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Upcoming Platform Game: Suzy Cube

11-06-2017, 03:23 PM
Thanks for the update! And the interesting breakdown of what Special Levels mean in your game!
11-07-2017, 12:16 PM
Joined: Oct 2016
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 84
I just re-read through the thread. It's inspiring to see the progress over the years. Keep up the good work.

Rawr! For A Reason - Our first game "Undie Rush" is coming soon - 50% of profits from our free games goes to charity

11-10-2017, 09:57 AM
AlphaDog and DaveMApplegate, thanks for the kind words! I hope you'll enjoy the game when it's, finally, available.
11-10-2017, 09:58 AM
Suzy Cube Update: November 10, 2017

This week, I finished off work on Levels S-1 and S-5 and made some good progress on Level S-4, which is a night time remix of an existing level.

Before I get into that, I wanted to share a little screen with you guys from Level S-5. I know I said I wouldn't spoil anything about these Special World levels, but I wanted to throw you guys a bone.

This guy, the Chaser Ghost, will be harassing your ass all the way through Level S-5. It's behaviour is simple, it follows all of Suzy's movements on a delay, forcing you to always keep moving lest it catch up and get you! Here's a super old gif from when I originally implemented it.

Even though it's been functional for years, I haven't used it until now. It adds quite a bit of pressure, so I haven't felt it right to use it in the game's regular levels. It's just right for the Special World, though!

Ok, so, remixing existing levels. I figure this is going to be unpopular with some folks. I know Super Mario 3D Land certainly caught flak for its reuse of levels in the post-completion portion of the game.

Hey, I get it, brand new content is always more interesting, but since I'm working on my own, remixing existing levels for some of my Special World stages will allow me to deliver more content at a higher quality while also allowing me to experiment with challenges that would have been too demanding in the regular versions of the levels. So, with that, I present to you, Level S-4.

Keen eyed testers may be able to recognise the level used as the scaffolding from its shape. It certainly won't be from the colour scheme as I've created new variations of the background and lighting to give the level it's own visual identity.

Though the level retains most of its original structure a number of platforms have been moved or removed and enemies and hazards have been shuffled around and added too. All Star locations are also different from the original level, of course!

And, finally, a bug with a happy ending.

I thought I had some weird loading/saving bugs in both my Save Slot scene and my Level Select scene because Star totals weren't matching up and there was garbage data left over after deleting a save slot. In the end, I only had a simple bug in the function used to loop through the worlds when loading and deleting Save Slot data.

If your game has five worlds numbered 1 to 5, make sure you're not looping from 0 to 4...

And on that silly tidbit, I bid you farewell and until next week when I hope to have progressed on Level S-4 but will be focused on collaborating with Noodlecake to implement achievements and leaderboards. Ciao!
11-17-2017, 10:35 AM
Suzy Cube Update: November 17, 2017

Spent most of this week implementing my end of things for adding support for achievements and leaderboards. These were features I had cut early on in the project but with the support of an experienced publisher like Noodlecake, I've been able to rescope things and include them once more.

My part in this has been to create the hooks in game to actually catch the instances when achievements should be awarded as well as tally up the best times to send to the leaderboards. I've been routing everything through a simple relay script which gets the messages from the game and will be adding calls to Noodlecake's side of things once it's all ready. In turn, their systems will take care of communicating with the appropriate platform specific services. As for my part, the debug log points to everything working as intended, so I think we're in good shape.

Once I had the cheevos and leaderboredz stuff up and running, I turned my attention back to Special World levels.

I completed work on Level S-4. The end bit is a doozy ^_~... And also started work on Level S-7...

I didn't bother blurring this one out since it's a remix of an existing stage and I haven't made any functional changes yet. What I have done is edit the existing lava theme of the original level into this new, sickly, toxic theme!

Well, there you have it, short and sweet. Check back in next week for an update on leaderboard and achievements support and more blurry screenshots of Special World levels!
11-24-2017, 12:28 PM
Suzy Cube Update: November 24, 2017

Hey, folks! So, no word yet on functional social features, so I retreated into the cozy comfort of level design.

On Monday, upon replaying Level S-7 with fresh eyes, I ended up making some more changes and improvements. Now it's done... Probably...

I also spent some time making a new skybox for special stages. They used to all be set in a featureless purple void.

They are now set in a MOSTLY featureless purple void ^_^.
It's just a little extra touch of polish that I had convinced myself the game didn't need until now.

Finally, I decided to spend the last couple days on level decoration. I'm concentrating on the game's final boss level. It's taking a little longer than with most levels just cuz the level is so large.

It's not gigantic or anything, just a bit more epic than the game's regular levels. I should be done with this decoration pass next Monday.

As for next week, I really don't know for sure. Probably more work on Special World levels and decoration work. See you then!
12-01-2017, 10:54 AM
Suzy Cube Update: December 1, 2017

Let's switch things up compared to my blog post this week and tackle the actual interesting news first.

