Sunday, December 22, 2013

Some updates

Hey gang, this one is kinda late.

I didn't get much this week done.  After a fit of nostalgia hitting me like a ton of bricks over Final Fantasy XI (An MMO I played off and on since '04) the temptation of logging on especailly during their short free campaign and prodding from some folks almost had me.  Luckily I had the whole game uninstalled and didn't want to deal with the very lengthy install from the client and the gigs of version updates.

The game changed so much that more things are soloable and when it comes to single player stuff that gets me excited even if the game is now two gens old, nonetheless it's passed, so time for an update.

Baxter's Pocket Venture 75% finished.  

  • Added invincibility powerup
  • Reginald flies a plane in some sections
  • Art assets finished save for a couple small items. 
All I need to do is construct the last four sections of the island, add some more sound effects, and try my hand at making achievements work.  Art went through another overhaul, to minimize framerate issues.

I did conjure an idea, instead of special stages instead you find a key in each section of the island.  The key stays on you until you take a hit and it disappears.  At the end of each section there is a treasure chest, just run into the chest and you get rewarded with extra lives.  The farther you get on the island the more lives you can get.  Remember, once you grab the key DO NOT GET HIT !

Testing on my phone the game ran between 13-29 FPS, and it's a pretty old model so it should preform well on newer Android models.

Depending on how my finances go, I'm looking at working on getting Greenlight access.  I know, I know I keep talking about it but I'm in a pinch at the moment.  I should dust off my youtube channel and put something up there.  However recently it seems they've greenlit a series of games, which usually is unheard of unless you're a popular brand or have a huge following.

Anyway, next week I want to aim to finish the levels, sounds, and other small gimmicks in time to work on achievements this weekend, and yes I'm going to work through Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Screenshots!

Good Afternoon, I have four new screenshots to show for "Baxter's Pocket Venture"


New HUD display, going for a bit of a treasure island theme with the tattered paper instead of the faded black boxes.

First new enemy called "Crowley" which flutter up/down and left/right, also new "ghost coins" that require a powerup to make them appear so you can grab as many as you can!

This is the gimmick for the second portion of the island, these moving stones need to be carefully navigated otherwise you'll be falling into the water.

Second new enemy "Fiddler".  These spring out of the water and charge towards you.  Originally I considered them stompable, but rather make them unkillable like the Crowleys.
Also you may have noticed that the second screenshot looks a tad brighter... as you progress around the island a full day (game time) will progress.  Next level is going to be a cavern, then sunset, then night.  The levels will interloop with each other keeping you literally running around the island collecting tokens until you lose all your lives or you quit the game.

Reginald will make his return next level as a hazard, and I will try to implement an invincibility powerup instead of the magnet powerup I was going to make.  The magnet didn't work as well as I hoped and if it did, the game would be far too broken.  With the addition of enemies (crab, crowley) I will test to see if it works to eliminate them as well as Reginald.  Another hazard I want to try is making a tidal wave that pushes you back if you don't try to jump over it. 

Today I will be testing the new stuff on my phone here, hopefully the framerate will remain steady otherwise I might have to scrap some things.

Well, it's testing time... see you later!




Sunday, December 8, 2013

Baxter's Pocket Venture 65% finished.

Good evening!

Getting back into the swing of things, these past couple of months I was too distracted with all the gaming and personal events happening.  Next update I promise some new screenshots.

Back to the game demo, I made some serious adjustments to the game.  

     The levels are now linear, while there are some ways you can finish a level, having a larger layout created some clipping problems where Baxter would fall through platforms.  As much as I wanted a larger layout, it created more problems.  I'm trying for performance first and foremost.  You can still miss coins, and there will be some hidden areas for you to find.

      There will be four (or more) interchanging levels, and some bonus levels in between. 

     Implemented a powerup where you touch a coin bubble and hidden coins appear, the other powerup is the magnet shield where it attracts all coins on screen until you take a hit or die which will be added during the week.

     Achievements will be my biggest challenge.   These are in-game trophies for replay value, if they become too much of a hurdle for this game I'll omit them.

Once these milestones are finished, the final product will go on heaving testing on my phone.  Hopefully I can make an apx and send it to the Google Play store.  By then I hope Cocoonjs cloud compiler is working properly again, if not I will need to find another avenue.

--------------------------------------------------

Ha!   VGX was quite a train wreck wasn't it?, Though I liked watching Dying Light gameplay.  Since I haven't played the new Tomb Raider I'll probably be picking that up too.

Stay tuned next week for screenshots folks!


    

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone enjoyed the turkey!

Anyway, as you might of noticed Baxter's Venture's price dropped 50% to $3.99!  If you haven't purchased it yet for PC now's the time!  Figured I'd try to get in on this whole cyber Monday thing.

Well, progress on Baxter's Pocket Venture is back up.  My twitter exploded on last Sunday with some progression on frame rate.  Seems like I will need to tone the game down just a bit, probably make the game a tad linear since the larger level might also contribute to the lower framerate.  Game is playable though.  Only thing I'm worried about is the compiler, Cocoonjs is the best by far but I can't get a workable .apx file.  So at least I can finish working on the game and hope by the time I'm ready for publish it'll work.

I've worked out that I can keep the beach theme but make it to where you jump around "sections" of the island, this way keeping the playthrough as little linear as possible, but with paths that can be recognizable for maximum score.

---------------------------------------

Arkham Origins is a fine game by the way, don't let reviewers tell you otherwise-- some probably didn't get paid enough for a good review (/rimshot)Though I found a couple bugs which forced me to restart the game, it's actually fun.  The boss fights are more memorable than City's, and there are lots of them.  I am bold to say it's one of the few games which makes quicktime events enjoyable.

