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An adventure game about fish, love, and dire consequences
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clairvoire

3,152 backers pledged $59,039 to help bring this project to life.

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Spring Update!

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Hello everyone! I hope you've all had a nice easter and ... tax season? Maybe just a nice easter!

Not much to report this time, but I just wanted to check in with everyone to let you know I'm still alive somehow and still working! Right now, I'm mostly occupied with just staying afloat through some tough times, and I haven't had as nowhere near as much time to work on Sealark as I had hoped. But I am still giving it every free moment I find!

Lots of scenes written out and lots of areas blocked in.  Also a massive amount of stuff was programmed and fixed, regarding the physics and gui mostly.   But unfortunately, I wasn't able to animate much the past few months, so there's not a whole lot I can show this update. Aaaagh and I said I'd have a gameplay video by now too... I completely overestimated my ability to work multiple jobs, and I'm really embarrassed and ashamed!  I promise to not belly-ache too much, but it's been a rocky start to this year.  Working 3 jobs is pretty tough!  Once I reduce it to just 1 nice one though, which will be happening this month I hope, things should pick up again! I just have to keep working towards that, and working hard, and things will turn out for the better, allegedly!

Thank you all for being so patient with me so far, I promise no matter what happens, I'll ultimately finish! I just gotta pull my sorry self together! I'll see you all in May, hopefully with way more stable ground under my feet, and PICTURES. An update without pictures is hardly an update at all aaaaaaa!

Please take care everyone! May your tax refunds be incredible and I'll see you all soon!

December Update!

78 likes

Merry Christmas!!

I hope your holiday is treating you well! Lots of hot cocoa and warm blankets and socks from relatives! I could use some socks. If any relatives are reading this, please send me socks.

I had to fight the urge to draw a huge Christmas thing today. I wanted this update to be barebones Sealark Update stuff. Mostly so when it's time for the next update in January, I don't wig out trying to make it the Best One Yet. But also because of time.

The past few months this fall and winter have been really stressful...   It's embarrassing, but I shouldn't keep it to myself any longer... I've been having to work side jobs and do freelancing to get by since summer. It felt like I failed everyone for a long while because of that. And maybe I have for some folks, I can understand if I've stretched their patience and goodwill too far... I've done my best to keep moving forward steadily despite having more work though! And for the most part, I'm succeeding in that! In fact, I feel I may be working more efficiently on Sealark than I ever have.  Every chance I get to work on the game, I feel so excited now! It feels like I've refound my love for making games. I had gone without it for so long, now that it's back, it's hard to understand how I could've ever lost it to begin with.

All that said though, you can only do so many 16 hour days before your health breaks, which for me happened a week ago.  I don't want to go into gross details, this update is depressing enough as it is, on Christmas of all days!   But it means I need to re-evaluate my priorities completely to avoid breaking my wimpy body again.

From here on in, I'm focusing on Gameplay and Writing. That's it. Up until recently, I felt I had to earn the right to work on these things with amazing art. Spending so much time making each asset to a really high standard and taking forever to get stuff done. I wanted so much to prove I was a great animator and a great sprite artist. But I'm not a great animator or sprite artist. I kinda suck! And that's okay, I think I see that now. I'll probably never be as good a sprite artist as the people I look up to, but I can be good enough to convey the story I want. And that's good enough for me now. My only goal is to make Sealark fun. Making it pretty will come after if time allows.

BUT WHILE I'M HERE LET ME SHOW YOU SOME SPRITES AND STUFF

Just a map of the areas, y-yeah
Just a map of the areas, y-yeah

In addition to getting a bunch of sprites done, and planning out the areas of the game, I've also fixed a lot of bugs, replaced the unweildly renderer I made with one that uses raw/core OpenGL (which is easier to use paradoxically), added the ability to mask/stencil sprites, and the ability to colorkey sprites (independent of each other, with alpha, in 2 dimensions, so colorkey shift animations can be used now), and finished the dialog renderer entirely (It kind of looks like paper mario dialog now, with how it's animated).

I guess in summary though, I made the same mistake with animating I did with programming. I need to reel these expectations of mine back to earth a little or I'll take forever to finish. It's takin' a long while, but I will finish Sealark! Don't ever think that is a thing that won't happen. I might be really incompetent, slow, dumb, dumpy, and working like 5 jobs, but I will finish Sealark and I'm going to be really proud of it when it's done!!

My goal is to have a playable fishing/battle segment by February to show off most of the gameplay elements. Absolutely nothing else is happening until then. 2015 is going to be the year I release. ... I um. I don't know where in 2015, there's about 80 areas to do and so many fish and characters still. But you'll see them get done as I do them. I want to become more talkative and share more stuff and stop being so shy. And the first place I must work on that, is here, with you. I want this to be the year I finally deserve a fraction of what you've all done for me. I hope you'll stick by me just a little longer until then... 

Thank you all for your support! You've carried me through some tough days, and I'll always appreciate everything you've done for me. Please enjoy your holiday and have a good New Years!

July Update!

19 likes

Hi'ya folks! Hope everyone's summer has been nice so far, in light of it being hot enough to evaporate lead.

Been pretty busy writing/programming more events and dialog and stuff into Sealark. Also been animating of course, workin' through a pretty stubborn art block. I'm startin' to break through it though, little by little!

