DarkTimmy's News


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Weekly Dev Blog

You one stop for all things Bossy!

Steam Greenlight Update:

This week we have a pretty special announcement. We are in the final stages of our Greenlight prep on Steam. That’s right
folks – within the next few days you will be able to make history and give us your “Yes” vote for Boss 101.

We promise we will make you proud! Stay tuned to this blog or the main site for details on the exact moment (we looking at Thursday for the big reveal).

Boss 101 Melee Weapons?

Though rarely spoken about we have some nifty melee weapons in Boss 101 – each one is upgradable as well! Here is a shot of the smoking wrench doing some serious damage to nearby minions.

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Ok – maybe that range is a LITTLE long… HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

Gas Bombs and Ugly Bugs

Up next is a special weapon for one of the insect bosses. SO this guy here spawns some nasty little bugs that can poison you unless you have some protection.

We start with something like this – temp art that is in the game – a grey bug! We make some notes and show examples of what we are aiming for… like so…

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Then we get this. A nice animated gross robo bug!

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Then it’s a short trip to the game once the sprite gets it’s base pass in Spine (our animation program) and some VFX to get it going!

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CRAZY!!!

How to Make a Game – the series!

How to Make a Game – Part 9

An ongoing series by yours truly. Here’s a peek at this week’s episode – the Game Loop!

The deal here is you want to get this running as soon as possible. Why? Because you want this to be as fun and addictive as possible that’s why. That kind of addiction is not going to happen in your head, you have to see it in front of you and play it. Iterations are the way to go. Paper design, thinking, doodling, tests are all awesome but nothing, please hear me, nothing beats just making the game and seeing if it’s fun.

So, get your game loop running. Temporary art is fine. Rough art is fine. In fact, the rougher the art the better since game loops are about game play and not the look of the game. If blasting grey blocks are fun then adding in great art will only make it better. On the flipside having the best looking characters means little if the underlying game is not fun to play (see any one of a myriad of free to play FPS shooters for examples of this). One mistaken belief in games is that looks are a huge deal. They are not. The games you like you might still like even if they looked rougher and visually less polished.

A Basic Checklist…

The basic game loop should be your top goal early in development.
The game loop is not necessarily the whole game but is a representation of a typical play session
Block out the loop with any graphics and mechanics that get the job done.
The purpose of the loop is to expose and refine your early thinking about the game as soon as possible.
You will make mistakes but do not be afraid. Early in development is the best time to make the biggest mistakes. They are FAR less costly early than later in development.

More to come so keep checking in. We appreciate your visit and THANK YOU!

Remember to always live your dreams!

-Tim



Greenlight news coming soon! Stay tuned!

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Remember to live your dreams!

-Tim



Hello again and welcome back to another Boss 101 development update!

This week we're talking about a few things - one being our Steam Greenlight is almost here! And when I say almost here I am talking about within a week or two! That's pretty exciting for us and when we flip that switch we would love you to take a look and give us a yes vote. 

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Your support means a lot. We get mails and questions about the development process all the time. From my perspective (Tim) this game has been hugely rewarding to make. You know why? Cause it's FUN! Great team, game is fun to make and fun to play. The goal now is to let you in on the fun and give YOU your money's worth. First step - let's get on Steam Greenlight with your help and head into the final stretch. 

Progress has been AWESOME in the last few weeks. A lot of bosses are getting a tuning pass with their weapons. We have shots below!

Bosses tossing up rock pillars

One of our bigger boss weapons can toss up crazy rock pillars to block your progress. Why does he do this? We think it has something to do with a lack of hugs. Regardless - if you have the right weapon you can make short work of these obstructions - see...

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The other thing going on is a lot of bullet coding. Bosses are getting side weapons tuned for maximum madness. Each one of these little devils has his own pattern. For instance...

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Check out this guy - this particular main weapon gives any boss FIRE BREATH!

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Game Modes in Boss 101

You might have been wondering what KINDS of game modes are in Boss 101. We got that very question this week and here goes with our answer.. I'm reposting from the AWESOME SCHUMP forums at shmups.system11.org. Totally recommend that site for serious shooter info.

