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tomc

Bootlegs

This week, we’re taking a look at “Bootlegs” in Cassette Beasts. What’s all this about? Let’s take a look!


Ocassionally, in Cassette Beasts, you’ll stumble upon an odd-coloured monster in the world.

This Squirey here is usually beast-type, yet it’s appeared here with the wrong colour and element! This is a “bootleg” – signified by its name in red above its health bar. This is different from a monster using a coating move to change its element, which can be done in battle as a temporary element swapping.

Any monster has a small chance to appear with any element as bootleg.

The colour even matches its new element!

Bootleg monsters don’t just have different elements – they also have a new move pool to match. This means a monster may have access to a whole selection of moves they wouldn’t normally have. On top of this, bootleg tapes have a slightly higher chance to learn moves with uncommon or rare bonus traits.



This sure leaves a lot of things to collect, huh? Tell us what bootleg monster tapes you’d like to collect! If you want to ask any questions, feel free to visit the official Discord and follow us on Twitter!

Elements, Chemistry & Fusion

This week, we’re taking a look at the element system in Cassette Beasts. How does it work? What is the Chemistry System? And how does fusion play into it? Let’s find out!


Elements

Every monster in Cassette Beasts has an elemental type. These represent the nature of the monster, and can be seen next to the health bar on the battle screen.

What are the elements in Cassette Beasts, then? let’s take a look at the list!

Beast
Beast-type monsters don’t have any particular elemental traits. Beast-type monsters include BansheepCandevil and Springheel.

Fire
Fire-type monsters are creatures associated with fire, gunpowder, and explosives. Fire-type monsters include Pombomb and Salamagus.

Ice
Ice-type monsters are associated with snow, winter, frost and mist. Ice-type monsters include Spooki-onna and Grampus.

Lightning
Lightning-type monsters have traits related to electricity, circuitry, and thunder. Lightning-type monsters include Cat-5.

Plant
Plant-type monsters are those with bodies made of plant matter, wood and flowers. Examples include Kirikuri and Dandylion.

Air
Air-type monsters are often connected to wind, flight and sound. Air-type monsters include SirenadeDominoth and Cluckabilly.

Water
Water-type monsters are associated with the ocean, lakes and rivers. Examples of water-type monsters include Undyin.

Earth
Earth-type monsters typically have bodies made of stone, sand, clay or earth. Earth-type monsters include Pawndead.

Poison
Poison-type monsters are connected to toxins, pollution, venom and other such nasty substances. Examples of poison-type monsters include Masquerattle and Nevermort.

Metal
Metal-type monsters are often wearing metal armour, or have bodies partially made of metals. Examples of metal-type monsters include AllseerSouthpaw and Palangolin.

Plastic
Plastic-type monsters? How did that happen?! I guess humans have spread plastic enough that monsters have now become associated with it too. These monsters often have bodies made of plastic, or similar artificial petrochemical substances. Examples of plastic-type monsters include Traffikrab and Mascotoy.

Astral
Astral-type monsters are associated with space, the arcane arts or the cosmic unknown. Examples of astral-type monsters include Stardigrade.

Glass
Glass-type monsters have bodies made entirely of pure glass. Examples of glass-type monsters include [REDACTED]

Glitter
Glitter is unique in that there are no glitter-type monsters. However, the move Glitter Bomb can transfer this elemental type to a target, who then is able to pass that type on by contact. To make it simple: glitter gets everywhere and is annoying.

So we’ve looked at the elemental types – but what does it all mean?


Chemistry

So how do these elements interact with each other? Well, the chemistry system allows these elements to create reactions that can be positive, negative or neutral! Here is an example of the air-type Cluckabilly attacking the fire-type Velocirifile.

If hit with an air-type attack from Cluckabilly then Velocirifle will be Extinguished, a reaction that lowers its melee and ranged attack power. The attack won’t do extra damage, but it will negatively affect Velocirifle’s ability to deal damage! What about the reverse, then?

This reaction is Updraft, causing Cluckabilly to receive an Air Wall status, which absorbs up to 3 incoming hits. Pretty useful, huh?

