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 Post subject: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.07.25: Start Screens and St
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:50 am 


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Joined: 04 Mar 2015
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Location: Donley Time Foundation
Welcome back to the weekly update and thank you again for stopping by. This week we are moving into the polish phase for much of Boss 101. This includes the UI and the overall gameplay.

Today’s focus is on the UI improvements we are making.

Backstory:
Recently, I spoke about the types of work you have on a game, they are:

-What you know you’ve done
-What you know you haven’t done
-What you DON’T KNOW and you HAVE DONE
-What you don’t know and you haven’t done

Today’s topic is really about the third category because when it comes to polish there are likely many things you have already done that you don’t know about. This was not scheduled per-se but resulted from a lucky bit of earlier work. An example - you create the UI for an inventory panel a while back. When you go to make the UI for the player store you realize you already had done the base work when you did the player inventory. It was matter of re-using the designs and ideas to quickly make the new store in a fraction of the normal time.

This type of work must be recognized for what it is when the time comes or you will redo things unnecessarily. Recognizing work you ALREADY did is the way to avoid remaking things over and over.

We have two things on the list. The Boss 101 start screen and the hat store. Both of these had a very good first pass in the game. They were functional and you could do all the needed things with them. The problem was they were some of the first things done in the game. What that meant was they were the product of the oldest thinking and design styles. This isn’t a bad thing but we had some new things in that were pretty spiffy so when it came time to polish we had an opportunity to drop in some of the new stuff instead of trying to make the old art work.

The reasoning here is the old art was just not part of the same process and thinking as the latest (and near final) game. So here’s what we did!

Start Screen:

The old start screen with the first pass load game menu. Nothing exactly wrong with this, it functions but it is kinda lifeless and blocks the main menu. No bueno!

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
Image


So we made some adjustments and added in the Gopher scientists you work with in the game. Notice the new animations and the way it shows off the main logo. MUCH BETTER!

Image


Hat Store:

One of the oldest UI screens in the game. Developed early with a lot of high hopes. Thing is. It is not really thematically linked to any of the new Command Center art. Mister Gopher to the rescue again! The thinking here is you have a large command center and it’s story is part of the game. Why things look a certain way is writing into the main story. The old hat store didn’t fit that mythos but the new one does in a way the player will be a part of. Here’s a place where we have done some work and unified many things under one umbrella of logic. We simply added the hat store to that list

Old Hat Store

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New Hat Store prep work

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New Hat Store

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Minion Styled Hats

You can wear minion hats and maybe make some friends!  

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Ok - folks - that is it for this week but check back again.

As always - LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim
_________________
Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.07.31 Update Live!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:42 am 


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Hello and welcome to another Boss 101 update! Thank you for stopping by.

This week we are in the SOUP with tuning. If you have been following along you know we are getting near the end of the tunnel and we can see the light of completion. A lot of what we are doing from here on out is tuning the user experience.

Tuning can help prevent things from getting too... ahem... CRAZY!

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
Image

That means we aren’t just looking for bugs of UI tweaks. We are looking at the whole game from top to bottom and making sure the minute to minute gameplay is fun and engaging. Some of that is done through constant gameplay and some is done by gut feeling. A lot of it though starts with laying in a foundation based of the game progression you want to have. In our case we are telling our story with an arcade like wrapper. To that end we are looking to have a fun shooter experience and give the player things they will want to come back to like upgrades, new weapons, new abilities and many new challenges in each level.

When the web version of Boss 101 was made many Excel charts were generated about various mechanics and tunes. These weren’t the set in stone final things we used but they were the guides for all the things happening in the game. We wanted to share some of these ideas with you here so you can have an idea how it’s all coming together.

We want to stress these are from the OLD version of boss 101 but you will see from the examples and some imaginative thinking exactly how much effort might go into something as simple as an arcade shooter progression chart. Do you need to be this elaborate? Maybe not. Some people are naturals at various things in game making and maybe yours in tuning and balance.

Let’s get rolling shall we?

Boss Health Calculations: When we got rolling on what you would be fighting we realized it would be helpful to lay out exactly how many hit points the various “Make-A-Bosses” might have across the levels. It was pretty useful for us to create this handy chart of the level, the boss and the various pieces that might occur and then calculate the high and low hit point values. Made tuning guns a lot easier when you knew how tough the boss was!

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Gun Values Across levels: Once we knew the boss health we did the same with the guns. We took all the guns, all the possible upgrades and made a min/max chart of the ways the player could have upgraded the various weapons. There were less weapons in the web game but you can see the chart was still extensive (and this is only a fraction of it)

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Boss Weapons: Like the player weapons - we looked at the boss weapons and how they were used and buffed up throughout the game. Things like the firing percentage, movement triggers and various other pertinent data were captured in a large sheet for us to review.

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Asset Use: Also help was a breakdown of the levels and how we were using the art assets. Pretty valuable to avoid time and effort wasting when you start seeing how often or how little some art is being used. I do recommend this kind of a chart for any game since you will often make a lot of good finds.

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Hat Decoder: Many of the upgrades in the game came from the wearing of various hats to make your character look cooler ANY give him some robo-stomping powers. A list of the powers, the scaling and the various abilities granted was essential!

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Boss 101 Fan Art by Ban Beaulieu

An old pal came through with some incredible art for Boss 101. Talk about an inspiring piece! Max and STEVE jetpacking with a boot gun!

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Check out Dan on his Instagram account: here https://instagram.com/dbeaulieu77/

Hats and Bullets!

This week we are talking about one of my to-date favorite touches we put in the game. Yep, you know it’s gotta be hats, but WAIT, there’s more! So you know we have the ability to dress up your character with cool little hats which grant you benefits. Thing like more money, health or other SECRET things I can’t talk about here. Needless to say they are cool and can help you through the various bosses in the game.

One thing we decided to do was not only add in the ability for the hat to change your outward look but it also will affect the look of the bullets on the player’s main machine gun. The whole point of the system is to give you the player more bang for the buck when you buy a hat in the game. We want  you to get as much possible from you purchase and really feel like it was money well spent. We know a lot of times we fall in love with accessories in games and will wear them long after they have served their main purpose simply because they are cool to look at. Well, this is our way you make sure these hats are as cool to you (and us) as possible.

It’s all part of our plan to give you the best Boss 101 experience we can give you. We want to tell an awesome story so YOU have awesome stories to tell when you’re done playing!

Check it out.

Here we have NUTZ, one of the hats you can buy in the Hat Store. See that acorn thing? Well that is our current pass on the way this hat will alter your machine gun bullet.

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Let’s see one of the first tests of this system in action shall we? Check him out just firing away here:

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And then him against a Boss:

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I think you can see this is a pretty dope system with a LOT of cool upside. I mean, can you imagine what all THESE hats might change your bullets into?

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We will keep you posted on the system as it goes in and drop in some more previews as we shake things down some more.

Boss Health Bars

It’s not all bosses and hats with the game. Sometimes you gotta dig into the little things to make sure everything gets polish. Check out the snazzed up boss health bars. These are just 4 of the 6 possible boss bars. The early ones worked but the new ones give a much better impression of progression and differentiation. Heck, they just look cooler too!

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We hope you like this little look at the way things are shaping up. Check back next week for the latest news!

Remember to always LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim
_________________
Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.08.04 Update Live!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:38 am 


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Creating Achievements and Quests for the player

While working on Boss 101 we’re always looking for things to add which increase the playability of the game for the player. Things like mini-games, quests and achievements are a few of the tried and true ways we keep you in the experience and tell more story.

You already know about hats in the game. These are the basic player buffs you buy which increase various aspects of the main character (firepower, immunities, money gained, etc). One of the things we thought might be neat was to hide hats across the game levels. The FIRST idea we had was to make these hidden hats tied to some level of damage or characters defeated. That would mean the achievement could come up any time you met the requirements and probably during a moment you were not expecting. That’s cool and all but for us it took away some of the fun behind the achievement.

We ended up modifying the idea to require the player to be actively looking for these secrets. Kinda like a miner searching for gold. With this in mind we created what we call ‘achievement hats’. These are things you buy then USE to actively search for the hidden hats in the levels.

A few things come from this. One is we make the whole thing a much more active process. The people finding these secrets are LOOKING for these secrets. We can also tailor the rewards accordingly knowing people went out and worked for it a bit harder than those who might have gotten it otherwise.

Now, of course this is all debatable and the way achievements are set up in any game is open to interpretation. We do think for us on Boss 101 we have a nice system here which allows players to not only play a great game with a fun story but also spend a little more time using the skills and weapons they mastered doing fun side jobs.

