[Devlog] Swipey Rogue, by First-Order Games (swipe-action, autorunning, puzzle-rogue)

Discussion in 'Pre-Orders, Soft Launches, and Upcoming iOS Games' started by firstordergames, Feb 13, 2015.

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  1. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2015
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    #1 firstordergames, Feb 13, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015



    Swipe-Action / Auto-Runner vs. Dungeon-Crawling / Room Puzzler

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Features:

    Challenge Saga mode

    • - 200 Hand Crafted (non-random) Challenge Rooms
    • - 4 Themed Areas with unique Gameplay Mechanics
    • - Per Room, Per Area, and Global Progression Stats
    • - High Score, Speed Run Leaderboards & Achievements
    • - Video Replays

    Free Running mode

    • - Procedurally Generated Labyrinths of Procedurally Generated Rooms
    • - Unlock Areas in Challenge Saga mode to be included in Rogue Run mode's Labyrinths
    • - Dynamic Character Build (xp gain yields perk choice unlock, many perks to choose/experiment)
    • - Perma-Death (run 'till you die, go as far as you can)
    • - High Score Leaderboard

    Ship date:


    • - August 20, 2015 (or 27, if re-submission is delayed)

    Cost:


    • - FREE with ads, Pay what you want: $0.99 - $4.99 to remove ads forever NO OTHER IAP

    About Me:


    • - Former CoD MP, GH, THPS Designer / Programmer
    • - Made the fully committed, terrifying leap into full time indie
    • - Ask me anything. Thanks for taking an interest! :)
     
  2. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    #2 firstordergames, Feb 13, 2015
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
  3. Exact-Psience

    Exact-Psience Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2012
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    The Work-At-Home Guy
    Philippines
    quote-copy this:

     
  4. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    #4 firstordergames, Feb 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
    Many thanks, exact quote copy still doesn't seem to work. I appreciate you trying. I have no idea why it isn't working for me. Very embarassed. :(
     
  5. Alex Wolf

    Alex Wolf Well-Known Member

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  6. Qwertz555

    Qwertz555 Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2010
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    Really, this looks very intriguing - day one customer here.

    Not english native, so i'm confused about your Cost comments. It's absolutely NO BS to have an iap to get rid of the ads. Imho, it's a must have option anyways.

    I want but don't believe your ship-date, and i dare to say, you rather change it to something...not so specific. Too close with too little testing possible, imho. Please, don't rush your first game, specially since it's looking so promising, at least in my books.

    And as a developing wish: could we get seperate volume sliders for BGM and SFX ?

    I will watch this space/blog closely and i wish you success and luck.

    Edit: other Devs have done it before to let TA's members test their games. Just an idea.
     
  7. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    #7 firstordergames, Feb 14, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
    Thanks for your interest and your comments. I agree with all of them.

    I was going to try to avoid adding an IAP because there is other paperwork that has to be done to make paid game with apple, and also there is more work with purchase restoration. So I was thinking to maybe just do that as an update after release? But your enthusiasm is encouraging me to try to add it in for release. Thanks!

    Thanks again for your interest and thoughtful comments. More updates coming soon.
     
  8. Qwertz555

    Qwertz555 Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2010
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    I get your points, too. Thanks for those interesting infos, and the edit of your previous post. See ya next time.
     
  9. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    Hey Qwertz555,

    You motivated me to finish up the settings menu so now all of the menus are complete. Music toggle is connected to music player. SFX toggle does not function yet because I haven't added any sfx so I haven't integrated my sfx manager code yet.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    #10 firstordergames, Feb 14, 2015
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
    Back to the Beginning

    Let's go back in time a bit to the beginning of this project and share the early development of the core gameplay idea, and the level editor.

    Concept

    The idea for Swipey Rogue came about while experimenting with virtual stick and swipe input on mobile. I wanted to control an ever moving character in some sort of action scenario. However, I'm also love action RPGs and Rogue-likes. I became curious to see if I could make a game that somehow combines the fun elements of grid based rogue-likes and the action elements of simple touch games like Flappy Bird and Crossy Road.

    The result became Swipey Rogue! Early on, I experimented with a virtual joystick control where the player could rotate any angle and move in any direction (not just cardinal directions like now). This was very fun and engaging but difficult to navigate obstacles. I decided to put that control scheme on the shelf for another project and focus the control for this game to just allow movement in the 4 cardinal directions and make swipes just switch between them. The simplified control let me design more complex obstacles and pathways in the levels.

