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Decisions, decisions…

Hey there!

We are trying something new here … or at least, we haven’t done before.  Here is the thing, we have to make some choices, we have several variants of this item and this enemy, and we can’t decide which ones are the best. So we are hoping that you could help us deciding!

Click in the image for the full size!

 

The first image, shows the Aegis shield. This is a legendary shield that will boost your defense A LOT for a few seconds. The main problem with the original version, was that it looked very much like a coin, and people didn’t get that was a shield, so that’s why we are trying these new ones. As you can see, we have five options to choose from: A, B, C, D and E.

 

Secondly, we have the Argos Panoptes, an enemy from the later stages of the game. This guy’s main feature  is that it has one hundred eyes. And as we as the Hecantochires turned out really cool, and they are like in the same level, we want something as cool for Argos (we haven’t revealed the Hecantochires yet, by the way, we are saving them for later). Also, you can see here that we have six options, all the way from A to F.

 

Well, that’s about it. We would love to receive some feedback from you guys. Which one is your favorite Aegis? The mighty A? The impervious D? Or perhaps the wondrous E? And what about our buddy Argos, which version do you like the most?  Reach us out by any medium available (comments, posts, Twitter, Facebook) and tell us!

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The sound of the mob

We have been on Okhlos for a while now, but there was something which we haven’t even started working on: sound and music.

Neither Roque nor, nor José Luis, nor I are musicians, nor very savvy with a mixing console. We can make the art, the code and maybe even some game ingame jokes but definitely not music. So our plan had always been to eventually get  some who can  (and that would make a good job at that), and until then use place holder sounds and music. I don’t think I need to tell you much about the placeholders if you had a chance to watch our first pseudo trailer (I think there is a special place saved for us in the tartarus for having made people listen to that music for minutes) or some of the let’s plays (go, Kenny G, go!).

We have been pondering over this subject for quite a while, listening to the work on many game musicians trying to find the right one. We also went back to our favorite games, paying attention their soundtrack and the work of their musicians. The quest went on for months, until finally we found the perfect person for the job. One musician to outmusic them all (and in the darkness bind them).

Meet A Shell in the Pit. Meet Gordon MCGladdery.

 

We approached Gordon at first as fans of his work with Tettix on Rogue Legacy, not entirely sure if he would be interested in working on Okhlos. To our upmost delight Gordon played a build of game and loved it, so soon afterwards we started talking about things we could do and about our plans for the game. He is very excited about the project, and we are excited that he is excited , so there is excitement galore!

 

And  as you can see Gordon has some really awesome ideas about the music of the game. Just yesterday he gave us a sneak peek of something he was working on, and it was better than Aquiles’ uppercut.

 

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A mob is as good as the enemy that crushes

Ahoy there!

 

These last weeks we’ve been working hardly (or hardly working) on the enemies of Okhlos.

A lot.

Like, really a lot.

 

One of the most enjoyable things in Okhlos is fighting enemies. Early on, we figured out that one of the cornerstones of the fun and variation in Okhlos is to have enemies with very different mechanics. So we started establishing which mechanics were interesting enough to explore. Besides that, we have to put the mechanics in context, so we have to do a lot of research to determine which enemies will appear, when will they appear, and keep them coherent with the rest of the whole.

 

So we established 21 mechanics that we think are cool. But! Besides that, some of these mechanics can work with each other! So suddenly, we had a lot of new stuff that we didn’t think of! Basically, we have 21 behavior archetypes and a lot of combinations to do. We still don’t know how many enemies Okhlos will have. But I think that we’ll have plenty of interesting challenges.

 

So, besides the behavior, we have the sprite part (my part, the cool part). I’m actually making a lot of tests to see how they look. Trying different palettes and different sizes for the monsters.

 

One of the things I did was remaking some of the old enemies. Here you can see some of the progress.

 

 

As you can see in the image above, the Prophetai and Hosioi have their eyes covered, which makes them darker and gritty, because of Nolan.

