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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogs[FREE ALPHA] Way Beyond — open-world lo-fi 2D roguelite/ARPG
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Author Topic: [FREE ALPHA] Way Beyond — open-world lo-fi 2D roguelite/ARPG  (Read 4153 times)
Bálint
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« on: April 28, 2017, 01:39:59 PM »




Way Beyond


Download Alpha 1 for Windows, Mac, and Linux


Follow me on Twitter @hellobalint for casual updates

Way Beyond is an open-world procedurally generated roguelite heavily influenced by the combat of Zelda, and the exploration and depth of NetHack. Roam the overworld. Find entrances to multilevel dungeons and caves. Explore and survive to gain new skills and items.


Updates:



Hello!

My name is Bálint and I'm a designer from Hungary. I've started dabbling in gamedev a couple years ago and I've started semi-seriously working on my first game in February 2016. I'm temporarily referring to it as Exploro. I'm using Unity.

This project is somewhat close to my heart. My goal is not to earn any money with it, but to make a game I would want to play, and enjoy the process of getting there. I used to play NetHack a lot, and was captivated by the genuine wonder and curiosity I experienced uncovering the secrets of its dungeons from one corner to the next. I also aim to capture that certain depth and interaction between mechanics I've only seen in turn-based games before, but in a real-time setting. Compromises will happen, but I'm looking for emotions elicited by certain mechanics, but not exact copies of mechanics.


I've decided on an Atariesque look for my graphics for several reasons. One is that I'm not experienced in pixel art, and it's less apparent if I use a style from a time where nobody was experienced at it. The tiny tile size also allows me to work fast if/when I get far enough in the process where I need to add a lot of content. Another is that since most games seem to pick later eras as reference points for their visuals, I reckon it would be somewhat easier to stand out with this style. Again, I'm not aiming for commercial success, but I'm making some decisions that will allow me to get there if it ever comes within view.


As a sidenote re: visuals, I made a weird decision early on regarding my tile size: it's 7×7 pixels. Why? One of the first sprites I drew was the player character, and I knew I wanted it to have a 1px head, but I also needed it smack in the middle. Additionally, I think it helps give the game a unique look. It allows me to draw symmetrical sprites much easier without any tricks like nudging sprites by 1px to the side. Will it cause me programming headaches down the road because it's not a power of 2? Probably. I'm very smart.


Alpha 1 to-do:

✅ Endless world generation with biomes
✅ Tile pool & map chunker
✅ Basic tools (sword, hatchet, pickaxe)
✅ Day/night cycle
✅ Rolling horizon effect (gotta have that juice)
✅ Line-of-sight & fog-of-war
✅ NPCs & basic AI
✅ Combat
✅ Basic sound effects (Made with JFXR. Thanks Frozen Fractal!)
◻️ More enemies

Coming in 2018
◻️ Multilevel dungeon generation
◻️ Items

(updated 2018-02-05)
« Last Edit: February 04, 2018, 03:51:46 PM by Bálint » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2017, 02:00:01 PM »

This looks fantastic, you have my interest  Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2017, 02:35:37 PM »

Looking sweet, following  Hand Thumbs Up Right
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2017, 04:21:26 PM »

This looks incredible! I am definitely following.
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2017, 05:21:42 PM »

Gees dude this is a freaking masterpiece visually. good luck with it.  Gentleman
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My twitter is @5Mixer.
I'm currently making a dungeon game, check it out :D
https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=59139.0
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2017, 05:38:50 PM »

This project looks amazing. Can't wait to see where it goes!
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2017, 06:38:31 PM »

I will follow the developement of this game just because it was 7x7 sprites.
I admire that.

(oh the rest of the stuff is also very very cool)
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2017, 12:17:54 AM »

I like your style, but which kind of game do you want to do ? Something more hack&slack or building / crafting ?
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2017, 12:20:26 AM »

I absolutely adore the visuals!
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2017, 12:27:12 AM »

Good stuff, been following your progress on SA!
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« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2017, 02:23:15 AM »

Good looking stuff! ...and something I'd love to find and play.
Will follow this and wish you all the best.
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« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2017, 02:31:52 AM »

That looks very cool!
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« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2017, 07:03:29 AM »

Looks great. That first GIF had my attention!
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Bálint
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2017, 11:20:39 AM »

Thank you for the kind words and all the interest!

