:32 PM by Neeko » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: November 08, 2014, 07:12:13 AM »

Been following development on this for a while now. Looks like it's shaping up to be quite a fun game! I'm a big ol' sucker for the aesthetic of comical Catholicism so a fast-playing multiplayer shoot-em-up with gun-wielding demons and priests sounds like a blast to me.

Made this to show my appreciation/support. Hope ya like it!



You da real MVP.
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« Reply #55 on: November 10, 2014, 10:23:56 AM »

All of the characters have been redesigned.

Death


Angel


Demon


Preacher
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« Reply #56 on: November 21, 2014, 12:01:07 PM »

For Demons with Shotguns, it's always been a design goal to include levels of varying sizes. We didn't want to feature just one level size, and we especially didn't want to feature just levels that were single screened. At the very beginning, the game started out as split screen, but that quickly gave way to featuring a single camera that could track up to four targets, zooming in and out as appropriate as the targets moved throughout the level.

Obviously, there needs to be some type of limit on the largest level size, else the camera could zoom out too far to the point where everything is too difficult to see. After testing various levels size, we concluded that the largest resolution the camera would zoom out is 1280x960, with the smallest being 640x480.

In terms of the number of tiles a play area for a level is, levels can be of three different sizes: small, medium, large. Small and medium levels feature an anchored camera that doesn't move. Large levels feature the tracking/zooming camera.

Here are some examples.

Cemetery03 is a small level.



The camera resolution is still 640x480, however the play area is smaller, forcing more intense fights.

Cemtery04 is a medium level.



Like a small level, the camera resolution is 640x480, but uses more of the available resolution for increased play area.

Cemetery06 is a large level.



Large levels feature the zooming/tracking camera. This allows us to have more fun with the level design, and helps break up gameplay a bit.

Right now, the goal is to provide 2 levels of each size, so 6 total levels for each environment, with 30 levels overall. Of course, these numbers may go up and there's nothing to say that we won't release level packs after release.

Demons with Shotguns will feature four distinct environments, each belonging to one of the four characters, very much like levels in fighting games such as Mortal Kombat. The four environments are

Cemetery
Hell
Metro
Dusty Texas Town

The Cemetery environment has been the first environment we've worked on, and been solely featured in all of the screen shots and videos posted thus far. This is Death's environment. It is a long lost Civil War era cemetery, roaming with zombies and with labyrinths filled with booby traps.

And speaking of booby traps, what's a platformer without environmental hazards ready to kill any inattentive player? Each environment will feature different types of environmental hazards in which the players must also be aware of and react to.

For the Cemetery, the main hazard are spikes that are triggered when a player steps over them.



There's also torture cages, hanging above, ever so conveniently, that players can shoot down to crush other players.

We've finally started working on the art for the next environment, Hell! Here is a very early, very WIP sneak peak at the tile sheets.



We have a lot of cool ideas for Hell, which I won't divulge just yet, but from a development stand point, I couldn't be more thrilled to finally see a new environment unfold, because I've been staring at Cemetery themed art work since the beginning of development!

As for the current development schedule, this month my main focus has been purely on two things, wrapping up the 6 Cemetery levels and implementing a new game mode, Last Soul Standing (more on that game mode hopefully next week), while Kyle continues to work on the art work for Hell. Though, I have been slightly derailed to hunt down some memory leaks in the game, but I hope to get back on track by next week.

Once all of that is done, I'll start designing the Hell levels, and may even start implementing bots. Exciting times are ahead!
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« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2014, 10:53:02 AM »

Having fun with portals in Hell.



Started working on new levels for Hell. Hell will feature portals that players can use to traverse the level, as well as pass objects through (including projectiles and grenades!)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 10:59:44 AM by Neeko » Logged

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« Reply #58 on: December 03, 2014, 06:22:49 AM »

I've been working on some new levels lately. Hell is going to be very asymmetrical in its design, playing to the idea that this is the Devil's playground. Traversing the levels will take skill, as well as taking full advantage of double jumping and shotgun jumping to reach certain platforms, much more so than most other environments.

Platforms will be somewhat asymmetrical in their shape as well, not adhering to perfect 16x16 blocks. Not only does this allow great visual variety, but helps us shape more interesting (and tricky) platforms and geometry.

Hell will also feature portals that the players can use to quickly traverse the level and to reach areas otherwise not accessible. And yes, before you even ask, you will be able to telefrag Smiley

Here are some more gifs of the currently designed Hell levels, showing off more of the portals.





Also, IndieDB is having their annual Indie of the Year awards, so if you could be a doll and vote for Demons with Shotguns, I'd appreciate it Beer!

http://www.indiedb.com/games/demons-with-shotguns

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« Reply #59 on: December 03, 2014, 06:46:37 AM »

Woaw, this games looks so cool!

I totally dig the new gfx, and the whole game feels like Liero on steroids (and with a bit of MK like gore effects!)

I'm following this, keep up the great work Smiley
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