Devlog

MHR Dev Entry 6 - "In the Flesh"

Hey folks! Jesse Humphry here, Game Designer of MHR, with another update. I know it's been a while and I apologize for that, but we've been working very hard on a couple of things on the side. For starters, I've started learning C++ in order to be able to assist with the creation of the game once we start getting into the more intensive programming phase and out of design. 

Bailey Wheatland has also been spending the past month or so in France (the lucky duck), but still managed to start iterating our third monster. I present to you: kangaROT

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This third monster will be a fresh feeling after having spent the entire process looking at deciBULL and BANGtail's ugly mugs, but kangaROT's design isn't fully fleshed out yet and his behaviors and mechanics are still in the works. Nevertheless, we're very excited to have an iteration of him getting worked on. 

In addition to this, we've been working on the visuals for player armor and attempted to make it gender neutral in order to avoid customization on release. We're doing this mainly so we can focus on core gameplay and option the player model choice after we get post-release feedback. For now, this is the current concept we're running with. 

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We're still in the early stages of this design, but it's coming along fairly well. We still need to integrate reasonable padding and the grappling boxes soon, though!

That's it for this blog post. Let us know if you have an ideas or suggestions!

Jesse Humphry
Game Designer for Mad House Rodeo

 

MHR Dev Entry 5 - "Grappling With Problems"

Hey guys, Jesse Humphry here, Game Designer for Mad House Rodeo. Today we're gonna talk about a struggle we've faced for a few months regarding the implementation of the grappling system. 

Our first major concern involved transitioning from VR. In the VR experience we'd initially started with, the grapples were controlled entirely by player movement and aim, and the view process was more critical to this since players could look up quicker than most gaming mice and analog sticks will allow. Because the locomotion was taken out of VR, we had to find different solutions for movement with the same mechanic. 

Originally we'd wanted the dual grapples to serve the same functions and both being contextual. Players would aim at objects and fire the grapple. The gearbox in the grappling component would then lock automatically, allowing the player to swing around the fulcrum point that the grapple hook created, or the player could reel in the line to force it to act like a zipline, etc. 

The problem with this approach, we found, was that it drastically steepened the learning curve necessary to make the game accessible to more players. We needed to find a solution that would still allow players a great deal of problem-solving freedom while also making it easier to pick up the mechanics. 

We've now worked out what we believe will be the defining method from this point forward. 

The players will be endowed with two grappling hooks, same as originally intended. However, each hook will serve different purposes so that players can work with either hook independently should they choose to. Players who prefer basic motion and avoidance tactics can utilize the dominant arm's hook, which fires grappling lines towards the top of the arena for swinging purposes. More aggressive players can utilize the off-hand hook, which fires at the player's point of aim for a multitude of functions including attacking other players. 

We've also solved a couple of issues with regard to player encounters. Initially, our arenas were facing a size problem where the stage monsters required large space to be effective. Meanwhile, the melee game was hindered due to the increased play space. This has been solved with the grappling methods currently available, as well as the physical response players will experience when grappling another player or being grappled. 

We still need to test all of this in-game, however. We're very excited to see whether or not our many hours of debate and deliberation have paid off, and hopefully you'll be equally as pleased when you get to experience it for the first time! Until then, cheers!

Jesse Humphry
Game Designer for Mad House Rodeo

MHR Dev Entry 4 - “Beasts of Anarchy”

Hey there everyone! Bailey Wheatland here with some more content pertaining to the monsters of Mad House Rodeo. 

We plan to launch Mad House Rodeo with three monsters that will offer diverse gameplay which will define the theme of high octane combat in various ways. In our premiere game mode, “Rodeo”, players must engage in a king of the hill match, whereby who ever rides/controls the monster for the longest time over the course of 15 minutes will win.

Knowing that players will be controlling the monsters and grappling on and around them, we have come up with a few monster designs that will keep the game modes fresh and satisfying in different ways. 

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Take for example our monsters deciBULL(left) and BANGtail(right). deciBULL is a power-based monster that amplifies his crushing power through the speakers that you see on his midsection. So players who enjoy playing the “heavy” in multiplayer games will definitely want to try out this monstrosity. In contrast, you have BANGtail which is speed-based, and its methods of causing destruction are all in service of moving faster at blinding velocity. 

With those elements in mind, it is important that the player feels each monster’s respective abilities while controlling them or navigating around them. This plays into the construction of each monster as well. The beasts of MHR have a thrown together aesthetic which results in staples, chains, bull rings, and other cosmetic elements. These are the parts of the designs that players can grapple onto. Each creature has a different set of soft and hard surfaces that will change how players engage with them.

These design parameters have allowed us to create very focused creatures along with a powerful aesthetic for the game. I hope you guys will have as much fun interacting with them as I had creating them! I cannot wait to see the anarchy you all create with these tools of destruction.

Sincerely,

Bailey Wheatland
Director of Mad House Rodeo

MHR Story Time #1 - Origins

Hello everyone! Jesse Humphry here, Game Designer for Mad House Rodeo. I want to take a moment to talk about a very special relationship on the team: the friendship between myself and the Director, Bailey Wheatland.

 Literally the only picture we have together.

Literally the only picture we have together.