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
Some images:

First – the achievement searching hat itself bought in the player store:

Image


Second – Here’s the hat with its phases of animation:

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Third – the player wearing the hat during a round and searching for a secret:

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Fourth – When you win the achievement it shows up at the end of the round win screen:

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Fifth – The achievement is then transferred to the player map screen where he can see how far along he is for round completion:

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Hope you enjoyed that little look at the way we are setting up but one of the many things you will be doing in Boss 101.

Tune in next week and remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim
_________________
Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.07.31 Update Live!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:36 am 


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Alright!

You're releasing this month, right?
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.07.31 Update Live!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:18 am 


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Doctor Butler wrote:
Alright!

You're releasing this month, right?


First off - thank you for remembering! I feel like this was a birthday or something! It means a lot when people drop us a line and ask about the game - we really do appreciate it!

So, the release... HAAAAAAAAA!!! We could, that's the funny part. We've been joking about the fact we could have released it LAST Christmas. Clearly that would have made Boss 101 a very different game.

The reality is we were targeting this month but won't be releasing. There's just too much polish to do and we aren't looking to release anything half baked. The flip side is we aren't planning on working this forever either. The balance right now is to make sure that when people play their game they are a) entertained and b) feel they got MORE than their money's worth. I know that sounds lofty but it's worth it to us. I've been in game development about 23 years now and I have yet to see any game benefiting from an early "final" release. A new ETA will come soon once we do an end of summer assessment and look at all our schedules and situations into the fall.

We did consider things like Early Access but it seems (and this is only an opinion) you really need to be on top of the regular public builds and bug clean up. We just don't have the bandwidth to commit to a full scale early Access (though it is being considered MUCH nearly the release for a final shake down).

Overall though - any delay will ultimately mean we spend more time doing needed polish and game play tweaks. If you thing YOU want to see this game out then imagine how bad WE want you to play it!

So thank you again and more to come. We will of course be continuing the dev logs and updates!

-Tim
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 - 2015.08.20 Movie creation in Boss 101
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:06 am 


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Cinematics and Boss 101!

You asked and now you will know! How do we do that magical cinematic storytelling? Let’s see shall we!

For setup - We use a combination of Esoteric’s Spine software for animation and GameMaker Studio. Obviously you could do all we do without Spine but for us it's a huge timesaver for setup and quick iteration.  

First – well, to be frank, we plot out the script. Any old word processing program or whatever you like works at this stage. Just layout the idea and the plan out the art assets you will need. From there we move into Photoshop for basic pixel artwork. We also reuse sprite and assets from the game (huge timesaver). We can call in any asset previously made and have it run any animation we like. For the most part we are running talk idles and general motion idles during cinemas. Background objects have their own idles for things like blinking light panels or machinery.

Second – we bring it all into Spine for basic layout. Here’s the magic of our system in place. We can position all the assets and place all the bones for things like dialog balloons (both the tails the main balloon can be positioned in Spine). The reason for this is to allow a nice level of precision. During gameplay the balloons are dynamically placed and that’s fine for high action but here we want composition and control.

This image shows the setup in Spine of the various assets

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
Image


Third – We take the rough script and convert it into ‘cinema-code’ in Excel. This is just an easy-peasy way to get the code all straightened out and cleaned up. It’s WAY easier to enter and edit in here than most text editors especially if you are dealing with code snippets as part of the input.

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Fourth – The code is simply cut and paste from Excel and BAM! Cinematic script is all done!

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Fifth – then we test things out. The assets are called out from a script and loaded up. Here’s a snip from some game dialogs.

Asset loading

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The above script tested

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Some later dialog during this cinema.

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Bringing it all together.

Kite Hill time! It all comes together when we get to watch our characters in action. Sometimes simple questions are the most profound…

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Hope you enjoyed this look and come back next week for more! Remember to live your dreams!

-Tim
_________________
Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.08.30 Update Live!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:17 am 


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Welcome back to another Boss 101 weekly update!

This week we are looking at more of the UI development. Specifically the construction of one of the more fun pages – Professor Gopher’s Wiki!

So – we have a knowledge codex for the player and in keeping with the theme of the game we are making it based in the Gopher Tech. These are the guys who helped put together your command center so it’s fitting they help you retrieve new and useful information about the things you find and do in the game. The Wiki is part instruction manual and part story telling device.  Information is added as you go along and discover new facts.

We started with a basic idea. A page where the player can see information in an easy to read format and have something thematically inline with the game. This, as you might imagine, could be a huge rabbit hole of thinking. Thankfully we had quite a few guidelines already in place in terms of gopher and command center tech. Mostly it was about finding pieces which worked and fitting them in.

Step 1: we took what we have already in place and laid out an overall page where the info will go. The first thing we are looking to do is get art pass in so we know the sizes of the information. Things like layout and font sizes are a big deal when you are showing the player information. In this case we wanted as much space as we could afford.

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
Image


Step 2: Art first pass. At this stage we have a nice idea of how the page might look in terms of the general art. We also have the beginnings of a theme. There is a USB stick and a gopher touch pad going in so the next phase will be to push it further.

Image


Step 3: We look at prior screens which have a similar look. In this case the movie replay room. From here a bunch of notes are made. The idea is the gophers are cannibalizing the tech from various parts of the command center and piecing things together as they see fit. Nothing should look completely whole or perfect and for the most part we want the place to have the vibe of a hand built machine.

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Step 4: Ok, now it’s coming together nicely. We can see the theme really taking shape and the look is getting firmly established. Still more tweaks to do but this is the final stretch.

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Step 5: Here we see the art and tech in a true first pass. The tech is hooked up so if you move up and down you see a short temp loading animation and when you stop it will show you the page you stopped on. The pages and names are temp of course but they do show the underlying tech is there and the art is in place. Now to fill up the Wiki with info!

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Professor Gopher Wiki

Small polish item but here is a new touch added to Professor Gopher’s Wiki machine. While you are scrolling and looking for a new page to read you will see this loading animation. Hey, it’s a small thing but it’s done well and when you do ENOUGH small awesome things you end up with a BIG AWESOME THING! YES! HAHAHAHAHAH HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Art callout for Wiki Animation

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Loading Animation

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Like that one?! We hope so and much more to come!

Screenshot time – Dinosaurs anyone?

Like Jurassic World? RoboDinosaurs? We got you covered.  

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Boss Bar Shields and Warp Engines

Our bosses have  a bunch of abilities and the challenge is to give you clear visibility of events so you can make the best decisions. For instance, we have bosses which put up shields and bosses that can enter warp tunnels. Let’s talk about the Warp Tunnels…

Warp Tunnels happen when a boss gets damaged enough to run away from the current fight. Of course, you don’t want him to get away so you follow him and knock him out of warp. What does all this mean you ask? Good question! Well, you need to knock down his warp field which is represented by a new overlay on his health bar. NOW WE GET TO THE UI TOUCHES!

The warp bar color change is nice but we felt is wasn’t enough. We wanted something a little extra to happen and that is the warp icon. This is our way of showing the player clearly that he is dealing with a boss that will jump to warp when enough damage is taken. This gives the player a clear sense of what’s coming. Let’s see some of the development shall we?

Setup in Spine of the boss shield and warp icons.

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First pass of warp icon and the boss shield icon.

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Warp Icon in round BEFORE a warp tunnel (to inform the player)

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Warp Icon in a warp tunnel in action

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Thanks for checking in and hope you enjoyed the look. Remember to come back next week and in the meanwhile…

LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim
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Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.07.31 Update Live!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:46 am 


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Looking good. Have a release-date in mind?
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.07.31 Update Live!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:31 pm 


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Doctor Butler wrote:
Looking good. Have a release-date in mind?


We're targeting the end of 2015 at the moment. Ideally November.

I could probably expand on the thinking quite a lot but the short story is we are a super small team and the polish we think the game needs is taking time. There have been a few systems which, during the initial design and planning seemed awesome but during play testing and real world application didn't really hit the mark. We felt if we left those alone they would really bring down the game as a whole so the only choice was a) take it out or b) adjust it. Either one of those options is fine for us as long as we are not losing the spirit of the game (fun experience, cool story, great moments, etc). Most of the time we are simply taking the extra time to round out the system to work well in the game and not feel awkward or shoehorned.

No one, please believe me, NO ONE wants to ship Boss 101 as much as we do. We want you and everyone to play it and really like it. We actually would love it (through your reviews and purchases) to be a classic. Will it be? Maybe! For that to happen we have to be willing to go the extra mile. I'm not talking about 'eternal development' but true polish.

