Acid Wizard Studio is 3 young people (and a dog) from Warsaw, Poland. We make games.
Contact us at wassup@acidwizardstudio.com. If you dare.

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Global Game Jam 2015

06 February 2015 by Acid Wizard

Guess what! We’ve been game jamming recently, making a game called After The Credits! You can play it here, in your browser.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, the Global Game Jam is a yearly event, where people all around the world gather in different places (called sites), and make a game in 48 hours on a given subject. Our site in Warsaw was PolyJam!

Less than a hundred people cramped in a room for 48 hours. Can you just smell the work in the air?

Less than a hundred people cramped in a room for 48 hours. Can you just smell the work in the air?

Here’s the full coverage:

Friday

4:58 PM
We arrive at the site. One of the sponsors (a bank) is having a presentation. About loans. Some time after that, this year’s keynotes are played. One of them was pretty trippy . The theme is announced, and it’s a question : “What do we do now?“.

We brainstorm for an hour or so about what we want to create. Very quickly we get the idea we like: Let’s make a game about a video game character (in this case, Bill from Contra) returning to normal life, after he has defeated the final boss. The twist is, he can only use the same set of skills he has acquired during his previous adventures!

We talk about some other ideas, but since we’re satisfied with the one we have, we leave the site to get our hardware.

9:23 PM
It took way longer than we expected, but we’re back and ready to work! Well, not exactly. Artur’s computer is not working. He and Kuba need to go to his apartment and get his laptop. The day is almost over and we haven’t done anything yet, and the atmosphere is becoming tense.

11:03PM
The guys are back. It turns out, Artur forgot a cable to connect his tablet to the laptop, so he can’t work well. We can’t really get the internet to work, so working together will be pretty hard. It wouldn’t be so bad, but we’re having second thoughts about the game we want to make, and having these technical difficulties pile up like this, it really hits our morale. We go back to brainstorming.

1:10AM
We decide to stick with the original idea, as we can’t think of anything better at the moment, but most of the team is unconvinced and can’t really focus. We’re also pretty tired.

3:32AM
I made some prototypes for movement, but we haven’t done anything besides that. This sucks. We call it a night.

Saturday

 11:02AM
We were supposed to meet at 10:00 AM, but I overslept. Now we’re completely unsure of what we want to make. We’re not convinced about the art style (which will need to be consistent with Contra), the gameplay (which will be extremely simple, as we will only have time to make a few gags), and only scratching the surface of the subject because of the limited controls and time frame. We brainstorm again.

Kuba is showing us his work. As you can tell from our facial expression, it wasn't very good.

THINGS ARE NOT GOING VERY WELL

1:30 PM
Success! We’re now sure what we want to make and have no doubts about the project. We didn’t alter the idea, but we needed to convince ourselves about what’s good (and bad) about it, and just go with it.

In a horizontal company structure like ours, where the fun of creating something and the game itself is a major motivation, being confident about the project you are making is extremely important.  If someone from the team is unsure about anything, the game will end up a disaster.

4:30 AM
Nothing out of the ordinary happens during the whole day. We’re jamming, which means we work hard, eat pizza and have fun! We’ve got a (somewhat) working game. We’re aware that it will look like shit until it’s finished, so we don’t stress about the current state of the game.

Sunday

4:00PM
Work is going well and we make it just in time for the presentation, unfortunately Artur didn’t feel too well and had to go home. The presentation goes well and After The Credits grabs 1st place! 

Lots of other crazy games have been made there by talented people, you can check them out here!

Find the Wizards!

A group photo after the event. Find the Wizards!

Overall, even though the atmosphere was pretty bad because of our technical (and creative) difficulties, the event was great, thanks to great organization and fellow jammers!

The 2 weeks after the jam, however, were not very fortunate for us – after Artur’s PC refused to cooperate, Kuba’s hard drive died a few days later. What’s worse is that last week, he suddenly felt very bad and was taken to the hospital. He gave us a bit of a scare when his pulse dropped to 35. Luckily it looks like he will have to go through a few procedures and all will be fine, and today he’s back in work!