I like your style, but which kind of game do you want to do ? Something more hack&slack or building / crafting ?

I'm aiming for an easy to pick up, arcadey combat, yes, but I want a lot of different kind of AI patterns and enemy mechanics in there, and lots of environmental interaction. I want emergent gameplay like getting surprised by the difficulty of an enemy you've beaten many many times already just because you accidentally stepped into mud and slowed yourself down, or you got knocked into a lake and you lost your potions or something.

I'm not dismissing crafting or building at this point. I've had it in mind since the beginning and I have some notes about it, but I'll see if it fits when I get there. High level mechanics like that are a long way away to be honest!
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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2017, 12:52:03 PM »

Great stuff, keep it up!
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2017, 09:55:20 AM »

Gorgeous aesthetic. A world I definitely would like to get lost in. Wink
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2017, 02:33:04 PM »

An update is quite a bit overdue, eh? Hoo boy, do I have things to tell you. Where do I even start?

The new title would be a good intro I guess! The game no longer goes by the working title and it's now officially called Way Beyond!



New title: Way Beyond

I have to say it was a really tough decision to make, but for a reason I will get to in a bit I had to come up with a new title fairly fast so there was no longer room for procrastination. I knew from the start that the old one was temporary but it became an urgent matter very fast and the possibility space was just too big to work with.

I decided to make a spreadsheet to help nudge me in the right direction. I fed it a set of a few dozen words I thought fit the atmosphere I was going for, and the spreadsheet spat out random combinations for me. I forgot whether "Way Beyond" actually was generated this way, but it was certainly at least inspired by some of the output! You know you went overboard when even the name of your procedural game is generated procedurally.


The pixel work itself was a pain in the butt. I have very little experience working with pixel art, but luckily I'm fairly adept at digital lettering and typography, so it balanced out a little bit. Even then it took me most of a Sunday to arrive at a version that really clicked. Both typography and pixelling are such fragile artforms. You nudge one tiny thing a barely visible amount and it leaves its mark on the whole piece. It's SO satisfying when you finally get there though.

While the title was a good topic to start this update with, it was a fairly recent development. Let's backtrack a bit to June and I'll walk you through all the new stuff!





Refactoring
June

Don't see anything new on the above image? Good, that's exactly the point of refactoring. Coffee It took me waaaay too long but I actually rewrote a significant chunk of my code from last year. Since I practically rolled my own little naive tile grid system, map chunker, and object pool, it contained all sorts of issues that prevented me from adding NPCs in a way that didn't make me pull all my hair out. The new system is not only more performant but it laid the groundwork for relatively flexible off-grid entities that I could plug AI into.





Dashing
August

In the summer I had pretty long breaks between dev sessions due to Real Life™ reasons, so most of the things I've done were either tweaks or quickies like a dashing move. I actually ended up disabling it for now, but I'm fairly certain it'll find its way back into the mechanics one way or another as it's quite fun to use.





NPCs & AI
September–October

This was a big one for me as I've never programmed anything even remotely close to it. As a baby first step I added the random roaming you see in the above GIF. It was a lot easier to do after my refactoring than I had feared, so I felt good about it. But as soon as I wanted to add another kind of behavior (for example attacking the player when they're close) it all fell apart again. I needed some sort of state machine, and I found the one in Unity's animation system clunky to use so I wanted a different solution.

Then came my good buddy Máté Cziner to the rescue! He had experience with writing AI in Unity before and actually sat down to write me a framework for the AI. It was incredibly helpful and it made me understand a bunch of concepts I was really hazy on.

I make an effort not to copy and paste other people's code – I'm sure that partly has to do with my ego, but it also forces me to really think about what I'm doing, and what functionality in the other person's code I really want. I pretty much used Máté's work as a tutorial and changed it a bit here and there. What I ended up with was slightly less flexible and harder to maintain, but at least I understood it 100% and I knew exactly where to look if I needed to change something.

The result is, like the rest of my code, okayish for what I'm doing right now. The snakes live, they attack, and now I have a flexible framework that allows me to spend no more than an hour or two to add a new kind of enemy, complete with sprites and parametric behaviors for morement and attacks!

And so…BEES!




Sometime in October Máté introduced me to an event in town called PixelCon. It's an annual gamer con with a focus on retro gaming. The event also hosts an indie game competition called Grand Pix – last year's winners were none other than Máté and his team with Totemori (go play it with a friend, it's nuts). He persuaded me to submit Way Beyond (then still going by its working title, Exploro) as they were also accepting works in progress.