I've been working in video games well over 24 years and been in games/toys business for almost 30 years. That's a long time. The big winners tend to be those willing to put in the time and correct mistakes. Good enough doesn't always cut it. My opinion is the developer is always in love with their product and willing to forgive its faults. That rapidly drops off the moment people are paying any amount (whether money or time) for their product. The only way to counter that is to not compromise and work your rear-end off making something amazing and have nothing in the tank when you are finished. ALL IN I SAY!

Long winded answer I know but we care and want you to care too. Not out of sympathy but ‘cause you think it will ROCK! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

-Tim
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Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.09.02 Update Live!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:18 am 


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Welcome back to this week’s AWESOME Boss 101 Update!

Today we are talking about character dress up – specifically HATS! YEAH BUDDY! Who doesn’t want cool lids to go into battle with? Valve sure thinks you want them in Team Fortress 2 and we are giving them to you in Boss 101.

For a long time we had hats in the game as buffs to your powers. Extra health, extra firepower, etc. Some hats were especially good against certain types of bosses and others gave you money bonuses depending on what you were attacking. All good things. What was missing though was that last little touch to make the hat special.

Well, along came an idea while we were working on another system to add various abilities for hats, ammunition and bosses. We call it the “alt” system and what it does is allow is to specify replacing one thing for another. We can also use the alt system to allow things a bullet to doing more or less damage on certain types of bosses. The best part is we can use the system to replace one sprite for another.

It wasn’t a far stretch from there to make the leap of replacing the player’s machine gun bullets with special bullets related to the hat you are wearing. This was an easy change requiring some additional art but we believe it’s WELL worth it. To date we have over 200 hats in the game and NEARLY EVERY SINGLE ONE has its own custom bullet to add that much more flavor. Check it out.

Here you have the Hat Store with all the lids you will need!

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
Image

And now the Zombie hat in battle – TOSSING BRAINS!

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And a guitar hat – BLASTING NOTES!

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And Major Mayhem – THROWING SHIELDS!

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Indie Game Riots – Indie Revolution 2015

First off a HUGE, huge thanks to Josh and the guys at Indie Games Riot for having us at the IRX15. It was awesome giving a talk and hanging around with other devs throughout the weekend. Learned a terrific amount from all the online conferences and just chatting.

Second – we’re so happy to announce Boss 101 won the Most Revolutionary Game this year. It really came as a surprise and it is very humbling to have Boss 101 acknowledge in such a great light. Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on us and rooting for us. It means everything.

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Please remember to always live your dreams as they do come true. BELIEVE IT!

-Tim
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Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.09.28 Update Live!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:39 am 


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Welcome back to this week’s Boss 101 Update!

Today we are pulling back the curtains yet again with a look at the cinematic setup we are using to bring you the story of Boss 101.

We felt it was important to allow the guys to talk with you as well as give you a sense of the world they inhabit. To do that we created what we feel is a seamless integration between the story you enjoy and the game you are playing. Nearly every asset, room and screen is an option for us to bring you more of the humor, entertainment and insight into the way the world of Boss 101 is built.

Below are three of the many rooms we have in the game.

First up us the Boss 101 game Room – you didn’t think Boss 101 himself was all about smashing stars and conquering galaxies? That’s pretty mundane if you ask me. Nope, Boss 101 takes a little time out of each day to play… BOARD GAMES! You heard right  - he enjoys al the classics. The only problem is he hates to lose and people who beat him tend to lose too if you know what I mean.

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
The room
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The setup
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Command Center Rec Room – this is nice patio outside the main center where the guys go to rest and talk about the latest missions. Oh yeah, they serve ice cream there.

The room
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The setup
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Super Collider Corridor – a small but important room. It contains one of the main conduits which power the command center.

The room
Image

The setup
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Sneak Peak at the latest How To Make a Game

As you know we do a weekly column with Indie Game Riot Website where I put out my thought on the making of games. Here’s a snippet from the latest column.

The Nature of the Fence

Today’s how to make a game column is about understanding the correct priorities for your game and your time. No one wants to waste time while they are working but we (and I include myself in this category) often focus on things which might be better put aside to make room for the real meat of the project. Let’s start with a great parable:

A lion was captured and placed in a large yard surrounded by a high fence. He soon became acquainted with the social life of the other lions who had been there a long time. The lions had divided themselves into several clubs, each with its own activities. One group met regularly to hate and slander the captors. Another group met to sing sentimentally about a future jungle having no fences. And a third group met to secretly plot violence against the other groups Each club tried to pressure the newcomer into joining, but something held him back. His hesitation was caused by one particular lion who kept to himself and who seemed to be in deep thought. The newcomer shyly approached the solitary lion and requested an explanation of his apartness.

‘Join nothing,’ replied the lion. ‘Those foolish creatures do everything but the necessary. I am doing what is essential, so one day I will be out of here. You are welcome to all the facts I have uncovered.’

But what is this necessary thing you are doing?

‘Listen carefully. I am studying the nature of the fence.

The point here is are you focusing on the things that will make your game better, more fun and arguably more palatable to the consumer. I am guessing you want to sell a lot of copies and bring your excitement to as many people as possible. For that you will need to study what your limits are and face some hard truths before you can move on.

Enjoy, have a great weekend and remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim
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Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.10.04 Update Live!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:09 pm 


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Welcome back to our dev log! We have really exciting news so let’s dive in IMMEDIATELY!

Cleaning up the UI and making things as awesome as possible

So, as you know we have a Command Center in the game. This is your main staging area where you upgrade, purchase and review upcoming fights. It’s the place you spend time between fights flying kites and checking out the GopherWiki for tips on defeating bosses. Knowing that, we've been working to buff up a bit of the architectural designs.

Make no mistake; we could have left well enough alone saying “Well, we having something that works so just leave it”. We are, however in a polish pass and the whole point is not to just have something functional but to have something you (and we) think is AWESOME. It’s gotta be nice looking and fit the spirit of the game.

We are looking over the various levels, UI pages, and pretty much everything to make sure there is something special everywhere you go. We’re not here to just hit a bunch of check boxes on a To-Do list. That may ship the game but won’t deliver the experience we're shooting for.

Enough talking though – check this out. We have two stores and their respective before and after shots. Just look at how much sweeter they are NOW. Don’t you want to explore down there? There is a much, much better sense of a giant complex of machinery and in the debug store the pool of water adds a really nice touch to the look of the game. Really top level work.

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Spoiler: show
Gun Shop Before

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Gun Shop After

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Debug Shop Before

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Debug Shop After

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Screenshot of the day

When you look for achievements in Boss 101, it pays to wear the correct lid!

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Thank you again for checking out the latest. Enjoy, have a great weekend and remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim
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Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.10.12 Update Live!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:36 am 


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Welcome back to the Boss 101 weekly update! Thank you for joining us once again – we do appreciate your time.

World Building
Today we are looking at environments and world building. Specifically we are talking about some of the touches added to our backgrounds to help flesh out the story and make things more interesting visually. You may already see some of this happening in the screenshots but it bears some commentary.

First – we have a definite story arc for the game. You are moving forward for a specific reason with a specific goal. In fact you have a few overlapping goals at any given time. You have your long term goals and your round to round goals. While you are playing you might be considering a cool new gun you want to buy as your round to round goal. Overall though – you are looking at a way to defeat Boss 101 in spectacular fashion. To help the player have a great experience we look at making each round with special little touches. This might be some sort of object or decoration that looks cool and gives the player a sense of story (what happened before or what might happen) or a sense of scale (how big or small the player is versus the environment he is in).

You probably see this a lot in games and it can be done to awesome effect. Games like Call of Duty or the Battlefield series might have giant set pieces that move or fall in order to bring spectacle to the round. Well, we have our own set pieces and we are picking them to not only look cool but give a sense of what is happening as your progress. You see, the bosses are taking over the galaxy and Earth is on the list. If Max and STEVE can’t stop them it’s truly game over. The good news is you already beat down the first wave, now it’s just a matter of taking out the bosses. Easy right? HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Heading into space and witnessing the destruction of a local moon... these guys aren't messing around

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Spoiler: show
Ninja Action in motion
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Ninja stillshot
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Wrecked Boss ship on Earth

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Active Volcano!

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The idea is there is always something interesting for the player to notice on the first, second and maybe even tenth time playing through. Sometimes it may be a big set pieces like what you see or maybe it's a small billboard with something interesting. You never know!

