Major League TeleBlast Patch 0.3

Lately I have been finding more time to work on Major League TeleBlast to prepare for beta and eventually submit to showcase at the PAX Australia indie booth. As a result I have had to get more organised around my task list in order to determine which features need to be completed for beta.

User Interface

The first thing you will notice is that a lot of the UI elements have been changed since 0.2. I have done some extensive work around the design of each of the menus and in-game screens but rather than talking about them here are the screenshots.

Main Menu
Player Select
Game Select
Level Select
Round End
Game End

General

  • Added options screens to allow users to change screen resolution and music/sound effects volume
  • Added pause screen for all your in-game timeout needs.
Options
Pause

Gameplay Changes

General

  • Added shields which saves the player from being hit once. When the player is hit while their shield is up, they are pushed away based on the magnitude of the explosion. Each player starts the game with a shield and each round thereafter, shields are granted based on the number of kills each player has as a form of catch-up mechanic.
  • Added the dash ability. Have you ever misfired your teleporter and found yourself with no way to escape? Well the dash ability is for you! The dash ability can be used by pressing either left or right trigger (left shift on keyboard) and has a short cooldown to keep you flying like a butterfly.
  • Added controller vibration when the player teleports, their shield is popped or they get blown up by another player.
Shield Knockback

Levels

  • Modified each of the 3 levels with the following changes:
    • Fixing some of the collision boxes around the corners to make the collisions more predictable.
    • Removing SVG shadows and using Unity inbuilt shadows instead to give me more control within the editor.
    • Allow for the color of the walls to be changed.
  • Added more level backgrounds for additional customisation.

This week continues the push towards beta which means fixing some remaining issues and working on my marketing strategy. I am currently working on creating a page on itch.io for the game and from beta onwards, the game will be purchaseable through that page. You can view the upcoming features that are on my roadmap here and I have setup a Discord channel to gather feedback and talk to people so please feel free to join it here.

You can download version 0.3 of Major League TeleBlast below.

The Good and the Bad: Destiny 2

Photo Credit - Humble Bundle and probably Bungie

I have so many games in my Steam library and board game shelf and never enough time to play them all. I figured by writing short reviews it would enable me to think somewhat critically about the games rather than just saying its great and moving on. The typically enjoy the part of game reviews where they detail the good and the bad points about the game before providing a short verdict so that is what I’ve decided to do.

I acquired Destiny 2 through the June Humble Monthly Bundle (check out my referral link here) and managed to convince 2 of my closest friends to do the same so this past weekend we got together and played through the main storyline; this is the good and the bad.

The Good

  • The story didn’t overstay its welcome - One of my major pet peeves with gaming is the focus on game length as a measure of value and I believe a game should be just long enough that you can finish it in a single weekend (with obvious exceptions). I really enjoyed the main storyline of Destiny 2 because it never felt like it was dragging on; it provided a gripping hook and finished before it became too incredulous or boring.
  • Player progression was quick and satisfying - Something I was surprised with was how quickly you progress through leveling and building your characters abilities. We reached level 20 before finishing the main storyline and were quick to buy the expansions so we wouldn’t be wasting any of that additional experience. It seems like the grind in Destiny 2 isn’t getting to max level but in getting the best gear to complete the endgame content.
  • The visuals are amazing - Just flying through some of the environments you can’t help but be in awe of how beautiful some of the visuals are. My personal favorite was the planet of Nessus which is controlled by the cyborg-like race called the Vex.
  • Public events - There is something so satisfying about rallying a group of strangers together to complete an event. Even though the events generally repeat themselves, it is still refreshing to participate in them and have a new group of people show up each time.

The Bad

  • The pacing of some of the story missions was too slow - Despite having such a beautiful environment there are a lot of areas you are just running through especially during story quests. I understand that sometimes it is used to build suspense or give the players a break between battles it just seemed like such a waste to have so many great environments where nothing really happens. I feel like there was more suspense built when entering a “Respawning Restricted” area.
  • Crucible maps don’t feel like they flow - This might be a slightly premature criticism but in the 2 Crucible (PVP) matches we played I was slightly disappointed with how poorly the maps flowed considering how well Bungie designed numerous Halo multiplayer maps. It is something I will have to explore further in the endgame.

Verdict

A solid game made better in the presence of friends. If you can find it for around the same price of $12, it is well worth your time.

Getting Back Into It

One of the things I wanted to achieve at the start of the year was writing more, however, looking at things at the start of June I have only written 4 posts. I can make all these excuses about how busy I’ve been but the reality is I have been putting too much pressure on finding things to write and not setting aside enough time to actually do it.

Now that my freelance gig is at a support stage (more on that in a later post) I have no real excuse not to and I think it will go a long way to improving my written communication as well as promoting my personal brand.

The things I want to write about are the changes I’m making to my game Major League TeleBlast, board gaming and learning React coming from a world of Angular 2 development.

Finishing off this less than interesting post I’ll leave you with a picture of where I’m writing; it is pretty nice for the first day of winter.

