Handy McBeatemup Update – August
This entry was posted on August 21st, 2012 in News | 1 comment

It’s been a few weeks since I first posted about Handy McBeatemup, and I’ve been trying to think ways I’d post future updates about the game. I don’t necessarily know how to hype things up and, as I’ll be covering today, a lot of the work I’m doing right now is code-based. Not much to get excited about. However, I really don’t know what to talk about, or what people want to hear. I tend to keep projects close to the chest until completion and many times that means the public is left out of the loop, so with Handy McBeatemup I wanted to try something different and keep people updated from the start. I’d gladly take any suggestions as to what people want to see in these update posts, so feel free to contact me or tweet me with your ideas!

On to the updates!

Most of the last few weeks have been dedicated to nothing but working on the code. A lot of it based around Handy’s handling, and some enemy AI tweaks. I’ve worked on some of the art assets such as boss designs and environmental pieces, but we’ll look at those sometime in the future. First, I’d like to get to the real meat of the game: The game play.

Control & Game Play

When I first announced Handy McBeatemup, I described the core game play as a 2D side-scrolling beat ‘em up. While that’s still true, it’s undergone a bit of a makeover since then. Handy McBeatemup now controls much more like a fighting game than it does a traditional beat ‘em up. That pseudo-Z-axis no longer exists. Handy can now jump and duck and even combo in/out of those positions on the fly. Added to that, each move has its own specific hitbox-property, which will allow for a more dynamic flow of combat. But before anyone thinks I’ve built a Street Fighter engine, allow me to say that it is not that complex. I’ve actually had a tough time trying to describe what Handy McBeatemup feels like. The best I could come up with was to compare the handling to the Smash Bros. series. Though I will be using a lot of “fighting game” terms in this update, just remember that it’s not a fighting game in the traditional sense.

Originally there was going to be a commentary video posted with this update that explained the basics of the fighting mechanic, but due to lack of sleep and my general inability to commentate properly, I’ve instead made a montage of the footage I recorded. So it makes sense, I’ve decided to just explain the fighting system in text to save everyone some trouble.

Handy will dish out a three hit string of either high, medium or low varieties (depending on whether he is ducking or neutral) with air combos being based off a neutral position. Combo variants are seamless and don’t require one string to end before a new one begins. While in the air, Handy will be able to stay afloat as long as he maintains the string. Once the combo is dropped Handy will regain normal gravity properties. Performing a normal attack in the air while holding down will cause Handy to do a Ground Pound. It’s a powerful move but leaves Handy open to retaliation, especially if he misses the target. Currently I have no plans of adding a neutral launcher that will allow Handy to end up in an air combo, but there will be a launcher variant that players can unlock later in the game!

Glove Powers will also increase the combo count and keep strings alive. While most are currently being designed to be used sparingly, base glove powers will be able to be used as minor assists to keep combos alive. Some of the stronger Glove Powers may include launcher capabilities, but those haven’t been tested yet. A couple actual Assist items will help keep combos going, but are much more random in terms of execution.

The Art

The art style is heavily influenced by the “golden age of animation”, which are cartoons from the 1930′s-1940′s. There’s a great amount of importance in staying true to the theme and not taking too many creative liberties, because aside from a couple of Disney games, I can’t recall this art style ever being used as the primary theme of any game. That unique approach is what will set Handy McBeatemup apart from the rest.

This is a minor example of the visual progress being made in Handy McBeatemup. Color is used sparingly and hopefully it’ll remain that way, though I’m aware people are going to expect at least some level of richness for fear of getting bored. One of the largest challenges with the visual aspect has been trying to properly and seamlessly translate, and emulate the water color/ink bleeding seen in most 1930 cartoons. The scenery in the example posted above is a composite of techniques being applied to the environments to make it feel more authentic. It still has some ways to go, but it’s getting there!

This about wraps up all I’ve been doing in the last few weeks. It’s coming along, perhaps at a slower pace than I’d like, but I’m hoping someone out there enjoys seeing this work in progress. As I said, trying to build hype like this isn’t my strong suit and I’m not exactly sure what to feature, so if you’ve got ideas let me hear them! I can’t guarantee I’ll do everything that’s asked (like posting my source code), but I’ll take any good ideas into consideration!

Thanks for reading, and I hope to do another update soon!

One Response to “Handy McBeatemup Update – August”

  1. RazorLP says:

    It looks great Keaton. Thanks for the update. I’ll be keeping an eye out.

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