Magic, Soundscapes and Interview

For this weeks post I want to talk a little more about how the magic system works, sound effects and an interview I did with the local newspaper. I also tried something new this week, recording a video for YouTube so you can get a better feel of the current state of combat. I haven’t spent as much time as I’ve wanted to lately and a lot of that comes from this new game you might have heard about, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. It’s so much fun, especially with friends. Higly recommended, despite being in Early Access. I was sceptic about it at first, but after playing a few hours I’m glad I purchased it.

Magic

Magic in Tales of Astya isn’t a big part of the world, but it still exists. The general population does not know how to cast spells, and not even the Ring of Wizards (mage faction) really knows how it works, only that it does. Casting spells is easy once you know how, and that can be learned at the Wizard Tower somewhere in the south of Uspya, if your character is smart enough.

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Learning area for new spells in the Wizard Tower. Still WIP, something will be placed in the side wings.

I’ve been working on some new spells of late, shown in this video right here. Sorry about the low quality, I’ll do my best to improve that in the future.

Soundscapes

Again, more sound stuff. This was my primary focus this week, working on mixing various sound effects to create richer soundscapes for cities, forest, caves and all the other environments found throughout the game, some with variations for night and day. They’re almost done and should be fully implemented by next week.

Interview with local paper

Right before writing the previous post, I finished a small interview with the local news paper about Tales. A journalist came over to my place, we played the game for a bit and he took some pictures while asking questions about the development, the game and the production pipeline. The article was published in last weeks weekend paper as a feature article, and the feedback has been great so far with a whopping double increase in page traffic the days after it was printed.

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Local paper, in norwegian.

Other changes/additions

  • More map refreshing with the transition from 3D to 2D trees.
  • Better colors for day and night. Nights are darker and days a little lighter.
  • Changes to AI in relation to entering their home
    • Some won’t go out if it rains
    • Specific hours for going outside
    • They would previously walk to their home, but this turned out to be too unreliable. NPC’s instead just spawn/despawn based on their home hours. Better than nothing at least.
  • Cleaning up the character sprites, removing strange pixels left over from the 3D rendering. Won’t be too noticeable, but it’s been irking me for a while.
  • Changes to overworld travelling time, now with different time passage between maps that makes more sense than the previous static 15 minutes.
  • Started work on player housing, allowing you to place one piece of furniture in each of your homes that gives various buffs and abilities.
  • The usual, more dialogue and typo fixes.
  • Completely revamped getting in to Stonehaven, the capital city. Now with less loading screens and more options to influence the guards at the gates.
  • Traveling merchants with rare items for sale. Only available at select locations, for a limited amount of time.

That’s all for this week. I’m gonna start making more of these videos showing various aspects of the game instead of just GIFs. Some things are just better with sound. Until then, have a good one.

One year anniversary!

Woah! This website/blog is now one year old, and still receiving new posts (almost) every week. Gotta brew some extra strong coffee to celebrate! Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s get into this weeks post. Some interesting stuff this week, including new art assets for trees, new mechanics, interface tweaks, a new minigame and bug fixes! Without further ado, let’s go.

New gathering mechanics

Resources found on the ground, like mushrooms, flowers and wheat have received a small revamp. If you have the correct tools, various collectibles will yield more of their resource. Using a garden knife to cut flowers or a mushroom knife to cut mushrooms yields 2-4 more of that resource. Wheat and grain gathering is now more engaging, as you have to cut it yourself using any sharp weapon or farming tools such as a scythe or sickle. It also bends out of your way when walking through it, adding even more satisfaction.

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Using a sickle to harvest some wheat.

New tree sprites

When I first started this project, I made the trees using the program MagicaVoxel to easily create 3D trees that fit the pixelated style. And to be fair, they were ugly blobs of random shades of green and a brown trunk. I spent a few hours drawing some new trees in 2D instead, with separate material colors for Trunk and Leaves to be able to reuse the same sprites everywhere with color modifications. They’re also animated, which the old trees were not giving much more life to the maps.

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Bribing Minigame

Previously if a bribe was attempted, it would only give have to choices with a preset sum of money based on your Cunning stat. If it was greater than the set value, it’d cost less and vice versa. With this new system however, players have more influence over the final sum of gold to hand over. It’s still based on your Cunning stat, as well as the Targets Cunning stat. The target becomes more and more annoyed by the players attempts to bribe it, and if the annoyance bar is filled completely the bribe is a failure and you must deal with the consequences. Weather can also play a role in how quickly a Target is annoyed. Who would like to stand in the rain with a random person trying to give you too little money to get in somewhere? This feature is still in early development and should be done sometime next week! Then it’s all about replacing the old bribes with the new one, should be fun. Here’s a screenshot of what it currently looks like.

