Sprint 18 – Why Not Both?

WHY NOT BOTH?

Week of May 14th, 2017

WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS

  • The state of our WARP CORP continues to hold steady at ~doin’ fine~
  • The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) is holding steady at ~39 weeks away. Rad!

I’m trying something new! That’s what working for yourself allows for, yeah? Pivots, baby!

Truth is, I was spending more time than I wanted to on these planning and retrospective posts. I mean, ok, it wasn’t that much time, but it was always something I kept putting off and putting off, and then when I actually did do it I always half-assed it.

I won’t get rid of the concept entirely because I think it’s important to my psuedo-agile approach, but I am combining the two. This new thing will go out each Sunday (except for, uh, this first one?) and it’ll look exactly like the Planning posts with the addition of a Show & Tell section. I’ll also try to weave in last week’s successes (and many failures) into the Goals. Ok, cool? Cool!

Not much to report on the biz side of things. The prototype release Flower has been out for about a week now, which is rad! Everything else is on schedule.

SPRINT GOALS

The latest prototype contains two hobbies – critter hunting, and fishing. Since the start I always envisioned three primary hobbies, and this week marks progress in that 3rd one: archaeology!

This’ll be the most involved of the hobbies, and includes things like digging up jewels, finding treasure maps and clues leading to even greater treasure, finding the remains of long-dead ancient creatures…there’s a lot!

More importantly, this hobby has the most ties with other systems of the game – like seeding the ground with things to dig up each new day, or adding new quests to the Compendium if you dig up a map, and so on. As such, focusing on something like digging will end up improving a whole lot of systems as I work through them all – it’s like five or six birds with one stone!

SHOW & TELL FROM LAST WEEK

WERE-RELEASE #4 OUT NOW – “FLOWER”

Happy full moon, everybody!

A new full moon means a new version of Village Monsters for you to have fun with. I’m happy to announce that the latest Were-Release (what is this?), code named “Flower“, is now officially released.

Go download it!

As with all the other pre-alpha releases, things are still very early. Expect a lot of unfinished or straight up missing systems and features. If you’re interested in following games in early development and want your feedback to shape a game then I’d love for you to take a look! Otherwise, maybe wait until it’s closer to the final release

This is also considered a minor version, meaning that the focus was on polish, bugfixes, and new content. You can expect the same overall structure and feel of the game to be similar to the last release.

The next major release is scheduled to come out this Summer, so be sure to get in any feedback or suggestions before then.

Have fun!

“Flower”

RELEASED: May 10th, 2017

Download:  Windows | Mac (Soon!) | Linux (Soon!)

Sprint 16 – It’s Not Built For Shoes – Retrospective

IT’S NOT BUILT FOR SHOES

Week of April 30th, 2017

OVERVIEW

This was a pretty lousy week, if I’m honest. You ever have one of those days where it feels like you do a ton of work, only to you realize you don’t have a whole lot to show for it? Imagine that, but it’s all week, and you have an idea for how it went.

Dunno why, really, just one of those things.

This coming week includes a full moon – meaning a new release! – and I’ve felt completely taken by surprise. Has it been a month already? What the hell! Only 4 days to go…so, I best get back to it.

SHOW & TELL

Sprint 16 – It’s Not Built For Shoes – Planning

IT’S NOT BUILT FOR SHOES

Week of April 30th, 2017

WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS

  • The state of our WARP CORP continues to hold steady at ~pretty ok~
  • The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) is holding steady at ~41 weeks away. Rad!

Not much new to add on this front – money is continuing to be spent, but not too much. We still have just under a year to figure this stuff out, and I’m still feeling confident we will.

For the first time in like a decade we’re getting a tax return back, and its substantial enough to make a blip on the ol’ WARP CORP charts above. That’ll come some in the summer. Between that, various retirement accounts and other sources of income, I think I’ll be able to keep on trucking until an eventual plea for money in the form of a Kickstarter. Ah, but before that I need a game worth backing, right? Well stop making me type this and let me get back to it!

SPRINT GOALS

I have a few different analysis-related goals this week. I’d like to get together a “Lore Bible” of sorts – for myself! I’m picturing an Excel sheet of sorts that lists every character, their personality, relationships, places in the world, and so on.

I’d also like to finish up the public roadmap that I’ll be sharing over Trello – I’m committing to getting that out this week, actually, so look forward to that.

