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Dragon ball Pixel Art tribute, Okhlos style

Hey there! It’s been a while since we did one of these posts! Last time, we did a tribute for the always amazing Discworld series, remembering the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett. Now, it’s time for a Dragon Ball tribute.

Most of us grew up with the show or manga alongside. We enjoyed a lot the wonderful adventure vibe of the first series, and the everlasting, sometimes boring, fights when they run out of scripts. With this humble tribute, I tried to capture the essence of the first part of the manga. That sense of awe and wonder, filled with mysteries and charismatic characters.

Here are two graphics, one in chronological order, and the other grouped by characters variations.

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Remember to click to enlarge them!

_08Final

 

So, this is it for this week! We have some great news that we will share with you soon, so stay tuned!

With love, @roketronz

 

 

PS: I’ve been spamming them all week in smaller chunks via Twitter/Facebook. The original sets are these:

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_02

_03

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_05Torneo

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A Matter of Morale!

Hey gang! How’re you fine folks doing today?

Welcome back to the fantastic, bleeding-edge, always on-time Okhlos dev-blog!
This week we want to talk about two little things: the Mob Mentality Meter and the Morale stat. They’re two elements of the game that you might’ve noticed by this point but that we’ve never really talked about or explained. We’re going to fix that today and tell you a little bit about how we’ve pared them down and combined them to make the game even better!

The Mob Mentality Meter!

You’ve definitely seen this one if you’ve been looking at our screenshots, watching the videos, or tuning in to the Let’s Plays! Also known as the ‘Mob Meter’ or the ‘Mood Meter’, the Mob Mentality Meter is the little bar at the top of the screen that denotes how much energy and furor your mob has:

coolparty

It was a cool pool party for the Cool Mobs at my school!

 

Depending on how many units you pick up, how many enemies you kill, and how much property you destroy, the meter will go up and down throughout play. The game starts you out at ‘Cool Mob’; from there the more chaotic and unruly and big the mob gets, the more the bar fills up, passing through Reckless Mob, Frenetic Mob!, and finally MEGA CHAOTIC MOB!

Originally the idea was that each of these stages would award you a small damage bonus and these would start adding up to make an important difference in the game. We haven’t gotten around to implementing that yet and the idea is still on the table – we’re unsure if it’ll make it in at all – but we do have a very tangible reward in the game for making it all the way MEGA CHAOTIC! :
You get to demolish and tear down buildings and just raze everything to the ground!

destruccion

We may have sunk a few hundred hours into Rampage as children. Can you tell?

Nothing is really quite as satisfying as that, don’t you think?

However – not everything is fun and games and destroying houses! You’ve also got to be careful your mob doesn’t get bored! A mob that hasn’t smashed anything in a while or found new recruits is likely to become a Depressing Mob, and as we all know – depressing mobs are no fun! No one wants to be part of a depressing mob. Units will slowly start leaving your mob if you’ve become Depressing, so you better find something to smash or a new recruit to liven up the place – and you better to do it quick!

 

depressingmob

Sure, misery loves company, but misery also likes going back home to curl up on the couch and binge on Netflix.

 

The Morale Stat
Now, unless you’ve been paying reaaalllllly close attention, you probably don’t know about this one. It’s one of the more obscure and hidden-away stats in the game, and compared to Attack, Defense, and HP, it’s harder to puzzle out what it does for your units.

Morale is the stat that determines how likely your unit is to abandon the mob when things get tough. When a big hulking enemy puts its foot down and tries to intimidate you, Morale is what determines whether a unit flees in terror or sticks it out to fight for you. When you’ve run off to the other side of the map and a unit has lagged behind, Morale determines whether it runs after you to catch up or whether it shrugs its shoulders and finds something easier to do.

(We also have a few hazards that deal with and affect morale… but we’re not quite ready to talk about those yet. Stay tuned in to our devblog for this juicy secret! ;p)

moraleStat

 

The Problem

So, nifty little systems you might say, right?

Right!

However, something was bugging us the other day. We were watching Sparrow’s excellent Let’s Play! of Okhlos’ Sparta level when we noticed something that made us rethink how these two mechanics work and interact together.

Let us explain:

It’s purposefully difficult to raise your Mob Mentality in Sparta – definitely harder than it is in Delphi. That’s part of the challenge of the stage, and Sparrow was struggling with it for a bit. His mob was getting depressed and he struggled to keep the meter up at ‘Cool Mob’.

Searching for a way to keep his people happy and motivated he came across ‘Parmendies’ in the game’s shop – a philosopher unit that raises your Morale by 25%. He made the obvious association: ‘Morale is what raises your Mob Mentality!’

We immediately slapped our foreheads.
1275389857_naked-gun-facepalm

Seeing it play out in front of us, that association makes complete sense! Morale is the word one would use to talk about one’s confidence and zeal in the face of hardship and opposition. If there were a stat that raised the Mob Mentality Meter it should totally be called Morale.

But there isn’t. And it’s not.

So Sparrow paid the hefty price for Parmenides thinking his Mob Mentality would boost up and he would be rid of his pesky problem, and then, well… nothing changed.

This was our fault. Our handy-dandy list will illustrate why:

  • The word ‘morale’ is confusing.
  • The stat isn’t intuitive to understand.
  • It’s used very little.

