Tag Archive: report

Monthly Report #6 – June 2016

Prototype has been finished

This was crazy month with the progress we’ve made. All required tasks from last monthly report were done. Everyone put so much energy to meet deadlines. It was so encouraging watching the whole team’s activity this month. Hell, we just wanted to finally get the prototype in other hands. The most important issues of this month are listed below:

● The build weighs 750MB now. It is a satisfying result after seeing last month’s 2,7GB.
● Pathfinding has been finished – for prototype at least. It is still far away from final game performance.
● Graphics and sounds are done. The scene is very dark and we get some comments that it is too dark on screenshots. We are aware of that and we’re curious how the scene will look like on different monitors etc. For the final product enabling brightness settings etc. is a no-brainer.

Even though we’ve finished the prototype this month, no one from our tester-list played it yet. Why?

Level design errors

In the process of development, we focused so much on completing different tasks that we kinda missed the core of the actual gameplay that we wanted to achieve. After hours of testing, our skill increased so much that the level design went out of control. The game was too quick, too action-packed, too difficult – too “not what we wanted it to be”. We desired different mechanics than those which we’ve ended up with. We wanted the game to be difficult, but in an enjoyable fashion – not because it’s just simply difficult. So we decided to expand the gameplay a little bit and put another 2 weeks of development to achieve required type of enjoyment. By expanding the gameplay, I mean dealing with…

AI dullness

The behavior of spiders is too normal, too ordinary. We saw such mechanics in thousands of hack&slash games. This does not satisfy us. Sapu is not another hack&slash tutorial, remember? Currently spiders perform only standard melee attacks. We want them to at least jump on Sapu when in range, hell we want them to think and react! Ok I guess we want to slow down our horses too, cause right now there are only 3 of us in which only Sarseth do the programming. However, such (rather) simple task as spider jumping ability enables us to achieve a huge goal – player will have to calculate which skill to use in different situations. Sometimes even small adjustments change gameplay drastically, so we’ll see how it goes.

Deadlines

We postponed prototype premiere several times now. It sucks we know that. I think it’s just how it needs to be right now, with the lack of our experience with almost anything we create for Sapu. But you know what’s funny? Deadlines played a huge, positive role on development. We’ve put much more energy to meet our goals, we progressed much faster. It’s funny cause it’s not like publisher or boss is standing behind us saying scary things if we don’t meet deadlines. We put them on our own. Human brains are tricky bastards. I’m sure that, we would be far behind of where we’re at right now if those self-injected deadlines weren’t capitalized. So we’ll stick to them and will (probably) be late many more times 🙂

What’s next?

After releasing the prototype (next week? 🙂 ), we want to create another scene which will be a little bit brighter – mainly for screenshots (maybe it’s time to do some gifs?) purposes. In the meantime we’ll analyze results of our prototype surveys. We’ll get much needed opinions and comments and then we’ll adjust some things according to them.

Then we’ll move on to create sort of Vertical slice version of the game meaning that the main focus we’ll put on next Sapu skills and mobs behavior.

Check out our Facebook and Twitter accounts to get recent updates!

Followers

I’m giving up with website stats. Too many bots that mess up statistics. I don’t want to loose too much time making filters and all this crap. If you have any suggestions how we could measure website’s popularity, let us know! However, I’ll add a newsletter subscribers metric. This should be our most important metric… so I guess we have a lot to learn 🙂
followers-june

Monthly Report #4 – April 2016

Hi everyone it’s been a long time since our latest post. April’s been such insane month for me privately, that I couldn’t even find any time to post our progress. Fortunately different real-life things that kept me offline straightened out and I can finally focus more on Sapu and this blog.

As you may know we expected to create a prototype level at the end of April but unfortunately we couldn’t manage to get it as smoothly as we wanted to. Our inexperience in some of the game-related development processes showed off, and of course in such situations Murphy ’s Law makes its presence felt. As we are still focused on this level, in this report I will share more information about how are things going right now and how far we are until first tester will get to play Sapu.

Why so long?

AI/Pathfinding system

Ok guys, pathfinding works just fine.

