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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsDANDARA - Metroidvania for touchscreen + gamepads [LAUNCHED! :D]
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Author Topic: DANDARA - Metroidvania for touchscreen + gamepads [LAUNCHED! :D]  (Read 16295 times)
benjkers
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2016, 12:50:05 AM »

I love the energy in the game, and this devlog! Like it's about to burst out of the screen and grapple me.

Campsite is cozy stuff.
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brantkings
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« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2016, 09:48:25 AM »

 Waaagh! With the holidays and all this topic has been left in a hiatus for a while. We're still working full steam ahead, though!

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

Thanks! It's been really hard to do level design for this now, but it has been really fun!

I love the energy in the game, and this devlog! Like it's about to burst out of the screen and grapple me.

Campsite is cozy stuff.

Thanks! I don't think that's the feeling we were striving for in the beginning of the development, but I like that very much!



We found a musician

Yep! We found a dude to make music for work! It's Thommaz Kauffmann and we really like his work. He worked on games like Oniken and Mr.Square. Here is his BandCamp and his Soundcloud if you're interested, excellent stuff all over.



We've been doing props for the first dungeon

So we're separating the flow of the game into what we call these dungeons that are "finishable" in and out by themselves, similar to things like Zelda, interconnected by Metroid corridors.

So in the past two weeks we've been doing enemies, powerups, npcs and environment code for the aforementioned dungeon, just like ingredients for a recipe. Starting from tomorrow, we're gonna start really delving into finished level design for the game. And after that, after we get the feel for the difficulty of the first area of the game and etc, we do the first big boss. Sounds like a good strategy for now, and we're doing it.

As the levels are interconnected and we want the tutorial of the game to be doable in the alpha version to test the flow of the beginning, we decided to make the first level at once. Wizard

So, to the gifs, check out the new props! As I mentioned, we're still not doing finished level design, so yeah, the same tired rooms of all the images before... :X

Some new NPCS






Random battles with new enemies.



Next gifs should be for the finished level design of the first dungeon, so that's that. Also, we need opinions! Feel free to share'em!  Smiley
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 03:24:07 PM by brantkings » Logged

brantkings
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2016, 08:51:41 AM »

Quick update! We made an almost complete overhaul to the tutorial. We opted for a simpler, cleaner and more traditional way (with text, we really resisted that) for it to go, I think it is better. Check it out!


Also, if anybody doesn't understand the game just from this gif, I guess we got to rework on it some more.

The good part is: now I can see some feedback for the mechanics with this visual stuff.  Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2016, 06:01:46 PM »

I think the tutorial explains everything pretty well! Though I don't know if I'm the best to confirm that, haha xD

Now that you guys got a musician, I wonder what kind of music the game will have...

And the NPCs... I wonder what role they will play in the game. Shops? Story? Lore? Philosophical quotes that are apparently random, but are actually hints to the hidden nature of the world?

Anyway, pretty cool =]
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2016, 09:30:46 AM »

Hi Vitor! We hope you are right about the tutorial Smiley We already iterated A LOT on the tutorial and we really want to move on with it so we can focus on the real levels hehe.

About the music, I think Thommaz already did a great job finding some tunes and style that fit in, and now he is coming up with our main theme. I'm liking it so far hehe, but I don't think he will want to show it publicly yet. We also want to test it inside the game first (And for that we need a bit of the first levels done).

The NPCs will be there for all the reasons you cited, and more. Except Shops, no shops in the game...
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brantkings
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« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2016, 11:45:19 AM »

I think the tutorial explains everything pretty well! Though I don't know if I'm the best to confirm that, haha xD

Now that you guys got a musician, I wonder what kind of music the game will have...

And the NPCs... I wonder what role they will play in the game. Shops? Story? Lore? Philosophical quotes that are apparently random, but are actually hints to the hidden nature of the world?

Anyway, pretty cool =]

Thanks, vitorlanna! If Thommaz is OK with that, we can show some tracks of the game for feedback.

So what have we been up to?

We've been making through the first level of Dandara, the Artists' City! Twice. Yep, we were making the levels before alongside the art and the tilesets we scrapped them all. Thinking back, we were favoring aesthetics over how the level play, and that was just wrong  WTF.

