Fighting the final boss

Note: Vote for Gunslugs 2 on Greenlight

If all goes to plan, I should be wrapping up the work on Gunslugs 2 this week.  The only big thing left to add is the final boss and some animations and “the end” stuff.

There are still various small things I might change and add in the coming weeks, but basically it makes the game feature complete and I plan on starting the porting to iOS and ChromeOS versions at that point.

This past week I’ve mostly put my time into fixing a bunch of small annoyances that I couldn’t ignore any longer. Small things like having the camera show more of the level in-front of you when you drive a tank, or the statusbar showing a heart-icon while you carry a shield is now changed to actually showing a shield icon.. it’s silly minor details that take very little time to do but it’s also something you normally don’t want to work on while creating a game.

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The upside of all these small things is that I had a real sense of being productive while my list of “fix this!” stuff kept shrinking at a very fast pace. I also did the graphical work on the final world (check the short video above) and wrote the code for some nice new “slime-bomb” shooting obstacles that you’ll find in the last world.. they are seriously hard to defeat but the last world should be a challenge.

Now you might think that the release will be soon, since the work is close to being finished, so that probably needs some more explaining.

Gunslugs 2 will be released around mid-January 2015 on Android (and android-consoles), iOS, Windows, Linux, OSX, and ChromeOS.  Part of the reason is that I still need some weeks to port to all platforms, I’ll also will try to get some early builds out to the press and all that takes time and planning.

Another, big, reason is that November and December are terrible to release games in if your marketing budget is close to zero. All the big companies are releasing huge games with huge marketing budgets (think millions of $$$), besides: it’s holiday season! so a lot of people are actually not even playing games !

Basically releasing Gunslugs 2 now, would be like shouting “hello world” in my backyard. I might get some attention from people who happen to be nearby, but most people in the world won’t even take notice. And that would of course mean I worked for 6 months on a game that hardly anybody will play and that will definitely not be a source of income for me.

So while I develop the final boss for the game, I have my own “final boss fight” to attent to, and that is trying to create a buzz for Gunslugs 2, getting some PR going, working hard on getting the bigger game sites talking about Gunslugs 2 (positively) and if all goes to plan I might actually earn some money covering the costs of development (at least 6 months, preferably more cause I’ll need time to work on the next game as well).

Of course you can help with all that ! if you happen to do “Let’s play” video’s, contact me! or if you got some cool fan-art, tweet to OrangePixel and it will get you some retweets and love, and if you actually write for a big game site, I can get you a review build in the coming weeks! ;)

 

Oh my god, it’s almost done!

So this coming Tuesday (11th) marks the 6th month of development on Gunslugs 2.

At times it feels longer, so I’m actually surprised it has been “only” six.  With Heroes of Loot I was at least on 8 months of full-time development, and seeing how big Gunslugs 2 has become it’s not bad at all ! (yay procedural generation)

This week I’ve been wrapping up the end-boss for the Avalon world (world 6) and started work on the final world (world 7!) from which you can see some bits and pieces in the video above.

I obviously also had the release of the demo, which went pretty ok, sadly not a lot of coverage from press or websites but let’s just stay confident that will work out eventually. This is mostly due to the busy november and december months where a LOT of games are being released and most of those games have marketing budgets bigger than what I make in a couple of years combined.. which is one of the reasons I’m delaying the game’s official release until January 2015 (as previously announced).

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I expect to have the game completed, maybe, by the end of next week or the week after. Then I still need to do some testing, and of course the task of porting all the code over to the iPhone/iPad and then a HTML5 port for ChromeOS. So all that combined will still take me some weeks, and we all know how December flies by with all the holidays!

If all goes to plan, I have the game ready to go in early or mid December, including uploaded to app-stores and hopefully available for early review.  It doesn’t look like Greenlight will happen before then, so I’ll at least have the pc/mac version sold in www.gunslugs.com using the Humble widget.

There will be a sort of early access thing happening this coming week, but I’ll post more about that when it goes live ;)

Gunslugs 2 demo now available

gs2demo_gunchickIt’s here!

A playable demo of Gunslugs 2 for PC,Mac and Linux:  www.gunslugs.com

There are still some rough edges in the game, but it should give a great indication on what the game will eventually be.  The demo takes you through the opening scene, first world, end boss and includes the train crash, so it’s a nice little slice of Gunslugs 2 action.

