Alpha Revolver Games


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Whats been Happening!

We didn’t manage to hold a meeting with all four of us last week and we wanted to get some stuff out of the way and fixed in the main game before starting to decide what improvements are going to make it into the base game. We have had a really hard think about ways to improve it and we are going to be adding quite a few nice features and detail to the game. The connection between it and the mini game and the store will be a lot stronger. We are looking forward to getting to work on it.

Really all that is required of the Air Balloon game is a few more Sound effects, some slight changes to small parts of the art and testing. We can pretty much say that its ready. I will be looking for testers when Monster Mayhem has the 6 base shorts so I can test them both together. One or two of the shorts, although they are complete are not considered part of the Monster Mayhem base game and can be unlocked alongside the pet that stars it.

Everything is all set up for our meeting tomorrow, where I have prepared a document of features that tie into the base game design as I mentioned above. I also outlined a few more mini game ideas for Monster Mayhem and continuously testing Alex’s uploads of the Air Balloon Game, with the SFX and music added in. It has really changed the experience for me and I am excited to let everyone hear Garry’s work.

A big part of the music and SFX was to really let Garry get a look at our game and understand its purpose and what we are trying to convey, but give him creative freedom to compose what he feels is appropriate. Whilst I can tell a good soundtrack from another he is the Sound Designer and I feel he knows our vision well and understands what we are trying to achieve.

This Friday I will be busy celebrating my partners birthday and a friend of a few members of the team may be coming to visit us. So next week we might be a little dry on the updates and progress.

Thanks

Darius


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Artist Update 006 – Apple Thieves

The newest addition to Monster Mayhem is the Find the Apple Thief game. It started as a simple “Find the Target” game which has turned into a fun little detective game where the player watches the pets run around an orchard. Keep an eye out for the pet or pets who take a bite to eat for themselves and catch them in the act! …But be careful accuse an innocent pet and you’ll be met with confusion and the real culprit could get away :O

I had to create entirely new sprite sheets for the top-down perspective for this game since its a first in Little Monsters. The apples are also in a sprite sheet, each frame with 1 fewer apple than the last allowing the thief to take 1 at a time. Steven did a good job making it all work together.

apple screenshot


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Reward and Punishment

In our latest meeting we spent a good portion of the meeting talking about making sure people felt that what they did mattered. We spoke about how we could reward them for taking care of their pet and what should happen if they decide not to take care of their pets. Darius has already brought this up in his post so feel free to read his for the details.

My own programming work has reached a point where we could add in test values using temporary stats in the Air Balloon mini-game. Things like stinky pets will increase the spawn rate of enemies.

I have finished cleaning up the code for the Main game, all that is needed now is to keep adding in new pets as I get new art and tweaking things for each individual pet. The game is also ready for any items we decide to add.

-}Alex


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Yay for Physics

In this weeks blog, I will be discussing the level I have been working on. Internally known as the Dodge Level, this level is the one I have had the most fun creating so far. As far as the design is concerned, this level was not actually previously conceived.

During the downtime we had, when Malcolm was away on holiday, I took some time to research different technologies, so I could take the useful/ interesting bits and adapt them for our needs. One of the things I started tinkering with was the physics system within Game Maker.

Eventually I made a ball, and had it bouncing off the sides of the screen. It was okay, I had the physics working as It should, but it was nothing crazy, just a tech demo. I then added one of our newest pets into the game which most fit with this type of game play; and it became instantly fun; to the point where I played with this thing for hours.

After I realised how much fun I was having with such a simple game play element, I proposed to Darius that we should build a level out of this technology. Originally my idea was to have the player lead the pet through a poorly lit, narrow path, without touching the sides.

Ultimately we decided that a better game would be to have the pet dodge falling obstacles whilst not touching the floor. The player would have to help the pet to survive for a predetermined amount of time in order to win the level. If the pet is hit by a falling rock, or touches the lava below, they fail the level.

Dodge Level

In the GIF above, you can see an example of the level being failed, by the pet touching the lava. This level has a lot of animations and aesthetic features in it, such as the lava bubbles, the rocks being shot out of the volcano, the pet shooting off screen, landing etc.

Originally, I was slightly worried about this, as the animations, and timing of said features had given me a lot of problems in the past specifically in the worm level. However, I am a quick learner, and I am pleased to report that there were virtually no hiccups during the implementation of this level; in fact as specifically remember thinking that it was working TOO well at one point, and was waiting for it all to collapse on itself, but alas it did not. Making this level has done a lot of my confidence.