Bailey and I have known each other for almost 8 years. I was an aspiring designer at the ripe old age of 16. Bailey was a couple years younger than me and he contacted me on GameDev.net after viewing my ‘resume’. We worked together on a project, the name of which I won’t mention, and after a year or two that project was scrapped. We were too young to do anything effective or impactful and the scope of our desire was larger than our pool of resources could handle. 

But Bailey and I stayed in touch. We shot ideas back and forth for a little while, traded ideas on the story for the origin project and eventually stumbled upon another idea. A brilliant idea. An idea we someday hope to complete. That idea was generated 3 years ago and will also go unnamed in this post. 

What matters the most is the camaraderie Bailey and I have had over the past 8 years. The challenges we place in front of each other have helped us grow our respective talents at an abnormally quick rate. We are better creators today because of each other. I am a better writer and game designer today because of the way Bailey has pushed me to grow outside of my comfort zone. Idon’t think I’ve ever worked with someone quite as well as I work with Bailey. The things that he and I create together fill me with joy, wonder, and excitement.

Back in 2015, Bailey and I decided to settle on a name for the development company that he and I would co-found. Originally named “Symphonic Games”, “Symphonic Entertainment” was settled upon so as to allow us to expand into other forms of multi-media entertainment should we be so inclined. We have plans for various forms of entertainment across a couple of mediums. Ambitious as it might be, we hope to someday have several teams creating and developing content at once. 

Ultimately, every project that comes from this studio will be the result of a love story between myself and the most creatively inspirational person in my life, Bailey. We are two halves of a creative whole. The things that we’re able to craft together are, to us at least, sublime and surreal. The process of creation is long and difficult. Our payoff may never come for a lot of our ideas, but if we can secure just one release we may be a massive step closer to realizing some of our more ambitious tales. 

Mad House Rodeo is the most fruitful of these endeavors. The blog you’re reading is the result of a labor of love, frustrating phone calls, and massive compromises on both sides. It is a battle-scarred idea that we recognize as a significantly better project than we could have ever hoped for. Mad House Rodeo is our first step, the first pebble into a pond that we hope to empty out with an eventual cannonball. 

I can’t wait to share the ins-and-outs of the development process with you guys. I can’t wait to tell you the stories that keep me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please don’t forget to follow the blog for more development updates and stories. 

All the best,
Jesse Humphry
Game Designer of Mad House Rodeo
 

MHR Dev Entry 3 - "Concepts of Madness"

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Hey everyone! Bailey Wheatland here again with another entry into our development journal. A lot of work has gone into the level design of MHR to best utilize our core mechanics and overall game feel. A key player in this has been our concept artist, James Masino

He's been putting together some arena ideas for us to further along the level design process. In the above concepts you’ll note the use of cranes or other swing-points that are a crucial component of our arenas. Since locomotion via the grappling hooks is our primary goal, our level design and concepts need to reflect this.

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One of the other, lesser known variables we want to tweak is the arena shape. We’re currently working with ideas on circular, octogonal, and oblong arena types in order to give the player a sense of constant forward motion as well as direct them in places we need them to go. We’ll narrow it down to just one of these types eventually, but that will come after some hands-on testing that we plan on doing later in the year.

James’ concept work has been geared to these criteria so we can get a clearer picture of what these arenas might look like.  As we progress further, the designs will become more and more focused, but it is always fun to see the initial concepts in production. 

As always I hope you enjoy the updates of Mad House Rodeo! Expect more updates/stories soon!

Bailey Wheatland
Director of Mad House Rodeo

MHR Dev Entry 2 - "The Dual-Grapple Mechanic"

Hey guys! It’s Bailey again back with more behind the scenes info on Mad House Rodeo! In MHR, the core mechanic will be that of a dual grappling hook system we have devised. With this system you can traverse in a way similar to Spider-Man and/or humans in Attack on Titan. This caters to the high octane action we are trying to achieve in the game. We’re trying to hit that Easy To Learn, Difficult To Master sweet spot. We want to give players a lot of freedom to navigate the game space in the way they see fit, while also allowing different styles of play to have good conflict and resolution. Hopefully, that is what will make the competitive nature of this game so entertaining.

Currently we just have one grapple in the test build, but stay tuned for more updates as we implement the second grappling hook soon!

All the best,

Bailey Wheatland
Director of Mad House Rodeo

MHR Dev Entry 1 - "Let the Mad House Begin"

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Hey there everyone! My name is Bailey Wheatland and I am the director of Mad House Rodeo. I also have other jobs on the team like co game designer and character artist. Mad House Rodeo was created with the intent of being a fun experience where players can release their inner animal while riding one. As people who love adrenaline fueled experiences and monsters, I hope you find this project to be the perfect marriage of the two. So stay tuned for more updates from the development team as we plunge deeper into production. Let the Mad House begin!

Sincerely,
Bailey Wheatland
Director of Mad House Rodeo

Step One - The Team

Hey folks! Welcome to the Devblog! We’re going to be talking about our latest project, Mad House Rodeo, over the next few months or years. First, let’s get you introduced to the team!
 

Bailey Wheatland - Director
Antonio Gil -  Designer
Jesse Humphry - Game Designer
Jeff Flynn - Programmer
Lloyd Quashie - Programmer
Lloyd Pabon - Environment Artist
James Masino - Concept Artist
David Jeka - Character TA
Juan Pablo Sierra - Animator


We’ll be talking about some stuff soon, so stay tuned!