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About Aggroblakh

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  1. Building Block Heroes - Characters I've spent the last few features talking about what lead up to Building Block Heroes, but not much talking about the game itself. So for this feature, I discuss the characters in the game, their abilities, and how I designed them. Since there are four block colours in the game, the four-colour motif appears repeatedly in the game. The character selection is no exception to this rule, and I designed the characters to represent the four elements, which themselves are represented by the four flavours of block in this game. Heatwave Heatwave is the leader of the Building Block Heroes and represents the element of Fire, as well as the colour Red. I designed this character to come across as dynamic and flashy, kind of like fire itself. For this reason I gave him spiked red hair and popped his collar to make him appear more flamboyant and cocky, kind of like a 50's-era biker or something. The popped collar was actually a challenge when it came time to animating Heatwave's run animation, however. Although the characters don't have limbs, I still animated their bodies rotating as they run. Not doing this made their run animations more awkward and stiff (with the exception of Dirtbag, which will be detailed below). The popped collar made it somewhat awkward when drawing Heatwave's body from different angles. Heatwave's ability allows him to dash horizontally across gaps. He can dash across a gap one block wide from a standing position, and two blocks wide if the player is walking in the direction he dashes in. Ice Queen Ice Queen is the token female teammate and represents both the element of Water and the colour Blue. To emphasize her uniqueness among the Building Block Heroes, I gave her a cute dress and made her walk animation more dainty than the others. Ice Queen is probably the most difficult character for me to draw because her features are less exaggerated than the others. Apparently this is a common thing among artists - difficulty drawing the opposite gender. The main difficulty was getting the shape of her head right without making her look masculine. I tried to enlarge her forehead and emphasize the roundness of her cheeks in order to prevent this problem. Ice Queen possesses the ability to create blocks of ice out of nowhere. These blocks act like normal blocks, but are "colourless" - they can be destroyed by any colour of breaker or any chain of blocks. This must be kept in mind when making use of her ability. Airhead Airhead is the quiet one in the group and generally doesn't think too much about anything other than flying through the air. Naturally, he represents the element of Air, which is depicted by the colour Yellow because Blue was already taken. I designed him to look like a typical surfer dude, but gave him a winged helmet to emphasize his affinity with air and flight. If you look closely, the wings flap when activating Airhead's ability. Airhead's ability allows him to soar through the air and overcome taller obstacles than normal. Depending on how long the player holds the ability button down, Airhead can leap over barries two or three blocks high. Dirtbag Dirtbag is the oldest of the Building Block Heroes and is the comic relief of the group. He represents the element of Earth and the colour Green. He was meant to look like a jolly old man, so I gave him bushy hair and a neckbeard. His rotund body and comic relief role made it a bit easier to animate him, because it made it possible to exaggerate everything he does. Dirtbag bounces a lot more than the others when he runs, and his body doesn't rotate in the same way because he basically hops around rather than running normally. His jump and fall animation were also simpler, because he just drops rather than trying to land on his feet the way his teammates do - Dirtbag doesn't give a damn. Dirtbag's ability allows him to destroy blocks underneath him if he's standing still, or blocks to the side depending on which direction the player is holding. This allows the player to access paths that might normally have been blocked (no pun intended). Long story short, the designs of the Building Block Heroes are meant to complement each other. The individual abilities of the characters reflect this concept. Heatwave moves horizontally, Airhead move vertically; Ice Queen creates blocks, Dirtbag destroys them. Push and pull. This is to encourage teamwork when playing with two players, and experimentation when playing alone. I hope this article has been an interesting read! As always, feel free to let me know your thoughts.
  2. A short article this week simply showing off some gameplay of the two game modes in Building Block Heroes - Breaker Mode and Connect Mode. The two distinct game modes reflect my inability to decide which one is better in the end. So, in the same way that Gran Turismo allows for both Arcade and Simulation game modes, I've left the choice in the hands of the player. Breaker Mode Breaker Mode is the mode that works a bit like Puzzle Fighter. Blocks are broken using flashing Breaker Blocks. Until then you can create chunks as large as you want, so you can feel free to drop blocks however you wish. Connect Mode Connect Mode is more like other colour-matching games. Simply match four or more blocks of the same colour to destroy them. This requires a bit more thought in order to build platforms, as you may risk accidentally destroying your work if you're not careful. Let me know what you think! All feedback is appreciated.
