I hope everyone is enjoying the heat of summer. The fire is certainly burning the midnight fuel around these parts. That is to say we are working hard to get this done.
But alas, this is the first of a few catch-up updates we have for you all. This time around it's a dump of some Temple world concept art, of which the 3D assets are actively being made. So without further ado, let's jump in to it.
Let's start from the very beginning of the process and move forward. First we create a moodboard to get a general feel for what we are going for.
At the same time we also get a general concept of progression of the world as the player moves through the levels. This is nothing pretty, but important for designers as they wrap their head around direction for what they are creating.
From there we collect subsequent references and idea blast a few broad strokes of "shots" we think would be interesting. This part of the process involves all the artists proverbially throwing darts at a board to see what sticks.
Afterwards we talk it out for while about what we like and what we don't. We also begin breaking down what assets we are going to need. In parallel we also do a bit of technical testing in the engine with common elements that we plan on incorporating. In this case that means moss and vines.
Finally we (I) begin final concepts for individual assets based on the list we come up with from the elements we decided were liked/worked the best. These go on to be what will be modeled and added into the game itself.
...but we can keep that assets creation side of it all until the next update. I hope this can appease you hungry wolves out there (which I mean in the nicest way possible). Our next update is scheduled for August 15th.
See you then!
P.S.: If anyone has any questions, by all means ask away. I try to answer any comment or question I can. And from where I am standing, you all certainly have the right to ask.
It’s been a way too long. So let this update start with an apology for us being buried in a black hole for the first half of the year. There is no excuse on our part. We will be better. With that out of the way, let’s move forward.
A lot has happened in these 6 months, as one would expect. There is so much that this update would be way too long if we covered every single thing, so we’ll focus on the broad strokes now and go into details in later updates.
Firstly, we’ve upgraded to Unity 2018.1. This helped up with optimization and will make it easier to port to other platforms in the future. It introduced a fair amount of bugs, but in turn also fixed some other issues we had. Additionally some optimization features have helped the game run better from the upgrade, but we still need to make a pass on that before shipping.
We have completed designs for all of the world levels. The level lengths for worlds 2 and 3 are up to 5x longer than a world 1 level. And with that, most of world 2 has been assembled an set-dressed with art assets.
On the management side of things, we have restructured as a company. We are down to 4 people on the production pipeline. This is partially because we are currently running on trust in one another, and have run out of Kickstarter money (minus the money set aside to take care of all the Kickstarter Rewards). So we are no longer able to work full time on the game, but yes we are still working as much/steadily as we can while having other jobs/school.
That said, the game is currently playable as one cohesive game without using developer tricks to jump around to other levels. The game’s length for first timers playing through the game is estimated to be around 4-5 hours if you do not collect anything. To 100% the game it is an estimated 12+ hours in its current state.
We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there remains much to be done. In terms of the game itself we need to include the Kickstarter characters, assemble world 3, provide polish, a good bit of bug fixes, and sometime soon pursue marketing partnerships so that others (beyond all the lovely faces here) know about the game.
And we have a plan to get all this done. We can’t really fit the giant chart here (I will include a snippet), but we do have a day to day plan for all of this moving forward. This includes becoming very active here and on social media as a whole in a month or two. What that means here is that we will be doing monthly updates again, and build up to both 2 and 3 updates a month. Our main goal is to be at critical mass and release by January, but specifically before February 22nd. We’d like to attend PAX South with a finished game ready to sell.
And that’s it for now. Tons more to come for you guys in the coming months. Our next Update is scheduled for July 16th with a proper introduction to World 3, so more then! (Have a tease!)
P.S.: Kickstarter's back-end is being a little freaky for us right now, so we are having a very hard time previewing any media on the site. So hopefully all our images associated with this post upload and look fine. good luck everybody.
Welcome to the New Year. If you are reading this then congratulations, you've made it. Everyone at Shiny Bolt wishes you all a very happy year to come.
