Dev Log

Aurum Kings Update – 2/10/2018

Aurum Kings has been undergoing a lot of changes over the past couple of weeks.

In our last update we talked about how we needed to do a UI Redesign, and I am happy to say that we have  working prototype of the new starting area up and running!

In this area, you press “Start” on your controller to join. Once you are in the game, then you can choose different colors, abilities, and the map to play on.

You choose different colors by going over the paint splotches on the ground.

colorChanging.gif

To change your ability, you can simply walk over the ability Icon that you want to use.

abilitySelect.gif

And finally, for map selection, you can just walk over whichever map you would like to play on, and press “A” to start. When there are multiple players in the lobby, then you can only start the game when all players are all on one map.

After tweaking and polishing this starting area, our next step is either going to be to make new game types, or to add networking to the game!

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, comments or just want to be a part of the development process, ping on Twitter @benjafriend!

— Ben

Aurum Kings 2018 Production Schedule

A new year brings new inspiration for Aurum Kings, as well as a new production schedule!

We have a couple of big goals in next three or so months, and I would love to keep everyone updated on them!

UI Redesign

Based on feedback from the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, the HUD needs to be redesigned. Specifically in order to be more accessible, and be more clear to the player what they are choosing in the ability screen. Furthermore, the current flow of player selection would not accommodate a networked lobby very well. In order to do this and achieve my goal of adding in multiple game types, I am planning to implement a different flow for starting the game. Instead of just selecting a map, and then having to choose your ability every time you play, I would like to have players enter a general “starting area”.

In this area, where players can then press “A” on the controller to join into. The player can then go around to different  pickups on the ground that represent different abilities and colors. This would give the player the chance to select whatever ability they want, and test it out at the same time. Finally, there would be a “ready” circle for different game types, that when every player is ready they move into and the game starts a countdown. When the countdown finishes, then the players go into a map selection screen.

New Gametypes

As of right now, there is only one game mode, which is similar to a “king of the hill”. My goal would be to implement at least two new game modes, that provide more replayability and options for the players. Some ideas that I have for game types are the following:

  • “Mayhem”
    • Abilities spawn as drops throughout the map, and the player has whichever the run into last. There is no cooldown for the abilities.
  • “Dodgeball”
    • Every player only has the arrow ability, and the teams play dodgeball with the arrows. The arrows start in the middle of the map, and the goal is eliminate the opposing team.

Networking

Networking is something that I have always been passionate about, and I have been fortunate enough to do a whole co-op related to networking in Unity. Using my prior knowledge, I plan to implement a simple networking model where one player can host a server, and other players can type their IP addresses to join. However, this would only work on a PC version of the game. In order to implement Xbox Live I would need to use the Xbox Live Unity plugin on GitHub. Another caveat about that plugin, is that you cannot use every Xbox Live feature. In order to do that, I would need to accepted into the ID@Xbox program (super awesome stretch goal).

 

Thanks for sticking with us through this project, we are very grateful for the support that we get! That said, keeping weekly blog updates is extremely hard, especially with such a small team. So, we can’t promise a weekly update, but we will update as much as we can!

– Ben

This week at Bull Horn Games – 12/1

This week (or maybe two), we reflected on what we learned.

First things first…

What went right?

The Rochester Mini Maker Faire was a huge  success for not only Bull Horn Games, but for many other local Rochester game developers like BreadMachine, Aesthetician Labs, and many more.

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Tons of people came to the faire (about 3,000), with the majority of them coming through the Arcade space right by the front door.

We used four Xbox One controllers with silicon covers on them for easy cleaning, and some stuff called Sugru to make sure the cables never fell out of them throughout the day. This worked very well, especially with the high number of kids that came to play.

I used Trello to keep my notes throughout the day, as well as some Unity Analytics hooks for info like what maps people picked, which abilities they used the most, and how many times the crown changed.

Along with meeting a lot of great people and hanging with other devs all day, I also got a lot of great feedback on the game as well.

People really liked the pace of the game and the player movement. The controllers being remapped to the bumpers for abilities also worked out really well, and opened up the main A B X and Y buttons for future use.

Everyone that played complemented the music in the game, as well as the art style of the levels. Shout out to Rowan Waring for keeping up with the awesome soundtracks!

Now on onto the good stuff…

What went wrong, and how are we gonna fix it?

