Day and Night lighting in 001 Game Creator

For this week I figured I’d do a behind the scenes look at how the time of day lighting system works in Tales of Astya.

The first step was creating a huge array in 001, to hold each of the overworld map locations, like so. You can also see that it says Z 1/24. Each of the Z layers holds the color information for that hour.

Setting up the array

Skjermbilde 2017-07-05 21.28.59

Now that’s all fine and dandy, it’s time to delve into the scripting side of it. The system consists of four different events, detailed below.

  • Initialize Sun color
    • Used at launch to fill the array with the correct color info, rather than doing it by hand. Efficient!
  • Set Map Sun Color
    • Sets a specific color for a specific map, at a specific hour.
  • Set Region Sun Color
    • Same as map, but for an entire region.
  • Update Region Sun
    • Updates the sun color to the correct color, with color blending.

The code behind it

Let’s take a closer look at each of them, starting with Initialize Sun Color.

Skjermbilde 2017-07-05 21.37.34.png

A very simple script that allows me to specify a color for each of the hours and fills the array on that Z index with the color code. Nothing fancy about this one.

Set Map Sun Color as well, very simple. It gets which region to use, then applies the proper offset on X and Y. In this screenshot the offsets have not been applied just yet, but it is in the game now. Skjermbilde 2017-07-05 21.41.27.png

The code for Set Region Sun looks pretty much the same, just with two for loops going through the X and Y axis.

Then at last, it’s Update Region Sun Color, the one that took the most amount of time to get working correctly. It consists of two more for loops, going through the X and Y axis of the array. Skjermbilde 2017-07-05 21.48.37.png

The above screenshot is from the X axis loop, where it uses Change Sun Color (built in event to change map lighting) to the specified color inside the array, and then changing the Fog Color to the same color, just a bit lighter to add depth to the scene. The Sub Script in the middle labeled DEFAULT is the legacy lighting system and is no longer being used. It was placed there as a fallback before I got around to making the Initialize Sun Color event in case the lighting value was 0.Skjermbilde 2017-07-05 21.51.23.png It was pretty bad, and would only update four times each day, instead of 24 like the new one.

Updating the lighting at runtime

That’s all for the code part of the system, but what about the implementation? Very simple! In a trigger on the player which is triggered whenever Hour is changed, this code is placed to update the lighting correctly.

Skjermbilde 2017-07-05 21.53.46.png

Benefits of this system

One of the biggest benefits of this system is that it allows for dynamic changing of the sun color, either on a regional or local level based on actions by the player. The sun/night sky could be different colors while the player is on a quest for example, or it could be contstant day all the time. The possibilities are endless.

That’s all for now, make sure to leave a comment, either on this post or Facebook telling me what you think or if you want to read more posts like these 🙂 It was a lot of fun to make, so thanks for reading!

 

Two weeks of beta

Two weeks of Tales’ beta is almost over. The feedback has been amazing, and way above any expectations I could ever have imagined. Over the week it has received over 150 views and over 60 downloads. Thank you all so much for taking the time to play and a massive thanks to those who have reported bugs. And last but not least, thank you so much to those who have donated to the development, even when you could have gotten the game for free. You people rock! It gives me the willpower to keep working on it.

Since Itch has its new feature with Devblogs, that’s where I’ll be posting the patch notes. This blog will instead be more focused on the content to come, plans and more in depth posts about what is currently going on with the development. Down below you’ll see some of the plans that are made for future content, coming out later this year.

New region – Cafror

The current region, alongside Uspya, to be developed is the region of Cafror to the south west. So far the general map layouts are more or less complete and waiting to be filled with crafting materials, NPC’s, quests, items and the whole package. The region consists of a total of 19 overworld maps, so it is a little smaller than Uspya in terms of overworld pixels, which is currently 36 overworld maps (each being 40×30 tiles or 1280×960 pixels)

Custom built house

Building your own house in games is fun. And because of that, I’m currently prototyping a custom housing system that will allow you to draw out walls for your own house in Tales of Astya. It’s far from done of course, but you can expect to hear more about it in the coming weeks.

