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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsGhost Song: Atmospheric sci fi 2D -- Up; new 25 minute gameplay video
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Author Topic: Ghost Song: Atmospheric sci fi 2D -- Up; new 25 minute gameplay video  (Read 46531 times)
twotimingpete
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« on: July 18, 2014, 10:47:31 AM »

Hey everyone. I've been a casual user and frequent lurker for over a year now, and decided it's finally time to make my own devlog. In this first post I'll sort of try and play catch up and get you guys up to speed on some of what I've done, and in the coming weeks and months I'll use the thread to share new developments and hopefully get useful feedback.

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GHOST SONG

edit: new gameplay video

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First gameplay video (this is worth 10,000 words in terms of explaining the game)

Second gameplay video (you can see many refinements here, particularly with the camera, compared to the first video)

Twitter (I often barf up little tidbits and random thoughts as I develop the game)

Stencyl (This is the game creation software I'm using to make the game)

Ghost Song home page

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Ghost Song is a 2D 'vania that is -- yes -- Inspired by Dark Souls and Metroid. I realize how tired that may sound by this point, but when I first conceived of the game it wasn't something I had heard much, so hopefully you'll all cut me some slack.

--




The game was successfully kickstarted last summer. The original prototype, the one shown in the Kickstarter pitch, was a flash game made in Stencyl. The plan at that time was to make the new version in Unity. We had a Unity build going, but I ultimately ended up going back to Stencyl, because I was already up to speed and craved more independence. The new Stencyl version is NOT a flash game, it's a full windows application with full gamepad support.

While I have help with some things around the margins, I am currently primarily developing the game on my own -- Design, story, art, and programming in Stencyl. I am managing the budget conservatively, and if it becomes safe to do so, I may hire an artist to help me finish the game faster. This remains on my mind.

A couple months ago I released the first new gameplay video of the game, that I feel demonstrates well what the game is all about. A lot of progress and tweaks have been made since then, and I do plan to release a new gameplay walkthrough video in the near future, followed by a beta demo build for backers of the game.

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The Game

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I have very old school design sensibilities. I long for a game that feels large and almost indifferent to your presence. Some design choices are purposefully obtuse, others are completely natural. The story delivery and pacing is very reminiscent of Dark Souls (which is one of my favorite games). The world is also sparsely populated with characters. Some of who are relevant to your plight, others more concerned with plights of their own.

Story telling and teaching the player to play are both approached in a very minimal, ambient fashion. As the game begins, the player will know very little about what's going on, and the hope is that the story unfolds through game events, characters, and clues that enable the player to gradually put together a picture -- A picture of not only what the story is, but who they actually are.

The game takes place in an open world, with a "diamond" style gameplay structure. You must do a number of things, which can be done in different orders, and once those things are done, access to the "late game" area is unlocked.

Combat is fairly fast and high stakes. The attacks and projectiles of enemies are faster moving than in most games, and this is counterbalanced by the player's own high mobility and evasive moves. As you might expect, over the course of the game the player acquires new moves and abilities, as well as levels up and improves their general strength.

The map system is something of a compromise between the mystery and authenticity of a no-map game, and the convenience of a full GPS style map game. You can bring up a map that shows your relative position on the screen by way of an icon, and actual rooms and corridors are only displayed on the map if you have acquired a fragment that contains them. Even if you find every fragment, however, much of the game still takes place "off map". The map that is there is mostly meant as a point of reference, and a way to provide contrast and additional tension for when you go "off map".

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Media

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Click for high resolution .webm



Click for higher resolution .webm



Click for higher resolution .webm



Click for higher resolution .webm





"Little Blue"


Gili


Rook

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Additional .webm video clips

1: http://gfycat.com/IckyUniformFairybluebird
2: http://gfycat.com/BlondInconsequentialApatosaur
3: http://gfycat.com/HandyGrippingAquaticleech

--

Thanks for checking it out. In this thread, all feedback, questions, and crits are welcome. More soon!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 07:49:01 AM by twotimingpete » Logged

Christian
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2014, 11:17:38 AM »

Hey Matt, good to see you on TIGForums! Looking forward to Ghost Song, can't wait to see more
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2014, 12:12:22 PM »

Nice, I like the RGB shift, it's a little more unique than screen shake.
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Kyle O
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2014, 12:22:47 PM »

This looks fantastic! Sorry I missed the kickstarter. I look forward to seeing more.
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2014, 01:38:34 PM »

Looks very cool, love the atmosphere.
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2014, 01:56:36 PM »

Looks great!
I am really excited about this.
Would there be some sort of questlines for the NPCs like in Dark Souls?
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2014, 02:14:58 PM »

glad to see Ghost Song on here!

it's probably my most anticipated indie game at this point, the aesthetic you've pulled off is sooo fantastic Kiss
will definitely keep an eye on this devlog!
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2014, 05:25:22 PM »

Neat. I'm making a Metroidvania-y game myself. Still working with Rekcahdam?
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twotimingpete
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2014, 12:59:32 AM »

thanks everyone for your comments Smiley

Nice, I like the RGB shift, it's a little more unique than screen shake.

the RGB shift is the result of a shader written for me by a friend of mine from the Stencyl forums (which is pretty easy to then plug into a project). I don't know much about writing shaders, fortunately there are others who do. XD  It's meant to emulate a chromatic abberation effect.

in the case of the big monster, we're getting a screen shake in addition to the shader.

