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You sure dont look invincible to me!

Hey gang! How’s your week been?

Ours has been really busy! We’ve been concentrating hard on how best to display information to the player within the game.

As you might or might not have noticed, we don’t really like to pat ourselves on the back here at Coffee Powered Machine, or give ourselves too many compliments. We really try to avoid it.

…But having said that, at the risk of sounding a bit pretentious, we have to admit something:  we are trying to make something pretty new and unique here. Nobody has made a game quite like Okhlos before. Even though you may gather up a lot of people like in Katamari Damacy, or you may control a lot of units like in Pikmin, the similarities end there. Our game is fundamentally different.

As such, we don’t have a lot of examples to follow or existing parameters to use as guides. This has made Okhlos hard to develop. Very hard, actually.

Every new step we take is a step we have to test, gather feedback on, and see how well people understand it.

It’s very much the same process when it comes to displaying info in the game.  It’s easy enough to show a ‘nerf’ status ailment on a character or even a few characters – but it’s very hard to display it over 50+ units without it looking horrible. Sometimes we try to display information as a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game would and that’s hardly ideal. Okhlos isn’t an RTS game, it’s pacing is fast and dynamic where an RTS’ is methodic and plodding.  It’s almost the complete opposite. So we’ve learned to handle each piece of info on a case by case basis, always looking out and checking for a few things.

For example:

  1. It has to be a visible effect – you gotta be able to see it. Can you see it?
  2. You need to know when the info or the effect is still relevant and active and when it’s not.
  3. It can’t block or cover too much of the screen – you need to see where you’re going.
  4. It can’t be a dominant color, that’s too strong.
  5. Etc., etc., etc.
  6. And so on and so forth…

There are a lot of “rules” that have started to emerge from the systems we’ve created and the ways in which they interact. They’ve become our own little mythological monsters and we’ve got to wrestle and defeat them just as the mob would. (Mob pride!)

Take the following for example:

Aegis Shield

The Aegis Shield is an item that gives your mob invulnerability for a certain period of time. (Don’t ask me how long. I honestly don’t know. I’m the artist, the creative visionary over here. Ask Sebastian. He’s the numbers guy.) While the item’s taking effect we somehow have to display invincibility and let the player know intuitively that the item is working. We have to use a color, a graphic effect, or something of the sort, and we also have to show when the item is beginning to wear off.

When we first created the time, Sebastian quickly did some placeholder art and that tided us over for a while, but when I later had to take on the task myself, the first design turned out something like this:

AegisShield

And here is what it looked like when the effect was wearing off:

AegisFinal

As you can see, the effect is very obnoxious and covers up most of your mob, making the units hard to see. It’s definitely less than ideal. The symbols we used weren’t great either. They’re a shield and two plus signs, which aren’t very legible or easy to interpret. They got in the way and just bog things down.

So, in the end, we decided to take look at the classics and actually ended up using the effect Sebastian had originally come up with as a place holder. It just goes to show. You never know just what ideas will stick in development.

This is what it looks like:

shieldNew

 

This is how it looks when it wears off:

shieldNewFinal

The effect I designed was a little clearer about when it was wearing off, but for the most part, Sebastian’s design simply feels better. The one big drawback is… well, that we’re half-tempted to add a ~certain~ little tune to complete the retro vibe and just make it stellar! (Wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean? Say no more.)

(Yes, I’m afraid we might just have a very juvenile sense of humor here at Coffee Powered Machine!)

Sebastian was kind enough to make a color editor for me, so I could change around the colors of the invincibility effect without having to venture into the dark depths of hexcode:

ColorDrop

What do you guys think of the effect? Too retro? We’re still pondering it over and are very open to suggestions. Let us know what you think!

And as a last note before we go, a little word of caution – NEVER dismiss a programmer’s placeholder art until you’re ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE you’ve made something better. They might know something you don’t. (As much as one might hate to admit it.)

Catch you guys around next time! Like us on Twitter! Follow us on Facebook! We might not know how to use all this new-fangled social media, but we need your good old-fashioned love!

 

This post was written, poorly and misshapen, by @roketronz, and soundly beaten into shape by @pfque_ .

