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Whales And Games @WhalesAndGames

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Posted by WhalesAndGames - 13 days ago


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Hey, there! Haven’t heard from us in a while, have you? Well, fear not! While we certainly have been a bit quiet these past few months, we’re still around and swinging in full action, and have a brand new status report full of news to make it clear for you!


We’re currently hard at work in two different updates to existing games: We’re finishing progress on Colossorama - The Champions Update and have also begun working on the first expansion to Whipped And Steamy • Cosplay Café! Likewise, we’ve been revamping our community focus, and have discussed new community events and features we’d like to host. Let’s get into the nitty gritty details, shall we?


The Champions Update is almost ready to make you a Champion!


For Colossorama - The Champions Update, our original target was to release the update immediately after releasing the Whipped and Steamy post-jam patch. Unfortunately, after we released the latter, we underestimated the time it would actually take us to wrap up Colossorama, and have needed a few more months in order to iron out everything!



On the plus side, the game is now feature-complete, making it an all-in-one-package featuring brand new physics, dozens and dozens of new weapons and upgrades, achievements and scoreboards! What was originally meant to be a small update has turned into an almost full revamp of it, and we can’t wait for you to give it a chance and compete for a spot on the leaderboards!


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This means the game is almost release ready! However we still have a lot of small quality-of-life fixes and juiceness we want to add before we ship it to make sure the game is just that extra mile ahead in terms of polish!


Presenting Roberta, the latest gal at the Whipped and Steamy Café!


In conjunction to working on the Colossorama update we’ve also been working on our first expansion to Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café! This expansion is meant to be just that, an expansion of the concepts we’ve introduced in the base release, together with extra polish, quality of life changes, as well as a few new characters and scenes!



And surprise surprise! We’re ready to show off one of these new characters! Introducing Roberta! You might have heard of her before, as she was mentioned in multiple conversations of the original game! She’s Caffie’s roommate, and an extreme mecha lover in every sense of the word you can imagine given the type of game we’re making.


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In addition to that, the update also introduces new items, fixes, as well as attempts to streamline the management side of the game even more. It's still in very early progress, but you should look forward for us doing some important polls in the future in order to help us decide some of the new scenes you’d like to see in this update!




And that wraps it up in terms of the games! In addition to them, ever since our latest Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café patch and the celebration of our second anniversary, we’ve been working on overhauling our working methods and the way we tackle projects and games going forward. This past month our progress at Whales And Games has sped up considerably, and we expect the working rhythm to increase considerably as the weeks go by!


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In addition to those, we also recommend you pop over to our Discord Server where we all hang-out and play videogames together frequently! We’re currently planning and setting up a new season of Discord events focused on games and art, and it’d be great to have you aboard for those! 😄


Going forward, we also want to start doing more of these status reports at least every month. We hope that you look forward for them! Cheers! 🐳


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Posted by WhalesAndGames - April 4th, 2019


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In case you missed it, we recently rebranded our game, Cosplay Café to Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café, and shipped the rebranding with a page-long of quality of life improvements and bug fixes just last week. (We go into more details about it further in this post.)


Happy 2nd Anniversary Whales And Games! That’s right! March 30th marked the two year celebration from when we first adopted our Whales And Games mantle and set-out to do mindlessly fun games full of whaleistic personality! It’s a milestone that has gone by way quicker than we expected, and since then, we’ve had the opportunity to release eight different gamesbuild a full-of-energy community, and created a wonderful cast of characters, some of which you can see on our celebration picture above! 🐳


Ever since we adopted our brand two years ago, we’ve been iterating on the concept of Whales And Games and what it means to us, constantly. Now, as we’re about to kick-off our third year of activities, we are planning and about to give the next big steps.


However, before we start discussing our plans for the future and what we want to do next, why don’t we look back and take care of some stuff we should have taken care off a few years ago? That’s right, for our celebrations, we did something we never done before, and we released two games at the same time!


Two new games?! Just like that?!

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Yes. You’ve read that right. While we’re celebrating two years of Whales And Games, for the most of these two years, a great part of our team’s doings were experimental, with us being busy with academics and professional undertakings, experimenting with different stuff all of the time, participating on game jams, and developing academic prototypes. 


