Design With a Grain of Salt: Maps!

The Nonsense Resumes!

ChinUp

 

Comrades! This is the second in our periodic series on game design. Today we focus on maps and how they can help make your game better. We’ll also be talking about the design pitfalls indie developers fall into once they realize they have a game but no good mappers.

If you want to see the first part in this series, on Dialogue Design, just click on this strangely coloured text.

Continue reading “Design With a Grain of Salt: Maps!”

Development Update: August 7th, 2017

The Art Front

Slime Promotional

Urimas has gotten me some sprites of Aquillia which I hope to put in the game soon. Chicken believes she will finish Mei’s Werecat dialogue portraits this week, and Hund will finish up coloring and shading the Mei Slime dialogue portraits. Rune has also gotten us a ghostly maid. Spooky!

 

 

 

The Code Front

Here’s the major additions for this week:

Werecat Transformation Scene

Finally, Mei can turn into a werecat! There’s an extended scene with a guest appearance by Nadia and an optional minor H-Scene. By the light of the moon!

Quantir Mansion Completed

The baseline event sequence for the Quantir Mansion is now complete, including an optional boss battle (that hasn’t been balanced yet…). The layout is done, all I need to do is make sure the enemy positioning and patrols work, and add a couple of missing triggers for the doors. I also need to make sure that the mansion doesn’t cause any bugs because it’s possible to approach it from two directions.

Mei and Florentina can now finally find what they need to end the chapter!

Sister Claudia Implemented

Sister Claudia now appears in the game! Find her journal, find her research notes, find what’s left of her convent…

Nix Nedar under development

The home of the Rilmani, Nix Nedar is the last major area I need to create before the chapter is complete. I do intend to add a bit of bonus content if I have time. I need to get some furniture sprites from Urimas before I can truly complete the area, though.

Map Redesign

I’ve redesigned the maps to use patrols and enemy grouping more than before, and added enemies to the northern section of the map which didn’t have them in Prototype 2.

Whether or not this is balanced, I am less sure of. I’ve added another save point to the forest and made more 1-enemy groupings in the early areas. Later on, the game is balanced around having Florentina in the party and Mei upgrading her equipment, but the only way to test the balancing is to… test it. That will take a while.

Item Redesign

I’m most of the way through adding extra loot for you to find. Special equipment such as the Fencer’s Raiment, which provides little defense but boosts Mei’s attack power, will come in handy during some of the boss battles. Code needs to be added for weapons like the Serrated Katana, which increases bleed damage but deals less overall than the Rusty Katana. It’ll be quite useful during a certain boss encounter, as well.

Design Theorizing

Expect a post later this week on map design, once I have some spare time. Been extra busy this week because I have to cover for other people at work, all the time, damn it.

Prototype 3 Status

The target for Prototype 3 is End of August. Here’s the checklist:

  • The Quantir Mansion completed (Check!)
  • Nix Nedar completed (In progress!)
  • The Dimensional Trap basement mini-dungeon completed (CHECK!)
  • The Dimensional Trap upper floor mini-dungeon completed
  • The Dimensional Trap main-floor redesign completed (CHECK!)
  • Werecat TF and event sequence completed (Check!)
  • Ghost Maid TF and event sequence completed
  • Breanne’s flower subquest completed
  • Florentina’s past subquest completed
  • Old map enemy redesign completed (CHECK!)
  • Probably something else that will come up and be too good to ignore.
  • All the attendant bugs…

Boring Changelog

Here’s all the things different since last week:

  • Added Werecat TF. Yay!
  • Abortive slumber party during Werecat TF! Yay!
  • Nadia/Mei H-scene during Werecat TF! Yay!
  • Fixed the maps to use their correct positions on the world map where applicable.
  • Added the Quantir Estate event chain.
  • Added the Claudia Rescue event chain.
  • Fixed a bug when upgrading equipment that isn’t equipped on a character.
  • Removed debug code for upgrading equipment. It now actually costs ingredients to upgrade stuff.
  • Fixed a bug where poison and bleed would not reset between combats in some cases.
  • Added patrolling werecat enemies.
  • Added enemies to the path between Breanne’s and the Quantir Mansion.
  • Added werecat scavenger to Quantir area.

Argue about this post on the forums!

Support the project on Patreon so the artists stop being lazy shits!

