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October 17, 2018, 07:05:11 AM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsBrainmelter Deluxe - platforming with a twist
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snugsound
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« on: September 30, 2018, 05:05:10 AM »

Hi all, I'd like to introduce you to my next game: Brainmelter Deluxe! This is the second in my series of smaller games--the last one being Cosmic Ray--that I hope to develop, release, and market in 3 months or less.

Brainmelter Deluxe is a platformer with a (quite literal) twist: the level rotates 90 degrees when you jump.



The levels are randomized in a similar way to Spelunky, but slightly more linear/predictable. The format is similar as well (4 worlds of 4 levels each), but I do plan on having non-lethal "transition" levels between worlds to give the player a bit of a break as the main gameplay can be quite intense.

Oh yeah, and deaths are going to be over the top... because I can. Evil (rest assured there will be death-related achievements, and the trailer will likely be all death clips!)

As with my past couple games, I'll be releasing on Steam by default--I'm starting to get a bit of a flow/process down so it's kind of a no-brainer--but I'm especially excited by the fact that there are only 3 buttons, which means a mobile version is a definite option. (likely Android first)

Here's roughly what I have planned for release:

  • lots of module types; obviously that's integral to this kind of game, and where I hope to spend the most amount of my time
  • a hand-crated final level with a boss-type challenge
  • the requisite stuff (title screen, credits, achievements, etc.)
  • I have a detailed intro cutscene planned which would also double as the first half of the trailer
  • if I do the above, that likely means I need to do a quick ending cutscene as well





I'm working with the guy who did the art for Thy Sword. His style is very small pixels, which works well for my budget, and the short timeframe.

I'm also really stoked with how the soundtrack is coming along so far. Instead of going the obvious/cliché route (chiptunes), I'm going with instrumental hip-hop and funky stuff. (I'll share some audio in the days to come)

Seeing as it's October 1st tomorrow, my goal is to release (on at least one platform) before the end of the year. I think it's feasible seeing as Cosmic Ray was done in under 3.

Anyhow, thanks for checking it out. Drop me a line if this sounds interesting to you, and/or feel free to stop by my Discord, where I post a lot of exclusive content (including some early prototype builds).
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 01:47:24 PM by snugsound » Logged

snugsound
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2018, 05:17:09 AM »

I have something like this in mind for the transition levels; a spooky server room sort of thing. I want these levels to be "safe", but I may have some light puzzles that require rotating the level to solve.



The final boss will likely be a haywire computer--an homage to Portal--so the transition levels would be a bit of foreshadowing and perhaps build in intensity/glitchiness.
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snugsound
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2018, 05:13:25 AM »

Here's a quick GIF showcasing some of the work Thomas and I did yesterday:



New stuff you can see in the GIF:
  • new background tiles
  • guidance arrows are now blended with a multiply shader so they look more like part of the background
  • new falling animation, new death frame
  • new sprite for sawblade
  • more intense screen-shake on death

Not pictured:
  • new sprite for spikeballs
  • added SFX for 1UP, swinging blades
  • added ability for player to look up/down (I also started experimenting with a more adaptive camera that focuses on the next room, but my first attempt felt too obtrusive so I may park it for now)

Overall I'm really happy with how quickly this is coming together, and how good it's feeling so far!
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snugsound
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2018, 06:09:32 AM »

Hey all, back with another update.

I spent the first part of the week trying to add more "depth" to the environment via shadows, as the whole thing was feeling a bit flat. I tried both tile-based shadows, and real-time (3D) shadows, but in the end, I decided against either. It wasn't worth the extra complexity for something so subtle. (The complexity came from the fact that all of the modules are dynamically rotated and flipped, so the shadows can't be "baked" into the modules.)

Instead, I decided to achieve depth through the addition of some background props. These are just placeholders pilfered from a past game, but you get the idea:



I also kept the dynamic lighting that I had started integrating for shadows. (Originally I had this idea of going "pure" pixel art for this, but the allure of glowing stuff is just too strong Grin) Maybe a bit overkill here in the above shot, but again, you get the idea.

