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: Prototypes

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: Prototypes
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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: Prototypes
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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: Prototypes
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Progress Report 2

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Hoping to have a stark little hub room with a couple of portals you can enter to fight some demons by the end of this month. The “Bachelor Trip” deadline looms, and I’ve got most of the combat for my prototype squared away. Six enemy types are ready (if you count a turret), each with different behaviors/speed per difficulty. And they can handle stairs and pits now!

I redid a lot of my ugly, early scripts and converted all my AI over to behavior trees (which are super flexible, definitely worth taking the time to learn). Still need to get some basic menu flow up and running: Title Screen, Hub World, Mission Accept, that kind of stuff.

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: Prototypes
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Progress Report 1

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I have almost five enemy types working now, and have spent the last few days trying to design a smarter ranged attacker. I’d like the game to be top down, but not flat, so they need to be able to figure out pits and stairs. I made great progress on an enemy that could chase me around a flat level without getting stuck on walls or corners, but they went nuts when they saw stairs for the first time. Just went up and down them over and over. Close to cracking this now, though.

Of course, I could always just make a flat game with no stairs, but I like the challenge of trying this the hard way… For the time being.

And that’s the phase I’m in: make as many enemies as possible, so later I can just build some levels and mix them into interesting encounters. I figure 8-10 enemy types is a decent variety for the size of game I’m shooting for.

I’m going on a bachelor party road trip at the end of the month, and hoping to have some kind of a highscore level ready with a PS4 controller to get some early feedback.

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: Prototypes
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Sup

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So Alex is happy at his new full time gig, and he lets me pick his brain every so often. In one such brain-picking session, I asked him whether it was feasible to make an entire game in Unreal’s visual scripting system, Blueprints. He said yes, then he probably qualified it with some important information, but my mind started wandering at yes.

Could I, with 9 years of game design and game art experience, but VERY little coding experience really ship a whole game all by my damn self? And even if I’m capable of it, do I actually have the determination and savings to finish what I’m starting? I think so?

I’ve been learning Blueprint full time with YouTube and books since November, and started working on a game in December. I’m accepting contract work where it pops up, but I work better when I’m focused, so I’m not really “hunting” very hard for it (here’s my portfolio if you’re interested).

I don’t really know where this will end, but I’m hoping to at least become a lot smarter, or at best be able to continue making games full time.

So What’s the Game?

It’s a dual-stick action RPG, a bit heavier on the action side than the RPG side, from one of the makers of Tilt to Live.

Tonally, I want the writing to be something along the lines of Adventure Time or Undertale, goofy at times, but not hollow. I wrote a whole scenario for it, decided that would take too long to make, so I came up with a shorter “Prologue” to start with. I’ve got a general timeline roughed out, and I’m trying to keep the art style impressionistic, so I can make more assets with the limited time I have.

Rather than crowdfunding and all the promises and pressure that entails, this’ll be a finished, low-price, 2-ish hour single player game that you can buy and play and enjoy. And if enough people buy it, maybe I can build the larger, original scenario.

So far I’ve got three bad guys and a hero, I’ve got controller support working, and I’ve got multiple difficulties with interesting differences in enemy speeds/attacks. Let’s see what happens.

Support This Insane Endeavor

Follow @oneadamleft on Twitter, sign up for our mailing list, and check this feed to see what happens next! Nobody knows! 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: Prototypes

Conceptualizing: Part 3

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The search for a worthy successor to Outwitters continued, and the Ow: Skirmish prototype evolved into Ow: Skirmish 2, where we experimented with a fresh take on the minions’ role.

skirmish2-gameboard

In Skirmish 2 you still selected 2 heroes, but now their moves were set in stone rather than being customizable. This gave players less reading to do up-front and made it easier for us to make more characters.

The minions were totally overhauled, and they were no longer tied to specific heroes. You could pick any 3 minions you wanted to bring with you: 2 runners and a soldier; 3 soldiers; a soldier, a heavy, and a runner. They were designed to work interchangeably.

On top of that, minions were immortal. When your minion was defeated, your opponent would choose a checker space to respawn them on, and their max HP was reduced by one. So as the game went on, you had to rely more and more on your heroes to get things done.

The goal for victory was the same: Defeat both enemy heroes or control all four flag spaces to win. So much havoc was going on with this prototype that the Victory Points from Skirmish 1 weren’t really necessary to keep the game lengths in check.

oweastereggThere was really nothing wrong with this one. It was fun, it was frantic, and it met pretty much all of our goals for a worthy successor to Outwitters. It was actually a contender to be developed instead of Space Food Truck, but for scheduling and financial reasons we thought SFT was a better project for that time. This is back when we thought SFT was a 6 month project, lol.

