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Fountains and Events

Another week goes by, another update. This week’s update will be divided into two parts. The first one and the second one.



As I was telling you last week, we have changed Okhlos’ level design paradigm. I am now making chunks, that hold information about how many enemies the chunk will hold, the hazards and the little houses. Making these chunks has become a completely pleasant activity (at least for now). It’s like building dioramas. The bad thing is that it takes time (just like with dioramas).

Click to enlarge

Basically,  between drawing sprites, modeling and making little roads that are consistent within the chunks, I created a new hobby for my self. All I need now is a display that keeps the prefab spinning all day and to put it in a showcase (years of painting miniatures).


Anyway, this lead me to touching up the fountains.  The fountains had been hastily made, with the idea that I would eventually have to touch it up. Besides, putting the fountains alone made them look odd, so I had model some benches taking into consideration the fact that fountains were a meeting spot in ancient times.


First I start with the model.


I take the mesh to Unity. As with all the other textures, I use point as the filter mode, so as to give it the pixel-art-look.

(These are the typical settings we use on the textures so that they can be shown in all their pixel splendor )


Then, I add the animated sprites with 2DTollkit.


Some of you may recognize some of the characters in these fountains. It’s purely coincidental.


The gif’s resolution is not the best but you can see the animation very clearly. Also, some of the gifs are at double speed. Definitely there is some room for improvement on my gif capturing skills.



This week, so as not to lose the habit, we were showing Okhlos at a little event in Argentina. There were very few attendants, but the people who had the chance to test the game were delighted with the mechanics. How the mob moves and destroys everything in its way was something everyone pretty much enjoyed. Based on what Schell says about games having to start as toys, I think we are off to good start. Moving around in the game is fun in itself, without taking into account any of other extra mechanics. While we were there we had the chance to see that some people didn’t quite understand the tutorial, so, besides promoting the game a little bit, which is always welcomed, we managed to use this event as a mini playtesting session.


The second event we “attended” was MicAtlantica. We weren’t technically there, but Okhlos was, to the rejoice of everyone attending the event. MicAtlantica is taking place in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


You can see a list of all the games in the event here. We are delighted to be able to be part of it, even if we are not there physically. Just being one of the ambassadors of the Argentinean’s game industry is quite a merit in itself. So if you are in Spain, go play it and tell us what you think!

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Lazy artists dont like doing levels!

Ahoy there! This week, I will introduce you to one of the more important changes that we’ve done to the game so far.

Here is the thing: After a careful planning and analysis, we came to the conclusion that developing 12 levels will take me (Art only) a year and a half. The cost was too damn high! Also, in a few playtesting sessions we found that players didn’t seem to fully understand the objective. In addition, we found that the challenge in the mechanics was not sooo much fun.

So, the problem was: Making levels took an incredible long time and effort, and  creating different challenges for every level felt inconsistent (like we glued a lot of different things altogether). What’s the solution? We don’t know for sure, but we found an easy way to test a new system.

Basically, using cities divided into small areas and building them up procedurally. Each world (we call each city a world, Delphi, Sparta, etc. would all be different worlds) is composed of two to five areas. You have to complete (usually, destroy) an area, in order to advance to the next one. When you reach the final area you will face the god of the world, and after you defeat the god, you will advance to the next world (Tebas, Sparta, Athens, Vegas, etc.).

This is a chunk. -Say “Hi” chunk. -Hi chunk

Each area in turn is composed of chunks. Each chunk will have data on the type of enemies that it will hold, also if it has hazards and environment stuff.

This is not only to help us deal with level design far quicker, but also pushes us forward to be able to take a lot of design decisions. The end result with this approach is that it gives Okhlos a much more arcade feeling. That’s incredible good. It feels faster, more challenging. Also, it gives us the power of infinity in the level design. That could be a lot (or absolutely zero). But definitively give us a game which is fun to replay,  where you can find new things in each playthrough. And that is amazing.

This is ye olde static delphi.

This could be the new Delphi, or not! It will always change! Science!


This could give you an idea of how the cities are gonna be. It’s composed of 3×3 chunks. Each chunk has 10×10 tiles. Each tile can have anything (enemies, props, houses, shops, hazards, etc.).


Well, all of this makes a tremendous change in the game, but we are quite enthusiast about this. We see a lot of potential for this decision, and the current build we are developing, looks amazing. As always, thanks for reading!

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Ares minions!

After the Okhlos tour,  we can now focus on what’s important: the game. At least for now, it’s incredibly difficult to cover all areas of game development, being only two guys (plus we have to do things like writing this update :P). So, this week, I kept my original plan of making Ares’ minions.


Ares was the first god we had. I chose him because in the early prototype phase, we needed a warrior god, a melee oriented boss. So Ares was the logical choice. Then we had the semi bosses, which we knew had to be sons of Ares. Ares had a lot of sons, but we focused on two of them: Phobos & Deimos. Phobos being fear, and Deimos being terror. These two concepts were strong enough to give us some interesting mechanics for the semi bosses. Also they sounded cool as hell.

Here are a few sketches of Phobos & Deimos. I think I don’t need to tell you that you can click in the picture to enlarge it.

As you see, I searched for a grimy look in Deimos, but the challenge was to not be too Hades-like. It was important not to relate Deimos with Thanatos (Death), who isn’t even sketched yet but will surely be in Hades’ rooster.

We ended up with Deimos having a white and red robe, to follow Ares’ palette. He will be more of a ranged attacker. Phobos in the other hand, was easier to design. We took him to a primal, more savage conception, with lion hair, and fire eyes. He will be more melee oriented.

The cool thing is that each of them, represents a part of Ares. Ares will have area attacks, and melee attacks as well. So, in the Ares battle, he shows the two facets of their sons.

Here are in context, Phobos, Deimos, Ares, an Ares minion, and a philosopher.


Finally, the stage has to have a lot of enemies! So we designed some cyclops and a few warriors. The good thing about this, was that we had the main animations for the ordinary cyclops, so adding some Ares clothes was not much of a problem.

You can see the comparison between two running cyclops, to see what we had to do to animate them.

Also, we introduced our first rock thrower unit! He runs, throws rocks, and dies. Doesn’t seems like much, but he can incredibly dangerous if he is in the right spot.

Below are the rest of the variations of the common units of the level, alongside Ares.

As you can see, this was all fun and games, but there is a problem. The decided to make A BIG CHANGE in Okhlos… This is driving us crazy, but we think it’s a tremendously good change. What we are changing is… [CLIFFHANGER!!! DEV BLOG POST WITH CLIFFHANGER! SO ORIGINAL!] Check out what’s the big change next week.


To finish, we want to say thanks to the people of Bundle In A Box, for nominating Okhlos for the Indie DEV grant. It’s a big honor for us being nominated. Also, if we win some money would be incredibly cool.

If you don’t know about the dev grant, basically, any person who buys a copy of the strategy bundle, can choose one of the nominated games for the grant to give them some money. The games are not in the pack, they just receive some help from the users. Also, only the most voted game will receive the money.

We are not only doing this for the potential money, (which, surely, isn’t much) but in this way, we can reach more people, and they can get to know Okhlos.

That’s all for this week! Thanks for reading!

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The Okhlos Tour

For the last three weeks we have been “on the road” with Okhlos, doing a little show and tell / playstesting session at a local nerd fest known as Toronjapalooza, giving a talk about the history of CoffeePoweredMachine and independent game development at Buenos Aires’ largest tech exposition, Tecnópolis, and finally some more playtesting at the EVA 2013 (Argentina’s Videogames Expo). They have been extremely busy and tiresome days but also very fun and exciting. And they were also the first time we showed Okhlos outside our offices. And we learned a lot.


The first day at Toronjapalooza not many people played the game but most of the ones who did were kids. The youngest one was a four-year-old and the oldest ones were around twelve. We have designed Okhlos as a game that we (basically hardcore gamers with two or three decades of gaming on our backs) would like to play, and we never thought about how someone so young would approach the game, so those were uncharted territories. In addition to this the test level we had put together was ludicrously difficult to beat (mostly my fault, I tend to do that, sorry) so I was fearing an epic disaster. It wasn’t. Instead what happened was that the kids started playing the game in a different way that we had anticipated. The youngest one took to exploring, ignoring all the enemies, the hazards, just walking through the map, focusing on going through obstacles and asking the names of the trees (we had a larch). Others started a small competition to see who could get the largest mob. And one of them not only managed to complete the whole level, but when he found out that that was the only level we had made so far, he went on and finished the level again, beating Apollo’s godly ass a second time.

(Click to enlarge the picture. We put this sentence in every picture you can enlarge and still you dont get it? If it has a little hand, it’s clickeable!)



The second stop in our tour was Tecnópolis, where we presented a talk entitled something like Making Games for your Boss, for the Audience or for Yourself: the History of CoffeePoweredMachine. I say we, but It was actually Roque who gave the talk (I just sat the there with José Luis while Roque spoke and cheered him on). But we did spent quite some time working on the content of the talk, trying to put down into words (and slides) what we have learned the past few years working on our jobs in the industry, on our previous game Gravity Fleet and now on our beloved Okhlos. The talk may not have the greatest talk ever but it was a first experience and good one at that. It was also a chance to show a little of the game to more people and we even got actual people asking actual questions after the talk! In case you really want to know how the talk went out, it’s up on YouTube. And it has ENGLISH SUBTITLES! Spanish subtitles also, but I think you don’t care about that:

Another great thing about that week was the conference that took place during that time. On the main stage there were speakers like Zach Gage, Nathan Vella, Ron Carmel and Tim Schaffer and we had a chance to chat with them, to tell them what we were doing, asking their advice and simply hanging around these cool people. It was amazing.

This photo is from the party that took place the friday after the talks:



(Photo by Flauros Geek Photo)


And after that came the EVA, were we sat down with a notebook and a controller and showed the game to the people around, which was mostly fellow game developers and hardcore gamers. Everyone we met was very enthusiastic and we got quite a lot feedback from just a couple of hours of playtesting. The feedback was very useful, especially since it came mostly from people with game development experience and knew how to pinpoint specific issues, but at the same time we approached the playtesting with something that Ron Carmel had remarked in the talk he had given last week. We focused on how people played the game, on why did they do some things differently from what we would do. Why they would see things about the game in a different way than us. Sometimes the feedback they gave us shed some light on this, sometimes it was about completely different things, but we tried to keep our focus on that.

 (Yet another awesome photo by Flauros Geek Photo)


One thing I discovered that was pretty interesting in this regard was seeing how a person who has just played the explains the game to another. Let’s say Joe sits down a plays for a while until Lady Marie Von Teslette comes around, then Joe tries to tell her what the game is about and how you play it. I realized that paying attention to what Joe says is a good way to see which things made the most impact on him, which things seemed more important to him. In addition to that Lady Marie Von Teslette gets to approach the game in yet a different way, that is not either Roque or me trying almost desperately (and almost futilely) to tell her how awesome, interesting and special the game is, nor is it just the game on in itself. It is a bit closer to having a friend tell you about a game or reading something in a blog, which how most people end up coming into contact with a game.

And lastly, another thing I realized these last weeks, perhaps the most important thing, is that it’s great to watch people play your game, have fun, get excited about it. It makes it all worthwhile.



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