blog

Mighty Goose 2

The sequel

This article is a follow-up to the last one, in which we took a critical look at the first Mighty Goose. In this post, I go into greater detail about the problems we identified and what Mighty Goose 2 can do to "fix" them.

This article was brought to you by the kind patrons supporting me on Patreon. You can find the article there as well!

Wait, more Mighty Goose?

At first, I had some reservations about the idea of doing a second Mighty Goose game. I'll be honest; after working on the Waterworld DLC, I had pretty much burned myself out. It's safe to say it took a lot of effort to "just add one level" than anticipated. Making more Mighty Goose wasn't particularly appealing at the time. I had my fill! So I finally took a holiday, basically a break from game development.

 

 

But as time passed, I kept thinking about that stupid goose. Other game concepts were also on my mind, of course. But the honks in my head remained. Even though Mighty Goose doesn't really emphasize storytelling, the characters have a certain charm to them that I think connects with a lot of players, young and old. Could a sequel be fun to work on?

Improvements needed

Mighty Goose has some shortcomings that prevent it from being a truly outstanding title, as I mentioned in my previous article: In terms of mechanics, it's just a Metal Slug clone with a few extras. Although that is not necessarily a bad thing, there is hardly any replay value. As a result, the game is over very quickly.

 

Can we make second Mighty Goose that addresses the problems with the first one and is truly fantastic? am certain that it is possible.

 

Mighty Goose should aim to improve on few things after considering the shortcomings of the first game:
  • Invent a gameplay hook that stays interesting throughout the game.
  • Make sure the game has replayability

An extra challenge

For Mighty Goose we are faced with an extra challenge though. The concept of a goose with a gun is no longer new. The concept has lost it’s surprise factor. It may sound like a too simple analysis, but it’s absolutely true.

"I've played Mighty Goose 1, so I know exactly what to expect from Mighty Goose 2." - This is absolutely how some people will approach the idea of a sequel. If a trailer and screenshots seem to confirm this thought, It might make them less curious to check out the game!

 

We need to approach Mighty Goose from a different angle in order to surprise people and pique their curiosity once more. So let's update the list we just created:

  • Approach Mighty Goose from a new angle.
  • Invent a gameplay hook that stays interesting throughout the game.
  • Make sure the game has enough replayability

 

Solution: copy Nintendo

Those first two points of our quest log are somewhat related. The different angle will probably serve as an excuse for a key gameplay element that the game can be designed around. One company that is very good at this is Nintendo.

  • Kirby: but with 3 allies, but yarn
  • Mario: but with a water backpack, or a controllable hat
  • Zelda: but with a flute, mask, boat, wolf, train, open world, open world but with flying

These key gameplay elements actually look pretty simple? When Nintendo executes one of these mechanics, it's flawless of course. But still, on the surface the concepts are pretty simple.

YARRR space pirate goose

Which direction is best for Mighty Goose, then? Surely it can't be that hard to think of something fresh for our feathered friend. The answers to questions like these can often be found in my sketchbook (or my digital sketchbook, the iPad).

What if Mighty Goose is a bad guy? was one of the first ideas I had. A space pirate, perhaps. He would probably be "evil" in the same sense that Robin Hood is; he would steal from the wealthy, but he wouldn't go around killing people at random. There was some effort put into that idea. Even some mockups were created.

Not good enough

Still, I believe that this and Mighty Goose 1 are too similar. Some random person might not even notice the difference if they were to look at it. After all, it's still a goose shooting things with a megaman gun.

Goose souls!?

Goose + sword

Maybe guns are the problem. So I present, goose with sword! In a medieval fantasy setting! The time period of the game will be so far in the past that it almost seems like a fairy tale. Our mighty goose is now a monster hunter rather than a bounty hunter. The game switches mechanically from pure shooting to a more melee-focused experience.

With this setting in place, we can do something fun. Mighty Goose can unlock classes, which is very typical of fantasy RPG games. These classes alter the goose's appearance, and he gains a range of abilities that can be used for monster hunting as well as overcoming environmental challenges.

 

The overall experience starts to stray a little from pure arcade action and develops more RPG-like traits. This also affects the way the levels and progression are built, which I think is for the better.

