Indie platformer

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Released on Steam!

1:34:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj , No comments
Goblin and Coins (known as Goblins and Coins before rest of the goblins got lost during the terrible events of 2016 goblinpocalypse) has been released on Steam! There's a 15% discount in place for the initial period, and many new features have been added including unlockable recipes (for real meals prepared for centuries by goblin cooks around the world), Steam achievements and cloud saves, Linux/SteamOS support, timed challenge with a leaderboard and even a bestiary so you can gloat over the defeated enemies.


I do intend to keep my promise to the early supporters, so no bundles or mass giveaways. Sorry if this disagrees with you, but I believe game is cheap enough to be considered affordable even on its own.

Monday, October 24, 2016

World 5 on the way

4:02:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
After several days of improving world 4, improving GUI (mostly menus and prompts) and working slowly on tiles and sprites for world 5, I've released alpha 0.2.0.0 which features level 5-1 and all the previous improvements, including a bit better sprite for the Goblin. Finally, we get to see the Castle Keep... Well, not really. No pictures nor videos today, sorry folks.

Still waiting for the good people who are doing the testing on world 4 to report any bugs. Haven't started work on Legend besides making space for it in the main menu, but I have decided on five meals to be featured in the recipes. I'll do that alongside the world 5 levels during late October and November. I expect to have all the story levels and maybe even a challenge level by the end of November, when I'll start implementing Steamworks features (achievements, cloud save, leader-boards for challenge) and start closed beta testing of Steam version.

Release date? Still not sure, but either early December or late January most likely. Depends on the progress and my other duties in life.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Testing and improving world 4

4:32:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
I've spend almost the entire afternoon working on the game. Sadly, most of these things you'll never see because I decided to reverse those changes. My first idea was to make levels prettier for screenshots by adding fake platforms in front of the main ground mass. It did look nice, but as I feared, it was very much confusing and distracting for players. After checking out some NES and Genesis classics on Youtube, I've decided to keep the "less pretty" but more practical layout.


Afterwards, I started drawing tiles and a background for world 5 and even made 70% of an initial level... but decided to scrap that too because the idea I had didn't really play well with mechanics and rules I set for the game. Don't worry, I do have another idea, but for another day.

Then I decided to add even more support for x-input gamepads, by adding the option to set your own preferred threshold for the analogue joystick. So far I've been using 50%, which means you had to press it with your thumb half-way to the side in order for command to be registered. Now you can set it in 5 steps from 40% to 80% with default value set to 50% as before.

I've also started preparing space for Legend, the new feature that will be an encyclopedia of sorts for the game world, creatures, recipes... Achievements will also fit here nicely, so I moved them from the main menu.

What else? I've created announcement sounds for the 4th world and implemented them, added an additional coin to the same world so there's total of 100 gold coins inside and around the village, and... I've started testing a new font.

I think that's it for today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Goblins and Coins has been Greenlit!

2:55:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
Goblins and Coins has been Greenlit yesterday. This means that the game will appear on Steam once it's finished and ready. Of course, if you have already supported it via Itch.io you'll get your steam activation key once this happens.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Introducing: Legend

5:55:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
It might be the time to unveil another feature that is not yet implemented, but will be before the release, and that's Legend.

It's a scroll of sorts containing information about the creatures you meet in the world, but also stories and important facts about the world itself, dangers you might encounter and so on.

These will be unlocked as you encounter them, so no reading ahead and cheating.

I've also decided on bonus items you can pick up besides the coins and it's recipes. Real cooking recipes that will actually enable you to follow them and make a tasty meal in your own home, outside of the game.

My idea is to have a piece of paper in each world that Goblin can find and pick up, and that will unlock a recipe in the Legend. Bean soup will be available from the start, but I want to include some traditional meals from Balkan region which aren't that much known across the world.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Now on Greenlight

4:22:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
Wanna see Goblins and Coins on Steam soon? Visit the Greenlight page and vote for it right now, then tell your friends about it and have them vote too.

World 4 is almost done, I believe I'll finish it during this week. That leaves world 5 and some testing afterwards, improving the graphics where possible and... launch.

