Discover your fortune this Year of the Monkey by pausing the GIF or taking a screenshot. Share to your friends to find out theirs.
Happy Lunar New Year from Monster Roller!
Merry Christmas from Santa Arsonade and his monster helpers!
This week’s post delves a little into the technical challenges needed to make a game and the kind of problem solving that goes behind the scenes.
Monster Roller is made to be a game under fifty megabytes with no additional downloads. It’s also supposed to be made fast, but the game industry is secretly made of timelords. We’ll take a short look at both.
For build size, there are several variables that we try to control.
There’s our compression method, for one, and also how frequently we reuse assets. In a way it’s like balancing an equation. There are aspects we could polish in, or invest resources in, and the ‘mix’ of where to splurge on polish or cut corners is what makes the game a viable product given its requirements. I know that sounded really heavy. Just think of it as being in a banquet. Eventually you will get full. So you have to choose what food you’re gonna focus on with the right amount of variety.
Your writer is just hungry. That’s the real reason I talked about a buffet.
For today we’ll be going over our rigging template. And although the previous paragraph went over compression and build size, the actual subject of today is about managing time. Rigging is not an issue for compression — we compress vertex animation data very well. But what I’d like to point out this week is that any feature requires integration and testing. You have to code it right, script it right, and test it right. The more unique animations for unique rigs, the more code, script, and testing resources comes in — and these are all part of the ‘weight of assets’ — the issue isn’t just build size, but time.
So in Monster Roller, we sometimes share ‘rigs’ so that we save time in making a new rig. This makes it easier to SCRIPT and TEST for.
The end effect looks something like this:
You might be wondering how we know to have these kinds of templates.
The process goes something like this:
Here’s a segment of our rigging template list:
Overall, Monster Roller actually has a lot more templates than these. We’re just showing these for reference.
Till next time
Check out some of these new FX we are adding to Monster Roller! Let us know what you think in the comments.
[Claw and Bite]
[Pillar of light]
Mixed bag of updates this week. I’ll be going over them in more detail in the weeks to come.
One of the biggest things we’ve been working to fix is the speed of battle. Here you can see 2 GIFs comparing the speed of an old fight and a new fight, up until the first round.
Above/Left: the old flow. Note the attack log, floating numbers and the ‘About to fight!’ pose before the monsters actually bop each other.
Below/Right: the new flow. Attack log has been removed, damage is in larger numbers, the way the monsters jump in is sped up, the coin flip is faster as well. And we removed the ‘about to attack’ animation.
We’ll be going over how we got from the old animation to the new animation in the future post. Moving on, we also have a few new screenshots of UI and evolved monsters.
Having nailed down the look and feel for the UI (black/yellow/red color scheme, buttons that look like you’re in an arcade), what we’re looking at now is what features the user will find useful.
New Arena Screen. The 6vs6 fighting wasn’t so obvious back when we only showed unique ‘frontline’ monsters. Now it’s more obvious (but still WIP, because it’s showing 7 vs 6 — have to sort out how to fix that. Also, is it just me or shouldn’t the PLAYER be on the LEFT?)
New feature (still a WIP). The incubator that will close the loop of the game.
And now for some Evolutions:
Magmus’s Evolve: Volatil. Got itself more volcanoes and a larger fire fist.
Mortox’s Evolve: Mortagon. Entered the 20th century with that Gatling Gun. It’s sporting a pretty grimdark design with those bulletholed wings. Much edge.
Lectreel’s evolve. We don’t actually have a name for it yet.
Got any ideas? Let us know if you’ve got a name for Lectreel’s evolved form
Hey there Rollers!
Today we’ll have a short post about animation. In simple terms, we have a ‘skeleton’ of the monster whose parts all move. How we define these parts (usually called ‘bones’) and animate them determines how well they move. Fittingly, this kind of animation is called skeletal animation. The process of making all the bones add up to a body is called rigging.
As a simple example, a cat animation will have the body, tail, face, eyes (separated for blinking), and 4 legs. Depending on how complex your animation must be, you can also separate the ears, the joints for the legs, the whiskers, and so on.
Here’s what it looks like, straight from our animator’s computer: (Hi Macoy!)
Defining the ‘Rigging Templates’. As much as possible we want to reuse rigging templates so that we don’t have to waste time rigging every new monster. In a game with potentially over a hundred monsters, this is very important. So we have to tell the engine ‘This rig is for this monster’. In the picture below, Puffapy’s rig is the simplest one: it only needs a body.
Then in 3DSMax, the animator takes all these cut up assets (provided by the artist):
This ‘model’ is needed by the computer in order to interpret HOW to move the part. If you define your mesh well, you will be able to manipulate the part or model to do whatever animation it needs (like breathing, attacking, and so on.) How well something ‘moves’ also depends on what the engine can handle. Our engine supports keyframe animation (usual tweening stuff) and vertex animation. These topics will be discussed in the future, so stay tuned!
Returning to our Womburr (that’s the name of this new monster), after putting in all the individual parts together, the rigging is almost there:
Hope you guys enjoyed this short post on animation. Stay tuned next week for more.
For this week, we’ll be showing some sample animations of new monsters:
This guy is currently a support type Magma monster.
This guy has the ability to remove status effects from the whole party. Two other wave types — Lectreel and Puffapy — inflict really annoying stuns and poisons. That’s where Helmish comes in handy!
An unimpressed Volcannon:
Volcannon’s special ability damages targets for up to 5 times its attack stat (depending on how lucky you are!)
Pyropup! He kinda looks like he’s playing baseball…
He’s a heavy attacker with high HP, but Pyropup doesn’t have the best aim. He has a whopping three miss slots in his reel.
The updates this week are light, but next week we’ll be doing a lengthier piece on how we balance upwards of 20 monsters on an excel sheet.
We’ll see y’all next week! (And hopefully we’ve met some of you at GDC.)