MagNets Dev, Week 16: While the boss is away…

Hello all! Our boss is away today talking at a super-exciting conference. I’m of course referring to the Indie Games Collective Conference for Game Developers! Richard was due on at 4.30 to talk about what being indie means in 2014, so I expect we’ll hear how it went very soon. I dunno about him, but I’ve had butterflies all day. Be sure to say hello to him if you see him! Not much heavy lifting done this week, all refining and fixing and fiddling. Made our mess of a title screen a bit better, so that’s good! Most of my week, to be honest, has been devoted to making a video trailer for MagNets, to go with an upcoming SUPER PRESS MISSION. What with press coverage of the other conference that’s on at the moment, though, that will have to wait until we won’t get lost. The game is really starting to feel more like a game… it’s exciting! Can’t wait to show it off, although that prospect also fills me with anxiety and dread. Creating stuff is terrifying/awesome, yes?  

MagNets Dev Diary, Week Fifteen – Milestones, podcasts and events.

Anya Mar 14, 2014 Blog 0 Comments
Where’d Week 14 go? Well, on Friday Will and I were too busy taking a day off, which we used to get some much-neglected housework done, and Richard had a day off during which he… felt really ill. I’d like to say we feel rested, but I don’t think we’ve got the hang of holidays… The reason we all had a short week last week is because it was a Milestone Week. A milestone week, you say? Well, as will be announced in our upcoming press release(!), we secured a Creative England GamesLab grant to fund development of MagNets, and Thursday was the day where we had to show off our first three months’ work. Deadlines are scary and good at the same time; nothing like a bit of stress to sharpen development! All went well… so what now? Work so far has been primarily focussed on bringing a single zone (that is, four levels) up to a certain quality. But now we are starting on the Rest Of The Game! Which is great, actually, as it gives us a whole bunch of very different tasks that we can switch between to keep us from feeling too bored and drained. Our next […]

MagNets Dev Diary, Week 13… love, love, love…

Anya Feb 14, 2014 Blog 0 Comments
Ahhh, Valentine’s, that most divisive, contentious and embittering of holidays. Here at Total Monkery, only one form of love is allowed… a love for doing lots of work! This week has been much the same as last week, trying to pretty everything up and hook everything to everything else and generally work towards the ultimate goal of a super-shiny demo in March. Not long, then! As with last week, the motto is still ‘less is more’, with some levels becoming a little unwieldy and ridiculous and needing a cold, cruel pruning. It’s also been ‘do all the things’, which makes it very difficult to write this blog without going into unnecessary and potentially boring detail (fix this, tweak that, bug hunt, fix that, forget something, curse, fix again, repeat until game is done). Our most interesting developments include: As you can see, I have put in some clues as to what the heck is actually going on here in our Loading Bay level, and what your purpose is. More to follow. Manufacture has been the level about which all the ‘less is more’ discussion has been focused upon this week. It’s mahussive. Has a nice transparent observation deck, though. Our […]

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…
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