Sound & Music(finally!)

Happy new year (just two weeks late)! For this week I’m going to talk a primarily about the sound design of Tales of Astya, as I have finally gotten around to purchasing some custom composed music!

Music

The musical style of the game is heavily influenced by medieval instruments and melodies, and inspire a feeling of going on adventures. I’ve inserted a small preview below:

The music is composed by Joel Steudler, whose Soundcloud can be found by clicking here. Lots of great stuff there, be sure to check him out.

Reverb

Since the project start, a goal was to provide a rich soundscape, one of them being reverb of sound in caves or inside stone structures. Since 001 Game Creator doesn’t support this feature by default, another solution had to be found. After discussing with the community over at the 001 Discord Server, the solution was to first play the original sound, then do a check if the user has reverb enabled in Audio Options. If so, play the audio reverb file at the maps defined reverb amount. This effect is used on both player and other characters.
Pseudocode;

Sound.Play(sound, SoundVolume);
if(Map.Reverb > 0 && AudioReverb)
{
Sound.Play(soundReverb, Map.Reverb);
}

Ambient Sounds

Another element included in the soundscapes are of course ambient tracks. Walking through the forest listening to the birds chirp, the ominous rumbling of the earth when exploring caves and squeaky walls in abandoned buildings add a lot of atmosphere combined with the music alongside camera effects and particle effects. I’ll include a screenshot of this sometime soon, it’s still a bit early to show off.

One of the unique aspects of the ambiance is how it is very dynamic. The chirping of birds are all coming from the actual birds in each map, meaning if you kill all the birds there’s no more sound coming from them. They respawn after a while, but while they’re not there you can contemplate on how horrible you are for eradicating species.

New Options Menu

Also coming with the music is a redesigned options menu, where you’ll be able to change many settings to tailor the game to your liking. You cannot change the resolution in-game, sadly. This will have to be set up in the startup menu.

The Effects tab isn’t screenshot worthy yet, it only has one options so far; raindrop impact particle effect toggling. The sliders in the Audio tab are for master volume, sound volume, music volume and last ambient volume. You might notice there’s another tab greyed out. I’m not sure yet what to put there, so it might be removed before release.

Other additions/changes/fixes

  • Redesign of some maps to make them feel more compact and unique
  • Lanterns/road lights automatically turning on or off depending on time of day
  • Arena almost finished
  • A bunch of new tile sets, sprites, sounds and items
  • Performance improvements, thanks to 001’s new dynamic resource loading
  • AI improvements
  • Dungeon redesigns/tile updates
  • Weapon usage animations were borked, weapons now properly show up when using them
  • More magic spells and combat abilities
    • Mark/Recall ala Morrowind. Allows you to set custom teleport locations.
    • Dazing and Confusing to slow down enemies
    • Poison
    • Generic fireball
    • Magic staves
  • More dialogue
  • Quests written down, but not yet fully implemented

That’s all for this week. Here’s to a great 2017!

Redesigns, factions & time flow

For the past week I’ve been working on a variety of things, primarily a small faction, changes to how time and quests work as well as interface redesigns.

Time

One of the changes to time is how it progresses. When the player walks from one edge of a map to another, time is currently advanced by 15 in game minutes to give a feeling of traveling a longer distance. It may change until release. Time also plays a role in some quests, requiring you to finish them within a certain amount of days. Some may also automatically fail if you take too long before starting/finding it, the dialogue of the quest giver can be different because no one helped them within a certain time frame or they may simply have moved on to somewhere else or died.

New Journal

In order to increase consistency of interfaces, I also made changes to the Journal, where you’ll now find your current quests and custom notes under proper categories. Creating custom notes requires you to have at least 1 piece of paper. Quest categories are also in, inspired by the Inventory screen. Below is a small example using placeholder quests. It still requires a bit of work, but it’s a proof of concept at least!

questlog3

The categories are as follow: All, Main, Misc, Treasure Hunts, Bounty Hunt, Faction and Custom Notes. The categories are easily switched between either by using gamepad bumpers or clicking with the mouse.

Treasure- and Bounty Hunt are two new quest types that can be found by either reading wanted posters or finding small maps/notes leading to greater loot. Bounty Hunts usually leads to a nice chunk of gold or some unique items, based on who placed the bounty.

New faction: Stargazers

The new faction is a small one and will not be joinable by the player. This new faction is called “Stargazers” and are  a small group of astronomers and munks. Their job is to look at the night sky and try to decipher what the alignment of the starry night sky mean and turn them into blessings for the people and the land. With a little bit of exploring, they may be the first faction the player will meet after starting a new game.

skjermbilde-2016-12-15-22-45-17

Their astronomy tower and living quarters. No lighting effects are applied in the screenshot.

As with all other shrines and sanctuaries, the player may give tribute to the altars found within to receive unique blessings by the gods or just make the faction like them more.

