Alpha Revolver Games


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Xmas & New Year Break

Hey folks,

Its that time of the year again. So we are announcing that we will be taking a break from the development of the game over the Christmas and New Year period today being the last day. We will return after new year to work full time on the game. During the course of the holiday if we have some spare time we will work on different pieces of the game individually.

Today we finished up our 2nd Developer video and we plan to do our 3rd shortly after we come back and release all three videos. We are looking forward to showing you what we have done. We hope to make an official trailer shortly after. Coming back from the New Year we have 1 more Mini Game to work on which shouldn’t take as long as Monster Mayhem did, and this is because the mechanics will not change dramatically every level. This is actually the game Malcolm is most excited for as it was his favorite design when I pitched it to him. Since then we have refined it based on Malcolms feedback and its looking even better. Steven will be working on that game.

Alex will be working on finishing up the base game, solidifying stats, work on adding the game pieces together and have the save function working for every new addition. He will also be working on the shop and finalized UI. After both Steven & Alex have finished we then need to make sure the controls are all properly set up for touch instead of mouse and keyboard.

Malcolm only has 3 pets to finish up, and he already has a concept for one of them and potential concepts for the others. Malcolm will then be working on backgrounds, dynamics, user interface, shop art and the final art for the final mini game.

Garry will be working with us in January up until release to add Music & SFX into the game. Really excited to see what he comes up with.

Darius will be working on finalizing the designs of the games, keeping the project in sync and the team focused and and on target, completing PR, dealing with workings within Alpha Revolver Games and preparing for our potential future in Indie Game Development.

So that’s our plans for release and we are still targeting and on target for an early 2015 release, for now we will be spending some time with our partners, family and friends and we at Alpha Revolver Games hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year with the people you love and if you don’t celebrate Xmas or New Year I hope you have a nice time and good celebrations when your holiday comes around again. We are looking forward to 2015 and coming back fresh from our break to get this game complete.

Thanks for reading!

Have a good one!

Alpha Revolver Games Team


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Preparing for the future

This week has been quite productive, we are now working on a new short designed and already in the works for Monster Mayhem for the Fluff pet. We went for a change of scenery and well when it is ready I’m sure you will like it as its shaping up to be a really nice short.

I spent a large part of my time working through stats for Alex in relation to the main game feeding, cleaning, sleeping, environment and affection. The thing about stats is that you can’t really know how the game will play out, so its important that you go for rough estimations and do plenty of testing to tweak it until its right.

We recorded our video for Monster Mayhem, but ultimately we may re-shoot it as we felt it may be too long. We are also planning to shoot the Air Balloon Game soon.

I can’t say too much about what I am doing, but I am preparing some things for the future as I had some extra time this week. Hopefully we can blog about it then.

Cheers,

Darius


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New map for the Main game

We have 4 different biomes that the pets can be in.

We initially had it where players could move the pets to different biomes by entering their current biome and then having them run to the next biome. However, that takes a lot of time to cycle through for the player and was a bit weird because that might have forced pets to run across certain obstacles. Additionally, we did not want there to be 2 pets sharing a biomes.

We decided to instead let the players do the swap in the map area where you select the biomes. This is significantly faster. Players will also have a clearer indication on which biomes are full/ why they cannot put a pet in the biome.

There will still need to be some work done on letting players know that the map room is where the player can change biomes and how to actually do the change. Currently, the player simply holds on the icon for a bit to move it. Whether it will stay that way remains to be seen. It is not something that is obvious at a glance.


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General Development Update: Behind the memory level.

So, last week I started (and finished shortly thereafter) the 9th level for Monster Mayhem; Memory.

The mechanics of the level are simple: at the start of the level, a tune will be played. Once the tune is over, the player uses the buttons on screen to recreate it. Now, there are a lot of potential ways to implement this type of system; I chose to use arrays.

There are multiple reasons why I chose to use arrays, the primary one being that arrays are a really efficient way of storing data. Another reason though, is that I had never previously taken time to wrap my head around arrays, and I wanted to take the opportunity to learn about them, and grow as a developer.

