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Hugbot!


Hello Mothergunship fans!

Over the last few months quite a few of you have asked me if Mothergunship will include Tower of Guns’ little mascot known as the “Hugbot”. For those that are new, allow me to fill you in. The Hugbot is the first creature you face in Tower of Guns. It’s harmless and just runs up to you and smiles and, uh..purrs. It’s basically a friendly ambient creature. Sometimes it’s little things like this that players grow fond of though, and the creature quickly became a mascot for the game.

Now, the player has a choice about whether to kill any Hugbots, and of course I tracked that and did fun things with it, but that’s a topic for another day. Today I’m talking about the creature’s history.

Back in late 2012, I was learning an awful lot about scripting and building games in general. I was laying the groundwork for what eventually became Tower of Guns... but the only skills I had under my belt were those of a technical artist and environment artist. I knew nothing of code, or animation, or FX, or design, or..well...anything. If I recall correctly I was researching pathfinding, navigation, and state machines and following some sort of zombie AI tutorial for the particular scripting language I was using, and I ended up with this simple little creature that just followed the player around and did nothing. That just wouldn’t do, so I built a quick block in mesh and some quick happy/sad face materials to evaluate my state machine logic, and lo and behold the Hugbot was born!
Hugbot_ToG If the player was far away, it was sad. When the player was close, it was happy. If the player shot it, it was shocked and ran off. So, now you all know the secret of the Hugbot; The Hugbot is a zombie with smiley faces. I showed my wife my progress and figured it didn’t really have a place in the final game, but it was educational. I figured the Hugbot would end up in the scrap pile with “The Grinder”, and the “HealBot” and so many other cut content from Tower of Guns... but my wife could not abide by that. She loved the little creature, and encouraged me to polish it up, refine the logic, and find a way, somehow, to work it into the game.
Hugbot_ToG And so I did--even though this meant that the Hugbot was actually a duplicate of a lot of other code in Tower of Guns, because it was pretty much the only true “pathing” enemy in the game. As development went further along, and I learned the true needs of most of the mobs in Tower of Guns, I developed my own mobility and navigation systems with much less overhead than the systems driving the Hugbot... but this little creature hung on, requiring much more attention than I thought it was worth... at least until the first Youtube players posted their videos of Tower of Guns.

Not a single video review went up without mentioning them, and they seemed to be universally beloved! I received Hugbot fan art, requests to make Hugbot t-shirts and plushies, fans began posting about Hugbot conspiracies and lore... heck, one person even made an entire GAME based on a Hugbot escaping the Tower of Guns as it exploded. I was overwhelmed by how much the fans loved those little guys.

So, I’m happy to announce that the Hugbot will be making a triumphant return in Mothergunship. I’m not quite ready to talk about their design-role in the game, but here is a work-in-progress picture of one of them, looking happy to bask in your glory, dear reader!
Hugbot_WIP Thanks for joining me on this little trip down memory lane. If you’d like to discuss a bit more about the Hugbots, or suggest what mean things I could do to the player if they killed one, please join the discussion here.
Hugbot_WIP If you’re looking for other ways to follow development, why not:
1: Wishlist the game on steam
2: Sign up for the Mothergunship mailing list
3: Follow @Mothergunship on twitter
4: “Like” the Mothergunship Facebook page
5: Tell two friends about Mothergunship
6: Eat a delightful chocolate chip cookie (not really Mothergunship related, but still highly recommended)

Thank you for reading!
Joe Mirabello @blankslatejoe

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