The Nemean lion found a stash of steroids.

Also, the Hosioi now share the size of the Prophetai, because the Prophetai now summon a different creature!

 

Here are some enemies.

Here you can see:

-Some ideas for the Posidon’s stage creatures.

-A warrior that protects himself with a shield, and a color variation

-Some satyrs. One of these is based  on this guy.

-Some centaurs. They will focus on the mob and trample them.

 

Finally, I want to finish the post with some unjustified screenshots!

The Calydonian boar

The Nemean Lion

Some Hephaestus’ machine

And the three of them together

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Let’s watch Okhlos’ let’s plays!

Hi there!

This week we decided to try something different. Not only to give a breath of fresh air but also because we don’t know how many people will be reading the blog this week, that the GDC is taking place. So, we thought of making a compilation of all the amazing “lets play” of Okhlos there have been so far.

We haven’t made an oficial trailer yet, so this seemed like a good opportunity to show you a little bit of in-game footage. Of course, all of these videos were captured from a very early version of Okhlos (from version 0.2.x to be accurate), and you will see there still is a lot of work to be done. But even so, if you are one of those following us that haven’t seen the game in motion yet, here is your chance!

Having said that, in no particular order, here they are:

MegaPiemanPHD

@megapiemanPHD

 

Gaming Faster Than Light

@GamingFTL

 

8BitNinja

@The8BitNinja

 

The Mr. Dudepuppet

@dudepuppet

 

And last but not least,

Kotaku

http://kotaku.com/imagine-pikmin-but-with-greek-philosophers-1510025170

@Papapishu

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Pimp my mob size

Hello there! Another week, another update*.

This time, we talk about the mob-size indicator, whom you may remember from a few weeks back, when we talked about some of the changes in the HUD.

The HUD , by the way, is still undergoing dramatic changes. Not everything ended up looking particularly pretty, but we are focusing on usability before beauty. We can always add some lens flare over the sprites in order to give them the J. J. Abrahams cool vibe later.

Back to the mob-size indicator.  We were reviewing the latest version I had designed when Sebastian suggested that the image representing your mob switched dynamically, depending how many people you had.  We immediately thought that it was a terribly cool idea. We love putting random, dynamic things in our games (100 unique phrases for Gravity Fleet’s main menu window, your welcome). So we embraced the idea, and put it to work.

Here are the first images we came up with, but it’s very tempting to do a LOT of them:

 Full disclaimer: After reaching 100 people, I ran out of ideas, and things started to get weird…

 

 

 

 

 

The guy from behind is doing the “Benedict Cumberbatch photobombing” maneuver.

I ran a 4 shorter for this to be a cool reference.

The mob is going to give this guy the Cacofonix-treatment in any moment.

We are kinda obvious sometimes

I haven’t done the majority of the kings yet, so picture this but with a few more crowns.

Overcrowded!

 

Well, that’s it for this week! Stay tuned  for next week’s update!

 

*Where available

 

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Prefab Inception

Yes, I know, inception is putting an idea in the head of someone and not precisely recursion, but nowadays is a recursion synonym. And the other option was naming this post “Yo dawg, I heard you like prefabs”.

(All THE IMAGES ARE SCALED DOWN. CLICK THEM TO OPEN THEM IN A NEW WINDOW)

Well, this week we are going to talk about a problem that, although we finally managed to solve,  had us trying lots of different solutions and has given us many head aches, a problem named Nested Prefabs.

Unity’s prefabs are instantiable objects. The problem is that these objects can’t be placed inside other objects, without losing the reference to the original object. It would be like a Flash MovieClip, but the main difference is that the MovieClip allows children to maintain their original reference.

Why did this bother us so much? Well, each stage in Okhlos, is composed by four chunks. Each chunk is, in turn, composed of different buildings. And each building is composed of different props and structures.

CHUNKS

This is a chunk. The main component of the chunks are buildings, but they can also have other elements like hazards, enemies, props, etc., and some of these can be completely randomized.

