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A tour through Lemnos

It’s been a while since I did one of these. This week, we’ll talk a little about Lemnos, one of the later worlds in Okhlos!

LemnosMap

Lemnos is a Greek island, and the mythical Lemnos was sacred to Hephaestus, god of metallurgy, so from there, we imagined a city inside a volcano. Magma rivers, blacksmiths, forges, and there is a law that requires every videogame to have a fire level. Thanks Mario and Megaman!

 

So, for starters, we have the basic layout. It’s all cavernous, red and yellow. Exactly like inside a volcano. These are the first level boundaries that go above the horizontal line. We had some problems with these, because the bottom ones were between the user and the camera. Luckily, we usually use a script for buildings that fades into alpha everything that is between the camera and the player. We had to tweak it a little bit but it is working fine now.

mesetaLemnos

Another unique addition we have in this world, is that all boundaries have these magma rivers flowing down. We used the same script we use for the fire hazards, we added a collider with a trigger, and it worked immediately. We could do a test in minutes. All very cool.

lava

It really adds some difficulty when you are navigating the environment. Right now we are tweaking and balancing numbers to see how much damage it should deal, and all those sort of details. Another thing we are still debating is whether  it should damage enemies or not. Right now, it does. And it seems like a very natural and consistent behaviour, but we know that in some instances you might abuse it.

And because we are talking about hazards, another thing that we have in Lemnos, are fumaroles. Fumaroles don’t hurt you or the mob, but they cover your field of view, so it can get very annoying.

fumarolas

We have a few more hazards that we don’t want to disclose right now, you will have to reach Lemnos to find out ;)

In the enemies department, we have the well-known Automatas, which are present in other worlds as well. In this level, they have a particular reason to be in here, Hephaestus is the one building them! But besides these awful self-destructing robotos, we have a few new additions:

For starters, we have the blazing cyclops. These cyclops throw fire boulders to the mob. Pretty rude.

They have some changes compared to the classic rock thrower cyclops, besides the boulder that spreads the fire, their behaviour is a little different. In terms of HP and attack, they are more powerful than they fire-free counterparts.

cyclops

Another new addition (that we might use in other worlds in the future) is the blazing Lamia. We have the poisonous Lamia in Atlantis, which spits poison to the mob. Her counter part here spits fire boulders (similar to the blazing cyclops), and eats pedestrians and people from your mob!

lamia

 

Finally, we decided to give Lemnos a special touch, so in the camera we added a distortion effect. Basically, what we did was to add a plane with the distortion material with a shader we found online, that distorts in the parameters we want what’s behind the plane. We are still tweaking some values for it to be cool but not nauseating.

distorsionLemnosChico

Funny side note. I still don’t know what happened, but last time we checked, the plane inverted the Y axis, and everything went upside down. Weirdest bug of the week.

 

 

Well, that’s everything for this week! We love comments and critics, so feel free to write us to let us know what you think!

 

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Okhlos’ Changelog: version 0.7.1

 

Hi, everyone! It’s been a while since the last update but, as a testament of all the work we’ve been putting into the game, we bring you a new changelog! Yes, another list of amazing features and the like that are now in the current build.  The bad news are that, although I know how much everyone loves endless lists and walls of text,  I will have to keep this one short because we are already deep into the following version.  So, without further ado here is the list of changes in version 0.7.1!

 

botonChangelog

 

New Heroes

I don’t want to spoil much but we’ve added 24 new heroes to the game, and some I dare say are pretty cool like Circe (who turns enemies into pigs) or Tithonus (cursed with eternal life but not eternal youth) and they also include a few cameos from some our favorite games.
Hero Unlock System

This has been the largest change in the version. You can no longer buy persistent heroes or philosopher heroes. Instead, each of them now has an associated condition that you have to meet in order to unlock them (kill 50 harpies, reach Sparta without buying kings, get your defense modifier to 300%, etc). Once you do, you can recruit them in the Agora, selecting them via a new menu, but you will only be able to bring a limited number of them each run. So far it seems, it seems quite a lot of fun! Gotta unlock em all!

Captura de pantalla 2016-02-23 14.13.38
Bosses Revamp

We’ve reviewing and working on all the god’s battles. Some of them have improved significantly (like Hephaestus), others may still need a little tweaking, but I think we’ve made progress with all of them. The next step will be doing the same for the rest of the enemies (which is kind of what we are doing right now), but I am getting ahead of myself.

