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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsSaikyo Robots - Strategy Action Roguelike
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MissingTheMoon
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« on: May 31, 2023, 12:11:54 AM »

How 1 month became 6 months | Devlog #1

Welcome one and all!
The last months of my game development journey have been filled with ups and downs. Join me as I share my experiences with you all!

What happened?
Initially I set out to complete my new small game in just one month. I didn't... I know, very original. In my determination I pushed myself throughout September to finish in time. Overworking caused my wrist condition to worsen, and it wasn't until December that I was able to resume work. Even then, my wrist was far from healthy.
So lets talk about something original, my brand new workflow which enabled me to overcome my health problems!





How to work with Talon
Last year I discovered a game-changer called Talon. Talon is a voice recognition app that transforms your voice into a powerful keyboard, allowing you to trigger commands and create custom scripts which you execute with your very own voice commands. Although it took me several months to adapt to Talon and code at a normal speed, it allowed me to work again in December. Although progress was initially slow, using Talon prevented further harm to my wrist. I'll delve deeper into Talon in a future post.

Progress
September I started working on the project full speed.
After two weeks I made the decision to slow down my work to avoid causing irreversible damage to my wrist. However, I soon realized that even working at a reduced speed was to much and stopped to let my wrist heal.
In december my wrist was healed a bit and I started using Talon.
In march I was vibing with talon and started writing my own voice commands to do things even faster than with a keyboard. Some things. Others still take longer. Which might be due to the big difference of years of experience of using fingers to press buttons on a keyboard vs 3 months of experience of using my voice.

Finish Line
How is the games development? We finished the game a month ago. I just finished the trailer yesterday! It looks sick so make sure to check it out. Its on the steam page from which you can wishlist the game as well.
https://steampowered.com/app/2428750



Now you up to date!
In future posts I'll share the Talon workflow and some devlogs about design, development and other things.

Have great day everyone!
« Last Edit: May 30, 2024, 05:52:05 PM by MissingTheMoon » Logged
MissingTheMoon
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2023, 07:20:55 AM »

It's been a while since the last post and believe me I was busy as a bee!

First and foremost, I'm super thankful to everyone who played the game and showed it some love! We just the notorious 10 steam reviews and surpassed 700 wishlists! All thanks to you, I appreciate all of the support!

Also we just finished the basic game. Meaning we just started working on more content! New characters/weapons/upgrades and and and new features! ... I'll talk more about that at the end of this!



Can people understand the game?

Here you can see how the tutorial only shows whats essential. It gives you one new thing at a time. If I wouldn't do that, people would not know where to look.

How did I come up with the order I introduce things?
I make someone play my game who has no prior knowledge about it. I don't give them tips or help either. I just give them a controller. Let the game talk for itself!

Watching them like that, lets me see how you will play the game. How you will interact with things
-> what's fun?
-> what's boring
-> and most importantly what would you not understand?

That's how I decide what to change to make the game better, what to make self explanatory and if not possible what needs explanation.




Thats why for this update I focused on the tutorial
Tutorials are hard to make, especially because no one likes to read. People just want to play the game. That's why I made everything more intuitive and shorter without taking game away. How did I do that?

I made tutorial paths shorter so you get to the action faster.

Towers no more have to be build. This takes away confusion whether they are build or whats going on. It takes away unnecessary complexity while keeping the game the same in difficulty.

I made explanations more understandable by creating lots of small icons that are buttons to press.
That way "Hold the right mouse button to open the state menu. Pick Attack"
becomes "Hold [right mouse button icon] - open state menu. Pick Attack".
This reduces 12 words to 1 image and 6 words. Super simple! People usually just press the button they see and ignore the text. Which is fine with me! They'll figure out what the button does. If not, they can read the 6 words.




What's next?
I want to make the game more approachable. That does not mean easier! Actually the opposite.

Right now a lot of people expect the game to be more like vampire survivor which isn't the case... yet!

