Time for a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT... (if you read the title, you know the "tl;dr", but anyway)...
My Dinomelt web demo will finally see a release date on Friday, June 2. The game has been 'complete' for some time (like 3 months!?), but testing bugs and balancing difficulty has been an important priority to avoid some of the post-launch brain meltdowns (or reduce them, at least...!).
Note that the version you'll be playing on NG, while not a 'DEMO' in its most common definition -it is a build which will feature a playable game from beginning to end- is still a 'compact' version of the larger and more fleshed out game (and story) I envision it to be if development continues (which I'll be considering depending of the interest and overall response). From now on I'll be refering to this build as the 'Web version' or 'Newgrounds version'.
Now this may seem like an unusual decision for a web release -I'll go into more detail on the motivations behind it in another post- but the main reason behind going through the work of making a game build which can be played completely as a short version of the story, was more related to the personal challenge of going through the whole learning process of developing a game "from beginning to end", connecting all of its elements.
While the Web version will certainly leave out a good bag of potential features, it was about time for a milestone in the process, and I'm pretty glad with how the current version is playing and the testers response has been great.
That said, STAY TUNED!, on June 2, a condensed subterranean clay adventure will invade your browser and brain-cells!
I wanted to narrow this one down to the anouncement, but when the game is finally up I'll be elaborating more on the development experience, motivations, and whatever you guys are curious about!
Also, you can now follow Dinomelt on it Facebook fanpage for more immediate updates!
Hey Newgrounders!, time for a bit of dev-blogging on my game Dinomelt!
But first, a little comic ...
More than once (and specially on a looong project), as one grows and develops better and more efficient ways to make things (an evolving artstyle, a cleaner way to program, new approaches to world and level design…), it becomes reaallly tempting to just go back and re-do the whole thing.
During the 2+ year development cycle of Dinomelt, this has happened more than once: The protagonist, Gwrep, had a complete sprite-re-drawing halfway through the project. Also, recently, plenty of the main background assets and platfoms got a color, line and overal polish update, so that most aspects of the game had a more consistant line.
As an example, take a look at this gif from version 0.4 (late 2015)
It was looking and working fine, but the animations on the protagonist, Grwep, weren’t the most convincing, they were stiff, and the ‘run’ was a bit off… Months later I went over its whole group of ~15+ animations to make them smoother with stronger poses, and a better sense of weight (specially on the runcycle)
In that sense, my current goal is to get the upcoming web release DONE before I get the ‘itch’ of remaking everything again, otherwise, you may expect the game to take another year or even more!!
Music production is halfway through, and in the meantime I've been heavily into 'post-production' details, so despite the tone of the comic and the last sentence, it's not something I expect to happen ;)
More updates on the game's blog.
As a little BONUS I’ll leave you with this fun and insightful micro-documentary by Adam Butcher; a good documented case to remind us of this issue... and maybe consider releasing projects instead of remaking them for years.
Heyy Newgrounds', in a bit of a break from Dinomelt updates and development, I made a few illustated token cards to play Magic: The Gathering ->
Wait, what are these?
There are many cards in the game that can 'create' certain types of creatures, which are usually represented with 'token cards' or wathever you have around, so I made a few of them to play with just for fun, and then I found a store which actually speciallizes on them!
SO, whether you actually play the game, or just like to collect illustrated cards, take a look!
It's been a bit of a while since my last update on things (mainly a recap of last year and a bit of the Newgrounds experience).
BUT here's some updates focused on the game(still-in)progress!
The latest ‘release date’ was “late January”, which is kind of gone, so it may be good to stop estimates for a while. Turns out, starting February, I can announce that, after heavily focused weeks, the game at last is on ‘COMPLETELY PLAYABLE’ (/beatable) state!
The game is done in most aspects of production, the whole world map, dialogs, sound effects, credits, secondary animations, enemies, debugging, typography… even a set of working “achievements”! (prepared to work as Newgrounds medals), most of those details, which compose the elusive and rarely accurate 'LAST 10%’ of 'polishing' work (this last stage has taken around 2-3 busy months so it may aswell be as big as a 25% of the whole work-time) (picture related)
The only aspect which is still on production phase is the music, which will take a bit longer considering the final volume of music needed for the game.
While it’s reeeeally tempting to release it at last, as the music gets done it will be a good time to test and polish the latest details shooting for a good web release, looking for a good week when I’ll finally be able to announce a real release date.
In the meantime, here’s a little peek at Fruwz, one of the most heavily clay-morphed areas of the cavern.
It's probably a good time to recap on what I've been up to on the creative side of the year of 2016! ->
Released a VIDEOGAME
On August I released my first "finished" game MasticaAstros! a videogame focused on astronomy contents while played as a 2d space shooter with exploration elements. This was the evolution of my thesis project on design school it somehow made it into one of Chile's newspapers, hahah!
I made an earlier post on more detail, but after a long process I can at last say that I have a 'published' game! One big learning experience, and also useful to start measuring the whole process of making a game from beginning to end, and how more than a year of constant work turns into...maybe 30 minutes worth of content?... (depending of the player... an average could be between 20-60 minutes) It's an odd thing to compare with making an animated short, but it certainly comes with a ton of more variables.
