psychicsoftware

[WIP] Goblins & Grottos

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Goblins & Grottos is a new collaboration between Psychic Software (from Ireland) and Goblin Portal (from Sweden). We're calling Goblins & Grottos an "inverted RPG". You play as the goblin, trying to escape a series of dungeon levels while a team of callous adventurers lays waste to everything around them. The idea is to turn normal RPGs on their heads, and see everything from the eyes of the poor helpless cannonfodder for once.

 

The game is now available on Steam (Early Access):

 

http://store.steampowered.com/app/389190

 

 

G&G is written using HTML5/Javascript packaged into a desktop executable using nodewebkit and with pixijs for pretty efficient WebGL rendering. Nodewebkit gives access to things such as local file reading/writing, which isn't normally possible from a browser. I'm using the matterjs javascript physics engine to move stuff around, but other than that there's no actual game engine to be seen. I have found this suits me well for the 2D games I have been making lately - I can construct my own architecture rather than having to learn someone else's; and the lightweight nature of Javascript suits me.

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Goblin Portal have created a clean pixel style for the game, and Psychic Software are coding the code. Which is just as well, because they can't draw very well. It's working out well under control of a 2D physics engine: we have spent a lot of time getting the core animations and interactions with the environment as good as possible; the goblin runs, jumps and climbs walls, swings from chains as he attempts to escape the numbskull adventurers .. who in turn have no respect for the goblin, seeing him only as a quick kill for 10xp which brings them along the road to their next level and unlocking their next skill.

 

The near-term plan for Goblins & Grottos is to make a playable one-level demo, and to engage with players while expanding this into a complete multi-level adventure, starting with the goblin's parents being hacked down by a merciless bunch of greedy adventurers, and ending with an unexpected and heart-wrenching moral dilemma. Or something.

We're also planning on releasing the map editor as a core part of the game, and on making an on-line repository for player-made levels. There's plenty of creative freedom in the map editor I have been creating, including customising the skills and chat text of the adventurers.

OpQTiC0.gif

 

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I've been noticing that a lot of people have been implementing their own engines lately and I'm curious - how much time do you typically have to spend building up this architecture before actually diving into the implementation of your game? I've thought about building my next game from the ground up for fun (and as a learning exercise), but I've been leaning a bit towards continuing to use existing engines just because my primary goal is still to create and complete polished games in a reasonable amount of time. I'd love to hear about your experiences with rolling your own tech, and your thoughts on how this has affected your overall timeline/development experience.

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Thanks!  We have just added levers and trapdoors (with each trapdoor associated with a particular lever), plus breakable wooden floor tiles (which break when enough weight is on them). These new items are adding a lot more potential complexity to our level designs :)


It's payback time!

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We have reached an important milestone with Goblins & Grottos: our first public release prototype!

Prototype v0.1.7 available here! (Windows and OSX)

The prototype has one game map built in, and the map editor component has been removed for the moment. The plan is to work on getting the map editor up to the standard needed for public release within the next month or so, and look towards another prototype at that stage.

We also put the game up onto Steam Greenlight and would appreciate it if you could vote for us there!

Cgq6dv8.gif


 

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I've been noticing that a lot of people have been implementing their own engines lately and I'm curious - how much time do you typically have to spend building up this architecture before actually diving into the implementation of your game? I've thought about building my next game from the ground up for fun (and as a learning exercise), but I've been leaning a bit towards continuing to use existing engines just because my primary goal is still to create and complete polished games in a reasonable amount of time. I'd love to hear about your experiences with rolling your own tech, and your thoughts on how this has affected your overall timeline/development experience.

 

Hey sorry man, I only just saw this question!  I have actually been building the architecture while going along, apart from the core state machine and render loop etc. I have a lot of experience with game engines so I guess that makes it more straightforward: for example, the first time I needed particles, I branched off and wrote a basic particle module. The core structure was designed with expansion in mind.

 

I think for 3D games it is hard to make a good argument for not using a game engine, unless your goal is learning or to do something really unusual. For 2D, the argument is much weaker. I have found that WebGL/Javascript really suit my development style, so I'm happier writing most of the engine myself. One of the benefits is that the end result isn't affected by someone else's design and so is more likely to have an original 'feel' to it, if you get what I mean.

 

Of course, we are using a number of libraries:  nodewebkit for packaging as a desktop exe, matterjs for physics, and pixijs for WebGL rendering

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Hey I was navigating on steam website at the time you submitted there, and I imediately recognized it from this post :)) I think you've made a wonderful thing so far and if you'll succeed with the development we'll have another clasic (like Terraria) :D. Just keep doing this, I can't wait to play the final version!

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We have just made pre-alpha v0.1.8 available over at http://goblinsandgrottos.com/2015/07/08/download-the-demo/

The main improved things in this version are:
1. Supports game controllers
2. Adds checkpoints
3. Some improvements to frame rate on weaker computers

And here's a quick look at one of the more unusual enemies we're working on.. a shapeshifting druid with a pet owl:

HKTTXme.gifH8n0YOO.gifVGKZhLj.gif

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Here's a look at our cutscene system, which has been becoming more detailed over the past few weeks. We're putting a lot of work generally in making the map editor as user-friendly and fun to use as we can, and to encourage players to build stories into their maps. Cutscenes will be an important part of this.

