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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsBattleJuice Alchemist – RPG with deck-building & bullet time
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Author Topic: BattleJuice Alchemist – RPG with deck-building & bullet time  (Read 31212 times)
Prinsessa
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« Reply #400 on: May 21, 2022, 08:54:06 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
Burning Down the House
(or at least the trees and bushes)




Hey everyone,

I crunched like crazy for the last few days, because I did not want to do a simple devlog this Friday. I also wanted to release the features I have worked on, so players can check them out right away in the Steam Playtest. I made it and I think it was worth it. So everything I talk about today can be explored by all you fine people right away.

Those of you following along might know that I have been implementing environmental effects lately. The first one allows you to freeze rivers and lakes, now you can light things on fire. This one turned out really cool in my opinion, because so many systems interact here: Fire has a chance to propagate, which is connected to the weather system. It is less likely for fire to spread if it is raining.


Trees burn down bit by bit. The first time you set them on fire their leaves burn away, then the upper part and so on until only the roots are left. Everytime a part burns, ash and wood materials spawn.


The spiky circles as seen in the image above indicate where fire causes damage to you and enemies. So you can utilize burning objects by kiting enemies into them.

The game world feels so much more alive now that the environmental effects are getting done one by one and I can't wait to continue working on the "arcane" environmental effect.

Let me know what you think or if you have questions and have a great weekend!

Alain

Woahhh, this is fantastic!! Very satisfying to see the end result of, and probably a lot of fun to work on as well? Grin You're right, it really does come alive. Graphically very pretty too. Does it have sound yet?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2022, 03:04:50 PM by Prinsessa » Logged

logophil
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« Reply #401 on: May 21, 2022, 02:52:16 PM »

This really does sound cool (or rather hot Smiley), I love how you have gone for a deeper simulation of ice and fire effects, even to the point of trees burning in several stages, rather than simply 'the tree burns down'. As you suggest this kind of simulation is a great way to generate emergent gameplay features that add variety and depth to the experience. It also reminds me of Divinity: Original Sin 2, where this kind of interaction with the environment was turned into one of its selling points!
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Alain
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« Reply #402 on: May 23, 2022, 02:21:09 AM »

Woahhh, this is fantastic!! Very satisfying to see the end result of, and probably a lot of fun to work on as well? Grin You're right, it really does come alive. Graphically very pretty too. Does it have sound yet?

Thanks Prinsessa for always making sure my posts make it to the next page :D Glad you like the look and you are right, it was a lot of fun to work out the different particle effects, textures and so on. And yes, the fire feature is complete including sounds like fire crackling in burning bushes and trees.

This really does sound cool (or rather hot Smiley), I love how you have gone for a deeper simulation of ice and fire effects, even to the point of trees burning in several stages, rather than simply 'the tree burns down'. As you suggest this kind of simulation is a great way to generate emergent gameplay features that add variety and depth to the experience. It also reminds me of Divinity: Original Sin 2, where this kind of interaction with the environment was turned into one of its selling points!

I'm glad these environmental features make sense to you. I think these simulations are not too common in action RPGs. By the way I was quite inspired by brykus game, which has environmental effects like lightning. This made for some very cool decision-making in my playthroughs and I had to steal that Wink But as you say, DoS2 had similar and incredibly cool mechanics and I bought the game because of that. Maybe I can also leverage these effects somehow when marketing BattleJuice Alchemist.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #403 on: May 23, 2022, 06:00:36 AM »

Oh that looks goooood

How do you prevent the wildfires from burning out the entire map before you even explore it? Speaking from a vague memory of experiencing that once (and getting stuck as a result of destroying quest-specific items in the process) in an old roguelike.

Do they extinguish by themselves? Are there natural "landmarks" like cliffs and rivers ensuring that fire gets somewhat insulated? Will the trees regenerate over time?
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Alain
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« Reply #404 on: May 23, 2022, 08:42:27 AM »

How do you prevent the wildfires from burning out the entire map before you even explore it? Speaking from a vague memory of experiencing that once (and getting stuck as a result of destroying quest-specific items in the process) in an old roguelike.

