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 Sticky Post of Progress

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Support This Insane Endeavor

Adam is working on his first solo project: a snack-sized Action RPG! Follow @onemanleft on Twitter, sign up for our mailing list, and check this feed to see what happens next. I won’t beg you for free money, but buying any of our games or game soundtracks gives me more time to work on this.

Current Features:

  • A top-down, dual stick action RPG
  • Shop for equippable buffs and upgrades – 12 so far
  • 6 enemy types
  • 3 powerful secondary weapons
  • 3 difficulties with different enemy behaviors
  • Earn more gold for upgrades by tackling harder difficulties
  • Nifty cinematics!
  • Full controller support
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

Hex Gambit servers are out of AP

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First, two notes:

  1. This is only a Hex Gambit thing. Outwitters and Space Food Truck‘s servers are still going strong.
  2. Adam is still working on his first solo project since Alex’s departure. It’s self-funded and going well.

Now bad stuff:

It’s costing us more to run the Hex Gambit servers than we make from selling the game. So it’s with a heavy heart that we announce the end for HG, probably my favorite game design in our nine years doing this.

Servers will cease operation for online matchmaking starting Tuesday, June 18, and the game will no longer be listed on Steam or the Humble Store.

Anyone following Hex Gambit’s development knows that the road to our intended Switch release has been a bumpy one. We over-extended ourselves trying to make the game console-worthy. It took an extra year rushing like mad to deliver on all our promised features, and that’s a long, expensive delay. We were counting on our Steam launch to put a little extra gas in the tank to finish the Switch version, something in the ballpark of Space Food Truck‘s performance. But alas, there was no gas on Steam for poor Hex Gambit.

After Alex bowed out for a full time job, he planned to peck away at the remaining work and eventually make good on the Switch port, maybe sometime in 2020. But the prospect of bleeding money until then just isn’t an option. We know that the Switch version was the big deal that everyone was waiting for, and we threw everything we had into making it happen. If I’m ever in a position to make it up to our Switch Kickstarter backers, I will. We’re both very sorry that this is how it ends.

Categories: Hex Gambit, News

Behold!

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Our heroine speaks with the… “shopkeeper” in the “hub world”. Fully functional, but fully not decorated yet.

Current Working Features:

  • Full controller support!
  • 2 secondary weapons
  • 6 enemy types
  • 3 placeholder endless highscore arenas.
  • Shop for buffs
  • Equip/unequip buffs before each level. They all work.
  • Change difficulty at any time outside of the levels.
  • Play any level you’ve unlocked at any difficulty (no enforced order).
  • When you talk to the shopkeeper, the camera goes whoosh.
Categories: Game 7

Progress Report 5

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Click to enlarge.

 I’ve figured out what a released version of this game will look like content-wise, and I’m thinking I can maybe do an alpha/Early Access-y thing this year.

I’ve got a little in-game merchant named Dinky now (above, a little lifeless at the moment), and my gold-for-buffs functionality is mostly working. Once the “earning gold” side of things is in and some dialogue/cinematic tools are set up, I switch back to combat and making things pretty. Most of the game is gray boxes atm. I’ve been putting off the art stuff because I pretty much know my way around that from Hex Gambit.

Now that the bigger picture is coming into focus, I’m feeling good about this. The dread of tackling something this ridiculous is being replaced with a little optimism. Unreal is pretty amazing.

Support This Insane Endeavor

Adam is making an action RPG with visual scripting! Follow @oneadamleft on Twitter, sign up for our mailing list, and check this feed to see what happens next. I won’t beg you for free money, but buying any of our games or game soundtracks gives me more time to work on this.

Categories: Game 7

Progress Report 4

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So now I have full controller support for the game itself and for all the menu UI I’ve added in. I’ve got a title, a third draft of story scenario, and a few arenas with unique spawners and layouts. The tricky thing now is to scope a game that’s small enough to make alone in a reasonable amount of time, but meaty enough to be worth people’s attention.

I’m editing my monstrous word doc today to make a road map from here to shipping. This journey started out asking “can I technically make a game myself?” I’m feeling pretty confident now that I can. Now I’m at the “are you really crazy enough to finish all this” part.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Support This Insane Endeavor

Adam is making an action RPG with visual scripting! Follow @oneadamleft on Twitter, sign up for our mailing list, and check this feed to see what happens next. I won’t beg you for free money, but buying any of our games or game soundtracks gives me more time to work on this.

Categories: Game 7

Progress Report 3

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I put in a little overtime to get that build ready for the bachelor trip and… we didn’t play it. Too busy having a great time on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail! A lesson I’ve learned over and over about myself: I don’t work on vacation. I’ll bring books and laptops and plan to get a little done, but it never flippin’ happens. Coupled with some baby care days on either end and a nasty bout of the flu, I hadn’t looked at the game for like 12 straight days by the time I sat back down to work this week. It was daunting, and a honestly little terrifying given the scope of things, but I’m finally back in the swing of things.

This week, I’m fleshing out better controls for the “customize loadout” UI, so I don’t have to stand over your shoulder and explain the eccentricities of the current setup. Once that’s intuitive, I’d like to sit down and think about how to get some people playing this early build.

If any of you are exploring Unreal (4.21) and tinkering with their native UMG controls, don’t waste your time like I did. Sure, you can move focus around the menu and click stuff with a controller without handling any inputs yourself. But it can’t really be customized or expanded upon, so it’s pretty useless.

Support This Insane Endeavor

Adam is making a game with visual scripting! Follow @oneadamleft on Twitter, sign up for our mailing list, and check this feed to see what happens next. I won’t beg you for free money, but buying any of our games or game soundtracks gives me more time to work on this.

Categories: Game 7