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My Best (Magical) Friend works-in-progress

Posted by
Friday, December 18th, 2015 10:42 pm

If you haven’t already played it, try our LD34 entry “My Best (Magical) Friend”, a very japanese visual novel about friendship and cool magic powers.
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-34/?action=preview&uid=35477

And since this is always fun, here’s some work-in-progress shots.

HOW TO MAKE A VISUAL NOVEL:

1

STEP 1: Write a bunch of stuff on pieces of paper.

 

2

STEP 2: Google docs because nobody else can read handwriting.

 

3

STEP 3: Plan out the whole story in MSPaint.

 

4

STEP 4: Write a little code.

 

5

STEP 5: Write some scripts. A lot of scripts. (This part took the longest!)

 

And voila, that’s how a visual novel was made!
Some screenshots of the final game:

final_1final_2

Give it a shot, and hope you like it! Was very interesting to do something story-based (since I usually do action).

My Best (Magical) Friend!

Posted by
Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 12:44 am

Check out our anime-style visual novel game, My Best (Magical) Friend!
Some gif previews..

ld-city

ld-kashiwagi-classroom

ld-city-monster

-from spotco (@spotco ), hinerz (@swaggerzaki) and knaga (@knaga)

Cheesing our game

Posted by
Friday, September 4th, 2015 10:43 pm

There’s probably a dozen or more ways to cheese our game.
This one, however, is probably the best

View post on imgur.com

That’s some RAX GRISSMAN shit right there.

If you haven’t tried it yet:
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=35477

We’re also working on a small content update, and a mobile/iPad version for the near future.

 

Got that GIF action going on

Posted by
Thursday, August 27th, 2015 8:46 pm

MONDAY NIGHT MONSTERS

Posted by
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 5:22 am

neu

night 2 progress

MONSTER SPORTS back online, stream + screen

Posted by
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 2:08 pm

Capture d’écran 2015-08-22 à 5.02.45 AM

Our game is MONSTER SPORTS

Livestreaming development at:

http://www.twitch.tv/spotcosgames

Streaming #LD33 LIVE http://www.twitch.tv/spotcosgames

Posted by
Friday, August 21st, 2015 11:42 pm

Ricochet Heroes Postmortem

Posted by
Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 4:24 am

It’s been two weeks now but have been meaning to write this while everything’s relatively fresh on my mind.
Finished the LD Jam (3rd of the year, though did a few other random game jams) and once again very happy with the way things turned out.

Here’s our game, “Ricochet Heroes”
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=35477

title screen

It’s a pinball/pachinko-RPG hybrid, with some obvious (as seen from the title art above) influences from final fantasy/16bit rpgs, and peggle. It worked out surprisingly well, managed to get in all the planned content. Did have to pull a heroic all-nighter sunday night/monday morning, but other than that got a decent amount of sleep.

A bit about the team, it was me, Josh (who drove up here to SF all the way from LA, what dedication!) and two others (Josi and Charles) who both had to drop out a day in. Didn’t take any selfies or anything, but here’s a photo of a desk at work in the Zynga HQ in SF (where we spent most of the contest):

unnamed

We spent an unusually long amount of time brainstorming (an hour and a half or more?). Here’s the general train of thought (sure wish I took a photo of the whiteboards/sketch papers here!)

1. We want to make an RPG!
2. RPG with the entire world map…ON ONE SCREEN
3. Maybe use a magnifiying glass to see individual parts of the world map?
4. Send out multiple heroes at once, or maybe one every 10 seconds?
5. Wait, how would gameplay for this work? Do you have god powers or something?
6. Specific god powers on cooldown, maybe lightning or swipe the enemies away
7. This doesn’t sound very fun at all think of something more action
8. Harvest moon + aliens/zombies, defend your land from the invaders IN ONE SCREEN
9. I still like the idea of watching people walk and fight, RTS-y.
10. World War 2 D-Day simulator where you control one person on the front lines and you die over and over again
11. That doesn’t sound very exciting either
12. This is going worse than expected
13. Go back to that rpg/heroes idea. What if you shoot out the heroes, and they bounce off the walls?

It took a bit of convincing that this idea even fit the theme of “entire game in one screen”, especially if we were gonna need to scroll the screen around. However, with idea in hand we were off to the races.

1

(About an hour and a half in)

2

(About 3 hours in)

One of our members had a hard time believing that this game was gonna be any fun. I agree, it probably didn’t look very fun at this stage. We had a lot of mechanics in mind (tilt, multi-ball, enemies, keys/gates), but how were they all going to be part of a cohesive experience together?

3

(Saturday morning)

I had some trouble figuring out how the game was gonna be fun too at this point. There were a couple of directions to go:
Was this game going to be more of a puzzle game,where you had to strategize how and where you were to shoot your balls?Or if not, how could we give it a more action-y feel?

