Gravity Ace
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Devlog archive

Game jams for beginners :: May 16, 2021

As a beginner, should I do a game jam? The short answer is YES, absolutely, participate in some game jams. There are a lot of benefits but there are also some pitfalls. Let’s get into the pros and cons.

3 methods for screen shake in Godot Engine :: May 2, 2021

This tutorial shows how I do screen shake in Godot Engine for my game Gravity Ace. I walk you through all of the code line by line. I also cover 3 different algorithms for implementing the actual screen shake and include a demo project that you can download from Github to use in your own games.

Creating a custom Fixed Joint in Godot Engine :: April 18, 2021

The standard 2D physics joints in Godot allow free rotation around the joint. This tutorial shows how to convert a PinJoint2D into a Fixed Joint that welds two objects together.

Visual FX that bring objects to life :: April 8, 2021

All of the visual effects in Gravity Ace are made up of a number of smaller effects that are layered on top of each other. In this video I show how I created the visual and audio effects for the icy water hazard in the game including the node setup, animation, sound design, interactivity.

Creating 2D sprites with Blender + Aseprite :: January 25, 2021

Step by step guide showing how I created a 3D object in Blender, animated it, exported, and did the final cleanup and spritesheet in Aseprite. Overall, it’s a good process for creating nice looking and convincing 3D animations of complex objects for 2D games.

Total Blender chaos :: January 24, 2021

This is a short montage of me trying to learn Blender to create a 32 pixel sprite. Blender and Aseprite are a great combo for this. It just took me a little while to figure it out. Also, my creative process is possibly not normal.

Art process :: January 19, 2021

This video is a timelapse of a 2+ hour drawing session condensed into 10 minutes. I talk about my art process, the struggle to find interesting shapes and patterns, and getting into a “flow” state.

Happy 2021! :: January 15, 2021

Holiday break Took a few weeks off around Christmas to recharge Somewhat difficult to regain momentum Good for me Recent US politics has been challenging to my focus Progress report Nakama leaderboards Started work on ice caves Freeze rays Destroyable ice walls Things that melt Ice walls that reflect bullets Falling ice stalactites Next game and development plans Work on two games at once Game development pipeline 2+ releases every year Procedural, roguelike, randomness, interacting systems, mostly linear, 30 minute sessions Pros: no hand level design, very little story and writing if any, shorter dev cycle (haha), focus on my strengths Spelunky 2, Nuclear Throne, Jupiter Hell all scratch that itch in different ways Lots of interesting territory here

Build system and design :: December 15, 2020

Summary: Development progress report, UI and design, build system Build system with Steam, Itch, and Discord integration Did some UI work on the options screen so I have a good base to add more options “How to play” tips and new art Added over 400 interesting names for astronauts Added over 500 landform names in the editor for every cave wall Shield energy gauge design update Fuel gauge design update Initial Nakama server implementation for leaderboards and level sharing; Implemented 4 leaderboards per level and saving scores

Level transition animation :: December 9, 2020

Summary: A short tutorial for animated level transitions with a simple shader to create a curtain closing and opening effect Welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog! I’m back on the wagon after a bit of a hiatus. I started doing these last December then things fell apart in April and I switched to live streaming. But live streaming and short-form devlogs are really different mediums and I wanted to get back into this again.

Learn your tools :: September 28, 2020

Transcript: Hey folks! Welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog. Last week I talked a bit about the struggle to make good work. Today I want to discuss an important aspect of that: getting to know your tools. I can’t understate how important it is to know your tools well. It can be incredibly frustrating to want to do something but not know the sequence of buttons or menus to select to make it happen.

How to level up your skills :: September 23, 2020

Transcript: Hey folks! Welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog. Today I wanted to talk about this problem for beginners where they see all these people making amazing things… and they think “How?” or “I’ll never be that good.” So I wanted to show you that I also struggle. I was a beginner too. It’s OK. It’s normal for this to be hard. Let me start by saying you don’t need to be good at something for it to be worth doing.

History of Thrust-likes and Gravity Ace influences :: July 6, 2020

Gravity Ace Influences Transcript: Welcome back, pilots, to another Gravity Ace devlog! This week I wanted to talk a bit about my influences and motivations for creating Gravity Ace. Now, you can follow a chain of events all the way back to the dawn of time but I’ve only got a few minutes so I’m going to pick an arbitrary starting point: the NASA Apollo Program.

Laser beam art stream :: May 25, 2020

Live coding and debugging session :: May 19, 2020

Code review! :: April 19, 2020

Transcript: Hey gang! Welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog. Hope you’re all doing well. We’re still social distancing here but mostly it’s fine. I mean, I’m pretty used to working from home so it doesn’t feel super different to me but… I also haven’t been able to really focus on the game very much these past few weeks so progress has been slower than I’d like. It’s like a combo of covid anxiety and burnout… But it’s getting there!

Why is finishing a game so hard? :: April 5, 2020

Let’s look at all of the horrible and boring things I’ve had to do to finish this game!

Building a level editor in Godot :: March 22, 2020

Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog! I missed last week because I was FREAKING OUT about the whole pandemic situation. I’m still freaking out but life goes on. I hope you’re doing well and staying safe out there. So a lot of people have been asking me about the level editor in the game. I built the level editor for two reasons. ONE: I needed a way to make levels.

Level idea sketches :: March 9, 2020

How I code animation and behavior in Godot :: March 8, 2020

Tour of the astronaut entity, how its animations work, and how it interacts with the tractor beam

What game should I make next? :: March 1, 2020

Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog. A few weeks ago I took Gravity Ace to an event at Ambitious Ales. Lots of fun and I got more great feedback on the levels I’ve been building. I also got confirmation that the last round of gameplay updates I made were successful. There’s no substitute for watching real people play your game. Whenever I do something big like that I inevitably put a lot of work and time into preparing for it.

What tools do I use to make Gravity Ace? :: February 23, 2020

Transcript: Hey, everybody, and welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog! Today I’m going to talk about all the tools I use to make Gravity Ace. Choosing the right tools is important but maybe not for the reasons you’re thinking of. I think one of the most important attributes of your tools (if not THE most important) is how well they mesh with your own way of doing things.

Tutorial play through and level design :: February 20, 2020

Transcript: Hey there everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog. This is a bonus one I guess. Did one on Monday and wanted to talk you through some of the changes that I made to the tutorial based on the feedback I’ve gotten. So one thing I did was… one thing I noticed was that people were playing it like a platformer. You know they would try to go right, try to go as fast as they could, they would try to bounce off of things, jump, you know, all the platformer stuff, so, to break people of that idea I made the first intro here go left.

Beta test feedback, Ambitious Indie Game Night 2.0, call for test pilots :: February 16, 2020

Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog. This week I want to talk about the recent beta test and share the results with you. There will be another one soon and I’ll let you know how to join at the end of this video. But first! If you’re watching this on February 17th before 9 PM Pacific time then YOU ARE IN LUCK!

How to make a tractor beam in Godot Engine :: February 9, 2020

In this video I go DEEP into how the tractor beam works and show the node setup and code for all of the pieces.

Project organization and architecture :: February 2, 2020

Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog. I invited everyone to ask me what they’d like to hear about this week and got a lot of interesting suggestions. It was a great exercise because I’ve been working in some of this stuff for so long I’ve gone kind of blind to what’s cool and what’s boring. One of the most asked questions had to do with how I organize my project code and assets and patterns I use for passing data around between nodes.

Optimizing code and learning pixel art :: January 26, 2020

Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace Devlog! Before we get into it I want to thank everyone who’s been watching this video series. It started out as an experiment just to see if anyone was even interested in a boring old devlog from yet another indie game developer. Well, to my surprise and delight, you exist! Not only that, the comments you folks have been leaving are lovely and I really do appreciate every single one of you.

Coding enemy AI in Godot Engine :: January 19, 2020

Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace Devlog! This week I want to talk about AI programming. I’ve seen a few posts from people asking questions about basic AI recently. It seems overwhelming but I’m here to tell you that it can be simple. Complicated behavior is often just a side-effect of some fairly simple rules. First, let’s look at drones. These little guys are ships that fly around and have one job: shoot the player.

