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Thread: Baby Redemption - Max Payne meets Binding of Isaac (alpha available)

  1. #1
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    Baby Redemption - Max Payne meets Binding of Isaac (alpha available)



    The elevator pitch
    Max Payne meets Binding of Isaac. A 2d, fast paced, action game where you shoot bad guys to save kidnapped babies all in glorious slow motion.

    What you actually do:
    You get dropped into a generated level as The Man. The level is filled with adult candy making bad guys you have to take out so you can get closer to your goal.
    By shooting enemies you build up your energy that allows you to enter slow motion mode which is where the real game starts and allows you to enter the heart of the action, dodging bullets and controlling the crowd.


    Currently you beat the game by defeating all the enemies, which allows you to progress but it also gives you an upgrade making you stronger. After two levels you meet a boss.


    Deating him presents you with your prize, the baby.

    The babies
    Saving the babies is fun in itself but it has a benefits. The kidnapped babies move in with you to your house which will act as a pre-mission hub. Raising enough babies will make some of them return as adults (letís not discuss timelines and how they grow up so fast) which will open up access to shops, game modifying options and other fun things.

    One example is a baby that returns as a lizard


    This guy will give you access to Schrodingers Box. I personally dislike set difficulty levels but I also dislike how other games in this genre force you into more difficult gameplay just because most of them equates more unlocked upgrades = easier time. It takes away from the power fantasy that I want to create.

    The box is my way of combating this. It allows you to decide your challenge level to get bigger rewards, but if you want a quick run feeling like the man you donít need to use it. For a small fee it will change variables like your strength, HP, enemy damage, toughness etc. these changes can be positive and negative (e.g. you can get more HP or less) allowing for varied runs every time. Youíll always get a positive loot multiplier though. Oh, yeah thereís loot in the game.

    Capitalism

    For a longtime I wanted to only have one gun in the game. Instead you would get accessories and modifiers to your rifle which would be an extension of your progress. I started implementing this and to be honest it wasnít really fun. I noticed that psychologically itís more fun to switch tools instead of just modifying things. So I had to go back to what I initially didnít want to do and created more weapons.

    Much like Warframe I want the player to select a weapon for the run and stick to it, instead upgrades between levels will change how that weapon acts. So instead of weapons and accessories enemies drop various things which you will be able to use to buy several things between runs.

    So in a way you got two progress paths
    One is instance based in the current run when you get upgrades which will reset when you die or finish the run.
    The other is the upgrades and tools you buy at the hub between runs

    So whatís different from other rogue shooters?

    Good questions. I fully realize this genre has a lot of competition and there are some fantastic games that I honestly donít know if I will be able to compete with (e.g. Nuclear Throne and Enter the Gungeon).

    As much as I love them there are things that annoyed me with all of them and certain parts of my design goes the opposite direction. I will write up longer game design posts with more details but these are some quick points.

    Itís more of a power fantasy than Dark Souls
    Rogue games all have this challenge aspect, you bash yourself against this wall of difficulty until you get better. It can be fun and really satisfying. But that wall can be super annoying to. Baby Redemption is more about picking up a gun, getting cool upgrades, sliding around in slow motion and having fun. Thus the player has more HP than normal, enemies arenít as punishing and the player get more tools from the get-go.

    The loss of progress
    I hate that it always felt like I started back on zero when I died. Even if i unlocked an upgrade the initial stretch before you get close to where you were was such a drag. This is why you will be able to unlock upgrades (which you start with) between the runs. Thus you hit that feeling of accomplishment more often.

    Slow motion is cool
    I think thereís something cool about throwing a bullet-mine into a room filled with enemies, teleporting into the room, blowing up a barrel and shooting the enemies while dodging bullets. The difference in gameplay when you are in slow motion and out of it is a post in itself since it requires different styles of play. The game lives between those styles.


    The end of the start
    Thanks for reading This is my game, Iíve been working on it for 12 months on and off. Iím a one man band juggling this hobby, fulltime career and life. But itís only recently things are starting to come together and I really want to finish this to cross ďrelease a gameĒ off my bucket list. I also want to thank @schrodinger for a lot of technical help.

    You can try an alpha if you want from my itch.io page. I would appreciate any feedback you have, it lacks a tutorial (shops and hubs are disabled) right now so I realize thereís a lot for a gamer to take in at once. I would ask kindly that you give it a few tries and instead of playing 1-2 minutes. Or you can do that and give me the feedback anyway

    Links:
    @ShotgunAnaconda on Twitter
    Itch.io page

    Posts coming soon detailing weapons, tools, level generator and design thoughts. If you have any questions or feedback feel free to post or hit me up.

