Category Archives: News

Eat all the major news!

Survival Mode Preview

The basic foundations for a brand new Survival Mode are now laid! Take a quick look at the completely brand new Survival mode for my upcoming game Armed with Wings: Rearmed:

Survival Mode, Weapon & Gear System and the ability to flip forward and backwards! These are just some of the new content that has been added this month.

I’ll be doing a blog post soon detailing these new features. Until then, please like the facebook page – I’m always posing bit of news there :)

Armed with Wings Facebook

The Game is Ported!

Note: Sorry for not updating this blog sooner: I’ve been slowly writing this post and took me longer than expected haha!

As you may or may not know, Armed with Wings Rearmed is a remastered edition of the original AwW1 game I made in 2008. The original was written in ActionScript 2.0. In an effort to reduce development time, I thought it would be best to continue to develop Rearmed in AS2.

The game is now ported to AS3! What a marvelous milestone to reach! After conquering nearly every ActionScript 2.0 limitation, one limitation proved to be an unsolvable brick wall… native Gamepad Support. Now that the game has been ported to AS3, Gamepads are supported ans I’ve found user engagement to be much higher!  I’ll admit that porting the entire game JUST to support controllers seemed to be more work than it was worth – but I can confidently say that it has been worth it. People are having much for fun playing Rearmed AND the new codebase is FAR better, resulting in a better game and enabling me to work faster.

The Challenges have been numerous. I took advantage of many AS2 kinks, many of which are not supported in the much more proper programming language of AS3.

AS2 allows for not just adding code inside an object, but adding code on top as well. For example: I have an enemy character with code and behavior embedded in the object. I could have 3 of the same enemies on stage and they all share the same code. What if I wanted one of them to have more health than the others? I could add code on just a single instance, increasing the health of just that single enemy. Coding on an object is quick and handy for many different reasons and so I took advantage of that feature. When porting the game to AS3, that had to change. I compensated with component definitions with default values.

I tried to keep the core engine structure very similar to the AS2 project to reduce confusion. The idea is to keep development simple and straight forward with few procedures for generating new content. Pushing in content is just as easy thanks to my new engine structure. This structure is more unified and better handles events and updates.  The hurdle was trying to find a suitable solution to they way my level updates work. Each level is placed on the timeline: level 1 is on frame 1, level 2 is on frame 2, level 3 is on frame 3 ect… Each frame also has a levelUpdate() function. Each of these functions contained code specific for the corresponding level. In as3, flash didn’t like how I had multiple levelUpdate() functions, it only wanted one. My solution was to have just one levelUpdate() function that would loop through an array of objects. Whenever a new level is loaded, that array is cleared and populated with new objects.

The Gamepad itself introduced some interesting challenges. Not super had to solve… but interesting indeed and caused me to rethink my input bindings. Example: Pausing the game on a keyboard would be hitting ESC key. On a controller, it would be the Start button. The pause screen has a few different options. Highlighting the settings button then pressing Start on the controller should open the settings panel. But, hitting the keyboard equivalent is ESC, which should take the user back to the game. That is only one example of when the keyboard and gamepad inputs sometimes have different behavior.

Results And Improvements now make this project FAR more manageable. Every asset, sprite and file has been carefully renamed with a smart naming convention. As I passed each game element from the old project to the new, I had the opportunity to examine each one. Much of the code was reused too, but even more was written from scratch. As I had done all the work previously, redoing it was super quick. The code is FAR more neat, optimized and manageable.

All this means little to the user. But as a developer, it’s always better to be working in a clean environment. I’ll be able to serve the user more effectively and deliver more content, quickly without friction from a messy decompiled project.

The State of Rearmed is now far ahead from where I left it in AS2. All the levels are ported AND improved! There are also more levels than in the old project. The game supports Gamepad which increases user retention and simply makes it more fun to play.  Now i’m working on a brand new feature: Equipment system!
equiptment

ActionScript 2.0

The original Armed with Wings was developed in Flash using ActionScript 2.0. In order to minimize development time, Rearmed was built on top of the original AS2 project. I’ve made MASSIVE changes to the code in order to make it more optimal and readable. Coders, if you saw what the original source looked like, you’d vomit and die – I’m sure of it.

The thought of rewriting the game in AS3 has crossed my mind many times during development. I’ve even contemplated porting the game over to Starling or Haxe (two different GPU based frameworks far faster than traditional flash). Up until now I’ve keep the game in AS2, which has saved me a considerable amount of time.

The problem with AS2 is that it’s old. Really old. Modern features are unavailable such as gamepad controls and it doesn’t connect with many API for score and achievements. It also makes packaging in Adobe Air difficult.

