The Other Brothers development diary

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Hey all,

Simian Squared are currently working on 'The Other Brothers' and our programmer has decided to start a development diary. I thought you guys would appreciate it and I hope you guys will get in touch and let us know what you think of it as we move along :)

I am thinking to keep things simple, I'll link to the entries in this post.

Also you can find the new official website at: http://www.tobgame.com
- and our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theotherbrothersgame


Post 1
Excerpt:
Instead of slowing down sharply when the player moves the other direction, we slow down sharply when you reach the deadzone of the touch input or analogue stick, or when the finger has been lifted from the screen. This works naturally with the time it takes to slide a typical finger across.

Post 2
Excerpt:
The best (most helpful) scrolling in my opinion is the godlike Super Mario World on super nintendo.
Replicating this meant a surprising amount of rules. For a start, whenever you fall, it matches your falling speed, however if you jump up too high, it gently scrolls to meet the player, although this can be pushed if you raise fast enough.

Click here to check it out on Touch Arcade

Let us know what you think!

Chimp

Replies

  • Envart
    This game looks ace, love the art style. Dev blog is interesting too, more of that please! :D
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    Haha thanks guys!

    More updates in, Rob posted some of the prototype animations in the thread- testing a few ideas out here.

    Post 3
    Excerpt:
    Thanks! some art refs for you (the Animation is now what I am working on!)
    TOB_garage_anim.gif
    TOB_mobsters_anim.gif
    TOB_graveyard_anim.gif
    More (fresh) materials coming very soon! Don't forget to follow us on twitter or post comments, I love reading what you say.

    I'll keep you posted
  • LRoy
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    LRoy polycounter lvl 6
    this is really looking great. keep us updated!
  • Shoy333
    This is shaping up to look quite amazing guys and doing a DevDiary here on pc was a great idea Sub'd and following! keep us posted!!!
  • Leodido
    great work I love the art
  • kwakkie
    Really nice! Just wondering why you didnt call it "The other bros."?
  • Donavonyoung
    It lacks the rhyme factor that makes the name pop.
  • stabbington
    Been looking forward to this since I first saw it on the Unity forums. Thanks for the behind the scenes - going to be fun to watch it all unfold!
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks guys!

    Here's some more from Thom and Björn:

    A little bit of information to clarify our move to a new domain name and how exactly Simian Squared came onboard to reboot the project after the previous developer was dropped:
    Excerpt:
    We had to say goodbye to our previous programmer Matthew Davey, he is no longer affiliated with The Other Brothers. In his place, we have brought onboard Simian Squared Ltd who comprise of Robert Cummings and Giuseppe Landolina. We believe that our new team members will be able to bring to you our original vision for The Other Brothers.



    And now the juicy stuff from Rob:

    Ladders, Water and moving platforms
    Excerpt:
    But what about playability? How do you make something as boring as a climbable area, exciting?

    Here's how!

    1. player should be able to jump while on the ladder, and not catch it again until almost half a second has passed. This means there's no point spamming jump to go up ladders faster, and the player is forced to think. This also allows you proper clearance from the ladder when doing risky jumps.

    2. the ladder must allow player to pass through platforms. We solve this with some clever collision states.

    3. the ladder must allow us to hang from it or attach to it at will, so we can run past it and ignore it or jump through it without a worry. This is solved by checking if the player is pushing up or down when your character passes a ladder.

    ... click through to read more ...

    Up next, Facebook winner #1:

    facebook_winner.jpg
    Excerpt:
    Facebook Competition Winner #1 announced!

    A big thanks to our facebook contest winner Gary Norbraten for being such a good sport. Bjorn Hurri had a blast creating him gloriously pixelated! We have all had good laughs at the end result! He ended up being a perfect fit for The Other Brothers!

    Keep posting guys,

    Chimp
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    TA's Brad Nicholson!

    Congratulations, Brad! you may be a runner up,
    but you're still the coolest retro boss ever made!

