Friday, December 27, 2013

Basic Fantasy

Big changes are in store for Lands of Adventure, and those changes involve the RPG system that the game will be using.  Initially, the game was using a home brew system that I was developing.  However, thanks to Chris Gonnerman, I have been granted permission to use the Basic Fantasy RPG system in my game.

Basic Fantasy is an old-school style RPG that uses a lot of familiar rules and ideas from the Basic version of Dungeons & Dragons and mixes it with some updated rules from the 3.5 edition of the game.  So anyone who has played an older version of D&D will find some things they recognize.

Information about Basic Fantasy can be found here:
Basic Fantasy Homepage

Here's a screenshot of one of the splash pages in the game that provides information about the system:


Basic Fantasy is really a fantastic RPG system.  I've used it to run a few games.

In case you're wondering why there haven't been many updates to the blog recently, it's because I've been working to implement this system into the game.  I'm not done yet, but it's coming along nicely.  Since the system has changed, this means that some important parts of the game have changed as well.

For starters, there are different classes.  There are now only ten instead of twelve, but I think it's something that people could probably live with.

The new selection of classes.

Classes now include:  Fighter, Paladin, Barbarian, Thief, Ranger, Assassin, Druid, Cleric, Monk and Magic-User (all classic classes that most RPG fans will recognize).  Some of the classes in this screenshot are not available only because the character didn't meet the minimum requirements for those classes (Paladin, Ranger and Monk).

Other changes in the game include the addition of a Saving Throw system, Hit Points and the removal of Mana Points (since spellcasting works different in Basic Fantasy than it did in my home brew system).

Some players may be upset to learn that the skills and perks system has been completely removed from the game.  This is unavoidable, as they don't exist in the current system.  Instead, skill rolls will be handled by attributes and perks simply won't exist.  

Here's an updated screenshot showing the starting town with the new character information off to the side and how it will appear in the game.  Below the name is the class of the character, their number of hit point and their current status (which will show when a character is dead, diseased, poisoned, etc).

Wandering around town, Basic Fantasy style.

Finally, this character sheet will show many of the changes.  (Note:  Saving Throws aren't currently implemented, so they will show up as a static number in this screenshot because I haven't coded them yet.  Everything else is working):

The new and improved character sheet.

Big changes are coming.  I'm excited about it and I hope you are too.

Per the agreement I made with Chris Gonnerman (creator of Basic Fantasy), this game will be released as freeware upon completion (that was the original intention when I started this journey anyway).  However, I may still create a Kickstarter simply to purchase assets for the game (buildings, models, UI elements, etc).  Even free, I want this game to be the best that it can be.  I'll let you know when that happens.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shadows

A few posters from the RPG Codex forums pointed out that the game might look better if there were shadows on the terrain.  I hadn't realized that you could do shadows in the free version of Unity (that's probably because I started this project with an older version, and I don't think they were available...or at least, I didn't know about them).

Here's the result.  It's a bit subtle, but the shadows do add something.  The nice thing is that they're baked onto the scene, so they don't cause a hit in performance (real-time shadows are probably not going to be worth doing in a game like this...as I'm not shooting for ultra realism).

You can see the shadows on the buildings, which is kind of cool.

Definitely let me know what you think of that.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Adventuring Journal

Obviously, my experimentation in the last post didn't work out.  So, I'll be sticking with the nice graphics that I'm already using.  While the debate about the graphics has been going on, I've been working on the Adventuring Journal that the player will use to track their quests.

It's a work in progress, but here's what it looks like:

Go warn the Mayor!

It's pretty straightforward in how it works.  Like a lot of things in the game, I'm trying to keep it simple.  I think it looks pretty nice.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Experimentation

I had a few minutes today, so I've played around a bit with the idea of creating graphics that look like they are hand-drawn or sort of cartoon-like in nature.  Some people think it could add to the abstraction of the game.  I'm not sold, but here's a screenshot anyway.

Not sure that this works.
I guess when the realism becomes too high, there are certain expectations...and in order to reduce the expectations, I have to reduce the graphic quality?  Yeah, that confuses me too...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Graphic Update

I got some feedback regarding the screenshots I uploaded last time.  A couple of people indicated that they didn't care for the way that the graphics were done.  I had a few days to think about it and decided to approach them a different way.

