Wednesday Recap #25

One busy week is around and I have few things to show. Maybe not that much directly from the game but it’s all for the sake of the game.

Pixelating

Map design

Nothing changed, I’m still working on the map design and drawing additional tiles by need. Actually I’ll be doing this quite regularly from now on since content represents the biggest part of the game’s empty progress bar.

Drawing_MapDesign

Pencil and paper – friends I hang out with these days

Result of pixelating and map design

I have to open those doors or else!

I have to open those doors or else!

That’s how the realized concept from the papers above look like in the game. For now it may look really static but let me tell you it will get wild in there. Earthquakes, pillars shattering real-time (did you think that pillar over the black hole tore down by itself?)…yeah, there may be no enemies but it’s meant to be that way.

It took you so long just to make all that? Erm…yes, well, tiles I’m using for that map weren’t done, I had nothing but basic walls and floor so I had to add details, make more block-walls and broken pieces, wall / floor variations etc. That and webpage design which follows.

New webpage under construction

Why would you want to work on a new webpage while your game needs more content, gameplay video and demo??? You have a point there, you do but let me explain. Current webpage is old and I’ve made it quite quickly for I had to point newcomers somewhere to learn more about game. It served it’s purpose well but I have to move on now to make place for other stuff as well like “PRESS”. If someone wants to write about my game I don’t wan’t him / her to look around for stuff, I just want to give them everything they need on one spot. Then there is special are for media and support as you can see from the image below. Also, what’s very important to me - fresh new look with mouse-over eyecandies, cool social grave stones and more.

Cotc_Webpage_preview

Disclaimer: text on the preview needs editing that’s why no full res ;)

Webpage may get released in about 2 weeks with new video teaser if anyone wonders. I’m still trying hard to get a hang of time-management so that time-frame may get extended. Yaiks!

Anyway, that’s it for the week, I’ll have gif animations for you next time ok? Have fun and I hope you like today’s wednesday recap.

Wednesday Recap #24

In my previous post I’ve discussed my absence from the development of the Courier of the Crypts and the game’s future. I wanted to keep development progress for the wednesday recap topic because I have quite some images for you today.

Organization

After that long pause and going full time indie I had to organize myself. Plans, tasks, milestones, documents, spreadsheets and all that kind of stuff. I need to get more serious about planning now since it’s not just hobby anymore.

I’ve organized my list of press contacts pretty well and added new ones to it. No, there are still many more to add, especially non-english websites.

Planning documents

Spreadsheets, documents, documents, todos, docum…

 

This can take pretty much time but it’s worth it. It’s really good to have plan and everything organized so you don’t have to scratch your head saying “What now, what now?…

Demo version

In previous post I’ve mentioned that I’m working on demo version and I just wanted to let you know a bit more about it. It will have 3 maps – tutorial map (which will be awesome), storyline map and one normal map. This alone should be enough for you to get a feeling what Courier of the Crypts is all about.

New HUD

After giving the HUD some thought I’ve decided to redesign it. I wanted to change it a while ago but never took time for that. Point of redesign was to keep inventory closer to other stats and to cover everthing with nice thematic graphics. I thought that would be too heavy but it works quite well in the game. We’ll see but for now, that’s 2nd itteration for you.

New Hud comparison

Level design and screenshot

I’ve made another piece for one of the maps and I have nice set of photos to show you how it went from concept to realization.

Concept1 Concept2 Concept3 Concept4

And this is how it finally looks like in the game with lighting

Cotc_Nightmare

Well hello there big fella!

Animated sword-and-lamp-holding fire spirit 

GateKeeperThis is only a mockup, no permanent pixels there for now but I’m definitely going into that direction so if you have any critics or suggestions do let me know before I destroy this angry sprit ;)

Next week

I’ll continue working on that fiery fella and do some work on tutorial map. I still need to figure out some tricks to cover that tutorial purpose even more.

Next to that I’m redesigning Courier of the Crypt’s webpage because I don’t find it very attractive. That’s another thing for this and the next week.

