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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsOur Way Up - [fast-paced vertical scroller] [PC]
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Patomkin
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« on: June 15, 2015, 06:47:38 AM »

Hello! I and a few of my friends are making a new game, and we decided it would be super awesome to start a development log, too! So come on in if you’re interested in… *drumroll*

OUR WAY UP!


Our Way Up is a fast-paced vertical scroller with big focus on movement and replayability. The main goal of the game is to get to the top as fast and as safe as possible, which will be kinda hard to do, since the rooms (randomly generated) will become more and more dangerous and the enemy will become… oh right! We also have AN enemy that will chase you! That’s right. So use your jump button, then double jumps, then mix in a rocket jump with sprinkles of jet pack and some teleportation. If you’re still bored, you should buy some (anti?)-gravity boots and charge your SUPER MEGA… SOMETHING! JUMP and come join us at the top – we have cake… or do we? We really don’t know what will be on the top yet.


We are really excited to share this game and experience of making it with you! So come on in, say “hi” and ask anything you like. Soon we will show you even more cool gifs as well as unreadable walls of text!... or replace it with some video -  we don't know yet.

So here’s our first question - what would you like more? Gentleman
« Last Edit: June 16, 2015, 03:05:38 AM by Patomkin » Logged

JoeManaco
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 07:07:33 AM »

looks like a lot of fun ;-)
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I'm working on Tiny Thor
lobstersteve
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2015, 01:27:07 AM »

Looks fun Smiley All the particles and trails look cool.

Is this for mobile? I'm usually not a fan ob mobile games, but this looks like it could work on it.
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Patomkin
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2015, 03:05:15 AM »

Thanks!

Quote
Is this for mobile? I'm usually not a fan ob mobile games, but this looks like it could work on it.
Oh, I forgot to mention. It's a PC game. Maybe some consoles, not sure yet. But definitely not for the mobiles Wink
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Patomkin
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2015, 11:13:59 AM »

Here is some logo concepts from our talented artist! Now we just need to choose one... Shrug



New gameplay gifs are coming soon!
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lobstersteve
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 02:30:55 PM »

Wow, cool logos  Smiley
I like everyone, but 6 not so much.
1 looks the best i think, but doesn't convey the idea about going up graphically in a cool way like 2, 4 and 5.
If i'd have to decide, i'd probably choose 4.
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ernanir
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2015, 03:38:19 AM »

Number 4 for sure.
It's read to easy and it already show a bit of the gameplay.

Best of luck with your project.
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Patomkin
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2015, 01:05:43 PM »

DEVLOG 1: THE ENEMY

Game pillars

The process starts with a thought of game. After it is formed, we can spend weeks, even months thinking and talking about how the game will look and how the game should feel. Thus are formed the main ideas behind the game mechanics – a couple of short sentences that incorporate the main scope of the game and help to avoid unnecessary work and movement in wrong directions. The scope of Our Way Up is based on the following:

 • Fast, movement based gameplay
 • Vertical scroller/runner
 • Replayable


Game features, art and even music is based on this list.
(In these concepts we are trying to think about “movement” and “vertical”)

To force, or not to force.

So let’s talk about fast gameplay. What makes it fast? How do WE make it fast? Well, we just force the player at the speed we want. Simple. No thoughts of slow progression – we need him simply to run, jump and press buttons with those sweaty fingers of his. How does this work? How can we MAKE it fast? A couple of ideas:
  • Time. We can put a timer on each level and be like: “you have two minutes or you’re dead. Go”. Yeah, sure he’ll run. It’s also really easy to implement, but is it FUN? You’re not running from something, you’re just fighting against some arbitrary number in the corner of the screen, which is no fun at all. Sure, there also are other problems (optimal time for each level, time balancing for randomly generated levels, time adjustment to match player’s skills), but they are miniscule compared to this one.
  • Leaderboards. We all know that one – similar to the first point, it’s a race against time, only now we are pitting you against real opponents. Same problem – not fun at all. Nobody likes that “you are at the 31337th place” message after a successful run. Kills all the will to continue and try again.
  • Holding the button. Remember the movie “Crank”? The one where Jason Statham is forced to run and all kinds of weird shit to keep himself entertained alive? Well, we can do the same – hold the “run” button for the player and see how he figures that one out. Sadly, our level design is based on the freedom of player movement, so holding the button will eliminate one of the ideas of the game.
  • Wall of Death. An impassable and unavoidable object that rises from below, be it lava, water, dirt, stones or something else. The player dies or gets teleported forward a little bit on collision. Now that’s an actual game element that makes the player move faster, wanting to survive. That’s something that he’s afraid of, a real threat. Also a threat, which speed we can change dynamically, based on player’s skills, and control smoothly over randomly generated levels.

The Result

Of course, we went with the last option, but it was left with one last problem – usually the player is instantly killed when touching the WoD and that breaks the pace of the game and immersion (completely resets your playthrough if hardcore enough), and that’s bad. So we thought about it a little bit and changed the D in WoD to Darkness (WooOOooOOo). Sure, the player dies if he stays in the dark for too long, but at least he’s given a chance to recover and catch up to the pace of the game, which is good.
But some other problems came about:
  • The map was really curvy at some points and the player had really little chance of escaping the WoD. And most of us really hate when a good game is lost because of some stupid RNG roll.
  • If the player gets too, uh, consumed by the darkness, he no longer sees the light – he loses his target, then all hope, then the purpose of life itself. This is bad. Sure, we can solve this problem by stopping the darkness at some point above the player, but that would be cheating that the player could notice and call us for holding his hand.
So we flushed this whole concept down the drain and thought of a new one. We will tell you about it in the next part.

Maybe you can suggest some other ways to force the player to move up?

P.S. First attempt at blogging. Hope you like it.
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Patomkin
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2015, 09:56:59 PM »

Trying out something.
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Patomkin
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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2015, 05:38:01 AM »

Hello!

Right now we are working on a lot of stuff:
 • New enemy system that we are going to show you in the next big devlog update (I guess, it should be more pic's and less text, right?  Wink )
 • More cool graphics (grass, background, some UI)
 • Music! (composer promised that it will be ready soon)

Meanwhile, here are some stupid main hero doodles I have made myself (hope our artist is not ashamed of me Roll Eyes )

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Patomkin
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2015, 10:09:41 AM »

DEVLOG 2: THE NEW ENEMY

The Phantom Menace

On our last blog entry we went through multiple stuff that could spur the player to move faster, harder, scooter and we ended up with one concept that sucked least – the Wall of Death (WoD). It still sucked, however, we tried to think of a different solution – some sort of other enemy… And that’s exactly what we did – an actual enemy. I know, right?!
A couple of removed code lines later the WoD was removed and replaced with a copy of the player prefab that could fly around and teleport itself to player from time to time. This fixed previous issues:

  • Enemy can change its teleportation distance to match player skills – the player should have no problem getting used to the game
  • Enemy can move from side to side – the player should be able to normally move around those curvy turns
  • Enemy can always remain below player – the player will be kept busy and what’s more important – stressed

And to allow the player to recover from the enemy catching up, the enemy does not deal damage instantly – there is some time limit while he charges up his attack.

(notice how the enemy slowly becomes red while charging up his attack)

The enemy movement is done via an invisible dot that follows the player around. The dot is used by the enemy to teleport at some distance around it.



Return of the Dot

So after meticulous testing process we are thinking, whether or not the development of the enemy is finally complete… annnnd it’s not. There’s still one big problem: as the enemy teleports from one point to another, you as a player don’t really know where he will appear next – above, to the side or below. This creates that feeling that you can’t really outrun him – the red bastard just always seems to be cheating, when appearing above you. We wanted for the player to be stressed – we got that, now we want him to feel at ease if he’s doing really well.
The solution struck us as we were debugging enemy movement – looking at the moving red dot and running from it was much more fun and interesting than from teleporting enemy. Moving the enemy to the dot…


… and done!
Now the enemy changes his behavior depending on player’s skill, supplies plenty of stressful situations and what’s more important – makes YOU WANNA RUN FASTER!

(notice how you can always see the enemy, but it is still possible to outrun him)

And right now that’s everything for the enemy system – it works how we expect it to work and fills how it should be.

That’s all for this devlog. Hope you liked it Smiley
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Patomkin
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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2015, 10:53:57 AM »

We have finished work on the grass! And now you can hide in it! ...but it will not help you Evil


Oh, and coins, right. Also we have coins now Roll Eyes
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Patomkin
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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2015, 09:28:42 AM »

Hello!

He have decided on our current logo for Our Way Up!


As for development - right now we are working on spikes/lava, that will appear on harder difficulty levels to make player's life... end! Evil
We will be sure to cover that in a more detailed fashion in our next big Devlog update.
Also - the background felt too empty, so we added clouds! We really like the direction it is going, so we're planning to add some stuff up and see what works best.


Maybe you could suggest something that could work in the background?
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 09:51:24 AM by Patomkin » Logged

Patomkin
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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2015, 06:56:25 AM »

DEVLOG 3: THE MAP

To infinity and beyond!

Summing previous devlogs up, we have a hero who runs and we have an enemy who chases player to make him run even faster. The only thing left is a map where all of this can happen. And according to our scope for the game (Vertical scroller/runner) this map should go more UP, than anywhere else. “Easy!” - said every developer ever Smiley

So what options do we have with map creation? We can construct them manually – but this could take too much time and such maps are not really replayable as after a couple playthroughs the player will simply memorize them all and get bored. We could also create a map generator that places platforms randomly – this could end either in infinite fun or… infinite frustration, and we can’t allow that.

That’s why we combined the approaches and made so called rooms which are crafted by hand as we want to create unique and fun obstacles. These rooms are later randomly combined into maps/levels.


(yeah, the map is not 100% vertical – we added rare and short turns so the player wouldn’t get bored from non-stop climbing)

With this approach we can make infinite maps (if we want to) out of any amount of available rooms. Let’s take closer look at the rooms itself.

Room service!