Different ships sailing from port to port

Currently there’s only one ship in the game, and it only sails to one destination. The plan is to expand this to have more ships that sail between the ports so you don’t see the same ship names every time you visit a place. Not a massive thing and not really noticeable, but it adds a little more depth to the world which is always nice.

That’s all for this post. Before it ends, there should also be a new patch coming out this week, expanding and fixing the crafting systems in the game considerably with new recipes, ingredients and places to perform the crafting. Until then, have a good one!

Public beta now available on Itch.io

It’s finally here! The public beta for Tales of Astya is now available for download on itch.io! It’s been a long time coming, and now it’s finally here.

Click here to visit the download page

How to help out

If you want to help with the fixing bugs, the best thing you can do is use the in-game bug reporting tool or visiting this page (Google Forms) to report something. Inclusion of screenshots are greatly appreciated and will help speed up fixing considerably.

Update schedule

The plan is to release weekly patches when the most critical bugs have been fixed, with new content being added periodically. I will be making blog posts both here on this website and on itch.io using the new Devblog feature.

I’ve also recently begun streaming some development over on Twitch, and plan to continue doing this when fixing reported bugs and adding new content. Schedule for streaming is currently set to be between 17:00 (UTC +1) to 20:00 (UTC +1), hopefully every day. Join in and listen to some chill music and talk about game development. I will be posting on Twitter 10-15 minutes before starting a stream to give you a heads up.

Other changes/additions

Not too many this week, as most of my time has been spent replacing the old dialogue boxes with new ones.

  • Added safes with number combinations that hold large sums of money.
    • Codes can usually be found in the near vicinity of the safe.
  • Removed all 3D models and went back to using only 2D assets.
  • Some quest improvements

That’s all for now. I really hope you’ll download and try the beta, and report some glitches and/or bugs you come across. Until next time, have a good one.

Trailer, magic and beta soon

For the past two weeks I’ve spent a lot of time working on a variety of spells for the player to cast, both useful and not-so useful. As usual there’s also a lot of other additions near the bottom of this post.

Trailer

The biggest thing of this weeks post is the new trailer I made and published earlier this week. It doesn’t represent all the things you can do in the game, but it should give a decent idea of what’s going on. I hope you like it. I am planning to make more videos in the time ahead, hopefully with better editing.

More magic

I’ve added 8 new spells that you can cast, some of which are more useful than others. Below are some highlights:

  • Blink – instantly teleport a small distance in whatever direction you’re facing.
  • Bend Time – Slows down time 50%, but still allowing you to move at the same speed. Attacking cancels the effect.
  • Sense Living – Adds a glow around living characters, such as people or animals
  • Candlelight – Spawns a glowing light orb above your head that lights up around you for around a minute.

There should be a video demonstrating the magic in not too long.

Public beta in TWO weeks!

Tales has been in development for a while now, and it’s almost time to enter beta! The beta is planned to start on June 9 over at Itch.io. During this time the game will be available for free, with optional purchase for those who want to support further development.

Once the beta is ready I will make another blog post annoucing it, including a download link and some instructions on how to report bugs/errors/glitches/feature requests(within reason). I’m very excited to have strangers play it and not just friends and get some feedback on what is currently in the game. No time frame has been set for how long the beta will last.

Other changes/additions

  • Started work on replacing the current dialogue boxes with new ones. The new system features such things as
    • Animated portraits.
      • Facial animations for mouth based on dialogue length
      • Facial expressions
    • Camera panning to the speaking character
    • Choice timer (random choice if time runs out (Not used everywhere, don’t worry))
    • Name of the speaking character at the top of the box instead of being in the dialogue text

mouthMoveNew dialogue screen preview. Please excuse the prototype art.

Skjermbilde 2017-05-25 13.37.25.png

Old dialogue box

This is a consideriable amount of work, as each dialogue box has to be manually replaced. I have no estimate for how long it will take to update them all, but the current goal is to have most of it done by the time of beta.

