v0.3.9: More Level Editor Improvements and Content

Although I was able to spend a day and a half working on the new "blood, guts, gibs and gore update," priority bug fixes ended up taking over most of my week.  The gore update is coming along well, but won't be finished until about Feb 3rd.  I want to do it right and live up to expectations here.  In the meantime, I've added several new things to the editor.

Build your own happy communities to host Guts and Glory games

Residential Suburban Buildings

You can now add suburban residential houses, garages and even a chapel to your custom levels!  You'll find these under the new Buildings category, in the Level Editor.

I received lots of requests to add more props and pre-made content to the Level Editor.  This takes a little bit longer than you might think, because I have to make sure each asset that is added is optimized and carefully calculate the "complexity cost" for each, since I have no idea how they will be used or abused in level creation.  Since they are new items, I erred on the higher side for now, and can probably lower the cost of adding each item in a future update.

Eventually I'll be adding some runtime optimization features that combine meshes, materials, etc. to dramatically improve level performance and allow for bigger, more complex creations.  Until then, I'm purposely keeping level complexity limits somewhat limited to ensure Community Tracks run well on everyone's machines.

Spruce up your levels with some Spruce trees!  ... err... Douglas Fir trees

Trees

I also added a new Nature category to the editor.  For now, it's just a basic set of Trees to spruce up your levels, but I'll be adding much more to this over time.  

As you add trees, they'll automatically grow/shrink at random to give things a more natural feel.  You can still resize and rotate them yourself, of course, but this feature just makes things a little faster and easier by default.

Trees also adapt to Terrain changes, so you can place them once and forget about them.  Paint your mountains and hills, and the trees will automagically adjust themselves accordingly.

Calculating complexity costs for these is trickier, because the Unity engine has its own way of handling and optimizing trees that I haven't figured out how to utilize yet.  So for now, trees are kind of expensive to place.  You can use them for props and sprucing up levels, but probably not to build a big forest... yet.

Terrain Physics

Terrain friction physics and effects now work for Community Tracks.  This means each texture type behaves like it should.  Mud is slippery and flings mud off your tires, dusty trails have lower traction, rock textures have high traction, etc.  More terrain texture types will be added in future updates.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Added several new keyboard shortcuts to the Object Mode in the Level Editor.  This really helps speed up level creation, and makes the process more enjoyable in general.  I tried to offer multiple layouts for this, to appeal to different preferences.

Terrain editing shortcuts will be added later.

Level Editor Improvements

I also did a lot of other improvements to the Level Editor and Workshop integrations.

  • Workshop Level Names are now separate from local file names.
  • Level Names can now be any ASCII characters
  • Level Descriptions limit changed from 128 to 2000 characters
  • Camera controls much more smooth and consistent
  • Camera re-positions itself to where you left off when entering QuickPlay Mode.
Now you can build a detailed map once and use it for multiple tracks!

Now you can build a detailed map once and use it for multiple tracks!

Upload as New

I also added an "Upload as New" button.  This is very useful if you want to build a detailed level once, and then use that map to host several different Tracks, similar to what I do with the Official Tracks.  This way you can create challenges of increasing difficulty, or even tell a story.  

For example, you could create a detailed environment called "Haunted Woods."  Then build several tracks using that level as your base:  "Haunted Woods #1", "Haunted Woods #2" etc.  Each level could be harder than the last and tell a tale about this haunted woods environment you created.

As the Level Editor gets more optimized, level sizes can get bigger and more detailed.

Community Tracks keeping getting better and better :D

Workshop Overlay

I added a Workshop button to the Community Tracks menu.  This opens the Steam Overlay directly to the G&G Workshop.  You can now search and subscribe to new workshop levels while in-game!  No more need to go to an external web browser and then return to the game.

Bug Fixes

Thanks to help from beta testers, we rounded up a ton of bugs and killed 'em!  The boss bug, if you will, was one that caused a user's Workshop levels to be overwritten by new uploads if you happened to do things in a certain order.  Another big one was levels being "broken" if the user changed the level name after upload.  To fix this, I had to re-write much of the Workshop file management system.  Boring stuff, but now the big bugs are fixed and everyone's levels should work as expected.

Full list of bug fixes is below.

v0.3.9.1
Checkpoint # now shows via ToolTip when mouse cursor is hovered over any Checkpoint, for easier checkpoint management.
Terrain friction physics and FX now work in Community Tracks (ie- mud behaves like mud, dry dirt is dusty, etc.)
Community Track Names can now be any ASCII characters.  32 character limit.  (Local save file names have same context restrictions though.)
Community Track Descriptions extended from 128 to 2000 characters; first 128 characters will be shown on in-game button list; full description shown on Workshop page.
Replaced "break link" with "Upload as New" button.  Allows multiple Tracks to be uploaded using the same base level file.
Added a Workshop Button to the Community Tracks Menu.  Brings you directly to the Workshop via Steam's overlay.
Added a Workshop hardlink URL to the bottom of the Community Tracks Menu too, for external browsing.
Added confirmation pop-up when user clicks "New" or "Main Menu" buttons and there has been any possible un-saved changes.
Level Editor: camera controls are now smooth and consistent; much easier to navigate scenes.
Level Editor: camera now resets to same position and rotation as it was before entering QuickPlay mode.
Level Editor: NEW Object Category: Buildings: Residential Suburban:  Houses, Garages, and Special
Level Editor: NEW Object Category: Nature: Trees.  With 3 tree objects.  (Set Complexity Cost fairly high until it's been tested and optimized further.)
20% boost refilled to Boost Meter when player respawns.  (Set to 30% full if < 25% when player hits checkpoint.)

