We’ve gotten a number of questions from our Discord members in the past month and it’s time to share them with everyone along with our answers. See what a handful of our backers have been asking Rob, Aivi, surasshu, and me
Kishou asks the following questions:
Can you change Esmy's appearance? Like, with armor sprites?
Sadly, given how Cryamore’s sprites are designed, it’s too taxing to make armor sprites for Esmy as we’d have to make armor sprites for a lot of unique animations, idle, running, hit, ground cast, mid cast, high cast, Vanish animations, Boulder Dash animations, etc. and then multiply that with 3 or 5 directions each. The most we can offer for visual customization are palette swaps.
Featured above are palettes for default, Braxton, Bliss, “Dewritos”, and Black & Blue
I just want to see Esmy in something revealing like a swimsuit
Rob can probably arrange that in another artwork. I could sprite Esmy in a swimsuit but I don’t think we have any scenarios written down that feature her in one. Of course, we could always write one in…
I’m not sure if this is asked before but is there a love interest in mind for Esmy?
Esmy’s too focused on her work and studying cryamore to notice anyone that may have feelings for her. Right?
There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to clear the game right? Like, surely some spells solve puzzles but there will be proficiency in not just weapon choices but spells in fighting too?
We’ve done our best to make sure your offensive/defensive ability and weapon loadouts will always be viable so whether you like playing ranged weapons with hard hitting close combat abilities, using mobility enhancing abilities with melee weapons or whatever playstyle tickles your fancy, we’ve spent a lot of time ensuring we got everything balanced and fun enough so there won’t be an absolute god tier and worst tier loadout.
About story flow: with games now searching for the perfect balance between “linear progression” and “open world freedom” to avoid blatant in-game walls preventing the possibility of sequence-breaking exploration or aimless wandering with no sense of urgency… what was your goal for Cryamore?
Alan: Honestly, I personally wanted full-on freedom to go explore some of the hardest areas of the game and risk the chance of getting wrecked, but we had to corrall things a bit to ensure you stay within the story bounds. Rob being the lead on this has final say on direction.
Rob: I wanted to instill a sense of survival in the game and make sure that the abilities are a big focal point for both puzzles and combat so we were able to block off certain areas of the world the way Metroidvanias would; give you a hint at what might be ahead, but you’re blocked by something that needs a new ability
Alan: There’s still freedom to be had but you can only go so far before you either hit a roadblock which needs an ability or sometimes story progression (you need clearance to explore south of the island).
So yeah, the goal was to give some freedom but not too much and I’m hoping we managed to achieve it with the world design I’ve done and with enough usage of the puzzle solving abilities we’ve made.
Curiosity here. Do you guys do art asset sharing through your VC system, or do you use something simpler like dropbox/google drive?
We’ve mostly used Dropbox all throughout to share asset files.
Above are the four folders we have set for Cryamore. Backgrounds has Rob and me contributing to it. Illustrations has Rob, me, and JC and Juby’s contributions, Inspiration Music has Aivi and surasshu’s work (a lot of unheard of to the public music WIP files) and Sprite-Animations has my work.
Once something like music, animation or an environment asset is set, Rob or I transfer it to Unity, apply any settings necessary (import and display settings for 2DToolkit, audio settings for Master Audio, etc.) and then upload it to the SVN so the file and all its settings will exist for anyone on the team with a Unity key and access to the Cryamore SVN.
Do you use freecamp for like kanban/task management stuff?
When we had more people in our team, we used OpenOffice and then switched to Freedcamp to keep track of tasks and bugs. Now that it’s just Rob and me, and Aivi and surasshu on sound and music, we mostly just keep a personal to-do list.
I have no idea if this is possible with how the game is built, but something you could add to promote replay after the base game is completed would be a “randomizer mode” that shuffles various things into different places.
We could probably apply that to enemy spawns and some cryam deposits but the environment layouts though aren’t as flexible sadly as we don’t use tilesets and the collision bounds of the environments aren’t generated by object due to a lot of irregular organic shapes.
We definitely have considered implementing a NG+ option though, maybe with levels and certain abilities intact on the next play but with more mobs and other difficulty boosts.
Do skills with timers (like the buff to breathe underwater) have a visual representation of the time left?To a certain extent, yes. Esmy’s going to have a breath meter over her head while underwater without the Oxy Barrier ability.
We initially wanted to just have a blue fill over Esmy’s status portrait (which changes to her holding her breath) while underwater but so it’s easier to keep track of, she’ll have a meter above her head when she isn’t using Oxy Barrier underwater.
While we do have spells with durations, some of them won’t have a meter and rely on visual cues: a timed magma mine will blink when it's about to explode, time paradox clones should blink when they're about to fade, and shadow cloak should fade back to full visibility upon ending.
As it is though, we will mention the duration of spells in their info box at the menu.
Ok. This question is a bit on the other end and might make me sound like a jerk due to timing. But does it support 4k? And if so is it by pixel doubling? I can totally play it at 1080p if hardware scaling will ultimately look better.Our native resolution is 720p which we’ll be upscaling to 1080p. We won’t be able to provide 4K support as working primarily in 2D where our target resolution is 720p would require us to rework the assets in a larger size so as not to lose crispness of lines and pixels on a larger resolution.
Rob: The game looks freaking good on a 50-70 inch, though haha! I for one can’t wait to playtest a lot on console (devkit).
