Jump to content
  • Advertisement
  • entries
    112
  • comments
    236
  • views
    136745

About this blog

Still making games...

Entries in this blog

 

Upgrade Screens

There are two resources to collect in Graveyard Shift: Zombie souls and experience points. Zombie souls must be collected with soul sucker tiles while experience points are dropped by zombies where they die, ala Geometry Wars.

Zombie souls are the currency used to place tiles and enchant them, while experience points help the player gain experience levels. Every time the player goes up an experience level she gets skill points with which she can upgrade her weapons and tile enchantments. Here's a video of the upgrade screens where the player spends skill points:


Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Twitchy Thrones is out now!

Twitchy Thrones is out now for iPhone. It's free until November 5th: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/twitchy-thrones/id898649182?l=pt&ls=1&mt=8

Here's the release trailer:



And some screenshots:






Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Twitchy Thrones is out now for Android!

Twitchy Thrones is out now for Android! And also iPad.

Google Play link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.onceabird.twitchythrones

App Store link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/twitchy-thrones/id898649182?mt=8


Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Try Bennu out...

The first release candidate of Bennu for PC is here. We're not sure it's finished, so if you want to try it out we're thankful for any bug found, suggestions or comments.

[size="7"][color="#FF0000"]Just don't say it's too hard.[/color]


[size="4"]Download link here.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Trailer!

">Here's a trailer for attack of the 50ft Verbose Dinosaur!

Also, my brother redid the cover:


Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

The pixels of Twitchy Thrones

Twitchy Thrones is the first game where I'm trying my hand at pixel art. Fold took advantage of Retina iPhone's resolution of 1136x640 by making all the art vectorial and creating resources for both hi and low resolutions. In Twitchy Thrones the pixel resolution is always 568x320, cropped to 480x320 in devices prior to iPhone 5.

Twitchy Thrones is an ultra-fast strategy game where you control knights, sending them to conquer enemy territories or defend your own. This is the first knight pixel art (2x actual size):



And this is the first knight pixel art in the first map:



I couldn't see it at first, but the knights were too small and hard to tell from the background. Eventually I went back to [s]Photoshop[/s] the drawing board (2x size):



Some time after the second attempt I found myself thinking it could look better. It still looked too small and the contours were not very defined. So came the third and latest attempt (2x size):



And a screenshot of the game at the moment on an iPhone 4s:



The map's landmarks, such as the bridges and the trees were also modified to reflect the knight's size change. Contours were also made more visible with darker colors.

What did I learn from this? Perception changes over time (duh!). A seasoned artist would be able to point the flaws in the first attempt right away, but I could only do it weeks/months later. Obviously even the art I have right now is flawed but for now I reached the point where I don't know how to significantly improve it.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

The Papyrus Swamps

Click here for a video of a level on Bennu's second area, "The Papyrus Swamps".

To create the trees in the background (and the papyrus) I used the classes that were created for the game intro. Each tree is composed of a trunk, lianas and branches.

When a tree is generated, I randomly pick 3 to 6 of the 6 maximum branches and rotate them
around the point where they're attached to the trunk. I also scale and rotate the whole tree randomly.

I submitted Bennu for the PAX 10. I'm not expecting anything to come out of this, because there are bigger teams working on their games full-time and I'm just doing Bennu after work - I'm a programmer for a stock-broker.

The demo I sent featured the intro, the main menu and 7 levels, 3 from the "Lost Temple of Abu Simbel" area and 4 from "The Papyrus Swamps".

I expect Bennu to be ready this year if everything goes right.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

The end is near...

...Bennu is almost ready. All major bugs are fixed, all major features are implemented, all levels and cut-sequences are completed. Here's a link to a movie of the final main menu layout. On the 1P and 2P screens you get a map with level selection and the player name(s) on the top right, on the options screen you have the screen size tweaker (to avoid problems with different TV sizes) and the sound levels tweaker. Finally, on the new Extras screen you have the highscores as well as some not yet seen extras.