Thank you for all the support!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Working on the 4th world

7:55:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
I've started working on the world 4 the other day. It's gonna be called Sleepy Village (not so sleepy, as you'll be able to see) and it will be split into three zones; there will be transition from swamp to forest surrounding the village, then meadows and fields and gardens, and only in the end, the village itself. After having all those hard jumps in world 3, we're going back to "action" sequences with lightweight environment puzzles, as can be seen in this video showing off the brand new level 4-1:


I've already finished level 4-2 (available in the build 0.1.2.0) and it offers the player to solve some problems in order to continue further along the path, but it's still pretty much linear and action-oriented. Now, after the forest, goblin will enter the fields and that will introduce even more traps and enemies... That I have to make first. Here's what farmers will look like (from draft on paper to working enemy in game):

Farmer - from draft to working enemy

Anyway, world 4 is planned to have the most variety in appearance of its levels, and so far it looks I'm gonna achieve that.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Alpha!

12:25:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
I've declared the latest build alpha. This comes after a year of development and 36 pre-alpha releases. The game is definitely stable enough, there's 60% of planned content already and all the reported bugs have been fixed. Next - improvements, more content (2 worlds left), testing, more improvements, more testing...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Minor improvements, Alpha coming soon!

10:32:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
After the initial feedback on the last version, build 0.0.3.8 is available for download in Windows and Linux (Ubuntu) edition. There's nothing new content-wise, but there are some important improvements that plyers have been asking for for a while now.

  • Added a short pause after re-spawn so players don't accidentally die again by sliding into a nearby trap. This was the most wanted function lately and I think it will help casual players a lot, but am not sure if I should also keep it for the "old school" difficulty level. I have time to think about it and gather feedback as my focus for now is on the casual mode, with intention to define rules for old school at a later point.
  • Added ability to reset keyboard keys to default setting. Not many people asked for this but it should be useful.
  • Added support for D-pad on gamepads (alongside analogue stick). Apparently I forgot this basic function before, so it's here now. Really hope it works as intended, as I don't have a gamepad yet so I can't test it. Thinking of getting Logitech F310, it has Xinput and a nice shape.
  • Improved tree tiles in world 3. Basically I re-positioned the holes in the trees and made them a bit bigger, but more importantly, I added "transparency" to emulate entering the shadow that the tree is casting.
  • Improved ghost sprites in world 2. Added more shades to make it look more natural and changed color of secondary variant completely... Might reverse that based on feedback.

Please note: Promotion to alpha is long overdue. There's no known game-breaking bugs for months now, game works just fine and graphics have been improved a lot lately. I'll change development status from pre-alpha to alpha as soon as I'm happy with the amount of testing this version receives.

Demo has been updated as well.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

World 3 complete, game content at 60%

6:56:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
Build 0.0.3.7 is available now and with that, world 3 is finally complete. After some testing and potential fixes, I will change the status from pre-alpha to alpha. It's been overdue for some time now. Anyway, here's what's new in this version:

  • Brand new level 3-7
  • World 3 boss fight
  • 2 new story screens for world 3
  • Fixed tree openings graphic for world 3
  • Fixed some tile placement on world 3
  • Added an underwater detail to hint that depths are dangerous
  • Fixed a small inconsistency in level 1-7
  • Added a tutorial hint for opening doors in level 1-1

Some World III Gameplay:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New level, knock-back reduced. Alpha coming soon!

3:25:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
Hello! There's a new version available and it brings many major and minor improvements and additions. Two most important are a brand new level 3-6 and knock-back from enemies and traps being greatly reduced. This means if you're standing on a narrow platform and a bat/ghost/wasp touches you and hurts you, you won't bounce off it like before and end up in lava/spikes/water depths. Instead, you'll just bounce in place, become invulnerable for a time and destroy the enemy that hurt you.

The rest of changes are minor but not negligible:
  • Fixed some misplaced tiles in world 1
  • Mine shaft lamp in world 1 animated
  • Changed the hurt effect and destruction effect for the Golem King boss
  • Added new background tiles for world 3
  • Added new type of destructible platforms for world 3
  • Changed the look of vine leaves platforms (again, world 3)

Please note: Promotion to alpha is long overdue. There's no known game-breaking bugs for months now, game works just fine and graphics have been improved a lot lately. I'll change development status from pre-alpha to alpha after the world 3 is done. That means one more level, 2 story screens and a boss fight. I might also improve animation/looks for the ghosts in world 2 for this occasion.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

New level available: 3-5

5:53:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
Version 0.0.3.5 is now available to the early supporters and it brings a brand new level with many smaller improvements, mainly for the world 3, Gassy Swamp. It also introduces spiky vines for the first time, which is something you'll encounter more and more during the travels though the world 3.


Here's a short list of all the things new and improved:
  • Level 3-4 moved to 3-5
  • Brand new level 3-4
  • Fixed some problematic tiles for a first tree on 3-1
  • Moved the first snake on 3-2
  • Fixed leap of faith on 3-5 (former 3-4)
  • ROUS nerfed (speed, sight)
  • Floating leaves synced better (to be seen and potentially finely tuned)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New level available: 3-4

5:40:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
A fine day for a new update! Apart from a (weird) new level, there are some minor improvements to the story graphics (you know, static panels that are shown while there's some story being typed by an invisible typewriter) and maybe even more importantly, I've reworked the parallax scrolling backgrounds for the world 2, Cursed Graveyard... to make it more "graveyardy".


See, there are dark purple tombstones as the first background layer now, and the hills are lowered a bit. Is this better now? I can't tell...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

New level available: 3-3

8:24:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
Pre-alpha 30 is now available to the early supporters through their respective download pages over at itch.io and it features a brand new level for the Gassy Swamp. I wanted to add some new gameplay elements to the third world but only one of the things I've been working on was ready for this release, and it's a new kind of trap, so be careful out there!

I've also used this opportunity to fix something that has been bothering me for a long time, and that's positioning of some coins in level 2-6. I've intended them to lead the player through some challenging jumps but never actually moved them to the final positions... Well, that's done now. The rest of the changes you can find in the list below, it's nothing game changing... or maybe it is, who am I to judge?

[Major] Build 0.0.3.3

  • New level (3-3)
  • New trap (mechanical spears)
  • Improved shading on the falling stalactites in world 1
  • Changed the tone of ax throwers so they are more easily distinguished from regular skeletons
  • Added new announcement sounds: Ax thrower, Rous, Wasp, Milipede
  • Added new tiles (transition grass2stone, decorative shell)
  • Changed coin placement in 2-6 to better lead the player through some challenging jumps

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An interesting lesson

2:03:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
The game has been in development for almost a year now. Not constantly, sometimes I release 10 versions in 3 days, sometimes there's no new version for two weeks or so, depending on what stage of development I'm at or if I have some important duties IRL. And during that time, I've had 2 or 3 reports from testers that, when using gamepad, pressing "fast forward" during intro would react in a weird manner and skip several "pages" instead. Mind you, the same thing works perfectly on keyboard, and I've decided to leave that minor annoyance for later. After all, the only story sequence where there's more than one page is the intro at the beginning of the game. Then, the other day, I've been watching a youtuber play pre-alpha version... and noticed that half the story screens are not showing. Suddenly, it wasn't just a minor annoyance, it was a problem.

This story has a tl,dr; but let me tell everything, it will be more funny. Or at least I hope it will.

How it all started? I had a single story screen with audio for both dragon and goblin. At the time, I added a skip intro command, which would simply go to the next screen. Simple solutions are the best, right?

Some time later, I replaced this audiovisual sequence with an old-timey typewriter text intro and static images, which is something I enjoyed back in the NES times. Then I added more screens. So, skip intro became skip "page" or "screen". And some screens got two or three lines of typewriter text. You see how it's getting complicated? I could have used a single screen for all of this, but found this way to be easier to control, so I don't make a mistake. And while it may not be the solution someone else would go for, it worked.

It worked perfectly on keyboard, that is. Just as it was intended. Screen would open with a static image and typewriter text would start appearing. If you held the space button, you'd rush it to go faster. If you pressed space again at the end, the next line of text would start. If you wanted to skip the entire screen, you'd press ctrl button and it would change to the next one, just as intended.

But couple of testers reported that pressing "space equivalent" on gamepad would skip "several pages". Just like that.

Now, mind you, I don't have a gamepad. Well, I have one of the old ones that are not X360 compatible, so it doesn't actually work with the game. I don't have a way to test this and reproduce the bug myself, have to rely on feedback from testers. I could get one... but X360 gamepad in my country costs a lot compared to the average paycheck, so I postponed that until it's really necessary, because I wouldn't use it much.

Instead, I took upon myself to solve this problem without actually testing it myself. And that was a huge mistake. Why? Because after everything I did and all the work I put into it, I realized there was no problem. Command keys were working as intended.

So, how come the game skipped a lot of story for some people? It's simple. They used the wrong button. Or more precisely, I used the wrong button, when I selected the keys for certain actions on gamepad. Let me explain this. There are two actions in game that have dedicated buttons on gamepad, jump and action (enter doors, turn the lever and so on). Jump was btn1 and action was btn2. Or call them X and Y, or A and B if you'd like. "Action" is controlled by space on keyboard. So... I used the same button to replace space in the intro, for consistency. Which led to btn2, or B on x360 gamepad, to be "fast forward" or "next line of text", and btn1 or A, to be "skip this screen entirely". This was documented in the quick started guide, of course.

