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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsGraveyard Birds - Be a bird! Rescue your friends! Escape from bird ghosts!
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Author Topic: Graveyard Birds - Be a bird! Rescue your friends! Escape from bird ghosts!  (Read 2766 times)
dspencer
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« on: December 21, 2017, 12:33:34 pm »

Graveyard Birds is a 2d puzzle game. Guide Lemmy the penguin through a slew of devious levels and escape the clutches of the undead.

  • Explore a serene ghostly cemetery!
  • Find your three friends - Ben, Sven, and Glenn - to help get through roadblocks in the levels!
  • Shoot fireballs, and upgrade them with special abilities!
  • Escape or destroy spooky scary ghosts!

Graveyard birds is planned for a March 8th release. Check it out here.













Who are we

Dmitry Petyakin (https://twitter.com/ElMetallico1) - art/animation, music/SFX's
Danny Spencer (https://twitter.com/indspenceable) - programming, level design
« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 09:19:53 am by dspencer » Logged

dspencer
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 09:53:51 am »

We've done a lot of great work in the last few weeks!

Mechanics Updates
In order to facilitate more interesting puzzles in our levels, the buddies you collect now allow you add special properties to your shots. One buddy adds flames to your shot - this lets you light torches. There's no limited vision mechanic, but lighting all torches will activate some mechanisms similar to hitting switches. One lets your shot reflect off walls - useful for hitting around corners and such. Tentatively, the last buddy will let you fire to higher ground - letting you get drop on some foes, or hit some unreachable switches!

Levels
We've been making a ton of new levels, using these new tricks. While the tutorial levels are very straightforward to make sure the player learns what they need to (we're trying to teach the player everything they need to know without any text) , later levels will force you to be very clever in order to get by all the obstacles! We're aiming for ~50 levels, and so far we've got 15 complete.
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El-Metallico
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 02:54:04 am »

Hey, guys! Also visual update - working on main menu, what do you think?
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2018, 11:56:48 am »

I enjoyed the demo  Hand Thumbs Up Right
I like the look of the game and think the fire shots have a nice feeling of impact, because of their speed and sound.
However they feel a bit imprecise, as their tail does not point perfectly behind them / is not 360° rotatable.
When I missed a shot this looked strange for me (even though I'm sure they were actualy flying precisely were I clicked them  Wink ).
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El-Metallico
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 03:44:11 am »

Update - new altar and totem!

Also, score is finished - you can check it here:
https://el-metallico.bandcamp.com/album/graveyard-birds
It's not very big but it's very atmospheric! Well, hello there!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 04:00:04 am by El-Metallico » Logged

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dspencer
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2018, 09:41:13 am »

We've got some new decorations for the graveyard - check them out! Fences, bird statues. The whole cast of buddies is here, as well.

Also: a sneak peek of a new level we've been building...


So close, yet so far!
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2018, 10:13:31 am »

Looks weird, so I'll be following along!
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2018, 11:38:01 am »

i'll follow this devlog too, keep it up!
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2018, 01:47:48 pm »

I like the serene and somber style. Looks original and interesting.  Hand Fork Left Gomez Hand Knife Right

I'm curious how much it is a puzzle game and how much an action game - or a perfect mix of both?? I prefer mostly puzzle personally, cause action is stressful... Sad
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dspencer
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 04:01:49 pm »

Thanks for the kind words, guys! This has come together pretty quickly but we're super happy with how it's going. Definitely a bit weird, but it's gonna be *good* weird.

I'm curious how much it is a puzzle game and how much an action game - or a perfect mix of both?? I prefer mostly puzzle personally, cause action is stressful... Sad

We're aiming for the perfect mix of both  Well, hello there! But realistically, it's definitely weighted more towards puzzles - a lot of the challenge comes from trying to figure out how to manipulate the level in order to create a path from the start to the exit. The action is less about having twitch reflexes, and more about understanding how the different types of ghosts behave so you can bypass them.
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dspencer
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2018, 10:57:41 am »

Meet the cast of Graveyard Birds

As I've been designing stages, I thought it might be cool to introduce people to the different friends and enemies you'll meet along the way. Understanding how they act and what tricks they have to help or harm you will be very important to make your way through the whole game!

Entry 1: Meet the Charger


The first denizen of the graveyard we'll be looking at is the charger. Chargers love to run, and tend to inhabit areas with long runways that give them space to move. They also tend to stick together - so if you find one charger, you're likely to find a whole pack of them.


This tall bird waits until something catches its eye and then sprints after it as fast as he can! If he catches you, you're toast - you'll have to restart the stage. Luckily for you the charger only moves if something crosses through its line of sight. Once that happens though, it wont stop until it hits a wall.


Don't worry, though! There are a few ways to deal with Chargers. Once they start chasing you, they'll stop at nothing to get you, but they miiiight not pay close enough attention to where you actually are... A quick sidestep will give them the slip. Of course, you'll want to watch out because after they figure out that they missed you, they'll walk back to their perch and start to look for you once more.





Of course to be safe, you can always take them out with fireballs - just make sure you'll have enough ammo to get through the rest of the area! A single fireball should do the trick.