v0.3.9.0
Fixed bug that caused Community Tracks to not load in Play Mode if the item Name was changed in the Workshop after upload.
Fixed bug that sometimes caused Workshop link at bottom of Level Tab to show incorrect name.  (However, these will not match if you change level name after upload.)
Fixed bug causing Workshop Upload Success Message to sometimes not appear after a successful upload.
Fixed bug causing Steam Overlay to sometimes show improperly/freeze on low-end machines.
Fixed bug causing Character Selection Menu to show after every respawn on some tracks.
Fixed bug causing limbs to sometimes not dismember when they should and cleared connected audio playback error.
Fixed bug causing "Personal Best Time" to not save correctly / show correctly on selection menu after changing file names.  (This may erase old saved times, but I did my best to preserve them.)
Fixed bug causing Earl to randomly eject from his seat when climbing steep angles.
Improved Workshop file system for better reliability and speed.
Minor GUI improvements.
Level Editor: Object Mode: New keyboard shortcuts:
    Delete: Backspace, or Delete
    Select: 1 or V key
    Move: 2 or Space key
    Rotate: 3 or R key
    Scale: 4 or X key

v0.3.8: Physics Materials and Level Editor Improvements

Today I'm uploading the first update to Guts and Glory on Steam.  Man, that feels good to say!  This update brings a host of new features and bug fixes to the Level Editor.

Beta Branch (IMPORTANT)

Going forward, if you want to access the very latest build of the game, you'll need to opt-in to the Beta branch on Steam.  It's super easy to do.  Just go to your Steam Library, right-click Guts and Glory, then go to Properties and select the Beta tab.  Detailed instructions here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=182912431

If you wish to wait until updates have been tested more before installing then don't do anything.  You'll receive updates automatically about a week or two after they've been battle tested by others.

Physics Materials

All Building Blocks and Physics Blocks now have a Materials option in the Level Editor.  Each Material will change the texture, mass, drag, and other physics properties of your Block.  Turn a Block into Metal and it be behave like a heavy hunk of metal.  Turn it into Rubber and watch it bounce across the screen.  Turn it into Foam and it will be light and fluffy.  Making a Block larger or smaller will also change its physics behavior.  The goal here is to create something similar to Little Big Planet's materials system.

Materials also affect wheel traction on vehicles.  Plastic is a little slippery, and "Grippy" material behaves like grip tape on a skateboard.  Each has its own nuances.  Audio and particle effects will be added later.

Now you can make giant metal rolling balls of death, falling stone spikes, foam pits or a ton of other creative stuff.

More Materials will be added in future updates.  I just have to figure out a more efficient system of adding them first--currently I have to update each Block manually.

Snap-to-grid mode is brand new and just a little buggy

Grid Snapping

I got several requests for this feature.  You can now turn global grid snapping on/off in the Level Editor by pressing the Grid Snapping button in the top ToolBar.  This will shift any item you're editing to the closest 0.5 meter increment, making it a lot easier to line-up objects or fine tune your tracks.

This currently only works with the Move tool.  Rotation, and maybe scaling, to be added later.

Checkpoint Manager: those little colorful circles in the lower left corner

Checkpoint Manager

The Level Editor now has a Checkpoint Manager in the lower left corner of the screen.  As you add/remove Checkpoints, this will show you how many you have on the map.

Click any of the Checkpoints to make it your temporary Respawn Point.  Next time you press the Quick Play button, you'll automatically start from that Checkpoint instead.  This will make play-testing your levels much faster and easier.  (Shoutout to Kr4zy Z4ch for the recommendation.)

The Checkpoint Manager also ensures there are no missing Checkpoints before the level can be uploaded to the Workshop.

Hazard Glitches

Saw Mills, Hanging Hooks, and Wrecking Balls are now static during level editing, for easier handling.  The ropes no longer spazz out if they pass through other objects during editing, and saws don't break apart.  In general, moving objects around is much less glitchy.

Landmines

Landmine bugs should be fixed now.  There was an issue causing them to sometimes spontaneously explode for no reason the first time you enter a Community Track.  

Another bug caused them to sometimes fall through objects during editing.  To fix this, landmines are now static during editing, so you can manipulate them just like Blocks.

Landmine textures have been changed to bright yellow and red.  They were way too hard to see on grassy maps.  They still only have a red glowing light in the dark though.

Landmines now have a Sleep mode.  Yes, this means you can put them on walls, ceilings, or suspended in the air.

GUI Improvements & Death Bugs

There is now a "Next Track" button for Official Tracks.  I ran into issues with adding this for Community Tracks, so that will have to wait until another time.

Bugs such as the play mode HUD ("Ready? Go!") getting stuck on screen, disappearing buttons, and stretching for some aspect rations should now be fixed.  Also, animations have been removed from file menus in the Level Editor to speed things up.

There was also a bug that sometimes caused the game to think the player was dead after a respawn.  This should be fixed now as well.

Falling into infinity is no more!  Going off the map will auto-respawn your character now.

More Materials will be added in future updates... any requests?

Other Improvements

Thanks to your feedback I was able to track down and stomp out several bugs and make other improvements.  Finish Point flags should stay up better, some difficulty curves have been improved, fences are stronger, skids marks work slightly better, and headlights now automatically turn on at night.

Change Log

Going forward I will also start posting my development change logs, for those of you that like to see all the details.  (That 4th number is just my internal versioning system.)

v0.3.8.1
Added basic Music & Global Volume control sliders, under Settings Menu.  (Does not save settings to PlayerPrefs.  Temporary solution that will be replaced by more comprehensive Settings and Audio systems.)
Added global grid snapping mode.  On/off button in top toolbar.  (Does not yet work for rotation or scaling.)
Added Materials options to Building & Physics Blocks.
Materials change the Texture, Friction, Mass, and Drag of the Block.  (Audio feature will be added later.)
Scaling Physics Blocks now changes the total Mass of the object (ie- larger physics objects are now heavier and slower than smaller objects).
Materials on Physics Blocks affect Wheel traction, audio, and particle fx.
Reduced ToolTips pop-up time for 0.5s to 0.4s.  (Will later add Settings option to turn on/off, plus Tutorial/vidoes.)



