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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMoons In Crystal [Metroidvania; Top-Down; Fantasy-"Space"]
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« Reply #120 on: October 17, 2022, 01:58:24 AM »

Blog post (17th of October, 2022)
The Lights and the Dark


Summary: In which a level's first-draft is completed; the game's approach to lighting is adjusted; some extant lighting is tweaked in response to that adjustment; a few lighting omissions are addressed;  a level gains a theme; a new level is begun; a hall gains a new trap; and the logic of creature-respawning is altered.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows some lighting within the "Bonehoards" level of the Ossuary Moon--and with that, some changes to lighting in the game:



As with last week, the work of the week just past was primarily given to level-building, with a few other things besides:

As shown above, work continued in the week just past on the "Bonehoards" level of the Ossuary Moon!

Indeed, I think that I may have the layout--as far as it goes in the demo--complete now.

Likewise, the level now also has spawners placed, a few traversal elements added, level-specific art made for its "blockage" objects, and even a first pass at lighting applied!

Now, that lighting did call for some changes to the handling of light within the game:

Previously, tall objects, such as the tops of walls, were always brightly lit regardless of the otherwise lighting of the area. This had the advantage that the bounds of the player's movements were always clear. But, as I found in lighting the "Bonehoards", it also had the disadvantage that when an area was dark, bright walls became glaringly so.

Thus I've changed things a bit: walls may now darken, even become black, as long as the level of the ambient light is lower than fifty percent. However, lights have tended thus far to be clustered towards the interiors of rooms--leaving walls then somewhat uniformly dim. So, I've also had tall objects take lighting in a wider radius (roughly proportional to height), allowing them to pick up illumination from nearby lights.

With the lighting of the game thus changed, so too were the appearances changed of the already-lit Vertical Slice- and Vertical Slice Tutorial- Moons, which thus called for some tweaks to their lighting.



Further, during the above matters I discovered that "blockages" and level-geometry controlled by "aethereal objects" neither of them took light properly at all--something that I have now improved, I do believe.

And finally, with levels now potentially darker, I've increased the brightness of the player's light.

And with some proper darkness around, I think that I've found a "theme" of sorts for the "Bonehoards" level... Evil



With a first draft then complete for the "Bonehoards", I've once again moved on to the next level: "The Halls of the Ancients".

As the "Bonehoards" level was last week, I believe, this new level is currently only at a bare start: a proto-entrance room, with streaming light-beams to signify the exit, and an incomplete start to a splatted texture for the level:



(The light and dark patches come from layers of the splatting texture that currently don't have an image, but that are being applied, I believe.)

And one last bit of level-building to report this week: The "Hall of Traps" within the Vertical Slice Moon has acquired a new surprise: I realised that I had a single innocuous room in the place--and, well, this is the "Hall of Traps"... Evil

On the "general gameplay" side of things, I've tweaked respawning such that creatures only respawn into rooms that the player has visited. Thus empty rooms should remain empty until the player has seen them at least once. (Or something else happens to prompt a spawn.)

And once again, various tweaks, changes and fixes were enacted in the week just past 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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« Reply #121 on: October 24, 2022, 01:30:38 AM »

Blog post (24th of October, 2022)
Bones of Stone


Summary: In which a level's first draft is completed; and a new draft is begun.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot one again shows progress on a level of the Ossuary Moon:



Naturally, the week just past remained primarily a level-building week:

Of that level-building, the main of the week's work was given to the level that I believe that I showed a bare start to in last week's blog post.

This is the "Hall of the Ancients", a place within the Ossuary Moon where are found bones so old that they're stony fossils. Naturally, the skeleton-enemies familiar from the other regions of the Ossuary Moon are then absent here, replaced instead by the remains of prehistoric creatures.

And it's a little different to other parts of the moon in its gameplay, too: there are few placed spawners here--instead, enemies are spawned procedurally from the walls, creating (I hope!) a continuing pressure on the player.

As to the progress of the level's building, I believe in fact that I have its first draft done! Well, as far as it goes in the demo, at least: it's not intended to be present there in its fullness.