The game requires Java to run (so if you’re on windows8, you have to download that cause it’s not pre-installed). It has some controller support, sadly not all controller/os combinations work, but it’s also very playable with the keyboard.

I also created a few promo trailers that will be posted on social media and forums in the next few days/hours, so look out for those!  Here’s the first one:

 

 

 

Gunslugs 2 going to Avalon

Up there is a new little trailer I’ve put together showing most of the stuff that have been added since the last trailer and video’s.  So check out the awesome new smoke and debri, various little weapon changes, a huge crashing spaceship, and some of the first moving images of the Avalon planet.

It’s also the first time you get to hear some of the new Gunslugs2 music thanks to Gavin, so enjoy that one as well !

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As for progress on the game, due to various things I’m currently leaning towards pushing the release of the game towards January. This is a mostly business related move that I can’t talk about much, but trust me, it’s hard having to push the game even further.. but it will be worth it in the end.

So right now I’m also looking at options on how I can possibly get the game into people’s hands a bit early.  I have two options, one is releasing the much over due PC,Mac, Linux playable-demo version.. which would probably help with the Greenlight status.

The other option is releasing an Early-Access version on Google Play or maybe even the Ouya. It would be a cool thing to have, but I can also see issues with that in the long run.

The demo version has the least downsides right now, because with the early-access I know I’ll disappoint some people who won’t be able to play it (ios users to name a large group of my audience).

So most likely I’ll be pushing towards a freely available demo version for desktop. It would also require the least work at this point, as I just need to strip out some content and implement controller-support. Basically I could have all that done this week.

 

Marketing material and new worlds

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This week the awesome marketing artwork was completed, so I took some time to update all the social media pages and the main Gunslugs landing page with banners and imagery. For the high-res marketing art I usually ask somebody more talented then me, cause no matter what I draw in high-res, I always see the little problems and details that I messed up and it will haunt me forever ;)

So the amazing Gunslugs2 artwork was done by Scott Tykoski, who also did the art for Heroes of Loot, Groundskeeper2 and Meganoid2.. so I guess you can say he is my go-to guy for this and I highly recommend him and you should follow him on twitter at the least!

Screenshot_2014-10-02-23-00-00Besides all the marketing work I did do a lot of stuff on the game. One interesting change I did was double the shooting speed of the main gun.. and this made the game so much more enjoyable and action packed it’s ridiculous that such a tiny change can have such an impact.  The main reason I did it, was that I found the default gun a bit lacking compared to the other weapons in the game.. well that’s fixed now ;)

I also started working on the 6th world, and based on that decided that the game will also need a 7th world. As you can see we are taking the Gunslugs up into space, instead of down into Hell like the previous game. This opens up some new idea’s and if I ever decide to do a 3rd Gunslugs game there is room for more interesting locations.

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Other work on Gunslugs2 this week was getting many small fixes done, and also putting some extra care and attention to the in-door area’s. Adding scenery to spice up the environments and make it all seem more “full”.

And finally I’ve been spending a lot of time getting the game “shops” working and adding items to them. Right now there are a couple of “shield costumes” an adrenaline kit giving you extra health, and an ammo-extender which is cheap and gives you 2 bullets extra every time you purchase it.. still some items to add, and of course ideas are welcome!

In the mean time Gavin is hard at work on the new music, the first two tunes are 99% done and will make you whistle them long after you quit the game !

As for release date, I think I missed all deadlines I gave myself so far, so I’m not even gonna talk about that yet. I still plan on doing a pc/mac demo, also to help out the Greenlight process for Steam, and I’m working as fast as I can!

I also took some time this week to give some much over due attention to one of my “older” games. Meganoid 2 was still waiting for an Ouya and FireTV release as I had a lot of requests from people to release it on those consoles.  The problem, as embarrassing as it is, was that I once started to improve the interface of the game, screwed it up, got distracted with other things, and never had the guts to dive back in and fix all the issues with it..

Even more embarrassing is that it took me only 2 or 3 hours to get the interface fixed, the game updated and working with controllers, and released.. so ..yeah.. could have done that months ago!

So be sure to check out Meganoid 2 over at Ouya or FireTV or even at Google Play ,cause it’s updated for all the latest Android versions and options, and it’s still a very fun and challenging game !

Crossing the t’s

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So after spending a week mostly campaigning for Gunslugs 2 on Steam Greenlight, I also managed to have a week full of coding and drawing.  Note: you can still vote, follow and favorite Gunslugs2 on Greenlight, so please do! All follows and favorites also help getting it on Steam, I can promise you the game is extremely playable on PC/Mac !

