Month: February 2017

Sprint 5 – Warming Up – Plan

The Runnin’ Postman in LoZ: Twilight Princess

WARMING UP

Week of February 12th, 2017

WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS

  • The state of our WARP CORP continues to hold steady at ~really god damned good~
  • The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) is now ~50 weeks away. Remarkable!

Longtime readers of the site may be confused as to how the ELE isgrowing instead of shrinking. We all know that I employ a huge team of highly-respected accountants, but shouldn’t the day I run out of money be getting closer instead of further away…?

The answer is that I’m actually spending far less than the estimates I made months ago. That was pretty intentional – overestimate spending and underestimate income and all that – but it’s pretty cool to see play out

Once upon a time I thought I’d be lucky to save up 3 months worth of salary to keep going. Now I’m looking at timelines longer than a year. Pretty crazy! But good! Crazy good!

Gonna keep this post pretty short this week as I’m late putting this up and I got stuff to do!

SPRINT GOALS

After a successful release of my 2nd demo I have a lot of feedback to churn through. In general, this week I hope to start putting levels of polish on the various systems in the game, including coming up with the concept of weeks, months, and even years and seasons.

Past that, it’s soon time to start exploring screens beyond the initial test area. Maybe even the village itself can start growing with time…we’ll have to see!

Let’s do our best this week.

Sprint 4 – Snowed In – Retrospective

The wonderfully cozy house of Papyrus, from the equally wonderful Undertale

SNOWED IN

Week of February 5th, 2017

OVERVIEW

It’s always going to be a good week when I put out a new demo. February’s Were-Release went up on Friday and I’m psyched out of my mind.

I cannot stress enough how motivational these releases are. Just the feeling of getting something out there is just so satisfying.

I’ll repeat the same warning I lay out in that post: it’s early – perhaps too early – and rough. But again, if you want to see what incremental and iterative game development is like, or if you want to provide feedback, then I’d love for you to take a look.

It’s now been a month since I quit my job. Has it been all worth it? Good god, absolutely. I have genuinely never been happier or more satisfied in my life.

I cannot say how long these good vibes will last. How will I feel when my savings start to dwindle, or if I face some unforeseen hardship? I hope I can face it with the same level of optimism and determination I have going for me now. We’ll see.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Release a new demo, one that I’m actually proud of!
  • Already had a chance to implement some feedback from my demo, including some bug fixes, animation cleanup, dialog changes, and more
  • Re-did my product map to more readable and analyzed
  • Added a neato dynamic camera
  • Completely revamped the dog to actually be usable
  • Added a crate, grabbing, and pulling
  • Made weather based off of a ‘forecast’ instead of hardcoded
  • Added idle chatter once dialog is exhausted
  • Fixed weather transitions
  • Whole buncha optimizations

LOWLIGHTS

  • Made a huge blunder by chasing some dumb optimization down a rabbit hole for 8 hours, only to roll it back when my new code was just as terrible and twice as unreadable
    • Lesson learned…?
  • As always, could have done more 🙁
  • Wish the demo had a bit more stuff to do in it. Next time, though…it’ll be different

SHOW & TELL

Were-Release #2 Out Now – “Snow”

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Happy full moon, everybody!

A new full moon means a new version of Village Monsters for you to explore. I’m happy to announce that the latest Were-Release (what is this?), code named “Snow“, is now officially released.

I’m very proud of what I can share with you today, but I also want to stress that this is still very early. It’s not exactly brimming with content quite yet!

Still, if you’re interested in following games in early development, and you want to provide feedback to shape a game in the making, then please take a look!

“Snow”

RELEASED: February 10th, 2017

Download: Windows | Mac (Soon!) | Linux (Soon!)

What’s New

Player & Actions

  • Basic character movement (WASD)
    • Includes sprinting (hold Shift), creeping (hold Control)
    • Press the Middle Mouse button to move the camera around
  • Dynamic Camera
    • Follows the player and slightly lags behind
    • Use the middle-mouse button to move it around
    • “Shaky Cam” system implement for some actions
  • Player Action – Talk
    • Get near a villager and use the key to talk to them. X also advances the text
  • Player Action – Interact
    • Currently the only object to interact with is Dragon’s Hoard, the claw machine in the building with Mock
    • Use the X key to interact with it
  • Player Action – Grab / Pull
    • Currently can only grab/pull a box.
    • Use the key when near a box to grab it
  • Player Action – Swing Net
    • Press to swing your net
    • Critters caught by your net are added to your inventory
  • Player Action – Throw
    • Press F to throw the ball
    • Requires to pick up the Dog Ball and make it active

Villagers, Dog & Other Critters

  • Two new Villagers
    • Mock, the depressed goblin
    • Sign”, the unnamed – but still angry – Sign
  • A more complete Dog
    • Dog snoozes when bored
    • Dog wags its tail faster when ball is picked up
    • Dog fetches ball and brings it back
      • To play fetch, first pick up a ball, make it active, and then throw it with F
    • Dog can be pet and spoken to with X
  • New Critters to catch
    • Half Hopper
      • Flee when you approach
    • Sea Fly
      • Spawn indefinitely near pool
      • Chase after the player when close
    • Candy Horn Beetle
    • Holiday Horn Beetle
      • Winter only
  • Initial pass at “ambiant critters” system
    • A occasional bird will fly across the screen

