RT @pixelnicks: Want to explore this island? Just support #EagleIsland on Kickstarter 😊🦉 t.co/jeAAnRtaWG #gamedev #pixelart #indi… (Today)

@rustym @celsiusgs just round that shit UP (Yesterday)

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I'm now trying out DYNALIST t.co/pxwNPUMXtC for brain management/task tracking/misc writings. Might be cool! (Yesterday)

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@Commanderstitch yeah it is. I didnt tweet that in the morning. what are you a time cop? (Yesterday)

@mangadrive yeah okay also the opening of episode 22 of kill la kill (Yesterday)

every morning I start my day with a cup of coffee, 4 eggs, and the arc-gurren lagann transformation scene (Yesterday)

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@Vash3stampid3 naming them would only give them more attention~ (Yesterday)

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getting excited while watching a trailer for a video game but at the end it reminds me that there's already dlc and… t.co/WJh1g2gcGB (Yesterday)

@MoviusC soooo unreal tournament definitely tried terrain maps with their twitch-fps weapons and they were god damned awful lol (2 days ago)

@MoviusC well if it were like a quake map there'd probably be less giant open spaces, or if there were they'd be in… t.co/0LK7FJCbVs (2 days ago)

if PUBG was just like the same concept but a giant quake map and played like quake then I would be dead from playing it for 999999 hours (2 days ago)

@TeddyDief ancient me: "my bloodline will carry out this task for me sometime before the sun consumes our home plan… t.co/T27Mb6a93W (2 days ago)

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posts tagged with: design

2017 - 3 - 30 / 4:16 pm / general

Sky Sisters Upgrades

Sky Sisters Upgrades

I think the last actual question to ponder in the world of Super Sky Sisters is the upgrade system. A long time ago when I demoed the game at an event in Denver I got some feedback that suggested that it would be more interesting or fun if the players had some sort of active goal to pursue. This came mostly in the form of maybe collecting something actively, or something along those lines. Basically the way that the game is played right now is that you are always just reacting to things and never just acting.

The strongest idea that came out of thinking on this for awhile was tying the upgrades to some sort of active goal that the players could pursue. I decided to go down the path of collecting things and put a small challenge in that involves the players guiding the orb along a predetermined path. When they completed a lap on the path they would earn an upgrade, and the path would then demand more of them for the next upgrade by either changing shape or adding more laps, and so on. At first this seemed like a good idea but lately I'm totally not sure.

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The upgrades are things like +20% damage, or +10% special recharge, or +50% loot range. I think the upgrades are actually a lot of fun and when I added them to the game it seemed to really fit and complete some sort of puzzle that I was staring at for months. It almost seems like a hack since it seems like players in general are always going to respond well with some sort of +X% of something opportunity in a game, but it also gives the sense of progress and that is actually quite difficult in Sky Sisters since the entire game takes place in a single square arena.

So right now I'm at a crossroads. I like how the upgrades require the players to do something actively to earn them, but the more I look at it the more complex it seems. Adding this new idea of an upgrade path on top of everything else just seems like a giant mess, and the game is already messy and chaotic most of the time (especially at the higher difficulties.)

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The more I think about it the more I want to remove this system entirely and make upgrades a thing you just earn halfway before a boss, and immediately after a boss. This is the super tough part of designing a game like this. It's not as obvious to me as say changing the layout of a level to teach a mechanic easier. It's a big system with a lot of moving parts and messing with one part changes all the others. When I watch people play the game it seems like they're already trying their hardest to just survive and go for a high score, so maybe I'm reading into this feedback a little bit in the wrong direction.

Back when I received this feedback it was at a point where the game was much slower paced, so maybe the player felt like they just wanted more going on and not so much down time. The idea is that during this "down time" the players can work toward some goal, but I'm not sure if this is the right way to accomplish that. Since PAX I made the game faster paced, and it worked out better than I thought.