v0.3.8.0
Fixed SawMills glitching/breaking during level editing.
Fixed Wrecking Ball rope glitching/breaking when intersecting other objects during level editing.
Fixed Hanging Hook rope glitching/breaking when intersecting other objects during level editing.
Fixed LandMines exploding unintentionally when starting some levels first time.
SawMills, Wrecking Balls, Hanging Hooks, and LandMines are now static during level editing, for easier handling.
LandMines now have a physics sleep option.
Changed LandMine texture to yellow and red for better visibility.
Slightly reduced odds of floating skid marks; may need to replace with new system in the future.  Low priority.
Improve Finish Point flags so they are less likely to fall over in Community Tracks.
Made fences a little stronger and less likely to knock down other segments.
Headlights now automatically turn on/off by default for night/day.
Falling out of level boundaries automatically respawns at last checkpoint.
Removed pop-up menu animations to speed up workflow in Level Editor.
Reduced difficulty of Whiplash level to improve difficulty curve.
Added "Next Track" button for Official Tracks.
Added an unlock override feature in case someone gets really stuck on an Official Track.  (Hit Next Button in Pause Menu 4x.)
Added "Respawn Selector" GUI in Level Editor.  Quickly see how many checkpoints you have, and easily spawn at any of them for play-testing.
Added system to check for gaps in Checkpoints before they can be uploaded to the Workshop.  Helps to ensure level can actually be completed.

Steam Private Beta

What will YOU create in the new Workshop Level Editor?

After more than 400 hours of game development since the Yang Demo was released, I’m happy to announce that the Guts and Glory private beta is finally ready on Steam! It will begin this Friday, January 6th, at 7:00am MST.

A Steam Key will be posted to your HumbleBundle Download page on this date.  If you lost that link, you can request it again here using the same email address you use for Kickstarter.

This version is open to all Kickstarter Backers of the Golden Prestige Pack and higher levels, and limited Press.  There will also be a few keys given away to HakJak Newsletter subscribers the following week, so sign-up now if you haven’t already!

Currently running on Windows and Mac.  I’ll be working on the Linux build very soon.

Create infinite new challenges!

Level Editor + Steam Workshop

I wanted to get this into your hands as soon as possible, so please understand this is a “bare bones beta.”  It’s as raw as they come.  The primary feature of this version is the brand new Level Editor and Steam Workshop integration.  It’s only the beginning stages of the editor, but is already powerful enough to build some very cool stuff.

Level creation is very easy.  Just hit the “Create” button on the Main Menu to get started.  Hover the mouse cursor over any button to see a Tool Tip explaining how things work.  As you build, you can press the “Quick Play” button at any time to instantly play test.  Once you’re finished, you can upload your level to the Steam Workshop with a single button.

I will be adding more to this very quickly, and I can’t wait to see what you guys create!

Track Groups: each tells a story... well kinda...

Official & Community Tracks

Tracks are now divided into 2 sections: Official Tracks and Community Tracks.

Official Tracks are now placed into Track Groups.  Each group loosely follows the story of a specific character(s) and theme.  Each track the groups is also locked until you complete the one prior.  Don’t worry though—I toned back the difficulty levels on many of them, and revised or replaced others!  Any levels you completed already in the alpha (v0.3.3) should already be unlocked for you, if you’re playing on the same computer.  Not a lot of new content in this section yet, as my focus has been on the Level Editor and community tracks.

Your Personal Best Time is now shown directly on each level button.  Leaderboards will be added later as well.

Community Tracks will show a list of all the levels you have subscribed to on the Steam Workshop, as well as your Personal Best Time for each.  Just hit the “+” or subscribe button on a level in the Workshop.  After you subscribe to new levels, they will be added to this list if you leave it and return, or just hit the Refresh button in the upper left corner.

The new Vehicle Classes legend is shown on the right

Vehicle Classes & Controller Support

Vehicles are now divided into Classes.  This will make it easier to build new content and tracks designed around specific types of vehicles.  You can also set which Vehicle Classes are allowed in tracks you create in the Level Editor.  This is much faster and easier than having a long list of all characters that will be in the game. 

Controller support has also been added to everything except the Level Editor.  So you can finally kick back and play without messing with the mouse!

Play God.  Create and destroy!

Steam Store and Community Pages

I’m in the process of building the Steam Store and Community pages right now.  I should have them done today, and will submit to Valve for approval.  Once approved, you will be able to share screenshots of the game on Steam Communities, see the public Workshop page, add the game to your Favorites for future notifications, share with friends so they can add to their Wishlist, etc.   This process can take up to 5 business days.

Until then, the Steam Workshop page may be a little harder to find.  If you can’t reach it through Steam Search, then just upload a level and it should take you there; the first time you upload a level, it should take you directly there in your Steam overlay.  Just bookmark this page for now, or wait until it is published publicly by Valve in a few days.

Turn up that glorious new music!

Music

Guts and Glory now has an epic, custom theme song created by Ressa Schwarzwald! I think you guys will love it!

I’ve also added several custom and licensed music tracks throughout the game, with much more in the works! They really add a lot to the game and bring the levels to life. I love the irony created by the new music in the Rooftop Hop track and Industrial Power too.  

Music options will be added to the Level Editor soon as well!

Thank you for all your support!!!

Thank you for all your support!!!

Awards

I am also very honored to say that Guts and Glory has received a couple video game awards! It received IndieDB’s “Editor’s Choice” Award and also placed in “Player’s Choice: Best Upcoming”.  

HUGE THANKS to everyone who voted and has supported this project! When the days get long and I get stuck on some really difficult code, seeing your support is a huge motivation.  

A Final Note

I apologize for the long gap of time between last update and this one.  Adding the Level Editor and Workshop integration was one of the biggest challenges so far, and I've just been absorbed in it for the past month or so.  It's mostly been a lot of technical stuff that doesn't offer much "show and tell" for an update.