I want to keep the action aspect front and center, though. It's what makes Mighty Goose mighty. I don't even know how this will exactly play out yet; looking at the current status of prototyping and the design documents, it might very well turn out to be a weird game. But I feel there are lots of opportunities here to make a game filled with charm. The passion is back, I am very excited!

More

Of course, I actually already have a bit more material than is shown in today's blog post. But you're going to have to wait a bit to see. If you've kept an eye on my Twitter account you might have already seen a certain alchemist goose running around. Regarding the Patreon posts, they are so difficult to schedule. It's difficult to predict when I'll have something interesting to say. So I think I'll just go with the flow. When it feels right, I type one. While this post was mostly about the aforementioned 'angle', the next Mighty Goose post will most likely be about the unique hook. I'm kind of still working on that hook to be honest, so it may take a while before posting about that particular subject 😉

 

To the Patreon supporters: Thank you so much for sticking with me through a long period of writing absolutely nothing. You are my patrons. I recently looked up the definition: a patron is a supporter who actively invests in your transformation to become the best person you can be. Now that is pretty magical. Instead of commissioning an artist and receiving something "physical" in return, a patron invests in the growth of an individual. Because they believe in your potential. I'm humbled, thank you for your confidence. I will do my utmost best for you! While we are on that topic, I just updated the blastmode hall of fame. I have one more animated patron left to do still, but we're getting there!

Posted by Rilem in blog

Let’s talk Mighty Goose

Let’s talk about Mighty Goose

(This is a mirror post from Patreon)

Hey all, it’s been ages since I wrote anything on Patreon. Sorry for that! For a long time I wanted write a post, but simply didn’t know what to write about. Creative energy wasn't flowing so to speak. I want to get back into the habit of writing posts and the best way of doing that is just doing it I guess. So, lets catch up. Currently I’m working on a few things.

  • PixelBasher (just ongoing updates)
  • Job (random illustration works and some frontend dev)
  • A new Mighty Goose project
  • A new game which we shall label as ‘Game 3’ for now

This pretty much fills my weeks and weekends completely. I find I have to take special care to find some for myself and relationships in this all. When the sun sets I try to step away from the computer and I try to plan excursions together with my wife. You know, to actually leave the house haha. Last summer I actually went on a holiday for the first time in ages, man what a recharge that was.

About that project list, let's zoom in on games. Specifically MIGHTY GOOSE. To make a long story short, I want to make another goose game. If you’ve been lured to this article by this pretty mockup. That’s actually not what the game is going to look like! I have something else in mind for Mighty Goose 2. Below you’ll find a short write-up on why that is.

A critical look at Mighty Goose

Whenever I think of starting a new project, one of the main goals I always have in mind is blowing people away with the presentation. The things you see, the things you hear, how it the game reacts to input, etc. As an artist I tend to focus on those things. You could say that for me, presentation is the most important aspect of the game.

One of my weaknesses as a designer is I tend to use presentation as a tool to hide flaws. This is a great skill to have of course, games will always need some of that. But the risk is to become lazy, and abuse that power.

Mighty Goose at the core is a very simple run and gun game. The formula is tried an tested. As long as I make it look, sound and feel awesome, people will perceive the game as awesome. This is 100% true, up to a certain point.

Mechanically Mighty Goose doesn’t really have a unique hook (or a gimmick if you prefer). If you look through the visuals, at some point the gameplay ultimately becomes stale.

Luckily the game is short, so for most players this never becomes apparent. The different flavors of enemies bring a decent variation to the gameplay. So for most, it’s just a fun Kirby-esque game to blast through and forget afterwards. However for some players, the game becomes boring faster. Maybe even before getting to the final boss. This is of course a shame.

Metal Sloog

For the design of Mighty Goose I took Metal Slug as a base template. A true arcade game. The only true purpose of this game is to eat your credits! So it was safe to say it was pretty hard. I wanted Mighty Goose to be accessible though. At the end of the day I want my games to be fun for many types of players. So I implemented several features to help struggling players. Heck, the game even straight up defeats the final boss for you if you die enough times during the fight!

