Oxeye Game Studio » thewreck http://www.oxeyegames.com Creative Games Wed, 29 Nov 2017 08:29:26 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 en hourly 1 On the role of Inspiration in Game Design http://www.oxeyegames.com/on-the-role-of-inspiration-in-game-design/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/on-the-role-of-inspiration-in-game-design/#comments Tue, 29 Apr 2014 14:58:20 +0000 thewreck http://www.oxeyegames.com/?p=1633 I realized today that I have applied approach 1 too much in game design. I must apply approach 2 more!

Hit read more to see a lovely graph that hopefully explains what I mean…


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Cobalt Video dump 1 http://www.oxeyegames.com/cobalt-video-dump-1/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/cobalt-video-dump-1/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 23:47:53 +0000 thewreck http://www.oxeyegames.com/?p=1214 Here follows a couple of videos I posted on my youtube channel from the development of Cobalt v121 Alpha. Some of them showcase interesting bugs, other show off new features! Read the descriptions to find out more!

Hit the jump to watch them!

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thewreck’s developer musings 4 http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewreck%e2%80%99s-developer-musings-4/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewreck%e2%80%99s-developer-musings-4/#comments Fri, 10 May 2013 10:04:38 +0000 thewreck http://www.oxeyegames.com/?p=1193 Hi again! The last update was some time ago now, too long in fact! This is not a post to announce a new update, but to give some insight into what is going on.

Hit the jump for the full read.

After the last update we got a bunch of bug reports, and they are still coming in. The most troubling ones were related to random crashes and other equally bad stuff. We have gone through a series of fixes now on our side, but one of the bugs took longer than expected and have held us back from having a stable executable for a while. We have also received some feedback that a weekly or bi-weekly update tempo would be great, and we can only agree. We enjoy development in that tempo and we should be getting back to that after the coming update.

In the meantime we have been building the Adventure component of the game. This includes work on the editors as well as the content of it and the implementation of running it.

An example shop setup in the adventure editor


We are looking forward to see what people will be able to do with these editors!

As of this week things seem to be on track again and we are basically in release preparation mode trying to make sure that all the things that we have worked on since the last update gets packaged and presented in the best way possible. I’m currently sitting on a train, the weekend will largely be occupied by a wedding, and next week the Mojangstas and Kinten are away and I’m in Denmark. So as of right now, we cannot say a date, but I will be working today and the next week to make this happen as soon as possible.

Also, here is a flying brain:

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thewreck’s developer musings 3 http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewrecks-developer-musings-3/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewrecks-developer-musings-3/#comments Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:35:05 +0000 thewreck http://www.oxeyegames.com/?p=1174 In this post I will talk about:

  • Adventure mode!
  • Item Comparison

Hit the jump for the full read!


Our main focus right now is the adventure mode. We’ve been working intensely on it for about 2 months, and while we are not ready to release anything of it just yet, I can show you some of the ideas and concepts we are working with.

Light and Dark

We love exploration.

We love dark and scary!

But just making everything black isn’t a good solution.


You need contrasts and varying moods. To achieve this we had to work on improving the lighting of the game. One component is that it is now possible to render most common tiles with individual colors for each corner:


Then we let lights affect those colors. Left light is only using the shader, while the right light is also affecting tile corner colors.


Having this we could now create really dark areas, while still being able to light them up nicely for contrast:


Procedural + Design

We also love exploration!

The key component in exploration is not knowing that will come next or what you will find. I’d go so far as to say it pretty much defines it. Because of that, and because we want to give the adventure good replay value, we have created a system that combines design with procedural content generation on a number of levels. Let’s examine a normal room:


  1. The cabinet may or may not be there, it may or may not be locked. It’s contents are unknown.
  2. The entrance leads to another procedurally created room.
  3. There may or may not be items on the table and there may or may not be actors hanging around there. What items, and what actors and what they will look like or what items they possess is unknown.
  4. The door may or may not be locked. What kind of lock is unknown.
  5. The urns may or may not be there, and the contents of them is unknown.
  6. There may or may not be items on that shelf. What kind of items is unknown.
  7. (not shown in picture) a bunch of assorted decorations may or may not be there.

What spawns where is controlled from higher up. Maybe the room is owned by a pirate mushroom clan that is preparing a spikebird feast on the table, or maybe the room belongs to a hermit lunatic that stores its bomb and grenade stash in those urns and to guard it has put a hefty pad lock on the door.

What about exploring those dark and scary caves?

Lets examine a 3×3 dungeon:


The dungeon has incoming travel where the red lines are. When the adventure is generated, it creates paths between all travels and places other optional things like a goal. As you can see, 1,2 and 3 are all just different solutions to the same dungeon making sure that every time you play, exploration will remain fresh and surprising.

So finally, you find yourself exploring a dark procedural cave, fumbling with the light enhancer to try and find a way out.


Item Comparison

Another fun thing I have been working on is item comparisons. Since the game contains a bunch of both weapons and equipment, playing the game effectively in an adventure would almost require you to have a wiki or similar open on the side for you to have any chance at all to make an informed decision. Do I buy item 1, or 2? Do i equip this helmet or that helmet? Do I buy this upgrade, or that upgrade? Here follows a couple of screenshots of me using the system:

Comparing two weapons


Inspecting the effects of an upgrade


Equipping a helmet


Also, as you can see in the last screenshot here, equipping a helmet or any other piece of equipment has a really complicated effect. This is likely the first glimpse into what a helmet actually does since they were introduced.

That is it for now!

If you have any questions, just drop a comment!

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thewreck’s developer musings 2 http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewrecks-developer-musings-2/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewrecks-developer-musings-2/#comments Thu, 11 Oct 2012 15:55:29 +0000 thewreck http://www.oxeyegames.com/?p=1070 Hi! In this post I will be musing on the following topics:

  • Metalface hull types and equipment
  • Map competition
  • Adventure art

Hit the jump for the full read!

Metalface hull types and equipment


For the purpose of the adventure, we have been working on character development and customization. From left to right, the bare metalface, the “Explorer” hull and the “Scouter” hull. Each hull has different stats and will affect how your metalface performs in all areas.

As you can see on the following image, these hulls are not all in one piece:


In the Adventure the different hulls will not be straight up balanced, but rather offer both variation and progress. For the versus modes, the plan it to allow maps to enable “profile hull customization” (on by default?), which will allow players to spawn as the hull-design of their choice. To make sure things are balanced, these “versus” hulls will use a different stats that should be balanced. Any thoughts on this?

Metalfaces are divided into head, torso, hands and feet. On top of that, you also have an equipment slot for each as well as a brain equipment slot. You can change your equipment and hull in special booths that will look like this:


But since the graphics are not implemented in the game yet, it just looks like a regular shop now, but you can see how the equipment booth gui looks like here:


The sloth grip is now an equipment item and you can also unequip your reaction enhancer. Without sloth grip hands you can still jump up against walls, but you will slide down as soon as you stop jumping.  Without reaction enhancer, you will no longer generate bullet time around you when threatened. Jet Shoes should probably be renamed to Jet Boosters? Also, sloth grip still doesn’t have a sprite visible on the character, but that is coming.

We have also tidied up the upgrade bench as you can see in this image:


As you can imagine, this was a sorely needed aspect of the game especially for the purpose of the Adventure. Prior to this we were having great trouble cramming more and more “fun stuff” into the game. This gives us the framework for how to add character development and also gives us a great platform for how to vary other characters. With this system in place, it will be much easier to add variations and difficulty to enemies without going crazy with production time.

Thoughts & comments?

Map competition

There was a map competition held on the forums that came to a close just a week back, and now they are gradually releasing information on the winners! Read all about the 5th and 4th place winners here.

The first price will be to have the map included in the official alpha version of the game! I personally have no idea who will win or even what the contributions are, so I’m really excited every time they announce an new runner up!

Update: 3rd place winner!

Adventure art

I’ve been looking over kinten’s shoulder for the past couple of days, and wow! Things are happening on the art front. As some of you know, we had the lovely Erik help us out a while back with concept art, and Kinten has been working hard to implement, redraw, cut out, and produce some of the scenes and concepts. I’m not sure what he wants to show or how he wanted to show it, so I will let him decide that himself on a later date.

