Leap, blast and bob your way through over a hundred levels of cute platforming action in BUBBLES THE CAT!
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Q1 2019
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Available: Q1 2019

 

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January 5

Devlog #2 - Hazard Mechanics

Happy New Year all! Here’s hoping that 2019 is a great one for you. I’m very excited to be bringing you Bubbles the Cat in a few months time!

Continuing a little in theme off the previous blog post, I thought I’d start taking a look at the different hazards Bubbles will encounter and what I hope they will bring to the table in terms of level design. I’m going to split this one into two parts as there's quite a lot to cover!

Bubbles, Meet Hazard
I try to introduce hazards in a similar way throughout the game: your first encounter will be in a relatively safe environment and in isolation of any other mechanics. You will be able to see the hazard clearly before you have to deal with it and these will be placed at the start of the level - so in the event you do fail, you've lost only a couple of seconds of progress.

Future encounters will gradually layer on more difficulty or require cool and unique interactions with the various bubble power-ups - those were covered in the previous blog post if you're interested!

Spikes
Undoubtedly the ur-platformer game hazard; these are one of the first hazards the player will encounter and practically an expectation at this point - they’re also universally recognisable and there’s no confusion as to what they do. These gently ease in the concept that there are things that will need to be avoided to continue the game!


Spikes from an early World 1 level...

These exist as a basic and static failure point for not completing a certain jump or executing a mechanic correctly - later levels (in particular World X) have reduced margins of error, requiring accurate platforming.


...and spikes in one of the later (optional!) World X levels!

Fireballs
These toasty terrors are fired from launchers and are also encountered within the first world of the game and are again chosen in this order because it’s fairly widely understood that fire = hot and should be avoided!



I really enjoy making cool patterns with these and it feels great as a player to weave through these. There’s also some neat interactions here with powerups like the Waller bubble, which you can use to shield yourself against incoming fireballs with good timing!



Slimes
These rather cross looking jellies are no doubt furious that their existence is confined purely to moving either horizontally along the floor or vertically when stuck to a wall. One assumes they’re quietly annoyed at Bubbles for having the ability to leap around freely, but we may never know for sure - either way, it’s best not to touch them.



You can either platform around them or - in the case of the Blaster powerup - platform through them. They also interact with other level elements, triggering traps or even being used as a means to demonstrate other mechanics safely!



Timed Spikes
These are like regular spikes, except they have a keen sense of punctuality and will raise and lower in fixed intervals. Bubbles will need to bounce in time to these hazards to get through the level safely.

Timed spikes are about the closest the game gets to becoming a rhythm game, with players needing to use good timing to hop between safe surfaces.



Lasers
Bzzzt! Lasers can either be static or move along a fixed rail. These appear in Worlds 2 and 4 as I’m not sure how thematically appropriate these would be in, say, a spooky wood.

I feel like these are kind of the natural adversary of a cat’s agility and wanted to create that tense sensation you get when you’re able to weave your way through a laser grid. There’s also some cool timing-based platforming here; check this out!



To be continued!
I hope you’ve enjoyed a quick look at some of the hazards that you’ll encounter as you play Bubbles the Cat! In the next update, I’ll reveal the rest of them - until then, thank you for reading and if you want to keep up on the game’s development before launch, I’d recommend following and wishlisting the game!

You can also follow the game's development on Twitter, where I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have about the game or game development in general.

Until next time!

Johnny
Team Cats & Bears
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December 19, 2018

Devlog #1 - Powerups and Flow (and GIFs!)

Hey folks,

In the first dev log post before launch, I figured I would use this as an opportunity to share with you all the progress on the game as it stands so far as well as show off new features as and when they're added.

Run, Bubbles, Run!
Bubbles the Cat is a single button platformer. This means that Bubbles runs automatically to the left and right, changing directions on hitting or jumping from a wall. The single button allows you to jump, and pressing it whilst in mid-air will create a magic bubble (common noun) for Bubbles (proper noun) to bounce off.

