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August 12, 2020, 03:45:53 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsJack Move. A cyberpunk JRPG
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Author Topic: Jack Move. A cyberpunk JRPG  (Read 37595 times)
empika
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« Reply #260 on: December 12, 2019, 11:49:37 PM »

Hey folks! Time for a new Jack Move devlog update!

I've finished off the slums dungeon, wrapping up the last screen and setting up all the enemy encounters etc.



I've spent most of the last week doing small tasks that have been on the back log for ages, rather than dive in to a big chunk of work before christ,as. I spent some time polishing up some little UI bits that have bothering me for ages. In particular, animting the turn order icons a little, to help signify the direction of time. I'm still not sure how to handle enemies dieing as the icons get quite a big shakeup.



At Joes request I built a shader for UI/battle stuff that tints textures better. Rather than just tinting a greyscale image with colour, this takes the lightness and applies that amount of hue to the pixel. It also has a nice little hue shifting function so that the battle background get a bit more depth, shifting slightly to blue.

aaaaand, something i've been meaning to do for months is rebuild the Software Install menu.



Hopefully it's a little clearer than before (though maybe not in gif form). Previously I had a bunch of presets that you could change, people found this confusing so I've removed those in favour of just a single loadout. The interface is now similar to Final Fantasy VII's materia menu, where you can slot and remove software in to graphically represented RAM, which i think it helps with understanding the system of having limited "points" to spend. I won't really know until I get some user testing done, but it feels better to me.
I need to think about how to handle editing in battles though. Will people want to revert back to the loadout they had before a battle, or should it save your loadout if you change it during a battle? I think this will have to be a toggle in the menu somewhere as it feels like different folks would prefer the different setting.




Joe has been super busy himself, working on a variety of new enemies, in particular some spooky and weird cyber enemies you'll encounter on the grid!




There are a bit more WIP





And of course, Amalie has been working wonders with the script. It's had a huge edit after Ben Ward of Size5 adventure game fame (go wishlist Lair of the Clockwork God, it's going to be aces! https://store.steampowered.com/app/1060600/Lair_of_the_Clockwork_God/) took a look and helped trim it in to shape. It's looking great and I can't wait to start getting chunks of it in game :D

There's been a bunch of organising and production going on too for the next chunk of work, we've got some really cool stuff lined up. I'm super excited!

Happy Christmas everyone, and here's to a great new year!!   Toast Right Toast Left

Here's the usual promo bits...

Grab the demo here: https://soromantic.itch.io/jack-move

Wishlist this wiz biz on Steam here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1099640/Jack_Move/

And come join the discord, see more work in progress gifs and images and chat about the game: http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord

I've been a bit lax on streaming recently but will pick it up again after christmas Smiley

And of course, the afrorementioned Twitter where you can see all those gifs: https://twitter.com/empika

Cheers, have a great weekend, unless you're in the UK, in which case, have a big hug from me and look after yourself!
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« Reply #261 on: December 13, 2019, 02:45:50 PM »

A great update, those enemy animations in particular are amazing!

Hopefully it's a little clearer than before (though maybe not in gif form). Previously I had a bunch of presets that you could change, people found this confusing so I've removed those in favour of just a single loadout. The interface is now similar to Final Fantasy VII's materia menu, where you can slot and remove software in to graphically represented RAM, which i think it helps with understanding the system of having limited "points" to spend. I won't really know until I get some user testing done, but it feels better to me.
I need to think about how to handle editing in battles though. Will people want to revert back to the loadout they had before a battle, or should it save your loadout if you change it during a battle? I think this will have to be a toggle in the menu somewhere as it feels like different folks would prefer the different setting.

Would it be too intrusive to ask the player at the end of a battle, if there are changes, whether they'd like to keep or revert them? I don't know the game of course but it feels like something that would be a case-by-case decision rather than always wanting to keep or discard the changes. (Or, there could be three options, Always keep, Always revert and Ask.)



I think this is looking good! The blocks in the RAM bar are coloured; do the colours represent the type of software, similar to materia (e.g. green was magic, red was summon)? If so it seems like the right-hand list of software should also display these colours to help players quickly identify the software, especially when the list gets full.
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empika
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« Reply #262 on: December 13, 2019, 11:17:51 PM »

A great update, those enemy animations in particular are amazing!

Thanks! Yeah, Joe just constantly blows me away. I give him the worst reference, like "it's a weird ghost, but a computer ghost" and he always seems to know exactly what I mean  Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Right

Would it be too intrusive to ask the player at the end of a battle, if there are changes, whether they'd like to keep or revert them? I don't know the game of course but it feels like something that would be a case-by-case decision rather than always wanting to keep or discard the changes. (Or, there could be three options, Always keep, Always revert and Ask.)

