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THE CAFE

Welcome to our developer blog! Come for the cocoa, stay for the stories.

UI Update

Marcus - April 28, 2019, 4:06 p.m.
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Hello internet, Marcus here with an update from HCG. You may be wondering what have we been doing in the past few weeks. Well, the short answer is... a bunch of things! Alright, bye!


 

Okay, don’t worry I wouldn’t end this post like that. We have a number of things in development and can’t wait to share the news with you. But we aren’t ready to reveal every single detail just yet. So allow me to share a small sample of what I’ve been working on.

 

One of the main things we wanted to change for Grobo was the menu. We felt the old menu didn’t quite fit into the overall aesthetics of the game and decided to move in a different direction. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback in regards to the art so we decided to highlight it more with the recent changes to the game.

 

For the current build, I took the opportunity to completely redesign the UI. The overall inter...

A Mechanical World

Steven - March 16, 2019, 8:13 p.m.
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Hello everyone! Lead Game Designer Steven here. Today I want to talk about how I go about designing the mechanics for Grobo such as gravity manipulation and crates. This post includes some useful tips for game design, so I hope it helps all of you prospective game designers reading it!

 

A game is about play. It’s about being able to interact with it and having direct impact on the outcome. Big production games nowadays have visuals on par with movies and incredible soundscapes that fully immerse you in the world, but visuals and audio don’t make a game a game. Mechanics do. Mechanics lead to gameplay which allow a player to interact with the world in a way that books and movies cannot emulate. Since mechanics separate games from other mediums, it means that they are the most crucial element when designing a game. Grobo is no exception and we have taken great care in designing the mechanics.

 

I separ...

The Ethics of Mobile Gaming

arman - Feb. 27, 2019, 1:18 a.m.
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Hi everyone, my name is Arman and I’m on the business & strategy side of Hot Chocolate Games. My role is to support the dev team by providing insights and analysis into the gaming market, as well as developing corporate strategy and making financial decisions. Our talented dev team is responsible for building and ensuring an enjoyable, immersive experience, and I am responsible for making sure we keep the lights on without succumbing to the dark side of the gaming market.

 

As a company that develops mobile games, HCG depends on players to have mobile phones and to spend time playing our games. However, many monetization strategies and game design philosophies have gotten significant criticism for their roles in encouraging and exploiting smartphone and mobile game addiction. For HCG to be a responsible gaming studio, it’s important for us to understand the value proposition that our games offer and the impact that...

Ledge Animation Chat

Naomi - Jan. 5, 2019, 4:10 p.m.
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Hey there! Happy New Year and welcome to Grobo progress in 2019!

 

In this post, I’m going to talk about the ledge animation and give some insight into my process of deciding when to iterate an animation, along with working through troubleshooting a certain issue involving sliding/jitter and playback problems so you can do things the smart way the first time if you’re making a game in Unity.

The purpose of the ledge is to be a hold state so people don’t go walking off edges while playing unless they really want to. We needed an animation where Grobo would be interacting with the ledge in some way, whether that was a teeter or something more curious. He couldn’t lean out too far for fear of causing confusion with the repulsion engine&rsqu...

December 11th Update

Vidal - Dec. 12, 2018, 1:14 a.m.
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Cheers world. It's Vidal. I'm here to talk more art.

 

Recently we finished one of the menu graphics. Here's the final painting.


The prompt for this was "Grobo standing on a building, overlooking Old Town." I knew from this that I wanted a pretty landscape with a silhouetted foreground. Having that basic compositional idea in place, I started off by dropping in some grayscale values to separate the background and middleground. I planned to paint out these two areas first, and paint the silhouette last.


With that in place, I threw in an adjustment layer. The lights became the yellow sky and the darker grays became the orange/reddish buildings. At th...

November Update + Gameacon NYC

Marcus - Nov. 3, 2018, 8:04 p.m.
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Greetings inter-webs! I’m back with a few new updates. First off, I hope all of you have been enjoying the seasonal festivities so far. We at HCG are still hard at work updating and polishing up Grobo. The team really enjoyed meeting many of you at Gameacon in Atlantic City and we are excited to let you know that we will be attending Gameacon NYC to show off a few new visual changes to the game.

Presently we are working on updating many aspects of the game’s presentation such as the UI, level art, in game sprites and visual effects. We have a lot to work on and we are trying to get as much as we can done in time for the event. I am personally excited to show off all the new updates I have been working on.