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… and Greenlit!

greenlightAprobado

 

In only 6 days OKHLOS has been Greenlit! That’s huge!!! Thanks all of you for your incredible support! This couldn’t have been possible without you!!

(and sorry for the pun)

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Announcing Greenlight and Pre-Order!

Good news everyone! We’ve just launched Okhlos’ pre-order and Steam Greenlight campaigns! The pre-order campaign is full of amazing tiered rewards and super cool 3D dioramas to explore! You can view it right now at http://okhlos.com and vote for Greelight here.

Got Steam installed? Click here to open it directly on Steam!

  What’s in the pre-order campaign? Besides buying the game in advance, it’s an opportunity for anyone to become involved with the game. Through the campaign’s lower tiers players can gain access to Okhlos’ closed beta, which we’ll be announcing soon, and to its Original Soundtrack, created by A Shell in the Pit. Through the higher tiers you will have the chance to become one of the game’s characters, either as an angry mobster or one of its leaders!

 

More about Okhlos Digital Edition

You will get a digital, DRM-Free copy of the finished game upon release (PC, MAC, and Linux) at a 33% discount plus a Steam key when Okhlos is made available on Steam. You will also get access to the game’s closed beta which will be announced soon. (You’re also getting an additional 0.3333333333…% discount which we weren’t even going to mention, but we thought you should know just how nice we are. ;p)

 

More about Okhlos Orpheus Edition

Turn up your speakers! Blow out that boom box! Wake up the neighbors with your 5.1 surround sound system! If you pick this option, aside from a digital, DRM-Free copy of the finished game, a Steam key, and access to the closed beta, you will also get a digital copy of Okhlos’ Original Soundtrack by A Shell in the Pit. Take the sound of the mob along with you wherever you go! KAPOW!

 

More about Okhlos That's me! Edition

Have you always wanted a chance to stomp your foot in Zeus’ big, ungrateful face? Well, here’s your chance! Send us a photo and we will turn you into a game unit! You’ll have the chance to become a citizen, fighter, defender, slave, or even a bureaucrat! You’ll rampage your way across ancient Greece as part of the mob, delivering chaos and mayhem upon your enemies*, striving to defeat and overthrow the tyrannical gods! You’ll be included in the game’s Encyclopedia with your name and everything! Careful though, only 100 people will be able to snag up this opportunity of a lifetime, so don’t hesitate or it’ll pass you by!

 

*Some chaos and mayhem, as well as some clobbering, stomping, and frying , may also be delivered onto you.

 

More about Okhlos Socrates Edition

There is nothing more exhilarating than being a part of a righteous mob that delivers great vengeance and furious anger upon its enemies… or is there? Only one thing can top being part of a rowdy, devastating mob – and that’s leading a rowdy, devastating mob! If you pick this option you will be one of the 30 lucky people to be included in the game as one of Okhlos’ philosophers – the mob’s leaders! Can you imagine the power? The pure, unlimited power!?* 

 

 

* Power limited by the mob, technical limitations and the rules and regulations of the state of Massachusetts. The chances of your character getting clobbered, stomped or fried will also be considerably high.

 

Do you have questions about the pre-order tiers? Check our FAQ page and/or contact us!

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Hey you! Grab that Item!

Hey gang!

You might be asking yourselves where we’ve been these past few weeks, and I really wish I could tell you, but the truth is: we’ve been working on some really exciting super secret stuff for Okhlos! We can’t tell you about it just yet, but rest assured that what’s coming will be really, really cool!

Unfortunately though, all this exciting super secret business has been taking up a lot of our office hours and leaving us exhausted, so we’ve been far too tired to keep up with updates here on the dev blog. That’s why we’ve been so quiet lately. We’re starting to wrap up Okhlos and as we’re getting closer and closer to the finish line we’re realizing that, sadly, there’s so much to do that we just won’t have as much time for updates as we did before.

/Brutal Honesty Mode: OFF

That said, there are still plenty of updates to come – and some very interesting ones at that! – so worry not, ye faithful reader.

GRABBING ITEMS

As you know, in Okhlos, items are temporary power ups that you use in the heat of the moment to help you through tough spots.

For example:

Say you’re surrounded by cyclops – throw a bomb! Blow ‘em up to smithereens!

