Insomnia55 and EGX

We’ve been showing the game off at various events the last two months including Insomnia55 and EGX. Refining the game, adding new stuff and really love seeing people play.

At insomnia we tried out our new game mode Rush an intense game mode where we chuck the chaos at you. Plenty of zombies, fast action, then we chuck more bosses in keeping  you on your toes.

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It was a game mode that we planned to have for a while but works really well at exhibitions with quick play sessions and more people can play. We added in features like drop in and out, revive friends and gave you plenty of ammo.

A small family who came to play at insomnia made me laugh the small boy kept shouting at the screen enjoying the game then the whole family grabbed controllers and joined him. High fiving his mum when he revived her from the chaos

We had it set up on our 46″ screen with 4 controllers set up hooked upto the razor PCs insomnia provided. The game ran really smooth and was great fun but we had more space so ended up setting up another machine with so more people to play.

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EGX was EPIC

Here comes more chaos! EGX was amazing we decided to add as much as we could to the game before this event adding in our new level Trafalgar Square and the brutal Queen with her lazer beam sceptre. We had a banner printed specifically printed for this stand, had a good, newly setup PC to run the game and my 46″ tv. The stand looked good in the indie section.

First day we had 4 controllers set up. We had tried 8 players only once at anime gaming con on my iMac and thought it worked on PC too. There was a limit on windows inputX (the mode we were using to connect the controllers) which meant that we were limited. We couldn’t have that we wanted eight players. So Rob decided that night he would reprogram the way the controllers worked and enable 8 players on windows.

Amazingly on day 2 everything worked WE HAD 8 PLAYER games going all over the place. Even added in new features like pressing down on the D-pad shows a beacon where you are and some other small tweaks to get it playing well.

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Everyone seemed to really enjoy the game. Getting interviewed by various people and even some small kids came up to me with a mic for there youtube channel. Loved that!

The brutal queen turned up in quite a few games, everyone shouting ahhh here comes queen. Rob went on the Razor bus and did a live stream with Phase and Terroriser. Hilarious when Terroriser shouts out “Ahh I’ve got crabs… wait wait!! yeah whatever… IVE GOT CRABS” then when the queen comes on “AHHH ITS THE QUEEN GET HER!!”

It was epic seeing everyone enjoy the game and having a laugh with friends. Loads of people came back to play bringing more friends to join them. Even had one team get over 1500 zombies (can’t remember which level that was). We can’t wait to finish the game, get it onto more platforms and more people playing it. Want to add more funky stuff before tho…

Check out the game on Steam and get it now at the cheap early access price of £6.99

http://store.steampowered.com/app/378530

 

King of the JUNGLE! Lion

So I wanted to make this character for a long time and while I had some spare time I thought why not lets create a lion for the game. He’s going to be one of the playable characters and have epic rage move Roar!!.

Designing the lion was strait forward I had the design in my head for a while and have seen plenty of lions before while I lived in Africa for few years. I wanted him to have a nice looking fury mane. Now our game is quite performance heavy so can’t really use realtime fur. So I created a poly fur mane for the lion. Heres what he looks like

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After posting this on Twitter (@richgizmo) i kept getting asked by few friends was it inspired by Cecil the lion story recently in the news. Well no it wasn’t but I had a spare hour and after rigging I like to pose a character so made Cecil Trophy pic

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So how does his fur look in unity. I did some tests and the poly fur looked great. If anything the slight fuzziness that unity shaders create makes it blend nicely. Heres some pics of the resultlionlionZom

Hes not yet got custom animations using the slothes animations actually works very well tho.

While modelling the character I did a video capture so I could post a making of. Because I was building the character so casually I wouldn’t say it was my most efficient modelling ever. But hey posted it anyway. Here it is

 

Creating new characters

While we’ve been on early access for a few weeks I’ve been noticing how people play through youtube videos of the game. The game feels like it needs some tweaks to get the gameplay right but also it seemed a bit easy for some.