So, let’s dive in on to the details, shall we. To follow up with my last blog post way back in July—time sure does fly—the new foreground tiles are nearly complete. We have undergone a lo...

Leveling Up

Steven - Oct. 6, 2018, 3:04 p.m.
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Today I want to talk about the evolution of the levels for Grobo. Level design is one of those things that always seems fun and easy when you first think about it—I thought that too at first—but there’s a lot more nuance to it than you might think. At first you may make levels for yourself, but in the end, in the real world, you’re really making levels for everyone else. Due to this, you might find the levels you make easy, but others might find the levels you make extremely hard. I made this mistake, among a few others, when first designing the levels for Grobo.

First, let’s discuss what we at HCG are aiming for with Grobo. We are striving to make a game accessible to anyone who wants to explore a story of mystery and discovery and to exercise their brain with fun and challenging puzzles. It should have a little bit of something for everyone. That, in itself, is a difficult challenge. We must design levels that a n...

Art Talk

Naomi - Sept. 2, 2018, 9:17 a.m.
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Hey all! My name’s Naomi and I’m the character designer and animator for Grobo. This week, I’m here to talk to you about the character creation process we went through for Grobo and some of the challenges we faced when designing a character for the mobile platform.

Grobo wasn’t preordained to be a cute robot. Early on in the design process, we had a hard time coming up with a general look for Grobo. He had to harmonize with our idea for the environment and the basis for the future plot. Was he ruined by time? Was he even humanoid? Should his design showcase his abilities? How complex should he be since he’ll be really small on screen? It was important that he had a unique silhouette in some way as that helped keep the character recognizable and could maybe be used in a logo. All these thoughts drove our ideation....

August 7th Update

Vidal - Aug. 7, 2018, 8:38 p.m.
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Hello everyone. My name is Vidal Karan and I'm a co-founder of Hot Chocolate Games, currently fulfilling the role of programmer and artist. I painted the current web banner and I'd like to take a moment to talk about the process.

Here’s the Painting:

 

This painting was done relatively late in development. We had already finalized Grobo's design, and the color palettes for many of the backgrounds. Being as this is the website banner, I tried to incorporate as many elements from the game as I possibly could. It had to include Grobo. There had to be a large emphasis on the derelict but interesting world. Lastly, the image had to somehow incorporate Grobo's gravity shifting ability.

As with any painting, the first step was to thumbnail some ideas.

 

July 7 Update

Marcus - July 7, 2018, 1:27 p.m.
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Hey everyone, it’s your friendly neighborhood game developer, Marcus Williams, here. I’m designing most of the tiles, UI and visual effects you will see in our upcoming mobile game, Grobo.

Since our last showcase at AnimeNext, I figured I’d give you a quick update on the game and talk a little bit about what we’re working on. First off, we really appreciate all the feedback and support everyone has given us. We are continually updating game and working hard to deliver Grobo’s curious adventure through Megatropolis.

Today, I plan to briefly highlight some of the work we are doing to tackle visual clarity. A lot of planning and consideration goes into designing a puzzle game such as this. When we first started Grobo, we were still toying around with our overall visual aesthetic. In the beginning, we didn’t have much art; there were only two tiles, hazards were large and cartoony, and we reused a lot of assets...

Hot Chocolate Games says Hello World!

Steven - June 1, 2018, 1:32 a.m.
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Hello World! I’m Steven Shing, a co-founder of Hot Chocolate Games, and the one who decided to kick things off with a cheesy programming joke. I am a game designer, programmer, project manager, and all around Pokémon, Fire Emblem, and League of Legends nerd here at Hot Chocolate Games.

We are a startup game studio looking to zap to life fun, exciting, and stimulating games that can be played anywhere and anytime, even while drinking a cup of delicious hot chocolate, or twenty. In this blog, we’ll be covering a myriad of things including news from the company about upcoming games, developer and designer blogs covering our processes, and a potpourri of things that we enjoy here such as our favorite games, places, and pastimes.

Our first upcoming game is Grobo, a 2D puzzle platformer where you explore an empty, metallic, post-apocalyptic world devoid of any life - organic or metal - aside from yourself. You are accompa...


HCG

Hot Chocolate Games

Hot Chocolate Games aims to create thought-provoking games through narrative and game design.


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