We’ve got about 132 members on there right now and it may grow a bit more once I send out the invite to the Paypal backers as a means to get them caught up with what’s been going on behind the backer-only posts. I just have to mirror the backer-only posts in somewhere like Dropbox for their prolonged perusal and prepare a short list of Q&A in case they have any queries and I’ll send out this draft I’ve done.
With that said, I wanted to make a short update reiterating questions gathered from the Discord channels and sharing some of the things we feel we can have non-backers see since it won’t spoil the game... too much.
I guess my first question is if it is possible to give an ETA on the project at this point?
Rob: We want to be finished this year. We're currently in the "Polish" phase where all the moving and working parts are in, it's just a matter of cleaning up presentation, major bugs, and final art.
Alan: There are going to be gameplay polishes too as we go along. The mechanics we've got are now all adjusted to any suggestions we've taken in from our publisher's testing but we'd like to see if during the backer tests, anyone feels it could be improved further.
That's fair. I guess this is just the marketer in me, but is there gifs and videos that maybe you can release for the community for #Indiedevhour and #screenshotsaturday that we share around. Kinda get the hype train going?
Rob: We want to get back into doing more of that, yeah. Now that we're polishing stuff up.
Alan: We'll be sharing stuff as often as we can on Discord which we'll then pool together for the mini updates.
We’re absolutely okay with it as this would help reinforce the fact that the game is legit. We’ll make sure to mark which builds are public ready.
Can you get Atlus to port the Persona series to PC, and will Jack Frost be in the game?
We sadly don’t have that kind of pull but I personally would like to see the Persona series on PC too.
We’re pretty much within the forty track count already. I’ll share surasshu’s answer here as it’s better to hear it from one of our composers.
here's a link to a larger version (just adjust the zoom) in case Kickstarter decides to shrink the whole thing to an unreadable point.
Rob: This video is horribly outdated; It’s mostly the dialogue on example there and a few older bugs but that shows how the dialogue tree is set up, how it can control objects to walk away from the scene, change sprites and more.
Can you bind them (abilities) to the row of number keys on PC?
Alan: We're using Rewired for Unity to support keybinding and a variety of controllers (here's a list) so you should be able to rebind controls to any key you wish on a desktop keyboard.
Rob: Controllers may be more limited for keybinding in comparison, however.
Alan: Here’s an excerpt from our design document to easily explain how sleeping works.
Take note, costs are subject to change but sleeping in specific beds advances time by a set amount and you get better rest in a shorter amount of time from the more expensive rooms at the inn (to be fully rested and free from fatigue for a day in just two hours would be amazing). You do have the option to be cheap and just sleep in your own bed but you use up more time in a day.
Downing energy drinks is a way to stay awake without having to sleep but you can only carry so much and it won't fully restore your fatigue and you'll eventually find yourself sleeping on the ground, helpless against any threats around you.
shadowreaper5 asked: Are you still looking for help? I can't draw or code, but if you need someone to poke every corner for bugs I'm your man
We'll put out a public call for assistants when there's nothing else left but the art polish push, there's a bit of design polish that Rob and I still have to work on here and there but when the backgrounds and pixel tracing are all that's left, we're hoping we get many applicants that're willing to stick through.
As for poking every corner for bugs, I've currently given 13 members on the Backer Discord @tester status. Having them on Discord will help us all communicate as they run the builds. I expect we're going to have a few questions of why the game won't start when loading a save (recurring bug that happened in old builds regarding data from a previous build being kept in the %appdata% folder on Windows systems and conflicting with the new build)
Does your [insert magic equivalent here] regenerate quicker if you sleep in a bed/inn?
Alan: In our aim to nail down the fun factor without sacrificing too much of the original vision, we decided to make EP regenerate automatically.
You should see it in action in this older stress test video that Rob shared on the Discord server.
As you can see, the blue meter to the lower left goes down each time Esmy uses a skill. The meter is actually comprised of a number of cells but displays as a meter, the cell count is shown to the right of the meter as EP <number>. Each ability eats a number of cells, i.e. an ability like Ignite Lv1 costs = 1 cell but Shadow Cloak of any level will use = 4 cells. A channeled ability like Boulder Dash will eat up a cell every second.
Cells can be increased by finding certain collectibles in the game.
Rob: You can also see in the video above that even in-editor, the game runs pretty smoothly (60FPS+) with 8 monsters and numerous adds it summons.
Alan: I've personally tried it on my own PC with a 1GB video card from 7 years ago and it runs fine in-editor and runs even better on a compiled build.
With your post regarding the update, I can now fully understand why the game looks at is base level, playtime on each of those levels sounds great, but are they leveling, completing quests, just beating up mobs, I am sure each of those other sections that have to be redone for unity as well as the type of content for each one.
Some context is necessary here for the non-backers reading this. During the previous backer update, I mentioned the listed completion times we got for each dungeon when we had testers run through it, here are those numbers...
