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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsDragon's Wake - 2D Adventure Platformer (Greenlit on Steam!)
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Author Topic: Dragon's Wake - 2D Adventure Platformer (Greenlit on Steam!)  (Read 6882 times)
Kytin
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« on: July 08, 2014, 06:18:51 PM »














Dragon's Wake is a 2D Adventure Platformer where you play as a newly hatched dragon.

Your wings are a part of you. Learn to fly and discover the beauty, wonders and dangers of this new world.

Evade your foes as you navigate the caverns. Hunt for food and rain fire from above. Make new friends and defeat your enemies.

This is a tale told without words, where your actions can shape the outcome.


A trailer for the game can be viewed on Steam Greenlight.


Dragon's Wake is intended to be a compelling narrative experience that relies on the gameplay to tell the story. You hatch from your egg and find yourself alone. You begin to explore and discover...
...well that would be spoiling things wouldn't it? Wink



  • Fly: Navigate the caves and avoid you enemies by using your mastery of the air. A flying system that lets you really feel like a magical winged creature.
  • Burn: Breathe streams of flame and spit exploding balls of fire. When a dragon roars, the world trembles.
  • Eat: Your foes are food. Eat your enemies to recover your strength.
                   


Dragon's Wake is being developed by Brainbox Software, which basically means just me.

EDIT: The name has been changed to Dragon's Wake. See the post below.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2015, 04:32:57 PM by Kytin » Logged

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Kytin
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2014, 04:34:31 PM »

Dragon's Passage has been changed to Dragon's Wake.
A number of people were telling me that the name wasn't compelling to them. This was a bit of a problem since I was rather fond of the name. However one person whom I really respect was insistent that I find a new name and that I do it quickly.
I spent some time seriously thinking about it and came to the name Dragon's Wake. I found I actually like the name Dragon's Wake even better than Dragon's Passage.
Dragon's Passage is a name with several meanings that are relevant to the game but they only resonate weakly. A Dragon's Passage most obviously refers to the passages and caves that the dragon character(s) live in. It can also refer to the act of a dragon passing by. It also can be stretched to mean the action of a dragon passing on (i.e. dying). All of these are relevant to the story and/or gameplay, but the most relevant ones (passing by and death) are kind of oblique.
Dragon's Wake also has a couple of meanings and most of them are rather similar to Dragon's Passage. A wake is the immediate trail created by something as it moves. When people hear the term they tend to think of burned towns and dead bodies. However, a wake can also refer to the funeral ceremony. A Dragon's Wake would mean mourning for the death of a dragon. The meanings are similar to Dragon's Passage, but I think they strike the imagination much more sharply.

What do you people think?

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Boreal
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2014, 06:27:40 PM »

I like the name Dragon's Wake.  To me it references both the fact that you're newly-hatched and hungry to explore and that you're going to be doing something important or significant - leaving a wake.
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Kytin
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2014, 06:45:52 PM »

We have a proper title image now. Take a look.





This was done at my request by a friend that is helping with some art stuff. As you can see, he does some nice work.


In other news, In two weeks time I will be at PAX Prime. Whoohoo! I'll be showing a demo of the game at booth 6002. If you happen to be going to PAX Prime come check it out and have a chat. I don't bite. Smiley (The dragon on the other hand...)
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2014, 09:44:46 PM »

Dragon's Wake strikes me as a much strong name. Good choice on that.
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Kytin
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2014, 04:35:19 PM »

Today I would like to talk about controls.

I recently received some adamant criticism about the controls for Dragon's Wake. The criticism basically boiled down to the idea that when playing a platformer with an Xbox controller, the A button should be for jumping.

Dragon's Wake does not use the A button for jumping. It uses the Left Shoulder button. The reason for this is that I want to use the Right Thumbstick for aiming the breath weapon, and I quickly found that using the A button for jump meant that, at best, the player was having to quickly switch their right thumb back and forth between the thumbstick and the A button. I felt that this was awkward and annoying, so I moved the jump input somewhere that didn't require the thumb.

My critics seemed to think that this was not sufficient reason to move away from the industry standard of using the A button to jump in a platformer. They claimed it will confuse and annoy players.

I disagree. Or rather, I think that the benefits of non-awkward controls outweigh the disadvantages of moving away from an industry standard.


Obviously you guys aren't in the best position to make a judgement since you can't play the game yet, but I'm interested to hear your opinions.
I've been looking around for other platformers that use the right thumbstick to see how they handle jumping, but I haven't been able to find any that have controller support. Does anyone else know of one, and how did they handle the issue?
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TheAnndddyyyy
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2014, 11:31:40 AM »

That's a difficult problem to tackle. You're righting against the established conventions of a genre that are pretty universally agreed upon as being 'good'. In trying something different you're losing so much piggybacking it might not be worth it. Having never tried to address the problem I can only speculate.

