The Stevie T Adventures

Download The Stevie T Adventures from itch.io

Watch the game’s teaser

The story behind the making of…

Once upon a time, two and a half years ago, the One Game a Month game jam community’s Hungarian division had a theme called “About your favorite YouTuber”… Oh boy was it that long ago? Damn! How time flies! I do remember I was tired, and burned out many times, with no idea how to continue, or stuck with a coding problem for days. So I took some time off of this project to make other prototypes for game jams, and mind you, this is my free time we are talking about, basically meaning 6-8-10 hours a week. So much has changed since then. GameMaker changed ownership and so much has changed in the editor and how to code in it. I also changed. Got older mostly. I might have accumulated some knowledge and some know-how, maybe my pixel art got a bit better. But let’s start at the beginning.

I do remember, that the previous prototype was Ghouly Scares, a point and click adventure. Then the “About your favorite YouTuber” theme was revealed, and I was like “Oh, I know what to do! A point and click game about Stevie T!” I actually drew some scenes on paper, and watched Stevie videos, with some home locations, so that I could puzzle together his home’s layout. I also drew a Stevie figure for the adventure, and wrote down some simple puzzle ideas (I remember a giant sentient spider was one of them). But that was all, and for some personal reasons, I didn’t have time to do anything for a week or two.

As a bunch of time passed, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to do much, so I made a side scroller space shooter in two weeks, with Stevie’s voice, and some references (like the BURP shield, and the boss Metalhead). One level only, but it worked, so I was happy with it for a game jam. But also, the game jam theme had a secondary theme, namely “At the end send it to them” (to the YouTuber). There were a couple of entries besides mine, but I remember only one, made about a Hungarian YouTuber called Vidman. I heard that he was quite happy and flattered to have a video game made about his channel.

The levels of the game…

Mine was not enough to be sent, with its one looping level gameplay. I decided to make at least one additional level, so the meteor level was designed and built. Besides the already existing mini towers, their spawner unit, and the flying ship, I made these organic creatures, as they spit meteors at Steve’s ship. Of course they got a unique boss too. This was still too thin, so I built the pirate level, and switched this to level 2, and the meteor one become level 3. A new enemy, the laser cannon was made and another boss, a small battleship. The game was still too short. So I came up with the idea of a new level. I wanted it not to be set in space for a change, and I had already made a water shader based on a tutorial, so I built a water world, where creatures fly up and stationary coral-like creatures constantly shoot projectiles. Again a new boss was created, emerging from the depths of the water. After that I added the secret level to the game. The idea was that when the player defeats a boss, there is always a chance that a miniature black hole spawns (this chance grows if the black hole doesn’t spawn, making the spawn percentage bigger for the next defeated boss). If the player does the correct thing… the black hole slingshots the ship into an uncharted area, where lost holobank containers await the one who will pick up their contents. There is a massive meteor shower, so the player can score up too. The game still felt too short, so I thought about a new idea for level 5. What if there were people helping Steve in his mission? The Space Battalion 404 rushed into war with the aliens, battleships shooting at each other (in the background too). I even made a new type of ship, which works like the flying enemy ships, except it shoots at the aliens. It can be destroyed too, not by the player but by the enemy. For this level I made a giant mothership’s inside, and a reactor to destroy, which is a passive boss, but of course it has adequate defenses. For level 6, I wanted something weird, and a bit out of place. I already knew I wanted to make something similar to the shroom from my ‘Rescue Mission on Titan’ game, except I call it ‘Black Goo’ here. They basically work the same, but I had to modify it for the purposes of this game. But I got stuck with the boss, as I wanted it to have 3 phases. And what should the level look like, and what new enemy should I throw at the player as a challenge? This was almost the last thing I figured out. Shroom everywhere, covering the enemy, there is even a grinder, where the player should not stop to fight, but fly forward and avoid projectiles. The new enemy type, the dragoon is a tricky machine. It is strong, hard hitting, and when they leave the screen behind, they come back in the front. Also, even if I worked on the level 6 (final) boss, its final form(s) was only finished near the project’s end.

This is how a level looks like in the editor

The intro and the teaser…

I actually don’t remember when I felt the urge to make an intro, but I started with drawing a little story board for it. It was a bit different from the final result, and I think the intro text explained some stuff already. The actual story starts with Jared having gone missing, and I hope he won’t get offended that I cast him into this role. I felt, especially with the djent battle video they made together, that he and Steve are good friends and respect each other. And I do hope that still stands. :). I worked actively on the intro after GameMaker implemented the sequencer, their scene/video editor. It is capable of handling sprites and objects, so it was perfect for putting together an intro. For that purpose I modeled the Djetfighter, and many other scenes, and after making a base render, I drew over it with pixel art technique. I made a lot of extra work for myself, like the running animations (funny thing is, I didn’t want to make three different ones, that’s why in one of the scenes, instead of running, Steve slides to the ship). For those scenes, I asked my darling girlfriend Allegra to take some photos of me as a reference. So I was the body double for Steve, and she did the same for sexy sister/girlfriend. 😀 The intro’s creation took a long time. But when it was ready, I realized that I am close to the end of this project and at the end I should send it to Steve. So I made the teaser, a minute long video, where some elements of the game are shown, with a narrator voice-over. I made contact through his agent, and got an answer from Steve, and he liked the teaser, gave me permission to use his voicelines and some of his music in the game. A big thanks for that, as this makes the game really about him.