However, now that this part is complete, it lays the foundation for the game and sets things up for rapid development going forward.  I should now be able to do much more frequent (and fun) updates, and I look forward to your feedback to help shape things to come!

Level Editor Early Preview

The past couple weeks I've been hard at work implementing the new Level Editor for Guts and Glory, and I'm happy to say it's coming along great!  While there is still much work to do, I wanted to give you guys a quick update on the progress so far.  Check out the video above for a timelapse preview of the level editor in action.

The goal here is to make building levels as easy and fast as possible, while providing for lots of flexibility and power to create anything you want.  The Level Editor is really the heart and soul of this project, so a lot of attention will be dedicated to developing it further over time.

Quickly set a checkpoint to save or not.  This creates respawn points.

Currently, it has the following features:

  • Terrain creation, editing and painting.  Make mountains, hills and valleys with ease--or just a bumpy motocross track.  Create plateaus, smooth the terrain, and paint grasses, dirt, mud, etc.
  • Assorted building blocks to create any architecture you want.
  • Assorted physics blocks to create all sorts of interesting physics sandbox scenarios. Even put them to "sleep" so they don't activate until you touch them.
  • Textures that change dynamically to object sizes (like Little Big Planet) so everything looks good no matter how big or small you make them.
  • Easy color changes
  • Lots of Hazards and Special Items you can drag and drop into levels with ease, then tweak settings.  For a good example of this, see the MegaFan in the video above.
  • Easy Waypoint management.  Drag and drop waypoints onto any surface and easily mark if they are saving checkpoints or just regular waypoints.
  • Fast test plays and editing.  Jump into the track with the push of a button, play test it, then back to the editor just as easily to finish.

Next up I will be adding dynamic Materials, similar to Little Big Planet.  This means you can turn basic blocks into bricks, metal, foam, ice, etc. and it will behave like that material should.  I also plan on doing the same for the terrain, so dusty trails, mud, ice, etc. behave like they should.  This should round out the basics of the level editor and make it ready for the Beta.

The Challenges

Adding a level editor to Guts and Glory was harder than I anticipated.  As I built the game, I tried to plan ahead and structure everything with this in mind, but it's impossible to predict how everything will work ahead of time.  I won't bore you with the nerdy details, but basically several parts of the game "broke" as I started to integrate the editor.  This set me back a few days, but all is well now!

What's Next?

There are a few things I need to finish before the Level Editor is ready for the Beta:

  • Add a "complexity limit" bar, so levels don't get so large they crash lower end computers
  • Finish the file management system
  • Finish the user interface and some minor bug fixes
  • Update the Timer to record user made level times

I'm hoping to knock those out over the next couple days or so.  Then I will do a stripped-down build of the game and start learning how to upload it to Steam, integrate it with the Workshop, etc.  My goal is to have the basic Level Editor fully functioning in time for the Beta, so players can start building and sharing levels right away!

Before the Beta is ready I will also need to select which "official" tracks stay in the game, polish them up, and finish the main level selection menus so they are map-centric instead of one giant list.  I also have some more work to do to get Larry fully ready to play, and really want to add the control customization as soon as possible.  Fingers crossed that I can get all this done before the Beta starts next month, but so far it looks like things are right on track!

Kickstarter Post-Mortem: Guts and Glory

As most of you reading this probably already know, the Kickstarter for Guts and Glory successfully ended on October 16th!  1,125 amazing people pledged a grand total of $34,053 to make this game more epic, bringing the total funding to 112% of the target goal.  After pledges that didn't clear, and the Kickstarter and processor fees, that should put it right around the the target goal of $30k.  Now I can afford to work on the project full-time until Early Access release (crazy?  maybe... but sometimes you gotta take big risks if you want big rewards right?), and will soon have some more resources to make the game bigger, better and faster!  

A screenshot from the demo track shown at TwitchCon, prior to the Kickstarter

So, for those of you interested, here is a brief Guts and Glory Kickstarter Post-Mortem:

  1. Momentum and hype are critical.  In retrospect, I wish I would have done this Kickstarter smack dab in the middle of the Steam Greenlight campaign, when new internet traffic was at it's peak and people were trying the open pre-alpha builds for the first time.  Running the Kickstarter when the hype was at its peak would have been much more efficient and effective, as the 2 campaigns would feed off each other.
  2. Kickstarter is less appealing for indie games than it used to be.  Thanks to so many projects that have burnt their backers, or made pie-in-the-sky promises, people are less trusting of backing projects than a few years ago.  There are also many more active projects competing for those dollars at any given time.  Despite the fact that G&G had incredible Greenlight stats, #1 rank on IndieDB for several weeks, a well-known indie publisher, and very strong YouTube support, it didn't just "take off" as quickly or easily as I was hoping it would.  Many people wrote me simply stating that they loved the project and were stoked to buy it, but simply didn't want to hassle with the Kickstarter process.
  3. Digital-only Rewards are a great option, as long as you give them enough value.  Most campaigns seem to have a lot of physical goods involved.  This quickly eats up a ton of the funds raised for production, shipping, VAT, etc.  I wanted to ensure that as much of the funds raised as possible went directly towards making a better game, rather than making T-shirts, so I opted for digital-only rewards.  (Thanks, TinyBuild, for steering me in the right direction on this one!)  Much to my surprise, the top tier ($1k level) rewards actually sold out!  So in the end, it paid off, and now I can focus purely on the game immediately, rather than producing and shipping a bunch of physical stuff.
  4. Different communities, different cultures.  The Kickstarter community and culture seems much different that what you generally find on Steam.  I believe more mainstream/family-friendly titles, in general, would do better on Kickstarter than "edgier" games like G&G.  The vast majority of pledges came from first-time backers.
  5. Make the $25 reward a "no-brainer" in value.  Pack as much as you can in there to make it very appealing.  This is the average Kickstarter pledge amount, so this should be your primary target reward.
  6. Cross-promotions can help a ton!  Over halfway through the campaign, I was able to offer a sweet cross-promo deal with the folks at Dynamic Pixels, thanks to my publisher, TinyBuild.  Those that backed at the $25 level or higher would receive early access to the alpha build for Hello Neighbor, another highly anticipated indie game.  It worked wonders and gave that extra push needed to cross the finish line and help ensure success.
  7. Success breeds succcess.  As soon as the Kickstarter funding goal was hit, there was a huge spike in traffic and pledges after that.  People want to be part of something that is a guaranteed success, so the lower you can set your goal and the faster you can hit, the more funds you're likely to generate.

