Sunday, October 23, 2011

Awien Ambush is out!

Do we have a treat for you blog-goers today! Disgruntled Spider Productions is very pleased to announce that Awien Ambush is now ready for download from our Indie DB page. Give it a spin and tell us what you think!

We know we've been a little slack on posting updates lately, so to make up for it, we'd like to tell you exactly what the game is about and all its features.

Awien Ambush is a PC tower defense game which is Home Alone meets Aliens with a cartoony twist. In this game, you take control of a boy named Timmy and must defend your home from an alien invasion. That’s not all though - you have to defend yourself from the aliens as well! How, you ask? Why, by building traps of course! However, traps don’t come for free - Timmy will need to harvest the lifeblood of the extra-terrestrials in order to build more traps. To assist him with this life-threatening task, Timmy is also equipped with a repertoire of gadgets.

  • Compelling, action tower defense gameplay that requires strategy and cunning;
  • Five quirky and nonsensical types of aliens;
  • Four deadly traps to gain the upper hand with;
  • A distinctive, cartoon art style.
 Still no idea what to expect before you download the game? Have a look at our official gameplay trailer!

We look forward to hearing from you, blog-goers!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's evolutionary!

Remember this post from all the way back? We'd thought we'd show you exactly how our aliens have evolved since then...

Fido concept art, and Fido render

The Flying Alien, rough concept art and a more recent drawing.

Three types of Ooze - original concept, another concept sketch and a final render.
 PS: Expect to hear about some changes very soon...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The much-promised screenshots

We promised screenshots, so you get screenshots. Here are a select few from our latest game build:

Not an ideal time to be home alone.

With the help of your traps and abilities, put an end to the alien invasion.

Timmy does the Electric Boogaloo with the help of his trusty hammer.
Timmy's grappling hook comes is a lifesaver, whether it's against one alien...
... Or lots.
The lights in all the towers are out! Get moving and switch them back on!
Look forward to more screenshots and gameplay videos very soon!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beta stage testing has begun!

We are well and truly into the development process now, with our beta stage and testing beginning earlier this week. So far, we've tested about eight people, each with interesting observations and ways of playing our game. Overall, we have had good feedback about the game, with players complimenting the game's aesthetics, control scheme and ideas.

A few of the most important things that were frequently brought up:

1. We need to communicate the level objectives more clearly to players.

2. On the same note, we need to be able to show the players exactly what the aforementioned electricity boxes do.

3. The user interface needs a bit of work. Several users found the goo meter quite hard to notice.

4. Costs of the traps are not particularly clear. This ties in with point 3.

5. The amount of time you can hang on the grappling hook for needs to be made explicit.

It's all a matter of fixing these particular issues and retesting next week. Good luck to us!

Monday, August 22, 2011

On the verge of change.

We are on the verge of change, my friends.

Another week meant another meeting with Matt and Ross, the course tutors and masters of feedback. Their analysis of the game indicated that while we are on track as far as assets and programming are concerned, the game is still lacking where fun and dynamic gameplay is concerned.

At this point in the process, it's a question of improving what we currently have rather than adding new features. So after much debate and discussion over a few hours, these are what we have narrowed them down to:

1. Allowing the player to easily dismantle and rebuild traps. This allows for error on the player's behalf. The game will still encourage careful thinking of trap placement, by only 'refunding' players with half the amount of goo that they had to spend to make the trap.

2. A point that was brought up by Matt was that the player doesn't seem to have many opportunities to see the fruit of their work. Due to the way the camera works, the player needs to be standing very close to an alien in order to see it die. As a result, the camera should focus on the last alien of the wave dying (possibly with slo-mo).

3. A peashooter/projectile type trap. This has been animated in the past, just never implemented.

4. Points that need to be defended for certain stages. In this case, one of the levels will have electricity boxes that power the house. Players need to them back on if they are deactivated, but if they are all deactivated, it's game over.

5. A counter telling the player how many aliens are left. It gives players a more definite goal rather than having them believe that their efforts are aimless.

6. Pre-set hiding places. Although the new grapple mechanic makes the hiding trap that the player can set down feel useless, we still want to keep the option of hiding open to players. This will come in handy in one of the levels (sneak peek coming soon!).

7. A single-use trap that kills all enemies in a large radius.

8. Fix for traps to trigger when the centre of enemies reach the middle of the trap. This lends more meaning to concepts like 'the Fido alien is too fast to be hit by the Drop trap', etc.

9. Use of hammers to close doors. Again, the full implications of this will be revealed in our levels preview sometime in the future.