Overall I am extremely pleased with how this level has turned out; really proud of our team, and looking forward to making more levels, facing new challenges, and ultimately releasing an awesome game.

Till next time,

Steven.


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Improvements & Testing

A big part of this week was reevaluating the design of the base game. We wanted to up the quality in many different ways for the base game to make it as much fun and as interesting as our mini games. We also wanted a stronger bond between all other aspects of the game.

We have 3 different aspects we need to consider

The base game, the mini games and the shop.

The mini games have a strong link with the shop. You earn coins and potentially items. This also strengthens the bond between:

Mini Game + Shop + Main game

This is because what coins you earn, you can buy stuff in the shop and then the stuff you buy in the shop contributes to the base game.

The big issue we had was linking the Main Games & Mini Games strongly, because of the variations of games that we had. How does the stats affect the games and how do we convey this to the player. We feel we have a really solid solution which we hope to share at a later date once we manage to test it.

We also had a few other issues.

Looking after 12 pets would seem too tedious. Jumping around each day constantly looking after all the pets would require a lot of work from the player. Our solution was to reduce the maximum amount of pets to 4 at any one time. The player can choose to have fewer if they would prefer to look after only one, but still own all of them. The pets go into a daycare center. The trade off for this, is that the pets affection will decrease over time, but you can buy small care packages to give a boost back to affection.

We also wanted to have a reason to keep the pets stats up, if you don’t look after them, the affection goes down and if the affection is down long enough the pet will run away. If you do well looking after your other pets, the pet will return or you can buy it for a discount coin price on the store. Your first pet will never run away.

Another idea was to offer different eating and cleaning stuff. Everyone gets an unlimited amount of  basic free food and basic cleaning stuff, but these will take longer for the player to get its stats up and we could even make it that the stats go down faster. If you use your coins to buy the higher quality items then it will result in the pet being more satisfied more quickly and potentially longer, but once they are consumed you need to buy them again.

Apart from this and many more features, as we stated before we want our world to seem more alive. The world will be more dynamic and life like through the art and SFX.

Other work included working with Alex, Malcolm and Steven on their work to make sure that all sections of the game are synced up strongly and general PR work.

Moving forward, we plan to again have another meeting this Thursday to confirm our plans. We actually outlined the plans on Tuesday, but anything that needed reevaluated based on discussion, feedback or ideas was taken into consideration.

Whist I will oversee and direct the game as it moves forward I plan to flesh out the remainder of the shorts for Monster Mayhem and insuring the music & SFX for the Air Balloon game are implemented properly and tested. I will be arranging a meeting with some testers to go over my ideas tomorrow in order to get feedback and presenting all of the information I get at the meeting.

I also plan to start getting parts of the games fixed or changed based on tester feedback and retested again. We will repeat this process continuously throughout the project.

Thanks for tuning in,

Darius


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Artist Update 005 – Back to Work!

I’m back from my holiday and ready to get cracking. The boys have been hard at work while I’ve been gone so I have plenty to do. Started off by sorting some backgrounds for the main game, and a few more dynamics to add a bit more depth and character to the environment.

Steven has created several prototypes for Monster Mayhem which I’ve been brought up to speed on. I’ve started working on the Volcano game. It’s one of the first uses of physics we are using in the game where you have to dodge rocks coming from an erupting volcano.

I’ve still got loads to get through and my schedule looks pretty packed for the next couple weeks. I guess its the price of a week off in the sun!


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Malcolmless week

As already mention by the other members of our group, this past week was done without our artist Malcolm. I spent my time refining the main games code, doing a bit more research into how we want our resolution to be handled and brainstormed a few ideas to make the main game matter more in relation to the base game.

Those of you that have followed us should know that a very important part of the game is actually getting and taking care of the pets. This is an activity we do not want to be meaningless or treated as a chore. We want it to be something you want to do, something that will actually matter as you play the mini-games we are creating. The ideas are still under review but there is plenty of other work to do while we think it over.

We are getting more sounds and music to add into the game which really improves how the game feels. As someone who prototypes a lot of games I cannot overemphasize how much more complete the game actually feels as you add in the music and sound effects. Try playing a game with the sound turned off for a week. When you do turn that sound back on you can notice the better atmosphere and all these tiny little details that enhance your game. It is also fun to consider how sound designers make sounds, especially ones for non-existing animals or weapons.

Malcolm got back this Thursday so the work pace will be picking up again soon.

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