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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsA Door to the Mists--[DEMO updated!]--traversal, exploration, puzzles and combat
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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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« Reply #285 on: August 26, 2019, 12:43:32 PM »

Blog post (26th of August, 2019)
Demo Release Date Announced!


Summary: In which the demo release date is announced; plans for promotion during this week are given; some bugs are yet to be fixed during this week; the game sees various tweaks and fixes; promotional items are worked on and pages are updated; and the "Wandering VN" character-editor continues to progress.

Greetings and salutations!

To start with, as the title says: I have a release date for the demo! Specifically:



I currently intend to upload the demo to my IndieDB page.

The exact time hasn't yet been determined--I may announce that via Twitter in the coming week--but is likely to be in the afternoon or early evening, GMT/UTC.

As to more detail on my release plans for this week, and the things that were done in the week just past:

To start with, my plans for this week: On each day this week leading up to Saturday, I intend to release a new piece of promotional material. On Monday (i.e. today), Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, I intend that this be one of the new trailers. On Wednesday I intend to take a break from those, instead releasing a few wallpapers.



The first of those trailer-videos, a "mood trailer", is already available to be seen:





I'll confess that I do have some anxiety about releasing this week: testing during the week just past did reveal some bugs that I want to fix this week. However, there aren't many (that I'm aware of!), so I'm reasonably confident in fixing them within the span of a week.

As to the things done in the week just past, there were a number of bits of work to be done on the game itself: a variety of generally-minor things, whether bug-fixing, tweaking, preparing for the demo (no level-skipping for you! Tongue), or otherwise.

But the main work of the week just past was once again focussed primarily on promotional stuff:

I finished off, rendered, and uploaded the new trailers; I resized icons; I prepared wallpapers (with help from Twitter regarding their resolution); I updated some of the pages on my personal website--perhaps most notably the "video" entries in my press-kit pages and the "videos" page for A Door to the Mists.

I also reworked my personal logo. I'm rather more happy with the new one--while I won't call it perfect by any means, I think that it's rather an improvement over its predecessor. Here's a comparison of the two side-by-side:



And as before, work on my "Wandering Visual Novel" side-project continued slowly; bit by bit the character editor is coming along, I think. ^_^

That then is all for this week--stay well, thank you for reading--and I hope that you enjoy the demo when it's released! :D

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« Reply #286 on: August 27, 2019, 10:31:47 AM »

The next video is up!

This one shows the core gameplay of A Door to the Mists, via a selection of short snippets:



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« Reply #287 on: August 28, 2019, 09:25:01 AM »

Wallpapers!

There are:
 - 2 wallpapers sized for PC (2560 x 1440), and
 - 3 (well, 2.5; one is a variation of another) sized for mobile (1080 x 1920)

You can download the whole lot in a single archive from my IndieDB page:
https://www.indiedb.com/games/a-door-to-the-mists/downloads/wallpapers-pc-and-mobile

Preview:

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« Reply #288 on: August 29, 2019, 06:20:59 PM »

The next video! This one is a slightly-revised version of the story trailer/intro cutscene:



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« Reply #289 on: August 30, 2019, 10:07:01 AM »

And the final trailer before the demo's release date (tomorrow!): The Demo Trailer!



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« Reply #290 on: August 31, 2019, 05:46:12 AM »

Demo day!

Don't forget to post a download link here. I'll play it.  Smiley
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« Reply #291 on: August 31, 2019, 06:01:07 AM »

Demo day it is indeed! :D

The demo is due to launch in just under an hour, at time of writing--and don't worry, I do indeed intend to link it here! :D
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« Reply #292 on: August 31, 2019, 07:02:55 AM »

The demo is here! :D
(Some bugs may yet remain in it.)

You should be able to download it from IndieDB via these links:

Windows 64-bit Build | Linux 64-bit Build
"Adventure is my path"

(I've also updated the first post to include them.)



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« Reply #293 on: August 31, 2019, 09:42:09 AM »

Hey, tried playing the demo - it shows "Quick Note" then I press mouse key and it closes - game doesn't run.

This is what I found in logfile:

Quote
Known pipe types:
  wglGraphicsPipe
(all display modules loaded.)
:task(error): Exception occurred in PythonTask open menu
:GameMessages(warning):

I'm using Windows 7.
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« Reply #294 on: August 31, 2019, 10:34:36 AM »

Hey, congrats on launching the demo! I'll try to check it out over the weekend.
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« Reply #295 on: August 31, 2019, 06:09:29 PM »

Hey, tried playing the demo - it shows "Quick Note" then I press mouse key and it closes - game doesn't run.

Argh, that's a pity! :/

I've seen that issue before on at least one machine, but I don't yet know what's causing it. I was hoping that it would prove rare in the wild, on gaming machines. :/

Would you please give me your system specs? (Processor, RAM, and in particular graphics card.)

I have a suspicion, but it will call for further investigation...

(PS: I've been playing your game for a while; I intend to give proper feedback when I'm less tired, but I'm enjoying it thus far! ^_^)

Hey, congrats on launching the demo! I'll try to check it out over the weekend.