For comparison, here's what the NPC interaction looked like originally:

Also pay attention to the dialogue, which changes dramatically in the next screenshot as I tightened it up somewhat.

I liked it when I first worked with it.  But, after a while, I realized it didn't sit right with me.  So, thanks to RPG Watch forum user "Sacred_Path" and a few users on RPG Codex, I got pointed in a different direction.  This is where the graphics are headed now:

A lot easier on the eyes, I think.
Anyway, feel free to leave feedback about it.  Making mistakes is just a part of the process.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quest Systems


I mentioned in my last blog post that I had started work on some of the exploration and quest systems in the game.  As I explained in that post, I have no idea of which systems I might need until I need them (aside from the combat system, naturally).  There's a lot of things that I can't work on until I see how they're all going to work together.

I suppose that means that I'm flying by the seat of my pants on the development of this game, but it's not much different than working on a piece of art anyway.

Since I'm working on the quest system, I figured it was time to go ahead and share some screenshots of what adventuring in "Lands of Adventure" might look like:

Interacting with someone in the town.
Obviously, a CRPG with story elements is going to need a way to talk to NPCs.  The above picture reflects what talking to an NPCs might look like.  Anyone who has played old-school CRPGs will recognize that this is pretty similar to how the Gold-Box games handled dialogue.

But, if I want the dialogue to be more than just straight narrative prose, I have to allow the player an option to roleplay and to make decisions.  So, enter the branching choices:

I'm picking the first answer, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to pick the third one.
CRPGs have evolved a lot over the past 25 or so years.  This game, I hope, will represent the best things about old-school adventuring while bringing in some of the modern ideas that make a game a little more interactive.  In older games, you didn't get as many branching options as you do in today's games.  I'd like to think that was due to limitations of memory and disk space, and less of a design decision.  It's my belief that the game can still be considered to follow the style of old-school and still include this kind of convenience.

Finally, plots aren't always advanced by talking to NPCs.  Sometimes, things happen, or the PCs see something.  Or, maybe they find important notes...like this one:

MMMmmmm....assassination....
There should be a lot of options for players to get involved in things, or to miss things completely.  For example, this note was found buried in the mud.  It's possible a player might miss it and never find out about it...or they might decide to do something besides get involved in whatever is going on.  And I think they should have that choice.

And who knows...maybe someone will ask them to clean some rats out of a basement somewhere...but at least it won't be their only choice.






Friday, November 1, 2013

Starting Town

I've reached the point in game development where I've started to throw some of the maps together.  That's because I don't know every system I'm going to need in the game until I actually build those parts of the game.  I can't guess in advance.

So, there's not really much to share in regards to features (as most of the systems behind the scenes would sound pretty boring if I described them).  However, here are some cool screenshots of the starting town...

One of the entrance gates.


Looking toward the well in the center of the town.


Near the well.

I'm fairly happy with the way it's starting to come together.  And comparing these screenshots to the early version of the game is night and day.  I'll keep you updated.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Leaps and Bounds

With each passing day, the game becomes more of a reality.  Whether I spend a day knocking out a single complex system or find time to hammer out five or six different things, it all leads to one thing...progress.  I find that as long as I continually move forward on a project, I eventually get to the end.  It's the best advice I can give to someone who is working on anything.  Just keep working and you'll get to where you're going eventually.

As for this game, there are a lot of new things, but not all of them are things that allow me to show screenshots.  Still, there are a few things to show off since last time.

Even though I couldn't salvage the other version of the game due to some strange errors (and I never did figure that mess out), I was able to pull some of my work from that version.  That means that this version now has all 12 classes, skills, perks...etc.

Since I've already shown off the screens where you pick your skills and perks and I don't want to repeat myself, here's a screenshot that highlights what you would see if you examined a character's skills and perks during gameplay:


The "Back" and "Next" buttons allow you to look through the skills and perks of each character in your party with ease.

Of course, starting characters wouldn't normally have six different perks.  1st level characters only get three, but I threw a couple of extra ones onto my test characters just so I could see how they would display.   During the course of the game, a character can accumulate up to eight perks in total.

In addition to the skills and perks, a lot of work has been done with the inventory system.  I've shown the inventory screen previously, so I won't bore you with another shot of that.  Instead, we'll talk about the different things you can do with the inventory.

There are items that you can equip (like armor, swords, shields, boots, helmets, etc), and that functionality is fully in place.  Sometimes, you want to drop something, and you can accomplish that easily enough.  Or, trade it to someone else in the party...and even that can be done without issue.

