Building your own things

After taking a bit of a break after the release of 0.1.8, I have started work on two systems that are scheduled for 0.1.9; the House Builder and the Ship Customizer. Read all about it in this post, with some more information about other stuff that’s in the works near the end.

House Builder

I’ve talked about this a lot in the past, and now it’s finally time to start really working on it. The current builder that’s in the game has the bare minimum of functionality, and frankly isn’t that great to use.

houseBuilder3.gif

First iteration after adding isometric camera mode. Notice how you have to click once to place each tile. Not very intuitive.

In the above GIF you can see one of the additions I made, which is the isometric camera view. It can be toggled back to regular 45 degree mode too, don’t worry. It’s mostly there to make it possible to place tiles behind walls, as the linecast doesn’t go through the roof tiles of walls. Plus it looks kinda like Sims 1, so that’s something. However, you can also see that each tile has to be placed by clicking each grid. That’s why I made it possible to click and drag instead, shown below.

houseBuilder6.gif

Much better! Also the tiles are a bit more faded.

That’s much better, don’t you agree? Tiles can be removed by holding down the Modifier 1 key introduced with 0.1.8 (default Left ALT).

I’ve also made some changes to the toolbar in the lower left of the screen where you access everything to place in your house. It currently looks like this. The big buttons changes the categories, currently Wall, Floor, Furniture, Door, Light and Environmental. On the right there’s another small window with some more editing tools. The first button is to toggle the grid, the second changes the camera angle. The pencil and bucket do what you expect, though I haven’t gotten around to making the fill function just yet. Lower left toggles the interface off. Re-enable it by pressing Escape. And the last one rotates the tile you’re placing. Fancy! The camera can also be panned around by using WASD or the arrow keys.

houseBuilderToolbar.png

And last but not least, placing furniture. Currently you can only place a few basic ones such as a bed and the alchemy table, but more is coming. Furniture can be purchased in Stonehaven in the furniture shop there. Placing storage chests will also be a thing.

houseBuilder5.gif

Furniture is still a bit glitchy to place, but it works.

Ship Customizer

This was kinda added in 0.1.8 by allowing you to fix your ship in Clearwater in Cafror by talking to the man working outside at The Ship Brothers. 0.1.9 brings in a new interface to add and change different parts on your ship. It looks a lot like the house builder interface, because consistency is important.

shipCustomize.png

Current iteration of the ship customizer interface. The 0 at the top is supposed to be the name of your boat.

Currently you can only change the sails, hull material and the cannons, but I also want to let you add a fishing net for deep sea fishing and some other tools to survive at sea.

On the left of the screen you can see the statistics of your ship. The top bar is the speed rating, which goes from 0-100. The one under is the turning rate, which also goes from 0-100. Adding new sails and better hull materials increases these ratings. The last icon is your crew counter. The max amount of crew increases by improving your Sailing skill. Improve that skill by just sailing around.

I haven’t fully decided on how you get the different parts for the ships yet, apart from outright buying them from merchants. It could be fun to craft the different parts yourself, but the problem lies in the gathering of wood since trees cannot be cut down at the moment and adding that functionality would take even more time than upgrading the NPC dialog system (which is still in the works!) Though if this is something people want to be able to do, I can look into it. Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Other progress

Progress on maps in Sedresh is also coming along nicely, below is a WIP screenshot of one of the new towns called Oaksprings. The inn, called Red Oak Inn, is fully functional and the same is true for the general store. It still needs a lot of work, but the base layout is complete. The basic story of the town is that is was built as a home for the people working in the mines directly east of the town.

oaksprings.png

Oaksprings village, home to a lot of miners.

And here’s a small screenshot of the biggest city in the game, Nagana. It’s split into two maps, the Lower and Upper parts of town. You can already travel here by boat, but there’s not much to see or do here just yet. It’s still gonna be a while until this is the main focus of development as you can probably tell by looking at it.

aslaryLower.png

A small snippet of the lower parts of the city of Nagana over to the east in Aslary.

