Sticky Post of Progress

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You can wishlist Hex Gambit: Respawned on Steam today! That would really help me out, as more wishlists increases the game’s visibility on the store.

Currently working on: Hex Gambit: Respawned is being ported to these launch platforms: PC | Mac App Store | Switch | PS4, PS5 | X Box One, X Box Series X/S. We’re also adding cross-platform online multiplayer!

Categories: Hex Gambit
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Whiplash

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My Food Truck prototype was thiiiis close to playable when, wouldn’t you know it, Hex Gambit: Respawned came back knocking. Also I took a little vacation time and got COVID.

I’d been on standby for a long while, waiting for my publisher’s programming crew to get the online multiplayer ready. This month I’ve finally got the green light to add our missing online multiplayer menus and wrap my side of things up.

Unfortunately some of the features I mentioned previously had to be cut for the sake of time, so no online tournaments or skill-based matchmaking at launch. I have added some neat stat tracking to keep things interesting, though. Here’s the state of things:

  • EXP is granted for wins only. As you level up, your title and badge will gain prestige. Win streaks add bonus EXP, so skilled players level up more quickly.
  • Best win streak, most wins in a month, and lifetime wins are recorded.
  • The captain you’ve used most frequently in the past 11 matches is recorded as your favorite captain.
  • Playing local multiplayer or online now grants medallion rewards, which unlock captains and multiplayer levels. So you can unlock all of the game’s content playing whatever mode you like!

I’ve got a few more animations and polish items to take care of, then my work on HGR should be wrapped up next month. No solid release date for the game yet, but late this year or early next seems likely. Keep an eye on this blog for updates!

Categories: Hex Gambit
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Hunger Games

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Hearing progress on the Hex Gambit: Respawned front, some online builds are being tested, but no release date yet. Keep an eye on this channel for updates. Eventually I’ll dive back in to polish up the online multiplayer menus, then my HGR work is truly done.

This month has been dedicated to the Food Truck prototype! I’m liking it as a project because it’s pretty scalable, meaning I could go crazy with all kinds of scenarios and maps, or aim for a single procedural map like Space Food Truck. Or both!

Currently I’ve got cooking working, which is pretty different already from SFT. You can work on all of your recipes at the same time, and I’ve been putting together combinations of ingredients that make more sense. With dairy and grain, you make a bagel with cream cheese. Two meats = meatcakes. I’m also thinking you’ll earn money for completed recipes, and be able to cook and deliver several “#1’s” to build up a highscore.

Traveling around the map as Captain is just about ready. Next I think I’ll make a tutorial scenario with just the Chef and Captain cooking up some simple recipes. Then I’ll add complexity from there.

Categories: Prototypes
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Return of the Food Truck?

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While thinking about digital tabletop games along the lines of Space Food Truck, I arrived at something interesting.

SFT was designed for coop, but I found a lot of people were playing it as a single player game anyway. It’s a complicated way to play, having four different decks to build and keep track of, but people still enjoyed it. That got me wondering, what would Space Food Truck look like if it were actually built for single player?

In sketching out the rules for that, I hit one of those juicy idea geysers. “I could tweak this, ditch that, skin it like this…” And before long I had a doable, interesting game idea in the wildly popular deckbuilding food truck simulator genre.

So I’m prototyping that right now! Here’s some of the key differences I’m from SFT that I’m aiming for:

  • New theme, not a direct SFT sequel.
  • More focus on recipe crafting. Removing the limit on how many you can cook and deliver in a session.
  • Recipes that feel more real. Meat plus bun equals burger, for example.
  • Less turns where you can’t do anything, and more flexibility in which crew member’s job can be done when.
  • Experimenting with removing movement, doors, and crises altogether. I want to swap those for a different challenge that’s less frustrating.

So that’s where I’m at! Will this be my next project? Too soon to say, but it does feel like a strong candidate. Check back next month to see how it’s going!

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Hoist the Anchor!

