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July 02, 2022, 03:10:02 AM

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« Reply #60 on: February 18, 2022, 07:09:37 AM »

Loot can indeed be fun! Wink
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« Reply #61 on: February 21, 2022, 01:41:21 AM »

Blog post (21st of February, 2022)
The Art of Menus


Summary: In which saving and loading is advanced; a save-load menu is added; a save-icon is added; note-taking is noted; the logo is done; the main menu gains art; and the buttons of the "Encounter" UI now animate.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows an update to the main-menu screen--specifically, in that it now has background art!



Note that I've again redacted the logo: I'm still a little wary of putting that out in public just yet! ^^;;

Aside from one significant technical change, most of the work of the week just past was visual in nature:

To start with, that significant technical change was that I continued--and I think finished for now--the matter of saving and loading!

For one thing, I went through various classes in the game and filled out the code that handles their saving and loading. Things like adding data to be saved, or code to restore elements and state appropriately.

For another, I set in place more of the functionality of saving and loading: threaded saving, auto-saving, and suchlike.

(I briefly hit a wall when I discovered that one element to be saved involved a call to a method that required a parameter--a parameter that complicated restoration.

Then I realised that I wasn't actually using said parameter in the method, and so simply removed it!)

And shading into visual changes, in the week just past I added a proper save-load menu to the game!

If this menu looks at all familiar, that's because it was ripped near-verbatim from A Door to the Mists. After all, it did the job, and had a fair bit of functionality already!

Still, there were changes to be made, both visual and technical--for one, the re-theming of it to fit with Moons in Crystal instead of A Door to the Mists.



As I noted above, much of the work done in the week just past was visual in nature.

On the minor side--and related to the above changes--I added a "save icon" that is displayed while the game is saving. (And briefly after, if saving was overly quick.)

Similarly minor is the addition of some text being shown when a "note" is added to the player's journal.

But perhaps more significant is that I have--nearly, at least, and I think--completed the main menu!

First, I completed the logo that's shown with the menu. As noted above, I'm still hesitant to reveal it just yet, so let me simply say that I'm rather happier with its current state than its previous!

And second--and as shown in the first screenshot above--I've instated a pass at main-menu art!

This art is intended to show a sampling of the moons encountered in the game, as well as a hint of a crystal sphere behind.

And yes, those are all intended moons that are shown there. Yes, even that one.

That said, I do think that I have some touch-ups that I intend to make to the art. (The Crystal Moon looks a little flat, as shown there, I feel.)

Further, as few of these moons have yet been implemented, or even finalised, this art may come to be outdated in the future.

Still, for now, at least, I think that it helps a lot!

And further on the polish side, in the week just past I made a minor change to the "Encounter" UI: its prompt-buttons now animate when they're refreshed. This, I hope, makes the change in prompts between stages of an encounter more apparent, as well as making the UI feel a little more dynamic.



And once again, there were various changes, tweaks, and fixes that don't seem worth detailing here!

That then is all for this week (save for the "PS" below)--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^

PS: If I may shill for a moment, in the week just past I also released two asset-packs on itch.io:

The first of these is a set of nine fantasy-themed backdrops (drawn from A Door to the Mists), and should be available here:
https://thaumaturge-art.itch.io/assets-fantasy-backdrops

The second is a set of fantasy-themed UI elements--press-buttons, check-buttons, a few cursors, and so on. It should be available here:
https://thaumaturge-art.itch.io/assets-fantasy-ui
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« Reply #62 on: February 25, 2022, 02:21:18 PM »

Nice work on these menus  Cool and those asset packs have some tight looking art, I really like the pyramid interior background with the blue shadow and orange light
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« Reply #63 on: February 26, 2022, 02:30:57 PM »

Thank you very much, on all counts! ^_^

When you refer to the "pyramid interior", do you mean the background with the glinting gold near the centre? Or perhaps the one with a bright vertical on the right-hand side? I'm not sure which you mean. ^^;

But in any case, I very much appreciate the compliments to the art! ^_^

PS: You may see that main menu again in the next blog post, due to a... somewhat dynamic update that's been applied to it... Wink
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« Reply #64 on: February 27, 2022, 03:37:16 AM »

The UI develops into something very nice with a unique style. I also love the snake planet. ^^
You should probably grab a screenshot before entering the menu, so the menu is not visible on the savegame screenshots. Smiley
 
Is there a playable demo yet?
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« Reply #65 on: February 28, 2022, 02:25:32 AM »

The UI develops into something very nice with a unique style.

