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New website, status update


Although I had worked in web development professionally for years, I chose WordPress as the platform for this site for its simplicity, maturity, security, and most of all, because I’d rather be spending the majority of my time on Invisigun Heroes. I fiddled with many templates over the last few months without really being 100% satisfied. A lot of the “simple” templates felt pretty heavy under the hood with complex logic and CSS to handle more situations than I needed.

It was a pretty good opportunity to take a couple days and make my own WordPress template from scratch, as well as brush up on some modern standards and tools. The biggest pleasure came from experimenting with SASS, and it really does make CSS feel more complete and dynamic. Hopefully you guys like the new site, and the best part is that it’s lean, mobile-friendly, and since I know the codebase, very flexible for future needs.

[gfycat data_id=”UnnaturalGlisteningFieldmouse”]

One of the maps on the forest planet Nemoris

On the Invisigun front, development has been moving fluidly for months with many major milestones behind me. This is the reason why things have been quiet around here, with the blog posts slowing down. I’ll try and pick up the pace in the near future though progress on the game is the #1 priority. At the moment Steam keys have been distributed to a select group of alpha testers, and it’s been fantastic to get feedback and squash bugs in a rapid fashion.

The last month has seen the game really come together with most of the final art assets taking shape. Yujin has done an incredible job with the character designs, and the sprite versions with animations are well on their way. I hope to be introducing the heroes one by one very soon!

The next leg of development will focus primarily on network and online play. This was almost completely working about 6 months ago, but I ripped it out in favor of using Unity’s brand new networking subsystem. It needs to be integrated from scratch, but should be more efficient and produce fewer corner case bugs.

It’s hard to explain, but very recently everything has come together in this leg of development to make Invisigun feel like a real game. I’ve worked in development long enough to understand prototypes, proof of concepts, mockups, and pipelines – but there is this magical line that a game crosses when it transitions from prototype to game. It’s not up to you when it happens.

Greenlit! Title change! Oh my!


Invisigun Heroes was greenlit in just under two weeks! I’m completely blown away, as I expected the next few months to be mostly involved with marketing efforts and driving traffic towards the green light voting. What a weight off my mind!

To coincide with the final (lengthy) leg of development towards release, I decided to make a slight spelling change in the name. For some reason “Invisagun” with an “a” felt natural to me from the get go, but I’ve been discovering over time that literally every other person spells it as “Invisigun” with an “i” by default. I figured it was better to change the title sooner rather than later, so I took the opportunity to work out the final logo as well. Thanks for all your support! I’m excited about the next steps integrating the final assets and new character art – stay tuned!

Invisagun Heroes is on Steam Greenlight!

Invisagun Heroes on Steam Greenlight

Hot on the heels of submitting an early build of Invisagun Heroes to some independent game festivals, I’m happy to say that it’s now up on Steam Greenlight! Although the artwork will change in the next few months, I think the teaser, description, and screenshots still give a pretty solid sense of the overall gameplay mechanics. Please vote for us and help spread the word! <3

Introducing: Invisagun Heroes

I apologize for the lull in posts lately, but it’s mostly because I’ve been very busy preparing a solid alpha candidate to submit to Indiecade and the PAX Prime Indie Megabooth. With those submissions out of the way (fingers crossed), I’m happy to finally announce our project: Invisagun Heroes! Here’s a development teaser:

Invisagun Heroes is a 2-4 player single-screen battle arena, where everyone is invisible! It centers around sneaking around, taking risks, and watching for environmental-interaction clues to spot your opponents. You can read more about the gameplay on the Invisagun page. :)

A weekend retreat with play tests

My good friend and Y.A. published author Maurene recently organized a “work retreat.” This was basically a short weekend getaway for a bunch of friends from different disciplines – writers, illustrators, storyboard artists, concept artists, and game development – to gather and bounce ideas off each other. Rather than a quick meeting, hosting this in a private home far from the city was a perfect opportunity to hyper-focus in a relaxed informal environment.

I just wanted to list a few takeaways I had from this:

An external deadline can be a good thing
Having the weekend scheduled in advance was a good milestone deadline that was forced upon me. I wanted the project to be in as polished a state as possible for its stage in development since a bunch of people would be playing it over the weekend. This turned out to be an excellent motivator – I noticeably increased my amount of production in the weeks leading up to this.

Scrambling to make sure all the multiplayer was solid before the play tests
Scrambling to make sure all the multiplayer was solid before the play tests

Note everything
The amount of data you can get from real play tests with “real” people is invaluable, to say the least. You are in a bubble during development, and as soon as you begin working on a project, you lose all objectivity. No matter what you think about your own game, real play tests will give you the cold hard truth about everything from fun factor to unnecessary fat to bugs you may have missed. The most important thing is to note everything – no matter how insignificant it may seem. The way in which players feel or react (not just what they say) is a great gauge.

Allow time to respond
If you have the luxury, give yourself time to iterate on your build with the same group of testers. It’s definitely important to test with a wide range of people, but if you can respond to some of the feedback quickly and have them play again, you can more easily determine if some ideas are on the right track or not. As this was a weekend retreat, it allowed for me to organize play tests in the morning, work on updates during the day, and test some of the changes again at night.

Eat pizza
We were each tasked with covering a meal. I’m so glad I chose make-your-own pizzas.

A quick break during the work retreat
Some friends on a quick break during our work retreat

Break up your routine
Based in Los Angeles, we chose to drive out to Ojai and the change of scenery was a breath of fresh air (literally). I usually spend half my week working at home on development, music and audio, and the other half at our shared office space focusing purely on coding and art tasks. Although I love both environments, a break in routine is super healthy, inspiring, and energizing.

Always, always, always: have fun! You’re in the business of making fun, and you can draw from your real-world experiences.

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