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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsDogma [2D Precision Platformer]
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Author Topic: Dogma [2D Precision Platformer]  (Read 2299 times)
dspencer
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« on: August 14, 2017, 11:53:20 AM »

Dogma

Dogma is complete!

Buy it on steam
Buy it on Itch.io





Dogma is a 2d platformer where you can grab and hold onto certain blocks. Use this move, and standard platforming skills, get through over 100 single-screen stages. Inspiration comes from Mischief Makers (for the grabbing mechanic), and other simple skill platformers like Super Meat Boy, Celest, VVVVVV, and countless others. I've been working on this for a bit now, and especially now that I've reached ~50% of the planned content, thought it was time to show the world!




Check out some snippets of gameplay below, or watch a vide of the entire first world:


If music is more your thing, maybe listen to the (work in progress) OST
















« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 10:24:55 AM by dspencer » Logged

rj
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2017, 12:03:50 PM »

it’s a dog, ma
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dspencer
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2017, 11:31:19 AM »

Not too many more levels done, but did  a bit of polishing like adding in a title/level select screen, and some non-static-ness to the background. Added probably... 5 more levels as well.

Anyone who happens to read this: if you're into platformers and want to give it a shot, please try it out. Move with the arrow keys and jump with c. Everything else should be taught by the game itself.

I'm having trouble figuring out if the character feels like it moves fluidly - I'm so used to the controls at this point that they feel very natural to me, but other peoples opinions would be helpful!
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PsycheMac
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 07:44:25 PM »

It seems your demo link is broken. Based on your gifs I think the running and jumping animations are pretty good. I think it would be more interesting if the character animations interacted with the dot more. Maybe they hold on to it with their tail or something to indicate that the character is physically using it.
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dspencer
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 08:38:50 PM »

 Facepalm Thanks, fixed the link.

Yeah, the dog was originally going just be a placeholder sprite but I ended up getting attached (no pun intended). I've gotten that feedback though a couple of times though, so I'll try to address it soon.
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2017, 01:20:26 AM »

Love the idea, love the dog jumping and walking animation. First few levels are fine to play.
I believe you will make the rest of the game as superb as a dog and level design is. The interaction of a dog and the environment could be more engaging: jumping over the star and playing the animation of collecting it; grabbing and moving around the green dots; the purple ground would be also more interesting. But since it is only 50%, I believe you plan to make it. For now, it is cool! Definitely watching this thread. :-)
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dspencer
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2017, 12:12:04 PM »

Thanks for the kind words Smiley Over the last week, a handful of people have tried out Dogma and given me some feedback, which has been really helpful. Cheers, folks! Beer! I've been attempting to fix some of the complaints I've gotten, with moderate success.

A lot of the work has been animating+spriting, which is really not my forte. Nonetheless, it has to happen eventually, so... New animation for swiping at grab-discs (or whatever they end up being called):

And while grounded:


I still have a couple of additional cases (falling, and moving while grounded) where I need to animate it, but at least there's something there. Additionally, the circles that showed where you grabbed (which was a standin that should have been replaced much earlier) has been replaced with a scratch mark:



Not much, but hopefully will make it clearer where the grab is aimed! I've also added some (minor) sustain to the grab - so you'll get a fraction of a second where you will still hook onto things after you press the grab button. Additionally, I've edited the level list a bunch - both in terms of shuffling levels around (it turns out that knowing about pivoting makes obstacle course much easier) and removing more filler levels. I've also done some work fixing some of the tougher levels (Hang 12, I'm looking at you...) so that they're not as obvious a drop-off point.

Upcoming work: I want to get back to making more levels, so hopefully I can finish doing all the spriting and get back to the good stuff!
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bombjack
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2017, 09:06:48 AM »

Just played it Smiley It was fun.I just missed some hints for the moving platforms.
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Ian_A
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2017, 11:37:17 AM »

how does the dog grab it if it doesn't have hands?
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dspencer
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2017, 12:07:08 PM »

how does the dog grab it if it doesn't have hands?
He swipes his paw and holds on with magic.  Wizard I want to add some sort of magical link between the dog and the center of the hook but I'm not quite sure how to show that effectively. Probably will work on that over this coming weekend, though.

