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Bel & Poppy

A topic by Ramifactor created Aug 08, 2018 Views: 526 Replies: 24
Viewing posts 1 to 17
(1 edit)

Let's do this.

[ Famicase design by Kristian Spears | @tephrael ]

~Stealth rolls, sabotage, hush 'em up! Join the littlest ninja named Bel and her lazy pistol Poppy as they infiltrate the Arcology to shush the rowdy Yottabyte Gang and save the Librarian!~

First little doodle of Poppy:

Which turned into a bigger doodle:

Interesting weapon concept, will the emotion factor into the game-play somehow?

(2 edits)

To an extent, yes. 

The idea of a lazy pistol that keeps falling asleep is hilarious, so I'm trying to build some mechanics around that.

Everything else is just sketching out possibilities for the character's expressions, maybe for dialog or cutscenes...


Here's a first pass on our main character, Bel:

Guns that fall asleep. More games should probably have this.

nice animation on the little guy :)

Thanks! Still lots of work to do on the sprites, but I'm happy with it so far.

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Of course, the sprites I've created for Poppy are way too large to be used for gameplay. I'm planning to implement them as UI elements at the top of the screen.

  • The side-view will display the weapon status, which tells the player if Poppy is awake or asleep, and maybe ammo remaining
  • The front view will show Poppy's face in a Wolfenstein-style portrait for additional status information, as well as emotions/reactions and possibly dialog

Working in 2D, the challenge with Poppy will be to communicate to the player that the face is actually on the front of the pistol. 

This might seem obvious if you're familiar with the cartridge design, but not everyone will see that before they play. Just looking at the image above on its own is confusing. 

To address this, I went back to the doodle above where I used an isometric view. By including this additional information in the portrait, it's much easier to see that they are two views of the same object:

(2 edits)

Completed the final pass on the sprite design for Bel: 

Since I'm terrible at pixel art, I turned to one of my favourite Super Famicom games: Magical Pop'n. The character animations in that game are fantastic, and they were used as inspiration for Bel's basic movements. There's still a lot left to do here, but the following animations are in the books:

  • Idle (4 frames)
  • Walk / run cycle (6 frames)
  • Duck / crawl cycle (6 frames)
  • Aiming (left / right / up) 
    • Moving and shooting is currently not possible by design (subject to change)
    • Diagonal shooting currently not possible by design (subject to change)

Since the engine and collision code are up and running, here's a demo:

Next up:

  • Jumping & platforming
  • Projectiles
  • Enemies & interactions

Stay tuned.

Now featuring:

  • Jumping (finally)
  • Advanced jumping
  • Wallsliding, walljumping
  • Ledge grab 
  • Working crouch / crawl to move through tight spaces
  • Basic shooting (left / right / up and diagonals )
  • "Pistol whip" melee attack
  • One-way platforms

With that, the core platforming engine is just about done. Lots of work to get the collisions and animations working properly. Still a few bugs to squash but it's functional, and feels good.

I love how it's coming along, can't wait to play it!

What tools are you using?

Thanks, can't wait to finish it!

This is made almost entirely in GMS1.4. When I get frustrated with the sprite editor I'll jump over to paint.NET, but I find that I work faster if I just stay inside GameMaker for everything.

Another day, another gif:

The camera system is just about where I want it for now. It's a basic threshold-style camera with two tracking speeds and a slight forward-facing bias. There's a generous vertical deadzone to avoid up-and-down camera wiggling. Might need some tweaking, but we'll save that for later once we have some actual levels to play around in. For now, it will do.

The next couple of days will be spent fleshing out actual content. For now, a quick progress update:

  • Platforming engine is feature complete and running smoothly. 
  • Basic HUD is up and running
  • Super-Advanced Lifelike AI for Poppy
    • Gets tired and eventually falls asleep -- wakes up only after considerable shaking
  • Settled on a narrative that should work well for this game and the time constraints of the jam
    • Keeping this under wraps for now

"ughh... wake up, Poppy!"

honestly jealous, tried to get this type of movement down a few times but never get the collision detection right.

(1 edit)

All I can say is that it takes a lot of fiddling...

Regarding platformer game feel (and collision code specifically), I've learned a ton from Zack Bell's website:

Understanding Collision Basics - Part 1

Understanding Collision Basics - Part 2

Sadly, the open source code for his excellent game INK is no longer available as far as I know.

In any case, getting collision detection right is definitely important. Once the basic engine is up and running, it's a matter of tuning player acceleration, jump height, air control, gravity and friction by trial and error until it feels right for the game.

The only real advice I can give is to adjust one thing at a time. If you look at my first gif, the character couldn't even jump yet, because I wanted to tune the ground acceleration and friction before adding any vertical movement. Same goes for everything else -- don't add double jumps or wall jumps until regular jumps are solid, and so on.

Hope that helps!

(4 edits)
  • Polished up the shooting system
    • A new projectile sprite replaces the placeholder  (  )
    • Added a small muzzle flash animation (  )
    • Moved the (!) thought bubble that appears when Poppy wakes up to appear above the game  sprite instead of the HUD
    • Added a particle system for impacts against surfaces and enemies. Took forever to implement this properly (and it's still a bit buggy), but it was worth it:

  • Added a few types of enemies and basic environmental interactions
    • "Shock towers" will be a common obstacle. Touching them releases a burst of energy.
    • Security cameras and laser sensors detect movement and raise the alarm if triggered
    • Energy beams hurt. Don't touch the energy beams.
    • Some enemy devices can be attacked and temporarily disabled.

Here's a recording taken while playing around with some of these mechanics (most are only semi-functional -- just experimenting with the interactions to see how things feel):

brilliant work. I really like the visual explanations showing how everything is progressing. I have much to learn...

Thanks for the kind words and feedback! It definitely takes extra effort to post updates, but I find it helps keep things on track. You can step back and make sure you're not too far down a rabbit hole wasting time on something unimportant. Having said that, I still waste lots of time on unimportant things, so I guess I also have much to learn...

Yep. I'm with you there. I need to add options (for key binding) next plus sound :(

Poppy, the weapon to surpass metal gear.

Movement is looking pretty sick though.

Metal Gear?! ...It can't be!

(5 edits)

Well, even after multiple passes through the cutting room, this turned out to be a much larger project than anticipated. 

  • The bad news: I had a working game to submit before the deadline, but decided to hold back the release because it wasn't quite where I wanted it to be. The core gameplay turned out great, but the experience was not what I had envisioned and I was not happy with the end product. 
  • The good news: I had the whole day to myself yesterday eat homemade soup and calmly work on the game with zero pressure (#chill). It really didn't take much to bring everything together -- probably spent more time planning & writing than coding & implementing, but it completely transformed the game into a much better experience.

Here are a couple of animations showing how the final game looks.

This will be the last post before the game drops later this week. Further development & patch notes will be found in the DevLog

Thanks to everyone who has been following along so far. I really hope you enjoy the game and I look forward to hearing your feedback!

(2 edits)

And that's a wrap! 

Play it here:

Bel & Poppy