My workaround to all the AS2 shortcomings is rather clever. The AS2 game is wrapped in an AIR AS3 project. The AS3 wrapper takes care of all the connection issues external APIs while AIR handles packaging the game as a desktop executable. By using bridge connections, I’m able to get the AS3 and AS2 projects to talk to each other (normally, they cannot send data between each other).

But now, I think I’ve hit a wall. Xbox controls. My hypothesis was to use the AS3 wrapper handle xbox controller input and send the data to the AS2 game. It works, actually. The issue is this: It seems like the bridge connection between the two has a nasty delay at times. The delay causes 1-2 seconds of input lag. Truly horrible.

I must investigate further to see if the issue is the connection lag, of perhaps if there is another workaround. But currently it looks like I’ll need to port the game to ActionScript 3.0. The bad news is that it’ll take some time. The good news is that it gives me more control. Additionally, it shouldn’t be difficult to do thanks to my earlier efforts in fixing up the horrendous code from 2008. The other option is to ditch Xbox controls – or add the feature in an update post launch… we’ll see.

To be honest, I have some AS2 pride. I like the fact that I’m using a super old method for game dev. I guess… sometimes you need to swallow the pride and move on.

Code issues aside, the game is looking just fantastic! Fullscreen is working brilliantly! This is actually big news because Flash runs terrible in high resolutions. The game runs in 720p, which is upscaled to fullscreen.

InvertedWorld

Whats this?! A white world!? This is the tutorial level, currently quite empty – but beautiful. I plan on adding more of these special levels.

Very exciting times! I’m closing in on development overall and the game is already Greenlite! Can’t wait to get this game to you guys!

For more AwW updates, tune into the facebook page – I’m updating there oftern!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Armed-with-Wings/284488551663221?ref=hl

Also, join me on Patreon and help support Armed with Wings! My C key on my laptop fell off today, I could fix it with some Patreon cash.

http://www.patreon.com/sunstudios

Happy New Year!

 

 

Reamred has been Greenlit!

11 days, 9069 votes and 388 comments later… Armed with Wings Rearmed has just been Greenlit! What does this mean?! Armed with Wings Rearmed is officially coming to Steam!

AwWR_GL_done

How can I express such joy… For the longest time I’ve had my eyes set on Steam. Armed with Wings was born into the world of free browser games, but as it quickly grew into a reputable series, I knew it had potential for Steam.

Finally, Rearmed is coming to Steam! I want to thank the GreenLight community for showing such amazing support and helpful feedback! I also tip my hat to web gaming, had it not been for free browser games, perhaps Armed with Wings may have never found it footing.

So what happens now? The final push in development! Much work still needs to be done on Rearmed to see it complete: Cutscenes, music, more levels, gamepad support…
Managing the release is going to be a challenge. Reaching out to the press, ditermining release date, exploring bundles and deals… a lot to do but I’m looking forward to it.

The next trailer I put out will have the release date announced.

Be sure to keep up with the development of Armed with Wings here on this blog.
I’d like to invite you to join the Facebook page. I’m very active on Facebook and would love to have more input and feedback!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Armed-with-Wings/284488551663221

For the Twitter nuts, I’m @Sun_Studios

This year is ending as well as the Lone Warrior is ending this creature!

Happy new year everyone!

Armed with Wings Rearmed on Steam Greenlight!

MY GOODNESS… at long last… Armed with Wings has arrived at the doorstep of Steam! I am very please. VERY PLEASE INDEED! It’s taken a very long time to hit this milestone, to actually get a game on Greenlight. But now it has happened and I feel great! Let us hope it will not be long before it is greenlite and available on Steam!

What is Steam Greenlight? Steam Greenlight is a voting system in which Steam users vote on games which they would like to see released on the Steam Platform. Now that Armed with Wings is on Greenlight, it needs to be voted up to the top 100 list to have a chance of being released on Steam.

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Now I need your help. If you’re reading this then I assume you have some interest in my games or Armed with Wings. I encourage you to check out Rearmed on Greenlight, share the page, watch the trailer… vote the game up :p

Check out Armed with Wings Rearmed on Steam Greenlight!!!

Lets all work together and get Armed with Wings on Steam!!

Art style Survey

I’m running a survey on the future of the Armed with Wings art style. I’d love to get as much input as possible.

People who know my games well, your opinion is especially important.

The question is: Should Armed with Wings introduce higher levels of detail into it’s models, or should they remain completely black silhouettes?

Take a look at these images – the left features fully shaded character silhouettes, and on the right is more shaded, detailed models.