I don't see why you can't do it differently if you can sell your players on the change. Maybe if you introduce using the right stick to aim before telling/letting the player jump you can shift their mindset? Maybe it's a matter of LB being the wrong button? Could the triggers feel more natural?

Without actually playing a build and getting a feel for it all I can offer is my couple of quick ideas. Hope there was something useful in there for you!
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2014, 12:26:13 PM »

Ape Escape did it and it worked. Try playing Ape Escape.
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Kytin
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 05:39:36 PM »

Ape Escape did it and it worked. Try playing Ape Escape.

Unfortunately I don't own a PS1, so I don't really have that option. I went and looked up what the controls were. Apparently they used the right trigger and/or shoulder buttons for jump. Seems like they went for much the same solution as I did.

That's one example. Are there any others? I know of a fair few recent platformers that use mouse and keyboard to aim and jump, but none of the seem to have controller support.
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Kytin
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 08:45:40 PM »

In preparation for making the most out of my time at PAX I have launched a Steam Greenlight page for Dragon's Wake. Unfortunately I can't embed trailers here so you will have to follow the link. And maybe after you view the trailer you might think about giving the game a vote.

Creating the trailer took more time than I expected it to, mainly because Adobe Premier decided to be... uncooperative. But it is done now, and I am quite pleased with the results.
A special thanks goes to to Kieran Roberts who is doing the music for Dragon's Wake and contributed a modified version of one of the tracks specially for the trailer.
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2014, 04:55:41 PM »

I have returned from PAX, and it was amazing. I attended the two days of PAX Dev that ran just prior to PAX prime and heard a lot of interesting speakers. The most entertaining one was the '10 Rules for Writing Rules'. The most informative was probably 'Indie Game Marketing 101', from which the speaker has kindly posted the slides on his website.

PAX Prime itself was crazy. Being a one-man-team I had to man the booth showing Dragon's Wake myself for essentially the entire time. I did snatch a few hours to check out what was going on elsewhere, but for the most part I only got to have a quick look at things before moving on.

The general reaction from people to Dragon's Wake was positive. A lot of people did walk by, glance at the game and move on, but with everything there was to see at PAX it's hard to say that means they didn't like it. The people that did play (and there were a lot of them), tended to really like it. A common comment I heard was that the game was much more fun to play than it looked. At an estimate, I would say that most people that started playing would play for about 15-20 minutes. Almost all of them accepted the business cards I had printed, which will hopefully remind them to vote for the game on Greenlight, and to talk about the game to their friends.

There were of course bugs and problems with the game that I hadn't anticipated. One annoying one would cause players to get stuck because the save systems sometimes thought that they had completed things that they hadn't reached yet. Another one would cause most of the music to stop playing if they played using a save slot that had previously completed the demo. And there were a number of points where players became lost and struggled to find where to go next. This is all good stuff because it means that I now know about these problems and can fix them. I now have a better idea of what the player experiences when they play the game.

Even though I didn't have a lot of time to do so, I was able to check out a few of the booths being run by other indie developers. The highlights for me were meeting with Red Hook and getting a chance to play an alpha version of their game Darkest Dungeon, as well as playing a demo of the game Below. Both are amazing games and I can't wait for them to released.



What lies in the future? Well, for the next couple of weeks I'll be catching up on things that I let slide during the build up to PAX. That means I probably won't be getting much development done. That does not mean, however, that you will be hearing less from me. In fact I am going to make a commitment to posting here at least once a week.
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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2014, 01:02:14 PM »

Thanks for sharing your PAX experience. Sounds like it was a wild and interesting time.

It sounds like you got a lot of good feedback and a good list of stuff to work on. What's going to get the most attention now?

EDIT: Also, where were you showing your game? Was your booth part of one of the collectives that sets up?
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 01:12:41 PM by TheAnndddyyyy » Logged
Kytin
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2014, 11:48:21 PM »

Well, like I predicted in the last post, I haven't managed to get much development done this week. So instead of talking about technical stuff I will talk about something near and dear to my heart - stories in games.

Sometimes I tell people that I love games for their storytelling, and then they give me odd looks. This is understandable since most games don't have a story much more advanced than "These are the bag guys. Kill them."
But there are games that have affected me powerfully, and done so in a way that could not have been done through a book or movie. When I think about why I am a gamer, why I love this medium so much, these are the games that I think of. Games such as the original Prince of Persia, and Shadow of the Colossus. More recently there is Thomas Was Alone and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

The thing that games can do that other mediums can't is gameplay. At the moment most game designers have in their heads this weird separation between gameplay and story. This can be seen in how the games tell their stories (i.e. here have some gameplay. Now have a cutscene. Have some more gameplay. Have another cutscene.). Few studios seem to understand that the gameplay should be part of the storytelling.