I can add many cool things to this game. But to address this issue and some others at the same time I will add ... many things. Sorry hehe this is just a little teaser. I'll share one small thing though.

There will be a level system like in vampire survivor. Meaning killing enemies, destroying scrapyards (yep that will be a thing too), and other things will give you xp as a reward. Collect enough xp and you get a level up / a new upgrade to choose from.

There is not much reason to fight enemies at daytime right now. To address that issue, while also making the game more approachable to vampire survivor fans I'm adding the leveling system as you are reading this. These changes will allows me to add bigger things in the future. Which ones? Hehe stay tuned!

I'm already super excited about them! But for now, I'll go back to coding and see you in the next udpate!
Peace
« Last Edit: September 07, 2023, 10:17:08 PM by MissingTheMoon » Logged
MissingTheMoon
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2023, 12:39:11 AM »

This update, I took things away from the player! Why would I do that and how does it make the game bette

I took away the buildings the player has in the base.
But not all and not forever. You now start the game with one or two buildings. E.g. the paranoid grandpa starts with two towers. The librarian starts with the library. Each character starts with different buildings which makes them more diverse and interesting. That's the first improvement that this update creates.




Why is that better?
Instead of just having every building from the start, you only start with one or two. The other ones you have to pay for with scrap. An interesting decision is born that you as the player will make every game. Do you want defense? Build a tower. More robots? Build a factory. More upgrades? Build the library. But it's not that simple!

After paying for a building, the prices of the other buildings increase. Making it harder and harder to get the next one. This means you really need to make a choice! You can't just get every building anymore. I also raised the production costs of robots to make your decisions even more difficult. No worries the game is still pretty simple, but only when you play well will you be able to have a gigantic army of robots with tons of upgrades! In later levels that will be necessary of course as the difficulty of each level will grow.


So less is always better?
By taking away the buildings and forcing the player to choose, we give the player an interesting choice. Even if they always use the same buildings, they choose them. Because there is less, everything you have has more value. But less is not always better. Scrap now has more value because there are more things to do with it. In that case more is more. And also we made more in this update! We didnt just remove the buildings but added things to them!!!


That's it?
Pffff, of course not. I worked for a month on this update, don't underestimate me!



When you pay for a new building you get 3 options with it and decide which buff you want.
The library has the following options:
Library of Progress: produces 10% faster with 10% higher costs
Library of Haste: immediately grants 1 free library upgrade
Library of Knowledge: gives 3 xp when a robot collects scrap

To break it down in simple terms, if you build the library late, the library of haste gives you the most. If you build it early on but dont want to produce too much, the library of knowledge is perfect for you. It also gives you an early boost. The library of progress is difficult with it's higher costs but the best option if you want the most amount of possible upgrades! All the buildings have these buffs that make you choose between instant reward/slightly delayed reward/strong but very delayed reward. The next levels will have more days to survive so the differences will become even bigger!


You can level up now?
You now have XP to level up! Of course it's not RPG style where your character stats go up. Each level up gets you a new upgrade. The XP needed to level up goes higher each time you level up. In the early parts of the game, you can get lots of upgrades by leveling up and later it takes long to get them. The leveling makes the game better in so many ways! Here is some.



First there wasn't really a good reason to fight enemies before, unless you played the collector. But now that killing enemies and destroying their base gives XP, there is a big reason to hunt them down! But if you want to produce lots of things, you can't forget to find lots of scrap too! There is a balance you want to strike that gives the game more depth than before.

XP allows people who play the game for the first time to realize that there are upgrades. People who start with the tutorial in level 1, play for at least 5 minutes to get to level 2. In level 1 there is no library. This keeps the game simple to make sure new players are not confuse with too many different things. People used to have no idea about upgrades until they reached level 2.

But even then, they sometimes would play without the library. Taking away the upgrades from the game! That's such an important thing of the game. There is other things people wouldn't fully understand. But now that there is XP you always get lots of upgrades. This teaches you about parts of the game you might have not understood yet. XP has become a tool to teach people more about the game!