But if you ask me? The safest way to deal with chargers is just don't. Run away, as far as you can, and don't come back.

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123outerme
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2018, 03:00:25 pm »

I played the demo, and I have to say, I really love the ambiance! It feels like a graveyard to be sure! The music is the first thing that alerted me, but the desolate, colorless playing field and the animations really sell it. The controls are great, and the puzzles are just the right kind of challenging. Not that I needed it (of course not Tongue) but would you think about adding some sort of aiming trajectory for players with poor projectile visualization skills? Even just a dotted line from you to the cursor would probably be enough, although you'd probably want that as an option, by default turned off.
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2018, 04:49:25 pm »

posting 4 follow because i LIKE YOUR ART
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dspencer
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« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2018, 10:59:55 am »

Tutorials

Graveyard birds isn't a super complicated game - the puzzles are interesting and deep, but the mechanics by which you interact with them are fairly simple. That being said, the player does need to learn how to play when they start! Ideally the player can learn by playing - for instance, in Super Mario Bros Level 1-1 teaches the player everything that they need to know about the game.

We've tried to keep the learning curve fairly shallow - each level introduces no more than one new mechanic, and future levels build on them, until you're quickly combining them with all the other mechanics you've learned thus far. To make this effective, though, we need the levels where you learn the mechanics to be very clear about what you're learning. To this point, we have two things we need to communicate - The controls (how the player interacts with the game) and the game elements (how the character interacts with the world). We'll start with the latter.

Illustrating objectives
Especially in the early game, the player has to learn a few ideas - get to the exit to finish a level, shoot switches to trigger them, pick up buddies to progress. The first time any of these elements show up, we draw attention to it with a big ol' arrow. This makes it clear that it's important and they should probably try to interact with it. For example, on the second level, we'll guide the player to recharge their ammo, and to hit the switch, and then get to the exit.


This is pretty on the head guidance, but we make sure to never slow down the players actions to show them "LOOK AT THIS" - we just point it out as the player does their thing. Furthermore, this is only the case in a couple of levels - after that, we've shown them what they need to know, and they're on their own!

Teaching controls

But for the player to be able to interact with those arrows, we'll need them to be able to control the character! The controls in Graveyard birds are fairly simple - WASD to move, Left and Right Mouse to move/drop buddies. Additionally, for QoL you can use Q to rotate your current buddies, and R to restart a level. It might be OK to assume the player will figure out how to move the character - WASD is fairly standard. However, we can't assume the player will realize they need to use the mouse as well. We need to teach the player the controls. The best way to do this, like with objectives earlier, is something non-obtrusive - if they know the controls, or can figure them out, they're free to ignore it. If they don't know what to do, we'll tell them what buttons to try - but it'll still be up to them to put together exactly what it does!

However, we're not totally sure how to present this - do the controls show up in the HUD area if you don't do the right thing after some time? Are they just written in the level, somewhere? We've got a couple of ideas, but we're interested what you all think is the best solution!



Should we just highlight the controls if you don't discover them on your own?
This makes sense for the first level, but might be frustrating when we introduce other actions later on...



Or do we post the controls on a billboard in the level, and let the player find them for themselves?

What do you all think? Let us know! Cheers!
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Nikolas
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2018, 11:47:46 am »

Nice to see this making progress!
I prefer the idea of embedding the controls/instructions into the game world, as HUDs disrupt the artstyle of a game most of the time.
Maybe you could try engraving the controls into the ground of the first level.
You could engrave an icon of a mouse, too.

Keep up the good work!
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dspencer
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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2018, 03:56:58 pm »

The controls are great, and the puzzles are just the right kind of challenging.
Thanks! We're working hard to make the levels difficult enough to be interesting, but not too obscure to be solvable. Hopefully we can continue to strike the right balance.

would you think about adding some sort of aiming trajectory for players with poor projectile visualization skills? Even just a dotted line from you to the cursor would probably be enough, although you'd probably want that as an option, by default turned off.
Yeah, that's an idea that's been proposed before - we haven't made any changes around it yet, but it's on our radar. Frustration on aiming isn't really our goal. There was a bug wrt aims being slightly off that's fixed in the current build... Once we finish up the tutorial changes, we'll be updating the demo, and hopefully that'll help  Coffee

Nice to see this making progress!
I prefer the idea of embedding the controls/instructions into the game world, as HUDs disrupt the artstyle of a game most of the time.
Maybe you could try engraving the controls into the ground of the first level.
You could engrave an icon of a mouse, too.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks! We appreciate the feedback.
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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2018, 05:19:47 pm »

March of the Killer Penguins!?!? JK, but I like what I see with this game..
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El-Metallico
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« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2018, 11:12:53 pm »

Wow, thanks for all feedback, guys - was really helpful! 
We found good looking variation of billboard - the letters on it a bit easier to read, so we're gonna use it for teaching controls. 


March of the Killer Penguins!?!? JK, but I like what I see with this game..
Man, I love this  - perfect name for metal song Hand Metal Left
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2018, 08:02:46 am »

Well done to you guys. I love this game. Hopefully, you continue on with this and make it fully fletched out!
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2018, 01:15:03 pm »

If you still need a level maker, I'd be glad to help Tongue
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