Friday, December 26, 2014

Pre-release and early access arrived!

Hello my friends! After 10 months of hard work i can finaly present fully working version of the game. Its still not completely finished, but demo contains enought content to give you idea what is this game about, how its played and most importantly it should answer the question: "is it fun?"




Along with the demo there is beta version aviable as well. If you like the demo you can support the project by purchasing the beta version of the game whitch contains everything except Onslaught game mode and one ship module. To make everything clear, all beta purchasers will receive link for full game when released.

There is still a lot of features im planning to implement in to the game in following month, to name a few:
  • Onslaught mode
  • Rework options and preferences
  • Possibility to control hangar menu with x360 controller and keyboard.(right now you have to use mouse)
  • full screen filters as unlockable rewards
  • difficulty balancing


Right now you can download demo here from indieDB or from itch. The beta is aviable only from itch at the moment.



Hope you ll like the new trailer, dowload the demo and let me know your opinions about the game, what you like about it and especialy what disappointed you. And in the case you enjoyed the demo you can support me by purchasing the beta version of full game and help me with my future projects this way.

Se you soon by the update!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dev. Diary - finaly update

Hello everyone! I know, i ve been bad for not writing update for more than month now and im sorry about it. However i used that saved time to work even harder on the game and pushed it closer towards the release! Many game elements was reworked and the game has now three (almost) finished levels. 

If you are reading my updates regulary then it looks like there was not much done on the game in past month as first two missions were allready done, but as iam not a robot i still need some free time and in this free time(about one hour/day)i started playing SHMUP games and while playing them i realized my game is bit different and unfortunately not as enjoyable gaming experience as well known vertical shooter games.

Thats why i started thinking what can i do about it and was checking game "components" one by one and found out the problem is level design and thats why i delayed as i started reworking all enemy spawning scripts and even most of enemy behaviors. Fortunately, the time spent on this was worth the effort as first two missions are joy to play and i belive they offer well balanced and intense action. Third mission still got its flaws, but i belive i ll fix all the issues till end of this week and start working on fourth and final mission of the game. 


What else i added to the game? I changed the Kraken squad mechanic towards something more common(again i felt like reinventing wheel)and you can now fly your submarine in two modes. First mode is solo mode where you can zoom around pretty fast while firing your weapons in normal mode and you are allowed to fire torpedoes with aoe damage effect. 
The second mode is squad mode when you have your squad mates flying by your sides proividing additional fire power however slowing down your movement and probhibiting use of torpedoes as well. 
I took extra care to balance these two modes and make them as equal as possible however what i can see from play testing is that squad mode is more favorable for casual players or for begginers as it provide extra dps all time, however solo mode is great if you know what you do and torpedo hits in right time can be devastating for incoming enemy waves. Sure you can switch between these two anytime by just pressing the button and memorizing of missions and knowing whats effective and when to switch modes ll be key for scoring the top score.



Unfortunately im not sure about scoring mechanism at all and its pretty sure i ll have to rework it a bit, but im leaving it for next month as i want to build all the missions first and then i can always readjust with ease to fit with new scoring. I want new scoring to be as easy as possible as i realized most of the casual players playing famous shmup games dont even know there is some deep scoring mechanism running in background and its a shame as it can add another layer of fun to the gameplay. Unfortunately most of the shmup games fails to explain how scoring works to the majority of its players and im willing to take this challenge and im currently working on something that ll be clear to everone on first playthrough while providing extra fun while trying to compete for high score. 

Much more happened in past month, but as this is allready dreaded wall of text i ll end it right here and save some of the info for next updates as im intorducing monday/tuesday breaks for my self and they provide ideal time window for writing updates and sharing info with you.   

Thanks for reading and see you next time! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dev. diary - modular ship customization

Hello again readers! If you like firing high powered weapons, customizing your ship and use most of it by clever switching firing mode, then you ll like todays article. Again, the paragraph below first heading is bit personal, about game feel and why i decided to make such changes. 


AWAKENING

Yes, last monday i felt like i just awakened. I realized that i cant afford to make content that ll be played through just once. I would love to make the game like good old Raptor where you flew through many stages, improved your ship over time to be able to take on harder missions and repeat whole upgrade circle again. That was idea i wanted to repeat with Awaken, but unfortunately this approach requires hell lot of content and as this project is one man show i can not provide that in adequate quality.


NEW WEAPON SYSTEM


Thats why i decided to change weapon system idea that consisted of unlockable weapon upgrades that provided more and more dps. The problem with this system is that once you have few first upgrades unlocked there is no reason to return to earlier missions as you can fly through it with one hand on gun trigger and second hand wherever you want. That does not sound like fun at all and as addition it ruins scoreboard effort made earlier. Why would someone tried first mission multiple times to get that achivement for perfect run, if he can return later with upgraded ship to just anihilate everything by sight?


Thats why i decided all ingame weapons for given ship slot will have same DPS, but with different visuals and diferent style of damage delivering. While keeping tier 2 variants of weapons to use them as alternate fire mode, providing more firepower, but applying disadvantages(slow movement, draining your shield) to your ship when fired, to make player think carefuly when it is worth to use "siege" mode of each weapon.
With weapons working this way i can balance difficulty of achivements much better as with this system the "squid shredder" achivement in game first stage awarded for score of 50K ll be still difficult to achive for everyone and only player skill will matter.