As I mentioned earlier our inexperience showed off. First of all, the whole pathfinding system is pretty complex monster. For example, just look of what various enemies need to be aware of in order to smartly chase player during game time e.g.:

● Their size, speed and position
● Other enemies’ size, speed and position
● Other objects’ size and position
● And of course… Player’s position

Enemies aware of their size.

Add to it all this algorithmic shit for 20+ enemies… Besides, other than my (and eventually players) requirements as for how the AI behavior should look like, Sarseth wants the system to be as much optimized as possible for now, so it won’t catch us later as very complex problem. I predicted that we will need a full month (part time of course) to implement a solid pathfinding system, but I guess I underestimated this monster. The task still goes on and fortunately it is starting to shape up.

Player movement changes (WASD -> Mouse)

Yep, movement again… We decided that it is going to be controlled only with mouse (LoL alike). Earlier we thought that it will be so cool to cast different spells in one direction and run in other at the same time… and then it failed our “fun test” and caused “legs problem” (changing Sapu’s animation based on cursor’s location was too much for us :D) as well. Therefore from now on, Sapu will have to stop for a second (or less) and turn into desired direction in order to cast a spell. Such setup not only eliminates “legs problem” because it will be the same animation, but also provides risk-management opportunity where player needs to decide whether in this particular situation it’s better to run or to fight… or to use specific spell that allows for both 😀.

Transition from 2D sprite enemies to 3D models

I think I mentioned about this transition in previous report, we considered 3D modeling learning curve as to be time consuming in order to create solid, nice looking models, animations and textures. But I’m sure that as Qra’s skills increase, it should be more and more efficient work and finally will accelerate production over animating 2D sprites.

Scheduling while working part time

Sometimes you work 20, sometimes 30… and sometimes 4 hours a week. I’ll put it this way – it sucks.

What’s done?

● Sapu model (and all his animations + texture)
● In-game GUI
● Spider model (+ all animations and spells for “Boss”)
● Sapu movement on mouse
● Majority of sound effect and Sound management system which allows me to customize different options (but it will be improved after finishing prototype version)
● Combat music (epic style – we’ll share it on soundcloud soon!)

What’s next?

Other than finishing pathfinding system:

● Implementation of Sapu model (and all his animations)
● In-game GUI implementation
● Level’s design (finishing it, testing and adjusting its difficulty correctly)
● Simplistic main menu + game instructions.
● (optional) If Qra will have time – creating better model for ranged enemy (earthworm alike)
● Sound effects for unimplemented stuff

I’d like to finish those tasks within this month so we can hand it to playtesters next month. Also We plan to show this prototype on some indie game conventions in July/September so it is important to have it as polished as possible.

Followers

In April we were pretty much non-active at all on Social Media. As I mentioned, April was too much for me. As for guys… well they had their hands full with their tasks as we really wanted to finish prototype at expected time. But lets be honest, do You think Sapu will be a great success and will generate satisfying amount of players around with such marketing? Me neither… Thus We won’t fail so much in this department anymore.

Website

Google Analytics stats:
Website - April stats

Social Media

April stats
Some materials from March gave us little boost in SM followers. For many, these are non-existing numbers. For us – its 50% more on Twitter! 😀

PS: Sarseth works with such music as in above videos on a daily basis… 😀

Monthly Report #3 – February 2016

Hello everyone what’s up? We didn’t write anything for a long time, but we are coming back with another Monthly Report – this time we’ll summarize February and provide some information about our plans for this month.

First of all, as you may noticed on our Facebook page, we all agreed upon deadline of our major goal, which is to create a prototype (about 10-15 minutes gameplay long) by the end of April! I am happy with the progress we’ve got on the gameplay side and the fact that we’re getting closer to finally show the game to first playtesters!

Secondly, it is important to mention that we met earlier this month and decided to remove some features (mana and items) from our game in order to not overdo it with the amount of work ahead of us and limited man-power. Eventually, we want to bring this game to the market, so it was very difficult but reasonable decision. However, we also decided that we will create 3D models for every character/enemies as it (after initial slow-down for learning purposes) should be easier to create animations and match their quality to beautiful environment.