Also, over the past month, I learned how to do 3D kinda! I'm really happy with how well things have been turning out with it so far, and the work flow suits someone boring like me, aha.  It almost feels like I can model better than I can sprite now.   

Here's some of the models I made as practice while I learned everything.  I have the entire cast modeled, but only these two are textured and rigged up so far:

http://clairvoire.tumblr.com/post/88860756363

http://clairvoire.tumblr.com/post/89323251818

I was thinking about how I'd like to incorporate 3D into sealark, if at all. I sort've might've somehow accidentally wrote an OpenGL engine from scratch last week (it can do armature animation even!), so that's not an issue at least!

But what do you folks think?

I'm all sorts of plucky to do some 3D!  But I don't wanna turn you guys off with it... If there's no strong objections, I'll let myself go wild!   It might be something relatively small, or it might be... a lot bigger than small.  I got a LOT of ideas I'm excited to try, but it'll depend on what works, what feels right, and what doesn't take too long to do. 

Thank you for reading! Have a nice Summer! 

Swim some! Swim lots! Swim Forever

 EDIT:  The people have spoken, no worries, gonna be keepin' these fish nice and flat!  Thank you for the input!

May Update: Dialogue Trees and Sass

31 likes

Hi'ya folks!

It's been a while! I'm sorry for missing last month's update, it wasn't the best month I've had in a while. Had a fever for a solid week, brain broke, burned myself out... but I've been making changes, cutting down on the all-nighters, and I'm feeling a lot more like myself now! B-but that's enough whinging outta me!

Finally getting into the good stuff! My ability to animate has tentatively returned to me (no jinxing it!) and I'm programming scenes now. Probably the best thing I've recently done on that front, is stop using data and files to describe everything, and instead hard code events or whatever I need as C++ functions. Cuts out all the needless abstraction I always tend to do.

And in that vein, I wanted to talk about how I'm going to handle dialogue and choices in the game!

Dialogue Trees!

Writing the dialogue trees, I try to fill it with good choices and branches.  The branches might either be based directly on a choice you make, or they might be based on a choice you made a while ago, or if Dove has a certain item, etc.  This works well if progress is fairly linear, but that isn't the case so much here. So I need a more uniform way of gauging how characters should react to Dove on top of all that.  And for that, I made the Sassafrass Chart!

There are two axis, Sassy/Sappy and Silly/Serious. Depending on Dove's choices, she'll move towards different ends of those axis, which ultimately influences what tone other characters speak to her with, and other more subtle things like pet names and such.

Sassy characters are very self-aware, and a bit cynical, but can't handle feelings at all. Their relationships are based upon what others might call Mutual Animosity. Sappy Characters are the opposite of course. They love to talk about feelings and are completely genuine; they can't use even 1st level irony. They tend to be kinda naive though, and will utter groan-worthy mush talk without warning.

Silly Characters are the most likely to take it easy, joke around, and complicate things. They tend to be more passive though. Serious characters on the other hand are blunt and rigid sticks in the mud, but they also tend to get things done.

No matter what way Dove goes though, she can still date everyone, and you'll never be locked out of any content based on your choices (it's not a moral choice system or anything). The only thing that changes is dialogue and other flavour stuff. This way, metagaming (looking up the 'right' choices on gamefaqs to get the outcome you want) isn't encouraged, and folks can choose choices they like without worrying too much.

Speaking of moral choice systems, there won't be any good/evil stuff goin' on, I promise. Dove might have the worst manners, but she's good at heart. Besides, how can someone fish evilly? (I just thought of several ways to fish evilly whoops)

Anyway, that's about it for now!

Next month, I want to talk about the animation process some! I was gonna do that this month, but the thing I wanted to use as an example, was taking too long. My animation process is breath takingly slow, urp...

I'll see you June! Please take care of yourselves and have a good summer!

March Update!

28 likes

Sorry for being late!  Had some internet trouble for a bit is all!  Hope your smarch is going well!  It's been a pretty hectic month!

Not much to report this go around!  I've started working on animating the more complex actions the characters can do!  Dove has a lot of things she does, like fishing and fishing, and some of these got a lot of transition cycles between them, like landing and changing directions while running.  One thing I need to be careful with, animating these, is the precise timing, posing, and hitbox size they use.  I've had to reanimate the running cycle because I misjudged the stride it used, meaning the characters ran too slowly.  I want the animation and physics to be pretty much married and to have kids, so what Dove's hands and feet are doing are really important!  

Besides the obvious stuff like her feet and stride matching how fast she can run (so it looks like her feet are gripping the ground), I want her actions to have a kind of "weight" too.  Which usually means adding delays and stops in the right places.  ... It's hard to explain!  But maybe the best example is landing from a jump.  

(taken from some animation roughs/undersketching, so they don't look all that good yet, aha...)

By having Dove come to a total horizontal stop for a split second when she lands, before continuing to run, it makes it feel like she really stuck a landing.  That's just an example, but getting hit and knocked over, or throwing an attack, I'd want to have the same kind of feeling.  Of course, it's also important to avoid over-animating, having jerk and smearing in the right places is important too.  Gah, this is all probably common knowledge stuff, I'm sorry!  Just saying it out loud though so I don't forget while working on these!  I hope my execution is good enough to actually leverage these kind of things, ahahagulp.

So that's what I'll be doing next month!  Well.  That and taxes.  Taxes.   Taxes...