- Northern Caverns v1 Build: 20-30 minutes
- Rime Rapids v1 Build: 30-40 minutes
- Molten Mountain v1 Build: 30-40 minutes
- Terrestrial Woods v1 Build: 40-60 minutes
- Vale of Gale v1 Build: 40-60 minutes
- Sunken Ship v2 Build: 40-120 minutes
- Mekanika v2 Build: 40-120 minutes
- Phantom Marshes v2 Build: 40-120 minutes
The v1 builds were before I ran a level design revamp over the layouts so those numbers can go up. All in all though, that's currently around 4.6 hours worth of dungeon crawling (and there's one dungeon unaccounted for still).
With that bit of context given, to fully answer lemon-rev's question, take note, these are all approximate numbers as there was a guide provided for the publisher testers to consult and these numbers also DO NOT include boss fights, cutscenes or enemy ambushes. There's also the time required to head out into the overworld and look for and access those dungeons so we estimate that we could hit 12 hours at the very least of regular gameplay without completing any sidequests and hopefully 16-18 hours if you try to 100% the whole game.
Is Linux still planned?
Yes! This is also why we're going to have to reach out to our backers for testing assistance as we've only been able to test on PC and Mac so far and do not have much if any Linux testbeds.
We've had a number of people on the Discord server that I've tagged as willing testers and we look forward to working with them soon!
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT NEWS
Rob has currently been optimizing the code as we've accumulated a lot of bloat over the years from old textures, deprecated code and a horrible folder hierarchy. He's also improving our control scheme as we're both pulling the trigger on making the attack button R2/RT on a controller (Space on keyboards) and with doing so map the abilities to the face buttons on a controller by default for easier setup. The reason we didn't do this from the get-go was concerns about the interact button (usually a face button like O or B) having a dual-role with a combat button which may cause problems in combat if you're facing an enemy while interactive triggers are around you.
The solution we've come up with involves having your face buttons bound to field commands by default (examining, nap bag, etc.) but holding R1/RB (Shift on keyboards) toggles the face buttons to ability hotkeys. This should make for less worries in combat flow. We may change the key assignments depending on how things feel but we at least want to get that adjustment added into how combat works.
Thanks to experiments done in one of the mini-games to be included in Cryamore, Rob has also implemented the limited camera control system we cooked up for the minigame into Cryamore so the player can move the camera around to see ahead. It's helpful if you're using a ranged weapon or if you want to make sure the coast is clear before you bring out the Nap Bag.
Here's a clip of it in action. Sadly you can't see Rob actually press the keys but trust that it controls well.
The video also shows the in-editor vs. compiled performance. While the in-editor runs fine, the compiled version runs even more smoother as I mentioned awhile back.
Rob's also continuing work on the other character portraits and here's a sketch for one of the children in Ghilcrest, Uni Nauticus.
On my end, I'm wrapping up the last few areas of the Overworld layout. I can't show the whole map like I did in the backer-only update but here's a few of the new additions to it.
We'll look into using the Overworld map I've done as the in-game map as well, with a tweak or so here and there.
Also here are a couple of monsters that are getting the pixel polish treatment that I never got around to posting here...
Gagak can be found in the Phantom Marshes and Berribun below him can be found around the overworld.
Here's a few of the other development video clips we shared on the Discord server.
Above was an older VFX test for Esmy's Boulder Dash Lv1 skill. The ground crack texture is nice but it does look odd when done near a ledge as the crack texture extends out into what should be air, it's a downside of not having 3D environments. This will be fixed, however, as the angle of the cracks are currently based on the older, "isometric" perspective. The trails also clash with the dust cloud. It's something we're going to have to work on to achieve a look that works.
Above is an older recording of one of our backer monsters, Hubbler, in action (along with another backer monster, Nictate, idling in the corner). Hubbler proved to be one of the most deadliest mobs we've had in the game but ONLY if there are aggro monsters nearby (can you figure out what's going on?). Do excuse Esmy's sprite shaking though, I've yet to animate and pixel her sprite for this condition and also excuse the greyboxed environments, they're going to be prettied up.
Also up above is a test of the emote bubbles that Rob cooked up awhile back up to give NPC sprites an extra bit of expression.
And finally here's an older bug that happened.
Esmy can't stand still as an invisible Chief Silvershark talks to her and Bagel pretends nothing weird is going on... also the camera focus lost control. Thankfully this has been stamped out already.
And to add to all this stuff that our Paypal backers or non-backers may have missed out on from recent backer-only posts, here's a retread on other stuff that aren't too spoilery...
Character portraits are getting polished up.
Some of the backers on the Cryamore Discord showed their support for the recent update with some fanart and I wanted to share their awesome works!
Here's an Esmy by Sakurafire, about to channel an ability through her condensers or doing a "we can do it" arm pump, either one works for us!
and here's another awesome looking Esmy looking off into the distance, by doghateburger
We love seeing fan works and I'll be featuring any more that get sent our way (unless you'd rather we keep it to ourselves)!
Again, the next FEATURE update will be talking about...
Not Bliss per se, but the process of animation and pixel art that goes towards making Cryamore.
- CM Alan
P.S. Still in the process of re-acquiring the previous build compiles we've done from the FTP after which I'll gather up the guides for each build so each tester knows the scope of what they're running through. Once it's all set, I'll post it on a Backer-only update and the Discord server.