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Devlog 9

Available on Android

Ahead has recently been released on Android and it is available to download here :
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.StarvingFoxStudio.Ahead

If you try the game, I’d love to get your feedback, reach me out on Twitter @StarvingFoxStd !

Here is a non-exhaustive list of my current todolist according to users feedback I’ve received to this day, and that you could expect to be featured in an upcoming update :

  • Double tapping to navigate in menus
  • Achievements
  • Challenge mode with limited moves or time
  • Leaderboard for Challenge mode
  • New player models
  • Icons rework
  • Confirmation panel upon trying leaving a level
  • Acceleration system on long travelling distances
  • Movement queuing system

The game has already been updated with new wall textures and a ground track texture to improve readability.

PC release

Seing all this feedback had me thinking that starting working on the PC version of the game right away was a bad idea, and that I might focus on improving the current game on Android and getting all the updates it needs, so when it would come to PC the game would be at its best. Thus said, it is still planned for this year.

Devlog 8

Release date and pricing

Ahead is getting towards release on Android with the initial date set to the 15th of June.

As decided by the community on Twitter, the entire revenue of the game on mobile will be based on advertising so the game will be free on that platform.

The game as been optimized to run on almost any device equipped with Android 6.0 and over, supporting both landscape mode and portrait mode. However, despite the fact that mobile users will generally prefer playing in portrait mode due to the ergonomics of the device, the game has first been thought to be played in landscape mode. Thereby, all in-game menus are optimized for landscape mode, portrait mode still being usable albeit less attractive. Anyway, keep in mind that actually playing the game (out of menus) is exactly the same whatever the orientation you choose.

After the release on Android

The game is planned to be released on PC later this year. It will mostly feature better graphics, customizability, and more music tracks. No precise release date yet but I think I’m safe to say it will be around August.

Concerning distribution platforms, Itch.io should be the first the game will be available on, but I wish to push it to the most platforms I can. Steam is not planned yet as the submission fees are not something I can afford due to the multiple projects I’m working on and the financial support it needs, but if the mobile version of the game can fund it, then why not.

Regarding console, let’s say it’s a possibility, but it’s not clearly planned yet. Though, if it was to be, I think Nintendo Switch would be the first console to consider.

Tunnel visionning on level design

CastleQuest is the project I’ve spent the most time working on recently, and it shows. I’m only focusing on level design for the time being so the world is actually building quite fast. It may not sound like an exciting task, but it’s kinda relaxing as it does not need extreme focus and it is something I am looking for when working on a side project. I can’t wait to finish building this world to start bringing it to life.

It's not only about castles

As shown in the first screenshot I’ve shared of the game, it is not taking place exclusively indoors. I recently updated the project to Unity 2019.1 so I can use the new terrains editor and I also started using Amplify Shader Editor to create some amazing shaders, including water and lava.

Playtime and overall scope

As development progresses, I’m realizing that my scope of the game is way too big. I had in mind that the first campaign would result in an hour of playtime, but I was so wrong, I’m guessing it’s around 4 hours of playtime at the moment so instead of dividing the game into multiple campaigns I’m thinking about cutting it to 1, and then adding new campaigns as huge free updates.

This would keep the game alive for several years and keep new content coming up every year, it would also expand the replayability aspect of the game as new campaigns would not only bring new environnements, but also new enemies, new loot, new abilities, and so on.

New animations

I recently acquired UMotion Pro, allowing me to start reworking every animation from scratch but using IK. Before that I was only animating using FK and it would take me a really long time for… not that great result. Now I can spend the same amount of time working on animations and get 10 times the quality of what I’ve made before, so I deleted all player animations and restarted from zero, starting with locomotion animations.

Color selection screen

As always, coming with good menu ideas feels like a challenge to me so this is highly subject to change in the near future, but I feel like this color selection screen has ideas. I’m soon going to rework the entire menu, adding one more step to get into the actual playstate of the game is making more and more sense to me, especially after reworking that many times Ahead’s menu.

Currently the level selection menu allows to choose with a toggle if yes or no Coop mode is enabled. But now that I’ve added color selection I think it will feel much better to get a level selection screen, then get a color selection screen where your partner can join the game by pressing a key, then start the game. It’s a bit like a fighting game, you choose the place where you’ll be fighting, then you choose your character, then the game starts.