The hard part was coding the things that can be used.  Things like bandages, which can be used to heal your party.  Or mana crystals, which can be used to recharge the mana of your spellcasters when they can't rest in a hostile environment.


Selecting a character to heal.

In order to assist the player, I have added pop-up windows.  These windows provide feedback or allow the player to make choices.  In the picture above, for example, the player can select which character should be healed with a bandage.

Of course, one thing I always disliked about old-school CRPGs is when you do something that you didn't need to do without realizing it.  For example, drinking a healing potion when you were already healed...or clicking on a character that was already healed and hitting them with a heal spell that they didn't need.

So, I have created safeguards.  If a character is already fully healed (or has full mana, or whatever), the game will actually let you know that you don't need to do that and won't expend whatever item you were trying to use.

This character tried to use a bandage on himself when he wasn't hurt.  What a doofus.

I wish all CRPGs did this, but they don't.  So, that's just the way it goes.  But, with this game I want to be sure that player's don't waste resources on accident.  It happens.  And it sucks when it does.  Hopefully, this will make it suck less.

Finally, after several different revisions, I have come up with a design that I like for the main screen.  Some people won't like it.  They have told me that games shouldn't have character GUIs and that they get in the way...but I think this is only a modern way of thinking.  Old-school CRPGs had character GUIs, so this game will have one as well.

Yes, I created a version at one point where the characters weren't seen and would show up when you pressed the "ESC" key...but if I wanted to build a modern style game, then I would build one.  That's not the kind of game I'm building...so people who don't like it can do something else.  There are plenty of games for them to play.

The text box is not always visible.  It does go away when there isn't text to be displayed.
This is the state of the game currently.  It's coming along well.  I haven't had a lot of time to post here recently.  But, that's probably because I'm spending my time programming instead.

Looking forward to your feedback...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Round and Round We Go

Anyone who reads this blog regularly is probably going to start thinking I've lost my mind, but I have taken a step back again.  This time, I didn't start all over, but I did go back to the version I had been working on previously (the version with 12 classes and perks and skills).  There were a lot of things that prompted this, and I won't explain them all, but the main one was this:

* The new version wasn't working out the way that I wanted it to work out.

It was very restricting.  It took me two months, but I finally remembered why working on the first version in Unity was liberating:  Because I wasn't bound into the same box I had been stuck in back when I created the first version in Visual Studio.  So, going back and trying to get Unity to conform to that box turned out to be a terrible mistake.

I lost two months of time, but I learned some really important lessons.  A lot of them actually.  And, I think going forward, we'll see a lot more interesting things start to happen.  This experience has freed me and cut me loose from the box that I couldn't see around. 

So, I'm taking a step back again...but it really feels like a step forward.  Some of the best lessons are the hardest to learn.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Updated Character Screens

Even though the updates to this blog have become less frequent doesn't mean that progress on the game has stopped.  In fact, I've been working pretty hard.  The problem is that there is very little that can be shown.  Working with code and rebuilding systems from the original version of the game is an essential step...but leads to some very boring blog reading.  I'm sure you don't much care to hear how I revamped the item class objects or worked out the steps to make text print just the way that I want on the screen.  It's interesting to me, certainly, but I'm likely the only one who would find it so.

Still, some progress has been made.  I like to show off the progress to keep those who are interested up to date with how things are coming along.  This time around, I don't have a lot of visuals to show off, but at least I have something to prove that I haven't been sitting on my hands the last month and a half.

This time around, we'll look at the new version of the character screen.  But, before we do that, let's remind ourselves what the old version looked like:

The original character screen in all its glory.

The updated version includes all the same information, laid out in much the same way.  But, it looks a lot nicer.  A whole lot nicer.  Let's take a look:

Updated version.

There's still some work to be done.  The "Continue" button at the bottom shouldn't be showing.  When the character panel loads, it should be turned off.  It's not a broken function or anything, I just haven't coded it yet.  Some of the numbers need to be aligned correctly as well.  They look sort of crooked to me.

I'd like to think that the new, more colorful version of the character screen shows that the game is keeping its roots while updating it's look. 

But, there are many things that can't be seen from just this one screenshot.  Since the last posting, I have updated the number of classes available in the game.  We have gone from four to seven (Warrior, Knight, Scout, Ranger, Priest, Sorcerer, Battlemage). 