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Better interface highlighting

One problem that I never thought much about before was that interfaces were pretty badly highlighted, at least when it came to changing categories in your inventory, quest journal and so on. I’ve now made it so your current category is highlighted in various shades of green to show the “layer” you are currently on. Top level (pause menu category, options etc.) is a little bit lighter than the colors signaling your selected  sub-category.

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Other changes/additions

  • Added time of day preview to character creator to preview how your character will look under different lighting conditions.
  • Changed colors for clothing in character creator to better fit the palette.
  • Added Input tab to options, allowing you to specify what input mode to use(Xbox, PS4, Keyboard) and other settings related to controlling your character.
  • Fixed some issues with tiles showing even if screen is faded out.
  • Started work on new water tiles with proper animations.
    • Directional flow of rivers
    • Ocean waves
  • Improvements to ambient sounds.
  • Almost completed wizard tower.
    • Added magic school trainers that will teach you how to cast various spells.
  • Various tyops fixed.
  • Started refreshing of older tiles to be more consistent.
  • Animals have been seen running into fire when being chased by the player. They will soon learn not to do this.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

The big interface cleanup

For the past two weeks I’ve been working mostly on questlines and redesigning some of the interfaces in the game. The inventory, trading, map, character/party and spellbook interfaces have all received a new design to make them easier to navigate and give information more clearly. Also, Temporal Turmoil ended up getting first place in the GameMaker Jam! Without further ado, let’s jump in to the changes.

Trading changes

The trading interface has seen a small change in design, adding in a new button; Haggle. This allows you to change the price of items either higher or lower, based on your Cunning skill. Please note the GIF below is a work in progress, so it might change.shopHaggle.gifThe inventory screen looks more or less the same, except that the Haggle button instead says Drop Item. I’ve also removed item icons from the list view on the left side to a single one that changes when you hover an item(see the apple in the GIF above?) for performance reasons. Below the item icon the item type graphic is displayed. The number next to the item name is how many you are currently carrying of that item.

Party and Character management

The player/party screen has seen a face lift too, as noted at the top. It used to be a single screen with all the information showing, but only for the player character. Not any more! The party screen has been “updated” to use the tabs as well, allowing you to see each characters individual stats, equipment, background information and some gameplay stats related to that character.

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New character/party screen

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Old character screen, very old. I should’ve taken a screenshot before redesigning it.

Party members will appear in a list below the button that says Player Name, allowing you to click them and see their stats and all that. You currently can’t give party members items and equipment to carry for you, but I might add it if enough people want it. Having party members is fully optional, even in quests that tell you that you should take one or two with you, because you’re the best around and nothing will ever keep you down.

Speaking of party members, I’m working on the ability to hire mercenaries and other followers that’ll help you fight if things should get too hard. Most party members are predefined though. Talking with them is in many cases context sensitive, aka being in a cave or out in the field can trigger different dialogue options.

New map screen

The map screen has received a complete overhaul, now including tabs for all the regions, filters, location descriptions and redone icons for the various locations. Here’s a comparison of old/new.

The new map allows you to mark custom locations by clicking tiles you have discovered. Hovering over a map tile will bring up a basic description of the location along with its name. The green tile is your current location, which can also be toggled off. Quest locations do not appear, both because it would require a redo of the current quest system and making you actually read the quest descriptions to find out where to go.

Spellbook

This has been the interface I’ve paid the least attention to while working on Tales, as I wasn’t completely sure what type of spells should be possible and their categories. Now it’s fairly complete, the remaining task is to create icons for the spells and particle effects when using them. The number next to the spell name is the mana cost when casting that spell.

spellbook

Same as always, tabs up top to change the category of spells you want to view. The to rightmost buttons are Alchemy Recipes and Cooking Recipes. Not fully done yet, I expect to have them done by next week along with more information about how magic works and some more spells.

Other changes/additions

  • Added a variety of teas that give different bonuses if drank before sleeping. EG more health when waking up, bonus experience for a small time and so forth. Tea can be crafted either on stoves or on a campfire (requires a teapot)
  • Lighting and audio improvements
  • Blood splatter effects when fighting enemies, if they have any blood to shed. It even spreads on the walls if you’re close enough. Enemies wearing heavy armor will spill less blood, and those with light armor, more.bloodeffects
    • Blood and gory effects can be turned off in the settings if you want
  • Started planning a short trailer, hopefully coming out in a few weeks if all goes according to plan.
  • Imported two new music tracks for dungeons and the swamp. Delicious!
  • Music dynamically changing to combat music when aggroing enemies.
  • New sound effects

That’s all for this week, cya all in the next one! Feel free to leave a comment with thoughts about what you just read, it’s greatly appreciated.