Lostcast 155: 2015 Retrocast


  • LDG


  • Tiger Hat

    Geoff’s Dungeon Pipe game would make a perfect platform for a Wizard’s Lizard mobile :) There’s been a few Mobile/PC game cross-overs lately, and I think there’s some really cool things to be done in this space - perhaps playing AWL2 could unlock new tiles on the mobile game? Although personally think the link works better from mobile to PC though, playing the mobile game on your commute can help unlock things on your game at home.

    It’d probably be a great opportunity to dip your toes into Unity3D - which would let you port to pretty much everything - planning for a mobile title would help keep that over complication thing out of the way.


  • Jammer

    I have really enjoyed this cast- thank you guys.

    In reference to Geoff’s pipe dream; I’ve spent some time playing http://www.kongregate.com/games/nerdook/dungeon-developer

    And honestly this was very enjoyable for me. If a more polished, more, ummm, deapth-ful version of this game came out I would surely play it regardless of developer.

    @salmonmoose said:

    Geoff’s Dungeon Pipe game would make a perfect platform for a Wizard’s Lizard mobile :)

    Honestly that does sound really cool. Having a little Raga move through a dungeon getting stuff, and it some how linking to the main game. I’m sure there are many complexities, but at face value it sounds enticing.

    The badges sound really fun. I’d love to sport one of those ;)

    Thanks again for all you guys do!

    EDIT:
    Damn that ending song is amazing. I used to honestly not care for the music that I was played out by, but holy jeez the last 10 episodes or so have had some really awesome stuff- this being the best by far, in my opinion of course, not saying the other music was bad, just not 100% my taste. But this shi- this stuff is just awesome awesome awesome music.


  • Jammer

    Also-

    IT’S PLAY TEST WEDNESDAY!!!

    Can’t wait…


  • LDG

    Thanks for the encouragement! Regarding mobile, it’s something we’d love to get back to someday. We got burned pretty hard with Lava Blade on Steam Greenlight (main complaint being that it looked like “mobile crap” or whatnot), it definitely scared us away from that “mobile-first” mentality.

    Also the future mild success on Steam made us want to double down on Steam. However, once a PC game has dome pretty well, that’s a good time to make a mobile version, so that is a possibility for touch-friendly game designs.

    Personally I’d love to have a new game on Android I could tinker with!


  • Tiger Hat

    Yeah, gotta love that Mobile/Casual hatred on Greenlight, and Valve’s general disregard for anything that’s not interesting to them.

    Still, if you had a mobile/PC tie in, you’d get rid of some of that, and bring Raga to mobile. Honestly, I think AWL is a fairly strong franchise, and if you’re trying to release 2 games this year, having them able to share a bunch of assets.


  • Tiger Hat

    The problem of Mobile?

    Controls.

    You -absolutely- need a controller and an adapter. And even then, mobile bring forth a rather… problematic audience. And then there’s the fact that if you want to play a mobile game, you need a specific type of mobile and…

    … simply put?

    Mobile games are more trouble than they’re worth. It doesn’t help that going mobile mean you’re dealing with its insanely picky casual audience and you have to compete with stuff like Candy Crush (may it burn in a fire).

    Mobile profitability is a myth anyway ; if you look at the actual number, they’re skewed because of scam games like Candy Crush that rely on micro-transactions while 90% of everything else actually bombs.

    The mobile market is, simply put, fool’s gold.

    And for any dedicated player, due to the feeling of mobile and the requirements to make it tolerable? Yeah no.


  • Patron

    The mobile market might not be a good choice business-wise, specially for a small indie studio like LDG, but…

    I certainly enjoy being able to play SB:S&S on my phone.

    And mobile controls aren’t inherently bad, they’re just… different.
    I’m still waiting for Lava Blade on Android…


  • LDG

    I often think about games like World of Goo or Plants VS Zombies, games that I first played on PC with a mouse and feel fantastic. But later I played them on touch devices and they felt even better! And this from a guy who has kind of a bias against touch-based games I guess.

    There’s a way to do it well but it’s certainly not easy and really can’t be a priority of ours for many months. And yeah man, that competition on mobile … phew


  • Tiger Hat

    @richtaur said:

    And yeah man, that competition on mobile … phew

    Yep, it’s killer, but you’ve got an in. The rest of us have to be discovered in the Play/App store, but you can place an ad right in your games - especially if you’re doing a mobile version of the same licence - I have no research to back me up, but I think the percentage of people who would rage about an ad for more of the game they’re playing on mobile would be pretty slim - especially if playing the mobile version would unlock more content on desktop.