I've also started working on a concept for a boss battle. Essentially, a haywire computer that tries to stomp you. You need to get it to break the solid blocks and land on the spikes below:



Side note: you can see me experimenting with some camera tweaks as well. In this case, constraining the camera position based on the size of the level. I'm still on the fence about this, as it's a bit jarring having the focal point move so abruptly, but the alternative means a lot of empty space on the screen.

Last but not least, I've also commissioned an artist to do some illustrations for the promotional art, as well as the intro and ending cutscenes. We're starting with one of the intro scenes first, to establish the style:



The simple backstory is that your dad works at a lab and it's "bring your kid to work day". You wander off, get into some trouble, and hilarity/insanity ensues.
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snugsound
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 04:37:39 AM »

Made a bunch of progress on the boss over the weekend, including:

  • integrating new tiles from Thomas
  • more ambience stuff (steam, lights)
  • boss animations
  • cracking/crumbling blocks
  • SFX for pretty much everything

Here's a video that captures a full playthrough of the boss in its current state:




Next up, switching back to the main game levels and:

  • experimenting with some "ramp" tiles to smooth player movement within/between rooms--all the sharp edges were making it feel a bit clunky
  • switching to a full-size background tilemap (vs. a looped background image), thereby making it possible to add details like pipes that follow the spiraling path of the level
  • adding the ambient stuff from boss room to the main levels (steam, lights)

More shots/GIFs tonight hopefully.
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snugsound
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 02:50:36 PM »

Here's a video showing the aforementioned changes to the main game levels:




As an added bonus, it was recorded on a Samsung Galaxy S8. The touch controls came together amazingly fast thanks to InControl, and it runs surprisingly well seeing as I've done almost nothing in the way of optimization.

I was worried all the real-time lights would kill performance (and I'm sure they will on older hardware--I'll likely need to add an option to disable them), but it's a really promising start.

The only potential challenge I see is with the camera size; it's fine on my wide 1080p monitor, but quite small on a 5.6" screen (duh). I'll probably need to add some dynamic camera scaling, i.e. zoom out when falling, or when there's a room below you.

Luckily I had already started implementing logic to look ahead towards the next room. I should be able to easily repurpose this to instead adjust the camera size.
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tylerfunk
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 06:36:54 PM »

Looks good! How do you switch the rotation? Is that a button press or something that is done automatically when the player lands on the ground?
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Devilkay
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2018, 11:30:02 PM »

inspired by vvvvvvvvvvvv?
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snugsound
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2018, 05:06:40 AM »

Looks good! How do you switch the rotation? Is that a button press or something that is done automatically when the player lands on the ground?

Thanks! The level rotates "towards" you when you jump, i.e. you jump onto the wall you're looking at. It takes a minute or two to get used to--mostly because it's so different--but I think it's fairly intuitive once you get the hang of it.
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snugsound
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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2018, 05:09:55 AM »

inspired by vvvvvvvvvvvv?

Yup, VVVVVV is definitely one of my influences here.

Also, this. I always loved this Smiley

https://youtu.be/_QPGuzGOgSA?t=130

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snugsound
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« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2018, 11:41:09 AM »

Initial sketch for the promo art Cheesy

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snugsound
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2018, 01:35:14 PM »

First attempt at dynamic camera zoom and focus:

  • zoom in if there's room below
  • move the focus point below slightly if player is falling (scaled with velocity)

« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 07:06:42 AM by snugsound » Logged

snugsound
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 07:05:59 AM »

Colour version of the promo art!

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snugsound
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2018, 04:41:06 AM »

Solid progress this weekend:

  • Integrated FMOD. It wasn't really in my plans but Unity's lack of a brickwall limiter was getting on my nerves. I capitalized on this addition by improving many of the SFX, making them much more dynamic. For example, the player's corpse impact SFX now blends between a few different squirty gore sounds, and has a base "thud" that scales with the force of the impact. Evil
  • Added the game to the Cosmocat website, along with a link to the devlog.
  • Paid the Steam Direct fee and made it most of the way through the store setup checklist. I just need to capture some shots and video which I hope to do tonight.
  • Created a little composite GIF for #screenshotsaturday. (in retrospect, I should have included more rotation, but it does a pretty good job of showing the visual progress)



I also received another sketch for the intro cutscene. Here are the first two together:




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