@rabbit_nabokov not really. I'm at gdc this week so I won't be online much (Today)

@maxticket last year's flight we took off and had to go back to the airport because the windshield blew open in the cockpit. (Today)

@kaylasara yeah last year after we took off whoops (Today)

I made it to San Francisco without the airplanes windshield blowing open this time #blessed #unbreakable (Today)

@kinifi just landed at sfo :) (Today)

@celsiusgs I got delayed in Chicago once because it was so cold the planes plumbing froze solid. :I (Today)

@UllCon @AmericanAir noooooooooo (Today)

@UllCon environment string issues? (Today)

so wait were the llamas controlled by twitch chat or (Yesterday)

@kertgartner @ADAMATOMIC hdjdidudhsbsjeirhruwhwbe83h28wgsbsnskowowhsneje872gwbk (2 days ago)

@MattThorson "Tournaments make me too nervous" (2 days ago)

@Data01 yeah saw this awhile ago, captures the genesis game vibe pretty well but I never got around to trying it (2 days ago)

RT @infinite_ammo: Gonna be possibly looking to pick up some more contract work after GDC. Music and/or Code. <3 (2 days ago)

@kertgartner how is your computer even running (2 days ago)

@mandyrosler Found this! t.co/kLToN4kQMt (3 days ago)

@MattThorson Still want the original towerfall elf guy as a ultra secret character (3 days ago)

@katanadash dang I think I'm booked already Sunday night but that looks awesome (3 days ago)

@maxticket I do approve! t.co/Sba4ugiwX9 (3 days ago)

Anyone know of any board/card game meet ups happening during gdc? :o (3 days ago)

@unseven rugal was def on my core team in kof98 (4 days ago)

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posts filed under: general

2015 - 2 - 25 / 10:19 pm / general

Dev Log: Menus n More

Dev Log: Menus n More

I've been jamming on Super Sky Sisters a lot these past few days getting it ready to show off during Game Developers Conference! I also had a good deadline for tonight which was our monthly Phoenix IGDA meeting. It's always a blast to see two people play the game together, especially if they don't know each other and if both of them have never played before.

I put in a bunch of new menu screens last minute, but so far they're turning out pretty well.

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I also added a better title screen that rotates screen shots of the game so that people kind of have an idea of what to expect before they push start.

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I should note that a lot of these menus are built for demo builds in public venues. I have some ideas of how I want to make the final menus that involves some more polish and artwork, but for now I'm just making the bare minimum I need for showing off the game.

Every time I code up a menu I always think "I should really look into using some sort of UI framework, or make a generic reusable UI framework!" but then I never end up doing either of those things. Otter does have some remnants of a UI system that I was working on, but that's so old and clunky now compared to my current style of coding.

I can never decide if it's worth coding with a UI framework or system especially for UIs that are all controller and keyboard based. Whenever I look into using some sort of framework it always seems like it's way too much for what I'm looking for, and a lot of it seems to be based on mouse interaction which is not what I'm usually doing in my games. If I ever end up with something cool though I'll definitely add it to Otter for other people to (try to) use as well.

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2015 - 2 - 21 / 5:10 pm / general

Pretty Skies through Shaders

Pretty Skies through Shaders

For the full version of Super Sky Sisters I wanted to spend some time making a really cool looking sky backdrop for the action to take place on. The original prototype has a decent looking sky, but I think I whipped it up in under an hour and looking back at it now it looks like crap.

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So I turned to my old friend Photoshop for some advice. I played around with various ways of making a cool looking sky, and I eventually I came back around to using a Gradient Map to manage the colors of a black and white image. If you didn't know, I'm a huge fan of using gradient maps. When it comes to high resolution art I tend to have a lot of trouble with choosing palettes and maintaining that palette through the painting. It's really easy to muddy up the colors if I start eye dropping the wrong parts of the image, and working in high res really makes me miss the amount of control I have over my palette when working with pixel art... but gradient maps are a good band aid for this!

I feel like a broken record with gradient maps so I won't go into too much detail for this post on what they are. To put it simply an image's colors can be remapped to a new set of colors based on lightness. Here's a quick example of what that means.

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So how can I use this for painting skies? By using a gradient map to take care of all the colors all I have to do is paint up something in grayscale first...

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And then I can spend a little time making a nice sky colored gradient...

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Then I can apply that to the image as a gradient map and like some kind of magic my image has awesome colors!

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My idea for the sky at this point was to have one static sky image, and then decorate it with a bunch of varied cloud sprites. The total amount of assets I use for rendering the sky are as follows:

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My first thought at this point was to just apply the gradient map to the asset directly and export it with the blue colors baked in. If I did it that way then I wouldn't need to worry about using any shaders in the game, and I thought that would be the best bet, but I quickly ran into an issue with the color.

