Dev Blog

CENTIPEDE INFESTATION

 
 

5.13.2018  -  CENTIPEDE INFESTATION

The Wormbot putting the "cute" in "acute bugphobia"

As y'all know, we've been pouring new creatures and artwork into the game, so we thought we'd show a little test of segmented creatures (temp art, work in process, etc.). For us these are especially funky because they need to work well with the physics of wallops and harpoons as those are a fundamental part of combat for us.

If you break 'em in two, they need to figure out how to survive in their new formation. Each segment is a little animated creature trying to keep its place in line relative to the segment ahead of them and when one dies, the segment behind it steps up, becomes a new head, and keeps on trucking.

With that in mind, check out our little physics/combat testing of the segmented wormbot - so cute! And so deadly! Well, not now. After we add in the attacks. We're thinking turret guns along the length. Muahaha!

YOUR VIEWERS WANT YOU DEAD

 
 

5.6.2018  -  YOUR VIEWERS WANT YOU DEAD

Gone Viral is all about trying to win the attention of as many psychotic viewers as possible since it's the best way to get Phat Loot and win your freedom from the arena. There's one minor issue - those same viewers are amused by bloodshed... and they are more than happy to shed YOURS.

Every time you gain a bunch of new viewers, they vote for what will happen to you. Sometimes that's airdrops filled with cool goodies, but often they vote to change up the arena and cause havoc! When the viewers vote to add some chaos, we call these Viewer Events. These change the gameplay (sometimes massively) of the next combat room, so watch out!

Viewer Events keeping gladiators on their toes

The NPC viewers you earn in the game are happily voting away to mess with you, complete with their own opinions on events and loot. But if you stream fo' realz, your real life Twitch viewers can join in the voting fun for your events and rewards!

That reminds me - thanks very much to those who have helped us test the real-time voting system during the last few dev streams! This week we're hoping to get even more more testing and feedback. We'll be streaming at www.twitch.tv/skullbotgames Tuesday and Thursday, 3 - 6 PM PST. If you have spare time around then, please join in and vote for some chaos! We're beating on the system weekly right now and really appreciate the testing help.

So what are some specific Viewer Events? Each one tends to mess with you and the enemies in the room by changing up different aspects of combat. Here are just a few we have working in game already:

Arms Race - Everyone gets giant arms and increased melee range.

Nuked - Nukes rain from the sky, destroying the floor piece by piece over time. (kill quickly!)

Spin Doctor - All shots and walloped enemies fly in circles.

Multiplication - Everyone shoots multiple shots!

Our goal with these is to give the player some strategic choices along with random craziness. Knowing a Bombed event (where bombs rain from the sky) is coming up means it's a great time to fight the Bombadier boss since he's vulnerable to explosions.

An event that increases melee range might be great or horrible depending on what weapon you're wielding and what enemies you are facing. It's up to you to try to use the events as strategically as you can - or when the dice are stacked against you, just survive!

That's all for this week! There have been a ton of bug fixes, new rooms added, and new enemies set up with lots more to come. Check out our streams for the latest and greatest additions, and thanks for lending us your eyeballs.

-Gaffer

THE HORDE APPROACHES

 
 

4.27.2018  -  THE HORDE APPROACHES

spider_display.png

We have been gearing up the production of our enemies as we get closer to early access! Here's an update on what's in process today - and where we are going.

Meet part of our spider family - all are in various stages of completion from grey-modeled through fully textured.

For simplicity, we share a limited set of skeletons with animations between various enemies - some of whom look quite unique despite the shared skeleton! As an example, all of these enemies use our spider skeleton, whether they are fat exploders like the Popper, or skinny projectile shooters like the Lightbulb Bot.

mutants_1_display.png

And there can be even more variations on a skeletion - these baddies all use our human skeleton (for those Unreal-philes, the "UEMan").

You can really get an idea of the variety possible from a single skeleton since this picture includes melee enemies, ranged enemies, casters in the front and even some legless guys in the back - all inherently sharing a single skeleton and often sharing animations.

mutants_2_display.png

Here are some big boys using the same skeleton - some of which are using jail doors as giant shields.

oompa_display.png

Even within a given model, there are other ways of adding variety. Every enemy in this picture uses the human skeleton, just like the previous sets.

Every one also is the same in-game race which we are calling the Oompa. (final name may vary) Custom weapons along with enemy model changes help to divide them into four distinct enemy types - snipers, grenadiers, diggers, and overseers.

Additional model changes give us a low level and a high level enemy of each type. Texturing will of course help separate them all even further since these guys are all brand new and thus all grey for the moment.

turrets_display.png

Here are a few enemies that use our turret skeleton. It controls our static turrets, and also the mobile turrets on tanks.

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Here is a group of enemies that use our drone skeleton. Notice that they all fly. Making flying enemies look all sexy in game takes some extra animation (banking, reacting to hits/knockdowns appropriately, etc.) so putting them all on one skeleton helps.

drones_2_display.png

The drone army is growing!

simple_display.png

And finally our most basic of enemies - we call him the simple bot internally. One human skeleton, three difficulty tiers, all simple bot.

This was our original test case to see if we could have radically different proportions from the human skeleton. Even though he has itty bitty legs and no arms, he still totters around shooting laser bullets using human-based animations for a very inhuman critter. After that proof of concept, it was off to the radically-mutating--skeleton-races.

Thanks for reading! And don't forget to check us out during our Twitch streams - Thursdays at 5pm PST on twitch.tv/skullbotgames.

