Flappy Courier – new small game in development

You know I’m developing Courier of the Crypts for quite long now and I need some break from time to time to create a small game or two. It’s good for game developer to complete something from time to time and that’s why I’m doing Flappy Courier.

flappy_courier

Screenshot from the game

Features:

  • very hard, flappy bird like
  • dark and nice pixelated graphics
  • special effects on tap
  • highscores & achievements
  • iOS / Android / Windows Phone

I even prepared short gameplay video from the game.  Enjoy it and let me know what you think.

Wednesday Recap #23

Hello again my dear readers and passers-by. You know how the drill goes – I show you what I was working on, give you some excuses why I don’t have more to show and complete everything with nice cute gif animation (to forget those excuses…). So here we go.

GIF animation

Of course, I’ll start with this one to get your attention (it may take a while to load). I got quite few requests lately to show some more gameplay. I know there is mostly ambient that I’m showing off but I’ll do my best to show something more “interesting” from now on.

Fear of light or not

Afraid of light…

This animation answers one question – What happens when your light goes out?
Spiders feel your vulnerability and starts chasing you of course. If you have enough oil urns with you and a good aim you’ll be safe though. Just watch out when you lower your torch, will you?

Sound system

In previous post I mentioned my problems with sound editor I was preparing for the game. And you know what?

fmod_free

 

Yep, FMOD is free for indie projects (with revenue < 100.000$). I know I’ve switched sound engine / library many times but I really need that special effects and FMOD offers good cross-platform compatiblity + lovely sound editor which I WON’T have problems with. It’s totally worth it I take it. I’m making my move this weekend – I’ll ask FMOD out for a hot date.

Time time time, excuses, school, excuses, time time….

Those of you who are following me on twitter have already heared about my study frustrations. I have 2 lectures left at the University before I finish it for good and guess what? Those two are as interesting as hard and time consuming. I even had to take tuesday off from the day job to attend all the lectures and lab practices. To fill that whole in my work schedule, I’ll have to work one day in the weekend to bring everything in. I’ve tried without that plan but I was deadly frozen without hearing those lectures at the university. This will go on for next 2 months until the exams. I really have to get rid of these last two weasels for good. Courier of the Crypts will be developed by my best efforts in this time. Maybe one of the big issues is time management which I’m fighting with. Sometimes I simply fail on that area. Sorry in advance for less cool stuff but just for a short time.

Map design

I’m working on my maps normally and implementing missing stuff from my previous version of the game. You see, I have many game objects implemented but not in the current version so I’m moving stuff to the new project by need.

mapeditor_wr

Hello there map editor!

I use my university Tuesdays as efficiently as I can. When I have breaks, small or big, I try to sketch stuff to my notebook. I already have some really cool parts of the maps with events planned and I just can’t wait to implement everything.

Oh right, notebook! I got this cool gift from my friend you see. It’s a really cool looking notebook actually and on the first page he wrote something like this in translation:

There is no courier without a letter like there is no game developer without a notebook.
May this notebook be filled with the craziest ideas which will help you through all the crypts you’re entering

If you are reading this, thanks again, that was one awesome gift!

Future

We all like to talk about the future yet we don’t know what will it bring. In my case I can at least preddict it to some degree. I’m making some major changes and moves in my life that’ll give me tons of time for the game. One fact is that I’ll finish with all the lectures at the University forever or at least I don’t have any plans to continue my study. There are few others things I’ll reveal very soon but that big change is comming in matter of few months.

I just want to thank you all once again for all the support / comments / sharing / caring…you’re the main reason I’m pushing everything forward regardless of all the life situations (and my own mind) that try to hold me back sometimes. Stay cool!

Wednesday Recap #22

I’ve skipped one wednesday recap but I didn’t leave you empty handed. Last time I did a nice post featuring first music pieces for the Courier of the Crypts (and video with the scenes from the game to accompany the music) – check it out here.

As most of you know I’m working on the short playable demo to get some feedback. Demo will include storyline map + 1-2 fully playable maps. I still need some basics done like audio system as well as maps. I can’t stress enough how important is the ambient and just because of that it takes time.

Audio Editor

Since I’ve decided with Zdravko to add special effects like reverb, distorstion etc. and audio editor so we can test and add sounds to the game without coding I put some extra time into that. I wrote Sound Editor in C# because working with custom UI in C++ is pain in the ass. I’m using primitive method – I save everything to file which is then used in the game to load / reload sound data.

soundeditor_cotc

sound editor preview

I found one problem along the way though – saving structures in C# and using them in C++. I’m quite a n00b when it comes to C# and therfore I’m not familiar with all the tricks. One evening I left the issue alone and moved back to map design. I found a possible solution to that but I yet have to implement it. Game part of the audio is mostly done as well as sound editor. Only thing that has to be done is connection. Next week maybe?

