Today we’re sharing the visual progress of Top Run – how the game’s appearance have changed from the very first try back in June all the way to the latest build we have.
Back then it wasn’t Top Run. Even in the slightest. We were trying to create a simplest endless runner possible and this is what we had somewhere in the middle of it. Nothing, to be honest.
This was the moment when we decided we want it to be an 80’s game. We’ve changed some colors and felt that we have to start from scratch now. So we did.
The very first build of Top Run. The guy just ran there, couldn’t even jump. It was a start though! How do you like these 80s houses, by the way?
It still wasn’t really a game here (even though the guy could actually jump now), but we were starting to understand in which direction we wanted to move.
We’ve skipped a few months because we didn’t have time to work on Top Run, but we were back in the game! We’ve added Buddy (he wasn’t called Buddy at that point, but he had a hoverboard) and some enemies. They were all just walking around, you couldn’t shoot, but it was beginning to look like something.
Finally, enemies worked like they were intended to (you can see Hack right here), you could jump, you could shoot, even the menus were more or less good. Obviously there were no animations yet. You may also notice that we didn’t go for the synthwave look back then.
This was our third Buddy (and a final one!). Around that time we realized that you could basically run forever on the ground level. We fixed it by adding a new running enemy. We didn’t know how they would look like, so we just threw an old Buddy skin there. The buildings here are the actual buildings we use now, even though their looks changes 12 more times.
We tried to make it look like 80s, but didn’t know how. At this point we needed to explain in which era the game was set in. Then it striked us: there is a look that always reminds of the 80s, that we all love and adore. And we switched to a synthwave-ish purple colors.
We’ve tried a lot of things before we got to this look. We’ve even tried post-processing, but turned out phones are not ready for it yet. It took us quite some time to get that post-processed look without actual post-processing. This is what we ended up with and we’re happy about it!
This is our current build. We’ve changed thousands of things between this and the previous one, but you can’t really see it. The look was almost finalized back in December. Now, a thousand more of little invisible changes awaits!
Top Run has gone a long way from beginning to where it is now. It all started with a naked man running in a jungle and collecting coins. We thought about changing coins to bananas, but ended up changing the whole game. Boy, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.
We thought it would be fun if our character was naked and confused. He was with us for a long time and we wanted him to stay in a final game. However, then we realized that we don’t feel like creating a jungle game.
While drawing a jungle guy, Lena tried to draw Tommy Vercetti, just for fun and because we love Vice City. Boom! That was a moment when we realized we want to make a 1980’s game!
The idea was that he is an ex-cop, who was betrayed, his partner was killed and he was seeking revenge, killing as many criminals and crooked cops as possible on the way (any popular 80’s action movie). At this moment we came up with a new name for our game – Top Run.
We were testing it and… it was too dark, it needed a story, cut-scenes. Too much for an endless runner. We needed something simple and fun!
So now he is a high school student fighting supervillians for fun. However he looked like some bully or a football team captain. But we needed just a regular guy!
Meet Kevin! He is our final final character. Just an ordinary nice guy, who loves his dog – Buddy, comics, video games and fighting cyber-villians just for fun.
Honestly, we didn’t expect the game to change so drastically and so often. But we are happy that we’ve finally found something that we love and don’t want any more changes. And this is only the character, just imagine how Top Run’s world has changed, you will see it in our next post!
What is the most common way to die in an endless runner?
a deadly obstacle
falling to death from a platform
something awful chasing you catches up
We challenged ourselves to come up with something a bit more interesting than that. Lazy innovation, kind of. We thought, what if you could remove any obstacle in your way and basically run forever? It would just be a matter of practice. We want our game to be one which is easy to pick up, but hard to master.
That’s why we decided to get rid of boring obstacles and replace them with badass 1980’s villains. Not as badass though – you could kill most of them with just one shot of a floppy disc!
Here they are!