All this accessibility means the game is over quite quick. If you are a ‘good gamer’ you’ll probably beat the game without extras within 3 hours. For me personally (i.e. ‘old’ guy with job, multiple projects, a family, etc.), I really welcome games that I can beat in a few sessions. But for most players, that just doesn’t fly.

Even when comparing the game to Metal Slug 3 with an average time to beat at 1,5 hours, there is a definite expectation of players to get more game for the amount of money they have spent. I definitely understand that angle. This is the entire reason we made the Waterworld ‘DLC’ free! However if I where to do it all again I’d definitely spend more time designing replayability features.

Sequel?

So yeah we made an arcade game. With arcade style replayability. Still, for an arcade game it was a great success in my book. It started out right here on Patreon, as a stupid joke goal. It turned out to be a real game! On Game Pass and even in a Limited Run box.

Personally I had an awesome time creating the game. There's a certain lighthearted fun about Mighty Goose that matches extremely well with my soul. The game was received well and I've even been asked a few times if there will be a sequel. It fills me with joy that people enjoyed the game in such a way that they'd ask that. Awesome! The characters, not only the goose, seem to have appeal. So yeah, I've been thinking about a sequel and have been experimenting with ideas for a while now.

If Blastmode were to make a Mighty Goose 2, it would need to be different from the first title. Making exactly the same type of game, but better; Would probably end up being too much of the same. Which is not only bad for the player, but also bad for the artist making it. That wouldn't give creative satisfaction. What warrants the creation of a new goose game? Finding the answer is is a real challenge. But I think we're getting somewhere.

I've been posting hints on twitter. Will there be a Mighty Goose 2? What will it look like? I’ll talk a bit about that in the next Patreon article 😉

Thanks for your support and thanks for reading. Hope you have a great day!

Posted by Rilem in blog

Finishing Mighty Goose

Finishing Mighty Goose

November 23, 2021

 

Last week I got the translation document for the Mighty Goose content update back from the localization team. Yes! Finally we can wrap up the content update! This translation document is basically just a big ass spreadsheet with all the text in the game. After converting the spreadsheet into a .json file using one of the tools Mathias from MP2 wrote, I implemented them into the game.

I soon felt a knot forming in my stomach as I tested the game. I had missed a sentence… Or rather, I had prefilled all of the languages for that sentence with English. So the localization wasn’t complete after all. So I sent the localization document back again to Playism. Playism hires individual linguists to translate each language, so each of them will have to take a look again. That will probably take another week. It’s not a huge problem, but at times like this I curse my own sloppiness!

 

Looking at the previous post I noticed that the date was Juli. Testing, fixing issues and localization. These are the things that make even a ‘small’ content update seem like a big undertaking. We kind of moved past the ‘indie’ style of just making something, shouting ‘YOLO!’ and pressing the release button. This can be annoying, even trivial stuff can take long. But yeah I am that sloppy indie guy. So having those checks in place is definitely a good thing.

Waterworld

But yes, the waterworld mission is as good as done. Just waiting for that dang localization, and yes we’ll have to get that tested after implementing it. So we’ll have to be patient just a bit longer.

 

The Mighty Goose content update will basically be a new mission which takes place on a water themed world, planet Ceto. It’s a fairly big mission, clocking at ~30 minutes of playtime. Since it focuses on a new villain, we had to make sure to implement some storytelling segments in the level. I’m pretty happy with how that played out. Looking back at the main campaign I can see it would have been much better if it had several of these segments to remind the player what they are fighting for.

 

All in all I’m pretty happy with the content update. The boss fight at the end is a real highlight, I love how it turned out.

Soundtrack

What’s this? An album cover? Getting the soundtrack out there is also on the agenda (finally). Now that the content update is coming out that means the OST is complete.

The plan is to get it on bandcamp, youtube, spotify, apple music, etc. Keep an eye on our social media accounts, we'll be releasing it asap after we launch the game update.

Wrapping up

And with all that coming out soon, I think we can finally wrap up Mighty Goose. There has been some other Mighty Goose related stuff I had been talking about adding in the future. I know I mentioned a ‘Canadian Goose’ co-op partner, a boss rush mode, and a few other ideas that seem simple on the surface. But at some point you just have to say it’s done. Looking at how long it took to just add one level, I think it’s definitely a good idea to just finish it there and take some time to work on new ideas.