This month's update will be light given the holiday season, but hopefully we will be able to elaborate more on some things next month (though that may be the end of THIS month given the timing). A lot of headway has been made towards our second world as well as the HUD.
Asset production for world 2 is essentially complete, but we do need to finish putting some of the recently complete pieces together.
In the HUD we've been making a lot of ground in trying to make the book feel like something the player wants to look at. Pages can be unlocked by finding collectibles and talking to others.
And that's more or less it. We have, per usual, a lot of little things done all over the place and in progress. So look forward to the next update. But before I sign off, we do have a video prepped for everyone to show off a lot of what we accomplished this year thanks to everyone's help here! We couldn't have gotten this far without you all!
We've been busy bees since we last updated, very QUIET busy bees. We appreciate everyone's patience in the mean time. It's all we can ask for from everyone, so with that let's start the update.
First, we do have a bit of bad news to get out of the way, so let's rip the band-aid off early. The Shiny Bolt Team is down a few members since the launch of the Kickstarter. What I can say is that at this time, Prisma is currently being worked on by 6 members from our initial 9, and the production pace has slowed because of this.
Therefore, the game is officially delayed from our Kickstarter campaign promise by the end of this year. Our new target launch window will be Spring 2018.
We've also decided to wait until the game is almost complete to send out our reward surveys. This makes the most sense to us for a couple of reasons, such as backers changing addresses between now and when the rewards will be shipped out. We also want to focus on the game first, and focus on rewards when game production slows down. We will make sure to keep you updated if we have any designs to share concerning rewards.
Now onto some game updates!
Firstly, we have been working on world 2- the Yukiburu Mountains' art and design. We are almost done with its art and design, and mainly need to put those pieces together.
The world itself is mountainous and rocky, speckled with dangerous icy areas. The terrain used to be an ocean that has been frozen over. When the frozen tectonic plates collided, they pushed up to form mountains of rock and ice, some still filled with the sea creatures that used to be below.
We have also updated a lot of art to try to get the quality up to a new level. Besides the terrain, the background, and cloud systems, we've also updated our oldest used asset- Fractal.
In addition to the visual updates in the world, we've been working on the UI as well. Now the player can see their current time in a level, their time to beat, and 2 collectibles hidden within each level- more on that a little later. Additionally, if you can talk to a character in the game, a speech bubble lingers over their head, turning into a button prompt once in range.
Along with the static visuals, we also wanted to add in-game events to better help paint a picture as to what's happening in the story, especially if the player has no desire to read any dialogue...
Outside of levels, the player can see what they've accomplished per level on its door's projection. There you can see if you've gathered all 4 collectibles associated with each level in the game:
Level Medallions (Top Right): Indicates you've completed the level.
Mask Fragment (Left): A hidden collectible within each level. Gaining all the masks in the current world unlocks a secret...(to be covered in the next update...probably)
Ancient Scroll (Middle): A hidden collectible within each level. Gaining a scroll will unlock a piece of the world's lore in your handbook. (to be covered in next update also)
Speed Medal(Bottom Right): A medal received by beating a certain par time in each level. Each level has a Bronze, Silver, and Gold time for the speed demons out there. I hear there's a prize for getting all the gold in a world as well.
We've rebuffed the dialogue system. Shown in the Campaign trailer was a mock-up and smoke and mirrors of what we wanted the dialogue to look like. We are happy to say that that is all now in the game and working as it should. And there are a lot of chatterboxes in the game you can have a holler at if you'd like as well.
The dialogue is also dimension sensitive, so depending on the dimension, Ray will be in her different outfits.
We are still working on unlock conditions for conversations and giving the player more reason to come back and talk to characters, but we do still plan on making it optional to talk to anyone if you do not care about story at all.
Additionally, the dialogue shown is not final, as we quickly realized upon implementing our first drafts that our speech was focused on character building outright. This is fine, but it made for wordy conversations that didn't actually explain anything about what's happening in the main story of the game... and we realized that's probably an issue.
