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A beautiful 2D sci-fi metroidvania about love, hope, and redemption. Gameplay influenced by Super Metroid and Dark Souls.
A beautiful 2D sci-fi metroidvania about love, hope, and redemption. Gameplay influenced by Super Metroid and Dark Souls.
3,014 backers pledged $54,007 to help bring this project to life.

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Quick update + Band Saga Kickstarter

18 likes

Hey guys. Development goes well and I'm on track to have a demo build for beta backers soon -- Mainly just working on graphics to fill in some of the more plain areas that will be included in the first demo.

I wanted to talk real quick about NPCs -- More specifically, one NPC. Her name is Gili. I've not mentioned her or shown her so far, but she is one of the most important characters in the game.

Gili
Gili

Generally, the NPCs you meet in Ghost Song are a bit strange or even aloof, often speaking of vague mysteries. It's kind of the "mood" of the game, as most people stuck here on Lupoto and managed to survive have become just a bit strange. Gili, however, is a bit different -- She speaks plainly and is entirely relatable. She is the survivor of a relatively recent shipwreck and her story is closely involved with that of the player. Also unlike most other NPCs, Gili takes a more active role in the game and isn't relegated to being a piece of talking scenery you occasionally run into.. But more on that later. (Just to clarify, this isn't a co-op thing, this is purely a single player game, don't worry, :)

Band Saga

There's something else I wanted to show you guys real quick. I am generally loathe to badger you guys, my backers, with a lot of promotional stuff, but given the circumstances I wanted to make a rare exception.

My friend Roger is the composer for Ghost Song. He has made all of the music in the game so far and the music in the trailers. If you've forgotten, here are a couple of examples:

Ghost Song: Bill's Theme
Ghost Song: Ghost Theme

During the years I have known him, he has always had a pet project around that he's been tinkering with. Though it's taken a few forms over time, it's always had a focus on being a game where people can easily make and share music -- And have it tie into the gameplay. During recent months it has really come together and taken shape as a colorful action roguelike game, where the levels are generated dynamically by music. It's a bit hard to explain in text, but it makes a lot of sense if you just see it yourself.

It's called Band Saga.

KICKSTARTER LINK

I'd appreciate it if you guys would check it out, and if it's something you're interested in, consider backing it. Its estimated release date is just around the corner (Jan 2015), so if funded, you won't have to wait that long to play it.

Also keep in mind I have no direct personal involvement in this project and gain nothing from it. Just trying to help a friend.

Talk to you soon!

Matt

New Gameplay Video

27 likes

Hello!

I've posted a new gameplay video. It was done in a similar way as the previous video -- That is to say, minimal explanation. Show rather than tell. It's unedited, and the location was chosen carefully so as to show a number of different things in under 10 minutes.

VIDEO LINK

(If you like the video, please share it with your friends!)

Fun trivia about the video -- Since I do these all in one take, it can take a few tries to get it right. I actually died once on that last battle, ending an otherwise perfect take (I could make myself invincible, but that wouldn't be an authentic video if my health went below zero and I didn't die). Sometimes the fights in this game can be tough, but the goal is the same as from the beginning -- Tough but fair. Challenging but not cruel.

The game may have a bit of a learning curve. If you play it as if it were Mega Man or Metroid, you'll probably find yourself dying a lot. Enemies often have projectiles, and these projectiles do not crawl across the screen. They are fast. You also may find yourself dying a lot if you like to run headlong into situations. Caution is usually the best way to approach unfamiliar territory.

The reason for this is because the combat encounters were balanced around the core controls and mechanics of the player, which are characterized by a high degree of speed and evasiveness (as you'll see demonstrated in this video). The player cannot sustain a lot of hits, particularly if those hits are made in quick succession (if your armor/stam bar is above half, your health won't go below 1, protecting you from ever having a single hit kill you). You must learn to quickly manage your resources in real time, and take advantage of your dash moves in particular in order to avoid being hit. This may sound daunting when described, but once you start playing it -- if you don't mind my saying so -- it just feels right. I have a high degree of confidence at this point in the basic gameplay mechanics and controls.

