Frogatto & Friends

Frogatto sprite Avilable on the App Store

Frogatto & Friends is an action-adventure game, starring a certain quixotic frog. Give it a try!
We're trying to push 2D platforming, pixel-art, and music into uncharted territory. We hope you like the results!
Also, Frogatto has a very flexible game engine you can use to make your own creations.

Content News #5

April 30th, 2010 by Jetrel

Significant new feature:  “Palette Swapping”.  For performance reasons, we can’t do this in realtime (e.g. using it to make colors shift and change, like things are glowing or whatnot), but it’s enough to change the color of a whole level.

We’re planning to use this to recolor a few areas in the game for variety.  The first caves in the game will be the above color-set, to match the exterior “seaside” rocks which are also brown.

Technical reason why we can’t do realtime:  We’re not a nintendo, and our images are not stored on the graphics card, in indexed mode;  they’re stored in absolute color.  So we’d have to go through each entire image and change every single pixel to do it in realtime, which would collapse our performance.

“Yeah, but you could do that with this shader…”  No, we don’t use shaders.  Using them would dramatically raise the system requirements – notably, the iPhone doesn’t support them (neither do any other widely-used handhelds atm).

Content News #4

April 25th, 2010 by Jetrel

Added some new, but only “sketched” enemies.  Mostly “milgramen”, which is to say, Milgram’s Minions™.  We’re trying to move to that as a process, instead of meticulously drawing a fully-detailed, fully-animated enemy and only then working on implementing it in game.  In coding circles, this might be called rapid prototyping.  There are tons of reasons to shoot for this as a process – in fact entire books have been written on the subject as it pertains to programming.

Sketching in art has one primary purpose.  SPEED.  All it is, is just drawing the bare minimum amount of stuff to visually suggest something; especially, to suggest the macroscopic shape/pose/layout of some object.  The idea is to do this, before working on all the putzy, time-consuming details, because if you do the details and then find out the pose or overall shape of something is wrong, you’re wasting tons of work.  To correct the pose/composition/layout, you have to destroy a bunch of your detail work to rebuild the more structural parts of the drawing.  Animation works exactly the same way, except multiplied by however many frames long the animation is – and given the average videogame animations, this means it’s easily around 10x as important than with just still drawing.

So what does this have to do with frogatto?  By sketching monsters, and trying them out in game, we’re better aware of which animations are needed, and which ones are superfluous.  There’s nothing worse that wasting a few hours making an animation, and finding out it doesn’t do much good in-game.  Or finding out it looks awkward when the game character is being slid across the screen (many body motions look different when the body has inertia).

Also, and perhaps more important, it removes “fully done art” as a bottleneck for creating new monsters, meaning we can test monsters for several weeks and make them fun – or even, try out monster concepts and avoid making the concept entirely if it turns out to be a dud.  We’ve had a number of cases where we’ve drawn complete monsters, but then discovered that the idea we’d been working with was very hard to make fun ingame.

Also, we’ve created several new levels.  Description is a bit futile, although you’ll notice an airplane boss in the first area of the game.

Bosses now show hitpoint bars, making boss fights seem much less hard (no indication can make some bosses seem like juggernauts).

We’ve added several bits of new furniture.  You’ll notice a new prop that is a fountain outdoors, with an indoor equivalent of a water cooler.  Drinking from this will completely replenish your health.

We’ve also got new parallax houses in the town that really give it a sense of depth, and make the town feel more populated.  As with all things parallax, screenshots do no justice.

New site

April 19th, 2010 by Ben

Designed by Jetrel, implemented by me. There’s still some rough edges, but I really wanted to get it up. The site is now integrated with the blog as well, so the blog is our main page (we may add more to the main page as well), and the pages the old site had are on the left. Feel free to report any problems you notice that you think I might not know about.

Graphics News #8

April 13th, 2010 by Jetrel

We’ve done a major update to the brown rock tiles in the seaside tileset – it gets rid of the vast majority of those ugly “seams” which plagued use of it under quite a few common arrangements. Words don’t convey it, here are screenshots.

Before:

After:

Should speak for itself. :D

Release plans:
Frogatto is (probably) going to be released in what we call “episodes”, but which are basically nicely self-contained games like the early Sonic the Hedgehog, or Mario games. We will share graphical/audio content between episodes, such as tilesets, and we’ll improve any existing episodes by porting in new content as relevant (if we make new interior props, we’ll put them in episode 1′s houses, for example). It remains to be determined whether we’ll actually sell these separately. We might have everything in one app as a one-time payment, and just add new episodes for free. We might have extra episodes as for-pay DLC. We might sell them as separate games (although I think this is rather less likely than the DLC). What is certain is that each set will be separate storylines, and the levels of them will not be connected in any way.

Anyways, the point of explaining this is to note that we’re getting close to the intended content set for this episode, in terms of tilesets. We were planning to have:

Seaside
Interiors (sunny)
Interiors (basement)
Forest
Cave
Dungeon.

Dungeon is the last one left to do, and we’ll start on it in ~ a week or two. When those graphics are done, we’ll be able to fire on all cylinders to create the remaining levels for the game, and then it’s done! :D

Content News #3

April 11th, 2010 by Jetrel

Things we’ve been working on over the last month:

- cleaning up lots of little things in gameplay.

- scads of optimizations here and there (the game is liquid-fast on any modern PC, but handhelds like the iPhone are effectively like a decade-old desktop computer, and some aspects of the game needed to be rewritten to run quickly on that). An upside of this is that it considerably widens the scope of computers that can run this – practically anything with just basic OpenGL support, 40mb of free ram, and a >500mhz processor can run it just fine.

- additional cave and forest levels, mostly thanks to “shadowmaster”.

- some additional monster designs

- making locks into visible objects, and adding functionality to have to physically grab a key and drag it to the lock to unlock it.

- working on a few new cutscenes, and polishing up the game’s ability to handle boss battles.

- a new basement tileset (Attentive pixel-artists will note that this hasn’t been cleaned up to tile nicely, yet, especially on the background wall.)

- Last but not least, we’ve overhauled how we do dialogue – rather than having portraits for individual characters, we’ve switched to animating their sprites to convey emotion. We now zoom-in the game screen to make the animations visible, and we’ve changed the speech boxes to (stylized) speech bubbles to indicate the speaker.