Help me playtest my new demo for In Retrospect! It’s almost finished and I need some real feedback!

Hey all!

Believe it or not, In Retrospect, my nearly 7 years in the making musical action platformer / runner game, is nearing completion! It might even release this year! (More likely is next year, but I’m trying to be optimistic.) I need to get some serious feedback before I can finalize some things and pull the trigger on a release.

So try out my new demo! It has 4 “story” stages and 4 “challenge” stages (and the challenge stages have leaderboards, so you can compete against other NWers for the top spots!) The demo story mode will probably take most people 15-30 minutes to complete. The challenge stages add another 5-10 minutes or so, if you only play them once.

Unfortunately I only have a PC build at the moment. I do still plan to make a Mac version but I’m focusing on getting this done first. (And yes, eventually I’d love to release on consoles, but… we’ll see.)

There are two places you can access the demo, Steam and Itch. (If you have do not have a Steam account, anyone can access the Itch demo without an account.)

Links to demo:
Demo on Steam (click the “Download Demo” button on the right-side menu a bit down the page, launch through Steam)
Demo on Itch (click the “Download” button near the bottom of the page, unzip the file, and click the .exe to launch)

And if you REALLY love me, you will fill out this short feedback form after playing through the 4 story mode stages (or giving up, if you can’t finish them.) And also get a screenshot (or at least copying down the information) of the screen you see when finishing the story mode (you can also access it at any time in the main menu under “STATISTICS” if you forget to screenshot it when finishing the story mode.)

Link to feedback form: Feedback Form

But even if you don’t do the form, you can add your feedback here. The main things I am looking for feedback on:

1. Any bugs you may find
2. Any unclear or confusing parts
3. Whether the default difficulty in the story mode feels right, and whether the difficulty feels like it progresses stage to stage

But really, any feedback is appreciated!

Thanks in advance to anyone who helps me out here, and let me know if you have any questions about anything!

Messing around with TextMesh Pro animation

Not totally sure where I’m going with this yet, but it’s fun to play around with! There aren’t a whole lot of characters in In Retrospect, but I do like the idea of using text animation to give the few characters there are well… character.

Announcing In Retrospect for PC / Steam!

Friends! Officially announcing my game, In Retrospect, for PC / Steam and hopefully more soon. 

Site: http://www.inretrospectgame.com
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1123360/In_Retrospect/ 
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRTeGqrbvt8 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/retrospect_game 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inretrospectgame 

Please follow, link, share, etc.!

Got very far into the player cape development, probably going to scrap it

It’s a tough decision to scrap something after you put so much work into it, but this cape thing ended up being a much bigger project than I originally intended, and I really need to finish this game one of these days.

The problem with making an animated cape is that it really needs to be a lot more reactive than a basic player animation.  Honestly, the best way to do this would probably be changing the cape animations based on physics, but I don’t have anything that complicated set up, so I am currently changing the cape animations based on changes to the player animations.

BUT… It’s not that simple.  For instance, there are currently several different actions where the player has the same jump animation… a regular jump, shooting off the high jump button, falling off of something, bouncing off of something, being caught in a wind stream (up or down), etc.  Sometimes the player is moving up, sometimes down, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, sometimes up a short time then down, sometimes up a long time then down, sometimes coming into a fall from a jump, sometimes from a float, sometimes from hitting an enemy, etc.  A single cape animation simply does not work for all of these different contexts.  Often it won’t even be hanging in the right direction.

That’s just one example, albeit the most complicated one.

So I’ve had to make a lot of cape animations, and a lot of small transition cape animations to get from context X to context Y, etc.  Already the cape is by far the largest animation sheet with the most animations right now.  Which also means that a lot of the animations are currently a bit wonky looking, since I made many of them in a short amount of time and haven’t had the time or energy to go back and clean them all up yet.

The TLDR is that it’s been a ton of work and it is tough to really get the cape flowing the right way for all cases.  I think I have it more or less playing acceptable animations correctly for 90% of cases, but it’s those edge cases that are tough to figure out, and require some deep dives into the code and really understanding exactly what is happening with the player at any given moment.  And even once I got decent cape animations set up for all possible contexts, it would still take a lot of work to go over the many animations and make them look good.  I know I could do it to my own level of satisfaction eventually, but is it really worth the time and energy?

Maybe not.

Anyway, below is a quick video to show you where I left off.  You can see some places where it isn’t really using a good animation for the context (running up hills in the start, in the wind streams, etc.) and you can also see how sloppy some of the animations are even when the cape is in more or less the right place for the context.

I’m not sure if I’m going to totally scrap the cape idea yet, because I love it in theory, but I’m at least going to put it aside for now.  Much more important things to be working on at the moment, and I don’t want to get caught up in stuff that isn’t helping get this game finished.

 

 

Who knew planning a wedding was so much work?

Well, I’m getting married.  Actually that is kind of old news at this point, the engagement was last year.  But the wedding planning has started in seriousness this year, and oh boy, it’s a pretty huge project!  Especially if you are like my fiance and I and basically want to do everything yourselves in your own creative ways.

