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pLaw
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« on: February 07, 2015, 07:23:22 AM »

Update 20th Aug 2016: Project has been cancelled.

Hello everyone!

This is my first "bigger" solo project and it has reached a point at which I think I might share some pictures of my progress. It's still very early in development and I believe I will change the art at some point. For now, I'm focusing on gameplay and mechanics, so don't mind the generic look too much. As always, any feedback is highly appreciated. Here we go:

Working Title: Failsafe (to be changed)

What's it about?
You are the caretaker of a clone army mother ship on it's long journey to the battlefield.

The game will be about macro-managing the mother-ship and manipulating your environment. There will be some shooting and platforming involved but that's rather secondary.

And of course, screenshots:










« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 03:40:26 PM by pLaw » Logged

bdsowers
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2015, 11:07:37 AM »

This looks really good! You've got some nice VFX going, and the whole aesthetic has a very Metroid feel while not seeming like a Metroid game at all.

I would shy away from making those growth+platforming sections too large. Maybe I've become a crotchety old man, but whenever a minor dexterity hiccup causes me to have to redo a room, I get frustrated. The one you've got on display seems about as large as I'd make it.
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Phasesaber
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2015, 01:06:08 PM »

I'd like to see where this goes, as the graphics seem nice and the gameplay looks like Metroid with a twist.
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Mainly a Java coder, though I dabble in websites.<br />https://github.com/Phasesaber
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2015, 01:25:59 PM »

Good stuff! I really like that micro pixel art style.
Really metroid-esque tileset you are using, is there any exploration involved apart from the ship management?
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pLaw
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2015, 04:00:19 PM »

Hi guys. Thanks for your feedback!
I admit, it is very metroid inspired since it's one of my favorite games (and genres). So I won't get away without any exploration. I thought about the ship to be a malfunctioning mess which you have to deal with.

As for the dexterity part: I don't intend to stress those gameplay elements to much. I don't want to make anybody go "Uh, green-goo-shoot-jumping again ...  Lips Sealed "

The ship management is more like changing certain conditions in some areas and repairing stuff. But it's too early to go more into detail on this. I'm still kind of figuring it out this part.

As mentioned before, I'm not quite convinced by the art style, yet. But: gameplay first Wink

And since we are on a clone army ship:


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pLaw
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2015, 03:07:29 PM »

Some progress today:

Improved some of my custom editing tools...



... and finished player death and respawn logic.



I also had to write a small 2d particle system, since the built-in of unity does not support collision with 2d colliders.
I guess call it a day.
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2015, 04:05:47 PM »

Title's already taken, dude.  An excellent homebrew game for the Atari 7800 already has it.
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pLaw
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2015, 03:44:36 AM »

Title's already taken, dude.  An excellent homebrew game for the Atari 7800 already has it.

Too bad  Undecided. It's just the working title, so I probably would have changed it anyway. This happens to me the second time. I'm unlucky in naming my projects Wink
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pLaw
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2015, 03:30:00 PM »

Some progress on basic game mechanics:
You can use those big screens to control different stuff. This is just a simple example with two doors.

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pLaw
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2015, 07:28:47 AM »

I'm working on further mechanics to add some depth and variety in terms of gameplay.
I thought it would be interesting to implement rather tools than actual weapons. Many ideas popped up and this is one of them:


The red backpack is some sort of scanning/hacking device the player can carry around. I'm dallying with the idea of making the device a heavy piece of equipment that slows you down and prevents you from crossing wide pits. However, you could fling the backpack ofer larger gaps or hazards and take alternative routes and regain it.
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pLaw
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2015, 09:01:51 AM »

One month passed since the last update, so I feel the urge to post on the current state of the project. Since I was occupied with other projects lately, there hasn't been any ground breaking progress.

I was struggling with the current concept. It didn't convince me and I started exploring different ideas. Since then I felt hesitant to do any further coding without having a concrete idea of the core of the game. So it was all back to pen and paper:


It feels like going all the way back, almost startig from scratch, which isn't satisfying at all. But I think it's the right thing to do. I don't want to recode the whole thing three times because of the lack of direction.

