Devlog 13

Ahead reached over 100 players

So far the recent reviews have been 100% positive. Thanks to the huge feedback since the initial release I feel like I managed to improve the game to a point it is getting ready for a PC release.

I’m currently working on adding more soundtracks and improving the menus to start working on the PC port.

Download the game: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.StarvingFoxStudio.Ahead

With Casler Graphics, we recently announced a couch multiplayer game called SMYS (Show Me Your Stairs).

For now it is planned as a local multiplayer game only, but an online networking solution has been discussed and might come later to facilitate connectivity between players.

We wish to publish this game during the first half of 2020, and a month before the release date, we have planned to run a closed beta to collect players feedback. We’ll give away beta keys on Twitter so stay tuned.

A huge progress on the level design have been made, with new rooms already prototyped in the game engine, and much more on paper waiting to be built. The 50% milestep have been passed.

An entire code refactor have been recently started and as the project have been on hold for a long time (~6 months), it allowed me to step back and get some fresh ideas to improve the game.

A lot has changed since the beggining of the refactor process and I gotta say the project is heading in a way better direction thanks to this break.

More news coming as soon as the code refactor ends.

Experiments

I’ve been playing around with grid systems for a long time, but I recently had the pleasure to experiment with procedural hexagrid terrain generation.

This was a real pleasure to build and it turned into a game ready system I’ll certainly use in a future project.

Devlog 12

Ahead 2.0 is available

After 2 months of hard work, the major 2.0 update has been released.

Almost everything have been reworked, making the initial release look like a pure prototype.

  • New Color palette
  • New SFX
  • New VFX
  • New UI (Menu interfaces and In-game interfaces)
  • New app icon
  • Skip level and Rewind last move features

  • No more ads with the retry button
  • Objective quests
  • 2 new languages (French and Spanish)
  • Tutorial level
  • Camera touch controls
  • Game speed control
  • Story based player animations and progression
  • New store page

The game looks and feel better than ever and will continue improving with new upcoming content such as more music tracks and languages.

If you ever wanted to play the game, it is time.

STORE PAGE LINK:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.StarvingFoxStudio.Ahead

With Ahead 2.0 release, it is time to move the main focus back to CastleQuest. Recent work has really teached me that focusing on 1 project at a time is the way to go and CastleQuest is the project I chose to focus on next.

Expect loads of content about this project in the upcoming months, this is going to grow fast.

Devlog 11

Upcoming update - 1.3

The entire UI have just finished being reworked, here are comparison shots of all screens side by side (1.3/1.2).

Also a lot of the UI is now animated, and existing animations have also been reworked for the better.

This next update is clearly a big step-up for the game, everything is being reworked but the level design. Next on my to-do list are the such asked camera touch controls and an entire SFX rework.

Voxel Planets

My voxel planets asset is progressing and I’ve already got Mars, Saturn, and Uranus (Earth is also done but I’d like to rework the oceans).

No name project

My sim-building/management side-project is getting new building props. Different color schemes will be available in the game but here’s my favorite of the bunch I’ve tried so far.

Devlog 10

More level design

Continuing with level design, here are some shots at the recently made rooms.

Some more shaders to display the player health status have been made (poison and fire), but most importantly, I started working on magic spells.

Using rocks from my in-development Low Poly Rocks asset (more on this below), I made an earth hammering spell, spawning multiple spikes to push back and damage small and medium enemies, followed by 4 huge pillars to insta-kill small and medium enemies and push back and damage big enemies.

Code rework

It will soon be 2 years since the development of Defense of Humanity has started, and it also means that most of the code is starting to be quite old and that since the start of the project I’ve gained a ton of experience in programming.

That said I decided to rework almost the entire code, to improve readability (trust me you don’t want to see that mess) and optimization. I already spent an entire week on it and it feels so great to be back working on a clean project.

Some mechanics have also been reworked, for example you can now choose to buy a specific gun instead of random gun boxes (random gun pickable still available), and I made pickable guns and health items to replace the boxes. Looks great, feels great, no regrets.

Player animations are still in rework and will be finished as soon as the code rework is done.

Almost 3 months after the initial release on Android, the next huge update of Ahead is almost ready, it will add the most asked features :

  • Quests : Time and Move Count objectives for each level will bring a new challenge beside just finishing all levels. Finishing a quest will reward you with credits, a new currency.
  • Cosmetics : Player models, player colors, trail models, trail colors, track line colors. All of these will be unlockable in exchange of credits earned by finishing quests.
  • Touch controls : Move the camera around the player using touch controls to get a better view of the surroundings.
  • Optional ads only : No more unwanted ads between levels! You’ll be able to watch ads to get more credits at the end of a level if you finished at least 1 quest, but no more annoying random popping ads when finishing a level.
  • Cancel last move button : To restrict the use of this feature, it will require watching an ad. Using this feature remains optional as it comes from a mistake.

I’m also actively thinking about reworking the main menu once again. I’m satisfied with the level selection panel but everything else would benefit a rework.

The game ASO will be entirely reworked so the game can be accessible from a simple search. The name of the game might need to be lightly modified.

No name project

I would not call this one a new project as it’s using the tile building system I’ve made a while ago, albeit reworked, but this is definitely a project I’ve been working more on recently.

The project name is still pending, it really depends of what will be the theme of the game, but I already have some ideas.

It is basically a sim-based management game where you can build shops customers goes to buy items according to a procedurally generated shopping list. The basics are done (Camera controls, Building controls, Customer behaviors) and the project is ready to enter a more serious development phase (Let’s make a game out of it!).

Assets Making

I’ve been running out of funding recently, meaning that any unexpected expense for a project can’t be afforded. So what am I going to do ?

I can’t run a kickstarter for any of my projects as I don’t think these are polished enough to be worth a fully pledged campaign yet.

Then I thought about Patreon but I don’t feel like having enough time to create regular content for patrons, and as far as I know that’s how Patreon works.

So the solution I’m going for is creating assets (Unity focused for the moment), I feel like selling ressources I could even use myself would be a great way to still be working on my current projects and at the same time bring in some fundings to cover any unexpected expense on my projects.

The current asset packs I’m working on are :

  • Realistic Voxel Planets and Pixel Art

Will feature all 8 planets of the solar system + 12 asteroids and an asteroid field, 3D voxel painted according to NASA texture maps, in addition to 80 detailed pixel-art sprites (4 for each planet and asteroids).

Expected working time : ~ 500 hours

  • Low Poly Rocks

Will feature 250 different low poly rocks models, a wide range of sizes from pebbles to mountains, coming with a custom easy to setup shader for adding snow and moss on all models and choosing the base color.

Expected working time : ~ 350 hours

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.