Skulls and Bats from Newgrounds!
At the end of October I web-released 'Tower of the Missing Sock'
It's a bit late but as usual I like to spill a few words about it's little developent, hoping that's kiiind of interesting, let's go!
Last year I made Curse of the Sock, a 2D platformer which was super inspired by my attempts at beating the insanely hard Castlevania III.
This past October, similarly I wasn't so busy with freelance work; I was also in a bit of an art block and not drawing as much. sooo when that happens: Why not try making a thing for the Newgrounds Spooktacular?
So halfway through October I had to decide on an idea if I actually wanted to finish something!
> Idea 1 Witch-themed fetch quest with mini-games, there was potential for fun weirdness so maybe I'll revisit it in another time.
> Idea 2 Direct sequel to 'Curse of the Sock', I liked how it went last year, a 2d platformer can grow in many directions (+abilities, more exploration!)
> Idea 3 Same as 2, BUT, trying out a different gameplay. Maybe something like a "Zelda" dungeon? something that would also be more refreshing to work on.
The last one felt much more interesting, so... Sure why not!
I like how Zelda and other adventure/rpg games usually come with a horror element even if it's subtle, which fits pretty well with the Dungeon setting. I was playing a good bunch of A Link to the Past during the process, which helped out a lot to analize more critically how these classic games keep things interesting with all the different types of enemies, bosses and obstacles.
Once again I got back to Construct3 for programming. shout-outs to one of their included templates called Demonoire which comes with a good amount of issues solved for this kind of game, so while I went mixing and taking bits from my previous games, this one was a great reference (especially for the light/shadows effects which I think add a lot!).
With these games I love starting with the creatures, so I sketched a bunch, here's a few of the first round of them.
I had to narrow it down so the chosen ones were based on their possible behaviours (enemies with melee attacks, other with projectiles...), and also bringing back a couple from chapter 1. I liked a few that didn't make it, though, maybe some day we'll see Walking Lamp and Furious Fly.
Cherp is back for this chapter: Last year I turned him into a cursed skeleton to match the theme. This time when sketching out the sprites, the skeleton design was more complex than what I wanted for this top down view, so I went back to his normal form.
Here's a quick look at an early build testing the character's actions before animating:
I made a little 'process' video of Cherp's animation HERE
Around Oct 27 I had most of it working and it was time once again to begin with the levels!
The level design process here was pretty much doing these messy sketches trying out different kinds of layouts and figuring out how to introduce each new enemy/obstacle over time:
I did want the game to be easily finished in one sitting, so 3 'floors' (4 including the boss) seemed like a good spot for a short web game.
One difference to previous games is that here I used contained separated rooms, which was a lot more manageable to work than a larger areas.
[SPOILERS?] Boss time!
It's a TV! I wanted to have some weird moment of suspense where the game tone changed to something unexpected so I really liked this idea of a TV you could "watch" for a little bit. I had a lot of ideas for weirder clips for the channels -I'll save those for later- but ended up just getting gifs of old animations as mini-cameos.
Making the boss' pattern is one of the most entertaining bits, especially when it's the first one you make for an engine so there's a ton to explore. Some attacks were more straightforward (bullets, spinning beams), while others were more inspired by the 'cursed tv' concept, such as the 'tv static-bombs', and the spinning-bouncing attack.
My composer pal Moralo Gonzalez was once again up to make a new OST, so we have this process where I send him a little 'briefing' with ideas for each track, some 'dungeon-like' themes I liked for inspiration, with the focus of making a dangerous-but-adventurous dungeon main theme, he made the awesome level track which is great for the dungeon as a longer loop (around 1m 40s!).
This bit was of the last parts I settled on. I just knew I had to follow where the goofy story from part 1 left of, with the small twist of turning the 1st sock into a little 'sock fairy' to have some kind of 'companion' for a small bit of party dialog.
I also had this goofy idea for an ending "punchline" about the towers' sign, and with the absurd tone of the game I just went for it. Maybe that final item you get may play a part next time...?
Considering the dungeon setting I had some additional ideas to include a liiittle bit of exploring -maybe more traps/items/upgrades, maybe even a puzzle in between, being able to go back and forth, maybe more bosses, maybe...- but as usual I had to keep it simple if I wanted to make a game in a couple of weeks. o_O
In an eerie night of Oct 31, the Tower of the Missing Sock appeared!
Web-releasing a game rarely comes without issues or bugs, especially with a deadline event where you keep on tweaking things until the last hours. This one had a few but thankfully nothing was sooo broken:
1- Attack Hitboxes weren't doing great at first. Many times they didn't hit when they were supposed to. I originally used a rotating hitbox but it wasn't matching the animation so well, so I ended up reworking the hitbox manually from scratch.
2- If both the player and the boss died at the same time, a bunch of triggers happen and the game starts behaving strangely! (you would get back to the checkpoint, but controls would be locked, oh no!)
So after launch I made a few updates, improved a little of the players' speed (although not as much as that would have needed more rebalancing in other parts), and a few of the usual updates like a language button for ESPAÑOL ;)
As always I'm super thankful for the reviews/feedback you can get here on NG, I read all of them. Also, the game got 3rd place on the Halloween Spooktacular, Hooray!
To be continued?
And there you have it! With these short games, I don't usually continue with them to the point of making a direct sequel so it was fun to actually follow up in some way. Similar to Chapter 1, this one is not really focused on creating a particularly new gameplay or mechanic, but more so exploring and goofing around with a well defined genre, I think it makes you appreciate the small details which made the classic games so fascinating.
Since this one ends up with a lead for a next chapter, I'm already thinking of the possibilities of a chapter 3, maybe even trying out another game genre!
We'll see if Curse of the Sock returns next year, Until then, may you find your missing socks.