Time has just been flying by and I keep losing track of the devblog, but we’re all kicking ass in the meantime so here are some (lengthy) updates!
There are some core visual changes that were made. Most notable of these are Arnen and Karissa’s hair, which was a sort of bright blondish before and are now decidedly more orange. This change was made for a number of reasons but mostly because I think it helps them stand out in any map or location. Orange tones aren’t used much at all in this part of the world, so that added contrast helps define their sprites.
The interior maps have also been given new lighting overlays that simulate shadow/light areas and really define the look more. Originally I didn’t want to go this route because this was not something that was possible back in the Genesis era, but we’ve evolved to a bit more modern design and approach as this project comes together.
Emman, Casey, and I all hung out at MAGfest just after New Years and had a great time networking and seeing some really cool indie games that were presented there. I’m so thankful to have been able to spend time with some of my team and really get to just hang out in person. I also saw Emman and Andrew again during GDC in the later parts of March! I hope to figure out more times we can all hang out during the year, one way or another.
Last we checked in I was about halfway through the rework of exterior maps in Dellador. At current standing, not only are all of the city maps redone and complete, but the meadow area to the south and the rest of Chapter 2 exterior maps are as well. I’ve finally put together a master palette for the game, and balancing those color values increased the depth of everything so much. That change, along with a new approach to grass textures and the increased detail work, makes for a pretty new look to everything in the game. I’ll continue tweeting regularly with new map art, but here are a few clips of redesigns I’ve cover so far. I’m starting on the seashore town on the far western side of Alta, and then I’ll loop back around to Glasmere and the marshes near it.
Caz worked up a bunch of new fire animations for us and they look amazing! She’s already digging into some objects for Chapter 2 and we can’t wait to see more! Here are a few small gifs of what she’s put together for Chapter 1. She’s started work on some waterfalls we’ll see in Chapter 2, and finished up the forge fires we’ll see in the armories. Next up for her is a plethora of interesting, magical things for Glasmere.
Steph finished another set of portraits and I’m so excited to finally see more solid identities for more of the allies (and enemies) in the game.
Here are a few new faces from Chapters 2 and 3.
Justin Mollenauer has flown through a pile of new features in the last 6 months and they help flesh out some of the finer details of the combat engine. After multi-target abilities were put in place, he coded together unit states such as Poison, Blind, and Shield. The list is pretty long and varied, but this lets our allies be a little more prepared and our enemies a little more annoying. Certain enemy attacks will have a chance to lower stats when they hit you, so it’s important to monitor your character states as you fight through a map.
Justin also worked up a bunch of smaller component scripts that help me build the world out more efficiently and polish things up a bit. For instance, we now have a script that randomizes the frame that an animation starts on, so torches and other animated world objects aren’t in sync. This gives everything a much more organic, realistic feel. He has also done some further work on getting Speed Mode implemented and it needs some further polish and juice, but it’s already very nice to have.
He’s also finished up all of the Stock menu commands and made the in-battle menu that you can access during cursor mode. Included in that menu are the Suspend option, which lets you quicksave during combat, a full Unit roster and turn order, and access to the options menu. The options menu is also not fully functional and he’s currently finishing up work on the Input Config manager, which will let you remap whatever buttons you wish.
Along with the new art changes came some discussion around music approach and whether we should be open to the idea of a fully orchestrated soundtrack instead of the 16bit synths we had been using so far. Andrew did a few tracks in nice, modern samples and the results were amazing. The music came to life so much more than it had before and after testing those in-game as well, the decision was made. He has resampled a ton of the existing soundtrack and is also working on some new music for parts of Chapter 2 that we hadn’t gotten to yet.
Andrew recently finished a lighthearted march for some of the less intense story battles, a majestic theme for an area of the game that was built back in the Dwarven Age, and an intense boss battle theme a while back for use later in the game in battles against the main antagonists. We’ll show off some pieces of those tracks soon!
Emman is working up another set of UI sounds and a bunch of weapon and item sounds as well. Things like spears, axes, healing items, and some spells will have a new, unique sound in the mix. I’m so happy to get some of the placeholders removed and add new sounds in!
Casey and I have been working on a ton of little searchable events that will be strewn all over the game. Most of these are little internal comments that Arnen makes about things in the world and it really serves to flesh out his personality and the tone of the game so much more. I couldn’t be happier with the work Casey has done so far and we’re just getting started! I’ll be working on a big art/music/script import in the next week or two, so I’ll show some of their writing next time.
That’s all for now. We’ll keep at it, and try and update this thing sooner than every 6 months…
– Justin Mitchell