It turns out baking a gradient map into an image with alpha has pretty undesirable results. Check out how one of the clouds look when the gradient map is baked in.

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When using these sprites on top of an already baked in sky background I end up getting some colors that are less than ideal. Some parts come out grey and white and black which can look pretty ugly. So I ended up scrapping the whole baked in gradient map idea.

Instead I just exported all of my assets in grayscale and also exported the gradient. I then applied a relatively simple shader just to apply that gradient map to the image. In Otter I'm using a Surface to render the entire sky to. That surface then has the shader along with the gradient texture. The result looks like this:

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It looks incredibly cool in motion, but unfortunately it's tough to show it without a full video recording. There's too many colors going on for a gif to really show how cool it looks.

A cool side effect of using a shader with a real time gradient map application is that I can switch to a different gradient and the sky can be totally different. For example I can take a gradient that looks like this:

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And the sky then looks like this:

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2015 - 2 - 21 / 3:07 pm / general

Dev Log: Bosses and Explosions

Dev Log: Bosses and Explosions

I've been working away at getting some bosses working in Super Sky Sisters. I don't know how to embed a gifv from imgur so you'll have to click here to check out a super cool explosion.

Over the past year I've gotten more into using coroutines for complex behaviors and "cut scenes" in my games and my conclusion so far is that coroutines are the most amazing thing ever for game development. Back in the days of Flash I actually made my own version of coroutines (kinda) by making my own scripting language that was able to execute code over the course of multiple frames, but with C# and Otter I can just keep using the same code and have it just do the whole magical "yield return" business.

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Working on having three bosses in the game including this big worm snake guy. I'm making use of Otter's Skeleton and Snake components which can take a bunch of entities and move and transform them in various ways to make big monsters. This is a system I've wanted to make for a reaaaallly long time but I finally figured out how just a few months ago.

I'll be at Game Developers Conference next week so if you want to play a round of Super Sky Sisters be sure to find me! I'm hoping it have it done shortly after GDC time and release it as soon as I can. It's been a lot of fun working on a really small project that I feel like I can just mess around with. I think it's been improving my work habits and my attitude a lot, so if I can just figure out how to keep that up then I think this will be a pretty good year productivity wise.

I'm still planning on sharing a bunch of stuff from this game once I feel like I have time to dig into blog posts more. There's a lot of source codes and tricks and shaders that would be cool to share!

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2015 - 2 - 17 / 3:27 pm / general

Dev Log: Bosses and Stuff

Dev Log: Bosses and Stuff

Sorry it's been so quiet around here! I've been in a pretty heads down headphones on kinda zone lately which has been pretty awesome. I've been hammering away at Super Sky Sisters to get to ready to show to people at Game Developers Conference in just over a week! The latest thing I've been tackling is boss battles.

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I'm using Otter's Skeleton and Bone components for the construction of big boss monsters to fight. They all abide by the classic video game trope of dying after all the eyes have been destroyed. Right now only one boss is functioning but I want to try to have three different bosses in the game by the time it's done.

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There are some cool things I've been discovering along the development of this game that I do want to talk more about at some point soon (especially if I want to hit my blog post quota for the month.) I've been pretty focused on working on the game though and haven't really dedicated any brain power to writing up more detailed posts.

Also I'm still using toggl and I've made pretty good use of Trello for this project as well. As of right now things are going pretty well and I've been really focused these past few weeks!

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2015 - 2 - 11 / 2:32 pm / general

Dev Log: Super Sky Sisters Screenshots

Dev Log: Super Sky Sisters Screenshots

Sorry about the silence on my blog lately but I've been pretty heads down getting a lot of stuff done on Super Sky Sisters, my two player action co-op game! I'm planning on having the game totally playable by the time the Game Developers Conference rolls around early next month, so I've been pretty focused on it.

Here's what it's been looking like lately:

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I'm planning on going into a bit more detail on some things like how I'm rendering particles and the sky background for this game because I have some cool shader stuff going on. Also rendering those big red spiky blocks (or stamps as someone has called them) involves a neat shader trick as well. Back to work!

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2015 - 2 - 3 / 10:34 am / general

Dev Log: Super Sky Sisters Remake

Dev Log: Super Sky Sisters Remake

I'm back on Super Sky Sisters for the time being to try and make a finished game out of it as soon as possible. I'm supposed to be showing it at Indie Amigos on Thursday so hopefully I can get a new build ready! I'm also trying to get it ready for Game Developers Conference.

I'm working on some new assets:

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And getting some of the new HUD working:

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And of course spending a lot of time making sure the wings look exactly right:

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Going to try to jam on it as much as possible today and tomorrow to see if I can have the new version playable for Thursday!

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about

About

Hi there, my name is Kyle, and I'm a kid disguised as a grown up. I'm making video games and living the indie game developer life in Tempe, Arizona. 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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