Menus & UI

  • Basic dialog system
    • Typerwriter text and tap noise
    • Different types of text
      • Dialog
      • Narrator
      • Emphasis
    • Portrait & animation
  • Basic inventory system
    • Press I or click the bag icon to bring it up
    • Use your mouse or arrow keys to navigate items
    • The F key allows you the currently active icon. Not all items may be used at this time
  • Basic world map menu
    • Press the map icon to bring it up.
    • Use your WASD keys and mouse wheel to navigate.
  • Notification system
    • Notices trigger for various important events, such as inventory management, day changes, and more
    • Like-notices are grouped together

Simulation & Systems

  • Two new major systems: Time & Weather
    • 8 times of day with their own daylight filters
    • A full day takes about 20 minutes, but there are ways to increase this in the demo
    • 4 weather patterns:
      • Clear
      • Drizzle
      • Heavy Rain
      • Snow
    • A clock UI element to monitor the time and weather
  • Prototype of a 3rd major simulated system – Seasons
    • “Winter” version of map with new visuals, new critters to catch, and new weather
    • Find a way to trigger Winter via an in-game mechanic

Village & Related

  • Completely new and revamped art style and layout of “village”
    • New trees, flowers, and other vegetation
    • Can no longer walk out of bounds
  • Two new buildings
    • Test inn. Contains Mock, Dragon’s Hoard, and some tables
    • Historical Society. Contains naught but spider webs
  • Dragon’s Hoard claw machine
    • Incredibly basic and buggy!

Other

  • Basic SFX
    • Wind noises
    • Footfalls
    • Dialog sounds
    • Pickup sound

Known Issues

  • The player always resets position when changing ‘rooms’
  • Very little is persisted
  • Huge amount of graphical bugs, especially incorrect overlapping and sprite flipping
  • Collision system is frequently dumb
  • Overall, it’s very fragile!

Feedback

There are many ways to provide feedback on your time with the game. All feedback will be read and considered – it’s my favorite part of this whole thing!

Email: josh@warpdogs.com

Comments: Click here. No registration required.

Twitter: @WarpDogs

Other: Scream loudly into the western sun. Let the ground shake with your fury, your blood hot with the magma of the earth.

What is – and isn’t – a Were-Release?

In a few days I’ll be releasing the next Were-Release for my project. This’ll only be my 2nd time doing so, and I think I had just one follower (myself) for the 1st release, so I wanted to take the time to explain about what you can – and can’t – expect out of this.

In short, a Were-Release is a very early demo of Village Monsters that is released on a monthly basis (the day of the full moon – thus the name!)

Each Were-Release serves as a snapshot of what the in-development game looks like at that particular point in time. Because it’s based on an arbitrary date, no extraneous work goes into these demos – you won’t find any misleading vertical slices, scripted demos, or any other type of smoke & mirrors.

Instead, I take the latest stable build I tested and upload it to my site. This allows players who love to watch the evolution of a game’s development experience Village Monsters and provide feedback without a lot of wasted work on my side.

It’s important to note that a Were-Release is not considered a ‘ship-able product’. You’ll never need to pay or sign up for anything to receive it, but it’s going to be rough, buggy, and things will frequently change from build to build.

From a feature, visual, and overall ‘feel’ standpoint, each Were-Release version is indicative of the final game: everything you encounter or experience will in the final game in some form.

However, please do not use these releases to gauge the quality of the final game. I frequently do a lot of experimentation, and certain elements may be bad or plain broken at times. This in no way reflects what you’ll see in the final release.

I hope as many people as possible can play these early demos, as there’s something really special about seeing a game spring to life over time. However, I also completely understand that some people simply want to wait for a more stable, more polished game – if so, please consider waiting for a different type of release later this year!

Above all, these releases are meant for feedback. All bugs, feature requests, complaints, and everything else will be read by me and added to the backlog for analysis. I’ll monitor comments and my email address for feedback. You can also catch me on Twitter at @WarpDogs

The Village of ???

Did some “worldbuilding” last night, this time fleshing out the village of…uh, unnamed, I guess.

This part has been without a doubt my favorite.

Names in bold are mostly final, whereas the unnamed villagers get just a short blurb describing their general idea.

There’s a lot of them – probably too many. They aren’t all major, and I could afford to make 2-3 cuts to bring it down if needed, but I’m pretty happy with how this looks currently and will be sticking with it for now.

Sprint 4 – Snowed In – Plan

The wonderfully cozy house of Papyrus, from the equally wonderful Undertale

SNOWED IN

Week of February 5th, 2017

WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS

  • The state of our WARP CORP continues to hold steady at ~really god damned good~
  • The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) is now ~46 weeks away. Remarkable!

An errant Comcast payment aside, this was another good week. All my planning and saving is apparently paying off, which is good! Maybe I wasn’t so crazy after all.

Maybe.

The end of this week marks the ~1 month mark since I started this venture. At first time went by slowly, but now it’s barreling down the highway as things settle in. There’s a long way to go until I reach the end of wherever this thing is taking me, but it sure feels closer now than it ever has.

SPRINT GOALS

Last sprint may have been the first one where I actually laid out what I hoped to achieve and – by god! – I actually did it! Let’s see if I can continue building on that success, however brief.

A new were-release is out this Friday, and for me that’s going to serve as a great motivator for focusing on tangible content. Last week was great, but it was very technical and very refactor-heavy – it’s fun to work on behind-the-scenes stuff, but it’s only fun for me, not for players.

Here are some goals that I think are achievable and provide some good bang vs. buck for the upcoming release…

  • Focus on UI elements, especially related to calendars and menus
  • Create little ‘proof of concepts’ of seasonal changes
  • Add the 1st draft run of Overflow, a central location that will be visited throughout the game

Look forward to a new version to play with by Friday. Who knows – I might deliver you an actual game! Wow!