Having an option to ask is a great idea!

I think this is looking good! The blocks in the RAM bar are coloured; do the colours represent the type of software, similar to materia (e.g. green was magic, red was summon)? If so it seems like the right-hand list of software should also display these colours to help players quickly identify the software, especially when the list gets full.

Yup, the colours represent the different elements (red: physical, green: cyber, purple: wetware, blue: electro, white: misc/buffs/utility). I think I might keep the list item colour to keep it consistent across the game, but I will tint the icons to match. I'll see if that's better, then can always tint the whole list item to match... just gotta thing of a nice way to do it as the select/deselect/disabled animations all swap out materials and I don't have an easy way to do that programatically at the moment... though could probably code it up pretty easily as it's just a blink Smiley
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« Reply #263 on: May 14, 2020, 12:16:20 AM »

Is this project stil alive?
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empika
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« Reply #264 on: May 14, 2020, 12:29:30 AM »

Is this project stil alive?

It certainly is! Apologies for the lack of posts, I've been super hard at work on it. I've been posting bits and pieces on my Twitter and the discord server (https://twitter.com/empika / http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord) if you want smaller updates, I'll find some time in the next couple of weeks to post a bigger update on the work we've been doing!
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Beastboy
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« Reply #265 on: June 05, 2020, 01:55:41 AM »

Is this project stil alive?

It certainly is! Apologies for the lack of posts, I've been super hard at work on it. I've been posting bits and pieces on my Twitter and the discord server (https://twitter.com/empika / http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord) if you want smaller updates, I'll find some time in the next couple of weeks to post a bigger update on the work we've been doing!

That is good to hear because i love the feels of your project
Thank you for invites but i mostly like to chek this forums to see indie games getting developed from the ground up
I appreciate any updates you put here

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« Reply #266 on: June 05, 2020, 12:15:48 PM »

Looks brutally solid! And that art, reminds me 640x480 16 colors. Totally awww. That's best on indie games. Out of the box gfx. Wink
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empika
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« Reply #267 on: June 06, 2020, 03:12:44 AM »

Apologies for the delay, I've been suuuuper busy the past few months.

First, the big news!! We're partnering with Hypetrain Digital to publish Jack Move! That means ew now have the support and resources to actually finish and release the game!

Secondly, we've been preparing a brand new demo for both the Steam Games Festival next week and BitSummit Gaiden  Hand Thumbs Up Left Hand Thumbs Up Right We were really hoping to have been able to show the game at BitSummit proper at the beginning of May, but obviously that has not been possible. BitSummit Gaiden should still be really fun, they're hoping to cpature some of the fun of a convention using Discord and Twitch etc.

I'm not even sure where to start on new stuff as there's been so much!

We've got a brand new dungeon filled with a bunch of new enemies





We had Tom Waterhouse join us briefly as well as Clairvoir and Tyriq Plummer joining us for the last month to help out with getting a few more enemies in game. It's been super fun to have a few more folks involved and bring their own ideas to the characters Grin The "spook" and "lab tech" below are by Tyriq and Clair, the hazmat guy above was initially animated by Tom.



We have all new level 1 software moves, a brand new "jack move" special move (kinda like a limit break/overdrive) that we worked super hard on, though we're gonna keep that under our hats till the demo is out Wink and a million small tweaks and things. New icons, word highlighting in dialogs as well as the ui and battle interfaces to help indicate what type of software something has or is being exectuted etc.

OHH! One of our biggest new things is fancy shadows (though not that fancy under the hood... just a lot of overlaid transparent sprites). This makes the world pop and make the lighting even nicer. We had something similar with screen space ambient occlusion in the past but had some issues with framerate on Switch and even just running it with different hardware on windows. So this is our more manual but more stylised answer... a huge thanks to Joe for pushing me in to it, as I was a bit hesitant about the extra overhead, but it's turned out to be more than worth it. Hope you agree!



So yeah, been very very busy! Grin

Looks like the Steam Games Festival has been delayed by a week so we'll need to figure out when to reschedule our livestream and q&a, keep an eye on the steam page for more news!



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« Reply #268 on: June 16, 2020, 09:23:13 PM »

Hey folks

Been a busy week or so getting ready for this steam games festival, which is going on right now, until the 22nd June. So if you want to check out the new demo, then please check it out and let us know what you think!

We were also fortunate enough to have our brand new trailer featured in the Escapist big indie showcase stream.