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However, two of these prototypes never got to see the light-of-day as we were constantly busy on-and-off and had to constantly be refocusing our attention between multiple ends. We wanted to fix that. Going into our 3rd year, we wanted to be clear conscience and ready to focus on what’s coming next rather than what we left out to do in the past, so we released both Blueprint Apocalypse and Onigami during our anniversary, both as a celebration and as a memento.


Both of these games were developed as prototypes for academic purposes, and while we’ve always wanted to polish them to the same quality as our previous games, we never found the right time to do it. Rather than continuing to wait for the perfect moment to come, we’ve decided to publish as they are, with the only changes being some minor polish fixes.


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You can play both of the games right now on itch.io, more specifically here for Blueprint Apocalypse and here for Onigami. Guess that’s a banger, huh? Just in a day we went from 8 games all the way to 10! Neat.


What’s the plan for this 3rd year?

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In case you missed it, we recently rebranded our game, Cosplay Café to Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café, and shipped the rebranding with a page-long of quality of life improvements and bug fixes just last week. This change so close to the anniversary wasn’t just coincidental.


Our goal for our 3rd year is to focus on improving our existent game collection, turning them into as high-quality games as much as they can be and potentially into full-fledged products as well. Personally, we’ve fallen in love with the universe and characters we’ve built for Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café and would love to continue expanding on it, evolving as much of the community as possible on the process.


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Likewise, we still have Colossorama 1.3 • The Champions Update to ship, which we plan to do during the upcoming month, and we also have some minor event plans to assure that the previous games of the more experimental-kind don’t just simply get abandoned forever.


We at Whales And Games fully believe in the concept of iteration, progressively building, changing and adapting to our needs and games as we and them need to evolve. We want to live to that goal, and we’re extremely hyped and excited as a team to make that point across for this upcoming 3rd year.


Like always, we’d love if you could join our Discord community, where we host weekly events and frequently ask for feedback and opinions on our current games, and for you join us in this journey as we tackle a third year of surprises, releases a whale of a time together. Cheers! 🐳


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Posted by WhalesAndGames - March 28th, 2019


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It’s almost been a whole month since Cosplay Café launched to the world! Over the last weeks, we’ve gotten all sorts of feedback, reception, new community members and ideas for what we’d like to do next. Now, as we start considering and preparing for the future of the project, we wanted to get a few last up for the current version of Cosplay Café before we started moving forward.


As such, here’s version 1.0B5 with a bunch of polish and bug-fixing changes! However, most importantly, our biggest change is that we are re-naming the game and project from Cosplay Café to its new name of Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café.


Why change the name? And why now?

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Cosplay Café has been the name of the game since we’ve first sketched out the first ideas and goals for the project. Over time, and until we had the opportunity to finally develop it, we grew accustomed to the name Cosplay Café and decided to ship it with that name without thinking much about it. However, now that the game has been out for a while, we have realized that discoverability of the project isn’t exactly the best, as searches for the name will frequently take you to real-life restaurants and maid cafés rather than the game.


As such, changing to Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café not only keeps the old name for legacy purposes and clarification, but also gives the game more of its own independence and flavour as a standalone title. It also gives us a work bench for future updates and even other ideas that might pop up later. Whipped and Steamy is not just the Cosplay Café but a whole universe of its own.


Changing the name now also allows us to start preparing and telling the players about how the name for the game is changing, as well as assure that this 1.0 version doesn’t get lost with time for having a different name than the newer ones.


What else has changed?

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With the name change in place, and all of the different bug-fixes and polishes we wanted to get out of the backlog for this version of the game, here’s the full changelog of version 1.0B5:


