Wednesday Recap #32

newspost

You might have heard that Kickstarter date for the Courier of the Crypts is revealed. I’m yelling around about it for a week now. Because preparations takes time I’ll stop with the weekly recaps until the campaign. After that, everything will go back to normal. So, no more recaps for 1 weeks but don’t worry. Instead of text blocks I’ll supply you with image material. That’s cool right? :)

Let me show you some stuff then.

✰ Sewers ✰ Tentacles ✰ Pathfinding ✰ Torch/Health bar ✰ Secret Areas ✰ Screenshots ✰ Much more ✰

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Wednesday Recap #31

Hello everyone. I’ll keep this report quite short since I was working a lot on the details (polishing…) for one of the maps from the demo. Don’t worry though, I have some cool stuff to show.

Animated goodies

On your way to the crypts, you’ll pass some wicked and cool stuff along the way. This for example, is the village church near the crypts where you’ll pass a silent and staring grave digger. Church bell is ringing, mist is crawling around…it’s quite an ambient, I can assure you.

 

 

 

 

That’s one part of the polishing I’ve done. My weakness is to polish stuff to the point where 99% people won’t see that tiny pixel flying around yet I’ll spend lots of time on it.

Of course, this is far from polished but I like it so far and I’ll leave it like that for a time being. What do you think? How does it feel?

Just remembered that I forgot to animate that spilling lava texture. Woopsie!

Map editor craze

I was talking about huge number of objects in the maps many times, how the connections work etc. I’m already working on the standalone article about that but for now, I would like to show you something. Map I’ll show you counts 491 objects so far and I don’t even dare to check how many connections. This is only a piece of the map I’ve mentioned. Check out how it looks like with all the connections and objects.

MapEditor_Conneections

 If you want a more detailed view, click on the next screenshots.

MapEditor_NoConnectionMapEditor_Connections

If you check those screens you’ll see there are many different types of objects. More of them I make more freedom I have with the map editor. I would really like to release map editor after the game release because I would really like to see what players can make.

But you know how it goes – more freedom, more possibilities and more problems.

Kickstarter

I’m on the verge of the kickstarter date reveal but I need few more days to plan things out to see if I can make it. I’m very excited but there is a lot of work for me to do from demo version itself to sending emails, video creation for the KS and much more. Stressful and enjoyable month(s) here I come :D

Wednesday Recap #30

I’m back with regular Wednesday Recap! I hope you all enjoyed the new teaser trailer and thank you so much for the patience. You did watch the trailer right? No? What are you waiting for then?

New website
newwebsiteAs you might know I’ve also released a new website that beats the old one 9000 times. If you happen to be a writer for the gaming site then I invite you to visit press part and get yourself some press-kit goodies and learn more about the game. There is also a support part of the page where everyone can help me out be clicking the social buttons and sharing the game around your circles via facebook, google+ and twitter. I’ll add more options over time including.

News

KickstarterIn last few days including right now I’m thinking about the Kickstarter campaign date and it’s hard. I would like to do it asap but I need the demo ready first. I’m working on it and at the best it will be done in 2 weeks. If that works out then I’ll be starting the campaign on November. This is what I’m discussing with myself so nothing is final. I’ll let you know when I decide for good.

Courier of the Crypts mentions

igm

IndieGameMagazine (IGM) did a coverage on the game and I can’t tell you how honered I am to be on their site.

 

Game was also featured on the ConsoleFun.fr. If you understand french or if you trust uncle google then you’ll understand what they say about it.

Contacting gaming sites

I was sending some emails to the gaming sites to see if they would do some coverage for the game. I was featured on few sites without contacting anyone so this is my first time writing to them and I’m nervous about it. We’ll see what happens but so far it was a nice experience.

Development

  • Tutorial
    keyinteraction
    I always disliked lots of text and pauses and whatnot in the tutorials so after some brainstorming I implemented key tutorial for starters. Eg. key for interaction will show two times in a row then I’ll let player figure it out for the third and fourth time. After a while I’ll show it again and that’s it. I plan to introduce mechanics slowly, step by step from interaction to torch handling.
  • Bugs bugs bugs
    I had lots of fun with bugs in last two days…no, not really. FMOD was causing me some troubles with 3D sounds, animations weren’t playing correctly at some points and hud was popping up even when I didn’t want it to. That and few more stuff with linking objects and triggers. But everything is solved.
  • Polishing
    I did a polishing run on the first map of the demo. Adding details to the map like objects on the ground / wall to the smoke particles in the air, sounds, lights etc. That’s the best part of the map design for me.
  • Adding and editing components to the map editor
    This takes quite some time but it’s worth it and again worthy it. When I’m talking about map editor components I’m talking about those silly objects that I’m placing around in the map editor. More components I have more stuff I can make. One component consists of the object with functionalities and triggers. For example, doors are 1 component – I have to draw those doors, then I have to program them to open and after that I have to set the trigger which tells you when will it activate other objects. You see, every component can be activated by the others or it can activate them. I was thinking to make a new blog post just to explain that system because it’s dynamic and powerful – interesting enough to read about I take it.

Health / Torch bar  <— big changes

It might came to your attention that there is no health bar / hearts in the game. That’s because there wasn’t anything like that – one hit and you’re gone. Through the history of the game people were dying like crazy on simple traps. Maybe I introduced traps in a lame sort of way but anyhow I needed some kind of system that won’t insta kill you.

Torch bar & Health bar

1. Idea – Torch bar serves as a health bar as well. If you’re walking, the light is decreasing but it would also cut it down if an arrow hit you. I was playing with this but then I couldn’t accept it since torch is deadly important and I can’t allow players to lose light just like that –> 2nd idea.