Do they extinguish by themselves? Are there natural "landmarks" like cliffs and rivers ensuring that fire gets somewhat insulated? Will the trees regenerate over time?

For the gifs I drastically increased the chances for a fire to propagate. With the chances as they actually are in the game, fire is not spreading like crazy. As you say, they extinguish after time. Trees for example only burn down "one step" and must be set on fire again to burn down another step. Only the trees and bushes in the procedural wilderness can burn down, which means story objects (like the holy tree in Caribou Creek) are safe. And, last but not least, trees do not regenerate over time, but they behave like enemies: If you leave an area and come back later, trees and bushes are back and enemies have respawned.
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oldblood
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« Reply #405 on: May 23, 2022, 11:52:47 AM »

This looks great, Alain! I had a lot of the same questions as JobLeonard at first glance, but your answers make sense on propagating the fire a lot more for the sake of the GIF and how it resets when the player leaves an area. It really does look wonderful and I love the inclusion of the 'ring of fire' to show the burn radius. It's a nice way to make things really clear to the player while still fitting the general aesthetic. Looks like you're starting to add a lot of fun elements in at this stage, which honestly, is a little surprising given how far you are into development (but a good surprise). Nice work!
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« Reply #406 on: May 23, 2022, 01:46:42 PM »

That looks cool. Propagating fire, interacting with weather, partial burning, spawning ashes and wood. Nice detail you gave to such thing, which in most of games, it's just 3 states for every object (ok, burning, burned) without more interactions or mechanics.
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Alain
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« Reply #407 on: May 24, 2022, 12:17:25 AM »

This looks great, Alain! I had a lot of the same questions as JobLeonard at first glance, but your answers make sense on propagating the fire a lot more for the sake of the GIF and how it resets when the player leaves an area. It really does look wonderful and I love the inclusion of the 'ring of fire' to show the burn radius. It's a nice way to make things really clear to the player while still fitting the general aesthetic. Looks like you're starting to add a lot of fun elements in at this stage, which honestly, is a little surprising given how far you are into development (but a good surprise). Nice work!

Glad you like it! You are right, I am adding quite a bit of interactivity / features and try to make the game more juicy at the moment. I did not expect that half a year ago myself. I thought the game already was "enough fun" (if there is something like that ^^), but I got some feedback that combat could feel stale after a few hours and I could see where that criticism was coming from. Also, I have so many systems in the game that I barely make any use of. An example is the weather system: before adding the propagating fire I had never connected it to any of the mechanics and it was purely visual.

That reminds me of a fun interaction I witnessed that I think is just awesome: I burnt a tree and out of nowhere one of the mini events started, which means one of the "haunted places" came to life. Turns out that the tree burnt down one stage and ash was dropped. A porcupine was attracted, because animal behavior makes them check out items dropped to the ground. The tree got lit again by another one adjacent to it that was still burning. So the burning tree that originally dropped the ash damaged and killed the porcupine, which itself dropped a bone. And that bone activated the haunted place: you need to solve a small riddle, which is dropping a bone at the haunted place. I really loved that chain of events, but had to patch it out, because it just felt like a bug. Now only items dropped by the player can activate haunted places. Still hurts my soul a bit that I had to do so.

That looks cool. Propagating fire, interacting with weather, partial burning, spawning ashes and wood. Nice detail you gave to such thing, which in most of games, it's just 3 states for every object (ok, burning, burned) without more interactions or mechanics.

Thanks! But I have to admit that actually in my game it is also just the three stages you describe for almost all objects, just the trees are an exception Wink
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oldblood
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« Reply #408 on: May 26, 2022, 06:37:48 AM »

That reminds me of a fun interaction I witnessed that I think is just awesome: I burnt a tree and out of nowhere one of the mini events started, which means one of the "haunted places" came to life. Turns out that the tree burnt down one stage and ash was dropped. A porcupine was attracted, because animal behavior makes them check out items dropped to the ground. The tree got lit again by another one adjacent to it that was still burning. So the burning tree that originally dropped the ash damaged and killed the porcupine, which itself dropped a bone. And that bone activated the haunted place: you need to solve a small riddle, which is dropping a bone at the haunted place. I really loved that chain of events, but had to patch it out, because it just felt like a bug. Now only items dropped by the player can activate haunted places. Still hurts my soul a bit that I had to do so.