More pixels

I do more pixel art when need for that arises. I don’t have huge list of stuff I need to pixel for the maps. I have rough list that I do as soon as posible but after that, I just go and start making maps and if I need something, I place those pixels around. Here are few pices that were done.

cotc_morepixelscotc_staringLevel design

I was pimping out a map where you get your torch and…anyway, here is the animated gif just for you. You saw this scene before but not in animated state I take it? And there is a stained glass behind the old man now. Also, walls got higher and changed.

This map still has some sequences that needs to be scripted so I’ll be doing this next (right after I finish that audio system anyway). It’s interesting in game development how simple can a scene like that looks like yet I have to write a dialogue with the old man, make that moment when you grab a torch special, move that old man to unlock the doors when you pick the torch…well, you know, it can take lots of time. Lots of time for 1 minute of gameplay. One learns to appreciate games that way.

We’re having a small Slovenian Game Developer event and I’ll have short presentation of Courier of the Crypts from start to the present. I’ll make a video of changes through many builds. That should be fun :)

Until next week everyone – work and play hard!

 

First music of the crypts – preview (video)

As you can see, this is not usual wednesday recap post. This post is about *drumroll* MUSIC! I’m really happy to share with all of you these first pieces of music that you may hear in Courier of the Crypts.

While was working on the sound system, Zdravko was diligently creating music pieces and sounds. In this month I’ve recieved 3 music pieces and for that occasion I’ve made a video where you’ll see combination of visuals and music.

We’re looking for your feedback on the music – do you think it fits to the visual theme? Do you like whole combination? Your feedback is more than welcome!

I know it’s hard to say without other sounds and Courier walking and waving around with his torch but do your best and enjoy the video.

In the video you can only hear parts of the full songs, Zdravko was kind enough to put those pieces on the soundcloud so you can listen them in full length.

These music pieces will be later torn down to pieces which will be played on special parts of the level depending on the situation. These whole tracks serves for something more *hint hint*

I really hope you liked the speciality of this post as I did. Your feedback on the music will be much appreciated since it will help us determine if we need to change directions or keep it that way (only better of course).

Short post about the development (sound system) is coming soon as well. Stay tuned! :D

Environments of the Crypts

This is a post most of you were hardly waiting for. I also had this huge desire to share with you what kind of environments are you going to pass through in the game. On most of the screenshots you either saw storyline art or piece of the tiles for the 1st episode (as I like to call it) of the crypts.

cotc_theme1_title

Developing theme ideas

At the start I was a bit lost what kind of environments can I include since everything is happening in the crypts. I’ve decided to make 3 episodes in the game, each featuring it’s own boss. Ok, 3 thematics in the crypts – I still couldn’t work with that because we are talking about the crypts here. What can you possibly do with the crypts in a range of the whole game? It mustn’t get boring, there must be something new and original…I was stuck on that point for a while and it was really depressing. I just couldn’t figure it out and my brainstorming was in vain until one moment when I was like: “Woah, wait a second! You’re making a game, fantasy game with a magic torch, why do you need to use real life logic? You DON’T have to, just think out of the box about something crazy you can do”. That helped a lot and so I’ve brought up this issue when I was on a drink with my friend (who is also in game development – artist for that matter). He said I should make some flora like heavy moss, huge roots out of the walls and mushrooms with nice glow. That was something I could work with. You saw root part already and I’m going to show you mushroom concept today among other screenies.

3 Thematics / Episodes

Like I said, my game will have 3 episodes with main different thematics. I only have “dev” names for those right now and it goes something like this:

  1. Marble Halls
  2. Forgotten Crypts
  3. Hell’s Depths

You saw many screenshots of the Marble Halls so I’m going to show you early mockups rendered in game for the second two.

Forgotten Crypts

cotc_theme2_preview

This is the second episode. As you can see, walls are much older and you’ll find more damaged areas here. Candles are replaced with torches and so on. With every episode, new gameplay elements and enemies are introduced. Here you can see pushing blocks. It’s SOKOBAN! Well, not really, but there are few neat trick you can do with them (I had prototype of that more than a year ago and it works great).

