Dev Diary

The story so far.

Introducing MeteOre!

Hi folks!

It has been quite some time since our last update, we realise. We have been really busy with projects and RL things, but we’re back now!

So what did you miss?

Well, previously I mentioned at the start of the year that we had a new project in our sights. A new IP Vi has conjured up – for which we were very excited working on. As time progressed and the design doc grew, we realised that ‘that’ particular project was destined for greatness and that the scope was becoming much larger than we’d expected (a skill we’re becoming quite adept at). So we had decided to stow this project aside, not shelf it, and work on the design doc and gather tools for it while making other simpler games. What project is this? We called it Project: FIN – but that’s about as much as we’re going to say about it.

For now.

The other simpler games? One of them is MeteOre. A game originally concepted by Grug, our resident Tech Artist – a game which was originally a two player modern-space pong. So Grug and I (Ray) took the game apart and started a new design document for it. Here’s one of Grug’s concept sheets:

MeteOreLevelConcepts

 

I mentioned originally that it was a two player game – like pong. This time around Grug and I focused on a single player aspect – and gave it a mining objective. We penned the idea that they were Space Vikings (or Viking Mercs) refining meteOres for a much larger ship to collect (situated offscreen behind the player ship). Green ores are good. The ones that dont glow aren’t liked as much – and the red ones are bad for the larger ship. In order to collected them though, they need to be refined into smaller shards, the collecting ship wont take large rocks!

We design many features for this game, including the two player versus mode, things featured in the concept sheet above, progressing level designs, boss battles and a whole heap of other things. Sadly though, we had to dial it down, at least only for the prototype, as it was only the two of us on this project (Grug and I) – the other guys are tied up on other work at the moment and throwing in a bit of work on Project FIN in some occasion.

Right now, though, we’re calling this one a vertical slice of the first chapter of the game (and no we dont mean we’re splitting the game into episodes, unless it works better for everyone).

Yours uncloned,

Ray

SO without further delay – we bring you the first prototype of MeteOre!

blogpost_fi

A New Calendar

OHAIHOWARYA?

 

So you haven’t heard from us in a very long time.

So long a time, that  as I write this up, I’ve already forgotten how to does type england. We decided to go dark and take a break over the holiday season and hopefully come back recharged and ready for the new year, and that, we are.

Recently, we scheduled a little meetup at a pub, well known among our circles for its schnitty (apologies, ‘schnitzel’ – chicken to be exact) – The Landsdowne. Having heard there was fire there a week or so earlier, I had hoped they had recovered in time for our presence, but alas this was not so. Apparently still closed, we settled on another place, not well known or frequented by others in our circle of friends. Situated underneath Broadway shopping centre – we sat down for a beer (those of us who arrived early) – occasionally glanced at the UFC on the large projector and made small talk about our break.

By now, you’re wondering – “what are you on about?”, so I’ll admit.

I digressed a bit too early.

Anyway, after we have a meal and caught up on the small talk we got down to business, and first up on the board is Dwarven Chicken Knights (DCK).

 

For those of you who aren’t in the know, DCK is a game concepted by two of our members in less than 48 hours. Originally consisted of a player battling another player on chickens by pouncing (ground-pounding, as it was written on the help screen) on each other for scores. It was later shown to the general public (a year later) and was well received. So much so that it became the focus of our development for a good long time. It has since evolved, graphically and design wise (documented) over time – being more fleshed out. Around this time, some of us became more and more unable to spend time on it and in time; we started to lose focus and started thinking if the game worth continuing in our current state. Despite this, we still kept pushing up until we made another showing at a Beer & Pixels night in Sydney, where it was also well received and well critiqued. It was then that we decided over the Christmas and New Year break that we go silent for a while and pick our selves up.

The break came, and it went – and there we were discussing the future of DCK.

And what did we decide?

DCK lives…in its current state for now at least.

You see, as recharged and gung-ho as we are now, we still didn’t feel differently about the project. Perhaps we just stared at it for so long. Perhaps it was our new availability schedules that we didn’t get a good enough momentum going. Or perhaps with new members (Greg and Ned) that our dynamics changed. Whatever it may be, we had all decided it be left alone for a while – and definitely not cancelled. We will pick up its development – just not in the near future. Why?

Because of a new idea.

Before the meeting, which, by the way – totally have to keep doing at that place (or somewhere like that) – I had asked all the members to come in with an idea if they can muster it. We went around the table and spouted and pitched our ideas to each other and discussed possibilities and technically hurdles. And then we heard Adam’s idea.

