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Working on the AI, a coreographic fight.

This week was full work on the AI, which was lacking a bit, to say the least. It is a simple state machine that changes based on the distance to the character (far? jump, close? punch/kick) and its own physical state (falling? stucked? idling? close to edge?). Eventually I managed to make sequence I'm quite proud of:   Several silly situations came out of it before I reached that stage: The AI trying hard to punch, only to fall to their death. Finally! It manages to punch me.
  It's not really hard to terminate the threat.
Sometimes it even terminates itself... is the most convoluted way.
When your fighting your bro, and a brofist is mandatory.
  The AI is not prepared to fight flying robots.
  Ok, that was a decent punch.
  So it does not get too cocky.
  If you are interested in Posable Heroes, you can wishlist it on steam.

desdemian

desdemian

 

With... or without borders

Since the beginning I wanted to add clear borders to all my characters and levels. This was mainly due to this being a physics game, and I wanted no doubt about which object can collided with which object. Since the characters takes a lot of effort to move, then the player should find no surprises about what is a floor/wall, and what is just decoration. Unfortunately, today, assembling some new art, I realized that the white borders were just too much noise. So I made a fast mockup to test how it would look without the borders...
What do you think? Should I keep the paper white borders... or should I delete them?

desdemian

desdemian

 

The new tutorial

Refining the tutorial was probably one of the hardest part of the "later development". Everything was in place, but how to teach the player how to play the game was still a struggle. The first time somebody tried my game, he was 15 minutes on level 1 and he couldnt even solved it. So this was a major issue. The game evolved from a "this is a full level, here are the controls, good luck", to "this is a much limited level, lets try the first feature first and will see how we go". The things that helped me: 1. Limiting number of limbs. On the original first level, you controlled all 4 limbs + head of the character. That was brutal for a first timer. Understanding how physic works on the character is not easy. So I changed that to only 1 limb, and the character starts tied up to a chair. You have to limit the degrees of freedom that you offer the players.     2. Explaining the movie, the poses, and how do they work. Although the concept of a timeline is easy to understand now that everybody browses youtube, keyframes and poses needed to be explained. I tried explaining the bare minimum because I don't want to overwhelm the player on the first level.   Explaining that a pose is what make the difference in the movie.     3. Slowing down the player Although it may seem weird, sometimes you have to slow down the player so they dont hurt themselves. At first, just standing on some point in the timeline and moving the character would create a pose. Very fast, very simple. Except that it lead to players creating poses everywhere, anywhere. Not realising where they are standing, and not giving importance to the appropiate time. I had to slow them down, asking them to create the pose manually. This simple creation with a button made the player pay attention where the pose was, and at what time was the movement happening.   4. Teaching by doing, not just showing. This is quite straight forward, but players learn a lot more by doing the actions than just reading about them. In this case I showed an animated example of what the player was suppose to do, and waited for the player to do it themselves.   5. Gameplay before story. I'm pretty sure some writers may hate me, but I was willing to destroy the story if that meant a smooth gameplay/learning curve. One of my biggest fights with players was gravity. It was not easy to teach someone to move and jump, beacause... well... most people don't realise "how" they walk, they just walk. And when they have to pass that expertise to a dummy character, they struggle becuase in their mind is just automatic. It's like tryin to teach a kid to tie their shoes. You just do it, and you would have to analise step by step just to make it work. Original first level. Gravity can be a bitch. In my case, the fact that gravity was such a hussle to overcome, I couldn't add it in the first levels where players were just getting the grip of the game. So I moved my story to space, and then to the moon, were gravity is lower. After several level then the player lands on earth and the gravity challenge appears. Does it make 100% sense as a story now? No. I tried to fit the changes in to the story, but the realism of the story is a little stretched out now. I'm not gonna win any writing prize for it. But I haven't received any of the complaints and struggles I use to see from new players.    After refining the tutorial several times, I haven't received a single complain about no understanding the game. Some people still don't like it, that acceptable, but at least now everyone gets to evaluate the game other than "too confusing".   I hope my mistakes help you out a bit in your tutorial. Cheers. If you want to know more about the game: Posable Heroes on Steam

desdemian

desdemian

 

The IGF reviews are here.

