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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #80 on: July 13, 2017, 05:34:19 PM »

Dev Log #19
Taking Inventory



It's been a week and a half now since my last dev log entry where I noted that I was working towards a little playable build of the game for public release. I wanted to finish it by the end of the month. I haven't made as much progress as I was hoping for, so it looks like I won't have anything ready quite so soon. I just need to learn how to make games faster, I suppose.

But at least progress is being made, even if it's not as quick as I was hoping. In the past week I've worked on getting the game's item system up and running. The scripting commands needed for items to be usable haven't been added yet, but almost everything else is done. This includes the inventory system, which is what I'm going to talk about today.


Here's the main inventory screen.

It's hard to imagine an RPG without some sort of inventory system. Not that it can't be done—it certainly can. But it's such a fundamental simulation of how we store and use our tools and possessions in real life that it's not just a cornerstone of RPGs, but of countless other genres as well. Items are usually very important in RPGs. You are an adventurer! Here is your sword! Here is your shield! Another Star 2, of course, is no exception.

Inventories in games tend to be broken down into two camps: infinite inventories that can hold everything, and limited inventories that only allow you to carry so many items (often based on weight, or count, or a combination thereof). Personally, I kind of like inventory management, so long as it's not too tedious, which is the main reason why Another Star had a limited inventory.

For a limited inventory to work well, the player needs to have access to information about the usefulness of items, and they need to be able to understand how much room they have. Both of these allow the player to make informed decisions about what items to keep and what items to toss or sell. Older games tended to fail at the former. Many came with fold-out charts in the box along with the manual. If you didn't have the chart, there was rarely an in-game way to find how powerful a given weapon or piece of armor is. Thankfully, improved display resolutions and better interface designs have pretty much nipped that problem in the bud.

Informing the player about the space left in their inventory still tends to be a problem, though. Bethesda games like Skyrim and Fallout are an example of this. Those games' inventories are limited based on weight, but when it's time to clear out your inventory it's often a struggle to figure out where all the weight is. Is it a few heavy items, or many light items that are the problem? This is an area where Another Star failed, I think. In Another Star you had 50 item slots. Players usually didn't realize this, though, because other than an untitled counter up in the corner of the inventory screen the game never really tells you up-front. Most players discover the item limit when they go to open a chest or buy something and the game suddenly tells them that they're already full.

There are a few ways I want to approach this differently in Another Star 2. First off, you'll notice that the inventory isn't an old-style list of text, it's icon-based. The graphics aren't just to be pretty. They add some valuable information that text alone has trouble conveying. There are visible slots for items to be in, so it's easy for the player to realize at a glance "oh, I only have this much room" without being explicitly told. Second, the inventory is going to be smaller at first. Maybe a dozen or so item slots at the beginning of the game. This means that the first time the player opens up the inventory, they'll see that there are less slots on screen than there is room for, meaning they don't have to scroll down before they realize the item slots don't go on forever. It also lets them "practice" managing a small inventory early in the game that's easy to track while they're still figuring out how different sorts of items are useful. Don't worry about the small starting inventory too much. Unlike the first Another Star, as this game goes on you'll be able to earn more inventory slots.

One more thing I'd like to do is to better encourage the player to use their items instead of hording them just for boss battles. The first Another Star had lots of battle-minded items like nets and bait that were useful in certain situations. However, other than the throwing stars and bows, even I usually just sell them when I go back and play the game. I want items you find to look and sound like they'd be fun to use when you come across them so that you'll want to try them out right away. I also want to make items like this more reliable. Why shouldn't the net always immobilize or slow down low-level non-intelligent enemies instead of only working half the time? If it's reliable instead of a gamble, people will want to make use of them because now they're a dependable tactic in battle. Plus, if it isn't as useful on bosses, players are likely to be less stingy with them.


This option sorts your entire inventory by type, name, or how long you've had each item.

The one thing I haven't quite figured out yet is "key" items. These were a problem in Another Star. They took up room in your inventory, but the game would never deny you one when you were out of inventory room. What sometimes happened is that a player would end up with 51 items or more in their inventory because they'd just gotten some key items. They'd go sell a single item when told to free up room to buy something, then get confused when they still couldn't buy the thing since their inventory was now at 50—still no room.

