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November 21, 2019, 05:48:42 AM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsA Door to the Mists--[DEMO updated!]--traversal, exploration, puzzles and combat
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MegaTiny
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« Reply #320 on: October 21, 2019, 09:19:54 AM »

I'm still so intrigued by this game.  Looking forward to the final release (however far away it is).
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« Reply #321 on: October 21, 2019, 09:33:14 AM »

Thank you! That's really encouraging to read! :D

While the full game isn't yet nigh, I'm hoping to post a revised version of the demo in the near future; it's intended to cover the same portion of the game as the previous demo, but with a lot of revisions and several additions in response to feedback that I've had.
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« Reply #322 on: October 28, 2019, 10:17:00 AM »

Blog post (28th of October, 2019)
The Week of the Wooden Figurine


Summary: In which a wooden figurine is detailed--a process that proves difficult; more pottery is added to level two; an editor-bug is fixed; a "dripping water" effect is work-in-progress; and the "general text" font is replaced.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows an update to a recently-added collectible, found in level two:



That collectible took up most of the week, as I recall! Even so, a few other things did get done, too:

To start with, the collectible. I mentioned this item in a previous blog-post, I believe: a small wooden figurine that previously was just examinable, now promoted to becoming a collectible. In the week just past, then, I reworked it for close-range viewing.

The geometry had only minor changes: a few more vertices here, adjustments there, and so on. Likewise, the texture-map was fairly straightforward--albeit with the unusual fact of my painting it in the Blender (my choice of 3D modelling software), rather than in GIMP (my choice of image-editor).

It was the normal-map that really caused trouble.

My usual process for creating normal-maps involves painting a greyscale height-map in GIMP, converting that to a normal-map via a plugin, and then going over the result with the smudge tool. And I did make headway in doing so for this model.

But I found that the feathers that line the figurine's body, in particular their slope from end to base, proved tricky to capture in a height-map.

So instead, I turned to 3D sculpting in Blender: I modelled the feathers in a high-poly mesh, then baked that as a normal map that could be incorporated into the previously-painted normal-map image.

I'm not terribly familiar with 3D sculpting; I've experimented with it before, but only a little. Thus there was a fair bit of fumbling and a number of false-starts and mistakes. But I persisted, and found in the end that it seemed worked rather better for this model than the height-map approach.

On the image-editor side, I also discovered the rather neat "Warp Transform" tool in GIMP. This allowed me to "nudge" bits of texture around, and thus to make adjustments on the image-side.

And between sculpting and "warp transforming", I achieved results that, if not perfect, proved satisfactory at least, I believe!

(That painted height-map didn't go entirely to waste, by the way: I used it to displace the high-poly mesh before sculpting, giving me a base to work from.)

As I said, a few things other than the figurine did get done in the week just past: I added more bits of pottery around level two; fixed a bug in my particle editor; and started work on a "water-drip" to include in level two.

But perhaps more salient than those is that I've changed the "general text" font that I'm using in the game.

A Door to the Mists employs three fonts: a "monospace" font for the translation minigame; a "fancy" font for titles, labels, and the like; and the aforementioned "general text" font, for pretty much everything else.

"Everything else" here includes a lot: descriptions, thoughts, conversations, lore-entries, and so on. Thus, with the "general text" font serving so much reading, it seems important to me that it be easily-legible at its intended size.

And alas, for a while now I've been unsatisfied with the legibility of the font that I had been using. While not terrible, perhaps, there were some aspects of it that I felt didn't read well.

So, in the week just past I searched for and selected a new font. (And funnily enough, it turned out to come from the same font-author as the previous one.)

Here is a comparison of the old font with the new; the former is marked with an hourglass-icon, and the latter with a clock-icon.




I think that it's rather better! ^_^

(If you're interested in the font, it's "Seshat", by Sora Sagano. (http://dotcolon.net))

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #323 on: November 04, 2019, 09:50:02 AM »

Blog post (4th of November, 2019)
Drip... Splash


Summary: In which new scenes are added to level two; work continues on a water-drip effect; doing so involves a minor addition to Panda3D; and the "Wandering Visual Novel" has a devlog of its own.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows another new scene to be found in the undercity of Tenereth:



As with preceding weeks, the week just past was primarily focussed on adding to level two, with a few other things besides:

To start with, the scene shown above. It's a simple thing, found if the player explores a particular staircase: a brass knife, its tip bloodied, and dried blood nearby.

But that wasn't the only such work done in the week just past.

For one, I added a similarly-simple scene elsewhere, this one perhaps more pacific: a set of (ruined) chairs in an isolated "back-yard" of sorts, suggesting a time when people--perhaps a family--gathered together there.

And on the less-pacific side, graffiti is underway that indicates the once-presence of gangs in this part of the city.

In last week's blog-post, I believe that I briefly mentioned work on a "water drip" effect; in the week just past, I continued with that.

I had already discovered that there was a complication to this endeavour, I believe: There seemed to be no way to reliably offset the moment of a particle effect's first emission. This meant that it was quite difficult to have two effects with the same emission-interval, but with one staggered by a set time relative to the other--as in the case of a droplet falling, followed by a splash as it hits ground.

I tried using Panda-provided mechanisms to enable the "splash" effect after a given period, but of those only one seemed reliable--and that one appeared to give the effect a finite duration.

A simple solution, it seemed to me, was just to offset the particle-effect's internal timer. That way it would naturally start after the desired time had passed, and in a way that should keep its timing consistent with that of the "drip" effect.

