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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogs[Beta] Heroes Guard - Mobile Gamebook
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Author Topic: [Beta] Heroes Guard - Mobile Gamebook  (Read 9636 times)
Dewfreak83
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« on: October 11, 2014, 05:06:42 PM »

Working full-time on my first self-published game: Heroes Guard: The Journal an interactive game book with CCG and RPG aspects!

My trade is a programmer by profession, but I'm trying my hand at art and writing. I'm looking for as much feedback as possible!

Work-in-Progress Marketing Poster


Events are randomly chosen that give the player short-stories to explore, like choose-your-own-adventure books. There are repercussions for failing or not investigating events though, as they can escalate and actually change!

 

One big thing that I always found missing in CYOA and other gamebooks, was a real sense of strategy. So I added a mini card game where you get to use your spells, items, and companions you gather through the story to try and best your foe!

 



The genre is very niche, but if you think this would be your cup-of-tea please sign-up Beta #2 here!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 02:23:50 PM by Dewfreak83 » Logged

Dewfreak83
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2014, 06:20:16 PM »

Started working on the combat this week, which is a small / quick card game. This was a lot of fun to put together!



And here is my first ever recorded gif of the game! I primarily wanted to show off the effect animations  Grin



Its all just quick / temporary art - but setting the direction I'm heading. I'd love any feedback!
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2014, 08:47:37 AM »

Seems really cool, looking forward for more updates.
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CrateBoy
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2014, 09:40:29 AM »

My trade is a programmer by profession, but I'm trying my hand at art. I'm looking for as much feedback as possible!

As a jack of all trades, awful at them kinda guy my best generic advice is:
Good colors and good textures make everything look 100% better. Steal beautiful colors from everywhere! Use tools like kuler to work out your shades and contrasty stuff. Don't fall into the habit of Deviant Artists and use the burn tool, it looks awful. Avoid the flash game gradient look its awful awful awful. If you can't draw well and you don't have the willingness to learn, stylize everything. Make sure your style is always consistent. Want to tidy your linework up? Put it in Adobe Illustrator and vectorise the image and go from there. Applying 1 texture or a photoshop effect texture on something you've drawn or mocked up generally looks sub-par. Layer textures on textures with the Photoshop blend tools for extra beautification.

Best of luck, you seem to be doing pretty well so far. My biggest suggestion for the style you're developing is lots of texturing. Get textures from, rocks, trees, leaves, wrinkly skin, carpet and mix it up into everything. Experiment with every blend effect until you go "that looks the best" make it subtle and put another texture on. When I say subtle I mean it blends in and looks natural, this does not mean less textures. Subtle isn't less textures, its more texture until it looks more real.

I hope that made sense, I'm pretty shocking at explaining things.
Again, best of luck, I'm looking forward to playing this.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2014, 09:46:36 AM by CrateBoy » Logged

Dewfreak83
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2014, 10:14:26 AM »

Thank you so much!

That's the first strong critique I've received on the art. Most of my friends and family are basically just impressed I can draw at all... heh.

My tools of choice (or perhaps limitation) are Gimp and Inkscape. I love the idea of importing my messy line art into Inkscape (I swear my Wacom tablet has some "bad" spots on it...), I'll see if Inkscape has some nifty features to help with this.

Texturing... Texturing. Yeah I have a limited understanding on the filters and have barely played with them - basically getting it to "good enough" at this stage. I see myself applying textures to mostly just a handful of places (pages background, table background, card background) - I think the tough part is making sure that all that texturing doesn't feel out of place next to all the final hand-drawn art.

Then perhaps you are saying - texture the heck out of most/all the hand-drawn art... for instance the hands. I was going to take another pass at them but never really though about texturing them.

Again - thanks so much for the feedback. This is so much fun!
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CrateBoy
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2014, 11:40:02 AM »

The coolest stuff will come from experimenting and messing around with tools and breaking things. I really recommend adobe stuff because it's industry standard, rich with tutorials and you never know who you might end up working with. You can even buy super cheap keys on ebay and stuff now if you're limited on cash and don't do the piracy thing.
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Dewfreak83
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2014, 08:36:59 AM »

So the past few weeks I've been working on a tool to assist me in writing stories. Regardless of making the framework friendly, creating choose-your-own-adventure style stories can become rather cumbersome - especially having to tweak things due to spelling or content not fitting on pages the way I intended.


I knew I wanted something really simple that only I would use (so it could be ugly). I also needed the tool to run on both Mac and Windows - my two development machines. Having several years of experience in Java - I went down that path. At first I started home-growing everything myself - I always wanted to learn JavaFX. But after about a week's worth of work I was very unhappy with the direction. The JavaFX tools were rather buggy and even after several years of its inception there weren't very many resources or 3rd party tools (compared to java itself).

So, I started over from scratch! I also had experience using the Eclipse framework to create IDE-based tools, but initially avoided this solution due to its complicated setup and learning curve. In half the time of my earlier prototype, I had something much more complete and extensible!



Key Features:
  • Project Explorer:
        Lists all the stories files (.sbf) that are in Heroes Guard as well as the code generated for import into the game (.lua)
  • Story Markdown:
        Simplified language for creating stories for the game book that automatically is translated into game code (lua). The syntax highlighting is nice on the eyes!
  • Problem Log:
        Shows warnings and errors in the stories being built. One of the most useful is regarding the maximum characters that can fit on one page.
  • Story Outline:
        Shows each page and choice that will be shown to the player. Great as a visualizer for the many paths that come up in a choose-your-own-adventure style game.
  • Cross Platform:
        Built on top of Java and Eclipse to ensure usability on all work environments.

