Working as a software engineer and studying in college for a degree in automation engineering.
Making a typing game in my spare time.
Contact me: My Email My Discord: Nikita Vychuzhanin#3261
I wasn't planning on participating in Ludum Dare - the whole concept is repulsive to me because of the time constraints and the pressure of letting the team down if you don't do your best. However, when my friend surr sloidah mentioned it, I proposed making a game together without a second thought (we've discussed the idea of collaborating together on a project before), and so we did.
With surr sloidah focused on coding, UI, and level building and his friend WitchGirlfriend working on 2D art and additional modelling, my role was to make 3D assets and provide everything related to sound - despite the amount of work, I felt quite comfortable throughout most of the jam thanks to the low-poly style we've decided on.
(the first instance of John Reaper)
Considering that the theme chosen was Harvest, my initial idea for the game was, quote, "a killer harvesting body parts of victims to meet the demands of the god he's worshipping" (directly inspired by Feed Me Billy). I even made a whole design diagram for what the gameplay loop would be based on my and surr sloidah's ideas, but we went in a very different direction due to the time constaints.
(arcade-like, very warioware in terms of pacing)
Only the first and second phases made it into the game; everything past the [round over] block was cut, too, and the system for checking if god's pleased with the player's efforts turned out to be much more interesting.
The vision for this project wasn't clear until halfway through the second day which lead to some assets clashing together thematically - we've had a VERY different idea for the game before reasonably scoping down the ambitious features (there's only so much one coder can do without burning out and exhausting himself in two and a half days).
At some point during the first day the game became fantasy-themed with heretics that you have to fight instead of being a reverse horror game with you hunting innocent civilians - most likely for the best, as that decision has lead us to making a very fun hack and slash action game.
(the heretic in question)
Instead of having a basic timer in the top right corner of the screen, I suggested adding the eldritch god with a pendant clock as a UI element - it added a lot to the visuals and overall feel of the game.
(daddy--sorry, daddy--sorry, daddy--)
While I was working on finding the right sound effects and making my own if I couldn't, surr sloidah kept on iterating the gameplay loop, squashing bugs, and making the game more fun with each build. At some point, all that was missing from the game was the music.
An important life lesson I've learned from working on this game is to NOT figure out how a music genre works when you only have four hours before deadline and, instead, use the existing knowledge.
Originally, I was planning on making music that's similar to the soundtrack of Strobophagia: Rave Horror - intense horror-themed rave. The only problem is that I've never made music like this before. Still, with one hour left on the clock, I managed to finish one pretty okay rave track with barely any spooky energy to it.
An average play session of Seven Favors lasts about ten minutes - players would get sick of listening to the same 1.5 minutes long song over and over again. Desperate, I chose a minimalistic sound for the rest of the game, leaving the rave track to be a theme for the last day. In the end, I managed to make five themes with a style similar to Quake, but without the cool percussion.
I was terrifyingly close to letting my team down. Still, with the disaster avoided, the team felt accomplished, and for a good reason - thanks to everyone's effort, the game turned out to be very fun and engaging with a unique visual style sprinkled on top.
You can play and rate the game here. Try to get the final score of 300 for the best ending :)
To summarize, I'm happy to have another game under my belt, even if not fully made by me. I look forward to collaborating with surr sloidah again and trying out other game jams to build up my repertoire further.
Thanks to MONUMENTAL NETLABEL, verbatim is available for streaming once again :)
Not too long ago I had to remove verbatim from my Distrokid account because I couldn't pay for a subscription. Thankfully, MONUMENTAL was more than happy to help me with a re-release; I'll most likely ask them the next time I have another work to release. My new song is also featured in the HELLO 2023! compilation - a lot of great tracks in there.
Speaking of 2023, I have some plans for my projects. First is Flesh Choir (the horror dynamic music mod for Minecraft) - by now I have half the tracks ready to go, but there's still a lot of work to do as I study sound design and learn about making the type of music that makes your heart sink (it's a lot of fun, but my ears hurt). Second is the new Typos and Brains demo - I can't give any time estimations, because something always goes terribly wrong when I do. I might also get a job in a real IT-company soon(tm) as a full-stack developer, so I might be able to hire some talent to get the development going - I really want the game to get out of my head and become a playable experience for other people.