In the video you will be able to observe some new things. For instance, the map system is now fully implemented into the game. You cannot map rooms simply by walking into them, nor does the map display your exact coordinates within a given room. Rather, the map is pieced together by finding chunks of map data located within capsules. It should be noted that much of the game world can never be mapped, even if you find every capsule. The design goal here is that you have some ability to map and therefore have some frame of reference as to your whereabouts, but just enough that when you go "off map" (which you frequently will) it feels just that much more suspenseful.

You'll also note perhaps the single most important change since last video -- The camera view. Previously, the camera was simply too close in. I expanded the boundaries of the screen to make everything more fun to play. This allows fast action to play out in a way that feels a bit more fair. 

Also new is the ability to influence the camera's positioning by pushing the right analog stick around, which is what you'll see me frequently doing while playing in this video. It becomes second nature.

Gamepad

Currently, here in the ol' Ghost Song basement, the 360 gamepad is what is used to play the game during development. I haven't really tackled the challenge of getting different types of controllers working perfectly yet, but, suffice it to say, if you have a 360 gamepad everything will be perfect. Plug and play.

Here's how the buttons are mapped:

A: jump
B: interact
X: cannon shot
Y: special shot

Lb: dash left
Rb: dash right

LT: hold for forced diagonal aim
RT/L3: cycle special weapons

Left stick/dpad: movement
Right stick: influence camera
R3: reset camera

Back: toggle map overlay

House cleaning

Thanks for checking out the video. I apologize for not having a date for release yet, but trust me when I say that I'm working hard on this game and it's center stage in my life right now.

The Wii U question remains the same as before. I really want to do it, but whether this happens depends entirely on technical stuff. To wit, I've heard some rumblings about an Open FL (Open FL is the engine Stencyl, and thus Ghost Song, is based on) console export being worked on, but I have nothing concrete yet.

If you have any questions, let me have it and I'll do my best to answer. Thanks again to everyone who has backed. I really appreciate this rare opportunity I've been given.

Music: Roger Hicks
Voice of Saymund: Ryan Cooper

Please follow me on twitter if you haven't already:
www.twitter.com/twotimingpete

Thanks,

Matt

Progress update + New media

33 likes

There's no beta demo yet, I apologize if this notification made you think so. But I feel like it's nice to keep you guys at least somewhat appraised of what I've been up to.

As mentioned before, I'm working on doing a new video soon that demonstrates some of the progress and changes the game has undergone. This will be a more casual video, where I'll play the game and talk about it. Basically I just need to finish up a few more assets before I can record it.

In it, we'll see more of the new screen orientation, we'll also see some new enemies and learn more about how the map system works. I'll also give a rundown on how the game controls on a gamepad.

Speaking of gamepad, it was only in the past few weeks that I've gotten this working properly. The game's controls were designed using an Xbox 360 gamepad, and the controls map perfectly onto it if you have one plugged in without you having to do anything. Other gamepads haven't really been tested yet, but I plan to implement a feature where you can map your own buttons should all else fail.

Following the video, the next milestone I'll be working towards is a playable demo build for beta backers to play. The first build will be limited in scope and may potentially be buggy for some users, but it'll be important to start to get some feedback on the game in both a technical sense and a gameplay sense. As I said, when this happens I'll put up a private forum for us to use to discuss the game, and I'll roll out new versions onto that forum and people who are interested in doing so will be able to test and provide feedback.

Thanks for backing. Here are some new images for you guys to look at until the next update. These thumbnails link to higher resolution webm videos, so click them for the full experience.

If you follow me on twitter sometimes you'll see images like these ahead of time, as I occasionally tweet out images and clips of what I'm doing.

Thanks!

Matt

Updated screen dimensions

36 likes

Hey guys! Just a small update today to keep everyone in the loop of what I'm up to and how the game is shaping up.