I'm also getting close to a new name for the project. By now the list of possible candidates contains 33 items. Most of them are completely worthless. A handful is promising. My favourites are 'Unit Opera' or 'Clone Opera'. I'd love to hear from you guys what you think about those names. Right direction or rubbish?
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2015, 09:11:53 AM »

Those are okay. Not bad, but you haven't sold me on it yet. I really like the tilesets and aesthetic you have going on. My only complaint is I'm not super fond of the character. He stands out really well in game, but as a character he doesn't stand out to me. This may be intentional due to him being a clone.

I really like the idea of tools vs weapons, and your examples are awesome. I like the screen controls and the tool you demonstrated. Have you played Gunpoint? It lightly reminds me of that. The wiring component of that game was really appealing, it would be great to see more things like that in games.
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pLaw
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2015, 09:28:22 AM »

Those are okay. Not bad, but you haven't sold me on it yet. I really like the tilesets and aesthetic you have going on. My only complaint is I'm not super fond of the character. He stands out really well in game, but as a character he doesn't stand out to me. This may be intentional due to him being a clone.

I really like the idea of tools vs weapons, and your examples are awesome. I like the screen controls and the tool you demonstrated. Have you played Gunpoint? It lightly reminds me of that. The wiring component of that game was really appealing, it would be great to see more things like that in games.

Yes, I agree with you on the character. It's a sprite from a very early iteration and has bacome a mere placeholder. At this point a white box would do it as well Wink I'm already working on a more appealing character design. I'm also planning to change the overall style.

Thank you for your feedback! I'm really glad you like my game mechanic examples. I played Gunpoint but I wasn't aware of the similarities until you mentioned it. Maybe I was subconsciously inspired by Gunpoint.
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Grog
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2015, 10:44:28 AM »

Those are okay. Not bad, but you haven't sold me on it yet. I really like the tilesets and aesthetic you have going on. My only complaint is I'm not super fond of the character. He stands out really well in game, but as a character he doesn't stand out to me. This may be intentional due to him being a clone.

I really like the idea of tools vs weapons, and your examples are awesome. I like the screen controls and the tool you demonstrated. Have you played Gunpoint? It lightly reminds me of that. The wiring component of that game was really appealing, it would be great to see more things like that in games.

Yes, I agree with you on the character. It's a sprite from a very early iteration and has bacome a mere placeholder. At this point a white box would do it as well Wink I'm already working on a more appealing character design. I'm also planning to change the overall style.

Thank you for your feedback! I'm really glad you like my game mechanic examples. I played Gunpoint but I wasn't aware of the similarities until you mentioned it. Maybe I was subconsciously inspired by Gunpoint.

It's good because it's not an overbearing similarity in my books, but it's nice because it's a relatively unexplored mechanic. You keep mentioning the overall style is subject to change, and I don't want another Kerfuffle scenario on our hands (long live squares?) but I really do enjoy the tile sets. Maybe you can do better, and if you can I'll be really excited, because I already love what I've seen. Simple, with a lot of character. Like a previous poster mentioned, it feels like Metroid without actually being Metroid, which is a great feel to capture (Gunpoint and Metroid? Count me the hell in.)
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pLaw
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2015, 11:52:09 AM »

Those are okay. Not bad, but you haven't sold me on it yet. I really like the tilesets and aesthetic you have going on. My only complaint is I'm not super fond of the character. He stands out really well in game, but as a character he doesn't stand out to me. This may be intentional due to him being a clone.

I really like the idea of tools vs weapons, and your examples are awesome. I like the screen controls and the tool you demonstrated. Have you played Gunpoint? It lightly reminds me of that. The wiring component of that game was really appealing, it would be great to see more things like that in games.

Yes, I agree with you on the character. It's a sprite from a very early iteration and has bacome a mere placeholder. At this point a white box would do it as well Wink I'm already working on a more appealing character design. I'm also planning to change the overall style.

Thank you for your feedback! I'm really glad you like my game mechanic examples. I played Gunpoint but I wasn't aware of the similarities until you mentioned it. Maybe I was subconsciously inspired by Gunpoint.