---------------------------------------

So I missed the rush for next gen stuff.  I'm still pretty torn about which console to get... because the launch lineup doesn't interest me at all.  Even games trickling down later down the road barely have me piqued save for the new Infamous and Dead Island spinoff.  See, I'm not too big on linear one-way games with pretty graphics, First person shooters, survival horror, or sports titles.  Yet, I think this is what I feel gaming is heading towards.  Not that it is a bad thing, I'm quite content with a sandbox/RPG.  Bethesda has cured my starvation when JRPGs started going all JPOP + Joel "Shoemaker" circa Batman 1990's and every protagonist was barely out of highschool.  Then you get fun titles like Saints Row and the Arkham games.  I liked The Last of Us, but not enough for a second playthrough... I cringe paying 60 dollars for something I can beat in a full weekend.  Maybe if I were middle class without a care in the world I'd reconsider, perhaps it's the reality that I'm another in the line of grizzled older gamer who isn't part of the demographic...

... and I'm fine with that.

There was a time where games were merely geek only for sometime, we were the demographic, and as with all forms of history those times have, and will change again.  We all got a bit of a scare with the casual crowd but that's normal.  Just a phase if you will.

I'm also torn on what console to get due to friends.  I would like to expand my friend network, but most people I'd like to play with are going Xbox again.  I don't think I know anyone locally who owns a PS4, and I'd hate to feel like I'm alienating anyone.  Right now both consoles don't have games I want to own yet so I have some time to think about it.
I thought I was swaying towards PS4 too, then PC, then PS4 again... ugh. Not sure why I feel so anti-Xbone though, I game on the 360 primarily.

Meh, don't mind my ramblings. 
 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Some developments

Good afternoon!

Some good developments over the past couple weeks, I had nothing to update last week but this is good news.

I've found a workaround to test Baxter's Pocket Venture on my phone.  All I have to do is export the game with Construct 2 using Cocoonjs exporter.  From there, the file is already zipped so I dragged the file into my dropbox folder on my desktop, then went to the dropbox "app" on my phone, placed the zip file on my phone's SD card and with the Cocoonjs app I was able to test my game.

FPS varied.  Earlier I had 30 with the plain prototype, then 10-15 fps on the main game, which plummeted further to 5-8.  Jump touch control was responsive albeit laggy, but the glide didn't work.  Right now I'm trying to figure a fix and as I'm typing I'm working on the next test phase.

Looks like mobile games in HTML5 may require a very minimalist design, no WebGL, do not have too many objects on screen at once, and go very easy on sounds.  Perhaps I may need to retool this game to something a bit smaller and simpler to work with.

--Like removing the glide and make the air-hop propel you a bit further.
--Reduce animation frames on the tokens by half.
--Shorten the level (OR)
--Make several mini levels that intersect, similar to what I had before.
--Instead of autorun, you can control when your character moves, but one direction only.

Now the reason why this workaround works for testing is that either its me but the Cocoonjs compiler into .apk (android app) is unreadable on my phone, that's why testing always left me with a black screen with the error that my game lacked the js and .index file, which is bizarre because they were there to begin with.  So either my phone is pretty outdated (HTC Evo 4G) or Cocoonjs compiler in their website is broken at the moment.

The Cocoonjs app works fine, I can test it there on my phone.  Heck tried Phonegap compiler prior to this, but unfortunately the product is very slow, even though it compiles it to a very workable apk file.

I did hit a point where I was about to stop Construct and start over with other software, but many of these programs like GameMaker Studio and Unity charges a large amount of cash just to export your file for android, and both require coding experience, which I'm afraid I lack the free time to do at the moment, which is why I chose Construct 2.  It's great for desktop games, runs very smooth despite the browser lag, but games lag.  The lesson I've learned that it's good for small scale games.  It can glitch out events if you hit lag spikes, like when I did a play through of Baxter's Venture and some levels didn't unlock.


I'm just glad I finally had some good news, so I'm going to try a downgrade to this game and see where this takes me, stay tuned!



 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Baxter's Venture price drop

Good evening!

I've announced on Desura that Baxter's Venture will receive a price drop after Thanks giving.  From 7.99 to 4.99.  My next plan of action once personal finance issues are out of the way is try my luck on Greenlight.  I still want to find some workaround getting Construct 2 games on SOME kind of mobile device.

Been tinkering around with Unity, from the looks of it I could make Baxter's pocket venture work on it.  Only problem is porting it to Android.

This update is rather small, and I apologize as personal stuff has come up lately.

EDIT:  Actually, I take that back.
I do have some retooled art assets from Baxter's Pocket Venture into some sprite sheets.  I've found some very intensive Unity tutorials on 2D sprite projects that so far, do not require expensive tool plugins.  Looking at the engine, I ponder making a 2.5D version of the beach level, but at the same time I have to keep it small.  I wish I had something to show you but unfortunately I have to port everything to Unity first and get something done into a small prototype.

I'm thinking of taking the first part of the level and making it loop, the tokens "refresh" while off screen and players can memorize certain paths to maximize their token intake.

Only thing I would have to worry about is the interface and touch controls, but Unity seems powerful enough to make it work. 






Cheers!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Console war gen...8 on the horizon.

This month is going to be big for gaming, two brand new consoles are entering the market.  PS4, and the Xbox One.  Sad to say seems the PS4 is going to have the weakest lineup compared to the Xbox One as Microsoft snagged Titanfall as another exclusive to go along with it's open world Dead Rising 3.

Nintendo has already released it's new Zelda game for the 3Ds and the WiiU has two new bundles and Super Mario 3D World coming out later this month.