BUT WHERE IS MY REWARD?


Players reward will now come in form of whole ship parts and player is given the option to rebuild his ship, change how it look, and how it behaves on the battlefield. The modular upgrade system is allready implemented(however still missing interface)and working. There is not as much combinations as i would want, but i hope there ll be enought combinations to provide plenty of fun. The ship is composed from Front Deck, Hull and Drones and each part comes in 3 variants.

Hope you ll enjoy these changes as they enriched the gameplay a lot and i hope i ll be able to bring you beta version of the game within month or two.

Thanks for reading & until next time!

Tryzna

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dev. Diary - Composing enemy sprites

Hello Everyone! Today im gonna show you new pieces of graphics for Awaken: Underwater Odyssey and talk a bit about the change of approach to game developement as i felt like running in circles last few months, working hard every day, but not making any significant progress. 

But lets start with the graphics and concept art first!


CONCEPTS

I finaly found courage to start drawing simple concepts and bought my first wacom tablet. I ve never drawn before excluding obscene pictures in my schoolmates notebook at elementary school good twenty years ago and did not hand write anything for a decade except for signatures. So yes, i was bit afraid about drawing but after drawing couple of obscene pictures(again)and watching few tutorials on youtube i realized drawing concept before i start with sprite will help me a lot. 
Unfortunately i can not stop working on Awaken, just to practice drawing even it would help the game a lot, but it is definetly something i ll want to improve for future projects(Yeah, allready thinking about AWAKEN: Death Squad - top down alien breed like shooter). 


CONSISTENCY TROUBLES


Awaken been throught many waves of graphics reworks and especialy enemy sprites. I ve got a lot of trouble with consistency as when i started working on the game i knew nothing, just opened mspaint and started messing around with pixel until i got something that looked OK to me. However with time spent on the game, my expectations and skills grew bigger. Thats great! One would think, but after i imported all the fresh new graphics in to the game i realized they do not fit together and i started with reworks.

That continued for about 4 months, every month, every time my ability to combine pixels in to something eye pleasing improved. I realized this must be changed or i ll never finish the game.

PARTS LIBRARY


Thats why i created alien ship parts library! Library of small sprites of ship components that can be combined together to create sprite representing alien ship. It not even solved the consistency problems but allowed me to be more flexible while creating enemies as i can just move components around until i get the ressult i want. Unfortunately as my library is not as big as i would want it to be, i still have to draw at least base of the enemy to avoid repetetiveness.

COMBINING ALL I HAVE TOGETHER


So how do i make the enemy sprite? Fist it have to appear inside my head, or at least a shadow of it. Then i start with quick sketch as having some kind of refference image helps me with rough outlines of the sprite whitch is actualy hardest part for me. Then i ll have a look in to my ship parts library examining whitch parts i could use. 

With all of above set down on to canavas i start with filling the outlines with colors. This is the part i like the most as i am pashionate painter of warhammer miniatures and i treat the sprite exactly like the plastic model except im not operating airbrush but with pencil in graphics program. 

Hope you enjoyed reading today and cant wati to see you next time in here as i ll show you probably last dev. diary video as next one ll be probably full game trailer. 

Thanks for reading!

Tryzna

Friday, September 12, 2014

New Dev. progress teaser



Hello everyone!

After some time im back with another update! Again, a lot happened as i ve got another one week long vacation and spent it by improving Awaken and polishing everything as best as i could. Lets break all additons and improvements in to few sections:

NEW USER INTERFACE & SCREEN ORIENTATION CHANGE


As you probably allready noticed from the screens around, the game screen orientation was changed from horizontal to vertical. Awaken was originaly designed as simplified raptor/tyrian clone for web browsers and both of these games have horizontal screen and i was going to keep screen this way for several reasons, however the main reason was i did not know how to alter the screen to vertical orientation properly with possibilty of having different objects like hud to the sides of the gaming scene.
Now half year after i started working on this game i realized its quite easy and after i spent dozen of hours playing various SHMUP games for analyzing reasons i decided to alter Awaken to vertical screen as it offers many advantages when compared to horizontal scene. Its much easier to design enemies right now as i ve got a lot of vertical space aviable now while player have more time to react to the threaths so i can throw more foes at player while keeping situation managable for him. Basicaly this change means - more enemies on screen = more bullets aiming at player = more explosions = more intense action = more fun.

Going along with this, i needed to rework user interface and while its still work in progress i like the direction of all this allready. However there is still a lot left to do.


NEW WEAPONS

All the weapons player ll be able to unlock during storyline campaing in order to prepare his ship for challenges and end game solo missions are now present in the game. You can divide them in to laser and plasma. Lasers are best for focused damage output directly in front of the ship, while plasma do the oposite. However as players ship has 3 item slots(front deck/wing pods/drone bay) it is possible to combine weapons to match everyones needs. And if thats not enought, then specialized pieces of weaponary are just around corner, however it ll take little more effort to unlock them as they can be aquired through achivement system. 



BOUNTY TOKENS & SCORING



Yeah, i was against this feature since begining but while analyzing many arcade shooters, i realized the ability to collect anything that falls of from dead enemies adds a bit of fun. I felt like im reinventing the wheel when i finaly added bounty tokkens, but thats life and sometimes opinions changes under the wight of arguments(enriching scoring debate with my friend in this case). But lets talk a bit about scoring mechanism in Awaken.

