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Goblin Pest Control - Top down Goblin Defence!

A topic by MantraTeam created May 29, 2017 Views: 3,860 Replies: 32
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In a world where high level heroes are off in distant lands, slaying Dragons, Un-dead Kings and Necromancers, embarking on epic quests and defeating evil in its most powerful forms, a menace rises from under the earth to steal silverware, wee on things and be a general nuisance.

The Goblin horde comes!

As the leading (the only) pest control service in the land it’s up to you to deal with this mild annoyance, and whatever may follow...

Goblin Pest Control is a top-down hoard defence game which seeks to push the genre into new territory, with chaotic hack n slash combat, random level generation, and a rich, detailed world. It’s currently in its alpha stage so bugs are to be expected. We always love feedback so send us an email or drop us a tweet or leave a comment.

Rely on your combat ability and in-the-moment reactions with a fast, fun and addicting combat system, or set up traps at night and use the environment to your advantage.

The levels are comprised of handmade chunks, stitched together procedurally. This combination of hand-made and random elements means that the levels feel relevant and impactful on the gameplay, while still allowing for over 200,000 unique levels.

The Goblin hoard comprises of 6 types currently, each with a distinct look and differing AI. Not much of a challenge on their own, but they can quickly overwhelm!

We are a tiny studio based in Bristol in the UK. Currently we are two illustrators turned game-devs who are working tirelessly, wearing multiple hats at once, all in the name of making, fun, cool things that you can play.

Goblin Pest Control is a product of our shared love of classic fantasy, Jim Henson and action RPGs.

Thanks for checking out what we're doing. We hope you have fun, and are always working to make it better. If you want to help us make it better with bug reports, general feedback or anything else then send us an email (, tweet us @MantraTeam, or post on here.

We have a lot more planned for the final release of the game, but work will be slower from now on. I'll continue bug fixing and patching so check back in case there's a new update, but we probably won't be adding anything new to it for a while. I'll post updates here and on our website blog to keep you in the loop.

All the best, thanks for reading :) 

- James

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I am Alex and I am going to do this blogpost. I have been granted the immeasurable task of creating the artwork and animation for goblin pest control. There couldn't be a more perfect project for me. You may have heard the unfortunate rumours surrounding myself and certain goblins who will remain nameless, but let me assure you that they are indeed all true.

Anyway, I thought I'd start at the beginning without giving too much away. James always had a strong idea of how he wanted the game to play and feel in his head. Arguably the most appealing features are the goblins themselves and when it comes to goblins I am usually the person to talk to. I filled a small sketchbook with different ideas for various goblin types and their functionality. I don’t want to give much away at this point but here are some early sketches and a small bit of concept art.

There is nothing specific in these pages (only a small selection), but perhaps they are good indications of the sense of humour and visual style. 

I look forward to showing you more drawings in the future, please stay tuned.


Hey all,

Not a lot of visual progress has been made in the last week on my end, so I thought I’d share a bit about the night-time trap system.

So the game is split into two parts: day and night. The night-time is when the player can run freely around the map with no pressure, and place traps in anticipation for the following day. The idea is that the traps will work in conjuncture with each other, and act more like building blocks for larger player-build systems, than individual traps. EXAMPLE: Say there’s an enemy that can only be attacked from behind, the player could build a trip-wire that sets off a crossbow placed behind the enemy, pointed at his weak spot. This is a simple example, and I’m hoping that through a bit of careful trap design and probably A LOT of trial and error, the player should be able to build more complex systems for killing goblins, beyond simply whacking at them with a sword.

As of right now the player can place traps, and a couple of simple traps are done (with no artwork). I’ll share the specifics when the artwork is and there’s something entertaining to show.

My main concern with this system will be making it balanced, which will mean finding the over-powered dominant strategies and nerfing them. Something I’m sure will be thoroughly frustrating, later down the line.

Thanks for reading. Until the art has been made and put in place, my devlogs might be a bit less interesting than Alex’s in terms of the visuals, but I’ll keep you updated with the various systems I’m working on.

- James


Hello I would like to reveal to you the “final” design for the player character.



There he is. The pc isn’t super important as the main focus is, of course, the goblins. But we wanted him to have something about him. His bright jacket should always contrast the green of the goblins and each setting he should stand out well enough to make sense of the chaos. I wanted him to look racially kinda ambiguous.


I've been doing a lot of structural stuff this week. The progression and structure of the main campaign is done: 3 waves of goblins, then night time, then 3 more waves, then another night time, then 3 final waves, then end level. I've also finished the AI for the regular goblin enemy, which means as soon as the final artwork is there I'll be able to show them in action which I'm looking forward to. Along with this I've re-made the player attack and combo system which, again I'll show when the final artwork is there.