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

I also love the snake planet. ^^

Thank you again! ^_^

I have something... weird in mind for that one... Wink

You should probably grab a screenshot before entering the menu, so the menu is not visible on the savegame screenshots. Smiley

You are perhaps correct!

I did actually have that in A Door to the Mists, as I recall, and I suppose that I was somewhat hoping to get away with not doing it here. Ah well, it's not terribly difficult--the system in place is actually set up to allow for it, as it's drawn from A Door to the Mists, I believe.

So, with your prompting, I think that I'll likely implement that, indeed! (And I've made a note to do so!)

Is there a playable demo yet?

Not yet, I'm afraid!

I'm not yet sure that I'll make a public demo this time: I'm currently aiming to create a vertical slice for publisher-submission, and I'm not convinced that such a thing makes for a good public demo...

In any case, I don't yet have proper levels to show off, save for the very smallest. ^^;
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« Reply #66 on: February 28, 2022, 02:26:13 AM »

Blog post (28th of February, 2022)
Swirling and Flowing


Summary: In which a proof-of-concept moon is upgraded; a "vertical slice" moon is begun; currents are implemented; menu-art becomes more dynamic; and a "depiction of the game" gif is shown.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows an upgrade to a moon that's intended for use in a proof-of-concept for DLC support:



The work of the week just past was primarily given to four salient changes: Two moons, one matter of visual-art, and one new element of gameplay:

Moons in Crystal has, at least in the basics, support for DLC. Oh, I don't presume that there will be opportunity for DLC, but I do want the functionality to be available should such opportunity indeed arise.

And I want to show this functionality in my intended vertical slice.

To that end, I have for a while had a little proof-of-concept "DLC Solar System" implemented, containing just a single, simple moon.

Now, previously this moon was a garish thing, containing little of real interest.

So, in the week just past I upgraded it somewhat: it has become now a "Whirlpool Moon", a vortex that sucks the player spiralling inwards--potentially dashing them against jutting rocks along the way. And at its centre now waits a quest-item, a small pearl.

What's more, a little scripting has been added: when the pearl is taken, some enemies are now spawned around the moon in order to harass the player.

It remains simple, but perhaps now a more engaging and pleasing demonstration.

The result (minus the pearl and enemies) can be seen in the main screenshot above. And further, here below you should see a view of this reworked moon from space:



Speaking of moons, and of the vertical slice, in the week just past I began implementing an entirely new moon. This is the "vertical slice moon": a showcase for those things that I want to have present in the vertical slice, but that don't seem to have a natural place in the content that I intend to otherwise include.

And one of those things is a new gameplay element, implemented in the week just past: currents!

These are, simply put, streams that push the player along, either boosting their speed forwards or hindering their progress.



And they proved quite tricky to implement, as I recall! From the complexities of reading the current-strength at a given position having only collision-data, through questions of velocity-handling, to the matter of how to represent these currents, there were a number of points that called for a bit of thought.

But done it now is and working to my satisfaction, I do believe!



I mentioned last week, I believe, that I had instated new art in the main menu.

In the week just past, then, I enacted some touch-ups to that art.

But perhaps more interestingly, I changed how it's used in the main menu: no longer is it a static backdrop.

Instead, each moon-depiction is now a separate thing, and as the mouse is moved they move with it, according to their "distance". The result then is a dynamic, parallaxing backdrop!



And as is often the case, there were miscellaneous tweaks, fixes, and changes that don't seem worth detailing here!

Finally, in the week just past I put together a short gif for Twitter, intended to convey some of the game's state at the time. Let me then share that here, too:


   
That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #67 on: February 28, 2022, 10:56:18 AM »

And another great update! I really like the air current. It looks really nice.
 
As for the demo: I guess you have your buddy testers at least. It would probably be a bad idea to give something to a publisher that wasn't tested. Smiley
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« Reply #68 on: March 01, 2022, 11:35:57 AM »

And another great update! I really like the air current. It looks really nice.