I was hit by a bus.

Yep, Tuesday morning, on foot, while crossing an intersection just at a corner near the embassy. I had the green light, someone had already crossed before me and yet an incoming bus saw no reason to slow down and BAM! I got hit.

It was all caught on the embassy security cameras and I'm told, by those who saw the tape (my wife included), that I was very lucky not to be any farther into the intersection.

I'm fine, just scrapes, bruises and sprains. Rumour has it the bus exploded on impact killing everyone aboard, though. I had the light, I'm not even sorry.

So, that was Tuesday shot! I spent the whole day at the clinic/hospital.

In spite of this, a productive week! (or maybe because of it... Doc said to stay off the ankle)
Two more Special World levels in the bag, though I did cheat a little by reviving cut levels.

First is a snow themed level with a more sprawling, exploratory feel than most other levels in the game.

It didn't make the cut as a regular level because it did a bad job of introducing switch activated temporary blocks which was what the level was supposed to be about.
I still liked the core concept of the level, though, and it is quite unique in feel. I'm glad I found a place for it.

It even has a cave to run through!

The other level has barely gone through any changes from it's original design.

When I cut this one in favour of a level with a stronger gimmick, I always kinda knew it was going to make it into the Special World. Again, a good level, a complete level, which simply didn't fit strongly enough into the main game. Why waste a perfectly good and tested design? Bam! Special World!

Well, there you have it folks. This week's lessons:
1. Keep copies of your drafts, because they may come in handy and 2. I'm the man of steel.

See you next week!
12-01-2017, 03:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2016
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 84
Let me know if you need any help betatesting this : )

Rawr! For A Reason - Our first game "Undie Rush" is coming soon - 50% of profits from our free games goes to charity
12-08-2017, 09:21 AM
Originally Posted by DaveMApplegate View Post
Let me know if you need any help betatesting this : )
We are not currently doing public testing, unfortunately. Thanks for your interest, though and keep checking in to follow along with progress on the game.
12-08-2017, 09:23 AM
Suzy Cube Update: December 8, 2017

(Short on time, reposting from blog)

Gotta make this one quick as I need to help my wife with some last minute stuff for an Embassy reception this afternoon.

Polishing Up
My early week was spent crossing T's and dotting I's on Level S-3 and continuing to decorate main world levels. Part of this process is to look at the packing density of the lightmaps on levels after decoration to try and squeeze the most lighting resolution into a single 2048x2048 texture.

Still some room left...

The process is a bit tedious as it, usually, entails me bumping up the lightmap resolution, baking (takes several minutes) and discovering I've still got space on the texture or that the lightmaps have spilled onto a second texture... At that point, I've got to adjust my resolution up or down a bit accordingly and hit bake again. I repeat this process until I get ideal results or I get sick of waiting for bakes.

Jump on down... What could possibly go wrong?

Here, we see a shot of the opening of Level 3-2, now all decorated up. The lightmap above is actually from this very level. As I write this, I'm running another bake at a slightly higher resolution to see if I can further minimize the artifacts.

Moar Levels!
I've started the design of Level S-10 as well. It should be a fun departure from what the game has had to offer so far. I think I'm going to have fun working on this one.

I also gave all the Special World levels a thorough play through on my phone noting a number of small tweaks I'm going to have to make to improve performance and playability. I sometimes don't test on the touch screen as often as I should, but fear not, I am 100% committed to the lofty goal of making the experience on touchscreens top notch!

And, finally, I had a call with Noodlecake this week to discuss, amongst other things, the look of the game. Late last week, I received an email containing some mockups from their graphic designer. I won't lie, I was taken aback by the audacity to mess with my graphical perfection at first, but once I let things sink in, and following a very productive call, I'm feeling better than ever that partnering with them was a great move.

A big part of the call was discussing the overhaul of the menus, of which Noodlecake have agreed to take ownership. The mockups I received were quite a departure from my current menu designs, but after a very productive discussion, I think they are going to turn out great! Once we have something we're happy with, I'll show it off here. I think folks will be pleased!

What I am going to show off now, though, are some of the initial steps I've taken to address their concerns about the muted colour tones I've been using. It might be somewhat visible in the screenshots above, but we'll be moving to slightly more vivid and saturated tones to, as they said, "better match the tone and fun of the gameplay."

Here are a couple of before and after shots:



It's not an Earth shattering change, but we are looking at a warmer and slightly more vibrant colour palette along with a more saturated but out-of-focus background.

More pop!

Along with these changes, we've also decided to experiment with a more pronounced vignetting effect and starker, whiter, texturing on Suzy herself to make her pop more.

Well, I guess, I failed on that 'quick update' goal. Much like face to face, once you get me going about Suzy Cube, it's hard to shut my yap trap! Next week, I'll be propagating more of these graphical colour tweaks to the rest of the game's levels and continuing (and hopefully completing) the design on Level S-10.

I guess that'll do it! See you all next week!