If you kill the enemy you got score value(x multipier) and increase your score multipier a little. When you kill multiple enemies you get score bonus, a bit of multipier increase and a bit of shield recharge. The ammount depends on how long your kill chain is.


The multipier decreases on its own over the time, so you have to stay agresive to keep it growing.

When multipier is above 5.0 the enemies ll start droping Silver Kraken Tokkens and when your multipier is above 10.0 enemies ll provide Gold Kraken Tokkens.  Tokkens ll provide additional score bonus, the faster you collect it, the bigger the bonus is. Its represented by simple ingame animation, as when dropped, the tokken grow up fast and then starts shrinking, and after about 2 seconds it disappears. 
This is one of the ways how to make player even more agresive and force him to move closer to the enemies, while rewarding the extra effort by score bonus.

Hope you ll like these additions as i ve spent quite some time implementing them, hope you ll watch new dev. diary video to see everything mentioned in motion, and i especialy hope you ll be interested in future updates!

With regards & thanks for reading

Tryzna



Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday dev. diary - New UI

Im back! And im back with another update! Game is through 4th major change and this time it was changing the screen orientation and reworking user interface as those two issues are tied together.

Screen orientation



I have decided to change the screen orientation tuesday morning last week, as whole night i heard voice in my head telling me to do so;-)I know its funny, but I heard the voice becouse it was the question i ve kept asking my self since begining of developement, "horziontal or verical?". I chose horizontal at first as my favourite shmups have horizontal screen orientation(tyrian, raptor, jamestown), and i did not wanted to think about how to make vertical screen properly. The choice was fast and i did not really thought it through. While I still think its possible to make veritcal shmup with horizontal screen orientation i learned its much harder when it comes to design enemies, waves of enemies and bullet patterns as lack of vertical space is really limiting not really giving player enought time to react to the threats on screen.
Thats why i decided to change orientation to vertical and been really surprised how it affected the gameplay(more about it next week).

New weapons


Yes! All the basic weapons(unlockable by playing storyline campaign) are now implemented and working. We have laser cannons, beam laser, plasma accelerators, wing mounted laser/plasma pods and additional drones. Laser weapons ll be loved by players who like having strong forward punch as they are offering damage output concentrated in front of the players ship. Plasma weapons are quite oposite as their damage is kind of spread in the conical shape. Or if you are undecided you can combine pieces to fit your needs.

These weapons are "BASIC", what does it mean? They are unlocked by completing missions during storyline campaign. And upon completing campaign you ll have all of these aviable. It does not look like there is wide variety of weapons especialy when considering you ll want to stick to tier 2 variants after 3 missions, but storyline campaign is kind of "gear up" part of the game. Upon completing you ll unlock set of single missions designed for fully geared ship and you ll be able to unlock another specialized pieces of weaponary by playing them and collecting achivement points.

This and a short coub video demonstrating new UI(still work in progress)is all i wanted to show you today, but expect more during next week or two as im planning to finish ingame fitting screen where players ll configure their ship. New shield mechanics ll be introduced and hopefuly complete second mision of the game.

Thanks for reading and see you next monday!




Thursday, August 7, 2014

Public alpha NOW aviable!

Hello everyone!

As i promised the alpha version is finaly here and aviable to you! The  game evolved a lot since begining and its very early flash demo and i hope those few dedicated fans of this project ll appreciate the effort i put in to the game. 


Now, 6 months after the project started the game is in the stage when it needs you, players, to check for all the flaws, let me know what you like about the game and especial what you hate about it.


The core of the game is finished, and i allready know many things ll have to change allready, but this week i said stop, lets release the thing as it is, as i would be delaying the release all the way until full version if i ll have to implement all my ideas in to it first.
Anyway, hope you ll enjoy game first mission, and ll get all 3 achivements! You ll command Orca submarine with basic loadout. Armed with old fashioned laser cannon, cyclone torpedoes and 2 gun drones in its dronebay. It does not sound like much but as Kraken squad commander you are never alone and your backup consist of warthog torpedo gunship and wraith support vessel.


HINTS


Call the Warthog in(Q key)whenewer you feel cornered as having a buddy rapid launching torpedoes towards the squid ranks never hurts. However the Wraith(E key), even its fire power is quite limited can be even more important as its equiped with remoted shield transfer array and can rapid recharge your shield to the level when it can absorb another hit. Or you can even call in both at the same time to create diamond formation and clean the screen of enemies. 


Hope you ll enjoy the alpha and please, let me know your opinions as they are all that matters right now if i want to create a great game!

Game can be downloaded here: http://ulozto.net/xNnvpWBZ/awaken-exe
Or from indieDB here: http://goo.gl/bxcvQg

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday dev. diary - Major updates

Helo everyone! Im sorry im that late with update, but i ve been really bussy and concentrating on the game so i completely forgot about updating this place. However those few visitors interested in the game are probably allready following the game on twitter or facebook, so i belive update delay here does not matter at all. 
There is so many additions i have to mention so i ll do this just briefly this time and break them in to two sections as i dont want to post wall of text nobody is interested in: 

Visual enhancements:

  • Replaced orange clouds in first level as it seemed only i liked them.
  • Added bubbling bullet traces to enhance underwater feeling(still much to do in this matter).
  • Finished set of enemies for first mission.
  • Main menu and storyline mission selection screen added.
  • Reworked combos and score notifications so they are much more visible now
  • Added ingame notfications(boss incoming messages, etc.)