That's it for this update! We hope to update you all again next month, and want to be more consistent with updates in the future.
Let us know what you think down below. We'd love to here feedback from anyone keeping up with us. We all have a horse in this race and are in it to win it!
I'll leave you with some mysterious pictures for next time.
Another month, another milestone, another test of patience. What dumb jokes does he have this time? Where are my rewards? ...well, I have SOME answers.
The last month has been focused on getting a lot of work done for our second world and chunk of levels. Mostly, we've been designing levels and programming new features.
Research and Development for Shaders
Trying to make a water shader that fits our toonish style is harder than expect, and we expected it to be hard. It could be really easy for us to rip off Windwaker water and call it a day, but that's not quite good enough for our tastes. It's a work in progress, but progress nonetheless.
Ice, on the other hand, is a shader that worked out. We mostly just wanted to make sure it retained our rim-light and that you could see objects stuck inside the ice.
(on the right is the "old" way tried ice, but it got lost in the background a lot. So on the left is the new...also these kill you)
Features for Later in the Game
So given I (Hank) write these updates, I am in no means to explain the intricacies of programming. Raycasting, C#, etc- not my thing. Luckily Kyle (Lead Programmer) took it upon himself to make a video demonstrating the work he's accomplished over the month. Roger Ebert would be proud.
Unfortunately Kickstarter is acting cute just for Kyle's video, but below is the Youtube Link.
Updating & Re-Rigging Outdated Models for Animation & FX
Prisma is old, so old it was originally made by a few stupid kids in college who didn't really understand what vertices or FK handles were (that's important if you want to made 3D art kids). It was time once again to do a pass updating some of our older models that somehow have made it this far into development. Below are just a few examples.
(We are replacing breakables right now. We are going to make the animate as well, but for now you can see the original balloon variety first. The new was made to be more versatile and obvious that you need to punch it.)
(Ignus' model has been updates, as well as the rig. Secretly he was only ever made to be sitting before.)
Next on the list is our showgirl Fractal, the second oldest character that is in the game. In many ways she is the game so we need to make her look really good. Expect that in a future update.
Designing the entirety of World 2
World 2 took a while to design, as we wanted to make sure the levels themselves were much longer than the previous world. We also wanted to make sure that they felt new and good. So we designed all of World 2... and it wasn't great. So, after getting the full team's feedback, Angelica restructured and basically redesigned all 70+ puzzles- effectively starting over.
In her words after getting the job done, "I'm tired...", taste a bit of the process to wake her up again.
Setting Up World 2's HUB area
While note quite complete, the HUB area has been the basis for world 2's visual target for quality and so forth. Missing a few inhabitants, assets, and placement, I think it's well on its way enough where we can give a sneak peak.
Production on Art Assets
Another "of course you are working on this" one, but it's always worth pointing out. Take a look at a few samples below.
Status Report of Kickstarter Rewards
Making promises is scary. What's scarier is breaking promises to people who've paid for your game in advance. Well... consider this an apology.
We don't have any updates on backer rewards or BETA plans just yet. I (yes, personally) wrongly predicted the landing on that jump. We are still working on nailing the actual dates for the first BETA session. Likewise, time management for all of art team has been focused on the game itself.
We DO have some parts of news I can deliver however. Mainly We've decided to have multiple BETA dates, so we can make changes based on community feedback. We also plan on handing out BETA codes entirely through Steam. This isn't fully reflective of the game if you want DRM Free, but will be a requirement for those wishing to be involved in the BETA.
So when we hear these updates?
Some time next week I'll be posting a "Part 2" to this update with info on swag and the BETA. I'll do my best (again, personally) to make sure I'm not a dirty liar.
But that's it! That's all! If there's anything specific you'd like us to cover in future updates please comment below. It's about time we involved everyone!