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gamedev

The Results Are In...

The results from Community Vote #1 are in!

The next update will feature the brand new characters Jack & Jill, and a basic traffic system!

By a small margin, Jack & Jill came in the lead on votes

By a small margin, Jack & Jill came in the lead on votes

Jack & Jill

Class A Vehicle

Jack and Jill are just two fun-loving kids! Brother and sister, actually. Unlike most siblings, they get along well together (most of the time) and love to go on adventures any chance they get. As long as they’re back home in time for dinner, their parents pretty much let them do anything they want.

While getting slushies at their local convenience store, they saw a poster for The Guts and Glory Games and signed up the same day (there’s no age limits, after all). Now they could go on “the ultimate adventure” and win a ton of money! Great idea, right?

Jack rides a child’s version of the popular Golden Goose brand of bicycles, and generally tows his sister around in a small wagon, connected by rope. They’ve gotten pretty good at doing jumps and stuff, so they're totally ready for this.

The traffic system votes won by a HUGE margin... you guys really seem to love this one

The traffic system votes won by a HUGE margin... you guys really seem to love this one

AI Traffic

Simple AI vehicles that travel on a set path / from waypoint-to-waypoint.

This could be used to create traffic patterns the player must drive with/against/across. For example, you could make a ClusterTruck or Frogger type level, or even a make-shift “race.” These could also be used to help bring more life to a level. 

I already have part of this built in very early prototyping stages, but would need to do a lot more work in order to make it ready for use in the Level Editor.  I have a few different approaches to consider here and need to ensure it's done in a well-optimized way.  This will probably be the hardest part to build for the next update, but I can't wait to see what you guys will build with it!

v0.5.0: Achievements, Rewards, and Larry's Hardcore Challenges

LAZERRRRZZZZ!!

LAZERRRRZZZZ!!

Version 0.5 has been released upon the world!  

Now you can earn Steam Achievements, view some basic Stats, unlock sweet Hats for your main characters, and brave the crazy aerial challenges of Larry and his rocket lawn chair!

Gotta catch 'em all!

Gotta catch 'em all!

ACHIEVEMENTS AND STATS

Steam Achievements, Stats, and in-game Rewards have arrived, and even more will be added in the future!

- Added 15 Steam Achievements (11 standard + 4 hidden)
- Added a handful of Steam Stats (local & aggragate global)
- Made Achievement unlocks retroactive where possible (ie-you don't have to re-complete tracks to unlock Rewards; forced level skips do not count)

NOTE: Steam Cloud Saves not yet supported; all track times are saved locally. 

Larry, lookin' like a stud in his Viking helmet

Larry, lookin' like a stud in his Viking helmet


UNLOCK REWARDS

Each Achievement is linked to an in-game Reward (Hats), so you can show-off your accomplishments with some sweet new headgear, and maybe other in-game items in the future.

Kickstarter backers at applicable levels will also receive their exclusive Wacky Hats Pack soon too!  (I just gotta figure out how Steam's in-game item system works first....)

Prepping the new SmartBomb launcher

Prepping the new SmartBomb launcher


LARRY'S HARDCORE COURSES

Larry is ready to compete at last.  Prepare yourself for some hardcore rocket-powered challenges!

- Added 7 Official Tracks
- Built in a brand new map: Lucid City

Larry and his rocket lawn chair are finally out of the prototype stage, but it's still unruly vehicle (it is just 4 rockets strapped to a chair, after all).  It will definitely take some practice and skill to master this unique character and his deadly courses.  If you have any troubles don't fret, more Class F characters will be added later, with easier controls and handling.

SUPER IMPORTANT TIP:  use the "Roll" buttons to turn Larry in the air!

Larry Improvements:
- Improved automatic camera rotation issues when vehicle is at extreme angles; general camera and control improvements
- Increased rocket power, for more responsive control
- Increased character's strength; can survive impacts and landings more easily
- New voice audio; Larry finally has a real voice!
- Removed "prototype" status

zzzZZZZZ-BLAT!!

zzzZZZZZ-BLAT!!


