March Update

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Here’s the latest on Adam’s reboot of our turn-based strategy game, Hex Gambit:

I added lots and lots of menus last month to flesh the game out: Credits (scrollable, so our original Kickstarter backers can find themselves), How to Play, Options, Spawn Menu, and Pause are all animated and working and nice.

This month: the Runner class is up and… running. And the Motivator should be done by the end of the day. Motivator took a bit longer because of all his damage buff weirdness, but at the rate I’m going it looks like all seven of our old minions could be in the game by the end of the month (but only the Solider will have his AI done).

I’m also trying to feel out a good time to get our old Kickstarter peoples a build. Something to play while we’re all quarantined.

Categories: Hex Gambit

February Update

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Here’s the latest on Adam’s reboot of our turn-based strategy game, Hex Gambit:

The AI is in, and it’s pretty fun to play against! I’ve got two difficulties atm: one that randomly picks a minion and does the best it can with it (so he misses some opportunities), and one that tries a few things before making a move. I’ve managed to avoid the weird pauses that our original AI used to have, so things go back and forth pretty snappy. I’ve also laid some groundwork to give me a head start when I add more minions.

Next up: try and get a decent-looking build ready. That means replacing a lot of placeholder art, adding some kind of instruction screen, and getting the basic guts working so when people say “can I try a build?” I can say “yeah” instead of “yeah, but first read this pdf…”

And if i get bored in the middle of doing that, I may indulge myself and get the Runner class finished.

Categories: Hex Gambit

January Update

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Still procrastinating on capturing video, so here’s new captain artwork for Bjorgolf! Hoping to get happy/sad emotes in for each captain, whenever I get around to implementing them.

Been converting things from using a single controller to supporting any number of them or AI, which was completely foreign to me and more complicated than expected. But now it works! You can add up to 4 controllers and share them between players however you want.

On AI turns, my little fetal AI just waits 3 seconds and passes the turn back to you. Next I’ll teach it how to kill. Our old Hex Gambit AI used to get stuck in logical loops or think too hard or something… It had a tendency to just kinda stare at you and time out. I’m aiming for something faster and more responsive this time.

All of this is working towards some kind of PC alpha demo for our Kickstarter backers in the near future. There won’t be a lot of content in this first build, but there will be enough to have some fun, and the foundation should be pretty sturdy bug-wise. It’ll look something like:

  • PC only, maybe a Mac version if someone wants to try it, but I can’t test for Mac
  • 1-4 players locally, with 0-4 controllers supported
  • Add 1-3 AI opponents to the mix
  • Free for All or 2v2
  • Might be Soldiers-only battles for this first build

That’ll be a nice start for getting feedback on the new controls and the gameplay tweaks I’ve made. Back to work!

Categories: Hex Gambit

Year of the One Man Left

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2019 is nearly through, and there’s been one man left™ around these parts for about a year now. So how’s that going?

Thanks to YouTube (especially Mathew Wadstein) I learned a skill this year that I’ve been wanting since I was a kid: 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. It was a lot faster and cheaper than college.

I’ll add some art from my Action RPG training project below. The gameplay was pretty fun and I learned a lot, but the amount of time I would need to do all of the boss fights and levels you need for a game like this is a bit much for my first solo project.

So I landed on resurrecting Hex Gambit as a local multiplayer game. I have a bunch of finished art, I own all the music and SFX, and the game design is already solid. That’s not a bad head start. Two months in, I can play with 2-4 players, free-for-all, using a mouse or a controller.

Now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and get something onto a store! Happy New Year to you all, and best of luck in whatever crazy idea you’re pursuing in 2020.

Categories: Game 7, New Years Posts

December Update

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My local multiplayer version of Hex Gambit is actually looking good! I have a system for setting up attack targeting by just filling in a little form (hits 2-5 spaces away, only along straight paths, stuff like that), which is super easy to work with. AP is in, everyone can pillar tap, and undos are working! Today I’m working on unit spawning. Won’t be too long before I can actually play Hex Gambit with this thing!

For those of you that got a chance to play the original, here’s some differences I’m experimenting with to make things more “local” friendly.

  • Captains will have an assigned minion loadout, so each player just chooses a captain. I may do a “Custom Match” mode that lets you pick all of your minions like the original, but the new way is much faster to set up, especially for four players.
  • Custom Match options: you’ll eventually be able to tweak how many Action Points you get per turn, how many Undos are allowed per turn, player handicaps and stuff like that to make your own house rules (the yellow numbers next to the team scores in the screenshot above represent that player’s handicap).
  • No locked moves! Cooldowns will be used instead on a per-minion basis. When they spawn, any moves that have a cooldown start in cooldown. You’ll have to keep the minion alive long enough to charge their strongest moves.
  • Multiple maps! I’ve set things up so that minions can figure out arbitrary layouts.
  • Setup phase is instant: a handful of your units types will be picked at random and placed on specific “start tiles” as invincible, spawning units. On your team’s first turn, they become active and you play like any other turn.
  • Action Points carry over! You can store up to five and bank what you don’t spend for later.
  • Moving now costs Action Points, and you get less AP each turn. This way, things pass back and forth more quickly to keep everyone engaged.
  • UI overhaul from the ground up to make things easier to figure out (work in progress).