 

Development Update: July 31st, 2017

Holy Cow, Artistry

This week, the art team really went wild. Urimas completed several full sprite sheets. The only two characters remaining to be sprited for Chapter 1 are Aquillia and Claudia.

Chickenwhite decided to go berserk and complete Blythe, Nadia, and Claudia’s dialogue portraits (1 each, since they’re minor characters) and then stun me by completing Mei’s dialogue portraits for Alraune, Bee, and Slime. That’s a whopping 30 dialogue portraits in 7 days! Way to go, Chicken!

Stinkehund has been inking steadily and should be getting the coloring done for all those images within a week or two.

Rune has resumed work and will probably be finishing Mei’s Werecat shading and the Ghost enemy. He’s also going to be doing some color study work to improve his craft.

Holy Goat, Coding

Because I’m a loser, I decided I’d keep pace with Chicken on the coding front.

Major Map Overhaul: Dimensional Trap

I redid all of the maps for the Dimensional Trap’s main floor. Instead of being one map with a bunch of barely-navigable hallways, it’s now five maps with wider hallways, smarter enemy placement, and treasure. There’s also an odd building on the western edge with a locked door. If only a certain someone could pick it…

New Major Section: Dimensional Trap Dungeon

If you figure out how to get into the western building, a dungeon awaits you, complete with a boss battle against… something not of this world (or of Pandemonium, either). There’s also a puzzle:

DialogueShot02As well as some new cutscenes, loot, and character interactions.

New Scenes: Alraune’s Well That Ends Well

Under the right circumstances, Mei can now voluntarily become an Alraune. Just ask around at Breanne’s Pit Stop!
In fact, she’s so happy that she might even transform a human she meets, with Rochea’s guidance of course.

Improved Boss Battle: Beehive Corruption Events

I redid the balance for the boss at the end of the Beehive mini-dungeon. It now presents a real challenge and encourages you to use the new stun mechanics (Mei learns Pommel Bash at level 3, and you will need it!).

A bunch of bugfixes

Because a coder’s work is never done.

Boring Changelog

Here’s the changelog differences from last week.

  • Redesigned the Dimensional Trap main floor. It’s now multiple rooms with new examinables, enemy patrols, and stuff to do.
  • Modified a lot of the old maps to use enemy pathing. Dodge patrols!
  • Put a special present in the Salt Flats for Aaaac and Mugen Kagemaru.
  • Finished up the Dimensional Trap Dungeon scenes.
  • Added Real Fake Chests. Hey are you tired of real chests cluttering up your dungeon, where you open them and they actually contain something? Fill a whole room up with real fake chests! Check this out! Mm, won’t open. Mm, won’t open!
  • Fixed up a lot of backend code in older dialogues, specifically with Rochea.
  • Rewrote the text parser to use an autoresolver. Please be on the lookout for &&BUGS&&.
  • Did a bunch of text housekeeping. Be on the lookout for ^^BUGS^^.
  • Inventory UI will now work correctly when the player has more than 13 items.
  • Some NPCs will now spawn at the Pit Stop. Some even have some interesting things to say…
  • Added a way to get transformed into an Alraune voluntarily.
  • Under the right circumstances, Mei can even turn someone else into an Alraune…
  • Hey everybody. Just did some other stuff, updated the patch notes. Still here, still sellin fake chests! We have fake chests like you wouldn’t believe, what are you worried about? Come get fake chests! Don’t even hesitate, don’t even worry.
  • Added modern lineart for Blythe, Nadia, and Claudia.
  • Added modern lineart for Mei’s Alraune form.
  • Added modern lineart for Mei’s Slime form.
  • Added modern lineart for Mei’s Bee form.
  • Enhanced the bee hive dungeon layout a bit.
  • You can no longer retreat from plot-important battles.
  • Enemies will no longer target downed party members with splash attacks.
  • Party members should animate correctly when felled by a DoT.
  • Enemies can now reinforce from scripts, making for some interesting miniboss mechanics! HINT FREAKIN’ HINT.
  • Fixed a bug where items would sometimes consume a turn even though they really shouldn’t.
  • Fixed some dialogue bugs.

Design Theorizing

In case you missed it, I wrote a post on dialogue design theory. It’s worth a read if you consider yourself a budding game designer. It’s not worth a read if you think literacy causes polio.

Prototype 3 Checklist

Prototype 3’s objective is End of August.