I learned a lot of things about development but also a lot of things about myself and working in this setup. I plan on doing a public post-mortem post sometime in the future, describing what went well, some of the things that didn’t go well, etc.

Lately I tried to start a lot of new concepts. But every time, almost instantly, my power meter drops to a 3/10. My last long break / holiday was in 2019 and I suspect that plays a big part in this (Covid also not helping of course). I’m just dead tired, it’s pretty simple. I can’t wait to be done with Mighty Goose and just chill a bit. 

Of course, I know you have to take care of yourself and strive to have a good life & work balance. But once you (and only you!) are at the helm of your own company, it becomes almost impossible not to constantly engage with it. Which leads me to the biggest downside of having a home-office; It becomes very difficult to ‘switch off’. 

I have some long-term plans brewing which should hopefully fix this problem. Moving the business to an office? Try to find a house with a separate ‘work-building’? Both are very expensive options in the Netherlands. 

To be honest I’m not particularly enchanted with the Netherlands anyway. Emigration might actually be an attractive option. If you’ve got any tips I’d love to hear them 😉

In any case, with the whole Covid situation I feel like it would be better to play the waiting game just a bit longer. We have been waiting for quite a while, so I guess we can wait a bit longer *sigh*. 

Whoever is reading this, I hope you are holding up in these turbulent times. Stay hopeful, stay safe and try to take care of yourself! <3

Posted by Rilem in blog

Flying towards the horizon

Flying towards the horizon

November 18, 2020

 

The year is nearing its end and covid is still here. Which is alright with me, I’m at home working on Mighty Goose anyway. I hope you folks are all doing fine as well, depending on where you live it may or may not affect your life a lot more. I've read some good things about vaccines lately, let's hope we can get some of that good stuff soon. 🙂

As I mentioned, the work continues. Currently I’m basically in the finishing up stages of Mighty Goose. All upgrades and secondary weapons are in. The secret/bonus content is almost done and the last companion character will soon be added to the game. Additionally I’m fleshing out a ‘new game plus’ experience which allows players to replay the game in a brutally difficult way.

With the intro text out of the way, it's time for...

A timelapse

Yes my desk is a mess. I have a talent to cover every surface in my house with crap. My desk is no exception.

It's not all impractical stuff though. I use my pencils, pens and sketchbooks on a regular basis and seeing my consoles and toys genuinely cheers me up!

This recording is actually from a few months ago, but I never uploaded it anywhere. Here you can see me working on one of the bad guys vehicles of the game. A jet for Raven.

So, finishing up?

Anyone who’s kept an eye on Cyberpunk 2077 knows that those finishing up stages can be quite deceiving. So I’m looking towards the future with caution, but the game is getting there! The game texts have been ‘locked in’ for translating and the testing crew from Gears for Breakfast is hunting for bugs. 

Today I played the game a bit without actually trying to test something and I can honestly say I had fun. I like my own game and I’m really happy I can say that. I hope everyone else will feel so as well. 

When is the game coming out? Still can't say. 2021 is all you're going to get here.

Meanwhile in China

In light of other people playing, the game was recently featured at the Playism booth at Weplay Shanghai. Yes, an actual game event! While we have to miss out on Gamescom, GDC, Pax, etc. Game events in China are apparently okay!

Beyond the horizon

Okay so the Mighty Goose horizon is in sight. But what's next? It's always tempting to start thinking about new projects, especially during the final stages of your current thing. And yes, there are new things on my mind. But absolutely also post-release content for Mighty Goose.

When Mighty Goose is released I'm planning on supporting the game at a 100% capacity for a while. What that means is, I'll spend all my time working on patches and post release content. What will that content look like? Currently I'm thinking of making a very unique mission. A bigger Metroidvania style mission that kind of mixes up the standard gameplay. The idea is to make Mighty Goose visit an aquatic world where a new vehicle, the submarine, plays a big role. It's just a vague idea at this point, but I really like the idea of putting the goose in some kind of semi-persistent level which has some exploration elements. It sounds rather ambitious and it might even be DLC worthy, we'll have to see. The bottom line is, I'm not done with Mighty Goose just yet 😀

Over time I'll be scaling those Mighty Goose activities down a bit and start prototyping something new. Of course I have some ideas lined up, but it's way too early to share anything.

