Friday, September 19, 2014

Void Hero Blues and Toilets Meat and Drugs update

First, I'm going to start with the bad news. I'm formally putting Waker on hold until next year. For the next few months, I need to write half a thesis and finish The Void Hero Blues, and I'm aiming to get Toilets, Meat, and Drugs all done and out of the way. The sound guy for Waker, Ashton Morris, also has plenty on his plate to deal with. People ask me about Waker on a semi-regular basis, and I'm sorry that I haven't been able to resume development on it. Yet.
Good news is, Toilets, Meat, and Drugs: A Pink Monster Story, is nearing completion. I need to add a couple more endings, update the tutorial, update the story, and add music. The bulk of the work is done.

I went ahead and jacked up the speed of the player and all NPCs - it improves the game tons. Combat is oodles better than before, if you wanna play that way, and fleeing/evasion is now a more effective strategy than in the original.

The closer that TMD: PMS gets to completion, the less I have to say about it. When it comes to these projects, silence is often good.


Development on the Void Hero Blues is picking up. It's my first time working in (true) 3D since my teenage years, first time using Unity, and my first time coding in Javascript. Development is slow. Building the test level above, and simply getting the player to shoot and reload, has taken up the first couple months of development. But I'm finally moving on!

Here's an early model of the grunts you'll be fighting in the game. Designing the grunt was tricky - because the point of VHB is to humanize the victims of game violence, and perhaps re-sensitize players to game violence, I needed something with a human face that could be a subject of sympathy. However, I also needed something that could be mass produced. I compromised by settling for a character with an androgynous build and exposed, expressive mouth, but with their face mostly covered. However, I gave the bulbs on his visor "eyelids" so that they could remain expressive.

Not bad for my first serious attempt at modelling a humanoid, I think.

And here's the player's weapon! It kinda reminds me of Quake III's rocket launcher. I left a blade in there in case I have time to add a melee attack. The texture's still a work in progress - this thing definitely needs a bump map.

If you're looking for something to play in the meantime, why not check out Empty Chambers, Digital Toilet World, or How to Fly?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Toilets, Meat, and Drugs Update

 Alright, enough talking about politics for a while. Here's an update of Toilets, Meat, and Drugs.
I've recently figured out what the game really is about: a bizarre remix of stereotypical masculine and feminine styles, not only in terms of aesthetics, but in terms of game mechanics. While the combination of ugly monster and pink cutie aesthetics has been obvious for a while now, the combination of play styles has not. For example, if you want, you can play the game as your typical violent masculine power fantasy and kill everything. But the game's charming (or is it flirting?) and fleeing mechanics pose unusual alternatives to the traditional masculine play style, and don't only supplement the violent experience, but with adjustments I've made to the game, can now totally replace it. Instead of playing as a lethal force of dominance, you can play as a force of love, or as a victim of violence.

And, regardless of which path you choose, you still need to feed your character, take them to the toilet, and maintain their health. The game deliberately includes a return to the (usually) mundane, but relevant experiences, but it reminds us that those seemingly mundane needs can sometimes prompt memorable experiences.

I've always been disappointed by many open world games in that they don't let the player decide whether or not they'll be a killer, but rather what sort of killer they'll be. Toilets, Meat, and Drugs is a challenge to that. It's as though a mainstream shooter, an art game, and a social justice game got together and somehow made a super sexy baby. It's all of these games at once, or none of these games at once. It depends on how you play.

This means that it's either the sort of game that'll be enjoyed by everyone, or hated by everyone. I don't care. It's still a super sexy baby to me.

Now that I've realized that, I feel a lot better about making it. What started out as a Digimon World fan game (lame) has become something I feel proud of.

Now, here's some more technical notes:
  • The final game will be renamed Toilets, Meat, and Drugs: A Pink Monster Story. I figured that the title should be at least somewhat reflective of the actual game.
  • Expect a release in 1-2 months. I'm almost done improving the game's mechanics (I just threw in a reputation system that actually adds some depth to the previously underwhelming charm system). I just need to finish with the new levels, re-implement the story, and add music. 
  • Expect actual NPCs that can talk to you.
  • The new game world is nearly 3x the size of the old one. Complete playthroughs  of the game should take about 1-3 hours. For a game made by one person in a couple of months, I think this is pretty good! 

Just a pair of reminders of how gosh-darned complicated this game is.