Month: August 2017

Kickstarter, New Village Construction, and a Dynamic Camera: It’s the VMD3 for August 28th

Hello monster friends!

It’s the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)

Today’s update is both late and briefer than usual, but I hope i have a good excuse: with PAX being this week and the Alpha 1 release next week, I’m already pretty dang busy. But then last week, I had to make another major announcement…

Village Monsters will be coming to Kickstarter on September 12th. That’s less than 3 weeks away! I’m psyched. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I can’t wait for you to see what I’m cooking up

Well, that’s enough preamble – let’s just get onto it!

Under Construction

The majority of my time last week was spent on improving the village in some pretty major ways.

First, I created and furnished four new homes for monsters to live in (though they’re still pretty sparse for now). I also converted that strange skull in town into a proper home for Saley & Stapes, the two skeletal guards.

Overflow – the town’s tavern and a major hangout spot for locals – was also completely revamped…in the sense that before the revamp, the exterior was unfinished and the interior didn’t exist. Both outside and inside are now in a much better place.

Beyond new buildings, I also began moving things around to accommodate new ideas. I now have enough buildings to actually have something close to ‘districts’ in our little village – the town hall, church, and historical society fill out the Civic District, a new general store and existing furniture merchant have made something like a Commercial District, and of course the houses make up the Residential District

Here’s a neat GIF showing how the village has changed and evolved in the last 8 months:

Finally, I also created 3 additional villagers and revamped a 4th. Meet Bavarian the Chef Blob, Lucy the Artistic Golem, Rainboy the Elemental, and Serin the…uh…tree.

Dynamic Camera

It seems at least once a month I get bogged down by some obnoxious camera bug that comes out of nowhere, and this month was no different.

However, this time my solution ended up turning into a feature – a dynamic camera. There’s probably a better name for this, but what I mean is that the camera smoothly follows the player at its own speed as opposed to always keeping the player dead-center on screen.

This fits better with the relaxed style of game I’m making, and also looks a lot better in motion. It’s hard to capture via a GIF, so you’ll need to trust me that it looks better.

New Critters?

Sometimes I sit down to do one thing and end up feeling motivated to do something else entirely. That was the case this week, and it’s why I ended up creating four new critters to find and collect.

I won’t share them so they can remain a bit of a secret, but here’s the Capricious Cumulus, a cloud-based critter that oscillates between feelings of timidness and aggression.

That’ll do this for this week. Next week is likely to be just as sparse and late, but things are going very well and you’ll have a chance to see for yourself on September 6th when Alpha 1 releases.

Don’t forget that the Kickstarter starts a week later on September 12th. It’s going to be a hectic month, but this fall is shaping up to be a hell of a good time.

Seasons, Village Changes, and the Compendium: It’s the VMD3 for August 20th

It’s the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)

This edition is an extra-large one. I typically try to pick out the 3 most important things I worked on to share, but I was a real whirling dervish of productivity this week, and just 3 things ain’t going to cut it. Enough talk, let’s dig in.

A Preview of Seasons

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Up until now, every screenshot I shared has been from ‘Spring’, but it’s been somewhat misleading as Village Monsters is a game of many seasons and colors.

This week, I wanted to experiment with what different seasonal tilesets might look like, so I whipped up the above to test them out.

It’ll likely change a few times between now and the final release, but I’m pretty happy with the colors and mood of each season.

New Additions to the Town

Last week’s addition of the beach inspired me to do some further work to the village and surrounding areas.

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The ‘civic district’ – such at that is – has seen some love. A new town plaza sits empty, but that won’t be for long. A graveyard was added to the church, though I’m not sure what the monsters are planning for it.

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The ‘residential district’ has also seen a new house pop up seemingly overnight. That skull really sticks out like a sore thumb, and Stapes & Saley (you know, the skeletal warriors that guard the gates) have been told to do something about it. Maybe next week.

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Finally, a new area has been spotted east of the Crossroads. It’s called the Overlook, and it’s one of the best ways to get a view of the land outside the village. As with the beach, this area is usually pretty quiet. Maybe one day it’ll make for a good gardening spot?

Compendium Vol. 2

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The Compendium is a very important book that is much more than just a menu. It is a complete log of your adventures and exploits in the world. It tracks quests, villager profiles, critter and fish collections, a map, and much more.

The Compendium Vol. 2 does all these same things, but with a fresher coat of paint and some increased usability options.

I’m unsure at this stage how fleshed out the Compendium will be by Alpha 1’s release, but at minimum you can expect some light tutorializing to via quests to be handled by the Compendium

A Grab Bag of Other Goodies

Stalking Critters

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By holding the ‘Swing Net’ action you can now enter stalk mode. You move much slower, but animals will almost never run away from you. Be sneaky, but still be quick about it!

A System-level menu

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Escape no longer dumps you from the game instantly. It now brings up a menu

Reworked Choices

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Choices in dialog now works a bit differently. You simply hold the direction of the answer you want to give


Well, that’ll do it for this week. Just a few more weeks before PAX, Alpha 1, and something pretty big. I’m pumped!