The IGF reviews are here. The good news is that they all concur to the same point. The bad news is the point they all concur to.

Consensus: Good idea. Boring implementation.

===

I really like the idea behind the game however in it's current state it is no fun to play at all because the process of animating the character feels to tedious and slow.
Maybe an idea to facilitate and speed up that process would be to preanimate some poses and then reuse them with some kind of drag and drop mechanic. I can see this being fun but it would need some damatic changes in its interaction principles.

----

This is a really interesting idea, but the inherent tedium of animating is not mitigated enough at this point. This may be one of those ideas that looks good on paper but doesn't work out when you actually prototype it, or there may be ways to improve the pacing, such as the ability to save poses to swap in more quickly or having characters with fewer joints at the beginning.

----

REALLY love the idea, but the implementation is just not there. It's not fun to play. It sounds amazing in my head--and I was blown away as soon as I was reading what it was asking me to do--but I didn't enjoy the doing.

===

This implies much bigger changes than the HUD things I was talking about. The suggestions they give I had already considered, but i rejected them because of their implications on gameplay.

I think these are the first objective, over the internet, opinions I've gotten, and for that I give them more weight than the ones I've gotten so far face to face (a lot of people won't say to your face that your game is boring).


Now i need to decide if I keep my original direction, thus aiming super-niche, and sink with the ship.
Or... make a drastic change, trying to appeal to a (slightly) broader audience. I really wish I could do this without compromising the original ideas of the game, but right now that doesn't seem possible.


Decisions, decisions, ahead of me... and of course lots of prototyping.


"Art is not a democracy." - GRR Martin.
[size=2]But I'm not an artist, Martin, I'm an artisan.

desdemian

desdemian

 

Solution to Level 2

Continuing working on the introductory levels, this is the solution for level 2.

Here the player gains control over the leg also (level 1: only controls the arm). The body is still fixed, so there's not a lot of room to screw up.

Exactly zero minutes were spent researching the insides of a helicopter. I just needed a task that involved the arms and legs so the players gets used to keyframe, timing, etc, before he is actually loose and at the mercy of physics.



desdemian

desdemian

 

Smoothing out level 2 and 3.

Today there was some level design progress! [color=#000000][font=Verdana] Based on some feedback, I've been working on the levels to solve details that players are striggling with. [/font][/color]

[color=#000000][font=Verdana]The second level had a few problems: [/font][/color] [color=#000000][font=Verdana] * The wording of the mission briefing made people believe that they had to get out of the pod. This was fixed not only by rewriting it but by attaching the character with a seat bealt to the pod. [/font][/color]

[color=#000000][font=Verdana]* The pod was simplified by removing the controls from the outside of the pod, into a separate deattached panel. Since the original configuration seemed like the pod was actually closing rather than opening. [/font][/color] [color=#000000][font=Verdana] * Some coloring relations were set up to let the player know what controls work together. [/font][/color] [color=#000000][font=Verdana] * The pedal use to be too close to the hand, and somewhat pushable by it. Now was moved to the bottom of the pod, the hand can no longer reached it (by a significant distant) and the fact that you have to use your foot should be pretty obvious now. [/font][/color]



The third level required some changes too: [color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=Verdana] [background=rgb(252,252,252)]The new additions:[/background] [/font][/color] [color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=Verdana] [background=rgb(252,252,252)]* A red cable links the button to the marker.[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=Verdana][background=rgb(252,252,252)]* The marker is now bigger and clearer to point out the current color.[/background] [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(0,0,0)][font=Verdana][background=rgb(252,252,252)]* The arrows were made bigger to tell the player what each pedal does.[/background] [/font][/color]

Remember, you can download a demo from here (windows v0.6.1).
I could really use some feedback =), specially in level design.

desdemian

desdemian

 

Rethinking my hud

So... about my hud. This is my current hud design (graphics not final).



