Alit afir aice amut arub (January Release Preview)

(These are some of the A* spells you get in Final Fantasy.  OR am I calling on a demon to possess you?  HMMM.)

We are about ready to submit to the Windows store, but we ran into a little gotcha and so we’re going to submit after Christmas.  What happened was that we failed certification – not a big deal, it was mostly over UTF-8 encoding issues.  I thought they would look over it, but not really.  Then when I fixed that and when I resubmitted, they wouldn’t look at it until Christmas anyways.  But we achieved our goal!  Hooray.  I also set up knightoftime.com as a branding thing while we wait for the game to come up.

You’re probably wondering what’s next.  I’ve talked at length about the release cycle, and I do have a release plan for the next month.  Here’s what we will be adding in the next month.  This plan is not final and might change at any time.  Things with * are more quality of life changes for the developer.

  • Tests*
  • NPC Name Display
  • Balancing and fixes
  • Conversation system
  • Elemental Affinities
  • Alert for level ups
  • Advanced Debug*
  • Better looking cards

Today, I’ve started working on Tests and Branch switching.  Tests is simply write tests against the code.  It’s…going to be a lot of trouble, and I might have to wait to do this after I make some major infrastructure changes.  The problem was that in the haste of getting this product out the door, I did not design the infrastructure of the engine very well, and as a result, it is difficult to test without mocking up a whole visual infrastructure.

So it might just be that new functionality need tests, but existing functionality won’t until the infrastructure changes.

NPC name display will display the NPC’s name in a system wide manner.

Balancing and fixing may not be there depending on what comes out of test plans.

Conversation system will allow you to question an NPC using a system similar to FF2.

Cards have certain elemental affinities meaning that using a Dark power card on an enemy with a light affinity, would do more damage.

Right now the game doesn’t tell you if you levelled up.  I totally missed that one.

Advanced debug would basically give game developers (ie me) an easier way to test the game.  Right now there’s a debug room but that won’t work as well once the game gets longer.

And better looking cards replace the crappy cards we have now with something a bit easier! Hooray!

One thing that might happen is that some of february’s items might end up being worked on January.

 

 

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test test test 123

The game is nearly ready for it’s soft launch!   Here is all that is left.

  • end to end testing
  • help page

So, end to end testing  is basically playing what is available of the game from start to finish.  I did it about an hour tonight, got about half way through and found a lot of bugs and things to fix.

The help page is something that is needed, and will basically describe the game in detail.  It will be replaced in the future by a much more comprehensive help system, but right now it gives you some idea about how to play.

The goal is to get this onto the Windows Store by 12/27, which is extremely achievable.

When the game releases, what will happen then?  This is not a one and done type of deal.  The plan is to keep updating the sample with new features (on the road map is saving/loading and conversations…the reason why saving/loading isn’t in the first release of the sample is because the sample is a short game, you shouldn’t need to save and load), and eventually add BOOK 1.  Yes, the sample is merely a prologue to the actual game.  The story in the game will be told through books that are released once a quarter.  Between each book will be new feature, tweaks, balances, etc.

Instead of doing the typical versioning system (as in v.4.0.4000), we’re going to just refer to each version of Knight of Time as a four digit number.  The higher it is, the more recent it is.  The differences between each number would be the weight of the features added to it.  So, the differences between 1001 and 1002 are pretty minimal, but the differences between 1400 and 1900 would be more substantial.

The first release will be in January and is slated to contain a bunch of under the cover work, as well as the conversation system.  February release will have save/load and the ability to discard cards in battle.  Your first book release is in March, which will, depending on availability have new graphics and work.  Beyond April, comprehensive help system, and a few more surprises.

And remember, you will be able to access the world of Knight of Time for free on Windows 10.  No matter what changes we do or make, that’ll never change.

 

 

Blueprints to a Better Day

It’s another day where I can’t show anything…hahaha, sorry that was a lie.  I spent the last day working on UI enhancements and fortunately, UWP makes that really easy, as all UI improvements are simply just changing a component’s CSS.

