Hello! I haven’t written a devblog since mid-March so it’s time for a recap of the past few months.
In April, we launched a Kickstarter. It was ultimately unsuccessful, but only in the funding itself. We networked and learned a ton during that process, and though we didn’t reach anywhere near our funding goal, I’m still glad we took the chance. Through Kickstarter I connected with a number of devs that were also Kickstarting, or preparing to, and got a lot of good feedback and visibility on War of Velana. The biggest complaint that kept coming up was that the art was subpar, despite people’s excitement for the style and depth of the project. This led me to consider, what if I did push the art a lot harder? I know I can, I just wanted to make sure I could manage the scope of this game’s art load. Since I’m doing all of the sprite, map, and animation art myself, I really made myself pull back on detail and depth of shading in the early stages of development. I wish, now, that I hadn’t.
About halfway through the Kickstarter I decided that redoing all of the art would not only bring the production level up a lot, it would also flesh out the world so much more, and let me put in some of the detail I originally wanted to. It will be a number of months before I work through everything that I had already made (about half of the game’s sprites and maps), but I’m well on my way! As of this post, I only have the last map of Chapter 1 and a handful of unit animation sets and NPC sprites left to finish updating. Here’s a bunch of screenshots of areas with new art. You’ll also notice smoothing in the UI panels, a redesign of the range glows in combat, and the icons have all been re-colored and shaded.
I’ll keep posting bits of progress on social media, so keep an eye on us there between updates, which will be resuming monthly posts. With everything going on in April and May I fell out of the habit of getting one together and posted on a normal schedule. May was lots of networking and post-Kickstarter design discussions and scope management. My roommate and I also moved in May, which added a bunch of non-dev time to my plate, but that’s all settled now, thankfully.
On the code development side of things, we’ve added a number of new core features to the game. We now have a turn order bar that displays when the Snapshot trigger is held (RT) and if you click A whole holding, you can move a cursor between the units shown to snap to their location and view their movement range. This will not only help in further planning, it should also identify individual units in case the Turn Order is full of the same type. At any point you can let go of RT and the game will snap back to the current ally’s turn.
We have also fleshed out the Fallen > Death > Revive cycle. When a unit’s HP falls to zero, that unit will go into the Fallen state and turn into a tombstone. A little card will float above the tombstone and remind you how many turns you have left before that tombstone crumbles. During this time you can revive that unit if you have the item or spell needed. If you don’t get to them in time, the tombstone will crumble and that unit will be permanently removed from battle, but not gone forever. If you pray to the Goddess Velana at any of her statues, she’ll return your dead allies’ souls from the stars, and you will have them back in combat.
We’ve also coded the functionality of the Wind Stone, which lets you escape from battle (much like the Egress spell in Shining Force games) The Wind Stone is an infinite use item that can be moved around in the party, or just left on Arnen if you wish.
Andrew has been working on a new battle theme that we’ll post once it comes together a little more, and is starting to get some ideas together for the few tracks we don’t already have in Chapter 2.
Once I regroup with Steph (things have been crazy, as I mentioned) I’ll show off some new character portraits. She and her fiance, Mitch, were married at the end of April and spent some time in Amsterdam on what looked like an amazing honeymoon!
The other piece of news regarding the team is that we’re doing a bit of a team switch up. Su ended up with a lot more on their plate near the end of school term, so they weren’t able to take on much in the way of War of Velana work. Once I really got an idea of the scope of our sound effects, I felt like a dedicated resource for sound design would be better to ensure the timeline I’m hoping for. To that end, I reached out to an amazing guy I met at GDC, Emman Lagumbay, and asked him if he would work with us to develop sound effects for the game. He agreed and will be taking on a good portion of work now that he’s home from E3! I’m very excited to be working with Emman and to have his experienced ear in the mix (may or may not be a pun). Some of Emman’s previous accolades include putting together the Summoner’s Orchestra to play some of the League of Legends score at SummonersCon 2015 and working on the score for a game called VentureVerse that’s still in development.
That covers everything for now, but I’ll post again in a month with more screenshots and progress updates.
– Justin Mitchell