Into the Sky
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Some things to remember when you make your game (re-posted from my original How to make a Game series)

Here are some questions going through the publisher’s and public's mind:
1. What is unique about this game I can’t get anywhere else? To put it another way, “What is your unfair advantage?” What do you have that no one else can easily have or duplicate? That is what you must lead the conversation with.
2. Are you demonstrating enough of your product’s vision in the presentation? Some games have an awesome tech demo. Some games have a great trailer. Others may have some drawings. It’s really up to you to present your unique angle in the best way you can. This goes for Kickstarter trailers, Patreon videos, blogs etc. Everything should turn on what you offer that no one else has. If you have a blog you want people to read, give them a reason! Funny articles? Serious articles? Outlandish articles? Exclusive articles? Give people a reason! Same goes for a game. Unique gameplay (Portal)? Amazing art (Ori and the Blind Forest)? Amazing tech (Battlefield)?
3. Do you, as the project creator, see a clear way you will make the publisher (or the Kickstarter backer) either a monetary return or a return of “acclaim”?
    - Monetary return is pretty obvious. You are giving someone more money than they initially gave you for investing in your project. Games like Call of Duty and League of Legends fit into this category.
    - Acclaim for the publisher covers several areas. For a publisher, this could be a game that wins awards and gains the publisher credit from the general public as a benevolent and wise group. Games like ICO are what fit into this category.
    - Acclaim for the player is a category I think we forget about. Basically, does your game tell a story worth repeating? An example would be a game in which somethingso amazing happens, it makes you want to tell someone about it. So, does your game have memorable moments, a memorable story, etc…? A lot of times people will back and support something that advances their ability to be interesting or popular (for lack of a better phrase). I look at old games like X-Com which have outlandish scenarios all throughout. When you survive one of those, you want to tell someone about it! Same might go for a crazy match of Counter Strike or League of Legends. If you have a game people talk about after they put it down then you might really be onto something.

There you have it. A small look into some of the things we're doing to bring you the best we have. Maybe this gives you some ideas for your game! If so, post your work and tell us, we'd love to see what things you can show us!

Take care, talk with you soon and LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.10.12 Update Live!
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:38 pm 


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Whatever happened to this game?
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.10.12 Update Live!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2015 4:41 am 


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Doctor Butler wrote:
Whatever happened to this game?


Still around! Doing updates and working on finishing! We're not dead!

The way the updates have been working here is they are behind the regular ones at the main site. I might just post a block of updates and catch up this site to the currently weekly ones.

At any rate - yes, we are around!
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.10.12 Update Live!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2015 4:45 am 


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Welcome to the latest Boss 101 update. Thank you for stopping by and we appreciate your support.

Today we are going to talk about UI polish and ways we are improving the look of the game WHILE adding needed functionality.

The Arcade Machine!

In our Command Center (your main hangout) we have a bunch of nifty tools for you to play with. One of them is the AWESOME arcade machine where you can test your skills at old timey arcade games. The exact nature and type of those arcade games are for another post but what we will talk about is the arcade machine UI.

1. What we Had
We started with a flip down console which we LOVED. This was early in development and at the time it made a ton of sense.  The thing here was the flipping down action looked cool to us and had a great feel. Sure – the actual game screen was a little small but WHO CARES!?!!? COOL FLIPPING ACTION! Right?

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Spoiler: show
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Well, it turns out it does matter how big the screen is. This plus the added complication of the arcade machine was being drawn to the game screen (we won’t bother you with programming backstory) made the flip down arcade action a lot less efficient than we first thought.

2. What we needed
The arcade room was to be split off and brought into its own “room” in GameMaker. This would give us more space to display the game screen (good) and a chance to add more details to the arcade machine façade (also good). First thing on the list was hogging out the rough dimensions and getting a first pass concept.

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3. First Pass
Here is a really nice pass at the arcade machine room. It’s a pulled in look at the wall space the arcade machine is on. Nothing wrong with it overall and it does have a certain echo of the actual room. Looking at it though, it  wasn’t quite grabbing the vibe we had going in other areas of the game. Also – to REALLY do justice to something like this we felt there was a bunch of additional work to really make it shine (like make the buttons press along with the player controls and wiggle the joystick along with the player movements). The added workload didn’t have the bang for the buck we were looking for in this area of the game so we went back and made notes.

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4. Notes
Taking what we had in other room we made notes about possible directions. Note that these are ON TOP of the first pass artwork.

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5. Second Pass
OK – now THIS is more like it. You can see we are using many design echoes from other screens and rooms in the game. Makes a big difference in the look of the room and also makes the whole thing fit thematically a little better. Also we can add some simple idles and change up things like the decals on the side for various games. A very nice pass indeed!

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6. Sample with New art
This is dope – need I say more? See for yourself! Animations, cool style and a lot of potential as we add games to the arcade machine. We can now change up stickers and add decals as well as instruction sheets. MUCH BETTER.

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Hope you enjoyed this look at some of our design process. Ideally this inspires you to keep on keeping on and make YOUR game as awesome you possibly can.

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Cinematics, love ‘em, use ‘em and have fun!

We continue with our look at the cinematic making process in Boss 101. I’m going to outline some of the initial principles we followed and point out where I think we went right and were we probably will adjust the process for Boss 102. It should be noted everything and anything added is only to serve one purpose – giving YOU the BEST experience.

I don’t want to classify anything we are doing as “right” or “wrong”. My hope is to give you insight if you are making a game and an “A-HA!” moment.

1. Cinematics in Boss 101 are mostly handled with game animation idles – good or bad this is  the template we started with. What this meant is for the most part all animations for characters and backgrounds were basically looping idles which don’t change much over the course of the cinematic. The thinking initially was we were having short-ish cinematics and it simply wasn’t worth the programming horsepower to create a complicated animation delivery system. These kinds of decisions happen daily on small (and big) teams and a lot of times you really have to invest in stuff that pays the biggest dividends. In the end it is serving us well for Boss 101 so we are happy with the currently situation.

Initial setup prepping
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2. Speaking of that – our scripting system for animation is completely built from scratch. We use our dialog script to trigger various things inside our cinematics. If we want to have an effect play or a song change we can do that from inside the dialog script. It sounds a little weird but it works just fine.

3. All our animations and cinematics use the same engine used for playing the game. This is to say – we use what we already have. This allowed us to setup backgrounds and sprites the same way we do for gameplay. Some games use a different engine for cinematics and gameplay or build some sort of video playback engine for pre-rendered movies. All that works but we playback our cinematics in real time with our engine. Saves time in setup and polishing.

Script setup
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Dialog
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Below are things which are tougher to do and will probably have some sort of revamped procedure for Boss 102 (HAAAAAAAAAAA!!! We have this conversation all the time)

1.  Ability to trigger various animations states during dialog. Talked about this one above but it’s a nice feature and clearly adds a lot to a cinematic.

2. Ability to have animations fire off game effects or trigger events. This is something we would love to see happen. Here we are talking about something like an animation playing, say a gun shooting, and then during the actual muzzle flash animation we call a script or trigger FROM the animation frame and place an effect on the tip of the barrel. Mind you, we can do a version of this now but it is coordinated in a different way. I’m talking about a very procedural and organic way to have one thing trigger another.

3. Create new characters on the fly. Have characters enter the scene and leave. This is all very basic and we can do this in a roundabout way but a more robust system would make a difference.

4. More camera controls – this is strictly the animator in me speaking

5. More choices and/or interaction during the cinematics – I love well done cinematics and it was so revolutionary to me when games really took them to the next level and allowed the player to move and interact during them. Being able to do things like move or look around while someone talks (ala the oldie and goodie Half Life 2 among many others).

Cinematic Cut
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Here’s the deal – what we have in Boss 101 currently is awesome and fills our specific needs well. I think when we return to the well for round 2 we will have an even more focused list of things we would like to create.

Thank you for reading and remember to live your dreams!

-Tim

Spoiler: show
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.11.22 Update Live!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:32 pm 


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Welcome back to today’s Boss 101 update! Today we are discussing the evolution of our Endless Boss mode. Specifically the interface you are using.

Endless Boss Mode
This is a feature in the game were you are tackling boss after boss with no break. In the normal game you return to your command center for a recharge, to buy new weapons and equipment and then head out again. During Endless Boss it’s just you and your first loadout against as many bosses as you can manage. There are some cool in game rewards associate with it also but we are going to save that discussion for a later day. For now, we are a talking about the user interface.

Launch Area
We knew we would need a staging area the player started from. The first idea was to have sometime pretty straightforward. An interface and some buttons with the word “Go” or something like that. Sure, that worked but we already has a lot of cool ideas just sitting around the Command Center begging to be used.

