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Waldir’s life cycle and the oncoming months!

Since it’s important to get information across & hype/promotion can be a bit reality warping, a blog-post both about the demo I’m hoping to release by the end of this month and the future of development.

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The infamous phases of development (and where we’re at):

(you should take these with a grain of salt as they’re likely not an industry standard)

Pre-alpha (current phase)

Pre-alpha is the phase I’m at in development. It obviously precedes Alpha and means that most features are missing as well as missing levels & monsters. I’m constantly re-iterating mechanics/code and sprites. The demo coming soon(tm) will be in this phase, so there won’t be much to play around with, more on this later on the post.

-Alpha

This is the phase I want to get to after the demo. It’s where most of the major features are added in rapid phases. I’m considering an Alpha test phase, but whether it’s Open or Closed is still up in the air. In this phase the game gets more structured. I would also like to stream it if it’s possible with my PC rig. Est. Before Summer

-Beta

In beta, most if not all of the major features should be done and then be tweaked during the beta. There might be (depending on the player feedback) some major changes but hopefully to not longen the development time this is not the case. This is the major bug/glitch fix phase to get ready for release. There will most likely be a pre-order bonus or something to get in to Beta (or just ask nicely and I’ll probably just give you access). Estimating when it hits beta is futile, but hoping to get there by summer.

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The demo, what to expect and what to give me feedback off of!

I’m branching out of the dev build soon and cutting off some incomplete features & obviously buggy mechanics. But as an estimate, the list of what it will include is:

-Combat, I’m currently re-iterating some of the major combat features to be finished before the demo comes.

-The first dungeon. In the form of sub-dungeons, I’m hoping to have Waldir’s Castle/Basement fully playable. It includes 1_1 – 1_2 – 1_3, every sub dungeon is anywhere from 7-18 rooms.

-Minibosses are probably available

-I’m still on the fence if I’m gonna include the first boss as it might be a spoiler (if I’m even worried about that) and a complete buggy/unplayable mess.

-Sub-items & weapons. Throwing axe, knives, shield & the mechanics included in those will be explained in the coming weeks. Also hopefully I’ll get done with one or two magic spells for feedback.

-Leveling is in-complete but I’ll still include it in the demo.

That said, there’s a couple of important things about the demo. I really don’t want people to hype and play play it. Meaning if you want to see the full release in all of it’s glory & are not interested in heavy play-testing to get it better, you should probably steer away from this messy demo. (The full run of the current build takes only anywhere between 3-13 minutes, so if you want you are allowed to make a youtube video of it, but please emphasize that it’s only a free buggy demo 🙂 )

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It’s intended purely to give me important player feedback so I’m not developing the game blindfolded.

Some things that are completely incomplete/buggy include:

Enemy AI, sometimes does very stupid things and generally is not very intelligent at all. I will be improving and tweaking it up until the very release.

Leveling, there’s no benefit other than slightly increase your health-pool from leveling. I’ll try to squeeze an ability or two (mostly passives) before the end of the month to see how they fit in.

Currency/Shopping/Treasure, getting hearts is really really easy in the current version, and will likely remain so in the demo. Just because I want to test the stuff you can do with them as much as possible. Treasure is also something problematic because there’s no rhyme or reason to it, it’s completely random for better or worse. Might be tweaked before the demo.

Pacing, the pacing of the gameplay is pretty terrible, there is a better way to accomplish this than to just roll a random number and see if enemies spawn in the room at all, but I’ll be tweaking it a lot later.

Even though this post was returning some hype to the ground, probably even killing it for some people, I hope you will participate in the test & give me a lot of valuable feedback, I don’t want to go gamedev blind while doing it and selling a sloppy game to people. Help me make the best game in my power!

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Back to work! (sorry two of the gifs weren’t high fps)

Many many questions, much answers

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The album (Link) I submitted to reddit’s r/indiegaming really caught on and I received a ton and ton of questions and a lot of great feedback! Also about a hundred twitter followers, thanks guys!

I tried my best at answering questions there (spending close to 4-5 hours watching Community while answering new questions) and after a while I just had to go to sleep. It gave me an idea though, to answer some of the most frequent questions here on the blog!

I will be adding a specific FAQ page after this blog post when I’ve gathered all my thoughts.

PC? PC/MAC/Linux, other platforms?!

The game will release on PC at first. As I am developing in XNA the dead ancestor of Mono, I will be able to possibly port on to other platforms after the initial release.

Controller Support?

I am currently only developing with the intention of having a mouse & kb controlled player character, but I definitely wouldn’t shut controller support out. Xbox controller inputs are pretty easy to implement, but it’s a different story if I can balance the gameplay-design between these two setups.

Release Date, Pre-alpha, Greenlight? Money!?

There was a lot of interest, both in comments and in private messages to quickly throw money at me for a pre-order. Which would help immensely, but I’m hesitant to do this early (for several reasons).

One reason being, that I need to sort out starting up a company here based in Finland.

Second reason, is that I don’t want to hastily go in to taking money from strangers for a project that’s this early in development. I am however, working very hard to provide a pre-Alpha trailer teaser and a free playable alpha demo of the first level’s sub-dungeons in the coming month. Just to get a lot of early feedback from players & to generate interest for the possible upcoming Greenlight.

As for release date, I think it is way too early to estimate. But if we’re throwing deadlines around, I would like to finish the game by Q3/Q4 of 2014, with the possibility that everything goes more slowly than anticipated and the game is delayed until early 2015.

There’s also some other stuff I can’t yet talk about pre-orders & crowdfunding.

A lot of people offered to help with Music/SFX/Graphics/Marketing

I don’t want to sound like I don’t appreciate it, because I really do. It’s awesome that the community is ready to help other developers.

I however do have a composer that I’m working with, for both soundtrack and sound effects. If you however are willing to be on the “just-incase” list you can email me your info/some concept/samples to waldirgame@gmail.com ! I do look through my emails pretty frequently and will take in to consideration if something were to go wrong with my musician at the moment.

The issues raised by the logo are legit, and I really appreciate all the feedback & help offers I’ve gotten for it. I would still like to work on it by myself for a while (redesigning, trying out different things) just because I have a hunger to develop my skills further. You can still keep emailing portfolios & concepts to waldirgame@gmail.com if I happen to decide that I absolutely can not do it by myself!

Plans for the near future:

Like I said, working on the teaser, and finishing up content I’ve been due for a short while now. Drawing bosses/minibosses, implementing the sub-weapons and tweaking the level generation.

I’m entering some very exciting times and really love to be sharing it with you guys! Keep peace and prosper… or something.

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Just to remind myself, this picture was taken 28th of December 2013… Yeah

A medium sized update with sprinkles on top

Today I got to improve some of my not so awesome code! The version of my level generation process was not quite as elegant as hoped. It was a one big giant procedure that puked out all the rooms in the level when the level is called.

So I re-arranged some code, wrote some more and got out of the whole mess with a little smile on my face. I’m not gonna go in to great detail of what I did but I can show you some progress shots here.

 

First things first, yesterday I got sidetracked while coding this thing to make the chests now spawnable (and hold items inside) as well as redesigning the barrels I had. Which previously only had two frames of poses. Intact and broken.

 

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Now you can smash them, hope hearts fly around and watch the ugly WIP particles explode! (Seriously, I’m gonna work on them later)

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The chest turned out a lot better imho, at least when I get around adding more items to the container list. Why Waldir has a bunch of hearts laying around inside chests in his basement is a question I can’t answer though.

 

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bonus madness gif

 

Next up, the actual progress stuff. Although small, it is a significant change from the old stuff I had.

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I’m not sure if that gif shows it very well (I need a better director for these gifs), but the room doesn’t actually generate untill you walk in to it now. This means I can better control what kind of conditions apply and what rules to abide when randomization happens. Mainly I did this so the system can check better if miniboss rooms will appear. (Depending on how long deep you are in to the dungeon, the better chances of spawning it has)

This also allowed me to do a boolean check for the minimap that sees if the room has been visited or not. So now when you visit a room, it’s marked on your minimap and all the rooms it’s connected (excluding all the secret rooms & stuff) are shown a little darker and transparent untill visited.

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Also inspired by the Minimap change (which’s position is a bit off as of now, I need to fix it) I did some changes to the main UI piece where your HP and XP bars are shown. Image

Not perfect, but I like the direction it’s taking. The font for the heart counter is a bit out of place but since it’s pre-alpha it’ll do it’s job!

 

I still have a lot of work to do untill saturday! I hope to keep my deadlines this week around after missing some last week 🙂 Mainly I’ll try to do treasure rooms appear, aswell as begin working on the first boss or miniboss, either way. 

 

Huge thanks for reading through this rant and hope to engage you to wait untill next time!

Shake that screen shalala

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Just a little update for now, (even though I promised a bigger write-up 😦 ) added a screenshake to some things for added dramatic effect.

Nah just kidding, it does feel a lot better now though! Though maybe a bit too excessive when the player gets hit, but things can always be tweaked 🙂

Preparing for weekend

As you might have noticed, weekends are when I usually post the most of the updates (and some little updates on the beginning of the following week). So this is just a heads up.

Monsters & other stuff

Some new monsters have been drawn and are waiting for implementation, which I hope to get done by saturday. I’ve also drawn/animated a ton of particle effects which I hope to introduce with some of the monsters. 

Lots & lots of design work

I’ve been designing a lot of the stuff that will eventually go in to the leveling system. Mainly the active special abilities that you can choose & the randomized perks (like in nuclear throne if you need reference). Also some of the stuff concerning later levels are being actively conceptualized.

When and if these are implemented is a matter of time, but I plan to introduce the earliest version of leveling if not this weekend then shortly after it.