  3. Thanks! It means a lot that you took the time to read this post!
  4. Building Block Heroes - Choosing an Art Style I've received some praise for the colourful and cartoony look of Building Block Heroes. The art style of the game was chosen deliberately, and in this feature I discuss why I chose to make Building Block Heroes look the way it does. Foundation I've always had some modicum of talent from a young age due to having grown up playing games and reading comics. Nevertheless, until development on this game began I never was able to produce finished artwork, just rather messy sketches. To feasibly produce the artwork for Building Block Heroes, I knew that I would have to learn how to produce finished artwork. Furthermore, I had to learn how to do it on the computer, which I had never attempted before. After purchasing a cheap tablet on Amazon (for about $45 CAD), I got to work practicing digital art. Pixel Art Failure I originally intended to produce pixel art due to a perception that it would be easier than producing hand-painted work. I was wrong, so horribly wrong, and my early attempts at pixel art constitute what can only be described as "failed abortions." I realized after about a day or two of creating "pixel art" that it would be too much of a jump to go from sketches on paper to presentable pixel art - I didn't possess the ability or even the patience to do so. The principles of traditional art are far more different from those of pixel art than I thought. I then decided to go back to the basics. Instead of creating art solely for the purpose of game development, I figured that the best way to start creating art digitally was to first simply become familiar with the use of a tablet. With this in mind, I just practiced drawing as if I was drawing on paper. It did take a while to become used to it - more than once I caught myself looking at the tablet and wondering why nothing was appearing before remembering that the lines would appear on the monitor in front of me. Eventually, I was able to recreate my sketches on the screen after about a week or two of practice. The next step was colouring. This was something that I had no real experience with, even on paper. Keep It Simple, Stupid I started off painting simple shapes with solid colours until I became somewhat familiar with it. Things like blending colours, or even choosing the right colours, were new to me and took some time to become accustomed to, especially on the tablet/PC. Nevertheless, I managed to learn a few tricks from this simple practice, such as adding a warmer tone to highlights and a cooler tone to shadow when painting solid colours. However, once I decided to paint something with more substance - in this case, a tree - I quickly realized that it would take me forever to produce finished art with the kind of detail I was accustomed to sketching. Sketching allows the artist to handwave away a bunch of details and be a bit more lax in terms of things like realistic colour and proportions, etc. Producing finished art was a different story, and the tree ended up taking several days to finish. Given that I was learning on the go AND working solo, I knew I needed to reduce the scope of artwork I was going to have to produce. A man's got to know his limitations, after all. I looked back at the simple-shape, bright-colour paintings I had produced thus far and realized that they looked vaguely cartoony. Thinking that I could extend this over the whole of my game, I went to "work" watching various cartoons and playing cartoony games to see how the professionals did it. While such graphics weren't exactly light on details either, they definitely were a lot more creative and wacky in terms of colours and proportions. I knew that such creative freedom would compensate for my relative lack of skill in the art department since I wouldn't necessarily have to worry about things looking like their real-world counterparts. It would also make learning how to produce digital art a lot more fun, as I could really experiment with zanier backgrounds and colours. Rayman, in particular, also provided a template for character animations. I had originally envisioned animating my characters with full bodies, like those in Earthworm Jim. I had no experience with animation, however, and I was worried that learning how to paint AND animate might be a steep hill to climb. Observing that characters in Rayman do not have limbs, I immediately realized that using a similar method of character design would make it much easier to animate them. I extended this compensation further by making the enemies in the game mechanical, meaning that I would be able to move the parts individually, rather than having to animate large creatures by hand. Many experienced game developers suggest starting off with a simple game with small scope for newbies getting into the field. Art is no different, and the appearance of Building Block Heroes is my attempt to produce quality art while understanding and working with my limitations. I was genuinely nervous about whether or not I had managed to end up producing attractive work, and thankfully it seems that I've done so. Hope this was a fun read!
  5. Building Block Heroes - Inspirations I've gotten a lot of positive comments over the past couple of weeks regarding the novelty of my idea. As much as I'd like to claim credit for coming up with the idea for Building Block Heroes, most games are built on the shoulders of giants and my game is no exception. This week, I give credit where credit is due and explain how I came up with the idea for Building Block Heroes. (Disclaimer: I own none of the non-Building Block Heroes related screenshots, and am not trying to claim credit for any of them.) Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy The primary inspiration for Building Block Heroes is a game many of you might have played whether you're willing to admit it or not. Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy is essentially a bare-bones version of Building Block Heroes - a game in which you use falling blocks to build platforms in order to collect things. Since the moment I played it as a child, I have always been intrigued by the concept and have always wondered why it was never utilized elsewhere. As detailed in my previous article, I was looking for an idea that would be relatively simple to create, and my first thought was to re-create Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy. Puzzle games and platformers are generally the genres that appear in game development tutorials anyways, so making a combination of the two was a natural project to work on when attempting to learn how to develop games that are more than GUI applications. In addition, the lack of similar games meant that my game could end up filling a niche of sorts, which might help it stand out a bit. The main fundamental difference between Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy and Building Block Heroes is the presence of lives in the former game. I'm not a huge fan in general of having lives in games, and Building Block Heroes contains many more ways to "die" or otherwise have your progress through a level set back, so I chose to omit lives in favour of a less artificial method of difficulty. Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy also contains time limits in each level. I decided to omit them by default in Building Block Heroes due to the greater number of gameplay variables in my game (which will be detailed later on as a describe each area in the game in detail). I like the idea of time limits myself, but not everyone does, so I plan on making time limits optional in Building Block Heroes. Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo I knew going into the game that I wanted to increase the pace of Hello Kitty Cube Frenzy. For this purpose, I referred to another game I played extensively in my youth, possible the fastest and most visceral puzzle game I've ever played - Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo. One of the things that made Super Puzzle Fighter so interesting to me was the way in which players would build up enormous combos and chunks of like-coloured blocks before shattering them all with a Crash Gem. I wanted to recreate this feeling with Building Block Heroes, and since I was dealing with falling coloured blocks anyways, it was a natural decision to use Crash Gems (Breaker Blocks in my case) to destroy existing blocks. The difference between using Breaker Blocks instead of a certain number of blocks as the trigger for destroying blocks is that the player can afford to be a bit more careless when planning moves. With Breaker Blocks, there is less likelihood for chain reactions as remaining blocks fall into place after destroying other blocks, which in turn reduces the amount of planning needed for every single move. The tradeoff, of course, is that being careless and creating huge chunks of single colours can backfire if the chunk needs to be destroyed for some reason later on - doing so can remove much more from the level than is necessary. I'm essentially trading strategy for a faster paced game (although I will likely have the other method of destroying blocks as a separate game mode for those that prefer it). Gauntlet (or any game with complementary teammates) Multiplayer games in which each playable character possesses a different ability have always intrigued me for some reason. Something about complementing each other, or having to make compromises when less than a full team is present in the game is interesting to me because it adds a level of strategy and teamwork to the game that depends entirely on player preference. I chose Gauntlet for this example because it was the game I thought of when I chose to include different playable characters, and it happens to use the same four colours as Building Block Heroes as an overarching colour motif. Realistically, there are many games with different playable characters as a gameplay element, and they all probably had a cumulative effect on my desire to include a similar element in my game. Having four different colours of blocks lends itself naturally to having four characters based on those colours, which is why Building Block Heroes contains four playable characters. Megaman and Super Mario Bros. Like most gamers (but strangely not all), I like games with creative boss battles. The boss battles in Megaman have always drawn my attention because each boss always has a set of attacks that are consistent with whatever theme the boss represents. They therefore not only require different strategies in order to combat them, but also help add a certain uniqueness to each of their own levels. I knew going into the game that I wanted similar boss battles, battles that would help flesh out the areas in my own game and add character to each of them. How to implement them in a puzzle game without lives or energy bars, however, was easier said than done. In the end, I chose to borrow from Super Mario Bros. and have the players rush toward a goal rather than engage the boss directly. In Building Block Heroes, the players simply build their way to the glowing weak point (the appearance of which was inspired by the weak points in Valkyria Chronicles), which destroys the boss upon contact. Meanwhile, the boss attempts to stop the player using different types of attacks. These attacks do not harm the players directly, but destroy some of their blocks, which can hinder the players. The manner in which they destroy the blocks is consistent with their appearance and, in most cases, the overall theme of the area they appear in. Their attacks will be described in detail once I describe the areas themselves in detail, but the bosses were by far the most entertaining part of Building Block Heroes to develop! Long story short, Building Block Heroes is the sum of games that have interested me. For those of you struggling to come up with a gameplay idea, I would suggest a similar path - think of a game with a fun mechanic that interested you, think of what might have been missing from it, and add it in! I hope this was an interesting read!
  6. Yup! That's still placeholder art!
  7. Building Block Heroes is not the first game I've worked on. About half a year ago I released a game called World Boxing Manager. The process of doing so, including the Greenlight process, taught me much about the game development world. World Boxing Manager World Boxing Manager itself was an evolution of a free game I made in university called Kickboxing Manager. Both games were developed in C++, using the Qt API for the UI. Though both tools are useful to know for both game development and otherwise, the choice of this toolset required a lot of "engine" work that probably could have been made both easier and quicker with an actual game engine. Additionally, since I made the rather bone-headed decision of coding the UI elements by hand rather than using Qt Creator, it led to a lot of difficulty building a UI, which probably made the game uglier and clunkier than it needed to be behind the scenes. Nevertheless, the niche nature of text-based sports simulators in general, coupled with the positive reception I received for Kickboxing Manager led me to believe that there was a built-in audience for my game that would cause it to sail through Greenlight. However, I soon found out that graphics really do matter regardless of the strength of an idea. There were plenty of people who thought the concept of World Boxing Manager was interesting, but were turned off by the minimal graphics in the game. I had made the mistake of thinking that just because some people (myself included) are capable of overlooking crap graphics in