One thing we noticed immediately was the Cosmic Clicks spaceship sitting on one of the decks. You pass the ship while you are moving around in the Command Center and the only reason it was placed there was as a nod to our earlier game Cosmic Clicks. Then the idea come “Hey, we need a launch area and we already have a rocket!”.

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
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So the Endless Boss area basically turned into a Cosmic Clicks ship Launchpad. I think it’s important to state here many things in Boss 101 are about a fun experience. For us, it seemed really cool to have an astronaut moment of riding up the side of a rocket to the loading deck for liftoff. For all this to happen we had to take the old click ship and upgrade it to a large version Boss 101 style.

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First thing was the layout of the room. This was pretty important to us for a couple reasons. One mindset was to use anything and everything we already had to make the interface work. The Make A Boss room had all the needed buttons with some slight modifications. We took that as a base layout and built the Endless Boss liftoff pad from that idea.

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You can see in the image here we use the Make A Boss as a scale reference for the layout of the room. These are little things but they save SO much time when you can reuse your work intelligently. There is a lot of game logic working in your favor too. The Command Center was arguably built by the same people so you can imagine much shared tech in the various rooms.

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OK having the layout we proceed to hog in the details and create the game interface. Of course we add in all the expected blinking lights and various animations inside the engine itself.

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The real magic though is when YOU play the game and get to experience it yourself. We have a few more surprises in store for you with the Clicks ship in the Endless Boss mode but those are for another day. Stay tuned and we will return!


ScreenShot Saturday
Sometimes the guys just hang out for a lunch break. It’s rumored they even do a cappella songs!

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Thank you again and talk with you soon!

Remember to live your dreams!

-Tim
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.11.24 Update Live!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:50 am 


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Welcome to the latest update of Boss 101!

Cinematic Transitions

Last time we saw the first pass of all the main cinematics in the game. The great news here is we can now sit and let the story gel while we move onto other polish tasks. If you are also working on a game you know how nice it is to have breathing room and stand back from your creation.

Let’s look at some of the latest shall we?

Transition Screen for the cinematics

We created this little intro screen to help set the stage for the storytelling in the game. A lot of the thinking here is to give a clear heads up as to where and what the player is seeing. In an ideal world storytelling would be told naturalistically but since time and tech constraints crop up we are looking at ways to deliver the best experience given our tools.  

For that we have a little narration screen that can crop up to give a high level lead in. You see a lone narration robo and a small action gopher in the corner. We will be using this setup to help with transitions between cinemas and to setup possibly complex storytelling. The nice thing is this will be woven into the current story with some logical ties. Before we had this screen we had a lot of insta cuts into major story elements and it seemed a little jarring. Now we can ease into things, hopefully a little smoother.

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
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Hilltop at night

Who doesn’t like looking at the stars? In between robo battles we have downtime and we think you will enjoy the moments spent with the guys. It was a huge deal for us to have not only awesome arcade action but to have downtime that you can enjoy as you like. Hey, if you want back in battle – you can do that. If you want to earn some credits playing arcade games – do it!

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Steam Store Cleanup

We also began cleaning up the Boss 101 Steam store for the game’s release. Now, we know that is a little bit down the line but it’s always nice to create and design the storefront to be pleasing. I know I personally appreciate when a Steam store has information presented in a pleasing manner. I also really like when a dev CLEARLY enjoys what they are doing and lets a little humor show. We are working to do the same – give you the info and also provide a little fun while we do it.

Galactic Credit Cards
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Boss 101 Soundtrack
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Zagnuts

Boss 101 likes Zagnuts! Who knew!?! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

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From Boss 101 the web game to Boss 101 the PC/Console game

We’d like to think we’ve come a long way since the web version of Boss 101 but we have not forgotten about what got us here. Boss 101 started as a web browser games and we know there are a few of you out there who might remember it. To that end we are putting several nods to the OG game inside this one. One you might have heard about is the Endless Boss mode.

Let’s be clear, we are talking about modes outside the main game and story. They are connected to the main game and certain equipment can be brought into the Endless Boss mode from your main game but the intent is to give players another option if they are enjoying blasting bosses.

Setup for the Warp Room Stats Screen
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Closeup of the Stats Readout scale panel (WIP)
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Extra Game Play Mode: the Endless Boss mode

We mentioned this before but it is the closest thing to the arcade experience of Boss 101’s web version we have in the new game. Don’t get us wrong, we jazzed it up quite a bit but the overall pacing and intent is to just let you the player blast away against bosses and see how awesome your piloting skills are. Check this out…

We have two main modes for Endless boss – Classic and Iron Man. Classic is all about an arcade like experience. You start with your base abilities and machine gun. You can collect health and powerups during the  battles. Like the original version powerups give you a random gun you use for a limited time and health replenishes your health bar. Sounds pretty straightforward and it is. A boss is rolled, you attack and defeat it, you get an assessment of your progress and then repeat.

Iron Man mode – This is a variation of the Endless Boss theme where you get to bring your machine gun and also select ONE ALT GUN from your gun collection. You get no powerups and no health buff (other than what your base gear might give you). In this mode it’s you against the bosses with your skillage as the only barrier.

Some shots of the Endless Warp Assessment Screen (this shows up when you finish any boss round in the Endless Mode)

Did we mention you can FLY AROUND THE CLICKS SHIP WHILE IN WARP?!?!

ROB pilots the Clicks Ship too! OH YEAH!
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Working on the engine Sprites – YES!
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Kite Room work

We added extra looks for the Kite Room to match the times of day you visit. Here the guys are checking out the morning sun!

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Thank you again for stopping by and we do appreciate your time and support.

As always – live your dreams!

-Tim
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.11.27 Update Live!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:31 am 


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Boss 101 Weekly update – setting up the stores

Welcome back to another update and this time we are looking at the Boss 101 Store fronts, specifically the Hat Store. The hat store, as you may guess, is where you buy all the sweet lids for the game. These can give you various powers and increase your ability to do battle.

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
The OG Store!
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Let’s start with we have come a LONG way since the first version of the game store. Back in the day we were integrating everything together including the room for the guys. Back then the store was a pretty straightforward thing with not a lot of zazz. That was OK but we knew we wanted to evolve it to have more features and be able to display more information. Also – the hats this time around could do a lot more so we wanted to feature more of what you get for your money.

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The first step was to arrange to store as both a selling and storage unit for purchased hats. We have over 200 hats in the game currently. As tends to happen in games with lots of inventory the design is based around the player buying a steady progression of hats as they move through the levels. Hats get more powerful and more expensive and in an ideal situation there is something for the player to buy at all times (or at least look forward to purchasing).

Some hats get locked out due to level or money requirements. In an earlier version of the hat store we had a ‘closet theme’ going but it didn’t seem to match up well in terms of art and look for the rest of the command center. We modified it up to look more like something the gophers would have made and it is a LOT more in line with the game now. Check it!

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Also – here is an example of some of the buff icons you will see attached to the various hats as well as a rating for each. Using this you can see what a hat is good for an how powerful it is. Helpful when picking the best hat to battle with.

Store Buff Icon Examples
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Examples used in the Store!
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Sneak Peak Weapons of destruction – the Ultra Gun.

Lay the serious smack down!
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Boss 101 Warp Gates

Did you know warp gates are how the bosses (and you) get around in Boss 101? Well, it’s true! One of your missions is to shut down all the warp gates leading to Earth. I guess we should clarify, you’re not shutting them down exactly, you’re taking control of them.

Active Boss Warp Gate in the background
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That is correct! Once you defeat a level boss you and your team of scientists come in and reprogram the gate for YOUR OWN USE! This means you can now use it as often as you like. Come back to the same world and look for things the bosses left behind. Sure, you can continue on with the battle against the bosses but maybe if you spend a little time cleaning up the mess they left you can learn more about what happened and perhaps get a little bonus reward for your troubles.

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Gameplay ideas

We wanted to bring you as much story and gameplay as possible. One of the things we are doing is giving you rewards and reasons for replaying levels. One of them is the visual sight of seeing some of the before/after boss life but another is certain surprises will only arrive AFTER the main boss is gone. Ideally you come on back when you want and at whatever power level you prefer. We are encouraging it sure but you can always play as you like. Either way – the basic story stays intact.

Giving you fun things to find and discover is one of the most fun things we do. There is a lot of discussion about what things will make the most impact and sense as well as give you the player the biggest bang for your buck. Our goal is always to keep you entertained!

Check out some sweet shots of the boss gate active and the transformed gate you control. Care to guess which is which? HAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

Before
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After
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Cosmic Clicks Endless Boss mode

We mentioned this before but the Cosmic Clicks ships makes and appearance in Boss 101 with ROB in command no less. In between boss battles you will jump to warp to meet up with ROB for a score assessment and some breathing room. While you are there you are free to fly around next to the ship and set off some fireworks to celebrate your victory. You heard me correct. Check out that screenshot! You can trigger fireworks! YES!