Camera lerping

I also added in some camera movement which can be toggled either on or off in the options menu.
cameralerp

That’s it for this week, until next week I hope to have applied the same changes as the Journal to the Factions screen as well as implementing more quests and fix at least a few bugs. Cya!

Gamepad support & World Map

For the past week I did some tweaking of input and writing some more of the lore to the game. Some new items, dialogue and the usual as well. The meat of the post is towards the end, regarding the world map and the plan ahead.

Improved gamepad support

In an effort to make the game enjoyable both in your computer chair or in the sofa playing on the TV, I’ve made some changes and improvements to the gamepad support in interfaces. If the game detects you are using a gamepad to play, icons for buttons will now appear on interfaces. Example below from the Inventory screen.

skjermbilde-2016-12-02-23-27-48

Gamepad icons on interfaces, signaling what buttons to press.

In this case, using the triggers changes the current screen and the bumpers change the category of items that are displayed. The font has also changed to a more fitting one that also looks better in low resolution than the old one. For those interested, the new font is 8514oem.

Message Boxes

I also made some changes to message boxes. Previously the choices you could make would be a static size and position, now they resize properly to fit the amount of choices. Another change is the ability to press 1-5 on the keyboard to make a selection without clicking it. The colors need some tweaking still.

Skjermbilde 2016-12-03 00.09.42.png

World Map

As mentioned in the previous post, the world map layout is also finished, though not all towns/areas are placed yet. Below is a screenshot from the spreadsheet layout of how the map should be once complete.

Skjermbilde 2016-12-03 00.15.12.png

Each bordered square equals to a map which is 40 x 30 tiles big(each tile is 32px), equaling to 1280px Width and 960px Height.Although the maps in reality are small, the zoom of the camera makes it feel much bigger than it actually is. I can make a more detailed post about it if anyone wants it.

The yellow island is the same one from that project at the beginning of this blog, found under the Desert Island category. I’m doing my best to recreate it in 001 with the most essential features and environments from that project.

Base game experience

The base game takes place in the green zone, Uspya (in lore meaning heartland), while the other ones are planned to be worked on primarily after the base game is in a reasonably complete condition and are added to the game through updates. Does that mean the game is technically Early Access? Leave a comment about it if you want! Some characters will talk about these areas as well as being mentioned in books and similar to give players a taste of what to expect when the regions become available. More details to come in the future. An idea I’ve been thinking about is actions you perform in regions have an effect on things in other regions. Not necessarily anything huge,  but it will definitely be strongly considered.

Oh yeah, the project has hit 7 months of development. New record! That’s all for this week, hope you come back!

Break time is over

For the week I’ve taken a small break from gamedev, instead focusing more of my time on actually playing games and doing some other things instead of spending the usual 3-5 daily hours working on Tales of Astya. Now I’m back for full, refreshed and ready for new challenges. I’ve mostly been playing Rainbow Six Siege and some Watch Dogs 2 in between. The new map and DLC operators are really awesome! If you haven’t played Siege yet, I absolutely recommend you try it out, it’s grown so much since it’s initial launch. Watch Dogs 2 turned out to be a much more enjoyable game than I initially thought it would be judging from gameplay trailers released before the game came out. Good stuff, Ubisoft!

I started working again fully this monday, fixing various bugs that testers have sent me and adding new features to Tales. These are some of the new things;

  • Barber shop, with custom RGB hair color editing and new hair styles
  • Animal husbandry
    • Sheep that can be sheared
    • Chickens that lay eggs
    • Basic animal AI (grazing and walking around)
    • Placeholders for sounds
  • More recipes to cooking and alchemy
    • Wine and beer brewing
    • Small food dishes
    • All potions that can be purchased can now be crafted (except quest/unique ones)
  • New ingredients to go along with the new recipes
  • Made the full world map (not just the region the current game takes place in)
  • Merchant prices based on the player and merchant Cunning statistic
  • New factions that can be joined
  • More unique dialogue for NPC’s that better fit their personalities
  • Thieves and highwaymen trying to rob the player
  • Shields

And as usual, here’s some screenshots and GIF’s

skjermbilde-2016-11-02-15-06-48

An oratory

skjermbilde-2016-11-03-14-35-46

Small personal library

skjermbilde-2016-11-23-08-03-18

Barber shop interface

chickenpeck

Chickens

sheep

Sheep

shields

Shields

 

That’s all for now, more will follow soon-ish! Cheers.

New Dungeon & Discord Bot

For this week I’d like to talk a bit about a new dungeon that I’ve been working on for a while and the Discord bot I made a while ago for the 001 Discord Server which is available for anyone to add right now. More details in the bottom of the post, but if you want to read the basics, click here.

