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Thaumaturge
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« Reply #140 on: February 20, 2023, 01:57:31 AM »

Blog post (20th of February, 2023)
Trailing Ahead


Summary: In which a trailer is made!

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot is, again, not a screenshot--but rather a video! Specifically, it's an early trailer for the game!





And indeed, the work of the week just past was dedicated to the making of said trailer:

In structure, the trailer has four parts:

First comes an introduction, a glimpse of the game's core gameplay. Next comes the "driving problem": a description of the danger that sets the adventure in motion. Then comes the answer to that "problem", the "call to adventure": that which the player is called upon to do. And finally, there's an outro, showing the name of the game, a tagline and logline, a byline for myself/Thaumaturge-Art, and credit to the game-engine that I use.

And in the making, it might be said to have involved four broad categories of work:
1) Gameplay recording
2) Lettering
3) Music-finding
4) Assembly into a video

(Naturally, there were likely other things done for it--but the above are perhaps the major parts.)

Of those categories, "gameplay recording" was perhaps one of the simplest: while there were some retakes to be made and a few challenges in getting quite what I wanted, I think that it went reasonably well.

As to the lettering, that proved an interesting challenge! In short, it ended up being rendered via Blender's node-based shader-system, with multiple render-layers in some cases--a process that I've used before, but am not hugely experienced with.



The music, however proved quite tricky, as I recall:

At first I searched for a piece that might fit the whole thing--that would, after all, make it easier to have a consistent, coherent soundtrack. And it seemed to me that the trailer-beats that I had in mind should be fairly common, and thus an appropriate music-piece plausible to find.

But, after much searching, I found nought that seemed to fit.

So I went searching anew, this time looking for separate pieces to fit the major elements of the trailer.

And here, at last, I had success I do feel!

As to the assembly of the video, that had its challenges in timing, and arranging, and selection of clips. The music in particular is a Frankensteinian assembly of parts--indeed, even within a single music-track there is some cutting and reassembly.

These various matters took a while--I think that music-hunting took up more than a day by itself--but the task is now done, and overall I'm fairly happy with the resultant trailer! ^_^

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #141 on: February 27, 2023, 04:44:51 AM »

Blog post (27th of February, 2023)
Page-Making


Summary: In which a pitch-deck is updated--and near-completed; press-kits are attended to; a hidden page is added to itch.io; and steps towards legal support are taken.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a new page from my pitch-deck!



The week just past was another week of pitch-preparation--and one in which a few salient steps were made, or so it feels to me:

To start with, and as partially shown above, more work was done on the pitch-deck in the week just past!

As I recall, a guestimated timeline was added; the above-screenshotted page was inserted; a link to the demo was included; and various other things were changed, added, or deleted.

And indeed, barring one minor uncertainty (that being whether I should in fact keep that guestimated timeline, or leave it out as overly vague...) I believe that the pitch-deck is now done! ^_^

Furthermore, in the week just past I dealt with the game's "press-kit", and updated my "overall" press-kit. If you're interested in seeing the former, you should it at the link below (and the latter from a link thereon):

http://thaumaturge-art.com/press/sheet.php?p=moons_in_crystal

And if I recall correctly, I thence added the above link to both my pitch-deck and my pitch-message.

On a similar note, I updated my page for the game on my website, in all of text, screenshot, and inclusion of the trailer.

Near the start of this blog-post, you may have noted my mention of a link to the game's demo. Now, I should note that the demo hasn't yet been built! I have a few more things to do there, I do feel!

However, what I did get done was the making of a page for the demo on Itch.io. It's "restricted", as I don't intend for the demo to be public, but it should provide both hosting for and a nice setting in which to encounter the demo.

Here's a glimpse at what I have there (with some of itch's UI at the top):



With that page done, I then added its URL as the demo-link both in my pitch-deck and in my pitch-message.

And finally, I took some (shaky ^^; ) first steps towards a matter that has, I will confess, been daunting me a little: the seeking of a lawyer(/legal firm).