Decisions are being made about how to handle the combat in this game as well.  I want to increase the tactical options, but still keep it simple enough that anyone who has played games of this nature will be able to pick it up without a manual or a tutorial.  It's not easy, but ideas are starting to form about how it will all flesh out.

So, if you're following the development of the game, stay tuned.  There will be some exciting stuff coming.



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Going Back to Square One

I spoke in another post about scope creep.  In the last few months, this project has started to succumb to that very issue.  The more new things I wanted to add to the game, the more overwhelming the project became.  While everything was looking great, in reality it was becoming a mess and I started to realize that I had gone far, far away from what I had originally intended for this game.

So, I have gone back to square one.  The beginning.  I have started over.  Using the Unity engine, I am going to rebuild the game in the same style as before.  I will save all the stuff I want to add like additional classes, skills and perks and other things for a sequel or an updated version.  Rather than make the game a complicated mess that might not get finished, I would rather build it the way that I want and see it completed.

And, you know what?  I'm fine with that.  I think the game will still be good and will showcase what I can do.  Everything else can come later when I have more help or funding or whatever.

There will still be some updates, though.  I'll be using the 3D engine in Unity to render dungeons and locations versus the hand-drawn style I used in Visual Studio.  And I am still considering trying to make the combat engine work more like a Gold-Box game (like "Pool of Radiance") versus something like Phantasie.

Anyway, here are some comparison screenshots of the way that the game looked originally and how it is shaping up in Unity (which is also allowing me to create the game so that it can be played in full screen versus a little window).  Let's start with the Title Screen:

The original title screen.
The new title screen.  Look familiar?

Here are the main menus:

The original Main Menu screen.

The Unity version of the Main Menu screen.


When generating a character, these are what the attribute screens look like:

The original screen used to generate attributes.

The Unity version of the screen used to generate attributes.

Obviously, the screens are all similar.  This was done purposely.  And it may not be obvious here, but the screens in Unity look nicer.  Not only are the graphics and fonts better, but it's also in widescreen format, giving more space to lay things out on the screen.  Clicking on the pictures might make it more clear.

The original game ran in a window that was 1000 x 700.  The Unity version runs full screen at 1280 x 720, giving far more real estate for items on the screen.  This is all a good thing and I can't see myself going back to doing things the hard way.

So, these last few months have been a learning experience about what I wanted to do with this game.  In the end, I still have a lot of things I'd like to do, but they really need to go on the back burner for the moment.  Let me get the new version of the game caught up to the old version first.  Then, I can enhance it a lot.  It's what I should have done from the beginning.

As always, I'll be glad to hear any feedback you want to offer.




Friday, June 14, 2013

Combat Screens

I've been thinking a lot about how I want to approach combat in this game.  There are a couple of different options.  The one I wanted to pursue was to do the combat in a manner similar to the old Gold-Box style games (Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, etc).  But, the amount of work involved might be more than I want to undertake at this point, since the project is already so large.

There's a term called "scope creep" that's appropriate here.  You start off with a project that is simple, but you continue to add new things to it and it gets larger and larger and takes longer to finish.  Eventually, you add so many new things that you just lose track of what you're doing and the whole thing sinks.

Let's take a look at the original way that combat was presented in the old version of the game:

Fairly simple

Some of the feedback I got was that this kind of combat wouldn't be as "tactical" as other combat options.  I took this to heart, but I'm starting to think that those people don't understand my vision for this game.  I wanted it to have combat similar to the SSI game "Phantasie," and that's exactly what I accomplished.

So, even though I haven't made up my mind 100% yet, I'm starting to work out how the same combat system would work in Unity.  So far, this is what I have come up with (this is a staged combat between a party of female adventurers and several goblins and giants in the forest):

Same simplicity

This is an early version screenshot that I created just for layout purposes.  It isn't a working system at this point (but that will come soon enough).

Perhaps, instead of trying to replicate what has already been done, I should just stick with the combat engine I already created and update it.  It's different from what you usually see in western style CRPGs.  And even though it is similar to combat systems you sometimes see in eastern JRPGs, it's not quite the same.