That’s it and don’t forget that you can follow my development on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Until next week ;)

Development resumed for good – dreams ahead

Hello everyone! Some of you may realized that I’ve disappeared for something like two months if not more without a word. No blog posts, FB/Google+ news and even birdies ceased with tweets and I’m very sorry for that. I made few serious decisions few months ago and in time of this big pause my life changed quite a bit and I had to adapt to these changes, positive changes that is. All decisions made were mostly for the sake of Courier of the Crypts and since my game is main topic of this writing I’ll let you know all about it and what to expect.

development

About the long pause

Few months ago I’ve decided to switch my job. I was working in gamedev for 3 years but I was hunger for changes. I had two options – some other company or going full time with the Courier of the Crypts. Even though first option sounded safe and interesting, second option won because it’s even more thrilling and who doesn’t want to give a chance to their own dreams right? Also, if I want to make this game as I want it to be I need all the focus and time for it. Anyway, there is never good moment for something like this but this was as close as it could get. My roomies decided to leave the apartment, school ended for me (well, 2 exams left) and I had an option to move home and that’s what I did. After ~7 years living away from home I’ve moved back to concentrate on Courier of the Crypts and to save some money. I’ll be staying home at least for a while to make a good push with the game. My room was not in good state so I had to tidy up everything, moved old stuff out, painted the walls and made a good gamedev environment. There are still some stuff missing like fan art on the wall + place for my dear todo sticky notes.

new_room

My new gamedev nest at home

So what now? Courier of the Crypts coming soon? Yes and no. I have tremendous amount of content to do and this will take time. Lots of time but at least you can expect private demo version quite soon. I want to make a bigger testing batch before make it public so if you’re eager to test this beast do let me know – drop a line below or leave me a tweet / email and I’ll add you to the list of testers.

Future for the Courier of the Crypts

campaigns

That’s right, I’ll be doing Kickstarter and Greenlight campaign soon after the demo. What, when, how…all of that information will be released soon. All of you who desperately want  to support me (and give your money) this will be your chance! ;)

Next to that I’ll resume regular wednesday recaps starting today. Every week like in old times, yay! That’s it, Courier of the Crypts is going onwards with full steam ahead.

That’s it? Nothing new from the game to show?

Screenshots and gif animations will follow in the next post ;)

New followers

In time of my disappearance I got pretty nice amount of followers on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks a lot everyone for your support! If you want to talk with me, just drop me a line and I’ll be happy to chit-chat with you.

Flappy Courier – new small game in development

You know I’m developing Courier of the Crypts for quite long now and I need some break from time to time to create a small game or two. It’s good for game developer to complete something from time to time and that’s why I’m doing Flappy Courier.

flappy_courier

Screenshot from the game

Features:

  • very hard, flappy bird like
  • dark and nice pixelated graphics
  • special effects on tap
  • highscores & achievements
  • iOS / Android / Windows Phone

I even prepared short gameplay video from the game.  Enjoy it and let me know what you think.

Wednesday Recap #23

Hello again my dear readers and passers-by. You know how the drill goes – I show you what I was working on, give you some excuses why I don’t have more to show and complete everything with nice cute gif animation (to forget those excuses…). So here we go.

GIF animation

Of course, I’ll start with this one to get your attention (it may take a while to load). I got quite few requests lately to show some more gameplay. I know there is mostly ambient that I’m showing off but I’ll do my best to show something more “interesting” from now on.

Fear of light or not

Afraid of light…

This animation answers one question – What happens when your light goes out?
Spiders feel your vulnerability and starts chasing you of course. If you have enough oil urns with you and a good aim you’ll be safe though. Just watch out when you lower your torch, will you?

Sound system

In previous post I mentioned my problems with sound editor I was preparing for the game. And you know what?

fmod_free

 

Yep, FMOD is free for indie projects (with revenue < 100.000$). I know I’ve switched sound engine / library many times but I really need that special effects and FMOD offers good cross-platform compatiblity + lovely sound editor which I WON’T have problems with. It’s totally worth it I take it. I’m making my move this weekend – I’ll ask FMOD out for a hot date.

Time time time, excuses, school, excuses, time time….