That's it!
There are more reasons why it makes the game better and more things I did in this update, but this has gotten rather long so I just shoot some at you real quick. I worked over the levels to make them better and more intuitive, added a new area to level 3, improved the visual effects, worked over visuals, worked over upgrades, added some new ones, changed lots of small things to make the game feel better that you will never notice but feel, fixed tons of bugs no one knew about, and and and ... there is a lot!

If you feel so inclined, you can check out the update as it's live.
If you have any suggestions, ideas, or thoughts, let me know!

Thank you for reading all the way, you are awesome! Peace
« Last Edit: October 25, 2023, 07:38:11 PM by MissingTheMoon » Logged
MissingTheMoon
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2023, 07:44:31 PM »

Welcome to Saikyo Robot’s Demo release! We've gotten lots of feedback from the Prologue which we used to make the game better. Now it's time to finish the game with its final content! Well that's what's yet to come. But what happened so far?

If you’ve read older Devlogs, you know that I’ve worked a lot on the tutorial. This time I did it again but it’s different!


A new level
We released a new level with ... less content! I call it level 0.

Strategy games often have difficult and text heavy tutorials because there is just too much to explain to the player. So I thought, let's split it up. There is no base with walls and towers in level 0. Nothing to build no scrap to collect. Just combat, upgrades and enemies.


Why?
By removing a lot, the player can focus on the few things left. I want the tutorial to be as simple and fun as possible. In level 0 we only teach the player the basic controls. Then they get right into the action until they die. I mean you can win in level 0 too but its ehhh almost impossible. You are meant to lose which sends you to level 1 in which you learn more about the games mechanics.



What's next?
In future updates we will add still quite a bit. The biggest is attacking the Cloud King's castle. That's the evil guy that keeps sending killer robots to your base.

Other than that I've been wrapping my brain around unity's remappable input system. I won't add it to Saikyo Robots but I want to put it into Saikyo Samurai. It's a project we paused for a while but since we are finishing Saikyo Robots soon we will be back at it in no time!

The remappable input finally works inside the new secret project I've … Ehhh did I talk too much? Well this secret stays between you and me ok? The news about it will come out when I get more than concepts done. But I can share that my wrists are getting healthier. Because of that that I'm able to speed up production of all the games I want to make. I want to make a lot of games!!!

Anyways we just released the demo for Saikyo Robots so give it a try and let me know what you think!

We will soon take down the Saikyo Robots prologue as it's no more needed. It was always meant as an early demo or beta. Thank you for playing it and leaving reviews. I always love to improve and you made that possible. Thank you!
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Flenn
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2023, 10:15:32 AM »

Hello, I like your game, it has great graphics, I would like to create the soundtrack, I leave my previous works:
https://www.instagram.com/flen__campos/?hl=es-la
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MissingTheMoon
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2023, 10:08:06 PM »

Random Background Generation

The old backgrounds looked boring because ... I never spent any time with them, yet! It was about time I made new ones.
I sketched my ideas out on paper until I liked one. In the end, I liked using a simple background color with some shapes in different sizes and shades on top of that.

Super simple right? This suits the game's minimalistic art style well. The background with it’s colors and shapes shouldn’t take the players attention, they are supposed to be background.

Random generation
As a basis for the background I use a flat background color with a gradient on top. The gradient is just a small shader effect that is barely visible, but you do feel it!



How did I place the shapes? By hand? Ain't nobody got the time for that!
Instead, totally time-effective, I spent a whole day writing some code that would automate the process for me. I saved a lot of time... in the long run since I can reuse this code for future projects.

On top of the background the code spawns shapes. The shape, its color, and other values are different each level.

To place the shapes the code first checks how big the area is.
It spawns the big shapes in a grid with a bit of randomness.
Then the medium shapes are spawned around each big shape’s center position with random distance.
The small shapes have a random position within the entire area.
I generate the placement until I feel it looks good and move them around until I'm satisfied.

The invisible hand
Once I had finished the backgrounds, I played the game to see how it feels. When I made them, I just wanted backgrounds for the sake of having backgrounds that are maybe pretty. But while playing, I realized that I had created more than just backgrounds! These big shapes are areas within an area.
There are real areas that have colliders that show where the player can and can't go. But within those real areas, the background has created smaller areas. While they have absolutely no gameplay meaning, these smaller areas make the player feel different about the space they move within. Without real meaning the background gives space meaning.

I will use this more in future games to guide the player towards specific areas or evoke certain feelings about a space This is so interesting! They won't realize what drives their actions or shapes their emotions.

Thank you for reading
- Deniz
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MissingTheMoon
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2024, 10:02:07 PM »

Meaningful Choices
In Saikyo Robots you use robots to fight, to collect resources and to produce more robots. They are your most scarce resource. Figuring out where to best use them isn’t always simple and that makes strategy games fun. While Saikyo Robots gives you lots of interesting choices there was one choice that was boring

One Robot into each Building
If you put robots into a building it produces something. For instance the library produces upgrades, the green factory produces swordbots and so on. *The more robots you put into a building, the faster it produces.* My idea was that the player would have to make an interesting decision → where to best use their robots to produce what they want the most. No one cared though. Instead they put one robot into every building… me included.

The root of all evil
A year ago I planned out the upgrades. Since the game should let you end with not too many or too few upgrades I ended up with the following:
The library takes 80 seconds to finish one upgrade if you put 1 robot in.
The library takes 30 seconds to finish one upgrade if you put 50 robots in.

That means each robot increases the production by only about 1 second. That’s just not that much! But how could I change this? If I lower the 30 seconds, you end up with too many upgrades. If I raise the 80 seconds you end up with too few upgrades.




Creating Problems
Lately I realized that in my games I often give the player some power. That power makes the game easy / boring so I give them an obstacle that they can only overcome with the power I gave them.

In general I often create solutions without problems which isn’t good. But now that I know, I try to give every solution a problem. You’re probably thinking that this is backwards isn’t it? But that is how my brain works!

What’s the solution / power I give you? You put more robots into a building to raise its production speed.
What problem can this solution solve? The default production speed is insanely high unless you put lots of robots into the building! What means putting just 1 robot into each building doesn’t do that much.

Simple? Well to be fair the code behind it is a bit more complicated since there is a robot limit. At the begining you can only put 5 robots into the library. Other buildings work in the same way. Upgrades let you put more robots into the buildings. This complicateded things a lot but here is the final version I created:

Library can have 5 robots. Production takes
200 seconds with 1 robot
90 seconds with 5 robots
→ Each robot raises production by about 27 seconds

Library can have 50 robots. Production takes
140 seconds with 1 robot
30 seconds with 50 robots
→ Each robot raises production by about 2 seconds

As you can see the robots now raise the production speed a lot at the start of the game. Producing in the library with just 1 robot is still an option but not really worth it too much. In the future I might make this even more extreme to completely discourage people from having only 1 robot in each building. But for now I created a good problem.

Thank you for reading
- Deniz
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MissingTheMoon
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2024, 12:23:16 AM »

Big Update

I did a lot since the last update in February! Why had there been no updates then? Let me explain!

Sometimes adding something to a video game is like a Lego piece. I choose the piece. I put it on some. Done.
Sometimes it's like adding to a house of cards. When adding one piece I need to add another one at the same time. This update was a lot like that. One update lead to another to another. So this is like five updates in one.

Actually this update is so big, I will only give an overview of all the things I did or this will be waaaay too long. The next DevLogs will go into more detail.


Levels
I started out by creating new levels. When I needed more content for them I worked on...


Sanctums

I added places to each level that ask you to sacrifice your robots. As a reward, they give you upgrades, resources, or new powerful abilities. These took really long to make! Not only did I need to make them and the rewards they give you, I also needed to balance them for every level. I worked on the levels, then sanctums, levels... rinse and repeat. During that I also worked on...


Upgrades
With the changes above the balance of the game kept changing. That lead to changes with the upgrades. If possible I left them until everything else was done.

At that point I got to make the non basic ugrades. Basic upgrades give you more health, damage and so on. The other ones change the game in a more interesting way. Like "Every 5th shot stuns the target for 3 seconds" or "when a gate is destroyed, the other gates become invincible for 6 seconds". I made quite a few of them which was a lot of fun but also a lot of work. There is a reason basic upgrades are so common in games.


Invasion
The default win condition is to survive for a certain number of days. I created a few levels with a huge final wave that makes it almost impossible to survive. But they give you the choice to "escape." A special area has lets you charge up a teleporter. While you do that, enemies will constantly spawn around you, making it no easy task!


I did more but those things are not "big" enough to make it to this list. For instance I won't mention how I created a new enemy, how I worked over the other enemies, how I updated the gate destruction logic the combat logic, how I added a bit of dialogue, how there are now abilities or how I made a brand new level with an easy invasion and a simple sanctum and and and lots of new things!

This is the perfect time to check out the game. The demo is live and free on Steam!
Have a good day
« Last Edit: May 20, 2024, 05:58:38 PM by MissingTheMoon » Logged
MissingTheMoon
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2024, 05:51:43 PM »

Sanctums Update

The game's design has a problem... later levels have 10 or 15 days and you end up with too many robots. But there is nothing to do with them! This is not the type of RTS where you fight with 500 units. I didn't optimize for that so it would turn your PC into a Toaster. To fix this toaster issue, I created Sanctums that kind of reduce how many robots you have.

In this game time, scrap, and robots have one thing in common. They are a resource that you can use. Scrap lets you build more robots. Robots can collect more scrap. Both actions cost time. You can also use scrap to get new buildings and upgrades.
That's good but a bit too simple for how long the game goes. Therefore I added the Sanctums to add more complexity to the game.




The Problems the Sanctums solve
Recently I learned that one solution should solve multiple problems. Here is the three problems the Sanctums solve.

Problem 1: "I have too many robots and scrap"
Sanctums let you sacrifice robots or scrap to get a reward. You should no more have too much unless you are really good. In that case you should play for a highscore or speedrun.

Problem 2: "The game's combat isn't complex enough, I just walk around"
There is six different Sanctums which all have three unique choices for you. Some are about getting more scrap/robots/upgrades in one way or another. Others give you powerful abilities. The abilities add a bit more complexity to the combat.

Problem 3: "I get lost in the big levels and I don't want to walk all the way back"
I totally never got lost in the levels, I myself created, and I definitely didn't add a map to help me and the player to not get lost.

Anyways, Sanctums have 2 extra functionalities.
They have a map you can use when you get lost when you want to strategize where to go next.



They act as fast travel points between your base and themselves. In big levels Sanctums are placed in key locations to let you get around easily.


Abilities
The active abilities are pretty simple yet very powerful so they allow you to turn the battle around. They have a cooldown that ranges from 20 to 90 seconds, so you better choose wisely when to activate them!
Active abilities:
1) you and your robots attack a lot faster and have almost no cooldown on their attacks.
2) you and your robots heal a lot immediately and then slowly over time even more.
3) you and your robots move faster and have a higher chance to deal critical hits.

Later upgrades give you special buff on critical hits. For instance "your critical hits reduce enemy healing" does wonders against the mini boss, since he constantly heals. The upgrade combined with the ability at the right time will make you beat the mini boss a lot easier.

Passive abilities:
1) Robot bullets put a stack on enemies hit. When you hit the enemy, you use up the stacks to deal extra damage. If the enemy has 50 stacks you deal extra max health percentage damage.
2) Your swordBots now have a shield that blocks enemy projectiles.
3) Your abilities cooldowns are reduced whenever a robot dies.

Thank you for reading!
- Deniz
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