Plant Down just released!


5-10 minutes read

Hello itch folks,

Today's the day: my new game, Plant Down, has just been released! It is available exclusively on android via the Google Play Store and itch.io. This is my first paid only release. In this post, I'll be talking in probably too much details about Plant Down's development and share this part of my gamedev journey with you. I'll be talking about specific details of the game, so maybe it's best to play it before reading if you'd prefer to experience the game with minimal information. To say it more clearly, spoilers ahead!

What is Plant Down?

In Plant Down, you play as a plant faced with 3 bosses of increasing difficulty. Once a boss is defeated, you get a rank that depends on your performance during the fight. Plant Down is a rather short game, and can be completed in roughly 30 minutes.

Development


Original doodles for the player

I started Plant Down's development in mid-summer 2020, when I started with the player sprites'. I made the whole player moveset and level switching system functional... and then just stopped for a year. The project was still in the back of my mind, but I focused on Mask Up (updates and Windows version). I went back on working on Plant Down during summer 2021, where I started by making the 3 environments. I wasn't set on the bosses, but I knew where I wanted the fights to take place. This took me about a month, because I had to implement a new layer system with perspective for the scene.


The 3 environments. I took the time to make something more interesting than textures repeating in both axes.

I then struggled a lot to find boss designs that I liked, but eventually settled for the cast that you can see on the key art today: meet The Worm, The Robot and The King.


The Worm was made as a big blob that would be fun to animate, taking the shape of an arm when punching, and squash-and-streching all over the place, making its intentions easily readable. Since my player was a plant, it would make sense that the first and easier fight would be against a peer, much like kittens play among themselves when learning how to fight.


The Robot is quite the opposite: a rigid metallic machine. His design is detailed, composed of a long straight neck and circulars lines around it. It represents control over nature as it shapes bushes in a geometrical way. This antagonist that was perfect for the second fight, where things get serious.


Finally, The King is a strong human, somewhere between the wildness of The Worm and the coldness of The Robot. He is dressed in royal blue, and represents intelligence, hierarchy and social violence.

For each boss, I started by doing most animations in Aseprite when I was settled on their design, and then in a second time implemented them in the game.  The animations were a lot of work, and some of them like The King attacks took me about a day. This led to having huge files, for instance here's what the timeline looks like for the king:


One core idea: make it simple

With Plant Down, I had several goals in mind:

  • Boss fighting game!
  • Mask Up's two button input system, but simpler
  • Limited scope: only 3 bosses

The main idea was to make something simpler, and smaller than my previous game, Mask Up, while still retaining some core ideas, like the input system and the in-game universe.

For the input system, I really liked the different ways the two buttons could be used in Mask Up, but I saw that many players had trouble controlling themselves when using delayed double tap and other trickier forms of control. So I decided from the start that I would use a fixed jump height and a unique basic sideways attack. I also reworked the logic surrounding double tap input to make them feel more responsive overall, Mask Up veterans may feel the difference.

The second simplification, and maybe the most important, was to have a defined scope. One of the biggest weakness of Mask Up was that it didn't really knew where it went. I had a core mechanic, the juice, and just added things on top of that. I've mentioned before that I felt like I could had content indefinitely. This was very satisfying, but I feel like this wasn't very controlled, and the end result in term of gameplay couldn't be imagined until it was just... here. I wanted to avoid that in Plant Down, so I set the scope from the start: 3 bosses only, in flat arenas. I also decided to remove as much text from the game as I could, making it playable without reading. A big perk of this simplicity constraint was that it allowed me to focus on game juice elements such as screen shake, screen freeze and sound effects.


Mask Up's bosses, added through updates.

And finally, I wanted to do a boss fighting game. When I started the project I felt more like animating than coding. So a game with big characters having many animations was perfect for that! I've also always wanted to make epic boss fights™. This motivation can be seen thorough Mask Up updates, with the introduction of the mechadogs, and a bit later The Fox fights. These fights were rather limited by Mask Up existing systems (fixed camera zoom, linear progression), so making a new game from scratch with the focus being on boss fights allowed me to better scratch that itch.

On making music for the first time

The game was mostly finished in early october, and by then the only thing missing was music. I once again asked my good friends meliméa and PeKaNo to help me with that. The process was quite long, and since I didn't have anything else to add to the game, I decided to learn a bit of music to join them. This is how I ended up composing the world map and credits music. I have to say it was a lot of fun, and I intend on making more music in the future (for games or  just for the sake of it). meliméa did the music for the tutorial and for The Worm, PeKaNo the music for The Robot. For The King, I worked in collaboration with PeKaNo, who taught me some music-making tricks. I'm very thankful for both of their work and think the soundtrack sounds awesome. My music is obviously less clean and professional, but it's a start and I think it fits the game too.

So... what next?

As you may know, I've been developing games on my free time for as long as I had free time. But soon, I'll start working on a non-gamedev job full time since I've almost completed my studies. This means that I will have less time to work on my game projects, at least for a little while.  I'll be honest: I'm a bit sad, and scared, that I won't be able to create my weird little games anymore. I love animating, I love making janky code, I love creating trailers, I love gamedev and there will soon be less time for it in my life. I hope I'll be able to find a balance, and not drop gamedev altogether, but it's hard to predict what will happen. If you want me to continue making game, the best thing you can do is to show support, to buy Plant Down and to share my games around (and if you're very rich, you can also just send me tons of money so I can work on my games full-time).

All passengers aboard, direction: ???

In the meantime, I've also been trying to use Unity, rather than MonoGame (which is what I've been using for my games until now). I love MonoGame, but unfortunately, it can be restrictive, especially when making android games. You'll notice that both Plant Down and Mask Up do not feature Google Play achievements, and aren't adaptative to the screen width, unlike most big android games. This kind of plateform specific adjustment is way easier done with Unity. This is the same for using different forms of monetization. Another reason for using Unity over MonoGame is the ease of making prototype and jam games. Setting up a basic project with physics is a longer with MonoGame, and you have to have a fairly good idea of what you want before you start making it. This is not the case with Unity which allows for more experimentation, at least from my understanding. Finally, Unity is used a lot more in the industry and by other game hobbyist, which make collaboration easier.

As for what I want to make next, I have a few ideas, but nothing too serious or advanced at the moment. If Plant Down is well received, or if I just feel like it, I might consider doing a free update. Meanwhile, please keep in touch on your preferred canal: twitter, discord, telegram. You can also contact me directly at rouli.contact@gmail.com for really any reason.

Aaaand this concludes this long devlog. Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope you'll enjoy, or you've enjoyed Plant Down, and I hope to talk to you again soon.


Files

com.rouli.plantdown[1.0A].apk 96 MB
Jan 06, 2022

Get Plant Down

Buy Now$1.00 USD or more

Leave a comment

Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.