    For more information about The Other Brothers,
    visit our facebook page, and follow us on the usual
    social media sites! We will be leaking information regularly

    facebook_winner02.jpg

    The winning shot:

    430665_10151263463980158_781230157_23012180_1134641378_n.jpg

    Rob just posted the second and coolest boss in The Other Brothers so far, Brad Lazer!
  • Funky Bunnies
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    Funky Bunnies polycounter lvl 10
    this looks so awesome and fun
    really badass work so far guys
  • beezul
    holyyy hot damn. this is beautiful. :tear:
  • tacit math
  • jmiles
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    jmiles greentooth
    hells yes :D..cant wait for more
  • Tigerfeet
    I want an army of flying cats that shoot laser eye-beams too :(
  • Shoy333
    Ahaahah loving the new bosses and that mean looking cat on dudes shoulder stuff is shaping up nicely guys keep er coming im excited to play this!!
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    thank you so much guys- I just found out that we made the Big News Weekly Recap! We're all honoured and so glad to be recognised!

    More updates coming soon!

    if you fancy it, you can check us out on Facebook too https://www.facebook.com/theotherbrothersgame

    you can catch the whole team on Twitter too:

    @bjornhurri @thomaspasieka @SquaredApe (rob) @ChimpSquared (me)
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    BJ
  • Di$array
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    Di$array greentooth
    OMG kitty cats with lazer beams!!!

    This game is already a winner. Awesome work!
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    More from Rob:
    There's two things which will make or break animation in a retro game like The Other Brothers.

    The first thing is the animation itself. It can suck, and there's not much you can do about that. Luckily the art quality is insane, with artists who are used to triple A work sketching them out at a cracking pace!

    The second thing is how gently the programmer will treat the artist's frames and even massage them for more amazing sparkling goodness.

    1. we have animation states for everything: run, idle, jump, skid, hurt, falling, attacks and more.

    2. we play the intended animation - be it a one shot, or looping animation.

    So what's different?

    In TOB, I have several variables which track how fast the character is moving, how hard the player is pushing the direction and so on.

    So we can weave in more frames in between, and play little one off frames to blend everything together. It's painstaking work because it takes a lot of trial and error to get the maximum out of the frames you have.

    In addition to this, its really important to speed things up or slow them down in regards to animation playback. So to this end we do things like speed the animation up as the character's velocity increases.

    We also track how long the player has being doing demanding activities, so when Joe or Jim halt for a breather, you see their idle animation play faster, before slowing down as they catch their breath.

    It's all these little touches that really can make or break a retro title. You can't just fill it with animation frames and throw more money at it. It has to be authentic.

    We've deliberately left in an easter egg surprise for people who have played old retro games: the classic left and right thrashing of the controls will allow you to spaz out for hilarious dance scenes, if you so choose!

    Next to come will be some clips and anims you haven't seen, as there's been too much talk and not enough glorious sneak-peaks!

    Be square (it's cool!)

    - Rob
  • Stinger88
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    Stinger88 polycounter lvl 8
    Wow. Looks awesome. Will be following this.
  • Macattackk
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    Macattackk keyframe
    yo gsep and rob, its Mac from PCU. this game looks incredibly snazzy! The art direction is spot on, all of it fits perfectly together and feels alive. The development diary makes it sound like the mechanics are incredibly smooth. Thats an extremely important aspect of touch games, especially on a big screen for ipad.

    With the graveyard scene, I think it would be cooler if you showed the lightning flashes light the scene. Right now you just raise the brightness globally and dont paint in any new highlights.
  • [HP]
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    [HP] polycounter lvl 9
  • ghost-d
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    ghost-d polycounter lvl 9
    I love the style, very inspiring. It has something that lacks in most of the new games, which to be honest all look alike nowadays, so good luck on this one and keep us posted.
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks so much guys-

    Today I personally spent some time working on the cutscenes- going to have to do a load of custom sprites as I want them to be really expressive! we've got a lovely pixel-fade-transition going to cut between scenes too right now :)

    I also got busy making an official twitter account for the game:
    https://twitter.com/#!/tobgame - please follow us, we promise not to clog up your feeds with it :)
    check it out, that account also has a 'list' with all of the developers in it for more day-to-day chat.

    Much love,

    Giuseppe (Chimp)
  • Shiv
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    Shiv polycounter lvl 9
    Spent some time reading through the blog and posts, sounds really good. Cant wait to see it in action!

