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Misc. A Tiny Tale - Taking a look back at The Chirping Woods

Creating a new chapter in Misc is always exciting. It’s an opportunity for us to continue our overarching story, and explore new characters and mechanics. We recently showcased the games second chapter in our G.Round playtest.

There's only so much we can showcase about the development process & mindset behind our game on social media. Because of this, we've decided to share some of it through these deep dives. Let's take a peek at some of the development aspects from chapter 2.

In chapter 2, you enter ‘The Chirping Woods’, a mossy forest full to the brim with plants, grass, and of course - miscellaneous items.

The first part of coming up with a new chapter for me is deciding where it'll be and what everyday objects we can use in a totally new way. For chapter 2, the two stand-out objects were the oil barrel and the seemingly giant tree you climb in the center of the map. Seeing a tree up close from the perspective of Buddy really makes you feel like a tiny robot. Walking inside an abandoned barrel shows you how these robots have somehow managed to find a home in even the strangest of places. All over the floor of the barrel is sticky oil you won't want to fall in!

'Stranded' in the middle of the barrel, we find our first character in chapter 2. Lenna is a quirky flashlight who's made a small island to herself (and Chika of course!). She's a bit... eccentric, but we won't judge darling.

Once you step outside of the barrel, you come across two gifts left for you by the mysterious 'Sign Guy'. A frog hat and a brush.

Why a frog hat?

You might be wondering what the frog hat's for. Apart from looking stylish, story-wise - our mysterious 'Sign Guy' is creative. He makes all sorts of things, including costumes. As he leads Buddy & Bagboy on this adventure, he'll leave gifts for each of them to wear and use.

We wanted there to be some visual way you would see our heroes change as they visited each new area. If you've seen some of our recent trailers, you'll notice in other chapters there are other outfits to collect and wear. We're currently working on a system that lets you swap out between the outfits, to add a small sense of customization to your adventure.

Putting Buddy in these costumes has been very fun to design and model. I had the idea for costumes in my mind way back in early development, as you can see from the rough sketch above.

It's cleaning time!

In each chapter, we always want to introduce some kind of new mechanic to keep gameplay active and keep the player always guessing what's coming next. For chapter 2, a mechanic you see throughout the rest of the game is cleaning.

Found around the area are small blobs of oil. You can use your brush to clean these. Once a blob is clean, you'll be rewarded with different amounts of nuts depending on the size of the blob.

There's just something satisfying about having the level visually change over time the more you clean.

You can see the areas you've gotten and those areas you have left to clean up. Even outside of the nuts, I feel like the player gets rewarded with the simple feeling of making the area clean again.

Misc is all about its characters. Some of my favorites to work on in chapter 2 have to be these little love bugs.

Sup bro?

The 'Bro-bots' quickly become a fan favorite in our recent playtest of chapter 2.

When designing these three manly bots, we tried to take over-the-top characteristics of your typical 'weight lifting dude' and flip it on its head.

Atlas, Neptune, and Hercules as their name suggests - are all based on beetles. Our 2D artist who led the design is already a big fan of beetles to begin with, so the process was natural for him.

At the core of their design, we combined a beetle with a miscellaneous object - a hammerhead. Some might not notice it right away, but when you realize these guys are essentially a hammerhead turned on its side, the design clicks!

Those who have seen the story of Atlas and Neptune know that these tough guys aren't all that meets the eye. Even the toughest of dudes can have a little love in their hearts.

What's that in the sky?

Our 'villain' Atoms design was led by our 2D artist Chris. Taking it from a concept phase to the game was an exciting process.

When we began development for the game we didn't have a villain set out. Misc has always been a game that we hope everyone can enjoy, so enemies and bad guys weren't in the front of our minds when planning things out. We knew if we wanted to add those elements to Misc, that we'd have to do it in a very 'Misc' way!

Atom is an old 1950's style toy robot who's misunderstood. As an inventor, he builds drone-like 'windup' toys that he sees as friends. The first of these windups you encounter in chapter 2 is in the form of a frog.

We didn't feel like it'd be right if Buddy were to attack and 'kill' enemies that are alive. He's just not that kind of robot. So we made sure these enemies would be less 'alive' than the other robots in the game. They see through motion sensors and jump/follow the player only when nearby.

We also didn't want the player to ever 'die'. So instead, these windups push Buddy back for a second. These two elements were very important to the team. If you take a look at Atoms home, you can even spot a few of his inventions - sketched and pinned up on his wall as seen above.

These were just a few small highlights of chapter 2 for us on the development side. It was a long journey creating this chapter and while it's not over yet, to see it all come together in one place has been a dream come true for us.

No doubt, chapter 2 and many others will continue to grow, change and improve over time as we develop the rest of the game. Thank you to those who playtested the chapter on G.Round recently. Your feedback has helped guide us going forward!

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May 24, 2022

The development looks amazing, I've been using UE4 for about a year now, there's so much I still need to learn about. I made a character in Blender and imported it, gave it a bunch of moves.

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