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 […]

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 4 – getting into the swing

I would say “this is Anya, as usual”, but it’s not, it’s Richard. So why me all of a sudden? Well, Anya is a bit busy doing nice new level art and I’m not so busy (makes a change).   So, that week went quick. It started with great ambition and it went pretty well even though we all took Wednesday off. This was the week we wanted to concentrate on getting more of a game feel to what’s going on. I have to say, it’s feeling so much more like a game, which is a good thing seeing as it’s, well, a game. Will started off the week working on a new animation controller and tightening up a load of the systems. Big improvement. All nice and Unity-friendly, it slots into all the levels we’ve built. Moving on he got bots attacking the player correctly and gave them some particle weapons. For anyone that knows Will, they know he has a slight passion for particles. The bots now fall apart in nice physically controlled bundles when destroyed as well, which looks jolly nice. Oh, lots of odds and sods as well that go along with Unity development as well. He also […]

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 […]

#ScreenshotSaturday is #Stressful!

Anya Oct 19, 2013 Blog, MagNets 0 Comments
Hi guys, Anya and Will here! As you may know, we’ve begun work on our crazy robot-capturing console game, MagNets! The reasons for which will become clear soon, when we can tell you about it… Anyway, because we’ve not been good at devblogging so far, Richard set us the task of taking some screenshots this week, and sharing them on Twitter via the wonders of #ScreenshotSaturday… here they are for the blog: What we’ve got: one first-pass player character rigged but stuck in T pose, some placeholder level pieces, some functioning switches, some dreadful UI, some cool particles because Will loves sparklies, and a fair amount of code and project planning work done. We very nearly didn’t post these screenshots, because MagNets is so early that it’s just a big ol’ mess and we couldn’t stop trying to tweak it so it looked… well, finished. But a) this is clearly stupid, and b) we’d been told to by the boss, so we managed! Hopefully we’ll have another set next week to show our progress… and Will has promised to do a dev digest! Well, mumbled that he might..

A little update

Anya Oct 09, 2013 Blog 0 Comments
Hi all, Anya as usual… as TM prepares for upcoming adventures, and before I post a blog of more substance, I thought I would put up some art in preparation for setting all in its rightful place at the MagNets project page, and also test out the sharing of Photoshop custom shapes! I have a lot more if people are interested in that sort of stuff. So, some character doodles in Illustrator for MagNets achievements: And now some free stuff (click to download):
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