There's a lot of work involved in running a Kickstarter campaign.  It takes up more time than I expected, but it was a huge learning experience and ending up paying off.  Hopefully these key takeaways will help others looking to start their own Kickstarter in the future.

Since the Kickstarter has ended, I've already fulfilled the first couple rewards.  The first was the package of "Glorious Goodies": exclusive wallpapers, a printable poster, and a fun papercraft.  HumbleBundle has an awesome rewards fulfilment system, so that made the entire process a breeze.

The second one was much more fun: the Yang Family Demo!  This is basically a big physics sandbox map for players to try out the Yang Family and their car for the first time, explore the map, and wreck in creative ways.  This car has been one of the most anticipated characters, so using them as a backer incentive has worked out well, and has also been a good source of feedback.  It also taught me that I will need to make optimization a priority going forward if I want to add the gobs of physics-based content I'm planning for the full game.

Prototype AI cars in the Yang Family Demo

Now that I have the immediate rewards fulfilled, I can wrap up some misc. work this week and then go into next week focusing fully on developing the game further and preparing for the Beta Access release.  That's where things should start getting really interesting....

Bringing a whole new meaning to the term "blended families" in the Yang Family Demo

Larry and his Rocket LawnChair

Kickstarter ends in 3 days, claim your glory before it's too late: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hakjak/guts-and-glory

Wow, it's been a busy month!  Running a Kickstarter is hella hard work, but it's looking like it all may pay off soon.  There are just 3 DAYS LEFT and it's 87% FUNDED!  That's cutting it close, so I really hope enough new pledges come in to meet the goal.  Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform, so if it comes up even $1 short of hitting the goal then everything is refunded and no rewards sent out.  So crazy!

Luckily you guys have been amazing support.  As the deadline nears, tweets and posts have increased, and many backers have even increased their pledges, pushing us closer to that sweet finish line.  These next 3 days are both exciting and nerve-racking.

It's easy to let all the power of this thing go to your head.

I've been hard at work on the 4th character for the game:  meet Dr. Lawrence Walters, also known as "LawnChair Larry!"  He was once a very successful rocket scientist, but one day discovered the wonders of LSD and lost his mind.  Now he's building his own rocket-powered contraption from spare parts so he can compete in the Guts and Glory games and reclaim his former life--or just feed his addiction.  He's not quite sure yet.

Getting the physics and controls to work well for a vehicle like this was a big challenge.  At first, it just wanted to fly all over the place uncontrollably like a balloon losing its air!  (Thought I was playing Goat Simulator for a minute, haha!)  But eventually I found a way to integrate it into the rest of the vehicle physics system and stabilize the controls.  It's so much fun to just fly around on this thing that I probably spent more time than I needed "playtesting" it.

Added a sweet new shader for the rocket flames as well, which really brings them to life.  I'll upgrade the vehicle boosters to something similar as well.

Up, up, and awaaaayyyyy!!

I've also been working on a new map for prototyping, playtesting, and benchmarking changes.  I call it "Map X" and you can see it in the trailer above.  This will be a part of the Beta on Steam, so everyone can rapidly test adjustments made to vehicles on a wide variety of settings.  There are track areas for each class of vehicles, include a large car course with a large loop and jumps, terrain friction testing areas, and more.  I'll continue to expand on this map as needed during development.

I've also done some bug squashing and a little bit of optimization work.  Discovered that having v-sync on by default is a terrible idea as well, so if you have low FPS, try turning that off.  My friend's computer went from 30FPS to 300FPS just by doing that!  Also, in future versions of the game I plan on adding some legit bug reporting and analytics features so I can fine-tune things much more efficiently.

That's it for now!  I'll be setting up an official Steam Store page/Community Hub soon and adding a control customization system.  Once those are done it will be time to start building a level editor!

Thanks again to everyone who has supported the Kickstarter and fingers crossed that we hit that goal before time is up!

“Hello, Neighbor!” (Alpha Steam Key for G&G Backers)

Back Guts & Glory on Kickstarter and get a Steam Alpha Key for this epic game too!

Back Guts & Glory on Kickstarter and get a Steam Alpha Key for this epic game too!

Back Guts and Glory and Get an Alpha Steam Key for Hello Neighbor

Great news!  The brilliant minds behind the innovative game “Hello Neighbor” have agreed to do a sweet cross-promotion deal.  Now, anyone who backs Guts and Glory at the $25 level or higher will also get an Alpha Access Steam Key to this amazing game!

What is Hello Neighbor?

If you haven’t heard of this awesome project already, Hello Neighbor is a Stealth Horror Game about sneaking into your neighbor’s house.  You play against an advanced AI that learns from your every move, so the more you play, the smarter he gets!

What dark secrets is this guy hiding in his basement?

I'm gonna get you!

Developed in Unreal Engine 4 and coming to PC Summer 2017

Features:

- Stealth Horror

- Procedural AI

- Pixar-style visuals

- Extremely tense gameplay

I'm so excited for this game and happy to do a cross-promotion with them!  Check it out and help me spread the word about this awesome opportunity to help two great projects at once!

Back Guts and Glory and get your Hello Neighbor Alpha Key too!

(see Kickstarter page for details)

TinyBuild Publisher + PS4 and Xbox One Versions Coming!

Guts and Glory is about to get a whole lot more glorious!

