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Upcoming Platform Game: Suzy Cube

04-14-2017, 10:53 AM
Suzy Cube Update: April 14, 2017

Even lamer update that last week!

I, basically only worked two days this week as we have a house guest and we threw my wife a birthday shindig... blah blah blah, you don't care.. SUZY!

Ok, ALMOST done with Level 3-3 redesign...

I've got to try out a couple ideas for the last bit of the level to settle on which to go with. Remember, game design doesn't happen in notebooks and there's no substitute for puttin' it in the game and seeing what works!

I've been wrestling with a, still unfixed, crash which only happens on iOS and produces no error in the editor. Those are always the worse to debug, almost no info from XCode, no info from the editor, several minutes per iteration having to build/compile/install to the device each time... Ugh... Back to boardgames for my next project, maybe?

I had a call with another publisher this week as well, with a couple more to go next week. I should be in a good place to make a decision by then.

Oh, and big announcement no one is going to care about! I'm reorganizing my Trello board! I use Trello to manage my tasks, but for years now, I've been using it more or less as a to-do list. This week, however, I've rejiggered it into a set of time specific columns: "Current", "This Week", "Next Week", "April", "May", etc.

That's right folks, I'm scheduling tasks now!

This isn't about forcing myself to stick to some strict timeline as much as it's about motivating me to complete a more consistent amount of work each week. A nice side benefit is that I should start to form a much better idea of a release timeframe... WHICH I STILL WON'T SHARE PUBLICLY!

As I said... ANOTHER crappy update... Check in next week when I, hopefully, redeem myself!
04-21-2017, 09:47 AM
Suzy Cube Update: April 21, 2017

Been an interesting week down here... Things are.. uh... getting interesting...


Aaaanywho... Amidst all this, Suzy Cube continues to move forward. I spent several hours this week talking with publisher types. What I'm hoping to find is a good partnership which will allow Suzy Cube to be the best it can be while, hopefully, also bringing the game to as many players as possible by opening up the possibility of targeting more platforms. I won't have any concrete news on this for a while, but wanted to keep you all in the loop.

I, FINALLY, finished work on the Level 3-3 redesign.

Nothing much to say about it other that.. YAY! I can move on now!

I made these little mushroom decorators, perfect for forest levels.

You'll notice that with a little scaling and sticking them in a tree, they can look like those awning style mushrooms you find growing on tree bark.

I also made these star hint panels.

Their inclusion might be a bit controversial as I risk robbing players of "Ah-Ha!" moments if they are overused. In the example above from Level 1-2, a star is revealed if Suzy defeats all three of the nearby enemies. In this case, the hint is meant to alert players that a star can be found here without telling them how. I hope this will strike a balance between giving it away and players never finding the star at all. As with most things in game design, only testing will tell!

Oh... that damn crashing bug from the Unity 5.6 upgrade I ran into last week? Ya.. I think I found the offending script. If I comment out everything in the script, no crash... Problem is, I still have no idea how the script could possibly be causing the crash in the first place... I've only wasted three days total working on that stupid crash... not bad... At this rate, i should have it fixed in time for next Christmas!

Dang... Should have closed on the mushrooms or something... Ending on a crash I haven't fixed? What a downer!

Well... on that happy note! See you all next week!

04-28-2017, 11:54 AM
Suzy Cube Update: April 28, 2017

Got a better one for you folks this week!

First, gonna get the crappy stuff out of the way...
Lots of time spent on bugs. The crash that started happening after upgrading to 5.6 is still happening even after two patches, and yesterday, I started work on a rolling block behaviour (not as trivial as it sounds). It.. uuuh.. misbehaves.

As you can see, it works fine along one axis, but not along the other. When moving the cube along the Z axis, its rotation becomes dependant on the cube's starting rotation rather than rotating around world X. Anyone who thinks they can help with this issue can pop in on the Unity Answers page to chime in:

Ok, on to less depressing stuff!

Folks who follow me on Twitter (@LouardOnGames) may have seen this gif I posted early last week:

I call them Spinner Pucks and I'm sure they will prove to be great fun. As you can see, they bounce around and off each other, which, let's face it, looks fun already! But they can also make short work of any enemy caught in their spinning spikes as well as pick up coins and stuff for Suzy! She just has to look out for the rebound...

And as you can see, they can be activated and deactivated by jumping on the button.

Sooo, those are pretty cool, right!?

I also started doing some design sketching for Level 4-4. In fact, that's the primary reason for the rolling blocks. In addition to the rolling blocks, though, I'm also planning to use rotators again. But to set the level apart from the, admittedly similar, Level 2-2, I went ahead and designed some more complex rotators to keep things fresh and interesting.

In accordance with my rule of avoiding mesh colliders unless absolutely necessary, though, I had to use pretty complex mashings of box and capsule colliders to properly support smoothly running over the rounded corners.