  • Finally done with replacing trees
  • Finally got save/load game to work properly in general and fixed issues with party members not spawning properly.
  • Shop owners will now throw out the player if they are inside their shop at closing hours.
  • Added space telescope for exploration of constellations and the Astya night sky.
  • Added more camp sites and roads throughout the overworld maps
  • Populated the swamp area with enemies

That’s it for the past two weeks, hope you enjoyed. Next post will mostly be dealing with the beta and some instructions related to reporting bugs and all that. So long!

Arena, Trading & One Year Anniversary

For the past weeks I worked primarily on a new shop system and the arena. Last saturday was also the one year anniversary for Tales of Astya’s development, woah! I didn’t have much to post until now, but there’s some goodies because of the delay. I was also thinking about maybe making a small YouTube video showing some of the biggest changes through the year with some commentary. We’ll see. Let’s get into the posts, shall we?

Trading Changes

Trading has received a decent overhaul, improving performance slightly and adding a variety of new features, listed below:

  • Merchants now have a specific amount of gold available which can be increased by purchasing items and decreased by selling items to him/her.
    • Resets every three days, will probably be changed at a later time
  • Price changes based on the player being a member of their faction and your rank in that faction.
    • Each rank adds a 10% price difference
  • Only buying specific item types from the player
    • EG a blacksmith will only purchase weapons, armor and ore
    • EG an alchemist will only buy reagents and so forth
    • General stores still buy all types of items

 

Arena

arenaExterior

Arena exterior

The arena was one of the earliest side activities I added to the project, though it has been shown little love the past year. This has changed! The arena now contains a small campaign where you’ll have to fight your way to the top to become the Grand Champion. The arena has two activities you can partake in; Tournament and Skirmish.

arenaSignup

The main entrance of the arena where you sign up for tournaments and skirmishes.

The tournaments is the main campaign, where you’re pitted against strong opponents to defeat in order to advance to the next round. They still need to be balanced properly, and are intended to prove tough competition. Skirmishes on the other hand is a simple free for all, where the last man standing is the winner. Skirmishes yield little besides a few coins and is mostly intended for practice before the tournament.

Other changes/additions

  • Started work on a wiki that should be ready for launch
    • Details about lore, locations, items and all that easily available. Want a preview? Send a message through twitter or leave a comment below!
  • Added a telescope to look at the night sky
  • Various bug and glitch fixes

The wiki has taken a lot of time away from development, but it’s worth it in my opinion. That’s it for this week! Until next time, have a good one.

NPC Mailing and Player Housing

It’s been a while since the last post, primarily because of vacations and me taking a small break from gamedev to avoid going insane. But now the break is over, and development is continuing once again. Some interesting new stuff this week, so keep on reading!

Mail system

The biggest new feature is the mail system. This allows NPC’s to send the player mail in game, which may contain gold, items or both. Or none at all, as it could also be spam or advertisements(not real ones, obviously). Your mail can be checked in any mailbox throughout the game, either at that regions Post Office, or at your house if it has a mailbox outside. Some of the letters can be worth following up, even if they look a bit shady. You never know what you might find.

mailBoxes

Small GIF showing off the interface and how it works.

Letters can also be configured to take several days to arrive, or on the same day they’re sent, as well as being randomly generated from time to time. This randomization mostly applies to spam being sent to the player, but others can be as well.

Player Housing improvements

Since very early in the project, the player has been able to purchase property where they get access to a bed for sleeping, which provides some extra bonuses when waking up. That was as far as the housing system went, and it felt kinda underwhelming. You own the property after all, why wouldn’t you be able to change it more to your liking? Well, now that’s possible. Each of the houses purchased has one or two “slots” where you can put a furniture of your choice to provide services and/or buffs to your abilities. If your character is an alchemist, place down a alchemist table. Or maybe you favor cooking delicious food? Place a oven instead. There’s not a huge variety of furniture just yet, but it’s easily added. Furniture can be purchased at various furniture stores throughout, the first one being in Stonehaven.

