YANTH Dev Update
Hello ladies and gents! A much needed update after a period of silence. The plan was to make an update after significant progress, but when things are crawling along it never seems like enough to talk about. Coupled with some personal issues, a bout of developers block, and being back to full time at the office kind of exacerbated the situation. Anyway, where are we at with YANTH?
Chapter 5 is for all intents and purposes complete. I'm well into Chapter 6, the final chapter and arguably the most complicated one as everything you've done finally converges. All of the choices you've made up to then whether you knew about them or not will be felt in one way or another, and there are a few twists I need to think through to implement properly.
I've outlined the roadmap through Chapter 6 below. It's quite long, probably about twice as long as any of the other chapters before it, but not as long as FF15's chapter 13. I've replaced the specifics of each item with asterisks(**) to avoid spoiling the story or gameplay. Below the outline I wanted to explain the development process I go through for each type of item.
Cutscenes are usually pretty straight forward, but they can get pretty complex depending on what's happening on screen. The map is built first of course. Usually it's a bunch of NPCs moving or talking, and it's just a balancing act between having them move, react, and talk. The dialogue boxes effectively stop everything after it from happening unless you bypass it through parallel processes or loops, or queue movement that runs during the dialogue box. Making the cutscene work is a matter of placement, camera movement, and repetition to make sure it flows properly or doesn't stall.
This is basically when the player is free to loiter or continue progress of the game in an open area. The layout of the map is made, filled with bottlenecks, doodads and NPCs/events/interactive elements. Those elements are flagged as visible/interactible or invisible/uninteractible/erased depending on the progress of the game, or if specific switches/variables have been turned on/iterated. Once it's tested through, the map is polished with more doodads or lighting effects (unless the lighting effects are gameplay related, in which case it's done earlier).
Essentially the same as play-progress but much more linear. There's usually no choices to make unless it affects something else further into the game. NPCs populate the area but mostly serve as flavoring. Think of FF7 after the first Mako Reactor is destroyed, and you're simply returning to the hideout.
Somewhat of a catchall, this is similar to Play-Progress but has more interactive elements such as puzzles and monsters that act as barriers to progress. It's the most complex phase that becomes very iterative once the mechanics of the area have been coded in. Generally, I'll work on the mechanics of what needs to be used in a test map where I can control everything easily. From there I build more complexity into it until I essentially have exactly what I want working. Once it's proven to work properly without any random bugs, I copy the mechanics onto the map and test there. It's the same process with monsters or any special NPCs with coded behaviors.
Pretty self explanatory I think. This is probably the one I have the most fun with developing, though there aren't enough opportunities considering you're not really the hero. The map is usually small to keep focus in a single area, and spacious enough for Petula to navigate. The boss is usually a single NPC or event and is either in an active or reactive state. When it's active, it moves in a predefined way depending on certain variables. When it's reactive, it'll do certain things based on what has just happened or what the player is currently doing, where they are, etc. Then there are states where they boss is vulnerable or invulnerable, either timed or reactive. Once the boss is defeated (or not) a cutscene happens, and progress is logged
In regards to streaming, I mostly only stream map making and artwork since everything else is kind of boring or spoilery. It's probably better I stream even the boring stuff to keep more people informed of progress.
I apologize for my extended absence! I know there's a ton of messages I have yet to reply to, I should be able to get to them tonight when I get back from work.