I've had a few complaints that it's hard to catch hooks while you're dropping fast, which was a problem I wasn't experiencing myself. Finally was able to see what people meant, however - and found there was actually a bug stopping them from hooking onto things that they should have. Was able to replicate this:



After fixing the bug, everything works as intended:



Hopefully this helps make some of the unintentionally tricky levels less difficult to get through, and helps people execute what they're intending to do.
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dspencer
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2017, 11:39:58 AM »

Over the last week or so I've been slacking on level creation but I have a few good new levels coming up...



An extension of the rollercoaster level idea - this one takes unexpected zigzags. You'll have to stay on your toes!


The grab discs sway back and forth through the... spikes? harmful area. You'll need to time your pivots, and find the right path through.


This mostly serves as an antepiece for the level that comes after it, but I like the way it looks.


I'm not 100% on this level, but I wanted to do a better job easing into the idea of aiming your grabs. Here, you'll need to jump + grab in a direction, and then pivot to get through (as the title implies!) but you're never in any real danager... for the time being.
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dspencer
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2017, 04:05:33 PM »

Been pretty slow going recently. Been trying to put together more levels, but it feels like every time I add new ones, I end up deciding to remove some old ones that aren't up to snuff and so the level count is going up really slowly. Added a few levels that use a wind mechanic, which is nicely totally counteracted by the grab for a some interesting interactions.

Anyway, here are a couple of the new levels that I like the most:


This level uses the wind mechanic pushing you up, with no floor at the bottom. You have to jump/fall from the rings correctly to get the correct momentum to get past each obstical.


This level is probably a bit too hard, but you have to pivot through the rising hazards in order to survive.
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dspencer
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2017, 11:05:36 AM »

Rather than keep really grandiose plans, and never finish the game, I'm trying to put Dogma into it's last few sprints. I've been doing a bunch of random polishing (pause menu, font-related stuff, cleaning up missing hitboxes, etc), and this coming week I'm hoping to get some story elements shown before the first level + an end of game screen once you win. Once everything else is ironed out, I can go back and try to add more levels as appropriate / update the sprites and animations more, if it seems necesary, but I'll be certain to have a finished and polished game.

No new screenshots for today.
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dspencer
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2017, 12:15:17 PM »

A lot of boring work in the last week or two - lots of polishing, adding in an intro scene, writing music, etc. On the bright side, though, Dogma is in an essentially completed state. I could release the game as is, which is pretty exciting.

Now that that's the state though; I'm going to delay release for a bit in order to continue building out content. I cut out the levels I didn't like down to a total level count of 50; but as it stands the levels aren't really sorted by theme. I'm going to try to flesh out some of the ideas that are underrepresented - for instance, there's a teleport mechanic and a wind mechanic that are used for 3-4 levels each. Bumping this up to 10 would give a little more time for the player to figure out how things work and to explore how this could be used in an interesting way. Essentially, I want to make sure the organization of the levels makes sense.

To that extent, I've been trying to build those worlds out, as well as rearrange levels into coherent series. Sometimes, this actually means splitting up similar levels - oftentimes, I'll want to introduce an idea, and then remix it later, when I've taught the player another mechanic. Gotta make sure players like this scheme, though.

The other major change I'm thinking about is having per-world backgrounds, or per-world tilesets. But art isn't my strong suit, and tends to make me lose motivation, so I'm putting it off (for the time being, at least!).

Assuming all goes well though, I'm hoping to have Dogma published on steam / itch.io within a month or two. Woo!

So in the meantime check out the story intro:



And some of the new levels in Perilous Peak, where you can use the use the grab rings to help brace against the shifting winds, and use the winds to get to the next grab ring!



And a new early level to make sure players are used to grabbing in the air - this should be a quick stage for anyone who is totally onboard with the control scheme or has played lots of platformers beforehand, but newer players will appreciate the challenge to get a better handle on the game!



