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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsDANDARA - Metroidvania for touchscreen + gamepads (New: NinSwitch!)
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Author Topic: DANDARA - Metroidvania for touchscreen + gamepads (New: NinSwitch!)  (Read 11963 times)
brantkings
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« on: November 07, 2015, 05:24:19 pm »


Waaagh! hello all




After Magenta Arcade, we decided to finally make the change to Unity and pursue better projects. We made a simple, casual mobile game called Miguel: The Incredible to learn it, and now we feel confident enough to make another 6-month project on Unity! (It is already making about 2 years)

So what is the game about?




In Dandara, you explore a SPOILERS to reach your only goal: free it from it's own SPOILERS! Erm, something about Freedom, Salt and Stones!
 
Sure, you will meet lots of zany characters along the way, friends and foes! The story came a long way and it's still taking form, so I can't say much about it just yet.

Features:
  • The game is an action-adventure where you're free to explore anywhere as long you have the power to do it.
  • But there is a twist: in this world, gravity isn't constant and instead of classic platforming, you're jumping from surface to surface.
  • The game is inspired in the metroidvania genre.
  • Each room has a distinct feeling, challenge to overcome, story to look at. We're trying to have no filler at all!
  • As is tradition in these types of games, you will upgrade alongside the way by straying from the main path and looking around for every nook and cranny, acquiring stuff like health upgrades and weapons.


The idea of no gravity (and many other features) came from designing an action-adventure specifically for touch-screens. We aren't very fond of emulated game controllers in any touch-screen game, so we are gonna try to do something different about the game design and successfully create a unique exploration action-adventure game specifically for mobile phones. That's our main goal with this game.



How to play (with a very, very old GIF)


A snippet from the tutorial. The game already looks and feels very different but it is still played this way!

What we have right now




Concept made by Lucas





More recent gameplay gifs.


Our team is comprised of two programmers/game designers. Art right now was initially done by us as well, but now we leave most pixel-pushing to artist Victor Leão. The music and sfx are all in the hands of the magician Thommaz Kauffmann.

The game is made in Unity, and we are using Tiled for level design. There's a great tool called Tiled2Unity to make Tiled work in Unity and that's what we've been using by now.

By now we have the core gameplay almost fully coded, and we are currently working on level design for a first beta of the game. We hope to have a full working first dungeon-thing of the game working by a future time, so we can start the Alpha tests.

We will share here anything we feel it is important about the development once in a while, so keep tuning in here. I will try to update this weekly-ish.

We crave for feedback. Seriously. Even though the pixel art is not final, some things like the color palette are already done. So please share any opinion you may have.  Grin

« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 01:11:40 pm by brantkings » Logged

brantkings
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« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 09:26:25 pm »

Last week, we worked on enemy design. To initially come up with some basic enemies, we thought that we should have 3 main classes of enemies: grounded, stationary and aerial, so we came up with some drafts:



These are the first artwork for them. The ghost, which floats around, follows the player around when detected(hence the red eye) and dies in a few shots.

The dogs (yeah, they look like llamas and maybe cats, still a WIP), that runs around the level, making the player jump to another surface to evade a hit.

And the spiky target, that appears after the player is in a detection radius, and should act as a obstacle for the player to shoot before jumping on.

The hope is that with these 3 enemies as a base, we can make a fun level to show to people around in local events.





« Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 01:28:53 pm by brantkings » Logged

gimymblert
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 09:35:04 pm »

looks rad!
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brantkings
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2015, 02:39:39 pm »





looks rad!

Thank you! Toast Right


19/11/2015

So while we prepare our monsters for the demo at a local event next month, we also prototyped the ways you could evolve in the game a la metroidvania. We came up with stones (which are metaphorical) that enables you to activate and interact with certain special platforms in the world.


The stones, in the menu.


Examples of the special platforms. As a bonus,  Cool some doors.

In the game, you can interact with some objects by stepping over them and trying to jump towards the ground. That's how you enter doors, for instance. We are trying to figure out the transition between rooms right now, any ideas are welcome.