A Unique Theme in every World

Gordon has finished the tracks for each of the different levels and they are all in the game! Music lovers rejoice! Next up: tons of new sfx!
Visual fxs in Lemnos

We’ve added a special visual filter and revamped the lava texture. Lemnos looks now better than ever!

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Special levels

Once again, we are treading into spoiler territory here, but let me just say that for a while now we’ve been working on special levels that trigger very rarely and add have something different about them that changes the pace of a regular run. We already some of them working but they were almost an easter egg, now we’ve made official.  A new bunch of them have been added (which, again, I don’t want to spoil), and now when you do find one you will have Homer to guide you and hint you about what is going on.

 

And that’s about it for version 0.7.1. Lots of minor additions, tweaking and improvements, but as I said, there is no time for that now. However,  besides all the wonders and amazement of the changelog, we have some very exciting piece of news to share: Next month, we will be showing Okhlos at the 5th edition of the Media Indie Exchange!

MIXBannerIGN_Showcase

The showcase will be on March 14, at the IGN Headquarters, in San Francisco, where attendees will have the chance to play some Okhlos, as well as fine selection of other independent games. So if you are in the area, be sure to drop by! And if not, don’t worry because there may some streams going on that night too! Do you want any more info?  Go right  here: http://www.mediaindieexchange.com/event/gdc-week-2016/

And with that I say adieu! Until next time!

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PAX South, STEAM page and more!

 

Oh man! What a week! We have so many things going on that I don’t even know where to start!

Let’s see…

First of all, this weekend we will be at PAX South!

pax

Our friends at Devolver Digital are going to take us to the lovely San Antonio, Texas. Sebastian already was on PAX prime, so now it’s my turn to travel! But that’s not all!

As one of the most amazing and bizarre-yet-on-topic promos ever, Devolver will be giving away their ENTIRE digital library of games on Steam to anyone demoing the game at PAX  while wearing a toga!

As the fine gents of Devolver Digital put it:

Okhlos will be playable at the upcoming PAX South inside the Devolver Digital booth [12059] and any attendee that demos the game while wearing a toga or tunic will receive the entire Devolver Digital library of games on Steam.

You would have to be out of your mind if you don’t steal your mother’s drapes and run to PAX to play OKHLOS!

Remember, we will be at booth 12059, if anyone reading this is going to PAX, please come and say hi! I’d love to meet all of the people out there reading our mumbling!

And wear a TOGA!

 

The second order of business,

OKHLOS STEAM PAGE is up!

Now you can go to Steam an add Okhlos to your wishlist. Spam it to your friends and family!

Okhlos on Steam

Link to the store to an amazing game on Steam

There are a few things that we’ve added to the page but they are not being shown. For instance, we have Full Controller Support, yet the web page refuses to accept our update. Same thing with Trading Cards. But you get the idea!

Also, keep in mind that the art displayed in the store page is not final. I have yet to do lots of promo art …

And along with the new Steam page, we have NEW TRAILER!

 

The trailer was done by the amazing Kert Gartner, who makes most of Devolver’s trailers. Working with him was an incredibly cool experience. Some interesting facts:

-In order for Kert to have enough clips, I captured 163GB of video.

-The reason they were so large was because all the videos were running at 60fps, 1080p.

-There were 217 individual clips.

-It took me an entire day to capture all the footage for the first iteration of the trailer. After that we had to capture a few more particular shots, which expanded the capture time over two more days.

-We had to heavy compress the videos using H264 in order to send the clips to Kert.

-We spent an entire weekend uploading videos to Box and Dropbox.

-We uploaded about 20gb worth of videos.

 

Because this is a devblog (sort of), a word of advice: As you can see, the most important part when you are working on your trailer, is having TONS of footage. You want to show different moments of the game, different aspects, features, etc. So you need footage. Maybe a 5 minutes clip of a boss fight ends being used only for 2 seconds, but when you are editing, you are working for the video as a whole, and you are gonna discard a lot. So don’t be afraid of using the scissors!

I ranted a long time ago about the peculiarities of doing an indie trailer here. After working with Kert, I can tell you that most of the things that I wrote back then are still useful.

If you can’t literally spend a week or two doing the trailer, just hire Kert (don’t know if he is taking contract work, though!).

 

Finally, on a more personal note, this week we bought our first font.

For all of my games and design work, I’ve always used free fonts, but for Okhlos we are using Dalek, which can be used free for non commercial projects. We were planning on buying the font a few weeks before the game was out, but we decided to do it now, mostly because the trailer uses it.