At the end of the trailer we reveal our big new JACK MOVE. These are like Overdrive or Limit Breaks in Final Fantasy, a super powerful move. There will be one for each element. We've actually improved on this even further since the trailer was made, and I hope you agree, it's looking pretty fancy now with improved cloud sprites and some fancy backlighting. I though it would be fun (and hopefully interesting) to break down the effect and process we took to create it.



The idea behind the move is that while Noa and the enemies are already battling in cyberspace, Noa pulls out her cyberspace deck, coding an incantation that opens up a door in the very fabric of cyberspace, becoming one with it for a brief moment and allowing her to unleash this powerful attack. It's a bit meta but I think it works quite nicely and gives the whole thing a lot of room to breath.

Joe worked on an initial storyboard gif, that I took and tried to emulate as close as possible.



He had the idea of Noa getting sucked further in to cyberspace and knocked out a quick animation that he then itterated on until he came to the wider glyph/incantation which represents the type of element the attack is for, in this case it is an Electroware attack, so it's blue and has  lightning motifs.





The whole move it timed to the music.. which I appreciate doesn't really work in gif form. This is so that the reveal, input minigame and actual move all flow seamlessly and allows the player to see as much of the animation and move as possible without being distracted by the minigame.



After some initial thought it was decided we should focus the input in the middle so that the players eye isn't too distracted



We knew that we wanted to zoom in on Noa at this point to really focus the action, so that also mean bumping up pixel size of all the ui elements used so that the pixel density matched the world and stayed consistent. Normally I hate this kind of thing, where the pixels are not multiplied by whole numbers, it can look horrible if it happens all the time. I think in this case it's ok as it's is a quick zoom in to double the scale, and then a quick zoom out again. The camera isn't still long enough for you to notice any warped pixels.

Here's a really early version of most of the major parts working together (ignore the screenshake on input.. was just testing it out and it didn't quite work)



There's some nice bits going on here. We fade out the background in order to place the move in it's own space, allowing the clouds to come in and not look weird. We also mask out the ground/grid texture and fade it back in around the lightning strikes, which gives them a much better sense of place and dimensionality, though at this point the highlights aren't scaling properly.

We really wanted the part when Noa slams cable of her deck in to the socket of the glyph to be really impactful. Joe's ideas was to have a big ripple to show this.



My initial experiments with this were not great, due to some miscommunication I thought that he wanted the ripple to eminate out after she disappears, which just looks a bit odd. The ripple effect itself is also much more of a pond ripple, not quite what he had in mind.
The ripple is a post-processed shader effect, so after some international tinkering between us (mostly Joe!) on shadertoy, Joe was able to create exactly what he envisioned.



Now we're getting somewhere, a nice single big ripple! I tweaked it further to work at the correct pixel density when zoomed in. Here's the code for that: https://gist.github.com/empika/68d6adb5d3c0c6ead1c9803e279d322d

We really wanted the move and minigame timing to be really succinct, with the whole thing taking not much longer than it takes for Noa to summon the glyph and slam her deck in to the socket. So I went back over the timing and tightened everything up so there is very little waiting time.



The last thing to do was the clouds. There are 4 layers, two coming in from each side which took a lot of tweaking to get their speed, timing and easing down. The major challenge was to get the highlights and backlights looking nice. An intial exploration showed that the majority of work could be done using a ton of masking.



It looked a bit weird though due to the speed of the clouds, the highlights staying static and there being no real blending on the highlights. After some tweaking of the cloud speed and easing, we looked in to the blending. Some more shader work later we ended up with a relatively decent sprite "overlay" blend for the front highlights. The backlights ended up as just straight textures, the time they are visible is a lot shorter than the inital experiment which combined with the cloud speed and alpha blending on the sides, gets rid of the weird crawling effect.

Here's the amplify shader editor node graph for that, as it's surprisingly hard to find reference for the various blends alogrithms online:



Pro tip... as masks only cut out hard edges, you can use an inner sprite with an alpha channel blend to fade stuff out. The solide white texture is our mask, inside of which we place the texture with an alpha channel (on the left) that lets stuff through. This example texture was used for the lightning strikes on the ground



Here's a still of the final effect so you can see the highlights more clearly.



That's about it I think! I think it's turned out super good and I'm really happy with it, though I think we still have some more tweaking to do with timings and the position of the lightning and things! Here's the final effect again:



I think I'll cover the input system in another post as this one is already getting quite long Smiley

Come join the discord if you'd like to see more work in progress gifs and images and chat about the game! We're doign a developer Q&A on saturday at 12pm CST if you'd like to join us http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord
And grab the new demo from steam right now! https://store.steampowered.com/app/1099640/Jack_Move/

Thanks!
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Ishi
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« Reply #269 on: June 17, 2020, 07:48:17 AM »

Wow, great to see all the work that went into this one move. It looks super satisfying Coffee

What happens if the player fails the input minigame?
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empika
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« Reply #270 on: June 23, 2020, 01:29:48 AM »

Hey Ishi, sorry for the late reply!