  2. #2
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    On this peaceful Sunday I want to talk to you guys about weapons.
    As I mentioned above I originally wanted to have only one gun but when i switched that idea I wanted the guns to fill different roles and play styles. They have to be balanced enough to not be OP but also good enough to last you an entire run (since you can't switch weapons until your run is over).

    The balance is constantly getting tweaked but currently I have 5 different weapons that all play differently, especially when you start adding upgrades after every wave.

    Autorifle


    The base gun. It's the first rifle you get and is medium strong with regular fire rate. The biggest benefit is the large mag size allowing you to deliver damage over a sustained time.

    SMG


    A 3-burst rifle with low base damage but has a much higher crit chance. With 3 bullets each doing independent damage it can quickly stack up if the RNG is on your side.

    Sniper

    (The gif removed the cam-shake)
    A one shot rifle that does big initial damage. Also has good crit chance but also has a 50% chance of penetrating the enemy hitting whatever is behind him.

    Energy rifle


    The most unique gun. Firing off three energy blobs that deal damage but they also split into smaller blobs on hit. Can quickly stack up damage but the charge-up time requires defensive play.

    LMG


    The big daddy. This was made as an accident when I was going to make the sniper, I forgot to lower the mag value but the firerate was lowered. It looked cool so I kept it. It's currently very unbalanced, doing too much damage in a very short time. But hey, it has juice!


    More is going to be added but for now it's enough. I spent today doing an excel sheet calculating each guns DPS (I took The Divisions DPS formula which is deep enough but simple enough to understand) which showed some interesting things. It's a hard thing to balance these because if you make everything equal there really isn't any benefit in choosing different weapons. But if there is too big of a spread between the guns you get a Diablo 3 situation where there's only one "correct" way to play if you want to be efficient.
    What do you guys prefer? Should everything be tweaked to be equal or should there be tools that are on the extreme points of the scale?

  3. #3
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    Wow, great progress @zip2kx and lots of details you've been adding/tweaking,
    I particularly like the blobby weapon (and awesome schrodinger's box lizard of course )

    As for last question, my first impulsive answer would be "better more difference -> tools on the extreme points"
    as a player, I think that gave me more fun when playing,
    knowing that something can have an unbalanced burst of effectiveness in some situation,
    but (maybe) be very uncomfortable in others / not convenient by other means?

    Not played Diablo3 (my last one was 2) but I think I understand what you mean,
    if a weapon gives you consistent advantages that would have to balanced in other ways not related to damage perhaps,
    for example slowing down the player (say, a very heavy weapon), or damaging you too by backfiring at times,
    but it's probably much more difficult to get it really right >> fair

  4. #4
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    Hey friend I made it to the first boss Daniel-San who then killed me. As you're able to shoot although you've died yet, I killed him dead and got one Baby rescued, yeah
    So here's my feedback:

    Things I loved first.

    I sucked a lot in the fist rounds but the learning curve is super quick and frustration on fail pretty low. I really got a Hotline Miami vibe from it. Shooting enemies felt good with cool Sound-Fx and explosions. Also liked the screen shakes. Camera is really good. The background music also added a nice flow to the overall scene. Liked the weapon designs too, I mainly went with the sniper rifle as it seemed the best choice for my playstyle. Got two upgrades for it which turned it into a bouncing grenade launcher, loved that one Also loved the procedural level designs, the rooms in themselves had a nice variation to it and obstacles are placed in interesting ways.

    Things that IMO could need some work/ I know its an early build!

    Think the enemy sprites could pop up more against the backgrounds and they could be bigger in general, especially the junkies. The coloring is overall quite dark, would love more popping out elements and contrasts on it. Good examples for this are IMO Tower 57 and Enter the Gungeon or the aged Chaos Engine.
    I also found drops and upgrades somehow hard to distinguish from other stuff present on the floor (bottles etc.). Maybe flash them when near?

    Enemy movements: They get the job done but IMO you can see the bouncing ball too much, would be cooler if they behaved more natural (stopping, looking round, following patrol checkpoints). TBH enemy AI was not better in Hotline Miami too and it worked well anyway, hehe. Player recognition did not work every time, but when they are chasing it was pretty aggressive (I'm looking at you ****ing Knife dude).

    Performance: I had some serious suttering although it ran 60FPS most time (I7, Quad core 2,2 GHZ, Win 8.1, GeForce 740). When going in slo motion the FR often would drop under 30FPS, don't know if this is intended tho/ if you handle the slomo like this. Played on Fullscreen.

    Bugs I spotted:
    x As I said, you can keep shooting when dead and the enemies then behave in weird ways.
    x Shooting the barrels made not always explode them/ no visible impact. Maybe I did not understand the mechanic?
    x The masked guy chasing you with the Knife glitches out on slow-motion, he often teleported in weird ways or right to my player sprite
    x I had the impression that while bullets were slowed down in slo-motion the enemies continued to walk at the same speed in many cases.