Thank you very much, on both counts! ^_^

As for the demo: I guess you have your buddy testers at least. It would probably be a bad idea to give something to a publisher that wasn't tested. Smiley

Indeed, I've been contemplating this direction since your last post. As you say, testing seems like a rather good idea. The trick, then, is that of how to test it!

I may try to round up some friends and acquaintances and see whether they're interested, but I don't yet know how many would like this sort of game, and would also have the time and inclination to do it.

We'll see what I do!
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« Reply #69 on: March 07, 2022, 02:16:32 AM »

Blog post (7th of March, 2022)
A Field of Stars


Summary: In which "space" has stars; the view of the "Bubble Moon" from "space" is changed; moons may rotate; the look and feel of the "Ossuary Moon" is being reworked; moon-surfaces may optionally have reduced exit-radii; the "Vertical Slice" moon now has halls of "flow" and "traps"; a race is being made; spike-traps become more efficient; bumping into things now produces sounds; and breakables are provided.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows something that should hopefully make "space" more "space-y": Stars!

(Of course, when your stars are set on the inner the surface of a great crystal sphere, things might become a little odd as you fly about said sphere...)

And with an inset showing a change to the look of the sun, too.



The week just past was a varied one, with quite a few changes and changes of a variety of types, I feel!

As shown above, the "space" between moons (and planet) now at last has stars!

(If you saw my posting to this effect on Twitter, let me note that the number of stars has been increased since then, as has their performance.)

What's more, the positions of these stars are loaded from a file. As a result, their placements needn't be random: specific structures or patterns can be depicted, if desired. See for example the patterned stars of the "DLC Proof of Concept" solar-system:



On a similar note, in the week just past I reworked the depiction of the "Bubble Moon" as seen from "space": it now shows highlights on the bubbles (as when seen from the moon's surface), giving them a bit more form.

Now, the texture applied there to the "Bubble Moon" is simply that: a static texture. This means that, despite the movement of the sun, the highlights on the bubbles will remain fixed, causing them to be generally inaccurate.

So, in the week just past I implemented support for moons in space to rotate.

Specifically, there are essentially three types of rotation that a moon may now have: No rotation, as before; simple rotation at a given speed, in a given direction; and rotation to face the local sun.

The "Bubble Moon" then uses the last of those: it rotates itself towards the sun, thus allowing the highlights on its bubbles to remain accurate, even though static.



Further, the "Whirlpool Moon" found in the "DLC Proof of Concept" now rotates around, reflecting its behaviour when visited.

Remaining with visual changes, I've begun reworking the look and feel of the Ossuary Moon. In short, I've become dissatisfied with the very flat look that it has had, finding that I wanted something of higher quality.

However, this change is very much a work-in-progress (so many bones... o_o; ), and I'm not yet ready to show it!

I mentioned in last week's blog-post, I believe, that I had begun work on a "Vertical Slice Moon"--that location saw work in the week just past. Perhaps most saliently, I began work in earnest on two of its levels: The "Hall of Flow" and the "Hall of Traps".

The "Hall of Flow" is intended to showcase the "currents" that I believe that I showed previously, as well as to show some additional range of gameplay via a race.

The hall itself has been at least sketched out, I believe, complete with some currents at its entry.

The race I've started in on, but is yet a work-in-progress.



Conversely, the "Hall of Traps" is intended to showcase, well, traps! Specifically, it currently holds a few rooms of spike-traps and sliding-traps:



And speaking of those spike-traps, in the week just past I improved their efficiency, I believe: where before each spike was an individual game-object, now a single "spike trap" object may hold multiple spikes. This significantly lowers the performance impact of multiple spikes, allowing me to fairly-comfortably have such rooms-full of traps as shown above!

In working on the "Vertical Slice Moon", however, I found myself faced with a problem:

Moons have a fixed size, which may be somewhat large when lower levels call for it. But if the "surface" level has only a little content--just an entry-hall in the case of the "Vertical Slice Moon"--it can be quite tedious to traverse the largely-empty "surface" in order to reach that little.

So, in the week just past I instated a solution to this, I hope: Simply put, the "surface" levels of moons may now optionally have a smaller "exit"-radius than their visual radius.

On entry, the player is placed just within this radius, and passing beyond it causes the player to launch into space--in other words, it acts as though it were the "edge" of the moon. Said radius is then depicted by a simple dashed line.



On the audio side, in the week just past I implemented support for sounds to be played when the player bumps into the environment.

Moving over to gameplay, in the week just past I implemented a new feature: breakables!

In short, these are, well, things that the player can destroy. In some cases, they may then drop items.



And aside from all of the above, there were a number of other tweaks, changes, and fixes enacted in the week just past that don't seem worth detailing here!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #70 on: March 14, 2022, 01:09:06 AM »

Blog post (14th of March, 2022)
Dem Bones


Summary: In which passage through space leaves a trail; planets and moons depict both "atmospheres" and their crystal spheres; the look-and-feel of the Ossuary Moon is reworked; a "splatting" shader is made; and a race is progressed.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows an addition to the appearances of planets and moons: an "atmosphere" beyond their radii, and beyond that, a suggestion of their solar system's crystal sphere.



The week just past had perhaps two main thrusts--one visual, one gameplay:

Let us start, then, with the visual thrust of the week just past, which itself had multiple elements.

First, and as shown in the screenshot above, planets and moons now depict an "atmosphere" at their edges, shading then into the colour of the relevant crystal sphere.

Next, a minor change has been made to the player's passage through "space": as was already the case on the moons, the player now leaves in their wake a trail, tenuous in the thin medium between the moons.



Perhaps most salient of the visual changes in the week just past, however, was one that I believe that I last week mentioned as having begun: a reworking of the look-and-feel of the Ossuary Moon.

For the most part, this involved a lot of painting, either re-shading extant textures or--in one case--re-doing them near from scratch.

But, at last--so many bones!--I believe that I have it done! And indeed, I find that I'm rather happier with this look!






What do you think?

On the shader-side, in the week just past I put together a "splatting" shader--one that takes a multi-layer image and uses a noise-texture to blend between its layers. This, in combination with some warping of texture-coordinates, allows me to reduce apparent repetition in certain surfaces.

Here below you should see it as applied to stone:


Right now, that shader is used in the "Vertical Slice Moon". Specifically, it's currently used in the "Hall of Flow"--and that location was the setting for the main chunk of the gameplay work done in the week just past.

Specifically, that work went into the "race" minigame that is shown in the "Hall of Flow": the track was altered, both in shape and in challenges, and the logic behind the race was developed.

As things stand, between logic implemented previously and in the week just past, the player can now: Begin the race, with a count-down to its start; "cheat", prematurely ending the race; do three laps--with blue flames counting those; and complete the race, earning access to a reward.



There's more to do, I daresay, but I think that it's coming along! ^_^

And once again, a number of things were done 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 #71 on: March 21, 2022, 01:47:30 AM »

Blog post (21st of March, 2022)
Enemies Abound


Summary: In which more aesthetic changes are made; new enemies are added--including a new boss; an extant boss is made less overwhelming; performance improvements are instated; and music is added to a race.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a new enemy:



The week just past was a multifarious one, I think: one of aesthetics and enemy-making and gameplay-work and technical matters and more!

I mentioned in last week's blog-post, I believe, that I had made some changes to the aesthetics of the "Ossuary Moon". In the week just past, then, I went further, and instated some changes to the aesthetics of some of the extant enemies, too.

Specifically, enemies are now--to one degree or another--a little more shaded, and in some cases, a little more consistent with each other. Some of these changes are slight--the standard skeletons look little different, for example--while in other cases they're somewhat distinct, I feel.

Either way, I think that I'm happier with their appearances now than I was before!



And speaking of enemies, in the week just past I added some new ones!

This was prompted by my desire to look into hiring a sound designer for the vertical slice, as I recall: It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to have a full list of my desired sounds--and that, with enemies as-yet not made, their associated sounds were uncertain.

So, I set about filling the list of intended enemies.

Two of these new enemies come from a sub-region of the "Ossuary Moon": a place of bones from the primaeval past, bones long turned to stone. A place, in short, of fossils.

The first of these is, essentially, a trilobite, rolled up to form a floating "pill" shape. This enemy then dashes at the player intermittently, doing damage on impact, and in between drifts harmlessly. (It's very much inspired by the nautiloid enemies from the game Aquaria, as I recall.)