It all came together around saturday night, where I was working a bit more on the “launch” mechanics. I wanted players not to just blindly spam clicks and shoot out balls, so that meant some sort of hold click to charge mechanic. At this point, the game didn’t have any sense of gravity do there wouldn’t have been any point to a “charge to shoot faster” mechanic. Once I added gravity, it all came together.

4

(Saturday night)

I made a pretty simple level resembling a simple pachinko machine, and the (imaginary) goal was to kill all the enemies in 3 balls or less. With the addition of gravity, hold to charge and tilting, this was actually a pretty challenging and fun level. With this, we knew where to go to get a fun game.

Spent all of sunday making all the mechanics (building entering, combat log, level transitions, enemy types) and the sunday-monday allnighter fixing bugs (which somehow this game had way more than usual) and designing the levels. To actually make the level layouts, I used the level editing tool from my recently released game SpeedyPups (http://speedypups.com/) to draw the mountains and place objects.

Capture d’écran 2014-12-16 à 02.59.43 AM

http://spotcos.com/gogodoggy/editor.html

I get a surprising amount of mileage out of this tool. If you’re reading this and interested in a simple vector graphics drawing level editor (that exports to JSON), send me a message and I’ll hook you up :)

Spent the last few hours adding sound effects and music (just like last time). Big credits to Josh who found the main world theme on newgrounds, I felt the music fit incredibly well and really improved the game. Wish I still had a link to the original on NG so that I could give credit, but it’s lost to time.

Submitted with about 20 minutes left to spare, and snuck in some physics bugfixes a few hours later.
We (both me and Josh) were considering doing an expanded version of the game possibly for mobile. There’s some obvious places where the whole “pinball RPG” could go…more RPG mechanics, upgrading character balls, quests, etc.

In the end, we decided to hold off on it for the time being. I’d really like to come back to this idea sometime in the future, but for now working on an “unnamed robot rpg”.

unnamed2

 

Get hyped?

Follow us at
https://twitter.com/spotco
or
http://spotcos.com

——

LD Recommendations:

I’ve played about 60 other games, and found 3 that I really liked.

“Lawbreaker” by deepnight
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=2982
2d GTA on one screen. As always, deepnight does the incredible in 48 hours (something that I’d probably have trouble doing in 72 with an artist). Lots of really great little details, like hijacking tanks and helicopters.

“Juoi” by teameagle
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=23493
One bossfight – the game. It’s one very pretty and well animated boss fight, with lots of action-y screenshake-y goodness.

“Snowball juggling Olympuio” by Benjamin
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-31/?action=preview&uid=2952

Snowball juggling. My favorite out of all that I played, incredible amounts of detail (just look at the animation on that snowman). Really fun in a “flappy birds keep trying to beat the score” sort of way, also really does replicate the feeling of juggling.

Dreaming Knight: Postmortem

Posted by
Saturday, August 30th, 2014 1:48 am

Finished my second LD a week ago and just managed to get some time to add some post-jam fixes.
Added some enemy-ai bugfixes, all the random art that I didn’t get to in the 72 hours, and FULLSCREEN MODE (that last one’s a big one since you’re swinging the mouse everywhere in this game!).

If you haven’t yet tried my game, give it a shot! (It’s a lot of fun I promise :))
http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=35477

35477-shot2

For the less video-game-playing inclined, I’d describe it as a top-down brawler with RPG (upgrade tree!) and Bullet-Hell (see picture) elements.
It’s got two parallel styles of play (sword or crossbow), 3 bosses, some semblance of story and LEL FUNNEH MEMES for all the humor points. (I’d say they’re relatively tasteful and fitting though…)

I’ll also take this as an opportunity to write a short post-mortem (since I do love reading others on the front page).

 


 

Real Life Stuff:

I met up with my old friend Josh for the Apportable meetup in San Francisco, we were planning on doing this event for a while (and he drove all the way from LA to get here – true sacrifice!).
The meetup itself was pretty dissapointing (I think we only say maybe 1-2 other serious teams there), but can’t complain about free food.
We did, however, meet up with our 3rd teammate there, Josephine.

I wish I took some photos of the meetup, but I’ll just have to settle with the dinner-after photo:

10548052_688194937916099_4136138774195406890_o

(bottom-right 3 of the photo).

We spent the rest of the weekend working at Intel HQ in San Jose (Thanks Josephine!).
I also remember being woken up at 2am by the earthquake that made national news while sleeping in a cubicle. Wasn’t too bad in the south bay.
Game Design:

I went in really wanting to do something involving RPG elements.
The main influence I had was a game I played during the last LD called Hanoka:

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/638425

hanoka
(If you haven’t, you should totally play this game. It’s fucking glorious)

And this talk by Jan Willem Nijman of Vlambeer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJdEqssNZ-U

(You should also watch this if you haven’t, I’d almost consider it required for anyone making any sort of action game).

