Dog-O Devlog
Posted by goobliata on 2019-01-30, 6:14pm
[Please scroll down to see new posts. I post new comments rather than update old posts like this one.]

When I finished Monster RPG 3 in March, I took a bit of time off. I had worked crazy hard to finish it up and needed a break. A month later, after rest and pushing some updates, I started a new project. I have now been working on it for 9 months.

I've got most of the basics in place now. I've got a title screen, settings and main menu (the "boring" stuff,) and the field view in place. The first area of the game is finished, which leads into the really interesting stuff with battles.

This game will have a unique battle system that I can't talk about yet. It won't be the same turn-based battle system as Monster RPG 3, nor will it be a full on action game like Crystal Picnic. That work hasn't started yet though, but hopefully after I finish some art I need to get done this week, it will.

The main gist of the story is your dog, Jellybean, has fallen into a well (see the second clip below) and you need to rescue him. Adventure ensues. The game will be bite-sized like our other recent games, both because I like shorter games and because I'm working solo so it's not possible to create a long epic game of good quality alone.

In this thread, I'll periodically post progress updates on the new game which is entitled Dog-O. Feel free to register on the site and post a comment, or just check in here from time to time. Here are some current clips of the new game to give you an idea of what it looks like.

The most recent task I had was to support Steam Input for controllers. It's working really well and should play nicely on most controllers out of the box by the time the game releases. There is also non-Steam-build controller support which is at feature parity for Android and tvOS builds.

Although it's still early, I'm looking for experienced alpha/beta testers to check out the game during development, so if you have tested games before and this looks interesting, get in touch. That's all I've got for now, but there's a lot more to come, and many existing details will likely be changed. Thanks for reading!
Replies (10)
Posted by goobliata on 2019-03-04, 3:41am
Things have been progressing slowly over the past month. I released a new alpha (0.6) on Steam and Google Play tonight. There were a few changes and improvements. Here's the list:
  • Add some joystick rumble effects
  • Wrap cursor on first/last items in some cases
  • Onscreen controller now works on mobile
  • Fix lists with headings when using touch/mouse
  • Fix 'Next Character' button on mobile
  • Use newer SDL library on Android
  • Bump required Android version to 6.0
  • Fix Menu button on tvOS (roll back SDL version)
  • Hide red triangle on title screen on iOS
  • Bump required Windows version to Windows 7
  • Use profile pics with alpha, outlined
  • Remove attacks you won't have right away
  • Add Pleasant Punch, Tom Kick sprites
  • Add player animations to Practice menu

The last bullet can be seen here:

The top things on my TODO list now are the map for the next (small) area and the battle tutorial. That will require getting the battle system working, as not much is done in that regard yet. That should be fun, because the battle system is kind of interesting. More on that another time.

I will keep chipping away at things, and be back with more updates soon.
Posted by goobliata on 2019-03-22, 3:13pm
In my last update to this devlog, I said I didn't get a lot done since the previous one. This time, I've got a more substantial update. The main highlight is the battle system, which is now fully functional and playable. There were a few other changes as well, listed here:
  • Improved some sound effects
  • Play sound effects in practice menu
  • Added the battle system with an enemy
  • Added a small new area with a random battle
  • Use some C++11 features
  • Autosave fixes
  • Fix audio volumes not saving
  • Fix player directions in autosaves after cut scenes
  • Increased the base resolution
  • New battle, victory and gameover music
  • Various other fixes

I spent quite a bit of time working on the transition into battle. I ended up with something quite like another game. See if you can guess which game it is:

I call the battle system the RTTB battle system for "Real-time turn-based." It's similar to the ATB battle system except you can add multiple consecutive turns by any character. Currently I have it hard coded to two simultaneous turns, but that value will vary in real gameplay.

What it means is you can stack several commands at once, and as long as any player/enemy commands don't conflict, they'll execute immediately. This will add a skill element to battles because the moves you get later will require entering combos on your gamepad or keyboard. In the current version, the combos are low level, single button moves that you can execute very quickly (even quicker than I show in the clip below.)