It's still a toss-up at this point.  I originally pursued the type of combat I did because it was better than the "text-only" style of combat that appeared in games like "The Bard's Tale," but still simple enough for someone to pick up pretty easily.  I think that combat like this can still be "tactical," even if you don't involve yourself in a lot of moving around.  You still have to know when to cast precious spells or hold on to them, when to heal members of your party, and which opponents to strike to do the most damage and bring them down before they can hurt you.

It's a tough call.



Saturday, June 1, 2013

Building Characters

It's been a while since I've had time to update the blog.  Since my last writing, I have started school again to pursue a bachelor's degree in Software Development.  So, I've been quite busy with school work and prepping for certifications.

However, work has not stopped on the game.  In fact, I have increased the number of options available for characters.  In the old version of the game, you got four randomly rolled stats (Strength, Intellect, Agility and Willpower) and you got to choose your from four different classes.  And that was it...you were stuck with those choices.

The new version of the game is a whole different kind of beast.  I've already mentioned that the number of classes has gone from four to twelve.

Part 1: Selecting your character's class

In addition to changing the number of classes you get, I have also removed the random elements from the attributes.  You are no longer stuck with fickle dice routines to figure out how strong or smart your characters are.  Now, instead, you can use a point-buy system to decide that for yourself.

The numbers are much lower now, but the outcome is the same.  Having a 5 or 6 is a really good score to start with, and there will be opportunities to increase them as the character goes up in level.

Part 2:  Figuring out your attributes (is it just me or does this screen need work?)

But, I really wanted to make the game do a whole lot more than represent classes and numbers for the characters.  I wanted to find ways for the player to tailor their characters to be individuals and to have whatever strengths that the player wanted to build towards.

So, I devised a working skill system:

Part 3: Buying skills using skill points


Skills increase a characters chance to do something.  Obviously, having a "One-Handed Sword" skill of 3 will make this character hit more frequently and perhaps for slightly more damage when using that type of weapon than someone who has a 0. 

There are even skills for dealing with things outside of combat, like diplomacy, research and bluff.  And yes, I do intend for them to be used within the game.  Nothing represented in the skills will be unused.

But, the good news is that none of the skills require you to have points in them.  A score of 0 just means you don't have any kind of bonus...so your chance is just less good than another character that might have spent points to build the same score up to 5.  All skills can be used "untrained."

Of course, I didn't stop with skills.  I went the distance:

Part 4:  Selecting Character Perks

Characters can also select from a group of perks to help enhance their characters further and really give them some interesting choices.  They will get a couple to start with and will have opportunities to pick up a few more as they progress in levels.

All in all, I think this will help bring the characters in the game to a whole new level versus the way that they were handled in the original version of the game.  I'm pretty excited about the direction it's headed.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Screen UI Update

Two posts in one day?  I must be on a roll.

This will be a quick one, though.  I recieved some feedback about the UI.  I'm told it was a bit ugly and that the font looked too modern.  So, I've changed both.  It now looks like this:

Thanks to my wife for suggesting this.  She doesn't even play games like this.

I think I like it better than the other version.  What do you think?

Another Quick Update

Work continues on the game.  I'm working on a lot of different aspects of it all at once, including porting over a lot of the code that I wrote for the original version and modifying it to add more functionality and options.

One thing I worked on was a title screen.  The game has properly changed titles so that it is now called "Lands of Adventure: Symphony of Darkness."  Call me hopeful, but I'd like to think there could be sequels if this one is completed.  Here's the title screen as it stands:

I also considered calling it "Symphony of Destruction," but the band Megadeth has a well-known song by that title.

In addition, I've been working on the GUI of the main screen.  If you read my last entry, you would have seen some screenshots of the 3D environment.  But, these screenshots didn't show the overlay that included the characters and minimap.  At that time, they weren't ready to be seen, but I think enough work has been done on them that I can show them off now.

Here's what the game will look like when the party explores (though, like everything else, it's subject to change):

It's got a Might & Magic vibe to it, I think.

Obviously, I'd love to hear some feedback.  I always like to hear what people think.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Quick Update

Things continue to progress, although a bit more slowly.  For now, here's a few screenshots showing some landscapes in progress (a hilly area and a cave) as well as another combat screen:

Exploring the hillside

Dark caves can be fun



Combat engine update



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Combat Considerations

Since I am limited on my resources, I am currently pursuing a version of combat that is similar to what appeared in the original incarnation of the game.  I would love to have a bunch of 3D models available for the player to select, but at the moment, I'm stuck with images.

