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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsTotemori 2D
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czm
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« on: October 02, 2017, 02:01:21 PM »




Follow me on twitter @MateCziner
Play it on itch.io


Hello world!

You might have played a small indie title by the name of TOTEMORI earlier this year.




It's a physics based arena game in which boulders fall from the sky and you compete with others to build the highest towers out of them. And by compete I mean you break or steal their stuff as much as you can.



It was my first release on Steam (and also itch.io), and my first time to work on a game with a team. It was a lot of fun to make. We gave away the game for free (and I mean really free, no monetization to speak of), so it's kinda hard to gauge it's commercial success. But based on player feedback we did good and that was enough.

So it looks like it's gonna have a sequel.  And this time, I'm doing it using all the sweet cutting edge technology the early 90' has to offer!  Cheesy




Why the heck would you re-develop a game in 2D that you have already built in 3D you might ask?
Mock Anger

Basically for the heck of it. Shrug It kinda started out as a joke.

By far the most common criticism we got for the original Totemori, was the lack of online multiplayer. It seems a pretty obvious feature that would benefit the game and people are puzzled why we were leaving it out. There are  a number of reasons for that.

  • writing netcode for rapid gameplay in a physics based game is really hard.
  • especially if you have no idea what you are doing because your are a noob
  • servers cost money
  • the game doesn't make money because it's free

From the reasons above, the first and second are the ones that really crash the party. So I kept thinking how to solve this problem, and it dawned on me, that if we decided from the beginning to make an online multiplayer game, I would have done a lot of things differently. Would have made the game a lot simpler, ditched physics as the main driver of gameplay interactions, etc. So if the problem is too hard for me to solve, I guess I could just make the problem simpler.

So I began to brush up on my pixel art skillz and bashed together a prototype to see if the game's concept would work in 2D.


And it does.  So here we come.  Smiley






Follow me on twitter @MateCziner for updates on the game.
Play it on itch.io




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tanis
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2017, 03:01:01 PM »

I played your game and it was so fun! It’s nice to see you’re developing a multiplayer version of it Smiley
I’ll keep an eye on this.

btw are you still using unity for this version?
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czm
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2017, 09:14:32 PM »

Thank you!

Yes, it's still Unity. I do have considered moving to GameMaker 2 though.

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Bálint
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2017, 11:07:12 AM »

Hello here as well Smiley Can’t wait to try the prototype when I get back from vacation. Your pixel art is impeccable and some of the core mechanics have certainly already proven themselves with the original Totemori. Looking forward to more updates!
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tanis
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 12:27:19 PM »

Man, I played the preview you posted on itch and it’s so much fun! Smiley
Sometimes it becomes so chaotic Wink
Anyway the core mechanics work damn well in this version too
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czm
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 08:33:31 PM »

Hello here as well Smiley Can’t wait to try the prototype when I get back from vacation. Your pixel art is impeccable and some of the core mechanics have certainly already proven themselves with the original Totemori. Looking forward to more updates!

Thanks, I'm on it!  Hand Any Key

Man, I played the preview you posted on itch and it’s so much fun! Smiley
Sometimes it becomes so chaotic Wink
Anyway the core mechanics work damn well in this version too

Yes, it's a bit hectic now Smiley What do you think of the computer opponent?
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lowinzloGame
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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2017, 09:02:41 PM »

I like the bounciness of the platform, it really brings the whole piece to life.
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PsycheMac
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2017, 09:26:19 PM »

Yea the bouncy animations look great in this game. I think it looks great as a 2d game. Only issue I can see is that it may be hard to see your character behind large stacks of boulders. I notice that it puts a glowy dot when a character is behind one but it may be too subtle with such fast gameplay.
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tanis
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2017, 10:32:15 PM »

The computer opponent is quite hard to beat but I like it this way.
I agree with PsycheMac that sometimes it’s hard to see your character and that’s usually when you slow down and the opponent crushes you Smiley
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czm
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2017, 11:58:07 AM »


The computer opponent is quite hard to beat but I like it this way.
I agree with PsycheMac that sometimes it’s hard to see your character and that’s usually when you slow down and the opponent crushes you Smiley

Yeah, I guess you are (both) right. How about something like this?



... too much?


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lowinzloGame
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2017, 04:32:00 PM »

Have you tried overlaying the sprites with a copy at an opacity that renders over the rocks?
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czm
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2017, 07:55:29 AM »

Like this?



I dunno, it kinda make it look like as if the blocks were transparent...

maybe this:



or maybe outlines?
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PsycheMac
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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2017, 08:47:38 AM »

Yeah, I guess you are (both) right. How about something like this?



... too much?

I say go with this one. It is glaringly obvious where you are which I think is important. You could combine both ideas by doing a white outline of the character.
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czm
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« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2017, 04:52:55 AM »

Quote
You could combine both ideas by doing a white outline of the character.

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PsycheMac
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« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2017, 02:36:32 PM »

Yea, that looks really nice and easy to read.
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Bálint
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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2017, 01:48:28 PM »

Quote
You could combine both ideas by doing a white outline of the character.



Nailed it IMHO
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2017, 01:53:28 AM »

Quote
You could combine both ideas by doing a white outline of the character.






Love this one!
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czm
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« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2017, 01:32:21 AM »

I have implemented the outline idea, you can check it out on the itch build.
thanks everyone!
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Bálint
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« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2017, 10:05:59 AM »

I finally had time to play a few rounds of your prototype with my girlfriend the other day. In general it was a lot of fun!

We have some observations:
  • It was difficult to tell if/when bombs would go off. Even if we could see the fuse, with all the intense action it was hard to anticipate the timing. When there were blocks stacked on top of them, even more so.
  • Because of all the action that forced your attention on the playing field, we could not keep track of our scores, to the point where we were unsure of the victory condition; was it on a timer? Fastest to 100 points?
  • My girlfriend had impulses to pull blocks/stacks when they were pushed into corners but this was not possible. Make of it what you will Smiley

Despite being super fun, generally speaking the game was quite exhausting. We were pretty much pooped after 3 matches. Can't tell if it's because you're still in early stages and wanted to try core mechanics first tho or if this intensity is part of the core vision. Are you considering to add some sort of downtime into the matches? Maybe a bigger playing field, or intervals where you get less objects falling, or just less ones that you are able to use in an offensive fashion? Just some thoughts.

Keep it up, looking forward to more test builds Smiley These mechanics have a lot of potential!
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czm
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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2017, 12:38:59 PM »

Thanks for trying the game! I'll try to answer everything.

Quote
It was difficult to tell if/when bombs would go off. Even if we could see the fuse, with all the intense action it was hard to anticipate the timing. When there were blocks stacked on top of them, even more so

The bomb actually has a randomized timeframe to blow up after the fuse burnt down. It was not your shortcoming, it was designed this way. But if it felt annoying I might reconsider it.

When a bomb is covered with something, it's disabled and acts as a regular boulder.

Quote
Because of all the action that forced your attention on the playing field, we could not keep track of our scores, to the point where we were unsure of the victory condition; was it on a timer? Fastest to 100 points?

It's the fastest to 100 points, but I consider this a placeholder. I will likely replace it with something more climactic, I just haven't decided yet how to go about it. This was also a weak point in the design of the original Totemori.

Quote
My girlfriend had impulses to pull blocks/stacks when they were pushed into corners but this was not possible. Make of it what you will Smiley

It's on my backlog to make it possible to push stuff off at the edge of the playing field.
I'm also considering to swap the stack and the player's position when a stack is pushed to the edge. This would give you an option to move stacks back from the edge, but it doesn't make that much sense.

I guess I will implement both and see which one works better.

Quote
Despite being super fun, generally speaking the game was quite exhausting. We were pretty much pooped after 3 matches. Can't tell if it's because you're still in early stages and wanted to try core mechanics first tho or if this intensity is part of the core vision. Are you considering to add some sort of downtime into the matches? Maybe a bigger playing field, or intervals where you get less objects falling, or just less ones that you are able to use in an offensive fashion? Just some thoughts.

Honestly, not a whole lot of balancing has been made so far. At the moment I'm adding new features and gameplay mechanics to the game without paying much mind on how they interact together. At one point I will start to fine tune and figure out the correct pace for the game.

Deliberate downtime is not something I considered yet, I will give it some thought.

But I'm pretty sure the game will have a turn-based mode in addition to the fast paced real time mode. I have it mostly implemented and it works pretty well, it's just a very different way of playing the game (second guessing your opponent and move optimization becomes key)
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