To be more specific, I have the level laid out and textured; I have lighting applied; I have room-covers set; I have enemy logic in place; and I even have a simple mini-boss spawning.

And with that first draft complete, I've once again moved on to the next level.

This is the region of the Ossuary Moon named the "Dismal Halls": a place of plain, darkened-bone floors and ranks of skulls along the walls.

It's also intended to be the lairing-place for the liche boss.

This level is not yet done, even in its first draft, but some progress has been made: I have the overall look-and-feel done, I think, as well as a start to some rooms.




Said level, by the way, may well be the final that's to be drafted for the demo! (There's one more that I have in mind, but currently think to omit.)

And once again, there were various tweaks, fixes, and changes enacted in the week just past 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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« Reply #122 on: October 31, 2022, 01:04:43 AM »

Blog post (31st of October, 2022)
Traps and Gems


Summary: In which another level's first-draft is (pretty much) completed; a start is made to the next pass over the Ossuary's levels; some textures are touched up; linear traps become more prompt; linear traps further become more indicative; an enemy now stops short; the interaction is tweaked between mana crystals and an enemy that takes advantage of them; and some performance issues are addressed.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot comes from the "Dismal Halls" level of the Ossuary Moon, now a bit more filled out:



Naturally, the week just past was once again a level-building week for the most part, albeit with a variety of other tasks besides:

As shown above, the "Dismal Halls" level of the Ossuary Moon has progressed! Indeed, I believe that I have its first draft pretty much complete, including layout, enemy and object placement, and a bit of level-logic. (Confessedly, I have yet to properly arrange most of its room-covers.)

And with that done, I've begun work on the next pass over the levels: completion and polish. This has only just begun, adding to the "Dismal Halls" decorative lines of darker skulls and a depiction of the front-face of a breakable wall.



Now, in working on the level, I came to conclude that various of the in-game objects looked a little over-flat, and thus wanted for another polish-pass. To this end I've touched up the skeletons, the skeletal spike-shooters, the projectiles of said spike-shooters, the "linear traps" (both Ossuary-specific and general-use), the bone-barriers, and the giant skulls from the "Bonehoards" level.

The changes aren't monumental, but I do think that they help. ^_^

Speaking of the "linear traps", I've found them a little unchallenging, and so in the week just past I tweaked their behaviour. Specifically, I've increased their acceleration, allowing them to much more promptly dart at the player. (And concomittantly reduced their maximum speed, now that they reach said speed rather quickly.)

Further, I decided that it was a little unfair that one couldn't see on which axis they would slide, and so have included some logic to vary their spikes to convey this:



Likewise, I made a tweak to the behaviour of the "skeletal spike-shooter" enemy: it now stops a little distance from the player, rather than advancing until it's right on top of them. (The former behaviour made a bit more sense, I feel, when the approach to physics allowed it to push the player along.)

And a final set of tweaks from the week just past was that given to the mana crystals produced by one of the player's "metroidvania abilities" and the response of the "Deceived Acolyte" enemies to those crystals.

I found, you see, that when the Acolytes attempted to use the crystals to empower themselves, two problems were evinced: First, they had a tendency to stop behind the crystals, and thus when they next fired a skull-projectile they destroyed the crystals and damaged themselves. And second, when two were present they had a tendency to get stuck going for the same target-spot in front of the crystal.

To this end, I both adjusted the Acolytes' approach to finding a target-spot and increased the size of the mana-pools produced by the crystals. And indeed, along with a change to their rate of casting when so empowered, I think that the result is rather more effective behaviour from the Acolytes!



On the technical side, I looked into some performance issues in the week just past. I think that I've made some small gains in this, but larger improvements may call for larger changes--likely larger than I intend for the purposes of the demo.

And once again, various tweaks, changes, and fixes were enacted in the week just past 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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« Reply #123 on: November 07, 2022, 01:07:36 AM »

Blog post (7th of November, 2022)
Decorating the Dark


Summary: In which a level gains polish and finish; the same is started for another level; special effects may be placed in levels; special effects may be pre-defined; breakables may reference said pre-defined effects; walls are given "depth"; and shadows are tinted.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a location within the "Dismal Halls" of the Ossuary Moon, now decorated:



The week just past was, once again, a level-building week--albeit again with a few other things besides:

I mentioned last week, I believe, that with the level first-drafts done, I had moved on to a stage of "completion and polish".