Gameplay changes:

  • Scoring reworked, score multipier changes, combos enhanced, bullet grazing added.
  • Achivements added.
  • First level completely rebalanced, now it is possible to complete it on 100%, even without help of wingmen, but its really hard that way(achivement ll be added).
  • Boss completely reworked(both graphics and his abilities).
As you can see i ve been quite bussy past month and there is still much more im planning to implement like full screen shader effects to help with the underwater feeling, rework shield mechanics and drop old-fashioned 3 lives system. To sum above up i prepared new dev progress video and i hope you ll like it. 


To be honest, im overwhelmed with the tasks i have to do and working alone on this project is making things even worse. However its still managable but a little help would be great and here comes next point of this post.

EPOCU PROMO CAMPAIGN


I started a promo campaign on epocu.com to get the game closer to audience, and here i need your help. Follow the link to the epocu campaign if you like what you see here and chose if you want to support the game with a tweet or facebook share. It ll cost you nothing, just a few clicks and ll help with the game promotion greatly. I need to get 25 supporters within a month to make campaign valid and I hope we ll reach this goal and beyond! Please, consider supporting Awaken this way as every like, every tweet, every piece of support matters to me and is more than apreciated.

If you want, you can even support me by following game progress both on twitter or facebook.

PUBLIC ALPHA


Yes, its almost here. Right now, alpha build is tested by few trusted testers and it ll be released to public during the week. There are still few bugs i ll not be able to fix before release(like pressing print screen freezing the game) as they are engine related and there is nothing i can do with them. Currently i am waiting for support response(hope they ll not pretend problem does not exist as im not only developer having this issue)as while its not gamebreaking bug, its quite annoying.
However details like that should not affect the impression from gameplay and i hope players ll enjoy the game and let me know their feedback as its worth gold at this stage of developement. 
Thanks for reading! Thanks for even considering of your support for this game on EPOCU and hope you ll had a great weekend!

See you again in few days!

Tryzna

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday Dev. diary - preparing alpha








Good mornin or whatever, depending on your time zone! Couple of weeks passed and im back with another update. Again it looks like not much happened, but my effort is escalating to the point where i need to take a break for couple of hours and sum everything in this little article. 
So what happened in past two weeks? A lot! Game now plays great and im really happy all pieces of puzzle i ve been creating in past six months fit together really well. First level of the game seems like finished, or at least ready for alpha test and ll be adjusted acording to testers feedback. 

But what i can judge based upon inhouse testing at my home the game plays bit different than the games that inspired me to start working on this piece. Player have to be aggressive as hiding in the corners does not work here. As long as you keep your ship in front of enemies, dodging bullets and keep anihilating enemies fast enought, just before they ll show you all their tricks, then you are fine. But beware of slowing down, the enemies ll quickly swarm whole screen and tear your ship in to pieces. 
This should work in all shmup games, however i have different feeling when playing Awaken. You have multiple options on how to handle certain enemy waves and choice of primary target is really important. 

Any other news? Hell yes! The game now runs in widescreen resolution, so we can say good bye to awful black bars to the side of the screen and i have disabled anti aliasing as i felt its a shame to hide all the pixelwork, especialy when i spent so much time on it. 
Yes, everything looked more smooth with AA applied on it, but lets be honest, all the moders smoothing and glowing effects ll not make my game look like AAA title, but instead of that it makes the game look like kind of wanna be something. Thats why i said no, and instead of trying to have my game look modern, i ll show off everything in its proud pixelated beatuy as in my opinion it looks more honest, and more like it self. 

Another addition is "announcement hud part", its that message box that ussualy announce somethink is going to happen, displays messages etc. I was underestaminating it, but it really added a bit of atmosphere.

And what im i working on right now? Adding sounds(got some issues with it, but should be ok), reworking scoring system and adding boring features like volume control, pause, toggle fullscreen mode and all kind of boring stuff that needs to be done. 

I hope i ll see you soon again as alpha test is really near now and im looking forward to hear your opinions abut it. 

Thanks for visit & with regards

Tryzna

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Dev. diary - gameplay tweaking








Hello everyone! Im glad im writing update again after one week break from dev. blog. What happened to me? Nothing serious, just missed last update couse i got poisoned by food on sunday and when i got better few days later i realized i ll just wait till next sunday as while game progressed significantly i did not had much to show you. 

Right now im working on graphics reworks(again)as my ability to combine pixels in to somethink pleasant to my eyes improves every week. Thats great on one side, but on the other one im creating pices whitch do not fit together with old ones visualy. 
Thats why i started 3rd graphic overhaul as i found out there are no shortus whitch lead to success, only hard work and endles polishing of this little game as while i dont have any ambitions with it(sure i dream about werid, unprobable scenarios time to time)i still want to make a good game if not better than that. And certainly i do not want to rush anythink just to release a playable demo as doing this mistake once(flash demo)was enought. 