  • Rebranded “Cosplay Café” to “Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café” in preparation of future branding and updates. Desktop save files should automatically transfer to the new name directory.
  • Added “Kink Counseling”, “Sex Toy Fair”, “Hentai Mangaka Workshop”, “Medieval Dungeon Exhibit”, “Free Coffee Day” and “Price Hike” Management Events.
  • Added Fast-Forwarding Messages and Indicator. Messages can be fast-forward by clicking on the button on the corner of the text box or holding the cursor for 2 seconds.
  • Added Importing and Exporting Save Data, mostly to be used for Web builds for making save backups but can also be used by Desktop builds for sharing saves.
  • Added Data Management Guide button to the Settings, explaining how to backup saves and manually transfer old saves in case of necessity.
  • Added Alternate Cursor for when hovering over interactive elements, including background ones.
  • Added preloader scene, assuring that the audio engine has always been started before advancing into the game.
  • Made Interest Difference Clearer. Fixed some ‘Non-Cosplayer‘ definitions showing up as ‘Uninterested‘ (internal name).
  • Changed Event Modifiers to happen on top of the Items, rather than the other way around, which would frequently nullify the impact of the events on the spot.
  • Changed Mop Maid‘s neutral expressions to look more natural.
  • Changed “Inst.” Text Speed to actually be Instantaneous. Displays a message immediately.
  • Changed WebGL to no longer to run in the background, which would lead to distorted music when the player was in another tab.
  • Changed “Relationship Up” Sound to be less intrusive.
  • Changed the Localisation System to not break when changing languages mid-typing.
  • Fixed Chrome and Firefox blocking audio when the project is auto-played by adding manual button to the websites that need it to start the sound.
  • Fixed Auto Speed-Up sales being toggled by default.
  • Fixed El Bidissimo’s profile having some pages bugged out.
  • Fixed “Porn Star Visit” adding Non-Cosplayer Interest +10% rather than Expected Customers +10.
  • Fixed several typos and wrongly set messages in relationship events.
  • Fixed several character facial expressions not triggering properly.
  • Fixed issue where a pending request that has already been fulfilled would still show as the character wanting the café to be equipped with that item.
  • Fixed no decorations from the previous day appearing when loading an existing save.


What happens with my saves?

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If you’re playing the Desktop Version, the files from your old Cosplay Café save should automatically be transferred over to the new one. If they haven’t, don’t worry! You haven’t lost your progress! However, you will have to manually move the files from their old save location to their new one. You can do this by following our managing and backing-up save data guide.


If you’re playing the Web Version, unfortunately, save files end up being a bit unreliable, especially when we deploy new patches meaning you might have lost your data. However, with this version, we have also added a way for save data to be exported out of the web version, so that you can import it back at anytime even if we update the game. We recommend you always export your data after you’ve finished playing! You can know how through the same managing and backing-up save data guide.


What’s Next?

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We’re just getting started with Whipped and Steamy • Cosplay Café. While we have over a dozen games of our own now, all of our team has never fallen-in love with a universe and concept of our own so much, and we want to continue expanding it and adding-in new features and content to it overtime. We still have a few things that we need to take care off before we get our hands-in developing the first major update for the game, but when we do, it’s going to be a doozy!


Like always, we encourage you to come and join our Discord Server and discuss or talk about the brand new changes and what you think about them. If you have any sort of quality-of-life or content suggestions you’d like to see in one of those major updates, we’d love to know them!


On other news, our 2nd anniversary is coming up this weekend! We’ve got some slew of surprises and announcements ready, so make sure that you stick around for when celebrations come around! Cheers! 🐳 


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Posted by WhalesAndGames - March 16th, 2019


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In case you haven’t been keeping up with the footnotes of Cosplay Café, our recently released adult-themed game, the project was developed under the harsh time-frame of a month, as the game was created and developed as an entry for Strawberry Jam 3, a one-month long game jam specifically dedicated to creating adult and adult-themed games.


Since the game released two weeks ago, the game has been under judgement together with 36 other entries, all of different genres and thematics, by other jam participants. While it's certainly a lower number of entries and participants compared to our usual Ludum Dare participations (which normally stack up to a total of 2000+ entries) it's still a very close-knit community and the feedback and ratings we get from it are just as important!


Well, the judging phase is over, and we couldn’t be prouder of our final results!


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Not only did we manage to grab the first-place Overall. We also obtained the first place in four other very important categories including Play, Harmony, Sound and Aesthetics! We’re also really proud of the third-place in Narrative and would have actually been worried if we had beaten a certain very unnerving and excellent poem.


And yes, we got a bit lower in certain other jam-gimmick specific categories like Stealth (don’t play this game with your parents in the room) and Horny (as much as Cosplay Café is an adult themed game, it's still nowhere as exotic as some of the games around of the jam), but overall, they’re still pretty much fantastic results!


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These results are heart-warming and validating to us, and we’re really glad we’ve gone through this jam experience. Thank you all for the fantastic support these past weeks, especially to all of the community members over at the Whales And Games server, the extensive feedback from our play-testers, and of course, the Strawberry Jam 3 community that has rated and played our game!


Now that its a real game, we’re extremely excited to continue expanding on it, adding new scenes, characters, mechanics and more! We still have a few things to hammer out with WAG before we get into development, but we’re really excited to continue adding new stuff to it and refining its adult-scented thematics.


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If you have ideas for new content or scenes that you’d like to see, we’d really love to see your ideas and suggestions over at our Discord server! We’re always asking for suggestions there, and would love to know where you’d love to see this project headed to next! Cheers! 🐳


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Posted by WhalesAndGames - March 14th, 2019


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Want to warm your ears with some sexy tunes? Our entire 14-track Cosplay Café soundtrack by Robin is now available for your personal listening pleasure at a multitude of different services! That includes places such as Spotify, iTunes and of course, the ever classic Youtube!


Grab a nice cup of coffee and listen to some soothing music! Of course, depending on the service you’re using, you might need to have a subscription to it, but otherwise, you can always listen to them through ol’and sometimes-reliable Youtube!


Here’s the different places where you can find the soundtrack at:



And of course, if listening through streaming services is not your thing, we also have the soundtrack available as a zip download through Itch.io and Game Jolt! They’re a bit of a bulky download, but it also assures that you get the best quality possible right on the spot! 🎧


It's been an amazing two weeks since we’ve unleashed Cosplay Café to the world! We have a few more smaller patches that we want to get out for the currently live versions before we get our hands full with the next major expansion, and we’re expecting to know the results from Strawberry Jam 3 tomorrow as well! Hype!


If you’d like to join the discussion around future updates, we totally recommend you join us at our Discord Server! We’ve have been having some wacky ideas for future content and we’d love for you to chime in! Cheers! 🐳


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Posted by WhalesAndGames - March 9th, 2019


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Come and relax with a whipped and steamy coffee! In a city where adult entertainment is the new best thing, the Whipped and Steamy Café is the best fun for all cosplayers with a wild and adventurous side! No shirts, no shoes, no shame and only the best service!


But this café needs an extra pair of hands to stay steamy. Fortunately, our brand new hire Caffie just got the job! With a stoic demeanor and an utter lack of interest on her duties, she’ll have to manage the plans and decorations of the everyday, and meet up with the clientele. And, who knows? Maybe even make some unlikely friends...


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We’ve just released our latest game, Cosplay Café here on Newgrounds! Join Caffie, the newest hire and manager at the Whipped and Steamy Café, and run the business day-to-day as you pick between coffees, snacks and decorations to help assure the business stays afloat!


However, the Whipped and Steamy Café is no ordinary café, as it's set in a town where adult entertainment has become the hottest trend, and Whipped and Steamy Café is the perfect place for cosplayers with a wild and adventurous side to show up at! Cater to different cosplayer groups each day, and serve to all sorts of different people who show up at the place!


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At the end of each day, you’ll have the opportunity to meet up with a special customer from the different groups and form a long-lasting friendship bond with them, learn more about their cosplays, their origin stories and about them as people. Max up your relationship with them and you might even get the chance to see more of them, if you know what we mean. 😉


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We hope that you give the game a try! If you do, let us know what you think through the game’s reviews! We also have a Discord server if you want to talk just about the game and join us for any further developments of the project! Cheers! 🐳


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Posted by WhalesAndGames - October 8th, 2018


Like we’ve talked on our last playtesting post, we’ve been working on a third update to Colossorama called ‘The Champions Update’!

This update focus on refining and adding new content to what already exists, introducing new weapons, foes and characters, tighter physics, rebalancing, several visual overhauls, bug fixes and even more weapons! We do have some new features we are working on implementing, including leaderboard support, but we will be talking about those later.

We’re expecting to release this update in the upcoming weeks! We’ve been #playtesting it and are we will be showing you more of what’s new going forward! If you haven't played the game yet, we definitely recommend you give it a try!

If you’d like to help #playtesting the update, we’re still accepting application through our form at https://whalesandgames.com/playtesting! You can also always join the discussion in our Discord server at https://discord.whalesandgames.com/! 🏹🐳


Posted by WhalesAndGames - September 1st, 2018


Two years ago, our team Whales and Games made a Ludum Dare 36 entry game, Colossorama. A game with the idea of having multiple weapons, swap them constantly, and adapting to different loadouts. In its original iteration, it barely lived up to that expectation. And, as a result of feedback, it’s been updated twice in the past and becoming a project with plenty of characters, challenges and a weaponpalooza that makes every run unpredictable!