I'm sitting here reading some info about the Unity game engine (more on that soon) and realized that Nintendo is in a good position to turn itself around if they haven't done so.  Right now you can get either bundle for 300 dollars plus tax.  Wind Waker HD or two NSMBU games, whichever tickles your fancy.  Note the WWHD bundle doesn't give you a physical copy of the game, but a download code.  The lineup is still lackluster for third party support but you can still find titles like Arkham Origins and Assassins Creed 4 only I believe they will lack DLC content.

It's the cheapest console on the market with the most exclusives, but lacking in 3rd party support and a low install base.  I have a few ideas in mind that would help Big N get out of it's slump, though it will take some risk on their part these ideas can help increase it's install base  -- plus It was a fun little activity for a Saturday morning:

1.  RPGs:  I don't know if RPGs as a whole are dying or people are losing interest.  PS3 seemed to be taking the Tales series by storm, including the once Nintendo exclusive Symphonia series.  Then you have the Persona franchise, and some off hits like 3D Dot heroes. 

Bring a Fire Emblem game to the Wii U, bring back the Tales series, convince Capcom to make MH4 for the WiiU, or if you really want to blow some minds... pay Square Enix for a FF7 HD remake with additional content (alternate endings, new dungeons, etc).  People will eat that up!    That can soar your install base.  I'm aware they have X coming out next year, so it's a start.

2.  You want to get the casual's attention again?  Advertise that the Wii U is a stronger, upgraded version of the Wii.  Show people playing the Wii, then have the Wii U crash into the living room replacing the old Wii and showcase your updated Wii Fit/Sports/Party titles.  Or better, bring back the two guys who stopped door to door saying "Wii would like to play." but instead of the wiimote, its the tablet controller.  Instead of the old catch phrase, it can be "Would U like to play?"  Really emphasize the U.  Here, I've made a meme for you:




3.  Get Retro on the next Metroid Prime asap after DK Tropical Freeze (sounds delicious) only this time make it open world.  Samus crashes on a new planet to investigate a new breed of metroids, think Metroid meets Fallout 3.  Sweeten the pot and include a small multiplayer mode with certain dungeon or overworld maps as the battle fields.

4.  -Pokemon Online-  A single player MMO where you can battle monsters/NPC trainers offline, and battle trainers online.  Trainers can create leagues(guilds) to battle other leagues... seriously I'm surprised this hasn't happened yet.

5.  Next 2D Mario game needs a level editor.  Even if it's New Super Mario Bros U 2, players can use the level editor to create their own levels and share them online for others to play... this is endless replay value.  Trials HD for the Xbox 360 has it, and Minecraft is popular because of it.  I know you're not a big fan of the homebrew scene on the Wii, but there is potential in user created content.

That being said... let's move on.

I'm looking over at the Unity game engine for my next game.  The free version you can publish games if my research is correct.  At first I was very intimidated by it as it seems that it's another programming tool disguised as a game engine. However even if you're not programming inclined at first, learing now scripts work for every action it isn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Plus there are built options to port to Android and IOS, though I do not know how it fares for testing.

Something I'm considering since the whole Cocoonjs not-working-properly thing.  I like Construct 2, it was a great stepping stone to start my game making career.  It's awesome for HTML5 games, though I think I want to take a break from it and try something else for a while.

Stay tuned!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

So I got bored...

Yeah, my short lived mobile venture is a bit of a bust right now so I've started on new IP stuff.  Here's a sprite I made in Photoshop, though I'm going to look into making all handdrawn sprites as I needed to get the design finalized.  Here's two concept sprites for the protagonist:

EDIT:  I've added a second sprite for idea purposes, I actually like that mask.

I really haven't done any spriting in so many years, so it's rather rusty.  (Not that I was really THAT good compared to the Mugen community) not really an expert on pixelated anime sprites per se, which is why I'm going to do the hand drawn route for more consistency. This game is going to be my Contra/TMNT/Castlevania/Ninja Gaiden hybrid, a linearish adventure with a storyline.

Now... to make a story.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Precipice of a dilemma

I had nothing to post about, and for good reason.  Seems I might of hit a snag on my current title "Baxter's Pocket Venture".

As I've started the game is meant for portable devices like Android and IOS.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to test my game reliably on my phone.  Construct 2 doesn't have a native Android/iOS export so they've enlisted the help of Cocoonjs.  After going through the lengthy process of exporting, uploading to Cocoonjs, downloading to test I've been facing problems for the past two weeks.  On top of that, my PC will not even read my phone when I plug it in via USB so I can't transfer files to and from it's SD card.  Even the Cocoonjs app wont download my zip files uploaded to Dropbox.

Testing via Cocoonjs little app has given me frustrations which apparently have been persistent with other more veteran members of the community.  My closest workaround did give me a working demo with a very abysmal frame rate.  Even playing it on the arcade via internet met with some serious slowdown.  Perhaps my phone is very weak?  It's a 4G HTC EVO.  Maybe working with android is as frustrating as industry professionals have mentioned.  I didn't think I put a lot of bells and whistles on a demo except for a couple particle effects, but I think that wouldn't be that big of a hindrance.

Rather a huge disappointment, in a sense I do feel a little ripped off right now that I'm limited to PC games.  There ARE other export options in C2, but they come with some serious limitations.  I'm making one more attempt this weekend before shelving this title, believe me I'm not liking this.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Which brings me to my next announcement:  A new IP.  Spent this week (with some downtime at work, lol) watching some old NES sidescrollers like Ninja Gaiden, TMNT (the first one), and Castlevania and developed a protagonist already.  Debating if I want it as linear with branching paths, or like Mega Man where you can pick and chose levels to beat.  I might be able to pull a Metroidvania game where you explore a huge area and unlock powerups to explore more of the huge area while fighting bosses and solving puzzles.

Boss battles will be a very interesting challenge, save rooms are easy to make with the save state option.  Still working out the bugs, but as I said earlier, if my last few tries doesn't bear fruit then I'll just cut my losses and start the new game.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Baxter's Pocket Venture DEMO is up!