So we got a placeholder tileset and started working on levels focusing solely on level design first and making each room feel different with the mechanics only. All that process explains our hiatus of not updating anything on those last weeks. After all, I didn't have any content to show! But now I do.

We've taking care of the art in the finished levels, after deciding it has a reasonable level design. Here is City's hub scene (with the final tileset):


It's the central scene, really next to a save point, we're you can take on the dungeon's many objectives from.

We're trying to make the city look unorganized and random, inspired a little by the Brazilian favelas. We're learning too that if something is rotated from the camera's view, like upside down or something like that, it is suddenly impossible to recognize! So we're avoiding that with the backgrounds, even if the game has no defined gravity. Also, more finished up enemies.

And, also, gameplay of the first boss, General Augustus (more like General Placeholder right now):


We're really working hard on making this fight really memorable and use all the core mechanics Dandara has right now in the best way possible.

Making bosses like this is hard when you don't know when to make specific components for the boss or make the boss a collection of general components. I know it is a mix of both, but it is a very difficult line to spot. Damn, I should talk more about code in here.


« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 04:32:50 AM by brantkings » Logged

brantkings
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« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2016, 08:02:14 PM »

So to make that general stop being the General Placeholder, I have to do a really big pixel animation, exactly 160x224 big. I tried to draw something twice and some of the best I could come up was the head from the gif above.

As a main programmer, line art is something really hard to do myself. So how about making some of the big assets of my game by rotoscoping photos? As we are sticking with flat colors and pixel art it seems like a nice idea and really goes along well.

So I took a photo of my head on the right perspective. I downscaled it with Nearest Neighbor first, so it is useful for pixel art. Then drawn over it, using as few colors as I could from the game's palette and following what I know from pixel art guides (like this):

Yep, scary boss and animated.

I'll try this technique for this boss, let's see if it holds up so we can use it again with different frames and photos, even video. Right now it looks like a cool choice if you can't draw big assets from nothing at all.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 04:29:29 AM by brantkings » Logged

brantkings
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« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2016, 06:59:22 AM »

I'm a little bit late to tell this, but we redone all of the main character (Dandara)'s design and animations!

Guest artist @pxloto did most of the hard work.

As we iterated through the mechanics and timing already, it was easy to plan for the all the animations, their timing, the state machine, etc. I'm sure that if you have a game with a main character like this (like most games), you should use a placeholder and iterate in the mechanics first, never wasting good time on good animations that you maybe are just going to throw away because wrong timings, structure, etc.


We decided we should just make 3 parts out of her: Her back arm she shoots with, to make it point exactly where the shots are coming from, her scarf, to empathize that same direction, and finally the rest of her body. In the placeholder, we also separated her head and her front arm, which we never used that separation anyway. (Actually, her head kind of pointed where she was aiming to jump to, but it was a 8x8 image, which is never gonna be a noticeable feedback)

So finally after some days of work:


We also iterated a lot on the HUD that appears around Dandara. Now there's always a green crystal pointing where you are trying to jump. Before, if you tried to jump but wasn't going to a valid location, there was no feedback at all, which could be potentially confusing. Also, we removed the line renderer, saving us some draw calls. Overall it looks way better.

The new line is actually 2 images of 1x1 white pixel, on in the end of the line, and one scaled to be the line. I haven't figured out any better way to do that, any suggestions are welcome!


So, we're getting really near the final look of the game already! (But yeah, it's been 7 months of work, 'bout time)

Bonus: A new NPC!

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brantkings
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« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2016, 03:23:28 PM »

So we've been optimizing and iterating the game to be fun and fast to play on touchscreens (maybe controllers too). You know our jumps, right? There's a bit of wizardry to make them work with fast paced, not very precise commands. At least, that's what we hope they would do!

So first up, you can only jump on those white grounds. Why specifically that happens can be the subject of another post, but for now that's how it is.


The first thing we do to help out fast-paced commands is remembering the last valid location to jump to, and if the player releases the input, that's always where he's gonna jump to (unless, of course, if he/she cancels the jump).