To that end, in the week just past I filled out the "Dismal Halls" with decor; I placed interactions that grant codex-entries; I added some breakable urns; and I finished the look of the level's breakable wall.



And with that done, I've started in on doing the same for the "Bone Galleries" level--although this is barely begun with yet-unfinished work on a breakable wall found there.



As part of this process, I implemented a new set of minor features: There may now be special effects placed within the game's levels (such as might be used to have a particle effect continuously emitting at a given location), and predefined effects that can be referenced by other objects. Further, breakable objects may now reference such predefined effects.

This then allows me have breakable objects that scatter bits of decor when broken.

In the case of the "Dismal Halls", this specifically takes the form of certain chests containing irrelevant papers, which are scattered on the chest's breaking.

Now, during the process of level-building I came to feel that I was still not satisfied with the look of things.

I attempted to address this in two ways:

First and simplest, I added a bit of shading to the bottoms of the walls in the Ossuary Moon--this, I feel, gives them a bit more of a sense of "depth", of three-dimensionality and lighting.

And second, I made a change to my lighting system: now the shadows can be tinted--and the specific tint and threshold for tinting can be varied per level. This, I feel, gives the lighting a bit more interest and variation.

Further, support for this feature has been added to my lighting tool.

I've used said tinting somewhat subtly in the "Dismal Halls", but you might be able to see it here:



And once again, there were various tweaks, changes, and fixes enacted in the week just past 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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« Reply #124 on: November 14, 2022, 01:09:09 AM »

Blog post (14th of November, 2022)
Skeletal Art


Summary: In which levels receive polish; lighting is tweaked; and a mist-effect likewise is tweaked.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows progress on the polish-pass of the "Bone Galleries" level of the Ossuary Moon:



Naturally, it was such polish that occupied the majority of the week just past, I believe, with a few other things besides:

As shown above, work continued in the week just past on the polishing of the "Bone Galleries" level: To start with, there was a start to the artworks on display there; a bare start to lighting; the making of Ossuary-specific versions of the game's switches; and even the reduction of a room that I felt was a bit too large.



(The crystal shown above is a stand-in, taken from the Crystal Moon.)

In one location there is found a pair of Deceived Acolytes continuously working on a pile of bones, and spawning skeletons--to this I added shifting beams of light:



In another location is the pit-like entrance to the Halls of the Ancients, now showing a bit of its interior:



Moving away from the "Bone Galleries", the "Dismal Halls" level received some polish, too: there I focussed primarily on bringing in some of the "magitek" side of things, as I recall, including the introduction of a new room to display one element thereof.

Otherwise, I also made some further tweaks to the game's lighting, and to the "mist" effect that indicates an "aethereal sight" location.



And of course, there were various other changes, fixes, and tweaks enacted in the week just past that don't seem worth detailing here!

On matters of side-projects, in the week just past I released a little fan-song for one of my favourite games, the classic LucasArts point-and-click adventure LOOM:




That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #125 on: November 21, 2022, 01:05:58 AM »

Blog post (21st of November, 2022)
Giving Shape to Stone


Summary: In which level-polishing continues; a different aesthetic task usurps said polishing; healing is separated from utilities; the tutorial is then revised; and level-polishing resumes.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows the "Hall of Flow" in the Vertical Slice Moon, now with a bit more "depth" to its walls!



The week just past was... for a change, not primarily a level-polish week. There was some of that, and other things besides, but one particular task arose to call me away:

To start with, I did as I recall begin the week with the polishing of the levels in the demo, in particular the "Bone Galleries" level of the Ossuary Moon.

However, for some time I had been dissatisfied with the look of the walls used for various "cave" regions of the demo--places like the (above-pictured) "Hall of Flow", or part of the "Hall of Lost Things", or even the recently-shown "Halls of the Ancients".