    Gameplay Space

    [​IMG]

    I wanted to use a top down view that maximizes the screen and allows for portrait play. I find portrait play much more convenient for mobile games than landscape games as it allows you to play with one hand more spontaneously (which is key for mobile games IMO). I got a small set of great assets from the Unity store (BitGem makes nice stuff!) and started optimizing, chopping, and building. In the end I got the above grid. It is 5x9 tiles, each tile is 4x4 Unity units. I created prefabs for the walls so that every wall segment could double as an entrance or exit (giving me maximum flexibility for designing levels so the player can enter and exit from any wall segment on any wall).

    Designed (not randomized) Levels:

    [​IMG]

    Once I had made a hand placed level as a prototype and was able to play it and have fun, I knew I would need some sort of tool to help me with level creation. I began making a simple 2D tile editor in unity. (It is very ugly, but it's not the product that I ship, just the tool I use so that's ok for me because it works good).

    The above screen shows the level editor in action on the right through the camera view, and the elements of the editor sitting in a Unity scene on the left. I just used sprites with colliders added to them and a bunch of onMouseDown scripts. I can paint items into the tiles on the left from the 'pallet' on the right. Back at the beginning it only supported: ground, lava, enemies (easy, medium, hard, boss), breakable vases (with meat pickup inside!), directional fireball turrets, and 1 entrance and 1 exit.

    It saves and loads data to/from XML and the game side loads, parses, and builds it with prefabs I chopped up into usable modular chunks.

    But wait! Rogue-likes have randomly generated levels!!

    Ya ya, I know. That's Gauntlet Mode. Right now, I'm sharing how Adventure Mode is made.

    For Adventure Mode, I could spend the time creating a procedural system which creates random snaking patterns of lava and stone through a room, add random enemies and pickups.. blah blah. But, I felt this mode needed actual designed levels, not randomized. Nothing against procedural stuff, I enjoy making procedural systems a lot, I like playing games like that, and Gauntlet Mode functions in that way. For this mode though, I really felt like making the rooms more intentional spaces. My goal for Adventure Mode is to ship with 200 rooms. I'll outline how the level progression works in a future update but a quick description would be that it's all about beating all the levels and replaying them to get "3 stars" on each, getting a higher score, and beating your fastest time.

    Parsed and Loaded Level

    [​IMG]

    Above, you can see the same level loaded in the game. It is assembled from the level editor using the modular asset prefabs I created and the enemy, hazard, and interactable prefabs that I made. On the left you can see the perspective view in the Unity editor, and on the right you can see the gameplay view through the camera. It's so exciting at this stage to finally see it working from editor to game. It feels like anything is possible now, but there's still a lot of work.

    The wonderful 3D models from Bitgem helped me get up and running faster, giving the game some life with attractive assets instead of temp art. I may keep them through release or source other assets.

    Gameplay Gifs

    These were a couple of my first gameplay gifs showing very early level tests. The levels and assets have improved a lot since these tests in the beginning but I like to share so you can see progress.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thanks!

    If you've made it this far, thanks! This project has come a long way since the beginning. I look forward to sharing more progress with you.
     
  11. aeschylus72

    aeschylus72 Well-Known Member

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    #11 aeschylus72, Feb 14, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
    This looks really good, I hope all goes well

    if you are doing speedruns make sure you add leaderboards IMO
     
  12. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    #12 firstordergames, Feb 14, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
    Ya, for sure! I have a millisecond timer (just going to 100ths though), so I'll be using it!

    :)
     
  13. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    Game Design and Development Process

    Early on, I decided that I would be constantly adding new elements to levels as I progressed in development. I balance my time between programming new systems, and creating content with them. I didn't want to pre-plan and pre-create all of the systems up front. That style of approach causes 2 problems for me: first, I get buried under too much code work at the beginning and lose sight of the game. And second, I then get buried with too much content work at the end and lose creative motivation. By constantly doing both at once, I stay motivated on both the technical and creative fronts. And, most importantly, it allows the game to evolve and tell me what it needs next as I develop and play.