And last but not least, polish on clothing and hair sprites is underway, because it’s severely needed. I have no ETA of when this work is complete, but it will take some time. It’s not difficult, just very tedious because of all the frames of animation that has to be drawn. 6 frames of animations in 5 directions, each for Walking, Idle, Slashing and so on. It’s a lot of work. If you’re a decent pixel artist looking for work, send me a message if you’re interested.

headIdle_preview.png

Idle animation for a new headgear. No, your eyes aren’t red in-game.

That’s all for this post. I hope to have more info soon, so make sure to follow me on Twitter to get a notified when the next post arrives. I should probably become better at posting other stuff over there too..

Ship Mechanics & Status Update

For this weeks post I thought I’d talk a little about ships and the cargo hauling system currently being implemented into Tales. Ships are already available for purchase in the currently released version, but they aren’t really that great. Next version, 0.1.8, aims to add a whole new level of complexity to the ships; cargo hauling. This means that you can purchase goods in one region, and sell it in another for more, or in some cases less, gold based on the demand and availability of the cargo. At the end there’s also some information about other new features coming in 0.1.8 that you can look forward to.

How do I trade?

cargoHaulSign

The Warehouse in Fiks

Very simple. In most towns of a certain size you find near the coast, there will be a Warehouse which you can enter and talk to a trader.

Before you enter though, you must make sure that your ship is docked in the town you wish to purchase from or sell to. You can still browse what the have to sell, but you cannot purchase anything if the ship isn’t docked.

If you still haven’t purchased a ship, this can be done in Fiks right next to the Warehouse. Convenient, yeah? After 0.1.8 goes live, the price of ships will be increased, so you should get there as soon as possible to get it for cheap.

Buying and selling

Once you’re inside and ready to spend some gold, talk to the trader inside. This will bring up the following window.

cargoHaulWindow

The trading window for cargo.

cargoList

Currently available cargo.

On this screen you can browse the cargo available. Click an item to learn more about the value and its weight. Your ship can only hold a certain amount of weight, to prevent sinking. This can be upgraded at the Ship Brothers, a new workshop in the town of Clearwater east of Fiks.

Some items will be more valuable in other regions, such as Timber being very valuable on Ceth, and Wool in Usmor. You’ll have to experiment on your own to find the other combinations that work.

So far there’s 24 different items you can purchase, with more being added at a later time.

Hiring crew

Another new mechanic for ships that’s coming in 0.1.8 is the ability to hire crew members to work for you on your ship. Crew members have jobs which they will fulfill, such as mate, cleaning, cook and cannon shooting. For 0.1.8 only the Mate job will be available, which lets you use your ship for fast traveling between ports that you’ve already visited. Without having a crew members in this job you have to sail there yourself. Planned for 0.1.9 is piracy mechanics, allowing you to board ships, take loot and gain notoriety as a pixel pirate. Yarr!

Crew members can be found in taverns and sometimes through quests. So far there’s only three that’s available. Same as with the cargo hauling, your ship needs to be docked in the port where the crew member you wish to hire is located.

What else is new?

It’s been a long time since the last post, and my activity on Twitter has been lacking a lot. I have however been working hard on systems for the game. Some of the new things you can find/see/do in 0.1.8 include the following stuff:

Achievement system

Do tasks, get XP, show your friends how great an adventurer you are. So far there’s 30 achievements you can unlock for doing various things. Explore all the capital cities, complete amount of quests, cook some food, craft an item, rent a bed and so forth. Many of them are rather simple tasks, but unlocking achievements is still fun, right?

New map screen

We can all agree that the old map screen wasn’t all that good, using premade tiles in a grid with different graphics to display the type of map it is. Below is a very old screenshot of how maps used to be. Not really optimal for a huge world, is it?

mapscreen

Now instead, the map screen looks like this

newMap

New map screen.

The new map screen has several useful features, such as showing icons for shops and points of interest in maps you’ve explored, zooming in/out, custom markers and panning. The top right text is the current region you’re in, while the empty box next to it tells you the name of the town/area you’re currently hovering with the finder (dark brown circle in the middle). The map graphic isn’t complete yet, as you can probably tell, but it’s a nice indication of what to expect (just pretend it’s done).