So, burdened by this great dilemma, we huddled together, talked it over, and put our brains to work on a solution.

The Solution!

Well, it was pretty easy actually. We figured Sparrow was actually kinda right. The Morale stat should totally boost the Mob Mentality Meter.

So now it does.

This not only gets rid of the meddlesome confusion and makes the game more intuitive, but it also adds functionality to a stat that wasn’t really seeing much use. That’s great! With a very simple change we actually improved the game on several fronts and reinforced our game mechanics by consolidating them!
Hurrah! Who ever said this game development thing was hard! 😀
(Just kidding – this stuff is terrifyingly hard and difficult and oh god there’s so much math and nothing is ever really done and we have to test and test and test and it takes ages and aaaaaaaaaah someone please save us! D:)

 

Well, this was our insightful, bleeding-edge, desperate plea for help this week! I hope you’ll join us next week for a bit more fun and misery! Meanwhile, check us out on Facebook and twitter, your likes and follows help us a lot! And please throw @pfque_ , our resident writer, editor, and translator some peanuts for penning this beautiful blog post while we were busy making games! (And not binge watching E3 pressers~ ;D)

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Apollinarian Problems

Hey there!

Another week where we’ve been tirelessly working on Okhlos. We are preparing a few juicy updates about all the new things we are doing, but in the meantime, to avoid radio silence, so we thought that it would be cool to create another diorama to spread the word.

If you like Okhlos dioramas, you can go here! (I’m thinking of making a new page just for these)

Anyway, here it is! Enjoy!

 

See you next week!

Roque

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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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Greenlight Aftermath and Press Roundup

In case anyone missed the previous update, here is the gist of it: OKHLOS GOT GREENLIT !!! And only six days after we launched the campaign!!

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It’s been a extremely frantic and tiring week but we are ecstatic. First and foremost, the overall response was great. Many long-standing Okhlos supporters turned up once again to vote and share the news. The response from the local community was great. More than once they would beat us, sharing news in different sites or forums! And at the same time, we found lots of people who had never heard about the game until now,  and fell in love with it. It was wonderful to read all the comments and messages. So we thank you all for that!

 

Steam Greenlight is not the same of what it used to be when it first started. Many more games are getting greenlit every week, for one, which gives you much better chances of getting among the top games. But, at the same time getting noticed these days has become increasingly harder. Putting a game on Greenlight is not something that Kotaku or Gamespot are going to write about anymore. But this is not to say that there are no news outlets or sites that write about Greenlight anymore. We found out that many sites are stilling willing to write about a game on Greenlight, if they find the game interesting enough.

 

The first articles that begun to appear when we launched the campaign were at Pixel Dynamo, this news bit at Gamers FTW, or here at Load the Game. Not long after that some larger sites wrote very nice pieces about Okhlos. Like at Okhlos: My Big Fat Angry Mob at IndieMag. And then Killscreen gave us Okhlos Turns to Ancient Greece to Explore the Phenomenon of Mob Mentality. Neat!

Captura de pantalla 2015-05-21 15.03.18

Like Killscreen, many sites covered Okhlos!

 

 

Then we were delighted to see that Megawacky, who runs the  webcomic Bits & Bytes, devoted an entire strip  to Okhlos! You can read the Okhlos, and the whole webcomic, which is full of game references and jokes, at the Bits & Bytes site!

Another guy who showed once more how amazing he was, is Pixel Prospector. He runs one of the best, most comprehensive sites on the planet with resources for indie games. That alone is enough to put him in our good list for good. But asides from this, he runs a pixel art devoted blog called Pixel Artus, and this week he took over Tumblr with a series of Okhlos’ gifs (more than five hundred likes and shares!).

Bits_y_Bytes_e127_preview

Bits & Bytes preview (Spanish only, sorry!)

Something very interesting we discovered these days was that we got a very large number visits, votes, comments and likes from different places spread from all over the world. We expected most of them to come from the US (where most gaming sites are from, and Steam users are from) or Argentina (Hi, mom! Thanks voting us!) but we were surprised to find, for instance, that IGN Africa wrote about the game, where the Greenlight Brigade highlighted Okhlos among the best of the weeks roundup. Or that, at Game Guide France, they published a very comprehensive piece about Okhlos. Or that a games’ blog from Japan, Shibayama Blog, which is quite big, also pulled up the news about the game, followed by lots of tweets and comments in Japanese. Neither where we expecting so much visits from Russia. But a curator of pixel art works posted about Okhlos at VK (the second largest site in all of Russia and one the largest in all Europe) so visits started pouring from there.

Captura de pantalla 2015-05-21 15.00.22

Are you really posting screen captures of gaming sites?

The best part of this is that it is not over. Just yesterday, the amazing Richard at Games Freezer, who had already played Okhlos at Rezzed and wonderful words about it, and now he did it again. And a few minutes ago, just before we hit the publish button, we heard the fine folks at Checkpoint published this beauty of an article (in Spanish). So, we can’t stressed how happy and thankful we are. It’s wonderful time to be part of the angry mob of ancient Greeks.

 

Now time to get back to work! Somebody has to finish this game!

This post was written by @SebaGioseffi

Here is an actual screen of the game!

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A few Automatas locked in fierce combat! Click to enlarge!

 

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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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