So yeah… On to the development process:

Main tasks

Improve gameplay experience

● Created the demo Scene, but it’s not 100% finished yet – we’ll be iterating and improving it as the gameplay will look better
● Finished Sapu movement mechanic (accelerations etc.) in order to “feel” the movement more natural
● Implemented a feature that pauses entire game for a tiny moment after hitting/killing an enemy (it is a nice feature for spells with more damage)
● Improved ranged enemy behavior (now they predict player’s position and aim more naturally with projectile spells + added some randomization)
● Created dark ambience like environment sound for prototype scene
● Based on some concept arts of how Sapu will look like, we agreed on “a boy with a hood” as a final (pre-prototype at least 🙂 ) Sapu appearance

Other tasks

Other than pure functions to improve gameplay we did some additional work including:
● Created 9 minutes of post-rock style music for calm scenes/menus etc. in collaboration with talented guitarist Damian-pok! Parts of this song have been used for our music so check it out!
● Created sound system that enables to easily add sounds with basic parameters
● Added some functions that accelerate level design

Followers

Well this was not a good month of marketing from my part. I had less time overall and even when had it, I wanted to focus more on the game content rather than strict marketing. Additionally, I think that the most effective marketing is to show screens, gifs and other content from the game so in my opinion it was a good decision.

Anyways, let’s dig into some numbers!

Website

As a positive part – bots are not bothering us! Atleast for now…
FebruaryWebsiteStats

Social Media

SocialStats-february
Twitter’s follow-for-follow methodology caused us to even loose some followers (it was 22 at highest) but it is not our policy as we want to gather true followers that will support us in our gamedev path!

Main tasks for next month

This month we’re continuing our road to create first prototype. The main tasks for March include:

● Improve AI of enemies (mainly pathfinding)

● Add the feature that slows down Sapu after getting hit

● Add missing spells that have influence on the movement of Sapu which should improve “gameplay fun” tremendously

● End all the gameplay sounds

● Create entire spider enemy (model and textures)

● Create early model for Sapu (it will be improved in April most probably)

● Finish the prototype scene (environment etc.)

That’s it. I am mostly concern on our art/SFX/3D-modelling part for this month as we don’t have much experience in it. Well, wish us good luck and stay tuned for another monthly report. Also, don’t miss this week’s #screenshotsaturday as we’ll show our first gif of prototyped scene!

Monthly Report #2 – January 2016

Hello everyone! How are things going? It’s time for another Monthly Report! Within this month we focused on two main topics: improving gameplay experience and finally show some in-game screenshots for the public. What do you think about them?

Even though improving gameplay was (and still is) our main goal, we like to automate processes that are repetitive. That’s why we did some things that are not particularly impressive from a player point of view, but accelerates our development processes.

Without further ado, let’s dig into report!

Main tasks

Improve Website’s design and create nice landing page

We wanted our website to be more attractive to the visitor and thus we focused on creating landing page that displays in-game images from Sapu as well as lists some major features of the game. How do you like it now?

We plan to improve it much more in a future, but for now we want to focus more on the game itself.

Improve gameplay experience

For pretty complex mechanics that we wan’t to achieve, we know that it will take a little more time. Here is the list what we did in January in that department:

Added lightning system, well not in 100%. This was a pain in the ass to be honest. Although Unity has pretty nice lighting/shader system implemented already, it is applicable more for 3D games. Fortunately, we managed to implement a basic, yet satisfying system and the lights are looking pretty great. However we want to enhance this system to display multiple lights at the same time. But it is not that important at the current state and the task will be continued later. We have also experimented with the option to correlate the range of light with mana/energy, but it didn’t pass our “enjoyment test” : )

● Improved player movement, also not in 100%. We’re still making tweaks here and there to balance the line between action and “immersion”. In other words, we want to create really fun to play action, but not in an arcade style with no realistic movement.

Complete environment for 3 scenes

Scenes are not 100% completed, but we are happy with the available assets that we got for them. Creating levels/scenes is much faster than creating those assets.

Other tasks

As I highlighted earlier, we did some things that will accelerate our development. Here are some “less important” tasks that we did in January:

● Majority of functionalities of a very well-constructed “PathWalking system” implemented. This script allows us to navigate objects (NPCs, mobs) along required path. It is such a nice system that (some day : ) ) Sarseth will present a sort of tutorial how to do that.

