Doubts

When I spend too many hours on Chess Battle trying to solve a problem or even iterating, sometime I fall into periods of doubts.

I play my own game and I don’t see what I’m looking for. It’s not fun, not pretty, not well balanced. Full of bugs. In a word: it’s not good. From here it often escalates to the point where I realise the amount of work left. I feel overwhelm. I don’t know where I’m heading to.

Mentally it’s hard to handle. The only solution I found for those moments is to step back a few hours, or even days. And hopefully when I’m back to work it’s gone and I’m full of faith again (so far it worked like that).

I guess looking back at the accomplished work help too, hence my previous post about current progress.

I thought it’s important to share those bad feelings too, because as indie developers we face many challenges, but self doubting seems to be one of the worst (at least for me).

Do not hesitate to take a break!

On that note, it’s holiday time for me, see you in a couple of weeks.

🏖

First months progress

From the idea, through prototypes, all the way to a playable demo!
Let’s see how far we are after 4 months.

A little bit of history: Chess Battle started in January, I mean, it’s been in my head for a long time but I started to write down some stuff in January 2020 and I decided in May to give it a go by working on it full time.

Also, because I know projects work better with a scope, I arbitrarily decided to fix a deadline for the first playable demo to September 2020.

May 2020

In may I was playing with Unity own Physics engine and thought it would be easy. I also used an asset that allows to get destructible sprite very easily but, rest assured, all this will be soon discarded.

I also had a first prototype of map generator based on bitmap at the time. See details here.

June 2020

If I remember well, in June I had my first game over the Internet with a friend. It was laggy as hell and I did not see how it could improve with my technical choices at the time. So I discarded all the networking part too. What a progress.

I still was trying to get Unity Physics engine work the way I wanted, and it was quite convincing. I built specifics scene to test all the parameters and stuff.

This is when I decided to implement the distance limit, here with a halo that prevents you to move more than a specific distance. After testing it for a while, I’m pretty sure it won’t end up in the game in that form.

I also iterated on the map generator, positioning destructibles objects and ammo/health bonus boxes.

July 2020

What an exciting month! In parallel to coding the game, I was also looking for a designer to help me work on the game. I found someone that has the exact style I wanted and he accepted to work for me.

We can see on those video some of his concept art. Except that I started to tacle the hard problem: implementing my own Physics engine.

August 2020

With Jean-Baptiste we settle down on Anima2D for the character animation and it’s pretty cool because I had sometime to test some sort of ragdoll animations — something I always wanted to have — on this video it looks stupid and full of bug but the final implementation will be great. I also worked on my own Character movement controller.

On the last video we can see that I started to integrate the final art from Jean-Baptiste. The map generator has to be tweaked a bit more too.

To be honest with myself I’m not even half way to have something ready but I hope that in September I’ll get some sort of demo.

Fingers crossed

🤞

What is Chess Battle?

Chess Battle Concept Art

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Concept art by Jean-Baptiste Dessaux

Chess Battle is a 2D turn based artillery video game for two players.

It’s like Worms Armageddon with updated art inspired from Brawlhalla: Best of both worlds!
I’m a huge fan of those games and I still spend at least an hour per day playing it with friends, today I want to make a combo as much dynamic and fun.

Let’s learn about the gameplay

There are two different modes

Battle mode

In this mode, the two players start on a randomly generated map, with a defined number of characters.

The player’s goal is to eliminate all of the opposing player’s characters. Either by killing them, or by expelling them from the map.

There are 5 to 8 characters per player: the Queen, the Bishop(s), the Rook(s), the Knight(s) and the King (not present in Battle mode, see Capture the King mode below).

Each of these characters is controlled in turn by the player, he cannot choose which character he wants to control, the order is pre-defined.

The parallel with chess is done via character classes (Bishop, King, etc.) but also by the fact that each character movement is limited by its class. ie: the Bishop can only move within a certain radius, the Rook a smaller radius and the Queen without limitation.

Capture the King mode

In this mode, the rules are similar. The characters and the map are generated and positioned symmetrically (face to face) and the King of each players is positioned at each ends of the map.

The goal is then for a player to go “capture” the opposing king (touch him with one of their characters).

Let’s meet the Characters

Playing different characters in the same game is one of the keys differentiation from other artillery games. Each character is visually different and has different abilities (and special weapons see below).

The Rook for example moves slowly (because it will be quite big), the Knight on the contrary is more agile.

Here is the list of the different characters and their particular characteristics: 

  • Rook: The rook is an imposing piece, moves slowly. Its special ability is to be able to make a protective force field.
  • Queen: The queen is not limited in travel distance. It’s her special ability.
  • Bishop: The bishop has a special weapon, his movement is limited, his speed normal.
  • King: King’s movements are very limited.
  • Knight: The knight special ability is speed and greater amplitude of jump.

Let’s discovers the Weapons

Each player starts with three unlimited basic weapons, bazooka; grenade; gun.
Then randomly on the ground, boxes containing a weapon appear. The player can pick up those boxes.

  • Bazooka: Simple projectile, the trajectory is influenced by the wind, explodes when the projectile encounters an obstacle, projection force managed by the player.
  • Grenade: Simple projectile, not influenced by the wind, bounced when encountering an obstacle, explodes after 3-5 seconds, projection force managed by the player.
  • Pistol: Straight shot, not influenced by the wind, instantaneous (no movement of projectile), no force of projection.
  • Mortar: Simple projectile, the trajectory is NOT influenced by the wind, explodes when the projectile encounters an obstacle, no projection force.
  • Bomb: Simple projectile, not influenced by the wind, heavy, rebounded very little when encountering an obstacle, explodes 2 seconds after touching the first obstacle, projection force managed by the player.

Bonus

Bonuses / penalties boxes appear randomly on the map. A player can pick them up and their ability applies to the current turn.

  • Double damage: Doubles the size of the explosions as well as the number of damage.
  • Double distance: Allow the current character to move further.
  • Everyone goes down: The ground sinks a unit in the lava.

Who is Jrmgx?

My real name is Jerome, I’m from France. 
In my everyday life I’m a web/mobile/game developer.
I had some success recently with Glitch Clip.

Today I want to level up and work on a bigger project!
I’m really motivated, and ready to dedicate time and money to make it a success!

What are the Ambitions?

The goal is to make a PC / console game and then think about the mobile mobile version. It’s a paying game, not a free to play. The game is intended for two players and is played either via the Internet or on the same machine.

Want to follow the progress?

Please follow ChessBattleGame on Twitter to get more detail about the progress of the game, including screenshot, video and concept arts!

You have ideas or feedback?

Please follow ChessBattleGame on Twitter to give feedbacks and ask for new features.