It's good because it's not an overbearing similarity in my books, but it's nice because it's a relatively unexplored mechanic. You keep mentioning the overall style is subject to change, and I don't want another Kerfuffle scenario on our hands (long live squares?) but I really do enjoy the tile sets. Maybe you can do better, and if you can I'll be really excited, because I already love what I've seen. Simple, with a lot of character. Like a previous poster mentioned, it feels like Metroid without actually being Metroid, which is a great feel to capture (Gunpoint and Metroid? Count me the hell in.)

Putting Gunpoint and Metroid into a blender: The more I think about it the more I like it. Grog, you really helped me out here direction-wise. Thank you! :D

I'm afraid the art direction thing will remain an open chapter for a while  Sad. I understand your concerns and I share them. I guess I'll just continue experimenting. Chances are that nothing else will work out for me and I'll stick with the style of the first tilesets.

I did some experiments in that direction and I wanted to try a more 'hi-fi' style and maybe introduce some lighting. This is an early snapshot of what I had in mind (no colors, only ambient occlusion; original tileset below for comparison):


Of course everything would be rendered bigger in that case.
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Grog
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2015, 12:42:07 PM »

I'm killing the quote chain here. :p But I'm really happy to have helped! I'm not sure if you've read the Kerfuffle devlog, but it has a really interesting case of a developer making a game in a style that people really really enjoyed, and there was minor backlash when the direction was changed. But after trucking through it a style that people enjoyed (both the developer and the followers) emerged. It was cool. So take my thoughts on your art direction with a grain of salt. Find something you and your hopeful audience enjoys (you already have at least an audience of one at this point).

To comment on your high-fi stuff, I'm sure it would work, but personally I'm less excited for that kind of thing. I really enjoy pixel art. It's something I grew up with, something I enjoy doing (and am learning as much as I can). It's a style that jives with me. 3d can still be great or better. Ultimately what I'm trying to say is if you showed me the two images above, I'd be more excited for the pixel arts, despite the solid 3d work below. Actually, for the record, is that created in 3d or 2d? :p
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2015, 02:31:13 PM »

I like the high res tiles. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2015, 02:39:56 PM »

@Grog
Now that you mentioned it, I remember to have stumbled upon the Kerfuffle thread. I skimmed through it and saw that at some point the discussion about the art style got very heated. I couldn't recognize why or what the initial cause for the sometimes very agressive comments was and decided to not go into detail on this any further. Glad to hear that they sorted it out Smiley

I appreciate any thought (positive or negative) on the art direction, since it is still open to discussion. And of course, when it comes to art, there is a lot of subjective taste involved. But it always yields useful information about what people want, expect or dislike. Your feedback on the hi-resolution test renders for instance is very informative. I love pixel art as well and I enjoy doing it. I find the style of Dash & ATLAS appealing and well-made. I grew up with it as well and by now it has become a timeless stylistic medium. However, I find it difficult to  find a pixel art style for myself that is distinguishable enough. That's when I start to experiment and try out different stuff.

The image above is created in 3d and rendered to a texture which is then used as a sprite. The advantage of this approach is you can add normal maps and specularity, work with shaders and self-illuminating pixels and still have a tile based 2d approach beneath it all. So, this would be just one layer of the tileset. I would have to test it with the other maps and proper lighting to have a comparable result. Maybe I should do that, take a screenshot of an entire scene show you that and see if you are still more excited about the low resolution pixel art (I wouldn't be dissapointed if you were Wink )

Another approach I'm considering is one that relies on aliased 3d models for moving parts (such as characters) and pixel art for static or semi-static objects (walls, doors etc.). I did that on a small LudumDare piece (GRAIL) and it worked well in my opinion. It reminded me a bit of the first Prince of Persia:


EDIT:
Maybe there is a middle ground. An art style that appeals to pixel-enthusiasts and pixel-naysayers.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 02:47:00 PM by pLaw » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2015, 05:38:08 PM »

post to follow this, it looks amazing!!
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« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2015, 06:40:57 PM »

The plant gun (goo gun?) is awesome.  I can see a lot of other mechanics building off of that core mechanic.  (flamethrower to burn back the green stuff if you accidentally grew too much of it, flame hazards in the world that will wipe out your green platforms, parasites/enemies that are attracted to the green goo, maybe a life cycle where the green stuff blooms and then disintegrates over time, so you have to move quickly, etc.)
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