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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsAutumn's Chorus
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MegaTiny
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« on: June 26, 2018, 02:47:47 PM »

Hello again TIGForum!

A while back I started a way too ambitious devlog. I barely knew c# or Unity and was certain that Adventure Creator  and Playmaker would take me to the finish line pretty easily. Classic mistake.

Anyhoo I took some classes and I'm back. The new rescoped Project Autumn is maybe a slightly less interesting game, but is more do-able by someone of my abilities.

Here's the gist of what I'm going for:

  • Reasonably Sized open world
  • Parasite Eve style action ATB combat
  • A dark world delivered with a light hearted dialogue style
  • Set camera positions in the style of Playstation era Final Fantasy
  • Non-Linear character progression
  • Character relations and reputation system
  • Lots of lovely equippable items

I have all of the above prototyped and ready to go. Now that I'm set up and nearly ready to start producing actual content, I thought I'd begin a new devlog.

Anyhoo here's a little gif of the combat system in action:




Old gif is old, but is still fairly representative of the combat


Basically you can move around freely and avoid enemies/ranged attacks. You can then take actions when your ATB bar is full. Different moves/weapons cost different amounts of ATB (ATB is sped up in the gif, but in actual combat draining your entire ATB bar would leave you vulnerable).

Hopefully have a much more productive and positive ride this time around!

Thanks for reading  Coffee
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 10:05:08 PM by MegaTiny » Logged

Davi Vasc
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2018, 09:19:12 AM »

Looks cool, nice work!  Wink Hand Thumbs Up Right

You mentioned an open world... I wonder how the outside locations will look. Same dark vibe as shown in the gifs, or perhaps something more colorful? Either way is fine really, just wondering Smiley
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MegaTiny
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2018, 03:08:09 PM »

Cheers Davi! It's not all dark, that just happened to be where I already had a couple of test enemies floating about.

The vibe is intended to vary by location, with this area being a bit more dark fantasy. Other areas will be more colourful for sure. I'll be sure to post a current outside location in the next dev update at the weekend.
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MegaTiny
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2018, 04:42:12 AM »

Wow I've not been updating have I? I'll get a proper update in soon, but thought I'd post a few of the outdoor scenes as promised:









In the above screens the male player character doesn't have any armour on. I'm hoping to make an underpants texture for him but it's a bit of a nice to have.
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MegaTiny
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2018, 12:39:46 PM »

I realised even the outdoor gifs above are a little gloomy (being in a dark forest and all). So here's a little navigation test on a farm:



Oh and a crackly gif of a teahouse:



Proper update tomorrow!
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MegaTiny
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2018, 10:39:40 AM »

Update 1: Combat

For my first proper update I'd like to talk about combat in Autumn's chorus.

How does it work?

If you've ever played Parasite Eve 2 you'll have a general idea:

  • In combat you can move around freely
  • You have an ATB bar (a little bar that charges up over time)
  • When your ATB bar is at max you can perform an action, such as attacking

The main difference I have planned is the following:

  • Each move you make uses a certain amount of the ATB gauge, so for example heavier weapon = less opportunity to attack
  • This isn't fully decided yet. I need to play with it and decide if a more classic resource/cooldown system is preferable (however I like the ATB system for when you can attack and will keep that for certain)

Here's the player getting beaten to death on a pleasant country road. To attack all the player has to do is walk up to an enemy and press the 'A' button when their ATB bar is at max.




Enemies currently use a threat system to decide who they attack, with a small randomiser at the start of the battle to prevent them all ganging up on one target. They also have a basic AI to decide which ability to use and when (i.e. my ally is poisoned and I haven't cured poison in X turns, I will cure their poison rather than attacking).

Ranged Attacks

Ranged attacks work in a similar way to melee, except the player can select their target using the right analogue stick (I am going to have keyboard controls for all of this too, but I'm focusing on controller for now because it what I play most 3rd person games with).

Here's the player targeting a bug infestation on a friend's roof:


(Whoooops the arrows are going right through him! Must have forgotten to put a collider on our bug friend)


Health and Armour

The health and armour system in the game is multiple health bar system. I would say it's fairly clever if I hadn't completely stolen it from Overwatch (with adaptations). It works like this:

You have five main health types, which type you are in is represented by the current colour of your health bar:

  • Health: Just your base HP
  • Armour: Damage reducing health provided by equipment and some active skills
  • Shields: Rechargeable health provided mostly by equipment and passive skills
  • Block: Additional health that blocks physical damage provided by equipped shields and some passive skills
  • Barrier: Extra health with that cannot take overkill damage (explained below)

You lose these health types in the following order: Barrier > Block > Shields > Armour > Health

Health

So health is health. If you run out you lose the fight.

Armour

Armour adds additional health, and as long as you have that health left you will be under the effect of something called an armour threshold; which works like this:

  • Any damage that is below the armour threshold is halved
  • Any damage that is above the armour threshold will have half of the armour threshold removed from it

So say I had an armour threshold of 40:

  • If I took 20 damage, I would take 10 instead
  • But if I took 100 damage, I would take 80 instead

This means that if I'm decked out in tonnes of armour, smaller weapons and damage over time attacks will take a long time to finish me off. But if I get hit by something big it can smash my armour quickly.

This damage reduction currently only applies to physical attacks, as element reduction is another stat currently inherent to armour equipped and I don't want to completely nerf mages.

Shields

Shields are normal health, but they recharge after a period of time. Handy that.

Block

Block is just additional health, but elemental damage bypasses it and goes straight to the next . So if you have an enemy with a huge shield, a mage can still blow them to bits.

Barrier

Barriers are short lasting additional health bursts. The neat thing about them is that if they are destroyed, any remaining damage won't be applied to the next layer of health. So if you have 10 points of barrier left and are hit for 1000 damage, you still only take 10 points of barrier damage. Requires timing to pull off, and will have long cooldowns. I'm looking forward to implementing this into some skill builds.

This gif of the player being wailed on in a dark abandoned house portrays it a bit better. Notice that the player takes less damage when they get to their armour phase (yellow):



Thanks for reading!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 01:03:28 PM by MegaTiny » Logged

MegaTiny
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2018, 09:09:12 AM »

Just a little update to say I'm now back on Twitter and Instagram:

Twitter

Instagram

Don't know if it's against forum rules to post stuff like this so just let me know if that's the case  Smiley
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MegaTiny
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2018, 01:31:35 PM »

I like to give myself golden Taco stickers when I code something without errors first time  Gomez

Next full update tomorrow.



To make this an update worth viewing here are a couple of pics from my instagram:



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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2018, 03:03:19 PM »

I like to see this, by this meaning unique style and good concept. What is the story about ?

If it's not a secrete, I'd also be interested in the technique you're using for the "wet" look, if the Instagram screenhots are not processed.

It's great what you've done with Playmaker.
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2018, 02:49:52 PM »

Got a PM about how long I'd been developing the game, thought I'd pop my answer here too as it might be interesting to some:

Quote
Honestly I've been developing this and failing on and off for about two years. I only really got serious and actually bothered to learn how to code in January of this year.

Got back into developing the game itself in April and have been going pretty hard at it ever since.

I try and see the first year as a learning experience (and it was), but the truth is I was trying to cut corners with things like Playmaker without understanding how any of it worked.

To answer Cavaliero:

I like to see this, by this meaning unique style and good concept. What is the story about ?

Cheers for the interest  Beer!  I'll post a bit more about the story later but the general gist of the main conflict in the world is that the old gods haven't been heard of since they had a bit of scrap a while back. Now new gods have started appearing in parts of the world.

Beside's this being rather an alarming moment in anyone's day to day life, something is off about the new gods. And it's got a lot to do with the old gods not actually being gone.

If it's not a secrete, I'd also be interested in the technique you're using for the "wet" look, if the Instagram screenshots are not processed.

It's just an oil paint effect camera shader you can find on the asset store coupled with some camera post processing effects (in-game, not instagram). It's very handy for making materials/textures that normally wouldn't blend well work together in a single scene. Some screens look 'wetter' than others as it has a stronger effect on objects that are further away.

Brackey's Youtube channel has a great tutorial on how to get going with Post Processing in the lighting tutorial video if you're interested.


Anyway the promised update is coming tomorrow. I keep spending too long working on the game and never leave enough to time to do it before bed!

For now here's a pic of the servant's quarters of the first 'Dungeon' in the game: the Bauernhof Estate. They've been barricaded from the outside and a mysterious hole in the floor has flooded the room. Gaining entry by removing the barricades drains the room, causing the treasure chest in the middle to sink into the hole. I've always loved little secret rewards like this in games, so I'm aiming to have a few in mine.

Also the pot lid floating in the water is my favourite shield in the game right now, and currently the only one with fire resistance.



Also the storage room, because why not?



Neither of these have been lit properly yet.

