Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse

edited in Projects
Should have posted here sooner in dev, but we've ( @vintar, @jamotaylor, me) just "announced" the game we've been working on for Xbox One and Steam :D



We've been playtesting with people at the Durban meetups, which has been super helpful. I'll try post about our progress here, and hopefully some of you can come play and give us feedback sometime :)

Some people playing at EGE

Comments

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    Nicely done guys! Had a lot of fun playing this one!
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • This looks so great! Can't wait to play it!

    Awesome job on all fronts!
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • Wow, looks like it's come a long way! Good job!
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • Nice :) There's nothing about it on your website.. but I see you did work on Plex? Did you do their WinPhone app?
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    mattbenic said:
    Nice :) There's nothing about it on your website.. but I see you did work on Plex? Did you do their WinPhone app?
    The actual site is http://www.valagame.com/ - and I haven't put any info about it my actual site. Still working out what to do. And yeah on the new UWP client.

    Thanked by 1mattbenic
  • The video on bevis' post reminded me of some barrel stuff we did at the beginning of the year :)

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    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • Wow, that takes me back.... Old mech still looks awesome albeit a bit too small.
  • This past weekend Jamo and myself presented the game at EGE in Cape Town. Here is a long winded post-mortem of the good and bad.

    But before that, here is a quick video I made of some people playing. I didn't want to have to constantly ask people for permission to record them, so that's about all the video I had.




    The bad:
    Organization at the event was pretty terrible. We got there on the Thursday (it opened on Friday), and had no power at our stand. We were promised that we'd have power by the afternoon, which never happened. Friday morning we arrived and still had no power, plus we'd been moved, so our banner was in the wrong place. When we eventually got power, the box had been wired incorrectly and shocked me when touching where it wasn't painted. So I covered it in bubble wrap and stuff worked well until right before closing time when somehow the power cable burned itself out. They came to fix our power, opened up the box, and proceeded to leave exposed live ends on a soggy floor. The next morning it had still not been fixed. About 30 minutes after opening we had power again, yay!

    The good:
    Pretty much everything else. The expo was a lot nicer than I thought it would be (albeit a bit smaller than I had imagined).
    Our goals for the expo were:
    - Get feedback on the core game, gameplay, and get a broader idea of whether it is fun (since we have a relatively small number of people that have actually played it).
    - Find bugs, and see if there were any consistent things that just didn't work in normal gameplay, with normal people.

    I'd say we definitely achieved both of those. It was a pretty amazing feeling watching complete strangers having a blast playing our game. We had a very varied bunch of players ranging from young kids, all the way through to over 50's. Interestingly, we had quite a few older people that didn't want to play (since they didn't play games), and just watched for 10, 20 minutes. We also had a fair amount of kids playing who managed to convince their parents to play with them.
    Mass-llama slaughter: because family is important!

    We received lots of great suggestions, and things we can improve. As well as lots of positive feedback.
    And a mention on LazyGamer http://www.lazygamer.net/south-africa/ege-2016-back-better/
    Also fantastic was the showing of local indie games. I had an absolute blast with VALA aka Vicious Attack Lama Apocalypse, which describes itself as “the world’s best mass llama-slaughter roguelike-lite-ish couch co-op twin-stick shooter”. There was also lots of fun to be had with ControlShift, Polygod, Mega-Zerds, critical hit BroForce and much, much more. Last year’s local indie game showing was good, but this year was brilliant and I saw many a young gamer getting hooked on these usually more accessible games (with one kid of about 6 years old just destroying all records on VALA).

    It was pretty costly, considering we're self-funded:
    Flights: R3000
    Rental: R1200
    EGE Craft Market table and power: R2400

    Total: R 6600


    In terms of number of players
    There were about 25 "active" show hours. Each player played for about 10 minutes (some shorter, some longer). That makes a total of 150 sessions.
    There were very few times when we had less than 4 players at a time, but let's say 3. That makes 450 people. Take that down to about 400 because we had a few groups coming back multiple times.
    So basically we paid R16 per play tester ;-)

    (@jamotaylor left, me right)
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  • edited
    We wanted to create a [terrible] live-action cut-scene in the game, and needed a llama mask. So we took one of the llama models, cut it up nicely, and 3D printed it.
    Even if no one ever buys a copy of the game, at least we've had a bunch of fun doing different things :)

    Also, I discovered you can actually edit videos in Photoshop, and all the usual PS tools work. That is really great for people who need something easy and already have bought PS.

