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Timely Update #1: PAX Thoughts


Mystical Greetings backers and nonbackers and all pets.  The ToGsters have recovered from the obligatory conference illnesses.  Frankie, Pasty and Bhroom are ready to report what went down in "The Windy City."

Here is a breakdown of what all went down at PAX.

Demo-ing Barkley 2

In all honesty, the first time we showed Barkley at PAX Prime two years ago, the game was a bit faked. It definitely showcased what the intent of the visual and feel of the game would be … but the systems inside, the mechanics, were very simple and very unbalanced. All that has changed as the ToGsters have shaped and molded the game into the giant heap it is now.

This heap is playable though, and represents truly that we think the finished product is going to be. Which we think means it is GOOD.  In the last update just before PAX, we showed some screenshots with what we thought/hoped/prayed would be experienced in the live demo. We can safely and assuredly say now that that we showed was what people got!

In a very satisfying and redemptive way, the game performed as we planned. What we predicted would happen generally did with most players, and even more so: our tips to G.A.M.E.R.S. on how to survive, how to thrive in the game, when followed, were extremely effective. We are still a little bit away from actual Player Experience TeSting (P.E.T.S.) so that wasn’t really the ultimate goal of the show. We were looking for proof, outside of our own internal development, that the game could be played by the general public and understood.

Mainly this revolves around a pretty tight game loop (ie. the repeating mechanic of the game that players learn, practice and perfect in order to progress). On the surface Barkley 2 looks like a top down shooter; it definitely is, but the extremely small view port of the game (384x240px scaled), proportionally large enemies and player sprites, and a big honkin’ HUD taking up ¼ of the bottom of the screen push the game into a much-intended encounter-based Role Playing Game. That’s right, we talkin’ RPGs. A-RPGs!

The game loop rewards players for moving slowly and deliberately, encountering each enemy, dealing with it in whatever gun’sfashion they choose, and then moving on. Players should constantly be checking stats and inventory to decide whether their current excursion is moving positively, or if they need to return to the nearest Utility Station and smelt down some gun’s for more ammo and engage in some selective gun’sbreeding.

Avoiding turning this update into a game mechanics discussion (that’s for later), here are two game concepts that we’ve talked about but will make these paragraphs easier to understand:

  • Gun’ssmelting – In the utility station, players can SMELT down their undesired wild gun’s that they’ve picked up while exploring. The derived SMELT POINTS from this action are used to refill your main, named (and tamed) gun’s. 
  • Gun’sbreeding – This is how you level up your gun’s. You breed two gun’s together and their genetic material (which is derived from their own parents) are passed down into a child gun. This is also performed in the Utility Station. 

Bhroom explains a little about these processes and more in this video from PC Gamer's coverage:

Enemies are fast and accurate, and the game punishes general run and gun behavior. But we also saw that if you have the appropriate gun’s and equipment, a faster and wider game loop is achievable through discipline and clever breeding. On the other hand, going too slow could end up yielding too few gun’s drops from enemies to keep your smelting and breeding sustainable. This could end up sending you back to an easier area to stock up on weaker gun’s, or worse … find you face down in the junk and muck of the Cyberpocalyptic Wasteland.

So with all the systems in the game now, and with them firing in a seemingly desired sequence, we have paved the way for PURE CONTENT CREATION. This is what we’ve been striving for since that fateful PAX Prime two years ago, and we’ve finally achieved it. We’ve been building and growing content this entire time as well, but now it’s just a matter of taking what resources we’ve created and connecting the proper hooks. (Before you ask: 11/11/2023)

Demo-ing Tactics: Ballre

Tactics:Ballre or Bball Tactics or BBTTX was also on display for people to get their grubby little paws on. Since GameMaker gives us the ability to export to a variety of platforms, we were able to get it running, on all things, An Android TV for PAX.

While the game itself will be single player within Barkley, we wanted to engage convention goers a little more by having a multiplayer build (nevermind that the AI isn’t ready yet anyways). It worked really well! With the art and animations up to speed on the minigame, which is aiming to have the scope and depth of Blitzball, relatively, we are moving forward with some gameplay and mechanics clean-up and then getting the AI up to par.

And since it was running on Android already does that mean it’s also touch-capable and can scale to any tablet or phone, or in this case television, form factor? You bet your rump it does.

Beyond that thinly veiled teaser, there isn’t as much to report on Tactics yet. We’re cleaning it up getting it ready for both insertion back into Barkley 2 proper and also following avenues about it being a standalone game.

