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posts filed under: general

2016 - 9 - 26 / 10:32 pm / general

Dev Log: Bullet Reflectors

Dev Log: Bullet Reflectors

One of the quick ideas I dropped into Super Sky Sisters after PAX was two big ole glass looking reflector orbs in the arena.

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I'm still trying to solve the issue of one player being "left out" of certain events in the game. Boss fights are the worst offenders of this still, but I think this is going to help fix that issue a little bit. Again my ideal scenario is that players make the conscious effort to switch out who is attacking, but usually that ends up not happening. With these reflector things on the edge of the arena the players can then try to line up with the boss in a way that lets both players attack at the same time. I'm excited to see if this actually makes any difference in my next play test.

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2016 - 9 - 23 / 1:03 pm / general

Dev Log: Progression Progress

Dev Log: Progression Progress

One of the big ideas I had from PAX was changing out the unlockable system in Super Sky Sisters to something a little bit more straight forward. Before PAX the system would unlock things like special abilities and game modes based on achieving certain goals. Like beating the second boss would unlock something, or passing 100 game events would unlock another thing. Although I thought this idea was cool, I decided to scrap it to go for something way more obvious.

I want the points in Sky Sisters to feel like they're contributing to some sort of larger goal, so the new progression system uses the player's total score to unlock new stuff. I even made this fancy new menu screen that shows how far the players are getting.

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I'm still trying to figure out how many points will be needed to get every level. For me right now it seems pretty well balanced but that usually means it's going to be way too difficult for the average player. I don't want unlocking things to take 50 hours of gameplay, but I do want the player to strive to improve their average score per session to unlock stuff faster.

For a long time I had no unlockables in Sky Sisters -- everything was available from the start, but over the past year I got a lot of feedback that suggested I should have some sort of unlocking system for two main reasons: One is that limiting the options of new players can be good for guiding them into the game, and the other is that players do really want that feeling of accomplishment of unlocking stuff even if it does feel like arbitrarily gating content. I am worried about the leaderboards feeling unfair to new players since they wont have all the options of long time players, but hopefully it wont take too long to unlock the same options.

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2016 - 9 - 21 / 5:45 pm / general

Dev Log: Super Star Effects

Dev Log: Super Star Effects

One of the main issues with Super Sky Sisters was the "star pad." I added this feature to the game to try and solve the problem of one player having "nothing" to do. How it works is every so often an energy circle will appear on the arena. If one player is inside of it, the other player will get a big boost to their attacks. This seemed like the perfect thing to add so that one player could try and help their ally by taking a position in the star pad, but the problem is that nobody understood what was going on.

A few people at PAX picked up on it, but overall I'd say about 90% of players didn't understand the use of the star pad, and even worse some confused it for something else (like healing.) To try and message it better I went back and added some more effects to the star pad. I have yet to actually test this so I'm not sure if it will work, but it does seem pretty dang better than before.

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It should be pretty hard to miss what is happening here now, or at least I hope!

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2016 - 9 - 19 / 6:56 pm / general

PAX Recovery

PAX Recovery

I decided to purposely take a lot of time off after PAX, and this included posting on my blogosphere. I think I can still hit my goal of 12 posts of something or other this month, but four straight days of PAX ended up being more draining than I thought. I think I'm back and ready to rock for real though, so I'll start with a quick recap of PAX.

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So I was able to set up a small demo station of Super Sky Sisters at PAX at a friend's booth. There was no big banner or fireworks display or anything, just me and a TV and two controllers. Sometimes I had a chair to sit down in!

I was fairly nervous about people playing the game but more confident than I ever have been. At this point the game is pretty far along and my real test was to see if people would understand what was going on without me interfering. My main goal for PAX was to see if I could in four days of constant play testing with new people playing the game all the time, and by that measurement it was a pretty big success. read more

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2016 - 8 - 29 / 4:22 pm / general

Dev Log: Sky Sisters Webzone

Dev Log: Sky Sisters Webzone

With PAX coming up I finally got around to throwing together a quick website for Sky Sisters. It is nothing close to anything fancy, but it will have to do for now!

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Along with the website you can see that I've finally made some sort of logo for the game. I tried a bunch of different designs with halos and wings and the angels themselves but after all of those attempts I settled on just having a simple text logo with a bubbly cloud looking style. Also I think the font I used for "Super" is the only font in the universe that can be used for writing "Super."

Okay now for real I am finishing getting ready for PAX...

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2016 - 8 - 29 / 12:40 pm / general

Dev Log: Menu Polishing

Dev Log: Menu Polishing

Something that popped up on my task list recently was redoing the menu backgrounds in Sky Sisters. Someone in my twitch chat recommended that I do something with the menu backgrounds as they were still using the old cloud background that I had made way back at the start of the project.

When I first started this version of Sky Sisters I made this cloud background that used a fancy shader and did all this cool fading in and out stuff but over time the more I looked at it the less I liked it. I got a lot of feedback that it didn't really match the rest of the game, so I redid the background for the gameplay but left the old sky background as the menu background.

It ended up only taking me an hour to replace the background with something that looks a little bit more like the rest of the game. I also went through and added some typewriter effects to the big chunks of text in the menus so that everything seems a little bit more dynamic.

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The code for this animation on the text is actually really simple thanks to Otter's RichText class.

if (text.String != textBuffer) {
text.String = textBuffer.Substring(0, text.String.Length + 1);

var lastLetterTyped = text[text.String.Length - 1];
Tween(lastLetterTyped, new { ScaleX = 1, ScaleY = 1 }, 30)
.From(new { ScaleX = 1.5f, ScaleY = 1.5f })
.Ease(Ease.ElasticOut);
}

And with that I'm now preparing to head out to PAX West. If you're going to be there make sure to say hello! I think I'll be showing the game somewhere near the Indie Mega Booth if it all works out. See you there!

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About

Hi! My name's Kyle, and I make video games most of the time in Denver, Colorado. Here you will find my thoughts, games, websites, doodles, and other stuff like that. I worked on Snapshot, Offspring Fling, and a whole bunch of other games. I also created and maintain Otter, a 2d game making framework. If you want to get a hold of me use the form on the bottom of the page, leave a comment, or just tweet at me. I try to post three times a week. Thanks for stoppin' by! You're the coolest.

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