Higher A.I.(s) - Action Adventure Metroidvania Platformer

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Post » Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:16 pm

Hey all! I've been messing around with C2 for like 2 years now. It's only been within the last 6 months though that I've sat down and really dedicated myself to learning and creating with it. The reason I'm creating a Metroidvania type game is because I find that genre ( the action adventure platformer) one of the most interesting and compelling types of 2D games.

The game I'm working on is tentatively named Higher A.I.(s). Yes, with the parentheses. There's a story reason for that but I'm bouncing around a few different names. I might be happy with Higher A.I. The game is suppose to be a mix of Super Metroid, Dark Souls and Shadow Complex.

So I'm actually trying (or going to try) to create two games from all the work I'm doing (construct 2 work, pixel art, drawings, character designs, backgrounds, etc, etc). I have plans for a smaller "paired-down" or simplified Metroidvania type game on mobile (similar to Tiny Trap Dungeons or Traps n' Dungeons). The other game is a full scale Metroidvania for PC. The mobile version will be more like original Metriod and not a mix of all three games I mentioned above. I don't have set release dates for either game ATM. My plan was to create and release the mobile Metroidvania as practice and experience for the large scale PC game. Every day though, I get better and better with C2 so I don't know what I should concentrate on releasing first.

This post is mainly about the PC title since that's what I'm basically making right now. I'm still in the early stages of prototyping an action adventure platformer game engine. Whatever decision I make, I think me scaling back/disabling/modifiying the PC features of the game to work on mobile is something I'll have to do. Anyway, without further ado, I present to you pieces of the game design doc, gifs, drawings and other stuff.

HIGHER A.I.(s)
-Higher A.I.(s) follows the adventures of a pair of advanced super A.I.s built into a single mechanical android body. Created and designed by a husband and wife science team who could never have their own children, Issac and Alice become the son and daughter the couple could never have.
-In Higher A.I.(s): An Android's Love Story (tentative), the year is 553364 (maybe) and you’re on a mission to investigate the desert planet of xxx and discover what’s happened on Banks Metal Science Base. (note: I came up with a more interesting setting for the mobile game, an armored planet entirely coated in metal and heavy weapons, I might switch settings and story a little bit)

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Designs for android main character. I wanted something androgynous. I like top left, top right and bottom center on the first page.


GAME DESIGN

Higher A.I.(s) plays like a bit of old and new. It combines elements of classic NES games and blends them with modern gameplay elements. It features a mixture of Metroid, Castlevania, Dark Souls, Doom, Halo and Shadow Complex.

How does the game play? How is it inspired by classic NES games?
-Higher A.I.s is an Fast Paced Action-Adventure Platformer game with an end story goal
-The game is restricted to (or near restricted to) an original NES color palette
-Players use a combination of primarily projectile based weapons and advanced movement upgrades to explore environments, solve puzzles, defend themselves -from the deadly elements and discover the truth behind
-The game will have a simple story illustrated with the occasional pixel art cutscenes
-Simple UI will not take up much of the screen in either mobile or PC game
-Upgrades will allow you to further expand your energy, health or weapon ammo
-Like Metroid, progress is blocked by your lack of advanced weapon and advanced movement upgrades
-Both enemies and player have chance to dodge each other's projectiles

How are modern features paired with the old school NES inspired design and graphics?
-Players can shoot in 360 shooting allowing for advanced shooting; so can the enemies
-8 weapons on the full PC release allows for a variety of ways to experiment with the world, its denizens and the puzzles that block your path
-8-10 movement abilities like moving faster, jumping higher and morphing that give you multiple ways to traverse the environment
-Players have an energy system that depletes through weapon use and through use of your advanced movement abilities, similar to games like Dark Souls
-Each weapon has an ALT FIRE mode that always result in a more explosive effects but depletes your energy in larger chunks
-Codec system and visor scanning system similar to Metal Gear Solid and Metroid Prime allow for optional insight story about the world, characters and more
-Non-violent options and advanced movement abilities allow for pacifist run
-Colorblind modes for the visually impaired?
-Simple pet companion who helps
-The story is similar to Halo in how Master Chief and Cortana are somewhat similar to Alice and Issaac.
-Simple story with branching paths and multiple endings