There’s many reactions that you can utilise in battle to give yourself the edge.


Fusion

So how does fusion work with this element system? Well, a monster’s fusion form inherits both elements from the two monsters that combine to form it! In last week’s blog we looked at Mascotoy and Cluckabilly – so why not find out what their fusion looks like?

So when Mascotbilly attacks an enemy with a move that doesn’t have an elemental type of its own, it’ll use both elements that Mascotbilly has.

Against Velocirifle it triggers both the Smoke reaction (which increases the target’s evasion) on account of the plastic-type, but also the Extinguished reaction we explained earlier.

So whilst Velocirifle took multiple debuffs, it also gained one buff from the attack. Interesting, huh? Some fusions must create some very interesting reactions…


That’s all for this week, folks! If you want to know more, why not swing by the official Discord! As well as that, you can always follow us on Twitter for future updates!

Until next time!

Monster Showcase

This week, we wanted to do a deep dive into some of the monsters of Cassette Beasts – including ones you’ve seen before, and ones you might not have! Let’s get started, shall we?


Springheel #001
Element: Beast

French: Ressortalon
Italian: Saltatore
German: Sprungfeder
Spanish: Botajack

The impish Springheel is a sight you will no doubt have seen if you played our Steam Next Fest demo! This annoying creature hides behind walls and trees where it is not easily spotted, only to leap out and attack those unlucky enough to pass by. In this form, however, the element of surprise belongs to you!

Tokusect #033
Element: Air

French: Tokusecte
Italian: Tokusetto
German: Tokusekt
Spanish: Tokusecto

Tokusects have extremely aerodynamic bodies, aiding a fighting style that is focused around using their pointed legs to strike opponents and channel powerful currents of air. In this form, your swift kicks can strike foes several times in the time it takes a moth to beat its wings.

Southpaw #040
Element: Metal

French: Loupunch
Italian: Lupomenaro
German: Linksausleger
Spanish: Lupdirecto

The mature form of the Puppercut, the Southpaw is covered in a light, flexible metal alloy that protects it without slowing it down. This wolf is a fast melee attacker – in this form, your strengths in battle will be your ability to hit fast and hit first.

Velocirifle #042
Element: Fire

French: Fusiraptor
Italian: Fuciliraptor
German: Velociflinte
Spanish: Velocirrifle

The base of its skull has chambers full of gunpowder that it can use to cause explosions. It can fire objects out of its face this way, as well as quick blasts of fire and flame! Whilst weak in melee combat, it excels as a ranged attacker.

Grampus #066
Element: Ice

French: Grampus
Italian: Adirampus
German: Grantpus
Spanish: Krampuñón

The fully matured form of Elfless. Having spent many years suppressing its emotions, the Grampus is a hulking brute with a desire to impart its own misery onto others, particularly during festive seasons. In this form, your melee strength will be very formidable!

Mascotoy #080
Element: Plastic

French: Mascotrépas
Italian: Mascolocco
German: Maskottier
Spanish: Mascuguete

Mascotoy proves that plastic-type beasts aren’t all fun and games. Once some sort of character costume, the Mascotoy is now closer to a shambling corpse. Whilst it’s slow, you wouldn’t want to be on the pointy end of its oversized claw. Perhaps if one were to record it, however, this unnerving entity would make for a formidable form to take in battle.

Cluckabilly #100
Element: Air

French: Cocorirock
Italian: Chicchirockì
German: Gackerbilly
Spanish: Cocabilly

Oh – this is new! Cluckabillies are defined by their antisocial attitudes. The force of their angry caws can be strong enough to create shockwaves. Whilst they may look unthreatening in their adolescent forms, it is said that they are capable of growing into something much more dangerous. They are well-rounded in battle, but their razor sharp blade tails give them a slight edge as melee fighters.


Last blog we teased a fusion between Domimoth and Nevermort.

What does that look like, exactly?

Well, they form Domimort!

Is that what you expected? Next time we’ll show off a fusion of two of the monsters shown off here today. Which two? You’ll just have to find out!

What is your favourite monster shown off today? Come and let us know on our official Discord! You can always follow us on Twitter, too!