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The game was eventually released here on Newgrounds starting with update 1.2, however, and hopefully to wrap it up, we’ve been working on Colossorama 1.3 entitled The Champions Update. Not only does it reconstruct mechanics and fixes bugs, but is also a major visual and gameplay overhaul, rebalancing, and, of course, weapons, weaponized weapons making it the largest weapon-fest it’s ever been! Over 70 last time we checked. Swords, Axes, Items, Cannonballs, Status effects, Dogs, and more!

Even better, we're planning to have the update include full Newgrounds support, including medal and scoreboard integration!

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Since we want to do out original vision justice, we’re looking for people interested in a #playtesting of sorts, in order to get more feedback before we finish the final product with a few extra surprises on it. You’re more than welcome to participate by filling up this form and joining our Discord Server, so you can tell us all about your experience!

Thanks for all the thrills! We’re looking forward to giving you a far better head slicing experience than ever before! ⚔🐳 Cheers!


Posted by WhalesAndGames - July 28th, 2018


Jazzy Beats Screenshot

It's been almost half a year since we have released Jazzy Beats as our second project here on Newgrounds. As it was the case with Colossorama we have been graced with several of your reviews regarding both games. To all of you who have followed us and have given our games a try, we're humbled by all your support and we're glad most of you had a whale of a time with them!

Jazzy Beats was developed for Ludum Dare 40, an event that pitches game developers designing and building games in the interval of 48 or 72 hours. In our case, the entirety of Jazzy Beats and all it's assets were developed on the latter time-span of 72 hours. This means that several of the game's ideas and concepts had to be shortened for the game to be compacted to the allocated development time, which sometimes leads to results where the game design is not as fleshed out as it could be, and which such is the case with Jazzy Beats.

At the moment, we don't have any upcoming plans regarding the development of Jazzy Beats. However, our team at Whales And Games is finally starting to tackle some bigger projects and finally complete several items we left pending in our back-log, and we are planning to soon release an update to Colossorama that includes full Newgrounds support (that includes medals and leaderboards) here on the site in the (hopefully) near future!

Whales And Games Discord

If you'd like to keep up with our game development chronicles, we also have our very own Discord server! We'd love to see you there, and we'll be starting with some server activities soon as well!

Going back to Ludum Dare talk, one of the things that is regular for members participating to do after their long development charade is to write a post-mortem describing the positives and not-so-goods of the game's development. We have been meaning to post it for a while now, but with members of our team exchanging countries for a extensive period of time, to master's degrees and exams, between other issues, we kept pushing it back.

That's exactly what we're here to fix today. We've recently finished Jazzy Beats Timelapse & Post-Mortem for the world to see. We decided to finish both of them, as even if the game is already past its prime, we believe both timelapse and post-mortem are an amazing tool of retrospect and that there are lessons to learn regardless of how long it has been since we released the game. Links in the post-mortem will redirect you to articles posted on the Ludum Dare website covering various facets of the games development in more detail.

That being said, let us give way for both! 🎉Let us warn you before hand that's its quite a big post.

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TIMELAPSE

Jazzy Beats Timelapse

During the development of the game, we Chronolapse to take a screenshot every half-a-minute of the game’s progress, and then we stitched them all together to produce a fast-paced timelapse of the game’s development.

The reason for screenshots instead of video is that having OBS recording the whole action, even with a moderate computer, still takes a considerable toll on the CPU which causes slowdowns when using the Unity editor and considerable increases compiling times. For someone that's constantly returning to the editor after the slight change in code, that's a considerable stack of delays over-time. Screenshots also allow me to revise them and much easily cut sections where I get AFK or leave a window open for extensive periods of time (as I am performing stuff on the other monitor) without requiring a bulky video editor.

The timelapse is only about the game's development meaning you'll mostly be seeing programming scripts starting to compose themselves on screen while the Unity scene starts taking shape and assets are imported. It's still on the backlog for more members of the team to start making some of these time-lapses more regularly. 🐳

It’s still hilarious for us how Lavasama, a character inspired by a joke the Ludum Dare community made at the time, was the very first thing added to the game. The jump in progress between the first and second day is also really noticeable.

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POST-MORTEM

Jazzy Beats Post-Mortem

Jazzy Beats is an idol-themed beat-em-up game where you indirectly have to defeat your rival idol by fighting against her fans, converting them into your own. Each idol’s fans will walk towards the rival and proceed to attack them, as they attempt to knock them out.

