Thank you!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out our devblog! We’re busy making magic in the Boss 101 universe so let’s get on with it!

Greenlight continues!

If you haven’t already – we’d love you to check out our Steam Greenlight page. If you like what you are seeing we would LOVE your yes vote!

 

 

Making a Boss (art-wise)

In Boss 101 you can roll bosses sure but let’s talk about HOW they get in the game Boss 101. A couple notes – we use GameMaker Studio (from YoYo games) and Spine (from Esoteric Software). Spine works with Unity and a few other engines I believe, so this applies even if you are not using GameMaker.

Basic Setup: Organization – we organize the bosses into separate files. The layout of the files is exactly the same so when they load into the game they all can be interlocked with each other cleanly. Let me assure you organization is a giant step in ANY process – so sort your shiz out FIRST then start working. Don’t be afraid to constantly ask yourself “Is this the best way?” either!

Step 1: Layout and create all the parts to the Boss. We go back and forth here. We start with the fact the boss has five major systems (head, turret, engine, main body and main weapon). We start with the theme of the boss (we have several general themes like Animals, dinosaurs, samurai-esque, etc)

Step 2: Make any notes relevant to the boss as we draw the parts. In the case of the kitty boss we already had a reference to work off. We wanted to upgrade the look so we pointed out some ideas and design decisions to follow when doing the art.

Step 3: Black and White version! Generally speaking for MOST of the art we do a black and white version THEN we color it. Seriously folks – it makes your life a lot easier to concentrate on contrast and silhouettes FIRST then color it in as you like. If you are John Singer Sargent you can disregard this advice.

Step 4: Color it up. We work on Photoshop generally but you can achieve the basic coloring we do in nearly anything you choose. The advantage of doing black and white is we can color block in areas quickly in a SEPARATE LAYER over the black and white art, apply a layer effect (like “Color”) and then experiment with colors and shading until things work. You see how we are!?! Efficiency folks – that’s how to do it!

Step 5: Bring all the pieces into Spine. We load each section (head, body, weapons, etc) into Spine as an individual skeleton and then arrange them in space accordingly. From there we add firing, prefiring and idle animations.

A Note on Spine – if you are serious about getting animation done I would recommend Spine. The low cost version of it would be perfectly suitable for most all indie needs and the TIME saving would be tremendous. Doing all this by code or hand would have tanked Boss 101 at the starting line.

Step 6 KITTY BOSS! (example animated gif)

Those are the basics and next time we can delve into animations practices or perhaps something you are curious about!  We’ll check here for feedback and question!

All the best and live your dreams,

-Tim

 

Steam Greenlight

THANK YOU! Our first few days have been amazing on Greenlight. We are getting there and want to thank all of you who took a moment to visit and check out the page. A huge thanks goes out to all of you who voted YES. It means so much and we are moving along towards being Greenlit.

If you haven’t already and are curious – we do invite you to check out the links above and see what the fuss is about. We have a trailer and a breakdown of the game. Your Yes vote really helps!

OK – some updates!!!

Boss Designs:

We spoke a little about this previously and we want to show more of the initial implementation that goes into making a boss weapon. The idea is we give each weapon a weakness (one, maybe two) the player can use to stay alive longer and gather up points. It’s been tried and tested in MANY games so we aren’t claiming any new ideas on the “boss weakness” front.

What we are looking to do is give you the player a reward for trying out things like the kinds of hats and weapons available to you. We do imbue certain weapons and hats (and upgrades) with abilities for your player. Some weapons are more effective against a boss, some hats allow you to take far less or no damage against certain weapons. That’s all for you to find out. Is it possible to win without all the tricks? Let’s just say it would be tough. Bosses will naturally hit harder on the later levels and if your skillage is low AND your upgrades aren’t there you might get pasted pretty quick. Thankfully though, we are working to give you lots of playing options to suit your tastes.

Here’s a boss trying to smoke Max and STEVE…

and here’s that boss bullet pattern layout…

Tuning

Now comes the fun part – once that is in we start playtesting the various parts against the baseline Max, Max variations and generally just try to do everything we can to simulate play styles. Not surprisingly this can be very hilarious at times and leads to a lot of fun insights and ideas. Sometimes things we THINK are going to be super overpowered end up being pretty ineffectual at first. (some of the large death beam type weapons come to mind). Some of the little minor weapons like small homing missiles end up being the deadly things!

A peek at some hats and more!

Savage: The Shard of Gosen Hat
Our good friend Matt Fitzgerald is working away on his opus called Savage: The Shard of Gosen. You can check it out here:
Savage Steam Page

Matt has been a Boss 101 supporter from the get-go. He’s helped us with wisdom about getting onto Steam Greenlight as well as lending his Gamemaker skills and tips when it was just one guy trying to figure out the basic language of GameMaker. Welp, we figured we could drop this in for him – a hat based off his main character! Check it!

The ShMUPS Website

A few of the kind folks at http://shmups.system11.org/ have been dropping tips and feedback about how we can make Boss 101 a better shooter game overall. Some of the suggestions are pretty keen and we thought it might be nice to create a special hat with SPECIAL powers – and by special powers we mean this one will probably be a one hit – you’re dead hat. HAHAHA! HEY – you can’t always go for the easy way in everything! Seriously though, we are looking at risk and reward balancing for any hats that have, how shall we say, some ‘detrimental’ effects.

We call this hat “1940”

Random Gameplay Screen!

How to Make a Game Series – Part 10

>>Link to full article<<

Here is a short snippet from this week’s article written by your truly (Tim). I think it encapsulates the exact feeling happening right now as we go through Greenlight and look back on the progress the game has made.

Gratitude. That is the topic.

When you are making your game and following your dreams it can be a humbling experience, especially when you start out. During those times when you are drawing on your inner reserves and powering through, you might want to take a moment to be grateful. Perhaps, just perhaps, this can help you get through some of the rougher moments.

I’m now going to give you a powerful method to increase your energy, make you a more positive person, generally more likable and undoubtedly increase your earning power along with your productivity. Start saying “Thank you” a lot more. Add “I appreciate your help/time/assistance” into your everyday vocabulary. You will be surprised at how this will brighten your day by brightening other’s days.

What does this have to do with indie game development? Everything really. Like it or not, the world is full of people and these are the same people you want to buy and support you with money. The quickest way to get anyone to help or support you is to present a sincere pleasing personality. This is one of the strangest and truest things in the universe but when you help others get what they want, you actually end up getting what you want.

Ok folks – that’s it for today and THANK YOU for checking in!

Remember to LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim

Weekly Dev Blog

You one stop for all things Bossy!

Steam Greenlight Update:

This week we have a pretty special announcement. We are in the final stages of our Greenlight prep on Steam. That’s right
folks – within the next few days you will be able to make history and give us your “Yes” vote for Boss 101.

We promise we will make you proud! Stay tuned to this blog or the main site for details on the exact moment (we looking at Thursday for the big reveal).

Boss 101 Melee Weapons?

Though rarely spoken about we have some nifty melee weapons in Boss 101 – each one is upgradable as well! Here is a shot of the smoking wrench doing some serious damage to nearby minions.

Ok – maybe that range is a LITTLE long… HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

Gas Bombs and Ugly Bugs

Up next is a special weapon for one of the insect bosses. SO this guy here spawns some nasty little bugs that can poison you unless you have some protection.

We start with something like this – temp art that is in the game – a grey bug! We make some notes and show examples of what we are aiming for… like so…

Then we get this. A nice animated gross robo bug!

Then it’s a short trip to the game once the sprite gets it’s base pass in Spine (our animation program) and some VFX to get it going!

 

CRAZY!!!

How to Make a Game – the series!

How to Make a Game – Part 9

An ongoing series by yours truly. Here’s a peek at this week’s episode – the Game Loop!

The deal here is you want to get this running as soon as possible. Why? Because you want this to be as fun and addictive as possible that’s why. That kind of addiction is not going to happen in your head, you have to see it in front of you and play it. Iterations are the way to go. Paper design, thinking, doodling, tests are all awesome but nothing, please hear me, nothing beats just making the game and seeing if it’s fun.

So, get your game loop running. Temporary art is fine. Rough art is fine. In fact, the rougher the art the better since game loops are about game play and not the look of the game. If blasting grey blocks are fun then adding in great art will only make it better. On the flipside having the best looking characters means little if the underlying game is not fun to play (see any one of a myriad of free to play FPS shooters for examples of this). One mistaken belief in games is that looks are a huge deal. They are not. The games you like you might still like even if they looked rougher and visually less polished.