Until next time!


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thewreck’s developer musings 1 http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewrecks-developer-musings-1/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewrecks-developer-musings-1/#comments Sat, 25 Aug 2012 12:02:43 +0000 thewreck http://www.oxeyegames.com/?p=1041 Hi! In this post I will be musing on the following topics:

  • The last couple updates
  • A new reload related feature
  • Outdoor climate colors
  • A community lead map making contest

Hit the jump for the full read!

The last couple updates

During the week that has been we have seen 2 Cobalt updates and a number of bugs! It always breaks my heart to hear about bugs that slipped by, even so when they are critical crash bugs… To all of you who have been reporting bugs, making suggestions and suffering through crashes, thank you very much! Without your help these updates would be so much harder to get done and the quality of the game would not have been able to reach as far as it has today. The reported bugs should be fixed now and the update containing the fixes is planned for the beginning of this coming week.

A new reload related feature

If you have been following frall on twitter you might have heard that we added a new gameplay aspect:

Reload Boosts! – By pressing the reload or use button at a specific time during the reload (unique for each weapon), the remaining reload animation becomes twice as fast! (usually the rest of the reload)

The reasoning behind this feature was that I have for a long time been feeling that the gameplay aspect of single shot weapons was skewed. Their gameplay was focused to a single instant, and then a bunch of waiting. Along with that, i’ve had a long reluctance towards automatic reloading of single shot weapons because it takes away part of the immersion of “controlling” the character. Unfortunately I for a long time did not know what to do about it. This was until I saw a video of War of the Roses and noticed that they had a minigame for the reloading of crossbows. Instantly the problem and the solution seemed so obvious.

Our take on the feature offers a number of things that fit so well with cobalt:

  • It raises the skill ceiling further
  • It evens out uneven distribution of gameplay with certain weapons (mostly the single shot ones)
  • It allows us to place the reload boost point at a unique position for each weapon which in it self decides how much of a bonus we want the reload boost to potentially have (late in the reload is less of a bonus than early in the reload)
  • It fits well with the main focus in cobalt: Timing!
  • It severely adds to the tension in a fight, where for example two metalfaces are reloading their single shot rail guns. (who will reload first?)
  • It adds a sense of mastery when you start to manage to get the timing right without even looking at the reload progress bar
  • It becomes an emergent combo system, where you feel like you are more and more in “the zone” for each consecutive successful reload boost (when me and kinten was playing, getting three in a row in a hectic situation felt incredibly satisfying)

I know I’m hugely in love with the feature. I hope you will be too!

Outdoor climate colors

Kinten has for a long time had his worries about the outdoor lighting system in Cobalt. Mainly the fact that all levels in cobalt tend to be somewhat red… A couple of days ago we finally decided it was time to fix some problems and the way we did it was by adding:

Climate! - In outdoor theme settings you can now pick a climate which will control the overall color of the sky and the hills in the background

We also tweaked the way the actual gameplay layers are colored from the sky, and once we tried it out…


To me the first one looks washed out and strange, and the new one looks warm and deserty! Like you are actually at that location. This is a great step towards creating a really atmospheric experience and is an important part towards creating a great adventure mode. Now, don’t worry, your old maps will still look like your old maps since old maps will by default get the “alien” climate, resembling the old colors as much as possible.

A community lead map making contest

Over at the cobalt forums community member Aconitin is hosting a map making contest! This time around we have offered to include the winning map into the official release of Cobalt! So if you ever wondered what it takes to get a map officially in, here is one way!

Even if you don’t make it to the winning spot, this could be a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the editor and perhaps talk to other cobalt mappers! You can usually find them in the #Cobalt channel on espernet! If you don’t want to download an IRC client, you can use the webchat! If you are just looking for custom maps for cobalt, the cobalt file database is a great resource!

Cya next week for v111 Alpha!


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Back from USA! http://www.oxeyegames.com/back-from-usa/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/back-from-usa/#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2012 18:52:19 +0000 thewreck http://www.oxeyegames.com/?p=760 Hi everyone!

