Introduction: This post is the fifth part of a series we’re running. We always wanted to give developers a chance to showcase their games even before they are finished. This should help developers build a fanbase and also get valuable feedback from their audience.
Trippy the Cat Dev Diary (Yes! It’s official now! Thomas named the cat.) will show you all the hard work that goes into developing a hilarious platform game.
Off to Thomas now!
[Game Progress of Trippy the Cat]
Controls: For Keyboard, left and right arrows to move, space to jump, and hold ctrl to go slow-mo. Use arrow keys to aim when in slow-mo, release ctrl to shoot. For xbox controller, use right trigger instead of ctrl. Left analog stick is movement/aiming and A button is jump.
It has been a lot of time since the last update (4+ weeks) and there has been a lot of progress all over the place. I have one level that almost looks like something that could be in the final product.
I wasn’t happy with the grass tile set I had already made (check the last update to see what I mean), so I decided to create a new one based on the concept images I had created – I also managed to get rid of an annoying bug that rendered 1-pixel gaps between tiles. I spent a lot of time focusing on creating light and shadow to give the ‘Green Hill Zone’ levels a surreal ‘enclosed’ sort of feel. It does of course still need a bit of polish, but I am quite happy with it.
There is also some incidental progress on the graphics for the checkpoint portal, a placeholder explosion effect for impacts on walls, a rainbow confetti particle effect upon death, and I have animated a new enemy. The cat still has a handful of idle animations (looking around and twitching etc. for when he is standing still) that I still need to implement.
The player now needs to collect multiple little tokens (they are meant to look a bit like tablet-pills) in order to build up their charge. One small token right now is equal to 0.25 charges.
I got around to implementing a basic Mario-style enemy – a grub that moves back and forth. It serves a double purpose as it drops a larger token worth 0.5 charges when jumped on – a greater risk for a greater reward. The grub will turn into sludge when ‘killed’ and then reform again after 8 seconds, or when the player dies.
UI (User Interface)
A game is difficult to understand and hard to get into unless the player can clearly understand what is going on. I spent a bit of time trying out some different ways to teach the player that they needed to collect tokens, hold right trigger (or control) in middair to go into slow-motion, aim, and then release to propel themselves. I roughly did this in a few ways.
The most obvious is the charge bar in the bottom left of the screen – it tells the player how much charge they have collected, that they have a limit of 3 total charges. When the player has at least a full charge, the bar starts flashing.
Whilst the bar is flashing, if the player jumps into the air, a transparent white circular ‘glow’ is created around the cat, telling the player they can go slow-mo. The text ‘hold ctrl/right trigger’ that appears is placeholder, but I wanted to see whether it was enough to work.
Some family friends came over recently and while they were there I got them to play the level I had designed the day before. The 12-year-old, surprisingly, picked the game up really quickly, and completed the level several times and had a lot of fun doing it, which was pretty awesome to watch. I took some notes on some places where there weren’t enough tokens, and adjusted some jumps, but you can play that level in the current build.
Bats, more UI, and maybe another tile set.
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