GoldSpace (Working title: Space Pirate)

merrak

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I always liked the original tracks, but I understand the feeling i am at the point where i am "done" with the game.

Bombini

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I am pretty sure that i will keep those in the game as well if they fit but again...cant do more right now ;)

Bombini

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Hey adventurers!

here is a quick update.
Half of the new tracks are in the game and i am removing a lot of smaller bugs and adding fixes to it. The polish of the game goes up. Wohoo!
Want to try the current version?



-- Keyboard Controls: --
Move: W,A,S,D
Fire: Arrow keys
Select: Space
Esc/Save/Back: Esc

Keys can be customized or you can setup a gamepad.


Bombini

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Hi adventurers!

i am getting the final audio tracks for the game in and i am adding missing sound effects like, lock picking, sounds for the space ship but also sound effects for getting a new skill point or buying something in the shop. All those make a huge difference and i am happy that i have the time to do that to a degree i wanted it to have.

One thing i am very surpised about is how much effect it has when i change the background music when an enemy boss appears or the alarm is triggered. Nothing new and it has been done it so many games but i am really surprised how much an impact it has on the urgency and the feeling. I am using fade blocks to control the several background tracks.

One thing i learned is using the fading blocks always fades audio to either 0% or 100% (and not the original %) unless you fade to a specific %. This is how i embedded my background tracks (fading them in and out depending on whats going on):



When it comes to the briefing i am mostly working with adjectives which describe the mood i have in several levels. So i am grouping tunes for levels which have a similar mood because i cant afford to have one track for each level.

For example ("Story..." equals a main level):
  • Goldspace1: Intense, dangeroust fast, action driven (Story4) (Story6) (Story18) (Stroy21)
  • Goldspace2: Intense, dangerous slow (Story1) (Story8) (Story9) (Stroy20)
  • Goldspace3: Scary, slow, organic, dangerous alien (Story2) (Story9???) (Story12) (Story14) (Strory16) (Story21???)
  • Goldspace4: Warm, welcoming, relaxing  (Story5) (Story22)
  • Goldspace5: Boss fight, intense, action driven  so on (plays for all  boss fights)
  • Goldspace6: Space, synth, atmoshpheric, a bit mysterious, organic, reduced (for Spacemap)
  • Goldspace7: Dusty, feeling alone, hot, slow (Story3) (Story8)
  • Goldspace8: Fast, action driven (Story4???)
  • Goldspace9: Robotic, machine driven,  cold Inspiration: (Story13) (Story15) (Story19)
  • Clean but mysterious  (Story5) (Story7) (Story10)
  • War torn, struggleing, fighting, suffering, mediuem fast (Story6) (Story11) (Story17)

Check out some of the new tracks here: GoldSpace OST

Stay tuned!

Bombini

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Hey adventurers!

I have a new BETA version for you with a lot fixes. Too lazy to give it a try? Well check out this video:





-- Keyboard Controls: --
Move: W,A,S,D
Fire: Arrow keys
Select: Space
Esc/Save/Back: Esc

Keys can be customized or you can setup a gamepad.

CHEAT Mode:
Press W,A,D,SPACE to active or deactivate the cheat mode.
This will give a you:
  • A lot of credits
  • 50 skillpoints to spend
  • Maximum Laser Weapon (5)
  • Maximum Health (20)
It also allows you to jump levels. Press 1 to go to mission 1, 2 to go to mission 2 and so on. Press F1 to got to mission 11, F2 to mission 12 and so on. There are 24 max. You will not understand the story if you do that but its a nice way to check the different levels.
There is also a DEBUG mode is you press S,A,D,SPACE but this might be cryptic to you ;)



« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 12:49:08 am by Bombini »

Bombini

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Merry Christmas everyone :)


Bombini

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Hi Space Pirates!
i am bug hunting and fixing a lot and i have a new version in case you are interested:



The soundtrack is also complete: GoldSpace OST
I am currently preparing a retrospective with several parts about my journey.

Stay tuned!

« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 01:34:05 am by Bombini »


Bombini

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Thanks!
I compiled a new gameplay trailer. I might add a voice over.
Have a nice weekend!

<a href="https://youtu.be/cYqj450eO4w" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://youtu.be/cYqj450eO4w</a>



« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 07:30:05 am by Bombini »

Bombini

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Hi space adventurers,

this dev log is slowly coming to an end (well at least I think so, as this game is running towards the finishing line) and I wanted to share some of my thoughts in a of retrospective.
This retrospective will be split in 8 parts:
  • Part I: How it all started
  • Part II: Visual development
  • Part III: Feature development
  • Part IV: Biggest learnings and aha moments
  • Part V: Features I abandoned
  • Part VI: Tools I used
  • Part VII: What helped testing
  • Part VIII: Business and numbers

Today we talk about:

Part I: How it all started
First postings in this forum go back to January 2014 (which is crazy if you ask me) which is also the time when I got my first indie license for Stencyl but let me sort the timeline a bit. I would consider 2014-2016 mainly as learning Stencyl itself even though I started working on the game which had a slightly different concept back then. I used mainly existing behaviors in the beginning replacing them with my own while I learned how to do that. This was very helpful and just grabbing stuff from the Forge trying to recreate or do in my style was very helpful.
I had no clue of pixel art. I did not even know how to scale pixels without blurring them because I was only familiar with vector art. I started with a tile set from Oryx to motivate myself and started working on my own skills.