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Beaches, Ruins, and UI Improvements: It’s the VMD3 for August 13th

It’s the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)

There is now less than a month to go until the version I’m working on releases for you all to play with. This’ll mark the very first Alpha version that I make public, and I’m pretty excited about it.

September is shaping up to be quite the month, and it’s not just the Alpha release; stay tuned for more information on that very soon

A Day at the Beach

Due to the nature of the game it’s not often that I get to create a new area, so it was a real nice change of pace to work on one this week.

Introducing…the beach.

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The beach is just a short walk away from the village – just head south from the gate and keep going until you reach the surf.

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Though you or I would consider such a trip to be a nice day out, it seems that monsters haven’t really taken to the human notion of spending the day in the sun and sand. Unless there’s a special event going on you’re likely to find the area to be largely empty.

Still, you’ll probably enjoy the solitude. You can catch fish, work on your tan, and nosh on some whoopie pies in peace.

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Ancient Ruins of Soon

Longtime followers of the game know that I often try to slip in as many ‘meta’ elements as I can. After all, this is a game in which the conceit is that the NPCs have taken it over and the digital barrier between our worlds is thinner than ever – I’m hoping it gives me some artistic liberty

Alongside beaches I added another new area to visit, though this one won’t make it to the final game. It’s called the Ancient Ruins of Soon, and it’s an area you can visit to consult stone tablets on prophecy…

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…in other words? You can view my plans on future features and changes from the game instead of going to my website or elsewhere.

I tried to split it up by category, so if you want to know what the future holds for hobbies or story or your house then you can view just that information.

Even More UI Changes

This marks the 2nd week in a row in which UI changes made it to the top of my priority list. Here’s a sampling of what I worked on this time.

Notifications have been slightly resized and now rotate so that the newest is always displayed at the bottom

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Meeting villagers for the first time now produces a notification

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The inventory now has context-sensitive prompts depending on the mode or item

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Finally, I did an initial pass on an in-game version of the world map.

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Ok, that’ll do it for this week. Hope you’re enjoying these dog days of summer, because I’m definitely not. I hate the heat. Autumn can’t come fast enough!

Until next time

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Pets, Hail, and UI Improvements: It’s the VMD3 for August 6th

It’s the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)!

Like last week I have a bit of housekeeping to do before diving in. Longtime followers know that I’ve tried several different ways to present progress updates, but none of them have really ‘stuck’. However, it seems this weekly format has really been working for me.

As such, I went ahead and created an archive for every Dev Diary Digest I’ve posted since I started doing them. If you missed earlier editions, or if you just want to see how far I’ve come, then please do take a look!

http://warpdogs.com/developer-diaries/

Anyway, onto the update

Pets

I may have shared this anecdote before, but the road to pets was a serendipitous one

A few weeks ago I was working on debugging critter behavior, and for whatever reason I was testing it in the player’s house. As I kept going in and out of the house it occurred to me how much I actually liked having a critter there – it was sort of like having a pet! Wouldn’t it be cool if that was an actual feature?

This week I was able to prototype this idea:

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Here’s how it works: first, you gotta catch a critter. Then, walk up to an special item (currently a pet bowl) and select the pet you want to tame. You can only tame one at a time, so choose wisely

At first, all critters start out as “Wild”, and they’ll act much like they did before you caught them. Over time, if you feed them and treat them well they’ll increasingly become tame and more affectionate.

Tamed critters will also continue to behave similarly to their wild versions, and they’ll retain any unique attributes. For example, if you catch a Snowflake Elemental he’ll make your entire house cold; good during the summer, but not so good if you have a lot of fish on display…

Hail / Thunderboomers

I always enjoy working on weather systems, so I took a detour to add a new weather type – Hail

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I had to improve the weather system to handle the little hail pellets, and these improvements should help with any ‘ground based’ weather effects in the future…leaf piles in the fall, snowdrifts, rain puddles, and so on.

I then went ahead and added more sound effects to the various weather types. I also added a minor feature where weather sounds can still be heard indoors at a lower volume. It’s surprisingly atmospheric, especially during thunderstorms!

UI Improvements (Map, Inventory, Notices)

Finally, though I generally don’t like it, I also spent a great deal of time on UI work. I’ve never enjoyed UI work, not even at my last job where functionality was preferred over looks, but I’m actually pretty happy with how things shook out this time.

First, I added a map for the village to the Compendium. It’s very basic and just lays the foundation for future maps:

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I then added movement to various notifications. I like it a lot better than the notices just appearing suddenly.

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Finally, I completely blew up and reworked the inventory. I actually did this some time ago, but I added an extra layer of polish and usability this week. It’s unquestionably better than the old inventory, but that’s not saying much – the old one was really bad!

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Anyway, that’s it from me. As usual I also added a lot of minor things, quality of life improvements, and bugfixes, but nothing I need to call out. Have a good week!

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