Tales of Indiscipline – November Update

As I write about me not having discipline, I feel like I’ve already written about that, probably because I have. But this month it kicked as hard as it could.

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me on youtube as a full time job

This month my brain just didn’t want to do any kind of work and I’m not sure why. It is normal to have bad days, unproductive days but having a whole unproductive month? Looks more like bad habits, speaking of habits, all my good habits were destroyed this month. It’s just something that happens to me from time to time, my brain simple goes like “Hm, let’s destroy all habits and create new ones!”.

On the good side I discovered a lot of good youtubers so I have this.

I can backtrack all these bad habits to 2 things: one night that I didn’t sleep while programming a game demo and starting a more aggressive diet plan (gotta lose some kg!).

I’m not sure the effects of not sleeping one single night can be, but I don’t think it can destroy a whole month, on the other hand, I’m sure it can help producing some pattern changing effects.

For the other reason, eating less calories than your body uses and going to the gym and doing cadio can be really stress inducing, making your body/brain try to spare the maximum amount of energy possible (for example, not wanting to do productive work because it is stressful and demands energy, etc…)

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me irl

After talking about being undisciplined, lack of sleep and weight loss, let’s get back to regular schedule and talk gamedev. Yes! I actually managed to have a little bit of progress.

Please Click

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that’s how I’ll get rich

The original plan on Pizza Clicker was to release and publish updates periodically, this is a very good trap that will lead you to just forget about the game. But one day I randomly looked at Play Store and it had 10+ install. How? The game wasn’t even finished for me!

I’m not sure how these people found out about Pizza Clicker, but you can see more on Pizza Clicker’s page.

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until I found this

I think this is a pretty good conversion rate for a game that I did nothing but hit the “Publish” button – It motivated me to keep working on the game and not leave it behind, I need to create gameplay to keep players more engaged.

So I launched two updates:

  1. The first one just adds a simple feature where the mayor offers you an incrementer (a worker or an oven), in exchange you have to watch an advertisement. This is the less intrusive way I found to monetize this game, and while this updates adds ADS it also adds the Unity Analytics so I can get more numbers on the game.
  2. The second one was just some bug fixes. There’s a feature that calculates how much time you spent away from the game and gives you a reward based on how much pizza per second you have and the time you spent away. The amount rewarded was 10% of all the pizza you would have produced that time, it was too much, now it is 1% (and I’m still thinking on making it even lower).

For the future, my plan is to add upgrades and add more News to the game, the Newspaper section is the way I’m going to tell the story of the game. Creating the news is not difficult, just a bit time consuming, as for the upgrades, I already started programming it and came up with an efficient way to do it.

The second plan for the future is to simplify Pizza Clicker into a generic Idle/Clicker game and sell it as an Idle Game Engine for Unity. Making these kind of games requires a lot of interconnected systems and a lot of persistency, that can be hard for people not very used to programming so this kind of asset would help some people.

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I wasn’t thinking about that at all

How’s your Dreams?

Mine haven’t been so good actually, I had some nightmares this past month but that can be due to… Oh wait. I was supposed to talk about Dreamlands here.

You can play a very early version of Dreamlands on its itch.io page and leave any early feedback! Soon there will be a new build up!

intro
temporary intro screen

My focus this month for Dreamlands was to work on aesthetics, so I played a lot with colors, did many different characters and tested a lot of things on art. After all that, I still have no idea of how it should look or what colors I should use!

I also created a simple “Sandbox” mode where you can choose your initial stats and the number of rooms generated, another minor change was that the character’s idle animation now changes according to the player base speed.

Random Numbers: I love random numbers. Really. I graduated doing research on algorithms that used random numbers at their core. Good Times.

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That being said, I wrote some RNG based interactions for Dreamlands:

  1. The damage is not constant anymore, it is now a random integer value between 0.75x and 1.25x, where x is the character’s attack.
  2. There’s a random chance of a Critical Attack. A critical attack causes two times the damage and the chance increases with luck.
  3. There’s a random chance of Miss. The standard Accuracy Rate is 80% and it increases with luck.

All these features can be easily tuned and easily activated/deactivated. I made it this way because I don’t know whether they are fun features or not, so they are definitely pieces I will be returning in the future.

Current Plans with Dreamlands: The idea was to make something in 3 or 4 months, that will not be possible. But I don’t want to work years on this neither keep adding more and more features. That being said, my current plan is to work on it until the end of the year and then come up with a release date. I would like to finish it in February or March, resulting in a 6 ~ 7 month project, which is a good amount of time.

Mobile Games on itch?

I hadn’t though before on putting mobile games on Fourth Dimension’s itch.io page, but I’ve seen people doing it so I also did.

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and it was actually interesting

Almost everyday someone visited Pizza Clicker’s page. Space Journey, my first and highly casual game also got some visits. I don’t have any control or number of how much of these visits resulted on downloads, so that’s pretty much it. I just thoughy it was an interesting result.

Space Journey was my very first game on Play Store but it is still fun to play! Take a look!

This post was longer than usual and I changed subjects some times, but I hope y’all like it! See you on the next one!

sidenote: I also tried to take a different approach on writing this month, an approach which I plan to stick to, trying to keep the post more engaging and not the “I did this, I want to do that” kind of post, which although very straight and informative, can be less appealing.

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October Update

Dreamlands

Last update I was developing Pizza Clicker and I reached a point where I could publish it and did it. I wanted to work more on it and have some updates but I didn’t do it (still planning on doing it – just need to organize my schedules for it).

If you are interested in playing Pizza Clicker and managing your own Idle Pizzeria you can access the game’s page here to download it on Play Store or maybe download the press kit!

What I worked on was Dreamlands.

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Dreamlands is a Roguelike RPG game inspired on Crypt of the Necrodancer and Bloodborne, the goal is to be a take on more traditional roguelikes but in a more “welcoming” and aesthetically pleasant way (as I find classical roguelikes kinda difficult to get into) – Aside of that, it will have a big influence of Lovecraftian Horror.

The aesthetic is still experimental as I have to decide color palette and art direction, I have the basic systems developed already (Level Generation and Turn Based Combat). The Combat System will still see a lot of tweaks during development.

There is nothing very interesting on it yet, just basic mechanics. The next steps are creating a sandbox mode and the art direction, after that I will add more content to the game and think about alpha and beta releases.

In fact, a first playable version is available online here (Fourth Dimenstion’s itch.io page).

My original plan was to make this game in 3 or 4 months, leading the release date to be in late December or early January. I think I can stick to this deadline because, by default, this game is supposed to be simple and kind of an introduction to roguelikes. My goal is to have it on itch.io and maybe on Steam for around $5.

If you want to know about Dreamlands in more detail, there are these posts on the Fourth Dimension’s Devlog:

GameJams

This month I joined two Gamejams, which was something I haven’t done for a while, they are always nice to test and learn new things! These are the two games I’ve made:

 

They kinda look similar (well, it’s my pixel art style)

Secludere (Right) (Available online at itch.io)

Secludere is a simple platformer game. The jam was the “Become Better at Something Jam” which I kind of randomly picked at itch.io jams page, it was a small jam (7 participants I think) that I just happened to like the themes/goals. The idea was to practice with music and animation.

This jam was a week long so I really didn’t push a lot of desperate work on this (from 1 to 2 hours daily)

Journey to the Light (Left) (Available online at itch.io)

Journey to the Light is another platformer game, but this time with some combat mechanics. The jam was JimJam2 (143 entries) and theme was Ouroboros. I liked the concept I came up with for this game – which is Knights that needs to destroy each other in order to restore their own pieces/powers (a little bit dark, I know)

These are the results for Journey to the Light:

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I’m actually happy with these results – I always end up with something out of scope for a gamejam and Journey to the Light wasn’t any different, so the game definitely lacks a lot of polish and bug fixing. That being said, I’m thinking on fixing some stuff and reuploading it and maybe in the future make this its own game with a story of maybe 1 hour and a “roguelike” mode.

Gamedev Club

Last update I posted some prototypes I worked on a gamedev club. They were useful on our process and we picked one to create a real game! The first playable version is still on the way so I might post it here on next update.

That’s it for this update! See you on the next one!

 

September Update

Pizza Clicker

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Pizza Clicker is a game I’ve started working on a long time ago (there’s even a web playable version here) and I took this idea and made it mobile and the second game for Fourth Dimension Studios – On the Landing Page you can get the link on Play Store and get the press kit.

If you don’t have the time, here are some screenshots:

It’s still on some kind of early release and I have plans to update it to add Monetization (giving the player Ovens in exchange of watching ADS), Upgrades (as every Incremental game should have) and then more options of Hire, Ovens and Upgrades. The game’s lore will be told by the Newspaper section.

Next Project

Putting out Pizza Clicker now makes me able to work on another project, and I’m thinking on getting something more complex that should take 3 or 4 months to complete. It will either be the game I was previously working on which I called Match 3 Roguelike or it will be a new game which I’m calling Dreamlands.

What I will do is create a playable version of both of them in 1 week each, from there I will decide what to do.

Prototyping

It’s been a while since I’ve been working with some people at a local University to study and create our own games, until now we were just studying, getting to know each other and practice a little bit with internal game jams.