Cheers for reading!
« Last Edit: August 28, 2018, 02:57:04 PM by MegaTiny » Logged

MegaTiny
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« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2018, 03:12:33 PM »

Hello! I'm back with an actual update. First a quick run through of what I've been up to recently:

  • Refactored the animation system so that it won't trip me up in the future
  • Finished creating the entire first explorable area and hub: The Leben Woods and the town of Brimgas
  • Finished the interior and exterior of the first 'dungeon-type' area: The Bauernhof Estate
  • Created all basic idle/talk/run/attack animations for the Human Male, Human Female, The Big Lad(Placeholder) and Lizard characters. Plus a few others.
  • Coded character personality system
  • Coded relationship system
  • Coded reputation system
  • Created some more weapons and armours that can be equipped by human and Big Lad characters.
  • A whole bunch of custom action scripts for AC to improve QoL from the content creation side of things

The area creation took a LOT of time, as I had to make sure the interiors were completed for each building.

So, what do I want to talk about today? Main character personalities! You may have read a similar update in my previous dev blog, so skip ahead if you were following that all that time ago. The main difference is that this time, I've actually coded it and implemented it into the game  Corny Laugh


Impactful Main Character Personalities


The problem

In 90% of RPGs you play everyman hero person number seven. This blank slate is there for you to give a personality to. Will you be good? Evil? A little mix of both? And almost every RPG let's you make choices for your hero in order to influence this slate's good/evil alignment. Kill the child or let it live or what have you.

The problem for me has always been that none of these choices influence your character's actual character. You can normally flip flop between personality extremes on a whim. Sure you can build a villainous stealth archer who only picks mean choices, but there's nothing stopping you changing tact and being inexplicably, authentically nice to the next person you come across.

Your character winds up being shaped by their combat skills and utility abilities, rather than by their personalities.



The dream, the nightmare


There's no real consequence for your actions bar some reputation drop, or maybe a one off quest where someone is dissapointed with you. Everyone winds up being the ultimate con artist, switching personalities depending on the whatever it is they immediately want.


The solution

Some games will try to control this by gating skills behind you being virtuous/villainous enough, but I feel that those systems immediately take away the player's agency to roleplay.



Boo to games like Infamous locking skills behind your moral alignment


I want Autumn Chorus to be more like a tabletop RPG, where you make a character and then you attempt to play their personality as much as their skills. And I need systems to keep this in check, and ensure the player doesn't feel railroaded into it or feel like the game has misunderstood their intentions in a choice.


Forming a personality

So how is it going to work? Well there's two main elements that make up your character:

  • Personality
  • Actions

Disclaimer: Players can turn this system off at the start if they so wish. However the game will be far less interesting and reactive for it. I feel it will be fun to turn off for second runs however, to see what happens when you say different things.

As you make choices and decisions the game slowly gets a general idea of the character you're playing by tracking six sliding bars:

  • Empathy
  • Seriousness
  • Emotional
  • Guts (do you stand your ground or give in when confronted socially
  • Polite
  • Anger

In the first month or so of game time you'll generally be free to choose what you want (unless you pick a preset personality, which will be an option). After this time your personality will begin to form based upon how you've dealt with the people you've spoken to.

You can go against your normal personality in day to day conversation (not everyone is rude to everyone just because they were rude to one person!). But in difficult moments, or conversations going against your type, the player faces a personality test.

Example conversation:

  • NPC rather unfairly says you never live up to your end of the bargain
  • Player who normally just agrees with people to keep the peace (low social mettle) decides to stand their ground
  • Player faces, and fails, Guts roll
  • Player tries to phrase a response, but tears form in their eyes and they blurt out an idiotic response that doesn't help their side of the argument at all
  • Guts stat drops, and Emotional stat rises

The tests are designed so that even the most emotional character has a chance of keeping their cool in a difficult situation, but when they do it should be an exciting moment for the player rather than just  the hero being a master of social manipulation.

The stat slider scoring system is also designed to prevent you getting accidentally caught in a personality type early on.


Will

If the player fails the test, they will have the opportunity to spend some will to pass it.

Will is a generic stat in the game that starts at ten and is used for difficult tasks. Each time you rely upon it it drains by the amount the player is willing to use up. It's refreshed a little every time you rest or sleep. Being low on will incurs penalties to the player's mood and abilites, so it will be a balancing act.



Super fun bonus image of the hideously complex dialogue web being weaved


Actions

I hate it when I'm playing a game and I decide to do something pragmatic, then the game decides I chose that option because I'm cruel at heart and I become 'more evil'.

