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« on: July 19, 2021, 05:14:18 AM »

Moons
in
Crystal

(Logo pending.)

As this game is still (very much) a work-in-progress, much shown here is incomplete, and all may change over the course of development!

What is it?

In short, Moons in Crystal is a fantasy top-down space-shooter metroidvania.


In more detail:

In Moons in Crystal the player takes on the role of a spirit flying a brass-and-crystal ship, exploring a fantasy take on a top-down space setting.

Through exploration, combat, and light trade, the player will gain artefacts that provide magical weapons, and traversal upgrades that will open new areas. Not to mention a number of lesser items!


All of this is to the end of averting a terrible calamity: an approaching, devouring presence that, if not stopped, will consume the local systems.

The setting

The setting is built around a strange sort of "crystal sphere" cosmology: Each solar system has a planet at its centre, orbited by a number of moons, and, at the furthest extent of the system, a small, bright sun. All of this is then bounded by a great crystal sphere.



And it is the moons that are intended to be the central focus of the game: Varying in size, each is different in its content--be it exploration and action, or NPCs, or even just a small respite.


And each moon has a theme. Some of these themes are fairly mundane: a "cave" moon, or a "treasure-hoard moon", for example. Others are more magical--an "elemental fire" moon, or a "rainbow" moon, for example. And still others are strange--a "bubble" moon, or an "evening sky" moon, for example.


Movement between systems then is accomplished by flying into the sun.

Suns in this setting are not objects composed of matter; rather, they are portals, doorways into a realm of heat and light. Thus, by flying into a sun, one passes into that realm. Once there, one then has access to any other suns within travel-distance. And through those other suns, one has access to other systems.
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Moons in Crystal
A Fantasy Top-Down Space-Shooter Metroidvania
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2021, 05:15:22 AM »

Blog post (19th of July, 2021)
Moons In Crystal


Summary: In which a new project is introduced; and the course and state of said project is discussed in brief.

Greetings and salutations!

And welcome to the first dev-log entry for my new project:

Moons in Crystal



The first post above covers (I hope) the question of what this game is. This first dev-log entry, then, will cover it's progress thus far:

Moons in Crystal is my pivot-project: the project that replaces A Door to the Mists as my main work.

In this, it has, I hope, the virtue of being quicker to make: with a lighter art-style and a (largely) top-down perspective, levels should, I think, take rather less work to construct. Further, I imagine that it will prove easier to market to a publisher: an action metroidvania is, after all, not an unfamiliar prospect.



But don't let this deceive you into thinking that I'm not passionate about the game! Indeed,  I recall that this was a project that I wanted to make even before the cancellation of A Door to the Mists, one that I'd had an itch to work on. I've simply started work in earnest sooner than I'd previously thought to do.



As to the course of the project thus far, it has changed somewhat already.

In some of its earliest forms, I envisaged the game as something like a half-roguelike: no metroidvania elements, and randomly generated--but without permadeath.

However, I think that I concluded that this demanded quite a lot of time and work: to make each run different, I would want an awful lot of moons, and quite a lot of weapons.

So I pared it down somewhat, and added a little: the game is now intended to have a non-random, more hand-designed game-world, with with some greater complexity added into its traversal and exploration via metroidvania upgrades.



So, how far into development is the project? The answer is: "Not very!"

A number of the base mechanics have been implemented--too many to comfortably list here in full, I feel! Suffice it to say that the player can move around, explore, shoot, collect, and even interact to a limited degree.

However, a number of other mechanics yet remain. Further, only a little content has yet been made.



That said, I do think that I have one of the smaller moons--the "crystal moon" largely done!

I'm not yet sure of what interval I'll take for these dev-logs--weekly? Fortnightly? Something else? We'll see!

That, then, is all for this post--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2021, 09:11:33 AM »

I could see the potential in this. I like the idea that you go to an area and it keeps scaling down, down, down as you further get into it - exposing little details you didn't think of before. I could imagine that having a pleasing psychological effect.
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2021, 11:02:14 PM »

Cool, I'm looking forward to see where this is going!
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2021, 12:01:33 PM »

Thank you both! ^_^

I like the idea that you go to an area and it keeps scaling down, down, down as you further get into it - exposing little details you didn't think of before. I could imagine that having a pleasing psychological effect.