New Dungeon – Wizard Lair

Now that most of the core systems are in place, it was time to start working “full time” on a dungeon. Though I have started with some concepts of other dungeons, this is the first fully fleshed out one with a proper plot and storytelling. The dungeon consists of thee parts; The Laboratory, The Undercave and The Tower. There are currently four different ways of finding it, two of them being quests, random exploration and through notice boards.

skjermbilde-2016-10-23-10-30-10

Part of the Undercave. Work in progress, will probably change before release

Background

The dungeon is inhabited by a bunch of crazy wizards known as The Outcast after being thrown out of the more politically correct Ring of Wizards who do magic for the greater good of the people. And yes, you can join either of them but not both at the same time. This also applies to other factions that are enemies to one another.

In their lair, The Outcast attempt various experiments, both on humans and machinery. Each of the unique wizards found here have a special subject they excel in and will eventually share some of their knowledge with the player.

skjermbilde-2016-10-20-23-25-14

The Laboratory. Work in progress, will probably change before release

Other fixes and additions

  • Added a mailing system which allows the player to send mail to other NPC’s and receive money or items through the mail service.
  • Message boards have random notes placed on them which change periodically.
  • General AI improvements
    • NPC’s go inside at night and come out during daytime
    • Some NPC’s take out their umbrella when it rains
    • Calls for help
    • Reporting crimes
    • Comment on current weather and time of day
  • Improved system for day & night to allow more flexible color grading during gameplay

 

PartyBot

Back in September I started a small project of writing a bot for the 001 Discord Server to fetch news and replace the then unavailable bot. PartyBot does a variety of things to spice up the chat with a little extra, such as hosting duels between online users and serving drinks. He/she/it is also able to search the internet using Duck Duck Go, find a random XKCD comic and flip coins for those harder decisions. It’s free, obviously, and can be added by clicking here! If you want to read more about it and all the features, click here!

That’s all for this week, cya in the next post!

Interfaces & Mini project

For this week I’d like to write about how the interfaces have changed since the last time I posted screenshots of them. Here’s a link to that post and talk a little about a small game I made during my vacation a few weeks ago that I completely forgot to write about in the last post. More on that near the end of this post.

New interfaces

categoryselector

Inventory and store category selector to more easily find items of certain types. From left to right; ALL, WEAPON, CLOTHING, CONSUMABLE, QUEST, BOOKS, REAGENTS, KEYS and last MISC

charscreen

The character screen where you get an overview of your current stats, equipment and can distribute points in stats to improve them.

inventoryscreen

Inventory screen.

messagebox

Dialogue box with the choices laid out below.

newchargen

New character creator

questscreen

Quest interface with your current quests laid out in a list. Hovering a quest shows you the current quest description and state.

mapscreen

Map screen. The overworld is laid out in a 6×6 grid. You must have a map in your inventory to access this screen.

 

That other game – PLAY IT

Like I said in the beginning of this post, I made a small game as a distraction during my vacation this year and uploaded it on itch.io for anyone to play. The game is made in Unity and it’s an endless runner (like we don’t have enough of those already). Here’s a screenshot of it:skjermbilde-2016-09-07-00-25-19As you play you must go through an endless obstacle course, dodging the traps and reach the end. Once you reach the end, the camera pulls back and puts you back at the beginning for you to go again. The levels are also randomly generated and full of colors, with some powerups to pick up as well.

 

So much new stuff!

Even though it has been three months since the last post, Tales of Astya is still well and alive. Over the past three months a lot has been added or changed, so let’s go through them step by step. Mobile readers beware of lots of screenshots.

Day & Night System

We’re starting with one of the biggest additions, the day and night system. Time now advances properly with transitions between night, dusk, dawn, morning and midday lighting.

The time of day affect various things, such as the open state of stores and what beasts will spawn in the wild. NPC’s also change their dialogue based on the current time.

Weather System

Alongside the new day and night system is also a revamped weather system with rain and thunderstorms. During rainstorms the maps get darker and the fog more intense, making it harder to see properly. All the overworld maps also have their own unique chance of rain and thunder happening. During thunder all characters in the current map have a chance of being struck, dealing extra damage. Damage and chance is increased further by walking in water.

Crafting & Gathering

Crafting is also in! It wouldn’t be a open world game without it, right? Brew your own potions and alcoholic drinks as well as cooking delicious food. The things you are able to craft is based on your Intelligence attribute and what recipes you have learned. New recipes are found in cook books, notes and through talking with people around the world. Ingredients can either be bought from stores or gathered in the wild. If you’re trying to craft a potion or alcohol, you’ll also need something to store it in, such as a bottle or a vial. These can be bought or found throughout the game.

gatheringIn the GIF above you can see the action icon(those flowers) for gathering a crafting reagent as well as the small sprite change for each type of reagent. The icon will probably be changed sometime during further development.

Separate interior mapsinteriormap

With the addition of the day/night system and new weather effects, a big change in map design had to be introduced. Previously, houses were open and you could see inside because there were no roof tiles. Now however, interiors are their own separate maps. This allows for them to have a much greater level of detail, as well as improving the performance of exterior maps.

That was pretty much what I wanted to share for this post. I’ll do my best to have another one ready next week, talking about more features and changes as they’re implemented. Until then, take care!