    And then the weirdest thing, I have seen a thing like this in my game too but was never able to record it. IMO that is clearly a glitch in Fusion not produced by your code, I've seen it in another Forum post too and nobody knows how that happens. Here's a GIF.



    Keep making this, had a lot of fun playing

  5. #5
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    if this had better gfx - it would be a winner. i would advise you go seek a pro artist to help

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by schrodinger View Post
    Wow, great progress @zip2kx and lots of details you've been adding/tweaking,
    I particularly like the blobby weapon (and awesome schrodinger's box lizard of course )

    As for last question, my first impulsive answer would be "better more difference -> tools on the extreme points"
    as a player, I think that gave me more fun when playing,
    knowing that something can have an unbalanced burst of effectiveness in some situation,
    but (maybe) be very uncomfortable in others / not convenient by other means?

    Not played Diablo3 (my last one was 2) but I think I understand what you mean,
    if a weapon gives you consistent advantages that would have to balanced in other ways not related to damage perhaps,
    for example slowing down the player (say, a very heavy weapon), or damaging you too by backfiring at times,
    but it's probably much more difficult to get it really right >> fair
    I'm thinking the same way, since it isnt multiplayer maybe it doesn't matter if some things are overpowered as long as they have some limits. The hard part is to balance it fairly since I so quickly get used to the game.

    I want to avoid giving the player too much of a punishment for choosing a playstyle, since it goes against the powerfantasy I want to create. But one idea I have is to make weapons like the LMG special weapons with limited ammo, then you get a rush like when Mario picks up the fireflower and then you lose it. Not a creative solution because it has been done, but maybe it's the best solution.

    We'll see how far I'll take it, maybe I'll allow players to switch weapons between levels/after the boss. Ooooor I'll allow two weapon slots, where one is for power weapons with a limited ammo/use.

    Thank you as always!

    Quote Originally Posted by Julian82 View Post
    Hey friend I made it to the first boss Daniel-San who then killed me. As you're able to shoot although you've died yet, I killed him dead and got one Baby rescued, yeah
    So here's my feedback:

    Things I loved first.

    I sucked a lot in the fist rounds but the learning curve is super quick and frustration on fail pretty low. I really got a Hotline Miami vibe from it. Shooting enemies felt good with cool Sound-Fx and explosions. Also liked the screen shakes. Camera is really good. The background music also added a nice flow to the overall scene. Liked the weapon designs too, I mainly went with the sniper rifle as it seemed the best choice for my playstyle. Got two upgrades for it which turned it into a bouncing grenade launcher, loved that one Also loved the procedural level designs, the rooms in themselves had a nice variation to it and obstacles are placed in interesting ways.

    Things that IMO could need some work/ I know its an early build!

    Think the enemy sprites could pop up more against the backgrounds and they could be bigger in general, especially the junkies. The coloring is overall quite dark, would love more popping out elements and contrasts on it. Good examples for this are IMO Tower 57 and Enter the Gungeon or the aged Chaos Engine.
    I also found drops and upgrades somehow hard to distinguish from other stuff present on the floor (bottles etc.). Maybe flash them when near?

    Enemy movements: They get the job done but IMO you can see the bouncing ball too much, would be cooler if they behaved more natural (stopping, looking round, following patrol checkpoints). TBH enemy AI was not better in Hotline Miami too and it worked well anyway, hehe. Player recognition did not work every time, but when they are chasing it was pretty aggressive (I'm looking at you ****ing Knife dude).

    Performance: I had some serious suttering although it ran 60FPS most time (I7, Quad core 2,2 GHZ, Win 8.1, GeForce 740). When going in slo motion the FR often would drop under 30FPS, don't know if this is intended tho/ if you handle the slomo like this. Played on Fullscreen.

    Bugs I spotted:
    x As I said, you can keep shooting when dead and the enemies then behave in weird ways.
    x Shooting the barrels made not always explode them/ no visible impact. Maybe I did not understand the mechanic?
    x The masked guy chasing you with the Knife glitches out on slow-motion, he often teleported in weird ways or right to my player sprite
    x I had the impression that while bullets were slowed down in slo-motion the enemies continued to walk at the same speed in many cases.

    And then the weirdest thing, I have seen a thing like this in my game too but was never able to record it. IMO that is clearly a glitch in Fusion not produced by your code, I've seen it in another Forum post too and nobody knows how that happens. Here's a GIF.



    Keep making this, had a lot of fun playing
    Thank you so much for trying the game and the feedback!
    Interesting that you chose the sniper, I think you are the first one to willingly play with it haha and glad you enjoyed the combinations i think that's the one thing that the game does well. Since they aren't hardcoded all the reactions happen systematically so sometimes you get combinations that aren't planned at all.

    Yes the art needs a lot of work. Sadly I think I've reached the upper edges of my skill, I detailed a devpost on itchio the issues but basically i've been using the same palette for everything without thinking things through. I made sprites separately instead of putting them together, so while the colors fit they also mesh together. Another part is that I improved over the year so the styles dont always fit together but I've been working on cleaning that up. The colors and art in general needs an overhaul in the future.

    Great feedback on enemy moment, It's somewhere in the backlog to make them stop and start so that will happen. I could technically make them do things when idle (inspecting items or sleeping etc) but I think that's a feature that demands more work than it will give beneit.

    Performance: I can't really pinpoint what this is, other people than you have had this issue. Either it's because a loop gets fired (i cant remember if there is a unique loop getting triggered when slowmo is enabled) that eats the performance or it's the effects. The numbers you mentioned are they proper fps numbers or is it what you "feel"? If you could be bothered would it be possible for you to check FPS when in slowmotion? I actually think i forgot to disable debug mode in the latest alpha so if you press TAB you will enable it, the red little counter in the corner will show you the fps (something like Fraps would also work).

    Death gun bug: This is pure laziness from my side that the gun doesn't get disabled. A kill is a kill!
    Barrels: They should explode after two bullet hits... although there's a shelf with barrels on them, they are just props. Maybe i should change the color on those.
    Knife guy: haha this is actually a feature, although it's terribly communicated. When the mouse is over him he has a chance to trigger a dodge which is just me moving his position, maybe i should have some effect. Although i wish i could see the face of frustration on unknowing players before they figure out they have to aim past his sprite.
    Slowmo bullet: Thank you for feedback, I need to look over the values that the enemies/bullets get slowed.

    That gif: Wow, that actually happened to me once a long time ago and i could ever reproduce it. I think it's something with the effects since it seems to be in a circular area which could be the players light source that's transparent. Who knows though.

    Thank you for playing and I hope you'll give the next build a spin!

    Quote Originally Posted by danjo View Post
    if this had better gfx - it would be a winner. i would advise you go seek a pro artist to help
    Thank you for the feedback.

  7. #7
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    hey, I had a Fraps counter running, so FR data is derived from that. cheers

  8. #8
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    Lets talk about upgrades!

    I have 6 finished upgrades in the game right now. All of them are an extension of my old idea of the player finding modifications for their game. But since I scrapped that idea I put them as regular upgrades after clearing a level.

    Two things before we get started
    -These are different from upgrades you will be able to buy, between runs in the hub, which you’ll always start with. The upgrades in this post is random gets reset when you die.
    -I’ve tried to make them system based as much as possible, so most things can currently synergize naturally. So one upgrade can’t really change e.g. how the selected gun works that would break the design rule. I think. We’ll see in the future.

    Laser sight

    Oh wow such excitement! Not much to say about this… it stretches… Has a benefit for one specific enemy that reacts if your crosshair is over him but I’ll let players find that.


    Explosive bullet

    Add some boom to your bullets! Bullets now explode on impact which gives you a big damage boost but also carries risk because they can also damage you.


    Drone

    One of the planned robot buddies you can aquire. Adds a drone that fires homing bullets towards alerted enemies. In the gif he’s the lowest level.


    Bouncy Bullet

    Channel your inner Revolver Ocelot with this upgrade.


    Bullet Hell

    The most game changing upgrade. In regular mode nothing changes, but when you toggle slow motion the bullets will freeze until you turn it off, allowing you to turn every gun into a shotgun. Can be great if the enemies haven’t been alerted yet to deliver that big oumf of dps.


    You can also lay traps for enemies to walk into.


    Shield

    It’s a shield! That rotates! Hey, everything can’t be OP.


    Synergize baby
    The fun things happen when they mix and mash, some interesting situations are created. Especially if you factor in that the different weapons shoot different types of bullets, e.g. the SMG shoots three bullets at once, combine that with the bouncy bullets and you quickly get rooms of death.



    Would love if you guys had any ideas for upgrades you would like to see or feedback on the current ones .

  9. #9
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    So I did a thing by mistake.
    I added an upgrade that splits bullets when it hits the walls.

    I also have an old upgrade that gives you bouncy bullets. I forgot to set a limit on the split to the first wall collision. This is the chaotic result lol



    Should i keep or limit?

  10. #10
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    Spent the day doing a tutorial, not the most fun thing but a needed one. Hard to showcase that so here's another change, you now turn into a baby when you turn on slowmotion

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