Thank you very much! I really appreciate that! :D

If you do, and presuming that you don't have the same problem as the poster above you, I'd be interested (amongst any other feedback that you're inclined to give) to hear how long it takes for you to get through the demo. I currently have only my own experience to go by--but of course, I know what to do, where to go, how to fight, etc.
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« Reply #296 on: August 31, 2019, 11:47:52 PM »

Quote
Would you please give me your system specs? (Processor, RAM, and in particular graphics card.)

Processor: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2 GHz
RAM: 8GB
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

(And cool!)
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« Reply #297 on: September 01, 2019, 05:51:21 AM »

Notice!

It turns out that the current build has a serious issue, in which on some machines the game crashes when trying to show the main menu.

I think that I have an idea as to what the problem might be--the use of non-power-of-two textures--and intend to start investigating on Monday. If all goes well, I hope to upload a bug-fix version sometime around Tuesday.

(I intend to post, here and elsewhere, once I've done so.)

My apologies for this! :/

Processor: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2 GHz
RAM: 8GB
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

Thank you for the report! It's appreciated. ^_^
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« Reply #298 on: September 02, 2019, 06:48:50 AM »

Blog post (2nd of September, 2019)
Demo Released!


Summary: In which the demo is released; a serious bug exists in the current demo build; a new demo-build is planned; various materials are made and posted leading up to demo-release; the game sees minor touch-ups ahead of demo-release; and the "Wandering Visual Novel" project has a pretty-much complete character editor.

Greetings and salutations!

This week, instead of a screenshot, let me post the cover-tile for the demo, as shown on itch.io and IndieDB:



Perhaps the biggest news this week is that the demo has been released! :D

The demo is hosted on IndieDB, and should be available from the game's IndieDB page:
IndieDB Page

The demo also has a page on itch.io; the download links provided there there draw on the hosting on IndieDB:
Itch.io Page

However, it seems that there is at least one serious bug in this build, so I'm hoping to upload a new build this week--perhaps sometime around Tuesday. (And on top of the bug-fix, I intend to include a few minor touch-ups in the new build, too.)

Thus I recommend that if you want to try the demo, you wait for that release.

As to the things done in the week just past:

To start with, the week just past saw various preparations made for the release of the demo. Offhand, there was the setting up of a page on itch.io, and the creation of new bits of art to be used both there and on IndieDB.

And over the course of the week, I posted a series of promotional items leading up to the release-date: specifically, the four trailers that I made for the demo, and a pack of wallpapers (for both PC and mobile) related to the game.

If you want to download those wallpapers, you should find them here:
Wallpaper Pack

As to the trailers, here is the main demo-trailer; the others can be found either by links given at the end of each video, or simply by going to my YouTube channel, I believe.





As to the game itself, you may recall that in last week's post I mentioned that there were some issues that remained to be attended to ahead of the demo. Those were all, I believe, fixed in the week just past!

(This included a rather serious issue in which the game crashed if one loaded a save that was made while holding a carriable object! o_o; )

I also implemented a few additional touch-ups and changes in the game.

Perhaps most salient of these is that I swapped the non-mouse controls in the "jigsaw puzzle" minigame:

Previously, I had the movement controls (e.g. WASD or left-stick) moving puzzle-pieces, and the looking controls (e.g. right-stick) rotating them. This made sense to me.

However, when using keyboard-and-mouse controls, it seemed to me most intuitive to have the mouse moving the pieces, and the movement keys then rotating them. But with the movement keys already assigned to moving pieces, they weren't available for rotation.

I had tried to solve this by assigning rotation to the "jump" and "crouch" keys--but this really didn't feel at all intuitive to me.

So, in the week just past, I swapped the non-mouse controls for this puzzle: now the "looking" controls move the pieces, while the "movement" controls rotate them. Along with a minor update to the menu-system's logic, this allowed me to use the movement keys for piece-rotation when playing with a keyboard and mouse, while still (hopefully) having functional non-mouse controls.

And finally, as to my "Wandering Visual Novel" side-project, I believe that I have the character-editor pretty much complete! (Not perfect, perhaps, but functional, I believe.) Here is a video showing its use:





That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #299 on: September 03, 2019, 07:32:06 PM »

A new build of the demo has been uploaded!

This build fixes a major issue in which the game would crash after the first screen when running under Windows, as well as addressing a few other matters.

Get it from the same link as given before. That should be found above--but for the sake of convenience, let me link it here, too:

Windows 64-bit Build | Linux 64-bit Build


Updates in this build:
  • The crash observed when leaving the first screen under Windows should now be fixed!
  • Made the tutorial-traversal a little clearer and simpler. (Hopefully!)
  • Added an indicative title to the lore-screen that's accessed from the main menu.
  • Logging should now work properly.
    • The log-file should be found in the game's "app-data" directory:
      • Under Windows, this should be "Users/<user-name>/AppData/Local/ADoorToTheMists/"
      • Under Linux, this should be "<home>/.local/share/ADoorToTheMists"
  • Fixed a bug that could result in a crash if the player entered combat while a conversation was ongoing.
Logged


Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
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