The UI/UX of picking abilities was very confusing to people. People couldn’t tell which player they were on the selection screen, and sometimes had trouble in the game. To fix this, we are overhauling how the player selection screen works. Players will join in a clockwise fashion, based on who clicks first. Along with giving more feedback to the user visually and audibly when they select and change abilities.

When players chose darker colors, the crown was hard to see on top of their head. To fix this, we are gonna use an emissive property on the player who has the crown to make it especially obvious which person has the crown.

Along with this, some people had trouble following their character around in the chaos of the game. They would lose track of their character, or someone would be playing as the same color as them. To fix this, we are going to amke it impossible to choose the same color as another player. Along with give each player the option to select a custom icon and type in a three letter name. This all ties in with the UI and UX overhaul that we are doing, to make all this happen in a good and intuitive way.

PR is time consuming! I think that this is a struggle for a lot of smaller game devs, because keeping up this dev blog, keeping up on Twitter, is a lot of work! Unfortunately there isn’t really anything that we can do about this other then hiring a public relations person, but we don’t have the budget for that so… yea.

Finally, a lot of the general public doesn’t know what Itch.io is. This made it a little hard to explain to people where to get the demo.

So what are we doing moving forward?

We have a huge to do list for the next couple of months, but here are a couple of big goals that we have moving forward:

  • Re-design the player selection UI
  • Make a good looking menu screen
  • Add accessibility settings (custom controller mapping)
  • Give the player more identity with custom names and icons
  • Online multiplayer for Steam
  • Playtest, playtest, and then playtest again.
    • After every change that is significant enough, we do internal and external playtesting. This is gonna be a huge part for rapidly coming up with a good design for the UI.

Alright, that’s it for this massive update from this week, we hope that you had a great Thanksgiving holiday!

This week at Bull Horn Games – 11/10

This week, we tweaked.

The battle for the crown continues this week on a new front. We created two new maps for players to work on, each with their own new environmental experience.

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One of the new maps that we added this week

Along with new maps, the river map has been edited so that it is not so large and plays at a much faster pace.

We also modeled a coin bag to the game in order to make it easier for the player to differentiate between that and the bomb!

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New coin bag model

If you have got a keen eye, then you noticed the bombs have a new explosion as well! We changed the particle sprite on the explosion, added some sparks, and finally added in a light to the boom!

Bomb

Along with all  the exciting new content, we fixed a whole bunch of bugs!

Rochester Mini Maker Faire

The faire is in week!! Saturday, November 18th is the day in our minds as we continue work on Aurum Kings. We are very excited to be participating in such a great event with so many awesome developers this year.

Be sure to check out the website to grab your tickets!

Don’t forget…

We stream on Twitch  almost every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 pm EST

And we post on Twitter regularly about Aurum Kings, so give us a follow if you feel like it! @benjafriend  

This week at Bull Horn Games – 11/3

This week at Bull Horn Games, things got a bit chaotic (in a good way).

We showed the game twice this week in a public setting, collecting extremely valuable feedback from game design students and Professors at RIT. The first showing was in the Golisano building at RIT, where people said the core mechanics are there, but there needs to be more… chaos.

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Turns out, they were pretty spot on. Here are a couple of things that we did to make Aurum Kings more engaging and fun for all players:

  • New icons for the start and quit buttons
  • Created and polished the arrow ability
  • Each map now has coin bags to collect that also get you points
  • Each map has it’s own set of “chaos” spawns, such as bombs that spawn throughout the match, or arrows that shoot out of the corners
  • Movement when you have the crown is slower now, and you cannot dash while you have the crown. This makes it so that more players can hold the crown each match, as well as longer matches
  • Updated ready screen on the player selection
  • Various bug fixes

The second showing we did this week was at ROC Game Dev, where we have a group of about 30 people play, watch, and critique gameplay. This play session was after the chaotic additions to the game, and players certainly seemed more into the game and focused.

We are also getting ready for the Rochester Mini Maker Faire! If you are in the Rochester area, please stop by and check out all of the awesome projects that are going on!

That’s it for this week! Hope you enjoyed the update!

This week at Bull Horn Games – 10/28/2017

This week, we got loud.

Over the weekend, the team participated in the Imagine Cup game jam at RIT, and was awarded “Most fun to Play”! Woo!

