Releasing on the Wii u (FAQ)

Q. Is this as awesome as it sounds?
A.
Yes, if it sounds like I’ll be able to release the game on the Nintendo eShop without having to go through a publisher.

No, if you think it means I’m getting flown out to Japan to meet Mr. Miyamoto about a million dollar advance. It’s not like signing a record deal it’s more like getting access to a special club.

Q. Sounds exciting how did this happen?
A. Apparently, having a presence in social media and showing off your work early really can help.

Q. How will this change development of the game?
A.
The cool thing is the Unity Engine is compatible with all the new consoles so I’ll be able to continue building the game as I have been.

The big thing that I’ll have now is access to Wii U tablet/controller functions for cool little things to enhance the experience like an interactive level map, equipment screen or the ability to play the game on the controller.

Q. Have they given you any deadlines or launch dates?
A.  No, I’ll have full control over the launch date which is great considering I’m still doing the development part time. I am still looking into crowd funding (once I have all of my ducks in a row) in order to go full-time and speed up development.

Q. So are you still launching on PC?
A. Absolutely, the current plan is to release simultaneously on the PC, Mac, Linux and Wii u.

Q. Aren’t you worried you’ll get “screwed over by the man”?
A. No, because games aren’t cheap or easy to make and with this setup we both win.
They’re getting a game (without having to spend any resources developing it) for their console when I finish it. I’m getting access to the Nintendo market (which I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise) and am still releasing on PC,Mac, and Linux just as I initially planned.

Q. Have you gotten your exclusive Nintendo Members Only jacket yet?
A.
No, but I’m assuming it’s in the mail.

Q. So what’s next?
A.
I’m hard at work on the official website, first trailer and polishing the prototype level. Once I have all of these at a good point then I’m going to need another round of play testing from you guys so stay tuned!

Responsive Soundtrack

Music

Video games are an interactive media. When you push certain buttons the images on the screen change and different sound effects are triggered to create the illusion of a virtual world.

One way the game can respond to the player’s actions is through music. A well known example of this would be in Super Mario Bros. When the player starts running out of time the music speeds up in tempo. Since this happens the player immediately knows that they are running out of time to complete the level.

Super Mario World has another more subtle example. When Mario rides Yoshi drums are added to the background music.  This gave the player an audible reward by filling out the song making the experience feel more complete. When Mario dismounts the drums fall out echoing the change in gameplay.

I wanted to try something similar with Neon’s music by having the level music respond to  how you are currently playing the game. The idea is if you are crashing through windows the song will be loud and energetic, but when you are in sneak mode the track will fade into something more subdued to reflect the players actions.

It was a fun idea that I added to my “wishlist” but as animating and programming continued to take up so much of my focus it seemed that I would never get around to it on my own.

Then I found Chris Sinnott. We discussed how to match the sound of Neon with the art style by giving it the attitude of a 90′s anime. Energetic, unapologetic melodies with high quality samples and wicked guitar work. He also had the idea of showcasing some classic Japanese instruments (since that’s where the prototype level is taking place).

Listen to this mini-masterpiece.

His next challenge was to work on the alternate version of this song for stealth mode. I was a little worried about this one but I have to say it turned out great!

Finally, it was up to me to implement them in game. I love it when a plan comes together!

Let’s get testing!

GameTest

Alright here’s a quick primer before you try out the prototype.

1) If you can get a hold of a USB controller or have an Xbox or Playstation controller that has a USB cord it’s pretty easy to download a driver. (Though depending on your setup it could be plug and play). You will have a much better time with a controller because platformers just don’t translate well to Mouse/Keyboard.

2) You can still play the game with Mouse/Keyboard but you can’t rebind the keys currently as I’m still trying to find the best solution for that.

3) At the bottom of this blog you will see a breakdown of the controls but also if the you pause the game by pressing the “Start” button or the “P” key you can find the controls in-game if you need to refresh.

4) You can download the latest build for here just unzip and click.

5) After you’ve had your fill of the prototype please fill out this questionnaire. Also feel free to contact me through twitter, facebook or email with any suggestions or questions or comments you might have.

 

Keyboard/Mouse – Controls

Controls_Keys

360 – Controls

Controls_360

Neo-Tokyo’s Evolution.

Discussion

As I’m nearing the completion of my Prototype level of Tokyo. I thought it’d be interesting to look back at the different iterations I’ve been through.

ConceptTokyo_05

From the beginning I knew I wanted to have Neon jumping on roof tops and crashing through skyscraper windows. I experimented with colors and building shapes and the effect looked really unrefined. It was rough but it was a start.

Tokyo_look2

In my second draft I changed everything I wasn’t happy with. The buildings originally looked too flat and too varied in style. So I re-designed them at an angle with a more uniformed look.

I took extreme measures to tame the color palette and consolidated all of the background pieces to shades of blue with some small exceptions for signs. Finally, I knew I was headed in the right direction as this really made “Neon” pop off the screen.

Mock_Tokyo

Version 2.5 shows some smaller changes I made as I built the scene in the engine. I brightened up the sky and the Mountain to add depth to the scene. I also added the UI and some example character animations so my Mockup would show my progress.

Mock_TokyoO

Recently, I’ve thrown in a larger set of buildings to create even more depth in the scene. Rolling the blue tones to a brighter teal really drives home the electric glow of the city.

Mock_TokyoGY

I’ve also added a second suit color because I really want to showcase different routes and objects to blend into based on the color you choose. This bright green really pushes the contrast here. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind why this ninja calls himself “Neon”.