All right and what happened during last week? I started tweaking the gameplay to found out how to make game fun to play. After a lot o thinking and lot of mistakes i finaly have "somethink" whitch plays really promising and finaly, this is first version where i think the game plays really well. Still lot of work ahead of me as i had to proceed careful, pay attention to all the details as i found out designing entertaining level in shmup game is not just about placing wawes of enemies at random, expecting the fun ll come out of nowhere(i really tought it ll work somehow like that in the begining of this project).  
While at it, im adding little details, like drones rotating around players ship(greetings to math discusion club on hofyland.cz), reworking all behavior patterns for enemies as i belive every detail counts and while i thought i can live without some features when i was starting with Awaken developement, and belived they are not essential for overall impresion from the game, now i know this is not a way i would like to go and must implement every feature that the game would benefit from, even if it would improve enjoyment level by 1%.

Thanks for visiting again! Dont forget to follow me on facebook or twitter as im much more active there than on this blog and see you by next update, hopefuly with new video trailer! For now short unedited gameplay video ll have to be enought;-)



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sunday Dev. diary - Kraken squad introduction


Hello again my friends! Im a bit late with the update(again) and im sorry about that. Flu got me during last weekend and after i finished what i wanted to on the game i setted my self on the couch whith xbox controller in my hands and did not wanted to do anything else.

However it was a quite bussy weekend. While i drawn sprites for kraken squad members(introduced in video)during the week i ve got weekend left for their implementation in to the game.
So whats new? Minior change is that ships now spin a little while going sideways and thats really great. Its just few degees but the ships feels much better becouse of it.
Now to the major addition. Your wingmans were added and are aviable for command. Lets talk about them for a while.
To your left is Warthog torpedo gunship. It rapid fires torpedoes adding significant damage output and its great companion when overwhelmed by smaller enemy ships as torpedoes have aoe effect. You call warthog in, he stays on the screen firing for 10 seconds and then he flies away, recharging his cooldown.
To your right is Wraith support vessel. His main ability is to rapid recharge your shield energy so you ussualy call this squad member in after taking a hit. After Wraith arrives you ll see small blinking energy lightnings emiting towards your ship and most importantly you ll see your shield energy rapidly increasing until your shield is ready to absorb another hit.
There is one more lets say "mechanic" tied with your wingmen. As you know your Orca have two torpedo shafts. You fire torpedo and it takes 8 seconds to reload. One second after firing first one you can fire second one and it starts reloading as well. However if you have wingman or both on the screen amd you fire torpedo while both torpedoes are ready to launch they fire additional torpedoes as well. But! Only if you got two torpedoes ready. This limitation was added becouse i want to reward players who plan usage of special weapon like torpedo is and let them benefit from it. While players who just mash torpedo button like psycho ll probably never get the extra damge output from this ability.

Thats it for today! Hope you ll enjoy the trailer and as demo release is comming closer every day wait for next dev. diary as there ll be some game balnce changes and tweaks to make playing this game as enjoyable experience as possible.

Thanks for reading!




  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Dev. diary - dev. update video








Hello everyone! A lot of happened since my last update and summary of everything can be seen in latest trailer.

The most important addition to the game is the music. I spent dozens of hours looking for well fitting soundtrack at affordable price. I found a lot of, sometimes even free musical pieces but none of them suited the gameplay well. I was desperate, but determined and when i came to conclusion i ll have to score the game myself.

Then, I found what i was looking for. One man project called Develop Device whitch fitted the game really good. I contacted the artist and to my surprise, in less than twenty minutes i got reply stating that hes interested in providing music for my game. Another surprise was the guy lives in the same city as i am and when it turned out he lives next street, we met in person and sealed the deal.

There are another additions to the game since last teaser as well. I ve been focusing on drawing more enemy ships as i want to introduce new types on each mission and made backgrounds for two new levels. 

Right now im starting works on details and additional features, for example enhanced torpedo animation as i want to give player feeling he fired powerful weapon when he fires one or another nice example can be carrier gunship. Its enemy ship whitch launches smaller craft whitch targets players ship slowly, but then ignites engines in attempt of suicide attack.

I belive all these little things matter as a pieces of puzzle and its my challenge to fit them together to create enjoyable experience like i remember from old arcade machines in front of my former elementary school.

Dont forget to like games page on facebook if you want to support it! 

Thanks for reading & watching and see you by the next update!



Monday, June 9, 2014

Sunday Dev. diary(again on monday) - Soundtrack








Sometimes you are looking for somethink all over the world, checking most unprobable places and after hours of seeking for perfection you realize you had a hiden gem right under your eyes whole time.
But lets start over and explain everythink. As you know i ve got trouble finding well fitting soundtrack for Awaken and spetn dozen of hours by listening to royalty free tracks aviable online, then after realizing i ll probably dont find what im looking for i repurchased some of my guitar recording equipment and decided i ll have to compose and record the songs for a game by myself.
I knew i wanted to left music as a last thing on "to do" list, but i needed at least somethink i could use in game teasers so i spent last week practicing my guitar play and trying to compose well suiting score. My desperation grew even bigger as i did not played guitar for five years(and belive me, right hand really hurted trying to perform modern metal riffs after that long break)and ideas were not great either.
Dont get me wrong, after such a break my brain was fresh and notes came from it nice and smoothly, but its hard to pretend metal/djent feeling while its not in your hearth. And when i woke up in sunday to give this whole thing another try i realized pretending is not a way to go, however i knew i can not use my musical ideas for game as they do not fit.
I started browsing bands and found a hiden gem, and to my surprise the person i found lives in same city as i am. Then it was quite quick, i found his facebook page, sent him message asking if hes interested providing track for a video game and in less than twenty minutes i ve got positive reply. After chatting over facebook we found out we are neightbours and signing a contract about providing tracks is now just a formality.

