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Frogatto & Friends
 
 
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Sep 28, 2013 @ 3:39pm
Feb 11, 2015 @ 3:51pm
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Inventory screen progress
Another "last couple of weeks" update:
New enemy:
We came up with this wily fellow. I spent way too much time fighting with this guy's animations, but I'm quite happy as to how he came out.



We've still got a few more enemies planned for in the next release; more enemies for the swamps are definitely going to be a prime focus. This fellow gets us that much closer. :)

Compound objects:
The biggest thing I've been working on recently has been a system to do compound sprites. Compound sprites are when you use multiple sprites to create the appearance of a single, larger object - in the old days of sega/nintendo, these were just used for size, since even seemingly 'small' characters like mario or sonic were actually a multiple of the native square-sprite size of the machine they ran on. These days, we don't have any meaningful size limitations on sprites, so instead we use compound sprites for positioning or animation. For example, a clock face would easily be done with one sprite for the dial, and separate sprite for the hands - the purpose being that if the clock-hand sprites are separate, you can freely rotate them, programmatically, meaning you can have a full, 360° of rotation without any new drawings being necessary on the artist's part.

We've wanted to have these in the game for quite a while; technically, we've been able to do them since the early alpha versions of our engine (Anura), but in practice they've been a buggy mess. The system I've come up with is no holy grail (there are a number of fancy animation-scripting things that still have to be done by hand), but it's very, very clean, and should stay fairly bug-free. One of our main goals was to have these sprites, to the player's eye, seem like a seamless extension of the core object they were a part of. Any damage-contact applied to any part of these should act like they're one, indivisible object; any visual effects like color-flashing should affect the entire thing, without any inter-frame delays. Chiefly, we're also worried about orphaning these child objects - if the core enemy they're attached to, dies, we need to have a reliable system for getting rid of them.



Bug-free designs are really our top priority at this point; we had some compound enemies in the past and I've actually ended up mothballing a few of them because it was too much work to keep them running as they broke over and over due to other changes in the game. A tough lesson I've learned in game-design has been to resist the siren song of new features that I can't quite come up with a rigorous way to handle; they might not take any longer to prototype than anything else, but I can't treat a working prototype as a "bird in the hand". I have to treat the real cost of features as the full, lifecycle cost of all the future bugs its going to incur as it interfaces with other elements in the game. Thus, I need to focus on things that have a way lower lifecycle cost - which is usually down to 'devil in the details' planning of how they work. It's less about what I do, so much as it is about holding off unless I've got a really clean way to do something. There are plenty of "cool 2d platformer tropes" we're leaving on the shelf unless they can meet this requirement, but the result is we'll actually ship the damn game, so it's a small price to pay.

As for the new compound-object system; there are several specific things that finally made it viable. Most of it had to do with some major, structural improvements to our "hittable" class (a long, ongoing project over the last year or so). Most of these have been down to a transition away from a type/recipient-blind "event-driven" system, and instead moving to a pure-functional, strict typed means of triggering behavior. A lot of this has been enabled by some huge upgrades to Anura's scripting language, making it strictly typed - most especially with regards to non-null containers, and object access - we now can have hard, static-analysis guarantees that if we're operating on some set of links to other objects (like, say, compound object parts) that we're guaranteed to be pointing at a real, object, and not something that had been deallocated earlier. A big benefit here is that our hittable code has a very limited set of entry points; we've got one place where hit-triggering behavior gets captured, and this can safely redirect calls for being hit to a parent object (and thus make sure the full suite of damage-receiving code gets triggered correctly).

Hopefully this will bulletproof the few enemies we have based on compound objects, and let us gradually ease into doing more in the future.

Description
Release date: 2016
GREENLIT! Frogatto & Friends is a classic-style 2d adventure game, starring a certain quixotic frog. Frogatto is a side-on "platformer" or "jump and run" game, where you lead the titular character on a humdrum errand that turns into a daring adventure. Frogatto's key mechanic is an unusual twist; like any frog, he jumps, swims, and snags bugs with his tongue, but unlike any frog before him, can spit those bugs out with deadly force. Not merely an action game, frogatto is a full, classic adventure game, with characters to talk to, things to buy, puzzles to solve, and a wide, complex world to explore.

Features
  • High-end, handcrafted 16-bit+ pixel art.
  • Buy powerups to enhance and unlock new abilities.
  • Forgiving savegame/respawn system so you don't have to be afraid of losing progress.
  • Playful dialogue writing that tries not to insult your intelligence.
  • Massive soundtrack with over an hour of original music.
  • Sprawling, complex world with over 50 levels to explore, and tons of secrets to find.
  • Strong translation support, including French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese and Scottish Gaelic versions.
Popular Discussions View All (11)
3
Aug 29 @ 2:29am
Help Me Out Here
Save the Queen
27
Sep 23 @ 2:23am
What to work on later?
marcavis
11
Jun 21, 2015 @ 10:52am
It's been a while guys
LouskRad
< >
672 Comments
Chizu? Sep 23 @ 3:44pm 
I bought this game years ago, so whens it actually coming to steam so I can finally get around to playing it
marcavis  [author] Aug 31 @ 8:03pm 
@eifelkenny: *sweatdrop*
eifelkenny Aug 30 @ 1:00pm 
Will the game be released one day? I had the first vontact with marcavis like 2 years ago and he said the game will be released in steam soon
kijib Aug 18 @ 6:51pm 
omg dev srsly
marcavis  [author] Aug 11 @ 5:43pm 
CapnMintbeard Aug 11 @ 3:54pm 
Since the comment counter is at 666 I thought I should comment, and with that a question. Do you guys have a Let's Play policy in mind for Frogatto when the Steam version drops?
PrideGames Jul 2 @ 6:38pm 
How far is the game from being done?
Ah I see.

I'd actually been wondering whether I should go play the Desura version that I picked up in a bundle a while back, or if I should wait for the Steam version...
marcavis  [author] Jun 8 @ 8:01pm 
@Quint: Yes and no - we have a version for sale at our website, but it's a bit old now and it's not the version we're going to release here; we're adding several mid-game bosses and such.
Surge Jun 8 @ 8:26am 
Been waiting for at least 2 years now. I know all the waiting will definitely pay off! Good luck on any further work on the game