● Quick system that adds new entities with all required settings implemented

● 2 sounds files added including a whole 3 minutes long environment sound

● 2 “environmental NPCs” added

● An easy way to do in-game screenshots implemented

Followers

Website

I’m not sure if that is interesting screen, but we have some issues with those f***ing bots that generate fake traffic into our website and thus distorts traffic stats. I have included some filters to it so we can still analyze our website’s traffic, but please note that the ORANGE line is correct. The blue line adds all these scumbag bots traffic. Summarizing: 255 Sessions and 445 Pageviews. Also, an average of session increased by almost 30 seconds (since last month) which is a pretty good sign! Thank you!
January Website

Social Media

January Social Media

Main tasks for next month

Improving gameplay experience and build foundations for demo

● Create environment for demo level (which will be also in a full version game as a scene)

● Finish Sapu movement

● Experiment with a feature that pauses the game for a tiny moment after killing an enemy (this is super interesting, I wonder how it will look/feel like)

● Start improving AI of enemies
o Ranged enemy behavior
o Pathfinding

● Choose a final look of Sapu based on concept arts

● Start creating nice animations of Sapu (this may be delayed for march –we’ll see)

● Create music which will be also used for demo scene (at least 10 minutes of well-polished material)

I expect that within this month we’ll create a huge foundation for the much-awaited, fun to play demo. Wish us good luck!

Monthly Report #1 – December 2015

Today we are starting with a Monthly Report series. The series will be published every month to make a summary what we did in the previous month and show some statistics regarding Sapu’s “publicity”. As it is first post of the series, I’m sure that the overall scheme will change over time and adjust with the aim of providing updated status of our development in the best way possible. At the end of the post I’ll try to cover the most important features which we would like to add in next (current) month. So let the summary begin!

Main tasks

Start website (captain obvious at his best 🙂 )

After some positive feedback that we got from you, we are pretty happy about your first reactions. Kind people from reddit didn’t shy to give us constructive criticism and we’re working on adjustments now. The main goal is to create landing page which will explain what the game is about in nice and concise fashion. But to do that, we need some polished images/gifs and that’s why it is not implemented yet. But we changed the background and replaced this “pretty boring white” for something more atmospheric. We hope you like it!

Improve gameplay experience

In December we started the campaign for “better gameplay experience” to finally feel the enjoyment while playing. Here are some tasks that we have worked on:
• Implemented feature that dynamically adjusts camera position based on the location where player holds cursor.
• Added Camera/screen shake
• Dealt with minor adjustments with projectile spells (increased their speed etc.)
We are still not happy enough with the gameplay and I think it is 5-6 features away from being “fun”. As soon as it will feel like that, we will finally show first glimpses (gifs) from our game and I can’t wait to do that.

Complete environment for 2 scenes

Well, we didn’t finish any of these two scenes due to some continuous iteration which was meant to improve gameplay on one of the scene and quite frankly our inexperience with such processes. I’m sure that we will make up for those backlogs in January.

Other tasks

• 5 bugs fixed
• 6 animations added
• An easy way to adjust single sound volumes implemented
• A script that allow us to change transparency of object dynamically
• Visited Gdynia Game Festival, talked to other developers and attended to some game-dev related lectures. Also distributed around 60 business cards!
• Implemented a system that allows us to easily add different languages to the game

Followers

First followers report. The numbers are pretty mediocre but hey – we’re just starting! Also the fact that no one saw any screens from the game didn’t help keeping interest.

Website

330 page views and 152 users. I’m curious what will be the numbers at the end of 2016 🙂
DecemberWebsiteStats

Social Media

Facebook count: 36 likes
Twitter count: 6 followers

Main tasks for next month

Website

• Improve its look,
• Add landing page with screens!

Improve gameplay experience

• Add lightning system,
• Improve player movement
• Add absorb capability for some spells
• Add 2 new spells
• Improve ranged enemy behavior
This will allow us to seriously proceed for the next level to finally create experimental demo to showcase the game to some players and see their initial reaction.

Complete environment for 3 scenes

• Including finishing 2 unaccomplished from December

Well, that’s it for the first Monthly Report. How do you like it? Wow… I’m so excited for this year! Are you?