Don't mistake me: I did like the effect that I was using. But it had been developed, I think, before I started to add more "depth" to my depiction of walls, more sense of three-dimensionality, and so had become out-of-keeping with the rest of the game.

And a thought occurred to me, building on older ideas, that might improve things.

So I set about making changes--a process that in the end would take up much of the week!

But at last something was achieved, as shown above. Am I happy with it? Not entirely. But I am more happy with it than I was with the previous look, and that at least is improvement I feel.



Another matter about which I had been concerned from time to time was that of healing.

In short, having it as a "utility"--as, essentially, a "metroidvania ability"--meant that it stood in the way of using other abilities, and that those abilities stood likewise in the way of healing.

But conversely, separating it out from them would mean further complicating the UI and control-scheme.

As I recall, I considered this matter further in the week just past--and eventually decided to indeed separate healing out.

And so healing now is separate from the "metroidvania abilities", with its own little UI space (as should be visible in the screenshots in this post, save the first), and a dedicated button!

And indeed, I think that this approach to healing plays better. ^_^

This did also incur some changes to the tutorial level--but overall, I think that I actually prefer the now-revised version thereof, too.

And at last, I returned to the polishing of the levels of the "Bone Galleries". No major artworks this time, but simply some minor decoration of a few of the floors and walls.




And as per usual, there were changes, fixes, and tweaks enacted in the week just past 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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« Reply #126 on: November 28, 2022, 12:52:00 AM »

Blog post (28th of November, 2022)
Bones to Show


Summary: In which a level gains polish; decorations are composed of parts; a level is lit; a quest-item is given an appearance of its own; the use for said item is begun; spawners are tweaked and added; some level-logic is put in place; and artefact and upgrade texts are added to the codex.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a scene previously shown--but now with more decoration, and with lighting!



The week just past was once again primarily a week of decor and polish--although while primarily in visual elements, not exclusively:

To start with, and as shown above, work continued on the visual polish of the "Bone Galleries" region of the Ossuary Moon. And indeed, I think that I have it pretty much done now, barring one minor fix!

Here there are now decorative designs on the floors, statues on pedestals, and display cases holding smaller exhibits.



Now, there are a fair few statues, and even more of the smaller exhibits, so in many cases I didn't attempt to paint each and every one individually! Instead, I painted component parts, and then arranged them (along with some rotation and scaling) to suggest uniqueness. It's an approach that's admittedly imperfect, but I think that it works!



And all of this, again as visible above, now has lighting applied!

Further, there was a quest-item found in this region that for some time had only a stand-in appearance (borrowed from another item); this item now has an image of its own: a small bone-carved figurine.

As to the use for said item, work on that has begun in another region of the Ossuary Moon...

In matters of gameplay, I also attended to the spawners placed within the "Bone Galleries": For one thing, I tweaked the combat encounters that they provide; and for another, there are now four sets of spawners present--two each for the two intended states of the moon (those being: before the liche-boss is defeated, and after).

Speaking of the "post-liche" state of the moon, in the week just past I put in some work on the logical elements associated with that state; it's not yet done, but progress has been made, I do believe!

Stepping away from the Ossuary Moon specifically, I found that I was dissatisfied with the fact that the player had no means of accessing the text for a given artefact or upgrade once its splash-screen had been dismissed. So, these texts are now made available as codex-entries.

And once again, there were changes, tweaks, and fixes enacted in the week just past 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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« Reply #127 on: November 29, 2022, 02:15:57 AM »

This looks like it comes along nicely. Good work!
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« Reply #128 on: November 30, 2022, 07:54:00 AM »

This looks like it comes along nicely. Good work!

Thank you very much! I appreciate that! ^_^
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« Reply #129 on: December 05, 2022, 01:19:46 AM »

Blog post (5th of December, 2022)
More Healing and More Damage


Summary: In which levels are completed; fossils adorn terrain; text is written; as is level-logic; the use of a quest-item is finished; a miniboss sees changes; solar systems heal; a new trap is made; a holiday is announced (with bearing on the next blog post); and a seasonal well-wish is given.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot(-excerpt) shows a fossil discovered in the "Halls of the Ancients" region of the Ossuary Moon:



The week just past was perhaps somewhat of a miscellany-week, a week of various and varied bits of polish and finishing:

To start with, I think that I have the levels of the Ossuary Moon complete! (Or rather, as complete as I intend them to be for the demo.) I won't say that it's impossible that further tweaks will be made, but for now I believe that part of the work to be done!

