About randoman (twitter: @lucas_izumi)

Making games from Brazil!
Currently studying game AI.

I post my games and experiences in my blog:
http://www.soneragamestudio.com.br/

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Justice Five – Designing the Bosses

Posted by (twitter: @lucas_izumi)
Sunday, August 30th, 2015 6:20 pm

TheBosses

Justice Five is a boss-run kind of game. Each level consists of a boss fight which upon completion, leads to another. Justice Five is also a game about super heroes, and when we think of super heroes one of the first things that comes to our minds is: super powers. This also came to my mind when I thought of making a game with this settings but… how do we create and adapt super powers to gameplay?

In this post I will talk about the design process of the two first bosses.

The first boss

The first boss invokes the Superman cliché: strong, flies, has a cape… I could use super strenght as a power to this one. He could keep flying and hammering the player from time to time but, based on the ‘lore’ I wanted to create, the eye beams would suit him so much better. I tried to make his art to look imponent. He would keep flying, just standing there and shooting his beams at the ‘enemy’ (aka the player), that inferior being. Why use super strenght when he could just wipe that monster with little effort?

The next thing in mind was: how to make the beams work? If they were too fast, the player would have little time to respond and no time at all to predict where the next beam would be fired. If they were too slow, they wouldn’t seem “real”.

Here’s how I solved this: by indicanting to the player, through a target icon, where he would fire next. A few seconds later the beam would be fired in that direction. The targets for the beam are chosen randomly but within a certain area of the screen, that way the player always know where are the danger zones. Initially the boss was firing only one beam at once. This was making the fight very easy, because just one beam covers little screen space. This made me decide to make the boss also fire 3 beams at the same time, with the quantity of beams (1 or 3) being chosen randomly (40% chance for each). Now, with a decent amount of screen space covered, I had to create  a ‘break’ for the player. Since you can only attack this boss in a certain angle, sometimes players could find difficult dodging the beams and reaching him. And to fix this I created a special attack. During this attack, the boss stops firing beams and becomes completely vulnerable until he unleashes it.

With these settings players who enjoy a challenge can try to hit him while dodging his beams, and players who wants to play safe can have their time and only attack him during the special animation.

The second boss

Upon finishing the first level I opened Photoshop and started designing the second boss sprite. I wanted him to have lightning powers but until then I hadn’t created any mechanics for him. After adding his sprite to the game I made him shoot lightning, but… the first boss also shot things at the player. To create variety I had to add more to it and… why not a shield? Characters that uses energy as the source of their power often use it to attack AND defense. I then created a shield for him. Immediatly that connection between lightning and triggering something just clicked in my head, so I created two devices that should be activated with the boss own attacks, disrupting his shield and letting him vulnerable so the player can hit him.

You may note that fighting this boss is like fighting the first one using the ‘safe way’: you have to dodge his attacks and wait for a opening. But in this case you create the opening.

This was one of the trickiest boss to balance. There was the speed of his projectiles and the time bewteen the barrier being destroyed and rebuild again. To test the projectile speed I was using the two lightning devices as reference: when standing next to the device, motionless, am I able to escape a projectile if I start running/jumping at the time they are shot?

As for the barrier time, I did it by brute force. Started with X seconds and tried to hit him (always using the longest way). Many times I would end up stuck inside the barrier, dying right after it. Evey time that happened I would add 1 to X and check again. I think in the end I found an optimal time.

Feedback

So far I’ve received some amazing feedback over here. The game is far from perfect, but recognizing its flaws make me learn so much. I wanna thanks all of you who used your time to check and rate my game. If you haven’t played it yet, you can check my entry on the link below:

>> PLAY JUSTICE FIVE HERE <<

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It’s done! Justice Five lives!

Posted by (twitter: @lucas_izumi)
Monday, August 24th, 2015 5:59 am

Finished a little early this time! Justice Five is my game for Ludum Dare 33!

I’m seeing so many great stuff here, guys! Looking forward to playing all of your games!

You can check my entry HERE.n1

 

 

Day 1 update

Posted by (twitter: @lucas_izumi)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 3:43 am

Hello guys! This is my 3rd Ludum Dare! I always leave the art for last, but this time I decided to start creating the art and animations right after defining the level mechanics. The tests are much more enjoyable for sure. Now let’s see if it can gain me some time!

ss1

The Magical Hat of Usefulness – My LD32 entry

Posted by (twitter: @lucas_izumi)
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 8:26 pm

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You must survive an endless zombie horde for as long as you can. The only thing you have to protect yourself is your master’s old magical hat. The thing is, anything can come out of it!

>> CHECK OUT THE GAME HERE <<

I hope you enjoy it! All feedback is appreciated :)

 

LD32 – Making progress!