WEEKLY MUTATION ROUNDUP

 
 

4.20.2018  -  WEEKLY MUTATION ROUNDUP

Another busy week!  Here's a quick update on our progress:

Fear the mighty MEGACOMBO!  This is a Carnage Item which you power up by collecting the Carnage created by doing cool moves and combos while fighting.  MegaCombo slows time and sends you into a super-flurry of 12 attacks on nearby enemies when activated.  In this clip, you can also see some prototype vivisection action on the dying mutants that we're experimenting with.  More to come on that in the future!

MegaCombo converting Carnage into...well, more Carnage.

The Bugzapper is another new item that has been created for all your shock treatment needs.  This Carnage Item plants a charged post in the ground which zaps nearby enemies for damage.  Mobs touching it directly are given a healthy jolt and walloped away, making it an excellent target to fling enemies into.

Bugzapper should help you deal with larger pests.

Several new bomb-based mutations were also added this week:

Breaching Charges - bombs are key, aren't they?

Breaching Charges - Your bombs/missiles/etc. will now unlock any locks within their explosion radius.  This includes chests, locked doors, spiked doors, you name it!  If it has a lock, it'll get opened.

Tar Bombs - Every time one of your bombs explode, it leaves a big pool of enemy-slowing tar where it went off.

A combinatorial note: These bomb mutations work with different standard bomb types (i.e. missile bombs), as well as any explosive projectiles you may create.  For instance, the Bomber mutation lets you blow up baddies by changing your projectiles to be bombs, and these are affected as well.  Yay, synergy!

A few other mutations that were added this week:

Longarms mutation in action.

Long Arms - Your arms (and thus melee range) grow to ginormous size.

Precognition - Reveals the bosses and quirks (NPC buffs, special rooms, etc.) of future levels.

Blood Famous - Now that picking up Carnage grants bonus viewers (you have been watching our Thursday 5pm PST streams, right?), this gives even more bonus viewers for cool moves and combos.  Groovy!

Adaptive - Future mutations picked up take effect twice, for good or for ill!  We'll probably have a version of this that just affects the next one to two mutations, which should make for some interesting strategical timing choices.

Genetic Tinkering - A repeatedly found mini-mutation located in areas like Medlabs.  They randomly give a stat up and a stat down.  Since these stat changes are visible before you acquire the mutation, it gives some agency in customizing your stats as you ascend.

And of course more!  We're Long Arms deep in creating all the creatures we'll need for Early Access later this year as well as grey-modelling our other tilesets, so not every level will look like a prison.  If you watch our weekly streams you can see hints of these in the Medlab, for instance. 

Things are moving fast!  As usual, we're happy to answer any questions you have on reddit, during our streams, or in the comments below - and thanks for the feedback so far, we thrive on it!

IN DEPTH WITH DR. DEATH

 
 

4.13.2018  -  IN DEPTH WITH DR. DEATH

Today we're going to dig into a Gone Viral boss fight! 

Our design goals for boss fights are:

  • Involve action unique to Gone Viral - It can't be the "same old stuff" to gamers, so things involving walloping, physics, synergies, or funky projectiles are great!
  • Rock a strong theme - It's better to have a set of attacks themed with the design and visuals of the boss rather than a random mishmash!
  • Challenge all builds - Whether your particular loadout is melee-only or almost entirely focused on projectiles, the fight needs to be a) winnable but not b) trivialized!
  • Work in any boss room - Bosses can strike in any one of a number of rooms, so their attacks can't depend on particular stuff existing in the area (unless it modifies the environment itself!)

With that in mind, let's dig into the boss currently hanging out on levels 2 and deeper - Dr. Death.

Dr. Death is a giant, crazy Medbot and he'd like nothing more than to inject you with some goodness!  Syringes are a commonly found item in game - some will heal you, others will have less pleasant effects.  Dr. Death fires these at you as part of giant projectile formations that come in a few flavors.

  • Acid - Causes damage and drips more acid on the ground for additional pain.
  • Tar - Slows struck folks and again, drips on the ground, making a sticky mess you may want to avoid.
  • Vortex - Injects the target with a vortex drug, causing all projectiles and wallops to spin around in circles. (This is similar to the frequently found Big Shot injector!)
  • Healing - Heals whatever is hit, be it friend or foe!  You'll want to get hit by these, but not the laser bullets that surround them.  It's also easy to accidentally deflect them into Dr. Death or his minions.

Did I forget to mention that these syringes are physical objects so you can knock them back via wallops into Dr. Death or his buddies? Sounds like a great way to use an acid syringe against them but be careful not to accidentally heal your foes faster than you can kill them.

Dr Death dispensing both positive and negative syringes

Since syringes are a key pickupable item in the game, all the synergies that work on syringes come into play during this fight.  For example, if you have the mutation Low Tolerance (doubles syringe effects) not only do the syringe bullets affect you twice as much, but any you wallop back will duplicate for double the fun!

The good doctor has more tricks up his sleeves.  He spawns a ton of surgical assistants (Mutant Choppers, blind in their VR headsets) in any room in which he spawns.  Start meleeing too much, and he has the ability to wallop YOU into any of the hazards in the room by smashing into the ground!  Finally, if the fight starts going against him, he's not above resurrecting his fallen Choppers to fight again.

Even in his current unpolished development form (he'll get impressive animations, particles, etc. down the road) he's still fun to fight.  Knocking syringes into his buddies can be quite amusing, and trying to get yourself healed mid-combat without eating a wallop or a face full of laser bullets adds extra challenge.

That ends the quick peek of this particular boss fight, so let's cover a few other developments from the last week:

  • We've worked on a slew of our deeper level NPCs.
  • We've streamlined the carnage and audience reward systems.
  • We've worked on some new mutations.
  • ...and more!

Check out our Twitch stream Thursday nights at 5pm PST and as always, feel free to comment or ask questions!