In short, there are various matters on which I could potentially use legal advice. Most proximally, I intend, a matter of IP transferral, and perhaps some contract examination for the audio-work that I still mean to get done. But if pitching goes well, in the future I may further want someone to aid me in contract negotiation, and beyond that, in handling contracts for taking on new team members...

But the thing is, I have had little experience with lawyers, and was rather anxious about how to choose well.

To this end, in the week just past I asked some advice on the matter from a game-dev forum. There, I was more-or-less told, if I have it correctly, to simply contact some firms and see how I feel about them and whether they seem to know what they're talking about--albeit with the caveat of looking for firms that specialise in game-dev!

And I have found two local firms that seem to include game-dev law amongst their services!

So, I have it in mind to this week reach out to one or both of those firms. I am a bit nervous--wish me luck! ^^;

(And there may be other things done in the week just past that I'm forgetting! ^^; )

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #142 on: February 28, 2023, 01:20:08 AM »

Hey Thaumaturge! I keep following your progress, solid work, keep it up! I just wanted to throw in my two cents regarding some legal stuff:

In short, there are various matters on which I could potentially use legal advice. Most proximally, I intend, a matter of IP transferral, and perhaps some contract examination for the audio-work that I still mean to get done. But if pitching goes well, in the future I may further want someone to aid me in contract negotiation, and beyond that, in handling contracts for taking on new team members...

I just wanted to say that selling your IP is of course possible. There are publishers, among them very respectable ones, that might want to own the IP, but if I were you, I'd try to find one that lets you keep your IP. You should not need a lawyer to do work on contracts with freelancers, this is pretty common stuff and you should be able to find great pre-made templates. Same with employment contracts. The person to help you with that could be an accounting clerk / tax consultant and they are usually less pricey the hour than a lawyer.


But the thing is, I have had little experience with lawyers, and was rather anxious about how to choose well.

To this end, in the week just past I asked some advice on the matter from a game-dev forum. There, I was more-or-less told, if I have it correctly, to simply contact some firms and see how I feel about them and whether they seem to know what they're talking about--albeit with the caveat of looking for firms that specialise in game-dev!

I am totally on board with having a lawyer check your license agreement with publishers. 200-300 EUR / USD an hour is common from my experience, so you can imagine that if you pay them for aiding you in negotiations, you will spend quite a bit. Negotiations until you have an agreement everyone can live with can take months. What I'd suggest is to let a lawyer check the agreement right before signing, when you and your publisher are happy and done with the business review. Then, your lawyer only will have to do a last legal review, which they should be able to do in 3-10 hours (highly depends on the individual agreement and your issues with it though).

Of course, this is just what I suggest and you will find your own way. I just wanted to quickly post this so you don't end up spending a lot of money unnecessarily.

EDIT: I realized I am kind of saying: get a lawyer later. But really, you need to be on the safe side and you should get consultation at the stage you feel is right. I know I don't need to say it, but you need to feel comfortable and secure during negotiations and the whole process and if that means for you to get consultation early on, that is the right way to go!
« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 01:35:52 AM by Alain » Logged

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« Reply #143 on: March 06, 2023, 07:09:20 AM »

Hey Thaumaturge! I keep following your progress, solid work, keep it up! I just wanted to throw in my two cents regarding some legal stuff:

Greetings! And my apologies at the lateness of my response--I either missed or forgot about your message until I came back to post my next entry! ^^;

I just wanted to say that selling your IP is of course possible.

Ah, I should clarify: I'm not talking about selling my IP. Rather, it's a matter of transferring my IP from myself-as-an-individual to "my company".

Believe me, I very much intend to keep my IP! ^^;

You should not need a lawyer to do work on contracts with freelancers, this is pretty common stuff and you should be able to find great pre-made templates. Same with employment contracts.

Perhaps, but being somewhat new to this and not versed in Legalese, I'd rather have one and not want them than want one and not have them... At the least it seems worth asking a lawyer to give an employment contract a once-over, especially if there are any changes requested!

And, well, I want a lawyer anyway for the above-mentioned IP-transfer and (if all goes well) for publisher-negotiation.