Here’s a list of things I want to make it into Prototype 3.

  • The Quantir Mansion completed
  • Nix Nedar completed
  • The Dimensional Trap basement mini-dungeon completed (CHECK!)
  • The Dimensional Trap upper floor mini-dungeon completed
  • The Dimensional Trap main-floor redesign completed (CHECK!)
  • Werecat TF and event sequence completed
  • Ghost Maid TF and event sequence completed
  • Breanne’s flower subquest completed
  • Florentina’s past subquest completed
  • Old map enemy redesign completed (CHECK!)
  • Probably something else that will come up and be too good to ignore.
  • All the attendant bugs…

 

Argue about this post on the forums!

Give the artists money so they make the game faster!

Design With a Grain of Salt: Dialogue

What is this nonsense?

So in this periodic series, we’ll be discussing the nature of game design in a freeform fashion. There are no rules! Taff the po-lice!

I’ll be doing these posts periodically to let the public know what goes through my head when I’m designing things. A lot of you are budding designers, or want to get into the field. Maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe I’ll learn something. Maybe we’ll all just stay dumb. Let’s find out together!

Continue reading “Design With a Grain of Salt: Dialogue”

Development Update: July 24th, 2017

(Psst, the survey results from last week are up. Go look at democracy inaction!)

This has been another extremely productive week of development. After cleaning up the remaining bugs and minor additions from last week, I’ve finished a big chunk of new content.

New Major Event: The Salt Flats
Those who played Prototype 2 probably saw the remaining set of black borders on the southern edge of Evermoon forest. Those are gone now, and they lead to a new area: The Salt Flats. There’s only one character here, an Alraune named Adina. She’s attempting to reclaim the salt flats for the forest, but it’s a lot of hard work and she could use some help – willing or otherwise.
Features two new H-Scenes.
Extended event sequence. Also modifies some other events later in the chapter.
Very Mind-Control heavy.

New Major Event: Beehive Corruption…
There’s a basement to the beehive in northern Evermoon. It wasn’t completed in Prototype 2 so I just removed the stairs, but it’s back now. The bees are desperately holding against an unknown invasive force. With Mei and Florentina’s help, they might be able to turn the tide, but Mei might also succumb to the invasion…
New TF sequence and sort-of H-Scene.
Extended event sequence.
Has a brief dungeon to explore. It’s a side-quest, so it shouldn’t take long.
Has a miniboss battle at the end.

New Feature: Per-character Voices
When characters speak, important characters (just Mei and Florentina for now, more are on the way) will have unique text tick sounds. This really helps when there are more than two characters in a dialogue since they often have to share the same dialogue boxes. It also adds immensely to the immersion.

Other Stuff: There have been a couple more minor changes as well. Here’s the changelog differences from last time:

  • Corrected the chair depths in Trannadar Trading Post. This is an incredibly vital fix. You love it.
  • Florentina now uses the shaded images in combat and on the UI.
  • Added the Salt Flats to the southern end of Evermoon forest. There is an extended sequence here. Very sexy!
  • Added Male NPCs. Spriting!
  • Added capability for per-character text ticks. Characters without a special voice will use the default.
  • Fixed a bug where TilemapActors would lose collision after moving sometimes.
  • Added the beehive corruption mini-dungeon and associated TF sequence.

Prototype 3 News
Now for the part you skipped everything else to read: Prototype 3. There is still no release date for Prototype 3, but I have set a target for it as “End Of August”. What that means is that I want everything to be in place and complete at the end of August, but that we won’t necessarily hit that target and/or release it then. Personally I think we can do it, but if something bad happens to one of the artists (or me…) then we’ll have to miss it. Hence why I am not setting a hard release date.

To be complete, Prototype 3 will need:

  • The Quantir Mansion completed
  • Nix Nedar completed
  • The Dimensional Trap basement mini-dungeon completed
  • The Dimensional Trap upper floor mini-dungeon completed
  • The Dimensional Trap main-floor redesign completed
  • Werecat TF and event sequence completed
  • Ghost Maid TF and event sequence completed
  • Breanne’s flower subquest completed
  • Florentina’s past subquest completed
  • Old map enemy redesign completed
  • Probably something else that will come up and be too good to ignore.
  • All the attendant bugs…

All right. That’s it. Until next week, go argue about this on the forums.