Those of you who are following me on twitter have already heared about my study frustrations. I have 2 lectures left at the University before I finish it for good and guess what? Those two are as interesting as hard and time consuming. I even had to take tuesday off from the day job to attend all the lectures and lab practices. To fill that whole in my work schedule, I’ll have to work one day in the weekend to bring everything in. I’ve tried without that plan but I was deadly frozen without hearing those lectures at the university. This will go on for next 2 months until the exams. I really have to get rid of these last two weasels for good. Courier of the Crypts will be developed by my best efforts in this time. Maybe one of the big issues is time management which I’m fighting with. Sometimes I simply fail on that area. Sorry in advance for less cool stuff but just for a short time.

Map design

I’m working on my maps normally and implementing missing stuff from my previous version of the game. You see, I have many game objects implemented but not in the current version so I’m moving stuff to the new project by need.

mapeditor_wr

Hello there map editor!

I use my university Tuesdays as efficiently as I can. When I have breaks, small or big, I try to sketch stuff to my notebook. I already have some really cool parts of the maps with events planned and I just can’t wait to implement everything.

Oh right, notebook! I got this cool gift from my friend you see. It’s a really cool looking notebook actually and on the first page he wrote something like this in translation:

There is no courier without a letter like there is no game developer without a notebook.
May this notebook be filled with the craziest ideas which will help you through all the crypts you’re entering

If you are reading this, thanks again, that was one awesome gift!

Future

We all like to talk about the future yet we don’t know what will it bring. In my case I can at least preddict it to some degree. I’m making some major changes and moves in my life that’ll give me tons of time for the game. One fact is that I’ll finish with all the lectures at the University forever or at least I don’t have any plans to continue my study. There are few others things I’ll reveal very soon but that big change is comming in matter of few months.

I just want to thank you all once again for all the support / comments / sharing / caring…you’re the main reason I’m pushing everything forward regardless of all the life situations (and my own mind) that try to hold me back sometimes. Stay cool!

Wednesday Recap #22

I’ve skipped one wednesday recap but I didn’t leave you empty handed. Last time I did a nice post featuring first music pieces for the Courier of the Crypts (and video with the scenes from the game to accompany the music) – check it out here.

As most of you know I’m working on the short playable demo to get some feedback. Demo will include storyline map + 1-2 fully playable maps. I still need some basics done like audio system as well as maps. I can’t stress enough how important is the ambient and just because of that it takes time.

Audio Editor

Since I’ve decided with Zdravko to add special effects like reverb, distorstion etc. and audio editor so we can test and add sounds to the game without coding I put some extra time into that. I wrote Sound Editor in C# because working with custom UI in C++ is pain in the ass. I’m using primitive method – I save everything to file which is then used in the game to load / reload sound data.

soundeditor_cotc

sound editor preview

I found one problem along the way though – saving structures in C# and using them in C++. I’m quite a n00b when it comes to C# and therfore I’m not familiar with all the tricks. One evening I left the issue alone and moved back to map design. I found a possible solution to that but I yet have to implement it. Game part of the audio is mostly done as well as sound editor. Only thing that has to be done is connection. Next week maybe?

More pixels

I do more pixel art when need for that arises. I don’t have huge list of stuff I need to pixel for the maps. I have rough list that I do as soon as posible but after that, I just go and start making maps and if I need something, I place those pixels around. Here are few pices that were done.

cotc_morepixelscotc_staringLevel design

I was pimping out a map where you get your torch and…anyway, here is the animated gif just for you. You saw this scene before but not in animated state I take it? And there is a stained glass behind the old man now. Also, walls got higher and changed.

This map still has some sequences that needs to be scripted so I’ll be doing this next (right after I finish that audio system anyway). It’s interesting in game development how simple can a scene like that looks like yet I have to write a dialogue with the old man, make that moment when you grab a torch special, move that old man to unlock the doors when you pick the torch…well, you know, it can take lots of time. Lots of time for 1 minute of gameplay. One learns to appreciate games that way.

We’re having a small Slovenian Game Developer event and I’ll have short presentation of Courier of the Crypts from start to the present. I’ll make a video of changes through many builds. That should be fun :)

Until next week everyone – work and play hard!