Right now you can listen to example of "Develop Device" to get a idea what kind of score the game ll have. Belive me, i checked and it fits the action perfectly and even enhances the game experience. Listen for yourself and if interested you can check artist web page as well at: http://www.developdevice.com/

A lot of other work happened as well and as we are going to solve all formalities during this week. Expect storm of news next sunday. Thanks for reading!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Dev. diary - New levels and enemies








Hello and welcome to another dev. diary entry! After couple of weeks when i was just running in circles and not getting any ideas, I was fortunate enought this week to move with the game progression forward by drawing bacgrounds for two new levels and a new enemy ship whitch parts i used to create smaller variation of it, as im trying to make a maximum possible use of every piece i draw for the game . Im trying not to overdo this recycling and i think having two variants of each enemy ship can not hurt if there ll be plenty of other complete different kinds. 
On the picture included you can see the bit of new level and enlarged alien frigate. Lets talk a bit about new level for a while. It ll be game third mission and i wanted to change a theme a bit. I decided to use hexagons as they look exotic enought as in this level player ll be at the gates of alien city. I wanted to use somethink completely different couse in first mission, we have abandoned mining station, in second mission we are descending through huge mining schaft as it seems to be the source of alien infestation, and finaly in the third mission we ll see what miners have run in to. I had to change theme totaly as at this stage we ll enter part of whitch neptune colonists did not know about and everyone tought the rocks on the bottom of neptune sea are the real bottom. I ll not talk about the details for now as i want to leave them for level intro ingame so i hope screen ll be enought until next ingame video.

New enemy ship have simple design, not supposed to do anythink special on screen, just to add variation among ranks of enemies. Originaly i tought every level ll have complete different set of enemies, but i have to admint im giving up this idea as it would cost a huge ammount of time and not making any significant difference. Becouse lets be honest, who have time to observe details of enemy ships while playing any bullet hell game? Instead of unique set of enemies for each level i decided there ll be like 4 new enemies introduced during each mission + unique boss. That combined with different backgrounds ll hopefuly be enought to avoid repetetivenes and provide enought challenge for players learning few new bullet patterns in each mission.
Thats probably all i wanted to say today, so i would like to thank you for reading this and see you by next entry!     

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mondays sunday Dev diary. - Meet the Circon









Hello everyone! Im glad im finaly writing another dev. diary entry after little break and finaly developement of Awaken moved bit forward. I skipped dev diary last sunday as i did not wanted to write again about how the game is more optimized now, how i used that bit of extra performance to enhance something and other boring, non interesting stuff. Before we ll talk about boss for "Descent" level lets talk a bit about distractions, reworks and why the game is getting bit delayed.

When i started developing Awaken i tought the game ll be finished in two or three monts, or at least at the beta stage. All i wanted was simple arcade style shooting game like the ones i remember from my childhood.
Works went quite smooth for first couple of weeks, but the harder i worked on the game, the more i expected from it. I started to pay more attention to graphics and started reading articles about pixel art and reworked every piece of graphics i had until then(actualy this step is repeating like every month).

Started looking for suitable music for the game as well and found out there is lot of even free music aviable online, but its hard to found well fitting pieces and when i found them i realized i cant afford them. Unfortunately i spent dozen of hours i could spent elsewhere on the game, to realize i ll have to make even music for this game by my self. That is the main reason why there was no dev. diary entry last sunday as i spent whole week repurchasing and setting up for use all the equipment i will need as i sold most of my music gear years ago. Still, im leaving music as a last thing on "to do" list as im still hoping i ll find an artist who ll be willing to provide some of his pieces for the game, but if not i ll have to do it my self. The reason im leaving this as a last thing is that composing and recording music is very time consuming and when it comes to composing it could last anywhere from five minutes to years and it cant be organized in to the work like lets say: "ok today im going to work one hour on level background, one hour on enemy behaviours and one hour on music"

To sum above up, im getting overwhelmed by the tasks i have to do and getting distracted every day from fullfilling them but still, i enjoy this ride and even if the game will be delayed again, i hope all the extra work will be worth it and the game ll provide at least couple of hours of fun to its players.

Now lets talk about Circon!

Circon is the boss of second level and while the encounter of LX-76 in game first mission was quite straightforward(yeah, another thing to rework), Circon is getting bit more complex. The fights in shmup games like the LX-76 were great in the 80`s and early 90`s but fortunately time goes on and exciting phased boss fights can be imported in to shmup games as well! Basicaly i realized this when playing some of the newer shmups(my shmup experience when i started working on awaken was 1942, Raptor and Tyrian) and found out bosses can do more than beign dumb bricks sitting in middle of screen and randomly switching bullet patterns shooting at player.
I spent quite some time working on Circon and equiped with new experience from playing great games like Jamestown or Danmaku unlimited hes much closer to experience nowdays arcade shooter game should offer to the player.
Basicaly Circon switch phases based on his hit points and player have to learn these phases to overcome encounter and while some of them can be passed by just wildly flying around, there are few that require player to do certain thing or be prapaired in certain spot on screen when the phase starts.
When designing the phases im trying to keep sanity and make all of them passable even on first attempt if the player ll focus on whats going on screen and keep calm and i hope fighting Circon ll be challenging and fun at one time.