This first array game_tune[i] is initialised and populated on the level’s start up (In the create event) using for loops; another extremely useful tool, especially when doing repetitive things (like initialising arrays)

//initialising array
for(i = 3; i > -1; i -= 1){
   game_tune[i] = 0;
   show_debug_message(string(i));
}

the code above initialises the array from back to front. We do it this way, rather than from front to back, so that Game Maker knows exactly how long the array will be (as you are initialising the last entry in the array first), this means that it will reserve a space in memory that is the exact size of the array. If you initialised the array from 0 upwards, the memory has to be re-allocated for every additional value added. This has a negligible performance difference when dealing with small arrays, but I’d say that its better to get into good habits sooner.

//populating array
for(i = 0; i < 4; i += 1){
   game_tune[i] = choose(“r”, “b”, “g”, “w”);
   show_debug_message(“game_tune[” + string(i) + “] = ” + string(game_tune[i]));
}

This next portion of code fills the empty slots in the array with either “r”, “b”, “g” or “w” (i.e. red, blue, green or white). These blocks of code will result in something like this:

//initialising array

game_tune[3] = 0;

game_tune[2] = 0;

game_tune[1] = 0;

game_tune[0] = 0;

//populating array

game_tune[0] = “b”;

game_tune[1] = “g”;

game_tune[2] = “w”;

game_tune[3] = “w”;

The game will then use the array to play the tune at the start of the game. In the example above the tune would go, Blue, Green, White, White.

After the tune is player, the player is able to press the buttons to try and recreate the tune. Each time they play a note, it is stored in the second array, player_tune[i], and then compared with the corresponding value in game_tune. If the entries are the same, the game continues and the player can play another note. If they are different, the level is lost.

For example. if the player plays the blue note in the example above, then:

player_tune[0] = “b”;

that is then compared against:

game_tune[0] = “b”;

because they are both blue, the level continues. If the player played any other note, they would lose the level.

The reason I wanted to go into so much detail in the actual development of this level is because I was really proud of how quickly I was able to learn about arrays and for loops. I could have developed this level in a sub-optimal way using some other solution, and it would have been absolutely fine.

Instead however, I chose to challenge myself in a professional capacity; to learn a better way of doing things. And the coolest part of all of it was that I learned this stuff as I implemented it, and it had barely any effect on how long it took to develop. It was a really rewarding, yet surreal experience where I felt like I was one with the matrix. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed learning this much.

See ya next time,

Steven 😉


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Artist Update 010 – Mapping

Over the past couple days I’ve been re-designing and remaking the main map for Little Monsters’. I’m looking to make the areas as clear as possible to the player, using the same colour scheme used throughout the game to identify types and making the areas nice and big for players ease of use.

World Map BG WITH AREASIt should hopefully be clear which colour belongs to which type. The areas however will only show up like this if the player has unlocked that area and wishes to move a selected pet. When doing this the map will look more like the one below. World Map BG WITH AREAS Blog

The Outside islands will host the mini-games and other features like the Shop and the Daycare. just tapping on those islands will take you to the respective screen.

Malcolm Ireland


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Pushing for progress

The new short which replaces our mustache game is now in Monster Mayhem. This means that phase 2 is now complete, and along with phase 1 makes up the intro version of the game. When a player first starts the game they will be introduced to the four tier 1 pets, from which they will be able to pick which one they want to keep. When they play monster mayhem they will be able to play 6 shorts which stars all the tier 1 pets. Each pet having an individual short and then the other 2 shorts will include all the pets. Players will be able to obtain additional levels by obtaining tier 2 and tier 3 pets, meaning that each pet also unlocks a new level for Monster Mayhem bringing the total complete version to have 14 levels.

I also spent some time with Alex and his progress, testing the daycare and apart from gifting (which is yet to be implemented) it works really well. I also managed to make placeholder stats which will allow us to test a longer version of the game, more relevant to real time with saving ,whilst at the switch of a button we can test the quick version of the game when we want to have small but quick test sessions.

I prepared for our Monster Mayhem developer video which we plan to record tomorrow, however at tonight’s meeting we will discuss the best time to release this as we need to set up planning schedule with Alex for the Air Balloon Game. The third video we will be doing includes the base game which will include both programmers, however some more work is required for this before we feel ready to show it off.

So this week I will be pushing for us to have at least one area to the finalized state as well as finalize the UI and map.

Thanks for reading,

Darius