The second is perhaps my favourite addition thus far: the skull of some perhaps-saurian creature, that relentlessly chases after the player, biting biting biting as it does!

It's seen in the first screenshot of this blog-post, above, but here below you should see a gif of it in action:


And last of the new enemies implemented in the week just past--and unfinished at time of writing, for that matter--is a new boss: the liche who is the primary boss of the moon; an undead sorcerer and archmage of undeath.



And as part of implementing the liche, I've made a bare beginning on a level in which to encounter them.

Remaining with bosses, I made some changes to the previously-shown "multi-stage" boss that's found on the "Ossuary Moon".

Specifically, I felt that it was somewhat too unforgivingly hard--even I, who made it, wasn't managing to get through the encounter. And since I'm not aiming for a hardcore combat experience in this game, I decided to tone it down rather.

To that end, I reworked its attacks (and concomitantly, some of its animations).

And it now, to me at least, feels rather more fair! (Which, according to my experience with difficulty, means that it should likely still challenge first-time players.)

On the technical side, in the week just past I implemented some performance improvements: the AI "avoidance" behaviour is now more streamlined; projectile-templates in weapons are now constructed only once per class; and certain sound-related text-string definitions are likewise now generated only once per class. (For the most part, in the latter two cases.) The result is, I think, that the frame-rate no longer dips as easily as it previously did.

On a different "note", I added some music to the previously-mentioned race that's found on the "Vertical Slice Moon". Specifically, I've applied a (royalty-free) track that I'm quite fond of, and that I'd hoped to find a place for--I'm thus glad that it seems to fit the race!

And finally, there were a number of changes, fixes, and tweaks that don't seem worth detailing here, I do believe!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #72 on: March 21, 2022, 04:53:26 AM »

I can say that the design of the enemies (among some other things) is pretty unique and unexpected in most cases. This can lead to a really cool gameplay. But until now I cannot really grasp the thing as a whole without playing a demo myself, I think. ^^
 
Lots of great designs here, too. I especially like the seamless bones texture, the nomnom skull and the destructibles. The combination of a spaceship and smashing vases to get crystals (as Link would do) is one of those unexpected things. :D
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« Reply #73 on: March 21, 2022, 10:47:12 AM »

I can say that the design of the enemies (among some other things) is pretty unique and unexpected in most cases. This can lead to a really cool gameplay. ...
 
Lots of great designs here, too. I especially like the seamless bones texture, the nomnom skull and the destructibles. The combination of a spaceship and smashing vases to get crystals (as Link would do) is one of those unexpected things. :D

Thank you very much, on all counts! ^_^

(It's especially heartening to read such feedback on the aesthetics and visual design. ^_^)

But until now I cannot really grasp the thing as a whole without playing a demo myself, I think. ^^

That's very fair! And in all fairness, I have been showing the game in bits an pieces as it has been developed, which is perhaps not ideal for giving an overview of how it plays!

One way or another, it's not yet demo-ready, I do feel. But I also feel that it's getting there!

Will I enact a closed demo...? I haven't yet decided. ^^;
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« Reply #74 on: March 28, 2022, 01:04:26 AM »

Blog post (28th of March, 2022)
Being Bossy


Summary: In which a boss fight sees progress; a "reward room" connects to said fight; that room contains a new breakable; the backing to the boss health-bar is reworked; back-walls now have sides; a standard enemy is given new behaviour; and a death-effect gains more particles.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows--well, a few things, in fact! But perhaps most obviously, a bit of the boss fight against the liche:



The week just past was a somewhat varied one, I feel, albeit one largely centred around gameplay:

As shown above, work continued on the boss fight against the liche! And indeed, I think that it's near-done!

For one, the arena has seen work--note for one the entrances to the sides (blocked to the player via magic), by which the liche may call in acolytes to join the fight.

For another, the logic and progression of the fight have been developed, both in the liche's behaviour (such as how they use--and don't use--a short-range "pushback" ability that they have), and in the sequence of changes to the fight that occur as the liche's health is reduced.

Further, the acolytes that they call, unlike those met before, do not summon skeletons of their own--instead they focus on their ranged attack.

And finally, on the liche's defeat, all skeletons in the room are now destroyed--and the acolytes now enter an inactive state of despair at their master's death.

There's more that I yet intend to do, but it's significant progress, I do think!

What's more, the conclusion to that boss fight now also opens a door into a small "reward room". While currently somewhat bare, it does include one new thing: a new breakable object, a bone chest that might be scattered around the Ossuary Moon.



You may also note in the first screenshot above that the backing to the boss health-bar has been changed. In short, I felt that it seemed too much of a piece with the player's UI--felt too much like something related to the player's status. So in the week just past I reworked it, aiming to make something with a different--and more antagonistic--feel to it.

And I am happy with this new look, I do believe! ^_^



And yet another thing that may be spotted in that first screenshot--I did say that it showed a few things!--is that one more change has been made in the aesthetics of the game: back walls now have visible sides!

I had been considering this possibility for some time, as I recall: On the one hand, purely-top-down walls may look a little odd beside the non-top-down aesthetics of the characters. And what's more, they present a potential issue when non-top-down characters overlap top-down walls. On the other hand, however, non-top-down walls do present more work.

In the end, and somewhat spurred by issues with the liche overlapping the back wall of their arena, I decided to make the change.

And indeed, I do think that it's somewhat of an improvement!

Here below you should see the effect in another location of the Ossuary:



Returning to gameplay, and now moving to non-liche-fight matters, in the week just past I implemented a change to the previously-shown "stone guardian" enemies: they are now initially quiescent, and remain so--still as statues, one might say--until prompted to action.

This prompt may come from a script (such as via a trigger)--but it may also come from their taking damage. And in the latter case, they likewise prompt all others of their kind in the room...



Remaining with gameplay, in the week just past I tweaked the player's starting "spreadfire" attack-spell, giving it now a narrower spread.

In short, I had been dissatisfied with the feel and utility of it: its wide spread meant that even at moderately close range only one bolt was likely to hit a normal enemy. With this change multiple hits are rather more viable, and I'm finding it to be a more useful and satisfying weapon to wield!

On the visual side, I've added a few more particles to the player's death-effect, representing pieces of the player-character's vessel. What's more, these particles respect the currently-applied ship-skin, changing to reflect it--see the screenshots below, the first using the default "brass" skin, and the second using the "bone" skin:




And finally, various tweaks, fixes, and changes were made during 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 #75 on: April 04, 2022, 02:02:09 AM »

Blog post (4th of April, 2022)
Crystal Lights


Summary: In which an encounter is reworked; a little wildlife is added; two new variant enemies are implemented; the "DLC proof-of-concept" is advanced; planets may have "points of interest"; the message-UI is moved; the handling of ship-skins is changed; and a work-in-progress feature is mentioned, but not detailed.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows some changes to the encounter that's had in the Crystal Moon:



The week just past was perhaps largely a gameplay week, with a few other things done besides:

As shown in the main screenshot above, the encounter in the Crystal Moon has been reworked again!

In short, as I recall I had remained unsatisfied with what I had: It had felt unchallenging, uninteresting, insufficiently "geometric", and a little too "bitty". I wanted something more engaging, and something that better fitted with the crystalline theme of the moon.

And in the week just past, some new inspirations came to me towards that.

Now the crystal creatures of the moon remain stationary where they appear, each firing their bolts of light in a set direction. And with those bolts now elongated, they thus describe patterns in the dark of the moon's interior.

They remain all stationary--but one, that is: a single creature, glowing brighter than the rest, detaches from the pattern to give chase against the player, harrying them with a constant rapid-fire stream of light. Should that creature be destroyed, another will detach in its place, and so on until there are no more creatures left.

And this, I find, seems to work better than what I previously had! I may give further thought to the encounter--there's a strategy for dealing with it that alas keeps the player away from the patterns made--but overall I feel rather more pleased with it now than I did before, I do believe. ^_^

Remaining with creatures, in the week just past I implemented a few more.

To start with, something harmless: a small, scuttling creature called a "Bone Mite" that constitutes the wildlife of the Ossuary Moon. These simply wander about a given room--or run from the player when approached. They're also rather fragile: a single hit is all that it takes to kill them!



Less harmless are two new enemies that are, essentially, offshoots of the Deceived Acolytes that I believe that I've previously shown. One of the player's actions in the Ossuary Moon impacts the Acolytes greatly, and from the change wrought by that impact a schism forms.

