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September 25, 2021, 01:42:04 PM

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« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2021, 01:53:07 PM »

Perhaps, indeed. (And indeed, you are a space ship--or more accurately, a spirit piloting a brass-and-crystal flying-vessel.)

I have replaced the particle-image now, as it happens--it is still red, if more brightly so, and has a different shape.

The trick here is that: (A) Red tends to be associated with health, (B) I want the "damage particle" to connect to the loss of health, and (C) I want the damage particle to be distinctly different from any of the player's attacks--I don't want it to resemble an attack going off for no reason. And the player's attacks are quite varied in their colours and behaviours.

I see and understand. Those are all good points. I think even orange could change the way it is received. This whole issue is not an issue to begin with anyway. It just felt a little "bloody". Azn
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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2021, 07:58:37 AM »

I see and understand. Those are all good points. I think even orange could change the way it is received. This whole issue is not an issue to begin with anyway. It just felt a little "bloody". Azn

That's very fair!

I imagine that I'll likely show something including the new "not-blood" particles in my next blog-post--and indeed just posted something with them on Twitter. Whenever you see them, should you do so, I daresay that I'll be interested to know whether you find them improved--or, indeed, worse still!
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Moons in Crystal
A Fantasy Top-Down Space-Shooter Metroidvania
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« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2021, 04:16:18 AM »

Blog post (13th of September, 2021)
Splashes


Summary: In which locations and their regions gain titles; item- and upgrade- collection is shown via text; artefacts and upgrades are given a splash-screen; quest-items are listed; a place for a potential note-feature is made; the map-screen's handling of regions is reworked; the "encounter" UI is further tweaked; a worm-enemy gains some effects; a new skeletal foe is made; characters can hold "updating effects"; enemies can lead targets; the player's "damage" particle is reworked; an effect for player-healing is made; and a new moon is begun.

Greetings and salutations!

This entry's screenshot shows location- and region- titles--albeit perhaps with non-final font and word-spacing:



Such UI-related work comprises a significant proportion of the work done in the fortnight just past, I do believe. However, said fortnight also included a variety of other changes, including enemy-work, effect-making, and more besides:

First of all, as before, a number of changes, tweaks, and fixes have been implemented that don't seem worth detailing here! And further, various changes and additions have been made to the design-doc for the game. (For one, the entries for some of the moons are starting to fill out.)

Having shown the new area-titles above, let me start there: Each broad location (moon, solar-system, planet, etc.), and each region within such a location, has a name, and these names are now shown on entering the area in question.

Similarly, there's now a small message shown when the player gains an item or other such thing; in contrast to the area-titles, these appear below the player.

But some things that the player might gain--specifically, artefacts and ship-upgrades--warrant, I feel, more-salient introduction to the player. It is, I think, somewhat common in metroidvanias to announce such things with a splash screen--and that is what I've done here.

In short, this overlaid screen displays the new thing gained, its icon or icons, a short description of it, and an instruction to press the "fire" button in order to move on.

It's still a work in progress--for one thing, I've hit an annoying issue with font-rendering in which text becomes squashed together. However, here is the current state of this screen:


Now, at times the player might be tasked with collecting some item or another for an NPC. These items don't really call for a full inventory, I feel--but a listing of them might be useful.

Furthermore, it might be useful for the player to have notes, or reminders of things learned in the world or requested by NPCs.

These two features--albeit that only the former has actually been implemented at time of writing--make for a "journal screen" of sorts, which has been added to the player's status screen:


Turning to the map-screen, I've reworked the manner in which it handles regions within a location.

Previously, these were scrolled through via a pair of arrow-buttons, and were identified by a number--essentially, they were treated as a linear sequence of levels.

But while this is accurate to some locations, it's not accurate to all that I have in mind--after all, this is a metroidvania, and metroidvania regions are seldom laid out in so linear a fashion, I feel.

So I changed this element of the UI: Now region-maps are made available via a vertical column of buttons, which are revealed in the order in which the player discovers their regions:


And last of the salient UI-work of the fortnight just past, I've tweaked the encounter-UI a little further: Some of the colours have been altered, and the surrounding frame has been moved inwards:


But UI-work wasn't the entirety of the work done in the fortnight just past.

I showed last week, I believe, a new enemy: a worm-creature that spat acid. That worm is now (I think) largely done, with a new splash-effect added for its projectiles, a "smoke" effect for those projectiles hitting and burning, and a few effects combined for its death.