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Thank you again for stopping by and remember to live your dreams!

Best,

-Tim
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Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.06 Update Live!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:10 pm 


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Welcome back to the Boss 101 Update! Thank you for your support and your time!

We have a whole bunch of things to talk about so let’s get rolling. As we mentioned previously, we are getting deep into the polish phase. By this we mean many, many of the systems are in place but need a tweak here and there to get them up to the quality we think you deserve.

As always – Boss 101 is about bringing you the best entertainment and fun we can. Every single thing we do always starts with a reason involving fun. In today’s update we are looking at the various little touches we are adding to spruce up otherwise straightforward end of round statistic screens. Check this out!

Fireworks, Warp Levels and Flying with the Clicks Rocketship

We have the in-between round setup for the Endless Boss mode. Last week we spoke about fireworks and we dropped in the first pass of the controls and effects this week. In the series of photos below you can see Max and STEVE flying around in the warp space (just like you will too!). During this time you can  check your stats, contemplate the next round or, best of all, set of fireworks to celebrate your win! YEAH BABY!

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
Basic Firework Test in Warp
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Flying around the front of the Cosmic Clicks ship
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Flying around the engines of the Clicks ship – look at those things flaming up!
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End of Round Loss

So when you lose the round the robots kindly sweep your unconscious body off the street for later recovery. Isn’t that nice!? Haha

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Screenshots of gameplay tests and tunes

Trying out a mid-level superMax bomb on the Boss. You get these bombs over the course of the game and they can deal some serious damage when fully upgraded. Here you can a first run test of the art and effects. Things are only looking up from this point forward.

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Dodging a flaming pterodactyl head!

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Another sky high Boss battle in the clouds

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Gopher Wiki WIP.

Working on the latest offering from Boss 101. The Professor and ROB bringing you the best info for getting the job done. The Boss 101 built in gopher WIKI is your one stop to find out about the Bosses and the tech you deal with. Use it!

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Weather and more

OK, so weather in Boss 101 is mostly about adding atmosphere and a nice look to a level. We have talked of course about lightning storms affecting the player and other interactable moments but for today we are going to focus on weather as it accentuates the look of our levels.

How we make types of weather

Not surprisingly the weather I am talking about is all done inside our particle system. Our main man on the tech side of things - Joshua - came up with a brilliantly simple way to create effective and low cost weather systems with a setup even I can understand!

We start with the particle itself (snow, rain or perhaps a bit of newspaper blowing down the street). This is created in Photoshop or some pixel program and then animated if need be for color variance or rotation (more on this later). For things like a newspaper bit we animated it in place and spinning in various cool ways. Three simple animations named idle0, idle1, idle2, idle3, idle4, idle5. Those are all saved off and stored for use in the particle system.

Animation setup
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When the setup for the particle happens we create an object (in this case a newspaper bit object) and then have it play one of its three animations. When that animation is finished it selects a new one randomly from the same list. OK, still with me? GOOD!

The particle system grabs that object and moves it across the screen in whatever direction we specify. Left, right, up or down. For newspapers we move them right to left to simulate the effect of blowing down a street. Easy huh? When you add in the effect of the random spinning animations it really helps sell it. We also drop in fade in and fade outs to help further the illusion.

Particle weather called from a level script
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Now you may be asking yourself “Self, why don’t they just do all that spinning and stuff from inside the particle system?” That is a great question and it is entirely possible to do this but it would have meant more coding. Joshua’s time could be put elsewhere since adding those little spinning animations is easy AND the ability to grab from random idles adds a new dimension to the possibilities of the weather system. We could have added wind streaks for instance and used the random animations to have swirls and gusts at a small cost.

So there are the basics of the system and check out examples below for more shots of how we do it!

Newspapers blowing at the beginning of a round
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Rain in the forest - same system as above with different configuration
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Snow effects
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Ash falling in the post apocalyptic worlds
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Pause Menu Screenshot
Boss 101 - an in-game break while working on exit menu in the pause UI. Even when we pause we don't pause!
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Thank you again for your time and remember to live your dreams!

-Tim
_________________
Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.10 Update Live!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:11 pm 


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Welcome to the Boss 101 update!

Over a Year of Weekly updates!

Did you know we have been doing the weekly updates for over a year now!? Just for you, each week we put together our progress reports and share with you what we hope you find interesting and useful about not just Boss 101 but gamemaking.

THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY!

Gopher Buddies

This week we are talking about GOPHERS! Gophers and their magical ability to build things and help you out. One of your gopher buddies is the Professor and he is there to help you build up the Command Center and upgrade your weapons but you know what?!? YOU CAN HAVE MORE GOPHER FRIENDS!

Yep, once you have cleared a round once the gophers feel safe to emerge and leave their hiding spot. All you need to do is go collect them and bring ‘em back to the Command Center. In the game there are 25 gopher buddies scattered across the game. Among those 25 are 5 main types of gophers who handle different chores back at your base. Let’s meet the types:


>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
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Those are the five types of gophers you collect and when you bring them back to the Command Center they get to upgrading the machinery inside the Upgrade room. Here’s a look at the base setup for the upgrades.

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The machinery goes here and improves as you bring in more buddies to improve the place.

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While you’re collecting things the game will helpfully guide you to the levels your buddies are still waiting on. And when you collect a gopher you get a SWEET achievement medal in the map room! Look at that little guy – sitting on top of the world!

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I think the big question is what exactly are your buddies working on? Well, you will have to collect them all to find out. Whatever it is– they sure think it’s important. So get on it and bring them all together.

Boss 101 folks, it’s got drama, adventure and gopher saving. What more could you ask for.

Destructoid Column Started!

Fresh from my series on How to Make a Game come a new series starting up at Destructoid. Check out the latest blog here:

Destruction Column Link - Making Games and More

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What’s up back there?! - Backgrounds

Let’s talk about some of the things you will see happening in the backgrounds in Boss 101. Each level represents a section of a city and many are on different planets. During the course of the game you fly from planet to planet and see a lot of the Boss 101 galaxy.

So, how do we make things interesting? GOOD QUESTION! We started with the story, which has you cross the universe through a series of warp gates looking for Boss 101 and his home planet. Once we knew that bit of lore we had a reason and a design for a lot of the planets in the game. The idea is they progressively get more strange as you go along. For instance, you will see moons with holes punched out of them and strange Dyson Sphere like systems.

Below are some of the creations to give the player a sense of the alien places he is visiting. Make no mistake a LOT of this is a tongue and cheek takes on alien life. Of course, we have a ton of fun creating the look of the worlds to texture to the planets.

Check it out and see what you think!

Cratered Moon
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Dyson Sphere?
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Sunshine Day
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Bad Moon Rising
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"That, is not a Moon"
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How much is enough?

When we sat down to make Boss 101 a lot of the impetus was to have fun flying around in a jetpack. As the game development progressed we began to add in things we felt created value for  people playing. It is an organic process we believe is making Boss 101 more ‘real’ than just a collection of backgrounds and sprites. The best part is we are giving you that story as part of the experience.

You get to fly around exploring with Steve and Max and discover places right along with them. You also will find out why there are warp gates and how YOU can control them. We originally planned to make this a souped up remake of the web version of Boss 101 but it has grown into something a lot bigger and more fun. If you look at the prior updates you will see we have been adding in things like the Endless Boss mode and a huge Command Center. This is all part of the total world experience we are making for you.

You will have tons to do and ideally you will find many little things to do between battles. Shop, upgrade your weapons and yourself, fly kites, consult the gophers, plan your next moves and more! You can play arcade games too!

It’s all there for you to do and part of the giant universe of Boss 101.

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[size=12pt]Ctrl500.com latest Dev Article is up![/size]

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Our latest article on the hats in Boss 101 is up at Ctrl500 here: What a Difference a Hat Makes in Boss 101


As always, remember to live your dreams. No one else will. Talk with you soon!

-Tim
_________________
Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.13 Update Live!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:13 am 


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Welcome back to another Boss 101 update! Thank you for joining us!

Today we continue with a look at the little touches we’re putting in Boss 101. We are polishing. That means fixing bugs and cleaning up the game to give you a top notch experience.

Gophers Remember these guys? Check it:

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
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Well they are back and we have a pass of the gopher collection room working. It goes like this, you collect gophers after you finish certain rounds. You bring these guys back to the Command Center where they set out on their secret project. What exactly is that – well you will have to find out YOURSELF when you collect all of them.