The original version of combat was inspired by the old SSI game, Phantasie.  To refresh your memory, it looked like this:

The way it used to be.

An early version of the new combat screen reveals that I'm doing something similar, but with a more 3D perspective.  I'm still using the same art assets, and they work better than I thought.  The direction of the combat has changed so that the monsters are no longer on top, so I hope that it still looks good.

Take a look and see what you think:

The new way.

I'm well aware that the combat icons are repeated (it was put together as a test).  The goblins in this picture also don't mesh as well as I'd like (something else I need to fix).  Also, there's no GUI in place yet either.

I may still change it.  I haven't decided.  But, this is where it stands right now.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Class Selection

When I started the original version of the game, I wanted to keep things simple.  With that in mind, I created a version that only had four classes (Warrior, Scout, Priest and Sorcerer).  These are the choices that players were originally left with to comprise their four-character party.

Four classes for four characters.

As simple as that was, it didn't give a lot of variety.  One bit of feedback I got was that there should be more variety of classes.  I agree with that.

So the updated version of the game has more.  Three times more, for a total of twelve.

Twelve!   

Now, a player will have different options for building their party in different combinations.  The new classes are:

Warrior
Knight
Barbarian
Scout
Ranger
Assassin
Priest
Druid
Monk
Sorcerer
Shaman
Battlemage

With these new classes, I hope to open up a whole new world of gameplay in the game as it is being rebuilt.  





Thursday, March 28, 2013

LANDS OF ADVENTURE - Reborn

I learned a lot from my attempt to get a Kickstarter going for Lands of Adventure.  Mostly, I learned that people like nice graphics.  I can certainly understand that, and there's nothing wrong with that.  We want a game to look nice, and we want it to have decent gameplay.

I also learned that people want more from the game, whether that includes more professions for characters, more quests or more tactical options for combat.  So, I have taken all this into consideration.

I have begun the difficult but important task of recoding Lands of Adventure in a whole new engine.  That engine is Unity, which is mostly used for 3D games, but is well suited for the kind of game I'm trying to write.

In fact, it will probably be a lot easier on me, since the engine does all the hard lifting when it comes to the graphics and leaves me free to code the actual game.

Let's do a comparison.  Here's what the game looked like before:

Old School Graphics!

While there's nothing wrong with the way it looked before, I wasn't happy with the work I had to go through to make it look even that good, just for people to tell me that it's ugly.  So, using a modern set of tools, I have made the game look a million times better:

Shiny new graphics

At its heart, its still going to be the same game.  I'm going to enhance it a great deal, but in the end it will still be a turn-based CRPG with great story elements and with a lot of great stuff from the old CRPGs we loved.  It will just be a little more "pretty," and I can live with that.

Comments?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kickstarter

I've been told by a couple of people that the game looks bland.  That's to be expected.  I'm no artist, after all.  And, art won't be cheap.

So, I've created a Kickstarter for this project in the hopes of funding some of the artwork, and maybe some additional features.  I don't know if it will be a success or not.  I can't know until I try, I suppose.

If anyone is interested in the project's Kickstarter page, go here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/496999626/lands-of-adventure-an-old-school-style-crpg


UPDATE:
After debating all options, I decided to just go ahead and suspend the Kickstarter option.  I had hoped to raise funding to get better artwork for the game, but instead all I got was negative feedback about how the game didn't look professional.

I know it doesn't look professional.  It's not a professional level game.  I think 99% of the people out there probably didn't know what I was trying to accomplish, so I withdrew the funding option.

That being said, if any kind artist out there wants to contribute work to the project, or if anyone wants to donate some work, let me know.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bug Fixing and Overhauls

The hardest part about writing your own video game is that you're going to create a lot of bugs in the process.  Sometimes, they are very easy to locate and fix.  Other times, they aren't...and I have been known to lose hours pulling my hair out trying to figure out why something isn't working as intended.

What really makes bugs annoying is that they occasionally show up for the silliest reasons, like putting a line of code in the wrong place or doing some bit of math wrong.  Even worse is when you stare at the line for an hour and can't see why it's not working because you can't wrap your head around the idea that it might be wrong.

Programming is not for people without patience, that's for sure.

Even though bugs are annoying, what's even worse is when you plan out a whole system, program that system, fix all the bugs in that system...and then discover that you should have done something completely different.  I'm actually at that point with the way that walls are displayed in the dungeons.  I didn't include something that I should have, and as a result, I may have to redo that entire part of the program so that it's more flexible.