 

First music of the crypts – preview (video)

As you can see, this is not usual wednesday recap post. This post is about *drumroll* MUSIC! I’m really happy to share with all of you these first pieces of music that you may hear in Courier of the Crypts.

While was working on the sound system, Zdravko was diligently creating music pieces and sounds. In this month I’ve recieved 3 music pieces and for that occasion I’ve made a video where you’ll see combination of visuals and music.

We’re looking for your feedback on the music – do you think it fits to the visual theme? Do you like whole combination? Your feedback is more than welcome!

I know it’s hard to say without other sounds and Courier walking and waving around with his torch but do your best and enjoy the video.

In the video you can only hear parts of the full songs, Zdravko was kind enough to put those pieces on the soundcloud so you can listen them in full length.

These music pieces will be later torn down to pieces which will be played on special parts of the level depending on the situation. These whole tracks serves for something more *hint hint*

I really hope you liked the speciality of this post as I did. Your feedback on the music will be much appreciated since it will help us determine if we need to change directions or keep it that way (only better of course).

Short post about the development (sound system) is coming soon as well. Stay tuned! :D

Environments of the Crypts

This is a post most of you were hardly waiting for. I also had this huge desire to share with you what kind of environments are you going to pass through in the game. On most of the screenshots you either saw storyline art or piece of the tiles for the 1st episode (as I like to call it) of the crypts.

cotc_theme1_title

Developing theme ideas

At the start I was a bit lost what kind of environments can I include since everything is happening in the crypts. I’ve decided to make 3 episodes in the game, each featuring it’s own boss. Ok, 3 thematics in the crypts – I still couldn’t work with that because we are talking about the crypts here. What can you possibly do with the crypts in a range of the whole game? It mustn’t get boring, there must be something new and original…I was stuck on that point for a while and it was really depressing. I just couldn’t figure it out and my brainstorming was in vain until one moment when I was like: “Woah, wait a second! You’re making a game, fantasy game with a magic torch, why do you need to use real life logic? You DON’T have to, just think out of the box about something crazy you can do”. That helped a lot and so I’ve brought up this issue when I was on a drink with my friend (who is also in game development – artist for that matter). He said I should make some flora like heavy moss, huge roots out of the walls and mushrooms with nice glow. That was something I could work with. You saw root part already and I’m going to show you mushroom concept today among other screenies.

3 Thematics / Episodes

Like I said, my game will have 3 episodes with main different thematics. I only have “dev” names for those right now and it goes something like this:

  1. Marble Halls
  2. Forgotten Crypts
  3. Hell’s Depths

You saw many screenshots of the Marble Halls so I’m going to show you early mockups rendered in game for the second two.

Forgotten Crypts

cotc_theme2_preview

This is the second episode. As you can see, walls are much older and you’ll find more damaged areas here. Candles are replaced with torches and so on. With every episode, new gameplay elements and enemies are introduced. Here you can see pushing blocks. It’s SOKOBAN! Well, not really, but there are few neat trick you can do with them (I had prototype of that more than a year ago and it works great).

Hell’s Depths

cotc_theme3_preview

This is the last episode. You can see lava streams here but it’s not hell really. You’ll find out this were crypts once as well although crypts are so deep that lava broke through some parts of the floor. I can’t say more at this point for I want to keep few things away from you. Some cool things that is :)

cotc_theme3_2_preview

Here is another part of the last episode. You can see oil pots on the wall instead of candles/torches. This represents somewhat stable corridor.

Sub thematics

Even 3 various thematics with different gameplay elements are not enough. At least I can’t be satisfied with that. For that reason I’ve decided to make some mini thematics that will break episode theme monotomy a bit. Some of those may be out of the place but I guarantee there will be logic behind everything.

In Marble Halls for example, you’ll be venturing through the sewers in one map. You can see full screenshot of the sewers here.

cotc_theme1_sewers_preview

Sewers, nasty sewers….

