Late Night Shop, and more!

Hi everyone! It’s been a while. I hardly know where to start! Some of you will have seen our newest project, Late Night Shop. Though this is the first we’ve mentioned it on the blog, you’ll find plenty of references it on our Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Vine, and we’ve got a nice new website for it too: It’s a bit bare bones for the minute. What can I say about it? As fellow Plymouth champion developer Viki pointed out, it’s a game of Grandmother’s footsteps… with terrifying shop mannequins. It initially started out as a side project between Frederic and Luke, but they decided, after ElemenTales, to bring it to the team to develop as a Total Monkery game. Which is awesome, because we all already thought it was cool. And it is very cool: That soundtrack was written for the game by @DamionSheppard, by the way, and I CANNOT EXPRESS how much I adore it. It presses so many of my favourite musical buttons. Most Whovians (or lapsed Whovians, like me) will immediately think of the Weeping Angels, but Frederic is a heretic and hasn’t seen any, so cites the inspiration in part to be this (WARNING: dark, gory) short film: Also, standing in Primark […]

MagNets Dev Diary, Week 11 – Happy Chinese New Year!

Anya Jan 31, 2014 Blog 0 Comments dev, MagNets
Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! This week has been sadly hampered by more nasty bugs, but we’re still slogging along and getting closer to the completion of our internal demo. From there we expect to have a more shiny, beautiful and worthwhile demo in March… at which point we will be showing people! Terrifying… Work this week, then, has been in bits and pieces all over the shop, adding odds and ends and fixing problems and hooking up code and filling in blank textures and tweaking, tweaking, tweaking. Consequently, nothing looks much different, but too much has changed to list it all. So I shall keep it short this week, and finish with pictures of our four focus levels:  

MagNets Dev Diary, Week 9 – a new office!

Anya here! Most exciting news first: Total Monkery is moving into a new office! It is in the Roland Levinsky building, which Plymouthians will know as the shiny, weirdly-windowed University building in the centre of town. It’s an awesome space being offered by the Formation Zone, a very cool project to support budding businesses. Some of you may know it as the previous offices of fellow Plymouth games company of excellent repute, Mutant Labs. 😉 From January 2014 there is also the chance for local game devs to access FZ space and services low-cost as part of a research project: definitely worth heading to the next ExPlay meeting for more info! In dev land, we’ve had some fresh input from Phil, in the form of cute final boss concepts, which I am reluctant to show you because of spoilers, and also: a new player design. Cute as the previous design was, it wasn’t as bot-y as we’d like, and had some problems vis-a-vis giant heads and top-down games. So, here is Phil’s art: And here is a very quick-and-dirty render of the new model in Blender, with a decidedly low-detail texture for the moment: So many round things! I think his deelyboppers might slowly […]

MagNets Dev Diary, Week 8 – Christmas is over, hooray!

Aaaand we’re back! And thank goodness, because we missed it. Sadly,half the TM team have been very ill over Christmas (Anya and Will) with Andrea and Richard nursing a cold or two themselves. And with the merry chaos of Christmas all around, the holiday has been kind of exhausting! But now we’re back, hooray, and at the end of the first full week of 2014. We have definitely made up for the slow end of 2013 this week. Things that felt like they were taking forever are getting much quicker, and will be getting quicker still… all the known-unknowns, investigations and deliberations are done with, and it’s just a case of make, make, make! So what have we done? Anya: This week, I have been focusing on the blocking out and fleshing out of levels for the demo, as well as lots of clean-up and asset inventory. Collaborator Dan has been a great help, creating plenty of assets to speed up the assembly of levels. We’re getting much clearer and firmer on workflow now, and we’ll probably have our full complement of levels mocked up pretty quick. But we’re focusing on bringing four up to final quality this month or […]

MagNets Dev Diary, week 5 – Pre-Christmas chaos…

I am back, says Anya! Although a bit late for last week’s devblog. Last week was another slightly disrupted one, with Will and I taking a Christmas Shopping Holiday and the builders in the kitchen. But we had fun nevertheless, as we took this week to step away from our monitors and put our level design hats on. I think we’re all inclined to get hung up on designing, as we collectively design our games but none of us are designers first. I, for one, have little internal power-struggles between my producer-self, artist-selves and designer-self, with art, tech and workflow concerns (and the desire to stay at the computer with my headphones on) always winning out over the voice that says AND WE SHOULD HAVE LASER ROBOT SHARKS IN THIS CORNER AND A GIANT CRUSHY THING OVER THERE AND OMG THAT WOULD BE SO COOL IF… This job has been massively helped by having the pleasure of our multi-talented indie dev friend Dan Stubbs, who has an excellent eye and tons of enthusiasm. It is very, very good to get someone to look over our progress, especially at the moment when we’ve got miles to go before we finish and […]

MagNets Dev Diary, Week 3 – Good progress!

