Monsta Punch! Weekly Update: On Lessers

Every Friday afternoon, I post a build of Monsta Punch! for you to try out. I do this so you can see what it looks like for a game by a newbie developer to go from bare bones to finished product. This is a complete build of everything the game is as of today.

I have some bad news.

The faceless horrors are gone.

In this week’s demo, Jippel the Lesser joins the game as the first real enemy. It still needs leagues of polish, but I like how this enemy is blocking out so far.

I also added a system for associating camera constraints with different level phases. For example, when you trigger the first wave of Jippel the Lessers (walk to the right a couple meters), the camera will change from being fully free-roaming to being constrained to about a ten meter block of space. After you defeat the wave, the camera will switch back to free-roaming.

Hey, by the way? Monday. Something important.

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMO

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Monsta Punch! Weekly Update: On Trigger Volumes and Cutscenes

Every Friday afternoon, I post a build of Monsta Punch! for you to try out. I do this so you can see what it looks like for a game by a newbie developer to go from bare bones to finished product. This is a complete build of everything the game is as of today.

This week was a systems week. Very little of what I worked on most of the week was front-facing, but I rewarded myself today with a dedicated art day. There wasn’t time to animate today’s designs and get them into the game, so I’ll just introduce them here.

Everyone, meet Jippel the Great:

JippelTheGreat

And Spiffers:SpiffersI’ve been focussing a LOT on lighting and shading, and if you don’t mind me saying, I think these two came out wonderful. Respectively, they are the first and second Monsta Punch! enemies. I’ll start getting them into the game on Monday. Jippel the Great, in particular, is going to be getting some cutscene love, which I’m really looking forward to working on.

And on the subject of cutscenes, let’s look at the game.

In this week’s demo, we have our first implementation of trigger volumes and cutscenes. There are two trigger volumes in the level right now. You’ll hit the first one if you walk to the right a couple of meters. At that point, a “cutscene” will be triggered (in quotes because it’s just playing the ROAR animation that’s already in the game). When the animation completes, the game will start spawning the faceless horrors you’ve grown to adore.

These two new systems have been worked into the already present level management system. The trigger volumes are just stretched out Unity cubes with trigger colliders and their renderers turned off. Each trigger can be linked to a cutscene and an enemy wave. Cutscenes will be implemented using PlayMaker. I should have some real ones to show off next week.

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMO

 

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Monsta Punch! Weekly Update: On Birds and Squirrels

Every Friday afternoon, I post a build of Monsta Punch! for you to try out. I do this so you can see what it looks like for a game by a newbie developer to go from bare bones to finished product. This is a complete build of everything the game is as of today.

Finally got a good week of productivity in. Let’s take a look. I finished the refactor of the Monsta class on Monday, then had a bad Tuesday, and finally regrouped Wednesday into today to do some level design. I didn’t get as far into the level as I’d intended, mostly because I spent a lot of time sucking art tips out of Nikko’s head, but I’m happy with how it’s coming along.

In this week’s demo, I did something a little different and left the Monsta Builder out of the build. Instead, the demo launches right into the level I’ve been working on, without any enemies. It’s a park, and there are trees, a bird, and a squirrel, and other cool stuff. Explore and enjoy. I’ll probably finish blocking this thing out on Monday or Tuesday.

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMO

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Monsta Punch! Weekly Update: On Resurgence

Every Friday afternoon, I post a build of Monsta Punch! for you to try out. I do this so you can see what it looks like for a game by a newbie developer to go from bare bones to finished product. This is a complete build of everything the game is as of today.

It is not lost on me that I went two months without getting any work done right after saying I had pulled out of a big funk. Depression is not easy to live with, friends.

I finally returned to work this week. I have some ambitious plans in store, but for this week, I took it slow and just worked on some bugs and a big refactor/breakup of the main player class I’ve been putting off.

In this week’s demo, the bug from the last build that kept the powers you chose from showing up when you got to the main game is gone. I also added a smoke poof when enemies spawn because yay.