Unity editor-wise, Rob has been working on optimizing the code further. The sorting order of the game was archaic and clunky, so Rob decided to squish it down to a simpler and more effective form that relies on Sorting Order that Unity didn’t have early on during our development. We instead relied on Z index which required a lot of fiddling around with when setting objects up.
You can see in that test room video that the “Order in Layer” is changing value. Back then it would be the Z in the Position attributes and we’d have to manually set the value beforehand to make sure things appeared behind or in front of objects right.
Rob also implemented full analog movement instead of just the D-pad, this allows for more control, though it’ll need a bit of tweaking as it currently looks like Esmy’s skating along the ground like she’s about to break it down and provide everyone with boosted shields. There’s been polish going on in multiple fronts on the graphical end as animations and environment assets get fixed.
Above is the fist weapons, we initially were going to go with brass knuckles but decided that it wouldn’t be that noticeable on the sprite unless we made it large but I wanted to make sure you wouldn’t miss the weapons so I designed these gauntlets that shows a bit of the transition from steamtech to cryamtech and also offers a more interesting silhouette while also making a bit more sense as a viable weapon against dangerous monsters.
The fists primary function work as a mashable combo. One press of the attack button does a jab, two presses in quick succession performs a jab and punch, three does a jab, punch, uppercut combo. It’s quick but it doesn’t have that much range or width in its melee attack range.
The second function is the parry which allows you to negate any damage if timed right. Rob’s in charge of securing the timing for all these as he’s the one in Unity and more well-versed with the parrying system this was inspired from (Street Fighter 3) so I trust he’ll make sure it’s balanced. We wanted to make the fists fun to use but even better if you master it and hopefully it’ll show.
The crossbow also underwent an animation rework during its polish phase. The old animation was too focused on being realistic that it didn’t look interesting (i.e. it looked too slow) and the crossbow already has it tough in being interesting when up against the pistols. So far everyone feels it looks much snappier now while still keeping to the timing of the old animation.
What differentiates the crossbow from the pistol is that Esmy can hold her shot and slowly strafe while doing so, only firing when you let go of the attack button. The crossbow also has different types of bolt quivers that you can equip. Currently we’re playing around with piercing properties and stagger/slowing/knockback properties.
We’re also looking into displaying the ammo/bolt count below Esmy everytime she fires so the player can easily keep track of their shots (we’ve been running on infinite ammo all this time just to get a feel of the weapon first before applying a limit).
The rapier’s animations will still need the pixel pass but its roughs are ready. You’ll notice two phases in the rapier animation.
The basic thrust and the secondary backdash. These are the primary and secondary functions of the weapon. One allows you to dash forward with a piercing strike and another for quick evasion, making the rapier a weapon all about mobility (which could be handy for speedrunning too).
The Ghilcrest buildings are undergoing their design polish as well. You’ve all seen the Cryatisium and Esmy’s Home and now the Inventorium and the Cafe are joining them in polished goodness.
The overworld environments have also been undergoing its rework. More unique object assets have been made and its design is now following the Overworld map that I completed.
Worry not about the above image. Though we do have Brax (and some other characters) following you at some points in the game, it’s not a dangerous escort mission where you’ll have to struggle to keep your companion alive, the Berribuns were added on the map just for this screenshot (they ignore Brax and only go for Esmy).
I’ve tried to incorporate hints of the past steamtech throughout areas of Noka Island that the settlers covered, some machines like the one on the screenshot above were retrofitted to use cryam instead of steam (I did receive comments on how the smoke blobs look more like rocks so I’ll probably change it to wispy smoke).
The HUD has also undergone a visual polish to make it look more bronze plated to go with the early post steampunk-ish feel.
I’ll be continuously working on more animations and environment asset polish all throughout while Rob cleans up code, works on other background assets or lays said assets out in the Unity editor.
Every now and then, Rob (and sometimes I) take a breather and make some art (which will all eventually end up in the artbook) so here’s some of the choice pieces as of late.
Rob made something that's wallpaper material once he cleans it up in a higher res, it’s an array of Bliss in a custom outfit.
Another wallpaper-ish piece from Rob with Deseret, Bliss, and Sorbet looking all tough and showing what I’ll just assume to be Ghilcrest gang signs… despite it being a small community.
Here's a more realistic pin-up style Bliss that Rob also made.
Rob also pays tribute to Atlus’ Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series by rendering Esmy in Shigenori Soejima’s style.
I did the same and tried making a Shigenori Soejima tribute using his soft paint style commonly present in Stella Deus and some Persona art. I chose to represent Team Bliss.
We’ve also got a few new submissions of fanart from the community that we’re proud to share with everyone. We’re grateful to have all your support and enjoy seeing everyone’s renditions of the Cryamore cast.
@Cliffist pays tribute to the fab queen, Bliss because clearly, she’s supposed to be the star.
@boss_ruru also decides to rep Team Bliss with this lovely piece of Ms. Barson in one of her many alternate outfits.
But it’s not all Bliss as MellowMarz aka @HeartlessHat provides a pistol toting pixel-art Esmy.
I’ll be working on the pixel art and animation featurette next. I had to hold it off since I needed to prep this first.
It should give an idea of what the update will cover.
I hope you enjoyed this update and all the news! Thanks for taking time to read through these.
- CM Alan
P.S. I also managed to secure one of the previous builds we made and will be preparing a guide to go with it for the backers on Discord.