So after a few months away making Space Food Truck, we came back with a fresh perspective and sort of blew the whole thing up. We remixed the pieces we liked from every Outwitters prototype we’d done, then we added some fresh ideas on top.

The resulting prototype is Game 6. It’s kind of like this one, but not really. The core idea was: what if instead of weakening as the match went on, your characters got stronger? For my money, it’s the best of the many PvP strategy prototypes we’ve done. It’ll also be our first 3d game!

Want to know more about our upcoming Outwitters follow-up? Stick around! We’ll be posting lots of artwork and details here weekly. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our mailing list to get email reminders when we hit big milestones, like the launch of our Kickstarter, Early Access/beta, and the official release.

Categories: Hex Gambit, Prototypes
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Conceptualizing: Part 2

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From our earlier CQC prototype (along with a few others that didn’t quite pan out), we arrived at something we were calling at the time Outwitters: Skirmish. It was “Outwitters” in name only; there were no races, no bases, and no fog of war.

skirmish1-gameboard

In Skirmish you chose 3 heroes, and each hero had its own minion class (the little guys with the numbers). You’d win the match by owning all 4 flags, defeating all the enemy heroes, OR by earning enough Victory Points. VP was a way to keep matches from dragging on too long; you got them from taking over flags or defeating enemies.

A lot of these ideas are still present in Game 6 in one form or another, but a lot has changed.

The biggest cut feature from Skirmish was character customization. Each of these heroes had something like 5 special moves to choose from, but you could only equip 3 moves for a battle. So we might both pick the Scallywag Captain, but we could still be using him in different ways.

This was very cool for variety, but it took a lot of reading and comparing to choose from all those moves (choose 3 characters, now choose 3 moves each). It didn’t help that the moves were also fairly complicated and interacted in all sorts of weird ways. They involved things like status effects and passive attributes that basically went full RPG.

Overall it was a lot less approachable than Outwitters and a lot harder to teach, which is not what we’re going for. Our goal for Game 6 is something as elegant as Outwitters, but with more flexibility and surprises in the way characters can be used.

Here’s a look at a few of the game pieces we had for the myriad status effects and traps in Skirmish:

skirmish1-gamepieces

From this prototype we learned that customization was cool, but we had to keep complexity in check.

Want to know more? Stick around! We’ll be posting lots of artwork and details here weekly. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our mailing list to get email reminders when we hit big milestones for our followup to Outwitters, like the launch of our Kickstarter, Early Access/beta, and the official release.

Categories: Hex Gambit, Prototypes
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Conceptualizing: Part 1

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The road to Game 6 started with some pretty simple questions. What do we like about Outwitters, and what could we have done a better job with? As game designers, we explored these questions with lots and lots of prototypes. Some of them never got passed the “idea” phase to a playable state, like this abandoned “gameboard” file I found while digging through our old stuff. I think I was in the middle of figuring out what size everything needed to be on a phone screen.

abandonedprototype

We explored all kinds of stuff. Should moving a piece really cost you a wit? What about square spaces instead of hexes? What if you could push people into pits? Does that kill them? How can we make teams more unique from each other without adding a ton of production time to new races?

cqc-gameboard

This is one of our more “out there” prototypes; what we’re working on now is a lot closer to the classic Outwitters map setup. I throw these gameboards together in Adobe Illustrator (much faster than having Alex actually code them), create a quick and dirty PDF manual, and we copy/paste game pieces around the board to play.

I called this prototype “CQC” because we were experimenting with very small boards. Positioning your units was important, but it wasn’t as crucial as how you played your character’s abilities.

Only red team could move on the red spaces, and only blue team could move on blue. The three brown spaces in the middle could be used by anyone. Your general, the mustachioed guy, could only jump between the 3 dark spaces, and you lost if he was defeated. Each player had a deck of cards with troops you could spawn and crystals to trigger their special moves. As you can see we had lots of different minions, and you could choose which ones you wanted to add to your deck.

The card deck portion felt too random for an Outwitters follow-up, and the board size was pretty stifling. But the idea of having a general, like a living Outwitters base that could fight back, was one that we decided to explore further…

Want to know more? Stick around! We’ll be posting lots of artwork and details here weekly. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our mailing list to get email reminders when we hit big milestones for our followup to Outwitters, like the launch of our Kickstarter, Early Access/beta, and the official release.

Categories: Hex Gambit, Prototypes
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