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMO

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Monsta Punch! Weekly Update: On Progress and Interfaces

Every Friday afternoon, I post a build of Monsta Punch! for you to try out. I do this so you can see what it looks like for a game by a newbie developer to go from bare bones to finished product. This is a complete build of everything the game is as of today.

Hey, look at that! It’s been over a month since the last weekly update! How does that work?

October was a rough month. My depression got away from me. I was only about a third as productive as I should have been, and every time a Friday came, I decided I hadn’t done enough to show off, and so I didn’t post… which, yeah, kind of violates the whole complete transparency rule I was hoping to adhere to with these updates.

But I have pulled out of the funk, so let’s catch up, yeah?

In this week’s demo, we have a number of new features.

First, we get our first look at how player progress will work. There is now an experience system running under the hood. When you first play the game, you’ll be at Level 1 with zero experience. You’ll be able to create a Monsta, but you won’t be able to select any powers yet. If you click the big button on the main menu with the blue sketchies, it’ll start the boardwalk level you’re used to seeing.

We’ll come back to experience in a moment, as we are now brought to the second new feature: The enemy spawning system. I’ve created a system, complete with custom Unity editor, that lets me create enemy waves in which I specify what types of enemies will spawn, how many will be on screen at a time, and how many in total will spawn before the next wave begins. The boardwalk level contains three such waves of increasing difficulty. Bonus: The enemies are still faceless horrors. Purple-splodey them all, and the game will return to the main menu.

Speaking of the menu, I’ve started rejiggering and robusticizing how the interface leading up to the main game. You can now switch back and forth between the Monsta Builder and the Power Tree. The Power Tree, for its part, now restricts your power options based on your level, and requires that you purchase the lower-tier powers within a track before you can purchase the higher-tier ones. Everything but the first tier is still inactive placeholders, though.

By the time you beat the boardwalk level, you’ll have leveled up to Level 2, where the first tier of powers is unlocked and you earn your first Monsta Point to spend on them. Subsequent levels increase your attack power and add more Monsta Points. None of this is evident on screen yet, so I figured I’d explicitly say so here.

There are now a couple of cheat codes if you want to skip ahead in experience levels. Make sure you’ve clicked inside the game at least once, and then type either of these in:

levelup — Bumps your experience level up by 1. The first time you use it will unlock the first tier of powers and give you a Monsta Point. Second time will double your attack power. Third time will give you another Monsta Point.
resetprogress — Clears out your save information and sets you back to Level 1 with a default Monsta

I think that’s everything. It’s actually quite a bit now that I look at it.

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMO

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Monsta Punch! Weekly Update: On Trees and Icons

Every Friday afternoon, I post a build of Monsta Punch! for you to try out. I do this so you can see what it looks like for a game by a newbie developer to go from bare bones to finished product. This is a complete build of everything the game is as of today.

Good week! Let’s jump right into it!

In this week’s demo, we get our first look at the Power Tree interface. It comes up after you click the GO button when you’re done creating your Monsta. This isn’t how the transition will work in the final game, mind you. They’ll be on separate screens. But this was the easiest way to get it in right now. Ding.

The Power Tree contains three power categories: Scrapper, Mystic, and Ninja, represented by the top row of icons. Clicking one reveals the powers contained within. Each track will eventually have six powers each. For now, there is only one power in each category. You’re welcome to click the placeholder buttons if you want (I’ve been having fun playing the bubble wrap game with them), but for now, selecting anything other than the non-placeholder icons does nothing.

The idea with the powers is that the bigger, badder ones will unlock as you gain levels. I’ll need a leveling system for that, of course. Gee!

I’m really happy with the art in the icons, and even happier with how quickly they came together — maybe a total of 5 hours for all six icons. I get a little anxious some weeks about how much art I’ll be doing for this game, but then I sit down to actually do some of it and have so much fun that I stop caring.