More than likely, it's something I will wait until after the demo is released to correct, since the demo only has one dungeon in it and won't be affected...but it's still annoying.

Aside from that, though, everything is still going great with the program.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Video Overview

video 


At least one person expressed an interest in seeing a video of some of the things in the game.  This is a short video that I threw together to highlight some of the things in the game.  It does not cover everything and only hits upon certain aspects within the game.  Also, I tried to do it in a way that doesn't include spoilers of any kind.

I mention it in the video itself, but it should be noted that the recording software I used caused a lot of lag with things on the screen.  Text that should have scrolled smoothly and video effects in combat did not display correctly.  (For example, on the combat screen a person who is hit simply shows a brief red flash instead of the full animation).  I think this is due to the recording software not capturing all the frames (even though I set it to capture everything).

Also, sound effects in the game were not recorded.  I had hoped it would capture them, but it doesn't.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy seeing something about the game.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Saving and Loading

It took a little while to work out the kinks in the system, but I finally have the game saving and loading information as it should.  As I mentioned in a previous posting, playing a CRPG without being able to save the game in progress is a waste of time.  You can't embark on an epic quest if you have to do it all in one sitting.

I tried a couple of different solutions, but eventually decided to do it in a way similar to how the old Gold-Box games did it.  Essentially, a player gets 10 save game slots to save their game.  Unlike those old games, though, you can actually give each save game a name (up to 24 characters in length), making it easy to know where you were during a particular save. 

Two options to load.  Both involve goblins.

There are also limitations on when you can save the game.  Obviously, you cannot save in combat.  You also cannot save during cutscenes and long passages of text.  You can only save when in towns or in dungeons, which is where you spend most of your time anyway.

Initially, I almost decided to only allow saving when you go to the inn to rest, but then I realized that I hate games that do that.  If I hate it, then I'm definitely not going to make other people deal with it.  Remember, I'm building the kind of game I would want to play.

Loading a game in progress and getting back to slaying horrible monsters.

This was probably one of the biggest hurdles I had to figure out before the demo can be released.  All that's left now is some little bits of code and tons of playtesting to make sure I didn't overlook anything. 

With any luck, we'll see a demo out in about a month.  No promises though.  You know how these things go.  Sometimes they take longer than we expect.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Artwork

When I started this project a year ago, I never once thought I would get proficient enough with various computer artwork tools that I could create my own images for the game.  As time goes on, I get better and better with rendering the scenes and then converting them in a way that makes them appear to be hand-painted.

Not sure who this guy is, but he looks like he means business.

Not all of them turn out great, but a lot of them do, and there are more good ones than bad ones.  Unfortunately, time spent developing this artwork also takes me away from the time I could be using to work on the program.

It's not easy doing everything as a one-man project.  But it's worth it.

This guy looks surprised to be here.
In the end, I think it will be worth the effort.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Storyline Progression

The demo version of "Lands of Adventure" is getting closer.  Not a day goes by where I don't fix a ton of bugs or continue working on progressing the storyline.  I will admit, though, that the demo version will only allow players to progress their characters to around level 2 (out of 10) and see only part of the overarching story.

Storyline cutscenes are fun.

While the demo will be somewhat limiting, it's my intention that the final game will provide a whole lot for a player to do.  There's still some work to be done, but honestly, things are moving along smoothly.  Maybe all the artwork isn't as perfect as I would like, but I think for the efforts of one guy in his free time, what I've done is quite impressive.

If I had some other folks programming with me or a dedicated artist or two, things would probably be moving a lot faster.  A lot of my time is taken up doing a lot of the portrait art (like in the picture above).  Thankfully, even though I modify some of the combat icon art, it was provided to me by a very talented artist via the Dungeon Craft community.

Screenshots for the sake of screenshots.

I just hope that people like what I'm doing.  So far, only two people (besides me) have seen this program in action.  One is my wife.  The other is a friend from school who happened to see it one night while we were in class.  That's not a lot of people who have been exposed to what the game is going to be like.

I really have only my own judgment, based on my experience with old-school CRPGs in my youth.  I am making the kind of game I would like to play, and that's really all I can do.  I know there have to be others who will like this style of gameplay as well.  Maybe it won't be a big audience, or maybe it will.  Hard to say right now.