I'll confess that this isn't really something that I have in mind. ^^;

(Although I think that it could indeed be a neat idea in and of itself!)

Rather, the game can be thought of as having three "layers": The "bright realm"--which is a bit like what a sci-fi game might call "hyperspace"; the solar-systems; and the moons, planets, etc.

Within a given "layer", the scale is pretty much static, with the focus being primarily on horizontal exploration and combat.
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A Fantasy Top-Down Space-Shooter Metroidvania
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2021, 02:59:19 AM »

Blog post (2nd of August, 2021)
Encounters and Abilities


Summary: In which a current blog-schedule is decided; development continues; "encounters" are implemented; a design document is made; and "metroidvania abilities" are contemplated and concepted.

Greetings and salutations!

This post's screenshot shows a new bit of (work-in-progress) UI:



As you may have gathered, I've chosen to post these entries fortnightly--at least while the project is in this first, nascent phase of development. As to what's been happening:

To start with, implementation has continued. In general, tweaks, fixes, changes, and improvements have been made to a variety of elements, I do think. For example, I recently improved the player-character's collision-response on impact with NPCs.

But perhaps the most salient change has been the implementation of "encounters".

During the course of the game, the player may come upon various interactive objects; these are marked, on approach, by a little popup that appears over them.



In some cases, the associated interactions are simple: the player presses the "interact" button, and something immediately happens, with no intervening UI. For example, on interacting with a set of stairs, the player is transported immediately to the place to which they lead.

In others, however, an "encounter" is begun.

As shown in the first screenshot of the post, above, this takes the form of a little RPG-like "choice-and-response" dialogue: A text-box describes the current state of the encounter, and the player is given buttons containing various available responses. Clicking on a button selects that response, potentially changing the state of the game, and prompting the text-box to be updated with a description of the effects of the response.

Moving away from implementation, I've also put together a proper (or more or less so, at least) design document. This pulls together my impromptu notes and former somewhat-structured text-file into a document with a little more detail and a proper contents-page, the latter making for easier referencing and updating, I find.

And finally, I've been giving thought to various matters of the game's design. One that has perhaps been of particular concern has been that of "metroidvania abilities"--those abilities that unlock progression and new paths.

First, one of the abilities that I have in mind was for a time--I felt--a little more interesting than the others. Thus, should I give it to the player before other abilities, those subsequent abilities might feel underwhelming; while if I give it to the player last, the player might not have the draw of knowing that it's available.

And second, there's question of what constitutes "enough", both in number of abilities and in depth.

Would just three or four, most with multiple applications, be "enough"? What if I filled out the list with a simple "lock-and-key" ability? Such a list feels a little lacking, I fear...

Thankfully, just yesterday a new idea for an ability came to me, one that I think could be quite neat.

As an ability it's somewhat interesting, I think, perhaps helping with my first concern above: it would give me another "interesting" ability with which to start the player off.

Further, and together with one or two minor ideas, it then leaves me with: three abilities that I'm confident in; this new one that may or may not work, but that I'm enthused about; and a handful of potential minor abilities that I might choose from in order to expand things a bit.

Is this "enough"? I'm not yet sure. But I am feeling a little more confident about the potential ability-set now!

(As for what abilities I have in mind, I think that I'll leave those reveals for another time--perhaps as I implement them! Wink )

That, then, is all for this post--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2021, 12:53:45 PM »

Thank you both! ^_^

I like the idea that you go to an area and it keeps scaling down, down, down as you further get into it - exposing little details you didn't think of before. I could imagine that having a pleasing psychological effect.

I'll confess that this isn't really something that I have in mind. ^^;

(Although I think that it could indeed be a neat idea in and of itself!)

Rather, the game can be thought of as having three "layers": The "bright realm"--which is a bit like what a sci-fi game might call "hyperspace"; the solar-systems; and the moons, planets, etc.

Within a given "layer", the scale is pretty much static, with the focus being primarily on horizontal exploration and combat.

That still works.
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2021, 01:04:22 PM »

That still works.

Excellent, then, and thank you! ^_^
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Moons in Crystal
A Fantasy Top-Down Space-Shooter Metroidvania
Itch page ~ Twitter
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