That's about it. Stay safe, stay warm, don't let the lack of vitamin D get to you. Let's hope for the best.
I wanted to get a website for several years now. It's just cool to be able to say "Hey! I have my own website!" and see people go ":o"
For a little bit I had a blog hosted on bearblog.dev, but while it had useful tools for making blog posts fast and easy, I felt creatively limited with making the blog look the way I wanted to. Here, you can see what music I listen to in real-time and watch Charlie wave at you. :)
To not repeat the whole "Twitter is dying, flee to X!" talk you've read 351 times, I'll stick to writing big updates posts here. I'll probably throw stuff at Twitter from time to time if Elon won't kill it by the time I have anything visually substantial to share about stuff I'm working on, but I enjoy feeling independent and having my own space.
In other news... Back in October, I started working on a dynamic music mod for a funny block game. So far, it has over 40 minutes of music, and I'm not even halfway done - you can find out more in the [projects] tab. When that's done, I will work on a new demo for Typos and Brains. At least, I really want to.
It only took me one strict deadline and peer pressure to finish my first game ever :)
Unfortunately I really can't say more, because then it'd spoil the fun, but it's about five minutes long and I've learned a lot about animated textures, 3D collissions and physics, raycasts, and so on. I really tried to make the best game I could in such short amount of time, but I needed some help with [REDACTED] - @iwilliams helped me out, for which I am as grateful as always.
I'm not sure about what the project is currently called, but the basic idea is that one person makes a game, ends it with two clear choices, and then each choice is developed by another person and so on and so on, all while making sure the narrative is somewhat coherent.
The project might release in late December, but I'm not certain about that, too. All I know is that it's coming Soon(tm).
(TL;DR: Trying to fight off the burnout caused by crunch, I started two different projects which never went anywhere, but they did help me brush up on my technical skills. Despite recovering quite a bit of energy and gaining a momentum for developing Typos and Brains, I was constantly getting distracted by different life events which I chose to prioritize over gamedev. Near the submission date I made a decision not to crunch again.)
My demo does not get accepted for the Demo Disc; I feel upset, of course, since I put in quite a lot of effort and energy into the project. "I can't look at this project anymore," I thought theatrically and stopped working on the game, marking the burnout period which lasted up until July.
My first attempt to get back into gamedev was starting a completely different project. Inspired by Little Nightmares 2 which came out not too long ago, I wanted to copy the gameplay style, but focus on exploration and mysterious vibes instead of horror. The player would control a robot which lived in the last lighthouse on Earth with the goal of fixing the surrounding environment.
I made some concept art, music, modelled the robot, gave him some cute animations, wrote some lore, made some more concept art... then dropped the project after about 1.5 months. There wasn't a single attempt at opening the game engine to do some actual coding. I did not know how to code at the time, and there wasn't a "How to copy Little Nightmares 2 character controller" video on YouTube that I could follow along. I had no choice but to not read the official documentation and learn how to code on my own, instead giving up and returning to square one.
Fast forward to June, another idea strikes me... I write lore, draw concept art, write an album worth of music loops, model several environments and fully rigged character models, animate them, design a complex gameplay system about finding parts of the game online that act as self-sustained DLC for the game, get free concept art from a talented artist, draw more art...
I feel relieved as I make actual progress in the game engine, figuring out the UI layout and a cool character controller with fluid animation transitions. Then I hit another brick wall, this time caused by overscoping: to make a game that I had in mind required a team of professionals. Bringing the scope down would make the game a very different experience. Back to square one.
I felt trapped in my own naive ambitions and overscoping. It seemed like I will never be able to finish anything. Upset with myself, I felt compelled to go back to Typos and Brains, as this was a project I knew I can finish.
I've decided to rework all the graphical assets - after all, I've spent most of 2021 learning Blender and practicing 3D modelling.