 Baxter's Pocket Venture DEMO
Hello!  I've released a demo for my upcoming mobile game, its on the Scirra Arcade! 

A few things to note is that the final screen size will be different and wider to accommodate time for reactions.

Still wanted to add some more details for the levels graphic wise, there may be some gaps or odd little holes.  There are only two levels that interloop, as this is meant to be an endless runner collect-a-thon.

Other things missing are the power-ups and a gimmick I'm still testing out.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

BPV title screen (temporary)

Good Sunday viewers, just dropping a line to update this blog.  

First, a screenshot:



This is the title screen, a temporary screen to let you know this is an early build.  I'm prepping this game to be hosted on Scirra's website.  I'll have to change the margins since it exceeds it at the moment, but the final product will be different.

Made some more progress by finishing the touch controls.  Next on my agenda is to add the powerups and a couple new levels and special stages.  My main goal is to get this released on all Android platforms via Google Play.  I'm not ignoring Apple, if this game makes me a good chunk of change on the Google Play market I should be able to afford an apple platform (ipad *cough") to test the iOS version on.

However, I'm considering doing a kickstarter for this game after all.  Reason being, that I am also reconsidering my stance on Steam and that Desura isn't enough for my first game "Baxter's Venture".  I'm going to risk going on Greenlight, at least get the one time fee out of the way.  The game risks being in Greenlight limbo, but it'll reach a much broader audience.  If "Baxter's Venture" does get greenlit, I'll have to sweeten the pot somehow like adding additional levels or something.

As for Kickstarter, it seems there needs to be an incentive for supporters, so I'll have to figure out what I can do with my current limited budget like T-shirts or a patch I email out.  Never did figure out how to make patches in Construct 2, guess now is a good time right?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Found out Wii U doesn't support WebGL... that's disappointing.  I was hoping to one day get a dev kit.  I'm not sure if the 3DS supports WebGL too.  I heard PSVita does and it's audience is slowing growing strong.  WebGL has some awesome effects, my game uses a few of them.

PS4 dev kits... are pretty damn pricey, I didn't think my little one man show would be enough to be considered for a free dev kit when the going was good.  Oh well, I need to make at least one successful title before thinking that far ahead.




Friday, September 27, 2013

Four new screenshots

Making a little headway with the mobile game.  Changed some graphics and made four HQ screenshots:




It's definitely taken a step up in detail compared to my first game.  Only thing missing is the buttons for controlling your jump/glide.

Heh, this game is almost 10MB, the max limit to put the game on Scirra Arcade.  I want to make a demo for this before I go any further so I hope to squeeze in another level before I submit it.  I'm feeling pretty good about this project, it's an endless runner that plays like a platformer with branching paths and hidden and secret bonus rooms to find to increase your token count.

Torn with the jump system, as cool as it is, it sort of messes with the glide.  You have to hold the jump to glide, and I'm privy to tap once to jump then tap + hold for glide, which instead makes me air jump once before gliding.  I want to keep the controls as simplified as possible too.

Also decided on making the whiplash/flail from the first game into a powerup, where Baxter can uncontrollable whirl around for X amount of seconds smashing everything in his wake.

------------------------------------

Xbox giving me problems, won't let me log into Live for some reason.  Can't even play GTAV because it requires you to log in to save your progress...

Entered all my information and they emailed me back saying they can't help me.  So do I have to call these guys?  Apparently, all my personal info isn't enough...

Really am sick of the way M$ treats its customers, its so dumb you have to be on Live to save a game offline... how dumb is that?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Baxter's Venture releases in a few hours on Desura!

Baxter's Venture on Desura

And oh man are my nerves shot. 

I overshot the release on a previous post by a day, and already I saw the boxart posted on Gamespot and Metacritic.  I'm sure every indie dev has been through this point with first commercial release.  My big concern if this game fails epically.

Main concern goes to the art.  I've always been a scrappy cartoonist.  I can draw realism, but it's just something I have no interest in.  I've learned drawing from live models, perspective, lighting, everything... well before college.  The world of videogames and animation kept me very interested in the medium.   At one point in life, I did alot of webcomics.  Some were photoshop comics, then branched out to doing my own which never went anywhere due to loss of interest.  Met some very honest (albeit very harsh) critics out there.  My younger self met said critics with some venom, as I got older there became the realization that I'm not as good as I think I am.  With that clarity in mind, I took a trip back to my older works... and a DeviantArt page... and man, my naivety and inexperience showed very hard.  Like an amateur believing he's a pro...

My art always had that scappy cartoonish feel to them, even years of practice because that's the style I've been accustomed to.  It sounds self defeating, but yet there's always room to grow.  Spent years away from my craft and it showed.  I've always pictured myself as Mike Judge or Matt Groening in their early days, or any artist who's work can be described as crude and unpolished.

Maybe I'm trying to justify something that I'm hiding.  Even looking at some of the cutscenes for this game, I sit back and ask myself If I could of done better.  Either way, I pray this wont come back and bite me... well I wont let it anyway.

Second is the game's programming itself.  Had a blast learning Construct 2, made this game as simple as possible and not overly complex.  Spent every day after making a level or three, I'd go back and playtest the crap out of it.  Even after the whole thing was done, found some bugs, and patched as I went.  Further still, one of my biggest peeves was finding levels weren't unlocking, after completing them.  This happened towards the end of the cycle.  Also since this game runs with HTML5, a chug on the browser can mess things up.  Seen it one too many times over development.

Last is the game's difficulty.  It wasn't my intention to make this super hard like every other platformer, but there is a bit of difficulty.  I hope players won't get too frustrated with the game play.