It feels weird to buy a font, mainly because you are buying the license. Is the kind of thing that people don’t put money into. On a high note, it also makes you think that you are a professional. It kinda resembles the first time I bought a digital game*.

On a tremendously cooler note, the Dalek was designed  by Keith Bates, which was Eccleston’s (ninth Doctor) art teacher! How cool is that?!

And look at the hidden glyph!

dalek

EXTERMINATE!

And finally, (for realsies now) this week we had two major milestones! First, it was the second anniversary that we started working with Gordon for the sound and music of Okhlos! Give him a shout out to congratulate him about the awesome work he is doing! And secondly, this post is now the 101 post we did in our page! Cool! Right!? It would’ve been amazing if we noticed that last week, for the Hephaestus update, but we missed it and now we can’t celebrate our 100th post :(

 

Well, I think those are all the news we have for now! Remember to add the game to your wishlist and come to say hi if you are going to PAX!

 

*  I had a hard time trying to recall which was the first digital game I ever bought. I think that was Scott Pilgrim vs The world. The game itself is fine, but the art by Paul Robertson is amazing. All my games before that had been physical.

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The many versions of Hephaestus

 

Hi there and welcome back to the best blog ever*!

Among the many things we have working on these last weeks, we made a full review of all the boss battles in Okhlos. We playtested them, took notes and then discussed what was working about them, what wasn’t and what we could do to improve them. It’s a lengthy process but a rewarding one. So we want to show you how we do this. And as a example, we chose to tell you about all the changes that one of those bosses has undergone: Hephaestus.

Remember him? We introduced him back in one of our very first posts about the game, where we showed you the main antagonist in Okhlos, the hateful twelve Olympian gods. Hephaestus is Hera’s son, Aphrodite’s husband, and the god of blacksmiths, artisans, craftsmen, fire and volcanoes. He made all the cool weapons and gadgets the other gods and some heroes would wield, and he even made living machines, like the bronze giant Talos. All in all, a impressive chap. But back to the game.

Hephaestus Version 1.0

By the time of that post about the Olympian gods, we had already sketched out how Hephaestus was going to look and what he was going to do. It was very simple. He would have an area melee attack, which was smashing everyone around him with his hammer, also a ranged attack, throwing a lava boulder, and finally he would summon automatons, because he made them and lots of them lying around.

Ye Olde Hephaestus

Ye Olde Hephaestus

But things couldn’t be so simple. After implementing a first version a playing a bit we found out that the battle against Hephaestus wasn’t as fun as it could be. One problem was that the combat ended up being too static. Asides from the melee attack, which you could block, there was really no reason to move the mob. The best strategy was to swarm the god and keep pounding on him, ignoring any of the enemies he summoned and never getting far enough for him to use his ranged attack. Not that much fun indeed. Hence, a new version of Hephaestus was born.

Hephaestus Version 2.0

So we had a boss battle that was too static, and a god with two thirds of his attacks rendered useless by the most simple of the player’s tactics. What’s the first thing to try if a battle against a boss is to static? Making him move! Right? Hephaestus already did move around the level, slowly, but he moved. So, make him faster? For one part that didn’t fit the theme, Hephaestus was supposed to be a crippled god, strong but not particularly nimble or agile. We even made him with a cane! But asides from that, if we made him faster the player would simply spend more time running around him, which was not particularly fun either.

Hephaestuspixel

Concept vs final Pixel Art

The solution we came up then was to set up a safe zone inside his arena, where he would go to summon his automatons. The area would be outside the mob’s reach so he could spend all the time he wanted invoking minion or preparing devastating ranged attacks. A classic villainous move! Leave the battlefield for a while, let your underlings entertain the heroes and then came back for a new round of evilness. Perfect!

Or not. Even though this solution did work, and fixed the main issue while Hephaestus was in his safe area, the rest of the combat still felt pretty much the same. It now had a nice change of pace when Hephaestus went away to summon minions, but we set out to improve it even further. A new version was on the way.

Hephaestus Version 3.0

Around the time we were working on that version of Hephaestus as I was playing Titan Souls, an amazing game, as are all game published by the wonderful folks of Devolver Digital (blatant cross promotion – blatant cross promotion – blatant cross promotion). One of the bosses in Titan Souls is Vinethesis, plant-like creature that sits at the center of the level and spins around its spiked vines around. This boss seemed to have a problem similar to the one we faced with Hephaestus. The optimal way to beat him was to stand still and way for the right moment to shoot. However, the devs had came up with a way to make the player move. Vinethesis summons a cloud of poisonous spores that follows the player, and kills him if he stands still inside it.