After a lot of reflection about the game possibly feeling a bit "cramped", I decided, on a whim, to try extending the screen boundaries for an overall more "zoomed out" appearance.

Turned out rather well! It plays better this way, I feel, and the game also has a higher native resolution, so in effect it looks sharper when full screened, and any concerns about it looking "blurry" when full screened on a big TV are pretty much over with.

Here are some examples:

http://gfycat.com/BlondInconsequentialApatosaur

http://gfycat.com/IdleDeliriousHowlermonkey

http://gfycat.com/IckyUniformFairybluebird

Pretty excited about this change, and that it went over so painlessly. I think once you guys get the game and play it full screened you'll feel very good about how it looks.

Right now I'm in the process of tinkering around with Spine 2D in hopes of getting it integrated into the game so we can properly do up some BIG badguys!

My next milestone is having a beta demo for beta backers to play. I hope to have it by end of summer. It may be a bit rough around the edges, but I'd like to include those who backed that tier in the process as soon as I can. We'll have a little message board to talk about the game amongst ourselves and everything. :)

'Til next time.

Matt

Ghost Song has been Greenlit + Other news

33 likes

Greenlight

Ghost Song has been officially Greenlit, and the Youtube gameplay video has reached over 30,000 views. We reached #11 out of 1,717 games just prior to being put through. I'd like to thank everyone again for your kind words, support, votes, and backing!

Release date?

I think it's probably time to talk a bit about release date. This seems to be the elephant in the room, since the Kickstarter states May 2014.

The first thing to understand about that date is it was set back around July of last year, before the Kickstarter even launched, simply because in the project submission you have no choice but to estimate a delivery date. At that time, I really had no way of knowing, and it was a pretty wild guess. I've gone through a few phases and growing pains since then, and while things are going smoothly now, I had no way of knowing last summer what all I'd face.

While I have help and support here and there from talented people, the majority of the game, tasks large and small, are currently being done solely by me. I'm wearing more hats than a thing that wears a lot of hats, in Phoenix, in the summer. I'm trying to find a way to hire an artist, that remains something on the table, and Roger does great music and sounds, but aside from that it's mostly just me.

Gel Bomb
Gel Bomb

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, and I enjoy the process and feel more confident than ever in the game. I've made more progress in terms of solidifying mechanics, scoping the game, and bringing the project into focus over the past two months than ever before. It's only very recently that the project has really felt like it's coming together. A lot of credit goes to Stencyl and Jon [the owner of Stencyl] for making this all so much less painful than it could be. A toolset like Stencyl gets a lot of the technical tedium out of the way (though there is always some technical tedium) and lets me more efficiently spend my time on game design.

In short, I'm making great progress, but suffice it to say, a May 2014 release is not going to be reality.

So let's talk turkey. When are you going to be able to play this game? My current goal is to have the game done in 2014, which would likely mean Fall or Winter. This will not be easy, but I do think it's possible, especially given how much progress I've made lately. This also isn't a promise, though, and while uncertainty around the release date bothers me, and it pains me if any of you are upset about this, the ultimate goal must be delivering the game that I promised and making it good enough that no one regrets backing it. I think most of you will forgive me for overshooting a release date, but most of you wouldn't if the game was a stinker. I have to set priorities. My reputation is at stake, and finishing the game and finishing it well are all I care about at this point.

Over the next couple months, I do hope to have a playable beta out to beta backers. I'll put up a private forum for us to discuss the game together. This build will likely contain bugs and won't include all of the game's content, but hopefully those who want to get more into the process or just check out the game will have that chance this Summer.

Since I know you'll ask, I have nothing to announce on console ports yet, but understand that I identify myself as a console gamer and that fascination with consoles remains a motivating factor in my decision making. I have heard little things here and there, and I think a Wii U port is completely possible, but, again, it's not anything I can really talk about publicly yet.

Thanks for understanding, and if you have questions I'm always a click or two away.

Matt 

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