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.

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.