We settled on the idea of a dream world pretty quick.
Here’s the general progression:
“Traveling between dream worlds” -> “Stories from multiple people dreaming” -> “Kid in school dreaming about different historical worlds” -> “minigame-based game with different dreams (dead end)” -> “kid sleeping in class dreaming he’s a superhero” -> “kid sleeping in class dreaming he’s a zelda-style knight” -> “the bosses are the other kids in the class” -> “his teacher is the princess”

 

Progress:

The original idea was 4 directions in the same vein as the 2d Zeldas.
Didn’t take too many in-progress caps, but check out this ridiculously fun looking prototype:

Capture d’écran 2014-08-30 à 01.17.06 AM

Sometime around midnight friday, one of us said “Wouldn’t it be a lot more fun if we just kept out the sword out the whole time?”
After that, it naturally progressed to a sword-follow-mouse and then a swing-mouse-to-swing-sword style of mechanic.
I usually like to have a fun prototype by the first night, so we were making decent progress. Sure, the game was just “green ball swinging grey stick at blue boxes”, but we could tell the “swing sword” mechanic would probably feel pretty great with some knockback, explosions, freeze frame and screen shake (watch the vlambeer video to know why!).

I do also remember spending a LOT of time working against the flixel hitboxes (specifically Flixel Powertools). I remember just being pretty annoyed the pixel-perfect collision not working properly (basically, any time you have an rotation, scale or offset).

The next day we met up at Intel HQ and worked on getting the game feel right, and I think we implemented one enemy (the small spider I think).
We were able to use just about everything the two artists made with little iteration, so kept on a good pace.

Capture d’écran 2014-08-30 à 01.23.45 AM

The day after (Sunday), I was feeling pretty behind so I made a goal of finishing all the enemies (small spider, big spider, jelly, boar) and 3 bosses (snake, spider and fireball). This was basically a day straight of coding/art.
Got all of those done around 2am monday, but was feeling pretty stressed out about the status of the game by then.
Stayed up and implemented most of the UI for the shop.

Woke up Monday 11-am (took the day off work!) ish feeling REALLY stressed. The game at that stage was just 3 untuned bosses, 4 enemies, and a couple of ideas on how to connect everything together.
Luckily, was saved by Josh. Since the art was mostly finished, I had him go on level design (enemy patterns, stats tuning) for the rest of the day. This involved some coding for Josh (first time ever I think?) but mainly a lot of playtesting and number-tuning. He did a really great job (you can tell just by the enemy placement and the balance with powerups!).

Capture d’écran 2014-08-30 à 01.35.32 AM
(Level code written by our artist!).

I managed to finish up the scene transitions, shop upgrades, bugfixes and everything else in the last 6 hours (that was the REAL crunch time!)
Did everything sound effect/music related in the last hour before submission. Luckily, I had a ton of general-purpose sound effects from my soon-to-be-released iOS game SpeedyPups, and some great chiptune music from Joshua Kaplan (from a previous game jam) that all fit really well.

With 10 minutes, added the last sound effects and submitted to the site. Was an intense and stressful 72 hours, but the final product is always worth it afterwards.

35477-shot0

Looking back:

I was really happy with the final product, managed to get in those RPG mechanics that I wanted to play with (with quite a few elements more-than-inspired by Hanoka…).
I only had a couple of regrets:

-Swing mouse to swing sword felt like a little too wonky/unpredictable mechanic to base a game off of
-Story wasn’t really too clear (and ending could have been a little more clever)

and unrelated:

-Didn’t get too much time to talk to an Apportable Engineer (since I actually am using+have a problem with their SDK!)

Will probably try and get this game on FGL once all the Ludum Dare excitement dies down.

Thanks for reading, and see you next LD!

IT’S FINISHED

Posted by
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 5:51 pm

What a painful 48 hours it’s been. But…turned out much better than expected!

The game’s done (spend last 2 hours or so on sfx/music (special thanks to GreaseMonkey for the music generator)).

Here was my setup, did Haxe and Haxeflixel on Mac using Flashdevelop (through Parallels Desktop).

desk

 

 

The game itself is a multi-directional bullet hell (first one of these I’ve ever completed), and I think it’s pretty challenging/fun (though I can’t be too sure, since I have been playing it for the last 48 hours or so!). Hope you enjoy it!

More screenshots:

splash

 

ss_1

 

ss_2

ss_3

out for the night!

Posted by
Sunday, April 27th, 2014 5:05 am

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 4.53.22 AM

 

3 Enemies, (2 more left for tomorrow), 2/4 stages and everything in between.
It’s turning out way more fun than expected (especially with the dashing!)

Out for the night, gotta wake up early tomorrow.

http://spotcos.com/penguin/

progress

Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 10:42 pm

28 hours in, art done and now need to focus on gameplay (making the planned 5 enemies, and level design).

Hope I can finish this all in time!

playable demo: (http://spotcos.com/penguin/)

screenshots:

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 10.40.29 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 10.40.43 PM

UW GameDev represent!

Posted by
Thursday, April 24th, 2014 5:14 pm

http://gamedev.cs.washington.edu/

 

GAMEDEV CLUB REPRESENT

 

WHOS GONNA DO THE LUDUM DARE??!

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