A new foe was made, too: a cursed skeleton, its bones blackened and its feet immersed in curse-fire. What's worse, it can project some of that curse-fire at range.

And that curse-fire can be a bane, whether it touches at range or up close: while the effect lasts only a few seconds, for those seconds the curse holds the victim in place, vulnerable to any foe.


And last of the notable changes to enemies is that I've somewhat reworked the encounter with the previously-shown crystal-creatures. In short, the waves in which they come are now more ordered and--I hope!--more engaging, and the behaviour of the creatures is both less random and more dangerous.

The above-mentioned "hold character" effect is implemented via a new feature: characters can now have "updating effects". These are essentially objects attached to the character that can, well, do arbitrary things--things like zeroing the character's velocity.

And enemies have a new tool at their disposal, too: they now have the option of (at least somewhat) leading their targets, hopefully improving their chances of hitting the player.

As to the player, I've made two changes to the player-character's effects:

First, I've reworked the particle used for the "damage" effect; I think that I'm rather happier with this one! (Said particle can be seen when the player is hit in the gifs shown for the Cursed Skeleton and the Gold Worm, I believe.)

And second, I've added a particle effect to convey the player being healed. This is a simple thing right now: just a surge of red particles that rush "into" the player.

Stepping away from the player, I've (barely!) begun work on a new moon. This is the Ossuary Moon, a dry place composed entirely of bones (or similar biological elements, or the remains thereof).

It's also my choice of "large" moon for inclusion the vertical-slice that I have planned: of the various moons that I have in mind, it's one of the best--*ahem*--fleshed out, one that I think should nicely convey a "metroidvania-esque" structure, and one that is intended to include a non-gimmicky boss.

That, then, is all for this entry! Stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2021, 02:07:09 AM »

I like the region titles. I have those for chapters in MM and thought about doing them for places, but that might be a bit too much. ^^
With a nice transition and probably jingle, they can be a great thing, I think. Especially when you discover new regions for the first time.
 
I think displaying new artefacts that offer new abilities in such a way is the right thing to do. As for the quest items: A lot of games have their own inventory category for those. You cannot really do anything with them, but you can check whether you have the item in question and read some lore about it.
 
If there are connections between the regions, it might be nice to show it on the map with an arrow or something and clicking on it will then show the corresponding region (if already discovered).
 
The design of the enemies is a bit... special, I think. Smiley
I would need to play it to see how a fight between a space ship and a walking skeleton works. ^^
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« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2021, 02:57:54 AM »

I like the region titles. I have those for chapters in MM and thought about doing them for places, but that might be a bit too much. ^^
With a nice transition and probably jingle, they can be a great thing, I think. Especially when you discover new regions for the first time.
 
I think displaying new artefacts that offer new abilities in such a way is the right thing to do.

Thank you very much! ^_^

As for the quest items: A lot of games have their own inventory category for those. You cannot really do anything with them, but you can check whether you have the item in question and read some lore about it.

Indeed! And furthermore, you can check here whether you've already used an item, or whether you "still have" it.

(Although I haven't yet settled on the matter of lore--I do want to have some, but I don't yet know how broad its reach will be.)
 
If there are connections between the regions, it might be nice to show it on the map with an arrow or something and clicking on it will then show the corresponding region (if already discovered).

I have been thinking about something along these lines, although I haven't yet decided on what to do about it. I do have something like that on the solar-system map: the player can click on various bodies (i.e. moons, etc.) in order to go directly to their maps. I may very well do something similar for exits between regions within moons!

The design of the enemies is a bit... special, I think. Smiley

Erm... In what way...? ^^;;

I would need to play it to see how a fight between a space ship and a walking skeleton works. ^^

Yeah, it is tricky!

For one thing, the ship looks best, I think, when viewed top-down. But humanoid enemies... rather don't. So there's a bit of a clash of desired perspectives there, I do fear...
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« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2021, 02:58:24 AM »

Blog post (20th of September, 2021)
A Powerful Rune


Summary: In which an item splash-screen is cleaned up; a font-issue is resolved; a skeletal enemy is made; obstacles may optionally be avoided; a new boss-encounter is begun; a timer-bar is moved; a weapon-powerup becomes less overpowered; some of the effects of that powerup are revised; and a weapon is reworked.

Greetings and salutations!

This entry's screenshot shows a revised version of the "important thing gained" splash-screen that was shown in last week's entry, having now text that is decently spaced, sized, and positioned:



As you may gather, this entry isn't being posted a fortnight after the last! Indeed, I found with last week's entry, as I recall, that I had quite a lot to write about. And at the end of the work of the week just past, I once again found myself with a fair bit to hand.