In my original notes for the game I planned to not have key items count towards the item total at all, but this might also be confusing, suddenly adding extra slots when you go over the limit just to have them disappear when you sell off items to make room. Most games tend to solve this by moving key items to their own special inventory, but I'm not sure this is a good idea for Another Star 2. In the first game, key items weren't just MacGuffins that have no purpose. They were often items that you could equip, such as the very useful "Father's Pendant" accessory acquired early in the game. If they're all in their own little "key item" inventory, the player is less likely to remember them or even realize they can be used. I may make some sort of "overflow" inventory where key items get banished to when you acquire one but have no room for it.

I suppose I should also mention to two icons at the end of the inventory screen. The first is just a simple sort option, as pointed out in the caption above. Another Star 1 also had this. Selecting it multiple times in a row has the game sort your inventory by a few different criteria. I assume most people will use this if their inventory starts to get too cluttered instead of doing it all manually by hand, especially as the inventory size grows.

The second icon is more interesting to me, though. In my original mock-up image of the inventory I added a recycling symbol to the trash bin to make it more obvious that when you "drop" an item, you aren't just throwing it away. As in the first game you get a little loot for it, although it's just a pittance so that it's still more worthwhile to hold on to it until you can sell it, if possible.

When I began working on the inventory this week, I went back to that mock-up in order to figure out where to put everything on the screen. When I did, I couldn't remember at first why I made it a recycle bin icon and not an actual trash icon. It reminded me so much of the "recycle bin" in modern operating systems that I decided to just roll with it.


Thanks for the gamedev pointers, Windows 95!

When you drop an item into the inventory's recycle bin, you get your bit of loot, but the item isn't actually disposed of yet. The most recent five items remain in the bin. If you change your mind, or pressed the button by mistake in a hurry, you can open up the recycle bin and select the item to get it back so long as you still have the loot from it, and have room in your inventory.

Now, it is possible in theory to abuse this mechanic to get five extra slots in your inventory. However, it's not as simple as you might think. Nothing in the recycle bin is safe; not once you leave the status menu and go back to exploring. If you die in battle, the entire contents of the bin is gone forever even if you choose to retry the battle. They'll also be gone if you ever reload a save. They aren't even guaranteed to be there while just walking around as maybe they'll start to randomly disappear from the bin after just a few seconds.


Here's the inventory in action.

Well, that pretty much sums up the inventory and my thoughts on it. What are your preferences when it comes to the way games handle items? What are some of your examples of both good and bad inventory designs in games you've played?

I think my next goal now is to get the character status and equipment screens up and running. Hopefully those go more quickly.
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« Reply #81 on: July 14, 2017, 10:25:11 AM »

I think in this case, I'd be a fan of a hybrid system - where maybe you have a limited carrying capacity, but you've also got some extra storage somewhere - whether it be one spot, like your hometown, or whether every Inn/town has an option to access the storage. This extra storage could either be infinite or similarly limited. That is, assuming a system like that wouldn't break from your narrative/world building.
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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #82 on: July 14, 2017, 12:11:10 PM »

I think in this case, I'd be a fan of a hybrid system - where maybe you have a limited carrying capacity, but you've also got some extra storage somewhere - whether it be one spot, like your hometown, or whether every Inn/town has an option to access the storage. This extra storage could either be infinite or similarly limited. That is, assuming a system like that wouldn't break from your narrative/world building.

I have considered an item bank; it'd be easy to implement since the game already tracks multiple inventories. (And in the game code, the bin is just a second inventory.) Even without a traditional item bank, the game might end up with some sort of "wardrobe" feature to get back old weapons and armor. Weapons and armor won't be outclassed as quickly as most console-style RPGs, and many will unique properties, so there would be a reason to want a way to get old equipment back.

(There are other reasons you might want old armor back as well, but I don't want to comment on that until I know for sure it's a feature that will be in the game or not.)
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« Reply #83 on: January 20, 2018, 09:03:49 AM »




Going back to a really old post here but this is incredible, the sound of this music blows me away. Hope the project is still alive Coffee
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« Reply #84 on: January 20, 2018, 05:21:58 PM »

Seconded! That song can really evoke an emotional response. And love the ocean-y white noise thrown in the mix.
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« Reply #85 on: January 21, 2018, 08:46:38 AM »

The project is still being worked on, however it was at a stand-still for quite a while due to some major changes in Real Life™. I'm back to making progress again, thankfully, but I sadly don't have nearly as much time to devote to it as I did early last year. I've been meaning to make a new dev log entry for a few months now, but I kept putting it off until I actually had something new and substantial to show off. I'll try to get a proper entry up by the start of February.

Seconded! That song can really evoke an emotional response. And love the ocean-y white noise thrown in the mix.

The white noise is supposed to be a ride cymbal, as heard in the original mix of this song that went unused in the first game:





At one point all the percussion sounds in Another Star 2 were going to be NES-style white noise and low-fi DPCM samples, a la Lagrange Point, a late Famicom game that had an FM synth chip built in to the cartridge.

By the way, here is the full Another Star 2 version of the song using an earlier version of the instrument tones than are heard in the gameplay footage:



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« Reply #86 on: February 01, 2018, 08:00:37 AM »

Dev Log #20
Setbacks



They say that the road to success is paved with failure, but it's also paved with lots of sudden and unexpected detours. You may have noticed that I haven't posted any dev logs in some time. There's a reason for that, and it's not because I've given up on the project.

In July of last year I got a new job, and am now working full time. Alas, it's not in my field, which is really frustrating at times, but it is keeping my bills paid and that's what's important right now. Sadly, this means I simply can't dedicate twenty-to-forty hours a week on this project anymore. Any progress is made in my free time now, and there was even a long period where I didn't try making progress at all. I've been meaning to post about this for months now, but I kept putting it off until I had something new to show at the same time. I shouldn't have done that, I suppose. I'll try to get back to making updates semi-regularly again. Sorry about that!

That also brings me to another subject that needs to be discussed here: cutting content. As creators, we usually hate parting with the perfect vision we see in our minds. But we can't do everything. Whenever you create something, be it video games or books or movies or something else, you eventually have to part with some of your ideas, even the ones you love the most. Some things have to be cut because they would take too long, others because they don't work as well as was planned, and still others because they're just not feasible.


The original design document for Another Star 2, complete with its original working title.

When I first began work on this game, I wrote out an enormous document. It detailed the game's mechanics, its world and characters, and most importantly it included a very detailed outline of the game's story from beginning to end. The document is a little over a hundred pages long (and single-spaced, at that). I knew from the beginning that I would probably have to trim quite a bit of fat to actually finish the game in a reasonable amount of time, and that was before I got caught up in pretend system limitations before rebooting the code from near-scratch! However, now that I have so much less time to do things, I'm probably going to have to cut even more than I had initially hoped. A lot more.

The question is, what are those cuts going to be? The game, as currently envisioned, contains nine playable characters, ten major dungeons, about twice that number of mini-dungeons, and like the original Another Star it includes countless little side areas to seek out that would consist of just a screen or two. So where do I point my knife? Should I reduce the number of playable characters to cut down on the number of highest-quality sprites I need to pixel out? Or do I just simplify their sprites, or even reduce the number of animations for them? Should I cut out entire dungeons whole cloth, or should I make them smaller, or leave them as intended and reduce the number of mini-dungeon side quests instead? If I streamline the game too much, will that detract from exploration because there's nothing to find? Or do I just accept that maybe this is going to be a ten year project instead of one that one lasts only another year or two? These are all questions I need to consider very carefully right now.

I also wonder if I should carry on with my "vertical slice" demo that I mentioned before, or simply begin the actual game. I've honestly never really done a vertical slice. For better or worse, I usually just start at the beginning and go from there, accepting that I'll have to come back and polish the early game content later. (Either way, I'd release some sort of demo as early as possible, just not a proper "vertical slice".)

