So far, so good...

It's only Day 5 of the pre-alpha play-tests, but so far things are working out surprisingly well!  There have been over 500 hundred downloads of the game so far and a minimal number of bugs reported. Most of these are relative small and (fingers crossed) easy to fix. Things such as menu/UI issues, control glitches, or skid marks appearing in mid-air.  But no game-breaking issues, which was my biggest worry.

There have been some pretty funny glitches reported though, such as stretched-out limbs and collider issues.  Not game-breaking, but certainly need fixed. 

Anyone else remember those "Stretch Armstrong" toys? 

Anyone else remember those "Stretch Armstrong" toys? 

When you hit a wood plank at high speed--you and the wood become one.  

When you hit a wood plank at high speed--you and the wood become one.  

The majority of feedback I've received has been very, very positive!! Seems like people are really enjoying the game and having fun, which makes me incredibly happy and relieved. It makes all the hard work rewarding when you know people are having fun :D The suggestions I've received on the forums and email have been very helpful too. Lots of great ideas from awesome people that genuinely want to help make the game better and better. So if you're one of those people, THANK YOU!

There have already been some great YouTube plays of Guts and Glory as well!  Not only is this a nice thing for increasing awareness, but it also helps me improve the game, since I can see what's working and what's not as people play it. One thing I've gathered, for example, is that my Tutorial track is terrible (and harder than the first couple levels.. Oops) and many people don't read the signs at all, so they miss out on key controls.   I've also realized that many tracks are much harder than I thought. When you're the guy making the game, you naturally become a master at it and it makes judging the difficulty much harder!  (Take note, fellow game devs.)  Part of this is due to the controls as well, which need some tightening up. That will be a priority for the next update.  

If you're having a hard time getting through any tracks, you can watch ThatGermanGuy  as he struggles to get through the tutorial. You'll feel better about yourself in no time and have some good laughs. ;) Although I'm sure he'll get the hang of it soon!

I've received some great feedback from TheSparrowsJourney as well. Check out his gaming channel if you get a chance. Very professional and entertaining, with lots of content.

There are many more great YouTubers out there that are enjoying the game and spreading the word. Too many for this post, so I've given them a shout-out on Twitter, and plan on adding a page later just for awesome YouTube goodness!

Unfortunately I'll be traveling on business over this next week for my day job (gotta pay those bills), but when I return I'll be working hard on the next update, which will have several bug fixes, improved bike tracks, the ATV and ATV Tracks! 

 

Let the Playtesting Begin

I'm happy to announce that the first Pre-Alpha Testing Invites will be sent out this month in groups, starting on July 6th.  If you're interested in participating, please sign-up for my newsletter--testers will be selected randomly from there in groups, to keep things manageable.

I couldn't afford a double-verification email system, so please whitelist my email (hakjakgames@gmail.com) or search your spam folder periodically in case the invite ends up there.  Once you reply to an email it will be whitelisted automatically, or you can do it manually using these simple instructions.

The first time you open the application, I recommend taking a look at the Settings menu and adjusting so everything runs smoothly on your computer.  Things like Screen Resolution and V-Sync can have the biggest impact on performance (besides the standard Quality settings slider bar).  You can also check the "Show FPS" box to help you out.

This first build includes John and Jimmy on their Golden Goose bicycle, and a dozen tracks to play in Happy Valley, so it should give y'all a good taste of things to come!

I'm both nervous and excited to see what this next stage of development holds, and what you all think of the game so far.

Happy playtesting!

Remember this game is in early development, so expect some bumps along the way

 

 

Welcome to Happy Valley

The perfect little homes of the residents of Happy Valley

Nestled between grassy hills and tall evergreens lies the small town of Happy Valley, with their perfect houses, perfect people, and perfect little lives.  This is the hometown of John Doh and his young son Jimmy, where they enjoy their days riding bicycles and enjoying the fresh mountain air.  Little do they know, they have also been selected to participate in the Guts and Glory Games, which can start without a moments notice!

Happy Valley will be just one of the "official" Maps in G&G, and will most likely be part of the first alpha test builds.  The other Maps will focus around the themes of other characters or just interesting settings in general.  Of course, once I get a Level Editor built, everyone can create all of the Maps and Tracks they want, or just build Tracks on these pre-built Maps.

I've also built several Tracks for the bicycle.  These range from very easy to kinda hard... at least I think so.  It's difficult to judge how difficult things really are when I build them myself, and I would like to add some more levels that really take things to the extreme, for those that love a really good challenge.  Oh, and I also added a short and fun tutorial track to teach the basics.