As for what's next, this unique battle system requires a tutorial so I'll be working on an interactive battle where you can learn how to play. After that comes the first level where you'll fight real enemies and continue the search for Jellybean.

Thanks for reading, and check back in another 2-4 weeks (hopefully) for another update.
Posted by goobliata on 2019-04-11, 8:06am
It has been about 3 weeks since my last devlog update. Last time, I had just finished the new battle system and had a test battle in place. The new battle system is a bit unique, so a tutorial is needed to get a feel for it. So that is what I've been working on this time for the most part. Here is a list of the main changes since last alpha:
  • Added an interactive battle tutorial with a new character who teaches you how to fight. Added the sprites, music, sound effects and special moves to support this change.
  • The game now pauses if you're playing with a joystick and the joystick disconnects.
  • You can now access the settings from in-game. The language settings are disabled except from the title screen.
  • Modified the Run sound effect.
  • Modified "widget" sound effect to make it more audible on various devices/speakers.
  • Lower combo sound effect volume.
  • Small improvements to battle music.
  • Player characters react to getting hit by enemies.
  • Added Belts as a type of armour/object that gives you new skills. In this alpha, you get two White Belts.
  • New skills earned from belts are Uppercut and Roundhouse. These have animations in the Practice menu.
  • Change appearance of some popup dialogs.
  • Better tolerance of different system audio settings. Defaults to the standard Windows settings of 48 kHz and floating point samples.
  • Adjust in-battle cursor so distance between player/enemy is the same.
  • Fix for switching between different screens (e.g., laptop screen and external monitor) of different resolutions.
  • Fade all the way to black on area fade outs (sometimes it would only go most of the way).

A fellow known just as Sensei drops in on the players to teach them how to fight, since they've found themselves in dangerous territory.

It's a simple interactive tutorial. The battle system isn't that complex, but without a quick overview it might be hard to figure out at first.

Sensei gives you two White Belts after the lesson. Belts are the main type of equipment in the game. They act as armour and also give you new moves. The White Belts give Pleasant an Uppercut and Tom a Roundhouse.

I spent about half of the three weeks working on art. I needed a bunch of sound effects, a new music track, a lot of Sensei sprites and several other graphics. Most of the rest of the time was working on the battle tutorial code. It seems like a simple thing to do but I had to handle many dozens of edge cases, most of which are extremely unlikely to ever happen. On top of that I spent a few days on the Fireball effect you can see above.

The game has 5 main sections. The town is the first and that is complete. The second section is about half finished time-wise, as the battle system and battle tutorial are big chunks of code that are now finished. Next up is the first dungeon area and first boss, so the real fun stuff is just starting, but a lot of groundwork is done.

Check back in 2-4 weeks and hopefully I'll have the dungeon (sans boss) finished. Thanks for reading.
Posted by goobliata on 2019-05-20, 12:23am
It's been quite a while since I updated this devlog. Not because I haven't been busy working on the game though. I just released a new alpha and it has more changes on the issue tracker than any previous release. There was a lot to get done in this release so it took a while. Here is a summary of the changes:
  • Lots of work improving the experience on mobile
  • Added new areas up to but not including the boss area in Cave1
  • Add the Yellow Belt with new moves
  • Add Ninja Stars as an item to use in battle
  • Added several enemies and battle combinations for Cave1
  • Add shadows to entities in world view and battle
  • Add SP costs and multipliers for combos
  • Add SP replenishing over time
  • Enable rumble on iOS
  • Redo onscreen controller images to be larger
  • Graphical consistency/other graphical improvements
  • Allow exiting game easily from within battle
  • Improve battle notifications for player moves
  • Add (temporary?) icons for some builds
  • Battle UX improvements
  • Fixes/improvements to battle tutorial
  • Other minor fixes and improvements

In the last update, I finished up until the battle tutorial. This new update adds some random battles and other elements in a bunch of levels that lead up to (but don't include, yet) the boss area.

One of the most time consuming parts of this build was drawing all the enemies and other graphics. All the enemies are animated and I drew some level features and player attacks as well as mapping all the levels.