This included various bits of decor and polish in the levels themselves; the addition of elements to appear after the liche's defeat; the placement of further spawners (and perhaps tweaks to extant ones; I forget); the instatement of an interaction that grants a "point of interest" on the local planet; and, as shown above, large fossils in the terrain of the "Halls of the Ancients".



(You may note a visual difference in the fossil shown in the first screenshot and those visible in the screenshot just above... Wink )

Furthermore, various bits of text were written, primarily but not exclusively for the Ossuary Moon, and pieces of level-logic were coded for the Ossuary Moon.

Further still, I completed work on that quest-item usage that I believe that I mentioned in last week's blog-post.

And last of this set of changes, I made some alterations to a miniboss found in the "Halls of the Ancients", altering its behaviour and damage-dealing to be, I feel, a little more fun to encounter.

Stepping away from the Ossuary Moon and into more-general gameplay matters, I decided in the week just past to institute automatic healing while the player is flying a solar system.

In short, I realised that healing items didn't respawn as enemies did, potentially leaving the player short if they were to make several visits to a given moon. Some automatic healing then alleviates that issue, I hope: while the player may not get more items, they can at least top up their health.

This does I think still mean that healing items are useful while on a moon: they now provide a means of pushing ahead without returning to space.

On the other end of the matter of health, in the week just past, and inspired by a game that I was playing, I implemented a new trap!

This trap, in short, haphazardly places damage-dealing objects within a given rectangular area. The nature of these objects is not specified by the base-class, potentially allowing multiple variations; in the case of my "proof of concept" version, now placed in the "Hall of Traps", they take the form of gouts of blue fire.



And once again, there were changes, fixes, and tweaks enacted in the week just past that don't seem worth detailing here!

In extraneous matters, let me note that I intend for my annual holiday to begin at the start of next week!

I do still intend to post an entry into this blog on that Monday, covering whatever is done this week. However, there will thereafter be no more blog-entries until the week after I return to my work. As I intend a three-week holiday this year, that should, I believe, mean that the next blog post is due to be posted on Monday the 16th of January, 2023!

On which note then, let me say: whatever you may observe or celebrate at this time of year (if anything), I hope that it's a happy one for you. ^_^

That then is all for this week--and indeed, for this year! So stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #130 on: December 12, 2022, 01:44:38 AM »

Blog post (12th of December, 2022)
Fixing and Finishing


Summary: In which a demo is completed; an NPC is animated; two codex-entries are become acquirable; in-game text is written; a splash-screen is added; a planet gains topography; points of interest are placed on planets; a planetary puzzle is made; a map gains icons; an ability-icon is polished; linear-traps gain dust-puffs; and a bunch of bugs are fixed.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a (demo-)point-of-interest on the surface of a planet!



The week just past was... a busy one! A week of polishing, and of bug-fixing, and of finishing:

To start with, perhaps the biggest news: the demo is, I think, pretty much complete! :D

Oh, there are a few minor things to do: disabling some debugging elements, further testing, and creating an actual distributable build, for three. But in the main, I believe that it's done! ^_^

Speaking very broadly, the work of the week just past can be divided into three categories: content, polish, and bug-fixing.

In content, first of all there were a number of small-ish things done: I did some final NPC-animating that had yet remained to be done; added in-game means to acquire the last two codex-entries that remained outstanding; wrote various bits of in-game text; and even added a simple splash-screen that's shown before the main menu.

But perhaps the most salient additions to the demo's content were made to its planets:

First of all, for some time both planets in the demo had shared the same topography. So, in the week just past I set about changing that, providing to the second planet a distinct topography of its own.



