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!
It's been a while! Thank you for all your patience as the team gets our ducks in a row. We've been hard at work for you, keeping our nose to the ground to give it our all.
Since our last update, we've set up a pre-order store via Backerkit. And, while we are excited to have it, we are not yet ready to fully advertise it yet until we finalize backer rewards. For those ready to dial in your pledge we do apologize for the inconvenience.
However, starting in our next update you can expect that we will begin a voting process for all of our backers to help us decide our exclusive kickstarter shirt designs. This will spread across multiple updates as we cull down the entries. The final two will be put up for order in our backer surveys.
Additionally, to all of our backers that are Hermes-Tier and up, we will have more information with details regarding early BETA Access in the next update as we finalize our schedules.
But what HAVE we been working on?
A lot from all angles. We'll just cover a few in depth this update to keep things more focused for updates.
** NOTE: Systems that check what controller you are playing on are currently all over the place. So take any indication of some sort of console development with a BIG grain of salt. If we begin developing for any platform other than what we promised backers will be the first to know. **
1) The Dialogue System
This has been a long time coming for us. As it's not technically a core mechanic of the game it's something we've put off for a very long time, but now the time is right. And while it's still very much a work in progress, we think backers are deserving to see behind the scenes as it makes sense.
For the more ideal idea of what the final product will be emulating check out the image below!
2) The UI, as well as making sure you can navigate the entire Prisma experience with only a controller (no God codes to take you to a command line to take the player to different scenes). To this end the goal is that there is as little slide-of-hand when it comes to transitioning in and out of levels. We were surprised how much of a difference what we have already has made. (We'll show more of this in the next updated as well)
...and again, this is a work in progress. Animations of our little hungry friend will be in the next update.
For all the backers after the OST and Art book please check out some sneak peaks of what is to come below!
There are, of course, many other things we've been working towards that we aren't quite ready to share just yet.
Moving forward we plan to have at least one update a month. So we hope you look forward to it!