Development Diaries

vampirkat's picture

What I've been up to

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I've been out of "work" for so long (4 years), I'm like i'm done looking. I freelance now. I like getting up at 9am, exercise, drink tea, eat a pleasant breakfast, read the paper, then settle into work. I hated the long commutes (I don't own a car) and office politics and getting up early for a job I hate just to pay the bills. Ew. No.

I would tinker on my games as a hobby, now I'm just going to publish them for profit, cos why not. I have fun coding and I don't have to be bothered with other people in a work setting. It annoys me to be interrupted for trivial things.

I finally recovered files after a hard drive crash. Got new computers from china, only for the power supply to burn out. Using an old universal power supply that was for an ibm thinkpad, so yay for that.

Some of my game images went missing, had to redo them. I'm still working on games from 2012.... I have some games that's older than that!! :P I got old QB games I want to clean up for QB64 and get that published. Fun times.

Healy's picture

Bad Bang Letter: A Letter for Bad Bang

WARNING: The following letter is written in a deliberately inflammatory way! Please do not read if you are pregnant or might become pregnant.

Anyway, I'm doing this thing called Bad Bang, where you have to write the worst fanfic illustrated by the worst drawings. Because this is an exchange type event, you have to write a letter to the person who was assigned to write for you, so they can get a good read on your likes/dislikes? I didn't, though, or at least not for this exchange. Anyway, I figured at least one person would get a kick outta this, so here it is! Made in Twine, natch.

In case this is necessary, here are the fandoms I requested for Bad Bang:

Advance Wars
Any Character

Homestar Runner
Strong Bad, Strong Sad

Regular Show
Benson

Inferno Cop
Inferno Cop, Hellfire Boy, Mecha Cop

Zone of the Enders series
Cage Midwell

Knytt Stories
Green Chomper, Juni

Batman Beyond
Bruce Wayne, Terry McGinnis

Steven Universe
Greg Universe

Chrono Trigger
Magus, Frog, Robo

Rockman|Mega Man
Any Character

Aaand my vetoes, the all important stuff that the writer can't write for me.

VETOS: noncon/dubcon, underage, explicit sex scenes, incest for Steven Universe.

everythingstaken's picture

New Games?!?!

On the right side is a list of 20-21 games I want to make before August. It's sort of a schedule for myself for when they should come out and how long it should take to make them.

This is also a good opportunity to ask for feedback. I get some comments sometimes on my games, but I was wondering how people thought I was doing. Give me some criticism. Come at me!

I'm not quite sure what's on the right side of the paper. Also, I didn't draw that cat.

clyde's picture

The Witch's Tree

So my goal for 2015 is to experiment with character-driven narratives in games, emphasizing romance. Really, I want to make a romance in a game that I can get into. At first I was going to try to do some rapid-prototypes, but I quickly realized that any romance in a single rapid-prototype is going to be trivial and unconvincing. I am a big fan of Korean-drama romantic comedies that follow a 16-episode format. Usually it takes at least 4 episodes (4 hours) for them to manage to make me care about a ship. So I decided to make a larger scope narrative in a game so that a romance could form in context of a larger story. I'm not happy about having to make a larger game, but I do want a believable romance, so I'm doing what I find necessary.
I am using Unity rather than Ren'Py because I like focusing on Unity and C# and there seems to be more potential for gameplay that is not exclusively visual-novel-esque. I don't know what extra gameplay I want to put in, but I like the idea of having some gameplay to break up all the reading. I've spent a lot of time trying to build a system in Unity that would allow me to script the animations and dialogue in a convenient workflow. I basically want to be able to write it as if it was Ren'Py. So for instance, in my StoryScript.cs I can write

Show(character_talking)
Move(character_talking, Direction.InLeft);
Say("Hey there I just came in from the left side of the screen!");

I also included some commands for options that jump to different parts of the dialogue and stuff. I keep thinking that I'm finished with that system, but then I start writing more dialogue and realize that I want to program something else in. The difficulty is largely in programming this stuff that takes simple lines and converts them to various arrays of instructions that are eventually enumerated through during run-time. It is by far the most ambitious programming I have done.

As far as the narrative goes, I'm learning a lot. There are many things I did not consider and trying to create awesome characters is far more involved than I expected. I don't have much finalized, but I have a pretty good idea of how the arcs of 3-5 of my characters will go. I also have a pretty good idea for a main narrative-arc that expresses something that I think other people would benefit from understanding themselves. I'm very excited about how much work I have done in thinking about my characters. When I play a lot of hobbyist games, I often feel that they are lonely or isolating. Even when NPC's exist, I rarely have an opportunity to or interest in getting to know them better. In trying to do it myself, I can see why it is rarely done. In order to have characters that you can get to know, you have to have interesting characters that are interesting to know, and they need to be engaged with the other characters in the world (I'm not doing much of this with emergent systems, I'm doing it with authored narratives). But it is already paying off. Regardless of whether or not I finish this game, it is satisfying to have a roster of interesting characters (that I can call mine) to use in other games and stories. It really is a craft.