-------------------------------------------------------

Speaking of art, I'd like to find a good Vector art program.  I feel limited with Photoshop now.  Vector art just has this polished look that I can never get to with Photoshop.  Reason I stuck with it is because it's something I knew for years.  With vector art you can resize anything without ruining quality.  Photoshop art can get nasty real quick with it's rasteried pixel editing.  Vector is what professionals use and it helps produce high quality work.

Hopefully I can find one in my price range that I can use for future projects.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Baxter Pocket Preview

Evening ladies and gents, took some time away from GTA5 to work on my next project. Here's a screenshot below! 
 
You might notice a few things.  You have a current "score" up top, with the "high score" at the bottom.   The High Score will be constant until you exceed it, as with tradition.  Your goal is to collect as many tokens as possible after all.  Next, is the green circle on the upper right.  That is your jump meter, similar to Kirby's Dreamland, Baxter can now jump up to four consecutive times in midair before running out.  This can be used on top of gliding to gain maximum airtime, and to save you from any sudden pitfalls.  

And yes, you can collect lives... which act more like hitpoints.  You start out with one generally, but you can add more when you collect the Baxter icons scattered all across the game!  Last, the poker chips from the first game won't return here instead will be the tokens that the game revolves around.  They sort of look like old Aztec currency, with bronze, silver, and gold.  Baxter coins also make a return, with larger value (and size) and will be hidden in every section, including bonus levels.

-----------------------------

Remember, only a few more days before Baxter's Venture releases on Desura! 
Desura Digital Distribution 
Pre-order now if you want, it's probably suicide releasing a game around big game releases like GTAV, but that was a risk I was willing to take.  
 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Release date!

Alright!  Baxter's Venture will be releasing on the Desura Marketplace September 27!  If you click this button here you can pre-order:
Desura Digital Distribution This is great, I hope you all enjoy it.  Not sure what to expect from this.  Alot of work went into this title, testing phase took longer so I hope everything works out.  I feel real nervous, first commercial game.

Oh, man!


Monday, September 16, 2013

A small preview

Figured I'll leave this here:

This is an ingame sprite for Baxter's upcoming mobile game.  What about that sack he's holding?  Well, that's part of the whole gimmick of the game.  The island from the first game is littered with tokens and Baxter has found himself rather fond of the new "shinies" appearing all over.  This may add some depth to his personality, as some kind of collectible hoarder.

Borrowed inspiration from some game characters like Nabbit from New Super Luigi U and the Goblin/Qiqirn beastmen from Final Fantasy XI and XIV.  Something about creatures that hoard just appeals to me, maybe because I can be a bit of a packrat myself sometimes.

The game will be an endless runner, somewhere along the lines of Jetpack Joyride and Temple Run 2.  You have two buttons, one for jumping/gliding and one for his tail/flail move to break obstacles.  He moves automatically so no need for controls.  You just collect stuff to get a high score as possible before you die.

You start with one life, but I'm going to see about how you can accumulate more lives along with cool powerups to prolong your play.

Also I'll be experimenting on making it not so linear.  Each "level" will have multiple branching paths and secrets, which will also include hidden bonus rooms and warpzones.  It makes sense since you're literally trekking around the island so you're going to eventually come full circle.  Speaking of trekking, you can unlock different starting points the farther you progress.  My idea is to make every level interloop including boss levels.

Reginald returns to try his hand at capturing Baxter while he fulfills his new found hobby.  What will Baxter do with all his shinies?  Depending on your progress I plan on multiple endings so if you die after collecting 10k tokens you'll be treated to an ending compared to when you only had say 800 tokens.

There are also plans for ingame achievements.  Something I never did with the first Baxter game.  The achievements will be seen as some sort of "objective" and you just need to fufill the objective to complete it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Still waiting on Desura if "Baxter's Venture" is approved, I've set a new release date and I'm hoping to hear from them soon.  Not sure if it's difficult converting a Construct 2 game to something they can use.  I feel repetitive talking about it, so this will be my last post about it until some new news comes down the pipeline.
------------------------------------------------------------------
GTA5 comes out in a few hours!

I honestly didn't think I'd be hyped for this, considering my utter disappointment GTA4 was.   Add Insult to injury that Saints Row 4, despite it's fun didn't satisfy me as long as I hoped.  I played the hell out of SR3 long after it ended.  Didn't even last long with the Skyrim DLCs as my interest slipped.  I hate feeling like I'm tossing money away but I have a good feeling about this one.  Everything that made me lose interest in GTA has been rectified:

Mission checkpoints
Cars that don't drive like bricks on ice
Hopefully no mandatory side missions
Better AI for NPCs

Main mission is rumored to be over 30 hours, that's over twice as long SR4's main story and there's so much to do in the game.  I might end up picking it up after work!

See you later!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sorry for the late update

The release date for Baxter's Venture slipped past the Sept 4 release window due to some last minute checks on the game itself, and I became heavily sidetracked the past few days.

As I type this, the game is  uploaded on Desura and waiting approval.  Cool thing about Construct 2 is that there is a mac exporter as well.  Once all is said and done I'm going to upload the mac version and see how it fares.  Node Webkit was a pretty ingenious exporter plug in.

There's also a windows 8 exporter too, I'm going to look into it.

Anyway, once the game approves I'll post an update with link and price and hope that everyone who purchases a copy will enjoy it!  This is a huge milestone for me, something I've wanted to do since I was a child has finally come into fruition.  It may not be a game on Nintendo, but it's a start.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Saints Row 4 was a wild ride.  It feels... shorter than 3 main mission wise.  Even did all the side missions and I dunno, it still felt pretty short.  I had alot of fun that there were some pretty memorable moments with the loyalty missions and rescuing your homies.  Haters be damned, I love a good game that doesn't take itself too seriously. 