Until next time!

Show Your Moves!

Welcome back! Today we’re going to look at combat and moves in Cassette Beasts – since battling monsters as monsters is at the core of the gameplay, we thought it’d be a good idea to dive into how it works!


Stickers

You and your partner are able to act in battle using stickers – a list of actions that you can trigger on your turn. Each monster has a certain number of slots available to assign stickers, and monster forms are limited in which stickers they are able to use.

Let’s take a look!

A look at Bansheep’s default full sticker set.

You’ll notice that most moves here have a set of orange squares next to them: these represent the number of Action Points, or AP, it costs to use them. A party member gains 2 AP per turn, so you have some choices to make – do you spend your AP on a low cost move such as “Sharpen” this turn, or perhaps use a no-cost move like “Smack” in order to use a stronger move next turn? You’ll be making choices like this a lot as you fight: it’s time to think strategically!

You’ll also notice that one of the moves here does not have a cost, and instead is listed as “passive”. Some stickers have their own trigger conditions in battle, such as losing a certain amount of HP.

All of these stickers can be assigned and removed from a monster tape without any cost, so you are free to experiment to find the best loadouts for your monster forms!


Fusion

Wait, didn’t we say last time we’d show what these two looked when fused?

Oh yeah, we did!

When you and your partner fuse in battle, you combine into a powerful and unique Fusion form!

Banlope! Like, Bansheep + Thwackalope! That makes sense.

How does this affect your move list, then? Well, you get both move pools at once.

That’s a lot of moves!

Not only does it mean you can use any of the active moves assigned to either monster used to create your fusion form, but your passive moves will all still be able to trigger. You can have very interesting and versatile fusion forms as a result of this!

There are also unique “Fusion Power” moves that you can obtain when fused, but we can talk about that another time!


There’s one more cool thing to mention when talking about stickers – you can get uncommon and rare variants. Let’s have a look at this move set for Palangolin:

Palangolin can use Toxic Stab AND Battery? That’s pretty versatile.

Do you see how “Sharp Edges” is displayed with green text? That means it is uncommon, and has a bonus effect that is listed on the move description. In this case, it heals 7% of the owner’s HP when activated. There are lots of different bonus effects, and they differ depending on the kind of move and its rarity. You might find yourself coming across some extra useful versions of commonly-found move stickers!

This status page also displays the stat balance of the monster form. Palangolin is better at melee combat, which is no surprise.


Next Time

Wow, there sure are a lot of moves with many different elemental types. I wonder how they all work? I guess we’ll find out next time! If you want to ask any questions, feel free to visit the official Discord and follow us on Twitter!

What would these two look like when fused? Find out next time!

Roll the Tape!

This week, we’re going to take a look at the ins and outs of monster transformation. Cassette tapes? Recording? What does it all mean?


Transformation

If you’ve been following so far, you’ll know that in the world of New Wirral, the residents transform using cassette players. Each cassette tape contains the essence of one monster form, that its listener can transform into to battle.

Transforming into a monster is the best way to fight back against the hostile monsters that roam this strange island! But how does one obtain new monster forms?

Recording

The built-in microphone on the cassette players can be used to record the essence of a wild monster. This isn’t straightforward and it comes with its own risks. In order to record a monster, you must return to human form – which means you are vulnerable to attack.

When you select the “Record” option in battle, you are given the option to choose a blank tape, and also the wild monster you wish to target. For the next turn of combat, the party member who is recording will return to human form, establishing a recording connection with the target.

Let’s try and record a copy of this monster! Wait… is this piracy?

A percentage meter will appear above the heads of the target – this displays the chance of a successful recording. This likelihood can be raised or lowered before the turn ends, and is influenced by several things:

  • The quality of the blank tape
  • How much HP they had when recording begins
  • How much damage is done to the target in rest of the turn
  • How much damage is done to the recorder in the rest of the turn

A successful recording will net you a new tape, and a new bestiary entry for your collection if you’ve not obtained this monster form before!

It may look cute, but the Thwackalope’s big makeshift club gives it access to some strong attacks.