I made it based on YouTube's control bar...



mixed with Adobe Flash's time line...




Although functional, as i said before, a lot of people are having trouble grasping it. Programmers and animators have very little issues, but "common" people do not understand it easily, making the game pretty much impossible for them.

These are the main problems with the hud that I have seen when playtesting with strangers:

1. The concept of timeline is not intuitive:
1.1 People have problems going backwards and forwards in the animation
1.2 They can't realize that more space = more time.
1.3 They make their changes in a wrong place, when they try to add new keyframes.

2. The concept of interpolating between keyframes is definetely not understood.
2.1 People want their pose at this moment, and don't change the past!
2.2 Adding a frame to preserve the past is not understood.


So this is the idea i'm playing with right now:



The idea:
- I think users will be more familiar with a "film" concept, than a timeline.
- When you press play, the film slowly rolls to the left as the movie progresses.
- Every pose (frame) is held for X miliseconds and changes (almost) inmediately to the next.
- So no interpolation concept.
- The film starts very small (one or two poses) and the user can add poses as he needs them, so he knows how big it is.
- The frames are added only to the back, inmediately next to the last frame.
- They incrementally create the film form start to finish.
- No mistakes on where to add a frame. You are always working on the final part of the movie...

It becomes closer to a "list of instructions" that the character will try to imitate.

In theory:

Pros:
Easier to visualize.
Easier to teach.
Harder to make mistakes.
No interpolation required.

Cons:
Loses control and granularity. Since now each frame is bigger, you will not have as much control as you would with individual frames on a timeline.
More rigid, less liberties.


I realize that this approach take away A LOT of liberties from the player. I am not convinced if it's worth it. I have to implement it, and see if it works as i hope it will. I have to think if i like to play it this way.

I'll report again when i have results.

desdemian

desdemian

 

Replicating a simulation with Box2d, part 3.

In the last post, I explained how to solve the box2d issue about cloning a world. It's pretty simple, fairly fast and reliable in its results. I didn't use it. Why? Because there are some cases (like my game) that it doesn't work. And those cases happen when the game has two+ characters and one can go back to change their behaviour but the other one does exactly the same. Let me put it in pictures. If you have one character going back in time: The mechanic is straight forward. If the character goes back in time and does the same movements, the result will be exactly the same, because the copied world will be the same as before. If the character goes back in time and does something different, well, the result will be different, but that makes total sense, if you change the past you cannot expect the future to be exactly the same.
But, if you have 2 characters, let's see what happens: Let's say character pink stays still while character blue jumps around. A possible future is generated and the pink character observes it. This is the critical part, somebody that is not causing the events but is able to see the possible future. Now, when everything is rewound, and the pink character decides to move around, the copies will not be the same as before. Thus, the future of the blue player (that was originally observed) might change, even if the pink player never touches the blue player or its surroundings. This makes no sense in the eyes of the second player. This is a huge issue! Imagine in Posable Heroes doing some tasks with the blue character, and then coming back to work with the pink character only to realise your blue characters timeline is altered. Since the game requires precision, this is unacceptable. On the 4th and final post, I'll explain what I did to finally solve this issue (spoiler alert: thank you open source).   If you are interested in Posable Heroes, you can wishlist it on steam.

desdemian

desdemian

 

Replicating a simulation with Box2d, part 2.

So, in the previous post I said the main problem about duplicating a box2d world. The worlds differ. Why would you want to duplicate a box2d world? There are several reasons: To replay a cool sequence. To predict the future. To go back in time. To save the current game. To send the current world to another player. How do you solve this? There is a very simple way of going around the box2d issue. Instead of trying to make a copy of the original world, and hope for the best, you make two copies, and then destroy the original. So instead of running the original world and save the copy...
You make two copies, run one and save the second one. That way, the second copy will be identical to the first one.
So the solution is: everytime you want to save the current world, you are actually destroying it and making two copies. The players will continue to play on copy number #1 (they will not realise the change) and you store copy number 2, in case you ever need to get back to that instant.

