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loudo
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« on: December 31, 2013, 09:13:27 am »

Hi,

Few months ago I started working on Graal Seeker. I set up a team and now I'm currently working on the prototype. I wanted to start a devlog and that's why I'm here  Smiley

In this first post, I will just introduce the game.

Concept
Graal Seeker is a tactical RPG with some roguelike features. The player's goal is to seek the Grail in medieval Britain during Saxon invasion. As you may know, seeking the Grail is not an easy task and you may die Sad But all your actions can help next seekers.

Graal Seeker is a 2d game with 3 differents phases : exploration, handling events, and tactical combats. The game is essentially narrative during the event phase, so it's close to a Choose Your Own Adventure book. The exploration phase is turn-based, tile-based and procedurally generated.

Here is the poster for the game :



Features
  • Unique stories based on the Matter of Britain.
  • Find Your Graal based on the choices you make.
  • Narrative game inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure book.
  • Fast tactical battles.
  • Procedurally generated events and maps.
  • Permadeath and persistent world.
  • Moddability : Create and Share you own Graal stories.


Link


I'm looking forward to your comments.
And by the way, all my best for 2014  Beer!


----------------------------------------------------------
Update from 09/2014

I'm pleased to show you the Indiegogo trailer (please understand that is not even from alpha footage) :



The crowdfunding will allow to work full-time until the game release and provide a private alpha and a private beta in good condition. Backers can have a early bird price for the game and participate to the alpha/beta phases.
So, it will be awesome if you guys can back the project in any way : share or pledge. Thank you very much for your help.
Stay tuned!

----------------------------------------------------------
Update from 09/2014

and now it's time to share the greenlight page  Toast Left

Please vote for us and tell your friend!



----------------------------------------------------------
Update from 10/2014

Last week to fund Graal Seeker. Please support us to make it happen!

----------------------------------------------------------
Update from 04/2015

Graal Seeker has been Greenlit!

« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 05:56:13 am by loudo » Logged

loudo
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 04:32:56 am »

Hi,

I'm currently working on the map generation for the exploration phase and I wanted to share it with you.
So the main visual problem of a tile-based map is what I call boundaries fluidity.
Let's show an example ! In the following picture, you will see 6 tiles. We can see the border between ocean and sand tiles.
Not very elegant , right ?


So, we need transitions to make border more fluid.
First, I tried to make random gradient background because I wanted to avoid creating some specific tile to make the transitions and keep a low graphic cost.


But, I'm not satisfied with the result, especially because I can't get good result between ocean and sand tiles.
It looks like the sand is above the water, it should be the opposite. But reversing the gradient is totally ugly.
What do you think about that ? Do you think we can have good results with random gradient background ?

So finally, the illustrator created 8 transitions tiles for each type of tile (ocean, sand, stones, grass and ground).
Except for the ocean where I have 8 * 4 = 32 transitions because it must have transitions for each other type of tiles.

Programmatically, it went fine.
You just have to build the map from an array and run through it to determine for each tile which transitions you have to display.
To determine this, you have to know all neighboring tiles (between 3 and 8 ! depending of where the tile is in the map.).
And finally, you need to pay attention to the tile's type. For example, ocean covers sand which covers stones which covers grass which covers ground.

Please look at the following images to see the result before and after tile transitions.





I'm looking forward to your answers. What do you think about the final result ?
See you soon for the next devlog.

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loudo
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2014, 07:15:09 am »

I'm taking a little break on the map because the procedural generation of the map is not necessary for the prototype.

I didn't post for a week so here is a quick post to show you a small effect on which I worked. I needed to have fun before continuing to something more complicated.

So, here is a fire effect :



It need some tweaks, but it's a first test !
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loudo
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 01:57:25 am »

Hey ! Let's talk about the animations of the characters during the tactical combat phase. This phase takes place on a grid where characters can move in four directions (north, south, east, west).
For now, we have made ​​some animations by drawing each frame by hand.

I'd never imagined that drawing animations frame by frame could be so time consuming. Although I am pleased with the initial results, I eventually have to make animations from 3D models. This would be much less risky because the updates or changes will be faster to achieve. But I want to keep the graphics rendering. So, we will use cel-shading rendering to keep the "comics" aspect.