Other changes/additions

  • Started work on ships sailing around the world, landing at docks and offering the player rides for a sum of gold.
  • Added uniforms/outfits allowing the player to dress up as servants etc to sneak in to locations they’re not supposed to be.
  • Added various furniture items for placing in player houses
  • Cleaned up various maps and dungeons.

Not much to write this week, sadly. But it’s better than nothing at least! See you again soon, I’m hoping to have more by then.

Fishing, Sprites & Release Plans

This week I worked mostly on the visual aspects of Tales, improving sprites and drawing promotional art. Sorry about the delayed posting date, sometimes it happens. Oh well, let’s get into it!

New Character Sprites (AGAIN!)

For the fourth time, the character sprites have changed. This time not as drastic as the first three though. This time I added shading and polished the animations, removing strange artifacts and making them seem a little more natural. Oh, and they also have eyes now. Previously  they did not have eyes because of the theme, “you’re just another person” and not having eyes made the characters seem more like they were all the same. But now they have eyes, which makes it easier to give their faces more expression like surprised, angry, happy and so forth. Skjermbilde 2017-04-09 15.15.11.png

Itch.io and release schedule

Because of Valve’s recent announcement of removing Steam Greenlight and the new pricing model still being uncertain, the plan is currently to release Tales of Astya over at Itch.io instead. I spent a little time refreshing my pages, even the one for Color Tunnel, and you can see it by clicking here. There are currently no files uploaded, I’ll get to that shortly.

I’d like to talk a little about the release schedule I’m imagining for Tales. First up is releasing the base game, with the Uspya region fully done. After the initial release, I intend to spend some time fixing bugs that show up or are reported. After most of the bugs are smashed, the plan is to release yet another region as a free content pack, then iron out most of the bugs in the following month. This is how I intend to release all the regions in the time after initial launch. The extra content will hopefully be much faster to develop, since most of the base systems are already in place and most that needs to be done is writing quests and creating new art assets. I don’t want to predict how long each of the packs will take, but I’m looking  at around 4-5 months for each of them. Time will show. Progress will obviously be shared on this blog as it unfolds.

Fishing

Another addition this week is the fishing system. This is something I’ve wanted to add for a while now, but never really got around to doing. But here it is. It’s very simple at the moment and I haven’t got around to making animations for it just yet, but they should be implemented sometime this week.

fishing.gif

Early prototype captured in the testing map. This was made before the new sprites were implemented.

The system is similar to how it works in World of Warcraft, where you walk up to a school of fish and press the action key. In order to catch the fish you got to press the Reel button when you hear and see a splash. Each school can hold up to three different kinds of fish and other random trash, even a treasure chest (chances are very slim). You can then take your newly caught fish and bring it to either a stove or a campfire to cook it, or sell it to a fish monger if you need some money. Currently there are five different kinds of fish you can catch, with more planned for later expansions.

Other changes/additions

  • Increased base resolution from 960×540 to 1920×1080, due to text being blurred when scaling up. Now it looks super crisp and nice, also with more items shown in interfaces with lists in them.
  • Redid all graphics for interfaces, including buttons, frames, icons and more to have  more detail in them, but still having a clean feel to it.
  • Made a proper version of the world map. Now it looks like this. It’s also shown on the loading screen when starting the game.worldMapBorder.png
  • Cities and towns now have their own loading screen images, showing how the location looks while waiting for it to load (doesn’t take long, usually only 1-2 seconds)
    • Certain maps are loaded and unloaded when needed to prevent performance from being bogged down. When entering a location with interior maps, those maps are being loaded.
  • Fixed more issues related to Z depth rendering.
  • Finished cooking, brewing and alchemy interfaces.
  • Replaced more of the trees from 3D to 2D.
  • Fixed up a lot of interior maps (houses, shops, dungeons etc)

That’s all for this week, hope you enjoyed. See you again in the next one! Oh, and lastly I wanna post some GIFs I made for a podcast I listen to, Rad Crew. Enjoy!