Not sure what I'm going to do! I think I will probably remove this whole path tracking challenge to get upgrades. Or... as I've typed this out I thought maybe if there was something on the screen that the players could always shoot that might be fun... but ... now I'm already thinking of how that could go horribly wrong too. Oh well. Video games!

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2016 - 9 - 30 / 2:50 pm / general

Dev Log: Upgrade Queued

Dev Log: Upgrade Queued

One of the main pieces of feedback I recieved about Sky Sisters was something like "it would be nice if the players had a proactive goal instead of just reactive goals." Meaning that instead of just dodging things all the time it would be cool if the players could work toward some goal.

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Right now the idea is to have some sort of outline of a shape in the arena. The players can use the orb to trace that shape. Whenever a lap is completed the shape will change into something more complicated. Right now I have this tied to getting upgrades, which I'm still a little unsure of. The first time you complete a lap you unlock an upgrade. The second upgrade requires two laps, and every upgrade after that requires three laps. I have yet to try this out with two players though. I kind of like the upgrades always coming every 3 or so events, but it also seems like the most worthwhile reward that this shape tracing thing can give you.

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This might have to go through a lot of refinement as right now even I find it tough to find time to complete laps around this thing during all the madness of the gameplay. Having a proactive goal though also introduces the problem of cheesing certain events so I have to come up with ways to address that as well. Basically I don't want the optimal strategy to be to leave events running as long as possible to get more upgrades. We'll see how this turns out through play testing, and this might have to be something I possibly address or change after the first release of the game.

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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 - 2 - 19 / 1:13 pm / general

Exploring Explosions Talk

Exploring Explosions Talk

Last night I spent an hour or so talking about explosions! It was an internet talk that I gave from the comfort of my room to the fine folks at Warp Zone in Louisville Kentucky.



All the materials from the talk can be found here if you want to follow along with the animations and video footage.

It was a lot of fun to put together the talk, and get to share my excitement over particle effects to other game developers!

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2014 - 6 - 20 / 12:43 am / general

Side Trip to Web Design Land

Side Trip to Web Design Land

Things have been pretty quiet around here for a couple of days! I'm still working on video games, but recently I decided to take up some (hopefully) quick web design work! Although I can't share the details of what I'm working on, I can share some resources that came in handy for prepping me for the new world of web design.

My work flow for sites is terribly outdated in the modern world where 55% of web traffic apparently comes from mobile devices. Then on top of that, some desktops are now reaching resolutions of 2000+ horizontal pixels with retina displays and just plain ole huge monitors. The web is always changing, and it has changed a lot since I've really buckled down for a design project.

Responsive design is all the rage now, and my old work flow of mocking up an entire website in Photoshop, slicing it up into separate images, and reassembling it so it's pixel perfect just no longer applies to how modern sites are built. Now sites are built using responsive designs. The layout is determined by the resolution and the device that the site is being viewed on. So here are some helpful links that got me up to speed with all this newfangled HTML and CSS and Javascript and what have you:

Web Field Manual
This is a link to a collection of more links! A lot of the stuff here was pretty useful for getting set up with a new work flow, and to catch up on recent trends in web design. Separated by category, I think I looked through almost every link they offered.

Flat Icon
About a billion of free to use icons (as long as you attribute the source) for any sort of design needs.

Responsive Workflow
A good article discussing the changes in the web development work flow from back in the old days of PSD mock ups to the new way of prototyping directly in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

HTML5 Templates
Useful for taking a look at various styles that are designed with responsiveness in mind. See how various templates respond to various mobile device resolutions.

Responsive Grid System
A pretty nifty responsive grid framework to use when developing a responsive site.

Unsemantic
Another nifty grid system for responsive design. I used this for the Otter website.

Font Squirrel
This is blowing my mind but apparently fonts can just be straight up embedded now in modern browsers. No more need for crazy flash javascript canvas hacks to render text of any font.

Unsplash
A collection of high resolution totally free to use stock photos, and it's updated frequently.

Web Creme
Pretty straight forward inspiration gallery of recent cool and/or hip websites. Some of these are a little bit too trendy but there's a lot of good stuff here to check out.

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about

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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