A Basic Checklist…

  • The basic game loop should be your top goal early in development.
  • The game loop is not necessarily the whole game but is a representation of a typical play session
  • Block out the loop with any graphics and mechanics that get the job done.
  • The purpose of the loop is to expose and refine your early thinking about the game as soon as possible.
  • You will make mistakes but do not be afraid. Early in development is the best time to make the biggest mistakes. They are FAR less costly early than later in development.

More to come so keep checking in. We appreciate your visit and THANK YOU!

Remember to always live your dreams!

-Tim

Hello again and welcome back to another Boss 101 development update!

This week we’re talking about a few things – one being our Steam Greenlight is almost here! And when I say almost here I am talking about within a week or two! That’s pretty exciting for us and when we flip that switch we would love you to take a look and give us a yes vote.

 

Your support means a lot. We get mails and questions about the development process all the time. From my perspective (Tim) this game has been hugely rewarding to make. You know why? Cause it’s FUN! Great team, game is fun to make and fun to play. The goal now is to let you in on the fun and give YOU your money’s worth. First step – let’s get on Steam Greenlight with your help and head into the final stretch.

Progress has been AWESOME in the last few weeks. A lot of bosses are getting a tuning pass with their weapons. We have shots below!

Bosses tossing up rock pillars
One of our bigger boss weapons can toss up crazy rock pillars to block your progress. Why does he do this? We think it has something to do with a lack of hugs. Regardless – if you have the right weapon you can make short work of these obstructions – see…

The other thing going on is a lot of bullet coding. Bosses are getting side weapons tuned for maximum madness. Each one of these little devils has his own pattern. For instance…

.

 

Check out this guy – this particular main weapon gives any boss FIRE BREATH!

 

Game Modes in Boss 101

You might have been wondering what KINDS of game modes are in Boss 101. We got that very question this week and here goes with our answer.. I’m reposting from the AWESOME SCHUMP forums at shmups.system11.org. Totally recommend that site for serious shooter info.

Here are a few of the things on the list. these are all scored or tracked in one form or another.
– Base game with progression through 32 levels/rounds (this is basically the story mode)
– We also have (for lack of a better word) escort type missions where you will be taking shadow ship along and have to keep it alive.
– There is another type of mission we have called chase missions where you are literally following the boss as he warps from level to level. When he goes to warp you will have to “knock” him out of warp tunnel before you can resume the regular fight.
– Endless Boss mode – this is you with one life seeing how far you can get against an endless array of bosses. The idea here is you keep going against random bosses until you die
– Quest-type modes – these are modes that will reward players for things like (but not limited to) completing rounds using certain weapons, not dying, beating a round in under a certain time, high score per round, high scores per game, overall time per game, etc

Modes we are considering (and have the underlying tech for) these would also be scored or tracked in one form or another.
– An object quest mode. The idea here is we scatter reward object (hats are sort of our reward-of-choice) in each game round. During the round you can perform a very specific action within the round (something like beat 20 minions in 20 second) and an object appears for you to grab. From there on out you need to stay alive for the rest of the round to keep the object.
– Builder Mode for Bosses – so most of the time you roll randomly in the Make-a-Boss room but we have talked about allowing players to build EXACTLY the boss they want to fight. This mode would be outside the story mode and would essentially allow you to build ultra hard (or ultra easy) bosses out of specific boss parts to fight. Mostly it would be about bragging rights to your friends to say “Oh I built a Tyrannosaurs, Spida-Bear-aSquito and beat it with a PISTOL!”
– One Hit Mode – you have one hit point and that’s it. This could be a sub variation of the Endless boss or any of the other gameplay modes really.

Notes from the Making Game Series – Part 8

As you may already know – I’m writing a weekly series with my thoughts on game making at the Indie Game Riot website:

How to Make a Game – Part 8

An excerpt from this week’s topic – picking a subject for your game…

So when picking a project, look at the games you like. Games you are interested in. Don’t be daunted by the size and scope. Maybe you want to make an MMO, or a game like League or Legends? That’s OK. Start with that and realize you will have to setup realistic goals and scale the game to your team size. Don’t expect to make World of Warcraft by yourself in this lifetime. You might be able to make a sample of that game and you surely could gather a team to make it, but create a giant MMO all by yourself? That’s pretty lofty.

Basically, picking something you love will allow you to soldier through all the tough times ahead. I was reading a book about motivation the other day and it had a fantastic passage about fears and uncertainties. It stated fears and uncertainty are a form of resistance. It went on to say they are good since they normally point directly away from what you should be doing. Want to fart around instead of working on some coding? Guess what you probably should be doing? Coding! Feel like reading a Facebook article instead of that animation you were working on? Guess what you should be doing? See how easy it is?