We’ve done testing at events and getting lots of people to play and it always seemed about right with the difficulty. But I think the steam audience want more challenges in the gameplay.

So while Rob (programmer) was away I’ve decided to add some content and create a new boss the epic zombie Queeny. queen

She is going to be one powerful boss with more special moves. We want people to go ahhhhh here comes the queen!

I was thinking what moves would she actually have that were running after someone and whacking them with a weapon. So after a small time of thought I came up what the queen would do… summon her royal guards. We want special harder zombie that she generates while she’s alive to protect her. I then started modelling the zombie royal guards

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These guys are one of the first zombies I’ve made with a weapon. An riffle to. Think we are going to make them come out f the ground and start shooting. If they get shot to rag doll then they drop there gun and run after you like a mad manic crazy dude on crack.

Back to queen what else shall we make here do. Well she can’t just walk around. So i think lets give her a Spetre that shoots a massive Lazer beam ….. WHY not? So I created an animation for it.

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Think this boss will be awesome when we program it into the game. And will do an update on the progress of it soon.

Nature’s Zombie Apocalypse now on Steam

We have release NZA on Steam early access. We did loads of testing before taking the leap and are happy how the game plays at the moment.

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Its great to play  with friends, it gets more chaotic the more players and it supports upto 8 player madness.  http://store.steampowered.com/app/378530

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We are planning to do constant updates to the game adding levels, characters, funky weapons and of course have to add few more hats.

There has been a few youTubers giving the game a play through. Been great to see them respond to the game. Can’t wait to see some multiplayer youtube videos.

Hat’s… yes we’ve only gone and added HAT’s!

After the London Anime and gaming con and the 8 player game. I noticed that people were finding it little hard to identify which player they were. With that many players on screen it got chaotic quickly.

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So I finally thought why not add those hats I made ages ago and went hunting on my hard drive for the 3D models. I didn’t want to take time away from Rob adding more awesomeness to the game so decided to try make it as easy as possible and add a script that will place the hat on each character which seemed to work.

Each hat is trying to be iconic and fun here some pics of the hats so far :)

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London Anime and gaming con

We recently showed our game at London anime and gaming con. A small event for us where a whole load of developers were showing there games. Nature’s Zombie Apocalypse has come along way since EGX and we are preparing to put the game up on early access pretty soon.

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All the changes we made effected the balancing of the game so before the event we spent a very productive week working on making all the zombies, game modes and guns balanced for players.

When we showed the game we were very happy how the game played it was chaotic enough to make it really fun to play. Sometimes finding ourselves ourselves grabbing the control and just playing it. We set challenge to see how far people could get and wave 8 was the highest and had only two groups make it that far. Maybe we made it too hard? NAHHH!

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New game modes have been implement and the week before we put in systems so players could understand how to play those game modes with very little instruction from us. All the little things that made the game feel awesome like collecting something and it does a fancy particle effect and feels really enjoyable, added in a notification system that tells players what they need to do or what they picked up.

Kitten mode is so fun with little kittens running around and when you save a kitten by placing it into the box theres a small little celebration animation. Stork flies down and picks up the box and health comes our preparing you for the next box to save and the amount of zombies that want to eat your flesh. Getting the health becomes an urgent thing later in the rounds where the countdown for a boss coming in an the players needing health becomes urgent.

Video of a father and son playing it at the event.

Penguin mode the where you have to escort penguins across the level. We tweak so much to this game mode. Making the penguins follow players better and have a fast exciting waddle to them. The ice-cream truck where you save the penguins from now gets the zombies hitting at the side to scare them out. Still some small tweaks to do but testing went well.

Overall the event was great we got a lot of play testing and even got to test out playing an 8 player game. Felt like an army of animals fighting against zombies! Great fun.

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8 player game with some of the other game devs at the end of the day

Small clip of the 8 player game. Not enough zombies for 8 players (we’ve fixed that now) :P

EGX Rezzed

We recently took our game to EGX rezzed and showed it off to the many gamers there. Four player games constantly for 3 days was awesome! At one point we hooked up 6 controllers, which was manic. The game is designed to run with up to 8 players, but the small space we had made it a bit cramped with 6, so we quickly reverted to 4.

