April 4, 2015

Murder Island Update #4

Note: I'm still look for some feedback for my Murder Island demo, so if you would like to play the game and tell me what you think that would be awesome! You can email me ( team at sharkarmstudios.com ) and I'll send you the demo.

It's been a while since I posted an update on Murder Island. Since the last post I've mainly just been testing the demo and making changes to improve it as much as possible.

Here's some of the major design changes I made to the demo since last time:
- New stats: aim and spirit.Aim affects ranged items like guns and spirit affects mystical items which rely on the user's spiritual power.
- Items now have a stat type. The stat type affects the base damage of the item and also which stats level up.
- Units now have item proficiencies. The more they use a type of item the higher their chances of success with that item type when used.
- Food and item gathering no longer relies on a roll for success. If a unit searches for food or items they are always successful.
- There now 3 different ways to run from battle. Regular, desperate (higher run chance, drops item), and extreme (always runs, must sacrifice a unit).

I now finally have the game at a point where I'm pretty happy with the main design of the game. So I've started moving on and adding in the rest of the content of the game. Since the demo contained the first island, I have the remaining 3 islands to add content for. At minimum I am planning to have 10 enemy types, 1 boss, and 8 special areas for each island.

 I'm planning on spending one month per island to create all the content. It's finally starting to feel like there is an end in sight for this game. Whenever I'm focusing on just creating content it makes it feel like the game is coming together really fast. I've already got a good amount of the content for island 2 created. Here is a sneak peak at some of the map tiles.

That's it for now. Check back for updates!


November 5, 2014

Murder Island Update #3

Time for a Murder Island update.

 I finally managed to get the demo finished. Or beta. Beta demo. Maybe alpha. I'm not sure what it's called, I'm not very good at knowing what the version names mean. Right now I have about 25% of the game completed in terms of content. You can play from start to finish of the first island. Now that all of the elements of the game are in I can finally test the game as it is supposed to be played with all the different components working together. My goal now is to continually play test and update the game until I get the feel of this first section of it exactly how I want it. My main focuses will be on the design of the game (fixing the rules of how everything works), balancing, and fixing the user interface (it is so bad right now!)

So here is the updated version of the map. I now have in some actual graphics instead of only colored squares:

I also added in some special locations you can find besides the standard plains, forests, and beaches. You may come across helicopter crashes, hunting cabins, ninja dojos, and other places where you can find unique items and events that may help or provide extra challenges to you along the way.

I also added in an intro sequence that briefly explains the story behind the game and states your goal. Here are a couple of my favorite panels from it:

Ok, well that's all for this post. Check back for more updates.


August 27, 2014

Murder Island Update

Well it's been a while since the last Murder Island post and a lot has changed. I've got a lot done in the last couple months and I'm probably a few weeks away from having a demo version of the game ready for testing. This would have about 25% of the full content of the game.

This has been a very difficult game to make because it relies so heavily on the specifics of the design. All the aspects of the game are meant to work together so it's impossible to truly test the game until all the components are there. I started to lose steam working on this for a while until, a few weeks ago, I decided to focus and get a demo version of the first island complete. I wanted to be able to finally test out the game play elements and decide if this game is worth completing.  So after a few days of just focusing on getting a completed version, I started to see the game finally come together and I'm happy with how it's turning out. I can finally play through the game and see how all these elements work together. My inspiration for the game has been returned and I've been working on it non stop. Well, not completely non-stop, I still like take showers and eat and look out my window and stuff.

This game has also been difficult to post about because a lot of the work I've been doing is behind the scenes stuff and not really that exciting to post about individually. There's not too many exciting graphics or anything at this point. A lot of it is still using my placeholder graphics. There are a few cool things though.

My favorite graphical part so far has been the face generator. Every time you play the game you start with completely new characters. I created a face generator to create a random portrait for the character based off of a series of face components I drew separately. Here is an image of some of the possible faces put together in a single image:

Click the image to see them at their full resolution.