Next picture is the sketch of the subtheme from the 2nd episode. You’ll “find” yourself in underground mushroom cave. And there will be insects as well – game needs nasty insects to get on your nerves. Mushrooms will be glowing brightly in cute colors, some of them will also be dangerous as insects aren’t enough. That part is still in planning and brainstorming phase but I just wanted to let you know you won’t be trapped between cold crypt walls all the time.

cotc_theme2_mushroom_preview

Mushroooms! And insects…

This is it for this post. I really hope you like what you see up there and do let me know what you think. I’m open for any suggestions – what kind of stuff would you put in the crypts? What do you excpect to find down there?

Thanks for you attention and have a nice week on ;)

You can also follow the development on next social thingies:
Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Wednesday Recap #21

I’ve been busy with studying in the last week and few more study days are ahead of me. If you add my day job to this you can imagine I can hardly find time for development. Next to that I was attending Global Game Jam over the weekend here in Slovenia which was wonderful experience. I have to make post about that as well but you can check slovenian global game jam craftsmanship until then :)

In case you’re not following me on Twitter or Facebook you might have missed last week’s screenshot and animated version of it so I’m attaching it here to make sure you don’t miss it.

Crypt Fountain

Just chillin’ next to the crypt fountain

In action

This is the part before the “accident” happens. This is still part of the storyline map or at least I classify it as that. I’m making progress towards the small test build which should consist of storyline map and 1-2 gameplay maps. Just enough to get some proper feedback.

lionhead_wip2

 

You can see “Lion’s” head design process. It should be lion’s head but it turned out more like a dragon. The fun thing while making games is that you can have your freedom and this is a good example. I thew final version in the game and it turned out great and I said: “Why not? It really doesn’t matter if it’s a lion, cougar or dragon. Let the fantasy flow through player’s mind” and it’s inded like that. That’s what I love in games – fantasy.

Sounds and music are also in production and I’m soon adding them to the game. I’ve got small update on the Couirer of the Crypts theme as well which sounds very adventurous and mega awesome.

I wanted to use this post to show you some concepts, designs and mockups for environment that you’ll be going through later in the game but I didn’t have time to put everything together by today so I’m moving that environments showcase to tomorrow / friday. Stay tunned, it will be very colorful post ;)

Wednesday Recap #20

It has been quite long since the last wednesday recap – 1 month exactly. For this long gap I’m bringing you many news and I’ll start right away with screenshots.

Latest screenshot: "I have to get that wooden cog in order to fix that mechanism"

“I have to get this wooden cog in order to fix that mechanism”

New wall graphics

If you were following my previous graphics of the crypt you should recognize changed wall tiles. I’ve made more obvious top part which gives you a feeling of taller area. That and it looks better in general, or at least it should – you tell me.

To understand what I’m saying, here are new and old tiles on the grid (without lighting):

new_tilesWhat do you think, positive or negative change?

Chests, give me that loot!

I have chests in the game for some time now but I never finished them. That’s what changed few hours ago. Take a look at this neat animation:

gold_pickingI need to work on treasure graphics a bit more because someone mentioned it looks like hay. For me, it’s more like sulfur from Heroes of Might & Magic 2…yep, I need to fix that.

Crypt enterance hall

Have you missed two weeks old screenshot of the saturday, displaying crypt enterance hall graphics and the mysterious old man for the first time? Worry not, here it is!

 

cotc_sss_enterance1

Clicky-click to enlarge

That’s the first level of the crypts which is more or less still part of the story. This one should look a bit more modern and bright. So, who is the old man infront of the Courier and what is that mysterious cabinet in the corner?

Sound

Do you remember previous wednesday recap where I talked about the sound? Well, I did some progress on that part. You can’t place sounds in the map editor yet but I’m already playing 2D sounds for pickups and courier’s footsteps. Oh, and oil urn woooshes ^_^

There are also this programming tasks that I’ve done which I won’t trouble you with but I want you to know that I’m moving onwards, day by day.

milestoneBigger milestone on the horizon

I’ve decided to get some planning together and the result of that is milestone. I can’t tell you yet what is this milestone all about because I don’t want to cause some false buzz (and not that it deserves it). Date for the milestone is 1st of March. Exams and small trip in the next month can consume some serious time which could prevent me reaching the goal. I’ll update you on that in the February.

More about Courier of the Crypts in two weeks. Stay well and have fun ^_^