I'm going to start my dev-diary here. I'm becoming annoyed with not being able to feel small accomplishments. Part of it is that I'm not keeping track of my progress and part of it is that I haven't been showing any of y'all what I'm working on! BUT I'm not going to concern myself with hiding spoilers, so if you want to be able to play my resulting game in the intended way, don't read this blog. The game's appeal is largely discovering the world and the characters and you can only do that once. There won't be much replay value.
This is a much larger project than I am comfortable with, but I'm going to push until I get something cool or it collapses. One thing I find myself doing is trying to integrate other game ideas I have into this one. The way I do that is this:
-I have an idea in the shower for an awesome concept for a game's story.
-Instead of starting a new game I ask myself if I have a character in *The Witch's Tree* that can express that narrative with their attitude or narrative-arc. If not, I get to make a new character that you may run into!
Thus far, it has worked beautifully.

I'm still unsure how much refinement I'm going to put into the art. Right now, everything is placeholders that I can easily open in Gimp to make further adjustments. So for instance, just this week I decided that the protagonist will be of Peruvian genetic-descent and so I'm going in and changing her skin color. But in doing so, I find myself getting bogged down by whether or not I should go ahead and do something less cartoonish. This is the type of workflow I have.

Usually what will happen is I'll think of a character idea and then try to figure out why they would be going to a magical school of mythical creatures. I'll do some character-sketches and write a sample section of dialogue that gives me a better idea of who this character is and how the interact with the protagonist. Then I'll make a placeholder background and character art to put them into my visual-novel system just so I can see if the dialogue I wrote works well. It usually doesn't, but that's fine because having any dialogue gives me something to mess with and change into something I like.

I'm going to publish some playable builds here as I progress further. Here is the first one.
https://s3.amazonaws.com/witchs-tree/2015-3-18_web/Builds.html

Interesting discussion about five of my games

Hi all, I haven't be very active on GT lately, mostly due to a job that leaves me with very little free time at the moment.
However, I would like to invite you all to a feedback conversation about 5 of my games (most of them were published on GT).
that is taking place on the makega.me forum

There :
http://forum.makega.me/t/five-games-i-made-in-2013-2014/

I'm enjoying reading the discussion for 1000 different reasons and I would surely enjoy to find your feedback added there, be it negative, positive, neutral, short or extensive, whatever, if my work is meaningful to you in any way please join in :)

ghettoshamrock's picture

SWITCH IT UPPPP

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I don't feel like changing my nick and causing broken links to anyone. I coulda also posted it as a bio and it shows up in a secret page here http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/bios?page=1 but alas, it ends up here in the dev diaries.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone.

jan_strach's picture

Poor Thing Update

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Dear Trainwreckers

As you may have seen I have been screaming for help lately. The situation is under control - my game works in Multimedia Fusion, which means I will be able to export it in a version suitable for 64 bit platforms. So, after a short panic, time to get back to work! Since the beginning of 2015 I have been working on "Poor Thing" about 4 days a week. So you can imagine things are gaining steam again! Many new places, including a secret location I am not authorized to provide screenshots of. Some spooky figures, unnatural goings-on and looots of new ideas!

I attach some places and also a comparison shot of an interior - before and after some redecorating, the second being the level of detail that I mean to implement everywhere else.

I think I am going to continue making the game in KNP because I am so used to it, and animating stuff in MMF makes me rip my hair out! And from time to time I will port it to MMF to see if everything is compatible (for some reason certain things go crazy when ported from KNP to MMF, mainly things anchored to other things). I am also writing a "script" of sorts, as in movie, not as in coding, to keep track of all action in right order and logic. And I made a handy map to see what goes where and what corners are missing. So in other words, full speed ahead!

Wheeee

All the best to you and I will let you know what's up in another 3 months or so!

jan_strach's picture

HELP

I am making "Poor Thing" on a Windows XP system and have never tried to run it anywhere else. Apparently no new windows will be able to run a 16-bit program. Will there be no way for anyone to play my upcoming game made with KnP, unless they are running a virtual windows machine?

I am an idiot when it comes to matters like this and honestly have not thought of it earlier. When I make my game I would like everyone to be able to play it, but now it seems it will not be operable on 99% of current computers...

So this will probably result in a collective facepalm from all of you in the know but...is there any way to make my game compatible with 64 bit systems? Even if it would mean porting and transferring parts of the game to another program. Would that be possible at all or is the only possibility making it from scratch in, say, Clickteam Fusion or something like that?

Help me, I know you are smarter than I am...Right now I do not see much point in making something so gigantic if hardly anyone will be able to play it in their os.

jacklehamster's picture

How it is like to work on Dobuki's Epic Journey

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 7.59.51 PM.png

I'm currently trying to finish this damn game I started 2 years ago. This is a project that turned out to be way to ambitious for its own good. My goal was to make an RPG with an adventure point-and-click type of gameplay. The problem is that it needs lots of content, so I've been pretty much puking out pure random content out of nothing.
While the game actually has some story, my development process is pretty much: Ok, I need to fill this area with content. Let's just add a random monster or NPC, give it some silly lines of dialog and make it return some random object, which I'll figure out what to do with later.
This is a pretty unique project in the sense that there's no plan on how it's being produced. It's like when you go explore the city with no guide, no idea where you're going to end up.

Healy's picture

New Knytt Stories level: A Visit to Grandmother's

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So here's a new Knytt Stories level for the people who play that game. It's called A Visit to Grandmother's, and you can guess the plot from the title. It's built around a tune from Two Headed Dino by Ben Bartlett (the tune is, I mean), but I added a short track by Incompetech to the beginning to keep it from being too repetitive. I hope you guys like it!

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