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dspencer
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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2017, 08:33:14 PM »



We got saving/loading data, and fastest time record keeping.
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« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2017, 09:06:50 AM »

Trying some new schemes for levels + backgrounds. Hoping to be able to add some differentiation between the different worlds so it feels like the player is progressing a bit more as they get through the game. I like the general clean look of the tiles, so I'm trying changing the tile outline color, the background color, and the animated background effect on a per-world basis.


This is the default level theme. Purple on black with little fireworks in the background.


The mountain stages will have Blue / Dark violet with snow falling.


Underwater theme (but don't worry! no water levels in this game). Teal on blue w/ rising bubbles.


This was originally supposed to be a factory theme. but after a lot of iteration it looks like a... swamp? Green+brown. The bubbles in the background will probably be changed, but for the time being they swirl around. I think I could probably make the factory theme better by doing silver on grey with some sort of gear motif in the background.

Thoughts? I'm so used to the default theme for the game that everything else looks weird. I think everything except the green one works OK.... But I dunno! Would love to hear from anyone who has thoughts  Beer!


Edit: Another possible colorscheme for the mountain levels...
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 09:34:39 AM by dspencer » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2017, 11:53:04 AM »

Trying a new animated background for the machine-themed levels. Took a page out of megaman II's book - gears everywhere!


Please excuse the low quality of the gif... Dunno the best way to share short gameplay clips.

EDIT: Potential new track for the "underwater level"
https://soundcloud.com/daniel-spencer-54/waterlevel?in=daniel-spencer-54/sets/dogma-ost
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 12:36:53 PM by dspencer » Logged

dspencer
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2017, 08:31:05 PM »

Got a full gameplay video of the first 10 levels (the first zone) of the game:



Got a lot of work done, trimming down my todo list pretty low! Hoping to be done with development in the next week or so.

We've also got some new animations that I'm a bit happier with - when grabbing, now it's clear that it's magical in some way. Also, when you complete a level, you warp out, and I've finally animated it. It's not perfect, but I'm into it.


You'll see both animations in the video above! Plus after adding in the gears in the machine world, I completed a ton of little quality of life bugs - added button icons for teaching the player how to jump and grab that adapt to if you're using a controller or the keyboard.

More importantly though, is that now there's a small cutscene when you finish the last level in a zone - which will introduce you to the next zone. It's a small thing but I'm happy with how it came out. Details like that are helping this start to look like a finished game!
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dspencer
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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2017, 08:37:48 AM »

Been chugging along w this and that. Replaced the goal star with a bone - Jacko is a dog, after all! (Incidentally I don't know if I ever refer to his name, but the dog is named Jacko)


Obviously, the bone sparkles, cause magic.

I still don't think I'm going to hit my original goal of 100 levels, but I decided I could do a little better than 50. At this point, I'm hovering around 60 levels, with a few ideas left to implement. Themed worlds are coming along nicely (world one lets the player get their bearings on the controls, world two introduces and explores static red-zones, world 5 has a theme of wind and crumbling blocks, etc) and I think I've finally shuffled all the levels into roughly the right place, at this point.

When you're making and playtesting your own game, it can be really hard to make levels *easy* because you become so good at the physics that everything seems easy to you. So while making levels for Dogma, I've tried very hard to make sure they weren't unbeatable for someone who hadn't invested as many hours into the game. However, one thing I've gotten from feedback is that the difficulty should keep going up near the end of the game; so I'm trying to put together a final gauntlet world that will *really* test the players skill.

As an example, check out this level:





A few more levels, one or two more tracks of music, one more set of background/tiles, and some final polishing and Dogma will be ready to ship. See you all soon!
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dspencer
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2017, 06:02:26 PM »

Game is now level complete! The last one is a doozy.... good luck.

Just gotta make/replace a couple of sprites, finish up the last two tracks on the soundtrack I've been working on, and do a final pass of polishing! And then figure out where/how to publish this.  Beer!
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