(it can be FREELY played here, the texts are on spanish, though).
Possibly the most demanding thing, and what most of my brain, arms, pens and sketchbooks have been occupied on, is my game DINOMELT. It has grown A LOT from its origins as a little 'metroidvania' styled platformer.
But so far it's been another big learning process. It's definitively one project which has taken more total work time than any other self-motivated project I've been into...ever?, it will take around one more month to reach its final state, but certainly not another year of development (at least for the version you'll play on Newgrounds earlier next year ;)).
And while I've been slooow with the blog and spreading the game over the internet, it's been cool to see a few early notices, good feedback from strangers, and even a Reddit post which was not made by me!
The rest of the 'creative time'
So I've been mostly focusing on a project so demanding that, aside from MasticaAstros, it certainly wasn't the greatest year to actually 'get things done' (that cake could go for 2014).
But it was still a fine year to find excuses for creative work, unsually a pretty game-focused year, but also the Newgrounds animation JAMS were great to experiment with smaller proyects; I worked on quite a bunch of Pencilmation episodes, and made a few more little LOOPDELOOPS (like this one)
But wait, TEN YEARS!?
Getting back to Newgrounds itself, being around the site for more than 10 years (starting from rough and badly sounding flash experiments) I've seen so many creators over the years who have gone through the site with awesome and even "cult-creating" work, that I've come to think of NG as a pretty productive and motivating kind of 'school'. at least it's been similar to one for me in terms of practicing animation and creative stuff of all sorts and collaborating aswell, where the feedback still keeps its constructive side, specially as one experiments and tries new things.
So another motivation for this brick of words is to also thanks to the community, all who have watched and reviewed with different perspectives over the years, the team behind all of those creative events, and to @Tomfulp and the ongoing staff!, it's also mind blowing to have reached over 1100 fans aswell. holy shmups.
I'll leave you with this real-world picture where earlier this year I was asked to do a 'talk' in a little festival at my hometown about my short 'Sprouting Frog Waves', where I talked about Newgrounds and the NATA tournament, It's always cool to speak about that side of NG in less expected situations, from my own experience Newgrounds hasn't made such a big impact in Chile (mainly due to the language barrier) but every once in a while someone would point out, "I started animating on Newgrounds!", or at least "I used to play a lot of games there!"
See you next year, when I'll finally have a game for all of your lizards.
Time for a game-focused update on recent things:
While I've had the possibility floating around for quite a bit, I had never participated on a game jam before, so
it was great to get into the dynamic mood for that. Using the procedural theme of the jam as an excuse, the game came from the idea of a game that could "spawn" multiple games with variable mechanics and rules, which (for the purpose of the jam) was narrowed down to top-down 2d shooters. As I worked on the art and assets of the game It was a coolibert thing to make, adapting to a system that could not only give gameplay variation, but also mix and match possibilities for the main character, enemies and the scenarios, making really bizarre beings into this odd environment.
The game it's on 'jam-state' and was complete in around a week, so it's not as generally polished as hoped, but it ended up as a pretty fun experiment to check the multiple possibilities wiithin this genre on randomly generated levels and characters.
Making this little game was also a pretty good break which left me in a great state to get back to work on...
The game will go through 3 main worlds/areas of the clay infested cavern, which are now finished on structure, each with its own enemies, hazards and a boss! which leaves the game with a 15% left which covers mostly polish and details regarding the final segments of the game.
So far, while the Trailer I uploaded earlier this year announced that the browser (Newgrounds!) version of Dinomelt would be up on late 2016, (for a while it seemed like a cool thing to release it by christmas, OH WELL) I decided to postpone it to avoid rushing the last segments and have an incomplete result, specially in an unpredictable month like December. SO, by now, the closest tentative date is by the end of January 2017, which seems like a good date to leave the game's development time on 2 years.
I've been a pretty inconsistent dev-blogger, so now that a major part of the game is finished, I will be filling in more updates in the upcoming weeks in the game's blog.
In the meantime, here’s a segment in progress of Hworb, the clay-infested volcanic area, featuring a tricky segment with one though Potato-Spit, and also a version of Wrep’s clay-roll.
Here's a little ANNOUNCEMENT: a game I've been working on has finally been released!
Lately I've been heavily into development of my 2D Platformer DINOMELT, BUT, there's another local project I've been working on for quite a while (before Dinomelt actually), which I'll elaborate a bit more on:
Mastica Astros! (could be translated to something like 'Astro Biter' or 'Astro Chewer'...)
A 2D space shooter where you go through space controlling an “experimental fish” with the ability to fly and grow by eating different sorts of matter. This creature is sent to outter space to fight an army of asteroids which are endangering the Solar System due to a strange disturbance on gravity.
This game began as my thesis project on Design School, and considering the good response, I kept working on it sponsored by the chilean Millenium Institute of Astrophysics. It's actually a game with educational purposes (mainly considering the big projectons of astronomical studies in Chile), but designed as a short (4 levels) 2d space shooter where an important part of the contents could be taken by the gameplay experience (enemies and locations based on Solar System objects, size comparisons, and some (REALLY basic) gravity simulation when you're close to the planets) it was tested as a tool in a pretty introductory science class with good results for a start. I still consider it more of an experiment in those matters, but the reception has been generally good.
As you can see it's all in spanish and since it was made for a chilean audience there are no current translation plans on it BUT, at least gameplay-wise, it's a concept I hope to keep working on.
And you can PLAY it HERE , even if it's on spanish I think the controls and gameplay should be accessible enough.
This was also the project that got me into developing with Construct 2, and I've been applying a lot of things learned from it on my upcoming game. This one is not as polished as I hoped, but if you have feedback on it let me knowwww.
OTHER STUFF -
> I did a thing for the Creep Jam, more like an atmospheric loop for a change, It was fun to work on something with little to no 'narrative' as a break.
> Also, I've been making a lot of improvements on Dinomelt, I'll be showing some updates on the upcoming weeks.
Found it a good time to update on a few things I've been up to in these past weeks:
The Sound Jam was a great way to jump back into animating something more complex; I Hadn't done a proper short in quite a while, and it really turned out to be a bit more ambitious than I expected, as it was pretty heavy on character animation.
I've found the themes based on "technical restrictions" to be the greatest ones for experimentation as you are forced to approach an animated short in a completely different way. Sound is, for the most part, one bit of the postproduction, but now all I had at the beginning were the sounds! Which led to a pretty unusual process, I ended up listening to the sounds and drawing characters assosiated with them (even better if they could produce more than one sound), after that, one thing that took way longer than I expected , was just to find a 'coherent' way for them to appear in this world, which led me to the idea of some kind of 'pit fight' or collosseum.
Here's a pretty messy sketchbook page with some early ideas, the first version of the 'hand-tongue' frog was more like a brontosaur, and for a brief moment there were more than one robot to make all of the blast sounds.
Overall I'm pretty glad on how it came out, and I'm currently checking ideas for the next MASCOT JAM.
The game I'm working on is slowly approaching a reasonable state of completion, it's constantly tempting to add more and more little things, and defining those limits is what this current stage is mostly about. My current "release date" is sometime around November. Let's see how that goes :O.
Here's a few of the NEW clay-distorted creatures from the planet.
These are part of the last batch of creatures I've designed for the game, which at least means that the enemy design stage is done (unless I get overly motivated with hidden goodies, which may not be so bad if I manage make it short).
At last I have a working trailer for my game-in-progress Dinomeeelt!!!
This one got delayed a bit after pretty busy weeks into other proyects/events: I went to the Chilemonos Animation Festival which was such an amazing event to watch all sorts of animation competitions and even find some pretty amazing proyects which are being produced here at the moment; I had the cool opportunity to make a small part of their commercial spot, it felt like a fun little collab among chilean animators, take a look! :)
BUT with that out of the way I'm back at work hoping to finish the game around the 2nd semester for the web release; Making the trailer took a bit more than expected on the editing side of things, but I really needed to get something else out regarding the game to get a bit more of feedback and also some motivation to keep moving.
GOTTA GET TO WORK
I haven't showed up around in a while; so It's time for another update on what I've been up to; which pretty much sums up to my upcoming game DINOMELT!!!
The first two 'worlds' are done, and I'm currently heading to the third world's structure (and 'final' in the version I'm developing). It's safe to say I'm getting pretty close around a 70% percent of completion for the web version. It's been a long run so far, but I'm pretty hyped on how it's looking at the moment.
I've had the opportunity to test it on a few local GameDev events; which always brings so many new observations and looks at the game; So far the art style has been really well recieved; but I keep finding all sorts of details involving the controls and overall progression and difficulty of the game.
While I keep going; Here's a couple of new things (/these updates go also in the DevBlog page of the game :) )
One completely new add-on to the game is a new character called Fregg; a curious and crafty frog which will become really interested on the dangerous clay invasion which invades the cavern.
This frog will help you as a shop/inventor to upgrade your abilities; At some points on a few testing playthroughs, there was the need for an additional kind of collectible object to enrich the exploration experience of the game;
which turned out to be Clay Orbs he can use to create new upgrades.
After that it was clear that it could be developed as a more involved part of the story, which motivated me to add some dialogue sequences along the game. This was a thing I juggled for a while; Since one of my motivations behind the game was to relate it to my (mostly silent) animated shorts, but at the end it seemed like an opportunity to experiment with a bit of dialog to enrich the story while not getting in the way of the gameplay.
And a "TRAILER" it's coming!!
It's about time I make a little more noise about the game! So I'm currently working on a trailer, including gameplay footage, and also a detailed animated segment; it's pretty motivating to make an elaborated sequence to go along with the game and put some energy into animating a scene after animating sprites for so long.
I'm hoping to launch it later THIS MONTH :D -
(EDIT - it's been taking a bit longer to edit properly, but I'm on it, should be a bit after Pico Day :) )