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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsSmith and Winston - Twin Stick Voxel Shooter
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Author Topic: Smith and Winston - Twin Stick Voxel Shooter  (Read 14602 times)
djr
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« on: March 10, 2015, 09:46:21 am »

LINK TO THE LATEST UPDATE POST.

Smith and Winston is a twin stick shooter for Win, Mac, Linux and PS4.

S&W is Inspired by Ikari Warriors and Heavy Barrel, two great arcade games that are great fun to play even now.

Charlie (artist) and I (dazza the coder) have been working on Smith and Winston for just over a year now. We've come a long way in that time and this post is a sort of walk through time to show you where we are in the journey.

We've spent a lot of time procrastinating about posting to TIG..... we're a bit poo when it comes to talking about the game  Embarrassed

Initial Concept November 2013




We started out using Unity. Neither of us had used Unity before so it was a bit of a ride. After a few weeks we had a guy running around and shooting things. We weren't really happy with the art style though, it just wasn't coming together for us. Although Unity is great I didn't really enjoy using it. Lots of crashes and lots of weirdness that as a coder I just wanted to fix.

Change of Art Direction Jan 2014


Initial 8bit character designs. We started to like what we were doing but how were we going to translate this in to a 3D game. We didn't want to make it purely 2D like the originals but polygon work is very labour intensive and as a two man team that made us nervous.



Charlie creates these concept baddies using Qubicle (great voxel editor) and we seriously start to think we should make it a voxel based game (March 2014). I think in hindsight I was more reluctant than Charlie to make a voxel game. It seemed quite risky and Unity was already a bit if a risk.

Ditch Unity
I decide we should ditch Unity and run with our own code base so we can voxel this game up. While this seems bat shit it meant that I could say to Charlie what we definitely could and couldn't do without worrying about Unity getting in the way. We both know it's a lot of work though but it's so exciting at the beginning isn't it?



The editor starts and as always it's a bit shit at the beginning. We really weren't sure if we were doing the right thing dropping Unity but it seemed like a big risk to me and I knew I could get and engine/editor up and running and realise this game.



After a long few months (that's coder speak for six months) the editor is starting to come together pretty well and we're rocking some designs and playing some levels. The gap in writing the Editor and pulling the engine together gives Charlie a long time to pull concepts together and really nail the art style.



Here is a video showing:
* how awful it looked in March 2014:


* looking better a few months later:


* July 2014 and the editor is coming together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWTFmYu3k6g
* August and the game is looking quite good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtrimC_TWe4

August - We decided on the Logo and name, set in stone now



Vertical Slice - New year Bosses

We started working on a 'vertical slice' in the new year. We wanted something to show potential publishers or maybe, if we can pluck up the courage, a kick starter campaign. For a vertical slice we needed a boss so we started to prototype one:



We want to show the varing terrains that the game will have so far we've got desert and jungle plus inside a military base type thing (ok not original but who cares!)







The Bottom of the post

Well I've made it all the way here and not deleted it so that's good. It's been a long year but great fun so far. My plan is to update this more frequently than once a year  Shocked

I hope this was fun to read and maybe helpful, well probably not helpful, if you wanna ask anything then please do  Toast Right
« Last Edit: February 11, 2017, 03:24:54 am by djr » Logged

MereMonkey
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 10:05:31 am »

Woah love those trees! Looks like a super fun game to play, can't wait to see more!
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djr
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 11:38:42 am »

Woah love those trees! Looks like a super fun game to play, can't wait to see more!

Funny you should say that about the trees, we went through a lot of bad trees before we got good voxel trees. Thank for looking  Smiley
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MereMonkey
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 11:43:06 am »

Haha well it looks like it was worth the hard work!
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 12:33:05 pm »

I thought I didn't like voxels, but I'm not familiar with all the scene, and maybe I just don't like Minecrafty course-grain voxels. I like the look here a lot.
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 12:56:29 pm »

I thought I didn't like voxels, but I'm not familiar with all the scene, and maybe I just don't like Minecrafty course-grain voxels. I like the look here a lot.

Same. Not big on voxels at all, but this looks really great. Nice job.
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djr
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 01:07:13 pm »

I thought I didn't like voxels, but I'm not familiar with all the scene, and maybe I just don't like Minecrafty course-grain voxels. I like the look here a lot.

Same. Not big on voxels at all, but this looks really great. Nice job.