I am totally on board with having a lawyer check your license agreement with publishers. 200-300 EUR / USD an hour is common from my experience, so you can imagine that if you pay them for aiding you in negotiations, you will spend quite a bit. Negotiations until you have an agreement everyone can live with can take months. What I'd suggest is to let a lawyer check the agreement right before signing, when you and your publisher are happy and done with the business review. Then, your lawyer only will have to do a last legal review, which they should be able to do in 3-10 hours (highly depends on the individual agreement and your issues with it though).

Of course, this is just what I suggest and you will find your own way. I just wanted to quickly post this so you don't end up spending a lot of money unnecessarily.

EDIT: I realized I am kind of saying: get a lawyer later. But really, you need to be on the safe side and you should get consultation at the stage you feel is right. I know I don't need to say it, but you need to feel comfortable and secure during negotiations and the whole process and if that means for you to get consultation early on, that is the right way to go!

I hear you! And I would like to keep my costs down!

But conversely, I'm not experienced in negotiation, nor (as I said above) in Legalese. Thus I'd prefer to have a lawyer on-hand earlier than later, if feasible.

But, well, it doesn't hurt to approach a lawyer early and find out what their rates might be. Then I can make an informed decision!
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« Reply #144 on: March 06, 2023, 07:10:19 AM »

Blog post (6th of March, 2023)
Pitching, Fixing, and Writing


Summary: In which the pitch-deck is finalised and uploaded; the pitch-message is updated; a template for pitch-emails is made; a touch-up is made to the demo's itch-page; some new bugs are discovered and (I believe) fixed; and a new side-project is begun.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows an excerpt from my template for pitch-emails:



The week just past was a bit of an odd one for me--not entirely in a bad way!

The start of the week was fairly straightforward: I finalised and uploaded my pitch-deck, updated my pitch-message, and at last put together a template for pitch-emails--that last complete with images both static and animated! What's more, I reworked the buttons that I have on the demo's itch-page.

I also, alas, discovered some new bugs in the game. (The Aethereal  "metroidvania upgrade" has been such a font of them! ^^; ) These I attended to, and I believe that I have them fixed!

During the later part of the week, however, I was called away on a family matter, and thus no significant work towards the pitch was done.

However, it did allow opportunity to work on a certain side-project...

You see, on the first of this month "NaNoRenO" began--a month-long game-jam in which visual novels are made. And this year I intend to enter! Specifically, I intend to make a branching narrative poem.

And I thus used some of that time away to write and concept for this project.

Conversely, during time back home I then worked on the (simple) framework of this visual novel (implementing it in Panda3D, as per usual), and I believe that I have that largely done.

Here below you should then see a short gif--albeit with only stand-in art--showing the game's structure and a bit of (since-revised) text:



And there may be things done in the week just past that I'm forgetting!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #145 on: March 13, 2023, 04:11:30 AM »

Blog post (13th of March, 2023)
Sound Additions


Summary: In which progress in legal stuff is made; a sound-designer is contacted; an over-long list is addressed; some new audio is self-made; audio-less elements are discovered and given audio; "interactions" are given sounds; and NaNoRenO continues.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot is once again a wave-form, this time from an effect made for the "Dragon Heart" artefact:



The week just past was a week of--amongst other things--a flurry of audio-activity:

To start with however, let me report that I have at last made contact with a lawyer! And indeed, we have begun making some headway on the relevant legal matters, I do think. ^_^

As to matters of audio, perhaps the biggest news is that I have started talking with a freelance audio-engineer about getting some professionally-wrought sound-effects! Specifically, I'm looking to get a few particular pieces of audio made, such that most of the elements that are especially salient to the player sound good.

Now, this will only cover a few pieces of audio (about twenty). And when in preparation for this I looked through my list of sounds, I found that I had earmarked... about twice that. ^^;

So, I embarked on some unplanned audio-work of my own! Going through the list, certain pieces of audio I decided to be acceptable. Others, however, I then made. (And I will say that I'm not entirely unhappy with the sounds that I came up with for the "Dragon's Heart" artefact.)

Furthermore, I discovered a few elements in the game that had no audio at all, and that I felt could use some--those now have sound effects, too! (One of which sounds is taken from A Door to the Mists.)