BUILDINGS

The buildings are composed of a main structure and different props, also some other decorations which may be sprites or the like.

PROPS

Props are the weakest destructible elements. They usually have a small structure and some sprites.

 

The following image will perhaps better illustrate how these things, chunks, buildings and props, fit together.

As you can image by now, when we add this hierarchy to the prefab’s problem you end up with three o four levels of lost references for each chunk or building. At first we simply tried to deal with this without resorting to any kind of nesting of prefabs, but it came at a high price. Basically, we had to redo every chunk and building a couple of times.

What we do now, is use a script we named Building Holder. That script holds a reference to a prefab, and instantiates it on runtime.

This reference points to an object of GameObject type, thus it can be either a GameObject in the scene or a prefab. What we found out when we started using this was that if the reference pointed to itself, when we hit apply, it stored a reference to the Game Object in the scene, not to the actual prefab.

You can see it (kinda) more clearly here:

The green line shows how the reference points to the Project view (to the actual prefab). The red line shows the object in the Hierarchy view (which is the scene view, what we don’t want to happen). And the blue lines show the objects’ structure (chunk, building, prop).

To set the reference point to actual prefab and not  the instance is fundamental to be able to modify a building without having to modify its instance in each chunk (or to put it in other words, to be able to modify a building once instead of gazillion times) but luckily we now how to do it.

 

Finally, a few screenshots showing some chunks together:

 

And closing up this week, a tree destruction .gif!

 

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Destroying things is only fun from your end

These past few weeks, we’ve been working on having cool ruins to replace the buildings when they are destroyed.

This was not easy. In the first place, we don’t want to have stupid amounts of geometry going directly to your video card. In order to maintain the low poly look, we have to be resourceful in how we show the destruction.

While doing this we had to resort to nested prefabs (which we will cover next week. Spoilers!), deal with a lot of trouble we had with the .FBX and with the project order in almost every fracking level of it.

Well, here is the thing:

First, we had these nice little buildings, each one in its own file.

That was cool, except for the fact that when we decided to add the ruins, some of the buildings shared the destroyed version. So, duplicating the ruins in each file would have added useless geometry, and not doing it would have been messy (and my little OCD bug would have killed me).

We didn’t have an satisfactory way of doing it. So we decided to put the meshes in a few .FBXs. Doing this would mean less file access, and putting the same ruins to share models would save us a lot of polys. And everything would be tidy.

In our organized wall society, we do not tolerate new ideas.

So we ended up with only two or three files in this fashion, using only two or three textures per file. I think it is pretty optimized, but not perfect. I really wanted to optimize everything. I… have… to optimize… more…

 

I’m implementing all the solutions in the city of Delphi and when everything is working, I will do the same on the other cities.

As almost every modeler using Unity knows, I have to work with both the modelling tool and Unity to really know how it’s going to look. So, here is how it looks in Unity!

(Click to enlarge!)

Well, next week we will talk about a really bummer, which is… NESTED PREFABS!

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Sound and Vision

I have to stop using so many music references for the titles. But they are an easy way out, and I’m lazy!

Anyway, very briefly, these past weeks we’ve been finishing up the design of most of Okhlos’ HUD and windows. We had to make a lot of hard choices, and we are still changing a lot of things that aren’t closed yet.

(Our previous HUD vs. the new one. Click to enlarge!)

It’s hard, because you have to anticipate how the player will interact with the given information, so you have to guess a lot.

The most significant change was adapting everything to a 1 on 1 pixel aspect. Every element was 2x in the original pixel art work. We decided (actually, I didn’t consult Sebastian and went on with it without telling him until it was finished) to make everything 1x, meaning to respect the pixel art as is.

This is the Items Thing (technical terminology). It’s function is to show you the keys assigned to each item and tell you if anyone in your mob is carrying one of those items.If you don’t have an item, it will be shown in gray.  The image you see is here is the one that will be shown if you are using a joystick, we didn’t do the keyboard graphic yet. And as you can see, it’s much prettier if you treat each pixel as a pixel, instead of scaling them.