Also, we built our save system Smiley. It is really inspired by Dark Souls: you light the save point, and if you die (and lose all lives), you go back to it BUT everything you've done for the story is saved and don't need to be redone. I believe this will be iterated a lot during development!


Here's the save point, and Who, Me?! I actually believe this art is final for the game!



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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2015, 04:36:04 am »

I'm really looking forward for this one! The impact effect when landing looks ~super~ neat and the animations (especially the "bonfire") looks pretty good. Can't wait to play it!  Grin Grin Grin
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brantkings
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2015, 02:55:14 pm »

So we've been hard work at "polishing" our little demo for the local event. I think we got a better game feel overall, I'm really excited to see what everyone is gonna think about this.

We've been doing enemies that shoot projectiles, puzzles with moving platforms, and more. There are still obvious defects everywhere, but it's gonna be a developer event, not anything else.

On the plus side, code for miscellaneous like saving, translation, game over, is mostly done, hooray.  Grin

Well, some gifs to illustrate this post:


A mockup of a scene:


Yeah, I know that the background all look the same. It's because it is! But hang in there, people, we're gonna work on that after the MIND festival.
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2015, 09:49:17 pm »

Very cool concept you've got here.  I can legitimately not think of a single game that plays like this... I'm curious, was this inspired by anything in particular?
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brantkings
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2015, 02:43:59 pm »

I'm really looking forward for this one! The impact effect when landing looks ~super~ neat and the animations (especially the "bonfire") looks pretty good. Can't wait to play it!  Grin Grin Grin

Thanks, dude! But that animation is probably gonna change!

Very cool concept you've got here.  I can legitimately not think of a single game that plays like this... I'm curious, was this inspired by anything in particular?

 Beer! Thank you! Yeah, we are really trying to be unique, as much as we can.

Well inspirations are a really, really many different stuff because this concept was a really different one that just got changed and changed because of story reasons, design reasons, production reasons (we can't spend TOO much time on this, we have to eat  Toast Right ) that it's inspirations are only a small breath by now. It started as an action platformer for touch screen without any artificial controls on top of it and we rode from that.

But I guess stuff like Super Metroid, Castlevania, Megaman, Alien, Mad Max, and lots of other games, movies and books inspire us.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2015, 02:50:11 pm by brantkings » Logged

brantkings
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2015, 11:04:10 am »

This week, there was a important change in the game mechanics: now you can jump on the right side, because that gives you more precision. There is gonna be an option for left-handed people. Also, aiming shots is as easy as ever, almost automatic. But those changes I can't show you with screens and gifs!

More on the event, it is actually next week! So we should go ahead and start working on the alpha (which you guys will be invited, so we can get real feedback from far away people). So next week: pickups, bosses and more level design!

The best thing we did last week was updating the tilesets, I guess. Begone, ugly gray thing and let's start experimenting with things we would use in the final game.


Whoa, is that parallax?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 09:02:19 pm by brantkings » Logged

brantkings
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2015, 07:32:55 pm »

Well, the road for the first alpha demo is now on! We hope to have it done before mid-January, so we are running with it even in the holidays.

We've just finished with the main camp code, following our design for changing weapons. We concluded that 2 weapons at once will be a design problem (it will eat simplicity, for us and for the player) and one weapon is not gonna be a problem with there are a lot of opportunities to change weapons along the way, which is what we're gonna do anyway. So, the menus.


Also, we may have decided that the game is gonna be called DANDARA, and only that. We thought about names like Cogito Dandara and Direction Dandara, but really we can't find anything better than one-worded Dandara, both for the game's story and marketing. There's a small possibility that may still change, though.

Well, I'd like to say too that we've been trying to do something like this devlog in our Twitter as well. There's way more gifs over there.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 05:48:10 pm by brantkings » Logged

brantkings
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2015, 10:16:28 am »

I have been experimenting with new tilesets and art. Kinda fond of the dirty pixel art style for those trees. But well, characters would keep mostly flat for the direction we're going.

