Mutant Gangland – v0.2.0 Devlog + level editor and gameplay footage

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October is now officially half way through. Doing my best to stay on schedule and get the game ready for the October Challenge. If I can make the deadline, then perfect, else I’ll keep working on it till it’s ready. One thing I’m trying to avoid is releasing it unfinished and unpolished. In the previous post I’ve talked a bit about how the AI works. I’ll have a new blog post soon with some updates and information on the next version dubbed Irene. For now, I will focus on the game editor and the goals I hope to accomplish with this game.

First of all, I would like to mention that I’m going indie. Actually I went indie 4 months ago, but Mutant Gangland represents the first game I will release that is developed for myself, by myself. I have no experience with releasing a game on any platform so I’m getting ready for one hell of a ride. I’m writing this blog posts for two reasons:

  1. To relieve some stress and tension that has accumulated during development.
  2. To ease you guys into the game and hopefully get some feedback before I release it into the wild.

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Announcing: Mutant Gangland – Coffee-break TBS

Elevator pitch:

Mutant Gangland is a fast, neat and simple turn-based-strategy game where mutants fight robots . Build units, Conquer buildings and use them to Fund your army. Battles are short but the game packs 11 missions, 30 quick battles and a level editor to design your own maps.

  • A fun and pocket sized game with a simple setup of making soldiers, taking buildings and getting money. These matches take little time so you can play them during you coffee break.
  • It’s fast: Most actions can be completed in less than one turn. The AI is fast, input is responsive and units can be built and deployed in an instant.
  • Constant autosaves feature ensures you can turn the game off and resume playing whenever you want.
  • Buy once, play forever. No IAP, No Freemium, No DRM, You get what you see: Simple fun combat strategy.

Obligatory gif tease:

mutant_gangland_018_wordpress_battleView_gif

Totally biased opinion:

Work on Mutant Gangland (MGL) began  just after Mini-LD 44. It was meant to be an improved version of my #7DRTS entry, Mini Wars. Over the course of the following 3 months it grew bigger, prettier, faster and deadlier. After finishing the in-game level editor and play testing it I realized I might just have the perfect TBS to play during breaks. Since then my goal for the game was simple: Keep it small, keep it fast, keep it fun. It’s a streamlined Turn-based strategy game. Yes there are terrain stats modifiers, yes units can be built and buildings generate income. It has many of the core features from what people love in TBS’s but it’s also approachable for beginners. I’d like to think of it as the mutated-spawn of Desktop Dungeons and Advance Wars.

Maps range from 10×10 to 35×35 terrain units. Small enough to not feel crowded, big enough to play it between bus stops or when the compiler is under heavy duty. There are 2 factions with 4 units each:

  • A scout – perfect during early game when players rush for resources
  • A chainsaw wielding unit – the jack of all trades with good mobility, health and damage
  • A shotgun freak – for those annoying pests who keep trespassing your property
  • An artillery unit – because enemies on the other side of the gap can still take damage

Although each factions control similar units they are differentiated by stats, health gen, cost and mobility. Robots are cheaper and faster but their mechanical legs can be blown off. Mutants are brutes that can really pack a punch. Their health does not regenerate on it’s own but they have a higher chance of scoring a critical hit. Both factions can also acquire powerups such as:

  • Health Regen for the entire team
  • Damage boost for one turn
  • Increased movement range
  • Increased defense

The graphical elements and art direction are the work of Thomas Noppers, the man who’s twitter feed is always full of beautifully crafted pixel perfections. You can check out his Game design / Art blog here.

The game is currently under test on my devsofa channel. I plan on finishing it for this year’s October challenge and release it, at first, on the Android Market Place. A linux port will be available soon after that.

 

The wonder of AGK: Making Android, iOS and Meego apps

I’ll start this post by admitting that I’m a mediocre coder. I get things done fast and easy, but I rarely go deep when it comes to low-level coding. Instead I rely on other SDK’s and Libraries to get the job done for me. In the past few years I worked on my own DirectX based framework, which I used for a good amount of time. I had everything I need from Image and Sprite manipulation to loading and using 3D Meshes up to collision detection and physics. Yet, I had to drop the entire framework once I decided to try out mobile app developing. Instead of writing a new framework to I came across a wonderful SDK that offered me the features I needed In order to proceed with my passion. This marvelous tool is called AGK, the App Game Kit, developed by the same company that got me into programming, The Game Creators.

What is the App Game Kit?

The Game Creators describe AGK as being “a one stop solution for making game apps for mobile devices“. I would describe it as a “lazy-man’s” way of getting things done. The simplicity of it all with the combined support offered by the TGC community makes AGK a must-have tool for anyone who wants to develop their own games and applications for Android, iOS, Meego, Samsung Bada and even Windows. It takes care of any low-level nuissances one may encounter, while giving you a green light to do what you want, especially if you go for Tier 2 (C++).

AGK is a great tool for beginners and advanced users, as it comes in two flavors:

Tier 1: It is used to develop games in a basic-like environment, allowing the users to broadcast their apps from the IDE to their Smartphones and Tablets. The only downside of T1 is that you are limited to the set of commands (although they are many) that AGK gives you as you cannot use (yet) any other external libraries or SDK’s.

Tier 2: Now, Tier 2 (sometimes referred to as “Native”) allows users to code their games and apps using any modern C/C++ compiler. It removes any restriction T1 might have, allowing the coder to use any library/SDK he would want, along side AGK. For example, I’m using T2 and OpenCV in order to replicate the functionality of the “Power-level scouter” from the “Dragon Ball Z” series.

How useful is AGK for a Designer?

I work as a Game Designer at Gameloft Romania and even though I do not use AGK at work, I use daily when prototyping games. The simplicity of it’s commands allows me to get a game from paper to my android device in a matter of hours, sometimes even less. For example, I got Unstable Battlefield working on my HTC Cha Cha in just 3 hours after posting the concept on my blog. I find this tool extremely useful hence It allows me to focus allot more on the design process rather the spending time trying to get it functional. It’s not magic, but it’s as close as you can get to, right now at least.

The App Game Kit is constantly updated with new features and platforms. When I first got it, Android was in the works, AGK allowing users to deploy only on Windows, iOS and Mac. Just a few months later I can now deploy to those platforms, as well as Android, Samsung Bada and Meego. But it doesn’t stop here, the wonderful guys behind The Game Creators, the company that develops AGK, promise to support Windows Phone 7, as well as deploying any AGK apps in the browser. Would I use AGK to develop a commercial iOS/Android app? Yes, I would. Many others did, as you can see here.

It’s time to end this post about AGK here, but not before promising that I will continue to post updates regarding it. So keep an eye on this blog as I’ll treturn with more information and how-to’s, as well as many games and examples.