And indeed, in doing so I realised that "interactions" could use associated audio, and which could be specified in level-editing. I thus implemented that--thankfully a process that wasn't too difficult!

And of course, there may be things done in the week just past that I'm forgetting!

As to NaNoRenO, that jam continued in the week just past! Specifically, my time working on it was primarily spent at writing, I believe, and I think that I've made solid progress there. (And I will say that I have been having fun!) ^_^

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #146 on: March 20, 2023, 02:29:15 AM »

Blog post (20th of March, 2023)
Bugs and Not-Bugs


Summary: In which talks continue with the lawyer and the audio-engineer; a quote is accepted; bugs are found, and (hopefully) fixed; a "metroidvania upgrade" sees tweaks; and NaNoRenO continues.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows the player half-clipped through a large rock--and believe it or not, this is a feature, not a bug! (Albeit one that I currently intend to roll back...)



The week just past was another odd one, with some bug-fixing, some mechanic-tweaking, some interacting with third-parties--and more NaNoRenO work:

To start with, communication continued with both my lawyer and my audio-engineer.

And indeed, I have just today accepted a quote from the latter, and I'm excited to see what said audio-person comes up with! ^_^

Now, as part of discussing that audio-making job, I recorded some gameplay for the purpose of making a short gameplay video to show the sound-scape that I currently have. And in doing so, I came upon yet more bugs!

Specifically, these were related to saving and loading, as I recall--elements not restoring, or being multiplied on restoration.

So I set about fixing those bugs--and indeed, I believe that I have done so! ^_^

(Okay, slightly hackily in one case: rather than spend time fixing the restoration of the race minigame properly, I opted to just disallow the player from saving during the race.)

On the game-mechanical side of things, and and as shown above, in the week just past I decided to make a tweak to the "grab" "metroidvania upgrade".

In short, it's bothered me on-and-off for a while that objects grabbed via this upgrade have a tendency to push the player around, making the mechanic feel a bit unwieldy at times.

So in the week just past I decided to make a change: I altered the relevant collision elements such that grabbed objects don't affect the player.

And this works! Indeed, the mechanic feels a lot better when it doesn't interfere so with the player's movement.

But alas, it may work too well: blockages now present little obstacle to the player. So, I currently intend that I revert the change, and then try another idea that came to me...

And once again there may be things done in the week just past that I'm forgetting!

And between all of this, I continued building my NaNoRenO project. There a number of changes have been made: implementation of new transitions, the making of art (both in-game and UI), seeking out of music and a font, and more besides!



That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #147 on: March 20, 2023, 04:27:00 PM »

I love this, it looks so charming Smiley reminded me of Paradroid a little because of the sphere like player.

One thing I found odd in the trailer at 0:20, the border on the right when the player reaches the portal, it looks like a hard cut in space, is there a reason for that?
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« Reply #148 on: March 27, 2023, 06:03:41 AM »

I love this, it looks so charming Smiley reminded me of Paradroid a little because of the sphere like player.

Thank you very much! ^_^

One thing I found odd in the trailer at 0:20, the border on the right when the player reaches the portal, it looks like a hard cut in space, is there a reason for that?

There is a reason!

In short, the cosmology of Moons in Crystal is a variation on the "Crystal Spheres" approach: each solar system is bounded by a huge, well, sphere made of crystal! What you're seeing there is the surface of that sphere, marking the "end" of that region of "space".

PS: Sorry that it took me so long to respond--I don't seem to be getting notification emails regarding this thread any more... o_0
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« Reply #149 on: March 27, 2023, 06:04:05 AM »

Blog post (27th of March, 2023)
A Softer Grab


Summary: In which audio matters move forward; the matter of a lawyer sees further discussion; a "metroidvania upgrade" is further revised; and NaNoRenO continues.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot is an animated gif, showing a further revision to the "grab" "metroidvania upgrade":



The week just past was a fairly light one, I think:

To start with, things are, I believe, moving forward in the matter of contracting those certain pieces of audio that I previously mentioned, as the first audio-files came in today! That said, I have requested revisions there, and am currently awaiting the audio-engineer's response.