MOAR GIBS PLZ. OKAY!

Blood and gore FX for major body parts has been improved even more.  Added dynamic blood spray when major parts are dismembered, as well as little meat chunks and bone fragments for even more satisfying and bloody damage.

Too much?  No worries... a setting will be added later for adjusting blood amounts.

NEW HAZARDS

Eeeezy peeezy

Eeeezy peeezy

Death Lasers

You requested lasers, you got lasers!  These deadly red beams will instantly heat any flesh they touch to an exploding point!

These don't target the player directly, but instead point in a fixed direction or rotate in a predictible manner.

Larry's own invention may be his downfall

Larry's own invention may be his downfall

Reflector Rays

These experimental death beams were originally invented by Larry himself, but when he went off the deep end, his brother and arch-nemsis, Harry, stole the credit and the glory.  Now Larry's own invention is being used against him!

Watch out when you see one of these.  They can be reflected up to 100 times off of specific surfaces and shoot 3 times farther than red beams.

But they look so happy :)

But they look so happy :)

Smart Bombs

Another product of Larry's genius, these rocket-powered explosives will seek out their target and then lock-on when within range, exploding after a designated time.  When you start to see them flash red you better get out the way!

Well that one's gonna hurt...

Well that one's gonna hurt...


GENERAL IMPROVEMENTS / BUG FIXES

Improved Control Mapping system:
- Control elements can now be assigned to multiple inputs (click "Add" instead of "Replace" when re-assigned inputs)
- UI navigation elements can now be re-assigned as well.

Community Track Menu Improvements:
- Community Tracks Menu now pops up immediately in-game; removes unnecessary load time.
- Fixed bug that caused Community Tracks filter to stop working after using "Change Track" or return arrow buttons from Pause Menu in Community Tracks.
- Improved controller/keyboard navigation for the new Community Tracks menu (still needs more work)

Other Bug Fixes / Improvements:
- Fixed language settings menu bugs
- Fixed bug that caused music to restart during respawn, instead of playing continuously.
- Removed "Main Menu" button from Pause Menu during Level Editor "Quick Play" mode.
- Fixed Chapel Hill terrain bug that caused blood splatter to not show and crashes/missing terrain on some machines.
- Replaced custom road shaders with more performant standard shaders.
- Minor improvements to "smart cam" predictive movements for all vehicle classes
- Added 30+ Hats, which will be linked to new Achievemnts over time.

Localization:
- Finished adding remaining Level Editor Objects to localization system (ATTN TRANSLATORS: only terms ending in "_ObjectMap" are important; others are optional, since they also have image icons).
- Assorted language edits

NOTE: Localization updates will be minimal during Early Access, since everything continually changes.  Localization will be given a final, major review and update when the game nears completion.

Lucid City sunset

KICKSTARTER REWARDS

Now that we've reached v0.5, work on the remaining Kickstarter Rewards is about to kick off soon!

I'm learning how Steam's in-game content unlock system works so I can set this up properly (rather than just sending out generic codes that anyone could use).  As soon as I get that figured out, I'll setup the Wacky Hat Packs, Golden Crowns, and the Golden Bicycle Rewards.  Once those are out, I'll be reaching out to each of the high-end backers to start production on the final, Custom Rewards and Halls of Glory content.

Hat Collector

-- Next Steam update: mid-May --

Over 30 hats to unlock!  COMING SOON

Over 30 hats to unlock!  COMING SOON

I was hoping to release a small update today, but at this point it makes more sense to roll it into the next one.  So you can expect a big content update in the middle of May!

In-Game Rewards

Did you finally beat that last, super hard track?  Or upload your first Workshop level?  Or kill little Jimmy for the 100th time?  Then you, my friend, deserve a reward.

What better way to show off your accomplishments than with some sweet new headgear!  Classy black top hats, shiny red beer caps, and even a big pile o' poop are only some of the amazing hat rewards you can unlock.  Now you're rollin' in style!

beer hat

I've gotten 36 hat rewards built into the game so far.  These will be linked to various Steam Achievements as development continues, and a counter on the far right will show you how many you have collected versus how many are currently available, which will increase with each update.  Gotta collect 'em all!

poop emoji hat

Stats & Achievements

Steam Achievements are finally coming to Guts and Glory!  I'm working on some basic in-game stat tracking and linking all of this to Steam's Achievements system.  If all goes well, Steam Achievements will be available in the next update.

Any special requests for Achievements?  Let me know on Twitter!

-- Next Steam update: mid-May --

v0.4.4: Gumsy and Gomar Theme Park

--- Update will be posted to Steam on March 16th (MST) ---

The Yang Family has finally reached their destination: the Gumsy and Gomar Theme Park!  The final four Yang tracks are now available.  Can you complete the Car Parkour course in one run?  It will put your car driving skills to the test.

Gumsy and Gomar is the most popular children’s show on television, dedicated to teaching kids about safety—by demonstrating all the things not to do!  It’s kind of a parody on Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons (big fan!), as well as poking some fun at Five Nights at Freddy’s (not a fan! But I admire the developer for his success).

Plus the theme gives me an excuse to add some wackier content like oversized hammers, giant baseball bats and The Blender from the original Yang Family Demo.  I received a few requests to add Flip Pads, so I went ahead and built some of those too.  All of these new items will be added to the Level Editor in a Workshop update next week!

Lessons Learned (#gamedev)

I learned some painful game development lessons this week.  First, it’s essential to have good version control setup.  I accidentally released the wrong build of a patch to the Settings Menu update, causing some confusion to new players installing the game for the first time.  Luckily I was able to get this cleared up by the next day, but sorting out the bugs ate up a lot of time.

Second, I am never making multiple Maps for one Track Group again.  John and Jimmy’s tracks all shared one large map.  Same thing for Earl.  But when I built the Yang tracks, I wanted them to be on a road trip, which involved building 4 different maps… which created 4 times as much work.  While I’m very happy with the end results, and glad that it brought more variation to the game, I also wish I had planned it a little differently so I could have had more time to develop other aspects of the game.

What’s Next?

Here are the next updates planned, in order:

  • Big Workshop content update
  • Localization beta (Google Translate)
  • Linux version
  • Kickstarter In-Game Rewards (this will be in multiple parts/updates)
  • Localization final (proper translations to Spanish, Chinese, and hopefully some others)
  • Larry
  • ________ <-- Community Votes!

Community Votes

When Larry’s update is near release, I will start posting Community Vote announcements.  I’ll post 2 different development paths, with concept art and content outlines, and you can weigh in on which one should be built next and what content would be involved!  I'm hoping to do these on a monthly basis.

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

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

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

 

 

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 :)

2 new Vehicles/Characters in Development

Earl and his ATV, and the Yang Family in their Mezooki 700 Series convertible

Although I hinted at this with a dimmly-lit image during the announcement, I decided to go ahead and reveal the other 2 characters/vehicles that are currently in development.  I'd like to introduce you to Earl and his ATV (inspired by some fellow Idaho residents) and the Yang Family in their poorly built "premium" car, the Mezooki 700.

This rounds out the starting selection with 3 sizes of vehicles (small, medium, and large) with a variety of speeds and handling so I can try out all kinds of scenarios.  The hardest part is probably going to be adapting the various hazards and special items in the game so that they are just as dangerous to these new characters as they are to the bike.  These are still in very early phases of development, but I will post a video with them in it when the time is right.

On a side note, we've reached a consensus on the Steam Concepts page that the main dad/son character shown in the video is too similar to another game and will be replaced this week.  Visit the page on Steam if you would like to help decide what the replacement should be!