Progress, Level Edition and Game Jam’s Feedback

This week I would like to talk about three different topics, the progress I’ve been making on the games I’m creating, the status of the Unity Level Editor and some thoughts on the past Ludum Dare 38 experience.

Progress

Fiery Squirrel is currently working on a couple of games. One of them is (tentatively) called Zin, which is the game that is benefiting from the new tile editor. There is also another game I mentioned in previous posts, Kuon’s Saga, developed in collaboration with Gabriel Uguet, illustrator and creator of Serpentarius, an online comic.

ZIN

Zin is a action-puzzle game that narrates the story of a little creature unable to move by itself due to a magic curse. The creature needs to recover its powers and escape from its captors. This is a very simple game for computer and consoles that involves mastering different kinds of abilities and gameplay mechanics.

The game is still in very early stage of development, I’m currently focused on designing and testing the first level, including concept art, sounds, etc. The game is divided in four different chapters, each one with four levels.

In case you are curious, you can play a very early prototype made for Ludum Dare some time ago in Newgrounds. The game now includes many more things and it’s bigger but the essence is still the same.

For this week, the focus was to create and test levels with the new editor, which is really helping a lot with the new tiles and perspective of the art. I hope next will show some new screenshots and progress.

Kuon’s Saga

This is a game that has been in development for some time, despite its simplicity and its casual nature, we created different versions of the game and tested too many things on a very slow development pace.

The game is planned to be released for free at some point next month and will include one level with 24 waves for players to enjoy. Progressively, depending on players’ feedback and reactions, we will keep adding new content with new levels and challeneges. This will be available for Android and iOS.

This week has been basically working on completing all the final elements for the gameplay, including graphical stuff and level design. By next week we will have a very solid demo to show.

Level Edition

I have good news about the Unity Tile Editor. All the basic functionality is already working properly and we submitted it for approval to the Unity Asset Store. The editor will be free and available for people to download.

This first version is a beta that will be expanded in the upcoming weeks, there are a lot of things to improve, from the functionality side of the editor to the usability, we plan to add new stuff to help automatize cumbersome tasks and create levels faster and easier.

For all of you that are interested in the details on how was the editor created, I’ll be posting details about the code in future articles. If you have specific questions, please let me know.

The video shows all the current features that will be available for people when the asset is approved on the Asset Store.

Game Jam’s Feedback

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was part of the Ludum Dare 38 three weeks ago. After playing a lot of different games and receiving feedback from people on the game I made, I have some thoughts that might be useful for people making games out there.

First of all I want to thank people for their observations, getting feedback is really nice and one of the reasons I like participating in this event. Comments from people really help improving our work, they show us a perspective that we probably do not have or just different ideas that enrich our way of thinking.

Feedback

When I talk about feedback, it’s not only players’ comments, ideas and bug reports. Feedback is also related to that concept of making your game react to the player’s input and be able to clearly show in the screen or  through speakers what is going on in your game.

I decided to talk a little about this because my most recurrent comment on other people’s games was exactly that: “it would improve a lot if it had more feedback”.

And this is something that I really think developers can easiy do. Feedback does not really require super high art making skills or 3D modeling years of experience, this is all about the feeling of the game, this is related to showing the status of the game in a very clear way.

In SORLD for example, although I know there is a lot to improve and much more feedback to add, the basic actions have clear feedback and they were implemented in very few time. Shooting, being hit, recovering, dying and making progress are some of the basic actions that this game includes and they were represented with particles, screen shake, sprite rotation, sound effects, etc.

Seriously, with few changes on the feedback side, adding particles, sound effects, changing the rotation a little, zooming in and out, in most of the cases make the game feel much better and meaninful and it’s not really a difficult thing to do.

Jan Willem Nijman from Vlambeer has more experience than me on this topic and he gave a nice talk about “Game Feel” which is related to what I mentioned here. Enjoy the talk if you haven’t already and hope this helps you make better games!

This was basically it for this week. A lot of things going on, I’m trying to keep people up to date about what we are doing here and get some comments on what would be interesting to talk about for future post.

Have a great weekend!

Progress, Level Edition and Game Jam’s Feedback

Level Editor

 

I’ve been slowly working in a project for computer and console devices, a puzzle-action game based on a prototype I made for Ludum Dare back in 2013. The idea evolved quite a bit and I’m focused now on more puzzles and action, the idea actually changed a lot but the base is still the same.

 

Since last year I’ve been writing code for physics, gameplay, etc using OpenFL for this projects and after a while I decided to start working with Unity (I want to release the game for consoles as well and it seemed easier). The game involves big levels now and a lot of level creation, so I wanted to use a tool to create levels easy and simple, this really saves a lot of time when testing and changing features.

Inkscape

First I decided to use Inkscape as a level editor, the tool itself is very good and combined with its possibility of generating XML code from the elements you add to the document (graphically) it’s very handy. I wrote a small parser on Haxe for a small prototype I created last year, also used in the first version of this new project I’m currently working on.

