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blindskystudios
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« on: April 25, 2018, 04:23:04 AM »

Mandagon: Bones of Clay


Mandagon: Bones of Clay is a follow-up to our little game simply titled Mandagon,
which you can check out for free right now on steam here or check out its dev log here

This follow-up game will continue the core motifs and themes of the original,
exploring the notion of life and death through the lens of Tibetan theology and philosophy.
Expanding on the gameplay and scope of the original.

Bones of Clay at its core is very much a metroidvania.
Exploration and puzzle platforming while collecting abilities to grant access to new areas.

While the original Mandagon was a 2D pixel art affair,
Bones of Clay will be a 2.5D side scroller with a low-poly flat coloured aesthetic,
while still maintaining the design ethos of the originals art style.  





Meet our currently unnamed lead character.

Tibetan Buddhists take a different approach to death than what you might be used to in the west.

They depict skeletons almost as clowns, symbolising death as a joyous freedom from attachment,
opposed to the morbid pessimism usually associated with ones own impermanence.
  
We wanted our lead character to carry these ideas, but also feel human, feminine and relatable with a slight animalistic quality.

Below is the exact equation we worked out to achieve this.








Currently we're working on prototyping player movement and platforming.

We've got a keen focus on flow and momentum at this early stage, to make sure that basic running and jumping on it's own still feels good.

Once we feel basic movement locked in we'll move on to developing a dynamic camera system to compliment the flow of movement.





Looking forward to showing off more as we progress!




« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 10:07:28 AM by blindskystudios » Logged

whistlerat
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2018, 05:03:02 AM »

I love that character design - equal parts eerie and beautiful. Based off of her and that piece at the top, I'm looking forward to what the rest of the game looks like. Getting Journey vibes from the looks and how fluid the movement is, which is all good stuff. I'll have to check out the original Mandagon, nice work Smiley
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QOG
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2018, 07:46:28 AM »

Like the art style, posting to follow. Is the camera going to be closer in the actual game though? Right now it's zoomed out so far that it makes the (really good) character design a little harder to parse, at least for me. For example, the arms/scarf(?) and cape are hard to distinguish.
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2018, 03:03:25 PM »

Like the art style, posting to follow. Is the camera going to be closer in the actual game though? Right now it's zoomed out so far that it makes the (really good) character design a little harder to parse, at least for me. For example, the arms/scarf(?) and cape are hard to distinguish.

I agree with this. What about something visually like how Odin Sphere did it? Have the characters be larger and more detailed like below. Odin Sphere isn't a platformer, but retains the action of a 2D action RPG.


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blindskystudios
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 04:29:52 AM »


Like the art style, posting to follow. Is the camera going to be closer in the actual game though? Right now it's zoomed out so far that it makes the (really good) character design a little harder to parse, at least for me. For example, the arms/scarf(?) and cape are hard to distinguish.

I agree with this. What about something visually like how Odin Sphere did it? Have the characters be larger and more detailed like below. Odin Sphere isn't a platformer, but retains the action of a 2D action RPG.
Cheers for the kind words Coffee The speed we want the player to move plus the need to see ahead clearly means we need to have the camera a little pulled out. Yep, it is harder to appreciate the detail of the character with a zoomed out cam - but you do get to soak up the detail an scale of the environment instead, once we start posting more finished levels this should make more sense.

We're also noodling with a dynamic camera - so when you're jumping the cam pulls out allowing you to see where to go, then starts to pull back in when you're grounded. From there we can pull the cam in even closer and slow down movement speed when you enter a smaller area like a little house. Hopefully this will allow us the best of both worlds and not let the work put into the character design go to waste!



I love that character design - equal parts eerie and beautiful. Based off of her and that piece at the top, I'm looking forward to what the rest of the game looks like. Getting Journey vibes from the looks and how fluid the movement is, which is all good stuff. I'll have to check out the original Mandagon, nice work Smiley

Cheers very much! Journey has been a big influence throughout the first game and this sequel. Hope you enjoy the first Mandagon Smiley
     
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blindskystudios
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2018, 10:31:58 AM »

So lets talk level design for a bit.

The intro level for Bones of Clay is a self contained space with few gimmicks, it's designed to act both as a gateway into game and a little tutorial level to get players acquainted with basic movement, jumping and interaction. Those of you who played the first game may be familiar with this. Gentleman

After the intro you'll find yourself in the main overworld, which will be a more open explorable space. However, since the intro is very self contained it seemed like a good place to start. We can use it to work out our rules and general asset pipeline for building levels.



So, our early prototype testing allowed us to gauge the scale of the intro. From there we started to sketch out the level in unity using our whitebox pieces, this allows for speedy play testing and iteration.

Once we're happy with the general flow it's just a case of taking screenshots and sketching detail on top.



Once the sketch-over is looking ok we can start sectioning off parts into modular blocks and get to work on modelling.

The full sketch over allows us to gauge which bits to go fully modular on and which bits need to be one-off assets.

Then we just slowly replace the whitebox parts with the final assets.


And that's where we're at right now - the majority of functional platforms and parts are in. Next up is building the walls and interior.

Here's a little look at how we're breaking things down into modular chunks for the backdrop of this tower/temple


Once the majority is in place then it's time to move onto texturing and maybe a little polish!

Let's finish up this post with a little run around the level as it is now. Gomez




 
   
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blindskystudios
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2018, 10:10:25 AM »


Mandagon: Bones of Clay is very much your classic metroidvania, so that means fun power-ups that grant access to new areas of the map.

In Mandagon the power-ups are displayed as little skulls, each new power-up means another skull buddy to follow you around.




The first power-up you're granted is an air dash. As you unlock more power-ups air dash will be upgraded to allow for multiple dashes!




The next power-up will grant you the ability to become ethereal, allowing you to pass through certain walls and floors while holding down a button.




The 3rd ability will allow you to hijack and levitate big blocks and have them do your bidding!




Our 4th power-up is sort of localised time manipulation. Holding down a button will restore a ruined walkway to it's former glory. Or the opposite, causing it to crumble away. Here's the time power-up being used in conjuction with ethereal.




Our 5th and final power up is being worked on as we speak, but we might keep that one quiet for the time being Gentleman

 

 

 
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jamesprimate
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2018, 10:16:01 AM »

verrry cool concept and thematics
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blindskystudios
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2018, 03:51:36 AM »

verrry cool concept and thematics

Hey, cheers very much Smiley
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