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desdemian

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About desdemian

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  1. 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.
  2. This is the new Level Select Screen, made by ponylab studio: This is how it used to look: So you can see it was a big improvement. More info about the game: Posable Heroes on Steam
  3. 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
  4. desdemian

    A new hud

    Lately I've been working on updating the hud. The game is quite colorful (once you press play) so I thought adding a cardboard only hud to make the distinction. Use to look like this: Now it looks like this: Top left is supposed to be the briefing about the current level. Working on localizing those texts. More about posable heroes: Steam Store Page
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. desdemian

    First day of Greenlight

      I'll make a post to update the situation. But tldr: after 17 days on greenlight, 600 unique visitors, 455 total votes, 47% approval (214), 10% on my way to the top, 0 or 1 new visitors per day.
  10. 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]
  11. desdemian

    First day of Greenlight

      Nothing paid for.  A few announcements on my devlog on tigsource, twitter and facebook, on a couple of subreddits. Yesterday I emailed a few websites to see if somebody wants to mention it. Let's see if that works.
  12. desdemian

    First day of Greenlight

    My observation is that the games industry is the developers' first customer. If you can bubble your way beyond the developer audience then you'll make it to the mainstream. Interesting. I've always heard "Developers are not your audience", and you shoudn't try to market at them since everybody is busy with their own games. I would argue that there are games that developers could very well be your audience, games about programming like TIS-100 come to mind. But the group I was talking about is not even about that. It was about people upvoting and begging up votes for their own game in exchange. And people complied even for the worst kind of greenlight garbage. What kind of garbage? This kind So you see why I want no part of that. I rather get my fee redunded and see if I can afford Direct instead.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Hi, I'm looking for feedback.   Which one do you think looks better? With or without borders? Any suggestions?   [attachment=35406:comparacion2.png]
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