Anya, as usual, here slightly later in the week bring you week 3 of dev. The title on our goal board this week was Gameplay. Like so: Our goal was to make one level that you could play through to success (or terrible shaming failure), so that we can make some systems, highlight many issues/questions/fun problems to solve, experiment with workflow and generally just try and make some visible progress so we feel warm inside. Obviously, over the next six and a half months, said level may be completely transformed, reworked or just plain thrown out… in fact, I’d say it’s fairly likely. Here’s how we did, according to the board: 1. “Basic gameplay elements in 1 level” – done. Because I was careful not to be too specific about how many, or any nonsense like that. Although what we have is: three different spawners that spawn, with activate and deactivate anims, conveyor belts that move things, forcefields, blowy fans that blow things, acid pits, destructible and the Recycletron (although the last three were mostly last week)…. and some currently non-working elements like an electromagnet, robot arms (although they do have an idle animation), nano-assembly machines, and bits to spawn […]

MagNets Dev Diary, Week Two! Alrready!

Welcome to our dev diary, week two: trying out Unity Pro! I know, I know, we’ve been developing for more than a year now and we’ve only just got Pro, but no-one likes to spend money in substantial amounts when you have a free version that works fine. However, we all concluded this week that waiting was crazy. Waiting before installing Unity 4.3, however, might have been wise… it’s been a bit crash-tastic. As expected, what with Pro and Unity 4.3 hitting us all in one go, we’ve been mostly experimenting this week and there’s not much in the way of gameplay progress going on. Here’s some of what we’ve been doing: Navmesh: Here you can see some ghostly-looking bots pathfinding in a slightly more sensible fashion. I find this a step in the wrong direction, really, as the way they moved before had unintended consequences that were both adorable and hilarious. Will’s thoughts: navmesh, woo! Now we just need to figure out how to make it dynamic… Full screen effects: We all have a terrible collective weakness for sparklies and shinies, but no-one as much as Will, whose taste is somewhat seventies… which is why we have things like this: In […]

MagNets Dev Diary, Week One – The Official Start

Hi all! Anya here to declare that it is WEEK ONE of MagNets development! This is a fairly arbitrary declaration, of course, as we’ve been prepping for a few weeks now and have had it on the project list for a year or so… but sometimes you need these things. In honour of the occasion, and because we’re hoping to make one of these regularly to keep us on track, here’s a little video of our progress: It’s recorded from the Unity editor because we love it so much and like to advertise, not because it was slightly easier than doing a build and navigating the current UI and I wanted to go home… honest. The twirly background on the title screen is a fun demo effect our Glorious Leader Richard was playing with when we got in this morning. And next week? Unity Pro! It’s taken us a while, I know…

Devdevdev, funfunfun.

Hi there! Anya here… I’m forcing myself to write today despite the oppressive discomfort of STILL NOT BEING ABLE TO TELL YOU THINGS! However… we are in happy days with regards toMagNets: these few weeks have been mostly pre-production exploring, trying to set ourselves up well and work on a bit of everything that we consider an unknown or high-risk element to the project. This mostly involves: cleaning up, expanding and reorganising the MagNets Unity project (previously a rapid-protoype); rigging our main guy and figuring out Mecanim; getting a couple different camera and character controllers going so we can play/test/develop with them; getting a few switches and levers and more obvious gameplay elements up and running (and then Will teaching me how to hook them up); renaming things to more sensible things while we still have only a few assets to deal with; watching all the tutorial videos we’ve been putting off while we didn’t have the time; and generally nailing down our pipelines and workflow. Ooh, I love those sexy words. Will even made me little cyan lines that draws between switches and their relevant entities in the editor window, which is fun because it was one of those […]

Fun in Brizzle!

So, the TM roadtrip is over, and we can go home and back to work! Roadtrip, you say… we didn’t even know about a roadtrip! Well, that is in part why we were up in Bristol in the first place… to talk PR. Total Monkery is a family business, and as such our commitment to our cause has a certain familial ferociousness. Unfortunately, we are also a bit insular, and a tiny bit rubbish at promoting our unspeakable awesomeness. Enter Natalie of Press Space, our new guru, keeping us on the social media straight and narrow! We’ll be receiving a report from our PR audit soon, at which point we will unveil our Plan for World Domination! Some of this plan will involve a) better explaining our goals and what we’re about, b) explaining exactly what we have been doing for the past year and c) expunging all the hopelessly ambiguous ‘TBA’s from our game concept catalogue. So watch this space. The other reason we were in Bristol is money, but in the interests of mystery and suspense I won’t talk about that until we know the news. But I will say, good luck to everyone! Especially Plymothians… up the […]