Posted by (twitter: @lucas_izumi)
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 6:16 pm

So, since my last post I managed to cover every goal I’ve set for the night! I made some assets and used some other ones and now the game look a little more like I wanted to. The game consists in you resisting as much as you can, without leting any zombie pass from the top of the screen (or eating you). And for that you count only with the magical hat your master gave to you. However… what will come from the hat may not be the best weapon to deal with this situation…

update2

LD32 – Starting up

Posted by (twitter: @lucas_izumi)
Saturday, April 18th, 2015 12:45 pm

For the first couple hours nothing came to my mind regarding this theme. After sleeping, however, an idea crossed my mind and I decided to give it a shot. This is the first image of the development. Just finished making the control system and enemy spawning. Now for the main event!

build1

Escape from the depths! – Our Ludum Dare 29 entry

Posted by (twitter: @lucas_izumi)
Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 12:20 pm
Title screen.

Title screen.

You can PLAY and RATE our game HERE!

I couldn’t be more happy for making this game. It was 72 hours of almost no sleep and lots of debugging, but it was also very fun!

We managed to create our game with everything we had planned in the beginning. Of course, during the development a lot of new ideas came up and we could fit some of them in the game.

As I said in a previous post, this was our second idea. We started the first game and discarded it after feeling it was not what we were expecting. The responsible for this was this little guy:

Crab

Our first idea was a game where the protagonist would drown in the sea and enter a coma. The player would play as the protagonist’s conscience and would have to learn everything again (how to walk, how to run…). In each of the levels the player would learn a new ability. The idea behind it was that each stage would remind of a certain memory from the protagonist where he had learned that ability previously. That said, since he entered a coma after drowning in the beach, we decided to make the first level resemble a beach! Now, don’t ask me how this crab came up, but when we first saw him in the game all we could do was laugh. Hard. It made use realize that some elements we have set would not work very well for that game and then we decide to move on to another idea.

We wanted to make something simpler but also challenging, which would make the player want to play more and more. We wanted the game to be a platformer. The idea of the screen moving behind the player was one of the first things to come to mind, we mixed some platform elements into that and used the bats (one of the greatest elements from the discarded game) to create a challenging environment. Initially we though of a more fast-paced game where the player could pick up power ups which would enable a dash ability, double jump and so on. We ended up deciding to only add double jump to the game and take an approach on precision.

When building “Escape from the depths!” we needed to create an extra level to praise all the gloriousness of that crab. Unfortunately it didn’t fit in the game. We even had a special music just for that stage. Below is a video showing a small timelapse of the development. It shows early stages and how they evolved to what they are now. You may also see some elements who are not in the final version, all thanks to the event limitations of the free version of Construct 2.

Now about the bugs, when applying the tileset in the stages I managed to, unintentionally, put some invisible tiles in some places (I though I was erasing the tiles but I was putting an invisible one over them instead). This led us to very funny situations where the invisible tiles would save us from certain death and sometimes block us from winning a stage. It was a pain to find and erase them all.

Another funny bug was when implementing character’s movements. If you were jumping and hit the ground while holding left or right the character would get stuck in the default animation, without moving. Only after you press a new direction it would start to move. When we fixed the bug one of us found out that pressing left while holding right would make the character turn left but keep walking right! And he was like: “Guys, there is a bug where the character is doing a moonwalk.”

“Doing what??”

Strangely, the ‘bug’ only worked in that specific direction, even the code for the other being very similar. The moonwalk was just too awesome to be vanished as a bug, it then became a ‘feature’.

20 hours later

Posted by (twitter: @lucas_izumi)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 12:52 pm

The game is finally taking shape. Here is a screenshot of an early concept. The game will be divided in levels and we have 3 of them done. There are still several sprites to be made and music to be composed, so lots of work ahead!

We are also working on the physics of some objects (which are not behaving as they should) and finishing the last levels.

For reference, we are using:

Construct 2 as framework.

Box2D as physics engine.

Paint .NET and a Microsoft Surface for the drawing.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 for image editing.

Early concept of the game.

Early concept of the game.

Walking animation for our heroine.

Walking animation for our heroine.

First Ludum Dare as a team!

Posted by (twitter: @lucas_izumi)
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 7:56 am

So, after a quick brainstorming we decided what kind of game we would do. After 8 hours of programming, composing and drawing the mechanics, the first level were almost ready. However the game was not what we were expecting so we are starting a new one right now. The idea is simpler and all the elements seem to fit to produce the atmosphere we want. More news as soon as the first level is complete!

Discarded. The idea shall be used to a future game however.

The game that was discarded. The idea shall be used in a not-so-distant future however.

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