Too many gamers these days only seem to care about serious games, and Saints started out as a huge GTA clone and went its own way.  Games like The Last of Us,  Alan Wake, and LA Noire are good games in its own right, but in a taste of opinion I find them too boring when you're too grounded in realism that it doesn't stay fun anymore.  It's a breath of fresh air from what I'm used to but these games always remind me why I like games like Fallout and Saints Row.   There are thousands upon thousands of games that are grounded upon reality, rather than whine and complain how this game "lost its roots" you should try another title.  GTA still maintains it's Second Life crime simulation for those who want it, stick with that.

Speaking of which, that's coming out in a couple weeks isnt it?  I hope they added mission checkpoints and not make stupid side activities mandatory like they did with GTA4 and started with San Andreas.  Escort missions were just as bad, I recall that near last mission I could never pass because that guy runs in and gets killed before I could take out all the mobsters... after driving all the way across the damn map to get to where I needed to go... not cool Rockstar, not cool.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

I... think I sort of lost interest in A Realm Reborn.  Speaking as a veteran of XI, I'm very big on exploration and not so much on grinding.  The thing that turned me off is that pretty much every dungeon or strong hold you need four people minimum just to go and check out, with a time limit.

in XI, you're free to roam anywhere except for small boss chambers as long as you can survive.  XIV feels too grindy.  I was enjoying myself until I got further into the main story missions and there are too many duty finder missions to complete.  It started to feel like work again, and after lvl 32 I've started to distance myself away and had to think about if I want to continue this.  Good thing I had that free week to use up after beta but there goes money spent just for some of the spoils. 

It's my fault for assuming this game was going to be like XI in some ways, I was wrong.  It's still fun, but for the exploration guy in me who likes to solo it's a bit of a turn off that all the cool looking dungeons require a party to navigate through.  Also had the itch to level a DPS instead of a tank, but DPS have the hardest time doing story missions because you're a dime a dozen.

I think if you're past a certain level Duty Finders should be soloable, or with an NPC who you pick a class for like the Adventuring Fellows in XI... now THAT would be cool.   Probably not going to happen though.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Updated trailer

Happy Sunday.  Have an updated trailer, taken out the mock Seinfeld theme and a couple snippets but added one snippet of game footage.

I should of trusted my gut when I used that older theme, since I purchased it from a royalty free music store.  When you have a song titled "About Nothing" you should heed that warning your brain tells you.  Oh well, live and learn right?

So still doing some last minute testing.  Haven't found really anything big, just fixing up some graphics and animations.  Revamped my Desura page too with the new video and some page adjustments so it looks a bit more professional.

Hopefully I can meet my deadline of Sept 4, and all is said and done.  Gonna take a small break and start on Baxter's mobile game and try for a Christmas release.  It's not going to be as big as this game, but it's going to be about the same length as Super Mario Bros without warpzones.  Part runner, part platform, where high scores and collectibles matter!

---------------------------------------------

The nerd in me was in full beast mode.  Got to play early access to A Realm Reborn and it's still running into it's fair share of problems.  Anyone who preordered the game is feeling pretty cheated in the NA/EU side.  Servers are overcrowded and keep shutting down and instantces are not even working at all.  What as once a week of early access was squeezed into three days, and a good one and a half were barely playable.  I suppose you can consider it a last minute beta before the real deal, but at this rate A Realm Reborn is going to face some serious backlash if this isn't fixed by release in a couple days.

It's a good game, lots of stuff to do both solo or casual and it looks fantastic.  It's starting to deter me a bit that's for sure.  I'll probably play for the free 30 days (I think it's a month) since my PC can handle it and I'll consider if I want to play this or not.  It's killing my buzz that's for sure.

Stay tuned for more updates!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Baxter's Venture release on Desura soon!

As the title says, I'm planning on releasing the game on Desura: 
http://www.desura.com/games/baxters-venture

Before I tackle Steam.  Figured I'd try and help it gain some popularity, help this game grow!

September 4th is when it is released, I want to give myself at least two more weeks to find any game breaking bugs, or just some oddities before publishing.  It's soon, trust me.  Once that is up and running I'm going to try and notify as many gaming sites (or just Reddit, haha) and see if I can get some kind of publicity.

After that is said and done, Baxter is going to have his own mobile game as previously mentioned.  I've dabbled in a small demo of it and I think with enough tweaking, I can make it work!  One button, that does a few things, as you move in one direction collecting and scoring enough points without dying.  

It'll feel like Baxter's Venture, but it'll play different.  I'll start work on that as soon after I take a small break from game development as I've worked on this game months straight!

-------------------------------

Speaking of breaks, I got to play Phase 4 of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn!   Speaking from years on and off of FFXI, this is a huge breath of fresh air.  Anyone expecting this to play exactly like XI are in for a shock.

I'll be honest, the user interface and the game mechanics looked intimidating and I thought it'd take me weeks to learn.  This game has a way of carefully easing you through.  I'm on the PS3 thanks to a very old beta code from FFXIII that I redeemed some time ago.  Rocking the Marauder class, which is a DPS Tank that uses a Great Axe.  Unlike Warrior from XI, Marauder is supposed to prepare you for tanking when you change to Warrior later on.  You can deal damage, but your primary goal is to hold hate and you're supplied with enough HP to hold your own.  Many didn't like the idea at first, but we don't want this to be another XI where tanks were in short supply, so it's more of a sink or swim deal.

Grinding, well, you can grind if you want (killing monsters out in the fields), but the game offers you tons of quests, leves, and FATEs for solo play, as well as Duty Finders for small parties for some nice loot if you're into that.  Not a dull moment there, plus you get rested exp bonus for the casual players by staying at an inn or sanctuary while offline for a long period of time.  Compared to XI, all you could do was slay monsters and maybe some other stuff for a miniscule exp gain before exp rings came out, even then were limited.  Now XI has been "grind to 30" then "afk in abyssea while someone else Fell Cleaves" to 99, then you have to go back and level your weapon.