This is the story of the basic buttons. At first, we used to use the Dalek font (don’t know the relation between a Greek font and Dr. Who) and the sprites at 2x. Later, we switched to a more pixel-friendly font. Finally, last week, we took them to the actual size.

Here you can see the mob count tab, that shows the number of people you have in your mob , how it was and how it currently is .

The “1P” in the first  image is a sign of how much more we were focused on multiplayer during the early stages of development. The second attempt added the mob’s rage bar. This bar basically shows how rampageous your mob is,  increasing when the mob smashes things or tramples enemies, and decreasing over time. Finally, I made the third option last week, it’s not final yet, but we decided to show a mob icon/graphic, and separate the bar from the mob count.

(click to enlarge!)

This is the pause menu. This may be the most important window of all. Here, you will see all of your units, heroes, and the mob modifiers. If you have a hero that gives you +10% attack bonus, you will see it here. It’s faaar from finished yet but we think that is important to keep it as simple as possible. Too much information will ruin the window completely, it will frustrate the player when navigating it. So we will try a lot of mockups to see how we can best convey all the information.

And keep in mind that things can get a little crowded.

Yeah, that’s too much information. Feel free to feel overwhelmed by clicking the picture and pressing F11 (In chrome and in PC, don’t know in other systems).

As always, we love your comments! You can reach us in Facebook, Twitter or right down here! We try to answer all of them! (Please stop sending us nude pictures)

Well, as John Green says, Don’t forget to be awesome!

Roque

(Yeah, I know, I never sign the posts, I suppose that I’m very hipster lately)

 

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Bigger than Jesus (ish)

Ahoy! So much time has passed since the last update. These past weeks have been a rollercoaster. Some good things happened, some not so good also… Whatever. Today I will talk, among other things, about cholulaje. Cholulaje is an Argentinian lunfardo (or colloquialism) word that means something like celebrity junkieness, or screen personality fandom.

It all started quite suddenly one day. I woke up, made some coffee and started my morning routine, which involves checking mails and checking Facebook for like half an hour. I had two mails and Facebook messages stating the same thing: we had appeared in Rock Paper Shotgun! That was incredible, we couldn’t believe it. We had never sent anything to any media outlet, but there it was, a beautiful article about Okhlos! (Here is the article)

 

It was amazing. Suddenly, we had a lot of tweets. People following our twitter account (here :) )! And our owns accounts also. Lots of people retweeted the article.  Also, we had a few comments on the article, and I could argue with the public for the first time!

A few hours later. Mail from Kotaku. Chris Person wanted to do a Let’s Play of Okhlos. We were beyond words. We worked a lot in order to have a semi stable version for Chris. Setting a deadline always helps to keep the rhythm and prevents from getting too relaxed, so the pressure of having to send them something quickly ended up being a good thing .

Some days later, when everything was sort of OK, we sent him the version. What a thrill! (sounding like a little school girl). A week after that, during my morning routine, I noticed that we had a lot of musician offers, some mails and lots of tweets. The reason was obvious, Kotaku had published the article. 

Finally, IndieGames on Twitter asked developers for .GIFs of their games. After a few technical details, I prepared some GIFs and sent them. Thus we also made it into in the article for #GIFriday!

After that, I talked to John from IndieGames and he told me that he wanted to do a series of GIFs explaining the game, we were thrilled, and we started to work on more GIFs. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong when you are talking with the press. My PC started to freeze when I tried to convert the video into gif, the hardware acceleration in photoshop suddenly decided to stop working, and our first 480px gifs ended up with a size of 20mb (which is not a good thing). Fortunately, we managed to make the gifs, and of a reasonable size. I will not post them here, because the article hasn’t came out yet, and I don’t want to spoil their exclusivity. But I will post them on future updates.

Here is the first post of IndieGames showing Okhlos!

Also, to add more to this media coverage / cholulaje account, a cambridge P.h.D. specialized in ancient philosophy wrote about Okhlos in his blog.  Which is as terribly cool, as completely off topic.

PS: In order to have more images (c’mon, we know you just look at the pictures), here in the bottom is a sneak peak of the changes we are making to the HUD

So, that’s all for this week! As always feel free to send us your feedback about anything you want!

 

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Generation Logo!

A new year started. We can now talk about Okhlos’ development in terms of years. Many things happened throughout the first year of development, good and bad. While it usually is a good idea to recap the year we found it too cliche, so we did something else and took the time between last update and this to rest.

The result was this update about a topic I usually hate: logos.

Nowadays, designing a logo seems to be about following a series of strict steps. A lot of logos are very similar to each other. Looking at a small sample of logos, we can see the following characteristics.

Some excellent designs came out from following these guidelines. Even Gravity Fleet didn’t escape from them (although that doesn’t make it a good example). But there have also been lots of logos that are very formulaic.

Many of you know my background. I am an illustrator, not a graphic designer, so I have enough of an aesthetic sense to realize when something is wrong but it would be hard for me to find a way to fix it. So I end up fixing it by trial and error, which is both costly and tiring.

We have a mini-rule for a lot of our deicisions regarding Okhlos: doing the opposite of what we did with Gravity Fleet. Taking that into account, I decided to not priorize readability above everything else and focused on making the logo in a pixel art style that went along with the game’s aesthetic, at the same time making it a nice image by itself. I didn’t follow guidelines for design, readability, color contrast nor anything like that, simply an image that says “Okhlos” and that the splash suggested the game’s context.

I started the most obvious way, by making stone letters.

This is the first draft. Perspective, stones with some cracks and the design inside the letters that have a little Greek touch. The romboid-shaped “O” were something that I ended up taking from my research on different fonts.

These are some of the fonts that I researched. From this list I took various characteristics that suggested Greece.

Found the characteristics, I started scribbling different ideas about a more polished logo. With ornaments, styles and other embellishments.

The problem with these approaches was that the letters , although they were made out of stone, didn’t have much weight. Somethign was missing.

I decided to made the letters in 3D, change the font and play around with the camera to make it look like something stupidly huge seen from ground level.

This brought me to this next version, which let me start the pixelation and gave me a clearer vision of what I was working to acomplish.

To make the 3D I ran into a series of problems. Mi idea was to take my strokes from Illustrator to Max and work them there. They were horrible hours of trial and error, checking what could be imported into Max, because almost everything that I exported from Illustrator was rejected by Max. Finally I found a way to save an .ai as a Legacy (Version 8 ) and that solved my problems using Max to extrude the shapes from Illustrator. After that, it was all camera effects.

This is how it looked on Max. The image above shows the first part of the work where I start drawing over the letters, separate them and correct some imperfection, etc.

Once I have this as a base, I started pixelating this but at double the resolution I should, making me waste some hours. Finally, I ended up with the 3 options that I show next. Although none of them are finale, they are close to what we believe could be a good logo/splash for Okhlos, always taking into account the idea that we want it to work more as an image than as a logo.

 I got inspired a bit on Norman Rockwell for the one with the red background, but both Sebastián and Cristian (Panchín, a designer friend that was giving me some tips about the logos) insisted that it suggested Japan way too much. I think it’s one of my favorites, from a completely aesthetic point of view.

This one, after a lot of failed tries that I haven’t posted (from all the stages of design, there are a lot that I think should not be seen by humankind), is the one that had that illustration component that I was looking for. I cleaned up the rocks quite a bit, take off the lines (that in this case makes it more readable) and added a few city things in the background.

Although I think that unfortunately we can’t close the chapter on logos, we are closer to what we are looking for.

Any feedback is welcome! And yes, the name from the update it’s inspired by this song.

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