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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsTemple VN (working title)--A "Wandering Visual Novel"
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« on: November 04, 2019, 09:02:29 AM »

Temple VN
(working title)

All the while talking with their fellows, a young cleric ends up exploring their temple, discovering hidden places therein--and recovering a long-lost book of moment to their religion.

"Temple VN" is a "Wandering Visual Novel"--in essence, imagine visual novel interactions embedded into the movement mechanics of an old first-person tile-based RPG.

Work-in-progress videos and screenshots:





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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2019, 09:02:55 AM »

Blog post (4th of November, 2019)
First Steps


Welcome to the first devlog entry for "Temple VN"! (The project's current working title.) ^_^

These posts are intended to be somewhat less frequent than those for A Door to the Mists; indeed, I don't know whether I'll establish a fixed schedule at all, as opposed to simply "every so often".

The road to this point has been a long one--a surprisingly long one, in fact. I think that I recall looking at this as a small project, and nothing too difficult.

To some degree I daresay that said duration comes from the fact that this is a side-project, afforded only a little time, and occasionally set aside for other things. But at least some of it, I think, comes from the fact that this project has proven larger and more complex than I had expected!

As to where I stand at current:

(Please note that the videos below are a little out-of-date now. Still, they should give you an idea of how things work!)

Thus far I've developed a decent subset of the core elements of the game, including: visual-novel-style sequences of events (such as successive lines of dialogue, or NPC movements); tile-based player-movement; and option-based interaction. It even has point-and-click movement, allowing the player to explore without going from tile to tile one at a time.

I also have a work-in-progress editor that allows me to layout areas, assign scripts to tiles, place characters (which in this case includes doors!), and indicate which parts of the in-game map are initially visible.





And finally, I have a (likely also work-in-progress) character editor, which allows me to construct NPCs, in both their appearance via base "poses" with additional "detail" elements, and in the options presented by them.





However, doors no longer work as shown above. Instead, they work like this:



That's all for now--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2020, 05:27:44 PM »

Blog post (15th of March, 2020)
Still Going!


Greetings and salutations!

This project is indeed still going!

There was for a while a bit of a hiatus in work on the game. But eventually I returned to it--and in particular, at last began work on the game itself, rather than its framework.

To start with, the script for the game (in the sense of prose and dialogue, not of game-logic) is, I think, largely done. It was a bit of an odd thing to write: not a single flow of text, nor even the branching flow that I imagine is usual for a standard visual novel, but rather sections of text in response to various prompts. There are still branches of a sort, however.

I've also begun filling in the environment of the temple proper--the main location in which the game takes place. This has proven pleasantly different to my work on A Door to the Mists, I think--don't mistake me, I enjoy my work there; but it's nice to work in a different way, too.

Here below are a few work-in-progress screenshots from that environmental work:





That then is all for this update! Stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2020, 11:39:20 AM »

Blog post (6th of April, 2020)
Darkness and Light


Greetings and salutations!

I feel that, slowly, this game is starting to look--somewhat at least--like itself. ^_^

Work has continued on filling out the environment of the temple proper: In particular, the refectory is pretty much done, save for some work related to an in-game progression of time.

The player-character's room has also been furnished--although I forget whether that was done before the previous devlog, and thus whether it more properly falls under that entry. ^^;



On the technical side, a number of features have been implemented and bugs fixed. (Including the reworking of what in retrospect was a slightly-silly approach to loading characters. ^^; )

One new feature that is perhaps particularly salient is that of "proxy characters". These, in short, are characters that response as though they were some other, specified character: when asked for their list of options, they pass the request on to their "target" character, and likewise when asked to hide their list of options. In effect, this allows the game to include multi-tile characters.

For example, consider the refectory table, shown above. When approached early in the game, it presents a list of breakfasting options. However, given a table so long, I don't want players to be required to look at some specific tile in order to activate those options. So I line it with proxy-characters, all referencing the single "real" breakfast-table character--thus allowing the player to approach any of the relevant tiles to breakfast!



I've also added the ability to "tag" decor-items. This allows for them to be quickly and easily accessed in script-methods, and thus to be easily changed. For example, certain candles might be snuffed as time passes, or the lighting of the views through windows altered.

Similarly, I've added the ability to "tag" tiles. However, unlike the decor items, this isn't intended to provide easy access to them--that access already exists via another feature. Instead, what this does is group the geometry for those tiles together beneath a single parent-node, and provide easy access to that parent. This then allows scripts to change the appearance of a set of tiles.

And one place that this sees use is in the basement.

This area is quite dark, save for one--unexpectedly--well-lit region. By tagging the well-lit region, I can tint it to suit the light-source in question, and dim the rest of the region.

However, I wanted the basement to be more than just dim: I very much wanted the player to be able to see only a little distance ahead of themselves, to be centred in a little pool of light.

Now, I could have simply used a standard light for this. But such lights have a soft falloff, and may still illuminate paler objects in the distance. While technically accurate, this wasn't the effect that I wanted.

Creating a custom shader to do this would have been easy, I imagine. But I'd taken the decision that, for this project, I wanted to use only out-of-the-box features, and so I set aside the idea of a custom shader.

I considered a variety of potential solutions: trickery with texture-projection, or spotlights, or blending of texture-stages. But none of these seemed like a good idea--especially for a side-project.

Then a much simpler idea came to me: I could simply attach a black sphere to the camera (or better yet, two, one fully opaque and one smaller and semitransparent, providing two-level lighting). This would naturally cut off the view in the appropriate shape, and do so quite easily!

The illuminated area, then, could simply be set to render after the "darkness spheres", with those spheres set to not write to the depth-buffer. Said illuminated area would thus be drawn over the spheres, and so appear as a light in the dark. ^_^

I tried it--and it works!




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