As some of you may know, many in Mojang and the whole lot of them Oxeye went to GDC/IGF this year. For me (thewreck) it was mostly to visit enchanting San Francisco and meet (hug) other developers, while for others – like notch who had speaking obligations – things were a bit less casual. Even while engorging myself in all the casual fun I managed to fit a bunch of work on Cobalt, alas I managed to catch the flu and was knocked out for the better part of the weekend following gdc.

After the gdc, me, kinten and another friend moved our cobalt development operations to an apartment in San Francisco for two weeks. Armed with our laptops we went exploring the breakfast offerings during the morning

the office cafés during the day

the night life during the night

and the sights during the weekends.

We managed to snap a lot of reference photos and recorded a bunch of sounds for the future. In regards to direct Cobalt development, I worked mostly on improvements to the editor, which is why many of the changes we have made will not be appearing in the v103 change-log. For example, the tiles browser has been remade, now supporting selecting multiple tiles (randomly picking between them after each placement) as well as rather advanced free text filtering.

The last week in USA, we went on a road trip along highway 1, through Santa Cruz, San Diego, through the Mojave desert to Los Angeles and finally flew home from Las Vegas proudly sporting my minecraft t-shirt. Now, it is time to get v103 ready for upload. We have no current estimate, but our current goal is to simply wrap it up, test it, and upload it.

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A Year of Unfinished Stuff http://www.oxeyegames.com/a-year-of-unfinished-stuff/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/a-year-of-unfinished-stuff/#comments Fri, 01 Jan 2010 13:49:08 +0000 http://www.oxeyegames.com/?p=190 Happy new year everybody!

As you already know, Oxeye is run more or less like a hobby, so things get done in the order they are fun and we have energy and time to make them. That means we’ve accumulated a lot of unfinished projects (because finishing projects is not as fun as starting them), so I’ll begin this year with a small list of stuff that aren’t “done” yet, and what our “plans” for them are.

  • The Harvest 1.17/1.18 Patch – I still intend to finish and release this patch, but unfortunately the Mac OS X version just keeps crashing on me. I’ve spent a whole weekend cursing at xcode to no avail, and I’m not looking forward to wasting another weekend on the same problem. You could say that I’m waiting for some kind of divine intervention, and who can tell when that is going to happen…
    Also, I want to add more features to this patch before I release it. I realized that it would probably be possible to allow mods for other game modes than creative, as long as I make sure that all “cheating” methods are disabled. That would be quite nice, since it would allow people to make user interface mods and so on.
  • Harvest Lua Documentation – I started moving our forum documentation into our Oxeye wiki, but that quickly became really boring, so it’s also unfinished. I’m not really planning to finish it anytime soon, but I’ll make sure that whenever I change or add stuff to the mod system, the documentation on the wiki will be up to date.
  • jeb <3 RTS – The RTS Design article series I did (over a year ago now) is also unfinished. I think the reason I stopped working on it was because I had already written my most important points, and the remaining articles were derailing a little too much. I also got some critisism that my articles were too Starcraft’y, so I need to take one step back and look at the subject in a more general way.
  • thewreck’s Retrospective – I’m not the only one here who isn’t finishing projects :) Daniel Brynolf, who is better known as thewreck, has made a lot of small games in MMF over the years, and was writing an article series about them. The first article is here, http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewreck-in-retrospect-part-1/, but the second one is still a draft in our wordpress backend. Pontus (Kinten) even wagered 500 kr (roughly $60) that thewreck would never write the second article. He said, “the money is safe with me,” and so far it looks like he’s right.

So there it is. I’ll make a new year promise that during 2010, we’ll start more projects that we won’t finish! :D


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Thewreck in Retrospect Part 1 http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewreck-in-retrospect-part-1/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewreck-in-retrospect-part-1/#comments Wed, 20 Feb 2008 01:51:10 +0000 http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewrecks-history-of-making-games-part-1/ During the early years of thewreck’s life (yes I know I’m speaking of myself in third person!), he spent most of his time either making games or playing them.

It all stared a time long ago, in the age of the Amstrad. AmstradHis father had just sold the tape-version in favor of a diskette version! Oh the joy of basic 1.0 – Many text adventures and fake operating systems later thewreck felt ready to take on his first sprites – and on what system you ask?

On the AtariAtari of course! This is where he made his first acquaintance with Clickteam through their game making environment STOS. It came complete with a lovely scripting language and a sprite editor! In it he made many feeble attempts including the legendary ninja game where the shuriken was on the same sprite as the character (what was he thinking really?)…

With years he grew wiser and 8 years old he now moved on to the amazing PC with its super quick – yes you know it – Quick Basic! The colorful random lines applications were numerous – and to this day he continuous to blame the movie Real Genius for it. A couple of Pong clones, yet another fake operating system and a couple of viruses to harass his brother he was now finally ready for the turning point of his career; K&P.

Thewreck can still remember the days… The good old Klik&Play days when dodgy physics and clip-art graphics was all you needed to have a fun game. It was simpler times, times when conversations such as these did not seem odd:

X – “Do you want to play with me after school?”

thewreck – “Do you have a computer?”

X – “No”

thewreck – “Then no.”

It was also at this point in time that he developed his life-long skill of never completing a single game – the alluring “new” button was far sexier than the “open” button it had seemed. To thewreck’s dismay, very few games remain from this time. About half of them are missing in action since the “I MUST install Descent and I need 35mb of space!” incident. The other half is simply missing – God knows where. He takes comfort in that they will forever seem more wonderful in his head than they would ever have done in reality.

After an age of fun, The Games Factory appeared on the scene. It was revolutionary. I mean – SCROLLING! You could make scrolling games! And INI FILES! You could save game data on the hard drive!!!11. It was also around this time that he, forcefully learned to sprite. To this he owed two dudes both named Jakob who electrocuted him each time he reached for the infamous library graphics. This produced classics such as: (Following games are Windows only!) “Bilen som Hoppar” (The Car that Jumps, Warning: Contains pixel nudity!), “Superman“, “No Way Out 1″, “No Way Out 2” (with lots of stolen graphics from a very famous K&P game, and a Chainsaw!), “Mage Batle“, “Bowman“, “Jippis” (a gruesome street kicking ass game) and “Orc” (platform rpg) among others. Thewreck takes no responsibility for understanding how to play these games.

This was a time of learning – a time of getting to know the medium. He learned many valuable lessons such as keeping the amount of buttons to a minimum, giving proper feedback, informing the player of what to do and drawing less naked angels in favor of proper characters. In retrospect, its easy to tell which things thewreck liked to focus on. Presentation and Explanation surely were not among them. But all that was about to change when MultiMedia Fusion entered the house!… Or was it?

Sites like the Vitalize Arcade (now called V-Cade) and the Daily Click were providing a showroom for everyones creations. Thewreck started to get involved with game creation teams online and spent a good bit of time in the #k&p channel on IRC. He ventured into terra incognita by making networked multiplayer games and also got his first contact with Jens by hopping on the “Whispers in Akarra” project. This was the beginning of a great age, but it is also where this part of the story ends. To give you a glimpse of the coming story, here follows a sneak preview:


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thewreck in the Great Conspiracy to Confuse Toilet Visitors http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewreck-in-the-great-conspiracy-to-confuse-toilet-visitors/ http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewreck-in-the-great-conspiracy-to-confuse-toilet-visitors/#comments Mon, 18 Feb 2008 21:47:54 +0000 http://www.oxeyegames.com/thewreck-in-the-great-conspiracy-to-confuse-toilet-visitors/ Door LEDsAll of us have different ways of maintaining the glamourous life of independent game development, such as part-time jobs or standing at the corner friday nights. thewreck’s method is to study “Interaction Design” in Malmö. Every now and then, they make installments that are intended to make people interact with other people, as well as with the installments themselves.

The most recent mischief they’ve made is a “LED door sign,” which could be changed by various switches, placed on the toilet doors at a night club in Malmö. They recorded the event with a camera, and it’s quite fun to see people reactions when the “lady’s room” and “men’s room” signs switch places.

You can read more about the project on this link, or follow the jump to see one of the clips. Noteable highlight: the guy in the beginning (testing the signs) is thewreck!

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