Soon enough I can start uploading gifs and showing of some actual gameplay, something I've wanted to do for ages. Only a tiny update this week but there's exciting stuff coming very soon. Thanks so much for reading and have a good week!

- James

Those goblin drawings are super nice!

I'd rather play as those funny goblins though, not that perfect dude with little character.

Anyways, keep it coming!

Thanks for the comment! Plenty more goblins to come.

I can finally show off the gameplay and animations!

Alex is currently working on some more goblin variations and we'll hopefully be recording some sounds later today so they're coming together. I've spent most of the last two weeks re-making the combo system (again). It's a lot more responsive now and packs a lot more punch than before. The goblins are bouncing off walls, and everything seems to be coming together!

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!


yes it is i - alex. work has been slow on my end because life is hard sometimes but i have news both good and bad!
James recently discovered software Spine which I have now decided I will devote my time now to learning and perfecting to bring u new and fresh and clean and wonderful animations, characters and goblins!
The discovery was fortuitous as not much of the "final" animations have been done so far and James and i discovered there were some issues with the way we wanted to do goblin randomisation. anyway those problems are over! but it might mean having to stay tuned for any more future animtions, at least for a couple of weeks.
here were some of the goblins who already exist but say goodbye to them you will never see them again u will only see greater, better and fAR MORE RANDOMIZED goblins FROM NOW ON!!!

smell ya l8r


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So just an update to say that we're still alive and still working. 

We're updating some the existing artwork. Check it out!

Thanks for checking out Goblin Pest Control, we'll keep working and keep posting! 

Have a nice day,



Been a very long time since I've updated this but I'm still working hard on Goblin Pest Control. A lot has been changed and updated since the last post. We've just made the swap to using Spine to do the animation which will grant a ton of benefits. The most important being that we can now have a system to randomly create every goblin from different parts, something which would be completely impossible if we were using sprite sheets, as we were before. Another benefits is of course that we're not using sprite sheets for the characters anymore, which was causing bugs due to their size. No more! This was a huge weight on the whole thing, and now that it's been lifted the potential for variation in the enemies is infinite. In short, expect lots and lots enemy variations in the future.

What else? I replaced the lighting at night time so that it's a lot more efficient.

We've been replacing lots of the placeholder artwork and what's left of the programmer art. We also seem to have settled on final artwork for the tall grass, something which we just couldn't seem to get right. Who know, in a month we might decide to replace it again but hopefully not. For now the game world is a joy to look at (if I do say so myself) and we're so happy that we've settled on an art style that captures our take on the typical fantasy genre.

I've also added a few more enemy types. The rock-thrower goblin who's the basic ranged attack enemy. The rocks can be deflected back by the player. I've added some satisfying particle and sound effects when this happens too. I've also added a poison gas/ mushroom spore goblin who creates a noxious gas cloud on death, blocking off pathways for a little while. The last enemy I've added is a Grog-barrel goblin, who follows the others around, feeding them grog and buffering their stats as an AOE.

With the addition of more enemy types the game is starting to feel more like a game. It's harder now which is a good thing, and the ideas I had about game feel, and the focus on the random level generation are all coming together. Also the I've been able to fully test the adaptive music system, which is working a charm.

Goblin Pest Control is really moving forward at the moment and coming together in the way we had hoped for.

Thanks so much for reading and giving us your attention, even with a distinct lack of screenshots/anything visual in this post.

- James

I’ve made a few changes and updates, most noticeably to the HUD and the menu. Remember in Doom how the Doom marine’s face was in the bottom centre and it became more beaten up the more damage you took? I haven’t seen that in recent games, and I can’t think of any other examples. I really enjoyed it and it created much more of a visual connection to the character, much needed in an FPS. I always enjoyed looking at the face as a loose indicator of health when you needed to check during the chaos of battle. I’ve included this in the HUD for Goblin Pest Control. While it’s not entirely necessary for the design as its located right next to the health bar, it’s just entertaining to see the character’s face react to getting hit and the general state of player health.


Here’s a couple of screenshots of the new HUD and menu. Happy with most of it.


Thanks for reading, check back soon!


- James

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Cool. Maybe the face would make a good GIF to show off that little feature.

The plants are looking nice n' juicy too. I like it.

This really looks incredible guys, well done! One note, James' twitter comes up with a "does not exist" page.

If you guys need help with sound, please hit me up!

Thanks! I edited the twitter too by the way.

The link text has changed, but the hyperlink leads to the same "no page" page.

Spent all day today drinking tea and working on some new and improved goblin AI. Since we switched over to spine it's taken a while to find a good workflow and actually get some animations/artwork good enough to use. Happy to say it's working well, and it's a great framework to use in the future when designing other enemy types.

We'll have some final goblins coming in soon (At long last!!!). It's taken way too long to get to this point but I'm so glad we're nearly there.

Here's a screenshot. Stay tuned for more updates soon.

- James


Here's a preview of the faces taking damage.


Lots of good work has been done in the last couple of weeks. The most notable is that I've finally fixed some UI scaling bugs that have been plaguing development since the very beginning of the project. The user interface now scales to any resolution without any of it being cut off, or stretched to weird x or y scales. This may not sound like much but it's been hanging over me forever. Feelsgood.

I also re-added the feature of being able to lure goblins to you, allowing the player to lead them into traps, and get them off the house. (Screenshot).

Other than that I've gone through fixing pages and pages of bugs, cleaning everything up and polishing it all and all at once it feels like a "proper game".

We're planning on having a demo within a few months soon you'll be able to play it and experience all of my unsubstantiated devlog details for yourself.

There are now some different enemy types in there:

The poison gas goblin, who dies quickly, leaving behind a poisonous cloud, blocking paths and forcing the player down different routes.

The barrel goblin, who follows other goblins around feeding them grog, and buffing their speed and attack stats. He doesn't cause any damage himself but when surrounded by a group of enemies whom he's buffing, he becomes a powerful addition to the enemy forces.

The rockchucker goblin is basic ranged attacker. He throws rocks at his targets from his bucket of rocks. These can be deflected back at him for an insta-kill and a damn satisfying sound effect.

Got some traps in too:

The beartrap is an inst-kill on any small goblin. It snaps shut in an explosion of the leaves it's hidden under.

The spiked walls and a one hit kill for any small goblin unlucky enough to get knocked into it.

Caltrops are an AOE for goblins stumbling over them.

As usual there's more to come.

This is probably my last devlog before the end of the year, so I hope you all have a happy, goblin-free Christmas!

- James

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Nice you are making great progress. Happy Christmas to you too!

Thank you! To you as well!

- James


Thought I'd share some new goblin concept art for the enemy types that we have in already as a little thanks for checking out what we're making.

Merry Christmas everybody!

- James

Hey all,

a couple of things to post today. The first being this new piece of artwork, drawn by Alex and painted by me, for the purpose of being the introductory screen. (Before the main menu).

check it out:

The second thing being that Alex has been working on the story lately and I thought I'd share a couple of pages from his sketchbook. Just playing with some ideas at the moment. Check these out too:

Anyway that's it for now. Hope you're all looking forward to a new year and check back soon for more goblin-related updates.

- James

Fixed a ton of bugs last week and added a ton of juice. The HUD is improving every day, the most notable thing being that the bonus markers are now a thing, which makes it a lot more satisfying to complete a round. 

Everyday new artwork is being put into the game, although we still don't have any final goblins in it yet (Should be doing that this week).

I've been playing around with some particle systems on the HUD too which should look nice when they're done.

I'm also starting to adjust the difficulty now, trying to find a good balance. Before I would keep the player way overpowered for the purpose of testing but we're getting to the point now where we need to start thinking about progression and difficulty.

So yeah only a small update. I put up a tons of new screenshots in the first post so check them out.

Have a good week and thanks for checking out what we're doing!


Hey all,

nothing fun to show this week, I've fixed a ton of bugs, implemented delta timing, adjusted the difficulty on the first level of the demo and put the first tutorial in. Things are moving forward steadily, but life's been getting in the way a little bit recently. I plan to add in some new "End Wave" artwork soon among other things.



A couple of "final" goblins are in! I say it with quotation marks as they're still likely to change. There are still a few bugs in the animation so I'll be showing them off when they're fixed. A lot more general bug fixes and some small changes for example: it now automatically fades to night time at the end of a wave. This gets rid of the "dead" time after you finish the waves and are told to head to the campfire to continue. A few other little things. We haven't recorded any goblin vocals yet. Something I'm still looking forward to.

I know it's been a while since I posted anything but you can hopefully expect to hear a lot more soon. I'll be making an Instagram account and a FB page to keep you posted.

For now though follow our twitter @MantraTeam and thanks so much for checking out what we're doing!

- James

Hi all!

We've been putting a few more assets into the game recently including a new house. Goblins were getting hidden behind the top of the mushroom so it had to go, nice as it was.

I'm also currently working on the new sheep. I'm still painting him and he'll be in there soon.

Got some short gameplay gifs too. A couple of final goblin designs are in. Still a little buggy but we're working on sorting it.

We're also on instagram now. Check us out and follow and like and all that if you're cool.

Thanks for checking us out! More coming soon!

- James

The new house is in. It could do with a little bit of polishing up I reckon but the main thing is that the goblins aren't getting hidden by it any more.

Same for the sheep. Looking pretty.

Some other little things have been changed, the spiked wall trap now gets added to the goblin grid so they no longer run on top of it.

The rain is fixed now. It wasn't working for a while as I accidentally deleted the emitter a couple of lines after creating it. Pro stuff here people.

I need to make the night-time version of the house which is in shadow, polish up the existing house and get an outline on it.

We've also got some celebration trumpets now when you complete a level, although they could do with some better placement.

Thanks for reading. We're working on all this stuff so check back next week for some more updates.

all the best,
- James

So we've been general bug fixing lately. Everything is feeling a bit more solid and together.Pretty soon we'll be re-making a lot of the assets including the player animations and the goblin animations and artwork, mainly giving each goblin type their own distinct physical traits. We'll also be adding our first boss. Below are a couple of preliminary designs but you can expect those to change. I'm pushing towards a playable demo which is about a month and a half away, hopefully having about 4 enemy types and a boss across around 4 levels. More on that as it happens.

What we want to do is have a small, self-contained story within the demo, primarily told through 2.5d cut-scenes at the start and the end. I'll be painting the images to look like this one:

This should really start to flesh out the world that the player exists in, and give a bit of much needed context to everything so far.

Progress is slow but it is being made. Should should ramp up soon.

all the best, check back soon!

- James

Working on our fist boss fight. Still in PG art but it's on it's way. Been designing the state system for attacks today. A lot of fun. The skeleton of the demo is there, we just need to add meat to it in the form of art assets and animations, the usual. We've also fleshed out a bit more of the story which we'll post about soon enough.

I may have mentioned before that we're going to push ahead with it all soon, and commit a solid month of work on it to get this demo made to a decent standard, which will begin at the start of next week.

All the best. thanks for reading. Check back soon!

- James

I know I've been terrible with updating this but it's because all my time has been spent making stuff. So what's new?

The player animations have been totally remade in spine, including 2 new run directions and a dodge roll. Attacking is a lot clearer now, and there are a couple of combos in there.

The goblins have been completely remade, also in spine. They now have the capacity to be randomly generated. There's only a few variations but the system is built and it works. All we need to do on that front is add more goblin assets. There are also a couple of new enemy types including a "feral" goblin, who is a runt that has been outcast and become feral. They inflict bleeding damage over a small period of time.

Player collision has been tightened up even more, as have the goblins' collision.

There are tons of new particle effects and polish in the game, along with loads more sound effects. On that note we had good fun a few days ago recording about 3 hours of goblin sound effects which are in, and sound great. Considering releasing them as a pack or something later.

There's also a ton of new UI stuff.

Squashed about 30 pages worth of general bugs, particularly to do with the UI.

I'm currently working on the progression of the demo, when to introduce new enemy types, bits of the HUD and game mechanics. After that I'll be making the boss level, then tightening everything up, polishing and play testing, then the demo should be done.

It sounds like a lot to do but it shouldn't take too long.

No images or anything today as I'll be re-making the title page when this is all finished. That'ss also probably be the next post in a week or two.

Thanks for checking us out. Check back soon!

- James

I realise it's been over a month since I said the demo would be ready. We took a little break from it for a week or so to de-stress and unwind, but we're back to work on it now and it's coming along. All the content that we wanted to add has been added, we're now in the process of testing, bug fixing and adjusting the difficulty. When this is done, we'll get a website up and make the demo available for download for one month.
Sorry it's taking so long but I have a standard which I want to meet, plus I'm sure we all know what game development is like: everything takes twice as long as you think it will.

Thanks for checking out what we're doing. You'll be able to play Goblin Pest Control soon I promise!


So the demo is here! Finally! We're so excited to show what we have so far. It's taken a lot longer than I thought it would but the demo and all the basic framework is done, and now you can play it! We have a website now which we'll be updating the blog on, as well as on here:

We also have our first trailer. I've been hesitant to show off any actual game-play until now, as I'm not a fan of showing too much work in progress, but I'm really happy with how it's turned out. The identity of the game-play has started to shine through in the combat loop, and it's as fun as I hoped it would be.

Check out the trailer, and give it a play for yourself!

All the best,

- James

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