Major League TeleBlast - Development Roadmap

To coincide with Major League TeleBlast going into beta this week I have put together a rough development roadmap going forward to give you some insight into my plans for the game. As part of the beta, I have released the game for purchase on itch.io for $4.99 which is a 50% discount on what the game will be upon final release. Anyone who purchases the game during this phase will also be given a Steam key upon release.

The platforms I am looking to publish to include Windows, Mac and Linux through Steam, Xbox and WiiU because I own one and my target audience, like myself, have probably bought 4 controllers for Smash Bros already. I would also like to publish to Playstation and Nintendo Switch however their indie game publishing process is a bit more involved than that of Steam or Xbox.

Here is a list of features I am looking at implementing:

Teams

The only game mode Major League TeleBlast currently supports is a free-for-all round-by-round fight to see who can blow up the most players however going forward I would like to implement more team oriented modes that are generally 2v2. I would have to implement some sort of menu system for selecting teams and a way of being able to distinguish players individually and by what team they belong to. More on that below.

Modifiers

One of the things I love the most about games such as Towerfall is that it is a simple mechanic that can be presented in a couple of different ways to keep things fresh and interesting. Thats what I would like to do with Major League TeleBlast; have a simple core mechanic that can be played in a couple of different ways. Some of the modifiers I would like to implement include:

  • Gradually slow down player movement speed once they have shot their teleporter.
  • The only way to move is by teleporting.
  • Limited teleporters that get dropped in the position where a player teleported from and any player can pick them up to teleport again.
  • You have to charge your teleporters before firing them with the longer you charge, the faster they move.
  • Instead of an explosion, teleporting causes a circle of projectiles to fire out from the position the player teleported to.

I am always open to new ideas around modifiers for the game and I’m hoping further playtesting will give rise to additional game modifiers.

Additional Game Modes

Capture the Flag

Can be played as either a free-for-all or teams game. There will be a single flag that players have to return to their base however they cannot teleport while holding the flag.

King of the Hill

Will only be available as a free-for-all mode where the “hill” moves around the arena and the players currently in it score ongoing points. I imagine this will be a bit interesting due to the explosive nature of the game that can cover large areas of the arena.

Football

I have gone through and put together a proof of concept for this game mode which can be found here. Two teams will go at it in an effort to score the most goals within a certain time limit.

Paint the Arena

Inspired in part by Splatoon, the idea is that explosions will paint the arena in that players color and they will be able to move quickly in through that area. The game is won by the player who has painted the largest area. This might have to be a trial mode since I’m not sure of how well it will play out.

Additional Maps and Backgrounds

I’m looking to have in-excess of 10 maps to play on at launch with around that many different backgrounds to select from. It would also be a good thing to have a randomise button for those who don’t want to make a choice.

Improvements to Game Feel

Right now I feel like the game is missing something around player feedback; it just feels like some actions have no significant feeling to them. For instance, explosions just don’t feel 100% satisfying. Some effects I am going to trial to improve game feel include:

  • Camera shake on explosions - this is something I tried previously but had a poor implementation of it and the feedback was generally negative.
  • SlowMo when a player is blown up - would add more impact to those moments. I think it would also be improved if I slowed down the music during those moments also.
  • Better sound effects since they seem really hollow. More bass!
  • Improved explosion graphics which make them feared, right now its a circle (of death)
  • Player and explosion trails to give a greater feeling of movement and fluidity.

More Crisp Graphics

Currently my issue is that some of the graphics seem very pixel-ly when rotating them which decreases the overall quality of the game. I would like to make them pixel perfect and more crisp especially at high resolutions.

Better Sound Effects and Music

This relates back to game feel but right now most of the sound effects are those I made in SFXR during the game jam and they have a really hollow feeling to them. I really want to improve them to evoke more feeling and impact in the player actions.

Guidance for New Players

Currently the game has no guidance for those that are new to the game, they just get thrown into arena and could end up blown up 2 seconds later without really understanding what they can and can’t do. So yeah, something to help with that.

Key Rebinding

When I was building my arcade machine; games with rebindable controls were highly favorable and so I started to implement that within my game however it was perhaps a bit early for me to do that. I currently have a screen and some functionality to rebind keys however it hasn’t been tested thoroughly.

Game Analytics

I’ve recently done some work for another project to collect data from a Unity game and send it to AWS. I would like to replicate some of this work to collect player data and put together some interesting statistics such as hotspots of where people get blown up. It will however be interesting to do that in a way that players feel comfortable given all the privacy concerns around the work right now.

I am currently in the process of assessing all of these tasks and trying to put together a timeline of when I would like to have them done. Once I come up with that, I’ll put together a post detailing it further. If you have any suggestions or ideas, feel free to get in contact with me through social media or my Discord channel.

Major League TeleBlast - Football Mode Demo

In celebrating the FIFA World Cup I decided to demo an upcoming mode for my game Major League TeleBlast. The new mode was thrown together in less than 3 hours and is a bit rough around the edges however it allowed me to playtest an upcoming mode to see if it was actually enjoyable.

You can download a demo of the game mode below; it requires 2 controllers to play and there is no end time or score, it just keeps increasing. The controls are as follows (assuming Xbox controller):

  • Left Analog Move
  • A Shoot -> Teleport
  • Triggers Dash

The features I would eventually like to add to this mode include:

  • 2v2 Teams which would make the mode quite hectic!
  • Make it harder to defend. Right now it is too easy just to teleport back to your goals to defend.
  • An end condition rather than going on forever.

The download links are below.

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.