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August 24, 2019, 07:43:46 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsA Door to the Mists--First-person traversal, exploration, puzzles and combat
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Author Topic: A Door to the Mists--First-person traversal, exploration, puzzles and combat  (Read 22673 times)
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« Reply #280 on: July 29, 2019, 09:32:48 AM »

Blog post (29th of July, 2019)
Demo Content... Complete?


Summary: In which the demo's content is completed, I believe; a lore-entry page-image is drawn; logging is improved; the editor's showing of bounds is optional; and the side-project gains decor items.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows the page-image that corresponds to the lore-entry icon shown as last week's main screenshot:



The week just past was a bit of a slow one--but I did hit a major milestone, I believe!

As indicated in the title, I believe that the content for the demo now entirely complete! There's testing to be done, and I still want to re-read one lore-entry for editing and perhaps make one or two minor code-changes, but otherwise I believe that everything is in!

With that point reached, and aside from the changes just mentioned, I intend to start in on making new screenshots, videos, and the like, gearing up towards the release of the demo.

This is an exciting and somewhat-nervous time! 0_0

(Although once again, I'm currently waiting for the release of the next version of the Panda3D engine before building the demo, so I still don't have a release date, I'm afraid!)

Of the specific changes made in the week just past, most were fairly minor elements of polish, I think--moving an object slightly, fixing bugs, and so on. Only three seem worth mentioning here:

First is the page-image shown above. The lore-entry in question is a bit of history regarding the place of brass in the city of Tenereth (the location of level two). The image thus displays some its use: a shining lantern, and a decorative mirror.

Second is that, with help from the Panda3D forum, I improved (I hope!) the game's logging of messages, warnings, and errors. Where the editor simply prints these to the console for me to view, the full game should now write all of them to a log file. Should users encounter issues with the game, such a log may be very useful in figuring out where those problems lie!

And third, in the level-editor it's now possible for me to toggle whether bounding-shapes are shown for in-game objects. Such shapes are rather useful when editing--they show which object has been selected, and give me an idea of how big it is. However, they can also sometimes get in the way of taking screenshots and recording videos--hence the ability now to turn them off.

As to my "wandering visual-novel" side-project, that continues to make slow progress--it seems that completion of the tile-editor is further off than I'd thought! Most recently, I added support for "decor" objects--non-interactive objects that add some variety and detail to environments; things like carpets, lamps, and so on. There's more to be done on this feature, but I'm happy with it thus far!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #281 on: August 05, 2019, 09:53:15 AM »

Blog post (5th of August, 2019)
Trailing Ahead


Summary: In which a trailer is made; said trailer has a mist-like transition for text; said transition uses Perlin noise generated by Panda; level two sees some minor fixes; and the side-project continues, and may have a video soon.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a still from a new trailer:



The week just past was one primarily of trailer-making, touch-ups, polish, and a bit of bug-fixing:

To start with, I have a new trailer made for A Door to the Mists! It's a short "mood trailer", not depicting gameplay but rather establishing a feeling and motivation. Specifically, it shows a flight through level two, heading for the distant light of that level, accompanied by royalty-free music from Kevin MacLeod's "Incompetech" website.

The trailer is complete, I believe, but has yet to be released--for that I intend to wait until closer to the demo's release!

As part of the trailer, lines of text appear and are replaced in sequence. And I didn't want that text to simply fade out--I wanted it to evanesce raggedly like mist. It seemed to me that I could achieve such an effect via 3D Perlin noise--but how to go about generating that?

Blender and GIMP could generate 2D Perlin noise, but I found no easy way of making 3D noise. (And furthermore, I had some difficulty in using Blender's Perlin noise--at least in part, I daresay, to my unfamiliarity with its shader-node system.)

The possibility remained to generate 3D noise myself in code; I've done so before, as I recall. It wasn't a terribly appealing option, but it was an option.

Then, on the off-chance, I searched the Panda3D forums--and it turns out that Panda has Perlin noise classes! Including a 3D version! Okay, it doesn't seem to handle multiple octaves by itself, and it has some unexplained parameters, but those were nothing insurmountable.

Rendering out the noise thus generated took a little time, but I feel that it was worth it--I'm quite happy with the transition that it enabled. ^_^



Moving away from the trailer, level two saw some minor fixes in the week just past: I discovered some curbs that lacked rear geometry, and had a wall with a misaligned texture. Thankfully, both of these proved very quick and easy to fix!

And otherwise, I made a variety of small touch-ups, polishings, and bug-fixes that don't seem worth detailing here: editing to some of the writing; adjusting the colour of some text; implementing a GUI fix given by a Panda3D dev; and so on.

As to the "wandering visual-novel" side-project, it recently acquired nearly-fully-functional doors, and can now load much of the editor's work into the main game. Indeed, I'm hoping to soon upload a short video of the process as it stands, so look for that being posted on YouTube and Twitter soon!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #282 on: August 12, 2019, 03:35:28 PM »

Blog post (12th of August, 2019)
A Week of Videos


Summary: In which several videos for A Door to the Mists are made or worked on; all of these have a (largely) common end-screen; the approach to autosaves is reconsidered; quitting-saves are split from autosaves; a number of bug-fixes and touch-ups are made; the "Wandering Visual Novel" project gets an "environment building" tile-editor-and-gameplay video; and Night River gets some Let's Plays!

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot is a still from another new trailer that I've been working on:



The week just past was largely focussed on the making of videos, although some other things got done, too:

Simplest of the videos, perhaps, is the one that shows the game's main menu, complete with the royalty-free music that I've selected for it. (If you want to know the source of that music, you should find it linked in the description of the video.)

That video has been uploaded for viewing, and should be available below:





Similarly-simple is a new recording of the intro/story cutscene.

I have previously uploaded a video of the intro/story cutscene. But since that time the cutscene has seen some changes, most saliently to its music. (And indeed, I even made a change while working on this new video: I added a slow zoom to part of the first scene, hopefully making it a little less static!) Thus, the previous video is no longer accurate.

Rather less simple is a new gameplay video that I've been working on. It occurred to me, as I recall, that I haven't shown much of the core gameplay of A Door to the Mists for quite some time. This new video then serves to rectify that.

It consists of short snippets of the fundamental elements of the gameplay in A Door to the Mists: traversal and exploration; puzzle-solving; and combat. (It is thus a little bit spoilery in places, but ah well.) Furthermore, the gameplay is shown with no overlaid music; instead, it simply includes the sounds of the game itself.

Those last two videos are, I think, pretty much complete. However, I haven't yet uploaded either of them: I'm largely waiting until I have a release date for the demo, so that I can include it in their text and so that I can release them in the approach to that release date.

And last of the trailer-work from the week just past, I've begun work towards a new main trailer. This is still quite nascent, and is proving tricky. For one thing, I don't want to simply re-make the previously-released "early trailer", even granted that I now have footage from level two to include. Still, I think that I have some ideas, or at least the start of them; we'll see how it goes!

All of these trailers share a (largely) common end-screen. As in at least one previous trailer (I think), this shows the game's title against an animated backdrop of mist.

But it now also includes the game's tagline ("Adventure is my path"), and a short one-sentence description ("Traversal, Puzzles, and Combat in a Heroic-Fantasy Setting"). In addition, in gives my Twitter handle and the game's IndieDB URL, and--for the unreleased trailers, at least--I intend that it include a mention of the release-date for the demo.

(Only two trailers have slight differences in their end-screens, as far as I recall: The "main menu" video, shown above, doesn't mention the demo-release; and the "mood" trailer mentioned in last week's post uses different music.)



On the technical side, I've been thinking a bit about my autosaves.

As things stand, the game keeps only one autosave file--each autosave overwrites its predecessor (if any). But what if the autosave file becomes corrupted? The player does have the ability to save manually, and to make a quick-save (which similarly overwrites any previous quick-save). But if they haven't been doing so, then a lack of other saves could well leave them with no recourse but to restart the game entirely...

I considered having the game alternate between two autosave files. This seems like a decent idea--but might come with complications, and I'm loath to implement it so close to demo-release.

I also considered having autosaves no longer overwrite their predecessors, simply accumulating over time. My save-files aren't too big, I think, and hard-disk space isn't as limited as once it was. But nevertheless, given that I want to be fairly generous with autosave-points, that could result in creating quite a lot of files, and quite a few save-slots in the game's save/load menu...

I haven't yet quite settled on what to do.

All that said, I have made one change: the save-file that's automatically made when the game is closed is now separate from other auto-saves. This means that, even if the autosave is corrupted, the player should at least have whatever progress they had made when last they closed the game.

And over the course of the week, I encountered a surprising number of bugs and minor touch-ups to be made! (Which don't seem worth detailing here.) I think that I have most, perhaps all, of these issues fixed now!