10. Player should not be allowed to run through aliens as it makes avoiding them too easy.

11. Making supply stations that allow the player to regenerate health. Especially useful during longer levels.

12. Allowing the player to instantly drop traps. This allows for greater movement of the player.

13. A trap with the purpose of attracting aliens. We particularly liked the idea of it being a model of Timmy.

Here's to a cram session ahead!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back from the blogging dead

It's been quite a while, hasn't it? The last few months have certainly been hectic. That's not to say things have quietened down at all; we're gearing up for our game's publication and launch sometime in early November.

So what has happened on the development front in the meantime?

1. We pitched our game to a group of industry professionals. This was the real capstone of the first semester of development. The best thing is that we received a lot of helpful and constructive criticism, which is helping us to get on track with the work that we have to complete this semester.

2. What this translates to for us right now is lots and lots of polish and functionality. Balancing enemy waves, prettying up the UI, implementing tutorials - things that make the game usable.

3. The next major point: giving the game some oomph. One of the major points of criticism we received at the pitch was that the game does not feel as engaging as it could be, so we're working to rectify that. As a result, we are currently working to implement a number of elements that will change the way the player experiences the game.

4. Ceiling grappling. This allows the player character to hang from the ceiling for a short period of time in order to avoid the aliens on the ground. However, players will still be vulnerable to Flier aliens. We're considering using this mechanic to allow the player to hook onto upper balconies so that they can jump between levels without using stairs.

5. Backdashing. We have decided that the player character should no longer be able to run through aliens as this makes life far too easy. And we're all masochists around here. So for split-second maneuvers, we have backdashing, with the added feature of letting Timmy do minor damage if he swings his weapon on backdash.

6. Multiple levels. The player will now have the opportunity to leave home and explore multiple other areas in the local neighbourhood. Maybe there will even be the chance to take down the big bad... ?

There is one last thing that we haven't been able to decide on: the game name. A lot of us are in disagreement about Awien Ambush. Any bright ideas out there?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Progress update #1

Everything is coming along swimmingly.

So far, Gavin has been working hard on programming the ability to generate rooms, tying the animations in, and developing an easy way for the designers to modify alien and item spawn times/points, as well as various other statistics. The ability for the character to climb up stairs, an appropriate camera, and the cursor are in perfect working order.

So far, the designers are working hard on storyboarding, enemy statistics, and which enemies will be in each wave.

Marcus has created a wide range of concept sketches for the aliens and the interface (a small sample of which can be seen below). He's currently working on animations for the characters.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gameplay Mechanics

We brought you the synopsis for Awien Ambush, but we didn't fill you in on any of the core gameplay elements. All is about to change in three... two... one...
  • The player character is controlled using the mouse and keyboard.
  • The player character constructs traps by:
    • Moving to a blank square
    • Using the mouse and right clicking to bring up a radial menu containing a list of traps.
    • While the radial menu is visible, the grid system will be visible. Most rooms will be 3x3 grids, with the player and the traps each taking up 1x1 grid. 
    • Paying an appropriate amount of goo. (Basic traps will be 10 goo)
    • Placing the trap.
  • Aliens drop goo, which is the in-game currency, a crafting component and also the score-keeping mechanism.
  • A set number of aliens appear in every ‘wave’,
  • The player character avoids the aliens by hiding behind scenery (ie. cardboard boxes, plants, etc.). There will be one “hiding place” per floor of the house (the first level house has three floors)
  • In between waves, the player will have a few seconds to emerge from their chosen hiding place and place new traps.
  • As long as the player is ‘hidden’, they can’t move and aliens will not detect them. Only one alien (the Sniffer alien) will be able to see (and possibly eat) them.
  • The player can remain unhidden, in which case the aliens will chase after them. This can lure them into traps, but they can kill you.
  • The attic on the top of the house has an item of some description that the aliens are attracted to. If they reach it, the player loses immediately. The logic behind this feature is as follows: Without it, the only losing condition is the player character being apprehended by aliens. The player character is able to hide behind boxes to evade capture, which can only be countered by the Sniffer aliens who are able to detect a hidden player. 
    • To prevent the player from being effectively undefeatable early waves that consist of only the basic alien, or forcing the designers to include Sniffer aliens on each wave, there needs to be a secondary losing condition.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Preliminary Concept Art

Our first treat: some concept art from the amazing Marcus!

The game logo, combining a child's crayon writing and terrible spelling with HARDCORE ALIEN FONT AND TECHNOLOGY.

What we envisioned the player character the look like. He's smart and therefore he has glasses.

One of the possible designs for an alien.

The game will be played from a 2D perspective with the player having full view of the other rooms in the house.