Now Adam started off with a reference to a movie he had just watched and an ‘event’ that had just passed and gave a little spill about his idea. We were sparked, to say the least – and it wasn’t long before we each had an input and had already started envisioning things for the game. It was then that I had started to record that discussion which took us well into the early evening/late afternoon. We’ve already started working on design documents, concepts and references; heck, Ned’s already got a concept track made one night after our meeting.

Im thinking – this will be good. I’ve already laid out a plan for the first prototype – and after a few of these prototypes, we’ll cave into our desire to share and finally let you guys play it.

So what is this idea?

You’ll find out soon enough.

 

Yours, conundrumatically non-sensicalistic,

Ray

referenceSheet

That Jousting Samurai Chicken Squashing Deathmatch Game

Good news everyone!

-Prof. Farnsworth.

Hey again, good folks!

Now I know it’s been a long time since our last update, but truth be told, we’ve had a busy time of it. But that’s not what this post is about. See, these past couple of months, some things happened and a couple of us pixels had to get full time work. I went off to Animal Logic to render wrangle and Ben is off doing a gig at Gamelabs. This doesn’t mean we’ve stopped development. Things still went on, and we kept it moving on. In fact, one of the many things that happened is the Game Dev Update project. This started off a weekly tweet between national studios:  Bifrost Studios, Voxel Agents, Convict Interactive and us. It later turned to a much bigger thing and is now a live website which you can visit and see and all. You can also read our first post there, which happens to detail some of what went on these past couple of months. Some of which was the development of Dwarven Chicken Chicken Knights (DCK).

Now, ever since the changes (read our post in gamedevupdate.com), things were working differently. There was a time where some of us were worried. But it still working. We’re still working. These past few months we’ve still been at it, defining the design doc for DCK, getting closer to a complete art standard and defining the flow of the game. Grug and Vivi really put in some great efforts. As well as doing art concepts, they’ve also been doing some R&D on Playmaker, a node/flowchart-based visual programming plugin for Unity 3D. Vivi worked on title screens, gui interaction, usabilty, while Grug worked on character controls, score systems and getting a bridge to work between Playmaker and good old fashoned scripting. Things worked out so well, these guys were able to rebuild DCK using this system, on a couple of days or so. So quick, we made it in time for Bits & Pieces.

Laptop packed, iPhones charged, Keyboard kindly borrowed – Vivi and I returned to Bits & Pieces. We’d previously hadn’t gone to these events because we were almost always busy, but we thought, make an appearance. Show the world we haven’t slinked away. Is that a word? Slinked? Anyway, besides that, it was also kind of a farewell to Epona, who’d been a large part of our driving force that got us down a good path.

We set it up. We talked it off. We showed it off. And it was apparently well received, to our relief. See, we not only re-built the game in 3d, we also did a few things to its gameplay. Little things mind you, but people noticed. We also got some great feedback and ideas from the crowd. Also showed off, was Vivi’s little iPhone game codenamed “Fire and Ice”. This was the by-product of learning Playmaker which in turn, helped out much of what’s inside DCK. Grug, too had a hover craft game, but alas, could not make it that night.

Several other game developers were there showing off their work too. A lot we were quite familiar with. We played, we mingled and we discussed. The night’s topic was “What’s next?”. This was much in line with Epona leaving our shores for another adventure. This also brought up a few topics like what would be next for the indie game scene? What’s next step for the companies? Yug Blomberg brought up a very interesting point of wanting to see more of us using marketing channels and methods. Its all very well and good to develop and make these fun games. We also need to be able to push it out the door and show it off to the world. So that was a great point. We also spoke briefly with Dan Toose. Well Vivi spoke with him. I nodded and laughed and nodded some more. You see, as well as taking in all the events of that night, I was also in a group huddle with a former editor of Hyper Magazine, an Australian video game magazine published monthly – and an almost compulsory reading material of mine, back in the day. We talked about the movement of Free to Play and the views of the Developer against the views of the Audience. A topic, in itself, which merits a whole sectioned article written by a scholar greater than I. So I wont be writing that up. Not yet anyways. I am in dire need of some grandline-sized sleep.

Oh, and whats next for us? Keep checking in with us and find out. Good things, coming everyone’s way – but for now, enjoy some photos from the night.

Yours Quite heavily, because I need to work out,

-Ray

Camera 360

Here’s to a New Site, a New Pixel & a New Start…

July 6. A lot has been going on at the Couch Pixels office lately. Big decisions have been made, plans have been laid, and wheels have been set in motion…

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