As to the matter of the lawyer, talks continue--right now we're trying to arrange a meeting between us.

As to the game itself, I believe that I made just one change in the week just past: I once again revised the "grab" "metroidvania upgrade"--as shown in the animated gif above.

I think that I mentioned in last week's blog-post that I had previously been dissatisfied with the way in which objects would at times push the player around when dragged. But conversely, my initial solution of allowing the player to pass through such objects was likewise dissatisfying, as I felt that it trivialised draggable obstructions.

So, what I did in the week just past was to undo that initial solution, and then rework the way in which dragged objects moved.

Specifically, they now move not towards a point behind the player, but towards the player's location--up to a certain distance. Beyond that distance, they instead move away from the player.

This means that objects so dragged tend to stop at roughly that certain distance--and when the player approaches, move back.

And this, I find, feels a lot better to play with than did either of the previous approaches! ^_^

As to NaNoRenO, progress was made there, I do feel! Indeed, I believe that most of the currently-intended art is in place; ambient audio has been selected for the extant scenes; audio has been added to the UI; some work has been done on the implementation side of things; and perhaps more besides!



That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #150 on: April 03, 2023, 03:35:45 AM »

Blog post (3rd of April, 2023)
A Meeting and a Game-Jam


Summary: In which a meeting is set with a lawyer; submission from the contracted audio-engineer is awaited; and NaNoRenO concludes, and my associated jam-game is done!

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot is... not actually a screenshot of Moons in Crystal! Instead, it's a screenshot of my NaNoRenO project, a short, branching, narrative-poem visual novel called "Into the Aether"!



The reason for there being no Moons in Crystal screenshot this week is simple: it was a very slow week for that project:

Amusingly, the situation with the lawyer and the audio-engineer is now reversed: I have a meeting set up with the former, and am simply waiting for the latter to get back to me!

(To be clear, there is no complaint above regarding said audio-engineer: there's little to be done there until next they submit audio.)

And... That's about it for Moons in Crystal in the week just past, I believe! ^^;

Not that I haven't been busy: life-matters and NaNoRenO have given me plenty to do!

As to NaNoRenO, that jam is now over, and my project... did not make the deadline, alas! Sad

Still, it is done, and I'm fairly happy with it! It can now be had on from my itch profile:
https://thaumaturge-art.itch.io/into-the-aether

And I had a lot of fun taking part in the jam! I can very much see myself entering again! ^_^

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #151 on: April 10, 2023, 01:24:30 AM »

Blog post (10th of April, 2023)
Continuing Motion


Summary: In which waiting continues (in part due to a delay); a bit more saving-and-loading is implemented; intentions regarding said wait are outlined; and another matter keeps me busy nevertheless!

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a moon, just after having been properly loaded to its former position:



The week just past was again a slow one, one primarily of waiting. But even so, and even with NaNoRenO done, I wasn't idle I feel!

To start with, in the matters of the lawyer and the audio-engineer both, I continue to wait: the meeting with the former has been postponed, due I believe to extraneous matters on their end, while I simply haven't yet heard back from the latter.

In terms of the game itself, I did make one change in the week just past: previously, the positions (or rather, position-defining times) of celestial bodies within solar systems were not saved. As a result, on reload they would revert to their original positions.

I had thought to leave this for the purposes of the demo, not thinking it a major issue just yet, if I recall correctly.

But in the week just past I decided to fix it, perhaps especially as it seemed a fairly easy thing to deal with.

And indeed it was, I do believe! Bodies within the solar system now seem to correctly save-and-restore those position-definition times, thus continuing their motion from (more or less) where they left off! ^_^

Otherwise... I will confess that I tire a little of waiting.

Regarding the lawyer, my intention now is to simply forge ahead (once I get that audio that I'm waiting for), pitching anyway and dealing with the legal stuff when the lawyer becomes again available.

Regarding the audio-engineer, I intend to ping them today in order to see where the process stands. Hopefully that will at least give me some indication of where I stand in the matter!