Looks great!
I am really excited about this.
Would there be some sort of questlines for the NPCs like in Dark Souls?

I modeled the implementation of NPCs in the game after Dark Souls, so yes, sometimes they do ask you to do things or otherwise progress on their storylines.

I don't want to make anyone think that this is a quest heavy game. It's not. But, like Dark Souls, there is some of that stuff in there.


Neat. I'm making a Metroidvania-y game myself. Still working with Rekcahdam?

Recka's still my pal and yes, he's still doing the music, (as heard in the video -- dayum is it good!) but he's not programming the game as originally was planned. Changing plans wasn't an easy decision. The abbreviated version of events is that -- I was feeling a bit creatively frustrated implementing things second hand through a programmer during a time when the game was in a very experimentative phase, and I saw that Stencyl changed code libraries from NME to Open FL and was promising better performance. So I got the new Stencyl and started creating a prototype and running stress tests to see what I could do in it, and it kept passing my tests, and things just went along and eventually I started to wonder if it wasn't smartest and best for everyone involved if I made the game for real this way and I don't regret it.

If you want to know more about what happened and my decision to go back to stencyl, I talked about it in the Stencyl post I made back when I first went public with this decision.

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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2014, 11:48:54 AM »

Very impressive! I just watched your kickstarter trailer, actually-- very nice gameplay+story reveal there! I'm definitely hooked for more. How did you make those huge gifs?
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twotimingpete
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2014, 11:51:39 AM »

Very impressive! I just watched your kickstarter trailer, actually-- very nice gameplay+story reveal there! I'm definitely hooked for more. How did you make those huge gifs?

thank you Smiley I don't recall there being any big story reveals within the original kickstarter video. beyond that, some specifics around the story have changed a bit in the year since then, as the game needed to be solidified and scoped out.

I use gifcam to make gifs (hard to remember the url so just google "gifcam"). limited options but also very very simple and functional!
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2014, 12:06:30 PM »

Its great to see to a devlog for Ghost Song here.
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2014, 12:46:42 PM »

Very impressive! I just watched your kickstarter trailer, actually-- very nice gameplay+story reveal there! I'm definitely hooked for more. How did you make those huge gifs?

thank you Smiley I don't recall there being any big story reveals within the original kickstarter video. beyond that, some specifics around the story have changed a bit in the year since then, as the game needed to be solidified and scoped out.

I use gifcam to make gifs (hard to remember the url so just google "gifcam"). limited options but also very very simple and functional!

What I mean is the hints of story within - most trailers I've seen just want to use all the minutes the gameplay and the universe but I appreciate the quiet moments in the trailer that are more contemplative, I guess.
Thanks for the gifcam tip too! I'm excited to try it out.
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2014, 02:04:52 PM »

This looks beautiful and moody! Definitely don't mind the Dark Souls/ Metroid mix; it sounds like a winning combination of two games I love. I second Gifcam as well, super easy to use with a lot of decent options and some editing within the program itself.
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2014, 12:10:20 AM »

Been following this for a while, looking great :D!

How's Stencyl from an audio perspective? Would love to try experiment with a few things but can't code at all.
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twotimingpete
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2014, 11:19:06 AM »

thanks :D

How's Stencyl from an audio perspective? Would love to try experiment with a few things but can't code at all.

I don't have a lot of frame of reference since my experience with C2 and game maker are pretty preliminary, but to me it seems as though the audio side of stencyl is pretty basic right now. it's sufficient to do the type of game I'm doing, though, certainly. if you watch the video there's no video editing there, everything you see is just a straight visual/audio rip from the game, even the music that trails in at the end.

if you have specific questions I could attempt to answer them, but suffice it to say I believe the audio features of stencyl to be pretty basic right now.
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2014, 11:24:59 AM »

It's kinda weird that the robot holds his arm horizontally like that, but I like the art direction in general. Robots with clothing are always so cool looking to me - I love the style you've got going. The concept art you have is really awesome, too! That last piece looks like something straight out of an anime's concept sheet for a character. Nice work, anyway!
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twotimingpete
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2014, 01:06:50 PM »

It's kinda weird that the robot holds his arm horizontally like that, but I like the art direction in general. Robots with clothing are always so cool looking to me - I love the style you've got going. The concept art you have is really awesome, too! That last piece looks like something straight out of an anime's concept sheet for a character. Nice work, anyway!

thank you Smiley the original appleseed manga is one of my main artistic influences when it comes to my artwork.

adam actually isn't wearing clothes. this is the original sketch I made of him:




edit: I get you're probably talking about the main character... that said, who said he/she is a robot? Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2014, 06:24:53 PM »

I didn't think the main character was a robot I was initially reminded of Desert Punk.
www.jpzrecords.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Desert-Punk-v2.jpg

Great work, the atmosphere is great and the voice acting sounds fantastic really brings you into the world more than just text would.
Has a very cinematic platformer look to it which is great.
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2014, 08:37:16 PM »

edit: I get you're probably talking about the main character... that said, who said he/she is a robot? Smiley

Well, even though there's not a lot of reference for height or anything, it doesn't really look like a human could fit in it if it were a suit. The joints seem too small to accomodate a human. Also, the cycloptic eye isn't really something it seems like an armored human would have. A visor like Samus, two or more cameras seems like it'd be more useful for a human.

Anyway, maybe I should look into manga or anime inspiration more for robot designs.
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