During that weekend, there were a lot of awesome changes to the game, so let’s get started!

We added in two new levels:

A moving walls map

Screenshot (26)

And a river map

RiverMap.JPG

Along with the new maps, there have been some gameplay changes as well!

  • Every player has dash now, and the cool down is two seconds
  • There is not strict time limit on the game, rather you play until one player reaches the max score
  • Players move faster now
  • The ability cool down is less in general
  • The whole player changes color now instead of just your circle

We also finally got some music in the game! Each level has it’s own sound track to fit it, and I can’t thank the composer enough! Rowan Waring did an awesome job with the music!

The Rochester Mini-Maker Faire is only three weeks away! We are still pushing along to get some more abilities and game types in before then so that we have a playable demo! Hope to see you there!

Lastly, don’t forget that Bull Horn Games Twitch streams their development on Thursdays around 1 pm EST!

This week at Bull Horn Games – 10/20/17

This week at Bull Horn Games, we listened.

We ran several playtests this week with the goal of fine tuning the movement of the player! Here is what some people had to say:

  • Oil spill is a little bit over the top
  • The games should be longer
  • Instead of just dropping the bomb, have the players throw it forward a little bit
  • The bomb and bear trap need to take the crown off of the players head!!
  • Dash is pretty handy and a bit over powered
  • Give the person with the crown some sort of disability (slower movement speed, longer time between abilities)
  • The desert map is annoying because the crown is always in the same spot
  • Tell the user how to change their color on the player select screen

With all that great feedback, we can get to work this weekend during the RIT Imagine Cup game jam to make this game more awesome! Our main focus is going to be to try and get some audio in for background music, add more levels, and make some way for the game to feel a bit different each time you play it!

Earlier this week, we made a quick game play video for the game just to give others the general idea of how the game looks and plays.

 

Aurum Kings has been accepted in the Rochester Mini Maker Faire! We have the pleasure of presenting there along with Crazy Platez, ROC Game Dev, and a lot of other awesome people!

We are also gonna start Twitch streaming our creation process every Thursday around 2 PM! You can watch those here!

Along with Aurum Kings news, check out our Extra Life team! Extra Life is a great cause and a fantastic gaming community event!

 

Aurum Kings – Gameplay Trailer!

New gameplay trailer for Aurum Kings!!

I would love some feedback on the general look/ feel of the game that you got from that trailer

Aurum Kings is a 2-4 player couch competitive game where the goal is to use your abilities that you pick at the beginning of each round to hold onto the crown for the longest period of time.

Does anything about the UI confuse you?

What abilities do you think would be cool to add?

Anything you would suggest to change about the art?

Does the game make sense to you?

Does this seem generally fun, if so then why?

I currently have no background music, what kind of music comes to mind when you watch this? (What instruments, tempo, etc.)

The player model is temporary right now, what do you suggest I could do to match the style of the game?

Any feedback is much appreciated!

This week at Bull Horn Games – 10/12/17

This week, we dashed forward.

We are hoping to have trailer out by the end of this week (Friday 10/13),

During the RIT Game Developers Club meeting this week, we were able to run ta nice play test this week, and got a lot of great feedback!

  • Bomb has too large of a range
  • Dash doesn’t feel like it pushes you enough
  • More content! Especially maps!
  • The UI and color scheme need to be more unified!
  • Camera movement in the Y axis is far to dramatic
  • The crown should be more noticeable to the players, especially when it changes

Now what change did we make to improve on that?

  • Did a pass on the different values for the abilities, making the bomb range lower and the dash force greater
  • Created a level select screen using scriptable objects for quick and easy level creation!
  • Locked the camera movement in the Y axis, which may need to change in the future depending on how large the maps are
  • Started working on a second map!

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The UI and color scheme is something that really needs to be worked on, but there is a real internal struggle on what palette and style to go with.

Along with all the new stuff I need to do based on the feedback that I got, most of the work that I have done this past week has been optimization work. By deleting some much un-needed faces on some of the models like the tree and walls, and marking them as static objects in the world, I managed a significant boost in FPS.

Overall I am quite happy with the progress this week! We are dabbling with the idea of setting a mid-November ‘release’ date, since I am participating in two game jams over the course of October, which is going to give me a lot of time to work on this project.

Cya around

-Ben