But regardless of what I cut, I think the harshest truth I must face is this: the game won't be perfect. No game ever will, of course, but this one even less so. I have a habit of obsessing over little details, wanting to polish every pixel to its finest. I can't do that anymore. I think I'm going to have to accept that some battle animations won't be perfectly fluid, that some lines of dialog will be lackluster, that some map layouts won't be as engaging as others. And then I will have to move on to the next piece of content that needs to be worked on.

Oh! And before I go, I mentioned I was holding out to show my progress. Well, here you go!


Enemies are fully animated, and each has a neat little entrance animation at the beginning of the battle.

I promise I won't wait so long for the next update! I'm planning to continue working on the battle sprites and animations so that I can get the battles mechanics into place. Look forward to it!
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« Reply #87 on: February 01, 2018, 08:39:08 AM »

It's sad that you can't make the game you wanted to make. To say otherwise would be disingenuous. That being said, I'd much rather play a trimmed down Another Star 2 then not play it at all.

Nice to see an update, those animations look smooth and I can't wait for the vertical slice demo (if you go that route)!
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« Reply #88 on: February 01, 2018, 08:47:12 AM »

I like the animations too, the screen reminds me of Earthbound in a way, but this is much better!
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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #89 on: February 02, 2018, 08:20:35 AM »

It's sad that you can't make the game you wanted to make. To say otherwise would be disingenuous. That being said, I'd much rather play a trimmed down Another Star 2 then not play it at all.

A lot of games from the era Another Star 2 draws from faced similar dilemmas; especially when it came to figuring out how to fit their grand visions into the very tiny space requirements of a cartridge. I suppose, in that sense, I'm staying true to the game's many inspirations. Tongue

I like the animations too, the screen reminds me of Earthbound in a way, but this is much better!

The layout has its roots more in Dragon Quest than anything else, though I can see the similarities to Earthbound now that you mention it, I suppose. Tengai Makyou Zero for the Super Famicom would probably be the closest analog, although it lacks animated enemies.

To be honest, the animated enemies are somewhat anachronistic. There's too many sprites on the same horizontal line for most 8-bit systems, and most games couldn't spare the space needed to store so many frames. But they're much too appealing to give up. Another case where the "cardinal rule" of AS2 wins out. Smiley

That said, I'm trying not to give them too many frames of animation. I want them to look good, but not so polished that they look like they're from a Sega Saturn or Playstation or Game Boy Advance game, if that makes any sense.
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« Reply #90 on: February 14, 2018, 05:16:52 PM »

Dev Log #21
Adventures With Friends




Sally forth!

Adventuring is always more fun with friends. Even the darkest dungeons aren't so dreary when you have comrades by your side. As noted before, there are nine planned party members for Another Star 2. I've completed the map sprites for three of them thus far, allowing me to test a proper party. They all need plenty of tweaks their sprites still need, but it's a start.

Party composition will be a fairly big deal in Another Star 2. In the first Another Star, the hero Tachi had two companions, giving you a set party of three characters that were with you for pretty much the entire game. However, I really wanted to build on the party mechanics and give the player options to balance the strengths and weaknesses of each party member by teaming them up in different ways. Instead of being forced to stick with glass cannon Tachi, what if you could have occasionally switched him out in favor of a faster and sturdier character that wasn't quite as strong, and lacked Tachi's strength buff spell?

I want players to have reasons to experiment and change their lineup regularly. First off, like with most games, each character has their own stats. Some specialize in strength, some in defense or speed, and so on. Second, each character has their own unique skills, a new addition for Another Star 2, giving each character their own flavor and gameplay style. Most RPGs are content with these two properties for characters, but Another Star 2 goes a bit further. As mentioned in an earlier dev blog, each character has their own elemental strengths and weaknesses. You may be able to compensate for these a bit later in the game, but you can't get rid of them altogether. If you're headed into an ice cave, you may have to swap your favorite character out for awhile because they're weak against ice and can't defend against the hits they're receiving from the ice-themed enemies. Forth, a character's guard meter only goes down a small amount at the end of a battle. If it's starting to fill up, you may want to swap the character out for a bit. Every character's guard meter goes back down a bit after a battle, even if they aren't in the active party. Finally, you may not always have access to all nine party members at all times. Each character has their own things to deal with in the wide, wide world, and so they may be unavailable from time to time. You may even be able to send them off on their own mini-quests for a set amount of in-game time, to return with loot and items if they're successful.