The inspiration for the game came from playing Buck Rogers , Whale's Voyage , and Star Flight 2 on my Amiga 500. One thing i had in mind while playing was the wish to explore ships and locations a bit more as i could in those games. I loved finding ancient ruins. The game i had in mind would not get anything near the exploration possibilities of these games but those were definitely an inspiration.

First ideas:
It all started as a flash browser game. I wanted to see how far I can push a flash browser game and also how far I can push Stencyl the way I work. I moved quite fast to compiling a desktop version mainly because of file size and performance. 
The initial concept was much closer linked to Sid Meier’s Pirates! There were three factions (humans, robots, aliens) each with an own behavior, sending ships from planet to planet producing stuff a bit like in Raid on Bungeling Bay from Will Wright. 
You would be a space pirate basically raiding those factions with the effect how much they would like or dislike you up to the point that they would hunt you in the star map firing at you or trying to board your own ship. There would have been a contract system in your ship from which you could pick contracts to fulfill. Those would have a very smart system of not getting the same contract for a long time.



Interestingly all this was already in the game and it took me a long time to implement. But…it felt a bit tedious. I was missing the purpose…the point. I was not happy with it.

Concept change – from Space Pirate to Gold Space:
That’s why i would consider 2017 as the starting point of the final concept after having teamed up with Hershall Cook who created the story script based on a story vision i had and discussed with him. This was and is the framework for the level design and the narrative structure of the game. This was the moment where I could start working “on the game”. I always considered writing as one of the most important skills which i could not cover good enough. I planned to release the game the end of 2017 back then.



The concept changed to a story driven game which has linear main story levels, where you still can do side missions in between whenever you want, where you can explore the star system but without factions and no system economy. I added a simple skill system to push the game slightly towards rpg and just tried to have something fresh in every level the player would play. I spend some time exploring ways to add more variations but I struggled to put the fun in planets because they were lacking too much design rules and limitations in the beginning as you can see in this post:  ”How to keep the level design of a planet interesting”.
And this is what you are getting today when you play the game.



Stay tuned for next week when we talk about visual development.

« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 02:32:40 am by Bombini »

Bombini

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Hi space adventurers,
this are my thoughts on the production of this game:

  • Part I: How it all started
  • Part II: Visual development
  • Part III: Feature development
  • Part IV: Biggest learnings and aha moments
  • Part V: Features I abandoned
  • Part VI: Tools I used
  • Part VII: What helped testing
  • Part VIII: Business and numbers

Today we talk about:

Part II: Visual development

My pixel art skill in 2014 was not existing as I mentioned before but I knew that I had to change this. Outsourcing all art would have been too expensive and I also wanted to move at the speed and pace I could control. I read a lot tutorials and supported for example Pedro Medeiro’s (Worked on Out There Somewhere, TowerFall and @celeste_game) patreon where he posts pixel art tutorials which helped me a lot to understand how it works. I just tried and tried to get better and I reached a level I am happy with.   


General evolvement:



I started with a tileset from Oryx to get started quickly and see results fast. I choose a 8x8 tileset and tried to link all art to that resolution because this was the resolution my pixel art skill would be good enough for. I coudl create 8x8 tiles, enemies, furniture even in 24x24 but it would take me longer. The important decision was that i could not got for enemies or charatcers in 16x16 or 32x32 in the smallest size. This would have been above my skillset. I added my own art and replaced the ones i started with over time.



You can see that the sprites are still very bulky and there are no shadows on the maps which make it sometimes difficult to read. What is obstacle and what not. It also looks a bit dull in my opinion.
I started testing various forms and styles as you can see here...



And finally ended up with a ruleset for characters palyers and i like:



Another topic was experimenting with shadows. I wanted to add them to create more depth but also to increase the levels readability. I added a sideview of the walls but this was confusing.



I tried various styles and went with a simple one i could apply to the levels i made:



I also added ceilings for some rooms to hide parts away and increase the curiosity:




Star map evolvement:

The starmap was part of both initial concepts and you could call it a more complex navigation menu but it also inherits enough game mechanics to be fun. I wanted the player to be able to explore the universe and find their way back to earth. It started very simple with 4:3 ratio showing fuel and health of the ship plus 5 slots for upgrades.

The second screen shows the meta progression (the blue cards) which should have given the players a feeling how far she/he is in the game plus three shields which became (and still are) the most important upgrades for your ship.
The third screen shows a new fog which uses autotiling fuel, a damage report and credits which became then the most important ressource in the game (being a pirate) and you meta score.