The above enemy attack took some playing around to figure out. I'm not a math wiz and from what I could gather I didn't have enough information to find the centre point, start angle and end angle of a semi-circle that would start at the enemy's horn tip and end at the player's feet. I came up with a formula that was close, but in some cases it was off by too much. So I used that as a starting point, and wrote a loop that "solves" the equation, or at least gives a good approximation of it. It felt good to finally get something that worked, using a method I haven't used often (making more and more accurate educated guesses until it was good enough.)

Next up on the to-do list is the first boss which should be fun. The new alpha with the features I just described has been released for those with access. The next one might not take as long but making guesses on development times is never accurate. Thanks for reading and I'll see you then.
Posted by goobliata on 2019-06-14, 12:45am
It's been a real grind, but I've finally finished the second section (cave1) of the game. It has taken about 6 months from the point of finishing section #1. There are 5 planned sections in the game so I guess the game is about 40% finished after 14 months.

The first section is the village you start in, and the one I just finished is the caves after falling into the well, up to and including the first boss. Here's what I've got done since my last post:
  • Added the first boss/boss scene/boss music
  • Easier navigation of bridges with touch controls
  • Improve TV safe area handling by making player step in a tile when scrolling
  • Run option has been removed from battle
  • Improvements to internals
  • Removed portrait/4:3 support
  • Fix some tile layering issues

I've found that designing enemies is quite different using this battle system. My original design for the boss didn't feel right with the fast paced battles in this game. Here's a look at the boss:

It's been hard to progress at times when I need to draw pixel art. I can write code in my sleep at this point but art is difficult. That's OK, because writing code used to be difficult too, I just need to get better at drawing.

Next up is a whole new area and new playable character.

I've released builds for those with access, however the macOS build has not been updated (I foolishly updated to the macOS beta and am unable to make a build.) Another issue is, the Gold Belt moves are not implemented yet, as I forgot until after I had made builds, so I'll do those for next time.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more soon.
Posted by goobliata on 2019-07-06, 6:28am
The next alpha release of Dog-O is now available and it sports a lot of new stuff and improvements! The big things are a new playable character, the start of the new stage and shops. Here is a list of most of the changes:
  • Add first area in 'cave2' area set
  • Add heat wave shader for cave2
  • Add new music for cave2
  • Add new player character: Tik and his brother Tok
  • Add 4 moves for Tik: Headbutt, Stomp, Cannonball and Fast
  • Add ability for 'friendly' combos such as Fast
  • Added code/gfx/sfx for shops, Tok runs a shop
  • Add Turnip item: like other vegetables, it restores SP
  • Pause the game when Steam Overlay appears
  • New Gold Belt moves for Tom/Pleasant
  • Add level up sfx
  • Change default fullscreen toggle key to F9
  • Fix inverted rainbow of Unicorn enemy
  • Sort belts in karate order
  • Add (slightly) unique victory animations instead of using 'use'
  • Fix defence calculation in Stats menu: now accounts for Belts
  • Make the 'Licenses' item work in Settings
  • Remove Language menu from Steam build: now controlled by Steam client
  • Better colours for controller button icons
  • Allow tapping players in battle instead of just the rows in status window

It's getting hotter as you progress. There is lava and you can see the heat shimmering.

Tok, the shopkeeper, is ready to sell you supplies to help you find your pup, and his brother Tik will join you in hopes of reaching an area with some prized gems.

Tik is fully playable, with 4 combos ready for battle. One of them is the first 'friendly' combo called Fast which gives the target player 3 simultaneous moves instead of 2 for 30 seconds.