The battle against Vinethesis in Titan Souls

The battle against Vinethesis in Titan Souls

It was a great idea! So let’s rip it off I said … err… I mean, let’s pay homage to the great game by implementing this great solution to our problem instead of resorting to other boss fight’s tropes. And so we did. We made a cloud of flames and smoke that slowly moves toward the mob, damaging any person (or animals) that comes in contact with it. If the mob spends too much time swarming around Hephaestus, the cloud will move over him, providing him with the cover he needs to bring some minions or use his ranged attack. Sweet!

And so everything was fine and we retired to an isolated Caribbean beach where we spent the rest of our days sipping cocktails and playing cards with an old fellow named Chachingo, right? Nope, we kept on playtesting Hephaestus battle and came up with a couple of things to improve. A new version was on the way.

Hephaestus Version 4.0

You remember that Hephaestus had a ranged attack, right? Throwing lava boulders at the mob? Well, up until now, Hephaestus wasn’t really able to use it that much, so that attack never got the chance to shine. Once Hephaestus started using it we realized that the attack had some issues of its own. No shining for you.

First there was the problem of where to get those lava boulders. When we planned it we thought that since he was in a volcano level, he could just grab it from anywhere, but digging up some lava from the spot he was standing didn’t really look very well. Neither was a good idea going all the way to lava rivers at the edge of the scenario each time he wanted to make ranged attack. After a few tests we decided to go in a different direction: Hephaestus wouldn’t dig up chunks of lava to throw any more, he would now invoke a meteor shower to rain upon the unsuspecting mob. Same as effective, twice as shiny and godly.

Captura de pantalla 2016-01-20 14.38.50

The other thing we changed in this version was how and when the smoke cloud appeared. At first it was almost an autonomous entity that was there in the level, it spawned when the battle began and stayed there until you defeated Hephaestus. What we did now was integrating into Hephaestus attacks. The cloud has finite lifespan but Hephaestus can summon another one whenever he needs it. Not a huge change but something that makes things more interesting.

And, unless I am forgetting something else (which is entirely possible), those were all the changes that Hephaestus has been through until today.

 

Is this the end of the story? Probably no. We’ve just started the closed beta and started getting feedback from players so we will probably do a fifth version, perhaps even a sixth version! But we wanted to show you a little about the iterative process of designing the bosses in Okhlos. They have always been one of the biggest challenges in the development of the game so we want to make them as best as possible.

Until next time!

hephaestus

*about the development of a ancient-Greek-mob game

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Okhlos’ Closed Beta is now live!

 

Good news everyone!

If you are one the lucky and wise ones to have pre-ordered Okhlos, you now have the chance to enter the closed beta and try the game before everyone else! You will have the opportunity to gaze upon unfinished marvels, buggy bosses and misspelled hero names but at the same time you will be able to give feedback on your favorite/least favorite aspects of the game, chip in ideas and help make the game even better!

How will I be able to do that, you say? If you pre-ordered the game, check your mail! All the instructions about how to get your key are there! If you DIDN’T receive the mail, let us know. Then, all of the beta participants will have access to a super secret forum where they can share all their thoughts, info and comments about the game! How cool is that?!

If you do join the beta, a little disclaimer. Please, keep in mind that the game is not finished yet. So expect to find bugs, lots of things to polish and a few missing content we have yet to add. Also, we are starting the beta with a Steam PC version. Our plan is to soon support Mac/Linux version too, but is being a little more challenging than expected so it may take us a few more days to launch those version.

Finally, if you haven’t pre-ordered the game, do not despair.  Pre-orders are currently close, and it is very unlikely that we will open any new slots for the time being, but hang on a few more months. We are really close to announcing a launch date! Also the beta will definitely help us improve Okhlos in many ways so it will be worth the wait!

 

 

Now, to celebrate, here is a HUGE screen, showing over 200 units on screen (pure Chaos)!

MuchaGente

 

And some GIF magic about this magic moment.

LotsOfPeople

Keep in mind that this is a particularly big .Gif! It may take a while to load.

1bOkhlos

And here is the 1bit / Obra Dinn style render of the gif (I wanted to share the gif on twitter, and removing the color information really helps the compression!)