Here's how I'm getting around it: the character will question their own intention for doing extreme actions after they happen.

Example Action dialogue:

  • Player and cohort are charged by a rampaging beast
  • The player decides to run, and the cohort stands their ground. Their cohort is badly hurt.
  • After escaping the player questions their own intention: 'Why did I run?'
  • Responds: I panicked when I saw that beast barrelling down upon me.
  • Emotional stat rises

The game doesn't just assume you were sacrificing your friend as a peon to the game survival gods. This doesn't mean your friend will believe that of course. But more about that next time.

And that's it! By the end of the game I hope players understand the character they've created and act in their own best interest (or try to fight against their own nature for interesting results!)

Thanks for reading!

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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2018, 09:57:40 AM »

That's a really interesting approach to the character side of the game. Intuitively, I think that while some might find it a little frustrating, it could work out rather well for others, and make for quite an engaging experience!
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2018, 03:41:51 AM »

That's a really interesting approach to the character side of the game. Intuitively, I think that while some might find it a little frustrating, it could work out rather well for others, and make for quite an engaging experience!

Thanks a lot. Yeah I figured some people might find it really annoying, which is why I have put in the ability to turn it off from the bat! These player's will still see be able to see what their character personality is tracked as, but essentially tests are automatically passed.

I find it fun to play through games a second time just to see what happens if I choose different options, and it would be super frustrating if I had to battle a stat test to do that.
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2018, 02:10:26 AM »

Fixed a major issue where equipping inventory items didn't swap out the currently equipped piece of kit. I have attempted to fix this four times, and this morning I finally cracked it:



This gif makes me happier than you could ever know


With this fixed, I can finally work on combat skills  Epileptic
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2018, 10:18:45 AM »

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekends! I went on holiday to Valencia so not huge progress this week. However skills are now in and working! So far I have projectile spells, AoE attacks, Knockbacks and dashes. Here are a couple of test skills running in combat.



Slightly bonky animations, but hey WIP right?


I'll go into more detail on skills soonish!
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2018, 09:30:01 AM »

Looking good! Man, I miss those artistic fixed camera angles in games. Reminds me of some of the old ARPGs from the early 2000's like Silver. Nice work, keep it up Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2018, 02:26:32 PM »

Looking good! Man, I miss those artistic fixed camera angles in games. Reminds me of some of the old ARPGs from the early 2000's like Silver. Nice work, keep it up Smiley

Thanks a lot! God I loved Silver. I had it on my Dreamcast, and played it again recently on PC when it got re-released. It's still really charming.
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2018, 01:09:11 PM »

Hello Everyone!

Time and Weather

Day/night/weather cycle is now in effect, with a calendar system behind it that tracks the current day/month/year. Hooray!

Some tweaks to make, but here it is running nicely:



Nice, time-lapsing strolls through the forest are a weekend pastime of mine


Time Slots

The snap changes in the gif are due to how time changes in Project Autumn.

I hate feeling rushed in open world games due to time progressing as I stand still. To avoid this the day is split into seven distinct time slots:

  • Past Midnight
  • Dawn
  • Morning
  • Midday
  • Afternoon
  • Evening
  • Night


Passing time in Project Autumn

You can pass through these slots in three ways:

  • By performing certain actions. So you could decide to, say, practice your languages at home time would would pass by one slot
  • Travelling. When you walk across X number of scenes, time will go forward on slot
  • Some story events or interactions will also advance time

I fully intend to have time sensitive events embedded into the quests, but without time rushing forward it will be easier to plan out how you will achieve these things. And missing the time slot will never just 'fail' the quest. Instead a different outcome will occur.

Cheers for reading!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2018, 01:15:46 PM by MegaTiny » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2018, 03:00:05 PM »

Looks good. My favorite game with a time mechanic is probably Majora's Mask. Mostly due to the fact you can control it and restart the cycle (and the whole world revolves around time of day), so you don't really miss or fail any quest, you just get them done in another playthrough (or cycle to be more precise). Them having a different outcome definitely sounds interesting though.
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« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2018, 09:31:54 AM »

I hate feeling rushed in open world games due to time progressing as I stand still. To avoid this the day is split into seven distinct time slots:

100 times this! That is why I could never quite enjoy Majora's Mask as much as I wanted to. The solutions you came up with sound good to me. The time slots should give people more room to take their time and enjoy the game while also having that nice sense of time progression.
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