If the player fails the minigame, the attack will do 1x damage.. so still a lot. For every input you get correct you get some extra power, up to a maximum of 1 (1 divided by the number of inputs). So if you get every input correct you'll do double damage Hand Thumbs Up Right

I'm hoping to share some thoughts on having the game in the Steam Game Festival this week, so will hopefully have that posted by Friday. Still decompressing a bit after quite a hectic weekend, being in asia does not suit trying to stream to US/EU folks  Cry

Cheers!
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« Reply #271 on: June 23, 2020, 04:17:05 AM »

The trailer music fits amazingly well!
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empika
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« Reply #272 on: July 19, 2020, 02:47:35 AM »

Hey folks!

Busy as ever! Steam games festival went pretty well i think, followed by BitSummit which was also fun, followed by Virtual Indie Showcase which was also a rad time Hand Thumbs Up Right

The last week or so I've been mostly concentrating on the options menu, which was non-existant before. So now we got some nice volume controls (hooray! I no longer have to remember to unmute the unity mixer before builds... because christ knows why you can't do that programatically!), you can change language (not that there are any other complete language files yet) and most importantly, you can remap the controls!

The input stuff was obviously the most work, and InConrol actually made it mostly pain free. You just ask to listen for input and then handle it how you want once a control has been fired. The biggest issue was swapping an already bound control, though turns out it was pretty easy and that my UI code was not getting updated with the new bindings so I thought it was brokwn for way longer than I should have done Embarrassed

Along with the rebind screen I revamped all the icons, creating a new set for keyboard and all the current console gamepads, they still need a bit of polish but happy with them so far. It then wasn't too much work to refactor my existing button prompt code to grab the icon by current device AND binding, not just a hard coded device + button as it was previously Hand Thumbs Up Right

Ta-da!



Next on the list is adding these options to the in-game menu, and adding the session/game specific options like encounter rate (big one!) and whether any software loaded in battle should be kept or if it should be rolled back to the pre-battle state.

I also got a drawing screen tablet thing this week, so looking forward to using that some more and getting used to it. I'm hoping it will speed up my work (in time) and improve the general quality of things... as well as save my mouse finger and arm from all that carpal tunnel! I got a Huion Kamvas 16, seems pretty good for the price Smiley

Here's a bunch more gifs from the recent demo too, as I've been making some for twitter!












Come join the discord for move inprogress gifs, screeshots and discussion http://www.soromantic.co.uk/discord
And please wishlist Jack Move on steam! https://store.steampowered.com/app/1099640/Jack_Move/

Thanks! ...until next time! X
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« Reply #273 on: July 19, 2020, 10:30:40 AM »

Your progress looks really cool. I love the animations. They are full of life. I read about you using InControl. Do you find it better than Unity's new Input System package?
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« Reply #274 on: July 19, 2020, 03:00:52 PM »

There is so much detail going on in these backgrounds and animations. And I like how we get the perspective of the character's back during combat. It's very unique in style and I think you've really succeeded in your aesthetic goals. Can't wait to see more!
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empika
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« Reply #275 on: July 19, 2020, 07:41:02 PM »

Thanks MayRoyal and jay3sh! :D

I read about you using InControl. Do you find it better than Unity's new Input System package?

I've not used unity's new stuff as I have been using incontrol for many years so it would take a lot of work to replace it at the moment. Unity's system looks very similar to incontrol though, based on actions, action sets and devices that bind to those actions. I would definitely take a look at it for the next project though Smiley
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« Reply #276 on: July 19, 2020, 09:44:20 PM »

Really digging the aesthetics, looks promising!
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« Reply #277 on: July 20, 2020, 07:21:00 AM »

Wow, this is great work man. Wishlisted on Steam. Can't wait to check the demo out when I get home!
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empika
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« Reply #278 on: July 20, 2020, 07:52:56 AM »

Wow, this is great work man. Wishlisted on Steam. Can't wait to check the demo out when I get home!

Ahh, thanks!! But sorry, the demo was only up during the steam festival the other week, so it's not available any more Cry
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« Reply #279 on: July 24, 2020, 01:50:42 AM »

Looks and sounds great! Wishlisted on steam Smiley
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