I will post very soon some images to illustrate this.

But in the meantime, have some of you ever been faced with the same problem? What did you choose then? Manual implementation or 3D?

[EDIT I've added some informations on the context]
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 06:12:31 am by loudo » Logged

loudo
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 07:16:19 am »

Here is a quick post to show you the first concept arts my artist has done for Graal Seeker :



Do you like it ?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 07:35:39 am by loudo » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2014, 07:44:35 am »

Here is a quick post to show you the first concept arts my artist has done for Graal Seeker :



Do you like it ?
these concepts are friggin great, well done
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sperryman
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2014, 09:06:38 am »

Hi,

I'm currently working on the map generation for the exploration phase and I wanted to share it with you.
So the main visual problem of a tile-based map is what I call boundaries fluidity.
Let's show an example ! In the following picture, you will see 6 tiles. We can see the border between ocean and sand tiles.
Not very elegant , right ?


So, we need transitions to make border more fluid.
First, I tried to make random gradient background because I wanted to avoid creating some specific tile to make the transitions and keep a low graphic cost.


But, I'm not satisfied with the result, especially because I can't get good result between ocean and sand tiles.
It looks like the sand is above the water, it should be the opposite. But reversing the gradient is totally ugly.
What do you think about that ? Do you think we can have good results with random gradient background ?

So finally, the illustrator created 8 transitions tiles for each type of tile (ocean, sand, stones, grass and ground).
Except for the ocean where I have 8 * 4 = 32 transitions because it must have transitions for each other type of tiles.

Programmatically, it went fine.
You just have to build the map from an array and run through it to determine for each tile which transitions you have to display.
To determine this, you have to know all neighboring tiles (between 3 and 8 ! depending of where the tile is in the map.).
And finally, you need to pay attention to the tile's type. For example, ocean covers sand which covers stones which covers grass which covers ground.

Please look at the following images to see the result before and after tile transitions.





I think the result looks pretty good compared to the original non-transitional map. Are you planning on using multiple tiles for each type? If so, how do you plan on randomizing them so it looks more natural? I've always found that keeping the features on each specific tile to a minimum helps them blend into the background easier. For example, maybe lightening up the dark lines on the blades of grass would help it be not so pronounced.
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2014, 09:23:50 am »

great transition on the tiles compared to the original BLOCKS, wow!
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loudo
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2014, 01:03:23 pm »

Thank you for your positive feedback. I'm glad you like it.  Kiss

I think the result looks pretty good compared to the original non-transitional map. Are you planning on using multiple tiles for each type? If so, how do you plan on randomizing them so it looks more natural?

To answer your question, I didn't plan to make multiple tiles for each type. But maybe I will do it in the polishing stage of the game development in order to add some variations.

I've always found that keeping the features on each specific tile to a minimum helps them blend into the background easier. For example, maybe lightening up the dark lines on the blades of grass would help it be not so pronounced.

I know that visually the tiles are a little busy, especially the grass. And thanks for the tip sperryman, with some additional work we can remove the dark vertical lines and the bright horizontal lines we can see in the grass tiles.  Wink
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loudo
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2014, 04:37:34 am »

Two weeks ago, I wrote about my problems in animations (see Reply 3).
So, now I found a 3D modeler to work on Graal Seeker and I will be able to show you the results in a few weeks.
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loudo
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2014, 08:05:43 am »

Hi,

I still do not have any animation to show. But I'm working on Spriter API implementations in haxe and as3. There are allready some libraries, but as Spriter is still in beta, there are not complete or a little buggy. The goal I'm trying to achieve is to have a library fully working with this awesome software. With Spriter, I can import all my 2d images, define some animations, and use the Character Map feature. You can watch the demonstration made by BrashMonkey

if you want to know what I'm talking about. Thus, this feature allows me to swap easily some elements of my characters like weapons.

