2016.08.20 Boss 101 Update, Help Panels and Rob’s Store

Welcome to the Boss 101 Update

Polish and cleanup. That has been an ongoing theme for the last few weeks and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future. You see, Boss 101 could be done and wrapped up in a few weeks. It COULD be in your hands sooner than later. The only problem we have with that is the game would not be our best effort and that is not acceptable.

UI touchups

Something important we are working at the moment is making certain the UI is understandable and readable. The way we are doing this is, well, playing the game and having others play the game. You might image how easy is it to make a game and get used to the controls you install. After working on a game for over two years it is easy to think “Oh, this little control makes enough sense! Sure, it’s a little odd and I have NEVER seen anything like it before but PLAYERS WILL GET IT!”

Well, I have news, they probably won’t get it. It’s actually very likely they will not understand any scheme which deviates to far from logic of the norm of game controls. In those situations it requires a dedicated team to address the issues and correct the little weird things. I can’t say everything we ever did will be perfect but I can assure you we thought of YOU at all times. We looked at our game and asked “will someone who has never seen the game understand this in context?” We put ourselves in your place as much as we possibly can. It’s really the only way.

Let’s look at some of the things happening this week…

Rob’s Store

Here we have an update to Rob’s special store. In it you can find all sorts of odd guns and hats. We’ll talk more about how you access it but in the meantime let’s look at the design of the place.

First we have the current store. Pretty nice and there is a neat look happening. In a lot of ways there is nothing wrong with it on a purely aesthetic level.

Here is the remodel work in progress. We added space for UI elements that clearly explain what you are doing and show the controls a lot better. We also lightened up the area so you can see the products better. This is a great example of taking something that was working and simply making it better for the player. We could have shipped with the old one and players would have figured things out (we hope) but when we played the game it was pretty obvious clarity would help.

Something to remember is a lot of times you can get caught up in what looks good versus what works well. UI needs to work well first and foremost. The looking good will mostly be a function of the efficiency and thematic clarity you create (ie – form follows function)

Help Panels

We added little help panel overlays to all of the main Command Center pages. The idea is to give you an easy assist if you are still learning the ropes or need a refresher. Also – we didn’t want to intrude on your game so we made the overlay and activates as innocuous as possible.

Command Center

With help on and off

Upgrade Room

Help on and off


Gun Shop

Help on and off

There you go! A quick snapshot of this week’s work and much more to come. The goal of our development at this point is the same as always – give YOU the best game we can. You deserve it and we aim to deliver.

Thanks again and always remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!!!

-Tim

Please put Boss 101 on your Steam Wishlist us if you would be so kind – Thank you!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/380920

2016.08.13 Boss 101, Polishing the Stores

Welcome to another Boss 101 Development Update and thank you so much for stopping by to see what’s up!

The Team Makes the Difference

I want to start this week with something I have mentioned before but it bears repeating. The team bringing you Boss 101 is one of the finest teams I have ever had the privilege of working with. It may be boring to hear that but I can assure you the work is anything but. These are dedicated people who are going the extra mile at every single turn to bring you the very best game we can make.

Manon (pixel artist) and Joshua (lead programmer) along with myself are the core of the Boss 101 experience. The game would not be this awesome without their help. There is an old saying I heard a long time ago that you can judge a leader by what his team does when he is NOT in the room. Well, I think it is better to say when you give the right people good direction and let them run free they will deliver the goods whether you mapped things out perfectly or not.

What I am getting at is there is a TON of stuff in Boss 101 that was not plotted out perfectly at the beginning. The thing is, when it came time to make an A or B decision – both Joshua and Manon have consistently picked the highest quality outcome. This in turn is being passed directly back to you in the form of value and gameplay.

I really am a fortunate person to get to work with these fine people and I think you will agree when you see the final game.

Gun Store Touchups

Moving into the polish stuff for this week. First up is the gun store. As you have seen before, the gun store has had a couple upgrades over the time we’ve been working on Boss 101. All the upgrades have been about making the user interface clearer and easier to use.

Something you might already suspect is good looking does not always equal easy to use. We have adjusted a lot of little interface items due to this. When things first go in we tend to be pretty proud they are in and working. From there on out it is pretty easy to get used to a functionality and forget the end user will likely see the interface in an entirely different light. (probably a much less forgiving one too!).

We have gone through several of the panels in the Command Center and the idea is we touch them up to provide the information needed quickly and without any fuss. Where things were unclear we worked to make them MORE clear. Check out the gun panels below being lightened up so you can see the gun hardware you are getting.

Old Version

New Version

Now we understand there is nothing technically wrong with the old version. The thing sticking out for us was that it was a) very old in terms of implementation and design and b) a bit dark compared to other store panels. The corrected one is much more in-line with all the other stores and the Command Center in general.

Hat Store touchups

We have a bigger update planned for the hat store but check out the jazzed up hat room. Again – these are some other items we are excited to talk with you about but the deal here was to add some space for UI elements and also clean up the background. Of course you can have tech in the Command Center without Professor Gopher and Friends!

Old Version

New Version WIP

Screenshot of the Day

Adding in a hat inspired by the great J Hause! (check out his page here https://www.facebook.com/Ghosthause)

Thank you again for stopping by and hope you enjoyed this look at the game. We appreciate your support and emails!

Remember to always LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim

2016.08.07 Boss 101: UI Work and Sweating the Details!

You asked for it and you got it! Welcome to the Boss 101 update where we sweat the details and share the secrets behind the making of Boss 101 the game.

