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.

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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!

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.

Skjermbilde 2017-03-26 14.48.29

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.

cof

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.

gatherWheat

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.

windTrees

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.

Skjermbilde 2017-03-14 22.06.14

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.

selectionHighlight

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.

charScreen2.gif

New character/party screen

charscreen

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.