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A Small Robot Story // Adventure Platformer [DEMO AVAILABLE]

A topic by bc likes you! created 1 year ago Views: 3,220 Replies: 56
Viewing posts 1 to 40
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Note (1/14/16): For all prior progress, check out my devlog over at the Scirra forums here.

I recently released the demo for my first game, A Small Robot Story. It's a platformer with a focus on story and a retro aesthetic. Currently I'm working on the 2nd level tileset and enemies. There will be a total of 5 levels and I *hope* to have it finished this year. I plan to update this dev log as well as the one on the Scirra forums moving forward.

  • Engine: Construct 2
  • Art: Pyxel Edit, Photoshop
  • Music: LSDJ, Ableton Live, Famitracker
  • SFX: BFXR

Media

Opening sequence for the demo

Beginning of tileset for the 2nd level

Here is a video of the tileset along with parallax background layers.

Thanks for checking everything out! I typically work on this project over the weekend, so expect updates then.

<3 bc <3

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this looks cool! i really like the tile art, and those trees + the background look real nice!!

Thanks! It took me ~2 hours to come up with that "middle" background layer and maybe 2 minutes to create it. Sometimes the simplest answer works!

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oh man. i have yet to figure out what the backgrounds gonna be for mine, i feel like it will probably take me a similar length of time once i actually start thinkin about it.

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Worked on the cave art, which is the 2nd part of Level 2 (Maynard Forest). It's getting there but the parallax layers need a bit of work. Overall I'm on track!

Decided to make the cave color palette purple. Definitely feels more like what I want. Also made the background animated which is a first so far in this game. This about wraps up tile art for Level 2 - "Maynard Falls". Get to start programming new enemies this week!

INCOMING TECH RAMBLE. One thing I need to think about moving forward is the animated background. All of my tile art and background art is either done using a tilemap (the purple tiles) or tiled backgrounds (the "middle" parallax layer). These methods are great because they are a low memory demand. However, Construct 2 doesn't allow animated tilemaps or tiled backgrounds. So to achieve the animated background, I made a 256x256 animated sprite and just copy and pasted it. This isn't preferable because whereas a tilemap or tiled background is just one object repeated, the animated sprite will count as a new object every time I paste it.

I may be able to get away with it since my resolution is super low (256x144), I'm using small images, and I'm using parallax so I may only need to use 3-4 animated sprites per layout. Only an export will truly tell and I'm not doing that until I get to the level design point ;)

Sorry for a lack of updates! I've been plugging away; just forgot to make some gifs. With that said...gifs!

Bat enemy for the forest / cave level. Mostly flies around in a sine pattern and shoots when you get close. The art is temp; needs to be better.



Hopper enemy! Temp art for now. Hops around with varying hop strength and distance. Naturally one would think a frog, but I kind of want a different hopping enemy. Any ideas?

Need to flesh out one more enemy (was thinking of a duck then shoot type) and possibly do a variation or two on previous ones. Plan is to have all enemies done by the end of Feb. Then I need to work on the story and dialogue scenes. Then I need to figure out how this level will wrap up. Level 1 ends with a boss fight and I could do that...but part of me wants to make a simple puzzle? We'll see what happens!

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maybe like a robot-pogo-stick? you could also try just creating a new creature altogether if you dont wanna use a frog!

Good input. Also ya know what, funny enough, I have a slime animation lying around that I could use if all else fails ;)

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This is awesome progress dude!! : D !!!

Still coding new enemies. Here is how I group my code. <3 Organization <3


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Used some art from a recent Ludum Dare for my hopper enemy: Slime Bro! What's worse than a randomly hopping slime in a cave. Uggghhhhhh most annoying enemy evveerrrr.


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i like this guy! the way he bounces is really funny :P have you considered adding a little bit of shading to him?

Yeah I most likely will. Want it to look a bit transparent. I had this lying around from a Ludum Dare and it worked better than I thought!

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Agreed! Very funny and silly, but I like it this slime :)

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Hi there, I played through the demo, and I'm not sure if you're looking for any feedback on it...

  1. Jump height is great; I was worried in the first scene how to get up to the door, but then I realized Bae has a really high jump
  2. As I walk, there seems to be a kind of jitter with the background layers; have you noticed this? (I'm running Linux if that makes a difference)
  3. I don't have a gamepad handy, so using the keyboard, I actually prefer the arrow keys plus left-shift / Z / X / C for default platformer controls
  4. Does Construct 2 have a way to hide the mouse cursor?
  5. The ESC key only toggled me out of fullscreen but couldn't toggle me back into fullscreen (very likely could be my Linux tiling window manager setup)
  6. Gun upgrades are hard to understand; seems like damage up only?
  7. It's a little unfair that the turret's shots don't have a maximum range, compared to the short-ish range of Bae's gun
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Dan-

Thanks so much for trying the demo out! I really appreciate it and super appreciate the feedback. Always welcome :)

  1. That first jump is intentional. Specifically set it high so the player immediately realizes how high they can jump. Also that there is variable jump height (longer you hold down jump, the higher you go).
  2. The jitter has been brought up. I have lerp command set up on my camera so it doesn't immediately snap to the player and generally moves smoother. The problem is, once you stop moving, the camera jitters 1 pixel to the left and right until it settles. I plan to fix this.
  3. The full release will definitely have multiple control schemes and (hopefully) customizable controls.
  4. Good call. TBH I forgot about this or would always move the mouse to the edge of the screen. I'll add it to my update list.
  5. I was only able to test the demo on Windows and Mac machines. Both allowed toggling of fullscreen with ESC. TBH you're the first person I've heard back from who used a Linux machine! Obviously I plan to track down a Linux machine for the full release and will keep an eye out for this issue.
  6. Currently there aren't gun upgrades. The only pick-ups are batteries (health) and the keycards (open doors). I plan to add a dialogue to the first battery pick-up so players understand it's purpose.
  7. Agreed! And in general, I have too many turrents. I plan scale back on them and tweak their firing range.

Thanks again for the feedback. This is my first (full) game and I really enjoy hearing back from people regarding what they think of it. Take care!

EDIT: I also love that you referred to Rae as "Bae".

-bc

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Great looking game! I love the tiles in the first screen. I'll be watching out for this one.

Thanks!

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Bats 2.0

Tweaked and re-skinned a level 1 enemy and now I have a cave rat!

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i like it! that run animation is sweet. you should try moving the tail a little while hes running!

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SLIME BOSS. Dude is gross. Got some stuff floatin' around in there.

Boss art and code are mostly set. I've been making an effort to get to a point with art and code where I can say, "Okay it works and it looks good" so I can move forward and work on other stuff. There is still a lot I'd like to add to this boss (small firing animations, slime particles, spawn minions) but scope, man!

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oh man this boss looks super fun to play

It took me a few tries to get it's pattern right. At first you could cheese him really easily. Then he was too hard. Think I got it now :D

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Man, I really need to start checking the forums again. This looks great!

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Thanks! And cool sine/square/love wave avatar <3

Thanks! My friend made that, I can't take credit for it.

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This is gorgeous! Keep up the good work.

Thanks!

Not much flashy stuff to show off from my work over the weekend. Mostly went through my new enemies and made sure all states and animations worked and transitioned well. Cleaned up some animations, added a few new ones.

Ran in to a small bug where, while multiple small slimes are onscreen, they will stop jumping when one collides with a wall. Shouldn't be a huge issues to sort out.

After that, time to add the dialogue plugin I bought! Really excited to get that up and running as my current dialogue setup is pretty patchy.

I love reading dev logs but what I love even more is getting to know other developers. It's nice to have a bit of insight in to their lives and find common ground, especially as hobbyists. With that said, here is an "About Me" so you get a better understanding of who is making this game about a tiny, confused robot.

Hi, I'm BC!

That is not my puppy. I wish it was.

I'm a 30-something who lives in western New York. I've spent a lot of time playing in bands, making a lot of designs, and generally trying to fill up my time as much as possible. My current full-time gig is working as a graphic designer, so much of my game dev work happens during free time (nights and weekends). I also go to a parkour gym twice a week, run a local game dev meetup, and do a bit of running. On top of this, I'm currently writing more music for Halloween Forever and my wife and I are in the process of buying a house. I'm a busy dude who likes being busy!

I got in to game dev about a year ago and have been working steadily on ASRS since July '15. Being from the art side of life, I dove in to Construct 2 and found it an easy engine to pick up and learn with. With future projects, I'd like to explore using Unity. I do pixel art in Pyxel Edit (which is an excellent program for the price tag) and Photoshop CC. For music I use LSDJ on a Game Boy Advance SP (chiptunes) and Ableton Live plus a bunch of instruments and synths for other genres of music. I do all my progress tracking and to-do's using Trello. I schedule my life using a Passion Planner and Sunrise for iOS.

I've made quite a few things that take time and dedication, but for some reason I've found working on a game to be way more fulfilling. I'm really enjoying the process and the community that revolves around making these tiny worlds.

Thanks if you've read this far and I'll return to game progress updates moving forward :D

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More coding this past weekend. Still nothing exciting to show yet.

However a youtuber did do a Let's Play of my demo. Check it out!

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A huge "behind-the-scenes" issue with my demo was the dialogue system. It worked but it was a mess. 7-8 lines of dialogue would take around 15-20 minutes to implement with around 30 events (Construct 2's "lines" of code). This increased the possibility of errors and it was just an unwieldy beast. The dialogue and the story is the main driving force in my game, so it needs to be easy to use, able to handle a lot of dialogue, and quickly editable.

I purchased a dialogue template via the Scirra store and spent most of last week and Saturday struggling to get it to work. After a lot of hair-pulling and help from the creator, I got it working last night!


I made this gif and directed it at the creator. A quick-to-respond and helpful person!

It is a super slick system that references an external file, so I'm not writing all of my dialogue in the engine. I need to edit the dialog box, add portraits, and tweak the "continue" button, but it already looks much better than my previous dialogue system!


Customized the dialogue system for my liking. Getting the spritefont to look good was a bit tricky with a lo-res game (256x144) and I had to manually set the width of some of the letters. Overall, I'm feeling it!

And now I finally get to move on to level design for level 2!

Level 2-1 tilemap! Such a satisfying and rewarding point to be at.

The backgrounds on the bottom have parallax scrolling and following the player through the level (that's why they don't cover the whole background). I'll be doing 4 screens total for level 2. I'll post them as they're completed.

Hey the game looks pretty cool. Will you be needing any music for it? If so you can check out my portfolio here www.sbeastmusic.com/portfolio

Thanks for the offer but I'm a musician of 15+ years. All set :D

Level 2-3 (backgrounds and decorations hidden)

This uses the cave tileset as seen in the gifs above. One more map and I'm set for Level 2. Then I just need to set up dialogue triggers and the boss room.

It's been a few weeks but I've been hard at work!

Last weekend I showed off my demo at the Buffalo Game Space Showcase. Got great feedback and hung out with a bunch of other great WNY game devs. Here was my setup:

Looks like another week or two and I should wrap up Level 2. Currently I'm scripting all dialogue events and working on cutscenes. I made the decision to try and do still-frame cutscenes especially since the game is quickly getting story heavy.

Made some huge progress this weekend. As I have mentioned, I've been using a dialogue asset from the Construct 2 store. Over the weekend I realized and learned how to use the text commands which lets me script events from within the dialogue. So basically I can type the dialogue and then type something like {BossActivate} which calls a function or any other event. This is incredibly handy. I cannot recommend this asset enough if you use Construct 2. It's a steal for the price.