That's actually a really cool interaction. I would have been really torn on patching that out given it feels so organic to the world sort of evolving with or without the player, buuuuuut I can understand how that might need to be corrected. Still a very cool phenomenon to have seen play out.
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« Reply #409 on: May 26, 2022, 07:04:52 AM »

Hey, I've finally come around to play this in more detail.
 
I really liked the experience. The gameplay is nice and fresh, the effects with the environment are cool, hunting for cool new items is addicting, the fights are really enjoyable and it looks awesome.
The controls feel good, the inventory system and character/attribute sheet are working very nice. Maybe add a way to compare the item in the bag with the equipped one?
 
Some points that I "encountered": The tooltip on the day/night cycle icon is sometimes wrong (e.g. showing "night time" on the sun icon). I maybe would prefer it to be sunny (or a bit brighter) at daytime. The camera movements are sometimes a bit disorienting and in follower cam mode there is no direct way to just rotate the camera (at least that I know of).
I was confuzzled sometimes and did not know where to go. There are pointers to the knowledge shrines of the tutorial, but not to the point of the current quest. Maybe you want the player to manually find their way there, which is fine. Just wanted to mention it. Smiley
 
If you wanna bore yourself with a 1 hour long video of a confused player trying to play your game and mumble about it in bad English, here is your chance:


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Alain
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« Reply #410 on: May 27, 2022, 01:32:29 AM »

Hey, I've finally come around to play this in more detail.
 
I really liked the experience. The gameplay is nice and fresh, the effects with the environment are cool, hunting for cool new items is addicting, the fights are really enjoyable and it looks awesome.
The controls feel good, the inventory system and character/attribute sheet are working very nice. Maybe add a way to compare the item in the bag with the equipped one?

Hey, I'm really happy you took the time to play and even recorded it! I just watched the whole thing Wink I love your humour by the way ("he attacked but missed me! I miss him too."). At first I was afraid your playthrough might go south because you continued playing an old character after so many patches. But it worked out really nice and you figured out everything perfectly.

Yes, I will add a way to compare items later on.


Some points that I "encountered": The tooltip on the day/night cycle icon is sometimes wrong (e.g. showing "night time" on the sun icon). I maybe would prefer it to be sunny (or a bit brighter) at daytime. The camera movements are sometimes a bit disorienting and in follower cam mode there is no direct way to just rotate the camera (at least that I know of).
I was confuzzled sometimes and did not know where to go. There are pointers to the knowledge shrines of the tutorial, but not to the point of the current quest. Maybe you want the player to manually find their way there, which is fine. Just wanted to mention it. Smiley

Thanks for catching the bug with the day-night icons. There is a day-night-cycle and the lighting and environmental effects change accordingly. Actually the game is dark at nighttime and slightly less dark at daytime, but I should think about making it more distinct. Also, I really need to take a look at the third person camera again and make adjustments.

Thanks again, your playthrough was extremely valuable to me!
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #411 on: May 27, 2022, 01:45:21 AM »

"Item Diffs" are pretty high on the list of "I can't believe I ever managed these types of games without them" bits of UX enhancements, yeah Smiley

Quote
Still hurts my soul a bit that I had to do so.

Hide it behind a flag and then implement is as "New Game Plus: You've Unlocked Dwarven Fortress Mode"  Tongue
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RealScaniX
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« Reply #412 on: May 27, 2022, 02:26:19 AM »

I just watched the whole thing Wink

I have the feeling that I should apologize for making you go through this. Xd
But I'm happy that it was helpful at least. Smiley
Can't wait for future updates on this.
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Alain
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« Reply #413 on: May 29, 2022, 11:13:57 PM »

"Item Diffs" are pretty high on the list of "I can't believe I ever managed these types of games without them" bits of UX enhancements, yeah Smiley

Quote
Still hurts my soul a bit that I had to do so.