Down the road, I plan on adding the ability to add parked cars, destructible props and, of course, some NPCs.  These won't be part of the Map though... just things that can be added to any level.

Little do they know, this perfect little town will soon become an obstacle course of death

As I've been building these Tracks, I've come to the realization that this is less of a "racing game" and more of a "obstacle course of death" game, with vehicles.  Having that mindset has really helped in how I design the courses... err tracks... or levels, or whatever you want to call them.  Building the tracks has been one of the funnest parts of development ("funnest" is a word now, right?) I have lots of ideas I want to test out, but I really need to stop messing around with levels and finish the rest of the things on my to-do list so I can get this out to playtesters.

I also finished the waypoints system, complete with HUD, which makes building any type of track possible and easy.  It also allows me to design levels that require players to directly through the most dangerous parts, if I'm feeling devious.  Also added the ability to respawn quickly at designated checkpoints, so you don't have to start over from the very beginning of long or challenging courses.

Building these levels has been a great learning experience and also gave me a chance to make further improvements to the bicycle's control and handling.  Since everything is physics-based, there are a lot nuances to the vehicles.  Landing angles, speed, and the physics of the terrain can all affect how smoothly you land from a long jump, or if you just crash and burn.  Overall I'm feeling very satisfied with how it's turning out and can't wait to see what people think.

Next up, I'll be working on the less interesting parts like menus, more controller support and local leaderboard.  Once those are done, early alpha builds can be sent out!

New Hazards and Special Items

LOTS OF NEW STUFF ADDED!  CHECK OUT THE VIDEO!!
I recently finished adding a few more Hazards to the game, including Wrecking Balls and a few more that I will leave for you to discover when you play the game (I don't want to be a spoiler for my own game)!  

The Turbo Boosters are now fully functional and come in three speeds: from a gentle push to a mega boost.  They can also be stacked for greater speeds (I got up to over 250mph on the bike before crashed horrifically).  Captured a few good crashes for you to enjoy here.

But most of all, I'm excited about the new MEGA FANS!  These should create some interesting gameplay opportunities.  One side can push you up to high places (or off ledges), while the other side is hazardous to your health!  These could be used to save a player from high falls, or just to create really tricky "platformer" style levels.  They can also be attached to moving stuff to make things even more difficult, and basically push anything moveable in their range.  I'm thinking of putting a couple onto a windmill, like I do with the saws, or just making some turn in place.  These are my favorite new item, if you can't tell :D

I'm really excited because the last video has about 17,000 views in just a week!  I'm blown away by the interest people have had in this project so far.  It makes me super excited to keep working hard at it so I can get it out there.  Lots of early mornings and late nights have gone into this, but hearing good things people have to say makes it worth it.

Next thing on my to-do list is to build the first Map and Tracks, and finish making a few more audio improvements.

Please let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to share these videos to help spread the word about my first game and help it to be a success.

If you want more frequent updates, please follow on Twitter, since it's the easiest way for me to post the latest developments.

Thanks for stopping by!  

Crash Testing the Family Car

Things are progressing nicely on Guts and Glory.  After putting in some late nights, I've finally finished the third playable vehicle/character for the game: The Yang Family and their Mezooki 600 Series Convertible!  This car is super fun to drive, and even more fun to wreck!  The body is damage-able and loses parts on impact.  You can even jam tires or knock them off completely, or pop them on spikes and other sharp objects. I spent quite a bit of time watching dozens of crash videos while making this to get everything to feel just right--and then I tested he hell out of it in-game!

Below is a montage of crash tests and some general driving and handling.  I'm pretty happy with how it's looking so far, and will continue to make improvements as the project continues.  Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Given the feedback I've received so far, there will also be an option to turn the kids on/off, for those who prefer it. 

Additionally, I've made some fixes to the bike control and significantly improved the suspension and handling of the ATV.  It now handles off road and hilly stuff a lot better.  All of the characters now have voices and I added more sound effects in general too.

Please help me spread the word about this project. I'm a solo game developer, so I can use all the help I can get!

For more info check out HakJak.com

Earl the Redneck vs Cannon Turrets

Earl done lost his head again

Watching Guts and Glory get a ton of views and feedback on Steam Concepts gave me a ton of motivation to work really hard this week.  I just finished Earl the redneck and his ATV, and also added Cannon Turrets to the game which are really awesome (and a little bit scary).  I threw them together in a short mock desert track and posted a new video to YouTube to showcase more of the potential for this game.