In closing

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the Mighty Goose status update. Sorry to not dive into the specifics of development. This phase mainly has a ton of small things to do, so covering all of those changes would take hours of work.

As always a very special super thank you for the kind people supporting me on Patreon. I've got some catching up to do on making patron illustrations for the hall of fame, but I'll just keep postponing that until Mighty Goose is done I think :'D

Posted by Rilem in blog

Mighty Goose development update

Mighty Goose development update

Hey there Patrons! About time I hit you with a development update. The last few weeks I've really been hitting the gas on development speed. Certain life events had slowed me down a bit the weeks before. These things happen, but I was still pretty bummed out because I hadn't been working on the game that much. Now things are running smoothly again and I'm really happy about that!

What also really helps is that there is now an official deadline for the game! 👀 Yes. I can't share what that date is yet, but it's safe to say I'll be working very hard this coming period.

But let's not dwell on that for too long, time to update you with some actual information 🙂

Behold! The 4th version of the Mighty Goose logo. Most likely this is the final iteration! I always felt the logo lacked some polish and could use a bit more personality. But most of all, someone said the goose in the previous version looked like a bunny! And it was kind of true. So I paid specific attention to the little head at the top and I think it came out looking pretty comical. Anyway, say hello to the new logo!

Cinematics

Cinematics have been on my mind for a long time. They are an excellent tool to tie the loose ends of the game experience together. For Mighty Goose I'm using a mix of in-game and prerendered cinematics. While in-game cinematics have their own unique charm, but they are cumbersome to make if you want to do complex stuff. At TurtleBlaze we chose a similar approach with KUNAI.

To be honest I also really like compositing these little animation clips. Frame elements are drawn in Clip Studio Paint or Photoshop and then composited in Adobe After Effects or Blender.

The benefit of compositing I can also use gameplay recordings and do magic trickery with them. This gives the clips a nice semi-in-game look!

This scene in particular shows another bounty hunter bird, Raven. Hired by the Void King to assassinate Mighty Goose. Quite a mission impossible, but he'll be trying to kill you in any case 🙂


 

Working on the armory

It's about time the Armory became a little more functional. Well I've actually been adding a load of dummy objects, but the UI is functional! It also isn't very pretty yet 😅

Companion dummy menu

 

Website w.i.p.

Yes. There I said it. I like making websites. Here's a little sneak peak at the w.i.p! The domain is https://mightygoosegame.com but you won't find anything there yet 😉

I've been mostly working out what I want to display and how I want to show it. Most likely it's going to be a fancy version of whatever the steam page is going to be.


 

STARGOOSE

No this isn't a spinoff game. For the final mission I'm making a Starfox inspired intro sequence. It won't be that long and is mostly just a fun little nod towards a great classic.

 

The final stage of the game will be a mission to invade the flying fortress KOLOS1 and deal with the Void King. To make this experience extra cool I thought it would be great to make the final approach a special event. This Stargoose sequence is just a short part of the experience however. After getting in range the Goosejet is deployed for another shmup level.

 

Final Approach

Here's a w.i.p of the Goosejet final approach segment. Massive hunks of metal in the background, this industrial / docking bay style area should feel BIG. The scale of this flying fortress is emphasized by huge backgrounds and special approach experience.

 


 

Horizons

A lot has been happening lately. Too much to write down! I just want to say, good things are on the horizon. But also a mountain of work still needs to be done, which is no problem because I love it! I just want to end with saying your support is and has been greatly appreciated. Also of those who have donated in the past! I don't have quite as much time to write lengthy Patreon posts as I did when I launched my Patreon. But I also know your support is not to get exclusive content or whatever. It's genuine support, and I love that.

In closing, I'll leave you with the latest w.i.p. track from Dominic. Have a great day!

 

Posted by Rilem in blog