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMO

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Monsta Punch! Weekly Update: On Finally Nailing It

Every Friday afternoon, I post a build of Monsta Punch! for you to try out. I do this so you can see what it looks like for a game by a newbie developer to go from bare bones to finished product. This is a complete build of everything the game is as of today.

finally settled on a Powers system that I like. It’s elegant, it’s easy to add new powers, and it has its own custom editor. Glad it only took two weeks to nail it down. To exercise the system, I built two new powers. The first is a fireball, and the second is a placeholder for something better but I just needed to get something in there.

In this week’s demo, there are the two powers mentioned above. The buttons at the top of the screen activate them. The one on the far right is a placeholder for what will eventually be a Ninja leap to punch every enemy on screen in sequence. The middle one is the Fireball. It’s got some hit detection issues still, but those will get straightened out eventually. The far left one is the old Roar power that we all love so much.

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMO

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Monsta Punch! Weekly Update: On Many Do Overs

Every Friday afternoon, I post a build of Monsta Punch! for you to try out. I do this so you can see what it looks like for a game by a newbie developer to go from bare bones to finished product. This is a complete build of everything the game is as of today.

I’m afraid I don’t have anything new to share this week, demo wise. Let me tell you why.

The system I put into place last week for managing player character powers did not work out in practice, so I tore it out and built something different. Six times, in fact. I tried no fewer than six different tactics for implementing this system, and it was only this morning, at 3am, when I couldn’t sleep because I had too much coffee yesterday, that I finally settled on a system with some promise.

Of course, I felt the same way about last week’s system, so we’ll see how this pans out next week. I’m too tired right now to try using it.

To be fair, I did get some useful stuff done this week. I made a custom Unity editor to help me manage what is going to be a LOT of powers (probably either 15 or 18). I also made a really cool Hadouken kinda animation for one of those powers. Not that any of that is in the demo.

Anyway.

In this week’s demo… yeah.

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMO

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Monsta Punch! Weekly Update: On Systems and Knockdowns

Every Friday afternoon, I post a build of Monsta Punch! for you to try out. I do this so you can see what it looks like for a game by a newbie developer to go from bare bones to finished product. This is a complete build of everything the game is as of today.

This was a weird week, productivity wise. Monday was a day of thinking and planning, that is to say, not actually getting anything done. Tuesday was this blog post, which introspected me into a rotten depressive spiral that I didn’t get out of until Wednesday, which ended up being another thinking and planning day anyway. Fortunately, I got the brain kinks out Thursday and Friday, and I now have some neat new stuff to show you.

In this week’s demo, you might notice that the ROAR button has been replaced by a graphic. It still works like it did before, but there’s a skeleton of a whole system for activating powers working behind it now. It took me a while to nail down that system, and I’m pretty happy with its simplicity, if not especially with its extensibility. We’ll see how it works out as I start implementing new powers.

There’s some Actual Fun Stuff, too! Enemies will now get knocked down by the fourth hit in the punch combo, and then get up and come after you again. They can still be knocked out, but it takes some more hits now so the knockdown/getup behavior can show itself.

It’s not all roses for you, though. No sirree! Now the enemies can hit you back! If an enemy hits you, you’ll be penalized with new animations! I really like how the player Monsta gets back up. IT’S SO NINJA. You can use that.

Oh, BTW, I turned off the music. Nothing against it, it just makes it hard to listen to my own music while I work. It’ll be back eventually. :D

CLICK HERE FOR THE DEMO

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On Professionalism

This is going to be an angry, self critical, navel-gazey post. I want to start by sharing this link. You don’t have to read the entire thing, but this will all go faster if you at least read the subheadings, because I’m going to go through each point and pass judgment on myself.

Ready? Let’s rock.