Here's a preview video that I recorded of in-game footage, showing the current state of the project and letting you listen to the game's real-time FM synth at work. Give it a view and then I'll discuss some of what you'll see.




First off... the glitches. I kept wanting to put this recording off until I fixed everything perfectly, but then the game would be finished and four years would have passed without a single dev log update! The biggest issues to notice are that the animation for the two follower members likes to glitch out because they're changing speed and direction so often. Sometimes they have trouble figuring out which direction to face and end up walking backwards (this happens most often in the overworld). Don't worry. These issues will be fixed before release, and I promise they'll look great as they follow you around the world. The frame rate also tends to skip at points, and there's some video and audio artifacts, but these are mostly recording issues because my computer isn't the best. Ignore all of these for the moment, and I'll get on to the more interesting stuff.

First off, encounters. If you played the first game, you know how the system works. As you walk around, prompts show up above the main character's head indicating an encounter. A yellow "!" means that you can fight or ignore the battle, while a red "!!" means that you have to accept the battle right away or else you'll be ambushed. But right off the bat, in the video you'll see a red "!!!" followed by a yellow "!!" and then a yellow "!". What's the difference? Difficulty! Battles that force you to think about how to beat your opponent are great, but if every battle is such a mental workout it gets tedious and boring, and sometimes just downright stressful. It's nice to spice things up by having some simpler battles that you can basically just button-mash through. Some games do this by mixing difficult bosses with cakewalk normal battles, but that can make the easy normal battles bland and forgettable. Another Star 2 does its best to strike a balance by having a wider range of standard battles. Those encounters with a single "!" are easy, those with "!!" harder, and those with "!!!" the hardest. These happen independently of whether a battle is forced or not, thus the icon changes. When you first enter a new area, maybe you'll only accept the easiest battles to make sure you can handle them before venturing further and risking the chance of a more difficult forced battle.

(You may notice I'm skipping all the forced encounters, by the way. That's because the game is in debug mode--and also because the ambush doesn't properly trigger yet.)

There's also another type of encounter icon that the game will introduce that aren't demonstrated because they haven't been implemented yet, and those are mini-boss encounters. In the first game, mini-bosses were set encounters in fixed locations visible on the map. Another Star 2 will probably still have those in spades, but very rarely you will get a special encounter icon for a mini-boss. You are forced to accept these in order to avoid an ambush, and will be pitted against incredibly rare and difficult foes to further break up the monotony.

Now, pay special attention to the battle footage. If you watch careful, you'll notice the rat enemies don't use the same attack animation every time. Every time an enemy or party member attacks, the game will randomly determine if they managed a weak, moderate, or strong attack. You can tell what level of attack they get by how many strikes they make in the attack. One strike represents a weak attack, while three strikes represents a strong one. Strong attacks do higher damage (although this hasn't been properly implemented yet). You'll only see the attack levels with enemies right now, because none of the party members have their proper attack frames yet. Critical hits, of course, are a different beast and have their own unique attack animation, but they haven't been implemented yet either.

Now, one last thing before I go, and this one is a biggie. Another Star used an "omni-battle" system where every attack hits every possible opponent. With Another Star 2 I intended to build on and refine the system by introducing the guard system and letting you choose your party composition, among other major changes. However, I'm seriously considering ditching it altogether and letting you select a command and individual target for each party member, just like a traditional RPG. Another Star is shaping up to have a more ambitious scope than its predecessor, even if it's not planned to be that much longer in playtime, and I fear the old battle system will feel out-of-place and grow stale as the game goes on. Perhaps I can save all my ideas for the "omni-battle system 2.0" and use them in another, smaller RPG some other time in the future.

I do hesitate to commit to the change yet, though, for a few reasons. The biggest one is that I want to keep that connection to the first game. The omni-battle system was one of Another Star's staple minimalist design choices. If you can only hit one target at a time, will Another Star 2's battle system feel too generic, even with all the ideas I am still bringing over from the first game? I also worry that it will slow the game down too much. Battles (usually) played out so quickly in Another Star that they were an in-and-out affair and never ground the game's progress to a halt. I don't want Another Star 2's battles to be something slow and tedious that you would automatically cut out of Let's Plays and such without a second thought.