The player, taking the role of jazz-oriented idol Jazzchan (Jazzy), can use punches, kicks, a ranged trumpet attack and an area-of-effect saxophone special to convert fans of her opponent rival, Bluessom, into their own fans. Some of these actions have cooldowns, but they can be used in conjunction to create and increase the player’s combo. The highest combo the player has obtained, together with the time it took them to defeat their rival are displayed in the end results.

However, the player’s rival has similar techniques and attacks at her disposal and will eventually convert the player’s fans back to her side again. Both idols will need to keep converting each other’s fans until one of them gets knocked out.

The game’s development team was composed by three members of the Whales And Games team which had previously worked together on the multiple updates of our Ludum Dare 36 entry, Colossorama. The game’s development and gameplay programming was handled by JorgeGameDev, while all of the game’s artistic design, direction and graphic assets were handled by The 'Moski. Finally, but not least, RobinhoodPT was in-charge of composing all of the game’s audio, from the different tracks in the game’s soundtrack, to the multiple sound effects and their variations.

Jazzy Beats Screenshot

Tools Used

We once again decided to stick with the tools we use during our day-to-day game development. The game’s development was done using the Unity engine with C# as the programming language, where we used a more inheritance-focused programming structure this time around. Art was created and designed using Krita, a free and open-source digital painting program, which allowed for quickly sketching and coloring the multiple sprites used. Finally, the Music was originally intended to be composed using Cubase, but due to setup problems with the program prior to the jam, the composer instead used their back-up digital audio workstation, Bitwig Studio together with their MIDI controller, which paired-up perfectly with their game jam composing workflow.

However, in contrast to the workflows of previous events, all the team members had acess to the Git repository of the game hosted on BitBucket and had the knowledge of Unity necessary to aid on the implementation of their assets directly on the game’s engine. More details on that on the following sections.

Game Idea and Design

When we look back at the development process of Petty Puny Planet, our Ludum Dare 38 game, one of our personal highlights was how efficient it was to handle the game’s development and design. This efficiency came as a result of having a well-defined game idea, design and vision shortly after the theme was announced, which allowed us to know exactly what we had to do in order to turn the idea into reality.

As a result, we once again decided to stick with a similar starting workflow for this edition of the jam. Once the theme was announced (The more you have, the worse it is…) each of the team members brainstormed several ideas and concepts on their own which were then pitched between all the members. During this concept discussion process, the idea of creating an idol game where you had to attract fans, with setting inspirations from The World Ends With You, Love Live! and the japanese idol industry, struck as the highlight between all of the ideas, although we weren’t able to settle with a solid and enjoyable idea for the gameplay immediately.

After some further discussion in regards to the concept, the idea of adapting the lava lamp inside-joke from the community into an idol character lead to the necessary inspiration to further refine the game’s concept. During this additional discussion, we decided to add mechanics from the beat-em-up genre to the concept, inspired by the likeness of River City Ransom and Skullgirls, only instead of engaging in a direct beat-em-up with the rival idol, you’d instead do it with their fans. This eventually lead to what would be called the indirect beat-em-up design of the game as called by players.

The idol theming of the game, together with the inspiration from multiple and varied sources gave us a flexible concept to work with, which, combined with inspiration from real-life locations such as the districts of Shibuya and Akihabara from Tokyo, allowed us to create the unique world and concept that is Jazzy Beats, appropriately titled after the protagonist’s name, Jazzchan and the main action of the game, beating-up. One thing we missed however, was that Jazzy Beats is actually the name of an existing music genre, which lead to some SEO confusion.

Jazzy Beats Screenshot

The Best Parts of Development

Shared Team Workflow

As mentioned previously in the Tools Used section, the biggest contrast in our workflow as a team in this edition, when compared to our previous projects, was that everyone had access to the project’s repository at all times. In addition to it, both artist and audio composer had newly obtained knowledge of the Unity engine that allowed them to handle the importing and setup of their assets into the game on their own. This allowed for the artist to handle the setup of the graphic assets and animations on the game himself, meanwhile the audio composer handled the setup of audio sources and making sure that the audio was leveled correctly.

