Seriously. We hit our goal. $21,922 and rising, with 58 hours to go. We might even hit some stretch goals!
Just, go, look! IT IS AMAZING! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/meganfox/hot-tin-roof-the-cat-that-wore-a-fedora
Alright, ahem. Anyways, like I said, we’re down to the final weekend, so now’s the time to engage your afterburners and tell everyone you can about what we’re doing. We’re going to do our damndest to make the graph on that Kickstarter do a nice little hockey-stick at the end, but to pull that off, we need your help. Got it? Awesome. Reaaaddyyy… BREAK!
Ok, that aside, I also finally wrote up the post-mortem for Jones On Fire. Now seemed like the right time to do it, and I’d been dreading it, but it’s nice to have it finally done. Hopefully it’ll answer any questions you might have, and maybe inspire some folks to never give up, no matter how grim things may seem.
Lastly, did you know that we’re running a contest in which you could win some very cool stuff? Because we are, and all you have to do is play with some papercraft and maybe annoy your cat. We’ve had some excellent entries already, but I think we can do even better, so you’ve got until next Friday to wow the internet with your papercraft cat annoyance skills! Huzzah!
Yep, you heard right. We’ll be part of the PAX Indie MEGABOOTH, and we’ll have the prototype there, just begging to be played. We’re part of the Minibooth section, which means we only get to exhibit Monday, so just mark your calendars and show up early. There might just be a line.
If you’re a press type, and want to schedule a play session for one of the other days? Just hit me up via the contact page, I’m sure we can arrange a lunch or a coffee or something. I’ll have my laptop with me the entire time, too, so you can also just look for the girl in the Hot Tin Roof t-shirt wearing the goofy fedora. I’ll be wandering around the floor on the other days when I’m free, checking out my fellow indies’ games.
Anyways, you might have also noticed the new site, and the Kickstarter. It’s pretty sweet, right? I’m happy with how it came out. Here’s the link, in case you missed it: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/meganfox/hot-tin-roof-the-cat-that-wore-a-fedora
So, lots of stuff has been added. For instance, now there’s stuff you can shoot, and candy prizes fly out of it! Also, notice a cat is following you now. Very mysterious, that.
… but I can’t show you the rest of the stuff, because it all has to do with The Event. The Event is going to hit on the 28th of this month, and be very cool, but I can’t talk about it yet. So. Let’s all agree to think good thoughts, and imagine just how cool that event would be, and mark our calendars. We’ll all circle back here then, and talk about stuff.
If you’re a press type, I highly recommend email@example.com. It’s the pressiest, especially for all matters concerning The Event.
Sound good? Alright. See ya then!
This last couple weeks was all about content. We’re starting to assemble the vertical slice for an upcoming super cool event, which means a metric ton of new images of in-development stuff. Behold!
Now, let’s take a look at a few specific images. These, for instance.
What you see there is some buttons and stickers. The buttons came out FANTASTIC, the stickers, eh, less so (but still pretty cool). We needed both for… something upcoming, which we’ll talk about next month. Anyways, moving on, now check these bad boys out.
That’s one of the whole series up in the gallery at the top of this update. What you’re seeing is a graybox city exterior that I took the time to light. The lights are some approximation of how the final game will be lit, and they give it that gritty noir feel. The random graybox colors (they’re for debugging purposes) also accidentally touched on a sort of art deco feel, which you’ll see elsewhere. For instance, the font we settled on.
That’ll be the font we’re using for dialog bubbles for now. There’s another cool one in the gallery, sort of typewriter-inspired, but it didn’t fit with the presentation of dialog as dialog bubbles. You might see it pop up elsewhere, though. Anywho, the last thing of note is this scene.
It’s notable only because you’re starting to see the deco object grayboxing, and can start to get a sense for what interiors will be cluttered with. This is how we’re going to make it all feel less like a barren hallway. You can also see deco objects actually played in the city exterior graybox series. These will, obviously, look much cooler once we have actual art in place for them.
That’s it for now. Expect some really neat updates and stuffs to happen in August.
First, check out Make It Grow, my June #1GAM. Don’t worry. I’ll wait. Go ahead.
Did you try it? Good. What you’re looking at is what I’ve been focused on lately: turning the dialog system into gameplay. To do that, I needed the ability to set and check flags from dialog, hence, a short little game about player choice and mobster gardeners. It shows off how such a system lets me fake an inventory system (the key), change dialog based on currently-set flags (the 3 “name” responses from the old guy), etc.
Also, did you notice the bugginess and how you could choose both dialog paths? Yeah don’t worry about that, it was a thrown together demo.
The other big thing in that demo is the door. That’s there because I integrated PlayMaker, and needed to tie it into our existing interaction system and make it do something neat. It starts out locked (until you get the key from the lady), demonstrating the ties I added between it and the new flag system. I’d call PlayMaker a Unity must-have at this point, and it’s going to single-handedly put us back on track for having an interesting, interactive demo in a few short months. Not to mention, it’s made our aggressive overall development schedule quite a bit more reasonable.
Incidentally, I took the time to do it right. Now I’ve got a super handy Unity component that will make all future Interaction<->PlayMaker tasks a ton easier. As a bonus, I learned how to do custom Inspectors in Unity in the process. That’ll probably be handy later too.
Not a ton of new stuff on the art front. Blake is finally to where he can produce animations, and we’ve got a working animation in-game now (properly using the character pieces that Blake exported). Expect some fancy video of that in the next update. Environmental assets will also hopefully start moving into the game, and this week I’ll be greyboxing out the entirety of the environment for our upcoming demo. Folmer’s also been hard at work making… buttons?
Yeah, buttons. Why would we need buttons? I feel like it’s a bit mysterious. Even intentionally so. Hmmm.
This week is where in-game stuff starts to get serious. I sat down and, using SketchUp (fantastic tool by the way), built out the graybox tileset for Apartment Interiors, and threw together an example interior to show its use. The screenshots are from SketchUp, but the tileset is in-game too, acting as graybox assets while the artists do their thing and make real versions of the tiles that snap together the same way. While I was doing that, the artists were exporting a huge number of critters (and a finished gun model), which are all now in-game too. Our animator broke his tailbone, so unfortunately, no animated critters/boxians yet.
Beyond that, I was doing a lot of on-paper design over the weekend. I’ve now got a rough design of the entirety of the vertical slice demo’s “overworld,” along with characters and backstories for all the major locations, and suggested side-quests. What I need to do now is design out the “dungeon” experience that makes up the other half of the demo experience, and write a ton of dialog trees. Once all that’s done, I can just sit down and implement it!
This next week, I’ll be building out a #1GAM demo to put our dialog system through the wringer. It’ll be a side-scrolling adventure game, basically, and it may or may not feature a portcullis. Also, kitties, but I mean, duh.
Stairs. If this post had a single title, it would simply be “stairs.” Or maybe “STAIRS!”. I now hate stairs – and I’ll show you why.
Aside from stairs (STAIRS!), Will has finished a bunch of assets for the Boxians. They aren’t animated yet (Blake’s on the case), but they’re still in-game. You see an unanimated but final art Emma in the above video, and here’s a couple of random canned shots of Emma questioning random folks.
It should be mentioned that Suzy Cube, the one with the blush, kinda breaks style right now with the rounded blush. Still not sure if we’ll go forward with her that way, or tweak the texture a bit to make the blush more boxy, but still, you get the idea. Boxians of many shapes and sizes can now be assembled, thanks to Will – woo! By next week, we should have some of Ellory’s more finished world assets in-game, and then we’ll be cooking with gas.
Also, there’s a pig. For no reason. No, the pig will not feature in Hot Tin Roof. I think Folmer was just hungry for bacon or something. Still, the pig-for-no-reason is awesome, so I’m including it!
Hot Tin Roof continues, though the last few weeks have been mostly behind the scenes. There are now 3D pigeons, of course:
But, the rest of our work has mostly been less sexy. I’ve been spending a bit of time doing one last Jones On Fire patch/promo, and I just got Hot Tin Roof totally controllable with the keyboard. Still not sure if I want to add mouse aiming. I know it’s an industry gimme, but side-scrolling firearm aiming via cursor has a very, very different feel from aiming via joystick (or keyboard number keys). Still going back and forth on that.
Anyways, I figured I’d give you a sneak peak of audio this week. Most games tend to tack the music/sounds on at the end, as a kind of afterthought. I believe that’s utter foolishness. An early focus on thematic music, even using it as kind of audio concept art for the rest of the game, is part of why Jones On Fire worked out so well – and Hot Tin Roof will get the same treatment. So, check it. Here’s an assortment of musical experiments that Michael and Nathan have been working on, in no particular order. Some, we like more than others, but you’ll get an idea of the overall “feel” we’re going for.
(It turns out tindeck is not so great at long-term hosting – look at our more recent Kickstarter updates, etc, for music samples)
This week (well two, actually) saw the completion of a major feature. Dialog! Check it out (click for full size):
There’s a lot of work left yet to polish it up, of course. I need to experiment with a slight delay between conversation and response keyword popups, tinting the keyword popups, etc, but it’s a good start. Feels surprisingly good too. I was worried that not being able to instantly see all the keywords available would feel obnoxious, but it just kinda “works” – it makes it feel more conversation’y this way. I suppose it also makes it easier to button-mash through, which may or may not be useful… we shall see.
On the art front, the 3D artists are currently busy on client work, but Folmer’s been going crazy with concepts. Pigeons ! Rats! Also experimenting with Emma’s style. Check it out:
The pigeons are going to be the numbers runners, the light-weight cons and pretty boys, the squealers. They run the Nip smuggling operation, amongst other things. The rats are the stoolies, the gofers, the ones that can get you anything. They’re the boots (paws?) on the ground of the smuggling operations, and usually not too bright. They let the pidgins do the thinking for them. Cats are of course the ultimate bosses, though. Why? Because cats eat pigeons and rats.
Finally, we’ve now got a URL for the project: hottinroofgame.com. You’ll note it points to a new project page for Hot Tin Roof, which should make it easier to follow the project’s developments, though the site’s strictly beta right now. The layout needs work.
That’s it for this update – enjoy! Tell us what you dig and don’t dig.
Ok, yeah, so it’s Saturday, but it’s still week six. It’s been a busy week. Jones On Fire got featured as the Amazon Free App of the Day, we were a Staff Pick on GooglePlay, etc, lots of goings on. Anywho, Hot Tin Roof update!
First, in terms of in-game stuff, there are now functional chat bubbles, and I built out the greybox of the Slice of PI diner. Concepts-wise, we’ve finally got the look of some of the world mesh nailed down, and even have a bit of street modeled and ready to go. Both will be in-game shortly.
There’s also something cool to play with. I just put out “Not Pie”, our #1GAM entry for April, and it exploits a bunch of the tech I’m building for Hot Tin Roof. Give it a try right here in your browser.