This is a very simple solution that can be applied to almost every case. My game turned out to be one of those special cases that required dipping into the source code. I'll talk about it in the next post.

If you want to know more about my game and why I had to dance around box2d cloning issues: Posable Heroes now has a steam store page.

desdemian

desdemian

 

Replicating a simulation with Box2d, part 1.

Today I was working with a real buggy bug that has been bugging me since pretty much the beginning of development. You see, I choose to use box2d c++ version for Posable Heroes. It's open source and pretty solid. And the best of all, it's deterministic. That is, there is no "random" on the simulated work. If you have a square and a triangle, in exaclty the same starting position, with exactly the same linear and rotation speed, then when you simulate the world, you are always going to get the same result. Which is good! Specially for me in a game where I have to go back in time all the time. BUT... (a big but!)... if you try to duplicate an existing world (already running), then the two worlds will not behave the same. Here's a picture for you to understand... If you copy from the beginning, everything works:   But if you copy once the world is already running:   This is for a very simple reason: Box2d classes do not expose everything in public. There are several values, arrays and optimizations that lie under the hood, inside the b2World and the b2Bodies. So when you grab an existing world, and try to duplicate all the elements from the value they have public, there are several things you are missing. I found a temporal solution that I will talk about next post and that might solve this problem for some users, but that wasn't a forever solution in my case either.   If you want to know more about my game: Posable Heroes now has a steam store page.

desdemian

desdemian

 

Programer art vs Artist art

The last month I've been putting the new artwork into the game. Still lots of work, but it's nice to see it come together.
Last entry I was wondering about two diferent artwork style and trying to decide which one to keep. I decided to go with the cleaner looking one. The paper borders were just too much and made a mess. Although I did like the unique style it created, I decided to simplify. They say that perfection is reached when there's nothing else to take away... and those borders were something that the game could do without.
This is the progress on some of the level I've been sharing: Level 2, before and after:
Level 12, before and after:
Level 13, before and after:
Level 3, before and after:
I'm also preparing for greenlight! Very exciting times.

desdemian

desdemian

 

One year report (trailer inside).

Alright, my friends.
It's been 12 month since I started this project.

Here are a few stats of this whole journey:

Number of months without a home: 12.5
Countries visited: 7
Cities visited: 43
Money spent:
- On me (food, bed, transport, tourism& stuff): 8000 **
** 3000 in Korea alone. It was crazy, i was blinded by SC2 and kpop stars. I regret nothing.
- On the game (domains, hosting, music): 76
Fake iphone cables destroyed: 3
Number of pants/shirts lost along the way: 6
Times I got sick: 2
Times I got attacked by an alpha male spider monkey: 1
Number of classes in my code: 101
Lines of code: 22500+
Games finished: 0
Levels finished: 6.5
Trailers produced: 1.

Here is that trailer... the only tangible good coming out of this whole mess.
Enjoy.





If you like what you see:
Comenting/Following/Liking/Sharing/RTs on any of these will make my heart warm.

Web: www.stochasticlints.com
Twit: @StochasticLints
FB: Stochastic Lints
Gmail: stochasticlints@gmail.com

desdemian

desdemian

 

One month to IGF! And my game is unplayable...

So, one month to the IGF submission deadline.
What have I been doing the past 11 months?
I have no idea. Sometimes projects just don't seem to move forward.



To top it all... today I had a completely stranger play my game. This is the first time somebody has played the game without knowing anything about it. I told him nothing. Just run the game and follow the tutorial.

Well, it's unplayable.
He couldn't finish level 1.
And if he got even remotely close to finishing it is because I was there helping him after seeing him struggling for 10 minutes.


I need to redo the whole tutorial.
Maybe a video? I've seen non-gamers able to play it after seeing a video of me playing and explaining it.
But a video is not what you would call a good way to do a tutorial... maybe it is in this case?

