Quests & Character Generator

For the past two weeks I’ve mostly been working on writing quests and whatnot, therefore no post last week. I’ve also made some other smaller additions of course, more details below. New art and maps aren’t such a high priority right now, as it’s mostly done. The focus forward will be on adding in all the quests and characters, which means posts will be less frequent (not every week, but definitely every two weeks). Let’s jump in.

Questlines

For the most part I’ve been working on the questlines related to the Outposts,  one of the primary factions you interact with. To begin either of them, you have to travel to the West Outpost and talk with the commander, telling him a skill you’re most sufficient in, which determines which of the outposts you are sent to (East, North, South). So far I’ve only worked on the North Outpost quests, amounting to six so far. There’ll be more as time goes on, of course.

skjermbilde-2017-02-16-16-43-23

The North Outpost

You might wonder, what are these Outposts? They are the primary quest hubs for advancing the main story and are spread to each of the four corners of Uspya. Each of the Outposts have a commander, a smith, a trainer and some soldiers stationed there. The blacksmiths each specialize in one kind of weapon/armor that they craft better than anyone else, but will only sell their best goods to those of higher rank or after completing some tasks for them. The trainers can help you gain some free experience points by completing their training tasks.

Deeper Character Creator – Homeland and backgrounds

A few posts ago, I wrote about the redesigned Character Creator. I’ve added two more tabs to it, allowing you to set your homeland and create a background for your character. Changing your homeland affects your stats, as each of them provides a +1 bonus to a specific statistic, as well as changing dialogue from time to time. EG people from Sedresh might not like a person coming from Usmor, or they might want to be their best friend and so forth. This can also affect trading to some degree. The background generator allows you to set your parents professions, your aspiration and your previous education. These settings determine what items, stats and money you start out the game with. EG; your father being a blacksmith starts you out with a iron sword.

backgroundgen

Work in progress.

Other changes/additions

  • Added a variety of cloaks to shield the wearer from rain and keep warm in cold environments.
  • Fixed various sprites and item icons.
  • Added magical wards, placeable by the player. Wards are temporary and stationary objects that attack enemies within range.
  • New types of plants and cooking ingredients.
  • Animated banners and flags to ripple in the wind.
  • Started work on some new enemy types
  • Added transition animation when sailing by boats.

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!

Facebook, dungeon refresh & game jams

This past week I’ve primarily been working on refreshing some dungeons, recording audio and drawing sprites. I also made a Facebook page to autopost new blog posts over there. More on that later. I also helped out a good friend drawing some sprites for a game he made for a GameMaker Game Jam over the previous weekend, which you can download by going here.

Dungeon Refreshing

Some of the dungeons I made back when Tales was just in its infancy was in desperate need of a refresh, primarily in layout. My main focus has been a frozen manor in the northern parts of the game world. I ended up scrapping the whole thing and redoing it from the ground up instead. I’ve included some ancient screenshots below, and screenshots of the new layout below those again.

Old

New

The new layout also features loads of new sound effects and other small things to improve the atmosphere drastically. Can’t say much more without risking to spoil what is going on there, you’ll have to try and find it whenever the public beta is available(shouldn’t be too long).

Temporal Turmoil

r0fnosk

Temporal Turmoil is a fast paced puzzle platformer where a clone of yourself is spawned on a timer that follows your exact steps. You control Cat, a dude who has a cat named Dude. The game is free to download by clicking this link, it’s worth taking a look. Programmed entirely by Johnwo, and both of us made sprites for it.

Facebook page

As mentioned earlier, I made a Facebook page you can like to get new blog posts directly into your wall. No more needing to head over to Twitter or checking the blog for new posts if you’re unsure there is something new. Click here to check it out.

Other changes/additions

As usual, the list at the end of the post about other smaller changes and additions to Tales.

  • Added a storage box to banks and player houses where you can put items you don’t want to carry around all the time. Storage boxes are linked, similar to Stash Boxes in Diablo or a bank in any MMO.
  • Fixed shops
    • Prices were all messed up
    • Errors when hovering certain items
  • Lighting improvements
  • New hair styles, available at the barber shop
  • Fixed saving/loading (big one)
  • More variation in food and drink items
  • Started working on more animals

That’s all for this week. Please leave a comment below if you want me to start writing a new post every week, or if it should still be bi-weekly. Every week will results in shorter posts with less exciting stuff, while bi-weekly results in longer, more in depth posts. Bai!

New Damage Formula & Character Creator

For the past two weeks, I spent some time updating the damage formula to be slightly more realistic, redesigned the character creator to better fit the rest of the interfaces in the game and drew the basic shape of the world map.

New damage formula

A new damage formula has been implemented, intended to increase realism and make the player care a bit more about what equipment they are bringing with them when heading out. With this new system, weapons are split into three categories; Sharp, Blunt and Ranged. Sharp weapons are things like swords, daggers, small axes and such. Blunt weapons cover maces, clubs, greatswords, war- hammers and axes and last Ranged covers bows and crossbows.

Blunt weapons are generally heavier, slower and more expensive to purchase, but deal more damage per hit. Sharp weapons is the other way around; cheap, fast and deal less damage. Ranged weapons are a mix, where you can either use Shortbows, Longbows or Crossbows. Shortbows shoot faster, Longbows shoot longer and Crossbows offer a middle ground between those.

Sharp and Ranged, except for crossbows, deal less damage towards plate armor. Instead when fighting these opponents, you should use a Blunt weapon instead to instead crush the armor. Sharp weapons are still effective towards light armor such as leather or chainmail, and more if the enemy has no armor at all.

World Map facelift

The world map has gotten a facelift, going from Excel spreadsheet style to something that looks like a proper map. It’s still gonna need some work to make it complete, but here’s what I got so far.

astya-world-map

New character creator

Back in October 2016 I made a post about making a new character creator interface. Now, it’s time to post about that again. The new character creator screen has all the features of the old one, along with some new randomization buttons and layout. The old layout wasn’t coherent with the new design philosophy of interfaces, where most of them now have sub categories that you can choose between. Here are some of the new things you can do with this character creator:

  • Choose a gender
  • Randomization
    • Hair
    • Hair color
    • Clothes
    • Clothes color
    • Statistics
    • Gender (50/50 chance of either)
    • Name, based on gender
  • Rotate the character to get a proper preview (up, down, left, right)
  • Better performance

So without further ado, here’s some screenshots showing how it looks:

Minor stuff

Apart from the new stuff mentioned above, some smaller tweaks and additions have also made it into Tales, list below.

  • Icon changes
  • Resized message box text and height
  • Made outhouses interactive after testers complained they couldn’t use them
  • New alchemy and cooking recipes
  • Changes to the outposts quests to fit a stat theme based on their location. EG Strength up North and Dexterity in the South and so forth
  • New traps; spinning blades and swinging axes
  • Fixed some locations where player can get stuck (this’ll probably be on more lists in the future)

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and have a nice day.

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.

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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.

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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

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An oratory

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Small personal library

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Barber shop interface

chickenpeck

Chickens

sheep

Sheep

shields

Shields

 

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