So, here is the animation process I have now :
  • the 3d artist modelizes and animates the characters.
  • the 3d artist renders all characters in 2d in four directions (north, south, east, west).
  • the 3d artist renders all weapons in 2d the same way.
  • I import all 2d content in Spriter, I organized it to have all animations defined.
  • I use Character Map feature to have different set of weapons for each characters available in code.
  • I export all 2d content in an atlas with TexturePacker, it keeps the content size low and I don't have any duplicates (animations and weapons are separated).
  • I change easily weapons in my code (without thinking about position, z ordering,...).

Thanks for reading. Cheers.
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loudo
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 03:00:00 am »

Hi,

There may be some haxe users here, so for those interested you will find the Spriter engine I've made at the following address : https://github.com/loudoweb/SpriterHaxeEngine

I've tested the library and it works on the following platforms : flash, windows, html5, android. Yay !
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loudo
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 09:59:15 am »

Hello,

Let me introduce to you the Briton characters.
From left to right: the druid, the peasant, the archer, the bard and the knight.



They were modeled in 3D. Remember that at the first time, the characters were drawn by hand. So, here is the first version of the druid and the knight.



We have still work to do to approach its first design. I'd like to have your opinion on the rendering. Do you prefer the 3d or the handmade?
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 01:29:22 pm »

I really like the concept. Roguelike games with overworld exploration are awesome right off the bat. Throw in Tactical combat and sweet dialogue/choice events (with nice art to boot) and you've definitely got my interest.

Graphics-wise, I am preferring the hand-drawn versions over 3D modelled.
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loudo
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 11:45:12 pm »

Thanks for the positive comments. This is really encouraging Kiss

The good thing about 3D is that we have smoother animations.
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Savick
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2014, 01:33:09 am »

The tiles still need work. You want to make them so they blend seamlessly together to form a landscape and not look like each one is formed from a square. Here's a tutorial on it if you're interested.

http://petesqbsite.com/sections/tutorials/tuts/tsugumo/default.htm
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loudo
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2014, 06:20:45 am »

Thanks Savick for this tutorial. It may help to remove the "lines" in the tiles.
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loudo
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« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2014, 05:16:43 am »

I will be able to show you the first "early" in-game screenshots for Graal Seeker very soon. Smiley

Meanwhile, I just want to talk about the technologies I use for Graal Seeker.
First, I started programming with action script 3/AIR for a release on Windows and Mac only while offering a web-based demo with the flash plugin.
However, if I want to release the game on other platforms, I have to recode everything since the beginning!
So, I'm currently bringing my game on haxe/openfl technologies now. They are open-sourced technologies and I can compile the code to more platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and html5. Unlike Adobe AIR it is native, not embedded, so performance are better. But, it doesn't mean that Graal Seeker will be available on all these platforms, for now I stay focused on Windows and Mac and it will be native.
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loudo
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2014, 08:38:55 am »

Hi everyone,

here is our first screenshot for #screenshotsaturday :



So, it's a screenshot from the exploration phase. You can travel from place to place (castle, forest, tower...). At each place, an event occurs.
It's supposed to be a procedural map, but since I have still a lot of work to do on the procedural generation, I've desactivated the procedural generation of the first pass. There are 4 passes in the procedural generation. First, background tile (grass, sand,...). Then, the place tile (castle, ...). And finally roads and rivers (I also disabled them for the capture because it's look like very messy for now).
So, let me hear your thought.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 10:44:55 am by loudo » Logged

loudo
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« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2014, 10:44:05 am »

I totally forgot to post here my second screenshot last saturday  Shocked

Here it is:



So, let me introduce to you the combat phase in a sloppy presentation. On the left you have the hud to control your team, and on the bottom you have the same thing for your main character. There are some buttons to access your character's pannel, inventory's pannel, and quest's pannel. On the right, you can retrieve all the special attacks of your current selected character. All character has his own talents tree that you can customize during the quest. Some talents are special attacks that you can launch on the battlefield, others are passive.

At any time during combat, you can pause the game to anticipate better and choose wisely your next actions.
You can select up to 3 talents, they will appear near the character on the hud, and they will be launched on the battlefield in a cyclic way.  You can cancel a talent before its launch as well.

At this time of the development, there are still no AI, no effect and no control on the combat. There are only the hud that works and the rendering. So I have a lot of work to do !
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