DarkTimmy's News


Boss 101 in the latest issue of Indie Game Magazine! Take a look and support a great site! ‪#‎boss101‬ ‪#‎indiedev‬ ‪#‎gamedev‬

Link to the site here

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2015.04.02 Boss 101 is Greenlit on Steam! THANK YOU!

2015-04-02 22:11:42 by DarkTimmy
Updated

Boss 101 is Greenlit!

First of all THANK YOU! Without your kind support this would not have happened. Thank you, thank you!

More news to come but we wanted to share the excitement with you.

-Tim

 

PS - huge thanks to @tomfulp for the cross posting and support too!

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** We're up on Steam Greenlight - LINK HERE ** 

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STEVE and Max making bosses and letting their feelings be known. Another day in the lab after dark.

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Talk with you soon and remember to live your dreams.

-Tim

 



** We're up on Steam Greenlight - LINK HERE **

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How are you doing this week!?! Well, we hope!

Boss Animation and animation in general

OK – so let’s talk about animations in games. First you will have to understand a few points we strive for when we do animation. They may or MAY NOT apply to your animation needs so check these out and see what you think.

Guidelines for basic cycle animations:
- The first and last frames should be the same!
- values for things like movement, rotation and scaling should, for the most part, ALWAYS move in a Sine wave. 
- Slow and even animation generally works better then quick stuff over time when doing cycles. There are exceptions but when you do a cycle you probably are doing to add flavor. Like any flavor too much of something can be overpowering! HAHAH! Like that comparison?! You’re a cook!

Let’s Jump straight to the final image of the moving tail with a little pipe thingie opening and closing to give you an idea of where we are heading. Notice the segments all move one after the other. We’re just doing an idle here so the thing isn’t flailing all over the place like a flag in a hurricane.

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Ok Here we are – first setup image. We can see the basic setup for the boss body and his tail. We are using the program Spine (http://esotericsoftware.com/) but this is applicable for any animation you are doing in any program. The thing we are going for a is a smooth up and down motion for the dino tail. Remembering this is just one part of a LOT of moving parts we can get going with basics of the animation.  

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This next image will give you a quick sense of what we are shooting for when we do animations. SINE WAVES people! Basically you want to move/rotate/scale your values UP and then DOWN (or vice versa) and bring them back to start. For this guy we are doing something like:
Frame 0, value of Y = 0
Frame 16, value of Y = -1
Frame 43, value of Y = 1
Frame 67, value of Y = 0

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You see the magic there?! That is straight animation and it looks good too. Please understand the SPIRIT of what I am getting at here and not the literal values you are looking at. It’s time for the use of your IMAGINATION. Let’s IMAGINE you are an indie game developer and you have hundreds of things to animate. Well, are you going to sit down and mo-cap out a bunch of dinosaurs? Probably not. What you want is some magical way you can layout a bunch of animations to look good and pro. Again, generally speaking think of most creatures and even mechanical things in life. They move in sine waves – back and forth and reset. 

For a lot of the basic animation you will likely be doing this will be some SWEET looking stuff. The things you will want to vary when you get down to individual pieces, creatures and the like will be the spacing between frames and the values of those peaks and valleys of the sine wave. 

About the way I am using the term Sine Wave – this is just my shorthand for a series of animation values (rotation, scale or position) that change up and down (or down and up) over time. 

Then we move to this final bit. Since there are three tail section and we want a whip like motion. All we need to is offset the animation in the rows by a few frames. We did the same kind of animation in each row and then shifted that animation over to the right for each subsequent section.

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OK- that is a lot to digest so let’s move to something else for the moment!

HATS!!! 

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We added two new hats to the Boss 101 lineup in honor of the site ShUMP site (http://shmups.system11.org/). Their EXACT abilities are still being tuned but the current plan is they will make your character (well, S.T.E.V.E. and Max) into more or less traditional ShUMPS type player vehicle. Among the things we are thinking is both these hats will turn off the life bar and possibly a few other things (might even include modification of player movement and shots).

Thanks for reading and your support! We do listen and read all your mail and comments!

Remember to always – LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim



Thank you!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out our devblog! We're busy making magic in the Boss 101 universe so let's get on with it!

Greenlight continues!

If you haven’t already – we’d love you to check out our Steam Greenlight page. If you like what you are seeing we would LOVE your yes vote!

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>>>Direct Link to Boss 101 Steam Greenlight YouTube VIDEO<<<

Making a Boss (art-wise)

In Boss 101 you can roll bosses sure but let’s talk about HOW they get in the game Boss 101. A couple notes – we use GameMaker Studio (from YoYo games) and Spine (from Esoteric Software). Spine works with Unity and a few other engines I believe, so this applies even if you are not using GameMaker.

Basic Setup: Organization – we organize the bosses into separate files. The layout of the files is exactly the same so when they load into the game they all can be interlocked with each other cleanly. Let me assure you organization is a giant step in ANY process - so sort your shiz out FIRST then start working. Don’t be afraid to constantly ask yourself “Is this the best way?” either!

Step 1: Layout and create all the parts to the Boss. We go back and forth here. We start with the fact the boss has five major systems (head, turret, engine, main body and main weapon). We start with the theme of the boss (we have several general themes like Animals, dinosaurs, samurai-esque, etc)

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Step 2: Make any notes relevant to the boss as we draw the parts. In the case of the kitty boss we already had a reference to work off. We wanted to upgrade the look so we pointed out some ideas and design decisions to follow when doing the art.

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Step 3: Black and White version! Generally speaking for MOST of the art we do a black and white version THEN we color it. Seriously folks – it makes your life a lot easier to concentrate on contrast and silhouettes FIRST then color it in as you like. If you are John Singer Sargent you can disregard this advice.