Level generation

I have started to (again) update the level generation to allow shops, boss rooms, special rooms and treasure rooms to spawn (with their own rules). This is just the usual stuff that is kind of a pre-requisite of a dungeon crawler. I just need to go around and actually implement a few template rooms for these so they’re up to a quality I can be satisfied with.

 

Check back on saturday/sunday to see a plethora of GIFs and screenshots!

 

Eating cereal, with blood

So I took it upon myself to finish up my incomplete particle engine and did some little stuff here and there.

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First the smalles of details. Now your footsteps leave a small dustcloud behind, this is just one of the smaller things that I think adds some value to a game. A little grander thing was the bigger dust cloud beneath the beast that lunges.

I think it’s important to have visual cues when a monster is about to do something dangerous, so I added it in. (The sprite of the dust itself is something I’ll try to improve upon in the future, it looks a bit unappealing atm)

BLOOOOD!

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With the particle engine complete, I could add a lot of bloody effects on the sprites after they get hit. It’s a bit excessive right now and I might tweak the values that manipulate the particles to get a better look for it. Reiteration is the key here.

Also for fun, I added a shit ton of it coming from Waldir when he dies.

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Don’t be alarmed if these look a bit off right now, they are all in heavy reiteration phase where I just tweak numbers here and there and redraw stuff! Feedback is appreciated though 🙂

Next week I’ll probably work on either adding a couple of more functioning monsters as well as starting the design/implementing of the first boss. Or implementing the item system and enlargin the room generation to allow shops/treasure rooms! Or both, who knows 🙂 See you next week

A week’s progress

So this week has been what I’d gladly call a busy week. Lots of different & somewhat exciting updates made to the game. It’s slowly starting to represent a game in some form.

 

Let’s get right on it.

At the beginning of the week, I began to smoothen the combat and sword usage. I made a little change to the way input is handled and so far I’ve liked the results, even if it’s still not quite at where I want it to be. 

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To explain it further, I added in a timer that counts down from the moment you last attacked. If it takes you too long to execute an attack, the combo is reset. Now that I have a few more attacks beside the 2 old ones, it felt really weird keeping the combo infinitely. This just makes sure you are hacking and slashing in a timed fashion and surely is not a groundbreaking innovation. But an important addition none-the-less. I also added a little flavor alternate Idle animations to actually tell the player when the combo is reseted.

 

Mid-week monster madness

Midway through the week, I started planning the first set of monsters to actually reasonably fight back. This required me to rework the old “chase and die” crappy AI that I had. I replaced it with a more sophisticated behavior system that makes actual decisions when&when not to engage the target and how they move around the map and perform actions. It proved to be a good start, but will need a lot of tweaks. (This was my first time programming a more complicated system that allows for different types of AI, so that the ranged, chargers and other melee monsters behave differently)

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Besides programming, I have been drawing a lot of monsters too. As of writing this thing I have prepared 2 monsters with the needed animations to make them fully functionable, you can question the quality of these animations right now, but I will be adding and reworking existing frames in the future. 

Here’s a little glimpse of the work file (just a small portion of it)

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There’s a few of the monsters that aren’t yet complete but I will be drawing the remaining frames later this weekend.

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The Knight Brothers, the axe thrower on the right is in-game and functioning. Hoping to have the throwing axe & the shield from the red cloaked knight as sub-items for Waldir’s use in the future.

 

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A very early try on the first (and probably only) NPC. The shopkeeper, no animation frames have yet been drawn for this guy as I’m not sure of the direction I want to go with.

 

Now for the end of the week, mainly yesterday and today. I’ve been tweaking little things in the AI, making it function properly. I also coded some new systems to allow the throwing of projectiles. As a little gameplay test I added in the function to deflect the projectiles back with your sword. It proved to be really fun, still have to tweak it a little bit though. It seems to make the ranged enemy rather easy to deal with.

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It’s probably hard to see from the gif, but I added a new ability for Waldir today. If you successfully combo you perform a small charge with your sword. I really like it but as of right now, it reminds too much like the dash visually. It’s really hard to tell the two apart from each other.

 

Now that it’s friday, I’ll take a short break and continue development on Sunday. What I will work on come sunday? Probably doing the rest of the particle engine, I would really like to have a lot more blood on the screen, for some reason. I will also slowly work on new monsters and the remaining ones too. 

What I would like to achieve next week though, is to add in the Item system. Picking up active sub-items from monsters, getting the currency (hearts) from monsters/chests/barrels and of course getting passive buff items from chests and shops.

This was just this week’s progress, so I really am seeing a lot of bright light in the future of the project! Thing’s have been going so smoothly I have legitimately been surprised. I hope to have the first level of Inferno fully playable for player feedback by the end of the month, so let’s keep our fingers crossed!

 

I have received enormous amounts of lovely feedback from all over the community, and for that I thank each and every one of you! Much love, Jani