Saturday, July 26, 2014

Toilets, Meat, and Drugs Update

I've been working pretty hard on the final version of Toilets, Meat and Drugs the past week.

Changes made so far:
-Doubled the number of player and non-player monsters
-Added special powers to adult and epic leveled monster! Create shockwaves, vanish in a flash, calm angry monsters, and even cut the game's frame rate in half!
-Fixed projectile spawning and collision bugs. Combat's now pretty hard, and for weaker monsters, downright undesirable. Which is good!
-Fixed the health system so that it would be more responsive to monster care, etc.
-Plants now grow when you are far away from them! Woo!
-You can now check out monster stats in the pause screen!
-Monsters now have names.
-Hostile monsters no longer chase you from halfway across the planet.
-Monster growth is no longer determined by health, but instead by care mistakes and the players' charm-to-kill ratio.

What this means:
The game's mechanics aren't totally broken anymore! Also, the player is now encouraged and more able to play the game peacefully, due to the heightened difficulty of combat, increased player evasion capabilities, addition of more pacifistic monsters, and addition of non-violent special powers. Toilets, Meat, and Drugs was not originally intended to be a combat-heavy RPG, but a multifaceted world in which violence is a relatively small part. By traditional RPG standards, anyway.

Oh, and because of the aforementioned change I made to the gardening system, player gardens now grow out of freakin' control. Currently working on restoring balance, eheheheh.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gonna do a post compo version of TM&D

I've decided to do a post-compo version of Toilets, Meat, and Drugs. As I've written before, as silly as the game is, it's the game that I've always wanted to make. I want it to be good.

Here's what I'm hoping to have for the final version of the game:

  • More monsters. 
  • Double (triple?) the world size.
  • Better world tiles.
  • Bug fixes?
  • Better explanation of what's actually going on.
  • In-depth monster info (names! level! actual HP numerical value!)
  • Have monster growth be determined more by play style than by player health.
  • MUSIC!

Now with double the monsters!
(Yes, I've changed the image slightly from earlier today)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Toilets, Meat, and Drugs: Bug fixed!

Some of you who've been trying to play Toilets, Meat, and Drugs may know about a save bug in the game.  Basically, the game would be unable to save until after you close it for the first time. I am so relieved to say that I have finally fixed the bug.

Here's the technical explanation of what happened. When you save progress a video game, the game itself is unchanged. Instead, a separate data file is created that contains all of the relevant information, such as the player's status or location. While game developers usually create save scripts from scratch that target the information that needs to be saved and ignore the information that doesn't, Game Maker has a single function, game_save(), that automatically stores all information to a file. While this function is overkill and only recommended for beginners, it's really convenient to use for a jam game, when time is not a luxury.

The function has worked wonderfully in past experience, with older versions of Game Maker. But when Yoyo made the switch from Game Maker 8 to Game Maker Studio, the file directory system changed so that Game Maker games could be ported to platforms besides Windows. Which is great and all, except you don't get the benefits of this change unless you pay $100+ dollars for a professional license. The standard license, which I have, lets you port games to Mac, but that requires going through a holyshitton of hoops that I don't ever want to go through again.

Anyway, Game Maker Studio used to have the game_save() function removed altogether. It's since been added back in, but doesn't work as its supposed to with the new file directory system. Basically, the function doesn't actually create a directory in which to store save files until after you close the game for the first time! What the hell?!
What this means is that people who played Toilets, Meat, and Drugs for the first time would lose all of their progress upon dying or quitting the game. This is incredibly frustrating for the player, and even more embarrassing for me. I also wasn't able to detect the bug during development at all - the directory was created well before I even implemented the save system. It was a much unwanted surprise when I found out that I published a broken game!

Let me tell you, for a developer, there is no worse feeling than releasing a broken game. I would rather release a bad game than a broken one. I feel no shame about releasing games with crude, hastily draw, graphics, or a game with overly simplistic game play, or a game with missing music, or a game that I made in middle school. However rough these games are, they still have some sort of appeal, and, goddamnit, at least they work. Technical competency is the baseline, the absolute minimum standard a game must meet. Releasing a buggy game is like releasing a song recording that can only play through shitty laptop speakers - technical incompetence ruins the art.

I've been incredibly anxious over the past few days trying to figure out the cause and solution to this bug. Just this evening, after the deleting the game's directory and keeping an eye on Windows explorer as I played the game, I finally was able to identify the problem. Finally, by using a piece of code that creates an empty dummy folder when the game starts, I've tricked the game into actually creating the directory before the player closes the freakin' game. Cripes.

Fuck you, Game Maker. Fuck you. This extra stress was the last thing I needed.

But thanks for allowing me to create games for the past nine years.

Toilets, Meat, and Drugs is now available on and Gamejolt. And thanks to Warpdoor for featuring it on their site!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monster Mash 2014: Final Entry

I need to sleep, so I'm not going to write another blurb about it, but it's worth noting that Toilets, Meat, and Drugs can now be downloaded for the ol' Windows PC.

Please don't be shy about feedback! I would love to hear your thoughts.
I'm so looking forward to playing the other Monster Mash entries this week!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Monster Mash 2014: Day 6

Aight, today I finally got to stop drawing and coding (mostly), and got to do sound and level design! And by some I mean all. All I need to do now is add some finishing touches, fix some bugs, and maybe try to cram in some of the Monster Mash 2014 multipliers.

Toilets, Meat, and Drugs is pretty huge for a jam game - it already has about a half hour of gameplay. It may suffer in presentation (breadth over depth, yaknow), but goddamn, I haven't enjoyed playing anything I've made this much in a long time. This is really the first time I've seriously focused on game mechanics over plot in, I dunno, six years? This thing is a hoot to play. Every play through I've done so far has had it's unique unexpected surprises.

Here's some screenshots of today's work.

D'aw, what a sweetie pie.
There are evolution sparkles!

Goddamnit, I swear I'm going to make a game without shooting one day.

Raccoon-dogs (?)
More evolution sparkles.
Sorry, I suppose "metamorphosis sparkles" is more correct.

I wish you could hear the game too - I had a lot of fun creating each monster's cry in bfxr. Especially for the lil' cyborg guys.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Monster Mash 2014: Midweek report

Development on my Monster Mash 2014 game is going slow, but amusingly. I'm thinking of renaming it from Pink Toilet World to Toilets, Meat, and Drugs. I've got most of the core mechanics down - eating, pooping, physical and mental health, items, and even farming.

I think this is shaping up to be the most mechanically driven game I've made in a while. Waker is all about art and story, Empty Chambers is about art and concept, and Digital Toilet World is about pooping. Toilets, Meat, and Drugs is all about exploration, choice, and survival. The game will take place in a small, but persistent world in which careless resource consumption and acts of destruction will punish the player in the long run. While this wasn't intended to be a political game, elements of environmentalism are managing to creep through in subtle ways, often via the mechanics. I've always been more of a "convey-da-thought-thru-da-plot" kind of guy, so engaging in "procedural rhetoric" is new and exciting for me.

Here's a dev screen - haven't gotten to world design yet. Just testing the items so, you know, items.

And here's the complete growth chart for the player monster. Couldn't resist objecthead: