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January 26, 2022, 06:38:36 AM

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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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« 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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« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2021, 01:29:07 AM »

Blog post (27th of September, 2021)
Opening Rooms


Summary: In which a boss is advanced; bosses may have "on-death" scripts; room-loading is implemented; the current room may be detected; room-map handling is generalised; exits are shown and clickable on maps; mana-consumption is tweaked; and a backdrop texture is begun.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows progress on a sequential boss found in the Ossuary Moon:



The week just was one of content-work, of structural-work, and of more besides:

First, and as shown above, the previously-shown sequential-boss now has a model (and animations) for its third-and-final stage.

And indeed, the encounter itself has been advanced, I believe, with changes in the attacks of the boss, and the removal of some previously-planned turrets. (Which work was aided by some research done into similar bosses in other games!) Furthermore, some of the scripting for the encounter has now been added, with entry to each stage closing doors behind the player and the defeat of each stage (save the last) opening doors to the next.

(Which in part involved the implementation of "on-death" scripts for bosses.)

You may also note above that the boss is located in a (very work-in-progress) room of its own. Indeed, I've begun work on the small level in which this encounter is found!

Now, the presence of rooms may not seem significant in and of itself, as I've previously shown rooms being present in Moons in Crystal. However, those rooms, as I recall, all belonged to one specific moon--the Treasure Hoard Moon--which had somewhat-specific code for the construction of said rooms. Such things were previously not available for other moons.

In the week just past, then, I changed that: building on and modifying the code from the Treasure Hoard Moon, I implemented a more-general approach to loading room-based levels.

Similarly, the Treasure Hoard Moon had its own, grid-based approach to detecting which room the player was in. This wouldn't suit for a more-arbitrary layout, I daresay, and thus I've implemented a new approach to such detection.

Furthermore, much the same was true of the mapping of levels: an implementation had been made specific to the Treasure Hoard Moon, but none was available beyond it. In this case, rather than leaving the Treasure Hoard implementation alone and creating a new version based on it, I generalised the Treasure Hoard's implementation to apply to all room-based levels.



(Doing so does, alas, mean that I no longer have a class in the game named "MapTreasure". Tongue )

Speaking of maps, it had been suggested to me, I believe, that level-maps include icons showing exits, and that those exits be clickable, taking the player to their target location. This has been at least partially implemented now: there are such icons shown for discovered rooms, and clicking on them opens up the map for the level to which they lead.



On the minor side, I've tweaked the way that attack-spells consume mana--they no longer do if there's insufficient to fire them--and begun work on a backdrop-texture for the Ossuary Moon.
 
And once again, there were various tweaks, fixes, and changes 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 #29 on: October 04, 2021, 01:24:27 AM »

Blog post (4th of October, 2021)
So. Many. Bones.


Summary: In which bone-textures are painted; a new shader is made; the "sequential boss" level of the Ossuary Moon sees progress; the Ossuary Moon's appearance from space is updated; the scale of moons in space is worked on; NPCs can pass from room to room; room-adjacency information is handled; and the mana-bar shows a low-mana state.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a work-in-progress view of the Ossuary Moon from space:



That Ossuary Moon was, perhaps, the primary locus of the work of the week just past: in much it was the subject of that work, and where it wasn't specifically, it was at times nevertheless the location for it:

First of all, as to the Ossuary Moon, I created a new texture--one intended to serve as the surface of the current region of that moon, and as the depiction of the moon as seen from space.

And this texture took some time to make. o_o

There was initial uncertainty in the forms of the bones; an early mistake in drawing bones at too small a scale, and thus re-drawing; the simple number of bones to be depicted; and finally, revisions--fairly quick, I thankfully recall!--to the contrast and shading depicted.

But it did get done!

Now, it's a fairly repetitive texture, so in the week just past I also put together a shader that allows me to cycle a colour-gradient over the elements of a modified version of the texture. Its effect is perhaps not as salient as I might like, but I'm fairly happy with it.

And finally, that new shader also applies a bit of broad-scale variation in the brightness of the rendered colour, making some areas darker than others. This I'm happy with, and may port into other shaders!

Furthermore, in the week just past I started work on a texture for use in depicting the walls of this part of the Ossuary Moon, and created a draft of a "bone-pile" texture. Both of these are still works-in-progress, however--I'm not yet happy with what I have!

These elements, then, went into some of the work done on the Ossuary Moon itself, and especially the level in which the previously-shown sequential boss is found:



Beyond the surface, and as shown in the first screenshot above, the Ossuary Moon now has an individual appearance from space. The main of this, of course, is the texture applied to it, being the same texture used for the moon's surface.

And more generally, I've started to set in place what might be proper values--or something in the direction of proper values--for the sizes of bodies in space, and indeed on the solar-system map too. Distances are still unaddressed--I doubt that major bodies will be as close as shown here!--but the sizes of things are, I think, improved.

On the technical side, in the week just past I implemented the passing of NPCs from one room to another.

I also implemented the handling of room-adjacency information--in short, the information that, on the player entering and thus activating one room, allows neighbouring rooms to be activated too.

This means that such neighbours can be blacked out before discovery, but don't require the player to actually cross the threshold into them in order for them to then become visible.

Further, it means that enemies can move and attack from across said thresholds--they're not frozen when in a neighbouring room--while nevertheless being deactivated when further removed.

And finally, I implemented a visual change in the player's mana-bar: it now becomes thinner and duller when the player has insufficient mana to fire the current attacking-spell. This allows the player to--I hope!--easily see whether they can fire, or conversely whether they need to wait for their mana to recharge.



And once again, there were a number of changes that don't seem worth detailing here: tweaks to the showing of the boss-health bar; fixes to bugs; updates to the design-doc; and so on.

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2021, 01:55:43 AM »

Blog post (11th of October, 2021)
Breaking Barriers


Summary: In which the Ossuary Moon is further textured; that moon's "sequential boss" level is polished; doors may connect rooms; breakable barriers are made; a nascent "default level" is added to the Ossuary Moon; and a decision is made regarding the relationship between levels and "space".

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows further progress on the look and feel of the Ossuary Moon:



The work of the week just past was, I think, nearly all room-related--but in a variety of different aspects:

First of all, and as shown above, work continued on the depiction of the Ossuary Moon.

Textures for walls, bone-piles, skull-topped pillars, staircases, and skull-faced doors were all made or remade in the week just past.

What's more, these things were either placed in the "sequential boss" level (in the cases of those not already present), or their uses in that level were polished.



On the mechanical side, I polished the effect of doors in the week just past: they now have the ability to reveal rooms when opened.

Specifically, pairs of rooms can be left unconnected, and certain doors (presumably placed between those rooms) set to connect them on opening. This, I hope, makes for a better sense of discovery in exploration, by allowing rooms to be revealed only when actually made accessible for the first time.

Further, I added a new feature in the week just past--and one that can use the above logic: breakable walls.

Some of these are simple barriers: obvious, and serving such purposes as slowing the player down or protecting enemies:



Others, however, are a little trickier...



(And as you can see above, these too have their Ossuary-Moon theming.)

Now, the "sequential boss" level isn't intended to be the one that the player enters on first "landing" on the Ossuary Moon--it's intended to be found through exploration. In the week just past, then, I put in place a start towards another level. Right now it's just a pair of test-rooms--it is, *ahem*, pretty "bare bones"--but it is perhaps a start!

This did come with some thought: as I recall, I had been uncertain for a while as to how to answer the question of how levels and their layouts would interact with "space"-flight.

You see, the player approaches (at least most) moons from "space", and can do so from any (2D) direction.

But if levels are ostensibly laid out horizontally, "across the surface of the moon", then one might expect that one could potentially enter a variety of levels depending on the direction from which one approaches a given moon. And this, to my mind, runs counter to the metroidvania-ish discovery of new areas via exploration.

I considered a few potential solutions to this issue: Having levels other than the "default" one be ostensibly on another part of the moon's surface; having the player always enter a moon at a specific location (perhaps the centre); and possibly others that I'm forgetting. But each had its issues.

In the end, I settled on this: Each moon with multiple levels will have only one "default" level, ostensibly a "surface" level, which can be approached from any angle. All other levels will then be ostensibly "interior" locations--being either within structures or under the moon's surface--with perhaps occasional "surface" regions "on the far side" of the moon.

It's perhaps not a perfect solution, but I think that it should work!

And once again, a variety of things were done that don't seem worth detailing here! Things like flexibility in the loading of certain objects, bug-fixes, design-doc work, and more besides!

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2021, 12:42:44 AM »

Blog post (18th of October, 2021)
Speaking Up


Summary: In which effects for a boss-fight see work; a means of depicting shape-changing spirits is developed; a small testing-program is made to aid that development; characters can speak out; a post-fight encounter is made; the aforementioned boss-fight is nigh-done; some writing is put in place; and basic skeletons gain spawn-effects.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a new "encounter", this one (optionally) following the defeat of the "sequential boss" that has previously been shown:



Once again that "sequential boss" was perhaps the main focus of the week, to one degree or another, and in one manner or another--although a few other things did get done, too:

The boss-fight itself was primarily advanced in its effects: the effects for the defeats of the boss were tweaked, and new effects were added for the entries of the boss.

But it was in the events surrounding the boss-fight that perhaps the most was done.

For one, this boss is at heart a spirit--not a ghost, mind you, but a non-corporeal entity (the same kind as the player-character, in fact).

Now, in this setting, spirits are semi-transparent in this setting, with more opacity at their edges. What's more, their form is somewhat arbitrary, and changeable at will. Indeed, this particular spirit shifts between a humanoid form and a small wisp.

And depicting that last proved a challenge.

I went through a few potential options--in particular, I spent a bit of time attempting to use armature-animation to move the vertices of a modelled character between one form and another. Nothing quite worked as I'd hoped.

Then I considered a shader-based approach, and an idea came to me:

Those of you who read my dev-blog for A Door to the Mists may remember a technique that I used to present animated shadows, with vertex-colours driving the process. This idea is much like that: it uses vertex-colours applied to a model in order to control which areas of the model are rendered. With some logic to shade the interior and edges, I think that it produced a pretty decent effect!

Now, such things can take some work to get right, and I didn't testing to involve starting the game, navigating to the boss, examining its animation, and then returning to development, over and over again.

So, I created a small viewer-program that showed only the relevant model with the new shader applied, with a slider to control its primary input-value. And this indeed proved very helpful, both in making it easy to see what render-result I was getting and in allowing me to test rapidly.



This particular spirit also speaks briefly before the fight, and on defeat of their second and third stages. But these vocalisations don't call for full, action-stopping "encounters"--they're just brief exclamations. And indeed, I suspect that I'll want similar brief, non-blocking vocalisations elsewhere.

So, in the week just past I added a new feature that allows me to present just that: an ephemeral speech-bubble associated with a character:



As shown in the first screenshot of the post, at the fight's end the player has the option of approaching the spirit and entering a short "encounter". And as you may gather, that too has now been implemented, including the associated writing and a character-icon to represent the spirit.

Further, I set in place the specific speech-bubbles that I currently intend for the fight, again including their associated writing.

And with that and a bit of scripting, I think that this boss is pretty close to done! Just one or two small things remain, I think! (Primarily related to the reward that the player may possibly get after the fight.)

Naturally I don't want to spoil too much of this, but here then is a look at how the first stage of the boss-fight begins:



Outside of that boss-fight, in the week just past I added some effects for the spawning of the basic skeleton enemies that are found in the Ossuary Moon.

And, as is often the case, a number of other things were done in the week just past that don't seem worth detailing here: an improvement to performance; miscellaneous tweaks; work on the design-doc; and more besides!

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2021, 12:56:37 AM »

Blog post (25th of October, 2021)
A Matter of Perspective


Summary: In which the player is presented in tilted 3D; a spiked-trap is given a "bone" variant, and its geometry reworked a bit; a "spike shooter" enemy is made; a "mage" enemy is likewise is made; and a new shader is created for one attack of said "mage".

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows two changes of the week just past: one in a new enemy, and the other in the player's avatar:



Enemies and hazards were perhaps the primary focus of the week just past--but not its sole focus:

As shown above, one non-enemy change made in the week just past is that the player-character is no longer viewed from a purely top-down perspective, in flat 2D. Instead, they now have a 3D model, tilted in the same manner as are many of the enemies.

I'd hesitated for some while over this change, as I recall. For one, perhaps, the original vision was of a top-down game. And for another, I think that I worried that the model's forward-indicating "prongs" would be somewhat lost when viewed at an angle, making direction less clear.

However, as the number of tilted enemies increased, it became increasingly clear that the top-down presentation looked off beside them.

So, at last, in the week just past I took the decision to make a 3D model for the player and to tilt it.

And I'm glad that I did! I think that it looks much better now--and those forward-facing prongs, thankfully, remain visible. ^_^

(And if that model looks perhaps a little simple, don't worry--this is before upgrades are applied! Wink )

As to enemies and hazards, three saw work in the week just past:

Simplest was a "bone" version of a previously-made "linear trap" hazard--a spiky block that slides rapidly in either the horizontal or the vertical when the player passes it in that direction.

At its core, this hazard had already been built (for the Treasure Hoard Moon), with the new version simply being a re-skin. However, I did also rework its geometry somewhat, making it a little easier to make further such reskins in the future, I do think.



Also fairly simple is the new "spike shooter" enemy: This little construct of bones trundles towards the player, periodically releasing sprays of deadly bone spikes.

Alone, they're little real threat--especially as their spikes fire in set directions, regardless of the orientation of the creatures themselves. But in combination with others, of their kind or otherwise, I hope that they'll prove more dangerous...

And they have one more trick: When destroyed, they immediately release one more wave of spikes. Don't fight them at close range! Wink



But more complex are the "Deceived Acolytes". Undead sorcerers in thrall of a liche, these beings present as no more than a floating skull and spine within a blue cloak.

But beware their magic: First, they can summon simple skeletons that will attack the player; and second, they can launch green ethereal skulls that will seek the player and deal damage on impact.




Further, they move in a slightly more complex manner than the others: when they get close to the player, they start to move back and forth around, hopefully presenting a trickier target.



Those green skulls called for the development in the week just past of a new "ghost" shader, which I hope to later use for other ethereal or spectral purposes.

And once again, there were a number of tweaks, fixes, and changes that don't seem worth detailing here: an "enemy values" spreadsheet that I hope will help with balancing; updates to the geometry of certain special-effects; initial support for descriptions and icons for quest-items; and more besides!

That, then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2021, 01:26:37 AM »

Blog post (1st of November, 2021)
Usable Interfaces


Summary: In which the currently-selected attack-spell is indicated; the "status-screen" is themed and adjusted; each of the "inventory", "items and notes", and "map" pages see work; and map -rendering and -labelling is polished.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a new bit of (in-progress) UI work, specifically for the "items and notes" screen:



And indeed, wanting a break from enemy-work, in the week just past I instead focussed primarily on matters of UI, as I recall:

To start with, a small and simple addition: There is now a marker beside the in-game list of attacking-spells, indicating which is currently selected.



Furthermore, in the week just past I continued to adjust the "encounter" screen, trying to make it more pleasant and comfortable to look at and to interact with. And I do think that I've made some progress there!



More complex, however, was the "status screen".

First of all, I've added a border to it, and adjusted its bounds.

But most of the work, I daresay, went into the various individual pages that it (currently) contains.

As things stand there are three of these:
  • The "inventory" page, which contains the artefacts held by the player, allows the selection of spells from them, and shows the player's current utilities.
  • The "items and notes" page, which shows the quest-items held and given by the player, and--albeit as-yet unimplemented--notes to remind the player of things that they've learned.
  • And The "map" page, which, well, shows maps of the locations that the player has discovered!

(I also have it in mind to add a fourth at least, being the "codex" page, but that isn't yet present.)

The second of those--the "items and notes" page--is shown in the first screenshot above. Here two panels hold the lists in question, while below them a smaller section provides details when the player hovers over a given item.

(Alas, the cursor doesn't show up in the screenshot--in this case it was hovering over the item that reads "engravedSkull", I believe.)

The first page--the "inventory" page--is less complete, albeit I think largely done.

Here there are two major sections: The "artefacts and spells" section above, and the "aids and abilities" section below.

The latter is a simple, largely-non-interactive list that shows the various utilities--both items and metroidvania abilities--that the player might gain.

The former is split into two sections: On the right is a grid showing all of the artefacts thus far discovered and yet-retained by the player, while on the left is a vertical list of the artefacts--or rather the spells provided by them--that are currently selected.

Simply put, clicking on an artefact attempts to add it to the list, while clicking on a listed spell removes it. Thus the player can choose their current array of attacking-spells.

I do want to add a little more embellishment to that section--something to break up the "empty" sections of brass a bit, and to make them a little more interesting, and to connect the two parts of this section a little better.


(Don't mind that all three artefacts shown look the same in that screenshot--I simply have only one artefact-image made at the moment, and so for now have assigned it to all.)

And last of the current pages is the "map" page. This is perhaps the least-developed of the UIs on which I worked in the week just past. Still, there has been some progress I do think, perhaps especially in the labelling of the current place and the list of buttons that allows the player access to the maps of a given place's sub-regions.

Furthermore, I put in some work on the rendering of and labelling in the maps themselves.

Conversely, I still haven't done anything about the "go up one level" button, and I'm not satisfied with the amount of empty space currently present.




You may note that the tabs at the top of the "status screen" don't look particularly good. That is simply because I haven't yet addressed them.

And indeed, this is still somewhat of a work-in-progress section of UI. Even so--perhaps especially given that it's so--critique of what I have thus far would be welcomed, I do believe!

And finally, a number of things were done in the week just past that don't seem worth detailing here: design-doc work; a tiny bit of writing; a convenience-method for the theming of scroll-bars; and so on!

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2021, 03:26:22 AM »

Blog post (8th of November, 2021)
Player Presentation and Powers


Summary: In which health may be upgraded; healing is done by percentage; the player's ship gains upgrades with abilities; the player's ship may be customised via collectible skins; a light-effect underscores acquisitions; and objects may be grabbed.

This week's screenshot shows a fully-upgraded health-bar!



The week just past was focussed almost entirely on the player and on their abilities and traits:

As shown in the screenshot above, the player's health-pool can now be upgraded!

While the basis for this mechanic was previously in place, in the week just past I implemented it more fully, including the addition of an item that confers the upgrade.

(I'm not yet sure that I'm happy with its presentation, however--those little spikes along the bar in particular.)

Approaching this did incur questions, as I recall: since healing is done via a consumable resource, does each heal perhaps become less valuable as the maximum increases, and how much does an upgraded maximum-health mean if one doesn't have enough healing items to fill it?

So, in the week just past I changed the manner in which healing is applied: instead of each heal restoring a flat amount of health, it now restores a percentage of the player's maximum health. This means, to illustrate, that the same number of health-consumables are required for a full heal regardless of the player's current maximum health.

Prior to this update, you may have noted that the player's ship has looked rather simple: a circular setting of brass holding a spherical crystal, and two short prongs sticking out of the front.

This simplicity is due to the ship having thus far been only in its base, non-upgraded state--the intention being that the ship would be expanded and elaborated as the player acquired "metroidvania abilities".

In the week just past, then, I implemented that feature: as the player gains abilities, they also gain new parts to their ship:




And remaining with the player's ship, in the week just past I implemented a new minor feature: ship-skins.

In short, these provide alternate looks for the player's ship, and might be found as collectible glowing lights scattered across the game-world.

They have no mechanical effect, do note: they're just cosmetic options, and rewards for exploration.

And along with the feature itself, I implemented a basic menu-screen in which the player can select a skin from those that they've thus far discovered, and a simple "glowing light" item to serve as their collectible representation.

As to actual skins, I now have two: the base brass-and-crystal skin, finished (thus far) in the week just past, and a new "bone" skin made entirely in that week.



(Further, I tweaked the colouring of the brass in the player's ship: it's now a little more metallic-looking, I feel.)

Sticking with visual matters, in the week just past I added a bit of polish to the player's collection of items and acquisition of upgrades: these are now accompanied by a light-effect to highlight the addition.

Here below you can see most, at least, of the currently-implemented collection light-effects:

(Note that the above gif uses the old ship-texture, without the revised brass.)

And as to the player's "metroidvania abilities", I added one more in the week just past: the ability to grab non-rooted objects and drag them around.



While primarily intended for traversal and likely for puzzle-solving purposes, I can see this ability finding some other uses too. Especially as--whether advisably or not--enemies can be grabbed in this manner...

And once more, a number of tweaks, fixes, and changes were enacted that don't seem worth detailing here: a fix to the "lightning flail" weapon; a little bit of writing; design-doc work; and so on!

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2021, 12:01:56 AM »

Cool, I like the look of the player model and its upgrades!
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« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2021, 07:03:47 AM »

Thank you very much! I really appreciate that! ^_^
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« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2021, 01:02:52 AM »

Blog post (15th of November, 2021)
A Friendly Shadow


Summary: In which icons are created or reworked; an effect is made for "grabbing"; and a defensive spell is added to the player's arsenal.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows some new or revised icons for three of the player's "metroidvania abilities":



The week just past was a little slow, in part I think due to a variety of abeyances of various sorts. Still, some things did get done:

First of all, as shown above, I revised or created three of the icons that represent "metroidvania abilities" available to the player.

The first (from the left) of those shown is a new icon, made in the week just past for the previously-shown "grab" ability.

The second is a revised version of the already-extant "teleportation" ability.

And the third and final is a touched-up version of an ability that has, as far as I recall, yet to be revealed... (... In large part because I haven't yet implemented it. Tongue)

And speaking of that "grab" ability, in the week just past I implemented an effect to convey the tether between the player and the item grabbed:



I believe that in previous blog-posts, I've referred to the player's "weapons" as "attacking spells", or something to that effect. However, that term isn't quite comprehensive: some of the player's spells are intended to be defensive in nature.

I mention this now because one of these defensive spells was implemented in the week just past: it summons a fox-shadow that follows and moves around the player--and then, on an enemy nighing, dashes in to knock the enemy back.



(Its "empowered" version, however, has yet to be implemented.)

And finally, there were various tweaks, fixes, and changes that don't seem worth detailing here: design-doc work; stub-classes for a new spell; a variable to identify "hostile" things in code; and more besides!

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #38 on: November 15, 2021, 01:26:48 AM »

Looking great!

(also, thanks to Mario Kart that first gif makes me feel an instinctive urge to drift until the flames change color for a speed boost Tongue)
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« Reply #39 on: November 16, 2021, 12:15:38 PM »

Looking great!

Thank you very much! ^_^

(also, thanks to Mario Kart that first gif makes me feel an instinctive urge to drift until the flames change color for a speed boost Tongue)

Hahahah! XD

I'll confess that I've never played Mario Kart--but I do suspect that have had similar such "experience cross-over" occurrences elsewhere!

(Funnily enough, I do intend to have some things that might boost speed--but I'm rather planning on "currents" that carry objects than intrinsic boosts. And there may well be some racing!)
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