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vitorlanna
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2015, 08:31:22 am »

Very cool! =] But do you collide with those trees? Considering their placement I'd guess no, but their colors are very similar to the "floor" which you do collide. If you don't collide with them, I suggest dropping the darkest color in them - I think that may make them look faded and more background-like.
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2015, 06:09:42 am »

Hi Vitor! Developer here (I'm the other one  Wink)

The trees are really only background and you won't collide with them.. thanks for your suggestion, we will look into that. It's not super simple since we are working with a "limited" color palette, but it should be fine!

We'll post the new tileset as soon as we update it  Smiley
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brantkings
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 03:00:38 pm »

Hey! A somewhat late update here!

So, we've been iterating through our tutorials A LOT. It is not perfect yet, and the camera got decentralized in the last update, but I have gifs that can at least show the idea of it:


Wow imgur destroyed the quality :/

We are right now working on changing these finger stamps to more direct "hands holding a touch-screen" method, because believe it or not people try to use the index finger to move, and that is not the way we thought they would play! (Or maybe WE are wrong, who knows).

vitorlanna, thanks for the feedback! We iterated in the forest based on it! We gave up on the trees in the default ground and threw them to the parallax foreground and I'm getting good vibes from this use of the bigger vegetation.

Finally, we're iterating through our HUDs (you can see it in the gif above) and the dialogue system. The text isn't final, of course, but maybe this positioning is good for the final game? We hope it is.


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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 04:28:52 pm »

Looks awesome. Love the impact when the character moves!
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2015, 10:49:49 pm »

Cool movement mechanic! I don't know if I've seen this before.

Here are some idea's you've probably already had:

Enemy that shoots at player?
Hazardous floor that becomes hot or grows spikes shortly after landed on.

\( '-')/ Just thought i would share, good luck!
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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2015, 05:47:07 am »

Hi, Dev here!

Looks awesome. Love the impact when the character moves!

Thanks! Actually it was just a test asset, we think it is a bit too much for something you'll see the whole game. but so many people are liking it that it's getting hard to change

Cool movement mechanic! I don't know if I've seen this before.

Here are some idea's you've probably already had:

Enemy that shoots at player?
Hazardous floor that becomes hot or grows spikes shortly after landed on.

\( '-')/ Just thought i would share, good luck!

Suree! Both are already implemented.. João is just finishing the first arts of an enemy that shoots. In my own opinion those are the best hazard mechanics for this game for now... something that forces you to keep moving fast..  Wink
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2015, 05:08:17 pm »

Oh! So that spiral is a fingerprint, I hadn’t realized that before.

I think the trees and the parallax are looking great =]

I like the font you guys are using. One thought, though: maybe the name of the area could be on top (since the dialogue is on the bottom)? That way you could push the dialogue further down. And the character name could them be on top of the dialogue, since it occupies less space and allows you to see more of the screen.

Anyway, pretty cool =D
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« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2015, 07:54:11 am »

Oh! So that spiral is a fingerprint, I hadn’t realized that before.

I think the trees and the parallax are looking great =]

I like the font you guys are using. One thought, though: maybe the name of the area could be on top (since the dialogue is on the bottom)? That way you could push the dialogue further down. And the character name could them be on top of the dialogue, since it occupies less space and allows you to see more of the screen.

Anyway, pretty cool =D

Hi Vitor!! Thanks for the feedback.

We decided to change the art, for the tutorial, to make it clearer. Many people weren't recognizing the fingerprint (My bad Wink)

We're glad you liked the font, it is the only free pixel art font we found that we were happy with and that had support for many languages.

About the dialogue box position, it actually supports different placing, it can come on top right, left and bottom right or left.. also on the top there will be HUD so no way to put the name of the area there, what we came up with is to show the area name only when you enter the room, that would save us some screen space, and maybe we could do what you said with the bottom dialogue box  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2015, 12:53:29 pm »

Hey guys - very nice concept! I really like the gameplay mechanics. Looks like it should be a lot of fun!
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