    (@jamotaylor)
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    (me)
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    If you want one for some reason I've uploaded the files here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1799737/

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  • I was recently here, and they had a small cinema that services the small town nearby, and I was able to hookup VALA and play with a bunch of people there :D
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  • There is an opportunity for us to show at a game expo, and the first step of that process is to send them a video of gameplay. So we played for a couple of hours and then roughly cut it together today.
    ​It isn't super polished, and it isn't meant to be a public facing gameplay trailer, but here it is:

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    After a lot of documentation and last minute bug-fixing, we successfully submitted to Xbox One "optional light cert" today!
    It doesn't mean the game is content-complete, or balanced etc, but it is a milestone of sorts. Now we wait to find out how many of the thousand rules we broke :)
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    Thanked by 2Fengol BenJets
  • Hey, cool! :D

    How does that work? Is there an easy-ish path for locals to get on the XBOne? I was under the impression that it was far more difficult nowadays than it was back on XBLA, and that there was pretty much no support for South Africans at the moment. Has that changed?
  • @Elyaradine It is indeed significantly harder than the XBLA days, which were pretty much open to anyone that could afford the $99 fee or whatever it was.
    Back when the XB1 first came out MS announced a program called ID@XBOX.
    It took us a long time to get into the program. I can't remember exactly how long, but it was something like a year of back and forth before we got into the program, our game concept was approved, and we got [2 free] dev kits. I will say though that we didn't have much beyond some badly made concept documents, and a mobile prototype (the one you made some shaders for!) to show them. I imagine that it was MUCH easier for devs that had previously published games.
    Also, because it was right when the ID@XBOX program first started, they were very under-staffed. I assume it would be easier to get a response from them now.

    So the process is to apply to http://www.xbox.com/en-US/developers/id , submit a concept doc and supporting docs about your game, get accepted, sign lots of papers, get devkits and SDKs (and free Unity if you use that), finish the game, go for cert, publish.
    Cert is much more stringent than XBLA days, as ID@XBOX games go through the same cert process as AAA titles.
  • Soon there will be no gaming platform were the llama apocalypse is safe! Well done guys, I'm a huge supporter of couch co-op games, we're not seeing enough of those.

    And thanks for sharing your insights on getting your game onto XBox. Knowing is half the battle, and having that information will help future devs plan better when they're looking to launch on a console (or at least know what they need to aim for).
    Thanked by 1roguecode
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    Because of how our leaderboard works, every session is automatically recorded. This is awesome because we can see the MS testers are actively testing the game! (p.s. screenshots of a build with some UI problems)
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    And because Xbox has status things we can call, we can see when those players are actively playing, vs sitting in the menu, vs offline. Right now there are 5 people online playing.
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    And we're tracking tons of different events at play-time, so we can also see stuff like (the green bars) that this particular tester has killed 4000 llama over 32 deaths.

    It also shows progress towards achievements, which we can use to work out stuff like how he is playing, if he's doing the challenges we popup, what weapons he's used, etc.
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    As far as I can tell, the one tester in particular is playing to win - as in, he's playing the game as we intend to progress.


    I guess this just excites me, because even if we sell zero copies, at least somewhere in this world, there have been a bunch of people that played the game. Even if they were paid :P
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  • I am both fascinated that developers can monitor this kind of data and disturbed that developers can monitor this kind of data (being a journalist and not a developer myself).
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    @watman, on Xbox they are very strict about what you can and cannot do. Everything above is through their services, so is fair game. And what is nice for user privacy is that if a developer wants to call ANY non-MS service they need explicit permission.
    Also, all of this can be turned off via privacy settings on the Xbox I think.

    Side note, analytics in general is super interesting, and gets super in-depth. One thing I love in app and web analytics is hotspots:
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    Pretty crazy to think that on any site with good analytics, your mouse movements are being tracked.
  • I know. I follow this kind of stuff (and run a web site) so I'm very aware of what web sites and phones and third-party services are doing. (Don't get me started on the big four tech companies.) I just had no idea of what was being done on the Xbox although, of course, it's part of the big four and its parent loves to amass people's data.
  • Results are back!
    We failed 9 requirements, which I'm pretty happy with (there are ~91 checks in total - although not all of them apply to us).
    Luckily they were mostly just to do with our user handling which we've since made better, and the rest shouldn't be too hard to address.
  • This game looks amazing, cannot WAIT to download and play!!!!!
    Is a PS4 release on the horizon too?
    Thanked by 2roguecode jizzylebig
  • Thanks a lot @JuicedRobot!
    Our current plan for PS4 is "at some point after PC/Xbox release". We are in their indie program, but right now we have tons to do for Xbox and Steam, so it just isn't realistic to be doing PS4 alongside. Even if we could, last I checked their devkits were crazy expensive :( (Microsoft gave us 2 devkits free).

    That all being said - the game is in Unity which PS4 natively supports, so it just means redoing the platform specific stuff (achievements, storage, controllers, etc), which isn't too bad.
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    I spent my day making blood trails :) (watch the hands and behind the body)

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    p.s. The blood is weirdly bright right now for some reason.
  • Cool effect!

    Transparent meshes are difficult to make shadowed. For something like blood, I'd try a bright red, but set to multiply. (There are a bunch of other workarounds, but they're even more case-specific.)
  • Thanks, will give it a try!
  • In likely the most exciting update ever, we've added a mailing list to http://valagame.com
    I'm not sure if anyone signs up for those, but worth a shot.
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    It's been about a year since we first started testing with people, and it's changed a ton over that time. Most of those people have been in person at things like meetups, which allowed us to stop people doing stuff that would explode. But it's now pretty stable, and we've been testing more recently with people to try get the balancing better.

