A Small Robot Story (DEMO AVAILABLE) | Dev Log

  • Boss art and code are mostly set. I've been making an effort to get to a point with art and code where I can say, "Okay it works and it looks good" so I can move forward and work on other stuff. There is still a lot I'd like to add to this boss (small firing animations, slime particles, spawn minions) but scope, man!

  • Looking great, the animation on the slime-ball boss is top stuff. Dig the wall bouncing too.

  • JohnnySix Thanks!

    Updates: Not much flashy stuff to show off from my work over the weekend. Mostly went through my new enemies and made sure all states and animations worked. Cleaned up some animations.

    Ran in to a small bug where, while multiple slimes are onscreen, they will stop jumping when one collides with a wall. Shouldn't be a huge issues to sort out.

    After that, time to add Magistross 's dialogue plugin which I bought! Really excited to get that up and running as my current dialogue setup is pretty patchy.

  • hey bc, how you doing. I've been digging your ASRS demo from itch.io and made it to the first boss (yknow, lumberbot). It's looking great and the story looks promising -- that lil bot with post-traumatic repression issues, cute and creepy just in the right proportion. The mechanics ran smoothly and the enemies behaved properly... It's plain to see it's a work of love, made with dedication and care.

    I wonder how do you plan the whole thing. I mean, do you have a plot in mind and make levels accordingly, or rather thinks in terms like "I'm gonna do up to 20 levels"...? I thought the whole game was taking place in the factory -- going out hints a much more ambitious effort. Wonder if you have new environments in mind.

    Couple of things I need to criticize, in order to feel constructive:

    • The lerp fx feel a bit shaky. It might be something with the pixel images, or a tweakable issue. I think I tried and eventually discarded it once... felt somewhat outta place in a pixel game. (That might as well be plain nonsense. Most people seem to love it).
    • And I'd simplify the controls. Why do you need (i'm on a laptop) a keyB for the dialogues then keyE to go through a door then Shift to shoot? I'd make both WASD and arrows operative so players can choose whatevers more comfortable for them. And then use only one action button (which would work with Spacebar, Intro, and Shift, so again is up to the player to choose), which would open doors, go through speech or shoot 'em robots depending on the context. Maybe up to 2 buttons, some accept/cancel, intro/esc system. That would be much easier to translate into a touch device, too.

    Anyway it's been a while since the demo, so that may have already changed.

    Whatever, good luck, looking good, keep it coming.

  • After that, time to add Magistross 's dialogue plugin which I bought! Really excited to get that up and running as my current dialogue setup is pretty patchy.

    Nice! It's always thrilling to see a new creation that use a bit of your code. I'm eagerly awaiting further dev logs!

  • megalocrator Thanks for checking out the demo and for the kind word

    In regards to planning: I have the whole plot, beginning to end, already in outlined. The dialogue isn't all written but the general outline is. This determined the levels and length of the game. I'm wavering between 4 - 5 levels. Leaning more towards 4, and just stretching out each level. ~15 mins per level would be ideal. There will be multiple environments. Right now they look like: Factory, Woods/Cave (currently workin on this one), City, and HQ/Lab.

    Lerp: Yeah this has been brought up by players. I think since this is such a low-res game, it's easier to notice the "settling" the camera does, especially since you can see the camera adjust pixel by pixel. I imagine this wouldn't be as noticeable with a game that doesn't use pixel art. I may try taking it out but am worried about how much it'll change the feel of the game. We'll just have to see!

    Controls: Also a solid point. I'm definitely simplifying them and allowing the arrows to be used. The ideal situation is to have a few control schemes or customizable controls. Gotta dredge the forums on how to do that

  • I love reading dev logs but what I love even more is getting to know other developers. It's nice to have a bit of insight in to their lives and find common ground, especially as hobbyists. With that said, here is an "About Me" so you get a better understanding of who is making this game about a tiny, confused robot.

    Hi, I'm BC!

    That is not my puppy. I wish it was.

    I'm a 30-something who lives in western New York. I've spent a lot of time playing in bands, making a lot of designs, and generally trying to fill up my time as much as possible. My current full-time gig is working as a graphic designer, so much of my game dev work happens during free time (nights and weekends). I also go to a parkour gym twice a week, run a local game dev meetup, and do a bit of running. On top of this, I'm currently writing more music for Halloween Forever and my wife and I are in the process of buying a house. I'm a busy dude who likes being busy!