 

So, that’s all! If you pre-ordered the game, and want to try the game, check your mail!

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Awards and changes!

Two awards, one week! Shazam! Yeah! In a span of just seven days Okhlos was shown at two different events in Buenos Aires and returned with an award from each one. SLAM DUNK!

First was the turn of the EVA (short for Exposición de Videojuegos de Argentina) which is like an Argentinean GDC. For more than a decade now the EVA has been a gathering place for developers from all over the country, featuring various workshops and a huge number of talks (this time, for instance, the keynote talk was by Brian Moriarty, of Loom fame). This year they also decided to present a small number of games with an award for Most Promising Game. Okhlos was among them. CHA-CHING!

 

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Receiving the prize at Meet The Games

Next was the turn of Meet the Game, a great event that has been growing exponentially since its debut three years ago. The focus of this event is to bring games  closer to the audience, so they had a main hall filled with videogames for anyone to play, as well a floor devoted to party games and arcades and another to boardgames. All of this while a non-stop stream of talks was taking place. But the icing of the cake was the showcase, closing the event, where from all of the games in the show Okhlos was chosen as Game of the Year. SCORE!

 

But we didn’t rest on our laurels. Not at all. After a night of getting drunk on myrrh we went straight back to work.

And speaking about work, if you are one of the followers of this blog you will know that from time to time we post a list of things we’ve added into the game. This should come as no surprise in a development blog, but what may surprise you is the insane amount of new stuff that we have added since version 0.5.0. Tons of changes! Amazing new stuff! One addition better than other! Totally radical stuff! You’ll see.

(Remember! You can click on all images to enlarge them)

botonChangelog

NEW ENEMIES!

minotauro

  • The unstoppable Minotaur, which is one the brand new sub-bosses, and came along with its labyrinth.
  • The Hydra, with its nasty lair and its many, many heads.
  • Hades (the god, not the realm).
  • The great Athena, who seems nice until she starts plowing through your mob.
  • Hephaestus, the god of volcanoes and smithing.
  • The Hecatonchires, who is ridiculouly violent.
  • Argos Panopte, the one-hundred-eyed giant. Creepy!

 

NEW TRICKS FOR OLD ENEMIES!

  • Apollo’s new healing power. He was the god of healing too, so it kind of makes sense.
  • New Posidon’s attacks. Watery stuff galore!
  • Enemy spawning portals. More enemies coming from the portal dimension!

NEW WAYS TO SPEND YOUR UNITS

  • The Unit’s Market, where you can now trade units of one type in exchange of another type.

MercadoUnidades

NEW CHALLENGES!

  • New leader-targeted hazards: the confusing smoke altar, the lavish tree trap, and the slippery tentacle trap.
  • Hades (the realm, not the god).
  • New special levels, which will some spice to your quest through ancient Greece with things like rains of arrows and

NICER LOOKING THINGS!

  • New destroyed fx for props. Breaking stuff has never looked better.
  • Units movement interpolation. Unit’s movement is now as smooth as it gets.

NEW GUY IN THE HUD THAT TALKS TO YOU FROM TIME TO TIME!

  • That’s right, Homer is here to tell you the story of the ancient Greece’s favorite angry mob

Homer

NEW WINDOWS!

  • Along with Homer came the Intro Windows, which are these:
    • Hero Intro Window. Everything you ever wanted to know about the ancient world’s greatest heroes.
    • Also the Boss Intro Window, because otherwise you might’ve missed the 30-ft tall deity stomping your mob.
    • And finally the Unit Intro Window, because even the little guys deserve an intro window (at least the first time you encounter them).

PresentacionHeroes

OLD WINDOWS (but with new stuff in them)!

  • Market Window revamp. Extra comfort for the smart hero shopper.
  • Pause Window revamp. When you need to take a break this ** will be waiting for you.

MercadoHeroesEntero

NEW SOUNDZ!

  • We just couldn’t stop Gordon from adding a Main Menu Theme and tons new sfx for the new stuff.

OLD CLASSICS WITH NEW BLING!

  • Do you remeber The Agora? Well, it’s back with collectible statues, persistent heroes hub and more!
  • After adding so much new stuff we had to update the Tutorial, and so we did.
  • The solemn black background that dominated the Main Menu for so long is gone. Now a dynamic 3D background will leave you speechless every time you open the game.

Tutorial064

Menu064

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