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I’m already running out of piratisms for blog titles, but the Pirate RPG prototype got its first playtest this weekend. There’s 5 battles (1-2 hours), all kinds of ways to grows and equip the characters, and plenty of ideas for developing it into a full game. Players had fun, and I think it’d be a great single player/local co-op follow up to Hex Gambit: Respawned.

My favorite prototype enemy: Gullet (left & center) & his Fowl minions (right)

It’s a very ambitious game, though. Lots of art needs no matter how I slice it. Working alone, it’d take a few years. So I’m gonna explore some other ideas, give myself some options before I commit to a project.

I tackled HGR because I needed something ASAP, it was already halfway done (before I upped the scope a few times), and it felt like a mistake that I wanted to ‘correct’. The next project doesn’t come with any of that baggage.

I do have some interesting limitations going forward. Unless I can find a partner (like I have with HGR), online multiplayer is not a thing I want to do alone, and Steam is my only certain platform (there are other possibilities, but not certain ones).

I’ve also got a back catalog full of games that I’m trying not to touch. I have a million ideas for resurrecting Tilt to Live, Outwitters, and Space Food Truck, and plenty of good reasons not to go there. Least of which being that two of those were mobile games, which I don’t know the first thing about launching in 2022. Going backwards feels like a crutch right now.

My next prototype exploration will be a tabletop/card game, maybe a digital hybrid like Space Food Truck was. We’ll see where that takes me.

Categories: Prototypes
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Too Quiet

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Weird month! Two rough colds, a lot of bonus child care, some life changes to add anxiety. I was more than a little distractible. Most of that situational weirdness is behind me now, and I’m aiming to make up for lost time in February.

Hex Gambit: Respawned news! At last, I’ve seen a match with a server and a client connecting to play. A lot of the undercode™ is being reorganized by my publisher for online play, so that’s still a very cool strategy game coming later this year. Can’t wait for you guys to play it!

Prototyping! …This damned pirate hex RPG. I’ve pumped a LOT of time into this one. I think it could be very cool, but it’s also a huge project. There’s a few more enemy encounters to put together, and then I’ll have a playable thing that I can show to people. My next prototype will likely be much simpler, for my sanity.

I did get to play with some of my nephew’s sketches for pirate monsters, which was fun!

And hey, here’s some DnD characters I drew this month when I was feeling extra distractible. That’s my bard, Ziggy McJagger, plus a fire druid lady for a teammate.

Categories: Hex Gambit, Prototypes
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Year of the Patience

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In 2019 I wrote:

“I pretty much know how to make make my own games now. All that’s left is to finish one, then I can call myself an indie game designer again.”

If the meaning of the word “finished” is “to complete a shippable game”, then I’m an indie game designer again! Unfortunately… I think the meaning of the word “finished” is to get that game onto a store for you guys to play. So, still not really a game designer… and that’s honestly starting to get to me a little bit.

Patience!

This year I completed the Hex Gambit: Respawned offline experience, including a 5 hour campaign mode, local multiplayer, customizable house rules, with full controller support! I also got an Epic Megagrant to keep my head above water! A lot of that is stuff we’ve never accomplished in the history of One Man Left. I did all of that on my own, I pushed those changes on git, and… crickets.

Patience.

HGR is being ported to every major console by my publisher. Online multiplayer is in the works. Super exciting stuff is coming Summer-ish 2022.

That’s a very long time for me to sit and wonder what launch day will look like. So I’ve been prototyping for half of this year. Should I make prototypes until HGR launches, or go ahead and commit to something so I can launch a follow-up more quickly? Should I leverage our popular legacy franchises, or make my own mark with something you guys don’t know you want yet? Should I commit to strategy as a genre, or is it time try something new?

These are the questions I’m grappling with as we head into 2022. The important thing is: I’m still here somehow.

We haven’t had a decent game launch since Space Food Truck in 2016 (currently 50% off!), so THANK YOU to anybody that’s still following this feed, or our Twitter account, or checking in with our discord. It’s taking time to turn this thing around, but I’ll have something awesome for you guys to play soon.

My resolution: I’d like 2022 to be the year I can finally call myself an indie game developer again. I want to be selling a finished game for the next New Years post.

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I Got Time

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Happy Thanksgiving, Americans!

