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..

The big interface cleanup

For the past two weeks I’ve been working mostly on questlines and redesigning some of the interfaces in the game. The inventory, trading, map, character/party and spellbook interfaces have all received a new design to make them easier to navigate and give information more clearly. Also, Temporal Turmoil ended up getting first place in the GameMaker Jam! Without further ado, let’s jump in to the changes.

Trading changes

The trading interface has seen a small change in design, adding in a new button; Haggle. This allows you to change the price of items either higher or lower, based on your Cunning skill. Please note the GIF below is a work in progress, so it might change.shopHaggle.gifThe inventory screen looks more or less the same, except that the Haggle button instead says Drop Item. I’ve also removed item icons from the list view on the left side to a single one that changes when you hover an item(see the apple in the GIF above?) for performance reasons. Below the item icon the item type graphic is displayed. The number next to the item name is how many you are currently carrying of that item.

Party and Character management

The player/party screen has seen a face lift too, as noted at the top. It used to be a single screen with all the information showing, but only for the player character. Not any more! The party screen has been “updated” to use the tabs as well, allowing you to see each characters individual stats, equipment, background information and some gameplay stats related to that character.

charScreen2.gif

New character/party screen

charscreen

Old character screen, very old. I should’ve taken a screenshot before redesigning it.

Party members will appear in a list below the button that says Player Name, allowing you to click them and see their stats and all that. You currently can’t give party members items and equipment to carry for you, but I might add it if enough people want it. Having party members is fully optional, even in quests that tell you that you should take one or two with you, because you’re the best around and nothing will ever keep you down.

Speaking of party members, I’m working on the ability to hire mercenaries and other followers that’ll help you fight if things should get too hard. Most party members are predefined though. Talking with them is in many cases context sensitive, aka being in a cave or out in the field can trigger different dialogue options.

New map screen

The map screen has received a complete overhaul, now including tabs for all the regions, filters, location descriptions and redone icons for the various locations. Here’s a comparison of old/new.

The new map allows you to mark custom locations by clicking tiles you have discovered. Hovering over a map tile will bring up a basic description of the location along with its name. The green tile is your current location, which can also be toggled off. Quest locations do not appear, both because it would require a redo of the current quest system and making you actually read the quest descriptions to find out where to go.

Spellbook

This has been the interface I’ve paid the least attention to while working on Tales, as I wasn’t completely sure what type of spells should be possible and their categories. Now it’s fairly complete, the remaining task is to create icons for the spells and particle effects when using them. The number next to the spell name is the mana cost when casting that spell.

spellbook

Same as always, tabs up top to change the category of spells you want to view. The to rightmost buttons are Alchemy Recipes and Cooking Recipes. Not fully done yet, I expect to have them done by next week along with more information about how magic works and some more spells.

Other changes/additions

  • Added a variety of teas that give different bonuses if drank before sleeping. EG more health when waking up, bonus experience for a small time and so forth. Tea can be crafted either on stoves or on a campfire (requires a teapot)
  • Lighting and audio improvements
  • Blood splatter effects when fighting enemies, if they have any blood to shed. It even spreads on the walls if you’re close enough. Enemies wearing heavy armor will spill less blood, and those with light armor, more.bloodeffects
    • Blood and gory effects can be turned off in the settings if you want
  • Started planning a short trailer, hopefully coming out in a few weeks if all goes according to plan.
  • Imported two new music tracks for dungeons and the swamp. Delicious!
  • Music dynamically changing to combat music when aggroing enemies.
  • New sound effects

That’s all for this week, cya all in the next one! Feel free to leave a comment with thoughts about what you just read, it’s greatly appreciated.

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.

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!

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

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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.

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.