Thanks for reading and see you soon by more updates!

Tryzna

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Dev diary. - Teaser and more








Hello! Its sunday again and here i am with Awaken developement progress update. Lets start with boring technical stuff so we can move ahead as soon as possible. The bullet spawning and pattern creating system was completely reworked and simplified so creating new bullet pattern is matter of minutes. That means game ll contain more types of enemy bullets and more patterns they ll create as their creation is not time consuming at all and i can spend more time on designing instead of parsuading stuff to work as intended and thats great. The rework was really worth the time spent on it improved game performance a lot and now i can have twice more bullets on scene than before and without loss of FPS.
All the other additions comes from this change as i reworked everythink bullet-related. Now i can serve you animated bullets as game performs much better even in flash export. Bullet patterns are more crazy than before and all that combined with the enemy behavior changes i wrote about last week creates whole new gaming experience.
It was quite quick today so lets lengthen your visit by a new gameplay teaser as its certainly more entertaining way of spending your free time, than reading wall of text.
Thanks for visit and see you next time!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Dev diary. - New Enemies



Hello again by the sunday dev. diary! Today we ll talk about new set of enemies and related stuff. I know im teasing the story a bit with "Posthumans" in title of this article, but that all im goin to say about the story for now.

As you can see from the big picture there are 4 new enemy ships added to the game. They will appear for first time during second mission called "The Descent". I ve been inspired by a lot of sci fi stuff while drawing these and i tried as hard as i could to have some unifiing element present on all of them. In this case there are antenas in tho front of all of them and simillar colors. These can be divided in two types, the smaller ones withou orange decks on tops are the interceptors, the smaller and symetric one is classic one-shoot "popcorn" enemy. They are attacking in huge numbers in fast zooming attacks and enemies like these are present in most shmup games to give the player "im a badass" feeling and their main purpose is to fill the screen with smoke and fire of their own explosion.

Second type of interceptor is slightly bigger, asymetric shape and have visible power source. These are a bit tougher than first ones, can maneuver a bit while shooting aimed bullets at player. Enemies like this are usualy bit harder to crack when appear for the first time, but are the ones where player can feel ship upgrades most as in later stages they ll quickly fall in to "popcorn" enemy category as they ll become just a bit more dangerous one shootable insect.

Now to the big guys;-) The smaller one is kind of support ship for the interceptors and as they look much bulkier they are obviously much more durable and have much bigger firepower. Usualy comes with the pack of interceptors and serve mainly as a distraction but can become dangerous when left unnoticed.

The bigest ship on the screen is kind of mini boss enemy. As it should be obvious to every player on sight, it has double the durability and firepower than its smaller brother and its the first enemey thats going to use beam attack against the player.

I was working on more than those few sprites this week, but most of the work contained watching other shmup games and learning the patterns in whitch enemies are comming to the screen. While observing and taking the notes i implemented some of the ideas in to the awaken as well and found out i ve been underestimating this part of gameplay a lot as even few improvements on the enemy behavioral patterns enriched the game by a lot.

Another important change in the game was switching stencly physics mode to simplier mode. I had to completely rework colision boxes on everything, but the performance improvement was significant as the engine dont have to calculate all the stuff thats not used by the game anyway.
And thats all what was done this week, plans for next one is to draw a boss of second level, progam its behavior and make whole level work. It ll be tight, but i hope i can make it;-)

Thanks for reading!

Tryzna

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Dev diary. - The Descent


Hello everyone! After week off i took when finished second version of demo i feel like its time to take a new breath and continue with Awaken. I used the free week to watch how the demo is doing both on kongregate and newgrounds. Rating were not very good, in fact not even average with about 2.5 half stars on kong and 3 stars on newgrounds but got quite a lot of excited revies, lot of opinions on how to make the game better and i think big portion of low ratings came from disapointment of the lenght of the demo, missing ship upgrades and to general work in progress feel like no mouse controls for now, inability to turn music and sound off etc. I ve been quite disapointed how the demo is doing, but after couple of days i realized i could not expect more couse of the state in which game is right now and while beign encouraged by more and more 4+ ratings i decided to resume working on this as i belive the game will be great when finished. 
Just to sum above, the second demo release can be found on Kongreate and(if you like achivements and want to get couple of them) on Newgrounds. Dont forget both sites require login(you can sign up via facebook on kong)if you want to compete in high scores table.
And what am i working on right now? As most of the "code-core" of the game is almost finished and have just to add more bullet patterns and enemy behaviors i decided now its a time to work on the graphics both level backgrounds and alien/post human ships. As you probable allready noticed there is huge animated gif below showing work in progress on second level named "The Descent" where you take your ship down through abandoned mining shaft as it seems the source of alien infestation. 
Pipe lines, elevator rails and leaked pollution are the most noticable visuals of this level. I wanted this level to have kind of "head down descent" feel and make it scrolling much faster but i realized its stressfull enought for the eyes allready and have to be careful with it as i dont want players to get sick when playing.
Not much happened this week as i did not touched computer till yesterday, but i promise i ll keep the news comming and hopefuly finish the game by summer.

