What is it?
As some of you may know from our weekly Dev Blog on YouTube, we have managed to get ahead of the schedule these past couple of months and so we had some spare time. The idea of our dev week was to get our creative juices flowing!
We took a week away from our ongoing projects and both took the time to make something brand new. The goal was not to get our next game ready but to get back into the mindset of making a new project and see what we can learn or remember.
A note to our Patreons
We want to thank you for your support (and Rob wants to be able to test his prototype with more players) so we are sharing the build Rob made with you all! Let us know in Discord if you want to playtest it with us and we'll jump online to play for a while!
There really isn't much to the prototype, just driving and shooting, but if you are interested, give it a try! It should automatically connect you to a server and anyone else who launces will join your game.
What we done
Rob wanted to revisit an old project of his, Tank Game.
A fun arcade game he made in Unreal Engine 4 a number of years ago. The project was dropped due to many networking issues.
Rob picked this project back up in order to try and rebuild this game in Unity, the engine we use for both Coloring Pixels and hexceed, and to try and tackle the multiplayer problems in order to allow us to have the scope to potentially make multiplayer games in the future!
Having made the game before, the new challenge was making it in Unity. There was a surprising number of packages we could use to make a multiplayer game. I first decided to try and use Unity's new MLAPI package. For most of the week this was great, the documentation and tutorials available really helped me remember all the things you have to think about in a Multiplayer game. Coding with the package was great and really easy to understand, but unfortunately, it is still experimental, and couldn't get it to work across computers.
After that, I switched over to a 3rd party solution: Photon. I still couldn't get Steam to work, but getting basic matchmaking to work was surprisingly simple and I was able to play with Lee in no time. After getting over this hurdle, I was able to rig up a quick respawn system, scoreboard, and some terrain destruction. That combined with a few free assets, we had a new Tank Game!
Lee decided to tackle 2 new game ideas, as a game designer I wanted to revisit the tasks of making design documents, a method of clearly showing the aims and purpose of a new game idea.
The main ideas behind my documents are to make sure the game has some unique twist and making sure the gameplay and mechanics are the main focus of the design, these are amongst the most important aspects of making a game fun and engaging. Almost any style and theme can be added to a game design at a later stage.
Design 1 was a simultaneous turn-based strategy game, a fun idea but a game with a larger scope than something we plan to work on just yet. This was sort of a warm-up document as it reintroduced me to the flow of designing a game.
Design 2 was a card game mixed with a tower defence game. The idea originated from members in our Community Discord who were toying around with ToastieLabs themed Tower Defence game. I wanted a more interesting twist than just a theme and so this game design was born.
As it is a card game instead of a grand strategy game, we were able to paper prototype the idea. I got the crafts set out and destroyed my notebook to make 2 card decks and a playing board - we also finally used the playdough Rob got as a gift when opening the office - thanks, Pete!
What we learned
For me, the purpose of doing this was to answer a simple question "Are multiplayer games a possibility for ToastieLabs in the near future?". The answer is yes, I think so, perhaps. It is clear that making a multiplayer game would be a lot more work than our previous out previous ones, so don't get hyped just yet. We still ran into some issues with de-sync and we were on fairly good internet connections. A turn-based game or something like that might be a safer choice than a real-time action game like the one I made. Never the less it was a great refresher course and a lot of fun!
The first document reminded me what was needed to make an engaging game - vital aspects of design, such as game progression, slipped my mind until I made this document and was able to brainstorm an idea together.
The second design was the most useful - what I thought was a small throwaway idea, turned out the be the best of the week - this was based primarily on the ability to prototype the game, play it and make some much-needed alterations - some design ideas were re-balanced whilst others were completed scrapped for a different idea.
A fun game we may visit again soon!
See for yourself!
If you want to see more make sure to check out our YouTube video this week. We recorded our work like we do every week and this Friday's blog will showcase what we did!