Flatshot Development journal #3

The first release candidate for Steam Greenlight is ready! I'm very happy about it but wow, this version has been the hardest emotionally speaking. This time we focused on all the details we wanted to fix before going to Greenlight. In the process, there were a lot features that we cut, learning and doing on the fly, trials and errors, etc... However, I feel great because this was a perfect learning opportunity and I can't even explain how much I learnt.

Music

The uncanny valley of destruction

Last development journal I wrote that I was worried about the music production. So my first reaction was to to make random generated music just like we did the random generated backgrounds last time. The idea was that bullets can make sound patterns and parameter them with the following boundaries:

  1. Hi pitchy and attacky arpeggios delimited with scales
  2. Low pitchy and sustainy sounds delimited by circles

We rewrote the whole patterns so they would fit the new random generated music. However we fell into the dark Uncanny Valley. We struggled back and forth trying to get out and then finally we decided to make a rollback.

This is how the random generated music sounded like

The cruel rollback

It was hard to just throw away all the work. Specially because the music problem was still there. Fortunately, Jerzon and I were able to finish the work. Jerzon made two new tracks and I stylized them so they would feel similar to the old ones. Making and applying a style on music was something new to me but I'm very happy with the results so far.

Music core: For internal development use

Detailed music core: For internal development use

Jerzon tracks, some were put directly to the game, some other were remixed

Final result

HUD & menu

I love the new HUD and menus! We added the following features:

  • There is no You win or You lose message, just a cool transparency effect followed by sound effect that indicates that the game is over
  • Trippy transitions, sometimes you can see parts of the last screen
  • After 3 seconds displaying the Rosalila logo, if you don't press enter, you go to the Flatshot screen
  • Glowing arrows that indicates if there are more stages to navigate
  • New stage naming system that fits the new stages group system
  • Removed the "Character selection screen"

Game over screen transparency effect

New stage selector screen

I loved the process, there was a lot of experiments and crazy OpenGL stuff until we found the current UI.

Tutorial

We made a 5 stage series of interactive tutorials. I like it so far! Even I learnt a lot of things by playing. It explains and prepares the player to

  1. Shoot
  2. Move
  3. Charge
  4. Parry
  5. Parry dash

I hope this helps the new players. Specially the parry and parry dash tutorial because they can be quite challenging.

SFX

At first, I wanted to revamp all the sfx. What a crazy idea! because those we have right now are working just fine. Maybe I'll do that in the future when I feel more comfortable making sounds. I just made and remade some of them. These are some of them that I remember now:

  • Enemy shots
  • Player charging, charge complete and release
  • Menu select, move and back

I think this area has a lot of room for immediate improvement but so far it's shippable.

New enemy sprites

Meh...

Honestly I did this because if someone decides to do something better than this, the XML and C++ code will be ready to just quickly replace the sprites.

What's next

  • A trailer, a gameplay video and a Flatshot mechanics explained remake for Greenlight
  • It seems now it's time to contact some game reviewers and show them the current game progress
  • Prepare the Greeenlight page while we wait for game reviewers

Ahmed Castro

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