Now I can back to focusing on the game itself!  Beer!
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 08:32:20 AM by Dewfreak83 » Logged

Dewfreak83
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2014, 10:15:43 AM »

The setting of each player's game will be randomized. The setting will be described as part of the introduction and will include a unique cover/title art for each one. This one is titled "War":

« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 08:32:06 AM by Dewfreak83 » Logged

Dewfreak83
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2014, 10:45:19 AM »

Working on making it exciting to get a stat point - while building your character in the beginning of the game. Given that there are sound FX to help sell it - do you think it does the trick?

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Dewfreak83
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2014, 12:46:27 PM »

The Story Builder tool has made it quiet convenient to write choose-your-own-adventure style events for the game, and so I started to extend it to support the character building process as well. This mostly meant extending the way code was generated for the "choices" available to the player.

Sometimes they player would get to choose to increase a skill point (strength, intelligence, etc) or perhaps a weapon or magic skill (in the form of playing cards, MTG style).

Well this lead me to the mess which was the original choice design. Some of it was just bad naming, and some of it was bogus architecture - so I took a stab at redesigning it this afternoon:



Besides some naming and removing duplicate code, one of the key updates to the design is the GainChoice: which allows me to link multiple items that can be gained from a single selection (before you could only gain skills or cards, not both) as well as use the gain code/animations outside of choices - like when the player receives letters from the Guard or wins at combat.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 08:31:59 AM by Dewfreak83 » Logged

Dewfreak83
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2014, 12:33:06 PM »

Working on an important game screen - the player's inventory! The tricky thing here is that the player is writing in a pen-and-ink journal so I don't want to 'break the immersion' of that.

To make the inventory more appealing though, I'm labeling it as historical records that are created by the Heroes Guard - allowing me a bit more creative freedom (like the map). I'm also making the plunge to do simple full-body portraits for each race. These will be black-and-white sketches similar to the cover-art used for all the short-stories/chapters in the game.



My goal is to have the screen in a decent state for Screen Shot Saturday - starting on art assets shortly!  Coffee

Side Note: Are the design images with callouts communicating what I'm doing? Any suggestions on describing my intentions better?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 08:31:51 AM by Dewfreak83 » Logged

Dewfreak83
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« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2014, 08:20:23 AM »

Finished up the rendering of the inventory system. Feels good. You can't really call an RPG-like game complete with out an inventory!



I ended up changing the top of the inventory design a bit. Thought the seal, date, and signature would help "sell" that this document is provided by the Heroes Guard order - and mostly that is why the look&feel is so different.
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Dewfreak83
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2014, 01:46:21 AM »

Updated the artwork for the gold coins today - big improvement I think. Very interesting to see how something like just the gold coin icons have progressed over time.

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Playaction
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2014, 03:08:00 AM »

Cool project! Funny to see how much the artwork is improving. The coins and inventory records looks way better than before.

If you don't mind a little feedback on the inventory page, I would prefer if you either use rounded corners (left side) or square boxes (right side) - not both. And the borders around the brown backpack area feels too wide. The gray borders feel more appropriate. I love that you break up the borders like on the top of the gray boxes, and with the backpack.

I wish you would give the book some love too. The thick border on the edge of the page and on the page curl really needs to go, especially when you use realistic looking paper texture. Use darker shades of your paper texture to show the pages below the current one. Maybe take a peek at this for reference. http://www.tomdalyart.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/book-w-fish-drawing.jpg
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Dewfreak83
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2014, 11:43:59 AM »

It shall be done! Added to the todo list:
  • Apply same size and style to inventory borders
  • Remove/Reduce Book line-art
  • Show next page(s) peaking below current, darker

And by the way, I LOVE feedback, criticism, or comments. More please! Smiley

Thanks soooo much for just throwing a comment here and taking an interest - it makes my day. Seriously.
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IstanaAngin
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« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2014, 06:46:02 AM »

The coolest stuff will come from experimenting and messing around with tools and breaking things. I really recommend adobe stuff because it's industry standard, rich with tutorials and you never know who you might end up working with. You can even buy super cheap keys on ebay and stuff now if you're limited on cash and don't do the piracy thing.


yeah, experimenting is fun but sometimes you got to save time
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Luachra
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« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2014, 08:21:36 AM »

Absolutely love this project, keep up the good work! Also major respect being a one man team is hard work but you are handling it well Smiley
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Dewfreak83
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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2014, 11:25:22 PM »

Absolutely love this project, keep up the good work!

Yay!  Kiss
Is there anything in particular that you are fond of - or anything in particular you hope I execute well on?

Also major respect being a one man team is hard work but you are handling it well Smiley

Thanks - it is indeed difficult switching hats so often. Perhaps the toughest is the writing - I greatly, greatly underestimated it. And for a gamebook I do have a decent amount of writing to do...
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Dewfreak83
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2014, 11:49:06 AM »

While there are a few "animations" in the game, this is the first legit one. Not to mention my very first 2d animation!

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« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2014, 03:38:56 PM »

Can't tell if it's just lag from recording (I get that when recording), but the animation should probably be faster. Will look smoother, and the player waits less.  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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