If all goes well Bennu will be on the 360 on April. :)

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Super Ninja Kung-Fu Puzzle Extra Pow Pow

Me and my brother started working this weekend on our next game after Bennu:

Super Ninja Kung-Fu Puzzle Extra Pow Pow

After Bennu, we're working on a game with many similarities but much more accessible. The main ninja character will be animated in the same way as the frog boss in Bennu (sort of a cardboard puppet). My brother drew the main character parts and I'm currently working on a character editor to position the parts, create joints to bind them together and set the limits of those joints. Video here.

We want to participate in DreamBuildPlay '09. The submission date is the 6th of August, less than a month from now. Will we make it? Stay tuned.

P.S.: The name of the journal changed to "Once a Bird". That's our group name, since there isn't a company to speak of. It's just me (main concept/programming/programmer art), my middle brother (decent art / suggestions), my cousin (music) and my older brother (general math and physics help / other suggestions).

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Super Ninja Kung Fu Puzzle - Extra Pow Pow

Avatar Man has sold 38 copies so far, which is the worst of the three games I made.

So, for the next game, I had to choose between two of the projects I interrupted before, One Man Armada and Super Ninja Kung Fu Puzzle - Extra Pow Pow (SNKPEPP). I chose SNKPEPP because it had the cooler name. And the cooler title screen, which will feature an animation from this:


To this:



SNKPEPP is a ragdoll-physics based platformer. Like Bennu, the goal will be to remove all the blocks in a level, but there will also be fights and ninja stuff. Also, like I mentioned before, one of the goals in SNKPEPP was to remove the high entry barrier that Bennu had (because of the hard to master controls).

I had some problems the first time I approached SNKPEPP, because I tried using two ragdolls, one when the ninja was facing right the other when he was facing left. This caused collision problems when I switched between the ragdolls, so now I use a single ragdoll.

">This video shows the running and wall jumping tests and, from time to time, I turned the ninja into a limp ragdoll for fun. :) The ninja is still missing his hands and feet, but all in due time.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Suit Suit Go is out now for iOS and Android!

Just realized now I didn't even talk about this game here before.

Suit Suit go is a puzzle/card game where you upgrade cards by making sequences. It was developed with Unity. It's free and our first game to be ad-supported. Please give it a try!

iOS:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/suit-suit-go/id1011220863?l=pt&ls=1&mt=8

Android:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.onceabird.suitsuitgo&hl=en


Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Status update...

As I mentioned in the first entry, I wanted Bennu to change color when he touched "bonuses" spread across the screen. My first attempt at these bonuses was a catterpillar which would slide on top of the existing blocks and scenery. I had some complications making it "stick" to blocks on 90o turns and so it was left on hold for now. My next and current attempt is a kite.

The kite and the Bennu are similar objects, they are composed of rigid objects connected by joints (both rigid bodies and joints are defined and controlled by the Farseer physics engine). Both have a "head" and a "tail". In the Bennu's case the "tail" is composed by the connected dots he uses to swing around the screen.

In order for the kite not to fall down to the ground instantly, I added a property to the Farseer physics engine which allows a rigid body to not be affected by gravity. An alternative would have been to always thrust the kite up, simulating wind, but this was easier. ;) Right now, the kite turns around every N seconds, but in the future I'll make it follow a pre-determined path.

I've also added an explosion effect everytime the Bennu destroys a block. Basically the block is divided in several smaller blocks that are then projected off the screen. In my first attempt the smaller blocks were affected by the physics engine like all objects on-screen, which caused a crumble-like effect on the destroyed block. Unfortunately this proved too CPU-consuming. :(

Click here to see a video of the latest build.

As you can see, the kite movement is quite dumb at the moment. :) The fluttering of the kite's "tail" is done by applying opposing forces to the rigid bodies composing the tail.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Status update...

Bennu is currently at 75% of the Peer Review process. This doesn't exclude the possibility of someone finding a bug that resets the whole process, but still, it's closer.

In the meantime, Bennu was featured in the IndieGames.com Weblog and in Co-Optimus.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Status update...