favour of fun gameplay, everyone is. As it turns out, most people aren't. I also learned during the Greenlight process the importance of showing off a game early to get feedback. It seems like a relatively obvious step to take, but I'm the type of person who simply puts his head down and works on something that interests me. Showing off my work before it's done sort of goes against my nature. Contrary to my fears, posting about my game on boxing-related forums and subreddits not only helped provide ideas about features to put in the game, but helped garner the votes I needed to scrape through Greenlight. I got a bit lucky because there was a built-in audience for World Boxing Manager - after all, good boxing games in general are quite rare nowadays, and boxing games on PC even more so. Releasing the game was only the first part of the journey. The first hiccup I encountered post-release was a nasty glitch in the game that caused it to simulate non-user matches and events at a crawl for some people. I was aware of this bug, but it only took about 5-8 seconds per day on my own system. I assumed that it was manageable, and by the time I realized it might bother people, I was unwilling to tear the code apart. It proved to be a terrible mistake, as many of the early negative reviews of the game specifically mentioned the issue as the reason why. I've since fixed the issue, but many people who were looking forward to the game felt disappointed by it, which matters far more to me than any kind of financial hit the game might have taken. After all, I never expected such a niche game to be a hit, I just wanted a boxing manager game on the PC that people would enjoy. Additionally, the complexity of the finished game turned people off of it a lot more than I expected based on the feedback I had gotten for Kickboxing Manager. Many people who tried the game bemoaned the lack of a tutorial, or the fact that many of the game's features weren't very intuitive. It's to be expected somewhat from a manager game, but I still felt I could have made a more accessible experience. Building Block Heroes When I decided upon a new game to work on, I deliberately set about correcting the above issues. For starters, I decided to use an actual game engine and design a game that would take advantage of its features as much as possible so as to reduce the amount of wheel re-invention I had to do. For this purpose I decided upon Godot. Its open-source nature not only made it an attractive option due to being free to use under the MIT license, it also meant that I could theoretically extend its features using C++ if I had to. The actual inspirations and thought processes behind the design of Building Block Heroes will be detailed in a later article, but long story short I decided to take the opposite approach to game design than I had taken previously. Rather than designing an uber-complex and in-depth game that would take a long time to get into, user-friendliness be damned, I decided to explore an idea that was instead incredibly simple to get into at first glance. Building Block Heroes, after all, is essentially a block puzzle game and a platformer game mashed together. There's obviously more going on under the hood, but ultimately most end users and gamers should be able to pick the game up easily. It also makes it easier for me as a developer - this is the first non-GUI based game I've ever made, and making a simple game allows me to learn how to deal with things like collision detection and game loops without ripping my hair out too much juggling tons of features. Choosing a simple game also made it possible to address the criticisms over the graphics in my previous games. Had I chosen to make a more complex game, I would have had to learn how to produce graphics and audio while still coding a game that was time-consuming and draining. Keeping the concept simple meant that I could develop the game as a programmer while still having the time and energy to develop my skills in the other aspects of game development. Not only would such a game be less of a headache to make in general, there would also be less art and music to produce due to having less in the way of, say, equipment art or sub-menus to deal with. For Building Block Heroes, therefore, I was able to spend several weeks just practicing art using a tablet and music using MuseScore. I'm not going to pretend that I'm particularly great at either, but I'm happy with the results I've seen, and I feel comfortable showing off the work I've produced. The relative lack of assets needed compared to an RPG or something also makes the whole endeavour of producing my own assets much less daunting. Nevertheless, I'm far from being an expert at anything, which is why I've decided to launch a devblog of Building Block Heroes before it's close to being done. I'm hoping that by doing so I'll be able to catch any issues early on, which will not only produce a better product in the end, but will hopefully prevent any game-breaking issues such as the one that hamstrung World Boxing Manager upon its release. I can't rely on a built-in audience this time around - I need to make sure that I engage observers and gamers as much as possible. Finally, regarding the learning curve of the game, instead of forcing trial-and-error upon the players I've placed tutorial levels throughout the game, which I hope will alleviate any issues about user-friendliness this time. Even though they were a pain to script, I figure this time it's better to put as much inconvenience upon myself as possible if it means taking that burden off the end users. Making games can be a long and arduous process some (read:most) of the time, and many of us wish we could spend all of our time developing them. However, every journey begins with a first step, and as long as each steps moves us forward from the last one, we'll all get to our destination eventually. I'm hoping the lessons I learned from my first game will truly help me with this game and every one I make afterwards. This was a long read, but I hope you enjoyed it!
  8. Hi all, It's been a while since I've been active in the game dev scene! The reason is that I've been hard at work on a new game, trying to build and create enough content to show off. It's been a couple of months, but I now have the makings of a game. Building Block Heroes is a puzzle platformer in which you use coloured blocks to build pathways around each level in order to free the Jollyfolk from their cages. Explore different lands and combat various enemies as you travel the world to save them all! There's still a lot of work to do, but from now on I'll be posting articles each week or so detailing my progress/talking about the game. In the meantime, here are a few screenshots showing off some of the work I've made in the past few months. Feel free to let me know what you think!