This did involve figuring out quite how I'd gone about doing so for the first planet--it had been a while, I fear! But I think that I managed, and now have a second demo-planet that I'm fairly happy with. ^_^

On the gameplay side of the planets, I at last added points-of-interest to them.

(Well, in all fairness I left the second planet with only a single point-of-interest. That point explains as I recall that, being a vertical slice, the demo only fully outfits one of the planets.)

Furthermore, I finally settled on how I might handle the puzzle that I intend to offer on each planet.

The goal of this puzzle I've had in mind for a while: to find that planet's "Great Spirit", from whom to gain aid in reaching the endgame.

What I was unsure of was what the puzzle itself might be. I had considered a few options of varying complexity, but what I ended up with was fairly straightforward--and remains within the extant mechanics of the game.

Simply put, the player explores the various points-of-interest, therein and elsewhere gathering clues that unlock new points-of-interest and new options amongst the points-of-interest. These then lead at last to the aforementioned "Great Spirit" in one of the points-of-interest.



And for the purposes of the demo I've set in place an instance of this puzzle. It's a simple one: it has only a handful of points and interactions, and relies on only a single off-planet clue. But I hope that it demonstrates how the mechanic is intended to work.

The next broad category, then, is that of polish.

First the map used for planets has gained icons for points-of-interest. This should, I hope, aid the player in finding their way to the points that they seek.



Second, I touched-up the icon used for the "mana-crystal generation" "metroidvania ability". It had previously been somewhat rough, I fear, and is now I think improved.

And third and finally, I added to the "linear traps" little puffs of dust that appear when they impact an obstacle and thus stop, intended to give that stop a greater sense of "impact".



And now we come to the final of the broad categories: bug-fixing.

And there was quite a bit of that. o_o;

At the start of the week just past, I believe, I had been aware of a single (major) bug, a crash related to save-games.

This I fixed... leading in turn to the discovery of more bugs related to saving and loading, and more beyond that. Aethereal walls were gone after reloading; switches didn't restore their control over doors; at least one encounter reloaded with no options available at all; and more besides!

But in the end I think that I got through them all, and saving and loading seems now to work as intended!

And as per usual, there were tweaks, changes, and fixes enacted in the week just past that don't seem worth detailing here!

That, then, is all for this week--and (actually, this time ^^; ) for this year! Stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #131 on: January 16, 2023, 02:52:26 AM »

Blog post (16th of January, 2023)
Making Noises


Summary: In which a new year is begun; an enemy is switched from melee to ranged; audio-work is attended to; and the game's design-doc is updated.

Greetings and salutations--and happy new year! ^_^

Welcome back to the devlog for Moons in Crystal! I hope that you had some rest over this preceding period, and come into the new year stronger. ^_^

This week's screenshot shows an upgrade to the basic skeletons found in the Ossuary Moon: Their attack is now a projectile one--albeit with somewhat-limited range:



The week just past was a bit of an odd one for me! Between family events and scheduled power-outages, time was a bit more limited than usual, and, confessedly, I was rather tired for a fair bit of the week.

Still, things did get done, both in gameplay (as seen above) and in other matters:

To start with, as per the screenshot, skeletons now have a projectile attack in place of their previous melee attack.

In short, I was worried that these foes were a little too ineffectual: slow, and fragile, and melee-only against a player armed with ranged attacks.

Now, they're not meant to be redoubtable foes, but I still felt that a bit of an upgrade was in order--hence the ranged attack, allowing them to at least now hit from a small distance away.

This did then call for some adjustments to the liche boss-fight, in particular the final stage thereof.

In that stage, the liche holds the player in place and summons a few skeletons. When the latter were melee-only, the player yet had time to kill them before they could attack, despite their close spawning. With their new ranged attack, this then called for placing them a little further away.

But the main of the week's work was, I daresay, given to audio matters: As I recall, I assessed some of the audio that I had; created new sound effects; and considered what effects I wanted to contract out.

Further, some of the changes and additions that were made called for small bits of implementation, or for alterations to the code that I already had.

Audio is, I fear, not my strong suit--but nevertheless progress has been made, I do think!