- The site is up and running at www.onceabird.com. Still not everything in, but close.

- Here's a video showing some new particle effects, where the fire travels from Bennu to destroy the blocks.

- Bennu is in the final peer review process. If it passes (fingers crossed), it will be available immediately.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Status update...

...Just a quick status update.

- Attack of the 50ft Verbose Dinosaur is now in peer review, if you have an XNA Creators Club membership you can check it out here.

- One Man Armada is currently in hiatus because I started a quick game with avatars. It's a pac-man-like game, set in mazes where you have to run through every empty space and avoid other avatars. It should be done within a month or so and them I'm resuming OMA.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Start screen...

I've been very busy with porting SNKPEPP to XNA 4.0. It has shitloads of breaking changes, mostly due to Windows Phone 7. It was algo a good excuse to get rid of my level loading scheme, where I read XML documents "manually", in favor of serialization. The code now looks much better with most classes being rid of repetitive XmlDocument handling code (btw, XmlDocument is not supported in XNA 4.0).

Once I ported SNKPEPP to 4.0 I wanted to test it on the XBox but I soon found out the XNA Game Studio Connect Beta is not available in Portugal. Oh well. :(

Due to this, I'm still not sure I will be able to render blood like I wanted, using particle effects over a persistent render target, because persistent render targets are not fast on the 360.

Yesterday, for a change of pace, I started work on the start screen. In it an unknown character is being chased by one of the protagonist ninja and meets a terrible fate. ">Video here.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

So... Here it is!

Bennu for PC is here and it's free!




From the non-existing box blurb:

"Bennu is an innovative physics-based puzzler. The player controls a ball and chain and progresses through the levels by swinging from place to place, all the while destroying the blocks on each level by swinging into them. Bennu features both single and cooperative gameplay.

Bennu placed in the top 20 of the 2008 DreamBuildPlay contest."

[size="3"]Download it at Once A Bird's website.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Site mock-up

I've been correcting little bugs on Bennu,changing little graphic details and integrating my brother's backgrounds in the game. I've also been working on the website, here's a mock-up:


Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Sigh...

http://indiegames.com/2012/02/uberzombie_usa_undead_tower_de.html

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Shooting controls...

When deciding the initial 360 gamepad shooting controls for Graveyard Shift I saw two options:

- The Geometry Wars way, where the player only needs to point the right thumbstick and the ship starts shooting immediately. This has the advantage of being intuitive and easy to grasp, and is also ideal in this game because the ship has continuous fire and no need to reload.

- The sort-of-FPS way, where the player points with the right thumbstick but only fires with the right trigger. This has the disadvantage of being harder to learn and forcing the player to reach out to the right thumbstick, but with games where the fire is not continuous and the player has limited ammo, it gives more control over the exact direction and number of fired bullets.

Since the guns in Graveyard Shift need to be reloaded and some have limitted ammo, I went with the latter. Over the past months some people (read: friends and family) who tested the game complained about the shooting controls and so I decided to change them to the Geometry Wars ones, with a nuance: the guns only fire when the player moves the right thumbstick close to the edge. This lets players point more accurately before the gun starts firing and prevents them from shooting unnecessary bullets.

So far it seems to works well, although I need more visual feedback about when the guns are firing and when they need to be reloaded.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Shadows & Highlights

A friend thought Twitchy Thrones' sprites were too flat so some shadows/highlights were added. Here's an Hollywood-plastic-surgery-style before/after comparison.

Before:



After:



Before:



After:


Demosthenes

Demosthenes

 

Review...

A very positive review from IGN.

I've been getting some complaints about the controls. The controls in Bennu are definitely not intuitive, because they simulate a ball and chain, and so you have to gain impulse to swing around. Most people expect to be able to just point the ball to wherever they want within the limits of the chain and so get frustrated quickly. I'm doing an update with an alternative control system to update this, but it will be a little too late.

Like IGN says in the review, the more you play the more you like it, but I don't think anyone will like Bennu after playing only 2 minutes.

Demosthenes

Demosthenes

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!