I'm happy to announce that I've partnered up with indie game publisher tinyBuild to bring Guts and Glory to the next level!  Thanks to their marketing muscle and console porting expertise, PS4 and Xbox One gamers will also be able to join the bloody good times!

IMG_0113.PNG

Guts and Glory will now have a multi-platform launch next year, but you don't have to wait to try it! There's currently an OPEN ALPHA available for FREE on IndieDB.com. It's only in early development, so there will be lots of improvements and new features to come. Give it a try and let me know what think!

Guts and Glory, coming to PS4 and Xbox One! 

Guts and Glory, coming to PS4 and Xbox One! 

The game will soon go into Private Beta on Steam. This beta will be available only to Kickstarter backers and select partners (i.e. - verified Twitch streamers, etc), so jump in while you have the chance, try new content before anyone else, and help shape the future of this game!

Help me spread the good news, try the Open Alpha, and back this baby on Kickstarter if you like what you see and want to help make Guts and Glory bigger, better and more glorious!

- HakJak

Let's KICKSTART This!

Let's make G&G Bigger, Better, and FASTER!

Let's make G&G Bigger, Better, and FASTER!

Kickstarter begins September 15th!

New, FREE UPDATE will be released before then on IndieDB.com!

There will be both FREE and financial ways to support the Kickstarter and add new features to the game, so every visit to the page helps :D

Here is a link to my profile page if you want to Follow me on Kickstarter.  A link to the project will appear there once it's live.


Some of you have been wondering what I've been up to since Guts and Glory got Greenlit. How much progress have I made on development?  How much content will be available when the game launches on Early Access?

Well, unfortunately this month has been slow for development due to one big reason:

My demanding day job :P

I typically work 50+ hours per week, meaning most work on the game only happens on weekends or very late/early in the day.  Lately, this has increased to around 60+ due to a lot of changes!  It's time to make some tough choices....

The time has come for me to take a leap of faith. TO QUIT MY DAY JOB AND WORK ON THE GAME FULL-TIME!!  To make Guts and Glory bigger, better and faster than I ever could part-time!

But to do this I need your help!  

So I'm launching a Kickstarter next month and I hope you will drop by and support it. Even if you cannot afford to back it financially, there will be many "Community Rewards" setup that will help bring new things to the game for FREE!  It's also a great chance to get in on beta testing, nab exclusive content, or even become a character in the game!

So please help spread the word about the upcoming Kickstarter for Guts and Glory, and remember that every share, like, tweet, and donation helps to make the game bigger, better, and faster!

Thank you for your support and I hope this Kickstarter is a ton of fun!

- HakJak

GLORIOUS GREENLIGHT!!!

Let nothing stand in your way on the road to glory!

Guts and Glory has been given the Greenlight by Valve!

Time to stomp the gas pedal and race towards an Early Access release in Spring 2017!  My goal is to have a Level Editor, Steam integration, more Maps, a bunch of official Tracks, new Hazards, and some fun new surprises in store for you by then!

I might even drop another freebie on the way  ;)

Again, I want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported this project!  It has been amazing!  In the coming months, when things get harder than reaching that last checkpoint in 'Cannons on Main Street' or your first time down 'Chapel Hill', it will be all that support that will carry me through.

My promise to you is to give this project my best efforts to make it a long-time favorite in your gaming collection.  I will do my best to make it something worthy of your hard-earned dollars, and something you can enjoy over and over again!


More to come!
Be sure to favorite this game and follow me on Twitter/Facebook/etc for the latest info, or sign-up for the newsletter here.  (Note: I will be setting up a new newsletter system in the near future so I can keep up with the growing list.)


Thank you!

- HakJak

#1 on Steam Greenlight in 5 days! What?!

I just can't even... so much love!

I just can't even... so much love!

This week continues to be so surreal... is this real life?  I can't even believe all the love that Guts and Glory has been getting from the gaming and YouTube communities!  Just 3 months ago I nervously began to show people this project I'd been working on for so long in private, and now it's all over YouTube and thousands of people have sent me emails or left comments saying super nice things or words of encouragement.  Doing this project has been so fulfilling already!

Then yesterday morning you guys pushed Guts and Glory all the way to #1 on Steam Greenlight!  WOW!  Such love <3

Here's the Steam Stats from today, Day 6.  See that green line?  That's YOU guys!

I was blown away!  I wanted to share the news immediately, but was waiting because I thought that meant it would be Greenlit today, so I figured I would do it all in one post... but apparently Steam Greenlight doesn't quite work that way, as you can see in an article over here.

Either way, I am extremely thankful for all of the support that Guts and Glory has gotten so far!  It's a massive force of motivation to continue to make this the best game I can!  I can't wait to see what the future holds for this project and the crazy things that you guys will make and do with it.

You guys are the best!  Thank you :)

 

Pre-Alpha v0.3.2 is Now Available for Download - FREE!

CLICK IMAGE TO GO TO THE DOWNLOAD PAGE ON INDIEDB.COM

CLICK IMAGE TO GO TO THE DOWNLOAD PAGE ON INDIEDB.COM

The wait is over!  

The pre-alpha build for Guts and Glory is now available for public download to play, test, and break!  Please understand that this game is in very early development.  This means you should expect bugs, glitches and maybe even crashes.  Additionally, I have not yet figured out the minimum system requirements, so if you are gaming on an older computer, you may have trouble getting it to run.  This is a game with LOTS of physics, so it requires a decent computer and graphics card to handle it.  I will work on optimizing it more as it develops, but for now, please keep these things in mind.

BUG REPORTS & FEEDBACK

For now, please use the forum at IndieDB.com as the main place to report bugs, glitches, etc.  It's helpful to have all the bug reports in just 1 or 2 places.  If you're a fellow Redditor, I will be setting up a Subreddit for this game soon as well!  For general feedback on the game, feel free to post in whatever way you deem most convenient :)

STEAM GREENLIGHT!!!!!