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Cutscenes are triggered when the goblin moves into the invisible trigger identified during map-editing by the clapperboard icon. You identify which 'actors' will be part of the cutscene, and these characters have their normal game behaviour over-ridden with the rules specified in the cutscene. Actors can include enemy heroes, friendly creatures (other goblins, imps, etc.) and also the goblin himself. If the goblin is included as an actor, then the screen zooms in and normal game controls are frozen for the duration of the cutscene. If the goblin is not included as an actor in the cutscene, then the cutscene plays out while you are playing as normal - this allows us to make little stories and interactions occur which you can choose to eavesdrop on or simply ignore. It's a simple but pretty cool idea and we can already see how it brings the maps to life and gives a feeling that the world around the goblin is alive.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/VbMn5FqsCuw

So far, our cutscenes let you define where actors move to (identified by invisible flags that you place in the map) and what they say. You can also open/close doors, have heroes kill creatures, and have heroes 'log out' (the joke is that they're playing an online game and - in an act of ultimate insult - they log out straight after killing the goblin's family, leaving him the quest to track them down and seek revenge). You also define the amount of time that elapses between each step, and centre the camera on different spots on the map - so you can accurately control how the cutscene action plays out.

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Goblins & Grottos is going into closed alpha tomorrow, Oct 25th 2015. This includes tons of new features not available in our previous demo, including the map making facilities, online sharing and social features, plus lots of new map tiles, objects and enemies. Also a prototype of our first 5 official maps!

Please sign up at www.goblinsandgrottos.com if you would like an invite!

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We have been approved for Steam Early Access on December 17th:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/389190

The Early Access version offers a functionally strong subset of the full game. In particular, it includes about half of the official environments, characters and built-in maps that we are planning to use. It also includes fully-featured map editing and sharing facilities, as well as all of the carefully constructed physics and interactions. The Early Access version offers two environments and associated content: the Dungeon, and the Forest.

While the full version (early 2016) will provide incrementally improved map editing, sharing and other online facilities, the main tangible difference is that it will also include two more environments and associated content: the Village, and the Mountain Castle.

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Quick update - we're in Early Access on Steam now and the reviews are really positive (still @ 100% positive in fact). Lots of tweaks and improvements have been done following user feedback, and now we're back to working on new content.

Meet the illusionist and the troll. The illusionist will turn his enemies into chickens (thus creating some funny and varied puzzle situations). The troll will smash everything in his path (including the goblin) but if you stand on his shoulders you'll be able to control his movements.

6fcRPu0.png

And here's the witch, who will blast her enemies with lightning bolts.

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Patch notes 0.9
There's lots more good stuff in this patch!

Cheap Sheep!
- We have made a special 2-map story "Cheap Sheep", uploaded into the online maps repository, to celebrate the latest Steam sale. Can you defeat the evil Lord Gaben, who is intent on making all games 'sheep'? Will you meet the G&G developers Jonas, Sam, Bjorn and Ian? Will they have deep philosophical insights to impart?

hT6yiHs.jpg

World Objects:
- Sheep. These are rideable - they run and jump faster and higher than the goblin, but of course cannot climb walls. Also, sheep do not die from falling (just like in real life!). When killed by weapons/falling items, the sheep dies and the goblin survives.
- Lots of new village objects: chimney, boxes, haybales, brooms, cauldrons, beds, paintings, mailboxes, cows
- Rubber ducks which float on water
- Slippery goo which makes things slide around on tiles (also makes walls unclimbable if positioned on the left/right of a tile)
- Flame trap variations: left/right/top versions
- Blue flame traps - which are set to turn on and off in a predefined pattern (the yellow traps are operated by LeverIDs)
- Purple retractable spikes which are set to open/close in a predefined pattern (the normal retractable spikes are operated by LeverIDs)
- 'Tent' exit for village maps
- 'Hole in the ground' exit for cave maps
- New dispensers: boulders, and sheep. Did your mummy not tell you where baby sheep came from? ;-)

Audio:
- Ambient village sounds
- Ambient forest sounds
- Chicken sounds. Bok bok bok! ... Bokerk!
- Elf queen voice sounds / magic sounds
- Illusionist voice sounds / magic sounds
- Slime sounds
- Flame trap sounds
- Troll footsteps
- Sheep sounds

Map Editor
- Grass, earth, village ground autofill tiles now merge correctly
- Code optimisation for autofill tools
- Zoom in/out using mousewheel (3 levels of zoom available)

Bugfixes:
- Physics engine bugfix - occasional framerate slowdown related to the troll

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Patch notes 0.10

Here's another patch packed-full of good stuff!

lRYxE0B.gif

Three New Official Maps, all in the Village region:
- "Backstabber"
- "Do you even lift"
- "Boss of Feathers"

New characters:
- Three villagers, who scream and run away when they see the goblin or any other creature. Very comical! :-)

New Game Items:
- The scrolling backgrounds and basic tilesets for the 4th region: this includes the Mountain, and the Evil Castle
- New big trees ad village 'stockade' map exit

Map Editor:
- When you have a FILL tool or the ERASER selected, you can now hold shift and drag to define a rectangular area, rather than having to place each tile individually

Audio:
- The troll now has a selected of roaring noises and 'speech' sounds. Ian tells me these were based on walrus sounds. It sounds quite feasible ;-)
- Elfqueen has a better spellcast sound

Miscellaneous
- The sidebar in the Online Maps window has been improved
- Various bug fixes and some efficiency tweaks

Goblins & Grottos is on Steam Early Access:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/389190

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