Items in this game are a very important part of the gameplay. So far I have about 80 different items in the game and most have multiple uses. I wanted to make the line between good items and bad items a bit blurry by giving items positive and negative effects. I'm hoping this will change the item's value and usage based on the context of the situation. For example, a flamethrower deals a lot of damage and can catch the person on fire, but it also cures you from things like ticks or fleas. So it may be worth using on your own character if you need to get rid of an insect infestation. If a character gets rabies and starts attacking his teammates it might be worth it to smack them with a baseball bat and knock them out until you can find a way to cure it.

All the current items in the game:

Another part of the item design that I really like is their ability to affect the overall world. Guns are some of the best weapons in the game, but firing them during a battle may cause the danger in the region to increase from the loud noise.  Also, things like bombs and explosive weapons can cause the food and items in the region to decrease from the explosion. So if you are running low on food it might not be a good idea to go around blowing everything up with grenades.

Battle. Click for full resolution.

So that's all I'm going to write about for now. I'm going to have a testable demo version completed very soon so let me know if you would like to try out an early version of the game. I'm going to need a lot of feedback for this one. Stay tuned for updates in the following weeks.


February 2, 2014

Murder Island Intro

Welcome to the island of murder. A place where all living things must come to an end by way of MURDER. This island is not just surrounded on all sides by ocean, but it is also surrounded on all sides by death. Only at the end, when the boundaries between life and death are closing in, will you understand the true meaning of the MURDER ISLAND.

Murder Island is a game I've been working on for a little over a year now, on and off while I wasn't working on other things. It's a game about a group of prisoners surviving on a dangerous island. A murderous island as some would call it. It's an island that scientists have been using as a test environment for their strange living experiments. Now they are ready to see how their newly crafted creatures will interact with humans for scientific purposes. And maybe just a little bit of entertainment.

You play as the group of prisoners who have agreed to participate on an experiment on Murder Island in exchange for their freedom. There's only one catch: they must survive the island. You start the game being dropped of on the beaches of the island with the goal of reaching the radio tower to call in for help. If you can make it there alive, the prisoners will be free to return to society.

The game plays as a sort of simulation/strategy/RPG hybrid. It's kind of hard to describe in terms of genre so I'll just list some of the major influences I've had on the game:

Console RPGs
Roguelike Games
Final Fantasy Legend II
FTL: Faster Than Light
Oregon Trail

The two main aspects of the gameplay are managing your group on the main map and managing your group in combat.

Here is the main map:

(work in progress images)

From the main map you have the option of moving the group to a different region or taking individual actions for your group members. The individual actions include things such as scouting ahead, searching for food & items, resting, and things of the like. After the actions or movement is taken, there is a chance that monsters will attack the group based on the region's danger level.

Here is a battle screen:

In the battle mode, the group may choose to either try to run or face the monsters in combat. If you choose to run, you will run the risk of losing valuable food and items that you may need later. If you choose to fight you will have each of your group members choose an action based off of the current items they are carrying. Each item only has a certain number of uses so it is important to not waste your supplies. In addition to combat, an item may have a particular map action that is also helpful. Like a bow and arrow can also be used to hunt for food.

Another battle screen:

The monsters you face were created from the scientists experiments of fusing animals body parts together. In the game, the enemies are built randomly from a pool of body parts, so they are different every time you play the game. Each body part adds different abilities and stats to the monster, so looking at it's individual body parts will give you an idea of what you are up against and what you can gain for defeating it.

After each action taken, the game timer increases. At the end of each day, every member of the group must eat, or they will die. If all group members die you lose the game.

That is about it for the basics of Murder Island. There's more I want to get into, but I'll save that for a different blog post. I'm going to try to keep an active log for the development of this game from now on. So check back for updates!


January 17, 2014

Duck Pond

This is a small 48hr game I made for Ludum Dare 28 in December. You play as a mother duck who has to hatch eggs and protect her ducklings from danger. You gain points for keeping your ducklings alive and the more you have alive at one time the more your score increases.

Download Game

Download Source (C++)

Contest Page

I'm considering expanding this game into a 4 player game, but I'm currently working on a lot of other things right now first. Still planning on making a post soon about a bigger game I've been working on, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet!

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