Spellcaster Studios

Make it happen…

Progress so far…

Well, today I didn’t have time for anything, so not to let a day go by without an update, I’ve just made a quick script to join all the screenshots I took so far of the game, since the beginning of development in the Indie Speed Run in a single massive GIF… It’s cool seeing how far the game has gone, at least in visuals…

And I have lots of ideas on how to improve that! Open-mouthed smile

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Now listening to “Everything Remains (As It Never Was” by “Eluveitie”

Link of the Day: Development on Chrome Hunter started in 2013 on the Indie Speed Run… I liked the result there, so I decided to improve on it, and hence real development started… Indie Speed Run 2014 hasn’t been announced yet, but I guess it will take place in September again, so here’s the link if you’re into that sort of thing: www.indiespeedrun.com

Bugville, part deux!

More bugs on my way back to where it all started, where the final showdown will take place…

Most of it was fairly small, small mistakes, typos, etc, but I had a nasty one… By accident, instead of loading the game I pressed new game, and a lot of errors there, when running the initialization script, which builds the story-based parts of the game… This code was never run before as a whole, just pieces of it when I needed for the playthrough…

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So now I’m at the end… Haven’t seen this temple for a long time! Smile

Tomorrow I should start working on the big ending cutscenes… and in two days is the new Ludum Dare 48-hour competition, which I’m thinking of attending… It’s the difficult decisions: work on the game, or build a new one in 48 hours to unwind… Decisions, decisions…

Now listening to “Nightfall in Middle-Earth” by “Blind Guardian”

Link of the Day: Well, since I’ve talked about it, here’s the link to the Ludum Dare 48-hour competition… It’s a lot of fun: you get a theme (voted by everyone), and you have to do a whole game from scratch in 48 hours, solo… That’s EVERYTHING in 48 hour, with the exception of a base framework or stuff like that… There’s also a 72-hour jam taking place at the same time, with non-so-strict rules, like teams allowed, premade work, etc… So, head on to http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ to see what’s it all about!

Bugville!

Today I had full intention of starting the last area of the game, but I got sidetracked with small stuff, mainly related to bugs I’ve introduced in the latest refactoring rounds…

This is what my evening was like:

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But I killed a lot of bugs, and added some more functionalities, namely quick save/load. Quicksave was more or less implemented for my tests, but I cleaned it up for use in game… Because of that, I’ll throw away the idea I had of “clone tubes”, which would act as player lives. Since the player can save anywhere, if he dies he can just restore a save game… I could disable the quicksave to make the player use the clone tube, but I always like games where I can stop playing when I want, so making the jump hoops to be able to stop playing annoys me…

Now listening to “The Final Frontier” by “Iron Maiden”

Link of the Day: Here’s the overview of a new animation/development tool called Tooll… It’s not something I’d like to use, and probably becomes unusable with big projects, but it looks pretty cool and has interesting stuff… some of those ideas I wanted to explore on the effect editor on the SurgeEditor:

Playthrough, Part XVI

Finally finished the corporate based… was expecting to take way less time on this!

It has some fairly cool moments, though, and the end fight is challenging…

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Just missing some cutscenes and the final area, and I’m “story-complete” and can start doing a second pass on the game (to check what I broke along the way!).

Now listening to “Voodoo Vibes” by “Axxis”

Link of the Day: From time to time, I find these presentation or papers that convince me that some people are just doing magic with computers, coercing the little gnomes inside them to do feats of really impossible stuff.. This is one of these cases… I understand all the words and the whole concept, but it still seems like magic!

Sewer lights

Today was a bit frustrating… I thought I was going to be able to start the last custom area of the game, but instead I was struggling trying to make the sewers look good…

The sewers are an area with some glowing gloop, and I wanted that to be the only light, so do a kind of lighting coming from it… But after countless tries, I couldn’t disguise the “spherical” nature of the lights…

So, after a lot of tries, I ended up implementing a new type of fake light: planar light, which projects from a plane:

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It looks good, but I lost a lot of time with this…

Anyway, I finished the sewer area, so if nothing unexpected happens, I just have to do one more area, one more enemy type and 6 more cutscenes and I’m done with the story (bar any bugs that a new pass on the game might show, I’ve messed with a lot of systems during this whole construction bit).