    Example of New Level Element

    I started with basic floor and wall pieces, and then started adding other elements like lava tiles, and fireball turrets. One of the first new additions that I made after creating and playing some levels was the lava pit trap.

    Here's a composite view of a level using the trap. The Unity editor window is on the left and the view through the game camera is on the right:
    [​IMG]

    And here's a perspective view of the trap in action. It functions like a normal ground tile, except it opens every 2 seconds. If the player walks over it while it is not fully closed, they fall to their death in the lava, muhahaha.
    [​IMG]

    Development and Gameplay Video

    Here's a combined development and gameplay video. I demonstrate the level editor and a preview of how I manage progression, and I play through a level on the phone. (Note: in the video the game is being played on a LG G3, but the game is being developed and tested for all iOS devices as well.)
    YouTube: video

    Thanks

    Thanks for tuning in and following along with progress of the game. :)
     
  14. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2015
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    Props & Loot:

    Going back again to earlier development, I wanted to show the system I implemented to sprinkle props into levels, and to flag level tiles to allow or disallow random spawning of loot crates. As well, I have a couple of brand new gameplay gifs demonstrating speed runs on difficult levels.

    Tile Properties:

    I created a new breakable type (loot crate), and a new pickup type (gold coins). I prototyped a system to randomly spawn the new loot crate on any empty floor tile (shown above). It worked well but introduced an issue. Some areas of the level need to always be clear to allow for quick traversal (dodging projectiles). If a loot crate randomly spawned in one of these areas it would block the player.

    I already planned to add a "tile properties" section to the tile editor for placing props on tiles so this was an appropriate place to also add a toggle for allowing random spawns on a tile. And since I had 2 needs for this new feature, it was an appropriate time to add it to the tile editor tool.

    [​IMG]

    It's ugly, but it's functional. It serves 2 purposes: Props (the 4x4 grid), and Random Spawns (the little checkbox at top right). I realized, from the wall shapes I have, there are 16 possible locations where I might need props to be placed on any given tile. So I made a grid of 16 buttons to represent the locations. Checking the buttons updates meta data for the currently selected tile. In the game, I've created 16 prefabs of props (candles and small vases) offset within a tile node appropriately to match each of the locations portrayed in the editor.

    Example 1 (straddling a small wall next to a room boundary wall):

    [​IMG]

    Example 2 (in a corner next to room boundary wall):

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    Example 3 (one side of a small wall):

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    Example 4 (nestled in a small wall corner):

    [​IMG]

    The props really add life to the levels. I will eventually make additional sets of the props with different models and randomly select when the level is loaded for variety.

    Gameplay Preview - Speed Running Difficult Levels:

    In addition to the visual variety of the props props, the randomly spawning loot crates are helping to give the levels some gameplay variety as well. Now that I can control where they may spawn, I can continue designing intentionally difficult levels that require specific timing without the fear of loot crates blocking a route.

    Below are a couple of preview gameplay gifs showing off speed runs through a couple newer levels. I'll make a dev log in the future that outlines the progression system, but as a teaser I'll say this: there is a 3 star system for each level as well as a stored speed run time. Speed runs have no objective other than getting to the exit. For 2 and 3 stars you'll additionally need to defeat all enemies, and also collect all pickups respectively. So it is a legitimate strategy to play every level with each gameplay style (speed, combat, completionist) and be acknowledged and rewarded for each.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Until Next Time:

    While playing, I feel like I'm in a familiar head-space like playing Pac Man or Donkey Kong. This really excites me because this is the direction I was striving for. Those are two of the greatest arcade games ever (Ms Pac Man is better, but you know what I mean). The combination of memorization, pattern recognition, quick reflexes, and adaptive strategy is such a great flow to be in while playing. I can't pretend to be making something on par with either of those games, but I'm just happy that I got that feeling. :)
     
  15. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    Composer, Progression, Full Menu Flow & 2 Videos:
    Swipey Rogue is an action game that blends simple swipe touch controls with top-down auto-running dungeon crawling. You control your auto-running hero's direction changes with swipes while avoiding obstacles, and planning your path to the exit through enemies and resource pickups.