On previous events, the programmer would be the one in-charge of importing and wiring-in all of the assets, from the graphics to the audio, which ended up consuming a great chunk of programming time. This not only allowed for the the programmer to invest more time in handling other programming tasks that needed to be taken care off, but also allowed for both of the other members to make sure their aspects of the game were just as they envisioned.

Versatile Structure and Fast Iteration

Described thoroughly in an earlier programming devlog, in addition to the shared workflow, another aspect that helped accelerate the game’s development was the versatile structure of the project, especially when it came to object-oriented programming. Likewise to our previous Ludum Dares, one of our main concerns in-regards to the game’s technical design was making sure that content could be easily adapted and iterated upon easily during the game’s development. Adopting an inheritance-focused programming structure helped us make this goal much more accessible.

In addition, the versatile game’s structure also allowed us to tweak values, cool-downs, and artificial-intelligence parameters on the fly, helping us when balance the game and making sure that Bluessom (the AI controlled character) felt as powerful and skilled as the player. It also helped with the team’s shared workflow, as, while programming tasks were in-development, other team members were able to tweak gameplay values to assure they felt right and balanced.

Multiple Inspirations and Unexplored Genre

Having inspirations from materials of different genres and backgrounds allowed us to handle the game’s concept and mechanics in an unorthodox way, fetching different aspects from each of the inspirations with the intention of creating an unexplored concept with its unique identity. These inspirations affected all of the game’s aspects from the mechanics, to the art and the music, and eventually lead the game to become what we now call an Indirect Beat-em-up.

We originally concerned in regards on how we would make the Indirect beat-em-up gameplay feel solid and fair for the player, mostly due to the fans being automated and controlled by AI. Nonetheless, we feel like we struck an acceptable balance between experimenting with this new concept (together with its setting, art and audio design) and making everything computer-controlled not hinder the player’s experience nor mitigating the beat-em-up genre itself.

Jazzy Beats Screenshot

What Experience and Feedback Taught Us

Brainstorm and Starting Out

Immediately after the theme was announced, we started brainstorming several ideas and concepts, hoping to plan for a game different from games we had developed before. However, while brainstorming, we kept forcing innovation and differentiation which lead us to spend most of the early hours of the event discussing possible concepts in circles and rejecting ‘standardized’ ideas.

Eventually, we arrived at the final concept, and although the brainstorming process didn’t consume as much time as one of our earlier Ludum Dare games, limiting brainstorming and not-overthinking the concept can help the games development process moving forward faster, something that helped in Petty Puny Planet, one of our previous Ludum Dare games.

Most of the issues starting out however, happened during the first day when we were still converting the concept into actual game mechanics. Since we were still setting up assets and discussing potential gameplay features, there were certain moments where some of the team members were confused about exactly what to work on next, which lead to some early motivational and time losses. By the second day, however, the game’s development accelerated massively, almost to double speed, which quickly restored the team’s spirits and helped prove the game’s vision.

Un-fleshed and Unbalanced Mechanics

While we believe that we have struck a decent balance on making Bluessom behave like the player, there were certain design decisions regarding Jazzy’s abilities that ended up shaping several player’s play-styles in a way that we would rather have avoided.

The most notable example of this case comes from the Ultimate Sax Drop ability, which automatically converts all the fans in an area around the player into their own fans. While we originally thought of making this ability charge by having the player perform combos, we decided to keep is a time-based ability expecting it’d be enough of a constraint players to only use it occasionally. However, since enemies continuously swarm up to attack the player, most players ended up avoiding direct-combat in late game as to play it safe, and instead solely relayed on waiting for the Sax Drop ability to recharge, using it when surrounded by Bluessom fans, and then repeating the process. This lead to a passive play-style that wasn’t exactly of our intention, as we wanted players to remain engaged on active combat from start to finish.

Another case of a mechanic that was left unbalanced was Jazzy’s ranged trumpet attack, which was intended to give the player crowd-control by performing attacks at a distance in case enemies would become crowded. Unfortunately, as we tweaked the values to avoid the ability becoming too powerful, we accidentally made it unreliable, making it strikingly slow to recharge and too small to help in any crowd control.

Going forward, we’d like to implement play-testing in our game jamming routine, as to allow to get some early feedback in-regards to the overall gameplay of the game and help us to better realize what aspects need to be tweaked on and off. We also want to take more risks regarding design decisions, as it was originally the case with the Ultimate Sax Drop ability.