As to my "Wandering Visual Novel" side-project, I continued work on the tile-editor. While there is, I believe, still a fair bit of work to be done, I finally brought it to a point at which I felt that it was ready for a demonstration of its use! And indeed, I posted a video showing the process of creating a simple environment in the tile-editor, and brief gameplay in that environment:





(Also, I've been wanting for quite some time to make some use of the particular royalty-free music-track that plays in the video. I'm glad to have found a use for it! ^_^)

I've since started work on a character-editor. It's only just begun, but I'm fairly happy with the start that I've made, I believe. ^_^

And finally, you may recall my previous side-game, Night River. Well, I recently had some Let's Players inform me that they'd played it! It's really great to see people playing the game, especially when they seem to enjoy it. ^_^

You should see the two recent videos linked below:
RAAP On Point's playthrough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-PoXUImZ8M
Null-Entity's playthrough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWXGlBna3SM

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #283 on: August 19, 2019, 10:53:43 AM »

Blog post (19th of August, 2019)
Press kits and Screenshots


Summary: In which a new version of Panda3D is released; this means that a demo-release announcement may come soon; screenshots and other promotional elements are updated; the IndieDB page gains a press kit; a new game-icon is painted; the new "main trailer" makes progress; the "Wandering VN" character editor is coming along; and another Night River Let's play is uploaded.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot once again shows a trailer-still, this time from the work-in-progress "main trailer":



The week just past was primarily given to trailer-making and promotional-material preparation. However, there's also some news regarding the demo! :D

To start with, that demo news!

You may recall that I've been waiting for a new version of Panda3D to be released. Well, just today that happened!

There are some tests and adjustments to make, but with the game's trailers and other promotional elements making progress (see below), I'm now hopeful of announcing a demo-release date soon. So keep an eye out for that! :D

That said, on to the usual news regarding the work done in the week just past:

There are a number of pages and posts that serve to give information or promotional material for A Door to the Mists. Offhand, there's the IndieDB page, my website's pages, the first post in the TIGSource devlog, and the game's press kit on my website. In the week just past I set about updating these, and furthermore added a press kit to the game's IndieDB entry.

(Since the new trailers haven't yet been released, these all still use the pre-existing trailers for the moment. I intend to update them once the new trailers are out!)

If you want to visit either of the game's press kit pages, you should find them at these links:
IndieDB: IndieDB
Personal website: Thaumaturge-Art

A major part of this process has been replacing the screenshots found on those pages--while some were likely fine, I fear that others were a little out-of-date.

So, having taken some new screenshots in a previous week, I first looked through and selected from those; then, noting that they were weighted a bit toward level two, I went and took more.

With that done, I uploaded them as called for, and updated the relevant pages.

(I actually ended up doing this twice: To start with, I inadvertently added them to IndieDB in reverse order. Then, before re-uploading them there, I decided to add a logo to the images. I thus re-uploaded them not only to IndieDB, but to other pages too.)

Here is one of the new screenshots, with logo visible at bottom-right:


Furthermore, I tweaked the text and layout in a few places; the TIGSource first-post in particular had the layout of its images reworked, a new line of text inserted, and a link to the game's IndieDB page added.

As I recall, when I came to add a press kit to the game's IndieDB entry, it turned out that IndieDB had size-requirements for press kit game-icons--size requirements that my icon didn't meet. And, well, I wasn't entirely happy with the extant icon.

Hence, in the week just past I painted a new icon for A Door to the Mists. The basic idea is the same: a representation of what the "Door" in question might look like, with mist showing within. But this version is, I think, much improved--and of course is now much bigger, which both allows it to be used in my IndieDB press kit and makes easier the creation of size-variations.

I also continued with trailer-making. I believe the I mentioned last week that I was working on a new "main trailer", and that it was proving tricky. Well, it continued to prove tricky--but I do think that I've made good progress on it, and may indeed have it near-done!

One part that I'm quite happy with is a mist-effect placed behind certain pieces of text, as both emphasis and allusion to the titular mist. This uses the same rendered Perlin noise that I recall mentioning in last week's post, albeit re-rendered in the week just past to change more swiftly. You should see a short clip of it below:


And along the way one or two further things were done that don't seem worth mentioning here.

As to my "Wandering Visual Novel" side-project, work continues there on the character editor. This is coming along quite nicely, I think: I can load and save characters; position, scale, and rotate details (things like character-expressions) on poses; and delete details and visual-novel choices. ^_^

And finally, another Let's Play of Night River was uploaded in the week just past! It's really great to see people discovering the game. ^_^

You should see it here (followed in the same video by a Let's Play of another game):




That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #284 on: August 19, 2019, 10:55:28 AM »

As noted in the devlog above, the first-post has been updated! The screenshots have been updated, a link to the game's IndieDB page added, and some minor touch-ups to the text performed, I believe. ^_^
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