    Sexy sexy art
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    Rob posted some more fun over at touch-arcade:
    Today I'm busy polishing up a small demo for the team to display next Tobsday (see above for what tobsday is) -- so you'll be getting a SNEAK PEAK at the game itself! Work is going at a tremendous pace, and don't forget to leave your suggestions for bosses, ideas and more either over on our facebook page (link on http://www.tobgame.com) or here!

    Empowering Artists = Great Game

    What is all this empowering business? Well, typically in game development, artists have to create assets or design levels with huge restrictions due to the code. You'll be stuck with 32x32 tiles (which will look boring in the end) or have limitations on how they can develop the game.

    We've thrown all that out of the window

    1. Artists can just draw whatever they want in Photoshop, at any size, and we'll convert it to a layered animation.

    2. Colliders are not linked to geometry so we can get really creative. Artists can just pull out artwork and place it down at any depth in the editor and group them. They can add a parallax script live in editor and see it happen. They can tweak any part of it at any time.

    3. There's no limitations on anything. If an artist wants a pigeon to do a little poo randomly with a 30% chance of doing one, then they ask me and I do it. I don't moan, I don't make a fuss, I just get off my ass and do it.

    4. Effects and particle systems that are FULLY animated as well - so you can have fully animated hand-drawn wisps of smoke, and fantastic environmental effects without the headaches.

    5. They can add anything they want in any part, without any restrictions. So what is the catch?

    The catch

    The catch is the programmer (me) is slowly going insane. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and polish in tools and level design ease-of-use, but in a way it can be seen like I am also directly contributing towards the art goal of the project. If I can free artists to just be themselves, it means that they spend more time doing what they do best, and less time worrying about a script or going crazy over restrictions. This increases the amount of art they can shift out... Which means TOB is FULL of unique artwork, just about everywhere!

    But if I'm crazy about one thing, it's your fun. We need TOB to be a massive celebration of retro gaming, with cues taken from the history of retro games. There's a little bit of influence from everything in here - see if you can spot them. One thing this game isn't is... a clone. Expect the unexpected!

    Please offer feedback and ideas, you never know, you might be the one to influence a level or enemy. And stay peeled for an early test demo on our livestream this coming tobsday.

    Soon I will be talking about the render to texture technology the game uses and why, plus some techie AI talk (that's right, these things will be pretty smart!)

    Our facebook is http://www.facebook.com/theotherbrothersgame - give us a friendly like and post some words of inspiration, we will read every comment
    http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=133593&page=2

    Edit: Tobsday is Thursday night, usually at 20:30GMT on Livestream where you can catch us developing live :)
  • Macattackk
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    Macattackk keyframe
    that quote is beautiful. *sniff* programmers with artfulness in mind are an amazing thing
  • Nerf Bat Ninja
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    Nerf Bat Ninja polycounter lvl 6
    I check out this thread about ten times a day. It warms my wittle heart.
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    Tech behind The Other Brothers

    We decided to go with Unity because it's one of the "big three" (Unity, Cryengine and UDK). Unity won out because of it's incredible platform reach plus fantastic workflows. If we want it in consoles and vita and even televisions - we can!

    How about the rendering - what approach did we take?

    The key thing to realise about The Other Brothers is that it uses shader technology and render to texture to achieve the pixel effects instead of "just" low resolution art. This means we can drive the game with a lot of subtle "mode 7" style effects as seen on consoles and computers of yesteryear. While the STYLE of the game is retro, it is in no way primitive under the hood!

    This allows really fantastic "retro-cool" style effects such as mosaic effects in realtime - stuff you would only find by hacking primitive older custom chips such as the Copper in the Amiga or Mode 7 on the Super Nintendo.

    We think it gives it a cooler vibe having a "virtual retro gpu" !

    -Rob.


    ANNOUNCEMENT: tonight at 20:30 GMT time we will be livestreaming some live development sauciness! check it out @ http://www.livestream.com/bjornhurri
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    we're streaming right now :)
  • Shoy333
    Was a really super art packed awesome stream guys keep at it looking greatly forward to next weeks!!!!! Anyone who has the opportunity should definitely check out the stream. :thumbup:
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks so much! Same time next week guys, 8:30PM on Thursday at http://www.livestream.com/bjornhurri :)

    If you'd like to keep up to date with the dev diary it is also available on our website at http://www.simiansquared.com
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    We're currently livestreaming again!