There are two rules we set up for ourselves to maximize the output of those rooms:

  • The room should be nor too long, for the player might learn the fastest available path through the room, nor too short, for the rooms will become rare, bland and non-recognizable
  • The room should have more than one way to pass through, for the player is free in choosing his path, unlike a rat in a labyrinth


Demonstrated are but a few of the available paths through the room. Of course, it’s pretty obvious that the green is the fastest, that’s why the player will memorize it and traverse it with his eyes closed. Naah, that won’t do at all. We need to make him understand the error of his ways and go via another route. How do we do that?

MONEY. Cash, bling, chips, bucks, coins. Money. Placed evenly and randomly along the routes the player might take. Money should be collected in one quick motion, ‘cause, as in real life, someone else might get to it first. You also receive some combo bonuses by doing that.


(oh, you wanted to get ’em all? Tough luck, buddy – you have to make a choice)


(some coins can only be collected If you use your abilities)


(remember about that one quick motion? Well, we missed it and lost the bonus for the last coin)


(the money allows you to choose the way. You may miss some now to get some later maybe)

Rooms have multiple places where money can spawn. This could add to fun choices during playthroughs and add some variety to the game.

That’s all for now. Next Devlog should be about lava walls, difficulty and safe-rooms!
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lobstersteve
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2015, 07:53:50 AM »

nice read.
also the decorative things (flowers, mushrooms..) look good, but i feel like you overuse them in the last GIFs.
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Patomkin
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« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2015, 10:32:18 AM »

Quote
nice read.
also the decorative things (flowers, mushrooms..) look good, but i feel like you overuse them in the last GIFs.
Thank you! It's not final, and we are still working on the amount of this grass. But previously there was even more stuff, so we are still reducing it since Tongue

Here are some news since the last update:

 • New promo-page with few new concepts: OurWayUp.com (Thanks to MrLevich)
 • New facebook page (please give us a like Roll Eyes ): Facebook page
 • And don't forget about the twitter, where you can find even more new gifs: Twitter

Tomorrow we will post big update, but meanwhile here is what we are working on:

« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 10:39:48 AM by Patomkin » Logged

Patomkin
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« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2015, 10:09:55 AM »

DEVLOG 4: THE NEW MAP

Safe rooms

As in almost any other game, it would quite unwise of us to give the player all abilities at once, leaving him bedazzled with all the stuff he has to deal with. Confused at first, the player will die too many times before he figures out how to use all of this toolkit, then he will become bored, and that’s not cool. Not cool at all. That’s why we don’t give him all the abilities at once.

Player experience is a very delicate matter. Some abilities you will have used many times, some – seen for the first time. We understand, that trying to learn something new in the face of imminent danger could be quite hilarious (in a Stewie Griffin voice), but we’re higher than that. That’s why we give you… safe rooms!



Safe room – a room that has automatically closing doors which prevent the enemy from coming in and hurting you.
Player gets new abilities whilst inside the room and is able to learn them on the spot. When player leaves the safe room, the chase IS ON.




(npc is currently a placeholder. In the future he will speak and offer you new abilities)

These rooms also kinda solve our pacing problems. After many rooms of action and unstoppable running the player can finally relax, get some rest and… progress with the story via chatting with NPCs, or interacting with the items on the walls.

Difficulty with the Spikes.

So, the player starts with some basic abilities and gets more on his way up. But wouldn’t that mean that the game is hard in the beginning and gets progressively easier? No. And that’s why:

  • Let’s make the enemy faster! – Done.
  • Let’s place coins in hard-to-reach places! – Done. Don’t do it in real life
  • Let’s place spikes on the walls! – Done.
  • Let’s rename spikes to lava! – What the… whatever, done.

Difficulty with the Lava Walls.

So, variating the difficulty via lava walls, eh? That one’s a little harder to do, because we need to keep the rooms as random as we can (means potentially more lava walls), but also have some non-random elements (means less lava walls in essential places). So, if one room has ten walls marked for lava, each of the walls could be marked with a difficulty level and connected to nearby lava walls to prevent spawning more lava walls, etc., etc.. But that’s basically how it all works – a lot of rules for each wall, combinations, all that stuff. Was quite difficult to make – let’s hope it will be difficult to play, too. Wink






(Same rooms, different ways to play)

TLDR:

The game works as such: player starts with essential abilities and gains more as he climbs up.
The enemy speeds up to the player forcing him to hide in the Safe Room, where said abilities are received and difficulty is raised.
Unreachable coins, dangerous walls, faster enemy, a running player and that… is Our Way Up!


 
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Patomkin
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2015, 06:09:35 AM »

Npc is not placeholder anymore!



And the player got new skin too:



Now we just need names for those two Smiley
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 12:35:14 PM by Patomkin » Logged

lobstersteve
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« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2015, 02:35:02 AM »

I think you should remove the black outlines on the NPC (On the eyes and the glasses at least. Maybe make the nose a dark green). Nothing else has outlines in your game . The art-styles clash a little bit here.
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Zorg
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« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2015, 03:11:58 AM »

Why is the player a square? It looks like you started with a yellow square and it influenced your artstyle in that way that you did not think about other shapes. In combination with the really nicely drawn organic environment assets the square looks more and more out of place, in my opinion.

For some reason those characters leaped into my mind: http://mrmen.com/characters/index.html
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