Update and new game

Hi everyone, it’s been a while :)

After a long rest of gamedev’ing, I couldn’t resist to get back in action once again! I decided to put The Blueprints Machine to rest (at least for a good while), in order to start working on a new game (idea fairy? is that you?)

Anyway, this game is getting me all excited because I’m going to add some really cool non-gaming related stuff to it, together with some puzzle mechanics. And I’ve never done a puzzle game, so yay for that.

Devlog at TIG Forums, as usual, because I want to keep record of everything, like I did for Autumn.

For now, just a short video of an early prototype concept.

The Blueprints Machine – dev news and thoughts on Early Access

Hi everyone!

This was quite a long and fruitful week of TBM development. As usual, I’m a bit lazy to update this blog, so if you want to keep in touch more regularly and see all the new stuff as it comes out, better to connect to the devlog on tigsource, indiedb or steamconcepts.

I created a playlist on my youtube account dedicated to TBM dev videos, and right now you can watch a bunch of them, where I demo and explain all the new features that got added and a few other ideas about TBM. Watch them all to catch up on the news! They are all only 4-6min long.

I’ve been receiving great feedback from several people, and many have shown interest in playing with the game right now, just to use the sandbox mode, even if there are no levels to play yet. This is my official reply:

Drawing 2D noise to the video node

Drawing 2D noise to the video node

TBM will feature (at least) 25 unique levels, that will demand you to use different skills (creativity, logic, math) in order to progress through the game. Apart from this main “campaign” mode, you will have access to a Sandbox where you can just build and play with blueprints (some of which you can save and re-use in the game’s levels in order to aid your progress).

Although the sandbox mode is around 80% completion, the game itself is about 10%. I’d also like to point out that TBM will be a paid game (my estimate of price is around the 10$ tier), and the release date should be Spring 2016.

Having said that, I do consider a possibility of opening up Early Access to TBM as that would give you the opportunity to play with the Sandbox mode, and to play the levels as they get done. It would also help me as well, as I would get the chance to receive valuable feedback from players and, who knows, more interesting ideas to take in the game.

As a reward, the Early Access adopters would have access to the game at a huge discount (maybe 70%).

But doing an Early Access also demands more work and time from me, to prepare it, to create a tiny closed community, a way to give regular builds to players, etc. For now, I need to understand if there is really a sufficient amount of players interested in such a thing. So, if you are, I would request you to show your interest in become an early access adopter (either in IndieDB, Steam or other).

thank you :)

Introducing: The Blueprints Machine


Starting today I’m publicly announcing what will (hopefully) become my next game: The Blueprints Machine (TBM).

TBM is a puzzle game, where each level can present you a totally different scenario/world/challenge, and to solve it, you have to manipulate certain aspects of that level to achieve the desired ending result. In order to do that, you’ll get the help of blueprints, where various kinds of nodes allow you to do operations, calculations, and changes in the level.

TBM is also a learning experience. The game starts with a few basic nodes, but quickly will demand from you creativity and imagination to come up with easier ways to do things and re-utilize previous strategies.

I did a short video to show a bit the current working prototype where blueprints are designed. (make sure you view it in fullscreen)

As always, I’ll be blogging about the game development here, in my tigsource devlog, news and media at indiedb and twitter. (Update: and now also in Steam Concepts)

Ludum Dare Competition: Layerd

First time I’m participating in the Ludum Dare competition, and was really not expecting the “Entire Game in One Screen” theme to win.

Anyway, got a cool idea and started working on it right away. We are now in the 2nd (and last!) day of the competition, and there is still SO MUCH to do :/

My game is called Layerd, its a classic puzzle-platformer with a twist: game progress is a kind of “3rd dimensions”, so as you move back and forth in the map, the map changes.

Short video demo (without sound :( ):

Edit: Finished! 😀


Onwards to a next game

I was still 3 months away from finishing Autumn and already had some cool ideas for my next games. This is the curse of all gamedevs, I guess 😀

Now that Autumn is finally finished, I’ve been giving myself time to think freely, letting ideas flow without rushing to start anything (I also feel the need to take a short break).

I was beginning to settle on one idea, but as time passed by, that idea morphed many times, taking different shapes. Now I think I finally arrived at a point where I can say I’ve decided pretty much how my next game will be like.

