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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Light Inside Us - Action/strategy game about power and responsibility
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slarti88
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« on: May 05, 2015, 05:08:40 am »



What is this?
The Light Inside Us is an action game for mobile set in an abstract isometric world. In this world there is light that is good and light that is corrupt. You control a collection of sentient light particles and are on a quest to bring the corrupted light to your side. The corrupted come after you in hordes and you convert them by shooting your own particles at them. You can change the light inside you by moving over differently colored regions. Each color gives you the ability to shoot particles in a certain way. As the abilities get more powerful, the riskier it is to use them as they take up more particles per shot. So aim carefully and don't be too taken in with your power, or you might just lose yourself in it.Here are a couple of screenshots from the game.


So what's the story?
This is a story about a family of light particles as they travel in a mysterious land which endows them with great power. But does that power comes at a cost? Will this new-found power and freedom break the family? What is the source of this power and why does it corrupt them?

Do you have a crushing sense of insecurity about this game?
Only every other day, when I wake up and wonder, ‘is anyone going to like this game?’. Which is why I’m hoping putting updates here might give me everybody else’s perspective and hopefully improve it.

Who are you?
We’re two game developers Sid @slarti and Abhineet @abhineetprasad . We call ourselves Dastan games.

Has someone written a much better description of this game?
Thankfully yes. The folks at pocketgamer wrote a  couple of much nicer articles on how this game is played! Check it out if whatever we wrote makes absolutely no sense Smiley http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPad/The+Light+Inside+Us/news.asp?c=67087
http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/Android/The+Light+Inside+Us/news.asp?c=66836

How many game devs does it take to screw a light bulb?
I can do it alone, but don’t give me any deadlines. It’ll be done when its done.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 02:07:52 am by slarti88 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2015, 09:28:25 pm »

The last two days have been horrible development wise. We'd implemented a system to reflect weapons when they hit walls. And initially it worked really well. This would give ample chance for people to time and execute very interesting attacks and kill many more enemies than originally possible.

The enemies also get smarter as the levels progress and try to avoid the weapon if they can sense it coming their way. Reflecting weapons of walls is a good way to trick them so they don't have enough time to evade.



Although this worked off well at the start it turned out there was one very annoying bugs that creeped in. The weapon and the sprite illustrating the path the weapon would take would go through the wall at certain points.



This is happening because to reflect rays of walls I calculate the tiles the weapon is going to hit and if the tile has a wall, I further calculate which face it would reflect off of the wall. However at the very edge of the tiles( like the vertex) this would get complicated as it would have the option of reflecting off of two surfaces of the tile. And since in our game you can continuously change the trajectory of the weapon, this case would appear quiite frequently every time you moved past the edge of a wall tile.

After struggling with it for two days, I'm giving up on doing it this way and define walls as a more continuous thing going from one point to another. This way I might be able to avoid the whole tile-edge scenario. Hope it goes well  Undecided

« Last Edit: May 08, 2015, 08:37:38 pm by slarti88 » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2015, 05:41:37 am »

So finally I've gotten reflection to work pretty smoothly!  Hand Metal Left

Earlier I was finding which tile the weapon would collide with and try to calculate the reflection based on where it intersected the tile. This caused a lot of problems in the border between two adjacent tiles and would mess up the calculation there.

As a workaround I ended up defining reflecting walls in our editor. We used the awesome Tiled library.



The wall tiles are the ones in blue and the red lines are the lines we defined to denote the walls that would be used for reflection in our code. So now we have smoothly reflecting walls because we don't have to bother about borders between tiles, we simply intersect the weapon's path with these lines and calculate reflection, the border cases causing the problems earlier were completely avoided Smiley

And so we could now create this gif! Grin

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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2015, 07:20:42 pm »

So we finally recorded a small video of our gameplay. Because even if GIFS are worth a thousand words, we know describing our games needs a hell of a lot more than that!



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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2015, 10:08:47 pm »

We have a new weapon now! And thanks to our lack of imagination we're calling it the bomb (for now).



The bomb kills anything within a certain radius and is very effective in killing the red portals, that the enemies come out of. As a consequence it also uses up a lot of health so it must be used cautiously.

Here's another gif showing switching between the line and the bomb weapons to kill more efficiently


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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2015, 08:09:00 am »

Hello again!

These last couple of days have been less code and more level design. We're hoping to have an alpha build soon and get it out to people to try. To that end we decided to start making some good levels out of the set pieces and rules we had in place. We'd made a few levels a month or so ago, but they weren't very well thought out and much has changed since then. So here are a few level designs we came up with



Hopefully once we have an artist to help us out these'll start looking much better! But the main challenge was to get interesting levels to play. Having never intelligently designed levels before I found it and interesting (and daunting) task to try to make levels that would force the player to play in different ways. Such as considering which weapon to use and in which order to destroy the red portals that generate enemies.

Hopefully we'll have a playable build soon! But as we get closer to finishing it more things keep popping up  Shrug
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2015, 11:44:07 pm »

Managed to make a bunch of different levels these last few days... also the levels go from one to the next in a continuous fashion so it feels like you are going along a path instead of playing one level after another.



Here's a birds-eye view of what this 'path' looks like with some of the levels


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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2015, 01:47:14 am »

Hello silent readers!

This update is an exciting one because its about story. We'd been quietly working on a storyline these last few weeks and now we have integrated a part of it into the game.

So what kind of story does 'The Light Inside Us' have you ask? What's that? You didn't ask? I shall tell you nevertheless Wink

You're in the mind of a scientist who is about to embark on a dangerous mission to look for extra-terrestrial life. He's found something, an evidence, a clue, or maybe its nothing, no one knows and he's the only one foolish enough to risk a long and dangerous mission to find out. But there are costs. He has a life, a family and the chances of success are so remote that all the 'good' scientists have given up on the expedition calling it a fool's quest.

This abstract game happens inside his mind. The squarish character you control is the last source of light inside him which compels him to move on and undertake the mission. The red square tiles are voices inside his mind that try to turn him to their side. They try to show him what a stupid idea it is. And for all we know it probably is a stupid idea.

This is just act 1. We've planned two more acts in which the more you progress the deeper into his mind you'll travel and learn his innermost fears and also his deepest dreams and desires!

If you have any thoughts do let me know. And if you prefer to remain the silent watcher in the night... I respect that Brother Crow!

A sneak peak of one of the dialogues




 
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2015, 09:29:51 am »

Hello shy folks!

These last few days have been slow development-wise as other projects came in the way. But we did try experimenting with more 3D looking tiles for the ground in our game.

As a result this is how one of our levels looks before and after




We're still working on getting the right colours to suit the game, hopefully we'll be done with that soon!
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2015, 11:08:40 am »

This looks really intersting.

One question though, doesn't the increased 3Dness of the levels get in the way of stuff like this?



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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2015, 08:27:15 pm »

Yes! Good point! It does affect the transitions between levels. It can still be made to work I think. But if it doesn't, I'll probably change the way I do the transitions and keep the 3D look of the tiles.
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2015, 09:41:37 pm »

Greetings Honorable netizens and welcome to my humble corner in the hallowed Devlog halls

It's been almost a month since my last post and there's a very good reason for it. We've finally completed the tedious process of converting our cocos2d objective C code base to C++ using the cocos2d-x engine. This is extremely important for us because we can now finally play test our game on android devices and send builds to people without any hassle! It took a good 3 weeks to do the actual porting, so if there's one thing I've learnt, make a cross-platform game from the very beginning.

Also since I don't have an iphone and only an IPad I hadn't actually tested the game on smaller screens, which I proceeded to do after the port. Thankfully there weren't too many surprises, it still feels pretty much the same, and is a moderately engaging game! We've also finally found a designer to help us out with some of the assets and the UI.

Unfortunately there's not too much to show, the game hasn't changed much visually in the last 3 weeks Sad, but now that the painful porting work is over, things will hopefully pick up again. We're hoping to have most of the game ready in about a month and a half Smiley

This is becoming a boring text heavy post, so let me show a couple of things that I haven't shown here before

A small gif of the tutorial we're going to have



A work in progress menu

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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2015, 09:06:00 pm »

Greetings surveyors of unfinished games!

Its been a little too long again since an update. But we have been busy. Visually not much has changed but we hit some important milestones and discovered some huge problems with our game. First the milestones

1. We have a new and better gameplay

!

2. We managed to prepare an alpha build for android! You can download it here. We'd really appreciate you guys trying it out and telling us what you think! Its still riddled with problems but we realized that we can't wait too long to get some player feedback.

3. If you have an iOS device, we've got you covered! Please fill in this small form and we'll send you a testflight invite! Goes without saying we will not share or use your email address for anything else!

Now the problems

1.Horrible controls for phones -  We'd been exclusively testing our game on the iPad, and so didn't realize that our control mechanism was horrible for phones. Currently the way you shoot weapons is by long pressing the screen to activate the weapon and then moving the finger to aim at the enemies. However in small screens you finger almost invariably hides most of the enemies you're aiming, something we realized as soon as we had the game on android and tried it on our phones. A genius move on our part. So we've tried a couple of different control mechanisms, that we've given as options. One of these is showing a button for firing the weapon. So that you can see what you're hitting when you press the fire button


2. Ludonarrative dissonance -  The other major problem is apparently called, ludonarrative dissonance... which I have to admit I thought was some psychology term Freud invented. Never thought it would affect me personally, but well we live and we learn. Our game has a story that comes between levels. Unfortunately, nobody we gave the game to, had a clue what the story was about. They were either irritated or confused by the dialogues that popped up in between gameplay. The story itself is about the insecurities and doubts inside a scientist's head and is told in the form of 'voices' in his head trying to dissuade him from moving forward. Needless to say what you do in the game is shoot things and there is really not much common ground with the story. We're trying a few ideas that might make the two seem more compatible, like have the dialogues pop up during gameplay somehow or keep the dialogues passive and allow the user to explore the world and go to areas with dialogues if he/she so chooses. Would love to hear other people's ideas on this!



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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2015, 12:15:20 pm »

Greetings shy hobbitses on tigsource!

A lot of things have happened in the past few weeks, the biggest thing being we showcased our game at casual connect San Francisco and got some really good and useful feedback! Along With tons of pitches from ad networks!

We've been thinking really hard about monetisation and all that terribly important biz stuff since then, but we still are too unsure about how good our game is, so we decided to release a demo version on the google play-store! We'd love it if you guys tried it out once you get the chance and left us feedback either on the play store or even send us a mail about what you think!

Here's a link to the game!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dastangames.thelightinsideus
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« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2015, 05:01:40 am »

Hello there! I really like the looks of the game, it's nice and "minimalistic", with cubes and squares, thats a style to go for too.
I'm just abit confused about what the gameplay is about, well i read the story, but, you shoot the cubes that are evil ideas?
So, i would like to try it, so i filled out a form for iOS, as i don't have an android phone, crossing fingers for a build please Tongue

Will update this post with feedback if i get a chance to play it
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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2015, 09:49:09 pm »

@Jalapenosbud thanks for signing up! I'll send you a testflight invite soon so you can try out the game and tell us what you think!
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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2015, 09:05:06 pm »

Greetings silent sisters and brothers!

Welcome to yet another update of The Light Inside Us!

Firstly we'd like to apologise to people who've signed up for the iOS beta test and haven't gotten a build yet.The last test-flight build had a nasty bug which was hard to reproduce, we're currently fixing it and adding a couple of features, a fresh new build will be up soon!

Secondly we just came back from Casual Connect USA which was a pretty decent experience for us, as we'd never been to any kind of conference outside India before. But since then we've been hard at work with a couple of really cool features in the pipeline. Here's a small sneak-peek of one of these features, which we'd like to call 'Forces'


Neat huh? It'd been a long time since we added anything new to the game, apart from just playing around and improving the visuals a bit. We're pretty excited about the kind of levels we're able to make with this added component, even the simplest of levels become a lot more challenging and fun to play when we add forces to it, There are a couple more really cool features in the works, we're so pumped about adding new things in the game that we can't seem to stop! :D

Hopefully we'll have more frequent and juicy updates now!
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« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2015, 05:15:48 am »

Hello and welcome to the laziest thread of them all

I have time and again failed to update this thread as often as possible Sad. I haven't yet sent out test flight invites to the people who registered for the beta testing the game, mainly because this past month has been hectic to say the least and the game has changed and continues to change rapidly. And at almost no point was the game stable or finished enough to show to people. This is what it looks like now


Although we've finally nailed down most of the features the game will have we're still struggling with the story-line of the game. We're torn between two approaches, one being a text based story and the other being textless and only being told via animations. We'll hopefully come to a decision about that very soon!

We're getting close to launch and the excitement and tension is building up very quickly Smiley

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« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2015, 09:06:24 am »

Given the minimalist style, telling the story via animation wold probably make more sense than blocks of text. It wuld do more to maintain the clean style.
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« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2015, 10:10:11 am »

Oh yes, text does make things more tedious for the player. But we're also having to consider the story we want to tell... and if we can do a good job coming up with animations and cinematic moments in the game. We're currently trying out both options, building a bit of the story using both styles and seeing which fits better.

This also means different stories of course. With text you can easily tell a more detailed and complex story, but with animations at-least at our level, the story will have to be simplistic. We have ideas for both, and hopefully soon we'll know which one works best :D
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