Speaking of details, this week we’re looking at more of the little touches we think make Boss 101 a special game. Things like interface cleanup as well as various UI screen niceties to enhance your game experience are covered. We feel the ONLY way to bring Boss 101 into your life is by giving you OUR VERY BEST EFFORT and then some. We also believe the way to make a mark, give you value and bring you back for more is to put forth an effort so spectacular you can’t ignore the joy we had making it.

Every day we look at ways to make each element of the game as fun, engaging and charming as possible. No screen, character or BUTTON is immune to this thinking. It’s not enough to have a great gameplay feature or some neat looking loading screen. We feel each part of the experience must match up and equal the rest. We have themed the entire game around the Boss 101 look so let’s check out samples of what I am blabbing about shall we?

Main Screen Options Panel

Once you get to the main screen panel you can access the base options for the game. Among other things you will be able to configure your keyboard controls. Let’s talk about that for a second.

When we first looked at this panel we had static icons to represent the various controls you were going to remap. That’s all well and good but how much cooler is it when the buttons move and activate? MUCH BETTER WE SAY! Check out the screen:

Work in Progress Movie Room Icons

You can see here in the movie room the start of the process for labels. We are adding in animated icons for the movies you can replay. Again, a static icon would do just fine but that’s not us and we think we can do better FOR YOU! We’ll post more in progress images here as we go forward.

The room! The work in progress area:

Close up


The Endless Boss Win Warp Screen

Winning a round in the Endless Boss mode will toss you to the warp screen where you can catch your breath and ready yourself for the next round. Here is where ROB and the Cosmic Clicks ship will meet you for a refueling stop. We thought about this room and felt ROB would definitely want to be on this journey with you so we had him join you in the win area.

Of course the gophers show up to give the Clicks ship a bit of polish and top off the fuel tank. YOU KNOW!

OK – that is it for the week’s highlights. Hope you enjoyed seeing the plan come closer to fruition. Boss 101 will be released sooner than later and though we can’t put a pin on the EXACT DATE we can tell you this – it will be the most fun, most charm and the very best value we can possibly give you. YES!!!

Take care and remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim

2016.07.30 Boss 101: World Building the Main Rooms

Welcome to the latest Boss 101 update!

Let’s talk some more about world building in Boss 101. Specifically we are going to talk about the way we setup environments in the game and make them consistent during your stay in the Command Center.

Let’s look at how this evolved. We have the Start Screen and early on we wanted it to have a variety of environments (rain, night, day, etc). The idea was to give you a sense of time and life in the game. You leave, come back and time has passed.

Well, you can imagine that opened up a rabbit hole of possibilities for us. The moment we had a changing Start Screen we talked about changing the pet window in the Command Center. Of course, once you do THAT you start to think about all the other screens built off there which would likely have the same environment.

Start Screen – Sunset

Ok – so we looked at Kite Hill and thought “That’s in the same area but maybe off to the left or right from the start screen.” It wasn’t long before we hooked up that location to have the same type of environment (with slight tweaks) as the start screen. From there we ended up going through all the locations you can access directly from the Command Center and creating custom but similar looks for you to see.

Kite Hill – Sunset from another vantage point

We have the Endless Boss Launch area. The Clicks ship in there shows and open sky that now reflects the rest of the Command Center. Pet Hill as well as the Options and the Credits Movie area are all part of the main game environment you see at the beginning.

Endless Boss launch area with opening to sky

Pet Hill

Options Screen WIP

The thing we wanted for you was to make something special and interesting when you played. A lot of our time is put into making the game feel like a place and the people you meet as interesting as possible.

Examples with a Rainbow Sky

Pet Hill with Rainbows!

Endless Launch rainbows

We really do believe it is ALL of this which adds up to make a special game. As we heard Racer X once say “When YOU care, THEY care” and who are we to argue.

Thanks again for stopping by and remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim

2016.07.24 Boss 101: Hats, Costumes and more!

Hey all, this is Tim and welcome back to another Boss 101 update!

Here at the Donley Time Foundation we think about you! Now you might ask yourself “Self, what are those wacky people at the Time Foundation up to this week?” The answer, we are up to our necks in polishing Boss 101 FOR YOU! We have been tightening the screws, checking the paint, smashing bugs and tuning features so you can have the very best Boss 101 game we can muster.

This week we wanted to talk about a feature we lovingly refer to as ‘the hat collection’ though it is MUCH more than that. You know we have hats! You know you can buy them and get special powers. You might also suspect something we are going to verify RIGHT NOW. Those same hats show up all across the game while you play! In cinematics, the Command Center and all throughout the main storyline. So if you are dressed as your fav character from our wide selection of costume hats then you will see that character interact with everyone in costume.

We have superhero themed hats, hats that make you mythological characters, hats that make you sci-fi stars or even robots. Let’s look at some of the variety shall we?

Mister Cyclops has his day! Go on and visit your brother as a classic Greek monster, he won’t judge.

Getting ready for a warp jump with your one eyed avatar…

Snack Time..

Maybe you want to change it up as a super hero type person…

Into Space!

Perhaps purple haired Sasha?

Maybe something a little more ‘solid’?

Maxine in space!

Maybe even a forbidden robot…

Picnic as Alice…

If all else fails go classic…

Ok – the whole point is we want you to have fun and play the way you want. Boss 101 is about your stories. The hats, weapons and bosses are there to bring you an adventure and we hope you will find our efforts worthwhile. There are a lot of little touches you might not see right away but don’t fret! We feel it’s worth the time and effort to make things special.

General Update

This was a pretty big week for us. A lot of the systems were checked over for thoroughness and bugs. We fixed a few little niggles to make your experience better and added in more storytelling hooks. Overall – things are moving along well!

Check back with us next week for more news and until then…

LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim