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View Full Version : Darkdawn: Encounters - interested?



LeoCeballos
11-10-2013, 06:12 PM
Hello everyone!

My name is Leonardo Ceballos, and I'm an indie developer. I have recently launched my first solo project, Darkdawn: Encounters, to the Google Play market as an "early access" game. Its still in development, and will cost $1.99 when launched (its $0.99 now). Its a 3D capital spaceship combat game designed to be slick and fun on touchscreens. My intention was to release it on iOS, WP8 and Android when finished, and leave it at that.

However, two recent developments have left me considering an Ouya release. One, that the youtube 720p feed held up better than I thought on my 32inch TV, and two, that one of my testers convinced me to add a "cycle targets" button (which would be easy to replicate on a gamepad) in addition to the "tap to target" mechanic that was in place before. Both these things led me to think that it might be a pretty fun experience on TV as well as a small touchscreen. I've tested the game extensively on the Tegra-3 based Nexus 7 2012, and it even runs very smooth on a Tegra 2, so I'm expecting it so work similarly well on the Ouya (is this a valid assumption?!)

But I don't have an OUYA yet, and with the holidays coming up, I think I can only justify the purchase if I am sure I'm going to develop for it! And I can only justify that, if there is at lease some amount of interest.

So how about it, Ouya owners? Is this something you'd like to pick up for a buck or two? Its very much a passion project for me, and I'm planning on supporting it with serious expansions (not nickel and dime DLC; think more the B-Wing campaign for X-Wing or the Wing Commander expansion packs of old). You guys think I'd make my money back, at least?

***Note that the game does NOT currently support gamepad controls, so I don't think sideloading would be a great idea just yet. But I think I might grab my wired X360 controller sometime during the week and get it running, to test how gamepad controls would feel.

Darkdawn: Encounters on Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Leo.DarkDawn)

Promo "Ship viewer" (with AR mode) - free on google play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.LeoCeballos.Dd_ShipViewer)

http://darkdawn.co/images/promo3.jpg

http://darkdawn.co/images/promo4.jpg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu9kz1AbERs

Jakenut86
11-10-2013, 06:32 PM
Oh Yea I want this on OUYA :) I'd even donate toward you getting a OUYA if its means getting it :) Looks awesome

watson387
11-10-2013, 07:55 PM
I will say this looks good. I'd pick it up on Ouya.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk 2

RiotingSpectre
11-10-2013, 09:07 PM
I've tested the game extensively on the Tegra-3 based Nexus 7 2012, and it even runs very smooth on a Tegra 2, so I'm expecting it so work similarly well on the Ouya (is this a valid assumption?!)

You're absolutely correct as OUYA's Tegra 3 is the pinnacle of that line. Expect games to run better than on a phone with the same chipset due to less resource hogging things on the OUYA. I'd definitely want this on the console and wholeheartedly welcome it.

LeoCeballos
11-10-2013, 10:02 PM
Huh! Well, that's three votes; great!

The game got a new review this afternoon mentioning the Nvidia Shield. With your posts and that and all the GameSticks and MOGAS around (and that Mad Catz one?), I'm becoming convinced that I'll have to at least support gamepads on some level. Which would allow at least a good sideload to Ouya I'd think. But if I can get 10 votes in here for an Ouya-specific release, I'll assume that means that at $1 or $2 each, with each person posting representing at least 5-10 who don't check these boards, I'll at least make my money back on the console and I'll go get one.

iprice
11-10-2013, 10:12 PM
Add another vote. It looks fantastic :)

Jon_TWR
11-10-2013, 10:29 PM
Add my vote too, looks great!

madmax2069
11-10-2013, 10:52 PM
while i want to see this on the ouya, i wont be paying for a alpha/beta (something still in the works), already been burned by that (looking at you CoW). when its a finished product only then will i jump on board.

Jake53
11-10-2013, 11:03 PM
Add my vote

LeoCeballos
11-11-2013, 02:33 AM
7 (7.5 counting madmax2069 ;) )

madmax2069: I understand that concern, and won't try to tell you otherwise. Jump in when you feel comfortable! The truth is, I'm not sure the Ouya version would be the early access edition.

I've had early-access tunnel vision for the last month or so, and now I need to step back and set up a timetable for full release. At which point in that timetable I could move to Ouya remains to be seen. I've been trying to avoid any forking whatsoever of the code until the absolute last minute (in other words, at last test my Unity project would successfully build to WP8 and iOS with no code changes). That doesn't mean I wouldn't start testing right away on Ouya if I got one, but it means that I'd likely hold off on the Ouya specific extra tweaks (like offering some form of trial version) until right before launch.

IanLuvsMunkys
11-11-2013, 08:57 AM
+1 looks good =]

subcreep197
11-11-2013, 03:44 PM
count another vote

takedownmak
11-11-2013, 04:26 PM
heck ya instabuy lol this looks sick

LeoCeballos
11-11-2013, 04:51 PM
heck ya instabuy lol this looks sick

Aaaaand that's 10. Grats guys, thanks to you I'm out $99 :p

I'll pick it up tomorrow morning :)

Kaimega
11-11-2013, 04:55 PM
This game looks like it would be quite nice to play. I am in :)

Murka
11-11-2013, 06:15 PM
I love space games, count me in for a purchase :)

Outlander999
11-11-2013, 06:30 PM
seems pretty good and fun, but imho a little too slow paced

LeoCeballos
11-11-2013, 07:15 PM
seems pretty good and fun, but imho a little too slow paced

Well, theres a bit of a reason behind that. Darkdawn: Encounters is patterned more towards the old Taldren Starfleet Command games (or their descendants, like the Star Trek Online ship component); and is about big ponderous ships blasting away at each other. It can get surprisingly tense, but its slower paced, by design, than something like a Wing Commander or Freespace. I went this route for a lot of reasons.

One is that Darkdawn: Encounters first home is touch screens. That sucks to hear (and type) in an Ouya forum, but its the truth. And for the most part, I've found "Wing Commander" like games on touchscreens to be somewhat unsatisfying; when I do hit/kill my enemies, I feel like its more because they have gigantic hit boxes than because I have any kind of precise control. I believe this style (SFC's) of game looses less in the transition from desktop to touchscreen than the twitchy dogfighters do. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE twitchy space sims!!!)

Second: I love me some Starfleet Command and STO, and I even miss carrying my DS around with Star Trek: Tactical Assault on it because it was a (kinda ugly) mobile version of those games.

And third: Because my secret desire is to eventually make a game like Starflight (http://www.gog.com/game/starflight_1_2) or Star Control 2 (http://www.gog.com/game/star_control_1_2) but for modern audiences, and I think this style of combat would suit that kind of game well; so I'm sortof "laying the groundwork".

All that being said, now that gamepads with Android are becoming more of a thing (either in the small screen or in microconsoles) I certainly wouldn't rule out making a more twitchy game ala wing commander (or even a Descent-style game?) set in the Darkdawn universe someday down the line.

RiotingSpectre
11-11-2013, 07:38 PM
Well, theres a bit of a reason behind that. Darkdawn: Encounters is patterned more towards the old Taldren Starfleet Command games (or their descendants, like the Star Trek Online ship component); and is about big ponderous ships blasting away at each other. It can get surprisingly tense, but its slower paced, by design, than something like a Wing Commander or Freespace. I went this route for a lot of reasons.

One is that Darkdawn: Encounters first home is touch screens. That sucks to hear (and type) in an Ouya forum, but its the truth. And for the most part, I've found "Wing Commander" like games on touchscreens to be somewhat unsatisfying; when I do hit/kill my enemies, I feel like its more because they have gigantic hit boxes than because I have any kind of precise control. I believe this style (SFC's) of game looses less in the transition from the desktop than the twitchy dogfighters do. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE twitchy space sims!!!)

Second: I love me some Starfleet Command and STO, and I even miss carrying my DS around with Star Trek: Tactical Assault on it because it was a (kinda ugly) mobile version of those games.

And third: Because my secret desire is to eventually make a game like Starflight (http://www.gog.com/game/starflight_1_2) or Star Control (http://www.gog.com/game/star_control_1_2) but for modern audiences, and I think this style of combat would suit that kind of game well; so I'm sortof "laying the groundwork".

The slow ship movements don't bother me, but people will take it as a screensaver if you're not careful enough with the combat. The combat should be hectic and strategic in my opinion so having the gamer interacting with the controller at a reasonable speed and not one press per hour kind of thing is what should be considered. To do that, I think a lot of careful preemptive planning would go good with the whole concept of space combat like doing something specific to avoid a weapon, or at least reduce the damage by turning on some anti-??? shield. I guess having the game centered around the gamer's mind than the ship's superior fighting capabilities is what I'm saying. Like for instance...

Let's say that I'm in that ship seen in the trailer and am basically a tank compared to the four smaller ships unloading their weaponry on me. However, due to my cumbersome size and limited arsenal of auto-targeting weapons to counteract a fast moving target. I'm forced to consider the option of manually using my blasters and am in a first-person view of the ship's cockpit with radarscope to tell me where the enemy is. I'll use the radarscope along with preemptive planning to do what my auto-targeting weapons couldn't and that is to hit the faster ships with my nearly instant-contact stock blasters I have on manual. In short it's sort of what's seen here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38V4YPbF-Dk).

Furthermore, I think a formula would work well. If a ship is bigger and stronger than I am, then I have to use my shields wisely along with maneuvering to avoid stuff as best as I can while using my ship's auto-weapons to attacks things in the process. Reducing the amount of damage and doing the opposite in return is the way to tackle this type of opponent. Too strong for a frontal assault, but too cumbersome in his own way to counteract some strategic tactics. If I'm getting attacked by multiple smaller ships like I said above then I'd have to do it the old fashion way which means mostly manual targeting and maybe even using some sort of pulse attack to slow down the targets so it's not too difficult.

Really it's all about having the player stuck to the television and mentally challenged. Have some scenario's where the player is forced to think outside the box and having to use something which he'd think twice about when it came to another enemy type. That's really all I have to say about the "speed" thing and how trying to not look like a interactive Philips CD-i game is the way to remedy it. Assuming of course this speed thing is actually a problem for people as I personally saw nothing wrong with what I saw.

Outlander999
11-11-2013, 07:40 PM
thanks for the explanations,
for sure it's something different :)

(and visually pretty polished)

LeoCeballos
11-11-2013, 08:34 PM
thanks for the explanations,
for sure it's something different :)

(and visually pretty polished)

No problem! And yea, it can definitely be a bit of a niche, and it won't necessarily be for everyone :) I guess that's why Ouya has the required free trial, and while its a bit of a pain (extra thing to worry about) I respect it because of precisely this reason.

RiotingSpectre: You're actually pretty close. The idea is that definitely you have to be constantly making tactical decisions or be destroyed. Shield management is big, as is arcs of fire. The cruiser in the video, for example, had good broadsides but less good front and rear arcs. So at any given time you have to weigh the status of your shields vs the capacity to do damage, the opponents shield status, what *their* weapons coverage is, etc. And then there are the special weapons. Missiles are auto target, but hard to aim at a specific shield since they have a bit of travel time. The particle beam does good damage instantly, but takes longer to recharge and must be aimed (30 degree cone to the front of the ship). There's an EMP missile that can disable the enemy for a few seconds, but can be hard to aim and does no actual damage.

There's also special equipment choices, which can determine how you fight. Shield batteries heal you quicker, but take time to do their job. An overshield only lasts a few seconds, but makes you invulnerable... maybe just long enough to get past the enemy's best guns to reach their weaker rear, etc. Maybe you use an engine booster; particularly good to make a fast frigate even faster, etc.

And then there's plain tactics, like hiding behind an asteroid so you don't gave to charge at a larger enemy across their forward arc at long range. Or trying to split the enemy up to pick off the little guys before going after the big ship. Stuff like that.

Example: In the video a 2:48, I nearly died because I chickened out when my overshield dropped and I was trying to keep the battlecruiser in my left firing arc. I should have charged in at that point and gotten behind it. Instead I ended up trading fire with its front and right arcs and he blasted the snot out of my left shield and then my rear. By rotating when I did I at least managed to spread the damage out enough to survive(barely) to finish him off. If I hadn't picked off the little frigate with him earlier though, it might have snuck up on my downed shields and popped me off while I was concentrating on the big guy.

RiotingSpectre
11-11-2013, 09:23 PM
Excellent. I can't wait to see what the finished product is like. If you get a OUYA build going then feel free to post in our Developer Talk forum which in itself has a APK testing section for beta testers :encouragement:

beowolfschaefer
11-11-2013, 09:33 PM
Reminds me a bit of the old Starfleet Command games. I'll have to give the Google Play version a try.

LeoCeballos
11-11-2013, 10:13 PM
Niven fan?

Just finished Fate of Worlds myself :)

LeoCeballos
11-12-2013, 03:20 PM
Done! Picked up an Ouya.

Interestingly I may have to take very different approaches to supporting gamepads on Ouya vs on the Android version. That will probably be my main push this weekend.

Jakenut86
11-12-2013, 03:22 PM
Done! Picked up an Ouya.

Interestingly I may have to take very different approaches to supporting gamepads on Ouya vs on the Android version. That will probably be my main push this weekend.

AWESOME! cant wait to see this in the Discover Store :)

mmartino
11-12-2013, 04:00 PM
Wow just saw this. Love it! Can't wait to sink my teeth into it

rosse119
11-13-2013, 06:59 AM
Looking good would like to see a work in progress if you have time to keep updating us.

LeoCeballos
11-13-2013, 01:19 PM
Looking good would like to see a work in progress if you have time to keep updating us.

I'll definitely try to. I've been keeping an infrequent journal on my IGN blog here (http://www.ign.com/blogs/thegreyward) though for obvious reasons it has been focused on the non-Ouya versions so far.

I'll be moving that blog to darkdawn.co (http://darkdawn.co/) soon, hopefully. At any rate, I'll try to post (or link) any mayor developments here.

Boerseun
11-15-2013, 10:43 PM
The game looks great.

Add me to the list of those waiting to buy a copy.

LeoCeballos
11-16-2013, 04:01 AM
Hey guys, just a quick update: I've done a first pass on the gamepad controls using a wired(via OTG cable) x360 and a wired PS3 controller. One takeaway is that gamepad implementation in Android is inconsistent. The Galaxy S3 for example reads the PS3 face buttons differently than devices with "stock" Android. Ah well, at least the X360 controller seems to be pretty much the same on the various devices I tested. In the end, I suppose I'll have to provide a user-configuration screen down the line.

Still! Its pretty neat now that I have it working on my Nexus 7. The menus don't work at all yet, and I still have to come up with an alternative for the "tap to target", but its very promising. Next I'm going to see if I can solve that, and then see if I can sideload to Ouya.

Jakenut86
11-16-2013, 04:29 AM
Hey guys, just a quick update: I've done a first pass on the gamepad controls using a wired(via OTG cable) x360 and a wired PS3 controller. One takeaway is that gamepad implementation in Android is inconsistent. The Galaxy S3 for example reads the PS3 face buttons differently than devices with "stock" Android. Ah well, at least the X360 controller seems to be pretty much the same on the various devices I tested. In the end, I suppose I'll have to provide a user-configuration screen down the line.

Still! Its pretty neat now that I have it working on my Nexus 7. The menus don't work at all yet, and I still have to come up with an alternative for the "tap to target", but its very promising. Next I'm going to see if I can solve that, and then see if I can sideload to Ouya.

Awesome, looking forward to this :D

RiotingSpectre
11-16-2013, 04:48 AM
Still! Its pretty neat now that I have it working on my Nexus 7. The menus don't work at all yet, and I still have to come up with an alternative for the "tap to target", but its very promising. Next I'm going to see if I can solve that, and then see if I can sideload to Ouya.

That's great to hear, but I have a recommendation. Games that are controller compatible with the OUYA that can also be side-loaded is used as OUYA's piracy. I'd suggest that unless it's a private APK for beta testing, you should put in a instant pay-wall. I wouldn't want all your hard work to be tainted like that.

LeoCeballos
11-16-2013, 10:06 PM
RiotingSpectre - thanks for the warning. The problem is that I need to add gamepad controls regardless, to support other configurations (particularly the Shield, Moga Pro and other "Tegra gamepads".) And I can't put in a paywall at this point; its already on sale. Also, I'm trying to keep the code as close to "pure Unity" as possible and not fork it until very near release; adding a paywall means I have to add code for the various stores.

There WILL be a paywall for expansion content, but that won't be out until well after full release. So I'm going to have to pull a CDProjekt here and hope that there will be enough legitimate users to allow me to continue development.

In happier news, I have the "tap to touch" replacement in the game. Though the menus are still touch-only, I can at least playtest the crap out of the actual gameplay controls. In the meantime though, I need to switch back to actual content creation for the campaign in preparation for full release.

Naiscoot
12-12-2013, 04:35 PM
Id be one to happily buy this !

RiotingSpectre
12-28-2013, 02:39 AM
Long time no speak, Leo. You got any news for us?