Hi everyone! Today's post is all about the Guildford Games Festival that took place on Friday and Saturday last week. I was there with the University for the Creative Arts to showcase Squillamorph for both days. It was a great little event!
Here's a photo of all of us from the UCA games arts incubator studio at the event. From left to right; Alessio (MediaShake), myself, Andy Bossom (Games Arts Course Leader), and Alessio and Maciej (MediaShake). Hmm, am I seeing double? Photo credit: Tony Mayor (Games Arts 3D Tutor)
Day 1 - BUGS
The first day started really well. There wasn't much traffic getting to the venue, which was a pleasant surprise. Setting up the stands went smoothly and I was raring to go. As we had some time, Alessio played the game as he hadn't for a while. Unfortunately, he discovered the first major bug of the day; one of the vents which transport the player around had not been setup properly and the player would get stuck in it, requiring them to return to the menu. I then discovered that one of the other vents in the same level didn't work at all, which is less important but no less irritating. Then I found out the boss completely skips its first stage. Another player discovered that if you die while entering a vent, you will re-spawn within the vent as if nothing had happened. Needless to say that this day did not go so well on the gameplay front. Almost every player found a bug or an issue of some sort. Nevertheless, it was good to discover the bugs and I did get some decent feedback.
Contrary to the morning, traffic home was really bad. Eventually, I got home and after a bit of respite I got round to bug fixing. I managed to fix all the main bugs and I added a few visual elements to help guide players through the game. I was much happier about showing the game the next day after doing this.
Day 2 - HEAT
Soon after arriving at the venue on the Saturday, I realised how much hotter it was going to be. The event was open to the public today, while yesterday was just for the industry. The changes I made to the game seemed to be improving player experiences and I was getting lots of great feedback. Things were going much better than the bug-filled shenanigans yesterday. The only issue that became really prevalent, as the sun started to shine through the roof of the venue, was the heat. On the first day we had a slight breeze passing through the building but today it was nonexistent. Being in the UK, we don't typically need or have air-con, so the building became extremely stuffy. Despite the heat, it was a good day and I got lots of valuable feedback. If you came by the stand, thank you for dropping by and I hope you enjoyed the show!
I know there wasn't as much new content as usual but most of last week was spent preparing for the event. This week is my last week in the incubator studio, so I'll talk about my experience there in the next post along with the usual content updates! Thanks for reading!
Hey everyone, the last week has been an eventful one! I've got some cool new content to discuss but first I have to announce a change to the team.
I'm sad to announce that Connor and Sarah have both decided to move on from Squillamorph. They've been great teammates who've produced some amazing content for Squillamorph. Without them, Squillamorph wouldn't be what it is today. I wish them all the best with their future endeavours. If you want to keep up with their work, I have put links to their portfolios on the About page. Go check them out!
New Levels & Hot Pipes
I've been designing and making some new levels for the Flop Shark region! I mentioned last week that I might have one ready to show but I really got into the swing of things. I designed 3 levels and made two of them. I haven't put any scenery assets in yet but they are fully functional! These levels are all smaller than the current level and are really fun to run around.
Since I changed the level design process, I have not re-implemented the hot pipes. This is the main environment hazard for the Flop Shark levels and seeing as one of them is full of hot pipes, I needed to get them back in. Functionally, they are very easy to make work, but getting them working visually again was a bit harder. Before the level design change, I would use a rendered image of the level pipes from the old designer and a blurred version, then overlay them in the level. This was an accurate but expensive method which I can no longer do. So now, I use an image which comes from the design where 1 tile is one pixel. It isn't as accurate but it has the same effect. So the hot pipes are back at last!
In some of the recent posts, I have mentioned the difficulties people have faced with the wall jump ability. I did say I might not change it but in the end I decided it would be better to. The player will now 'stick' to walls when touching them without having to move against them. This means that, if in a narrow vertical tunnel, the player just has to press space and won't have to use the direction keys at all to wall jump. To prevent the mechanic from being too easy, I have decreased the 'stickiness' of the player when on a wall. I will do a few tests soon to see if the changes worked out well!