2. Idea (accepted) – Let’s have a health bar…and the torch bar. When your torch is turned off, health bar would be active. This means that enemies can’t get your flame but they can lower your health. If you’ll have flame active and something hurts you, magic flame will defend you at the cost of the light. What’s more important to you, light or health? It’s your choice! Switching between the two will have a cooldown timer so you can’t use the system to trick some enemies.

That’s it for the week. I’m sure there’s much more I forgot to mention but I can’t help it. There’s just so many thing going on right now. Thanks for taking your time and please, if you like what you see, please, share the game with others.

Have a great week(end), until next time! :)

Wednesday Recap #29

Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a great week so far. Great or not, I’ll try to make it a bit better with this post, ok?

Last week I left you empty handed because I was studying for the exam and there was not much progress done except the one for the trailer which is TOP SECRET for now. I’ve passed 1/2 of the exam (oral part left) so at least time wasn’t wasted.

To get your attention – have you seen latest screenshot? The one titled Disembark that I’ve posted this Saturday? Here, this is the one:

Courier meets the mummies with some "friendly" oil urns after his disembark.

Courier meets the mummies with some “friendly” oil urns after his disembark.

Question that will be answered: Why is trailer taking so long?

Those who follow me for a long time already know that I have lots of things planned, drawn and designed but I don’t have everything implemented in the game. Far from it. Normally, I’m implementing stuff while I work on the maps. I do have prototypes for most of the stuff but prototypes aren’t enough. That means I’m implementing stuff and building parts of the maps just for the trailer right now. No harm is done though for everything will be used in the game as well later on. Except for the delay, that’s the minus here and I’m sorry for that.

Animating the big fire dude

Pixels here, pixels there, pixels everywhere

Pixels here, pixels there, pixels everywhere

Courier will meet this fire dude at some point and you’ll be able to see it in the trailer as well so I had to take my time to make some animations for it. It takes some patience and lots of time to animate pixel art stuff, especially big stuff like this one. I’ll show you only idle animation for now ok?

More stuff

Here are few more stuff that I was working on this week. Let me remind you that this is not the final quality of the game. I’m far from polishing phase so…yeah. You know ;)

Ahoy!

Ahoy!

Deadly-fiery-explosion spell that will be casted by some deadly crypt dweller

Opening chests was always fun right? I’ve done some slight improvements but I’m still not entirely satisfied with it. More shiny lights and treasure next time.

Opening the chest

Question that will be answered: Soo…when is the trailer release date again?

When it’s done! No, seriously, I’m doing my best – it’s over 50%, music is shaping pretty well, visuals are there and people say it’s not “THAT” boring so far. So, I guess that’s it for you. I would like to say next week but I won’t because I don’t know what problems may arise.

TrailerInMaking

Windows Movie Maker now, I’ll need something else later

That’s it for the week. I hope you’re satisfied with the gif animations and that lots of text didn’t bring you down along the way. Have a great week on and enjoy the weekend ;)

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 ;)

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!

 

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 ^_^

Wednesday Recap #19

I’m back after a short delay. I took some break from the project for about two weeks to get things done for school and more time for relaxation. You see, my eye was twitching for a whole month every day which was obvious sign of exhaustion (and maybe high level of caffeine) but it’s ok now. Back to normal!

With that in mind I’ll try to go more easy on the game from here on. There will be more changes like less frequent weekly recaps – I’ll release one on two weeks for I’ll try to spend more time on other things. Burning out and gone crazy won’t help the game right? ;) I’ll keep development on one way or another, fear not.

While not working on the project I got some more things done organization wise – breaking big tasks to smaller ones and writing down new ones. With big tasks you need extra effort to think about where to start while smaller ones are easy to start with.

Designing sounds system

We’ve been on this point before, at least at some point but I’m going over it once again. For sounds, I’ve been using irrlKlang but left it behind because of some memory leaks (which may be a false alarm as developers said) and SFML sound when I was using SFML but now that I’m back on SDL I’ll either pick SDL sound or openAL itself.

This post is more about sounds and how will they work. Next step is building up sound editor which will be used by my composer. He knows the best what works and what not so it’s the best for the project if I let him play around with the sounds directly from map editor.

Some sounds will be part of the objects by default like effects of the torch, brazier, water dripping, explosion etc. and there are those that can be placed alone in the map. For now you’ll be able to set default volume of the sound and fall off. Hopefully I’ll add reverb options later but I want to keep it simple for now.

sounds_scene

Mockup for placing sounds in the scene – no interface there yet

Sounds can be activated by triggers and they can be a trigger at the same time which turns on when player reaches X distance to it. Zdravko came up with some really great ideas for the sound and how can we play with the player. I won’t spoil anything but it’s cool – at least in theory, we have to play around first.

For that exact reason I have to make somewhat cool sound editor to give Zdravko some experimenting freedom. Also, it has to be easy to use for I really want to keep him sane while working with it ( you see, my map editor is not really user friendly atm.).

That’s about sounds but there is more about music. I’m not sure if I mentioned that before but Zdravko suggested we move from “single track mode” for a level to dynamic music. Courier of the Crypts is a lot about ambient and music playing all the time doesn’t go well with that. Our plan is to have multiple music pieces that will play on different events / places. Most of the time it will be very ambiental, crypt music but when you’ll get trapped in a room full of mummies tense music will start playing. Entering chapel you’ll hear celestial sounds and so on. Zdravko is eager to start working on that part but it’s hard to try out something like that without ready-to-use sound editor. I’ll work on this for the next few day. I’m sure there’s more that I forgot to mention but as you can see Courier of the Crypts will not let you down sounds and music wise :)

That’s it today and I really hope I can bring you good news for the next time. Stay well!