So, to be quite honest, the game has taken the back burner for a bit.  I’m still working on it but between my day job and wedding planning it has been tough to find the time and energy for it.

What I have found time for is to is work on the main character design again.  I never really finalized a main character design that I liked in the past, so I made a sort of abstract character as a placeholder.  I decided to go back to old designs though and tweak them a bit, bringing back the helmet but adding stars on the glass of the helmet (which look pretty cool when it animates but I’ll save that for another update) and I think I’m finally falling upon something that I’m happier with.  Oh, and I’m adding a cape (VERY much still a work-in-progress) because why not, capes are cool.

in-retrospect-main-char-redesign

I’ll try to keep things updated regularly but there may not be a ton to say until after June 22nd when I can dive back into this much deeper again.

Some of my favorite video game logos

Although I’ve done most of the graphics for In Retrospect myself, I hired a graphic designer friend of mine to do the logos for the game and my company, Paper Salamander. And he came up with some awesome stuff.  But we’ll get to that later.  During the process of communicating what I was looking for to him I collected a fair amount of video game logos that I like, so I figured I’d make a post about it.

Let’s start retro.  One of my all-time favorite logos is the Yoshi’s Island logo, because it totally nails the fun, youthful tone of the game (you play as Yoshi and baby Mario.)  Simple, colorful, and a super neat font.

yoshis-island-retro-blackbg

I also always had a thing for the “perspective” style logos that appeared a lot in the 8-bit and especially 16-bit eras.

super-metroid-retro-black-bg

They often did some neat things with the coloring / gradients in that era as well.

mega-man-x-retro-black-bg

Of course a lot of new indie games are heavily inspired by the past, and sometimes a nice simple retro logo does wonders for a game.

undertale-logo-retro

Another thing I like in my logos is a sense of simplicity and beauty.  Of course, this depends on the game and whether that fits or not, but when it works, it really stands out for me.  I especially like the colors on this one, and you’ll see below that they also show up on the logo for Paper Salamander.

flower-clean-black-bg

And then you have something like Gone Home, which keeps it VERY simple in the text itself, a single color scratchy font, but it works in the context it is used.

Gone-Home

Thomas Was Alone also keeps it simple, but add in the shapes and it really represents the game well.

thomas_was_alone_cabecera-new

Indie games in general have a lot of my favorite logos.  They really seem to try to say something about the game through the logo.  Celeste is about a lot of things, but on the surface it is about climbing a mountain, so they put the mountain right in the logo.

Celeste_logo-small

I mostly like this BIT.TRIP logo because of the colors, but it’s a pretty cool retro logo with a neat font as well.

bit-trip-runner-logo-new

Life Is Strange works the photography in as well.  And has a custom scratchy font that works.

life-is-strange-new

It almost feels unfair to include Tomorrow Corporation logos because their art is so amazing it feels a step above most indies.

little-inferno-logo

And another Tomorrow Corporation game logo that works very well in context.

ysp-humanresource-lead-100672901-large

One of my favorite indie game logos is for Night in the Woods, it has a lot of energy and style.

nightinthewoods-new

And finally, some busy logos that actually work as busy logos.  The World Ends With You to start.

the-world-ends-with-you-clean

Just love everything about this Earthworm Jim logo.  It has a LOT going on, but it all looks good together.

Earthworm_jim_logo_by_ringostarr39-d8ybc6p-new

Pikmin 3 uses the Pikmin themselves to create a logo, it’s so adorable!!!

Pikmin_3_logo-new

Viewtiful Joe, a wild game with a wild logo.

Vj-logo-new

I don’t know if this is an official logo but I can’t do anything about style without including the king of style, the Persona games.

persona-5-trailer-screenshot-01

I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of great ones, but this will have to do for now.

Anyway, here are the logos for Paper Salamander and In Retrospect!  I think they both turned out great!

facebook-360-v1

logo-lores-624

Some new screenshots for you!

If you’ve been paying attention to In Retrospect, you will probably notice a few things new to these screenshots.

1. The old player design was fine but it was too specific, I really want this game to be about YOU as the player playing YOUR life story, regardless of who you are. So instead of a specific character design, I decided to go more abstract. Not totally sure if this is working out as well as I imagined, but I think I’m heading in the right direction.

2. Enemies and other objects were too hard to pick out at a glance, so they all have outlines now. Enemies have red outlines, but other colors like green, yellow, and more are used for various objects as well.

Anyway, here you go!

In-Retrospect-1
In-Retrospect-3
In-Retrospect-2
In-Retrospect-6
In-Retrospect-8
In-Retrospect-12

Check out more here!

So this happened

This was an interesting little bug.

As far as I can tell I accidentally left the test character turned on just randomly hanging out up in the air, the actual character was also on and somehow got moved directly on top of the test character (no idea how the heck that happened), and they got stuck in some weird loop where they kept bouncing off of each other but couldn’t escape each other?  Something like that?!