A few days before the event we added in our first boss, the Zombie Dinner Lady. I made her way back in January but we only just got round to putting her in. She is crazy runs after you with her pan and pummels you to the floor or whacks you with her rolling pin and you go flying. Everybody loved/hated her and she was great for breaking up gameplay.  We are definitely going to add in a whole load more big brutes soon!zombieDinnerlady

During the event we found that there were little things that we needed to change, small bugs that we noted down and corrected on the first night for the next day. Like the turtles spinning rage move hit players over. Something we never noticed before.

At one point we had a group of 4 players that started shouting at the screen as they struggled to stay alive, they had just one player left as the dinner lady charged after him “Ahhh the dinner ladies after me”. They set the current record of the day reaching round 16 which they later realised made them the current world champions.

Rich Phone_20150312_11_03_20_ProOur small stand, between to two other awesome games, @BeyondFBgame and @GamesOfGlory

On the second day we had loads of people come over to play. We challenged groups to beat the EGX record of wave 16 and most groups just couldn’t do it but one group managed to work like a small tight nit commando team of a bear, duck and turtle. They covered each others backs and found random tactics like freezing the dinner lady as other team mates shoot her. We were watching closely as they reached over wave 18. Then when they reached wave 20 things started to go wrong. They actually passed the point that we programmed too. It was meant to be infinate but there was small little bug that meant no more zombies would spawn. They beat the demo and claimed victory for the highest level of EGX.

Footage from people playing at EGX rezzed

Third day we fixed that bug but also made things a bit more difficult. The zombie dinner lady got little faster. The zombies got stronger each round and the game was infinite. It was the busiest day of EGX and people ended up dyeing a lot on wave 4. Highest reached that day was 14.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the game and we came away with loads of ideas on how we are going to tweak the gameplay. We can’t wait to show people again!

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Rich Phone_20150312_17_09_40_ProQuite time where only one player was playing. Probably the only time when I could get my camera out.

Creating Rage fire

For the rage moves we have an indicator that builds up rage over time as you are destroying more and more zombies. We needed a graphic that made it look like the player reached its limit. We thought a bar that builds up would mess up the current design and it was too plain. Other option was to make the player have something above its head saying you’ve raged. The game is getting busy with indicators and buttons to pickup things and thought this would clutter the game even more, making it harder to see where you were.

The indicator needed to be in your stats. I created a circle that built up behind the player. Like building up rage then added static flame image to indicate when it had reached its limit. Like the animal has become so enraged heating up ready to release its fire.

I created an flame animation using after effects particle system. To do this you need to layer different effects. Start with CC particle world to a composition and then tweak setting. Change the animation type to fire, particle type to bubble, (seems to work well for me), the birthrate, longevity, velocity, and gravity untill it looks close to the right movement. Then to make it look more like fire add motion blur. Create a new comp out of the particles layer. Then add an echo effect to bring it out effect. Add a fast blur, a vector blur tweaking the blurriness and amount. Then add curves effect mess with the curve of the alpha. Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 21.17.07

Tweaking is the main thing with fire you can get different types of fire by just changing a few settings. Last I export an image sequence, create a sprite sheet and import into unity.

Heres the result

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Making the kitten

We are making a game mode which involves a bunch of kittens. Had to make it cute so went on the web to find lots of cute little kitten pictures. Of course there is no shortage of kitten pictures on the web, this didn’t take long.

I decided to make some screen capture videos of me modelling the kitten, UV mapping, texturing,  simple rigging and posing. I use Modo for creating models and animations for the game. Its not a wildly recognised program but a very well established one within the games industry. Its sometimes used with other tools like Maya or 3D max and everyone just hears about them instead. I personally like using Modo, for me its a tool made for artists and it feels very intuitive.

In this video I create the model for the kitten

UV mapping the kitten

Texturing and T-pose render

Rigging and Posing