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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsToad On Fire - action/adventure/shooter
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grasshoppersunshine
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« on: May 20, 2017, 07:09:11 PM »

Toad On Fire



Greenlight trailer:



Synopsis:

An army of frogs is relentlessly teleporting down from onto the planet's surface. Their motives are unclear, but something sinister is driving them to wreak havoc upon the population of toads that live nearby. Smokey, a fellow toad who has a taste for pyrotechnics, grabs his trusty flamethrower and heads out to destroy the teleporter beacons that allow the frogs access to different points on the planet's surface. But he knows that whomever is behind this attack has greater plans and must be outed and dealt with swiftly, for Smokey fears that the entire toad population is at stake.

You play as Smokey the Toad. Progress through 20+ levels as you explore lands, torch trees to the ground, surf on lily pads, and set your enemies ablaze.

The game is single-player and can be played with a gamepad or keyboard.

More screenshots:







Home Page: http://www.toadonfire.com

IndieDB: http://www.indiedb.com/games/toad-on-fire

Steam Greenlight Page: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=938296974
« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 05:41:56 PM by grasshoppersunshine » Logged

grasshoppersunshine
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2017, 07:10:07 PM »

Progress Update, May 2017

It's been several months since my last update. I've been hard at work, trying to finish everything for the game. Though, nothing is coming easy. Each day feels like a drop in the bucket with progress. It seems like there's still a long way to go. It does, however, feel like it's coming to a close, like I'm over the hill. That's a relief, since for a very long time, it felt like the game had no direction, no end in sight.

Here are some notable updates.

New Themes







I've added a few new themes to keep the look interesting and fresh.

Overworld



Progress through the game now happens through an overworld map. In the demo I released a year ago, you progressed linearly through stages that consisted of a number of sub-levels. That is replaced with a overworld where you can choose which level to play next. It's still mostly linear, but occasionally you can choose a different direction.

Dialog



At first I tried to work the story in without any words or dialog. That proved to be quite challenging, to clearly communicate the story and motives of the characters. So I gave it a go and add in some dialog, as minimal as possible, and it felt right for the game. The first act is completely redone and feels like it sets everything up well and gives you some direction. I brought this to indie game night and got a positive response out of it and a few good laughs as well.

New Weapons



I've been experimenting with new weapons and weapon modes. One that works really well is shown above.You can charge your flamethrower and release a powerful blast. It's great for mowing down trees.


New Demo Coming Soon

There will be a new demo coming out sometime in the summer. I'll keep you posted.
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Ian_A
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2017, 07:19:25 PM »

This looks cool. Reminds me of Arkista's Ring, one of my favorite NES games.
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CRIMSON KEEP - First Person Action Roguelite
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2017, 09:41:33 PM »

Awesome! Thanks, CrimsonKeep. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 08:37:38 AM »

Revamping the Fuel System

Fuel Limit Removed

In the lower-left corner of the screen, there was a fuel meter that showed you how much fuel you had remaining. If you ran out of fuel, you'd still be able to use the flamethrower, but at a slower firing rate.


The old way: when fuel runs out, fire rate and range decrease.

Fuel pickups were scattered throughout the levels that resembled gas cans. These were fun to pickup to restore your fuel.

Though, having a limit on fuel revealed a number of problems.

  • Some testers often used up their fuel too fast.
  • Some felt it takes away from the exploring aspect: instead of blowing things up to explore the map, you conserve fuel to fight enemies or other challenges that lay ahead.

Because of this, I've been back-and-forth several times on having a fuel limit and removing it. Unlimited fuel seemed slightly boring to me, for these reasons:

  • No reason for the player to stop firing. Why not just hold the fire button down the whole time?
  • Less pickups on the map (no gas cans), and no refuel stations in the overworld map.

So how do I address both sets of cons? I think I found a solution.

Enter Overheating

Change one: bring back unlimited fuel.

Change two: change the fuel meter to a heat meter. It starts empty, but goes up each time you fire the flamethrower, and goes down (cools off) whenever you aren't firing.

Change three: give consequence for overheating. When the heat meter maxes out, the player explodes and is in shock for a few seconds, unable to move. Then the player cannot fire until the heat meter drains all the way. The player is unable to use the flamethrower for several seconds.


New way: when heat meter maxes out, player is temporarily paralyzed (when black/gray),
and cannot fire again until heat meter goes down all the way.