As I mentioned, you can also place custom markers/notes on the map wherever you want with a unique color to it. Now it’s much easier to remember the position of those bandits that keep killing you or a dungeon you’re too low level for.

customMapMarkers

Placing custom markers with colors and notes.

Skill system

skills

A new skill system is being implemented, allowing your character to get better at a variety of life skills such as Smithing, Cooking, Herblore, Archery and Mining. Currently only the skills related to Crafting and Gathering have been implemented, as the combat ones will take a bit more considering balancing and all that jazz. On the right you can see a small preview of the current skills in the game.

When you look at it you can also see that there’s 5 columns with Levels in them. Once you reach this level in the skill, a new perk is unlocked for it. These are still subject to be changed,  but I’m happy with most of the ones that are currently in. As you can see, if you want to smith armor, you’ll have to increase your smithing skill rather high. Makes sense right, since it’s (probably) much easier to forge a sword than it is to forge armor. I haven’t done it myself, but it makes sense. Same goes for all the other crafting skills. You gotta crawl before you can walk.

Interface improvements

As part of the bug smashing process, interfaces have received a complete overhaul. Performance in many cases have improved, and navigating them is much easier. Previously when scrolling down your item list, the selector would jump over to the category selector at the top, which is no longer the case. In all interfaces with a category selector (the thin buttons near the top of a list) can now be changed by using A and D (or whatever buttons you bind to move your character Left and Right), or clicked with the mouse. Gamepad support is also improved, taking use of the bumper and trigger buttons for navigating categories and interfaces.

The quest log has been broken for a while, but not any more. In 0.1.7 the names will often be wrong, and clicking a quest can bring up the wrong quest description. This is no longer a problem. How I even let this slip through I don’t want to think about.

Calling out for NPCs

Don’t you just hate it when you’re following an NPC and they keep walking faster than you or out of range so you can’t catch up with them? This is no longer a problem, at least in Tales of Astya. Now you can press the X key on your keyboard to shout for an NPC to stop and wait for you for a few seconds. This is still early, but it works. The plan is to make it a bit more context sensitive, so that if you’re calling for a guard your character says different things than he/she would to a regular person.shout

When is 0.1.8 coming out!?

Hard to say, but it shouldn’t be long. I have ironed out most of the bugs that I’ve been able to find and that have been reported. The one thing that has taken up the most amount of time and I’m not yet done with is updating the Uspya region to use the new dialog system with portraits and animations. It’s getting there though, and I reckon at least 80% of the dialog has been converted.

That’s all for now. To get the latest news, follow me on Twitter. I’ve also started streaming some of the development over on Twitch, you should stop by some time! It’s a good time and lets you see some of the inner workings of the game being made.

Development update

​Hi there! It’s been a while since the last update, so I’m writing this to let you know that yes, the project is ​not ​dead and still in active development, though there will still be some time until the next patch is out. My current goal is to finish up the Cafror region before pushing the next patch, which is starting to near completion in terms of map design, quests, items and NPCs. Below is a stitch of how it currently looks. The brown/gray blob in the top left is part of something else, so don’t worry about that just yet.

​As you can see, it’s a rather large area, consisting of 19 overworld maps and a bunch of interior/cave/dungeon maps. I’ve been spending a lot of time on creating tile sets to make each location feel more unique, as well as polishing and fixing up the various clothes/armor sprites used on NPCs. Many of the older tiles have also been updated slightly, my art “skills” have grown quite a bit since they were drawn over a year ago.

I am also working on a new map system, similar to what you find in similar games instead of the grid based one that is currently in the game.​

Please note that this GIF is a work in progress and not representative of the complete product.​This new map screen will make navigating much easier, as it properly marks your current location and displays all discovered locations (unless you have a map for that region, then it’ll show the most important ones). Custom markers is in progress as well, allowing you to mark locations for later, possibly with custom labels/notes for each.  Exciting!

That’s all for this post. Make sure to stop by the Discord server​ and/or follow me on Twitter​ for updates outside of this devblog.

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!

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.