It really worked very well when I was using OpenFL. After deciding to work with Unity, I also tried to do the same thing because I wanted to keep the levels separated from the game engine and also Inkscape itself runs faster and better when I’m focused on creating only levels. I wrote a parser in C# of the XML code that Inkscape generates and it worked well too.

Generally speaking, Inkscape is a really good tool for creating levels, it is lightweight and very flexible. Inkscape was also doing the basic functionality I needed from the editor but there was still work to do to really make it good enough for this project.

Unity and Custom editors

Since I’m still in the process of learning about Unity and all its features, I didn’t know you could customize the editor and include custom scripts to minimize the efforts when doing cumbersome or repetitive tasks.

This week while reviewing some code, I found out that you can actually create your own menus and customize a lot of things. So I decided to play a little bit with that and try to create a very small tile editor for this game.

After struggling a bit about understanding how to make everything work, I was able to put together the most basic functionality for the tile editor I wanted: adding tiles as fast as possible, having a grid that snapped tiles automatically to it, removing and moving tiles.

Having this functionality inside the editor while creating levels and the possibility of adding more stuff like rotation, layering, etc is really a great advantage if you want to save time and avoid doing repetitive tasks. I will keep improving what I have so far, keep posting about it and share it when it’s in a decent state for people to play with it.

Closing

Before writing this post I thought about detailed explaining how to write a parser for Inkscape and how to create a custom editor for Unity, however, I’m not really sure if it’s worth it. A lot of people have done this before and probably they explain it better than me.

If someone wants to know details about what I did, I’ll definitely explain everything step by step, meanwhile, you can check out the following links that helped me a lot understanding how to both processes work.

Once I clean up the code for the Unity editor I wrote and the Inkscape parser, I’ll upload them to my repository in Github.

Ah, in addition to the new project, Fiery Squirrel is also focused on this new mobile game: Kuon’s Saga, I’ll talk more about it soon!

Level Editor

Happy New Year 2015!

Hi everyone!

I know it’s a bit late to say Happy New Year but I wanted to do it “formally” anyway and keep you posted about the status of my projects and future projects as well.

Summarizing 2014, it was a great year, Collow (as it was created in that time) was released on Google Play and Fluff Eaters was released on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. First time I release games, it was a great experience, I learned a lot and keep learning from it. If there is anything you want to know about details, don’t hesitate to ask.

What’s next?

So this is the status for the current projects, future projects and development posts.

Fluff Eaters

Well, as you probably read on previous posts, there are a lot of things coming up this year. First of all, Fluff Eaters will be released on the App Store, finally I got the licence to start testing the code on the device and it’s surprisingly running very well, of course there a lot of details to take care of and a lot of things to polish before releasing, I would like to do my best and cover as many things as possible to have a change on the market.

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Fluff Eaters running on iOS (iPod Touch)

I estimate that the game will be avaiilable beginning-mid February but it totally depends on how soon I will be able to test on different devices such as iPad and iPhone 6, I only have an iPod touch which I think is a good start and the plan is to ask for help and test in all the possible devices before release, if you want to test it on your device please let me know.

Collow

I’m not sure if you read the post about Collow but I think that this is going to be a very interesting year for that game. Since I re-designed everything from the beginning, added new ideas for different types of modes and worked a lot on the little features, including a leaderboard and multiplayer modes which I believe will make the difference for the whole experience.

Of course this game will be available for iOS as well and let’s see how it goes. Please don’t expect it before the Fluff Eaters release, I’m gonna work very hard to release everything on time but one by one.

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New Modes and design

 

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New boards and difficulties
Development

I haven’t seen much interest on this topic so far but I will keep posting about development using Haxe/OpenFL, once again, if there is anybody interested in any particular topic related to it, let me know.

The plan is to post about things I struggled with while was working on Fluff Eaters (mainly), will try to cover 2D animations and performance first and then see how it goes. Depending on that I will talk about specific systems (general systems) that help you make any kind of 2D game using Haxe and OpenFL.

Future Projects: Zin and Watercolor

As I mentioned before in one of my tweets, Once I’m done with Fluff Eaters and Collow, my next projects as Fiery Squirrel will be Zin and Watercolor. I’m not sure if that will be the final names of those games but for sure the core mechanics of them will prevail. So if you are curious about it and you haven’t play those little games originated in Ludum Dare, you can take a look at them here and here.

I truly believe that these games has great potential and will not only be a game for mobile but Computer and Consoles as well. Now just have to sit, relaxe, add a lot of new stuff and get a new graphic and sound design for both.

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Zin, created for Ludum Dare

 

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Watercolor, created for Ludum Dare

I guess this is it for today, a very short post to keep you updated about the plans for this year, as I mentioned before, comments are appreciated.

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Programmer art to start 2015 🙂

 

Have a great 2015!

 

Happy New Year 2015!