That’s the gist of it! Whilst most monster forms can be obtained from wild monsters, there are some that you might have to add to your collection through other means.


Next Time

For our next blog post, we’ll look at the battle system with more depth, as well as how fusion works. Which begs the question – what does a fusion of Thwackalope and Bansheep look like?

As always, you can come chat to us on the official Discord and follow us on Twitter!
Until next time!

Home Sweet Home…?

We’re back from summer hiatus (and sunny weather) to take another dive into Cassette Beasts! In today’s blog post, we wanted to take a look at the world of the game.


New Wirral

The game is set on the island of New Wirral, a mysterious land inhabited by, as you might have guessed, beasts. The player begins the game having washed ashore on the beaches of New Wirral, and you soon learn of the predicament you are in.

New Wirral holds many environments, dangers and secrets. On your quest to find your way back home, you’ll explore the island at your own pace.

It must be said that there is nothing unique about your arrival – the other residents of the island also found their way there in the same way.

When the first people to find themselves on New Wirral arrived, they eventually founded a town – a town that stands to this very day! Which is…


Harbourtown

Harbourtown is the home for all residents of the island, and is a place you’ll be returning to often. Built as a community that accepts everyone, Harbourtown is a place you can:

  • Heal up without having to use wood for a campfire
  • Swap out your adventuring partner for another
  • Catch up on the latest town gossip
  • Exchange resources for new moves to use in battle
  • And more!

Rumors

In regards to gossip, the townsfolk will often have rumours to impart to you. These can tip you off about new monster locations, quests and other information that will help you explore the island!

Town Hall

The Town Hall is the HQ of the rangers, who help keep the island safe. Here you can unlock certain unique upgrades for your cassette player that help you in battle.

The residents of Harbourtown may be strangers at first, but the more you get to know them, the more you’ll learn about this strange world you’ve found yourself in!


That’s all for this blog! If you have any further questions, why not join our growing Discord community? There you can get the latest info on Cassette Beasts, as well as participate in exclusive events and gameplay streams!

We have lots of exciting news coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Fusion System Highlight & New Gameplay Showcase Trailer

In our last Steam Blog we talked about the in-depth fusion system, a powerful game system that allows you to fuse two different monster forms into a unique fully-animated sprite combination. This system can generate over fourteen thousand unique fusions that will allow you as a player to fully customize your team to fit your unique style!

As part of the Guerrilla Collective digital games showcase we now have more details and new gameplay footage to share!

Click the Wishlist and Follow buttons on Cassette Beasts’ store page to help support us! You can also join our growing Discord community to be a part of exclusive streams, Q&A sessions, and keep abreast of the latest info.

Gameplay Session

Hi folks! On Friday Jay and I hosted a streamed gameplay session of Cassette Beasts on our Discord server. If you missed it, the event was recorded and can now been seen on our YouTube channel:

Shown in this stream was:

  • The opening of the game
  • Character creation options
  • One of the two starters monsters!
  • How to record a monster
  • Voice acting

We also talked about mechanics and some general design philosophy.

If you like what you see, wishlist and follow Cassette Beasts on Steam, and join our Discord to be part of the next stream!

While you’re here, if you missed it back in March, we released a new trailer showing off some of the cosy vibes of New Wirral:

We also showed off a new monster: Puppercut.

Technical Look: The Park

Hey folks! We wanted to show off a bit of how Cassette Beasts operates “under the hood”. Putting together a game like this with only two full-time developers is no easy feat, so we wanted to show a bit of our process, and how we’re able to use technology and software to put it all together!

New Wirral Park, the first major open area you arrive at after the tutorial in Cassette Beasts.

Design

All our level design starts at the top, with a “high-level” (i.e. low detail) design for the entire overworld. There are many reasons for this, but mostly we’re very aware that with the scale of the world we have planned, small mistakes can add up to a mountain of work at the end. More up-front planning helps us avoid those mistakes.

The high-level design of the overworld, an island called New Wirral. Spoilery bits are blurred out! The rest of this post focuses on the New Wirral Park area.