  • Jammer

    I would say- I really do miss the days of buying one game and getting all of the content for that game. Like games now a days have early access, expansion DLC, special events that if you don’t play during that exact time you wont get- and I get it, but it’d be nice to play a game where I can just play it, at my pace, and have the same opportunity to reach completion as everyone else with just the base purchase of that game.

    But that game doesn’t have to be AWL2, I’m just saying.


  • Jammer

    Undertale was mention in the podcast about developers doing well with simple. To be fair, that game was in development for 2-3 years.


  • Patron

    Well, sure, if you gave the complete Undertale design document to Matt & Geoff, they probably could implement it in 4-6 months.

    Coming up with all of that is the hard part.

    P.S: Oh, I also imagine a large portion of Toby’s development time was spent on testing those crazy bullet hell sections. Balancing them probably was a huge challenge.


  • LDG

    Regarding Undertale, I was referring mostly to the simple aesthetics. Simple pixel art is something I keep thinking would be a way for us to move faster.


  • Jammer

    I really like pixel art, but I have to say tons of games have pixel art, but your current style has really grown on me and definitely sets your games apart from others. Maybe its worth the extra dev time, but maybe its not- I just think I’d miss it if it were gone.


  • Tiger Hat

    Undertale is a bad example in more ways than one.

    For starters, the game is so hilarously overrated it’s insane. My opinion of the game is extremely far from positive, largely from my gripes with its heavy handed meta moral which make a whole lot of assumptions about the medium that are not true and a lot of questionable character design, narratively (in particular, there’s a certain bunch of late game characters whose ‘happy ending’ conclusion fit what one call an ‘esoteric happy ending’ if you know anything about how this type of character really works).

    In terms of mechanics, its battle style lose a lot of its wow factor if you played a lot of games and are familiar with the many tricks it tries to implement. That it try to implement elements from many genres is good. That they’re surprisingly shallow, even (and especially) for a RPG is bad.

    … but I don’t think I’ll get started because I’m aware of how the game has basically grown to the status of sacred cow and negative opinions of it tend to cause a lot of people to see red. In fact, I think that just stating I dislike the game and a few of my reasons might be enough to earn me flames…

    Anyway.

    The graphical style seems easy but is actually a lot harder than it looks. Using pixel art is NOT a shortcut. Especially if you want it to actually look good. Too many people look at such a style and think it’s easier. Having worked on pixel art myself, I can definiely say it’s absolutely no shortcut and is a lot more complex than it looks ; it’s basically the difference between people who draw ugly pixel art and pass it off as “8-bits” and those who actually understand what retro is and make use of the techniques it involved (such as using missing pixels to simulate shadows and details).


  • Patron

    Mew… I’m trying really hard to hold myself so I don’t come out as the fanboy here…

    But, yeah, whenever someone says pixel art is easy and that it represents developers being lazy, I just shove Owlboy at their face.

    Have I mentioned that D-Pad Studio’s main artist is color-blind?


  • LDG

    I don’t think anyone said that pixel art cannot be complex or beautiful. It’s a scale, just like everything else. I mean, you can’t really compare the pixel art in Undertale to Owlboy.


  • Patron

    Yeah, that’s totally fair.

    I guess the same could be said about any art style, tho…
    I believe Owlboy would be closer to the “scale” of the art on your games than Undertale is, but, oh boy, doesn’t it take waaay longer to make when compared to digital painting.

    (haha, get the pun?)

    Maybe you should… just scale down your games? xD

    P.S: I’m such a graph-making genius!


  • LDG

    Maybe VVVVVV would have been a better example (aesthetics only). Essentially I’m just feeling recently that adding content to a game like AWL is a lot of work, and it could have been less. Other developers sometimes seem to produce more without having to work as hard, that’s what I was trying to convey.

    Charts 'n graphs FTW!


  • Patron

    Well, being a non-artist, everything I say is taken out of my ass, but… I have the impression that pixel art just scales really badly.

    Sure, VVVVVV is awesome and one of my favorite games of all time. However, I can’t say it’s a pretty game. The graphics are… functional.

    That’s the thing: it’s easier to create pixel-art that is “functional”, but way more time consuming to do pretty pixel art, especially because everyone is so used to all the “functional pixel-art” games.

    I guess that “scale” factor could be given by the area of the canvas you’re working with divided by the area of the minimum feature you could have on it. On an 8x8 sprite, it’s a very manageable “64”. On a 128x128 sprite, a staggering “16384”.
    It just seems pretty clear to me that digital painting is the way to go, given the level of detail and complexity you’re currently working with.

    That said, something like Spine would most certainly accelerate that process.


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