  9. Hi all, I know I said last time that I would talk about the Greenlight experience. However, with Greenlight on the way out, there's not much point. Thus, I'll just go ahead and post the next article about World Boxing Manager. Fight Night - Range and Offense So, you've made a fight, gone through training camp, and made weight successfully. Now the event finally begins! Range A typical fight can occur at three ranges: on the outside, on the inside (or "in the pocket"), and less commonly, in the clinch. Outside - Slightly further than and up to an arm's length away, this range is ideal for jabs and crosses. Fighting on the outside allows a fighter to catch his opponent on the end of these straight punches, allowing them to inflict the most damage. Boxers and, to a lesser extent, counterpunchers prefer to fight at this range due to their expert timing and quick jabs. Inside - Less than an arm's length away, this range is ideal for fighters who are able to make use of powerful hooks and devastating uppercuts. Since these punches do not require full extension of the arm, an able infighter can utilize his excellent body movement and footwork to create leverage for these looping punches and pound his opponent into mush. This is the desired range for swarmers and, to a lesser extent, sluggers. Clinch - When fighters are so close that their arms get tangled up with each other, it is known as a clinch. Fights in the clinch generally don't last all that long, but can happen. Clinching can also be used defensively in order to get some time to rest if a fighter has been dazed or knocked down. After all, an opponent whose arms are tangled up can't throw punches! The referee will break apart a clinch and reset the fight to the outside if the clinch lasts too long. Offense There are several basic punches that a fighter can use when he is the aggressor - jab, cross, lead hook, rear hook, and uppercut. Each of these punches can be thrown from the outside or inside. Within the clinch, a fighter is limited to hooks and uppercuts. Regardless of what punch is used, the fighter may or may not precede it with a jab. In real life boxing, the jab is often used to gauge distance and set up a following attack. This game is no different, and if a fighter throws a jab before he follows it up with a punch, the success rate for the second punch is slightly increased. On the opposite end of the spectrum of finesse, rather than setting up his attack with a jab, a fighter can choose to throw a haymaker. Every punch except a jab has a haymaker version of itself, which has a much lower chance of success but inflicts far more damage. A fighter can choose to attack the head or the body. Attacking the head tends to have a lower chance of success, but will do more damage and carries the chance of an instant knockout if the opponent is caught clean on the chin. Attacks to the body tend to connect more easily, but have a less noticeable, cumulative effect. As a fighter's body sustains damage, he will become more susceptible to knockdowns. The opponent will also suffer a gradually increasing penalty to the success rate of all of his offensive and defensive actions as his body begins to accumulate damage. All punches each have their own attribute level associated with them, representing the general effectiveness and proficiency each fighter possesses when using that particular punch. The punch attribute, however, is not the sole determinant of whether or not a punch lands. The match engine is designed such that accuracy, timing, power, etc are calculated and compared independently of one another. Thus, whether on offense or defense, the relevant attributes of both fighters are being compared more directly against one another. Without getting into too much of what's going on under the hood, overly aggressive sluggers cannot just overwhelm opponents through sheer aggression - if none of a fighter's punches land, he cannot knock out his opponent! The effectiveness of offensive and physical attributes scale in a linear manner as their stats increase, while the the effectiveness of defensive and mental attributes scale in an exponential manner as their stats increase. What this means for the player is that aggressive and rugged fighters will tend to find more success at lower levels, and defensive tacticians will become more dominant at higher levels of competition. I'd like to think that this feature reflects real life boxing. With all these offensive tools available, how is a fighter's opponent supposed to react? Tune in next time to find out! If you found this interesting, feel free to check the game out on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/563750
  10. [indent=1]Hi all, [indent=1]After a much needed vacation, I'm finally back and I've added a new update to World Boxing Manager. Some of you have asked for a post detailing my Greenlight experience, which I'll get to eventually. In the meantime, continuing where I left off last time, there is one more thing to talk about prior to discussing the match engine in detail: Gym Income. [indent=1]Students [indent=1]One small, consistent form of income is student fees. It's a simple flat fee that you receive from each student training at your gym as an amateur. But what is the point of having students? [indent=1]Students are fighters that come and train at your gym. The quality of the students that choose to seek you out depends on your reputation as a manager - the more renowned you are, the better the students you receive will be. From your pool of students, you can select some to train as professionals. Whether they are professionals or not, however, students will be available to spar against both each other and the professional fighters you are currently training. [indent=1]Sparring [indent=1]The sparring screen is a simple screen that shows fighters and students from your gym side by side. A sparring match works roughly like a regular match, allowing you to test your fighters against one another to get a feel for how they might perform in real matches. [indent=1]Sparring, however, serves another purpose. After a sparring match, each fighter has a small chance to gain a trait. Most fighter traits simply raise the limit of a particular stat to 25 rather than the usual 20. Others, however, bestow advantages such as reducing the effect of aging on a fighter, which lengthens his career, or increasing the rate at which he is able to cut weight in preparation for a match. Sparring is the only way to unlock traits, so it pays off to do it on a regular basis. [indent=1]Fight Purses and Win Bonuses [indent=1]Student fees are more of a side income than anything. Most of your income will be from fight purses, win bonuses, PPV buys, and network viewers. The fight purse is negotiated prior to a match. [indent=1]When your fighter is starting out, the purses you will earn are pretty much a pittance. You will have to win matches and increase your fighter's marketability in order to command a greater match purse during negotiations. You are guaranteed this purse whether your fighter wins or loses, but a win will also net you a 50% win bonus. It's important to remember, however, that trainers will get a percentage of the match purse based on their contract. [indent=1]PPV Buys and Network Ratings [indent=1]PPV buys are only applicable if your fighter is fighting in the main event of the evening. PPV sales are determined by the marketability and recent form of both fighters involved. It won't matter if your fighter is considered an All-Time Great if he happens to have lost three of his last four matches! Network ratings function similarly to PPV buys, except that you will receive money whether your fighter is in the main event or not. After all, you were the one who negotiated the contract! As an undercard fighter, however, you will only receive a fraction of the income - the full amount is only received once your fighter reaches main event status. It's a long, difficult road to mass appeal and big paydays, but once you make it there you can really rake in the dough! I hope you enjoyed this feature explaining ways to earn money for your gym. Tune in next time, where I'll finally be discussing the match engine! If this game seems interesting to you, feel free to check it out: http://store.steampowered.com/app/563750
  11. Hi all, Just thought I'd pop in again to let you all know that modding, probably the most requested feature since release, is now in the game! The new modding screen works by allowing you to update each fighter's attributes. You can also add new fighters and remove existing fighters. Once you're done, you can save the entire database into a separate file and use it when starting a new game. I've added a video to demonstrate: Give the game a try and let me know what you think! http://store.steampowered.com/app/563750
  12. Before we get onto the actual details of fight night, I'd like to talk some more about the details of the game outside of the actual matches. Today, I'll be discussing gym expenses. We've already gone over training expenses, trainer salaries, and trainer purse percentages, so I'll go into detail regarding the other two forms of expenses. Networks Once you've got a match set up, you can choose to hire a network to cover the event. You do not have to be in the main event to do this - for gameplay reasons, all that is required is that your fighter is going to be fighting in the event. Networks have several attributes and stats that need to be taken into consideration. Attributes: Region - Self-explanatory. The event you wish to cover needs to be in the same region as the network you are negotiating with. Networks aren't interested in promoting foreign fighters. Reach - Refers to how popular the network is. Corresponds roughly to the marketability of your fighter. If the disparity between your fighter's marketability and the network's reach is too large, the network may balk at covering the event. After all, it's a business, not a charity - a network isn't going to spend money promoting a fighter that isn't popular enough. Subscribers - The number of people subscribed to this network. More on this later. Stats: Advertising - How good the network is at selling a fight, which determines how many people tune in specifically to see the event. In practice, this determines how many PPV sales the event will earn based on the marketability of the two fighters in the main event, along with your own fighter's marketability. Viewer Loyalty - This stat determines how fanatic the network's viewer base is, and thus how reliable the subscriber number is. In gameplay terms, this value helps determine what percentage of the subscriber number will tune in to the event, forming a baseline for PPV sales on fight night. Hype - The ability of the network to hype up your fighter. This translates into extra gains in marketability if your fighter wins his match. Beware, however, as this also translates into increased loss in marketability if your fighter loses! Subscription Fee - Dollars per viewer, which literally just multiplies PPV numbers into cold, hard cash. You don't see any of it unless your fighter is in the main event, however! Once again, this isn't a charity. You're going to have to haggle over the hosting fee and fork over some money to get the network to cover your event. You should really only do so if you're confident your fighter can win his match. Gym Upgrades First and foremost is the gym equipment level. The gym equipment level determines the base gain for each day of training, so all the stats and boosts in the world won't help you if your gym equipment level is too low. In addition, you have the option of upgrading the gym itself. Upgrading the entire gym increases its capacity, which allows you to train more fighters and hire more trainers. It also increases the number of students you can have at your gym, which gives you a bigger pool of potential fighters to train professionally. With all these expenses, how do we earn money back? That'll have to wait for my next feature, otherwise this one will be far too long! If you thought this was interesting, please do make your way to my Steam page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/563750
