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well, some of you might know us from Bundle-In-A-Box and our Indie Developers Grant, or maybe from a a couple of tech posts here on the forum, and... long story short i'd like to give you a heads up on our very first game that will be hopefully launched in the next days:

It goes by the name Droidscape:Basilica (well, that part was kinda obvious after the title pic  :P), it is a mobile-devices game and we tend to describe it as "The sci-fi, stop-motion animated action puzzler".

Sci-fi, as the story is set on a steam-punk futuresque environment [you can read a bit on the story here[pdf]
Stop-motion, as every character animation was produced by a series of photoshoots of real-life fully-articulated sculptures created by our beloved artist
action puzzler, as the gameplay revolves around a two-phase concept. A puzzle phase where first you have to strategically draw a path through corridors, doors, enemies, pick-ups etc watching your energy and time given, and an action phase where you have to make it happen, testing your reflexes by guiding your character on the drawn path. Like setting up the rails for a train, and then controlling its motion on those rails.

Well -as it happens- when it comes to the action phase, apart from a slider speed cotroller, we have developed a head-tracking module and integrated into our Stencyl game!
It goes by the name "HeadTwister", and depending on availability of a front camera, you can control the said slider by the motion of your head!

So, without touching the device, simply by twisting-your-head left and right you can control the game hands free  :D
It is a bit in an experimental mode, but if you get the grasp of it, it's a quite funny thing to do. What's even funnnier ofcourse, is watching somebody play the game in this fashion  :D

Anyway, herego some pics of the main characters involved in the game:

Bishop-7, the main character you control in the game:

WorMantis, one of the villains you come across in the game:

Oh, did I mention the music? We're quite fond of that too! You can hear a bit of it here

Well, that's about it for now. I'll do some more postings on the game in the next days, and ofcourse happy to give you more details on anything you want to ask!


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Droidscape:Basilica, gameplay phase-1 : Draw your path

like i mentioned in my previous post, the game has two phases, the first of which is the "puzzly" one. You have to carefully draw a path that will get you the exit key and reach the exit door. Safely. That is you have to anticipate the enemies movements so that you'll be able to reach those assets without getting killed!

The main game screen consists of a supposed HUD monitor, though which you can control the Bishop-7 droid.
Though that you can see the droid, and the various elements of the level itself.

the exit key is on the down left, the yellow/golder key-card thingy, and the exit is the one marked with the exit arrow (duh)

every character that is not you, is an enemy. Their direction of movement is marked with an arrow, and most enemies follow a simple linear pattern. They go along the axis of the arrow, until they hit an obstacle when they turn 180 degrees. As levels progress, additional enemies with different behaviours are added, e.g. enemies that patrol around objects or enemies that follow you.

Drawing the path is done by touching inside the circle and dragging. We opted for this circle thing, so that your finger will not have to obscure your character. This way, you can touch&drag and still see your character. You can see the trail of your path with the little blueish dots.

Development wise, some resolution of path sampling is selected and while you drag, the character's coordinates are stored in a list.  If you succsesfuly complete the level, your path is stored in a list of lists, where all levels' stored paths are. So, if you choose to re-play any level, your drawn path will be there for you to replay.

Ofcourse, during this phase enemies do not kill you. They have a little bit of translucency to designate that, and act as placeholders for the player to understand how they will move.

Little dots -like a path trail- designate the actual coordinates of the path that were stored. Items collected during draw phase get an orangish aura, so that you will remember that they were collected.

Apart from enemies, and colored key to colored door combinations, there is the element of "energy" you have to take into account during draw (and play later on). As long as the character moves, he consumes energy.
Energy shows up both as a green bar above the character (it turns to red when low) and in the gauge on the lower right part of the HUD.
Energy can be replenished at some energy pods scattered around the level.  It's that dark boxy-thing with the electricity arcs on the lower right of the level, just besides a red enemy. As soon as you step on that, energy starts to get replenished. It takes something less that 3secs to top-up from an almost depleted energy state.

You can progrssively delete your draw path with the "rewind" button on the HUD, and you can completely delete and restart with the red re-do button on the upper right.
If you think you got the path right, you just press play.
When you press play, a check is made that indeed you have a complete path, i.e. your path collects the exit key and reached the exit door. If not, a message showing up what you haven't done is displayed. Actually, when you get the path right, the game will auto-start.

Getting gems will get you coins, that you can later on exchange for power-ups, or unlock levels without having to play them out.

You get points for your gems collected, for a shorter path, for less time required to complete the level, and the percentage of gems of a level collected.
Each level has predefined conditions for those criteria, for a silver or gold medal in each category.

Well, hopefully that sums-up what the puzzler phase is all about!


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Phase 2, the action phase  :P

You have carefully drawn a path, that will hopefully get you all the gems, keys and lead you to the exit door, so now you have to just make all that happen.

You press "play" and the hud swtches to the slider control

The drawn path that lies ahead of you is marked with red dots, the path behind yoy with blue ones.

You then use the slider to control your bishop-7 droid along that path. Slider to the right will forward speed-control over the path, slider to the left, backwards speed control. Just like having alittle train over its rails  :)

Apart from the moving enemies, there are various obstacles you have to overcome. Bars that are controlled with buttons, colored doors with corresponding keys, parts of the floor that collapse as soon as you step on them.
Along with timing your movement carefully over that path, as said, you do have to keep track of your remaining time and energy. Time... well is just time, energy gets depleted when you're moving.
There are some refil energy pods scattered around, that can get your energy... refilled, provided you can stay long enough on them. There is usually some villain "pathing" over that, so, timely movements are always essential!

During the play phase, the HeadTwister head-tracking system is available! By touching that portrait like button on the lower left of the HUD, instead of controlling Bishop-7's motion on the path with the slider, you do that hands free with your head!

The device's front camera gets activated, and our motion tracking algorithm will detect your head turning left or right (lets say on the vertical axis of your neck) and will map that motion to the slider.
So, turning your head right will speed cotrol the forward motion, turning your head to the left, backwards.

There's this teaser trailer video, where you can see part of the action:

and since we're on the video link, here's what the game intro (almost) looks like:


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A few making-of pics, with the various characters appearing on Droidscape.

stop-motion animation captures where done with a DSLR camera, a tripod and a "rotating bluescreen" contraption we built. That contraption was obviously able to rotate around a vertical axis, and had various degrees of rotation marked. The reason behind this, was to be able to capture every "movement stance" for all degrees we needed for the animation of a character. THe main character (bishop-7) was shot on 16 different angles, so that we would have a complete walkig animation for every 22.5 degrees of a circle. Other characters were shot in 8 or 4 different angles.

Each character was placed on the rotating bluscreen thing, the animation stance was given to the sculpture, and a series of photos was taken, for the various angles.

all in all, it would look like this:


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Here's a little story with the "making of" : http://www.gnomeslair.com/2013/07/a-gnomic-making-of-droidscape-basilica.html

And along with that, very happy to announce that Droidscape:Basilica is live :

do grab it, share the news if you like it and ofcourse if you have any comments please do reply  :)

Here's a little trailer video too  :-*


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I played a few levels, pretty neat so far. I'll reply again after completing more of it and will rate it. First impressions, the art is pretty unique and looks great, the gameplay is a fun puzzle experience.