    Aside from that, I've been working on a little trailer to show you all in a few days :)

    In other news, Thomas our level designer has posted a little behind the scene shot on the official TOB news blog:
    http://www.tobgame.com/blog/?p=53
  • Thomas P.
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    Thomas P. polycounter lvl 8
    Hey guys!

    I am Thomas P. - one of the creators of "The Other Brothers". Bjorn and I have been following this thread and want to "Thank You" for all your kind and warm words towards our little game.

    We would also like to thank all the people that show up for our Livestreams every Thursday! Yesterday we had about 65 viewer I believe.

    Make sure to bookmark our website and blog for news: http://tobgame.com/
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    Indeed, we should get bjorn in here too!
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    Hey all,

    Rob just posted a new developer diary entry over at our website- this one focuses on AI:

    EXCERPT:
    ...
    Controlled Random

    It’s important to have a “controlled random fury” going on with the numbers. In my AI, the system is constantly fed inputs with random variation. The player might be close, but it has a little random fudge to it as the enemy might not judge if you’re perfectly close enough to have a nibble on. Likewise this is present for their movement behaviour.

    Sometimes random numbers fight random numbers which are fed in as a fudge for a normal sensory input, which makes it feel like it is making decisions (it actually is) but sometimes it will not always be a good decision.

    It was important to slow down how often enemies make decisions. This is known as the time it takes to change your mind. This also has a little random edge to it as well. Nothing is completely random at all, it is merely taking a cold logical true or false, and giving it shades of grey for exciting variation.

    Emotion and Logic

    Each creature has a boredom level as well. If you keep diddling around it will get bored of your pranks and wander back...
    READ MORE
    Be sure to head over there and check it out- feel free to leave any comments either here or there :)

    We're approaching the point where we'll be showing you some gameplay footage now- keep your eyes peeled :)
  • Envart
    Cool post, enjoyed that. Interesting about the character irritation/attack radius. I've been playing Day Z and it's one of the areas that is quite weak atm. Looking forward to the next one!
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    TOBGAME.jpg
    THE OTHER BROTHERS DEVELOPERS INTERVIEWED
    http://mobile.indiegamemag.com/the-other-brothers-interview/
    check it out!

    note: the trailer they posted at the bottom is very old and from before development started- we are going to be posting a brand new IN GAME trailer this week.

    Giuseppe x
  • MrHobo
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    MrHobo polycounter lvl 5
    Might be an old trailer but the nostalgia hit me so hard it hurt.
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    thanks man, well guess what- there's a new trailer up NOW!
    Hey guys, to celebrate us nearing the end of the first month of development, we've posted a video of some gameplay footage from a recent alpha build- would love to know what you all think:

    The Other Brothers - Alpha Preview - YouTube
    from: http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=99833
  • Envart
    Woot, new trailer!
  • Shoy333
    So much awesomeness keep it coming guys!
  • beezul
    i fricken LOVED that trailer man. i cant wait to play this game... i do have to say though that the music wasnt really what i expected. i found it was kind of annoying...didnt really stack up to alot of the 8bit jams out there right now
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 11
    :P
    well I thought the music was amazing
  • Macattackk
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    Macattackk keyframe
    fantastic trailer! is mario gonna be able to use a flamethrower at any point?
  • beezul
    to be more specific i really liked the end part of the song on the alpha preview. very catchy and very cool! but the song in the trailer with the bad guys stealin the chick... cant seem to find that video now.. im sleepy ...i did not like at all. ;p
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    Sorry to hear that you didn't like the theme song BetelGeist, I should clarify that it is not the music you will hear while playing- it's just the 'title' theme :)

    Thanks Justin!

    And MacAttackk: Hah, maybe! His name is Joe by the way :) I cant wait until you guys see the scope of the nods and winks we're doing to the games we loved as kids, yes our lead boys are a Giana Sisters style nod to their distant plumbing relatives but we've got so many more hidden in there like Street Fighter and FULL THROTTLE and a number of movies and pop culture favourites :)
  • Chimp
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    Chimp polycounter lvl 4
    001.jpg

    002.jpg

    005.jpg
  • Andreas
    SO SO PURDY
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