Maybe a level 0. Easier.
But i thought level 1 was so easy.
What do i know.

Sorry for the rant... just one of those days.
I realize i've barely even posted things about the game here. I'm gonna change that.
So you don't feel cheated about this post... I will show you level 1... from november 2013 to september 2014. This is the whole level. No scrolling necessary.


desdemian

desdemian

 

New, easier, introductory levels.

So, besides my hud problems, and gameplay troubles, it has come to my attention that the first level is too hard.

This is the current first level:


It's a vertical level, from top to bottom; so gravity was supposed to help. It was not enough. So this level needs to be redesigned.

Also, I've been trying to come up with a way to ease the mechanics to the player. One suggestion I've got is to reduce the number of limbs/joints, so it is easier to control with less degrees of freedom.

That is actually an idea I really liked, so I came up with three introductory scenes, in which your character's body is fixed to a position, and you only control the arm, then the arm and the leg, and finally the arm and the leg with a loose body.

(programmer art)

Hopefully this will give the player enough actions to get use to the poses/keyframes/mechanic of the game, before he has to worry about moving the character around.

To give context to the inability to move, the character begins the game strapped on a helicopter sit, before being dropped to the mission. The character has to push some buttons, let itself free, and later jump into the void.


[size=2]More info about my game: themostposerheroes.com

desdemian

desdemian

 

New everything.

My father gave me his old laptop.
Since his "old" laptop was still 4 years younger than my current laptop, I took it. I needed it to record better videos since fraps+my game was too much for my current machine. Nothing else. I was probably going to keep using my machine for development.

I don't like configuring, installing, updating software. I hate it. But since this is a new environment, let's get new stuff.

First impression is I am exposed to a lot of things that have changed...

Is this Windows 7? Woah, this is the future... wait, was I using a 15 year old operating system. Yes.
I still got rid of everything on 7, setting it to "improve speed" option... ahh, lovely '98 gray task bar never leave me.
Installed the latest version of Code::Blocks. wow, nice, lots of new things, better useful autocomplete (in a computer that doesn't stutter). I'm pleased.
New MinGW... c++11 stuff on it? Nice!
New SDL. Apparently 1.2 is old school now. Ok, I have to update to 2.
What do you mean there's OpenGL 4.0?

And... after cursing a little bit with box2d (as usual)... I'm ready to go.

If you had asked me one week ago if my development computer was fine I would have said it was perfect!

Sure, some buttons on my keyboard didn't work and others had to be pressed hard.
Sure it would blue-screen or just freeze ocassionally, no big deal.
Sure it was slightly slow if i tried to do anything else parallel to programming.
But I was happy, really, honestly, I totally got by with a smile (this is not sarcasm).

Now... now that Ive seen what it is to work in a fully functioning computing... I cannot even think of going back to that piece of junk.

And that is the moral of the story kids. Do not try better things. Do not go to fancier restaurants. Keep using the bus. Do not try actual good quality brand shoes. Do not upgrade your electronics. Just don't. You don't need that, as long as you don't try it.

Repeat after me: quality, not even once.



ps: I don't have too much to show because of theses changes, so here is a little gif:




Oh, an alpha DEMO is coming soon! (mid july probably)

Follow me on twitter: @stochasticlints
More info about my game: themostposerheroes.com

desdemian

desdemian

 

New Demo out.

It's been a long time since I posted. I've been making significant changes based on some feedback received.

There's a new alpha demo out in case you want to try it: www.themostposerheroes.com (feedback will be really appreciated!!)

The big main difference is that now the story starts out in space.



Why? Because without gravity a lot of issues are resolved. Movement is much easier, and I'm guessing that without gravity players will realise a few things about physics (mainly, that you need to push yourself away from stuff in order to move). I will introduce gravity in small steps, first entering a low gravity field, before the player is actually deployed on earth to complete the mission. If you have the time please check the demo out, I need some feedback. =)

desdemian

desdemian

 

My sketchbook...