It was just like that for a lot of time, but we still can see that the movement isn't responsive enough. That's why last week we implemented extra tests in a cone, based on how strong the player input is! Also, it stops the extra tests if we got a valid jump, so the performance won't suffer much. An illustrative gif:


We hope that now we can have fast paced touchscreen action without any hiccups!
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 12:12:33 PM by brantkings » Logged

brantkings
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« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2016, 09:07:23 AM »

Battle system changes!  Smiley

Gone is the machine-gun like weapon you had, in order to make space for a Charged Shotgun. (She still fires "plasma beams", but you got the idea) Now, you should hold your input for a while before shooting a hand of five shots at the same time.

This leads to:





  • Better significance in each attack. Now the player really has to commit for an attack, and feels more like actions matter.
  • More dangerous enemies. For instance, the yellow soldier was pretty defenseless against your barrage of shots.
  • More careful position and decision. You really need to dance around the enemies to find a perfect position to charge in.
  • More importance for the secondary shots. Now super extra shots like the missile feels useful to use despite it's ammo cost.

So I guess even in this late game phase we are iterating on the gameplay.

What's more, there is an alpha coming soon, with the entirety of the first level, including the first boss. I hope you all check it out soon, I'll post here and email on the newsletter as soon as we have something.
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« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2016, 11:21:25 AM »

Looking great, can't wait to play Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2016, 06:02:06 PM »

Looks really nice! Definitely a game I would want to play!
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lobstersteve
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« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2016, 03:36:43 AM »

That control scheme looks really cool and well executed Smiley
Would totally play that on mobile.
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« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2016, 06:46:48 AM »

cool! nice flow
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xix
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« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2016, 07:48:01 AM »

I have no idea how this game is played, but it looks super dope. That boss is looking to be amaazing.
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« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2016, 08:06:22 AM »

I really want to try this out for myself.  Keeping an eye on DANDARA to see how it turns out
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brantkings
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« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2016, 11:13:25 AM »

Hey guys! Finally happy to announce the trailer! It's really good to show off the quality in Thommaz's music, for example:




Quote
Looking great, can't wait to play Smiley

Quote
Looks really nice! Definitely a game I would want to play!

Quote
That control scheme looks really cool and well executed Smiley
Would totally play that on mobile.

Quote
cool! nice flow

Quote
I really want to try this out for myself.  Keeping an eye on DANDARA to see how it turns out

Thank you very much, guys! These words make all the difference!

Quote
I have no idea how this game is played, but it looks super dope. That boss is looking to be amaazing.

It has been really hard to explain with images only, but as soon as we get a better tutorial (yes, we do still need a better tutorial), I will spill out the beans and give more details!
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brantkings
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« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2016, 10:25:09 AM »

So again we showed Dandara in a local event! Got back with a few ideas and clear conclusions of problems we have in both game and level design.

While the problems with the level design are many, we felt we first needed to finish our game design first so we can think with it while making the levels. The main problem we always felt we had: death is not really a penalty. Players would die just to get back to their tents or flags (checkpoints) because that was the faster way. Also, battles had no thrill we always wanted because the player would only lose time on dying.


Kill an enemy, and their Pleas (money) should be dancing around for you to collect.

So yep, we are introducing a resource for Dandara to collect in order for her to lose something when dying. This is greatly inspired by Dark Souls, where battles and decisions are way more emotional. There’s so much at stake at any time: die and you lose all your souls and humanity, but you know you can maybe push ahead.


Shops. Decisions!

You can use the money (currently called "Pleas of Salt") to upgrade Dandara at checkpoint tents. Currently, you can find items that maximize your health and “mana” by exploring and solving puzzles. With the shops you will also be able to buy half of them at stores to upgrade your character.

If you’re in need of a cheaper alternative, you can also buy health potions in the tent. Or even trade pleas on the fly for more mana mid-dungeon!

We hope we’re done increasing the scope of the game. We know we will have to balance the amount of pleas each enemy drops and how that relate to something like mana costs. It is a lot of work, but we’re positive that the pros overthrow the cons in this.

Next week if full level design fixes for the first level!
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« Reply #38 on: May 31, 2016, 07:53:12 AM »

One thing about this game troubles me: will you release it for pc too or it will be mobile/touchscreen only? =(
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« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2016, 04:56:49 AM »

One thing about this game troubles me: will you release it for pc too or it will be mobile/touchscreen only? =(

Dude! We've tried to be creative in porting the controls to PC.. but it's still too strange to play it with a controller. For now it feels like a touchscreen only game.
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