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WEAPONS
-PLASMA BEAM
-STUN GUN
-GRENADE LAUNCHER
-ICE BEAM
-HOMING MISSILE
-PET
-SHIELD/REDIRECT/REFLECT
-LASER GUN

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Each weapon has an alt fire. Alt fire missiles shoots 3 missiles. Alt fire laser shoots a single laser blast that bounces around. Ice freezes and ice alt fire creates a ice block platform.

ABILITIES
-DOUBLE JUMP
-PUSH, PULL AND THROW
-WALL SLIDE
-WALL JUMP
-DASH
-MORPH (MAYBE)
-SUPER SPEED
-NIGHT VISION/VISOR MODES
-MELEE
-SUIT UPGRADES

END

I've got a lot to do but I'd appreciate feedback on anything. I have a lot a question for people check my post out and also like Metroidvania's games too!

-I'm trying to come up with ideas that might make my Metroidvania memorable or stand out. Any features in other games anyone can think of that are unique and would translate well into a Metroidvania? My "unique" feature is to add a "codec" type feature were the two A.I.s talk to each other when you press select. I'd like to add some Mass Effect style choice to my game maybe.

-So I'm imagining a game with controls similar to the Shadow Complex type aiming system. You would aim with the mouse or analog stick. After some testing, aiming and jumping (A on xbox controller) feels awkward. You shoot with LT and RT. Dash left and right with RB and LB. I might have to remove 360 degree aiming and do 8 directional aiming like Super Metroid. I think 360 aiming on a NES looking game would make this pretty unique though.

-My dialogue box is weird. Maybe it being a bit transparent would help when both it and the player are at the bottom of the screen?

- I have a weapon wheel for weapon selection. I'm not sure it works well. You hold shift and will move the mouse to select a weapon like GTA. Your mouse movement will move away from whatever your targeting though.

-Thoughts on name? I think Higher A.I. is kind of catchy and easy to remember. Higher A.I.(s) looks clunky but unique. Another possible names: Dual Purpose, Dual Purposes, Dual A.I., Dual A.I.s, Closer

-Questions about self advertising and stuff. Whats the best way? How do I get people to notice me and my game. I'm not sure when I should start advertising my game but I've created a blog for it. I feel like maybe I should advertise on social media when I have more refined artwork. Like, when I have a fully pixelled character at least? Either way, my blog!

http://higherais.tumblr.com/

Thanks for reading my massive post!! Hope to have a basic playable demo to share in a month or two!! Would appreciate any feedback from others that have created or are creating a Metroid type game!
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Post » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:56 am

Really cool!

You can create a nice map with the abilities you choose, one of the most important things in a metroidvania game is the way your abilities unlock new areas.

The weapons are ok, but we need to know about the enemies, how do you want to program the enemies? And bosses?

I am waiting for your demo, good job!
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Post » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:59 am

This is sick! What programs are you using for your art?
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Post » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:37 pm

@Guilhermebhks I've started programming a few simple enemies actually! I think most of them will be robots (in the mobile game) and will have simple behaviors. Not sure about bosses on mobile but I already started on a boss for the PC game!

@coporatedrone Thanks! I'm using a few different programs. GraphicsGale, Pyxel Edit and Photoshop. I'm trying to ween myself of Photoshop and learn something like Krita or Pro Motion or something. I'm really comfortable with PS but other artists tell me I'm not working with the best possible work flow when it comes to pixeling.

