Hello beautiful Chronic Blunt Punch supporters!
We have been still cranking on the combat, with the goal of having a playable alpha before E3. At that point, we will be able to share gameplay footage, fun TESTgifs and have a fun sandbox playable shortly afterward.
Environment Art Update:
We have an extensive amount of background elements still being illustrated. We are getting into the look and feel of how the game will be lit and set the tone for each area.
Park Entrance Concept Iterations
Park Playground Concept Iterations
World Building with our Friend David Hellman
Coming up with creative ideas on how we move forward with environment design is critical and to do this, we often talk to our fellow game developer friends, kicking around ideas and pushing forward on design. Since we are super blessed with the opportunity to work in the Double Fine Productions studio, we have amazing creative minds in our midst that we can tap into. One of those awesome people is a friend David Hellman who is an amazing artist, animator and all around person. You may know him from his crowdfunded graphic novel Second Quest or the super unheard of indie game, Braid. We are working with him on some world building ideas to capture the surreal and absurd universe that we are putting together. Below is an example of some storyboarded ideas.
While working on the background environments, it is important that we have background characters that can match the idea and themes of the level. Below, we have the incredible Douche bro; Mike Manfriend, the inexplicably Happy Brotha Jermaine Jibbles and impatient commuter Sally Smothers. We love us some alliteration.
Combat Breakdown Stuff
The areas of combat that we feel are important to consider are; Impact, Flow, and Control. There are other factors but in this update that is what we will focus on. These areas are comprised of animations audio and control feedback. We are adjusting the timing of the animations, screen shake and hit recovery/hit stun to add to the feel of fighting as well as the working on the mechanics when it comes to the enemy AI.
Animation tuning comes down to increasing or dropping frames from each animation and speeding up or slowing down the timing of particular frames to add states of vulnerability and anticipation to give each attack weight. When working on enemy attacks, anticipation and telegraphing are imperative because enemies need to be challenging, yet not cheap. Each enemy should have a pattern and even if they have a huge attack that takes a lot of damage, we want the player to be able to learn their animations, anticipate their attack and be able to have the skill to dodge the attack or counter in a meaningful way.
When playing a good action game, the “feel” of the combat is the driving force for the game enjoyable. Although players may not be able to express what makes the game feel tight and responsive, it is the developer’s responsibility to deliver the controls and impact that garner a positive response from the player.
Often when games have less than stellar combat, the player still can not express themselves on why but they just stop playing and have negative things to say about the game. We have run into issues in the past while making other games, where we had to take an in-depth look at why things needed to adjustment after letting the audience playtest the game.
Below are examples of games that have simple AI combat and gifs to accompany them.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Arcade Game – Rocksteady’s boot to the chest.
Xmen: Arcade Game -Pyro’s Flame to the dome.
Avengers – Whirlwind anticipation and then human tornado maneuver.
Interestingly enough games that aren’t even focused on combat as a core mechanic understand the importance of timing and impact when it comes to the limited combat in their game. For instance, Super Mario Galaxy is a platformer, with action elements. When you jump and do a butt stomp, the Mario booty bust has hang time, the hit stun and pause after hitting the enemy, the enemy flattening and then exploding into a puff along with the coin nugget that pops out. These were all design decisions taken into account to make every booty bump smash feel juicy and have weight.Super Mario Galaxy: Booty Stomp!
Layering Combat Design
1. We make construction based concepts of the attack that we are going to have the character perform. By construction I am talking about a wireframe of the character without detail, blocking out the idea in shapes.
2. We create keyframes of the most extreme poses in an attack.
3. We play around with the timing so the animation feels right.
4. Keyframes go in the game.
5. We add particle effects, camera shake and adjust the timing.
6. We add an enemy in the game to prototype the move and adjust until if feels extra tasty. Environment Art and Level Design Michelle has put together another set of images in animated gif form that demonstrates the progression of background art in the game. We have more to come and will have a video update soon!
Antegods on Fig
Our friends at Codeglue are running Antegods campaign as well and are at 40% there. If you are a fan of frantic shooters like Bangai-0 with destructible environments mixed with mechs and multiplayer couch co-op, check it out and support their campaign.https://www.fig.co/campaigns/antegods
If you have any questions or comments, or just want to communicate with us, feel free to hit us up on Twitter @interabangent or Facebook @interabangent.Thanks,