The tweaking process


So where are the Gunslugs2 updates?!?!  wellllll.. this is one? But it’s not a movie or anything like that, just this boring text blog… oh and the above screenshot which shows the Wild Wild West level with a different color scheme, cause I found the purple-pinkish colors becoming too much like a candy cane setting… yuck!

With Gunslugs2 I tried to do a new approach on developing the game, what I learned from Groundskeeper2 and Heroes of Loot before that, is that it’s easier to tweak and build your game, if you have a lot of content already working and completed.  So I set out to create a bunch of content, and then work them all into the game while I balance and tweak the gameplay.

So the first few weeks of development was mainly generating content, drawing a couple of worlds, creating game settings, creating enemies, writing the code for the enemies, and basically doing the rough outlines of the game (level transitions, inside/outside levels, etc).

That is the stage where it’s easy to show new awesome stuff, so the early video’s already showed many things happening, but they also revealed there was very little balancing going on.

After the content-generation is done, we now enter the less interesting weeks: tweaking, balancing gameplay, and placing enemies and hope it all makes for a fun experience.

Right now my main area of concern is the game flow, I don’t enjoy the running/shooting experience as it currently is. Again with Heroes of Loot and Groundskeeper2 I was really worried about the gameplay and got frustrated with my self for taking so long to figure it all out.. but I do believe that both those games ended up being near-perfect for what I tried to create. So the time “wasted” on trying various gameplay changes is worth it.

I’m probably very uptight about this stuff, but I do believe it’s part of what make my games recognized as “Orangepixel” games.

What I basically do is play this unfinished goo we call “Gunslugs2 prototype” over and over as if it was a finished game. And in my mind I keep making notes about things that frustrate me. For example, every time I played I was getting pretty pissed off that crates took 4-5 bullets to break up, it just didn’t feel right and seemed to slow a process. The problem is of course that using only 1 bullet is also a no-go cause then you can’t ever use crates to hide behind or jump on cause you’ll shoot them before you even see them. So I tweaked it to now just take 2-3 bullets and it feels better…. for now.

It’s really a million details like this that I’ll be going over before this game sees a release date!

My current frustration is a more difficult one tho. At some play-through’s I enjoy the game as it is, but in others I feel it’s either not interesting enough, maybe because of it being too slow, or maybe other things being too fast.. it’s not something I have pinned down yet, but something has to change.

So the next step is redoing the level generator and completely rewriting how enemies/obstacles are placed and coming at you, and how many at a single time. I have to figure out the right pace for this game, the speed at which a person should play it, and then make sure the player is aware of that speed subconsciously, the rhythm and heartbeat of the gameplay which, in my opinion, is in every game.



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