Well, that's it for this update. I was not able to get through all my tasks for this week (though I hope to knock a couple more off this afternoon) but I did make some nice progress. Check in next week, when I hope to have a lot of Level 4-4 playable.
04-29-2017, 05:18 AM
It's inspiring to follow the development of Suzy Cube. I'm working on a 2D platformer myself and can relate to lot of stuff. You star hint is an interesting idea! How are you letting the player know that it is a hint for a star power-up?

Polygon Play
Developer of Lander Hero and Lander Hero: Training Mission
04-30-2017, 11:13 AM
Originally Posted by polygonplay View Post
It's inspiring to follow the development of Suzy Cube. I'm working on a 2D platformer myself and can relate to lot of stuff. You star hint is an interesting idea! How are you letting the player know that it is a hint for a star power-up?
In the spirit of not giving everything away, I am not planning on making it any clearer. Like I said. testing will determine if any more hinting is necessary, but I hope the little plate will be enough. You must keep in mind that most of the stars you find in the game aren't hidden in a way that would require such a hint, they are simply off the main path, or in visible bun dangerous spots.
05-05-2017, 11:35 AM
Suzy Cube Update: May 5, 2017

What's up folks!?
Wish I had better news, but, unfortunately, this week has involved a lot of banging my head against bugs... Mostly (all) relating to the block rolling behaviour I mentioned last week.

Before we wade into the sludge, let's have a look at something that worked out much better. Remember my Piggy Bank guys?

Well, a problem with them was that they were really easy to corner. To fix this, I added a really simple obstacle avoidance algorithm to their behaviour. I would like to point out that they are still pretty dumb, but Suzy Cube isn't really about outsmarting genius A.I.s or anything. The idea here was simply to make chasing them more interesting. So how does this algorithm work?

I simply perform a raycast out the front of the pig (blue). If this first raycast hits something, I calculate a reflected vector and do another raycast at this new angle (white). I recursively repeat this, shortening the raycast every time, until one returns no collision. Once this happens, I set the Piggy's new desired heading to match the last raycast direction and voila! In the example above, you see that after reflecting off the sign and a couple more times more, the final raycast will have the Piggy turning left to avoid going in the corner.

As I said, it's pretty simple, it isn't perfect, but it makes the Piggies much more fun to chase and helps avoid them being easily cornered.

So, on to the stuff that hasn't been going so well. I'm still struggling with my rolling blocks.

I was hoping to use the behaviour on these rolling lava enemies who leave a deadly trail behind them, but the script's bugginess had me fall back to simply hand animating them rolling.

I mean... It works fine now, but the amount of time I wasted before doing it this way.. ugh...

I was also hoping to use the rolling block behaviour to make ridable rolling platforms.

Ok... honestly, these work ok. They are more limited than I was hoping, but they basically work.
These tumbling spike frames on the other hand...

You can't really tell from the gif thanks to the low framerate, but these are jittery AF! Not at all usable.

On that happy note. I will leave you for this week and keep seeing about fixing my rolling blocks.
Maybe next week, I'll actually make some progress on Level 4-4? See you then.
05-07-2017, 10:20 PM
Great piece of work. You are putting all of your best into this game and you should be rewarded big time
05-12-2017, 11:02 AM
Suzy Cube Update: May 12, 2017

I opted to put aside smaller tasks and bugs this week to get Level 4-4 done. YAY!

Before I get into that, though. Last Friday, after my update, I did get a couple more things done.

I added a glow to the eyes of the blowtorch panels. It occurred to me about a month ago that if these things are going to have faces and blow flames out, then their eye should really glow when they do so... I finally got around to adding that.

And after rearranging the hierarchy of objects in my rolling block setup, I got them tumbling jitter free! Which was actually instrumental to the design of Level 4-4, my last lava level!

Once again, it's all about rolling and rotating challenges. For any of you who think this is going to be too similar to Level 2-2... well... ok... maybe a bit, but I like to think of it more as a callback to the previous lava themed level about rotating blocks. I'm not too worried about this, though, as Level 4-4 has a much greater variety of hazards and the two levels are far from back to back in the actual order they appear in game. Oh, and 4-4 has this fun little number!

I'm already predicting players will have a tougher time with this level, which, given that it's a fairly late game level, I hope won't be a problem. Of course, only plenty of playtesting will let me know if it's too hard or not.

Since I spent the whole week working on the level, there's not much else to update you all on. Given what having another level in the bag represents for the progress of the overall game though, I'm totally fine with that!

Until next week!
05-15-2017, 09:18 PM
Sincerely hope this will be as good as it looks. Nice display of discipline and perseverance. Keep it up!
05-18-2017, 05:50 AM
Love that rotating challenge next to the lavafall! Can't wait to play this!

How many levels in total you are planning to create?

Polygon Play
Developer of Lander Hero and Lander Hero: Training Mission