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Step 4: Color it up. We work on Photoshop generally but you can achieve the basic coloring we do in nearly anything you choose. The advantage of doing black and white is we can color block in areas quickly in a SEPARATE LAYER over the black and white art, apply a layer effect (like “Color”) and then experiment with colors and shading until things work. You see how we are!?! Efficiency folks – that’s how to do it!

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Step 5: Bring all the pieces into Spine. We load each section (head, body, weapons, etc) into Spine as an individual skeleton and then arrange them in space accordingly. From there we add firing, prefiring and idle animations. 

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A Note on Spine – if you are serious about getting animation done I would recommend Spine. The low cost version of it would be perfectly suitable for most all indie needs and the TIME saving would be tremendous. Doing all this by code or hand would have tanked Boss 101 at the starting line. 

Step 6 KITTY BOSS! (example animated gif)

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Those are the basics and next time we can delve into animations practices or perhaps something you are curious about!  We'll check here for feedback and question!

All the best and live your dreams,

-Tim



>>>Direct Link to Boss 101 Steam Greenlight PAGE<<<

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Steam Greenlight

THANK YOU! Our first few days have been amazing on Greenlight. We are getting there and want to thank all of you who took a moment to visit and check out the page. A huge thanks goes out to all of you who voted YES. It means so much and we are moving along towards being Greenlit. 

If you haven't already and are curious - we do invite you to check out the links above and see what the fuss is about. We have a trailer and a breakdown of the game. Your Yes vote really helps!

OK - some updates!!!

Boss Designs:

We spoke a little about this previously and we want to show more of the initial implementation that goes into making a boss weapon. The idea is we give each weapon a weakness (one, maybe two) the player can use to stay alive longer and gather up points. It's been tried and tested in MANY games so we aren't claiming any new ideas on the "boss weakness" front. 

What we are looking to do is give you the player a reward for trying out things like the kinds of hats and weapons available to you. We do imbue certain weapons and hats (and upgrades) with abilities for your player. Some weapons are more effective against a boss, some hats allow you to take far less or no damage against certain weapons. That's all for you to find out. Is it possible to win without all the tricks? Let's just say it would be tough. Bosses will naturally hit harder on the later levels and if your skillage is low AND your upgrades aren't there you might get pasted pretty quick. Thankfully though, we are working to give you lots of playing options to suit your tastes.

Here's a boss trying to smoke Max and STEVE...
 

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and here's that boss bullet pattern layout...
 

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Tuning

Now comes the fun part - once that is in we start playtesting the various parts against the baseline Max, Max variations and generally just try to do everything we can to simulate play styles. Not surprisingly this can be very hilarious at times and leads to a lot of fun insights and ideas. Sometimes things we THINK are going to be super overpowered end up being pretty ineffectual at first. (some of the large death beam type weapons come to mind). Some of the little minor weapons like small homing missiles end up being the deadly things!

A peek at some hats and more!

Savage: The Shard of Gosen Hat
Our good friend Matt Fitzgerald is working away on his opus called Savage: The Shard of Gosen. You can check it out here: Savage Steam Page

Matt has been a Boss 101 supporter from the get-go. He's helped us with wisdom about getting onto Steam Greenlight as well as lending his Gamemaker skills and tips when it was just one guy trying to figure out the basic language of GameMaker. Welp, we figured we could drop this in for him - a hat based off his main character! Check it!
 

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The ShMUPS Website

A few of the kind folks at http://shmups.system11.org/ have been dropping tips and feedback about how we can make Boss 101 a better shooter game overall. Some of the suggestions are pretty keen and we thought it might be nice to create a special hat with SPECIAL powers - and by special powers we mean this one will probably be a one hit - you're dead hat. HAHAHA! HEY - you can't always go for the easy way in everything! Seriously though, we are looking at risk and reward balancing for any hats that have, how shall we say, some 'detrimental' effects. 

We call this hat "1940"

 

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Random Gameplay Screen!
 

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How to Make a Game Series - Part 10

>>Link to full article<<

Here is a short snippet from this week's article written by your truly (Tim). I think it encapsulates the exact feeling happening right now as we go through Greenlight and look back on the progress the game has made.

Gratitude. That is the topic.

When you are making your game and following your dreams it can be a humbling experience, especially when you start out. During those times when you are drawing on your inner reserves and powering through, you might want to take a moment to be grateful. Perhaps, just perhaps, this can help you get through some of the rougher moments.

I’m now going to give you a powerful method to increase your energy, make you a more positive person, generally more likable and undoubtedly increase your earning power along with your productivity. Start saying “Thank you” a lot more. Add “I appreciate your help/time/assistance” into your everyday vocabulary. You will be surprised at how this will brighten your day by brightening other’s days.

What does this have to do with indie game development? Everything really. Like it or not, the world is full of people and these are the same people you want to buy and support you with money. The quickest way to get anyone to help or support you is to present a sincere pleasing personality. This is one of the strangest and truest things in the universe but when you help others get what they want, you actually end up getting what you want.

Ok folks - that's it for today and THANK YOU for checking in!

Remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim



OK folks – it’s been an awesome ride and we are now up on Steam for your kind support! Head on over to the page and see what YOU think. We worked to make it as informative as possible and give you and others the info you want! (YouTube trailer below)

@TomFulp - you knew it was coming buddy! Newgrounds and the people here have been so awesome to us over the last few years. THANK YOU and we shall not forget the kindness!

Click on the image or the link below and be magically whisked to the Steam Page!

>>>Direct Link to the Steam Page Here<<<

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Talk with you soon and remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim



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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