Hell’s Depths

cotc_theme3_preview

This is the last episode. You can see lava streams here but it’s not hell really. You’ll find out this were crypts once as well although crypts are so deep that lava broke through some parts of the floor. I can’t say more at this point for I want to keep few things away from you. Some cool things that is :)

cotc_theme3_2_preview

Here is another part of the last episode. You can see oil pots on the wall instead of candles/torches. This represents somewhat stable corridor.

Sub thematics

Even 3 various thematics with different gameplay elements are not enough. At least I can’t be satisfied with that. For that reason I’ve decided to make some mini thematics that will break episode theme monotomy a bit. Some of those may be out of the place but I guarantee there will be logic behind everything.

In Marble Halls for example, you’ll be venturing through the sewers in one map. You can see full screenshot of the sewers here.

cotc_theme1_sewers_preview

Sewers, nasty sewers….

Next picture is the sketch of the subtheme from the 2nd episode. You’ll “find” yourself in underground mushroom cave. And there will be insects as well – game needs nasty insects to get on your nerves. Mushrooms will be glowing brightly in cute colors, some of them will also be dangerous as insects aren’t enough. That part is still in planning and brainstorming phase but I just wanted to let you know you won’t be trapped between cold crypt walls all the time.

cotc_theme2_mushroom_preview

Mushroooms! And insects…

This is it for this post. I really hope you like what you see up there and do let me know what you think. I’m open for any suggestions – what kind of stuff would you put in the crypts? What do you excpect to find down there?

Thanks for you attention and have a nice week on ;)

You can also follow the development on next social thingies:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Wednesday Recap #21

I’ve been busy with studying in the last week and few more study days are ahead of me. If you add my day job to this you can imagine I can hardly find time for development. Next to that I was attending Global Game Jam over the weekend here in Slovenia which was wonderful experience. I have to make post about that as well but you can check slovenian global game jam craftsmanship until then :)

In case you’re not following me on Twitter or Facebook you might have missed last week’s screenshot and animated version of it so I’m attaching it here to make sure you don’t miss it.

Crypt Fountain

Just chillin’ next to the crypt fountain

In action

This is the part before the “accident” happens. This is still part of the storyline map or at least I classify it as that. I’m making progress towards the small test build which should consist of storyline map and 1-2 gameplay maps. Just enough to get some proper feedback.

lionhead_wip2

 

You can see “Lion’s” head design process. It should be lion’s head but it turned out more like a dragon. The fun thing while making games is that you can have your freedom and this is a good example. I thew final version in the game and it turned out great and I said: “Why not? It really doesn’t matter if it’s a lion, cougar or dragon. Let the fantasy flow through player’s mind” and it’s inded like that. That’s what I love in games – fantasy.

Sounds and music are also in production and I’m soon adding them to the game. I’ve got small update on the Couirer of the Crypts theme as well which sounds very adventurous and mega awesome.

I wanted to use this post to show you some concepts, designs and mockups for environment that you’ll be going through later in the game but I didn’t have time to put everything together by today so I’m moving that environments showcase to tomorrow / friday. Stay tunned, it will be very colorful post ;)

Wednesday Recap #20

It has been quite long since the last wednesday recap – 1 month exactly. For this long gap I’m bringing you many news and I’ll start right away with screenshots.

Latest screenshot: "I have to get that wooden cog in order to fix that mechanism"

“I have to get this wooden cog in order to fix that mechanism”

New wall graphics

If you were following my previous graphics of the crypt you should recognize changed wall tiles. I’ve made more obvious top part which gives you a feeling of taller area. That and it looks better in general, or at least it should – you tell me.

To understand what I’m saying, here are new and old tiles on the grid (without lighting):

new_tilesWhat do you think, positive or negative change?

Chests, give me that loot!

I have chests in the game for some time now but I never finished them. That’s what changed few hours ago. Take a look at this neat animation:

gold_pickingI need to work on treasure graphics a bit more because someone mentioned it looks like hay. For me, it’s more like sulfur from Heroes of Might & Magic 2…yep, I need to fix that.

Crypt enterance hall

Have you missed two weeks old screenshot of the saturday, displaying crypt enterance hall graphics and the mysterious old man for the first time? Worry not, here it is!

 

cotc_sss_enterance1

Clicky-click to enlarge

That’s the first level of the crypts which is more or less still part of the story. This one should look a bit more modern and bright. So, who is the old man infront of the Courier and what is that mysterious cabinet in the corner?