Now listening to “Lost in the New Real” by “Arjen Anthony Lucassen”

Link of the Day: Here’s the first pages of all the SIGGRAPH’14 papers… Lots of exciting stuff there, I wish I could spend one year just reading these and implementing them: http://s2014.siggraph.org/sites/default/files/firstpages.default.pdf! Smile

Finished the machine room

Finally I finished the machine room… It may be a bit too hard, at least with the level of gear I have equipped in the game at this stage (but I deliberately kept myself back, to give me a handicap that enables me to gauge more precisely what would happen with an ordinary player).

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Still, I’m curious to receive playtesting feedback…. I’m starting to think on how I’m going to do that, how I’m going to structure it…

I’ll have to figure out a way to divide it in three parts: bugs, gameplay tweaks, and overall suggestions… But I think I’ll do a small test run first, recording those initial players, see where they get stuck and hopefully they’ll be able to provide some commentary (like a “Let’s Play”), that would probably be the most useful feedback…

Now listening to “Holy Land” by “Angra”

Link of the Day: This is an amazing trailer for the indie game “Stardust Vanguards”… The theme song is awesome, it really captures the feeling of the late 80’s, early 90’s cartoons.. And the game seems quite original, might be worth a play with some friends!

Gas vents

Today I added the gas vent element to the game:

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It’s a nifty gameplay element, although I’ll probably only use it in a couple of places…

Frequency, phase, length, etc, all of those can be configured in the editor, which is good from a game design perspective (can see how will they behave without loading the game).

In movement it looks better:

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The GiF is low quality, since I wanted to use it on Twitter as well (which I’m not sure if I can, but let’s see)…

Now listening to “The Flame Within” by “Stream of Passion”

Link of the Day: An interesting read (a cousin of mine wrote it, actually) about lie-detection technology and its impact in society: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/bad-news-computers-are-getting-better-than-we-are-at-facial-recognition/372377/

Playthrough, Part XV

Still advancing in the game…

This is very time consuming, I keep pushing my standards higher as I’m becoming more adept with my own tools, and get more ideas for how to turn the few elements I have in more interesting stuff…

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Started a new area, already progressing nicely… The gameplay is a bit different from the normal, since it takes place in a tighter space… And I actually laughed with the starting cutscene (but maybe I’m just easy to please!)

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Just noticed now, when I put the screenshot in the blog that I hae some holes in the ground near the props, need to fix that… Smile

Now listening to “The Human Equation” by “Ayreon”

Link of the Day: Famous video game songs, chronologically, sung acapella… Quite neat:

New enemy!

Today has been an horrible day in terms of work, and that translated in a terrible game development process… But, after a lot of grief with (yet again) the pathfinder, here’s the new enemy:

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These spawn from nodes (until they’re destroyed) and hunt the player down… If they reach him they either hit him, or they explode!

They’re quite tricky, but the idea behind them was to use them in the beginning of the game as well, in a weaker version (so the player has the satisfaction of mowing them down!).

Also did some cutscenes for this area, and some exposition of the main plot… Writing is hard… I do so many revisions on top of the original text, but still I’m not happy with it… Confused smile

Now listening to “Signs of the Apocalypse” by “Varien”

Link of the Day: This looks like a very interesting kickstarter… It’s norse mythology with a breathtaking art style… Sounds familiar? Well, even so, you can’t ever have too many Norse mythology based games with breathtaking art style: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/682108903/jotun

Corporate HQ and more pahtfinding…

Today I’ve worked mainly on building the corporate office… as you can see from the screenshot below, I’ve worked with lights a lot:

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Probably need a better way to display stuff (so I can hide the lights and the invisible blocks, which also cover a lot of scenario).

Then, I started placing the enemies, and starting having loads of small issues…

The pathfinder is still having problems, in this case because the end position is invalid (not on the navmesh)… I’ve fixed that (and in the process made all spawns clamp to the navmesh, hopefully I didn’t break anything with that).

Even so, there’s still small issues about the selection of positions (for running away, for example)… I’m not very happy with the state of the AI at this moment, so I think I’m going to have to refactor it massively (maybe unify the different brains into a single class with parameters).

Hopefully I’ll be able to finish the development of the storyline before it comes to that, and that can be made on the polish pass…

I’m a terrible AI programmer…

Now listening to “Nightfall in Middle Earth” by “Blind Guardian”

Link of the Day: This looks like an interesting kickstarter… I’m not that much into open-world, sandbox, physics based game, but the vehicles you can build on this are quite awesome: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/payloadstudios/terratech-physics-based-vehicle-construction-and-c