And finally, I spent some time updating, expanding, and cleaning up my design-document. Gone are some older thoughts, or elements now-obsolete; added are more details on my intentions for the game, and some things previously omitted; and polished and adjusted is what I already had.

And, as per usual, there were a few other things done in the week just past 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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« Reply #132 on: January 23, 2023, 01:55:03 AM »

Blog post (23rd of January, 2023)
Effective Audio


Summary: In which various audio-effects are made; attendant implementation is done; the list of audio to be made grows a bit; and some effects prove tricky for me.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot is... well, it's a waveform of a sound-file: The work of the week just past remained primarily given to the game's audio. As such, I fear that this week I don't have a visual change that makes for a good screenshot! (But I didn't want the post to go with no screenshot...)



As noted above, the week just past was once again pretty much an audio week, with just a few other things being done besides:

For the most part, as I recall, I spent the week just past in the making and integrating of various audio-effects. There were effects made (or updated) for all of UI elements, environmental occurrences, and enemies and NPCs. (So many effects for enemies! ^^; )

And along with this, there were again various bits of attendant implementation.

What's more, the list of sounds to be made grew a little--despite a few items actually being removed from the list--as I discovered a few things that I'd previously not noticed as calling for audio.

As to the sounds themselves, for the most part I think that I'm content with the audio that I've thus far been producing--at least for my current purposes: the resultant effects may not be ideal (although I do like some), but they should, I hope, serve for pitching.

(That said, should the game receive publisher support and thus funding, I do intend that much--perhaps even all!--of this audio be replaced by the work of an expert!)

Alas, however, there have been a few sounds that have proven difficult for me to produce; in those cases I might end up searching for royalty-free audio to include!

And as per usual, there were a variety of things done in the week just past that don't seem worth detailing here: there was a non-audio bug-fix, the removal of some defunct audio-related code, a quick re-exportation of levels due to a minor oversight, and more besides!

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #133 on: January 30, 2023, 02:24:14 AM »

Blog post (30th of January, 2023)
Pitch Preparations


Summary: In which a computer issue complicates both backup and blogging; audio work is done for now; the design-doc sees updates; pitching-text is started; a pitch-deck is in the works; and publisher-sorting is begun.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a very work-in-progress start to a "pitch-deck" for Moons in Crystal!



As you may gather from the above, the week just past was a departure from those before: no longer primarily an audio-week, but instead one primarily given to pitching-related matters, as I recall:

Now, before I begin, I feel that I should note that this blog-post may well miss a few things that were done in the week just past: In the usual writing of these posts, I tend to rely somewhat on the previous week's SVN commit-message as a reminder of what was done--but alas, last week my SVN machine stopped working. :/

Don't worry: I've backed up my work elsewhere for now! But it does mean that I don't have a commit message to look back on as I write this blog-post... ^^;

That said, on to what I do recall!

Perhaps the first bit of news is that I believe that I have completed the audio-work that took up the preceding few weeks! Or at least, my portion thereof: I have a small subset of audio-effects that I still intend to contract out, for the sake of gaining professional quality in them.

As before, this process included the making of further audio-effects--a few of which made use of audio gathered from https://freesound.org--and where called for, attendant implementation.

Said implementation did prove tricky in a few places! Perhaps in particular was the case of placing audio-effects for currents: that involved figuring out how I had previously applied some internal structure within the current-class, and using it to find a closest point.

But in the end, I think that I got all working! ^_^

And with that audio-making done, I moved on to other matters... Specifically, to preparations for sending out pitches to publishers!

This took on a few different forms:

For one, I did a little more work on the design-document, primarily in finishing and polishing the section that covers the "elevator pitch", one-sentence description, tag-line, and so on.

For another, I made a start on the text that I intend to use for pitch-submission messages: greeting and sign-off, "core features", lists of contact links, additional notes, and so on and so forth.

For a third, and as shown above, I began the making of a "pitch-deck", starting from the deck that I used for A Door to the Mists (itself based on the publicly-released Raw Fury deck). This process is very much in its raw, early phases: a lot of design, art, screenshotting, and writing remains to be done, I do think.

And finally, I started the process of sorting through potential publishers.