Although Cassette Beasts is a 3D game (or 2.5D if you like), the fixed camera angle and grid-based terrain mean that maps are mostly designed as if for a 2D top-down game.

The overworld is split the world up into a grid of 16×8 evenly-sized chunks of 32×32 tiles to make it manageable. For reference, that makes the size of New Wirral equal to two of Hyrule from A Link to the Past side-by-side. We’re not Nintendo, we’re just two guys, so we necessarily have to be cautious with how we spend our time. For that reason, a lot of our design iteration takes place in PNGs and on paper before anything is implemented into the game!

A second reason to plan a high level design holistically like this is that we want Harbourtown to function as a sort of hub that the player will revisit over and over. One of the ways we plan to achieve that is to design the world as a series of concentric loops that converge on the town. Like Rome, all most roads lead to Harbourtown!

We can only ensure those concentric loops become traversable if we figure out how the chunks fit together ahead of time. That’s how the “high-level” design helps us.

From that high-level design, we drill down to more detailed sketches of individual areas. These go through several reviews and iterations before we commit to a design. New Wirral Park especially went through many iterations, both because it’s early in the game, and because it acts as a gateway to 4-5 other areas. It was important to get it to feel like an interesting location with lots of things to do and discover.

A typical way we evaluate a design is by tracing out the flow network. More routes through the area–especially loops and one-way paths–give it a sense of “having a lot of stuff”. This was a trick we picked up by analysing other games. Using the A Link to the Past example again (a frequent point of reference for us!), Hyrule manages to feel big despite being only 256 tiles wide. You could walk across it in a minute or two if there was nothing in your way–and that’s exactly the thing: barriers create the feeling of the space!

The flow network for New Wirral Park, showing the unique paths through the area.

If New Wirral Park was basically flat with no barriers, you’d pass through it in 30 seconds, see barely 10% of it, and never look back. What the barriers do is set up alternative paths, which creates player choice, and a reason to backtrack. The loops these paths set up serve to gently guide the player back towards the paths they missed.

Of course, it goes without saying that each path must also have something to make it worth travelling!

Using Godot

Since we announced the project, we’ve made no secret of the fact that we’ve been using Godot to develop it. Godot has many advantages (and disadvantages) over the alternatives, but one thing we’ve really enjoyed using is its GridMaps.

GridMaps work sort of like 3 dimensional versions of tilemaps used in 2D games. They’re a great way to rapidly build a map up from a collection of meshes. They automatically batch draw calls for their meshes, and make setting up the physics of tiles super easy. My only complaint about GridMaps is the lack of autotiling, but that’s something we’ve learned to live with.

To go with our pixel art characters, the 3D model “tiles” are made in a voxel editor. We use Qubicle, which exports to Godot with little issue. Since we don’t have autotiling, we have to manually place tiles for use cases such as corners, transitions between tile “theme” (eg. grass, snow) and so on. Because we use lots of “pixel art textures”, getting the tiles to look right when next to each other is fairly straightforward. I’m not sure how easy creating seamless textures like this would be in a game with a more “realistic” art style, but the gridmaps work out well for us at least!

As mentioned, our overworld is split up into many chunks to keep things manageable. Another important reason for this is to keep the game’s memory and CPU usage down. We have a script that monitors the player’s position on the overworld and is responsible for loading, instancing, and adding visible chunks to the scene.

The script works to a limited extent in the editor too, so we can preview the chunks we’re working on in the context of the chunks surrounding them.

Using Godot has helped us in two ways here: writing engine plugins is super simple; and having access to the source code has allowed me to optimise GridMap’s code for our use case.

We usually wait to add detail like puzzles, chests, and spawners until after we’re basically happy with the shape of the GridMap. Decorations like grass and trees are typically placed later on. Doing things in this order helps keep us from having to constantly reposition the decorations!

Don’t worry about the shadow person. He’s just helpfully marking the position of a quest spawner in the editor! He won’t show up in-game.

Thanks for reading! As always don’t forget to wishlist Cassette Beasts and join our Discord community! Finally, if you want to see New Wirral Park in action, check out the video we tweeted out back in September: