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1362057 Posts in 63521 Topics- by 55403 Members - Latest Member: Fairnin

June 26, 2019, 03:15:19 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsRed Magus
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Author Topic: Red Magus  (Read 6271 times)
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« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2018, 07:38:43 AM »

Looks really very good! Thank's for posting all the interesting details on implementation and design.

Personally, I too think that exploring a world map and eventually finding something is very rewarding ("let's see if there is something over there at those caves..."). This way one probably feels like exploring instead of just walking through a fancy level-selection screen. Proximity based level markers seem like a very good idea to me.

Looking forward to updates and to playing the game eventually!

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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2018, 11:32:28 PM »

Feature Recipe for Level Extraction

Every level begins in a ‘safe room’.

Here you can refresh your HP and goof around with your equipment.

(Safe room. AKA Sentinel Statue.)

This safe room also serves as a bank.
Reach it and your loot is safe.

But die and you lose everything.

You have to start from the beginning.

To make things interesting, every level is
stuffed with triggers that refresh the enemies.

Grab a treasure. Beat a boss. Enter a room.
Any of these things can replace the old enemies with
new spawns. Some familiar. Others completely new.

Get in, get the loot, and get out.

I thought this was such a great idea.
Then I put the game in front of some playtesters.

It was a disaster.

The game wasn’t telling them where to go,
and they had no reason to take any
initiative beyond stumbling around the level.

Even after collecting most of the loot players
would continue exploring until they died.

At this point I guess I could’ve removed the
insertion/extraction feature, but why remove
a feature when you can (theoretically) save it
by slathering a dozen more on top?

First, the player’s gotta want to escape the level.
They needed an incentive.

So how about something bad happens to them
after grabbing a major item?

Feature One: Mana Drain

Max MP slowly begins to decrease.
Once MP runs out, HP goes next.

That should've motivated players to escape,
but nobody even knew it was happening.
The game needed visual cues.

Feature Two: Purple Stuff

A purple vignette, plus some purple particles because why not.

Feature Three: Music Distortion

Fun fact: Slowly increasing the pitch of a song
is extremely unsettling.

At this point about a third of the playtesters
were catching on, but it was still too subtle.

Feature Four: Big Message

Not very subtle.
This sort of got the job done.

Feature Five: The Timer

This definitely got the job done, and then some.

So now the game is pretty good at motivating and
informing players to escape after they've picked up
a major item, but there’s a much larger problem:

Losing everything after you’ve beaten a boss is way too frustrating.

The game needed a softer touch when dealing with defeated players.

Feature Six: Teleporters

A one-way shortcut that unlocks once you reach
the room right before the boss.

I thought this was the answer to all of my problems,
but the teleporter almost never got used.
When players respawned they'd run right past the statue.

The shortcut wasn't obvious enough.

Feature Seven: Teleport Reminder

If the player dies during or after a boss fight, this screen gets shoved in their face.

So the teleporter kind of helps, but it'd be nice if
levels grew slightly less difficult over time.

Feature Eight: Rank Ups

Essentially, an XP meter that increases by collecting loot.
Fill up the meter and your rank increases, boosting projectile damage/speed.

Everyone loves grinding XP, right?

Maybe not, because while the rank-ups
certainly made boss battles easier, they
did little to mitigate frustration.

Feature Nine: Loot Salvage

Players keep half of their gems, but nothing else.
This consolation prize worked fairly well.
(Probably should've started with this one.)

Now that players have salvage it's time to give
them somewhere to spend it all before they get
the chance to stash it in the bank.

Feature Ten: Heart Shop

Upon death the player can spend their salvage on a temporary HP bonus.

I like this one, although playtester response was lukewarm.

And that’s the recipe for level extraction.
Truly, a hot mess of a feature list.

Did it work? Sort of. I guess. There’s still room for improvement.

If I'm being honest, a well-placed HP bonus at a crucial point
or moving an enemy just a few pixels to the left often plays a
larger role in the player's experience than all of these
features combined.

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« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2018, 06:55:29 AM »

That looks absolutely gorgeous.
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« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2018, 10:31:18 AM »

Looks nice.
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« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2018, 04:26:07 PM »

Good blog! It's actually a lot of fun to read. I like the image of "playtesters" too Big Laff

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« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2018, 12:11:34 AM »

Null Well - Enemy Creation

I just finished all of the steps listed above for my latest level, Null Well.

My next step is enemy creation.

Originally, I’d create each enemy one at a time, but
I’ve found it’s best to turn the process into an assembly line.

Instead of working on each enemy separately, I do all of their preliminary
sprites at the same time. Preferably, on the same image.

Very satisfying.

This one's my favorite because I
won't have to animate a walk cycle.

I have no idea how I'm going to animate these two,
but I love their moxy. They have to be in the game.

I think I'll have this guy rip off his
own head and throw it at you. That'll be rad.

All of these concepts are fully lit. In-game, it's more like this.

Now that I’m happy with the results,
it’s time to start animating.