    Introducing Composer, Declan Bell:
    Declan is a talented music student from the UK. He has been composing the theme music that plays in the front end during menus and the map, and also the gameplay theme which plays while you're running around in the dungeons. He has come up with some excellent music that is really starting to bring the game to life. We wanted to go for orchestral themes with many layers or humor and tension to heighten the mood while you play. You can check out some of Declan's previous work on his soundcloud page here: https://soundcloud.com/declanbell93 Previously, he composed music for the recently released Curse of Mermos: http://www.indiedb.com/games/curse-of-mermos1

    --- WARNING: Placeholder 2D art ---

    Gameplay Video:
    Let's get straight into some gameplay video action. In the following video, I walk through the newly created front end menu system, and the map/progression screen. Then play through a particularly tricky level. You can hear a preview of Declan's music in the background.

    YouTube: video

    Development Video:
    In the following video, I walk through how I created the scrolling progression menu in unity.

    YouTube: video

    --- WARNING: Placeholder 2D art ---

    Development Screens - Menu Flow:
    Here's a preview of the entire menu flow from title screen to room exit summary. I'm happy to have this framework in place. It is all still temp art, but it makes the game almost functionally complete now. The progression menu was a bit of work to get it to scroll nice on the phone with up/down swipe gestures. I implemented an initial velocity and deceleration system to make it feel springy and responsive.

    --- WARNING: Placeholder 2D art ---

    Shield your eyes, it's all temp 2D art. I have finalized a contract with an amazing 2D artist and I'll be announcing and showcasing his new work soon! For now, it's all temp.

    Title screen (Gauntlet mode not yet functioning):
    [​IMG]

    Progression Menu:
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    Room Summary:
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    Loading Screen:
    [​IMG]

    In Game Hud:
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    Exit Room Summary:
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    Options Screen:
    [​IMG]

    Thank You!
    As always, thanks for dropping by. You made it past a lot of placeholder 2D art to get here. There is a death screen, and a pause screen as well, but really I've bored you enough already. :yawn: Lots of great progress has been made in the past week. All the temp menu art needs to be polished and replaced, sound effects need to be added, and then it's all about creating the remaining 150 levels and adding lots of more fun new elements into the level and level editor along the way.
     
  16. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2015
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    [​IMG]

    2D Art Overhaul Begins:
    Swipey Rogue is a hardcore arcade game that aims to distill the core elements of rogue-likes and action-rpgs (maze traversal, loot gathering, resource management, enemy combat) into a bite-sized, action/impulse experience with minimal controls. Development has hit Alpha (full functionality) so now it's time to make this thing look better. This week's update introduces Anthony Coito who is taking on the task of re-envisioning the 2D art across the entire game.

    Introducing: Artist, Anthony Coito:
    The whole time I've been working on this game, I've been planning to bring on help to completely replace all the 2D art. The way I like to work is full steam ahead and never let anything slow me down. For that reason, I make all my own placeholder art whenever I need it. For Swipey Rogue, I created the temp logo to set the seed of what I imagined it could become.

    Now it's time to realize that vision. Anthony is enthusiastically taking on that challenge. His bright and cheerful work on Polygon Princess, Moku Island, and Easy Eater 2 caught my eye and felt like a perfect fit for what I wanted. You can check out his portfolio here: anthonycoito.com

    2D Art Direction:
    While the gameplay art in Swipey Rogue is all 3D, I wanted the front end, menus, and hud to be all 2D. I wanted something that pops up into your eyes and invites you into the world. Although the game is meant to be super hard with elements including insta-death traps, life resource management, and twitch action traversal appealing to core and mid-core gamers, I wanted the presentation layer (2D) to scream accessibility. I believe this is a fun game for everyone, and the 2D art (logo, icon, hud, menus, etc.) is the calling card that communicates who I'm trying to share the game with: everyone. Anthony understood this immediately, and has jumped in with voracious creativity to tackle this challenge. nom nom nom :)

    Logo Remake:
    [​IMG]
    First and foremost, the logo is getting a much needed art treatment. Anthony and I brainstormed and reviewed piles of reference material to identify the key elements for a classic RPG logo: Frame, Lettering, and Adornments. We wanted to go with the classic rectangular shape forming a background frame that hints at the setting of the game. Upon the frame, the lettering will pop out with bright, shiny colors. Speckled around the lettering, gameplay props like armor or loot will adorn the logo.