The final screen shows the final UI. very simplified just showing the range (green bars), the status of your energy core and of your shield). There is also now the current main goal at the top of the screen (text missing in this screenshot).




UI in the level screen

This part of the game changed also quite a bit over time. You would see empty slots for all guns in the game, a bar for ammunition and shield (which was health back then). You would see the amount of collected door cards and bombs 8which are also a weapon). So a lot information...not everything needed.



The current layout shows the main objective at the top. Text and icon. Very important to be remebered what to do. There is onyl the current activbe weapon shown (in its upgrade state) the door cards because they are an important feature, the collected credits to buy upgrades) and the XP bar below which grants you skillpoints when full (and resets when done so).



Adding effects:

One last thing i want to mention are particles and effects. I spend quite some time finetuning how they behave and when they appear.
For example for the explosions:
  • added a small screen shake
  • added a white fullscreen for 0.2 seconds
  • added small actors flying out which create particles


See an explosion in action:


Stay tuned for Part III.

« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 03:44:05 am by Bombini »


Bombini

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Thanks Jeffrey!
lets continue!

  • Part I: How it all started
  • Part II: Visual development
  • Part III: Feature development
  • Part IV: Biggest learnings and aha moments
  • Part V: Features I abandoned
  • Part VI: Tools I used
  • Part VII: What helped testing
  • Part VIII: Business and numbers

Today we talk about:

Part III: Feature development

I want to highlight some features which had a bigger impact on the game or even changed it.

Autotiling:
Autotiling became a core of my game. I wanted the paly the "enhance" the levels from the start of concepting. I got the results i wanted using the Tile API but it just didnt look nice because i was using single tiles which i removed, exchanged or added. I tried huge spritesheets with a lot "if there is no tile under this tiles use this tile" and so on but it drove me insane. Justin introduced me to the autotiling approach which is possible in Stencyl and i am not sure if i understood it 100% but i know how to use it.
Read more here:
Autotiling - how i use it
Autotiling - how its setup

My first version using my own code and logic:


Using the "proper" version:





Adding an air meter:
This features is a good example for solving a big problem i had while also adding a lot of fun.
How it was when i started building the game: The player would be sucked into space and die when leaving tiles. This made sense because i wanted the player to follow the level structure but i also led to a lot deaths by mistake which was frustrating. It was easy to miss step especially in a stressfull situation where walls are blowing up.

I introduced the feature that the player could "fly through space" using a jetpack. I had to limit it though because i still wanted to link the player to the level structure and also wanted to add difficult to reach and hidden areas. I implemented thats why an airmeter which would go down when in space and fill up when inside (above a tile). It works very nice and made the game much better:



There was still the question how i move the player over longer distances (when air would be out). Sometimes this needs to happen when moving from one enemy ship to another for example. For this i introduced teleporters and also escape pods which can crush into structures.




An own shuttle:
Having an own shuttle was one of the best ideas seperating the main ship where most of the story happens and which is your safe haven from the levels them selves. It is that transition how to get there. You can still change weapons and it is your way to get out of the level every time. Easy to learn and remember. Do in the level what you want...but get back to the shuttle.



Talking about transitions. This was in general a topic which occupied me for a while because the player has no control over the main ship untill mission 5. I added there for automatic transitions (like jumps) whenever an important dialogue was consumed:




Always tell the player the current goal:

There is a lot to explore but one tiny thing which makes this game so much clearer is the goal bar at top which reacts on what the player does.






Adding riddles:

Adding ridles like this one was important for me to keep the balance between exploring and fighting:



Shop

The shop was in the beginning on the shuttle and looked very very simple ;)



I moved it onto the main ship and made it look much nicer :)




Relic feasture:

I implemented the relic feature to strenghten the exploring factor on planets but also on ships. You have to find threen pieces randomly hidden which will grant you a bigger bonus when found.



Collecting the card will trigger a scanner in the upper left corner which guides you to the hidden relics:




The relics are split into parts. No found parts yet:


One part found:



Bosses:

I spent quite some time fintuning bosses. They were usually to easy from start and i needed to implement patterns the player could learn, to overcome the boss. That way i could make the player feel smart and defeat the boss in a fun way. Adding systems like the mortars which work well with the bosses made my life much easier. My goal was to have every boss 8there are around 4 in the game) feel unique. One thing i learned it that i totally underestimated the effort which goes into proper boss design.






Leave a lasting impression:

One design pillar i wanted was that the player would see an impact on his actions. Blow stuff up, fight, burn things and see that impact. I think it makes the world more believable but its also just a lot of fun.











Stay tuned!


« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 03:44:34 am by Bombini »

NOTA

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I saw the video and skipped to page 44 - was wondering if you had a plan to make it available for PS4...

Bombini

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Hi NOTA,

i would not know how unfortunately.
I am currently still bug fixing and will publish it myself or talk to a publisher.
This will the the scope of it.

But i am kind of done with the game. Even adding another language might bore be too death ;)
I will keep you posted.