As i was reading Asteroid Base's post about sketchbooks: http://www.asteroidbase.com/devlog/8-ugly-sketchbooks/#more-496, it was a nice surprise to see three different people and the way they treat/use their sketchbooks. Even though i consider myself 100% a programmer, my sketchbook looks more like Jamie's: drawings mixed with math (more like geometry in my case), although not as tidy.

I was actually surprised how clean and white were the programer's pages.


My sketchbook's pages usually start with useful data: todo lists, algorithms or ideas. I'm not very tidy, but it makes sense to me...




As time goes by, and those pages spend more and more time next to me, doodles start invading them. Sometimes they actually mean something (level design, geometry collision, direction vectors, etc)... and sometimes they are just things my hand does while my brain is thinking...




In the end... if possible, i even start using darker pens to write over other things... there's a whole mess with barely any white on them... time to move to the next page...



I've found that having as sketchbook to doodle makes programming so much easier. To put something on a page (even though it's just a square representing a class or an object) organizes the code in my head.



The curious thing is that when i get into "artist mode" (character design, mainly), i am the opposite. I am very tidy and i don't like doodling on these pages. This is the same sketchbook, except showing the art pages.











In fact i think i'm TOO tidy. Too rigid. I've seen actual artists' sketchbook, their lines are all over the place, the re-do the same line several times, maybe trying to find something new that works better. Their shapes are not defined until later, they are actually sketches. And have like one hundred drawings of the same character with slight variations...

But i cannot do it, if i don't like a line I erase it... if i like a character, i'm afraid to draw it again because i don't know if i will manage to draw it the same. I have to pratice to loosen up... a lot.



What does your sketchbook look like?
As a programmer do yo have a sketchbook at all?

desdemian

desdemian

 

My character is growing...

I said i was gonna post more often. I haven't. Sorry.
I'm working 24/7.


To make up for the lack of updates, I want to show you the evolution of my character in the last year.
I talked before about finding the right proportions.

This is how the character visually evolved all along this year. From prototype to current version.



I'm trying to set up a website but it's pretty much empty right now: http://www.stochasticlints.com
Should have something on it in the following weeks.

Cheers.

desdemian

desdemian

 

Level Editor done.

The level editor is done.

It took me a lot longer that I estimated, but I have everything in place now so hopefully I can start focusing on level design.

It is divided in several "screens". The Image Editor lets you load files, set their UV coords, set origin, and if they are animated sprites you can attach them animations.




After an image is prepared, you can load them on the back/fore ground, or use them in the Part Editor to create a box2d part:



The Part Editor asigns physical parts to an image. Basically 1 image = 1 object. You can also add shapes by using circles, rectangles and polygons; each with their own physical properties.

Then come the Object Editor which puts together the parts to create links/trees of physical parts joined by revolute/prismatic joints.



And there's also de physics editor which, after loading a background image, let's you draw the global static physics of the level for the character to collide with:




Extra screens:

Character positioner (lets you decide where is there character going to start and in the initial position).
Sensor Editor (lets you put sensor all around the level that trigger events)
Victory editor (lets you choose the victory conditions for the level)


I'm planning to include this editor with the game, but probably I need to make it easier to use and hide a lot of details from the user. But that's for another time...

I need a character editor now...

desdemian

desdemian

 

Inverse Kinematics to the rescue.

I'm currently trying things to make the game easier on the new player, without sacrificing the original vision.
Besides modifying the first levels, I have added a few control related improvements.

Inverse kinematics:


I slowed it down on purpose to give the user more control.

This is something that several people asked me to add. So now you can control the whole arm through IK, or control each individual part as before if you want more control.

IK is usually not an easy subject, but for my case I was able to approach it in the simplest way, using Cyclic Coordinate Descent. Using this awesome article by Ryan Juckett (includes explanation, drawing, math and code!) it took me very few adjustments to make it work.