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Please vote and voice your opinion on your preference.
Guest users, please vote / voice your opinion – no registration is required.

Blackout, a user here on Sun-Studios has posted a lengthy thread debating the art style of Armed with Wings. Check out his post here.

Cinematic’s in Rearmed

Just like the original Armed with Wings, Rearmed will open in cinematic the same way. I’m recreating the epic moment where Vandheer executes the Lone Warrior. I’m injecting the more action, drama, dialog, emotion and expression.

As you’d expect from me, the animation is done all in Adobe Flash. Everything is vectored and very sleek. I’ll explain some of my progress:

Sketch
Beginning with a storyboard, I draw up each shot that will occur and spread them out along the timeline.

story1Lone Warrior looking towards camera

story2Vandheer attacking

story3Lone Warrior battling Vandheer

Character Art
I usually create the character art before the backgrounds. My sketchs are usually detailed enough to use as a foundation. I lighten the opacity of the sketch and lock it to a layer, at which point I draw the actual art on top. Using a pen I create the character outline, which I then fill with either solid or gradient color. 

compare

Notice the gradient colors. I tent to use gradients when a shapes needs to be more distinctive. Clothes usually have gradients applied to them. Exposed body is always black, except for the face (face has subtle gradient). The extra detail like cloth folds, body and chest lighting always have a gradient applied.

The Result
Vandheer_wins_rebel_war_

 

 

Totally done in flash. The background elements have a blur filter applied. Notice that Vandheer is darker than any other element, that’s to make him readable and focused.

Here is some more artwork from the cinematics:

lone warrior defeated
The Lone Warrior defeated and seized.

lone warrior face
The Lone Warrior’s face, up close and enraged.

vandheer vs lonewarrior rearmedThe Lone Warrior, preparing for another battle.

So far so good if I dare say so myself. Can’t wait to get into the animation. It will flow in a similar fashion to the Armed with Wings 3 cinematics.

Revisiting this critical moment in AwW is dope. Perhaps I should do an Armed with Wings cartoon?!

Armed with Wings Rearmed

I’ve talked about about the Remastered edition of Armed with Wings 1. It now has an official name: Armed with Wings Rearmed!

Rearmed indeed. This game has vastly improved upon the original!

  • New graphics
  • New sound and music
  • New levels
  • New cut scenes
  • Bonus content

Keep your eyes peeled for a trailer. Also, I’ll be submitting the game to Steam GreenLight very soon!

WALLPAPER

Reader Reply

Alex, thank you for your comment! sometime I find large posts intimidating because I’m so slow at writing myself. But none the less, I take much delight in reading these large posts! It makes me happy that you’re so interested in seeing what is coming next – and so here is my response to your suggestions!

You can see the original comment here.

Bosses in Armed with Wings Versus

Boss Battles makes perfect sense for AwW Versus. What would be interesting to see is the unique, larger bosses return: Skull Boss from AwW3, Lvl6 Boss from AwW1… Even new ones like a Giant Snake!

snake-boss
Snake boss would be CRAZY!!!!

 

I feel that other playable characters should be AI controlled opponents too. The issue with that is creating these characters to be both playable and AI controlled is actually difficult. I achieved this in Culmination with Vandheer, but the code was a horrible disaster. There may need to be semi-major code changes to the way players currently work. None the less its totally possible so it’s likely to happen.

Regarding new animations for existing characters, this will not be likely for AwW Versus. Most characters move set will be adjusted/altered in the way they previously control. But make no mistake, I will definitely recreate all animations for THE BIG ONE.

Make Network a playable character

Yes, Network will be playable! Network rocks such a cool skillset – veeerryy powerful! Ever since I created him, I thought to myself “I’d love to play as this!”.

I also felt that he was too easy to beat in AwW3. So as an opponent, Network will be more challenging.

Add more playable characters

I have plans to include the following characters: Leo (done), Lone Warrior (done), Vandheer, Eivana, Hawkin, Network. This is only a handful of characters, but it’s doable. I would like to continue support for this game post launch too, so may more characters can be included!

Have more enemy types

Regarding enemy types, I’ve developed 2 new dark creatures: Standard and ranged monster. I’ll be adding more dark creatures, including the flying ones from Culmination (they won’t be so annoying this time). Additionally, I’ll be including the human soldiers from AwW1, 2 and 3 – Swordsmen, Spearmen, Archers and more. AwW Versus is a celebration of the Armed with Wings series, so naturally I must include both imperial Soldiers and Dark Creatures.

Hope this response is insightful! Have a good day!