Jazzy Beats Screenshot

Closing Remarks

Despite all the issues with the games balancing, Jazzy Beats is still our-best running Ludum Dare game to date, setting us a new record in the amount of feedback and ratings we have received in a single entry. We consider it our most unique-looking and ambitious game made in a game jam so far, and even if it didn’t have as much content as some of our previous games, it's still one we are really proud off.

Therefore, before completely closing off this post-mortem, here are some closing remarks regarding the game’s development, which we suggest taking into consideration as lessons for those looking to participate in future game jams and which we will also be reflecting on ourselves:

  • If you're joining in with a team, allow them to learn and experiment with the tools before the jam period. If other team members, aside from the programmer, also learn to implement their part of the content in-engine, you'll be not only saving a great amount of time to the programmer, but also allowing those team members to improve their part of the game.
  • Try to make the game’s values (such as health variables, cool-down timers, etc.) and aspects quickly tweak-able in the editor you’re using. This, paired with the previous suggestion, allows other team members to also contribute in balancing and tweaking the gameplay without being code-dependant.
  • Draw the best from a multitude of inspirations and understand how they can improve your game’s design and aesthetics, turning it into something unique. The reason why our game looks different is solely thanks to the inspirations it was based off, and distilling what made them great in the first place. Jazzy Beats doesn’t shy away from the fact it art’s style is inspired in The World Ends With You.
  • Take risks regarding gameplay decisions, and get people to play-test your game as you develop it. This will help ensure and help you get a notion if certain aspects of your gameplay are balanced or not and if they require tweaking that might not be apparent to the game’s team.
  • Cut-corners where necessary, especially in art, where assets can be reused and re-purposed to allow the artist to dedicate more time in creating other assets that can be beneficial to the game. Re-purposing assets doesn’t necessarily down-play them either, as you can still perform changes to them to create even more variation, and some changes in color can be beneficial in other ways, as it was the case with Jazzy Beats’ enemies.
  • If you’re a programmer, experiment with making the game’s code-base more oriented towards reuse and expandability, especially if you’re working with object-oriented programming languages, even during the jam’s period. Practices such as Inheritance and State Management can give you a workbench to quickly upgrade and re-use already existing functionality without the need to re-write or copy code from one class to another. It also has the added benefit of making each element of the game contained on its own.
  • Sometimes, some extra little care in the game’s and material presentation can go a long way. Some of the players have remarked how the title screen animation, interface and even the game’s pages were enough to create them a very strong first-impression.
  • Jazzy is clearly the better idol, and Bluessom is clearly pass her stage time. On the other news, would you like to get Jazzy’s amazing new fan-kit?

Jazzy Beats Screenshot

What Can We Improve On?

While we would like to continue our work into developing an expansion or an update for Jazzy Beats, at the moment we can’t be sure when or if we will be able to get around to it. However, given the opportunity, some of the changes we would implement, together with some player feedback would be as following:

  • Improve Jazzy’s abilities and tweak them to motivate and reward players to keep up their aggressive and active play-style all through the game, always making sure that they are converting and dodging fans around.
  • Increase the game’s tempo and potentially introduce more music-themed mechanics into combat.
  • Expand the fan-cast with more unique fans that would spice up the streets with unique behaviours and characteristics. Maybe have a healer fan that heals an idol over time, or a fan that attacks slower, but is able to double damage each idol?
  • Add-in a potential versus mode, where each player would each control their own idol and compete to have the largest amount of fans on their side attempting to defeat the other player.

Jazzy Beats was a wonderful Ludum Dare experience, and we would love to keep up the streak. We are really fond of the universe we have created for the game (including the multitude of characters and backstory that we have discussed between ourselves that isn’t shown in the game) and seeing the feedback and comments come into the submission always reminds us why we enjoy dedicating time and ourselves in game development and participating in Ludum Dare. This was also our best event commenting on other jammer’s games and giving feedback yet, and we expect to keep it up on future editions of the event in which we participate!

Jazzy Beats Screenshot

Jazzy Beats Flair

That’s our most complete (and longest) post-mortem yet! It was quite troublesome to finally get it done, but we’re glad that we had the chance to finally take something out of our long backlog. If you gave a read through it all, thank you a lot for reading! For the others, we apologize in advance for the size of this post in the feed. 😅

On behalf of our team, thank you a lot for your continuous support here on Newgrounds and we please look forward for our future releases here on the site!


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