(Quick sidenote to say that the perils of naming a game's character after the primary mechanic produces some highly troublesome sentences...)


By default, the standard bubble allows the player to jump up to six additional times in mid-air! Touching the floor will instantly replenish the player's stock of bubbles. Between this and gripping to walls and sliding down, the player has quite a few control options already available to them - all with a single button.


You Have the Power
Still, the game would get stale if these were all of the moves you had at your disposal, no matter how varied I made the hazards. Luckily, there are six different powerups that change up the gameplay:

BLASTER

This greatly improves the power of Bubbles' jump, but watch out that you don't hit any spikes above you! This also destroys weak walls in a level and can blow up enemies.

WALLER

Not got a wall to turn around? No problem - just make one! Jumping on this creates a wall in front of Bubbles and grants access up vertical shafts lined with spikes. It also breaks your fall if you're about to land on something hazardous!

BOBBER

Vast chasm ahead of you? Unevenly placed hazards you can't jump through? The Bobber allows Bubbles to traverse horizontally indefinitely (at least, until hitting a wall) and with some carefully timed bobs, you can make it through otherwise deadly mazes of spikes.

GHOSTER

Sometimes, there's just no way past a barrage of fireballs or lasers. This is where the Ghoster comes in - allowing Bubbles the ability to pass through these dangers, floating up until Bubbles leaps out or hits the ceiling. Later stages require good timing to leap between hazards!

LAUNCHER

This bubble launches you at blistering speed in one of three directions on hitting the action button: the direction you're facing, diagonal up and straight up, cycling between these.

A cool trick you can do with this powerup is to hit the action button again, breaking the bubble early. This preserves your momentum and will be useful in finding secret areas for that bonus cat food!

SWITCHER

With this final powerup, each time you jump you'll switch between two dimensions, creating new platforms or walls to jump off. Just make sure you don't switch dimension whilst inside a phased-out block!

Flow State
I used to be a big fan of the 16-bit Sonic games back in the day and I wanted to recreate the satisfying feeling of flow you experience when you get comfortable with the game's physics and nail a perfect line through a stage.

To help with this, I've placed food in such a way as to hint where a player should go and when they should jump - in later levels, these become more sparse as I expect players to find their own solutions to the level!

In addition, the placement should help players quickly acclimatise to a powerup they've picked up without having to stop the game to explain this or use an extraneous UI element; a row of cat food on a sharp incline reminds the player that their jump is way more potent now!


Normal jump food line...

...vs Blaster jump food line!

This is something I want to get into the game as a whole - my hope is that the control system is simple enough that I'll need minimal tutorials to begin with and can have most of the other gameplay mechanics be learned just through level design and building on patterns that the player will (hopefully!) have learned from prior levels!

Thanks for reading to the end! If you're interested to learn more about how the game's development is going, why not follow and wishlist the game?

You can also follow the game's development on Twitter, where I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have about the game or game development in general.

Until next time!

Johnny
Team Cats & Bears
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About This Game

  • Over 100 levels set across six different worlds - from coastal caves and brass factories to neon cities and magic castles!
  • Multiple objectives in each level provide extra replay value and rewards for smooth, speedy runs.
  • Tight, responsive single-button controls that support joypad, keyboard or mouse!
  • Collect bubble powerups that mix up the gameplay and turn Bubbles into a destructive wrecking ball, a ghostly spirit or even a dimension hopper!
  • Customise Bubbles the Cat with dozens of hats, different colours and even trails - all without any microtransaction shenanigans!
  • Boost features allow players to freely modify the game's difficulty so you can play how you want!
  • Bonus secret levels that will challenge even the most hardcore of platform gamers.
  • Unlockable game modes and secrets!
  • An absolutely bangin' electronic, jazz-inspired soundtrack, bubbling with busy beats and meowtastic melodies.

If you like cats, hats and platforming, you're going to like this game.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: 2Ghz processor or higher
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Minimum 512Mb VRAM
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
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