For this last I've primarily been working from the extensive list given on "Alan's Gamedev Resources Sheet (Public)", with a few additions that I've come across myself.

And let me very much recommend that sheet! It not only lists publishers, but gives a sample of games published by them; provides links to their sites; indicates broadly what platforms they support; and more besides!

(Plus it includes other sheets which list companies that handle localisation, porting, QA, and production, and indicates that an art-company sheet is coming soon!)

From that listing I'm slowly building up my own little spreadsheet. This includes five sub-sheets: one each for publishers of high, moderate, and low interest, one for publishers that I don't intend to pitch to, and one for publishers that I'm uncertain about.

Here below then you can see a glimpse of one such sub-sheet, empty at time of screenshot. (I have no idea how those two columns ended up with dotted lines. But it seems harmless, so I'm not inclined to worry about it. ^^; )



I haven't yet gotten far with actually going through the list of publishers, but I've made a start, at the least!

And I daresay that there were other things done in the week just past besides!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #134 on: Today at 12:50:22 AM »

Blog post (6th of February, 2023)
The Week of Sorting


Summary: In which a single task takes most of the week; a graph is produced depicting some of the results of that task; and the pitch-deck sees work.

This week's screenshot comes not from the game itself, nor even from its pitch-deck. Instead, it compiles some information from a spreadsheet that saw much work in the week just past:



This is going to be a somewhat-short blog-post, as the work of the week just past was dominated by a single endeavour:

That endeavour was publisher-sorting: the process of working through a list of publishers, visiting their websites (and occasionally looking them up elsewhere), and then placing them in one or another category indicating how good a fit for the project and for myself I think them to be.

This process was already begun at the start of the week (as I mentioned in last week's blog-post, as I recall). But the list was long--it had more than three hundred entries!--and the work draining.

But at last, partway through Friday, I completed the task! All publishers on the list (as well as a few additional) have been sorted!

And this is what is depicted on the graph shown above: the number of publishers in each of the categories.

Naturally, there are only a few publishers that I think to be especially good fits--all but one of which, I believe, have at least one metroidvania in their catalogues. There are more publishers which I think might be decent fits, and more still that I think might be okay fits--and a great many that I don't intend to pitch to at all. And then a few that I'm uncertain about for one reason or another.

And with that done, I turned once again to my pitch-deck, both in its text and its art if I recall correctly. That's still very much a work-in-progress, but I do think that it has indeed progressed!

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #135 on: Today at 02:04:10 AM »

Sounds like exhausting but ultimately also satisfying work, well done!  Coffee

You probably already have some experience with this, but if not: you'd be surprised how many friends you will be able to help out with those kinds of spreadsheets down the line, especially if you keep it a bit up-to-date.
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« Reply #136 on: Today at 02:59:38 AM »

Sounds like exhausting but ultimately also satisfying work, well done!  Coffee

Thank you! ^_^

You probably already have some experience with this, but if not: you'd be surprised how many friends you will be able to help out with those kinds of spreadsheets down the line, especially if you keep it a bit up-to-date.

That would be nice--although to my mind it seems a little too specific to this project for that to be terribly viable; I'm not even sure how much potential it has for my own future projects! ^^;

Some elements might be helpful--some of my notes regarding the publishers to which I don't intend to pitch, for example.

But I fear that much of the sorting comes down to: (A) how I feel that my project fits with their catalogue, (B) whether they seem to offer the features that I want (in particular funding), and (C) how I feel about them overall.

However, the master-list from which I drew--and to which I linked in my previous blog-post--is an excellent resource. (As is a publisher black-list that I found, but which I'm hesitant to link to openly.)
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« Reply #137 on: Today at 05:00:43 AM »

> As is a publisher black-list that I found, but which I'm hesitant to link to openly.

Worried it'll escalate the arms race with predatory publishers?
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« Reply #138 on: Today at 05:57:13 AM »

Worried it'll escalate the arms race with predatory publishers?

Hmm... I think that I'm more worried about how public sharing might impact me--even publishers not on the list might dislike it. (The list itself is actually public, posted on social media.)

However, note that this affects public sharing...
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