In the meantime, we’re returning to work on Darkwood. Right now we’re working on a behind the scenes system which will dynamically change the game (especially night time) based on your current actions / situation. You can expect a basic version of it in the next update!

Gustaw

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Alpha 3

19 December 2014 by Acid Wizard

alpha3_02a
Alpha 3 is out! The major changes are:

Consequences of death

From now on, dying means: dropping your inventory at the place you have been killed, and waking up somewhere in the biome where your current hideout is. This may sound easy, but in the later biomes returning to the place where you have died is sometimes very tricky.

Extracting essence

Mushrooms in the woods are more plentiful, but only certain rare kinds can be cooked for essence. This allows for bigger “trap” areas with a reward for successfully navigating them.

Things that can be cooked will rot after a certain amount of time after they have been picked up. Where do you find essence, you ask? Well…

The night
alpha3_a

During the night, you will not only see creatures, but also mutated plants. You will need to be on the lookout for them if you want to harvest their essence!

Light now plays a bigger role, as staying in the shadows for too long will be a bad idea, so better fill up your generator before it gets dark!

Sound

You will need to pay much more attention to the sound you generate from now on. This means interacting with doors, moving objects, barricading etc. will bring attention to your location. This will be very important during the night, as you do not want to alert anyone to your presence.

AI changes

Stealth is harder and easier at the same time. If you are reckless, you will easily get spotted. But if you keep a low profile, you will be able to sneak through areas. Enemies will also be more forgiving in letting you know if they are alerted to your presence.

Minor:

New stuff:
- Added a popup notifying you about entering a biome.
- [Experimental] If you are inside a location, you will be able to see it marked on the map.
- You can pick up dropped items from the ground if you are inside your inventory.
- When quitting the game, you will get notified about the time of the last save.

Changes:
- Player will no longer receive damage when waking up.
- Changed balance of gasoline for generators.
- The mushrooms you get after drinking from the well depend on what hideout you are currenly in.
- Health / stamina potions have been removed (in favour of skills). This is temporary, as we need to find other ways to upgrade these stats.

Fixes:
- Loot no longer respawns after time in some locations.
- Electronic game is now properly added to journal.
- Inventory icons no longer disappear.
- Fixed having multiple items selected on hotbar after  death.
- Fixed desynchronizing aim indicator.
- It’s no longer possible to appear outside of a underground location when travelling to it.
- Fixed bug causing the pathfinding grid to get corrupted after loading.
- Fixed issues with reloading the game after dying in a underground location.
- Fixed several issues with mimics.
- Fixed weird behaviour with Wolf when traveling to Doctor’s house again.
- Fixed ambient music sometimes cutting off.
- Fixed map and poison overlays intersecting each other.
- Fixed the fog in a few locations.
- Fixed disappearing enemies in front of the player.
- Added missing sounds to some furniture.
- Fixed not getting reward after dream if your inventory was full.
- Fixed rabbits being blind sometimes.
- Fixed generator not emitting light if it was previously drained from fuel.
- Fixed a gap in the trees at the Doctor’s house, enabling the player to leave the location’s bounds into the void.
- Fixed being able to drink from the well even though it was day.
- Fixed some issues with loading underground locations.
- Optimized loading meshes.
- Fixed information popup appearing in main menu.

We’re very happy with this update, as it fixes some major issues with how leveling / dying worked before, and lays a foundation for really cool nights. It also introduces some new issues in the long run (like gasoline being a limited resource), but nothing that can’t be mended with future updates.

This will probably be one of the last updates containing major changes to gameplay mechanics. After we fix a few more big things that we’re unhappy with, we can finally move on to adding more content and polishing existing mechanics, yay!

The Acid Wizard

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What’s coming in Alpha 3?

09 December 2014 by Acid Wizard

Greetings!

Alpha 3′s main focus will be making nights exciting again! To do so, we had to make some big changes to other mechanics.

Consequences of death

Dying in normal mode means losing some of your skills, your currently held mutated items, and damaging all of the other items in your inventory. This sucks, as the mutated plants which you use to level up don’t grow back, which can be quite frustrating when you lose a few perks and can’t really regain them after some time. We could of course make them grow back after some time, but that would encourage boring grind.