Sound

Do you remember previous wednesday recap where I talked about the sound? Well, I did some progress on that part. You can’t place sounds in the map editor yet but I’m already playing 2D sounds for pickups and courier’s footsteps. Oh, and oil urn woooshes ^_^

There are also this programming tasks that I’ve done which I won’t trouble you with but I want you to know that I’m moving onwards, day by day.

milestoneBigger milestone on the horizon

I’ve decided to get some planning together and the result of that is milestone. I can’t tell you yet what is this milestone all about because I don’t want to cause some false buzz (and not that it deserves it). Date for the milestone is 1st of March. Exams and small trip in the next month can consume some serious time which could prevent me reaching the goal. I’ll update you on that in the February.

More about Courier of the Crypts in two weeks. Stay well and have fun ^_^

Back in action, starting with screenshot

I hope everyone had a great holidays, I know I did. I’ve replanished my energy and I’m ready to kick project onwards. As you’ve might know, it’s really hard to get back the momentum after long pause with every activity – working out, studying and working on your project. I had the same problem so I’ve moved from my plan and did something else. I threw in some pixels for the enterance hall.

cotc_sss_enterance1

There is something hiding in the locker in the left corner. What is that? And what’s the role of the old man?

Merry Christmas

cotc_christmas

 

Pony delivery service gathered everyone together to celebrate Christmas. Courier invited lonely crypt walkers around – golems, mummies, spiders and even ghosts came over (there are more but they are too shy to show up). Others came as well! Grave digger helping out with the snow, old hag baking cookies and old man sipping the warm tea.

There is no Christmas without all the people that are part of your story and same goes for me. You all are part of my story, following my progress, sharing, cheering on me and helping me to get this game further and further, day by day.

I would like to thank all of you for this and wish you a warm and happy Christmas.

Wednesday Recap #19

I’m back after a short delay. I took some break from the project for about two weeks to get things done for school and more time for relaxation. You see, my eye was twitching for a whole month every day which was obvious sign of exhaustion (and maybe high level of caffeine) but it’s ok now. Back to normal!

With that in mind I’ll try to go more easy on the game from here on. There will be more changes like less frequent weekly recaps – I’ll release one on two weeks for I’ll try to spend more time on other things. Burning out and gone crazy won’t help the game right? ;) I’ll keep development on one way or another, fear not.

While not working on the project I got some more things done organization wise – breaking big tasks to smaller ones and writing down new ones. With big tasks you need extra effort to think about where to start while smaller ones are easy to start with.

Designing sounds system

We’ve been on this point before, at least at some point but I’m going over it once again. For sounds, I’ve been using irrlKlang but left it behind because of some memory leaks (which may be a false alarm as developers said) and SFML sound when I was using SFML but now that I’m back on SDL I’ll either pick SDL sound or openAL itself.

This post is more about sounds and how will they work. Next step is building up sound editor which will be used by my composer. He knows the best what works and what not so it’s the best for the project if I let him play around with the sounds directly from map editor.

Some sounds will be part of the objects by default like effects of the torch, brazier, water dripping, explosion etc. and there are those that can be placed alone in the map. For now you’ll be able to set default volume of the sound and fall off. Hopefully I’ll add reverb options later but I want to keep it simple for now.

sounds_scene

Mockup for placing sounds in the scene – no interface there yet

Sounds can be activated by triggers and they can be a trigger at the same time which turns on when player reaches X distance to it. Zdravko came up with some really great ideas for the sound and how can we play with the player. I won’t spoil anything but it’s cool – at least in theory, we have to play around first.

For that exact reason I have to make somewhat cool sound editor to give Zdravko some experimenting freedom. Also, it has to be easy to use for I really want to keep him sane while working with it ( you see, my map editor is not really user friendly atm.).

That’s about sounds but there is more about music. I’m not sure if I mentioned that before but Zdravko suggested we move from “single track mode” for a level to dynamic music. Courier of the Crypts is a lot about ambient and music playing all the time doesn’t go well with that. Our plan is to have multiple music pieces that will play on different events / places. Most of the time it will be very ambiental, crypt music but when you’ll get trapped in a room full of mummies tense music will start playing. Entering chapel you’ll hear celestial sounds and so on. Zdravko is eager to start working on that part but it’s hard to try out something like that without ready-to-use sound editor. I’ll work on this for the next few day. I’m sure there’s more that I forgot to mention but as you can see Courier of the Crypts will not let you down sounds and music wise :)

That’s it today and I really hope I can bring you good news for the next time. Stay well!