You’re about to get hit really hard by a harpy – use an Aegis to make yourself invincible for a little while! Don’t put with that bird-brain!

In Okhlos, most of the humor – much like the rest of the game – hinges on the premise that you’re trying to control an unruly mob and that as such, things will get messy. We use the mob and its different units to poke fun at the nonsensical structures of society and social class and to make fun of how even in the midst of chaos and anarchy everybody sticks to their assigned roles and positions, no matter how hypocritical or terrible they might be. One of our units, in fact, is the slave, or servant. They are the only unit in the game that can carry items. (Because I’m sure the philosophers are too busy thinking to do any heavy lifting, right? Bastards.) They can each carry up to one item and if you run out of empty-handed ones then you won’t be able to pick up any more items until you’ve used one up.

By looking at your mob you should thus be able to see how many items you have, what items they are, and how many spots you have left for picking up new ones. The slaves aren’t particularly powerful units on their own, but they are essential to playing well and getting through the levels. You’ll definitely want at least a few of them around for those really tough situations.

slavesanditems

Slaves carrying items. circa IV BCE

 

Aside from holding items, up until now slaves have also been the only unit that’s been able to pick them up! This meant that in order to get an item you had to walk over it with a slave unit. (The slave itself didn’t have to be empty-handed – as long as you had one slave unit that was free to carry the item, any slave could pick it up and it would instantly pop into the free slave’s hands.)

This, however, was a bit of a pain. There is no way to manipulate units individually in the game, so getting a slave to walk over the item could take several attempts, wasting time and effort and frustrating the player with a menial task. Sometimes the player would try a couple of times unsuccessfully and just assume they didn’t have an available slave, when actually, they did! It just wasn’t intuitive; a lot of players took a while to clue in to the mechanic, and would naturally try to pick up items using the leader unit instead. This player behavior continued despite tutorials and the player’s level of experience.

After some thinking and a few helpful suggestions from our friendly translator and editor, Pablo, we decided: What the hell? Why fight it?

So we’ve changed things around! Now the leader unit is now able to pick up items and pass them on to available slaves all on their own!

philosopher_grabItem

Now if you see an item and you have an available free slave, you can grab it easily and without any hassle!

And if you don’t have any available slaves, now the game will tell you so!

philosopher_CantGrab

 

What do you guys think of this change? It’s definitely less ‘realistic’ than picking up items with slave units directly, but it’s a lot more intuitive!

(And thankfully for us we were never aiming for realism in the first place!)

(Wow, could you imagine?!)

Well, that’s us for this week! Please write us! Follow us on Twitter! Like us on Facebook! Send us your love! We need it! We crave it!

 

The first draft of this post was banged out quickly by @Roketronz and then slowly and lovingly groomed to beautiful adulthood by @pfque_. That poor unlucky sod.

(He also makes games, you know? You can try out his latest one here – it’s a tiny twine game about a faucet that was made for Twiny Jam.)

Drip by @pfque_

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A Discworld Pixel Art Tribute

UPDATE: Now with desktop resolutions!

As some of you may already know, Sebastian and I are big Terry Pratchett fans. Which is why there have always been a few winks to his work in Okhlos. Like this one:

bibliotecarioEstatua

Unseen University’s Librarian statue in Okhlos :O

So, when I found out about his passing it really struck me, and drove me to do a Pixel Art tribute, in Okhlos’ Style, to one of the most interesting fantasy universes ever: Discworld. From that moment on, I’ve drawing characters and posting them on twitter, so you might’ve seen some of them already.

00_guards

Ankh Morpork City Watch

01_SilverHorde

The Silver Horde

02_wizards

The Wizards “Now you see it, now you don’t”

03_Death

Death

04_Lancre

The witches and Lancre folks

 

But here is an exclusive: The final version with all the characters!

recopilacionDiscworld-400

After that, having finished the pixel art, I decided to give it a twist and printed the hell out of them! So now we have little Discworld pixel art companions!

 

impresos

I hope you enjoyed this atypical post. Next week we will continue posting about Okhlos, we promise!

 

UPDATE: Here are the Desktop resolutions! Enjoy!

1280×720

1280x720

 

1920×1080

1920x1080

1920×1080

02_wizards1920x1080

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