The bridge of the USS Shred, from the game’s intro
The same scene and how it looked like before the pixel art retouch

The sounds…

Some of the sounds I recorded from Stevie T’s videos. Of course I knew this could pose a problem, so when I finally sent the teaser to Steve, I asked if it was all right and he agreed. Besides that, I recorded some computer sounds, glass breaking, and some sounds I made with my own voice (the humming of the miniature black hole, and the hyperspace sound at the level ends are good examples for that). I also made some voice overs, in collaboration with Allegra. She is the voice in the intro, counting down until the ship’s launch and also the voice of the Pink Baroness. I voiced the pirate announcer, General Dutch, and the Dreadmachine. I used Audacity and Voicemod to create these, and they turned out pretty good (not the best, but still I am very proud of them).

The music…

Steve also gave me permission to use any track from his videos (except some that he specified), so I could implement some well known ones (Moonlight Eternal), or some that I like (Elevator Core). These pieces of music make the game so much better. But I also used some music from Andrew Sitkov. I have a bunch of his music and managed to find really fitting ones for the levels of this game.

All levels have something big in the background, like this one: J1407b (an extrasolar planet 433.8 light-years from Earth)

The code…

I did a lot of coding in this project. There were discarded code parts, objects, scripts that got kicked, I changed many things, and some many times over. The moment I am writing this, the game has 36854 lines of code in 138 scripts and functions and in 576 objects. I had trouble with some things, like the laser I made, which was tested in a separate project, but I had to simplify it in the end (as with many other things) when I optimized the code for better FPS. The long time it took made me question some of my choices about how I made some things in the past, especially when I forgot to comment what does what. I implemented things that were based on tutorials, like the water shader, or the rocket trail (the latter was kicked from the project as it ate system resources like a hungry puppy). I made a lot of things work quite nicely (like how the companions behave, and change when a new one is picked up), and I can see some things not always working nicely (like the hexagon covers, sometimes one or two is positioning itself to a wrong place). For further optimization, I tried to centralize some things, but that didn’t work out in all cases. Still at the end I managed to make something that I am proud of. I emphasize that I still consider this a practice project. I still feel I am not ready (and won’t be ready for a couple of years) to make a commercial game. But I am on the right track, and hopefully those who try out this game will think so too.

The features…

The game saves in 3 possible slots, and also have a data base (E.K.D aka: Expanded Knowledge Database) to read through lore and some extra tips. I implemented a Hall of Fame where players can write in their names when prompted. I made an intro that plays on every new game. The player can move around and shoot, collect holocredits, and when a boss is defeated, a superweapon is rewarded. This superweapon can clear the screen from riffraff. The game has 3 playthroughs, which means that there will be more and more and ever tougher enemies, and bosses that are ever harder to defeat. The upgrade screen also has some lore regarding the weapons, power-ups and the companions. Weapons are a must have, the player has to upgrade them, especially for playthroughs 2 and 3. The power-ups are short term (20-30 sec) advantages, meanwhile the companions deal some positive effect (deflecting projectiles or healing) or shoot extra stuff at the enemies (shooting at enemies, or spamming the screen with proximity mines). Every level has a unique boss (except the bonus level), and every level has something the previous levels don’t.

The lore…

During development, especially when I implemented the upgrade screen, I started to write some lines for the different upgrades. That led to creating companies: Space Battalion standard military equipment. The Deep Space Discovery and Mining for lasers. The Mechanical Tools Emporium for the healing. Quantum Solutions for invulnerability. Mass Destruction Public Services which made the Djet fighter chassis. I further explain things, that the player encountered already in the E.K.D. It’s not just flavor text but can also contain some information about the game’s inner workings. For example, it explains how if you have two companions and you see a new one and pick it up, the game decides which companion to drop. Or how playthroughs 2 and 3 work.

The upgrades…

The upgrades were present in the game from the start, with the cyclical change between weapon, power-up, companion after every 5 kills. But at some point I decided to make an unlockable series of these upgrades in exchange for holocredits. I changed and expanded on this system until it reached its final form. I made 15 levels of weapon upgrades, from the single low damage projectile, through piercing lasers, to high damage exploding rockets. The power-ups have four possible drops: health, shield fragment, fire rate enhancer, and invulnerability. The companions also have four variants: the BURP shield, KATHIE, an attack drone, and a mine laying drone. Should the player accumulate enough money, extra lives, a super weapon, and the Space Battalion 404 fighter ship chassis can can be bought.

This was the longest journey for me in my hobby game development. So far The Black Lamp was the one that I continued to a certain extent, but all in all that took me two months finish. Otherwise I never made anything that took me longer than a month. I hope anybody who decides to play with it will have at least as much fun as I did when I created it. 🙂