We’re at the last stage of development for the sample, which mostly consists of balancing various encounters.

But let’s talk UI improvements!

Here is the new title screen.  We have our team name there, we have a revision number next to the Build name, and we have a fancy new “logo” for our purposes.
ps-title-2

We also made a lot of changes to dialog.  Here’s the old dialog box:

ps-npc-text

It’s kinda blah.  Oh, and this NPC doesn’t exist in the game anymore, neither does this map, if you’re curious.

Here’s the new one, which is a lot more prettier:

ps-npc-text-2

We’re using a new font that is easy to read and we feature a nice gradient in the background.  Finally, the box has a border.

We added a similar treatment to the subscreens that you get to via the in-game menu, which makes the game look a lot more clean.

ps-config-menu-2

Here is the config menu, which is probably the worst one to start off in, since it’s nothing but the sound volume right now, but one day will include difficulty and color options.

ps-equipment-menu-with-cards-2

The equipment screen which is still bare bones, but still looks a lot nicer.

ps-item-subscreen-6

Item screen looks much nicer.  We will probably change the font color in the right pane.

ps-status-2

Status menu’s text color will probably change at some time.

Debug menu is not shown because…that’s private information!

We also applied this treatment to battles.  Here is the old battle subscreen.

ps-battle-ui

It’s very Dragon Quest I.

ps-battle-ui'

It’s very…that boss from Kirby Superstar that makes fun of these type of games.  Notice the HP counter is below the pane itself.  That will be fixed – there are some changes that need to be on this screen.

And the biggest change of all…

Here is your old player sprite:

ps-debug

(She’s the blondie near the center.)

Here’s the new one:

ps-new-player-image

(She’s the brunette near the center)

The reason for this change was that the old sprite had tattered clothing, and I’m inept at art design and couldn’t even put her head on another sprite.  However, I did have this other sprite available (who was actually supposed to be an NPC), and she looked…knightly in a feminine manner.

That’s it for today!  I’ll probably not be posting a lot, because balancing changes are hard to really report about, but if there are any other changes, I’ll report them.

Let’s Talk Business

This will be a two part post.  First part – what have I accomplished today?

Well, I have implemented a leveling up system, random encounters, and also made some fixes to the event system so that each event will actually run.

Random encounters are implemented by having a move counter that goes up to 1000.  Each time you move, the move counter goes up by 1, then we get the per mille of the move counter against the 1000.  If it’s below a certain threshold, a battle won’t occur.  If it’s above a certain threshold, there’s a 3/16 chance of it occuring.  If it’s above the final threshold, then there’s a 3/8 chance of one occuring.

So this’ll make it so that you will have random encounters, but hopefully they won’t be so annoying that you’ll get one every other step.

ps-levelup

Leveling up is exactly what it sounds like – kill enemies, get experience, get level up.  Leveling up affects your offense, defense and max HP.  There have been some changes how offense, defense and max HP are tracked in game – we generate them on the fly, as opposed to…actually keeping them as a variable in the player information.

Okay, so now I’m working on chests, equipping things, and maybe even battle effects.  Then we go through game testing and we’re really on set to get this game out the door.

Now, let’s talk business plan.  I want to make the Sample free, and the full game will be free as well, but supported with reasonable in app purchases.  First purchase would be a donation item.  Cards that you can use in battle will be available for purchase.  No lootboxes or booster packs or anything like that.  Anything you purchase you will know what you get ahead of time.

Any expansions (if any) will be available as an IAP.  The game will basically be freeware, with the exception of donating some money or buying special cards or anything like that.  I think that’s fair – graphics are subpar, music is public domain, but hopefully the story makes it something special.

I also think this system will allow us to be truly experimental and try a lot of interesting and cool things!

Also, after the sample, I do plan on updating the game.  Basically, if you download the sample, that’ll eventually become the full game through updates.Graphical and musical updates will also be used in this system.