The current status of development feels like it’s crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. At the end of almost every day I sit and play while taking a lot of little notes of things that need fixing, improving, changing, or sometimes removing. So that the next day I can browse the list and handle all the things I wrote down.  This play-testing is done on the Amazon Fire TV, with a Red Samurai 2 controller, and I must say this game really feels at home on a console.. can’t wait for more AndroidTV devices to hit the market soon!

Anyway, I also had a couple of people play test the game so they also had feedback on various things that I took a good look at to decide if they were right or if I was right and they are simply wrong ;)

The idea is that all these tweaks and changes hopefully make the final game in such a state that most people will appreciate it and not many complaints can be given; unless you downright don’t like games like this.

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Just a little list of the various things that got changed this last few weeks:

  • various explosions and flying particles are improved, some were to small, others were to big.
  • Enemies are now more capable of jumping over crates/objects to chase you.
  • Later enemies now carry more powerful weapons (this then required a whole new round of balancing things out)
  • changing your weapon now makes an “airy throw” noise
  • the Hell-worm from part 1 is back
  • small weapon/item shops are added, including first 4 various “shield” types
  • different weapon sounds are added/improved
  • Driving vehicles is now not limited by crates/objects, you can shoot those

And that’s just the list-size of a single day of tweaks and fixes. A lot of time is now also put into adding the shops, basically these replace the buildings from the original Gunslugs. Altho right now they are just useful and there are no hidden mini-games and such yet, I’m not sure if I’ll find time to add them in the first release version, but it’s always something fun to add in updates.  The shops are now also re-enterable as long as you don’t buy anything. So if you run into a shop and don’t have enough money, you can always go back in when you do have more coins.

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The graphics for the final world are now also on their way, so the big issues left right now is two big bosses, some new enemies for the final world, and maybe a cut scene or two and a “completed game” scene.

I’ve also been working on creating the official Gunslugs 2 website, the current one at www.gunslugs.com is more a placeholder until all the art is ready, which I’m hoping it will be next week and the new site can go online.

Gavin has found his inspiration for some of the new music, so that’s also coming together.. and it’s becoming a slightly nervous time as we near a release version!

I think that late October / early November is still a possible release date, it’s at least something I’m really targeting and working towards, so we’ll see if everything works out :)

 

Gunslugs 2 are gunning for Greenlight

This weekend I dabbled with Screenflow and started creating the teaser trailer you see above. It’s my first self-made trailer, and I’m pretty pleased with the end result. The hardest task of creating a great trailer has been finding the right tools, and I’m happy to say that Screenflow has it all, from screen recording without lag or problems, to full editing of clips, adding effects, etc.. it’s pretty cool software and the best I’ve found for osX.

Now, the main reason I created the trailer, besides having an awesome trailer, is that I decided to finally get my games onto Steam, and that means I have to get Gunslugs2 through the Greenlight process.

This basically mean that the game needs to get enough votes and attention from YOU so that I can eventually distribute the game through Steam for PC, Mac and Linux.

So please, if you want, head over to the Gunslugs 2 Greenlight page, and give it your vote:
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If you have any questions just ask them here or on Steam, and I’ll make sure to answer !

Heroes of Loot turns one, and stats

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Today my little rogue-like, dungeon-crawling, ode to Gauntlet turns exactly one year.. and it’s still going pretty strong!

One year and about 8 months ago I started working on a dungeon game with randomly generated levels, and a focus on action, with absolutely no clue of what I was doing! I never played dungeon games or even role playing games since Gauntlet in the 80’s.. and I’m not even sure if that counts as a role playing game.

I did always love the concept of having this party of adventurers roaming through dungeons, looting, fighting, and going deeper and deeper into the dungeon.

Fast forward to 8 months later, and I finished the game and released it on iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, Ouya,Gamestick and PC,Mac + Linux all on the same day.

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It was a game build with many problems, I was in the middle of a home renovation happening, so I was often working on the game while literally in the same area as a couple of big guys with drills, saws, and a lot of dust flying around.

It was also a game build while money reserves were quickly declining (mostly due to a costly renovation) and this game was the only possible source of income.. so it HAD to be released, it HAD to be good, and it HAD to sell.