What are your thoughts about the battle system, and the project's current state? I look forward to hearing your input!
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« Reply #91 on: February 16, 2018, 11:16:45 AM »

How will you deal with distributing experience between party members? Will party members outside of the party gain XP?

Since the omni system was meant to streamline certain things, may I recommend a party level instead of a character level Beg

Celestian Tales did this very well, there was zero penalty for playing around with party compositions.
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« Reply #92 on: February 17, 2018, 08:03:10 AM »

How will you deal with distributing experience between party members? Will party members outside of the party gain XP?

Since the omni system was meant to streamline certain things, may I recommend a party level instead of a character level Beg

Celestian Tales did this very well, there was zero penalty for playing around with party compositions.

Characters not in the active party will get some fraction of the EXP that each active party member gets. This is partially personal preference, because I like to be able to build up each my characters in an RPG. Party members with uneven levels shouldn't be as big an issue here as in many other RPGs, however, for reasons that I'll dive into in a future dev log about how levels and character growth will work in the game.
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« Reply #93 on: February 20, 2018, 12:37:53 PM »

Music beautiful as usual. Animations look crisp and fun. I am a bit worried that the battling will be a bit boring. Right now it looks like there are quite a few menu options, which sort of implies lots of choice. And then when you finally go to hit fight, it looks like an auto-scroller kind of "watch it play itself" game. This didn't seem to jive well.

But to be sure, I'd need to actually play a demo or something. This is just my 2cents from watching your video.
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« Reply #94 on: February 21, 2018, 07:55:06 PM »

I am a bit worried that the battling will be a bit boring. Right now it looks like there are quite a few menu options, which sort of implies lots of choice. And then when you finally go to hit fight, it looks like an auto-scroller kind of "watch it play itself" game. This didn't seem to jive well.

If you've played Another Star, there is more to battles than that. However it really does boil down to which option you pick each round. It worked well for that game, but it was also a much simpler setup, designed so you could just mash (or hold) the button to hurry through the text each round.

I can see how this could end up being a problem if I stick with the omni-battle system. There's more happening per round in this game than the previous game, and I don't necessarily want battles to simply be a matter of setting up parties the way you want and then watching them go. Possibly another reason for me to move to a more traditional system where you pick a target for each character.
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« Reply #95 on: March 10, 2018, 09:26:46 AM »

Dev Log #22
The Shape of Music



As mentioned in previous dev logs, Another Star 2 uses a real-time software synthesizer to generate its music and sound effects as you play. This required me to program a special tool called FM Pipe Organ that I use to set up the sound of the "instruments" and actually compose each track. It's a little buggy in places and lacks a lot of helpful tools that most composing interfaces provide, but it's good enough that I've already put together quite a bit of music, some of which I've shared in past dev logs. Granted, there's still a long way to go, but the music is already shaping up pretty well in my opinion.

In the early stages of developing the synthesizer, I'd get lots of audio pops and other artifacts. It's hard—and, in some cases, rather impossible—to tell what's going on just by listening. Thankfully, sound is a wave, so it's fairly easy to represent as a winding line that maps the waveform over time. To debug the synthesizer early on I would record the output using whatever sound editing software I had on hand at the time, and then go peek back at what the waves looked like. I often continued to do this whenever I made a new instrument setting and was trying to get a specific shape for the waveform. Even back then, I realized how helpful it would be to have this capability inside FM Pipe Organ instead of having to rely on an outside tool.


The hills are alive.

This past week I hastily added a handy little oscilloscope visualization to FM Pipe Organ. Not only does it show the final left and right audio output that's sent to the system, it also displays the individual output of each of the eight channels. The visualizations for the individual channels do their best to show the actual timber of each sound by left-aligning the waveforms based on when they pass the zero-boundary while going upward. They further stabilize the waveform rendering by checking multiple passes through the boundary and choosing one based on how close it is to the one before it. This is really helpful for complex waveforms that pass the boundary multiple times in a single repetition and otherwise end up snapping back and forth a lot in the rendering. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't, but usually you can see the waveform pretty clearly. It gives a really good indication of what the channel is doing and why it sounds the way it does.