The players will be able to choose between 16 colors to play with.

Devlog 7

Defense of Humanity

The player model has been slightly reworked and is now available in multiple colors.

Currently all player animations are being reworked and it might highly impact the game feel in a good way, as well as being more true to visual objectives.

A lot of work have been done on optimization and tweeking the game.

The main objective after reworking animations will be finishing music production, that has already started 2 months ago and is taking a while, but it’s starting to sound somewhat decent and fits the game.

Side projects

Due to a burnout I really needed to slow down and work on side projects to get out of depression. My motivation was at its lowest and I can’t find any by just taking days off doing nothing, however, I realized that working on my side projects has always led to a huge motivation boost. So here’s some of what I’ve done the last 2 months on side projects.

It is a low-poly style action-RPG game with puzzle mecanics set in the medieval era in which you’ll incarnate a wandering knight, hired by local lords to eradicate evil. You’ll be able to combine a large set of weapons and magic runes in a complex real time combat system (dodging, combos, charged attacks,…) to get rid of hords of diversified enemies.

It is a simplistic slab based puzzle game featuring 50 levels and it will soon be published on Android, a PC version will come later this year (and maybe console ?).

All the graphics rely on lighting, the player being the most powerful light source in the game and all levels being played in the dark. You’ll be challenged to understand how each level is setup and find your way to the exit without being blocked or eliminated by death slabs, not to mention that you’ll have to collect prisms to unlock new levels.

The last tasks on the board for this game are the rework of the main menu and music production.

Devlog 6

Playtesting

After dozens of hours playing the game, I decided to remove Hozirontal and Dynamic mode of the split-screen, so the split-screen will be Vertical only.

It appeared that both horizontal and dynamic mode were handicaping players and were making the game not pleasing to play, I guess these modes don’t fit the project.

Beside a few known bugs I’m still working on, a ton have been fixed, the game feels solid and encountering new ones is rare.

New FX

Enemies, props, weapons and items now have new explosions fx.

UI rework

As it was hard to know what weapon you actually get when you pick a gunbox (weapons are obtained randomly), all weapon related UI have been reworked.

All weapons are now relative to the first letter of their name, ammo is clearly displayed and the name of the weapon pops up for a few seconds when it’s picked.

All turrets are modeled

I finally finished modeling each turret and its upgraded forms.

Level 2 turrets
Level 3 turrets

Miscellaneous

  • Vulcan death animation has been reworked
  • Crosshair display has been fixed
  • I tried new colors for the players, yellow and orange seems like the best choices
  • Made some progress on music production

Devlog 5

Main menu

The background and animations are done, still need to work on UI and maybe improve the font, but it’s there ! I modeled a huge mothership and a quite accurate earth planet (after 15 hours playing around with Google Map I hope it’s accurate !)

Levels rework

I have been play testing a lot recently, and beside fixing dozens and dozens of bugs, I figured out level 2 and 3 were far less fun than the first level. There was actually huge verticallity issues, so I decided to go back to modelling and try to improve what has been made. Spent 2 hours playing level 2 and I think it’s good now. Still need to spend a few hours on level 3 to be sure it’s fun enough after a longer play time.

Tweakings

  • Teleporters now have a delay between when you take it and when you actually get to the destination point. This will prevent getting surprised by enemies that would be at the same position you’re supposed to respawn. Arrows on teleporters are also animated and show the direction the teleporter is going;
  • Explosion decal sprites disables smoothly;
  • The game goes in pause mode when the window loses focus;
  • Mouse aiming system improved;
  • Controller assignement is working;
  • Health boxes have a new sound;
  • Super Meduse explosion range have been reduced;
  • Player 2 camera now shake along with the Player 1 camera;
  • Each player aiming crosshair has been disabled in the other part of the screen;
  • Health Auto Regen does not work anymore when the player is dead;
  • Money spent variable in the Win Panel has been replaced with Lifes lost;
  • Wave 7 of level 1 is easier.

Miscellaneous

  • Level 2 control room screens are now animated;
  • On buying an upgrade, particles are spawned on all players, upgrade sound have also been changed;
  • Stairs that have multiple destinations now have a panel to give the player visual feedback of the current destination.