One group hews to what was, and seeks its return. Though their power grows and they take to wearing black, they otherwise remain much the same as they were. These are the Deceived Cultists.

The other group rejects what was and tries to chart their own way. Eschewing the necrurgic powers of summoning and binding, they have found new arts--such as those that allow them to graft four skeletal arms to their narrow frames. These are the Dark Sorcerers.

You should see both below, a Dark Sorcerer on the left, and a Deceived Cultist on the right:


(Although note that I haven't yet implemented the logic that produces these new forms in place of the Deceived Acolytes!)

Moving away from such things, then, in the week just past I did a little more work on the "DLC proof-of-concept" that I have in mind for the vertical slice. Specifically, I implemented the majority of the single quest that is part of it, providing an NPC who seeks a pearl (the pearl previously added to the DLC's Whirlpool Moon), and who reacts to being given said pearl.



Further, I added music to the various parts of the DLC solar system.

The abovementioned NPC is found in the single planet of the "proof of concept", and implementing them was thus aided by a new feature: "Points of interest".

These, in short, are markers that may appear on planets, representing locations or characters that the player might want to explore. Further, they may be initially hidden--indeed, I daresay that most will be--and can then be revealed via scripting.

You should see such a "point of interest" below--it's the blue light, with the player's on-planet "spark" representation visible near the bottom:


On the UI side, I adjusted the positioning of the "message" UI, shifting it up to touch the top of the screen. This causes it to less overlap (and thus clash with) world-titles, and to overall look better, I feel.



On the technical side, I had realised that my approach to ship-skins didn't mesh well with the idea of DLC. Thus in the week just past I reworked that approach; what I have now should, I believe, allow for both different skins and different ship-parts to be found in DLC adventures!

Likewise on the technical side, I also began work on another new feature, and made some progress towards it, I do believe--but that's not ready yet to be shown, I feel!

And, once again, there were changes, fixes, and tweaks enacted 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 #76 on: April 11, 2022, 02:25:49 AM »

Blog post (11th of April, 2022)
A Solar System More Populated


Summary: In which asteroids are added; "space"-traffic passes by; the path to the gaining of "metroidvania upgrades" is begun--and has a dream in its interval; the disabling of weapons and utilities is conveyed, and polished; and the game's response to window-resizing is altered.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows a new feature of "space": Asteroid fields!



The week just past was perhaps focussed for the most part on content of one sort or another, but with a few other things included, too:

As shown above, solar systems now have not only planets, moons, stars, and suns, but now asteroid fields too!

These proved quite tricky to implement, as I recall. In particular, an asteroid field, even a two-dimensional one as we have here, may include an awful lot of space-rocks. The field shown above has, if I'm not much mistaken, fully one thousand.

That would make for rather too many objects in the scene, I fear, both in terms of visible geometry and collision elements. A more performance-friendly approach was, I felt, called for.

On the visible side, this approach is, in essence, that of having just a single model depicting all one-thousand asteroids. This model is then subject to a new vertex-shader that moves the vertices into place, informed by data largely packed into the model's vertex-colours.

On the collision side, I employed a technique recently shown by a friend of mine: Internally, there is a pool of only thirty-one colliders per asteroid field. Logic is then in place to determine (approximately) the closest point on the asteroid-orbit to the player's position, and from this, to place the colliders at the calculated locations of the thirty-one nearest asteroids.

And indeed, these in tandem seem to work fairly well! They're not perfect, but for the most part seem to amount to a decent solution, I feel.



Remaining in "space", the solar systems gained one more feature in the week just past: traffic! Simply put, there are now other ships flying about the place, ostensibly off on their own travels.

These came, however, with some tricky design-work: How should they fit into the game? Perhaps in particular, should the player be able to fight them?

Consider: If the player can fight and destroy them, then what comes of doing so?

In one of the game's inspirations, Operation: Inner Space, such piracy, while dangerous, could provide some useful resources. But Moons in Crystal has a fairly limited set of resources, and no monetary resource at all.

Further, what of there being consequences for so acting? Should there be "police" ships that go after piratical players? Should there be changes in the player's interactions with various characters due to such actions? Such things seemed, as I recall, like elements that I didn't want to engage with in this project. And indeed, I think in retrospect that they would have been undue scope-creep.

In the end the solution that came to me was fairly simple: the player can shoot these other ships--but they have a ridiculous amount of health, and simply "boost" away when shot.



On the gameplay side, I began work on the course by which the player will, I intend, gain at least their major "metroidvania upgrades".

In short, this involves the arcanists of the (artificial) Arcane Moon, who upgrade the player's vessel with new parts, and through those new parts, with new abilities. This will tend, I think, to call for the player to acquire certain items for the making of the parts in question.

But the process takes time. Time enough for the protagonist to slip into dreaming--dreaming dominated by the danger that approaches...

All of this has had, at least, a start: The foundations of the Arcane Moon and of one arcanist are in place; the player can interact with that arcanist, and so gain their upgrade; and between one and the other, they enter a brief dream. However, much of this is quite nascent, and there's a fair bit yet to be done!



There are points in the game at which the player's utilities or weapons may be disabled. For example, while on a planet they are allowed to use neither, and while in a race they may not use their utilities. (After all, the teleportation utility could be a bit of a problem for the latter!)

In the week just past, then, I implemented the conveyance of this into the UI, and added a bit of polish to the functionality of it.



In technical matters, I made a change to the way that the game responds to its window being resized.

You see, in testing another matter, I discovered that the game's view responded in different manners to horizontal and vertical resizing: when vertically resized, it merely cropped the view, but when horizontally resized, it instead shrank the view.

Not liking this, I set about changing it.

What I now have, then, is in effect this: The game's view shows a fixed in-game distance in its shorter dimension. When the shorter dimension is extended or reduced, the game's view scales with it. Conversely, when the longer dimension is extended or reduced, the view simply shows more or less along that dimension. Of course, when a given dimension is extended or reduced beyond the other--when, for example, the longer dimension is reduced to be less than the shorter dimension--their roles naturally swap.

And importantly, this holds true for both the horizontal and the vertical, I do believe!

This, at the least, feels rather more consistent to me!

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

That, then, is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^
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« Reply #77 on: April 11, 2022, 02:48:43 AM »

Quote
This week's screenshot shows a new feature of "space": Asteroid fields!
"Never tell me the odds!" Tongue
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« Reply #78 on: April 11, 2022, 08:05:46 AM »

"Never tell me the odds!" Tongue

Hah, touché! ^_^

And I do intend to eventually have a few asteroids large enough to contain (very) small levels of their own... ^_^
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« Reply #79 on: April 18, 2022, 01:36:47 AM »

Blog post (18th of April, 2022)
Finishing the Race


Summary: In which a minigame is all but done; a moon's appearance sees work; and the exit from a dream is made less busy.

Greetings and salutations!

This week's screenshot shows some work-in-progress changes to the look of the Vertical Slice Moon:



The main of the work done in the week just past went perhaps into one specific minigame--but with a few other things done besides:

That minigame, then, is the race that I believe that I've previously shown. In the week just past I set about completing it: implementing opponent racers; changing the underlying logic to account for them; cleaning up the the appearance of various elements; adding a wreath of victory for the winner; and more besides!

And indeed, I believe that I have it thus pretty much done! I have a few touch-ups in mind, but the race can now be started, run against two opponents, and completed--whether won or lost!

Those opponents are fairly straightforward things: their appearance borrows from the "space traffic" that I've previously covered, I believe, while their behaviour is simply to follow a set of waypoint markers. Still, each has slightly differing capabilities, and a different set of waypoints, and thus their movements and results are quite different.

You should see below a gif of the race being started:



Posting much more of the race here would, I feel, somewhat bloat this entry--so, if you want to see further snippets of the race in action, let me instead direct you to the thread on my Twitter account in which I posted such.

The race is encountered in the Vertical Slice Moon, and, as shown in the first screenshot above, I've made a start at the appearance of that moon.

This is still very much a work-in-progress, but you can see at least the direction that I'm taking, I hope!

I mentioned in a previous blog-post, I believe, the matter of the player-character slipping at times into a dream. In the week just past, then, I enacted a tweak intended to improve the exit from that dream.

In short, I've implemented the ability to suppress the titles that (usually) appear when entering a world or level.

This then makes, I think, for a cleaner re-entry to the waking world from the dream, and, given the other messages shown as part of that event, a less cluttered one too.

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

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