I think I'm a little unfocused when it's coming to development. It's because I'm working on "two" games. I think I'm going to entirely focus on creating the simplified mobile Metroidvania for now. This is my very first game and I know that this way, development will be more manageable. With the full scale PC game, I'll just keep adding more features and more features. I think I have enough features/game play coded in already that I can create and release a game like Tiny Trap Dungeons or Traps n Dungeons right now (well, after finalizing the art and a few tweaks)! So because I'm trying to focus up my time and development on the mobile release, I think I should have a demo (with or without more polished art) in less than a week or two.
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Post » Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:08 am

Here's a screenshot of how parts of the science base on the desert planet will look. I'm trying to created a very "detailed" NES look. I'm inspired by NES games that pushed color, animation, details, effects and artistry.

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Some of the games I'm talking about are Shatterhand, Battletoads, Batman: Return of the Joker, Mega Man 6, Journey to Silius, Moon Crystal, Prince of Persia, Metal Storm, Little Samson, Castlevania III and Ninja Gaiden. A few of these games came out towards the end of the console's life.

I'm currently working on finalizing the virtual button/ mobile controls and acquiring upgrades. The mobile game will have 4 weapons (plasma beam, grenade launcher, ice beam and homing missiles) and 4 abilities ( power glove, double jump, wall slide and dash). The game will have 7 on-screen buttons (left, right, jump, shoot, dash, pause and weapon switch/bar. The way the weapon switch works is you touch and hold the weapon bar to slide it down (not implemented yet), drag your finger to a weapon icon and select a new weapon on touch end. The weapon bar should probably be on the right side of the screen. I'm open to ideas of smarter ways of making this weapon switch work!

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Two quick question!

-What does everyone think about having the ability to aim in a mobile game? Look at this gif and imagine having to control the character AND aim your weapon with the virtual analog stick. Obviously, game play and enemies will need to be tweaked a bit depending on my choice of control style. I think this idea is cool and has potential but I haven't implemented actual left/right movement yet and I can't test on my phone...

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-I can't test over LAN. I own C2. Is it possible that my file is too big? I want to test touch controls on my phone. Right now, I'm testing touch controls on my Surface Pro. My approx download is 57.6mb and memory use is 90.3. What can I do to reduce this? Delete unneeded sprites?
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Post » Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:00 pm

That looks pretty good, and interesting !
Thanks for the Capx of mini-map that helped me for the camera thing ! Will reproduce ;-)

You're using a small window size (320,224) and it makes some low resolution display, I didn't think about this (maybe because I don't have a smartphone) but it looks great.
SO i'm wondering : do you know if it has an impact on performance ?
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Post » Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:30 pm

@c13303 Hey! Glad you liked the mini-map! I did a bunch of research and came up with this idea in order to avoid arrays :lol: Never saw anything like this on the forums so I knew I had to share it with the community! The system definitely needs tweaks though. If you improve it in anyway, let me know! The old capx had an unnecessary step that shrunk the mini-map sprite and made it blurry.

Yes, my window size is small. I'm trying to replicated a NES feel and look so I went with NES resolution. I've changed it to 400x224 now to go 16:9.

So I've finally started tested on mobile (my Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen) and the mini-map does have a serious impact on performance. I never planned on having a mini-map for the mobile game. Not enough room, a regular map on the pause screen will suffice. I didn't think mobile could handle a picture-in-picture effect anyway but it was interesting to test! I was getting 8-13 FPS with the mini-map. Now I'm getting 27-37. Much optimization to be done! There doesn't seem to be any impact on desktop and laptop performance. But I'm testing at 400x224 though so maybe different resolutions affect performance differently?

So what does everyone think about be able to control both the player movement and the aim of the gun with a single virtual analog stick?
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Post » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:44 pm

Still working on this game. I've been stuck on creating tilemaps for a while but I'm close to finishing. I've started making character and enemy sprites. AND...I've created some boss music for the game! I'll upload some music I made on here next post, gotta create a SoundCloud account!

Here's a sample of some of the tilemaps I've been working on.

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Post » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:10 pm

I created a Soundcloud account and uploaded 3 tracks!

https://soundcloud.com/user-367269977/

This is the first time I've ever created music. I have no music experience at all and I'd appreciate any feedback. I'm still slowly plugging away at this game! I'm currently creating the main character animations and creating some music using Pixitracker for Android.
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