  13. Hey all, Now that we've managed to get a match set up, there is a lot to do before the actual night of the fight. Begin Training Camp It isn't just business as usual before a match. A fighter is going to have to start a training camp in order to prepare for his next opponent properly. Once a match has been arranged, the Begin Training Camp button appears on the training screen. As the fighter's manager, you need to time the start of training camp appropriately so that your fighter has enough time to cut weight and make the weight limit. Some fighters are better at cutting weight than others, which means they will need less time in training camp and will be able to fight more frequently. It's up to you as the trainer to judge whether a fighter is good enough to be worth keeping if he takes a long time in between fights to make weight limits. It is also important to note that training during training camps will cost your gym money, whereas training normally is free. You may be required to time training camps properly if money is tight, since your fighter will be forced to rest if the gym runs out! Training Training during training camps is much more intense than training normally between matches. Gains made during training camps occur at a much faster rate than usual, but are only applied to the next fight. Fighting frequently might bring in more money, but will hinder the long term development of a fighter. Whether or not you jump from one match to the next or choose to invest in the long term growth of your fighter is up to you as the manager. For an extra boost, you can hire trainers. A fighter may only be trained by a single trainer at a time during training camp, but trainers can train multiple fighters. You must be careful not to have your trainers train too many different fighters at the same time, however, as the effect of each trainer is spread out among all of the fighters he is training at the moment. Hiring trainers involves haggling over monthly salaries and purse cuts. The trainer's cut is taken off the fight purse of the fighter he is currently training. The trainer's stats are self-explanatory - high Offense means he is better at training a fighter's offensive stats, while high Defense means he is better at training a fighter's defensive stats. What is careful to note, however, is the trainer's style. A trainer will only agree to work for you if you have at least one fighter that matches his style. If you manage training camps properly, then your fighter should have no problems making weight on the night before fight night. If you're not careful, though, he will be forced to forfeit the coming match, as well as any belts he may hold for the organization hosting the match! I hope this feature on match preparation has been fun to read for you! [color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(245,250,247)]As usual, if you found this interesting, please feel free to have a more detailed look at my game:[/background][/font][/color] [color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][background=rgb(245,250,247)] http://store.steampowered.com/app/563750 https://aggroblakh.itch.io/world-boxing-manager https://indiegamestand.com/store/3681/world-boxing-manager/ http://worldboxingmanager.tumblr.com/[/background][/font][/color]
  14. Hey all, I posted this article in the forums some time ago, but for those of you who missed it, I'm going to describe the process of matchmaking to help you get some idea of what happens in the game outside of the ring, Selecting a Weight Class The matchmaking screen defaults to whatever weight class your currently selected fighter typically fights at. It is possible to set up matches at different weight classes, but there are stat penalties that are incurred when you do so. You are able to move up in weight or move down in weight. Moving up will cause your fighter to suffer penalties to all types of punches, as well as clinch, power, recovery, and toughness. Your speed and timing, however, will receive slight boosts. Moving down will cause your fighter to suffer penalties to all types of punches, as well as timing, speed, endurance, and recovery. The tradeoff is that you will hit harder and be able to take more damage, which means a bonus to power and toughness. Selecting a Match Type There are four types of matches: undercards, co-main events, main events, and title fights. You will start off only being able to book undercards and co-main events. In doing so, you can only select dates for which events already exist. Once your marketability and reputation improves, then you will have the freedom to schedule main events, which lets you book an event on any date. You will only receive PPV bonus money for fighting in the main event, so getting to this point means you can start earning REAL money. Title fights function the same as a main event, except that you can select a title to place on the line. You can only fight for one belt at a time. This was a deliberate design decision in order to prevent multiple belts from essentially being merged into a single one if one fighter was able to unify the division. I wanted unification to feel like more of an accomplishment by forcing the player to earn every belt. Rejections Setting up a match, just like in real life, tends to rely on outside factors. If the player fighter is ranked too low, he will be overlooked for a main event. After all, nobody is going to pay for a PPV headlined by a nobody! This also happens if the player fighter's marketability is too low. He will need to win a few fights to boost his reputation in the boxing world. However, this does not mean that you can pick on unknown fighters to pad your record. Other fighters aren't stupid enough to take a fight they have no chance of winning. Marketability is irrelevant if your demands are simply too high. Other fighters will balk at someone demanding a purse he doesn't deserve. Marketability is also irrelevant if your fighter has lost too many of his recent fights. If your fighter has suffered a string of losses, he will have less leverage in negotiations. If your fighter's style counters his potential opponent's, then that opponent will be more wary of taking the fight, and may demand that you take a reduced payout and/or PPV split. These are just some of the potential pitfalls the player might encounter when attempting to make matches. And boxing fans wonder why big fights in real life never happen! As usual, if you found this interesting, please feel free to have a more detailed look at my game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/563750 https://aggroblakh.itch.io/world-boxing-manager https://indiegamestand.com/store/3681/world-boxing-manager/ http://worldboxingmanager.tumblr.com/
  15. Sorry for the wait! It's been a hectic few weeks trying to get everything set up for release, then releasing, then celebrating the holidays. Once again, the game is now available in the following marketplaces: http://store.steampowered.com/app/563750 https://aggroblakh.itch.io/world-boxing-manager https://indiegamestand.com/store/3681/world-boxing-manager/ http://worldboxingmanager.tumblr.com/ Now without further ado, some further discussion on why I decided to make this game. Hands-On Management The Problem In Kickboxing Manager, the actual management aspect of the game was almost completely passive. You signed with an organization, and that was it. Matches were booked for you, and you had no say in who or when you fought. The old organizations screen in Kickboxing Manager. You would simply sim from one day to the next until your match began. I knew going into World Boxing Manager that I wanted to give the player something to think about outside of matches, to improve the strategic aspect of the game both during and between fights. Training camps, discussed in the previous article, were one way of doing this. The other ways I came up with were manual matchmaking, trainers, and marketing. Matchmaking One advantage the sport of boxing has over the sport of kickboxing in general is the fact that fighters are not linked to a single organization. Matchmaking is done on a per-match basis, with no real league or overseeing organization in the manner of the UFC or GLORY kickboxing. Two fighters negotiate and agree terms, and boxing's sanctioning bodies essentially greenlight it once the contracts are signed. This meant that there could be some strategy when deciding who and when to fight next. The matchmaking screen I sought to replicate this in World Boxing Manager. Unlike the previous game, you, as the manager, have complete freedom to match your fighters up against opponents whose strengths and weaknesses pose favourable matchups for your own fighters. Coupled with the more balanced match engine and the increased effect of style matchups, this means that you are free to tailor each fighter's career as you see fit, cherry-picking opponents until you have the chance to fight for a title or win a big payday. The way this adds strategy is that it (eventually) forces the player to decide when to take a risk against a competent opponent, since each fighter is unable to challenge for titles until he reaches a certain ranking. Do you continue to pad your fighter's record, or throw him up against a well-regarded foe to jump up the rankings? When is a good time to challenge the incumbent champion for his belt? When a non-player fighter challenges one of yours, is he beatable? Is it worth the payout being offered? Decisions like this are now possible in World Boxing Manager. Trainers Trainers were originally meant to be in Kickboxing Manager, until I realized there was no point. Within the context of Kickboxing Manager, since there were no training camps, all trainers would do was add a slight boost to training. Where would the strategy come in? Why would a player NOT want a trainer to help boost training gains? With the addition of training camps, however, trainers suddenly developed some strategic potential. Because time in training camps is limited, players must choose trainers carefully depending on how they want to train their fighters. Depending on the next opponent and how you wish to tailor the training camp to suit him, it may be wise to switch trainers even during the same training camp, in order to maximize gains. Additionally, I intentionally set the upgrade system up such that the player's gym will ALWAYS possess more room for fighters than trainers. Hiring trainers. Juggling trainers' time effectively is crucial to maximizing gains. Having trainer bonuses spread out among all the fighters the trainer is concurrently working with means that the player is forced to decide how to juggle the trainer's time effectively. Whether this means rotating training schedules so that trainers are working with fighters one at a time, or perhaps scheduling training camps so that only some of your fighters are training for matches at any give time - it's up to you. The important thing for me, as the developer of the game, is that there is now some thought required when deciding how to make use of trainers. Marketing Again, marketing has its roots in Kickboxing Manager. They originally took the form of sponsors that the player could sign for each fighter in order to get some extra income. The reason sponsors were eventually axed was for the same reason trainers were - since they provided a set bonus to the player, there was no reason to ever NOT use them, and thus no decision-making or strategy was added with or without them. World Boxing Manager, however, allowed me to resurrect the idea of marketing via the use of PPV and cable networks. Rather than hiring sponsors, the player hires networks to cover the events involving their fighters to earn some extra income. But the same question arose - why would the player ever NOT use marketing? This question did not get answered in the way I thought it would have been. The answer is still the same - there is no reason not to hire networks when able to do so. The solution ended up being to change the circumstances under which the player was actually able to hire networks. In World Boxing Manager, organizations are now divided into regional organizations, and world organizations. I simply restricted networks to regions, thus making it impossible to hire networks for fights sanctioned by world organizations. What this means strategy-wise is that, even after the user's fighter manages to make it to the world stage, there is still a reason to fight in regional organizations. Until the player's boxer is able to work his way back up to being able to headline main events in world organizations, the bulk of his income will come from marketing, which forces the player to decide at times whether to continue fighting up the ranks of a world organizations or fight in a regional show to earn money. Balancing between earning money and rising up the ranks to a world title shot thus comprises an extra bit of strategy outside the fight engine. When coupled with the previously discussed features, the player has far more incentive to pay attention to the game between fights. The gist of this article therefore boils down to two simple design concepts: 1. Force the player to make decisions at all stages of the game, none of which are clearly right or wrong but hamstring the player if he or she attempts to do them all. 2. When implementing a feature that will tangibly help the player in some way, provide a good reason NOT to do it. And as a corollary: 2.5. Structure the gameplay in a way that encourages the player to make their own decisions about when the best time to do something and when the best time NOT to do something is, rather than spelling it out for them. Having tested and played World Boxing Manager thoroughly, I can honestly say that it is a far more engaging experience than Kickboxing Manager ever was due to the design decisions I made. I hope you enjoyed reading this feature!