Another mechanic change for the player is invincibility during the dash. This was actually meant to be in from the beginning and I just forgot to add it. I'm honestly not sure why it took me so long, considering I realised way back at EGX Rezzed and was reminded again at the uni grad show! Anyway, it's in effect now and I won't have to be reminded again!
So I finally got around to making another stage for the Flopalodon boss. This stage requires the player to directly attack the boss using Flop Sharks, which only spawn in this stage. Also, to make things more interesting, the Flopalodon can now breath fire. The fire will kill other enemies and the player. I am still working out how to get the boss to aim this fire properly but even now it adds another fun aspect to the fight. This sort of fire hazard is something that will come from other sources in future levels.
I have also heavily tweaked the boss arena. This is mainly because the boss kept getting stuck in the smaller nooks of the level. There is still an issue with this as the boss can get into and stuck in the tiny spawn area. I'm really not sure how that is happening because there is no way it could fit in there but it is something I will endeavour to fix this week.
Before the end of this post, I need to mention that Squillamorph will be at the Guildford Games Festival with the University for the Creative Arts! You can find out more about the event here: https://guildford.games/festival
Anyway, that's it for this post! Thanks for reading!
Hey everyone! The UCA Farnham graduation show is now over. If you managed to go, I hope you enjoyed it and managed to play Squillamorph! Unfortunately, I became aware that the room Squillamorph was in was locked for some days because there were no students to watch the equipment. It's a shame but it happens I guess. Anyway, onto the main content of this post.
I was play testing some bug fixes when I noticed that something didn't feel right about the game visuals. For the Rezzed build of the game, the levels felt near complete and exciting. In contrast to this, the current build feels quite empty and bland. I believed the main reason for this was the lack of background machine/panel sprites. I admit, I had to rush some into the levels before the show because the redesigned levels had none. So I threw a few more bits and bobs together to make things feel more complete. Nevertheless, it still felt strange and incomplete. This happened to be around the same time I saw some of the new game trailers from E3. When I saw some of the games, I noticed how alive their worlds seemed. I then realised that Squillamorph's world currently feels quite dead apart from the enemies.
I decided to quickly throw together an asset to make things feel more active. I had meant to make this asset for a while but it had not been a priority until now. Connor had made some empty glass tank sprites. He left them empty so that I could fill them with 'liquid' made of particle systems and other sprites in Unity. This liquid would be something tied to Squillamorph's plot-line. The creatures in the game are filled with a synthetic goop that acts as their lifeblood, which you can see in their orbs which allow the player to infest them. So, I made a couple of them and placed them in the Flop Shark level. I did not expect the difference they would make. The background colour palette is now broken up by the dark goop tanks which makes it much more interesting than before. I'm going to do more like this so that the world feels much more exciting.
After listing a couple of bugs last week, I thought I would give you an update on the progress I've made with them. The main one was the Flop Shark blocking issue. I tried several things to resolve this and the result I ended up with is not quite what I wanted. The Sharks now don't push each other anywhere near as much as they did. However, if the player infests one then it will be able to push others around. This allows the sharks to move past each other, without looking too odd, while still maintaining a more solid appearance for the player's benefit. As I said last time, the ideal scenario would be to have them climb over each other. However, due to the pathfinding system and collision system I made, I cannot do this without greatly impacting performance. So I'm going to settle with slightly intangible enemies for now.
The wall jumping segment was the other point of contention. I have not yet changed the wall jump to be easier to use. Nevertheless, I have added a ledge to allow players to go through the segment without using it and some simple arrows to show how the player should manoeuvre up the corridor. I still intend to make the wall jump easier to use but it needs more thought before I do.
I know there wasn't as much new content this week as I had to do a bunch of documentation and research last week, which took up a couple days work. Anyway, I hope you are enjoying these posts! Next time I might have a new level to show, but we'll see. Thanks for reading!
I'm the game developer for Squillamorph! I'll post here on the devlog as often as I can.