Further, I'm thinking that, until I'm in a position to move forward with the demo, I might do a few other things: I want to put together a collection of save-games for the demo, and once that's done, I can perhaps start making new artefacts and their spells...

But though the above isn't much, I said that I hadn't been idle in the week just past--and I do feel that I haven't been! I just haven't been much occupied with game-development!

In short, my mother is planning to rent out her flat to a tenant, and I've been helping out by handling showings of the place. I've thus been doing a fair bit of responding to communications of interest, making bookings, and then actually cycling out to the flat itself to show people around! It has been tiring! ^^;

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #152 on: April 17, 2023, 03:55:09 AM »

Blog post (17th of April, 2023)
A Straightbackward Weapon


Summary: In which waiting continues; mana-charging acquires an effect; a "realm" for prototyping is made; two new combat-spells are there prototyped; a save-game pack is begun; and a bug is fixed.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot is an animated gif, showing a new testing-module created in the week just past:



As you may gather, the week just past was less fallow than those previous!

To start with, the wait continues on both the lawyer and audio-engineer fronts; the former is just a matter of holding on until I hear again, while the latter I am attempting to address.

But I said in last week's blog-post, I believe, that I wanted to no longer sit on my hands, and in the week just past I acted on that.

For one thing, I added one small piece of polish, providing an effect to show that an object is receiving mana from a mana-crystal:



And for another, I started prototyping some new combat-spells.

But if I recall correctly, I didn't want these new spells to interfere with the demo, and further considered that it might be useful to have a separate area in which in general to conduct testing.

So, my first step then was to make an entirely new "module": a separate "game" that can be loaded from the main menu, much as I have in mind to do with DLC adventures.

This "module"--the "Testing Realm"--contains just a single solar system with a single, small moon, which in turn (currently) just has a single, simple level. The module's startup-script then adds whatever testing-elements I want: some enemies, prototype artefacts, and so on.

You can see the result in the first screenshot above!

As to actual prototyping, I have thus far put together two new combat spells: (Neither of which yet have proper visuals, please note.)

The first is a new summon, essentially a mini-"turret" that follows the player around and shoots at nearby enemies. It's not very powerful, but it may add to the player's firepower a little:



The second combat-spell is a straightforward projectile--save that it operates backwards in time.

When fired, it appears at its maximum range and flies towards the player, "tagging" enemies that are struck along the way.

But no damage is done when it so "tags": that happens only if the player then "catches" the projectile, providing to it an origin and thus completing its retro-temporal journey.

It's a tricky spell to use (especially as walls do stop the projectile)--but it's also devastatingly powerful, with the highest potential-DPS thus far, I believe.



In other matters, if I recall correctly I started--but didn't finish--the process of making a set of save-games to be included with the demo.

And finally, I fixed one more bug related to saving-and-loading, I believe!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #153 on: May 01, 2023, 02:38:57 AM »

Blog post (1st of May, 2023)
Sounds Good!


Summary: In which a wait continues; another wait ends--and thus brings new audio; demo-packaging has begun; the pitch looms; and a boss-fight is (in part) prototyped.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows (in part) a start to the prototyping of a new boss-fight:



The week just past was a fairly active one--and one that brought a significant milestone--I feel:

To start with, while the wait for the lawyer continues--the wait for the audio-engineer is done!

And indeed, my experience with this new audio-engineer was a much easier and smoother one! It was still a process, with discussion, revision, and a few attempts on my part to convey just what I had in mind for certain sounds--but conversely, the audio-engineer was responsive and willing to work with me.

And thus, I do now have those certain pieces of audio that I had desired to gain! (And even one or two more!) ^_^

They're not exactly what I had in mind, I'll grant--but they're an awful lot better than the sounds that they replace.

And getting these things quite right can, I feel, be perhaps tackled at a later stage, should the game find a publisher and I thus take on a project-term audio-engineer.

The new sound-effects, then, have now been integrated into the game, including a bit of implementation as called for.

And with that... the content for the demo is, I believe... complete! 0_0

Which means that it's about time to start packaging up the demo, ready to upload. And indeed, I've begun this process: I've updated my build-script, created a program icon (at various sizes), added a keybinding-profile for gamepads, updated the version-number, and fixed some bugs that were discovered.