Also, I just launched a real Steam Greenlight page (the first one was just a Steam "Concepts" page).  If you like the game, please stop by and vote.  I need your help to get all of the YES VOTES we can to help get this game on Steam!  Comments and discussions on there will help to drive it higher on Steam's Community board as well, so I appreciate any help you can offer!

Let me know what you think of the game so far in the comments below / on the new Steam page!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a most excellent day!

PUBLIC DEMO COMING SOOOOOOOON!!!!

Like today soon, I hope....

The closed alpha testing for Guts and Glory has been shut down.  I WILL POST A PUBLIC DOWNLOAD LINK LATER TODAY INSTEAD!!!!!!!!  :D

(I'm in Mountain Standard Time, BTW)

This has been an exhilarating week!!  

Guts and Glory went from being an unknown project to going viral in just a few days.  I made a post to Imgur a few days ago looking for a few more pre-alpha testers.  Then someone shared it to Reddit.  I thought I would get maybe 200 volunteers... instead I got 2,000 in the first couple hours after posting!  It quickly grew from there by about 1,000 per day.  Tons of requests came in for people wanting to make YouTube videos as well, which seemed to multiply the madness.  It was growing so fast I couldn't believe it!!  I was like "okay... I can manage this... I got this!"

Then PewDiePie happened.

OH.  MAH.  GAWD!

My email is exploding with more requests than I can probably ever reply to and my newsletter list is filling up crazy fast.  THIS IS NUTS!!

As a result, the alpha testing will no longer be closed.

I WILL POST A PUBLIC DOWNLOAD LINK LATER TODAY!!!

You no longer have to wait for an invite (YAY!!).  I just need to finish making some improvements to the controls and other bug fixes, setup a better forum, and prepare everything for a whole lot of traffic.  As soon as I'm done with that, I will post the download link so anyone and everyone can check it out!  My goal is to have all that done TODAY!

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to hearing what everything thinks of the game so far.  Feel free to follow me on Twitter, YouTube or my other social medias (see links at the bottom of the page).

Looking forward to hearing what everything thinks of the game so far in the comments below :D

- HakJak

No Internet! AAAAHHH!!

Hey everyone!  Just want to give you a quick update that I'm traveling this week and have very bad/spotty internet connections until Monday, but invites will still be sent out each day, 500 per day! 

I will catch up with everyone then!  I apologize for the delays. 

Thanks, 

-HakJak

So far, so good...

It's only Day 5 of the pre-alpha play-tests, but so far things are working out surprisingly well!  There have been over 500 hundred downloads of the game so far and a minimal number of bugs reported. Most of these are relative small and (fingers crossed) easy to fix. Things such as menu/UI issues, control glitches, or skid marks appearing in mid-air.  But no game-breaking issues, which was my biggest worry.

There have been some pretty funny glitches reported though, such as stretched-out limbs and collider issues.  Not game-breaking, but certainly need fixed. 

Anyone else remember those "Stretch Armstrong" toys? 

Anyone else remember those "Stretch Armstrong" toys? 

When you hit a wood plank at high speed--you and the wood become one.  

When you hit a wood plank at high speed--you and the wood become one.  

The majority of feedback I've received has been very, very positive!! Seems like people are really enjoying the game and having fun, which makes me incredibly happy and relieved. It makes all the hard work rewarding when you know people are having fun :D The suggestions I've received on the forums and email have been very helpful too. Lots of great ideas from awesome people that genuinely want to help make the game better and better. So if you're one of those people, THANK YOU!

There have already been some great YouTube plays of Guts and Glory as well!  Not only is this a nice thing for increasing awareness, but it also helps me improve the game, since I can see what's working and what's not as people play it. One thing I've gathered, for example, is that my Tutorial track is terrible (and harder than the first couple levels.. Oops) and many people don't read the signs at all, so they miss out on key controls.   I've also realized that many tracks are much harder than I thought. When you're the guy making the game, you naturally become a master at it and it makes judging the difficulty much harder!  (Take note, fellow game devs.)  Part of this is due to the controls as well, which need some tightening up. That will be a priority for the next update.  

If you're having a hard time getting through any tracks, you can watch ThatGermanGuy  as he struggles to get through the tutorial. You'll feel better about yourself in no time and have some good laughs. ;) Although I'm sure he'll get the hang of it soon!

I've received some great feedback from TheSparrowsJourney as well. Check out his gaming channel if you get a chance. Very professional and entertaining, with lots of content.

There are many more great YouTubers out there that are enjoying the game and spreading the word. Too many for this post, so I've given them a shout-out on Twitter, and plan on adding a page later just for awesome YouTube goodness!

Unfortunately I'll be traveling on business over this next week for my day job (gotta pay those bills), but when I return I'll be working hard on the next update, which will have several bug fixes, improved bike tracks, the ATV and ATV Tracks! 

 

Let the Playtesting Begin

I'm happy to announce that the first Pre-Alpha Testing Invites will be sent out this month in groups, starting on July 6th.  If you're interested in participating, please sign-up for my newsletter--testers will be selected randomly from there in groups, to keep things manageable.

I couldn't afford a double-verification email system, so please whitelist my email (hakjakgames@gmail.com) or search your spam folder periodically in case the invite ends up there.  Once you reply to an email it will be whitelisted automatically, or you can do it manually using these simple instructions.

The first time you open the application, I recommend taking a look at the Settings menu and adjusting so everything runs smoothly on your computer.  Things like Screen Resolution and V-Sync can have the biggest impact on performance (besides the standard Quality settings slider bar).  You can also check the "Show FPS" box to help you out.

This first build includes John and Jimmy on their Golden Goose bicycle, and a dozen tracks to play in Happy Valley, so it should give y'all a good taste of things to come!

I'm both nervous and excited to see what this next stage of development holds, and what you all think of the game so far.

Happy playtesting!