The only thing I had to add was restrictions to the joints, since the wrist of my character is not supposed to do a 360 rotation.

To make it work, I modified Juckets' Bone_2D_CCD struct to:struct Bone_2D_CCD{ double x; double y; double angle; bool hasLimits; // new double minAngle; // new double maxAngle; // new};
And fed this new information to the algorithm.


Inside the IK function, after these rotAng variable is computed (these lines)...double rotAng = acos( max(-1.0, min(1.0,cosRotAng) ) );if( sinRotAng
...I added code to truncate the rotAng variable:if (bones[boneIdx].hasLimits){ bool limitExceeded = false; if (rotAng > 0 && bones[boneIdx].angle + rotAng > bones[boneIdx].maxAngle) // truncate to maxAngle { rotAng = bones[boneIdx].maxAngle - bones[boneIdx].angle; limitExceeded = true; } else if (rotAng
And although I'm not super proud to bring trigonometric functions to an "all linear algebra" solution, I don't know enough math to do it properly, and this was a case of not needing to optimize things that do not slow down your game (this code follows the action of the much-slower user).



[size=2]More info about the game: themostposerheroes.com

desdemian

desdemian

 

I'm back, and now with a Steam Store page.

Alright, I took a long hiatus because I was tired and starting to feel burnout. Now I'm back and ready to give this final push that is needed. First thing first, I have a steam store page set up!   Which is good, now people can wishlist the game. Currently I'm at 69 whislist which is too low. I need at least x100 that, so a lot of promotion needs to happen. The other thing that comes with the site is that now I have a shipping date: February 22nd. It might change based on toehr releases, but I think it's a pretty good estimation for realease, and I definitely need to have finished by that date. I thought having a site would bring a good ammount of people to visit my site, but that was not what happend (at least in my experience). I had a lot of exposure the first couple of days (around 400+ people per day) but then it fell to around 10 to 20 per day. Which is very little. Here's the graph: The 2 spikes that you can see are some flux I managed to bring based on some reddit comments, but the wishlist number did not increase those days, so basically I didn't bring customer's eyes to the site.   Anyway. Currently I'm working on a couple of game breaking bugs that have been bothering me for years but I haven't had the chance to fix them. Wish me luck.  

desdemian

desdemian

 

I made an ollie!

One of the levels I've been working on requires you to use a skateboard. Allthough in the level you just have to ride the skate through ramps and jumps (hard enough), for this screenshot saturday I decided to invest a little bit of time trying to see if I could make the character perform an ollie on the flat ground. It took quite some time (30 minutes?), its not the most technical ollie you will see... but hey, the wheels are on the air and the character lands it. I'm happy =).
http://bit.ly/2fMFjaP
Edit: does somebody know why is my .gif not showing in this post? It shows correctly and animated in the editor, but not when I click "Publish Now".
More info about the game: themostposerheroes.com

desdemian

desdemian

 

GUI/Tools programming vs Game programming

Dear diary...

I've been doing a lot of GUI/tool programming for the last two months (mainly building a level/character/campaing editor).
And I have noticed a huge difference in my mental state while programming GUI/tools sutff.

As in, when I'm programming games, I'm constantly on my toes: "Is this efficient? Am I making a copy of this? What O(n) is this? How can I avoid this loop?" etc etc... basically I didn't realize until now that every time I'm game programming I'm like this:


Pictured: 10.000 actions in 16 ms.


Now, don't think I'm a optimization maniac. In fact, after seeing this talk on gpp2015... apparently I'm not even doing enough.
I try to live by the rule number 1 of optimization: "Don't do it"; but I do tend to have a sense of awareness that if I can effortlesly redesign my algorithm to make it faster, I do, as long as it doesn't take me 2x+ the time to code it.


But... my eyes openend when I programmed my tools and my GUI. It felt like this:


Pictured: 1 action in 100 ms.

My mind was like: "Iterate through all 20 items? Lol, sure... Open 15 files to build this menu? Be my guest!"

