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.

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.

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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

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Chickens

sheep

Sheep

shields

Shields

 

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

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!