Adam went through very dramatic changes and now looks better than ever. The first thing that came to mind when changing his design was the gun - it was weird to see him shoot an ordinary pistol. Instead, I modelled a typewriter machine gun which is attached to an ammo backpack Adam is wearing. Now when the player types on a keyboard, Adam types as well! I was certainly lucky to come up with such a successful design. Overall: very dramatic, very stylish, I enjoy.
Then I finished the rest. I think it took about three weeks to make him as expressive as I wanted, it was certainly worth it.
Next were the enemy models. That's right, variety! I had several enemy types in mind, each of them visually distict. First one was a simple Agent 47 looking dude with a pistol: he's meant to be equivalent to one word that a player needs to type.
Then I slightly modified the enemy model to make one with a shotgun: this enemy shoots several words at once until either the player kills him or he runs out of ammo and hides behind the cover.
As I was wrapping up the enemy models and a couple of music tracks I came to realize that I have to hurry up as there were only five weeks left for coding. Luckily @iwilliams helped me out a ton again by providing an example on how I could dynamically display word prompts without changing their size.
However, life had other plans for me: I found the love of my life who I spent my New Year's holidays with, then the college I'm studying in decided to send me and another four students to Dubai Expo 2020 (I had a great time!). This left me with a week worth of coding, therefore I made a rational decision not to crunch like I did last year.
February 2022 was going nicely: I spent more time on building different environments and sketching various ideas, designing meaty sound effects, brainstorming the gameplay loop. Then everything went to shit. I was ready to scrap the entire project since it was based around violently killing your enemies with a gun, but instead I just started going to sleep right after coming home from college.
After coming to terms with the fact that life goes on, I resumed slowly working on my game in March. Human enemies became robots which certainly helped me cope with the in-game violence. The game's revenge theme that originated from the first demo of the game transformed into something more tragic, instead focusing on Adam's need for freedom. Adam's inability to speak with an authoritarian enemy and resolve the conflict without violence is a very tongue-in-cheek coincidence which you can take as you will.
In April I got my first job :) Not much progress has been made since, though I'm confident that my vision of the project is now crystal clear: tell a story about a struggle for freedom against a seemingly immovable power... with satisfying typing. And cool music.
So now you're all caught up. This is probably going to be the last post with such length. Next I'll be sharing my progress with the game, showing off visual stuff and talking about not so visual stuff like game mechanics and whatnot. Stick around to see a finished game in like two years maybe? Hopefully less.
/ keep going \
keep going |
| keep going |
' it will all be okay '
\ in the end. /
`'. _ ____________.,'
(TL;DR: The game started off as a demo for Haunted PS1 Demo Disc 2021, but didn't make it to the compilation because I focused on wrong things and didn't manage my time properly.)
It's November 22nd, 2020.
Haunted PS1's twitter announces that game developers can submit their demos for the Demo Disc 2021. The idea of being a part of a neat project felt fun, and so, despite the fact that it's discouraged to make a game just for the demo disc, I've decided to come up with an idea for a game to make anyway.
Before that, I had little to no experience making games: all I could do is blindly follow a tutorial on YouTube. My engine of choice is Godot since it's easy to run on tired hardware and the license is anything but restrictive, but there's not as much learning material as there is for Unity or Unreal.
So, as I was trying to make something that stands out from the rest, I've decided to make a light gun game (point mouse cursor at an enemy, shoot until the enemy dies, repeat).
Soon after the announcement, people started posting their WIPs on Haunted PS1 Discord server. To my surprise, @acheronti (Chaz) released a WIP of their light gun game, soon followed by a WIP from @germfood.
After talking to them for a bit, I've decided to change my idea, but I wasn't sure what to do. Then, it hit me.
The House of the Dead series holds a special place in my heart ever since my dad and I played the second and third games at the arcade when I was four to six years old. Later I rediscovered the game in my memories thanks to PewDiePie when he made a video about the Typing of the Dead. I think about these games at least once every week.