There is a technical issue that's holding me back a little bit--but I think that I'm going to take the simple way around that, and for the demo just not make use of the relevant feature.

As a result... I think that I may be about ready to make a final build, test it, upload it, and then... start sending out pitches... o_o

So... Wish me well for that, please! ^^;

All that said, the above didn't occupy the whole week: as the screenshot above shows, I spent some of my time in prototyping a new boss-fight: a dragon!

At the moment the dragon has three main sets of attacks, each assigned to a specific range from the player--melee, close, and long-range. Of the appropriate set, a given attack is then selected at random.

Further, it has one attack that is used at intervals regardless of range: a wing-buffet that sends the player flying back from the dragon.

And I have yet more in mind for this foe...

Finally, there were a few 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 #154 on: May 08, 2023, 01:24:19 AM »

Blog post (8th of May, 2023)
The Build-Breaking Bug


Summary: In which pitch-preparation calls for various fixes; a technical issue interferes with the game-specific content system; and the dragon boss-fight sees work.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot comes not from the game itself, but rather from its (non-public) demo-page on itch.io:



The week just past was... well, one primarily of patching up various things in preparation for pitching, I feel!

I mentioned last week, I believe, that I was pretty much ready to start pitching--and that was almost correct!

As it turns out, there were a number of lingering issues that popped up once I started building a distributable version. Thus, as I recall, much of the work of the week just past was given to fixing these various little errors or omissions of one sort or another!

Of these, perhaps the biggest was an issue related to the way in which I handle game-specific content:

On the game's start-up, such content is dynamically discovered, and loaded by the game-core. Note that this includes the importation of game-specific code--things like enemies, spells, level-scripts, and more besides.

In development this works exactly as intended!

In distribution, alas, it doesn't seem to work at all! :/

In short, the process of building a distributable version converts the game into an executable. Naturally, and by design, this doesn't include game-specific content.

But it would seem that this results in classes defined within the game--now within the executable--being no longer available to that game-specific content for sub-classing, thus causing them to no longer work. :/

As of yet, I don't have a confident solution for this, alas.

However, for the purposes of pitching, I'm just working around the issue by statically importing the current game-specific content, causing it to also be bundled into the game-executable.

As a result--and as shown in the screenshot above--I do now have a candidate-build for pitching! Presuming that it works on both Windows and Linux, I should then be ready to start the actual pitching process! ^_^

In other news, some work was also done on the "Dragon" boss-fight, including the addition of a new and deadly attack that the creature can use!

(And there may be things done in the week just past that I'm forgetting!)

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #155 on: May 15, 2023, 12:19:58 AM »

Blog post (15th of May, 2023)
A Respite at a Milestone


Summary: In which a milestone is reached; bug-fixes are made along the way; and a bit of a rest is called.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows, not a view of the game itself, but of an excerpt from an email that I sent out in the week just past...



As you can see, the week just past contained a major milestone, I feel! ^_^

In short, at last I sent out my first wave of pitches for Moons in Crystal!

Not without a little bit of development done, I will say: testing with the builds uncovered a few more bugs that I felt called for fixing. (And one that I probably could have left, but that was a nuisance and proved fairly easy to deal with.)

As to the pitches, they were not all done by email--about half, I think, were handled that way, being naturally those to publishers that gave email addresses as their means of contact for pitches. The remaining publishers instead presented on-site forms, and so I used those to pitch to them.

And indeed, I have already received my first three answers--declines, as one might expect from so speedy a reply.

And so, now we wait...

In the meanwhile, I'm taking a bit of a break: It's been a long road thus far, and with other things besides draining energy on my end. And conversely, I happen to have my mother visiting for a little while! So, for a likely-short but undetermined period, I'm taking this as a moment in which to rest...

... Although I've been already thinking about certain elements of the project that I might work on next... ^^;

(As such, there may or may not be a blog-post next week--although there will likely enough be one the week after, I imagine!)