1.) Amateur Artists wait for inspiration

Guilty. This point is actually why I felt, ahem, inspired to write this post today. At least one day each week, I hit a point in the day where I’m Just Not Feeling It or some such shitsense, and it’s got to stop. I need to stop getting hung up on what the next step is, and just do something. It sucks, but time and again the solution to creative block has proved to be to Just Start. For writers, it means not being afraid to slap out utter crap until the block passes and the good stuff starts coming out again. For a solo game developer, it means picking the feature you’ve been dreading the most and just doing it until some version of it exists in the universe, and then refining it.

It also means having a nice long list of things to do at all times, something else I need to work on.

2.) Amateur Artists work until something else comes up

Guilty guilty guilty. If I manage to get myself started in the morning, and okay, most days I do, so maybe I’m being a little hard on myself here, when I get moving, it’s usually impermanent. I’ll finish the first task of my day, happily credit myself for a couple hours of good cranking, and then the creative block comes back. And instead of powering through it, I look for a distraction. That has to stop.

I really like the last line of this point: “A professional knows that the first hour or two of work is simply a warm-up exercise until their fickle muse finds them worthy of her attention.” I’ve felt that rush of finally hitting my stride after half a day’s torture. I need to bolster my willpower muscle and go go go crank crank crank every day until I’m truly out of juice, to ensure that I’ll find that muse consistently.

3.) Amateur Artists are constantly changing their focus

Guilty. I like to joke that I’m a jackoff of all trades, and when I do so, I ought to realize I’m just smartassing around the fact that I’ve never committed myself to becoming a true expert at something. I need to really sit down with my brain and determine what I want to be great at, and start getting great at it.

4.) Amateur Artists believe that if they build it, you will come

Not Guilty. Phew. Finally, some good news. I know damn well that just putting a game out there isn’t going to make it sell. Unfortunately, I also know nothing about marketing. I didn’t worry too much about it with Fortress, because making a fortune on Fortress was never the point. But I really want Monsta Punch! to make me some money. I need to become an expert at selling my art.

5.) Amateur Artists believe that success will happen quickly

Not Guilty. I know it’s a long road ahead, and I know I’m going to have to work hard. If I’m being honest with myself, the problem is that I haven’t worked hard enough yet. That will change.

6.) Amateur Artists believe they don’t need schedules or organization

Guilty. On one hand, I have in the past held myself to a rigid start time. I have not, however, done so recently, and I most certainly have not held myself accountable for staying undistracted during the work day. I need to start turning off all communication media when I start work and not letting myself touch them again until I’ve accomplished Big Important Things.

7.) Amateur Artists never finish their work

Guilty. I had to wrestle with this one, though. While I did indeed finish and release Fortress, it came on the heels of a lifetime of unfinished projects. I think, realistically, I have indeed broken this habit, especially when you consider that I now put out imperfect work on a weekly basis, but I won’t be totally satisfied until I release Monsta Punch! a year from now as promised.

8.) Amateur Artists are too busy learning to do anything

Guilty, but only barely. I had to think long and hard about this one, too, and I concluded that while I have mostly moved on from the mindset of constantly reading books instead of Doing, my initial instinct when I need to learn something new is still to grab a book and start reading. To be fair, I think I stop reading once I’ve got the basics now, but I still feel like I stall myself by spending too much time learning.

9.) Amateur Artists isolate themselves from the artist community

Guilty. I’m getting better, but still, Guilty. I’m not a very social creature, and while I’ve made some big strides in putting myself out there and connecting with other game developers, I have a long way to go. I need to meet more people, and not just game developers, but marketers, students, fans. I need to make more friends. I need to push myself to become a more visible face. This one scares the hell out of me.

And so…

There is a clear theme to this post: I don’t currently think I’m working hard enough. It’s time to change that. I let myself get away without always running full speed every day over the last year because I was dealing with some Serious Mental Shit, but now I’ve got my head working like it should. I don’t know for sure how to get started, but I’m not going to sit around and wait for the answer to come to me. I’m going to saddle up to my desk and I’m going to fucking make myself crank until I flat out can’t anymore.

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