This is part of why I chose to avoid using and text or voice acting in Dragon's Wake. By taking those tools away I am forced to rely on other ones to tell the story. I am also avoiding cutscenes for similar reasons. They interfere with player immersion, and are often just clumsy. Players know that they aren't going to die during a cutscene so they relax, often at the times when the story is saying they should be the most tense.

Back to gameplay. What does it mean to tell a story through gameplay? Let's take an example from the original Prince of Persia. In one of the early levels of Prince of Persia you find the level exit, but you still need to open it. So you go find the switch that opens the exit and backtrack, only to find that a mysterious mirror has appeared and is now blocking your path. In order to continue you have to jump through the mirror, but instead of breaking it you simply pass through and a shadow version of yourself pops out the other side.
Would it have been the same if the designer had just used a cutscene at this point? No I don't think so. If this had happened in a cutscene it would have been something that happened to someone else. The shadow clone would have resulted from the actions of the player character rather than the player. It would have created distance between the player and the important moment in the story.


Sorry for the rambling wall of text everyone. I promise to have some pics in the next update!
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Kytin
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2014, 08:35:20 PM »

I'm feeling like sharing so I thought I might do a quick bonus update.

Today I took a loving mother, gouged one of her eyes out and carved up her corpse so that it looks like she was in a fight.

In other words, I drew this:



EDIT: Somehow I completely failed to see the earlier post by TheAnndddyyyy. To answer your questions, I'm going to focus on getting basic versions of the remaining levels done first, although there will be a bit of bug fixing and minor adjustments/bits of content mixed in.

The PAX booth I was in was 6002. It was a booth that collectively held several games made by groups that are part of the AIE (Academy of Interactive Entertainment) Incubator program. We were kind of tucked away in a corner so we didn't get as much traffic as the Indie Megabooth, but at PAX even a 'low' number of people kept us plenty busy!
« Last Edit: September 16, 2014, 09:00:42 PM by Kytin » Logged

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Kytin
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2014, 08:45:31 PM »

So here we go with another pretty picture.



Awww, he's all tuckered out.

And there we have my first animated GIF. I'll be creating more of these. In fact I'll try to avoid still shots as much as possible from now on.

This scene is something I have had in the game for awhile now, but I think it really captures the mood I'm trying to set (which is why I have another version of it in the

. It's really sweet and innocent... from the perspective of a dragon.
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2014, 01:50:42 AM »

Glad that you enjoyed PAX so much, it really is a great experience.

I like the concept of this game and it's looking pretty good so far.  As with the controls, I believe someone mentioned above that Ape Escape shied away from industry standards in that regard and was successful regardless.  It really depends on what you think is right, though I for one am always advocating giving the player the choice; I find it strange that games that use a controller exclusively (console games are a great example) in most cases don't allow you to rebind buttons.

Good luck with the rest of development.
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Kytin
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2014, 04:29:35 PM »

One of the great things about Unity is that is has built in functionality to allow users to rebind their controls, including controller input. I couldn't stop players from rebinding the controls for Dragon's Wake even if I wanted to. Getting the default controls right is still important though.
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2014, 03:47:47 PM »

It's been confirmed. I have a booth to show off Dragon's Wake at PAX Australia. I'll only be showing for the first day and a half (Friday and Saturday), so if any of you are going to Melbourne for this and you want to have a try of the demo be sure to look for me on those days.
I haven't yet been told what booth number I'll be given, unfortunately. I do know that I will be packed in with a bunch of other games that are being made by AIE graduates. The AIE is hosting us, so just keep an eye out for banners or posters promoting the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.


No new stuff to show off just yet, so have an animation of something that's been in for awhile.



Remember, rabbits are food, not friends!
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Kytin
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« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2014, 12:52:49 AM »

I have recently been able to confirm that I will have booth space to show Dragon's Wake at PAX Australia on Friday Oct 31st, and the morning of Sunday Nov 1st. I'll be sharing space with a bunch of other games being promoted by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, but hopefully I won't be too hard to find.

I have interesting plans for things that I intend to change from what I showed at PAX Prime, so if you saw it there it should still be worth your time to check it out again.

That's all for now. I hope to see many of you there!
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2014, 03:07:04 AM »

I've never been to pax myself (because of travel distance) but it sound really cool. Do you perhaps have some photos to share of your boot at pax prime? would love to see how it all looks!

I really like the concept of this game and it shows that you are really dedicated about it with the pax stuff, greenlight page and such. I can recommend you to look at "EVO search for eden" for SNES, because I think it can really inspire you for your game. EVO is a also a 2d platformer with evolution, so perhaps you could watch some playtrough videos on youtube.
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-24/?action=preview = this was a ludum dare compo about evolution so maybe this could help you aswell.
Good luck at PAX Aus!
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