So far, nothing of the sort here in XIV, your weapons and armor wears instead (similar to fallout but nowhere near as bad) and costs very little gil to repair.  After my departure from XI, I told myself I'd be taking a break, which turned into an "I think I'm done" affair to "OMG XIV is AWESOME!"

This game caters to all types of gamers, some of us don't have the time like we used to but in a sense you can still get stuff done.  Probably not relic stuff, but at least you can log in, do something for an hour or three, and log off.  There's just so much to do here and little time to finish.

Oh, and the graphics... amazing.  Managed to visit a few high level places on chocobo and was taken in awe how much work they put into it... until servers crash last night lol.   Thankfully I managed to be in a sanctuary when it happened, so if I decide to play the game on release my beta character is saved with a nice exp bonus to boot!

Well played SquareEnix, well played.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mock magazine ad

Made this over the weekend, really liked how the cartridge detail turned out.  I used to do a ton of these for fun back when print magazines were relevant.  I'm sure some still are, but not so much gaming magazines.

I wonder if it could make a neat internet advert...

Click to enlarge

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Baxter's Venture Official Trailer!

It's finally finished, over two minutes of gameplay footage.  I'm definitely going to get the full version of fraps First, so I can lose the pesky watermark, and second it will save me money from getting a capture card for the meanwhile.







So yeah, hope you like the new trailer.  All that's left for me now is to finish ironing out the last small bugs, create some promotional artwork, and get approved for Steam Greenlight.  Man, I can't believe I've came all this way from just daydreaming of creating videogames and here I am, on the verge of publishing.  Someone might ask "why not use kickstarter?"

Well, GG-Works isn't exactly a name brand... yet.  I'd feel kinda bad for taking money for a project that may or may not even get published.  My conscience is far too strong to allow me to justify taking peoples money and not put anything out.  Maybe after a couple established titles I'll consider it, but only small amounts for software or dev kit fees if I were to go on consoles.  Remember, ONLY after I make a name for this company.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the trailer!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Final testing phase

Oy, bug testing phase is taking a bit, found some rather interesting bugs in the older content (pre act 4) that snuck in after some adjustments.  A couple bugs in act 3 & 4 where a couple levels never unlock in the HUB screen, and the water line in Act 5 were solid as ice.

Even some of the collisions to the Challenge Level portals weren't working right.  It's amazing that one small detail can make a bug seem large.

As I'm testing, I'm using FRAPS to record segments of the game, so I can make the new trailer tomorrow!  Just a few more little snippets here and there and I'll get started on the trailer.  I have one more art piece I'd like to make for promotional purposes, then I can get on with the final phase:

Steam Greenlight.

Seems how this works is I have to make an account and use all my promotional items, and figure a way to convince people to let Baxter's Venture on Steam.  So it looks like a voting process.

I've heard very mixed reviews about it, as some very good games with potential and polish like Mutant Mudds, a port of the indie 3DS hit was overlooked for some rather generic FPS and other odd clones.  This scares me a bit, since this is a solo venture with a rather crudeish artstyle.  (Think Mike Judge before King of the Hill) Only other thing that makes my game stand out is that it's not just another "pixel mascot platformer".  I wonder if my game will be seen as: [internet]"Pssh, another stupid nostalgic platformer... PASS!  *sneer*, *sneer* [/internet]"

When you think about it, it's not offering a huge game mechanic like Fez or Braid did.  It's not insanely difficult like Super Meat Boy and I Wanna Be The Guy, and it sure as hell isn't no Slenderman.  It's a basic mascot platformer, that offers challenging gameplay and a large chunk of replay value at a low price.  It has no real name brand to sell it like AVGN adventures, as I'm leaving it up to the consumers to make that name.

I just see Baxter's Venture as another option of game to try.  Yes, it's a mascot platformer, but that's all part of the charm.  Perhaps it may be apart of an indie bundle someday if first initial sales don't go so well.   Getting it out there, will accomplish something I wanted to do my entire life.

Oh, And I won't stop with there, Baxter will have a mobile game once that is said and done.  If the game does really well, don't rule out a sequel.  It probably won't be for some time, but I'll probably do something different with the game's level design so it doesn't have that "Angry Birds" layout.

Anyway, back to testing... see you tomorrow!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Offical new name: "Baxter's Venture"

Complete with new title screen!


This title screen is far cleaner than the one on the demo.  And if you look closer, each little "landmark" is a small hint on each act.  Also, I've removed the "Credits" button since it's now apart of the game's ending.

Whew, the game is about done just dwindling down the testing phase now.  Spent all last week whipping up cutscenes and going back and forth testing and playing making sure everything works.  It's an ordeal for one person, and while my artwork for this game is a bit crude, I hope that the gameplay makes up for it.

----------------------------------------------

August is going to be a big month for me in terms of games.  Got invited to FFXIV A Realm Reborn PS3 beta, which is about a week long... as if fate is telling me to go back into MMOs again.  Saints Row 4 is coming out at the end of August, and down the line are a ton of new games like GTA5, Watch Dogs, Arkham Origins.  Plus I moved to a new position at work that doesn't allow me to think up game ideas while I work, as it's keeping me busier than ever and I have to work later too.  At least I finally beaten The Last Of Us, scratch one game down.

Oy, good thing this game is just about finished.  I still need to work on a gameplay video and an updated trailer, and some promotional artwork.  Seems I can't make a video that doesn't look choppy or blurry since my old PC lacks a capture card.  If this game makes enough money I'm definitely going to make sure my next PC has one.  Just can't afford to buy anything right now thanks to my gaming habit.  I suppose I should sacrifice getting new games in favor of something that will help this game sell.