Here is the Level 2 Boss reveal. Don't worry; it'll be more difficult than pictured in the gif :lol:

Up next is drawing up the cutscenes, finishing the dialogue script, and setting up all keycard / door functions in the layouts for Level 2. Then on to Greenlight!

Starting work on cutscenes. Here is one of the more basic ones. Text will scroll along the bottom. These are definitely going to push my art skills. Time to get good!

Early Saturday morning game dev hustle at the coffee shop

All cutscene art for Level 2 is done. All dialogue is written. Now working on how to best initiate the cutscenes and hop back to the actual game layout. Should be able to wrap this up this weekend.

Got that sweet cut scene fade working!

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I really like the artstyle of this game! I'm looking forward to its development.

I played the demo, the character moves at a nice comfortable pace and feels easy to control. The player and enemy sprites are all clear and easy to read although the explosion graphics' smooth scaling felt a little out of place with the pixel aesthetic.

I also encountered some weird behavior with the drop-through ledges. If I walked off of one to the side and immediately turned back around, I'd get pushed back on top of the platform instead of continuing down. And putting drop-through platforms above some of the instant-death gears instead of solid platforms is kind of mean...

Thanks for checking out the demo!

You know I went back and forth on the explosion effect. I had made legit pixel animations but they just didn't feel big enough to me. But I definitely know what you mean.

And thanks for the heads-up on the drop-through ledges. I'll take a look and see if I can resolve that. And I'll be sure to add solid ledges above the instant-death gears ;)

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LEVEL 2 IS DONE!

Check out the video.

Turn up for the music because this song is very important to me. As I've posted about before, some 12-13 years I was in a band called Tomorrow is Forever. We had a full length album that had music videos for every song telling the story of 2 game developers. We'd play the music live with the videos in sync with us. We wrote this song the first summer we all stayed in our college town together. When we had a rough demo, we brought it to our friend's house and we listened to it for the first time together. It was an incredible moment and it is immortalized for me in the form of this song.

Thanks for reading this far! I'll be launching my Steam Greenlight campaign the first week of August.

That coffee shop dev life

I decided that, since a bunch of people will most likely download my demo when I launch on Steam Greenlight, that I should probably update it. Here is what I managed to do this weekend to the Level 1 demo:

  • Updated controls
  • WASD or Arrow key controls
  • Keycard "have" indicator
  • No more doorways. All screen transitions are "edge of screen collision" types
  • Moved all dialogue over to the new dialogue engine
  • Began swapping out the "pure black" for a "softer black" in my tilesets

I've got a bit more to do but I should manage to finish the update by this weekend. Then on to Greenlight!

A Small Robot Story is on Steam Greenlight! Check it out here!

Parallax test for lab level. Needs some tweaking (parallax layers need to be bumped up to a power of two) but it's a decent start.

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Annnddd I'm Greenlit!

More parallax testing! Gotta tweak that middle layer so it doesn't look like building-tops :p

Test of all Level 3 (Helix's Laboratory) art and set pieces. GIF randomly speeds up :\

Been working on coding Level 3 enemies. Unfortunately this means nothing cool to show yet since I use placeholder art while coding :D


Good news is that, according to schedule, I am ahead by one week. However I'm sure that will change soon ;) I just finished all 3 new enemies yesterday and will start on their art this week. Hopefully I'll have something cool to show off by the end of this weekend.

Two new enemies!

Up first is Headshot. Erratic robot head that shoots a spread shot.

Next is the Infected Robot. He staggers around and then will vomit in your direction. Still working on vomit art. Currently he vomits bullets :D

Finally wrapped my head around passing along parameters to a master object. Right here I have a function passing different bullet parameters (animation, gravity, speed) for different enemies to a single bullet object. Setting up the object UID as param(0) was my hangup.


All Level 3 enemies. Will probably add a re-skin of a non-projectile enemy. A lot of projectiles flying around!