A Small Robot Story (DEMO AVAILABLE) | Dev Log

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  • Update: A Small Robot Story is now on Steam and Itch.io. Check it out!

    Hey everyone!

    Currently working on a small game called "A Small Robot Story". It's your basic retro platformer with jumping, shooting, and obstacles.

    The game originated back when I was in college and was in a band called Tomorrow is Forever. The band was actually the senior capstone project for the two guitarists. They wrote a story about two friends forming a game company in the 80's and our whole album told the story. They also made music videos for every song telling the story. You can watch those videos here. (Sorry about the poor quality. These videos were made in 2004 and uploaded to YT in 2007. Online video quality was still crap!)

    However the game that the story was about was made into a tiny flash game that was only one level. When I decided to start making games, I thought, "What better place than with the game that was never finished?"

    So here we are. I'm working on the first level and plan to release it as a demo. For the final game, I imagine 4, maybe 5 levels max. One of my close friends is doing a lot of the art (those environment tiles!) and another is going to help out with social media / any marketing that we might decide to do if we take it that far.

    Mostly though, this is an excuse to learn how to make games, visit fond memories of my college band, and generally have fun. Here are some screencaps!

    These are all the tiles being used for the first level. My buddy Jason is a great artist and I'm super lucky to have him helping me out.

    Quick mock-up of level stuff

    Boss mechanics. Filler sprites for now, but the boss will dash left and right and then pound the ground and rain scrap metal down on you.

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  • Got the gamepad up and working. Super easy and works great!

  • That looks really retro! I would play it.

  • liquidmetal Thanks!

    Worked on RPG-style dialogue this weekend. I'm now working on utilizing Kyatric 's XML Dialogue tutorial series. I managed to get a simpler / dirtier option working for dialogue but it was clunky. The XML route is definitely where I want to be, but does look more advanced. If I have any issues, I may rely on the simpler method just to get things done.

    Also met up with a friend who is working on their own indie game, Halloween Forever, and we discussed a ton of stuff. He made the recommendation that I export a single layout of my game (since I hadn't yet) and make sure everything is working so far. Upon doing so and sending it to a few friends, I found out that I still had "default controls" ticked to "yes" (I had been using my own controls) and it was possible to accidentally control enemies when using default controls.

  • Rough dialogue system in place. It'll work for the demo. Ended up not using the XML setup simply because I feel it is still a bit over my head. Will definitely spend some more time with it in the future, but for now this works. Especially when I'm planning on less than 20 lines of dialogue for the demo.

    Up next: health bar!

  • Looking really good!

  • I like the retro graphics. When done well, it always looks awesome.

    The main character kinda reminds me of this guy tho :

  • Cryptwalker - Ha! I was planning on reworking the main character at some point anyways. Feels a bit thin.

  • Looks great I like it so far. I have one question tho

    Why are you making the whole level in photoshop? Is that the normal way to go? I thought you would make a tilemap and then just load a tilemap on C2 to place it whenever you want.

  • Smileh Thanks!

    In regards to the photo you're referring to: A buddy of mine is helping me out with the art and he designed the tiles in photoshop. He sent me that picture where he did a mock-up of a level to make sure all of the tiles worked well together.

    When placing tiles in C2, I use a tilemap along with the tilemap object and tool.

  • Got the opening cutscene along with some level design done today. No big hangups; just slowly learning the quickest and most efficient way to do things.

    Taking a break this weekend since I'll be participating in my first Ludum Dare Jam! I'll be sure to post whatever I finish.

  • Level 1 design for my demo. A sketch (obviously). I'm ironing out a few more issues (adding families to existing events, smooth transitions) but then I'm going to start laying down the basic objects for the levels so I can test them and see if it's at all fun. I'm also considering changing the name of the game since it's pretty vague.


    I spend a ton of time digging through the forums and I constantly run in to those long threads about how C2 needs a native exporter or some such. They all sing the same song and, to be honest, it almost made me ditch C2 entirely the first month I picked it up. I personally don't have the knowledge or experience to make a solid judgement on the issue. But I made my first *completed* game this weekend for Ludum Dare 33 and I had a blast. So I'm liking C2. A lot. I'm just curious if there is the opposite crowd out there. Plugging away at their games and enjoying it and generally seeing success with what they're trying to accomplish.

  • // Brief update //

    Switched all of my enemies over to families. Definitely cut a bunch of my code down by a ton and organized everything nicely.

    Then I discovered this thread and Tokinsom 's way of using functions with families. I knew that I needed to learn functions and UID's. I struggled with it for a few days and then over the weekend while on vacation with some friends, I sat down with my friend who does a lot of coding professionally. He immediately picked up on C2's syntax and helped me sort out calling a function, passing a long a variable, and having it affect a specific enemy. This cut down my code by at least 10 events! My friend explained how it would be a lot less "expensive" than how I had everything before.

    Things are moving smoothly now. All enemies are functional, player is 90% functional (just needs a death animation). Art for the demo is mostly done (just need enemy art). I've sketched out the entire first level design and plan to start laying out the basics in the new few weeks.

    // Name change //

    I'm going to change the name of the game at some point. "Tomorrow" is just too vague and a poor marketing choice IMO. It is what we originally called it back in 2004, but it just doesn't make sense to anyone who doesn't have a connection to that time period. I was thinking something like "A Small Robot Story" but that's probably too cutesy

  • stylish!

    im using Dictionary for dialogues in my game, with a lot of tokenat. pretty easy and versatile -- not exactly finalfantasy, mind you -- but works for simple introductory utterances...

    i say the thing with the main chara is colours rather than design... these subtle shades of gray, feels a bit too smooth, against the more severe, 8bitish bckground. try to contrast it up?

    keeps me wondering about the music for some reason

  • The main character design is just placeholder for now. It definitely needs to be thicker and have more weight to it. Thanks for the crit!

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