Check out this article and video belowfor a very solid synopsis of what Tactics: Ballre is going to be.

The Cyberdwarf

The Cyberdwarf definitely pulled his weight at the show! First of all, look at how glorious this is!

Secondly, we sent “the man behind the ball,” aka Kyle, a build for him to play up on and learn some of the lingo of the Cyberpocalypse. Not only did he cover the game we sent tremendously, but he was able to pick up the slack of the booth while Bhroom and Frankie were pulled in one direction or another. He did an amazing job and assuredly made his mark on PAX, Seattle and the entire Western Seaboard both emotionally and ecologically for years to come.

PAX Rumble 2015

We participated in the PAX Rumble … it was pretty much right up our alley. You can watch us here and here … sorta. Bhroom has effectively never watched wrestling so the jargon and swagger was a little lost, but Kyle played exceptionally well given the two blaring teal LEDs in his eyes and cyberpunk gauntlets wrapped around the N64 controller..

We’ll be back, Seattle … oh and okay one more Cyberdwarf:

Quick Pre-PAX Screenshot Update


Updating now before PAX Starts in two days.  You should swing by the ToG Booth (880 in the Indie MEGABOOTH and get your hands on a live, fresh, bad-to-the-bone Barkley 2 build!

We're also showing across the street from PAX at the Giantbomb Showcase on Friday and Saturday.  Check info here.

But, as we know, the ToGnation spans across the globe, not just Seattle. So for those of you can’t make it, here are some ‘caps of the glory you’ll be missing out on:

This guy ...
This guy ...
Junk scavenging robotic menaces!
Junk scavenging robotic menaces!
Putting enemies to sleep… with bullets! That’s how bullets work, see.
Putting enemies to sleep… with bullets! That’s how bullets work, see.
Gun's Breeding
Gun's Breeding
Gun's Browsing
Gun's Browsing
Trash talkin' while talkin' trash.
Trash talkin' while talkin' trash.
Explore topics of faith, perserverance, junk and muck!
Explore topics of faith, perserverance, junk and muck!
Missiles and Treads, battling over sacred greenery in a land of waste ...
Missiles and Treads, battling over sacred greenery in a land of waste ...
Neon lairs in TnN
Neon lairs in TnN
Tied up and getting some tough love.
Tied up and getting some tough love.

If you’d like to see more, then you know where to find us….

ToG out

At last, the promise has been made ...


For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Video Teaser Coming Tomorrow


For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.

Progress Update: "All Systems Are Go"


Meets and Greets,

Bisse here again, dropping in to give a little progress report on the gameplay and combat side of the game.

We just quietly hit a pretty big milestone. Here at ToG, we work in 2-week sprints, and this is our first sprint since - well, since I joined two years ago - that we have no ‘systems’ implementation work planned. What that means is this: all of our planned gameplay features and systems are implemented and working, without any major bugs/missing features.
What kind of systems are we talking about? Basically, the entire back-end of the game, and all of the planned gameplay features. The list includes:
  • Gun's Generation
  • Gun's Breeding (Fusion)
  • Enemy AI
  • In-game dev tools for creating enemy encounters
  • RPG stats
  • Status effects and disables
  • Animations
  • SAT Collisions
  • Equipment
  • Zaubers
  • Consumables
  • XP and Levelling
  • Saving/Loading
  • Environmental Interactions
  • In-game dev tools for working with all of the above
  • ...and much more.

There are still many smaller things left, such as more in-depth combat encounter scripting. But overall, this is a very important milestone, and this week marks the first time in forever that we are able to focus 100% on building content on top of the engine we've put together. Currently we are working on the Junk-bot’s, who pick up loose junk and parts to upgrade themselves during combat. To be honest, it’s quite liberating to be actively working on actual enemies and attacks rather than the systems behind them. Personally I consider this the most ‘fun’ part of game development!

So we've finally reached this point, but much of this work we are not yet ready to blow the lid on.  Zaubers, for example, need more art assets, polish, and most of all more cast-able zaubers, before we are ready to show it off. So, there is a lot of work done that is not possible to show to you, our backers, yet. We know many of you have waited a long time to see how this game looks and plays, but we hope that you can wait a bit longer too see what we have, until we have created and polished the unique gameplay experience we have been working towards from the very start.

Keep Calm and Quote Worn-out Meme’s,