You don't see the problem yet? Neither did I.

Then, while talking with two early adopters yesterday and today, I realized something. They have a very strong habit of pressing the first button (A) to advance through the story. Apparently, every other game does this, which I would know if I played any games on gamepad... or used common sense in the first place. I've used gamepads on NES, Genesis, PS2... I should have known everyone is gonna press the first button instinctively. Which did the skipping in my game!

Of course, add to that starting confusion another one with "page" meaning line of text for them and a screen containing any number of lines of text to me. Also, they didn't expect skipping intro would skip a single screen but the entire intro, so when it happened it looked like a bug to them. It was a feature, lol.

Lesson? Fixing problem you don't understand fully may be an opportunity to learn... but also a waste of valuable time if you're fixing something that isn't really there and not noticing the real problem.

Who's to blame in all of this? Well, me of course, who else. While trying to achieve some meaningless perfection by using the same button that imitated space in the game and space in the intro, I totally forgot to use common sense and ask my self if that is the button everyone would use without reading the instructions first. Because, who reads instructions for such a simple game... or any game except maybe very complex RTS? I certainly don't.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Level 3-2 available now

1:13:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
Now that I'm finally happy with tile set for the Gassy Swamp, I've decided to release a new level, 3-2. It features more of the same as 3-1 but also some shallow muddy water which hides "bean shooters" plants, which is a surprise that I've mentioned the last time. They are not hard to disable or avoid, but could surprise you if you don't expect them. Oh, I guess I just spoiled the surprise. Never mind, the level is challenging enough. I'll wait for some feedback by the early adopters and potentially add some bean soup to make it easier. Also thinking of going back to Cursed graveyard and adding bean soup to at least one or two levels there.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Improved end screen

7:53:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
I've realized changes to the platform outlines for world II do not work as intended so I've decided to revert them to the previous look. Then I added some minor tiles to world III to improve the overall experience... and earlier today I've created a new monster for the swamp and fixed a small audio glitch for one of the existing enemies there.
Not one of these things would make me release a new version immediately - not when I'm in the process of designing a brand new level and a new version is planned already anyway - but I've also improved the high score / end screen by adding rating of your play trough expressed in golden stars - and I wanted to add that to demo too, so everyone can see it and... We have 0.0.3.1b / 0.0.2.16 now. Yay!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Enter world 3 - Gassy swamp

6:42:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
It's my pleasure to inform you that work on world 3, Gassy Swamp, is progressing well. Enough of new tiles and enemies have been finished in order for me to prepare the first level for this world.

It's a short one, but will show you what to expect in this new environment - snakes, rodents of unusual size, wasps, water to potentially drown in (expect more things related to water in later levels; I have some nasty surprises ready but didn't include them in the initial level in order to pace the "incoming troubles" better through all 7 levels of this world).

As always, if you notice any bugs, please let me know and I'll do anything I can to fix them asap. I'll leave the stable branch as a separate download just in case, and new levels will show up in pre-alpha 0.0.3.x branch (windows only, for now).

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Archetype: Walkers

9:14:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
There are many kinds of opponents in platforming video games. The most common kind are walkers who, simply said, walk around a pre-defined area of the level and interrupt players progress by simply being there. More advanced types have additional skills like shooting, throwing, rushing an enemy or something similar. Here's a short video introducing you to the walkers of Goblins and Coins:


What do you think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Rous

4:04:00 PM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
I admit, I'm a fan of the Princess Bride. I've seen the movie several times and have a book close bye. It's true that you need a grown up to skip the boring parts, sadly. But I guess that's the point, in a way? Speaking of a point, this article is about a new enemy for the world#3 (Gassy Swamp) and it's huge (proportionately to our little Goblin) and I just could not avoid naming it ROUS (rodent of unusual size). Take a look:


What do you think?

Changed the look of the world map

1:23:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
I'm currently working on assets for world 3 (most tiles and a few of new enemies are ready to be implemented) and while making a map screen for it, I've decided to improve the entire map visually, but also to push the fog of war a bit further away so players can see one world ahead, and not just the world they are about to play. I hope this will provide additional motivation for finishing unlocked worlds and continuing with the game.


Demo has been updated to the latest version.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Making of: Plant based platform

10:00:00 AM Posted by Nikola Bulj No comments
I made a short video to show you how an unsafe platform is made from scratch. First, there's a drawing - on paper. Then, I create several sprites in order to animate it. At the end, the easiest part - adding sprites to the game, assigning them to an object and coding it's behavior. In this case, it's a plant based platform for world#3 (Gassy Swamp). You can watch the video here: