One of the biggest factors in the success of our crowdfunding campaign in 2012 was allowing some of our backers to become the characters who would populate our game world. As part of our promise to communicate more with our community I’m posting at least 1 animated character portrait (cough, roughly, cough) every day! Each avatar has 4 animations (normal, angry, sad and happy). Enjoy the crazy characters! If you know you are a character in Moon Intern, then look forward to seeing your pixelated self here in the future!
Want to see more characters? Click below to see the rest!
Hope you’re all doing well on this Full Moon. I want to give an update to what has been going on with us.
We are still working on our 0.0.5 demo, though as some of you have noticed, we did not make the end-of-year deadline. Unfortunately the holidays kept the team out-of-sync and communication between each other slipped during that time, and with that, so did our organization and progress. After the new year, things picked up again briefly, but unforeseen circumstances like colds and a family emergency kept us from truly capitalizing on our free time.
As of the past couple weeks, things have picked up again though. Mason has been keeping busy with enemy movements and behaviors. We’re now up to 3 enemy movement styles. He is also working on a “hack” behavior, that allows certain enemies to perform the same sort of status effects that the Intern’s eTool is capable of doing. These status effects include things like stun and energy drain. Gewargis has been polishing up some UI on the main menu and in-game HUD. Additionally he and Peter are working on MoonNet, a renamed version of the previous “look mode”. MoonNet is an overlay that the player can activate on certain objects and characters to provide lore and puzzle information. Peter has also been working on implementing the eTool functionality I mentioned earlier, as well as writing the scripts needed for interactive objects. I have been working on documentation and furthering dialog and mission layouts, as well as drawing and implementing several interactive objects.
Hello, Moon Intern! Well, I hope it’s not been too long, but let’s go over what happened in the last few weeks since version 0.0.4 was released.
We have another working enemy! Mason added the brand new Bat Bot. This robotic pest either flaps around, or just sticks to ceilings and chills. When unknowing folks like the Intern move underneath the Bat Bot, it dives to attack. The Bat Bot is a fully functioning enemy at the moment. Addition work has begun on the next enemy, the Brain Bot.
The main menu has undergone a couple new changes as well, finishing up some of the polishing that didn’t make it into version 0.0.4 in time. The splash screen to main menu has a smoother transition now, as do the choice confirmations on the main menu. In addition to that, Gewargis also began re-implementing look mode into the game. This is the feature where the player can hold down a key to see overlays of information for combat and navigation.
Peter’s special tiles are ready for us to start putting together. This means we’re now able to create more varied spaces with the generator, making themes easier too. The generator finds an area that matches specific credentials to put unique parts into the level. For example, a section of the level that goes 2 tiles over and 4 tiles up, or a section 4 over and 3 down. The special tile then replaces all of the tiles in the area. These special tiles can be lots of things; i.e. cliff faces containing a structures or platforming challenges or other special pieces like caves or craters.
Loads more design and organization for the story and for interactive objects has kept me busy. I’m getting ready to go whole hog into implementing content over the next few weeks. This content will mostly be in the form of interactive objects. Examples of the types of objects I’m talking about include water coolers, fax machines, fabricators, mood lights, terminals, more door types, gates, projectors, microwaves, electronic whiteboards, valves, oxygen tanks and a ton more. These objects are simple, mostly having just a few animations, but this lays the groundwork for states like on and off, broken, empty, etc.
This is a big month for us. We’re all rallying to make sure we have something fun to play by new year’s day. We are hoping this “End of Year Demo” will leave us in a wonderful place to start the new year, and gives us a challenge as a team. It would be nice to have 0.0.5 out before the end of next week, especially to test out the new enemies, special tiles, look mode and any interactive objects finished by then.
Version 0.0.4 is now live on Humble for testers, hooray!
There’s a few new things in this build to look at, so let’s dive in…
First, here’s the controls so you know what you’re doing. There are some instructions during gameplay, however it doesn’t hurt to know what you’re getting into.