Speaking of which, I've settled on this game costing about 7.99.   While I thought five dollars might be too low and ten too high, I'm hoping eight dollars won't scare away anyone willing to try it.  I'm sure it'll get pirated like everything else, but not much I can do about that.

Anyway, see you soon!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Baxter 95% completed!!!

Just a little bit before the finish line gang, all the challenge levels are done, the power ups have been coded and tested too.  All it's missing are the few cutscenes and ending before this game is ready for it's final testing phase.

I've always tested each and every thing I code rather than wait until the last, since game breaking bugs tend to take me longer to fix, so I'd rather code it so it doesn't interfere with anything else.  Well, I don't know what other Construct 2 users call it, since it's more like "block coding" than actual text code like in C++.  But that is the beauty of this program, before I talk more about C2's future, allow me to present to you some screenshots of the challenge levels:


 Recognize this background from my first debug room?  Well this is a "sandwiched" elevator that's going down, watch your step!
 This level you're being chased by my soon to be infamous orange RC Hornets, only this one is more like a B52!

 It might be hard to tell from this shot, bit this whole level is an easter egg.  A reference to a very well known NES classic, not sure if I can get into trouble since all the art assets are my own, it's the structure the level takes.



Remember, these stages are one death only, it takes one portal to unlock it, but each death causes you to start over from the HUB room, including the 20 coin challenge.  This is the game's "HARDCORE" mode so to speak.

 ------------------------------------------------------------

So, Construct 2's team have finally been in contact with Nintendo.  Skipping technical jarble, what it could mean is that sometime down the road, C2 devs can create games for Nintendo's respective consoles!  It's huge news, and perhaps some killer apps could help the struggling WiiU, or see some success on the popular 3DS.  Either way, it's huge news.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Once the main game is done and tested, I'm going to whip up some more promotional images and a couple videos since I've totally neglected those during the development cycle.  After all, I'd feel pretty stupid if I didn't try to market my game.  I did make some amateur gameplay vids and a trailer, but you would rather see new stuff in action right?

After the promotional phase, I'll work on getting this game on steam.  Not entirely sure HOW, but this project didn't need a kickstarter campaign lol.   As for pricing, I'm still debating on it.  Originally I sought a $10 pricetag, but considering the economy, and not having a demographic at the get go, I should play it safe with a $5-6 dollar pricetag.  

Something to think about,

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Act 5 completed!!

Man, what a weekend.  Here in Arizona storms roll in to keep us cool for a while... but that's not important.

Act 5 of Baxter is finished.  Final Boss and everything!  Been working with a sprained wrist on my  right hand but I wanted to get this done so bad.  Which kind of works out since I'm tempted to play  The Last of Us but the way my hand is bandaged up I can't even hold a controller, but I can still type... sorta.

Started on Bonus Challenge Act levels, at least the HUB world is done.  Here is a work in progress screenshot:


All levels are locked until you find them in the main game, once accessed via those purple portals, you can re-enter them through here.  

I've also added hidden warp zones in the first four acts, for speed runners or gamers who find the game a bit too difficult.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Unrelated note, I'm seriously considering getting a new PC for gaming only.  As much as I want a new game console, seems I'm starting to get drawn towards modded games.  I missed out on so much from Saints Row, Fallout, and Skyrim.  Good lord, Skyrim... I have yet to play any of the DLC because it's never on sale.  I missed that Spring sale on Xbox live and still waiting for another price drop.

Oh well, stay tuned!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"MOAR" changes!

Hey guys and gals, dropping a note for some changes regarding powerups and special acts:

1.  I've decided to simplify things further by just having powerups purchasable the moment you gain enough tokens.  

Without spoiling too much, these power upgrades are meant to make the game easier, and hopefully more fun.  They'll be permanent too.  One particular one will consume tokens, so at least they'll still have a use once all the buy-able stuff is done.

2.  Challenge levels are only unlocked by finding them within the levels.

While there will be at least one hidden warp zone per act, more adventurous players can find challenge acts by exploring parts of the level, probably altered ones from the current demo out now, and once unlocked, you can access them from the Challenge Act HUB any time you want.

Each challenge act will function different from the regular acts, in which one death will result in you restarting the level, including Baxter coins, switches, and breakable objects.

Cheers!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Act 5 (Beginning of the end!)

Down to the final act of the main game, and this last act is going to be a doozy.  First off the bat, here is the background for the hub world.

It's a parody of Dr. Wily's and Eggman's fortresses, since Reginald's face is everywhere, this would be rather funny I thought.... I wonder if I'll still get sued?

Also to add that this Act will have you fight all four boss levels before you make it to the final showdown with Reginald.  While I do have levels with some new traps and enemies, I think it would benefit the game that this act throws out all the stops.  Now, you might be asking... why is Baxter going after Reginald if he's trying to escape him since the beginning?  You'll have to play to figure out!

Those blocks appear and dissappear, so time those jumps wisely!

The first few levels you start outside, but there will be returning references to previous acts, like the water hazards from act 3.  After all, the rematch of the Reginald Sub needs water, so expect at least a couple more water levels.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On another topic, I think I've found something cool to do for the special acts I'll be working on very soon.  You know those four acts you need tokens to unlock?  Well, so you spent all that work for only a small handful of super hard levels... as many gamers know, there has to be a balance of risk vs. reward... so there needs to be a reward for the risks taken.

So, after some extended thought, I've decided on having permanent power-ups for completion of each special act.  What each one are I cannot divulge, but I will say that it will make the game easier for those who are struggling or going for the 20 coin challenge on each level.



Well, that's all for now, stay tuned!