My hope is that these changes will make things easier to explain to new players and make your matches even more exciting!

 

Categories: Hex Gambit

November Update

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My Action RPG is pretty cool, and very far along. But it would also take a very long time to finish, and I’m needing a game that I could realistically launch next year. So this month I sketched out some possible project schedules and experimented a bit. This one is showing promise:

So far, I’ve got:

  • Seven team colors with all seven minions animating
  • Crowdsurfing works and looks a bit smoother than before
  • Undo(!) is mostly ready
  • Support for as many maps as I want
  • A simpler camera system, and the board perspective changes on new turns.
  • Play with a controller or keyboard or both if you’re crazy.

I definitely can’t make Hex Gambit: the massive online community turf war. But I think I could make Hex Gambit: the couch multiplayer game? Check back for updates, or sign up for our mailer.

Categories: Hex Gambit

October Update

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Took a little time this month to work on some finished artwork. Nowadays I draw, model, rig, animate, do particle FX, game design, and visual scripting… It’s a lot of muscles to keep in shape. I do about 10 minutes of gesture drawing to start my work days, but I’d like to try to keep an illustration side project rolling once in a while. That or sculpting in Blender… something artsy that doesn’t take months or years to finish.

In new game news: this month I’ve got a loading/unloading system for level streaming figured out that I think will work nicely. My levels unlock when you meet a criteria, that criteria can vary from level to level without needing separate game over screens, and it plays a little level unlock animation when you get back to the hub world.

I’ve also spent too much time tackling an arch nemesis of mine: boulders. The trick to making nice looking rocks and boulders has always eluded me, and I’ve discovered it’s because I don’t sculpt. I learned how to model doing characters, where edge flow and quads and things like that are important. None of that matters for rocks. Watching sculpting videos has been hugely helpful. I’ve always had an aversion because it’s “just another discipline to learn,” but I think it’s one that would pay dividends if I practiced.

There’s a special circumstance this month that’s causing not a lot of work to happen, but in about four days that’ll all be in the past, and I’ll sit down for a long stretch of too much work. Feast or famine!

Categories: Game 7

Update Number September

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The presentability milestone continues!

I’m currently on the tail end of something that often got kicked down the road in our previous games: sound FX! Of the six enemies I have in decent working order, I’m halfway through my fifth character arranging all of the stomps and grunts and death screams. I’ve also polished up all of the weapons with visuals and sound, and I’ve got to say it’s a huge morale boost to finally have some shippable elements to look at. Placeholders and half-done items were a natural part of the learning process, but it was getting depressing to be this deep into development with nothing really feeling done.

Sometime before the year is out I’ll figure out a video capture workflow, so I can show rather than tell. In the Before-Times, Alex used to capture all of the video and I would do the editing, so it’s just another thing to learn and I’ve been putting it off.

Categories: Game 7

Update Number… Um, August.

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Still at it! Working on making my solo project presentable for screenshots and video, and this milestone is a frickin’ doozy.

Since you couldn’t really explore the world of Hex Gambit and there were only two environments, most of the textures and assets I used weren’t really modular. That means they couldn’t be easily re-purposed to save time on this new project, which is something I’m hoping to remedy for this game and for games to come by establishing “the” One Man Left aesthetic.

Making standard floors and walls, basic textures for bricks and rocks, stylized particle effects like torch fire and smoke puffs. I’ve never built 3D levels in professional setting or taken any classes, so I’m learning all of this by doing and redoing. I’m sick to death of thinking about boxes and cylinders and meters, but I’ve finally got a decent set of assets and a competent grasp of level assembly.

The hub world is almost in a shippable state, and which will soon make it the first thing in the game I can point at and say “that part’s ready”. After more than 8 months of learning and working on this thing, I’m really looking forward to that feeling.

Categories: Game 7

The Announcement Milestone

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The basic gameplay loop and mechanics for my solo project are in, so now I’m working on making things prettier for a formal announcement with a title. Over the next few months I’ll be getting NPCs like Dinky the shopkeeper in and animated, polishing up some existing enemies and effects, and finishing my dialogue & cinematics system to animate the game’s intro.

Above is some WIP promo art to wet your whistle. One day my screenshots won’t be a bunch of gray boxes!

Categories: Game 7