So, in Alpha 3, dying means: dropping your inventory at the place you have been killed, and waking up somewhere in the wilderness at the beginning of the next day. You lose your belongings, but can regain them if you get back to the spot where you have died. Sound too easy? Not quite, as the time skip ties to the other mechanics:

Extracting essence

Mushrooms in the woods are more plentiful, but only certain rare kinds can be cooked for essence. This allows for bigger “trap” areas with a reward for successfully navigating them.

Things that can be cooked will rot after a certain amount of time after they have been picked up. Where do you find essence, you ask? Well…

The night

Currently, nights can be very intense at the beginning, but the excitement fades as you figure out how to defend yourself with no risks (like hiding in a corner behind a wardrobe). We have been experimenting quite a lot on how to overcome this, and came up with a solution that we think is pretty cool, and lets you play your way.

From now on, mutated flora and fauna will start appearing in the night, in different form. You will need to be on the lookout for them if you want to harvest their essence. You can still hide behind that wardrobe if you’re scared, but you will be missing out on some precious essence!

Image by Sir Smide II

Light now plays a bigger role, as staying in the shadows for too long will be a bad idea, so better fill up your generator before it gets dark!

We have also did some adjustments for the nights to be more fair, making them less random and based more on your actions, which leads us to…

Sound

You will need to pay much more attention to the sound you generate from now on. This means interacting with doors, moving objects, barricading etc. will bring attention to your location. This will be very important during the night, as you do not want to alert anyone to your presence.

AI changes

Stealth is harder and easier at the same time. If you are reckless, you will easily get spotted. But if you keep a low profile, you will be able to sneak through areas. Enemies will also be more forgiving in letting you know if they are alerted to your presence.

 

We will be entering the testing phase as soon as we balance out some of the new features, which should be this week. This update will probably be one of the last major alphas to bring big changes to mechanics, after which we will finally be able to move on to adding more content!

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Alpha 2 is live!

30 October 2014 by Acid Wizard

alpha2

Rejoice, mortals! Alpha 2 is here, just in time for Halloween! With it, changes big and small!

This update focuses mainly on a huge rewrite of some of our back-end systems, meaning they are now more optimized, less buggy and allow for some cool stuff to happen.

Highlights:

Brand new world

We basically rewrote the whole world generation system. The main thing you will notice is that the biomes are now grouped together, and getting through to the next biome requires a trip through a “gate” location. Borders are much more interesting now, and aren’t only impenetrable walls.

New map of a sample world.

New map of a sample world.

This system allows for a lot of new cool stuff. We’re tingling in excitement just thinking of the possibilities in future updates! For now, the benefits of this approach are mostly visible through better pacing (easier in the beginning, harder at the end of chapter 1), more rewarding exploration, more interesting navigation, and a better sense of progression.

Even though we optimized the generation script quite a lot, the new world is now about 50% larger than the previous one, and in result creating a new one takes more or less the same amount of time. This will of course be optimized in the future. Some parts of the procedural generation system are turned off for now to avoid some bugs.

Modified combat

Combat in Darkwood is supposed to be slow, tactical, but lethal. It may be unintuitive at first, as you can’t spam attacks like in every other game with this perspective, but it is a lot of fun when you get used to it. We worked on it in this update, to make it more responsive, but also made the Secondary Attack and Dodge skills available right from the start.

Optimizations and fixes

There are a ton of optimizations to pretty much everything. Less stuttering, better performance! We also fixed most of the reported bugs (including the dreaded Mac crash and disappearing Wolfman!). However, a lot of new features were added, which still need to be polished.

And also:

- New hideouts! Nights are different based on the hideout you are sleeping in.
- New content to be found in the wilderness.
- Wood is more plentiful, but to make use of it, you need to convert it to planks with the new Saw object.
- New shader for trees.
- Rebalances to loot and enemies.
- And a lot of other smaller (or secret) changes!

We are pleased how these changes add to the game, and hope you feel the same! This is hopefully the last BIG rewrite of any of the systems, and we can return to more frequent updates.

We’d also like to thank all of our amazing testers for their hard work! <3

Remember, the Acid Wizard sees all, so post your feedback on our forums or the Steam forums!

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