But now we are aiming to develop a real game and to decide what game we should make, we divided into groups and did some prototypes. I’ve worked on four prototypes on the last month, and it was a nice experience.

The first prototype is a metroidvania where your powers are related to university courses, and it also has some elements of Visual Novel. The second one is a casual racing game with a steampunk thematic, the goal is to play using accelerometer or gyroscope and it was actually pretty fun.

The two others (the ones below on the picture) were extremely experimental things, the first one was a puzzle where the room was dark and you needed to bark (you are a dog) in order to see on a bigger radius – You have to capture a thief and could do that by barking (the thief runs when you hear the bark) and locking doors.

The last one is the movement around a small planet, the idea was to have a management kind of game combined with simple combat and hazards.

I’m pretty happy with all these prototypes and I discovered that I really like prototyping, it’s all fun and games, maybe because prototyping is approached with more of a playful mindset and it is evaluated with the same playful attitude.

That was my update!

Until next month!

August Update

I quite don’t know where to start this update, which might be the first sign that have a lot of things to write here. As always, I will try to be brief.

Let’s take it easy and continue where I left at my last update on the game Match 3 Roguelike.

I’ve finished a prototype/playable version, which can be downloaded on itch.io – I tried to contact some people on the internet to play it but, generally, there wasn’t a lot of interest. I don’t know if the game seems boring, if I reached the wrong type of people (probably) or what happened, but it didn’t cause much of an impression.

Fortunately, I managed to sneak the game on Feedback Friday on Tim Ruswick’s Youtube Channel and he played it on live stream! yay! He didn’t understand a thing.

So I made what every sensible human being would do, GameMaker Studio does not do very well with these kind of games, so I decided to port it to Unity. Now the GMS2 version is publicly available on my GitHub.

Next update I will have something on this game probably.

The Fourth Dimension

Having graduated and parting ways with my Internship, suddenly I found myself with a lot of free time. So, naturally, I started trying to make my way into the games industry and while I search for opportunities to be paid to make games, I created my own “Game Company”: Fourth Dimension – Focusing on Gameplay and Game Feel. As mobile games are faster to develop, that was my starting point, and also my first game.

Space Journey is the first game I developed under the name “Fourth Dimension” – It’s even on Play Store! – It’s basically a Flappy Bird clone, but it happens on space, so the feel is a little bit different.

My goal for this “Company” is to develop games that are more comercial and can be somehow lucrative, that way I can build a portfolio with finished and polished games and might build a passive income (the dream). Even when I get a full time job (or get busy other way somehow) I still plan to work under Fourth Dimension and put more games out there.

I mentioned I have a lot more of free time so I got more into writing and finally set up my own blog (not this devlog) and a devlog for Fourth Dimension, here are some posts that might be interesting:

 

That’s it for this month!

Hopefully the next one will have more info!

Way Behind Schedule

Ayy, this month was a pretty conturbed one, it envolves doing some extra time on my internship, traveling, having to focus writing my final graduation project, presenting it, correcting it and writing some more, quiting my internship (so having to put on some extra time to finish my tasks and help others) and also has to do with getting a bit lost on where I am in game development.

Match 3 Roguelike

This is the last gameplay footage I recorded:

 

It has all the scene transitions and it is almost enough to start getting an impression of what the game really should be like.

After this footage I’ve written some code to reach the end of a floor and go to a subsequent one, the more you advance, more difficult the game is.

What still needs to be done for a playable version:

  • Data Persistence between the dungeon part and the Match3 “Battle” part, it just restarts everything;
  • Write the code to actually make the game gets difficult according to current level;
  • The “Garbage System” – Difficult is represent by puzzles getting faster, but also by the enemy throwing “garbage” at your puzzle area, which occupies a certain area, turning it harder – But if you play well enough, the garbage turns into new pieces, so you can use it to your advantage.

I’ve already said that after doing this first playable version I will just need to tune and polish it, but damn it is being hard to get this minimum viable game.

Tetris

Tetris? What?

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I applied for a job in a Mobile Game company in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

On the technical interview they asked “If you were to implement Tetris right now, how would you do it?” – My answer was pretty bad because I wasn’t expecting this and I got a bit nervous. After the interview I decided to check my answer and really implement a tetris.

It is playable right now, you can play it on my itch.io page.

If you are interested in more details, you can go to the devlog on the tetris page.

That will be it for this update!

Hope you all have a good month!

Almost July

Another month has come and gone and it’s time for another update!

There’s not much to type here, there are two videos that pretty much sums up the progress during this month, but as I always do, I will divide in sections and end up talking a lot about the projects.