Check out this image with a few gophers collected and their mighty machines being upgraded. The way this works is you collect five gophers per machine type and each new gopher upgrades the machine. Kinda cool!?! Look at those guys zooming around. They use the machines too! YES!!!!!

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Cleaning up and polishing Kite Hill

This is a great example of things we are doing to make Boss 101 nice for you. Kite kill is awesome. It works, it looks good, there is technically nothing wrong with it. Well, we decided to take a feature we really liked and use it with kite hill. You see, when you start the game you are presented with a random opening scene (day, night, etc). That scene is reflected on a smaller scale in the Command Center but it was not reflected on Kite Hill, until now. Let’s look at some examples.

Opening Scene Sunrise
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Kite Hill Sunrise
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Opening Scene Daytime
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Kite Hill Daytime
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Opening Scene Night
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Kite Hill Night
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Boss 101, Tim Donley and talk about Planescape Torment

Planescape was a long, LONG time ago but next to Boss 101 it had to be one of the most rewarding teams I (Tim Donley) have ever had the privilege of working with. Great people and great energy from the team. I strongly feel if you have a great team you will make a great product and the reverse is also true. Boss 101 is a great team and we do enjoy each other’s company. The final product will be yours to judge but the ingredients are there.

Interview with Tim Donley @Boss 101, Planescape Torment and more!

The interview above is about an hour long and it covers mostly Planescape Torment but there is a lot of talk about game philosophy and we things work the way they do in game development. If you’re interested, please check it out.

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Boss 101 Release Date!
The time has come to talk about the Boss 101 release date. The short story is we now expect to be done the first half of 2016 – for the exact date read on!

Summer/Fall 2015
Originally we planned for Boss 101 to come out before the end of 2015 – perhaps late summer or fall. That was under the specific assumption we were essentially upgrading the graphics from the web game and added a few small niceties to the game to make it beefier. As we progressed through 2015 it became apparent the game was ‘telling’ us it needed more time. There were parts that were designed, executed and functional but they seemed a little thin or lackluster. An example is something like the Start Screen load panel. As you can see above when you hit ‘start’ a small panel with gophers pops up, animations play and you proceed to the game. Originally though, we had a plain panel and a very simple selection process.

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Making it Count!
The problem with many things plain or which ‘just got by’ was EXACTLY THAT, they just ‘got by’ and weren’t special or cool. They were only functional and got the job done. Don’t get me wrong, there is place for straight functionality. Many times there is a need for good execution over flash and fizz. That said, if you have the underlying structure in place and an opportunity to spice something up with a nod to the game’s theme you might consider it. For us, we feel it’s important to make the game have character and personality since that is what makes Boss 101 stand out.

It’s for that reason we looked at everything in the game and asked “are we just getting by or are we making this special?” Every time we felt we were just getting by with the base minimum we would look at the reasons and see if there was a way to elevate the product. We did that again and again and here we are now.

All the main systems are in with a first or second pass (UI, sound, VFX, animation, gameplay, saving, loading, etc). We now begin the long march toward cleaning up all the pieces and making certain they play nice. The cinematics and storytelling are in. We’re playing the game daily and still loving it. We want you to love it too since YOU are the one who will be putting your money down.

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So, when exactly!?!
I would love to lay out an exact date but I can’t at the moment. Our team is small, we are focused and we want this game done to the best of our abilities.  We are not looking to putter around on Boss 101 forever but we aren’t looking to slam something out and expect massive success. The road to something great means you step back once in a while and really look at what you are doing. As a person who has shipped many games, one of the worst feelings is letting something inferior in the product and instantly regretting it the moment you ship.  

There was a reason we didn’t go the Kickstarter route or go with a publisher when we started – though we had the opportunity to do both. We wanted to make sure Boss 101 could find its own voice. Had we Kickstarted this and slipped past our expected Summer 2015, then Winter 2015 dates we would be at the mercy of people who understandably paid money for a promise that was not being kept.

For us though – we want to EARN your trust with plain ole’ HARD WORK. That’s it folks! We bust our humps every single day to make Boss 101 something you feel good about spending your hard earned cash on. We’re not begging, tricking or pleading. We just want a quality product you can have a blast with.

There you are. We will keep you posted as we go. The road to completion has started and the team is putting its efforts into polish, gameplay and unification of all systems. Again, we’re a small team but if you want to see our progress please feel free to check out the year plus of weekly updates we have been doing. I think you can tell we are a serious bunch.

Thank you again and remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim
_________________
Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.13 Update Live!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:56 am 


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Welcome to this latest Boss 101 update!

As you might know we are well into tuning the game and making it as fun as we can for YOU! An area of interest is the amazing HAT STORE and all the wonderful goodies you can purchase in it.

We have over 200 hats and most all serve a practical purpose when it comes to playing the game and winning with style. If you have been following the dev blog you know hats provide a good amount of buffs to your character. They can beef up your weapons, give you more money when you win and they can protect you from boss attacks. That right there is a MOUTHFUL so let’s look at how we are balancing and tuning the numbers to make the most sense for you the player.

We start with a gigantic Excel sheet with all the hats and abilities listed on it. From there we can see how things relate to each other and how to scale the cost and performance of the hats. We actually do a similar thing for guns and other products in the game too.

>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
The beginnings of all tuning - the planning stage
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You can see we have a specific layout here to help speed up the inputting of abilities into the game. The Excel sheet (or Google Docs if you prefer) contains the names of the powers as well as the associated sprites and code which is called to use the hat. Once everything is nice and tidied up here it is a small matter of some cut and paste to bring this into the game.

The sheets have the sprite names for easy cut and paste
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We are using GameMaker for Boss 101 and here are the kinds of fun things you too can expect when bringing your game to life. CODE and lots of it. Don’t be afraid! Well-structured code is your friend and mine. Boss 101 has a rather orderly code base to make things easy for a low level code guy like myself. That is all due to the powerhouse abilities of our lead programmer Joshua. He’s helped setup a situation where I can go in and implement easy changes and adjustments to the game. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a strong group of people on your team. It makes all the difference in your day to day.

Opening up Gamemaker and diving in
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Handling the hat scripts
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Once things are setup you can see the result in the Hat Store. Here we have a Kell hat ready to go for testing!

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Over in the Make a Boss we have a typical situation you, the player, will encounter. A new boss with abilities you want to counter. So, pop open the Equip panel and search for the perfect lid to bring into battle. As you can see, boss abilities are listed on either side for easy comparison to your abilities. For instance this boss looks to have a web shooting arm. Well, thankfully the Kell hat looks to have a pretty decent amount of web resistance.

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If you are feeling froggy you can even hit the ole RANDOM button to try your luck. Better yet, maybe you want to trust ROB with your battle plan. He will pick what he feels it the best hat and weapon you have for any particular battle.

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Heading into 2016

I guess we have already spoken about the 2016 plans but it bears refreshing. Boss 101 is currently heading towards a mid 2016 ship date. That is the result of the amount of polish and storytelling we want to do. The game COULD be done a lot sooner if we were willing to cut features and development time but ultimately we don’t feel it’s the correct thing to do. We think you deserve our VERY BEST EFFORT so we are giving you that!

Current Developments

A lot of the upcoming weeks are about tuning and polishing the underlying systems for guns, hats and boss weapons. As you might imagine these systems are connected so we are taking the time to refresh and reevaluate how things work. The last week has been breaking down the way the boss weapons are working with the hat system. A lot of this is ‘rock, scissors, paper’ balancing and sometimes that can go pretty easily if you have a solid foundation. We had long ago put a system in place which allows us to drop in and test values for weapons and abilities.  

Random Bosses
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Boss Tuning Work
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Boss 101 is about bosses being made by you from a collection of boss parts. This leads to a lot of situations where you are mostly likely facing something completely new and unseen. Since that was probably the norm rather than the exception we are making sure you have options when you fight. One path is to pick your favorite gun and just start blasting, hoping your skill will carry you through. Another is to analyze the boss you are about to fight and make some deductions on HIS weakness versus YOUR strengths. You can play it as you want and both ways have benefits. For me, I do a bit of both. I have some favorite guns I tend to use a lot but sometimes I want to really out the hurt on a boss so I ring a hat or gun that will directly counter something he has. It’s a pretty fun system we hope you will enjoy too. Some images!!

Tuning
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Some Boss Status Effect Icons you might see
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Remember to keep living your dreams folks – no one else will do it for you!

-Tim
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.19 Update Live!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:02 am 


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Welcome to the weekly Boss 101 Update!