Cindy is a basic enemy. She just walks around, minding her own business, practicing aerobics. She got her name from Cyndi Lauper, because she is just a girl who wants to have some fun.
Hammer is a punk and a biker without a bike. He’s a bit angry about it, so he jumps around and smashes everything.
Bikey Mike is a cyber punk who actually has a bike. And he rides it. Fast. Really fast.
This guy here, Hack, he was born after a Regular Show marathon. A wrestler who got hit with a computer and it just kind of stuck there. He’s the most dangerous guy out of these four (and we love him a bit more than others because he’s weird).
These are most of the enemies, but not all of them – you will meet others after running for quite a long time, sort of mini bosses.
Our main inspiration are, of course, the 1980’s, with weird cartoons and cool villains (that time when you, as a kid, were watching cartoons and parents were shaking their heads at the “trash” you were watching). We hope we will achieve an atmosphere which will remind you of that time.
Despite the fact that Top Run is an endless runner, we still felt like it needs a bit of a backstory. Why is the guy running? Who is he dealing with? We decided to recall 1980’s cartoons for inspiration.
Typical 80’s action cartoon = mutants/superpowers + loyal companions + villains who want to destroy the world.
Here’s our story.
Kevin is a high school student who lives with his parents and has a best friend – his dog Buddy.
One day he tries to insert a floppy disk into his old computer, it doesn’t go well and Kevin gets shocked.
That’s how he acquired his special ability – to run lightning fast and throw infinite floppy disks with a speed of a bullet. Buddy was trying to save Kevin so obviously he also got some very cool superpowers.
Coincidentally, the same day a bunch of weird villains has attacked the city and Kevin and Buddy decided to save it.
Pretty deep backstory, just as all 80’s cartoons:)
You will play as Kevin and together with Buddy you will run across the city, killing villains and collecting pixels to become even stronger.
Soon we’ll tell you more about gameplay, art and other stuff. Stay tuned!
This summer we decided to create our first game and since we are not experienced gamedevs (not even a tiny little bit), we picked something simple enough for a first game – an endless runner. However, we didn’t want to make a simple coin collector (even though it’s still a large part of the game), we challenged ourselves to go as far as we can to make a unique endless runner.
The game is called Top Run and it’s a randomized infinite runner focused on action and fun.
Since we were raised on 80’s movies, and it’s an atmosphere we adore, the game is set in that time and heavily inspired by movies and music of the era.
We also love modern throwbacks to the decade such as Kung Fury and Far Cry Blood Dragon. This is a visual style we hope to achieve.
In terms of gameplay we are really inspired by Sunset Overdrive. It’s such a fun game with crazy atmosphere and it’s something we would be happy to see in our game.
Basically, you run, shoot, slide, dodge bullets, kill weird enemies, collect collectables and just have fun.
We are planning to release our game on Android first, and iOS as soon as possible. In the long term we are hoping to release it on Steam.
We hope our game turns out to be what it is in our heads and meanwhile we will share more on how we are trying to achieve it and what it is to create a game with zero prior experience.
We are a small team of two people and a cat creating our first game. We’ve read a lot of information about game market and how oversaturated it is. We realize how hard it could be, but we are not afraid to give it a go.
My name is Mark and I’m the one who’s coding, my wife Lena is making art and our cat Schnitzel is doing everything to keep us distracted from work. All other things like creating ideas / picking up music, etc. we are doing together.
It all started when I realized that all I do whenever I have some free time at work is browse reddit and that I should do something more productive – maybe learn coding, something I was interested in since I was a teenager. I found some Unity tutorials and it was so interesting that I started doing them even after work, at home.
At that time Lena had to leave her job because of health issues and she decided to try making art for my tutorial game. It was so interesting and challenging to make a game together that we didn’t notice we were spending all our time on it.
That was the moment we started to take it seriously. Since then we’ve scrapped that first horrible attempt and started from scratch. Hope it turns out to be a nice little game.
We made this blog to keep track of our progress and to share experience with other people like us.