Stealth Kill – Gameplay Footage

Video

So it’s been a little bit since I showed off Gameplay footage. I’m trying to save some surprises for the play-testing which will start (in the next month or two). That being said I really wanted to show off a Stealth Kill to those who haven’t seen it in action.

Something else you’ll notice are the particle effects that I’ve added that I finally feel are working.  The Particles are generated at run-time and add a little more juice to the game. They are the newly added sparks flying off of Cambot and Blood splashing out of the Yakuza when damaged.

I’ve added a Wall Slide that slows your descent if you butt up against a wall (very much like Mega Man in his games) and it’s the first step to Wall Jumping (which is more complicated to do right then I initially expected but is in the works.)

Also, thanks to a helpful redditor all of the Japanese text in game is authentic Katakana, Hiragana, or Kanji” now. So it’s not just gibberish anymore. The signs say incredible things like “Sushi” and “Hotel”.

Smarter Not Harder!

Discussion

This month I’ve been hitting the interiors pretty hard adding content to the demo in between trying out combat ideas. I hand-drew and animated a few games for the arcade that I showed off last post. While I’m very proud of them it does take a while to put them together.

So I had this silly idea of trying to contact other Indie Game Devs for content. The thought being they already had made a logo and gameplay footage for their project. If they sent me the files I’d get content quicker and they would have their game displayed in my finished arcade scene.

I was thrilled with the response I got through the reddit r/gamedev community and currently have completely filled my virtual arcade. These are some of my favorites.

To date I received a total of 16 submissions and I’m toying with the idea of adding another story to the arcade if I keep getting more. Either way it was an awesome experiment!

Hoverboards and Drug Lords

Discussion

The first part of my process is to sketch out my ideas in my moleskin. I’m currently working on filling out an Arcade for the Tokyo level. So I’m trying to come up with some cool games to populate the scene.

ArcadeSketch

Hoverboard 2015” is taking the BttF device and turning it into an arcade experience (complete with Life Preserver). A friend of mine suggested “Drug Mule” and I made it into kind of a Paperboy/Need For Speed hybrid.

Arcade02

When I’m happy with the sketch I scan it into illustrator and digitally draw the line art. During this step I try to focus on simplifying the sketches and smoothing out the rough edges.

Arcade03

I then copy and adjust the line art to create the individual frames. This is usually the longest part of the process as some animations can get pretty complex. (I’m looking at you Yakuza death animations)

Arcade04

Once I’m happy with the line test. I bring the first frame into Photoshop and I add color. Our McFly stand-in has a pretty elaborate color scheme but I was able to simplify it by making his hair,shirt and shoes black. In doing so his hoverboard, stone-washed jeans  and red vest should catch your eye more.

Arcade05

Another tedious but crucial step is adding colored outlines. It gives me more control over the characters and objects blending together which is very important with Neon’s Chameleon powers.

Arcade06

My last tweaks on each frame include details like the logos and writing on the side of the machine. I also like to add a light brush textures to the larger objects and backgrounds as a final touch.

Hover_01

Here’s the final product for the hoverboard machine. I will speed it up some in-game and add more randomness to the animation loop.

 

DrugMule_01                 Sunfox_01

I think “Drug Mule” also turned out pretty perfect.  Another one of my favorites is the toddler who’s obsessed with doing barrel rolls in my knock-off 3D space game “SunFox“.

Chama chama chama chameleon

Mechanics

I realized today I hadn’t gone too deep into the stealth system. The basic idea is you have a suit that is the same color as certain objects in the level allowing you to blend into them making you effectively invisible to the enemies.

I have big dreams about choosing different suit types and colors and how that can affect the route you take in the level. However, to narrow my focus on what’s really important right now for the prototype level I’ve stuck to one-suit type and color as I get everything functional and feeling right.

SodaStealth

The Lean - The most straight-forward way the player can use this mechanic is by “leaning” into an object of the same color. If it’s an object about your size or larger on the ground this is the type of stealth you’ll end up with.

StealthAttack

Wall Stick – This has been the main stealth type I’ve shown off so far. If Neon sees a sign or Poster within jumping distance he can stick to the sign much like a friendly neighborhood super-hero.

HangStealth

Hanging - In other circumstances where you’ll need to scale along a ledge in the level you’ll get this type of stealth. One thing I want to try is timed flashing light patterns so you’ll have to move with the orange light in order to not be seen.

That covers all the bases for the Tokyo level. Eventually as I design other challenges I’ll add other animations but over all the mechanic stays pretty much the same. When the going gets tough make like a Chameleon and disappear.

Apathetic NPC’s

LevelDesign

So I’ve been very busy these last few weeks but on many side jobs and odd jobs that came in.  I’m not complaining it feels good to be wanted but it’s slowed me down on the game a little bit. Progress has been made but I’m feeling behind schedule again. (which probably seems laughable because it’s a self-imposed schedule)

That being said I’ve still been working on fixing some bugs and adding to the level. My most recent interior is a record store where you crash in and fight more Yakuza. At first I was banging my head against the desk because as cool as that setting would be it means I need to design like 60 records to put on the wall. Then I thought to myself “you aren’t releasing this game yet, do it later” and am now just using a lot of my favorite rock albums as placeholder art.

All this go me thinking about how apathetic anyone and everyone that thinks they know anything about music is and decided it be a good laugh to have a cashier who couldn’t care less about the mess in front of her. As if she’s seen it all before one to many times.

TextingCashier

 I got such a good laugh out of this that I think I’m going to try and create more NPCs that are going about their daily routine desensitized to the extreme violence in front of them.