First a quick Hex Gambit: Respawned update: I’m getting some firmer timetables from the publisher on the online multiplayer and console ports, and Summer 2022 is looking like a likely launch window. That’s a bit of a wait, but they’re adding a ton of value to the game and I’m excited to see it all come together. HGR will be a big frickin’ game.

So minus a month or so of UI work on Hex Gambit, I’ve got 6 months on my hands. What do I do with that? Short term, I want to get this pirate RPG prototype firmed up.

Pirate mechs!

I have a good idea what the playable game will look like, but there’s SO much setup to get an RPG ready to try. Items, accessories, buffs, debuffs, abilities, weapons, character growth, enemy encounters… can’t really play until all of that’s working.

This month I dressed up the UI a bit, added an item system (my only currently working item is an apple, but the system is ready to make pretty much anything), and added an equip menu for weapons and accessories that I’m pretty happy with. I’ve got the basics of buffing/debuffing in for the accessories, and a general idea of how I want to tie this all together.

I’ve also dabbled in some character and item art. This isn’t really a style I’ve decided on, I’m just blocking in shapes and concepts at this point.

Categories: Hex Gambit, Prototypes
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Digging for Treasure

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Hex Gambit: Respawned news: nothing much to report. My publisher Blowfish Studios’ team of devs are still hard at work porting HGR to its various launch platforms, squashing bugs and getting the basic online features up and running. Things will get more interesting on this front closer to the game’s release date (Q1 2022).

So I’m in a holding pattern, which gives me lots of time to think about what I might do next. It’s hard to answer that without knowing where Hex Gambit’s launch will go, but I’m not gonna sit around here doing nothing!

Doesn’t look like much yet. More concerned about how it plays atm.

My latest experiment is a piratey tactics RPG for 1-3 players, coop. I’ve been working on this one on and off since July, which is insane, because it’s still not playable (almost!). A prototype REALLY shouldn’t take this long to put together, but if it doesn’t work out I’m thinking I could rework it into something else easy enough.

Here’s what I’ve got:

  • Movement and targeting are in, thanks to the basic hex game starter project I made.
  • Six weapon types like cutlasses and flintlock pistols, each with a unique advantage/disadvantage.
  • Damage calculations feel good! Had to rework this a few times, so that defenses reduce attack damage in a way that makes sense. There are six types of elemental damage, which can be physical or magical.
  • Each character on your team is a blank slate. What you choose makes your characters better at using certain elements and weapons. I also want a random growth mode, if you want to challenge yourself to adapt your strats to the way the game grows your characters.
  • Lots of art. Pirates are fun.
Categories: Hex Gambit, Prototypes
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PAX AUS Stream

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It was really exciting to have Hex Gambit: Respawned be a part of PAX AUS this year! Here’s a replay of my HGR stream for the occasion. A lot of it is the same demo levels I showed earlier this year at the Steam Next Fest, but perhaps you didn’t catch that one.

Still working on getting the multiplayer servers up, so not much new to report today. Check back as we firm up the online features and prepare for launch next year!

Categories: Hex Gambit
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Ahoy!

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Hex Gambit: Respawned is largely in the capable hands of my publisher, Blowfish Studios at the moment. We’ve got some dummy menus in place for host/join game setup, and the servers are being integrated. So with that ball in their court, I’m continuing work on another prototype!

This one has a pirate theme, and it’s my first use of the Hex Bones project I built a while ago. The idea is something like a tactics Final Fantasy (I’ve never played Final Fantasy Tactics), with some simple character building and no random encounters or EXP. I’m probably gonna try 1-3 players co-op.

Figuring out how everything fits together for something like this is more complicated than I expected. I know how it’s traditionally done, but I’m trying to minimize some of the things I don’t think are very fun. Generally I’m not fond of having too many armor and accessory slots, or armors that are 1% better than each other, or random encounters, or finding a dominant 9999 strategy that I use every turn.

It’s giving me headaches some days. I don’t think I’ve ever built a combat system this complicated, but it’s starting to come together. And hey, ghost shrimp!

Categories: Prototypes
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