Merry Crustmas

Good morning and happy holidays.

I am proud to say that I have finished the maps of the game.  This means that everywhere you need to go, have graphics, tilesets and collision with it.

This means it’s time to work on a lot of the nitty gritty.  We are in good position to finish this sample by the end of the month.

Here’s what we have to implement:

  • ending screen
  • credits
  • shop (see below)
  • level up
  • switches
  • random enemies
  • battle effects
  • receive items after battle
  • chests
  • passive events
  • equipping
  • in-battle item menu

So, what can I show you today!  A lot of stuff.  Behold, a debug room which will help me with implementing the above!

ps-debug

(Ignore the title in the title bar, it’s actually changed since then).

There are two debug rooms, this is the first one.  Both debug rooms contain all of the events in the sample, plus three that are debug only: the blue guy on the right hand side will teleport you to the second debug room, the chest underneath him will display the music test, and not seen in this image but there is another chest underneath the music test with a shop.

Music and sound tests are important to make sure that the music library or whatever is running like it should.

So here is what our music test looks like.

ps-musictest2It’s a little hard to read, but it can only be accessed by this chest.  When you click on the link, the song will play.  We don’t have any SE yet, but we will add sound effects to this menu as well.  Currently, all music is working correctly.  Hooray!

We also have a basic shop implemented.

ps-shop-2

This is basically a first draft of the shopping interface.  Prices are to the right.  Your total gold is up on top, and it’s “frozen”, so you can always see it.  Each item has a description, and it’ll tell you what type.  When you buy an item, it gets added to the specific inventory, and then you get a notice that you bought an item successfully.

ps-shop-3

If you do not have money, you keep your money, and you get a notice saying you didn’t have money.

To do from here:  play with the transparency of the windows, maybe add a background. Also, the ending screen and credits.  And find some sound effects.  We’re in good shape!

A Short Wooden Post

A lot of progression has been made, but not a lot of things to actually show off.  Mostly a lot of work has been done in creating maps.  Three areas have been finished or nearly finished, out of five.  The first dungeon is almost ready to be worked on.

I also looked into increasing the size of each area so that a camera would be used to render the area around the player.  However, I came up to some issues with that and decided that it was too risky.

Also, finalized the title, finalized story details, finalized finalized finalize finalize.

Doki Doki Panic Literature Club World Universe

A lot of progress has been made but not exactly anything that I can show off that easily.  I’ve mapped out the sample map, sample items, sample enemies and sample attacks. (I still need to do sample bosses and some story themes going around.  I’ll share those later.)

I also created a debug screen.  I roped in a coworker to help me test the game, and thought this would be useful for reporting issues.

ps-debug

The debug screen returns the current room’s key (which is how we retrieve it from data), as well as the definition of the current room.  This definition includes what tiles it loads, npcs, music, player Start, etc.  When you bring up the screen, your HP gets healed.

The first town has been created, and in the sample it is a short hop away from where you start.  There are about fifteen NPCs there, including one that you must battle and you’ll go into a boss battle with.  However, talking to him will unlock the rest of the sample – otherwise, you’re basically stuck.

When talking to the non playable characters, you’ll see a few streams of plot come up.

  • Something that used to be part of their daily lives has fallen on the wayside for a particular reason.  You don’t hear about it though.  This important NPC tells you that they’ve been doing this thing, but getting no result from it.
  • An evil kingdom have been taking away land from small towns, and this particular town is scared that they’re next.
  • People have been doing weird things, like attacking each other and even eating each other.
  • People in this small town have been disappearing on their way to work.

In the sample, you’ll figure out the last point, and you’ll see a particular reason for the first bullet.

The full game will resolve all these plot lines.

And I don’t really know what else to say.  Really, we’re going to be focusing more on getting the map and things ready before working on the engine again.  There is a lot of work to do.  Shops need to be implemented, an actual leveling system needs to happen.  Random encounters and switches and getting items from chests.