The Puzzle Roguelike

It’s been almost 2 months since I’m working on this project, yikes! I wanted to finish the “Minimum Viable Product” for this month’s update and then spend a week or two reaching people asking for feedback and honest opinions. Here is the video on the current “game”:

There are basically two parts: (i) The Roguelike Part, where you explore some sort of map and when you find an enemy you transition to the puzzle part. (ii) The Puzzle Part, it works as some kind of substitute of a regular combat, your matches remove enemy health, being rewarded for combos and bigger matches.

I’m planning to finish the minimum product in a week or two, I just have to add the transistions back and forth from battle and do a simple main menu which is already designed in my head (hey, that’s the hard part!). With the MVP I will start all the marketing stuff and see what people thinks of this game.

After that I will, well, finish the game. The interesting thing is that probably there won’t be much to add to the mvp, just polish it, tune difficulty, interest curves, make it more appealing, fix the camera, etc… Shouldn’t take more than two months (I hope so).

The Unity Thing

I realized months went by without me doing something in Unity, also I realized that it has change way too much and I tried to do something on it, also probably because I will be using Unity more than Gamemaker on the future.

I grabed a course on Udemy and did a metroidvania section, called “Tilevania”, the result is on the video below.

 

I recorded the whole Unity screen because I’ve just realized that the camera and the UI breaks on Full Screen, so I just recorded like this and I will lie by saying it was to also show the scene and hierarchy.

I honestly liked the end result and it was fun to try doing some metroidvania, it was a genre that I always had some kind of curiosity on trying to develop.

Adding some more things on top of this simple demo and doing my own art for it should result into a nice portfolio piece, so I might return to this game next month!

Weeell, that was it for this month, I hope to have some more interesting stuff on the next one!

See you!

Moving Forward

Time for another update! Not much progress overall but the important thing here is: (a) I’m moving forward a little bit everyday, working at least half an hour on something game dev related and (b) I feel like I finally have a game with a small scope and that could result in something that is fun and actually slightly different from the other games out there.

Progress

Last month I talked about my puzzle game prototype (based on Pokemon Puzzle Challenge), by that time all I had was this simple puzzle with moveable pieces.

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Since then I have written the code to check matches and generate new rows from the bottom.

But testing this puzzle without any kind of visual feedback was hard, often I was randomly moving pieces and some pieces just disappeared, and I was like: “Is it a bug or a match I didn’t see?” – I have already heard of game genres that requires to be polished soon on development, I though that maybe this is one of them.

So I went on to write the functionality of having the pieces glowing for 1 second before they disappear, and, although it worked on the end, I had to change the structure where each piece was represented which led me to rewritting all of my game’s code. Oh well, things like this just happen. See the video below for the current state of the puzzle

Changes on the structure: Before, the structure was just the piece represented, now, each position where there is a piece, there is actually a vector, this vector has (i) a piece to be displayed; (ii) a value indicating whether the piece is set to be destroyed and (iii) a timer indicating how many frames has passed since the piece was marked to be destroyed.

When a match occurs, the piece to be destroyed is marked, and they are destroyed after a second on the Step function (or Update function) – The glow is achieved by a simple “is odd” function on the timer, if the time is odd, it is rendered a white sprite overlaying the piece.

Next on my To Do List:

  1. Adaptaing the “fall” algorithm (the piece of code which runs after matches to check if any pieces above should fall) to make it seem like a smooth fall, not just changing piece positions.
  2. Reinserting the new row generator.
  3. Make the new rows appear slowly so the player can play around what pieces are coming.
  4. Write the “Overworld”/Roguelike Part.

Talking in Roguelike Part…

Let’s talk Design

One of my intentions on this blog was to also talk about programming and design, I recently realized that I’m just writing what I’m doing, time to change that. I’ve written a little bit on programming above (on how I structured the pieces and how the glow was made), and now I am going to talk about some of my design process this month.

I tried to do a definitive simple game design document and it had 5 pages, the 2 most important pages are below, I’ve written about Game Identity, Design Pillars, Genre/Story/Mechanics Summary, Art, Music, Flow

The most important is the Flow, actually, all 5 pages could be just the flow (Please forgive my handwritings)

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But these writings doesn’t matter anymore because…

p3

Yeah! I’m proud of myself for cutting stuff from my games!

Last update and on the first two images it is possible to see that “Turn Based Like” gameplay was a feature of the game, the scope seemed too big and I asked myself “Why Turn Based Like Combat mixed with the Puzzle is important?” and it isn’t. So I removed it from the game, making the puzzle and the roguelike part much more simple. After all, the aim is for it to just be a puzzle game with some kind of a roguelike progression.

That’s enough for this months update. For some non gamedev related news, I’m embarking to the US tomorrow! Yay. I will be a week in Orlando. I just hope that I can move on with my life after buying a Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild there.

See you on next month!