Below you can watch and listen to FM Pipe Organ in action, playing a song I specifically wrote to show off what it can do. It's meant to be used in some of the early hidden areas you can explore, but we'll see how it ends up used in the final game. It may even end up sounding quite different in the end. Pardon any frame skips or audio pops in the video; they aren't normally present when I'm not trying to use capture software.




If you watch carefully, you'll notice that the bottom two channels, channels seven and eight, never do anything. That's because Another Star 2 only uses six of the eight channels in an attempt (possibly in vain) to avoid sounding too much like a later 16-bit console game. I haven't fully decided what the limitations for the game's soundtrack are going to be, but that one in particular is pretty firmly set at this point.

One day, I'll publicly release FM Pipe Organ for sure, so that everyone who is interested can play around with it. However, I don't see that happening until after the game itself is released. Like a magician, I don't want to give away all my secrets in the middle of the show!
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qMopey
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« Reply #96 on: March 10, 2018, 07:29:56 PM »

These are just the coolest blog updates. You're a wizard  Wizard
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Pixel Noise
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« Reply #97 on: March 20, 2018, 03:43:01 AM »

Duuuuude. Great music, great sound. Definitely interested in playing with the synth once you've released it publicly. I'm playing this on repeat all morning, it's really good.
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Pixel Noise - professional composition/sound design studio.
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Recently completed the ReallyGoodBattle OST!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=vgf-4DjU5q
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« Reply #98 on: March 04, 2019, 01:54:02 AM »

Hey TheGrandHero, I've found out about what you're doing (a bit randomly, I'm developing a fantasy console inspired by 16-bit arcade machines, with FM synthesis, indexed 16-color sprites, 2 BGs with mode 7, etc.) and I wanted to ask you for some update about what you're doing. I hope you'll have time to go back on this promising project! Wink
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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #99 on: September 07, 2019, 11:50:38 AM »

Dev Log #23
Issuing Orders



Wow, it’s been a long time! I guess I should clear out some of these cobwebs before I continue on. In any case, rest assured that I haven’t given up work on this project, although my current day job and a freelance project are taking up most of my free time. It’s hard to make progress when you feel drained all the time.


Now, in a previous entry I mentioned that I was seriously considering ditching the “omni-battle” system from the original Another Star and replacing it with a more traditional battle system where you can issue individual orders for each character. As those of you who follow me on Twitter should already know, I ended up implementing this change. Part of me is sad to see the omni-battle system go, but I don’t think this is the game for it. Maybe I’ll get to reuse and perfect it one day in another, smaller game.


In any case, you now tell each party member individually what they should do for a given round. You can only target one enemy normally, more like most players will expect. You’ll also notice a percentage displayed along with the targeted enemy. This is the hit chance, and it changes depending on the difference between the agility gap between the attacker and defender.

Note that if a combatant’s target is eliminated before they get the chance to attack it themselves, they don’t automatically select a new target. However, they don’t lose their turn altogether. Instead you’ll get a notice that they are deciding on a new target, and their turn will get pushed back to the end of the queue for the round. This should encourage you to be more tactical with your targeting decisions, while not punishing you too harshly for not micromanaging every single turn.

Another neat addition to the battle interface is that numbers now bounce into view more naturally, although it means that there are going to be far more sprites on screen than there should be. As it was I was already bending the rules, but the little damage boxes I was using before were kind of distracting and didn’t read very well. Yet another sacrifice for the sake of improved gameplay.


You’ll also notice something else really cool, and that’s the little flames that surround the characters as their turn comes up. These are called spirit points and they work mostly like magic points in other RPGs. Gone is the hit point based magic casting of the first game. You spend spirit points to cast spells now. Spent spirit points appear as dimmed flames. Spirit points are difficult to recover, so you’ll want to manage them wisely, especially in the early portions of the game.

That covers most of the changes that have been implemented over the past year or so. Not very much progress, sadly, but hopefully it won’t be nearly as long until the next dev log.
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