Here are a few of the things on the list. these are all scored or tracked in one form or another.
- Base game with progression through 32 levels/rounds (this is basically the story mode)
- We also have (for lack of a better word) escort type missions where you will be taking shadow ship along and have to keep it alive. 
- There is another type of mission we have called chase missions where you are literally following the boss as he warps from level to level. When he goes to warp you will have to "knock" him out of warp tunnel before you can resume the regular fight. 
- Endless Boss mode - this is you with one life seeing how far you can get against an endless array of bosses. The idea here is you keep going against random bosses until you die
- Quest-type modes - these are modes that will reward players for things like (but not limited to) completing rounds using certain weapons, not dying, beating a round in under a certain time, high score per round, high scores per game, overall time per game, etc

Modes we are considering (and have the underlying tech for) these would also be scored or tracked in one form or another.
- An object quest mode. The idea here is we scatter reward object (hats are sort of our reward-of-choice) in each game round. During the round you can perform a very specific action within the round (something like beat 20 minions in 20 second) and an object appears for you to grab. From there on out you need to stay alive for the rest of the round to keep the object. 
- Builder Mode for Bosses - so most of the time you roll randomly in the Make-a-Boss room but we have talked about allowing players to build EXACTLY the boss they want to fight. This mode would be outside the story mode and would essentially allow you to build ultra hard (or ultra easy) bosses out of specific boss parts to fight. Mostly it would be about bragging rights to your friends to say "Oh I built a Tyrannosaurs, Spida-Bear-aSquito and beat it with a PISTOL!"
- One Hit Mode - you have one hit point and that's it. This could be a sub variation of the Endless boss or any of the other gameplay modes really.

Notes from the Making Game Series - Part 8

As you may already know - I'm writing a weekly series with my thoughts on game making at the Indie Game Riot website:

How to Make a Game - Part 8

An excerpt from this week's topic - picking a subject for your game... 

So when picking a project, look at the games you like. Games you are interested in. Don’t be daunted by the size and scope. Maybe you want to make an MMO, or a game like League or Legends? That’s OK. Start with that and realize you will have to setup realistic goals and scale the game to your team size. Don’t expect to make World of Warcraft by yourself in this lifetime. You might be able to make a sample of that game and you surely could gather a team to make it, but create a giant MMO all by yourself? That’s pretty lofty.

Basically, picking something you love will allow you to soldier through all the tough times ahead. I was reading a book about motivation the other day and it had a fantastic passage about fears and uncertainties. It stated fears and uncertainty are a form of resistance. It went on to say they are good since they normally point directly away from what you should be doing. Want to fart around instead of working on some coding? Guess what you probably should be doing? Coding! Feel like reading a Facebook article instead of that animation you were working on? Guess what you should be doing? See how easy it is?

One thing to remember as you sit down to make your game is that these things are fluid at first. Games will reveal themselves to you over time. You need to allow time to find the real game you are making. Hold the concept in your head and use time and effort to chip away and make that concept a reality. I found out long ago no game comes to me fully formed. It’s mostly a couple concepts and some ideas about “game moments”. From that, I build a game and allow a very organic growing process to happen. I try not to force the game this way or that. Instead I set up the base parameters of the game and let my work and iterations reveal the game I was intending to make. Nine times out of ten, this is faster and results in a much more fun game for the player.

Allright - big update and PLEASE STAY TUNED for more on the game as we head into the Steam Greenlight announcement in the next two weeks!

THANK YOU! Remember also...

LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim



Boss 101 game – working on bullet patterns, look out! #boss101 #indiedev #gamedev#screenshotsaturday #pixelart

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Remember to live your dreams!

-Tim



Quick update but the hits keep coming. We added effects for Max and Steve to teleport around the Command Center. Man, they fly AND they teleport - that's like two cool ways to move around! ‪

Talk with you soon and remember to live your dreams!

-Tim

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Welcome back and we hope you're doing well! Some notes from this week's activity!

Story Time

First and foremost we are starting to reveal the story of Boss 101. Story! That's right, we said it. It's not JUST blasting robo baddies and rolling onto the next level. There is real human drama here folks. For one, did you know this whole adventure is triggered when your brother makes a simple (for him) birthday request?

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Well, one things leads to another after that little encounter and the next thing you know you are in space battling a robotic spider with dog feet. NOTHING UNUSUAL THERE!

Struggle Time!

So we added in the initial art for the struggle arrow. There are bosses who can hold you in place while you get pummeled. As much as we hate to see you lose control there is an argument to be made for giving the bosses a fair chance. You have STEVE after all and his wit can cut deeper than a sword. HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!! 

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At any rate - in this initial pass we are testing out the mechanic and they are pretty nice. You can off course - decrease the trapped time but wiggling your stick. Basically - don't get caught in the ice beams!

So yah - that will be used with a few other choice bosses to keep you on your toes. Art upgrades and gameplay tweaks to come!

Rocket Time

Just some debug Rocket Testing. Everyone loves small red sharks shooting deadly missiles!

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Banana Bombs

One of my personal fav's went in this week. BANANA bombs. Yep, that little volcano on his back will spit out a bunch of banana bombs. Trust me, on the later levels you will want to be WELL CLEAR of that crap storm. They will put you down!

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Podcast Friday at Indie Game Riot!

The Donley Time Foundation with yours truly (me) got an invite to join the IGR team this last Friday. It was an awesome three hours that felt like 30 minutes. Went by way too fast and we did get to spend time on Boss 101 as well as some recent gaming news. We'll keep you poated when the edited version goes live. 

Notes from the Making Game series

As you may already know - I'm writing a weekly series with my thoughts on game making at the Indie Game Riot website:

How to Make a Game - Part 7

A small sample you might enjoy from my latest:

What do publishers think when they see your game? I have sat on both sides of the bargaining table during my career and I will attempt to save you some time by getting to the heart of the matter. Here are some questions going through the publisher’s mind:

What is unique about this game I can’t get anywhere else? To put it another way, “What is your unfair advantage?” What do you have that no one else can easily have or duplicate? That is what you must lead the conversation with.

Are you demonstrating enough of your product’s vision in the presentation? Some games have an awesome tech demo. Some games have a great trailer. Others may have some drawings. It’s really up to you to present your unique angle in the best way you can. This goes for Kickstarter trailers, Patreon videos, blogs etc. Everything should turn on what you offer that no one else has. If you have a blog you want people to read, give them a reason! Funny articles? Serious articles? Outlandish articles? Exclusive articles? Give people a reason! Same goes for a game. Unique gameplay (Portal)? Amazing art (Ori and the Blind Forest)? Amazing tech (Battlefield)?

So you say you have all that and you want to know what is the final kicker, the extra ingredient that will put you apart from the rest. Here it is. If you can answer yes to the following every single day of development, then you are well on your way to fantastic success in all areas of life:

“Can I honestly say I did my very best work with no compromise or excuses today? Did I give it my all with no room for getting better?”

Only you can answer that question any given day. Most people are lucky to say yes to that once every six months. The more that answer is yes, the better off you are when you see a publisher or try to sell your product. Asking that question will propel you to new areas and put you in the uncomfortable spots you need to be in to succeed.

That's it for this week folks and thank you for stopping by! 

Remember to ALWAYS live your dreams!

-Tim
 



Join Tim tonight on the Indie Riot Podcast at 9:30pm EST. Boss 101 talk and hilarity guaranteed!

Listen live at this link.. http://www.hitbox.tv/JaShinYa

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Every wonder about Max's life OUTSIDE of the Command Center? Well, he's got a brother and his brother has a request. Feeling up to it? Oh yah, this is from IN GAME PEOPLE! 

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Help others get what they want and more often than not you'll get what YOU want.  

Talk with you soon and live your dreams!

-Tim



Hello and thank you for stopping by!

This week we're kicking it off with another behind the scenes look at the way we make our magic. (or at least a peak at it!)

Boss 101 - Making the Dog Boss Bark

We start with a basic discussion about what a boss will act like, how he will behave. Things like movement, weapons and personality are discussed and planned out. Of course it all needs to work within the games framework of interlocking parts.

Let's look at the Dog Boss - here is a look at the first pass of the dog's main weapon planning diagram. We layout the way things work with some sketches and notes. 

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From there it gets a working first pass... like so...

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When it's in the game we start playtesting and seeing how it feels along with other boss combos, player weapons and basically everything we can think of. I have to say it's pretty fun to watch something come online the first time and just blast away at it. There's nothing like horribly imbalanced weapons to get the blood flowing!

Arm Weapon Setup in Boss 101

Then you have things like the arm weapons... the little one on the shark boss right here...

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Those notes became this!

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Pretty dope right?! That's the kind of fun we have all day!

Setting up and Art Team (or any team really)

OK - more coming but check out this little bit of development blog magic I wrote up regarding my thoughts on how to setup an art department. (this was asked in regards to my time spent at Black Isle on Planescape Torment)

First, I would start with the very basic ingredient of ANY team – which is passionate people. That sounds trite but you want people who believe in your project working with you especially since the smaller the team the more a “true believer” will affect the work as a whole. I’m basically talking about someone who is excited and you personally feel you can get along with. Believe me, you will know this person when you meet them. The flipside is if you have someone on the team who is disagreeable or who tends to subvert the goals of the group then it’s in your best interest to remove them as quickly as possible.

OK – with that out of the way and assuming you have a small group of dedicated people then the rest is a LOT easier to manage. 

Department organization – some thought in no particular order (from my time on Planescape and Neverwinter Nights 2)

•   First and foremost try to put people on work they WANT to do. If someone loves characters then they should be ideally on characters. If someone loves backgrounds then put them there. This will require you to shuffle people around to let them see the various departments and jobs inside an art team but it can be worth it. Sometimes everyone says “I want to be a character artist” but they discover they are really good at UI or something else.
•   Always appeal to the greater project when getting people to do work – at all times you should frame any job as it impacts the whole project. In other words – how will texturing this house, modeling this character, animating this scorpion, etc help get things done. If YOU don’t know how it affects the project then DO NOT ASSIGN it until you do. Project management mistake #1 – handing out ‘assignments’ with no sense of the bigger picture.
•   Allow people the freedom to do what they want but make sure they do the job asked first. ALWAYS allow people to suggest changes and even implement things on their own. They probably have better ideas than most since they are the ones working on it. However I would say it’s equally important to make sure they do the work asked first BEFORE they do their own thing. It’s a very fair system.
•   Be prepared to change the task if one of the workers points out something ridiculous, futile or time wasting about it. Ever hand someone a task and they make a funny face? There’s probably a reason they think it’s stupid – find out why and do so with minimum disruption.

Art Directors duties (a semi humorous but accurate look)

- Cheerleader – getting the team to work together and in harmony. This is your number one job (well, TECHNICALLY the #1 job is to turn a profit right? haha) 
- Garbage man – there was a term when I played basketball in high school lo those MANY years ago. We had a guy on each side called the “garbage man” his job was to take all our junk and put it in the basket. Our crappy shots, passes and all that shiz – he grabbed it and turned it into points. What I’m saying it the art director should, in most every case, never work on primary art for the game (this is dependent on team size of course and layout). He or she should be working on the stuff no one else wants to do an making sure that is of the highest quality. Turning the garbage jobs into points as it were.
- Tracking the project – at all times the art director needs to keep their eye on the goal of the game, watch the tasks for progress and above all make sure all work is relevant. This will mean course correction at times but it will have to be done. Any task which becomes outdated or irrelevant should be stopped immediately – avoid letting people finish ‘just because’ unless you are fairly certain you might use the work. People catch on very fast to busy work and will throttle their productivity accordingly. 

Talk with you soon and LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim



The bosses don't give up but neither do you. Rock it!

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Talk with you soon and live your dreams!

-Tim