    So I'm hoping there are some people here who would be interested in testing and giving us feedback on the game.
    To play you'll need a game controller (it does work with PC, but it really isn't nice playing like that yet). We've only tested on Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers so far unfortunately.
    It should run on most relatively new Windows PC's. I don't have an actual min spec to tell you, but it won't work well on an integrated intel GPU. Also, the download is pretty hefty at ~2.5GB.
    I'd prefer to not put a public download, so please leave a message here or send me a message and I'll get you a build in a few days (just got to clean up a few last things).

    One last thing worth mentioning, is that it is much more fun with friends (up to 4 players local co-op), so bonus points if you have those.

    Thanks!
  • @roguecode: I will happily test it for you again ... this time on PC. I have a controller.

    PC Spec:
    CPU - Intel Core i5-4460 @3.20 GHz
    RAM - 16 GB Corsair Ballistix
    GFX - AMD Radeon R7 200
    OS - Windows 10
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • I'd be happy to too, though I likely won't be able to until next weekend at the earliest. I'd be using a PS4 controller, but with a sort of 360 controller emulation via InputMapper.

    Intel Core i7 6700k / 64GB DDR4 RAM / GTX 1080 / Windows 10 Pro

    Hope I meet your min spec. :P
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • Intel Core i7 6700k / 64GB DDR4 RAM / GTX 1080 / Windows 10 Pro
    You're the reason we have to multiply everything by deltatime.

    Thanked by 2Sash Elyaradine
  • I think we've decided on the icon we'll use for Greenlight.
    What a mission keeping it below the 2MB limit...
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  • That's super cool! Would grab the hell out of my attention!
    Thanked by 2pieter roguecode
  • Thanks @BenJets, glad to hear!
  • I just sent the latest build to some people. If you're keen to try it out please let me know! Context: http://makegamessa.com/discussion/comment/46768/#Comment_46768
    Thanked by 1konman
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    Been a while since I've posted anything so here are some cute llamas dying

    https://gfycat.com/SophisticatedVigilantGiantschnauzer
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    Got some good comments on reddit about it, and I'm going to try some stuff to make the jump and fall part a bit more feedbackey. Starting with trying some small thrusters facing upwards that trigger at the top of the jump.
    Thanked by 2Bensonance critic
  • I think this game has everything a AAA studio can provide. I see special effects such as shaders and lighting, decals etc. The level design looks amazing too, detailed props and there seems to be a lot of very cool gameplay mechanics happening. I don't quite understand the icons happening in the top right corner yet , though it looks very interesting. ( from 10 November 2016 vid).

    But, we have mechanised units beating down on poor unprovoked, innocent Llamas. :(

    I cannot help but feel sorry for those Llamas. That's the problem for me. Sorry. Them being the enemy detracts from my overall feel of ridding the world of a menace. AKA a worthy cause. I just want to cuddle them? Am I wrong? Missing the point?

    Make me see their evilness. Please. :D
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • edited
    Thanks so much!

    So firstly, the HUD. We've received feedback from a lot of the people that played it that the HUD was a bit confusing. So we've done two things, firstly, we've changed the design around since the nov video to (hopefully) be clearer. Secondly, the game has a tutorial now that goes step by step through was each bit is.
    Just quickly (with a terrible quality image from a video I had with me now, sorry):
    (edit: lol, doesn't help that the site is also stretching it)
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    Top left are your 3 main abilities: Dash, Jump/Smash, Shield. The curved bar around those is your energy level (used for all 3 abilities). Each icon will go greyed out if you don't have enough energy for it.
    The horizontal bar to the right of that is health.
    At the top are your left and right primary weapons, and the smaller one in the center is a "special" single use pickup.
    At the bottom left are all the passive perks you've picked up in the current playthrough (holding info/tab puts a name next to each one if you forget the icon).
    The HUD color is based on the color of that player.
    Being a 4 player co-op, each corner of the screen gets a different players HUD. Starting at top left, going clockwise.

    Next...cuddly llamas.
    Firstly, llamas are not cuddly. Alpacas are.
    Simply searching for "llama attack" on youtube will show countless horrific incidents.
    Here is a prime example of a child that barely escaped with his life, and will be traumatized forever, eventually turning to a life of crime.


    If you are still not convinced, then the story in the game should cover it. We don't just throw you in with a bunch of furry creatures and make you murder them, there is reasoning to all of this.
    If the story fails (i.e. you don't buy into it, in the same way that you may simply not accept killing a mutant dog in Resident Evil), then the absolute last fallback I have for you is that at the end of the day it is a game, these things have destroyed most of the city, and if you don't kill them, they will kill you.

    Your next question may be how they can possibly damage a steel mech. Individually, there isn't too much damage most of them can do. But take a few hundred pissed off llamas in real life, and they'll pretty much destroy anything.

    Hopefully this has answered your question :)
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