We’ll start with this guy.

He’s a little dull, so
let’s give him a necklace.


I always start with the idle (neutral) animation.
Starting with an easy animation helps give me momentum
so I can punch through the harder ones later on.

This slug is going to be a turret enemy, and since
he’s a slug, I guess his attack is going to be spit?

Full disclosure, spit attacks have turned into the gutter balls of my monster design.
It’s just so easy to have enemies shoot projectiles out of their mouths that I’m pretty
sure every level in the game has at least one spitting enemy.

I’m also pretty sure that this isn’t a detail anyone playing the game is
going to care about. Just me.

I’m not tired of spit attacks. Just irritated that I keep returning to the same well.

Back to work! This new monster is going to spit!
Big, full loogies! Just like a real slug!

To mix things up, we’ll give him a jump attack.

While cannibalizing the ground attack frames to make the jump attack,
the half-way finished animation looked kind of good.
I guess we’re keeping that. Double attack!

He’s not going to be moving around, but he should be
doing something besides standing around and spitting
at people.
Quality jewelry is a poor substitute for lack of character.

How about he comes out of a ceiling egg?

I love animating transformations. It feels
like you’re breaking all the rules.

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« Reply #26 on: April 03, 2018, 07:34:58 AM »

Null Well - Boss


He doesn't do much else at the moment.

The biggest time sink for this guy was making his head rotate.

I'm definitely going to make more segmented, full-screen bosses, but
I'll be avoiding any more swivels.

Rotating sprites is hard.

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« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2018, 07:56:11 AM »

I enjoy your colour palette. Smiley

The biggest time sink for this guy was making his head rotate.
Looks amazing though! WTF

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« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2018, 09:25:08 AM »

That rotation looks really impressive, to my eye! Remarkably three-dimensional! ^_^

Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
Website ~ Twitter
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« Reply #29 on: April 03, 2018, 11:48:44 AM »

I like the creature design a lot!

How did you approach the head swivel animation? Just brute force keyframe, or something like 3D-model + paintover?

Regarding the level extraction mechanic -- interesting read. I'm not sure how to solve it but the only advice I can give is to take a step back and think about what purpose you intended for that mechanic to serve, and rethink it from that angle. i.e. why did you want the player to have to return to the safepoint in the first place? Maybe you can achieve the same thing in a very different way - through narrative, or integrating something into the bossfight itself?

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« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2018, 06:26:54 AM »

Quote from: Fuzzy Branch
How did you approach the head swivel animation?
Brute force keyframes. Lots of guesswork. Started at each end and worked my way to the center.

Quote from: Fuzzy Branch
the only advice I can give is to take a step back and think about what purpose you intended for that mechanic to serve, and rethink it from that angle.
Good advice. I've been stewing over the best direction to approach this feature. I'll throw up another mile-long post if I have anything to show.
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« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2018, 04:05:37 AM »

This looks really awesome! Following! Smiley

Siddhartha Barnhoorn
Award winning composer

Composed music for the games Antichamber, Out There, The Stanley Parable, Planet Alpha...

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« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2018, 12:56:28 AM »

Null Well - Gorbo


Most of my exploding enemies pop like balloons.

I've got nothing against filling up badguys with viscera
and kidneys like a meat department pinata, but there's
something satisfying about a pop.

Also, it's easy to make a pop feel omnidirectional.
An attack from above looks just as good as a head-on attack.

Gorbo's main attack is a shockwave.

Definitely needs more visual flair.

It's simple, but I'm confident it'll kill tons of players.

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« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2018, 12:43:36 PM »

Crabula is epic! All animations look very good. A massive improvement compared to M&L (which was awesome by the way Toast Left).

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« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2018, 10:44:13 PM »

Quote from: Ark


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« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2018, 01:04:09 AM »

Null Well - Sleepwalker

Check out this weirdo.

Originally, I was going to animate
all four arms so they'd be going
all over the place, but I got lazy
and now it's just a shaking fist.

Sleepwalker uses these lock-on explosions to harass the player.

These are fun. I definitely need to give this attack
to some of the other enemies. Maybe a boss.
(Gotta clean up that warning animation, though.)

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« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2018, 06:01:28 AM »

Very impressive! I will keep an eye on this game :D

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« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2018, 12:30:12 AM »

Looking very cool so far! Love the fluid movement system, as well as the pixel art mixed with high res effects style. Smiley

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« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2018, 07:51:41 AM »

Not to sound like a broken record but the animations are really great.  The uniqueness of the creatures is really compelling.

alexyoder.net :::: Soundtrack and trailer composer - worked on:CRAWL, Pulsar: Lost Colony, and Cogmind.
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« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2018, 09:30:35 AM »

This game looks incredible!!!  The animations, the overworld, the general aesthetic, basically everything.  I didn't scour the thread relentlessly, so maybe I missed this, but can you give more details on how the combat (assuming that's part of it) works?

Programmer that made a GameBoy game and a C++ platformer and is now working on a followup platformer.
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