It’s too early to announce it, but as soon as I sort out some more details and actively start working on it, I’ll once again open a devlog in the TIG forums.

For now all I can say is that it will be a puzzle game(1st time I’m doing one), and it will be in 3D (also first time). Lot of new stuff for me, and I’m having a lot of fun working on the first level ideas 😀


7 months after…

Autumn’s development has reached the end. Of course that there is always more stuff to add, art to improve, etc, but we have to put a stop somewhere. A few months ago I decided that the 23rd September would be the release date, so I’ve made many efforts to stick with it.

I’ve also released the official Autumn trailer (first time making a trailer so be gentle :) )

As concluding words I’d like to thank the 4 composers who kindly volunteered to do the Autumn’s soundtrack, without them the game would be way drier :)

Many thanks to everyone around the world that contributes for free and opensource software, which made possible this game to exist, especially the ones that create and maintain GIMP, MyPaint and LÖVE!

Official Autumn website

As Autumn gets closer and closer to its release date (23rd September), I’m very happy to finally announce its own dedicated website which just went live today: http://www.bitoutsidethebox.com/autumn

This website will be the one-stop place for all news about Autumn, updates, gameplay tips and whatever else shows up. I’ve just uploaded a few screenshots from the current build. Keep in mind the artwork may (and very likely will) undergo improvements before release.

Thanks for your interest and spread the word! :)

The last(?) big Autumn Devlog update

Hi everyone!

It’s been quite a while since I wrote a decent devlog post, and many things have been happening with Autumn. This will probably be the last big devlog post I’m writing for Autumn. In a few days I’m going on a 15-day volunteer program, and then I expect the remaining days  of August to be used to finish up the rest of the code, and then do some proper work on the art of the game. As I previously announced, Autumn will be released on the 24th of September.

Usually, at this stage in development, you shouldn’t really be changing too many features and plans, but I had to do it. Mainly because when I started Autumn I didn’t have a clear idea of it yet. But it if had to wait for the idea to be complete and finalized, probably I wouldn’t have started it yet! So I decided to jump in and ideas took shape as I went along.

Right now, time is running out, and besides time limitations I’m also dealing with my own limitations (skills, tools, resources). That means some ideas are being put in a “later,maybe” list… in case I miraculously end up having extra time before release :)

So what are the relevant changes and news?

No more I-Ching

In the last devlog I talked a lot about the I-Ching and how it would play a central role in each game. I decided to take it out once again for 2 reasons:

  1. its super complex! the whole I-ching can inspire a game of its own, but its complexity is just too overwhelming to add at this stage
  2. I did not want to add things just for the sake of adding content to “fill up” the game. I don’t want to cheapen the spiritual aspect of it, so everything is being carefully selected

Prana Orbs everywhere

Initially, the role of prana orbs was a very small one: they are released from trees, you attract them, and they give you more Prana to spend.

Right now, they play a major role in everything you will do in the game. Not only can you guide them to specific objects in order to achieve something, you can also emit prana orbs from by your own.

What things can they be used for?

  • “know” (acquire) new tree species
  • “know” (acquire) new items
  • increase land size
  • re-charge special items
  • help spiritual practitioners

The player type that you choose when starting the game will have a negative or positive modifier on the energy effect of each orb. For instance, a Yaksa player needs less energy to expand its land.


In each game, one or more puzzles will be available for you to play. Puzzles provide you some relaxing and entertaining time. Right now, there are 3 puzzles types (probably one more will be added):

  • Tree Guild
  • Scene Puzzle (sliding pieces puzzle)
  • Zen Stones (an hanoi towers puzzle on steroids)

Each puzzle will have a random difficulty: easy, medium or hard, which will reward you with a quote, inspiration or teaching, respectively, if you managed to complete it.


Other relevant changes done recently:

  • smooth soundtrack transitions between seasons (by the way, the soundtracks are coming up really nicely! thankfully to the 4 composers who volunteered)
  • better atmosphere with rain, wind and bird sounds (video)
  • minimap to navigate the game world and have a quick glance of the landscape

All in all, the game is progressing well, although time is really tight and there is still a lot to be done. I’m particularly frustrated with my sucky skills with the artwork, I think the game deserved something better, oh well…

Simulating dynamic weather effects

So a couple of days ago I posted a screen recording of a feature I worked in the weekend for Autumn: dynamic rain effects. Somehow, plenty of people got interested in it and asked me how I did it and if I could share the code.

I don’t share the code, not because it’s top-secret or I am afraid of someone stealing my game(it will be free, btw) but because it is very tightly integrated in other parts of the game, and so might be a bit messy to understand. Instead, I decided to write this short blog post to explain how I did it.

But first, the video: (something have already changed since this recording was made, but anyway…)

So the whole thing is quite simple, actually. But let’s go step by step.

The first thing is to decide when the rain starts and ends, its duration and intensity. So I have a function that makes this decisions, that is called on the start of the game, and every time the rain finishes. In Autumn, the game time follows a year cycle, mapped from 0 to 100. So the beginning of winter is 0, and the end of autumn is 100, then the whole thing repeats in cycles.

So I can assign the rain to start and end at specific times. To do that, I have a few important variables:

  • rain_start_time
  • rain_end_time
  • rain_climax_time
  • rain_climax_strength
  • rainctl

The first two should be self-evident. The climax time defines when the rain intensity should reach the climax_strength (ranges from 0.3 to 1). Having this four variables allows me to create more realistic rain effects, as they will be different every time.

The last one, rainctl, is the main variable, that holds how much rain there is at any given moment (ranges from 0 to 1). Its value is normalized according to the current game time position relatively to the rain start, end and climax times and the climax strength

So, for example, I can have rain that has the climax_time very close to the start_time, which will make it start very fast and then slowly wane away.  The graphic below shows two different scenarios, that illustrate this


Now we have to put all this into something the player can see (and hear!). The value of rainctl directly affects three different aspects of the rain:

  • amount of droplets on the screen glass
  • amount of rain (lines)
  • volume of the rain sound

Having just one variable (rainctl), makes things really easy!

The droplets on the screen are very simple “objects” that have a few properties which make them feel a bit more real:

  • size (random)
  • falling speed (random, depends on size)
  • initial color alpha

On every update call, I reduce the alpha of each drop, until it becomes 0 and gets removed. The rainctl value indicates the maximum number of drops that can be on the screen. The falling speed depends on the size so that bigger drops seem to fall faster and smaller ones.

The rain lines are just randomly drawn grey semi-transparent lines. I also use the rainctl value to set up a maximum number of lines that get drawn.

And finally, the volume of the rain sound is directly set by rainctl, as it also ranges from 0 to 1.

So there it is, quite simple! It took me a whole day to do it, because I had to come up with the idea, try different ways of doing it and finally settling down with this one and tuning it up.

Besides this I also do a bunch of sanity checks that are more closely related with Autumn (like, few chance of rains in summer, or only light showers, etc).

Hope you enjoyed it :)

Update on new changes

It’s been a crazy week since the last devlog update, many new ideas came and went, while I tried to find a good way to include some of them to improve Autumn.

I spent time away from coding so I could just focus on the idea and design of the game itself, and I think things are a bit clearer for now. At least clear enough that I can get back to code with some goals in sight.

I’ll have to spend some time updating my own internal game design doc and also the public description of what is Autumn. Until then, I’ll leave you with this small bits:

Each level starts mostly empty, and the player starts with one tree.

Each tree increases the “playable area” of the game, so that the player can do more things in the world, and advance in the level.

Trees (and leaves) follow a natural cycle, they give seeds, they age and die. Not taking proper care and just worrying in advancing will probably end up in loosing trees, which means loosing your source of energy that allows you to get the most important things (spiritual items for the chest).

As a tree matures and its health increases, its area of influence also increases. The reverse happens when its health is down.

Trees will occasionally give seeds, which can be collected in the chest, and planted later (even in other levels). The player can also sacrifice/push(not yet defined) a tree to produce a seed, reducing its health and spending Prana.

There will be several tree species, each one has its own unique characteristics like: amount of leaves, growth size, average age, deciduous or falling leaves, flowering or not, rate of seeds, and climate adaptability (each level will have its own type of climate) – this is a very work-in-progress aspect.

Certain objects can also be found in the levels, objects can be have certain uses or also provide help in certain tasks. (WIP)

There will be small quests/puzzles to solve in the levels, which can result in bonus energy or gifts of spiritual items to the chest. (WIP)