I was close to breaking down, waking up at 7 am (cause, workers love early hours apparently) then finally having some peace and quiet in the house after 4 pm, working until 11 am, going to bed, hopefully sleep, and at 7 am I had to start it all over again.

But Heroes of Loot got made, it got released, and it did amazing. A huge relieve after 8 months of working on it, and I’m fortunate to say that it did recoup those 8 months of work and more.

Today the sales on iOS are close to 1 or 2 copies a day, but on Android it still sees anywhere between 10 and 40 copies sold a day.  I honestly have no idea what the total sales are, I don’t really look at all the stats that often. A ballpark figure would be about 65.000 sales on all platforms combined (this includes price-cuts, etc).  With at least 300k downloads of free versions and “free for a day” downloads combined..

But most importantly, the game has great ratings on all markets.

Since the release, I also put the game on Amazon FireTV, and last month I released Heroes of Loot on ChromeOS (works in Chrome browser on any system and also on Chromebooks). If that wasn’t enough, last Wednesday Heroes of loot got a spot in the Humble Bundle mobile 7.  And finally the game is still set to make a showing on PS Vita, altho I have no clue on when or how as I don’t have that much to do with, or even interest in, the Vita stuff.

Heroes of Loot turned out to be one of my biggest games ever, a game in a genre that I never play or create.. It was an awesome first year.. and who knows what the next year will bring?

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Casual throwing

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And another week closer to releasing Gunslugs 2 !  This week was mostly about doing more small changes and tweaks that polish the final game, and also adding the opening animation that basically sets-up the game story.

First of all, I’ve also been doing some updating and work on my other games, as this week saw the one year anniversary of Heroes of Loot (actually, TODAY!) and a cool way to celebrate that is by having it in the latest mobile Humble Bundle! so if you still haven’t tried it, this bundle could be a great way of getting your hands on the game and a few other awesome games in the process.

But back to the game that is currently keeping me from goodnight sleep: Gunslugs 2..

So using the game-engine and all the stuff that I’ve added to it, it was remarkably easy to get some cool stuff going for the opening animation. I’m fearing that it might annoy some people due to it being slightly longer than my usual animations, but I hope they’ll soon forget about that when they are dropped into the actual game.

Besides the animation is only “forced” on you once, and you’ll never have to see it again after that!

I’ve also been working on the weapons, and I decided to visually show which weapon the player is holding. This turned out pretty cool, especially when you are carrying a rocket-launcher which is basically as big as your head!  But the flame-thrower also looks pretty sweet as you carry it on your back.

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To make all that even cooler, I also made the slugs “casually” throw away their old weapon when they pick up a new one.. it really looks cool!

Further more a bunch of little effects have been tweaked, improved, and added (like a muzzle-flash when you shoot).

I’m now slightly worried that the game is becoming a bit on the heavy side for slower android devices, there’s really a lot of stuff happening on screen.. but I’ll do some tests later and see how that turns out. Most 2012+ devices should have no problem running it I guess.

Let’s just wrap up this post with a sneak peek at the openings-scene, and get back to work!

Movie references

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After last weeks “week of bosses”  this week was all about the small stuff. The little details on basically everything in the game. Graphical effects, sound effects, balancing and bug fixing!

I’ve also been working on the 2 player co-op mode. This is mostly doing a lot of testing to make sure the environment and monsters all interact with both players.  For example, the first few runs all the enemy bullets just ignored player 2, and doors didn’t function for player two when player one was near (the door would notice player 1 and thus completely ignore player 2!).

Most of that is all minor stuff and easily fixed, and sadly for you guys, it’s not interesting enough to make screenshots or video’s from!

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Luckily, on top of all that, I’ve been adding short animations/cut-scenes to the game to make it all even more epic and action packed!

I also finalized on how the process of your energy and rescued hostages works.  Every building in the game has one of the Gunslugs locked up in a cage (only those you actually unlocked game wise).  When you rescue that Gunslugs, you become that character and your life energy is refilled.

Each character also comes with his/her own weapon and possibly some other statistics need tweaking (running speed, or how enemy bullets react to you to name a few).

All in all I’m very pleased with the progress made the last few weeks. I’ve managed to play a co-op game, and also did a solo-run lasting well over an hour and only just passed the half-way point of the game.. not bad!

Some things on the ToDo are: creating the graphics for the area six outside and inside levels,  creating the two (or three) final bosses, improving the weapons and keep play-testing the game!