One thing to remember as you sit down to make your game is that these things are fluid at first. Games will reveal themselves to you over time. You need to allow time to find the real game you are making. Hold the concept in your head and use time and effort to chip away and make that concept a reality. I found out long ago no game comes to me fully formed. It’s mostly a couple concepts and some ideas about “game moments”. From that, I build a game and allow a very organic growing process to happen. I try not to force the game this way or that. Instead I set up the base parameters of the game and let my work and iterations reveal the game I was intending to make. Nine times out of ten, this is faster and results in a much more fun game for the player.

Allright – big update and PLEASE STAY TUNED for more on the game as we head into the Steam Greenlight announcement in the next two weeks!

THANK YOU! Remember also…

LIVE YOUR DREAMS!

-Tim

Welcome back and we hope you’re doing well! Some notes from this week’s activity!
Story Time

First and foremost we are starting to reveal the story of Boss 101. Story! That’s right, we said it. It’s not JUST blasting robo baddies and rolling onto the next level. There is real human drama here folks. For one, did you know this whole adventure is triggered when your brother makes a simple (for him) birthday request?

Well, one things leads to another after that little encounter and the next thing you know you are in space battling a robotic spider with dog feet. NOTHING UNUSUAL THERE!
Struggle Time!

So we added in the initial art for the struggle arrow. There are bosses who can hold you in place while you get pummeled. As much as we hate to see you lose control there is an argument to be made for giving the bosses a fair chance. You have STEVE after all and his wit can cut deeper than a sword. HAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

At any rate – in this initial pass we are testing out the mechanic and they are pretty nice. You can off course – decrease the trapped time but wiggling your stick. Basically – don’t get caught in the ice beams!

So yah – that will be used with a few other choice bosses to keep you on your toes. Art upgrades and gameplay tweaks to come!

Rocket Time

Just some debug Rocket Testing. Everyone loves small red sharks shooting deadly missiles!

Banana Bombs

One of my personal fav’s went in this week. BANANA bombs. Yep, that little volcano on his back will spit out a bunch of banana bombs. Trust me, on the later levels you will want to be WELL CLEAR of that crap storm. They will put you down!

Podcast Friday at Indie Game Riot!

The Donley Time Foundation with yours truly (me) got an invite to join the IGR team this last Friday. It was an awesome three hours that felt like 30 minutes. Went by way too fast and we did get to spend time on Boss 101 as well as some recent gaming news. We’ll keep you poated when the edited version goes live.

Notes from the Making Game series

As you may already know – I’m writing a weekly series with my thoughts on game making at the Indie Game Riot website:

How to Make a Game – Part 7

A small sample you might enjoy from my latest:

What do publishers think when they see your game? I have sat on both sides of the bargaining table during my career and I will attempt to save you some time by getting to the heart of the matter. Here are some questions going through the publisher’s mind:

What is unique about this game I can’t get anywhere else? To put it another way, “What is your unfair advantage?” What do you have that no one else can easily have or duplicate? That is what you must lead the conversation with.

Are you demonstrating enough of your product’s vision in the presentation? Some games have an awesome tech demo. Some games have a great trailer. Others may have some drawings. It’s really up to you to present your unique angle in the best way you can. This goes for Kickstarter trailers, Patreon videos, blogs etc. Everything should turn on what you offer that no one else has. If you have a blog you want people to read, give them a reason! Funny articles? Serious articles? Outlandish articles? Exclusive articles? Give people a reason! Same goes for a game. Unique gameplay (Portal)? Amazing art (Ori and the Blind Forest)? Amazing tech (Battlefield)?

So you say you have all that and you want to know what is the final kicker, the extra ingredient that will put you apart from the rest. Here it is. If you can answer yes to the following every single day of development, then you are well on your way to fantastic success in all areas of life:

“Can I honestly say I did my very best work with no compromise or excuses today? Did I give it my all with no room for getting better?”

Only you can answer that question any given day. Most people are lucky to say yes to that once every six months. The more that answer is yes, the better off you are when you see a publisher or try to sell your product. Asking that question will propel you to new areas and put you in the uncomfortable spots you need to be in to succeed.

That’s it for this week folks and thank you for stopping by!

Remember to ALWAYS live your dreams!

-Tim