Happy little caves :: January 14, 2020

Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog. This one’s a bit late because I took a break and went to Disneyland on Sunday. The new Star Wars ride is dope. I spent the week working on making the level editing experience nicer. The focus was on creating brushes that let you draw out cave walls in a natural way. I’m a little under the weather so I’m going to show you a small level being created using the new tools so you don’t have to hear my sick gravelly voice too much.

Classic controls and more! :: January 5, 2020

Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog. I started off this week by building a new theme for the GravityAce.com website. The previous theme was functional but it wasn’t super flashy or attractive… kind of boring. So I basically JUICED the website by doing a few things: I made everything bigger. It’s still centered on the screen but the content area is much wider and uses a much bigger font size.

Redrawing placeholder art with Aseprite :: December 29, 2019

Watch as I redraw some placeholder art using Aseprite. I drew the original placeholder months ago and I’ve been sitting with it ever since. Older art starts to stand out as I polish and refine newer pieces. This one was starting to stand out because it wasn’t up to the same level as other parts of the game I’ve been working on. So it was time to redraw it.

Happy Trails in Godot Engine :: December 22, 2019

Line trails Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to the video devlog for Gravity Ace. So a few of you asked me last time: “How do you make those line trails behind bullets and the ship?” I’ll show you in this video along with code and an explanation of how it all works. BUT FIRST! I’ve been feeling a tiny bit burnt out… well, burnt out is the wrong word.

Making better bullets in Godot Engine :: December 15, 2019

Making better bullets Transcript: Hey everybody and welcome back to video devlog number 2 for Gravity Ace. Why is making video games so hard? Let me show you an example from Gravity Ace and Godot Engine. This isn’t quite a tutorial but I did want to show you some concepts and tips that you can apply whether you use Godot or some other engine like Unity, Game Maker, or Construct.

Pixel art process :: December 8, 2019

Transcript: Hey everybody! My name is John and I’m making a game called Gravity Ace. This is my first video devlog. By the end of it, let me know what you liked, what you didn’t like, ask me questions! I’m making this game solo but one thing I’ve learned about gamedev is that it’s a collaboration between the developer and the player. I’m obviously not making this game just for myself… I want lots of people to play it!

Engine sound breakddown :: October 13, 2019

Gravity Ace is a game about flying a space ship. From the beginning I knew that the sound that the ship makes would have to be interesting. At the same time, it needed to be unobtrusive and, to some extent, blend into the background because it would be heard so often. I think I achieved both goals. To make it interesting, I created 3 different samples: starting up, running, and shutting down.

Respawn System :: September 15, 2019

Thrust on the C64 The original Thrust gave you 3 lives to make it through all of the levels of the game. I sometimes like that kind of challenge when I play a game but I decided early on that I didn’t want to have a life system in Gravity Ace. It makes the game punishingly difficult and the days when I enjoyed that are far behind me.

Shield Design :: September 1, 2019

Your ship in Gravity Ace can only take a single hit. One shot from an enemy or touching a wall causes instant destruction. Space is dangerous, weapons are powerful, and ships are fragile. To give players – especially new players – a fighting chance, your ship is equipped with a shield. The shield takes the first hit... but not the second! Node setup The shield is fairly simple but was designed with a few interesting features.

Progress report :: January 2, 2019

Happy New Year! Along with the normal load of bug fixing (like drones waking up in the level editor!) and minor tweaks, here’s some of the more interesting stuff I’ve added recently: Indicators for offscreen things During testing, players didn’t like that you could accidentally destroy things that were offscreen. Things you couldn’t see. It didn’t feel fair. So I’ve added indicators at the edge of the screen for important things you shouldn’t blow up that you can’t see yet.

How to make a nebula :: December 14, 2018

Welcome to the first devlog for Gravity Ace! My plan is to give you a look behind the scenes. You’ll have a front row seat to see the decisions I’m making and why I’m making them. And you’ll get a sneak peek at new features I’m working on and how development is progressing overall (no spoilers!). Some of the devlogs will talk about new features or why something was added or removed.