Test

Nothing is complete without trying it out in the game, making sure it feels right. After testing several levels, I felt this could work. Though, time will tell. I found that with most changes, I have to live with them for a while to really feel them out and weed out any problems or annoyances that might come up.
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grasshoppersunshine
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2017, 10:55:42 AM »

Rebooted Greenlight Campaign

The greenlight campaign has been running for about six months, and it's run out of steam at this point (no pun intended). There were a few mistakes I made with it, such as using a poor branding image, that probably contributed to poor traffic. I attempted to up my marketing and did a lot with social media and other outlets throughout the last couple weeks, but it's very difficult to get steam users to the greenlight page to vote at this point. Greenlight doesn't have much of a filter system, so games are easy to get lost in the noise once they drop off the radar. But if anyone reading this has any advice, I'd appreciate anything that could help the campaign.

So for those reasons, I decided to reboot the campaign with a better presentation, and hope for the best. I also put together a new trailer. Check it out:




So far the response has been positive. It hasn't quite been 48 hours yet, and I've almost accumulated the number of views in the entire six-month stretch of the last campaign, 50 more "yes" votes, and a higher ratio of "yes" votes to "no" votes.

The new greenlight page is now here: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=938296974. Please take a moment to vote. Thank you.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 11:18:59 AM by grasshoppersunshine » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2017, 02:37:53 PM »

Toad On Fire Greenlit!

It happened! No sooner than when I come to terms that my game won't be greenlit, I get the email, "Congratulations, Toad On Fire has been Greenlit!"



Though, it's not such a big deal anymore, now that the Steam Direct fee is only $100 per game. Still, having the title greenlit was a goal I was aiming to achieve for a few years, so it's feels good to have met it.

Thanks to everyone who voted for their support! You helped make this happen.
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grasshoppersunshine
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2017, 08:00:17 AM »

Core Gameplay and Power-Ups

I've been spending some time trying to improve the core gameplay. I'm not quite sure how to define what that is, but the approach I use is simple: generate a random map with enemies, trees, power-ups, etc. The more fun it is to play, the better the core gameplay is. Since, after all, that's what you will be doing most of the time, is hopping around and shooting at things. That's my current theory, anyway.

One hiccup has been on how to vary the weapons and power-ups. Do I let the player select weapons doom-style, or do I have the player pickup power-ups that provide an upgrade, similar to Contra? If I go with power-ups, then how long do I let the power-ups last? Do they last until the end of the level, until the player dies, or is it a timed limit? So many choices, and each one makes a major difference in how the game feels and progresses.

I have a solid idea of how I will go about it, but that might change in the future. However, I wanted to show off some of the power-ups I implemented lately that add some spice to the gameplay.

Power upgrade (yeah it's kinda sorta like a rocket launcher)



So I call it a "power" upgrade, because everything fired from the flamethrower should be a form of fire. Instead of a rocket, I'm trying to go for a feel of a powerful, condensed, explosive, fireball.

That red flame above the toad's head is a timer. The flame appears when you acquire a power-up and will diminish when the time is up. The flame will shrink when you have ten seconds left, a visible warning to the player that their time with the power-up is almost over.

Spread (triple-fire) upgrade



I tried a spray first, where it fires both straight and diagonally, but for some reason that didn't feel right. It was also a bit off-putting. Instead, I went with what you see above. It's more like a triple-fire power-up. It's looks great, feels powerful, and is also much more fun than the old spray-like version.

Rapid-fire-power-triple-thingamajig (and fire shield)



Yep. Probably the best power-up you can get. It's the power upgrade plus triple-spread-fire. Total carnage!

Also in that gif, you might notice a bunch of fireballs circling around the player. That's another power-up, the fire-shield power-up. It will damage any trees or enemies that come in contact with it.

Bringing it all together

Now I just need to implement these into the levels in an ideal way. In some cases, it'll require modifying the levels to allow for more space to wreak havoc, which I think is a good thing. I'm hoping it'll allow for a more engaging experience.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 04:26:56 AM by grasshoppersunshine » Logged

SolarLune
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2017, 09:25:21 AM »

Hello! So, this is looking not bad at all. Interesting idea for a character and game world, haha.

I think you might want to work a bit on the art style - it's not immediately obvious from the first screenshot who you're controlling, or where you are on-screen. The toad kind of blends into the background tiles (particularly in that first screenshot, on the bridge). You might want to change the BG tiles to lower the contrast, saturation, or value, tweak the sprite style or player character's color palette to be more readable (for example, maybe he could have white gloves or something, to make his hands stand out, and a more obvious silhouette / design), or add shadows or outlines to the character. Just some ideas - keep it up!
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grasshoppersunshine
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2017, 10:13:25 AM »

Good points, SolarLune. I'm always trying to improve the art style as much as I can, so any advice on that is appreciated. Thanks a bunch! Coffee
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grasshoppersunshine
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2018, 07:11:33 AM »

Progress Update, May 2018

It's been far too long since my last update, but I have put a lot of work into the game since then. Here are some notable items.

New boss.
Checkout the gif below:



So far I have four bosses. I'm hoping to have a total of five for the finished game.

New move.
I call it the cannonball:



I added this move because I wanted some sort of trade-off between attack types. Rather than simply adding a more powerful weapon, this one gives you a meaningful choice: powerful cannonball attack but you change your position closer to the enemy, or stay back and fire as usual. It also offers a different traveling speed which allows for a more dynamic experience across the board.

New environment.
Well...actually it's one I've been working on for a long time. It's the sky levels where you fly around on your jetpack, exploring the tropopause, stratosphere, etc.:



Some more screenshots:



« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 04:26:08 AM by grasshoppersunshine » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2018, 04:23:43 AM »

Progress Update, June 2018

Bug fixes! Bug fixes! Bug fixes!

In prep for releasing a new demo, I've been running through the game a lot, fixing what bugs that come up. There always seems to be something to fix. That's why I don't have a demo for this month; there was much more to fix than I expected.

With this update, I'll just highlight a few things I've been working on, whilst in the midst of fixing bugs.


New theme

I've been working on another theme. This one has mushroom trees and mossy walls. I still need to adjust the palette so it's not the same green/blue feel as other themes.




The Farm

At the very beginning of the game, you start on a farm. I added some flowers to give the look more variety and rows of corn stalks so it looks more like a farm.






Finished a level

I completed one of the sky levels. Well, all levels are constantly being updated as I progress on the game. I guess I mean I have a path from the start to finish, and that it mostly feels complete. Near the end you need to fly through a gauntlet of mines and spiked balls.




New! Purchase armor and suit up.

You can now buy armor from the shops for protection. I needed some more things for the player to spend money on, and this turned out to be a good investment of time. While worn, you only lose a half-heart instead of a whole-heart when hit. After enough hits, the armor will break and you'll lose it. You always have the option to purchase more armor afterwards.




Ditched the palace/wizard levels

R.I.P palace levels. These were slower levels to give the player a break from all the action. Mostly it involved just going through a few rooms until you find the wizard, upon which the wizard give you a gift by casting a spell. Mainly it was just a way to level-up the player's max HP.

Why'd I get rid of it? As the game progressed, the pacing of these levels started to feel off, and they no longer felt needed since I added the shop levels (which also act as a break between the action).

The relationship between Smokey and the wizard kept getting more complex. There was a lot more to work on to get it feeling just right. I was about to add some more complexity and feature creep to it, but man, that would've been too much. I'm trying to finish a game, not keep this one going on forever. Sometimes, I think, you have to spend time finding what to remove as much as you spend time on adding things. It's a constant curation process. This was something that needed to be removed. It wasn't an easy decision, but I think it was the right one. Here's a few screenshots for keepsake.


The palace entrance.


Earlier version of the wizard room, with him casting a spell to increase vitality.


Newer version of the wizard room.


That's all the updates for now. Fingers crossed for a demo in July.
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grasshoppersunshine
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2022, 05:41:23 PM »

Game has been released!

Release Trailer




Store page: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1417020/Toad_On_Fire/

More screenshots













I haven't posted on this topic in a long time. I've been posting updates mostly to the indiedb page here: https://www.indiedb.com/games/toad-on-fire/articles
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2022, 07:16:28 PM »

Congratulations and best of luck with the sales!
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2022, 11:12:27 AM »

This looks fun! It's also cool to see that this thread's first post is from 2017, so you kept working on this thing for 5 years until you completed & released it. That's awesome.

Congratulations!
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