    This is the very first set of draft sketches. It will continue to evolve as it goes through many iterations over time. I wanted to share progress from day one with all of you because I love watching these things progress.

    Splash / Main Menu Screen:
    [​IMG]
    The current direction for the splash and main menu background is a montage of the characters in the game in an action pose summing up the experience: running through crazy rooms! This is the very first concept sketch. I'm excited to see where we'll end up when it's finished.

    Progression Map Background:
    [​IMG]
    Swipey Rogue features 2 modes of play: Adventure Mode, and Gauntlet Mode. In Adventure Mode, you progress linearly through the sequence of rooms. The progression map is your interface to your adventure progress. It is a familiar vertically scrolling style progression map with a long winding path full of icon buttons for each room.

    Since you tend to interact with progression maps like this a lot when playing the game, I wanted it to feel cool in some way. The setting of Swipey Rogue is an ancient, mythological mine rumored to house inconceivable treasure for those brave enough to enter its depths, and escape with their lives. The room exist under the ground, so I thought it might be fun to try to visualize the map like you're looking down, through rock layers, into the earth. We're going to try to layer the different rock elements and parallax them slightly while you scroll to simulate depth. I'm excited to try this. The concept phase has just begun, we'll be prototyping with block out assets shortly and I'll share progress.

    Menu Panels:
    [​IMG]
    The overall setting theme of Swipey Rogue fuses elements of Dwarven and Norse mythology. Arch-typically, Dwarves are renown for their prowess at mining the depths of the earth. The main player character is a Viking inspired Dwarf, and the musical theme is meant to evoke a feeling of epic saga. Norse culture is rich with creative pattern work on wood, tapestries, metal, and leather. We aim to inject elements of that patterning into the menu and HUD elements to re-enforce that theme.

    The basic building block for many of the menus will be a background panel. Anthony has begun very early work sketching concepts of framing and background elements for the panel. This panel will primarily be used for the room summary screen which appears off the map screen, on the pause menu, on the death screen, and on the success screen. A variation of it will also be used for the achievement parade as you exit a level.

    Thank You!
    As always, thanks for tuning in. Now that all the basic groundwork functionality for all features of the game has been developed. All that remains is this massive 2D overhaul, the sound effects pass, and the really fun part: the completion of all the levels and addition of new level elements.
     
  17. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    #17 firstordergames, Feb 26, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
    Video update #4

    Gameplay video shows off aesthetic changes in the past week. The new enemy models are now in the game! I also added a simple "gibs" system to toss chunks of stuff you smash. So crates toss wood splinters up in the air then they stick to the ground. And the enemies toss bones when they die. Also, the enemies stay where they fall now and don't disappear. I like the effect of having a bunch of stuff lying all over the ground by the time you leave the room. It took a bit of work to get the enemies to reposition when they die so they don't fall back through a wall, but it's all working now. It's little things, but it makes it all feel more polished. I'm happy with the progress. Also, I added numbers flying off the character and enemies while they're fighting. I love numbers flying around in RPGs. It just wouldn't feel right without them. :p

    [​IMG]
    Swipey Rogue Video Update #4

    (embedded video links still don't seem to work for my account, sorry)

    Thanks for tuning in, comments questions welcome. I took a break for my birthday yesterday and realized that I've worked all day every day since January 15th on this. It was nice to have a little break! It's been rapid, but intense development! :)
     
  18. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

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    #18 firstordergames, Feb 26, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
    Lava World is Finished!

    The underground mines that you explore in Swipey Rogue are broken into 4 elemental themed areas. The Lava World is full of lava flows, lava pits, and fireballs. I just finished polishing the last of the 50 levels in the lava world so I'm celebrating by sharing some shots of a selection of the first 50 levels.

    I'm really happy with the amount of tweaking that they've gone through. A diverse set of people have been playtesting and I've been absorbing all of their feedback about pain points and massaging things along the way.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Development on the remaining worlds will continue through March as I overhaul all the 2D art in parallel with the artist who is making the new art. I'm looking forward to sharing more as things develop, and I can't wait to release so everyone can play.
     
  19. Hiterus

    Hiterus Member

    Dec 3, 2014
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    Look very interesting!
    I am waiting for the day it is launched.
     
  20. firstordergames

    firstordergames Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2015
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    Working hard to get there. Thanks for your support! :)
     

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