Max’s (and your) Chain Gun in Boss 101

Max’s Chain Gun aka your MAIN GUN. This is the gun you use throughout the game and always have with you. Of course you have an alternate gun you can equip but the chain gun stays. It’s your go-to item for battling bosses.

Well, since we are making it the main gun we wanted to make it worthwhile to use and not go out of style. You might be asking yourself, “Self, how did they accomplish that?” Good question!

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>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
We give you the ability to upgrade the gun as you acquire bounty money. The gun starts out as a rusty old beater but you can get it into “whoop-ass” territory soon enough. Heck, pair it with the correct hat to boost its power and you will be rocking the bosses to the floor in no time.

When we started development we didn’t originally have this many levels of chain gun upgrades. As we played and progressed over the year we looked at the player guns and specifically this one. Since it was used so much we felt it needed to have some oomph and after checking out the bosses, intended gameplay and progression we came up with the current upgrades. Make no mistake the main question we ask of anything put in the game is “Is this fun?”

If I had to break down the thought process in the game features I would say this:

“What is this trying to do?”
“Is it fun?”
“Does it succeed at the above?”
(this question is asked from the perspective of a fan who has paid for Boss 101)

The more reasons and yes answers for the above the better. We love the idea of cool for cool’s sake but at the same time we think it is even more awesome if something can be cool AND make some sort of sense in the game world and to the player.

We CANNOT wait till you are holding a controller and player Boss 101 yourself.

Check out some shots of the chain gun in action:
Your starting gun (there is a joke in there somewhere)
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Chain Gun Level 3
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Chain Gun Level 6
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Chain Gun Level 9
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Will you wield the golden Level 10 gun?!!?!? Reach for the sky and achieve it I say!

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Remember folks – live your dreams, no one else will!

-Tim
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.22 Making the Boss T
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:15 am 


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Welcome to the weekly Boss 101 update!

Today we are talking about one bad ass mo-fo, the Train Boss. This dude is found on one of the later planets and he is not one, not two but multiple parts and weapons you battle as you make way from the caboose to the front of the train.



>>>>> IMAGES HIDDEN TO HELP PAGE LOAD FASTER - CLICK SPOILER TAG TO OPEN <<<<<

Spoiler: show
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Though he shares some of the base abilities of the earlier bosses (flames, lasers and ultra shots) he also has a new ones you haven’t seen. He has a train car which fires balls of plasma which can destroy YOUR shots. What the heck!?! Don’t fret, you have counters for all his tricks but you do have to be careful. This dude requires patience and a steady hand. Blasting away might not get you too far. Let’s look at some of the cars and the process behind the boss.

First off – he’s a train. HAAAAA!!! YOU KNOW THAT! Well, we had to create a track system and when I say “we” I mean Joshua, our uber programmer. I think the conversation went something like this

Me: Hey, what about a train boss thing?
Joshua: Yeah, we can do that.
Me: Man, we can have it race across the bottom of the screen all awesome.
Joshua: yah, totally. It will look cool.
Me: Dang, wouldn’t it be cool if the track actually had hills and stuff the train could move up and down on?
Joshua: I thought that is what we were just talking about. I was going to make that happen.
Me: WHAT!?! You mean you can code all that train shiz to work? Like a real train on sloping hills.
Joshua: Oh yah, S’easy.

Welp, guess what – he sure made it look easy. Once those tracks were in we started creating the cars and the play space you will fight in. Check out JUST A FEW of the awesome possum things we have.

Mine Layer Car – this guy will teleport in mines to block your path. Not something you want to hang around for a long time. Be sure to take this clown down quick.

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Mortar Car – Lobs one of the biggest shells in the game at you. Sure you can shot it but if you’re caught in the explosions don’t blame us. We warned you.

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Flak Cannon Car – designed to keep you in place and pound you out of the sky. He has to take a break between blasts so make the most of the time you get.

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Laser Beam Eyes - fires trick shots

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Gas Car - goes boom

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Some early work on the process of the train boss and how we do art in general!

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Hope you enjoyed that peek at the latest and come back for more. We do regular updates and intend to keep this up until the game ships AND BEYOND!!! YES!

And remember – live your dreams!

-Tim
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.22 Making the Boss T
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:38 am 


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Looking good, I do love a good train boss (or even a non-boss) with distinct abilities on each car!

By the way, do you think you could surround your posts in spoiler tags or something similar? I really like all the screenshots and other visuals you put in your weekly updates but they make the page take forever to load, during which new images keep pushing down what I'm trying to read.
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.22 Making the Boss T
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:16 pm 


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Shepardus wrote:
Looking good, I do love a good train boss (or even a non-boss) with distinct abilities on each car!

By the way, do you think you could surround your posts in spoiler tags or something similar? I really like all the screenshots and other visuals you put in your weekly updates but they make the page take forever to load, during which new images keep pushing down what I'm trying to read.


Thanks - we love the train cars too! Super fun boss.

I'll check out that spoiler thing too to help with page loads! Thanks for following the updates!

-Tim
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.24 Happy Holidays!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:14 pm 


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Happy Holidays from our family to yours! Wishing you the best in the coming year and beyond.

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Remember to live your dreams!

-Tim
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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.29 Year In Review
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:06 am 


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Hello and welcome to the end of the year Boss 101 update.

2015 was a banner year and 2016 is the planned released of Boss 101 to YOU. We wanted to take this opportunity to review the last year. So let's look at some of the progress we have seen (and this is only a small glimpse)

Spoiler: show
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The Main Game

The Player Hat Store. The underlying functionality hasn't changed but we upgraded the cosmetics and flow of the room to make it easier not only buy hats but see what you are wearing.

The Hat Store from the Boss 101 Web Game - A LONG TIME AGO! HAHA!
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Version 1 - Early Development
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Version 2 - Before the equipped panel was in
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Version 3 – Adding in the Equipped panel for player readability
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Professor Gopher Wiki
We also put in the Gopher Wiki so you can reference all the cool goodies in the game and get backstory on items and people.

Early version of the Wiki
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Current version
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More Gameplay Modes for you the player

We implemented to hat upgrade systems and the ability to have hats change your base bullets!

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Command Center Layout

Here is the main room you launch all your adventures from.

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Upgraded the look and feel of the arcade machine

In an effort to make the player's main room feel cooler and give you things to do between rounds we looked at improvements to the Command Center. The arcade machine is one of those items we love and want the player use and enjoy. You can win goodies to use in game so why not make it cool too look at?

Old version - not too shabby!
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New Arcade Screen - more space and info for the player

Early Diagrams - Pass 1
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Adjusted Pass for the game
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Current pass of the arcade interface in game
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Endless Boss Gameplay Mode

In what might be one of the biggest gameplay upgrades we implemented the Endless Boss Gameplay mode. In this you can grab your best gun and hat and hammer bosses to your heart's delight. We like to think of it as pure arcade action. We are planning leaderboards and tracking so you can compare your best against your friends and the rest of the world.

Early Look at the design of the Endless Boss Launch room
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First pass of art and code
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Endless Boss Win Screen (between rounds)
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Yes, you can fly around the Clicks ship during the break between bosses
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Base Gameplay

Of course we are always working on the core game mechanics to keep the game a fun styled action adventure with cool mechanics.

Battle the bosses
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Escort the baby robos level
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Watch out for that water cannon!
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A distant world
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Some Special Notes

We got our steam store setup this year! YES!
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We were featured in Indie Games Mag
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We won the IRX Most Revolutionary Game award
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Storytelling at the heart of Boss 101

It's fitting we end on what might be the most important aspect of Boss 101 and that is the story and storytelling happening in the game. We think the game is at it's best when bringing you along on the adventure of Max and STEVE. Their story is your story and journey. We have taken a lot of pains to make sure we deliver you an interesting and fun experience and that means making you part of the magic. You make choices with the guys about how things will progress and along the way you get to see Max, STEVE, ROB and their buddies learn and grow. Things aren't always as they seem - just take a look at some of the in-game screens below to see the setups the guys can get in.

Boss 101 hacks the player base!
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Picnic Time
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Conference in the generator tube
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Boss 101 playing board games
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Thank you for checking in on us and keep coming back. We're getting there and your support is appreciated!

Happy New Year to you and all the best!

-Tim
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Boss 101 Steam Store | Main Site | Twitter | Devlog


Last edited by Donley_Time on Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Boss 101 [In Development] - 2015.12.29 Year In Review
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:33 pm 



Joined: 05 Dec 2015
Posts: 15
The game looks great, but from now on could you please put your images in spoilers?

When I'm reading posts in this thread it keeps moving around as more of the massive images are loaded.

Thanks.


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