    I got in to game dev about a year ago and have been working steadily on ASRS since July '15. Being from the art side of life, I dove in to Construct 2 and found it an easy engine to pick up and learn with. With future projects, I'd like to explore using Unity. I do pixel art in Pyxel Edit (which is an excellent program for the price tag) and Photoshop CC. For music I use LSDJ on a Game Boy Advance SP (chiptunes) and Ableton Live plus a bunch of instruments and synths for other genres of music. I do all my progress tracking and to-do's using Trello. I schedule my life using a Passion Planner and Sunrise for iOS.

    I've made quite a few things that take time and dedication, but for some reason I've found working on a game to be way more fulfilling. I'm really enjoying the process and the community that revolves around making these tiny worlds.

    Thanks if you've read this far and I'll return to game progress updates moving forward  ;)

  • That was a very nice introduction Nice to meet you!

  • More coding this past weekend. Still nothing exciting to show yet.

    However a youtuber did do a Let's Play of my demo. Check it out!

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  • A huge "behind-the-scenes" issue with my demo was the dialogue system. It worked but it was a mess. 7-8 lines of dialogue would take around 15-20 minutes to implement with around 30 events. This increased the possibility of errors and it was just an unwieldy beast. The dialogue and the story is the main driving force in my game, so it needs to be easy to use, able to handle a lot of dialogue, and quickly editable.

    I purchased Magistross 's dialogue template via the Scirra store and spent most of last week and Saturday struggling to get it to work. After a lot of hair-pulling and help from the Magistross, I got it working last night! Most of the issues I was running in to were simply my lack of understanding of AJAX and requesting a file and my small game resolution (256x144). Once variables and assets were adjusted, it worked wonderfully.

    It is a super slick system that references an external file. It includes a utility for writing the dialogue and creating the dictionary that is VERY helpful. I still need to edit the dialog box, add portraits, and tweak the "continue" button, but it already looks much better than my previous dialogue system!

    Shoutout to Magistross who was incredibly helpful and super quick to respond. A definite asset to this community!

  • Did some customizing on the dialogue system and got it where I want it. Shout out to blackhornet and their Sprite Font Generator which was immensely helpful. My game is pretty lo-res (256x144) so getting the font to look right was tricky. Had to do some manual width setting of certain letters. I made this gif on a windowed version of chrome, so the spacing is a bit off compared to full-screen.

    And now I get to move on to level design for level 2. Excited!

    Quick workflow/noob advice: In using the dialogue template and Spite Font generator, I ran in to a lot of walls. Nearly all of them were due to my lack of understanding and/or experience. All of the answers were there, or provided; I just had to find them. I got frustrated a few times and thought about giving up but I pushed through and eventually everything worked out fine. Examples:

    • I didn't know the portraits were all stored in one sprite. After an hour of digging through the code to find where the portraits were called, I discovered the system called different animations in the sprite object for different portraits. It actually makes perfect sense and is really easy to use.
    • Sprite Font Generator spits out a .txt file with your sprite font .png that tells you what to set the character width and height to. It also includes what groups of letters to manually set the width of. Had I read the whole .txt file, I would've saved myself an hour last night.

    So take your time, dig through all parts of everything (not just code!), and don't give up too quickly. If you're still stuck, turn to the forums.

    See you when I start posting one of my favorite things: <3 level tilemaps <3

  • cool dialogue system..

    keep the good work!

  • Congratulations with the new dialogue system! How is it going with the 2nd level? Almost done?

  • Started in on level design. My process goes like this:

    • Draw the flow/direction of each screen
    • Draw a rough layout of each screen. This mean the jumps, obstacles, barriers, enemies, triggers, etc.
    • Over in Construct, place the ground, walls, and obstacles. Do a test playthrough. Revise as needed.
    • Place enemies, triggers, and powerups. Do a test playthrough. Revise as needed.
    • Place all art tiles.

    Here is a sketch of the "flow" of the level. It's a pretty linear platformer, but I do like to have little off-paths.

  • I've thought about getting graph paper for this very reason. But I have so much paper in this den of Hell that is my parent's home... it's like an episode of Hoarders.

    Are there any digital means of accomplishing this that are available online for free to use?

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