I've been so busy developing that I haven't been able to spend anymore time marketing, so Steam traffic (new, unique visitors) has slowed down to just a steady trickle.  Going forward, it looks like I'll need to dedicate at least 15-25% of my time towards marketing in order to continue building a large enough fanbase.  Learning as I go....

I still haven't posted anything to other major hubs yet, like Indie DB or Reddit, so I'll probably pitch a tent in those camps soon and start making friends :)

Guts and Glory is BLOWIN' UP!

BOOM!  Landmines are now functional.  Not perfect... but functional.

Well, a LOT can change in just a week.  In only its first 7 days, Guts and Glory has climbed to the #77 rank on Steam Greenlight (out of 2,344 other titles on there at the time)!  And it's only in the very early development stages.  Whaaaaaat?!  Lucky 7's baby!

Woo-hoo! 

Woo-hoo! 

I went from being incredibly anxious about the announcement a week ago to incredibly excited!  All of this has been from just word-of-mouth though, so I thank all of you who have helped/will help spread the word!  I hope people continue to tell their friends about it and help get more people to follow the project on Steam and on this blog, or social media.  

NEXT UP: I think I'm going to put together a checklist/development roadmap and post it on Steam.   I keep getting questions about when stuff will be done, when a playable build will be out, etc. so that should help answer some questions and also give everyone a good idea of what's to come, and show progress updates.

Keep checking on this blog and Twitter for the most frequent updates though!  I'll try to reserve the Steam Announcements for relatively big stuff so I don't spam anyone's accounts.

I can't wait to see what the future holds for this game project!

2 new Vehicles/Characters in Development

Earl and his ATV, and the Yang Family in their Mezooki 700 Series convertible

Although I hinted at this with a dimmly-lit image during the announcement, I decided to go ahead and reveal the other 2 characters/vehicles that are currently in development.  I'd like to introduce you to Earl and his ATV (inspired by some fellow Idaho residents) and the Yang Family in their poorly built "premium" car, the Mezooki 700.

This rounds out the starting selection with 3 sizes of vehicles (small, medium, and large) with a variety of speeds and handling so I can try out all kinds of scenarios.  The hardest part is probably going to be adapting the various hazards and special items in the game so that they are just as dangerous to these new characters as they are to the bike.  These are still in very early phases of development, but I will post a video with them in it when the time is right.

On a side note, we've reached a consensus on the Steam Concepts page that the main dad/son character shown in the video is too similar to another game and will be replaced this week.  Visit the page on Steam if you would like to help decide what the replacement should be!

 

Now on Steam Concepts!

Wooooooo!  Exciting moment!

I took the next step in getting Guts and Glory out there by posting it to Steam's Concepts pages.  This is similar to Steam Greenlight, but just for projects that are in early development. It's used for getting potential player feedback, building an audience, etc.

Please take a moment to check it out, vote, and let me know what you think!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=674500565

So it begins...

John (dad) and Jimmy (son), readying themselves for challenges ahead

Yesterday I finally overcame my fears and announced my first video game project to the world!  I’ve been working on this game in my spare time for over a year now, and have been nervous to reveal it publicly.  “What if people think it’s stupid?  What if nobody is interested?  What if I spent all this time and hard work for nothing!?”  But of course I realize I’ll never have the answers to these questions if I don’t just do it.  So here it is, ready for the world to love and/or hate it!

I’ll be spending most of my time over the next week just trying to spread the word and get as many people to check this project out as I possibly can.  I really want to know what people think so I know what direction to take this, what changes need to be made, if I should go drown myself in a puddle....

My next big goal is to finish the core mechanics and build a small standalone demo.  To do this, I’ll need to finish the 2nd and 3rd Vehicles (so I have medium and large sized vehicles to test), tweak all the Hazards and Special Items so they interact correctly with these new, heavier and faster vehicles, and put together some basic menus and other small stuff.  I’ll also need to build some real tracks.  After that I can start doing some small, closed beta tests to make sure everything works correctly on different machines.

As work progresses, I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated at least once a month, but probably more.  I’ll post here first, and of course duplicate it out on other social media platforms so you can follow along via the platform of your choice.

I have 2 main reasons for blogging about this.  1.) To keep anyone interested in it informed on the progress of the game and give them ways to provide input on how to improve it, and 2.) To (hopefully) encourage others to pursue their dreams as well.  This has been a dream of mine for a very long time, and I want to encourage others to not wait as long as I did to just go for it.

Please let me know what you think in the comments below!