Major League TeleBlast Patch 0.2

Following on from Global Game Jam and in preparation for the After the Jam event, I have made a series of changes and updates to Major League TeleBlast; in this post, I will detail the changes made.

Gameplay Changes

General

  • Added delay at the start of rounds in which players can rotate but not move or shoot. This is to prevent the fire-and-hope at the start of rounds to get kills.

Player

  • Increased player move speed from 10 to 15

Explosion

  • Decreased explosion expansion speed from 5 to 4
  • Player explosion stops expanding if they get killed while exploding. i.e. if you teleport into another players explosion

Teleporter

  • Added minimum teleporter speed which enables it to keep going even if it hits another player/teleporter or generally slowing down because of friction.
  • Fixed bug where teleporters would remain in play if the round ended with another 2 players killing each other.

General

Controls

  • Added ability for 2 players to play on keyboard
  • Added back button control for all controllers, this corresponds to B on an Xbox controller and ESC/Backspace on keyboard.

Levels

  • Modified spawns on the original level so that players only have direct line of sight on the player horizontally opposite them when the round starts.
  • Added the plus (+) level where players only have line of sight of the player diagonally across from them when the round starts.
  • Added the L’s level when no one has direct line of sight on each other when the round starts.

Screens

  • Removed the player selects from the main menu, replaced them with Play and Quit buttons.
  • Added player select screen which now allows players to choose their colours.
  • Added level select screen where players can choose which of the 3 levels they would like to play and how many kills they are playing to.
  • Fixed bug where the round end screen didn’t show the correct number of kills for each player.

Tried But Removed

  • A 0.3 second slow motion effect when someone gets hit by an explosion was meant to add dramatic effect to the action but it just looked as though the game was lagging.
  • A ‘dotted line’ trail effect was added to teleporters to allow players to see how far they had travelled and therefore how big the explosion could be but instead it just cluttered up the screen.
  • A screen shake effect was added whenever a player caused an explosion which was meant to add dramatic effect but again made the game feel like it was lagging.
  • When the player shot out their teleporter, their movement speed was reduced based on how far their teleporter had moved. This became frustrating for players and didn’t have any visual clues which increased the complexity of the game.

From here I am going to take a couple of weeks off development since it is a pretty busy time trying to organise birthdays and I feel like I will get burnt out if I continue to push myself. Also don’t forget to check out www.majorleagueteleblast.com and get the latest build!

Global Game Jam Retrospective

Another Global Game Jam has come and gone but I am still on a high from having made a complete game in less than 48 hours. Global Game Jam is a worldwide (duh!) event where people get together and try to make a game in 48 hours based on a theme which is given out when the event starts. This years theme was transmission.

In this post I will detail what I think went well and not so well for me during the jam. But first, the game itself.

Major League TelthemeBlast is a local multiplayer sports game where players use teleporters that explode upon use to destroy other players and become the last one standing.

The idea came about during the group brainstorming session where someone thought of teleportation as a way of “transmitting” an object or person. Since teleportation is relatively easy to create as a game mechanic and I really enjoy creating local multiplayer games, it didn’t seem like too much of a leap to make it something out of the idea.

What Went Well

Scope and planning

This was the first time I’ve ever managed to not go overboard in scope during a game jam and I think most of it had to do with creating a Trello board to manage my tasks. I made sure that I was always working on something that I had planned to implement and if I took too long on a single component, I shelved it and worked on it later.

Another thing that really helped me was the 4:44 principle coined by Rami Ismail which says spend 4 hours getting the core mechanic of your game done and spend the other 44 polishing it (minus sleep and anything else life throws at you). Although it took me slightly longer than 4 hours to get the core mechanic in, it provided a good guideline for me to know if I was on track.

I really enjoyed the game I produced

For once I was proud to show off something I had worked on; I was still nervous to showcase it but I was still proud of what I produced and people really seemed to enjoy it. I also had a lot of confidence in my core mechanic and it is really a game I enjoy playing with my friends. I don’t think this would have been as evident if I didn’t spend most of my time polishing the game.

What Could Have Gone Better

I didn’t find a team

I went into the weekend hoping to find a team to jam with however a multitude of things happened that meant I decided to work alone.

I couldn’t make it to the keynote and theme reveal because of family reasons. I met a group after the keynote and went for a brainstorming session where we narrowed it down to a couple of ideas, one of them being teleportation. I had to leave them after the brainstorming session to go watch the Australia Day skyworks and by the time I got back, they had split into groups and were both working on separate driving themed games, neither of which really enticed me.

By that time I was dead set on using teleportation and had a pretty decent idea to back it up that I just went it alone.

Where to From Here

Lets Make Games is hosting an after jam event on the 10th of February so my goal is to polish it off and add more to showcase it there. I have gone back to my trusty planning tool Trello to add more tasks and keep on track and I have been trying to show it off to as many people as possible to get their feedback.

I really hope to get this game to a somewhat complete state so I can either sell it on itch.io or possibly even Steam but that seems far off at the moment. In the meantime I will be updating my progress on this blog so please follow me on Twitter to find out when I update.

Major League TeleBlast on Global Game Jam