Arrow Keys and Enter are for navigating the main menu
Arrow Keys move the Intern in-game
Z – Jump
X – Fire Weapon
A – Swap Weapon Left
S – Swap Weapon Right
D – Interact
MAIN MENU New Logo – It animates! Better starry background
GAMEFLOW Simple Interactive Objects – We’ve littered examples of these objects throughout the Apartment scene. Pressing the Interact key (“D”) will toggle the objects between 2 states. We’ve already begun work on more complex interactive objects, but this is the foundation. Terrain in Random Levels – The random levels are starting to look nicer. Right now the same terrain is used for each level. We have 2 terrain styles in the engine, but the generator only displays a single style at the moment. The next build should begin the address those sorts of visual things in the generator. More pretty art – One of the scenes in the game flow, the apartment, has been pretty’d up with some bg art. The other scene, Command, will be pretty’d up this coming week for the next build. I will say though… these scenes are placeholder until we’re happy with the other systems in the game enough to begin building the final environments. EP is pretty cool now – It drains when firing weapons, but regens fairly quickly. However if it’s completely depleted, a cooldown must be satisfied before regen-ing will resume.
The Robot Peons have been polished – There animation quirks were removed, and they’ve also been given a better behavior pattern. Directional Aiming – The weapon sprite used to look funky when looking up/down as it wouldn’t align properly with the Intern. That should be fixed now.
Weapon polish – Weapon values have been adjusted to feel better. In addition, little “poofs” have been added to shots that expire without hitting anything.
If you want to discuss bugs or other issues, you can do it right here by commenting on this post. I’ll be active in responding, so check back often!
Now that 0.0.4 is out we can start focusing on the next test build. The next few builds should focus more on interaction and accomplishing goals in gameplay. Pop-ups, eTools, more enemies and more complex interactive objects are all being worked on this coming week.
So I polished up the logo a bit earlier this week. Now have this which will be used on the main menu and our site…
In addition, today I have been working on some modular BG parts. This is another task mostly for polish, but it’s also helping to understand all the layering down for scenes. Here’s a photo of a showing a number of the pieces used for prototyping up levels at the moment…
That’s all for tonight! Tomorrow morning and evening we’ll be assembling a few things before submitting new builds to Humble.
THE GAME LOOP IS BACK : We had broken this in v0.0.2. Now, the build begins in the Intern’s apartment, then to moon command, then a random mission, back to moon command and finally ends back in the apartment again. The whole cycle then repeats infinitely with a new mission (random level) each time.
IMPROVED LEVEL GENERATOR : It still lacks art, however it now generates structures with simple rooms.
NEW WEAPONS : We now have Standard, Wave, Spread, and Burst weapons to cycle through using the ‘A’ and ‘S’ keys.
ENEMY : A simple Baddie Bot can be found and fought.
DISABLED TESTING GROUNDS, but it will be back in the next build most likely.
What are the controls?
MOVE : Left/Right
AIM UP : Up
SPARROW JUMP : Down (Hold – then release)
JUMP (DOUBLE JUMP) : Z
ATTACK : X
INTERACT : D
WEAPON SWAP : A/D
What are the known issues?
The Intern can still get stuck on corners. Mason is going to implement better collision for entities over the next couple build iterations.
Weapon swapping displays wrong weapon, and also becomes a white box. This is the first thing we’re fixing in the next build.
Holding ‘up’ while switching weapons causes weapon orientation to be wrong when ‘up’ is released.
Projectiles collide with doors.
What do we want you to test?
DOES IT RUN? If not, what are your system specs?
DOES IT PLAY OK?, or does it feel sluggish or anything?
CAN YOU BREAK IT? Falling off the world in the random level advances you to the next scene, that’s working as currently intended. But is there anything else?
What is coming in the next build?
Fixes to the above known issues.
Art for terrain and structures.
Enemies spawning during missions.
A “sandbox” scene placed into the game loop.
EP hooked up to weapons.
Simple interactive objects.
A pass on polishing up projectiles.
Another pass on doors.
When is the next build?
Soon! As in next week or maybe this weekend. The builds are absolutely going to drop much more regularly now.
What’s soon after that?
Additional sandbox scenes accessed from inside the game loop as well as main menu.
A big round of testing to finalize how the Intern will move and collide with the world.
Puzzle interface as well as several puzzles.
More enemies and enemy variations.
Chaining interactions with reactions (allows more interactive and unique game objects).
Next pass on game loop (Random “commute” scenes).
We’re looking forward to keeping the ball rolling with you testers. The day is soon approaching where we have characters, dialog, inventory, objectives and cutscenes back in. The groundwork for much of those features does exist now and things like reactions, collision and puzzles will allow us to make much faster headway. Anywho, have a good week and we hope you enjoy v0.0.3, folks!