The Typing of the Dead sticks out from the rest of the games since they're all about shooting monsters with a gun, but in this one you use a keyboard and a Dreamcast strapped to your back; it's fun.
YouTube was quite different back then
I chose to make a typing game. However, I had no idea how to code it. Luckily for me, I've discovered a tutorial series by jmbiv for making a typing game, which was finished five months ago. Convenient!
The tutorial series gave the game a pretty nice foundation
First, I've decided on the game's style: low-poly models (of course), realistic but pixelated textures. The UI was inspired by PC-98 games with how it's segmented, and the music was meant to be something something breakbeat. Then, after quickly coding a foundation for the game (typing enemy's word prompt kills them), I get sick for about two weeks, then proceed to work on the models for the game.
I'm not sure what I found appealing in this.
Being not a very good artist, I used thispersondoesnotexist to generate a human face, then pixelated it and crunched the amount of colors for extra effect. Then I tried to paint the clothes, but that didn't work either, so I just grabbed images online and pixelated them until they were unrecongizeable (had the AI image generators caught on a bit earlier, I would've probably used that instead; oh well!).
Regardless, it was only a demo to show off gameplay, so I tried not to think too hard about the visuals.
plenty of variations, yet not adding to the overall experience
After settling on a faceless design for the enemy character to avoid making unique models, I spent too much time on different animations. I only had one month remaining to make the demo. My speed of making 3D assets was horrible back then, it took me two weeks to make an uninteresting and repetitive level with several rooms that only lasted ten minutes (five or so minutes for each route).
an underground container storage makes so much sense
With two weeks remaining and large amount of iwilliams's help, I crunched to:
animate a camera path for in-game camera to travel through the level,
settle on enemy placement and keyframes for appearing (which in turn caused the animations of enemies getting stuck from time to time),
code health/combo meters (filled combo meter heals the player),
design main/pause menus,
write terribly okay music,
and squash bugs.
I did not have the time to add a final boss at the end like I wanted, and I had to use a song from Songs for a haunted PS1 game for one of the paths. Thanks Khamelot!
All in all, I did not plan my time correctly and chose to prioritize all the wrong things, having to crunch to code actual gameplay. However, I did manage to beat the deadline and was a little upset when neither @acheronti nor @germfood submitted their demos as we've had a neat idea to have our games in a separate corner of the launcher (had no idea how it would actually look like back then).
Several weeks pass, I code in a score and accuracy system, but don't add a leaderboard as it was suggested to me in feedback because, despite there being a free solution for Godot that's used to keep scores online, I just did not understand how it works. I also did not manage to add an intro cinematic or the boss battle: college was ramping up somewhat, so I had to shift focus.
As I was working on a monster design for the boss battle, I received a message saying that my demo did not make it (probably due to lack of any polish), which did demotivate me from making any further progress. I felt pretty burned out after working without a single break for two months, which doesn't seem like a lot, but I was unable to create much for the rest of the year. However, looking back, I'm glad that not many people have seen the demo: I hate the visuals (the models are low-poly for the sake of it and do not actually look good, the textures are a generated mess)! My music tracks are very whatever, too. The gameplay works, but it's so boring.
This was the Demo Disc 2021 era. Next we'll cover the Demo Disc 2022, why my demo didn't make it this time, the project's current status, and what to expect in the near future.
/ thank you \
for your time |
' :) '
`'. _ ____________.,'
Violent combination of melancholic melodies and distorted noise. Available for streaming here.
Highly condensed vaprowave work. I'd like to make more proper vaporwave in the future.
Balcony Talk is a compilation of my first proper tracks. It's on Spotify. Please don't laugh when you see the name.
Fast-paced hack and slash game in which you have seven days to gain an eldritch god's respect by sacrificing blood of your enemies and building up a following. Developed as a part of Ludum Dare 52 with surr sloidah and WitchGirlfriend.
Typos and Brains (Prototype)
A typing game in which you help a zombie escape from a testing lab using a keyboard machine gun. This version is a very bad first impression - please wait for a new demo.