Week 17 – Pictures from #IGCCGD, EXCITING News, and the oldies go to Rezzed.

Anya Mar 28, 2014 Blog 0 Comments
So, that was the quickest week ever… I suspect some sort of temporal event. Or UNBELIEVABLE EXCITEMENT, maybe. What have we done this week? Feverishly tried to make the game fun and presentable, mostly… although I (Anya) have been focused on making other presentable things. Partly I refer to press packs and image uploads and edits to the website. The site constantly seems to sprout typos that I swear weren’t there before. We also took some photos on Plymouth Hoe for our headshots! Here are some of the outtakes (if you didn’t see them on Facebook): It seemed like a good time to do all this as we have entered the beginning of The Press Phase. This week we released our first officially official MagNets Press Release, which tells you all about how super we are and also about our funding. But the other presentables I have been creating are fliers and stickers and such for the SUPER EXCITING event we will be going to on the 7th April… The Gadget Show Live! We’ve secured a space on the indie zone, one of only eight! We have ordered foam bananas and stickers to lure people in, and we will have […]

PRESS RELEASE: Total Monkery secure Creative England GamesLab grant

26 March 2014. Plymouth, UK. Up-and-coming indie developer Total Monkery has secured a Creative England GamesLab grant to support development of its original puzzle action game MagNets, due for release on PC, Mac and console (platforms to be confirmed) in August 2014. MagNets sees players take control of a Polarity Park Ranger, tasked with following the usually-routine robot maintenance schedule assigned by the city’s Master Analysis and Organisation Robot (MAyOR). But all is not well in Polarity City. Why are the Bloxbots malfunctioning? Why is the park so quiet? What’s happened to all the Magnetpets? Deploy MagNets to scoop up and short circuit misbehaving Bloxbots and work out what’s going wrong in the formerly peaceful, but thoroughly non-organic, city as your Ranger clears its way across a host of fun and challenging environments. Development on the game is well under way at Total Monkery and the team are combining charming character design with inventive and engaging gameplay mechanics as they work towards releasing the game’s first full demo in March. The Creative England funding will continue to support the family-run studio’s original IP-focussed plans for 2014 and also follows its recent move to larger premises as part of the Formation […]

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 14 – Stuff Overload

The sun is shining, the rain has stopped (just), we’ve seen people out in shorts even though it’s 5 degrees outside…. winter must surely be over. Which is of no odds to us as we’re inside in the warm, drinking tea, making levels and generally doing gamey stuff. It’s been some week, though! Monday was review day. We try and be professional here(!) and so every few months we take a day or two out and see where we are personally, and also where the project is. I could see the fear in Will and Anya’s face as I told them they had a “one to one” with the boss i.e. me. They had nothing to fear though, as they’re both been doing a really great job. It also seems they think I’m doing a good job as well. Which is nice and I’m sure nothing to do with the fear of being sacked. So with the personal reviews over, we moved onto the code and art review and that was both constructive and fun. The big problem when you make games is that you keep putting things in, quite often without being sure where they should go. And as time […]

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 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 […]