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 […]

ElemenTales – progress report

So, what is happening in the Total Monkery office? We have been massively busy since we started on our Microsoft GreenShoots supported project, not least because we have also been doing some very exciting client work (all very hush hush for the minute). Progress on ElemenTales has been pretty rapid, which is a good thing with just over 2 months to go until release. The team have been enjoying the new challenge of developing a tile-based game aimed initially at the mobile market. Not quite the poly count and memory they have been used to. Apparently the landscape uses no textures. It’s all magic to me. Here are some updated images of the levels. They give you an idea of the gameplay arena but are a long way from final quality and won’t be polished until the last couple of weeks of development, which I think Frederic (artist) is finding unbearable. I personally am loving the style, polished or not.                                               We should have a first trailer available in the next couple of weeks. Everyone is very excited about the prospect […]

Tips and tricks: A handy Unity trick for detecting when scene changes in the Editor

We really needed to have some code run as soon as a new scene was loaded in the editor. We’re making a 3D tile-based game and we calculate most of the data associated with them automatically from the GameObjects layout (such as the navigation links between them and debug display information). This is great as changing anything in the editor recalculates it, so we always know our data is good. However, we need to have that step of “Reclaculate Dynamic Stuff”. We use custom editor components to handle a lot of this, but again they don’t have any nice “scene loaded entry point”. We needed a solution. So here’s the trick. Firstly you need to have an update function that is called all the time the editor is active. This is done by patching into EditorApplication.update. The easiest way to do this is using the very useful InitialiseOnLoad system that Unity provides. Here’s an example: [InitializeOnLoad] public class EditorCallBack { static EditorCallBack () { EditorApplication.update += Update; } static void Update () { } } When Unity starts up or you click play, Unity will hook into the update callback so you get a nice way to run things every frame. […]

Week 18 – Where’s my Gadget Show demo and who’s this new geezer?

The clocks have gone forward, the weather is getting nicer and everyone is out enjoying the sunshine. Well, everyone but us. It’s all good though, as we’re knee deep in code and art and it’s for a good cause, as we have a stand at the Gadget Show Live… in case you hadn’t heard! Demo is coming along nicely, levels have been polished, single player challenge and multi-player have been started and other levels are starting to progress. As a nice boss I decided I really didn’t want to get people to work overtime on the demo, so we’ve done what we can in the time and no-one is feeling burnt out or anything (although Anya is working with a nasty cold). We need everyone in top form as we’ll be manning the stands for six days next week. Comfy shoes have been bought and certain members of staff have been eyeing up collapsible stools (of the sitting variety of course). However, something strange happened this week…. we got 1/4 bigger. Not by eating too many burgers, but by gaining a staff member! Our new Artist, Frederic, started on Tuesday and he’s jolly good. He’s got stuck into Unity, knocking up some level ideas […]

MagNets Dev Diary, Week 12 – WIll it ever stop raining

Richard here, on a Saturday, working. It’s not right, but sometimes it has to be done. Frankly though, with all this weather we’re better off in the office (first floor) than at home. So, what a week! Where did it all go? Development, that’s where it went. Oh, and the usual extra activities you always forget about (management stuff, catching up with people, design work etc.). We had this plan ages ago that we should spend at least a few months on cloning research. Ok, it would use up a few months, but think of all the extra work you could get the “clonies” to do (I think that’s the technical term for them.) So, the game progresses (which is good as regressing is something we avoid). This week the main thing (I suppose) is that we all moved over to Unity Pro*. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you have minions whose lives revolve around shiny effects and how well our code is performing, it’s a real big deal. To this end we have two new things: 1. More shiny. Mostly in the form of subtle glow (or sometimes not so subtle) and the ability to start […]

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 10 – settling in

Richard here. Why not Anya? Well she’s a tad busy with sorting out the final level to our internal demo. We are aiming for a playable demo release in March, but this is our own one for personal consumption. So, what’s been going on? Well, settling into the new office, for one thing. We were not expecting to get a lot done this week, what with all the moving and setting-up of equipment (and the wandering around the University campus finding all the new places to eat). But in fact, we’ve got loads done. Anya has been doing many a varied thing this week; making logos for the new office, playing with decals, researching and sourcing animations for our main character, making progress on our first boss (the factory cat) and updating the boss level. She’s also made her fair share of tea, which for me was a high point. Will has been updating the Recycletron with added particles (something he has a passion for), adding more gameplay progression to the levels, doing concept work for the boss level, cleaning up all the level hierarchy (we must have order!), updating the player with Anya’s new animations, adding pickups and generally […]

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 7 – poorlies…

Wait a minute…week 7? What happened to week 6? Illness is what happened, annoying bed-inhabiting nastiness. It struck us down good and proper. We could have rallied back and posted again when we were better, but we thought we’d do better getting on with actual work, and that’s really paid off this week. So, progress and lots of it. You see, the few weeks before have been problematic. Being a home-based office can have it’s drawbacks and one of those is when you decide you want your bathroom and kitchen replaced. Luckily we had another bathroom, so we didn’t have to hold it in for the duration, but the general building work has been slowing us down. We were not a fully productive bunch and we could feel things slowing down. But this week it all came to an end and normality has once again reared it’s beautiful fizzog (that’s face to any non westcountry people). With the aid of Mr Dan Stubbs (ace collaborator) we have made good progress on how to build levels effectively. It’s all well and good having these nice game development tools, but they are but a blunt instrument when not used with the correct […]