Like, the reaction time was huge (user dependant), the number of items being handling was ridiculous low, 20... 30 options. It felt like a vacation.

So, my question to you... Is this a normal feeling?

If it's not: am I doing something wrong? Game programming should not be more stressful than "regular" programming. Any advice?

If it IS: If this is a common feeling, I am seriusly considering not coming back to the game industry once the indie-dream is over. I mean, if I can feel this relaxed on my work environment (and the higher salary is nice too), then maybe my doubts about what industry should I go back to is easier to answer.

Any thoughts?

desdemian

desdemian

 

Greenlight continues... and so does development.

Alright! 11 days on greenlight, and work must go on.
Today I show you a couple of characters that you will find on you animated adventure. This is some sort of goliat/brutus minion that will get in your way. There's no way to defeat him by punching him so you better use your head in this confrontation.

This is some old master. Kill Bill style. Yes, that's a pinpogn paddle. Yes, you will have to play ping pong against him.
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font='Helvetica Neue']And if you would like to check the game, here the [/font][/color]greenlight link[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font='Helvetica Neue'].[/font][/color]

desdemian

desdemian

 

First day of Greenlight

So, finally, Posable Heroes got into greenlight on monday morning. Preparation: I prepared my 512x512 logo, which has to be less that 1mb so some optimization had to be done. I decided on an animated logo for extra attention. But the animated portion was small (like 30%) so the weight would not be as high.
Tip: This website was very helpful to reduce the last 100kb. I prepared my trailer: The artist had a personal problem the last couple of weeks. I could not wait any longer for the extra levels we wanted to include, so I made them myself with parts I could pickup from other levels, and from free textures found online. I got the soundtrack from audiojungle for 15 dollars.
I prepared the description: Trying to use a short description at the beginning, and a main body to describe gameplay and show how the game works. I can translate to spanish myself, and a kind person translated to russian for me. So 3 languages were supported. Added google analytics. Added links to twitter, youtube and facebook. And then I pressed PUBLISH. Inmediately after submitting, (like 30 minutes after), Posable Heroes was already 6th on the recent releases list. Damn! Want an advice? Don't publish on monday mornings. Compared to it, tuesday morning has been much slower as far as new submissions goes. I had manually tracked some values on thursday and friday, and everything pointed to 1.5 new games per hour. So this was a big bump I didn't expect. But then again, I have no idea how Grenlight's algorithm works to show the game on people's queues. Is there a fixed number of impressions? Does yes/no ratio make you game more visible? Does falling to second page matters? I don't know. 26 hours later, I'm still on first page though, on slot 29th. By the time I finish writing this entry I probably have fallen into greenlight oblivion of the second page. Traffic has already slowed down and new votes (either 'yes' or 'no') have already stopped coming in. And I'm getting around 1 vote every 30 minutes... yikes. How is it going so far? I had a good run on monday afternoon, reaching around 55% yes votes. But today I woke up to a very low 40% approval.
This was not unexpected, as the game is not really mainstream (nor a "gamer's game"). But I guess I did have a little bit of hope of getting a better approval ratio. Don't we all? But I'm not down about the ratio, I am worried about how few votes (overall) I'm getting. So I need to find a way to pump those numbers up. How do games in the top 100 do it? They have like 6,000 votes! Is that organic? I have been offered some promotion by shady marketing groups/companies. I don't want to go that route. One curious thing: In the first 20hrs+ I had zero "Ask me later". Then, all of a sudden, 9 votes appear there in like 15 minutes. What was that about? Anyway, on the good side, I had a good laugh with this comment:
It made me chuckle. I'm thinking what other things I could do to get attention. I saw some groups on facebook but it just seems developers voting each others project, no matter the quality of the submissions. I'm not fond of that. Is that the game we are supposed to play?. Right now I'm preparing something and see if any website wants to say a few words about the game, although everyone says that getting greenlight coverage is very hard. Feel free to leave me suggestion in the comments! And if you like the game, here the greenlight link.

desdemian

desdemian

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