All The Small Things
Hey everyone, in an effort to change how these begin....here is some nice music sung by a clown!
So, what's been going on the last month? Well, quite a lot! I'm going to avoid specific details on new creatures / abilities though....since....ideally you will see for yourself soon enough.
First off though, Jose is now a father! Congratulations to him and his growing family!
I also just realized we have been trying to bring Bloom into the world longer than it took him to bring a person into the world.....so....weird. o_o
Anyhow, onto the update!
Since we last chatted, we've managed to add the itemization system in (so everything has their own loot tables / conditions when trying to interact with them). While we were doing that we also added in more inventory controls and a notice for inventory shifts (along with the first pickup of a new inventory item giving a popup box to explain what it actually is).
There is still a lot of polish to do on it...but the system is there and working.
That is actually a big theme for this last month, polish. Just fixing a bunch of tiny issues and trying to push in more player feedback while getting rid of problems that edge cases cause.
This is something that will be continuing till release too. Adding more and more feedback / particles, range of sounds, smoothing out animations, and generally just trying to improve everything that is "off".
One of these touch ups was adding a new atmosphere effect to a bunch of maps. While working on a later dungeons maps, I realized I could apply the same technique to earlier world maps (to make them more interesting). So I took a bit of time to go through and do that to everything in the prologue too. ((Eventually I'll be re-visiting everything else as well))
Another important aspect I've been working on is laying out the distribution of creatures / plants.
As I've been doing that and exploring different ways to present obstacles / puzzles, the game seems to have headed towards a more natural philosophy. Simply creating situations and giving players the tools to handle them in their own ways.
This is something I'll be keeping an eye on when the demo is released...especially since it is so flexible right now (and it hasn't been carried through to the core game yet).
Weather has also finally been implemented! I posted some of the effects earlier, but I took some extra time this past month to put in the overarching system that handles where / when weather happens.
For the demo you will likely only run into rain / snow (or localized effects, like the cold snap plants above). But in the full game you will be encountering the wider range we have (offering another tool for me to use when creating obstacles to overcome....or, sometimes just a temporary chance encounter).
So you may be wondering what's left for the demo.
- Currently we have some persisting bugs scattered around (stack breaking is still happening, it is has been a low priority since it is cosmetic....but isn't something I would let anyone play).
- The fun thing about bugs is after you squash one, you find another here or there. Especially in edge cases, like when you despawn a plant while the plants effect is on you....it won't execute the leave trigger and end the effect. This was pretty rare before, but with the harvesting interactions on plants it became a LOT more common with a certain plant.
- Our lovely grass clumps also keep getting in the way when you try to interact with creatures / plants. Most maps have them scattered around, so this is something that pops up more than is ideal. In order to fix that we will need to add a special exclusion to keep the auto-targeting from being able to target grass specifically (though an easier / cheaper fix is just to try and sort that in the interaction itself....but it would still cause problems doing that).
- Run / knockbacks are also being added soon, which is needed to balance combat. Currently things are just too hard without a way to dodge / push away hostile creatures, players would die before they reach the 3rd screen....
- The other big thing is just flavor events + dialogue need to be looked at more. This doesn't seem like it will be a big task, just more of a polish issue and getting them set up right with portraits or backgrounds and their proper fonts / so on.
- And finally the bestiary / inventory descriptions needs to be added (so players can look up information). These aren't really critical to game play....but for the demo it is something I want players to have (so they can better understand what they are facing, and how they might be able to deal with it).
So, overall we don't have a "lot" to get to a playable demo...but still enough to frustratingly hold it back a little longer.
It is always scary releasing something openly in such a rough state! It has been a bit over a year now since rebuilding with Ariel (1.5 years?)....and under that view, IMO where we are is amazing. But since the kickstarter is has been a lot longer than that for me.....and that is a lot less amazing (at least what is seen in the demo, the full game has a lot in it to come).
There are also game design concerns....if it is too difficult, or not enough action, or too many abilities (or not enough)....but I worry less about that type of thing since we can always tweak features with feedback as we go along and enter into more testing.
Anyhow, that about covers what we have been doing this last month or so.
Originally I was going to delay this update till we were ready to release the demo (hopefully not too much further away)....but instead just wanted to give a heads up on where things are and see how everything shakes out in the next couple weeks. Getting so close! :)