So, I've decided that now seems like the time to switch over to weekly blog-posts!

First of all, and as shown above, I've fixed the font-related issues that I believe that I mentioned in my previous entry. Now the words are properly spaced, and the lines properly separated--and the text thus properly legible!

In short, the problem was that when I set the relevant font's point-size, its line-height and space-advance were apparently not updated. But it was pointed out to me that, while the engine alas doesn't attend to the matter automatically, it does allow the dev to manually set those values--and doing so, as shown above, seems to work!

Moving to gameplay, I've begun implementing some of the enemies found on the new Ossuary Moon.

First of these are basic skeletons, raised by dark magic. They're simple, slow, weak, and fragile enemies--but beware of complacency: in numbers their minimal damage can add up quickly!


And as part of this, I've implemented some basic obstacle-avoidance logic that enemies may optionally use.

Further, I've begun work on a boss-encounter!

This boss is an optional side-boss, one that's intended to be encountered should the player explore a certain region of the moon.

In short, it's a sequential boss, a series of fights in which the boss is repeatedly upgraded.

In this case, the foe is intended to be a spirit, one who crafts skeletal forms from the bones all around--and who on defeat then flits into the next room to try again with something bigger and more powerful.


This encounter is still very much a work-in-progress!

Now, you may note in the screenshot above the vertical red bar on the right-hand side of the screen. This is the boss's health-bar, sized in proportion with the boss's maximum health, and is a new UI element added in the week just past.

Placing it there did incur the movement of an extant bar to elsewhere. That said, I do think that said bar actually works better in its new location.

The bar in question was a timer-bar for one of the "utility items" that the player has at their disposal: The Rune of Power.

This is an item that may be found scattered around the world, and which, when used, temporarily alters the player's weapon-spells. In general, it makes them somehow "more"--and often, more powerful.

If the name and description perhaps sound familiar, that's because this item is a pretty straightforward take on the "Tome of Power" from Heretic.

Here you can see the effect of the Rune of Power against the skeleton-enemies, as well as its newly-placed timer-bar:


Furthermore, I actually reworked the effect of this item in the week just past:

For one, it was previously far too overpowered, I fear: it could be used to easily clear multiple waves of the Crystal Moon's encounter, as I recall.

But I think that I worried that, should I reduce the damage dealt by weapons under its effect, it would become unuseful and unsatisfying.

However, in researching the effect of Heretic's Tome of Power, I discovered something surprising: the projectiles fired under that effect were not-uncommonly distinctly less damaging than their base versions!

And this does make sense: this reduction in individual projectile-damage may be combined with other alterations, such as a greater number of projectiles, to produce an overall greater damage-output, without producing something massively overpowered.

So, I am thus doing similarly: using reductions in the damage of some empowered attack-spells to balance increases elsewhere.

Further, I also changed the "empowered" forms of two of the attack-spells.

One of these is a work-in-progress. However, the other, the one gained from the Dragon's Heart artefact, I think that I may be happy with:

(The initial charge-and-release attack being the base form of the spell, and the rapid-fire attack being the empowered form.)

The other combat-spell mentioned above is the one that I'm currently calling the "Lightning Flail". In short, this produces a ball of lightning that can be flung out, and that then returns back to the player, bouncing off of obstacles (including enemies) all along the way.

And, even without the Rune of Power, this thing was overpowered.

So, in the week just past I reduced it somewhat: It's now mana-hungry, and doesn't hang around after returning to the player (which made it essentially a free melee weapon), and loses power with each bounce.

It's still, I think, fun to use--it just doesn't destroy whole rooms of enemies at no cost.

And finally, there were a number of changes, tweaks, and fixes that don't seem worth detailing here! New things in the design-doc, bits of writing, changes to a "cloud"-effect, and so on!

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2021, 03:09:57 AM »

Ok, I need to find some time to sit down and read this devlog, but the opening post already has me hooked on the alternative fantasy cosmology aspect!
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« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2021, 03:20:23 AM »

Ok, I need to find some time to sit down and read this devlog, but the opening post already has me hooked on the alternative fantasy cosmology aspect!

Ah, I'm glad that it has so hooked you! ^_^

Enjoy the read, and I'm interested in any feedback that you might have, I do believe! ^_^
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A Fantasy Top-Down Space-Shooter Metroidvania
Itch page ~ Twitter
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