I actually had no public build at that point, and even my private build was a buggy, unoptimized mess, but as it turned out the GIFs I've sent were enough to convince the judges! I was one of the finalists who got to exhibit at the show and participate in a popular vote to pick the Grand Pix winner. I wasn't really interested in the competition, but I was really looking forward to observing people play the game and to gather some feedback about how it feels and what people like and dislike.

But maybe most importantly, it gave me a deadline: the show was November 11th. I had less than four weeks to prepare something I could show publicly. No turning back!





Hitflash & attack telegraphing
October

Real life was getting in the way of development once more, but I had to push on to meet my newly found deadline. I only had time and energy for some basic gamefeel things like the above effects, and some much needed tweaking to the player controls to make them feel more responsive.





Pickups
November

With the con coming up in less than two weeks, I had very little time to spend on each new feature, but thanks to my refactoring efforts it was relatively painless to introduce simple things like entities the player can pick up. I added player HP, and scattered little health/heart entities throughout the biomes that add to said HP, with no maximum for now because fuck it.

I also spent a night adding another kind of pickup, gems, that serves as a sort of high score counter for now. That tiny pixel font was fun to make!





Last minute content update, optimizations & Xbox360 controller support
November

Mere days before PixelCon I managed to set some time aside for some much needed optimization work, resulting in a 60% performance boost. Smooth as if it was butter *cough* with some sand in it, but you only find out once every few seconds when you can hear it crackle between your teeth. That map chunker I wrote is still hella inefficient.

The last night before the event I was up til 4am adding & tweaking content (enemies & biomes), and fixing bugs. REMEMBER, KIDS: CRUNCH IS NOT HEROIC OR ROMANTIC. CRUNCH IS BAD TIME MANAGEMENT. THE NECESSITY OF CRUNCH IS A MYTH.





PixelCon
November

And that's my booth at PixelCon! It was my first ever gaming con, and I was exhibiting even. If you told me this a few months ago I would've laughed. It's just a bedroom project! NOT ANYMORE.

Before the show floor opened and people started trying my game I was convinced 100% that in its current state, it's a shallow concept, a mere shell of a game that gets boring after 2 minutes. I could only hope that people are able to see the potential behind the catchy visuals and the barebones mechanics.


And they did. I had people playing the game almost non-stop, and they stuck around much, much longer than I had anticipated. I'd say average session length was about 10–15 minutes, with some people (especially young kids) sitting there for 30 minutes to an hour collecting gems and whacking creatures with the sword. I got some incredibly valuable feedback that allows me to prioritise the next few months of work.

Oh and remember Grand Pix, the gamedev competition? It turns out during the day of the con I got the most votes from visitors and won it! How did this even happen?


*PHEW*

So here I am a week after PixelCon, and as it turns out besides the (working!) C64 trophy with a golden spray finish, I'm also getting more opportunities to exhibit Way Beyond soon, and I could not be more excited. I wish I had more time to iron out bugs and add some more content but the next event is literally days from now. Yikes!

Until the next mega update…see you around!

The below image has nothing to do with anything but I felt that it was necessary to include. …Enjoy?


« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 02:53:35 PM by Bálint » Logged


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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2017, 05:31:39 AM »

Wow I LOVE the look of this...the combination of the pixels with the scrolling horizon gives the world a real sense of depth - I don't look at the character as a little pixel blob - I see a real person picking their way through the terrain. This is awesome!  Gentleman
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2017, 07:17:56 AM »

Wow this looks fantastic! Keep up the good work, definitely looking forward to getting my hands on it :D
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2018, 03:50:51 PM »

Sorry for the late update, hopefully you've seen the news on my Twitter @hellobalint that I've released Way Beyond alpha 1 on December 30 2017! Thus achieving my New Year's Resolution for 2017 that I would release the first public version by the end of the year. Phew!

Regarding features there's not much to update you on — I was focusing on fixing some game breaking bugs and adding a little bit more content for the cons, namely some enemies. Will you figure out how to get rid of those pesky ghosts so you can collect all those gems from the cemetery in peace?




Download Alpha 1 for Windows, Mac, and Linux
Read about controls on the Itch page!





Oh right, there's this tiny new feature: you can press P to set the player color Beer!
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