But Panda seemed to offer no way of actually doing that.

So, with the go-ahead of a Panda dev, I set about implementing such functionality. It took a few iterations to get everything both working and acceptable for submission (especially given that I wanted it included in an upcoming minor release), but save for unit-tests I believe that it's done! ^_^

And having that functionality, I believe that I now have the dripping-water effect done, ready for minor adjustment when next I export the level. Indeed, I've also added a (possibly work-in-progress) sound effect to go with it.

And other than the above, a few things were done that don't seem worth detailing (such as an optimisation to the setting of the in-level "object of interest" text).

And finally: You may recall that in previous dev-logs I mentioned a "Wandering Visual Novel" side-project. Well, today I posted my first dev-log specific to that project! For now it's only being posted on TIGSource and my own website; I have it in mind to start posting it on IndieDB when the project is further along.

As to the game itself, it's currently going under the simple working title of "Temple VN", and is a story of exploration and the rediscovery of a salient religious document.

You should find the new dev-logs here:
TIGSource
My Website

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #324 on: November 11, 2019, 09:06:53 AM »

Blog post (11th of November, 2019)
Graffiti


Summary: In which graffiti is added to level two; the water-drip in the same level is completed; the traversal in the prologue/tutorial level is made easier; and a new game-page tile is worked on.

Greetings and salutations!

In this week's screenshots, a bit of graffiti added to Tenereth-below:




Once again the work of the week just past was largely given to decorating level two, with a few other things done besides:

To start with, the graffiti above. These show what may once have been signs belonging to gangs that were active in that part of Tenereth of old. While largely made in the week before, these were incorporated into level two in the week just past, and their descriptions added.

There's even a little bit of logic connected to some of them, which provides an extra line of description at one such graffiti-place if another has been found.

I believe that in last week's blog-post I mentioned a "water drip" that may be encountered in level two. This is now complete, I believe, with touch-ups to various little parts of it made in the week just past!



On the level-design side, I made further changes to the traversal found in the prologue/tutorial level. I'm hoping that it'll now be easy enough that players will in general find it untroublesome! In particular, I expanded a few of the blocks, and added an additional one near the top to serve as a step.



With these elements coming along, I'm looking ahead towards the intended release of a new version of the demo. To that end, I've begun painting a new tile to be used on itch.io and IndieDB. It's still a work-in-progress, but I think that it's coming along. ^_^

(I also updated the banner that I use on my itch.io and Twitter pages. Now both include my new logo, and the latter uses the header from my website, rather than my YouTube page.)

Otherwise, I made a variety of minor changes in the week just past: moving this object a little; adding more stains there; filling in a description for that; and so on.

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #325 on: November 18, 2019, 08:10:46 AM »

Blog post (18th of November, 2019)
Colour Variation


Summary: In which colour-variation is added to buildings and streets; this incurs some additional work; but also leads to possible improvements; and preparations are made towards a new version of the demo

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows the revised combat mechanic; while nothing here is new to the week just past, the screenshot itself is: it was taken as a replacement for the now-out-of-date screenshot being used in press-kits and on IndieDB.



The week just past had two main thrusts, I believe: further work on level two, and preparation for the next version of the demo:

As to the level, while a variety of minor changes were made--moving a piece of graffiti, closing a hole that I discovered in the world, and so on--one change was perhaps more salient than most, and led to further changes still:

I had noticed to my dissatisfaction, and had demo-feedback to support this impression, that level two felt a little over-uniform. Part of this was perhaps the lack of things to find, something that has hopefully been ameliorated by various changes made previously. But another part, I felt, was that there was little variety in the colouring of the level: each building was the same colour as the next, and the streets ran similarly unvarying.

As I recall, I had previously experimented with methods of fixing the issue in the buildings, but had found nothing terribly satisfying.

In the week just past, however, an idea came to me that should allow me to apply a flat variation to each building, at little cost in performance, I think.

In short, I apply a colour-scale to each building, which is then interpreted by my shaders as variations in saturation and lightness.

I've tested the method, and it seems to me to be an improvement!

But there is a catch: such colour-scales propagate to child-objects, meaning that anything attached to such a building would likewise be varied. And since not all of my shaders include those same saturation and lightness features, this sometimes resulted in certain elements being unaffected, and so no longer fitting their environments.

The solution that I've come up with, then, is to rework the parentage of the level. Most objects, instead of being children of the building-walls, are now children of the building-floors, which in turn are simply children of the relevant culling-cells.

But this is a lot of work--even with scripts to aid me--and tricky at times. I believe that I'm well into the process, but it's not yet done!

It did, however, lead me to perform some additional cleaning-up of superfluous elements in the level--things like floors inside inaccessible buildings. Hopefully this will provide a slight performance boost!

As to the streets, those on the other hand seem to be easier: with their sparse and generally-simple geometry, I can easily enough just hand-paint some variation into their vertex-colours, to be similarly interpreted by the relevant shader. Once again, I've tried this and been happy with the results. ^_^

As to preparations for the next version of the demo, I made a variety of such changes: I completed a new game-tile for use on Itch and IndieDB (although use on one site or the other may call for some cropping); I painted a new backdrop for the Itch page; I made section-headers for the game-pages; I updated the version-number applied to the game; I added a new in-game splash screen presenting my own logo; and more besides!

Here below are the backdrop and one of the section-headers:




And beyond that, a few other things were done that don't seem worth detailing here!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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