The next steps are to build out the rest of the levels in this zone and stock them with enemies. There will be lots of new stuff in there. Take care until then. Thanks.
Posted by goobliata on 2019-08-29, 6:36am
It has been almost two months since my last devlog post. I have not been slacking off, this update is just really big: the biggest one yet. A lot of the bullet points below are things that took several weeks each. The gist of it is, I've finished Cave2 up until the boss area. Here's a list of the main changes:
  • Added 8 Cave2 areas up to the boss
  • Add Cave2 enemies: Flame Frog, Red Wasp, Bot and Goblin
  • Added 2 new belts with new moves
  • Added some new items that increase stats (Red and Green Potions)
  • Added Daggers as an in-battle item
  • Make difficulty levels work and show an indication on the load screen (previously they were placeholders)
  • Added sloped ground support
  • Added some screen shake in some parts of the game and more joystick rumble
  • Added a Luck stat that changes probability of lucky hits/misses
  • Increased walking speed
  • Improve some existing sprites
  • Fixes to allow updating SDL2 on tvOS
  • Updated SDL2 to 2.0.10 for all builds
  • Update the licenses text
  • Consistency improvements
  • Startup in fullscreen mode by default
  • Fix: fixed a crash that would normally happen after the Octo battle
  • Fix: onscreen controls were improperly disabled after Sensei battle
  • Fix: some instruments would sound lower after a few loops of a music track
  • Fix: don't allow assigning controls to DPAD
  • Fix: fixed the license viewer on iOS
  • Fix: fix for rotating the screen on Windows (e.g., on a tablet)
  • Fix: fix lagging sound in menus on some devices

I've added support for some sloped paths, although the video shows the only spot it is used so far.

There are 4 new enemies in a bunch of combinations. Two of them are shown above.

There are two new belts: Orange and Green. The video above shows the Green Belt moves. In the next alpha, I'll be adding a Battle Mode so you can choose between fighting-game-like combos and choosing moves from a list. As you can see there are already a lot of moves and there are a lot more yet to come, so for some people it may be too much.

I've received a little bit of feedback before this release saying the walking speed was too slow and battles were not exciting enough. I've increased the walk speed and have started making some changes to make battles funner: in the alpha I just released, I added a luck stat and some items you can collect to increase luck. Next alpha will add a multiplier you can increase in battle by stringing together combos. I'll be looking for other ways to make the battling better also.

Hopefully this time around I'll have some people trying the game on iPhone for the first time. I'm building for TestFlight right now. The more feedback I can get the better. I'm hoping to get some feedback about difficulty, especially.

Next alpha will include the second boss and the first area of Cave3 (the last cave.) Check back soon for that post.
Posted by goobliata on 2019-12-17, 7:46pm
After a lengthy delay, I'm back with another devlog update for Dog-O! Over the past four months I've done a lot of work on the game, but also took an extended break (1 month!) and that is why it has taken so long since the last update.

The latest update completes the third zone in the game (Cave 2.) There are 5 zones in total so the game is now 60% complete.

The biggest feature in this alpha is the second boss. The game then transitions into the next level. Here's a list of the main changes:
  • Added the second boss (Chilly)
  • Boss2 gives you Blue Belts which have implemented moves
  • Added an Easy Combos mode that is now the default
  • Added scenes before/after the boss that transition into the next area
  • Cave 3-1 finished with music
  • Added some new items (fruit/vegetable)
  • Added Sneak Attacks with X input axis reversed
  • Added Multipliers gained by chaining combos together
  • Battle tutorial improvements
  • Localize Steam Input text to French
  • Steam Input handling improved
  • Allow holding finger/mouse down to continuously move
  • Depress buttons (visually) to give feedback whether or not a button is pressed
  • Added a help screen about autosaves
  • Change red triangle to a red arrow
  • Allow tapping list arrows to move up/down
  • Fix some PC-suggestive text on mobile
  • Many bugs fixed

The belts come fast and there is another new one in this update: the Blue Belt. You'll find Tik leaves the party soon after getting his but you can still check out his Blue Belt move as well as the other characters'.

The game transitions into the final cave at the end of this update. There is another non-cave area after that. Follow along here and/or on social to see what comes next. Thanks for reading!

A new build is ready on PC/Linux/Android for those with access.
Posted by specialgeek40 on 2020-01-13, 12:09pm
Fantastic Article and Just Always Blown away How much Heart and Dedication you put into everything!! Keep it up
Posted by goobliata on 2020-01-13, 4:10pm
Thanks Spec for all the support!
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