Remember this game is in early development, so expect some bumps along the way

 

 

Welcome to Happy Valley

The perfect little homes of the residents of Happy Valley

Nestled between grassy hills and tall evergreens lies the small town of Happy Valley, with their perfect houses, perfect people, and perfect little lives.  This is the hometown of John Doh and his young son Jimmy, where they enjoy their days riding bicycles and enjoying the fresh mountain air.  Little do they know, they have also been selected to participate in the Guts and Glory Games, which can start without a moments notice!

Happy Valley will be just one of the "official" Maps in G&G, and will most likely be part of the first alpha test builds.  The other Maps will focus around the themes of other characters or just interesting settings in general.  Of course, once I get a Level Editor built, everyone can create all of the Maps and Tracks they want, or just build Tracks on these pre-built Maps.

I've also built several Tracks for the bicycle.  These range from very easy to kinda hard... at least I think so.  It's difficult to judge how difficult things really are when I build them myself, and I would like to add some more levels that really take things to the extreme, for those that love a really good challenge.  Oh, and I also added a short and fun tutorial track to teach the basics.

Down the road, I plan on adding the ability to add parked cars, destructible props and, of course, some NPCs.  These won't be part of the Map though... just things that can be added to any level.

Little do they know, this perfect little town will soon become an obstacle course of death

As I've been building these Tracks, I've come to the realization that this is less of a "racing game" and more of a "obstacle course of death" game, with vehicles.  Having that mindset has really helped in how I design the courses... err tracks... or levels, or whatever you want to call them.  Building the tracks has been one of the funnest parts of development ("funnest" is a word now, right?) I have lots of ideas I want to test out, but I really need to stop messing around with levels and finish the rest of the things on my to-do list so I can get this out to playtesters.

I also finished the waypoints system, complete with HUD, which makes building any type of track possible and easy.  It also allows me to design levels that require players to directly through the most dangerous parts, if I'm feeling devious.  Also added the ability to respawn quickly at designated checkpoints, so you don't have to start over from the very beginning of long or challenging courses.

Building these levels has been a great learning experience and also gave me a chance to make further improvements to the bicycle's control and handling.  Since everything is physics-based, there are a lot nuances to the vehicles.  Landing angles, speed, and the physics of the terrain can all affect how smoothly you land from a long jump, or if you just crash and burn.  Overall I'm feeling very satisfied with how it's turning out and can't wait to see what people think.

Next up, I'll be working on the less interesting parts like menus, more controller support and local leaderboard.  Once those are done, early alpha builds can be sent out!

New Hazards and Special Items

LOTS OF NEW STUFF ADDED!  CHECK OUT THE VIDEO!!
I recently finished adding a few more Hazards to the game, including Wrecking Balls and a few more that I will leave for you to discover when you play the game (I don't want to be a spoiler for my own game)!  

The Turbo Boosters are now fully functional and come in three speeds: from a gentle push to a mega boost.  They can also be stacked for greater speeds (I got up to over 250mph on the bike before crashed horrifically).  Captured a few good crashes for you to enjoy here.

But most of all, I'm excited about the new MEGA FANS!  These should create some interesting gameplay opportunities.  One side can push you up to high places (or off ledges), while the other side is hazardous to your health!  These could be used to save a player from high falls, or just to create really tricky "platformer" style levels.  They can also be attached to moving stuff to make things even more difficult, and basically push anything moveable in their range.  I'm thinking of putting a couple onto a windmill, like I do with the saws, or just making some turn in place.  These are my favorite new item, if you can't tell :D

I'm really excited because the last video has about 17,000 views in just a week!  I'm blown away by the interest people have had in this project so far.  It makes me super excited to keep working hard at it so I can get it out there.  Lots of early mornings and late nights have gone into this, but hearing good things people have to say makes it worth it.

Next thing on my to-do list is to build the first Map and Tracks, and finish making a few more audio improvements.

Please let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to share these videos to help spread the word about my first game and help it to be a success.

If you want more frequent updates, please follow on Twitter, since it's the easiest way for me to post the latest developments.

Thanks for stopping by!  

Crash Testing the Family Car

Things are progressing nicely on Guts and Glory.  After putting in some late nights, I've finally finished the third playable vehicle/character for the game: The Yang Family and their Mezooki 600 Series Convertible!  This car is super fun to drive, and even more fun to wreck!  The body is damage-able and loses parts on impact.  You can even jam tires or knock them off completely, or pop them on spikes and other sharp objects. I spent quite a bit of time watching dozens of crash videos while making this to get everything to feel just right--and then I tested he hell out of it in-game!

Below is a montage of crash tests and some general driving and handling.  I'm pretty happy with how it's looking so far, and will continue to make improvements as the project continues.  Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Given the feedback I've received so far, there will also be an option to turn the kids on/off, for those who prefer it. 

Additionally, I've made some fixes to the bike control and significantly improved the suspension and handling of the ATV.  It now handles off road and hilly stuff a lot better.  All of the characters now have voices and I added more sound effects in general too.

Please help me spread the word about this project. I'm a solo game developer, so I can use all the help I can get!

For more info check out HakJak.com

Earl the Redneck vs Cannon Turrets

Earl done lost his head again

Watching Guts and Glory get a ton of views and feedback on Steam Concepts gave me a ton of motivation to work really hard this week.  I just finished Earl the redneck and his ATV, and also added Cannon Turrets to the game which are really awesome (and a little bit scary).  I threw them together in a short mock desert track and posted a new video to YouTube to showcase more of the potential for this game.

I've been so busy developing that I haven't been able to spend anymore time marketing, so Steam traffic (new, unique visitors) has slowed down to just a steady trickle.  Going forward, it looks like I'll need to dedicate at least 15-25% of my time towards marketing in order to continue building a large enough fanbase.  Learning as I go....

I still haven't posted anything to other major hubs yet, like Indie DB or Reddit, so I'll probably pitch a tent in those camps soon and start making friends :)