See you next week!   


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dev diary - Demo refining








Hello everyone, i know its not sunday, but i ve got one hour left before i ll have to go to work whitch is not enought to start working on something new, but its too much to do nothing. And thats why i would like to share the progress on Awaken.

I gathered some stats from the demo i released on sunday and feedback i can read from them gave me a lot of ideas what needs to be done, what could be done, and what players would appreciate.

First and most important finding was that most players will not read instructions, even if half of the main menu is covered with them. Thats why a little help window pops up now on the side of the screen every time you start new game and remains there for couple of first enemy waves.

Second finiding was unclear game hit/shield/autofire mechanics, that i consider biggest fault of demo release and its now fixed by added tutorial mission whitch can be accessed from main menu. I was considering to force player to do the tutorial before he could start a new game, but i dropped that idea as i dont like to force people to do what they dont want to.

Third improvement is adding some feel to handling of the ship. Before this adjustment, when you pressed movement control the ship began moving to desired direction by constant speed, when u released the key the ship stopped moving. Sure it worked and i was thinking i ll leave this as it is. However i was thinking about adding some momentum to the ship before and when friends started suggesting me to do so when i released the demo i have decided to give it a try.
And it feels great, giving the ship handling some feel and sense of weight. I ve been careful not to overdo this feature and when you press the control key it takes just 0.1 second to get to full speed in that direction and it takes same time to deacelerate. I was surprised how even that little was able to change so much about the game.

Fourth and one of the most important of major changes is the rework of the scoring system. In first release it worked quite simple. You killed, u got your score, u got some bonuses for combo kills. When you died 2.5K of score was deducted and u continued to play. Idea of the penalty was to reward skilled players with bigger score and credit earnings after the mission is done. And on the other side not to punish less skilled players so much and let them finish the mission if they are doing reasonable well.
However its unclear and now i see it was stupid. New system brings in score multiplier whitch grows over the time and gets reseted every time u take hit. The respawn after death is beign replaced by old fashioned lives system for now as i cant find anythink better for now.

There ll be a lot of little changes as well. Like darker background to make enemy bullets more contrasting. Difficulty tweaks, boosts of certaing things, nerfs of enemies, few graphics improvements... you know the ussual stuff you found in patches for every game;-)

The goal of this first patch is to tweak difficulty so more players would be able to get to the end of first mission and kill the first boss as right now on kongregate only 12 players of 350 been able to achieve this.Dont know how many of them really tried as im sure big portion of players quited the game right after start as they did not know how to start shooting(yeah, autofire will be now set to ON by default), but almost all of my friends testing the game reported difficuly issues so hopefuly tutorial and some ingame adjustments ll help to solve this situation.

Again, thanks for reading and see you by sunday by rerelease of the demo;-)

Tryzna

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Dev diary. - Demo released!








Hello again! After hard week which started by terrible toothache, followed by xbox purchase(had to to forget about that tooth somehow)and spiced by couple of sleepeless nights i managed to resume work on the demo on friday.  I keept cursing my self since then till now for promising demo within today but here is it, and now its up to you, players to judge if its fun to play.

Demo contains preview of first level of the game and your Orca is equiped with basic laser and couple of gun drones. Not much for now, but for there are tons of purchasable upgrades planned in full version of game, but if you are reading this diary regulary you allready knew that.
Game changed a lot in past few days, i ve concentrated mostly on gameplay, interface and a lot of little thing that are not noticable first but can make a huge difference on how the game feels.I must say game is completely different than week ago and i hope its walking in right direction. But why keep talking about the game while you can actualy click link below and try flash version of  it your self? Thanks for reading and hope you ll enjoy the game;-)


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Dev diary. - Moar bullets!


Hi again friends! Im back again with sunday update and most important update of today is that i ll make it to release the demo during next weeknd. Still dont know when exactly, would love to throw it to the wolves by friday evening, but still there are few issuess that needs to be solved and polished before releasing to public.
During the week i ve been working on various fixes and additions, to be honest i dont even remember them as too many changes happened, but whats important the game plays a lot better right now. Most important was: adding noticable small explosion to indicate the enemy was hit by player(this little change added great feel to the game), improved torpedo explosion, combos now recharge shield and finaly made boss of first level.

Yesterday i tought the game is almost ready and started working on the main menu as i did not wanted to find out on friday evening i ve got demo level ready but have just blank screen as menu with "start" button. Did not messed around with it too much, background is scrolling in parallax and enlarged Orca with gun drone are changing perspective depending on mouse cursor location. There are just few buttons on the left bar for now, but that ll hopefuly change during summer as i plan campaign, arcade mode, challenges etc.

However while i was quite happy about the menu today i started intensive playtesting and found out im not fine with the gameplay game provides right now. I was getting desperate, thinking the game ll sux hard and all the work was for nothing(well that can still happen). After couple of hours playing Jamestown and Danmaku i finaly found out whats missing in awaken. Bullet patterns!! I completely forgot about them, had just few types of bullets, all looking the same, just different by color. Couple of hours later, i feel much better as gameplay is getting more interesting and not becoming that boring after two minutes. Still got couple hours of work ahead of me working on more variety of patterns, but i think the game is walking in right direction and hopefuly players ll think the same.