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #156 on: May 19, 2023, 08:15:29 AM »

Good luck, I hope some publishers are interested in the pitch  Smiley
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« Reply #157 on: May 22, 2023, 12:38:03 AM »

Good luck, I hope some publishers are interested in the pitch  Smiley

Thank you very much--I appreciate that! ^_^

(And indeed, I hope so too! :D; )
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« Reply #158 on: May 22, 2023, 12:38:27 AM »

Blog post (22nd of May, 2023)
Waiting, Resting, and Considering


Summary: In which the wait continues; one response is received; a matter of the camera-view is considered; and concept-work is done on certain moons and their solar-system.

Greetings and salutations!

As I mentioned last week, I believe, I'm taking a bit of time off at the moment, and as such there is no screenshot in this post.

However, I did want to take a moment to give a quick update:

First, the wait for responses to my pitch from publishers continues... (Although I have received one more "decline" response since last week's blog-post, I believe.)

Second, I may be taking time off, but the urge to create and my passion for this project have been growing again.

Indeed, I've spent a little time considering a technical matter related to my handling of the camera in the game.

Specifically, as things stand the camera in Moons in Crystal is, despite appearances, in truth pointed straight downwards, with the appearance of a tilted view being faked--something that I fear produces complications, and perhaps inefficiency.

I'm tempted, then, to switch to a truly tilted view--but this would call for some reworking.

Further, there's the complication that a standard tilted orthographic view would, I believe, foreshorten the horizontal plane, which I fear might interfere with aiming and movement. To this end, I'm considering an oblique projection--but I don't yet know how good this will look...

And finally, I've spent some time at the concepts for certain of the moons that I have in mind, as well as their places in their solar-systems (and at updating the design-doc to reflect these ideas).

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #159 on: May 29, 2023, 05:49:38 AM »

Blog post (29th of May, 2023)
A Tilted View


Summary: In which time off continues; a lawyer is spoken with; the urge to develop grows stronger; an experiment in perspective is conducted; some concept-work (and a bit of writing) is done; the flow of a level is considered; an idea towards a technical issue is had; enemies may break breakables; and one more publisher-response is received.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot is an animated gif, showing some experimentation with rendering perspective:



The week just past was another one of time off--but (as the above gif may suggest), also one in which I started to get back into development:

To start with, having continued to receive no word from the previously-mentioned lawyer, I finally gave up on waiting for them.

I thus contacted another--and this time an online meeting was arranged quickly and easily, and for a date only shortly after making contact. The meeting happened, and was rather helpful, I do think!

Further, in the week just past the desire to work on the game itself began to reassert itself more ardently!

This led to work on a few things:

First, I believe that I mentioned in the previous blog-post that I was reconsidering my approach to the game's rendering perspective. In the week just past, then, I decided to experiment a bit.

What you see above are the results: two alternative approaches (one being orthographic, and the other being oblique), compared against the current approach.

So please tell me, if I may: Which of those do you think looks best? (Outside of some blurriness in some of the examples and discrepancies in scale, and one being perhaps a little over-tilted.)

Second, I spent some time working on the concepts for certain parts of the game, including the "Seasonal" and "Elemental" Moons, some NPC behaviour, and a few ways in which magitek may show up within the game and even in one case impact culture. What's more, I wrote a brief exchange between water elementals for the Water Elemental Moon.

Third, in matters of level design, I have some ideas towards potential changes in the flow of the levels of the Ossuary Moon.

And fourth, on the technical side, an idea may have come to me towards those issues that I had with the content-system...

In terms of actual implementation, in the week just past I added a minor feature to the enemies encountered in the game: they now, on colliding with a breakable object in front of them, will attempt to break it! It's a feature that may want for more polish in future, but I feel that it even so adds a bit of verisimilitude to the game's foes. ^_^



(The idea for this came from the TIGSource devlog of another game-dev, and was there in turn credited to another developer who noticed it in Bloodborne.)

And once again there were a few minor changes made in the week just past that don't seem worth detailing here!

In terms of publishers, I received today one more response, again a "decline".

And finally, I've decided that I intend that my official return to development be this week! I'm not yet sure of what, precisely, I'll work on next--but I have a few ideas...

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