This rings true with both of us as well. We resisted going voxel for quite a while but Charlie (the artist) started to produce some really intriguing designs and I got sucked in. Once we realised that with voxels we could have a totally destructible environment we were sold and haven't looked back. Total destruction creates a whole new set of design challenges as well though.

Games like Voxotron have really paved the way for the modern resurgence of small voxel games.
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2015, 01:39:29 pm »

I agree with the above posters; this is quite beautiful, and has ABSOLUTELY come a long way since the initial concept art.  Keep it up!  I'm looking forward to this!!!
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Seaport
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2015, 02:34:25 pm »

Thanks everyone glad you've liked what you've seen so far, being the artist half of this team just thought I'd introduce myself and show you a small gif of one of the animations for the boss shown in the original post.

This is what I'm working working on at the moment and hopefully gives you an idea of the scale and feel of it, sort of crude tech and a bit clunky
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2015, 03:01:40 pm »

Well that looks really friggin neat. Seriously I'm with these guys, not a big fan of voxels but you have swayed me. I'll keep a watch over this.
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djr
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2015, 03:26:01 am »

Well that looks really friggin neat. Seriously I'm with these guys, not a big fan of voxels but you have swayed me. I'll keep a watch over this.

I didn't realise that voxels can be so polarising! I thought it was just me. It's good to hear that the art style is coming across really well. Puts a bit of wind in our sails.
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2015, 11:21:44 am »

Thanks everyone glad you've liked what you've seen so far, being the artist half of this team just thought I'd introduce myself and show you a small gif of one of the animations for the boss shown in the original post.

This is what I'm working working on at the moment and hopefully gives you an idea of the scale and feel of it, sort of crude tech and a bit clunky
Okay, now I'm following :p
The animations and visuals look great!
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2015, 12:59:17 pm »

Looks amazing, definitely want to follow this! Good luck!
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2015, 05:53:54 pm »

GREAT start! I'll never forget Ikari Warriors - looking forward to seeing this progress.
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djr
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2015, 02:30:07 am »

GREAT start! I'll never forget Ikari Warriors - looking forward to seeing this progress.

Looks amazing, definitely want to follow this! Good luck!

Thanks, I know it sounds trite but it's really nice to hear kind words. It really does motivate us to deliver the best we can. We should have some more updates soon.
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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2015, 02:34:09 am »

Looks stylish! And it's cool to see what one can achieve with the right skills and ditching Unity :-)
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2015, 12:29:15 pm »

Looks stylish! And it's cool to see what one can achieve with the right skills and ditching Unity :-)
Thanks glad you liked it and as Dazza has said before me, its great to hear.

Some concept art for the player characters, this is basically the final look we settled on, one that we thought would translate well into voxels. Though it took a fair bit of head scratching to get to this point.
We've kept them quite simple in form as we're pretty constrained in the shapes we can represent in voxels. The problem we found early on is that even though we have thousands of voxels on screen at any one time the overall resolution isn't huge. So the more complicated shapes while looking great on paper can lose form and readability when rendered in voxels, in many ways very much like the problems presented in pixel art but in 3d. Still these challenges certainly make designing for voxels fun  



Some earlier concepts for the alien soldier when we were still going for the 3d polygon look in Unity. I quite liked the look of these and hopefully you can see a little bit of them still in the final voxel aliens, not sure how they'd shoot a gun though, crab hands and all.



 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2015, 12:34:36 pm by Seaport » Logged

eigenbom
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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2015, 08:28:31 pm »

Love the main character. Smiley
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djr
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« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2015, 03:31:06 am »

We've got some more gifs for you!

Some incidental stuff that just lifts the levels a bit making it seem more 'real':



We added doors, buttons to open doors and triggers that open doors:





Charlie (artist) blowing up his creation:



If you'd like to see a little more behind the scene I've uploaded a video of how we built the doors to YouTube



Thanks for all the great feedback so far  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2015, 06:59:44 am »

This game still looks so cool. I looked up Voxotron now, and it's nice, I admit. But what I think goes well here for you is that you aren't using voxels just for voxelness (is that a word?) but for the pragmatic effect you get from it. So your visual style doesn't scream "Hey, we used voxels!" Instead, you're aiming for the visual style you want and are using voxels as your tools. Or something like that, it seems to me. Anyway, I'm still very impressed. And yes, the animations are great. And the little critters are cool, too.
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