Hide it behind a flag and then implement is as "New Game Plus: You've Unlocked Dwarven Fortress Mode"  Tongue

Yes, item diffs are very high on the list Smiley And I had to think of Dwarf Fortress as well, especially that story of cats dying from eating dwarf vomit in taverns.


I have the feeling that I should apologize for making you go through this. Xd
But I'm happy that it was helpful at least. Smiley
Can't wait for future updates on this.

I learnt a lot from watching you play, really! And I'm looking forward to hear what you think about what's coming in the future Smiley

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JobLeonard
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« Reply #414 on: May 30, 2022, 02:53:00 AM »

Quote
Actually the game is dark at nighttime and slightly less dark at daytime, but I should think about making it more distinct
You could try changing the colors a little. Warm red dawn/dusk colors for daylight, cold blue moonlight for night-time
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Alain
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« Reply #415 on: May 30, 2022, 11:54:39 PM »

Quote
Actually the game is dark at nighttime and slightly less dark at daytime, but I should think about making it more distinct
You could try changing the colors a little. Warm red dawn/dusk colors for daylight, cold blue moonlight for night-time

This is actually already in the game, but maybe it could be more pronounced. Here is a litte timelapse of the day-night cycle:

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/TnICzy43sg8
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #416 on: May 31, 2022, 02:04:17 AM »

Nice clip! Love the look of changing shadows (don't they imply a moon or sun that never sets and just moves around the horizon though? Is this part of the lore?)

But yeah, the hue shift is too subtle for me to notice in that video. However, I should add that I'm partially colorblind.

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RealScaniX
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« Reply #417 on: May 31, 2022, 12:38:27 PM »

Ok, I totally missed that. Even in the video I would have missed it if it wasn't the whole point of the video. ^^
Is there a reason for the lack of light at daytime? Maybe there is an eternal dark cloud or the sun is really really small? Smiley
I guess the game is supposed to be dark, but then again it is probably hard to see how the daytime/sun would have any impact at all on the environment like this (other than making nightcrawlers sleepy).
Don't get me wrong: It didn't really have any negative impact on the fun. But it kinda looks like there is a day/night cycle, but at the same time... not really. ^^
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Alain
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« Reply #418 on: June 01, 2022, 12:10:28 AM »

Nice clip! Love the look of changing shadows (don't they imply a moon or sun that never sets and just moves around the horizon though? Is this part of the lore?)

But yeah, the hue shift is too subtle for me to notice in that video. However, I should add that I'm partially colorblind.

The Lore implies that there is perpetual darkness. But this is just my lazy way of me justifying that I want dark visuals all the time Wink I will take a look at the colors again and see if I can make the effect more pronounced without messing too much with the visual style that we have tried to iron out over the last months.


Ok, I totally missed that. Even in the video I would have missed it if it wasn't the whole point of the video. ^^
Is there a reason for the lack of light at daytime? Maybe there is an eternal dark cloud or the sun is really really small? Smiley
I guess the game is supposed to be dark, but then again it is probably hard to see how the daytime/sun would have any impact at all on the environment like this (other than making nightcrawlers sleepy).
Don't get me wrong: It didn't really have any negative impact on the fun. But it kinda looks like there is a day/night cycle, but at the same time... not really. ^^

The fact you missed it shows clearly that the effect is not strong enough to be recognized. I also have a snippet of lore explaining that the world is like that since the invasion from the Crossroads started. There is not much emphasis on this, but maybe I should mention it at some more places throughout the story.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #419 on: June 01, 2022, 05:40:33 AM »

Hmm, I can imagine this is a tricky thing to get right.

You know, this didn't occur to me before but stark shadows usually imply a strong light source, which kind of clashes with the perpetual darkness idea. Of course we're not necessarily going for realism here, we're going for "does it feel like it makes sense in the universe this game is establishing", but it might be something to keep in mind.
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