On the coding front the plan is to continue with ‘core loop’ items. This week I’ll definitely focus on player housing including furniture placement, upgrades, and lots more. Finally finally, I’d like a more robust dialog system (one fed via an external file instead of the hardcoded version I have now)

So, could be a busy week. Let’s get to it.

Sprint 15 – April Showers – Retrospective

Hurry up and announce a Pikmin game for Switch already

APRIL SHOWERS

Week of April 23rd, 2017

OVERVIEW

It was another good week. I’m switching some things up on both the development and story fronts.

I’d like to make my development even more open than it already is. To this end, I’m moving off of KanbanFlow and back to Trello which has more robust ways of sharing things. The idea is to make my entire roadmap public so that you can look at what’s implemented, what’s coming up, and you even vote on things you think are most important.

Here’ s a lil preview:

On the story side of things I’ve been rethinking some of the themes and overall tone I’m going to explore. Nothing much I can talk about now, but in short: things are going to be more fun and less gloomy.

More to share soon!

SHOW & TELL

Sprint 15 – April Showers – Planning

Hurry up and announce a Pikmin game for Switch already

APRIL SHOWERS

Week of April 23rd, 2017

WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS

  • The state of our WARP CORP continues to hold steady at ~pretty good~
  • The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) is holding steady at ~42 weeks away. Neat!

Not much new to report here, truth be told. Just keeping my head down and working hard. I still haven’t decided if I’ll do a May release or if I’ll plow ahead ’til June like I did with the combined March / April release.

Though it’s a bit far away, I’ve also been making plans for how I’ll handle PAX Prime. I’m in Seattle and can definitely afford to go there, so I think I’ll make it my first public outing for the game. Like everything in my life these days it’s equal parts exciting and terrifying, so I figure I should get a head start on preparing.

SPRINT GOALS

The goal is to continue on ‘core loop’ features for the next week. My success – or lack of progress – will probably dictate if I do another release soon. I’m happy with how the Pink Crow release turned out, but I’m still embarrassed by how barebones it it.

Sprint 14 – Take Your Time – Retrospective

Persona 5 is a hell of a game

TAKE YOUR TIME

Week of April 16th, 2017

OVERVIEW

Another good week.

Much of it was spent on creating villagers to populate Luckstone with. A lot of these have existed in my head for some time, but I hadn’t had the skills to bring them into pixel form. Don’t get me wrong – I still lack those skills – but I know enough now where I don’t feel super embarrassed about it. Check below to see everyone!

Beyond that I added a shop and shopping mechanics, plus some weird and tangential stuff – like scratch tickets you can buy at the store. I also began work on a female main character – a long overdue task I’ve been putting off on account of my inability to make good looking characters.

There’s also been a lot of Persona 5, which is a Good Game. So, maybe go buy and play that, huh? You’ll see a lot of Persona influence in Village Monsters…daily activities, personable monsters from all walks of myth and legend, and maybe even anime waifus!*

*no

SHOW & TELL

Sprint 14 – Take Your Time – Planning

Persona 5 is a hell of a game

TAKE YOUR TIME

Week of April 16th, 2017

WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS

  • The state of our WARP CORP continues to hold steady at ~pretty good~
  • The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) is holding steady at ~43 weeks away. Neat!

I mentioned in last sprint’s retrospective that the week of a release is always incredibly motivating – the same can be said for the week after.

I haven’t had much feedback on the release I put out last week…to put a finer point on it, I’ve had actually no feedback. Like, at all. That’s probably not good, but I also don’t think I can read too much into it.

Things are going fine from a financial perspective. Not much to say – same as before

SPRINT GOALS

With much of the systems nailed down I’m now shifting focus to more “content” – things like creating villagers, populating different screens and other areas to explore, iterating over what I already have, and so on. Frankly, it’s been a ton of fun, but I am having a harder time finding a rhythm to the whole thing.

Technical stuff has a clearly defined endpoint – the thing works, the bug fixed, and so on. Not so with creative stuff…I could iterate over his fat dwarf forever, but should I? Probably not.

Anyway, the main goal this week is to start mapping out and working on the main gameloop. I have systems, but nothing really fits together yet. A few thoughts on how to tie it all together:

  • A shop in which you can buy and sell stuff
  • A house in which you can furnish and display items in
  • A quest system (what I’m calling ‘Mysteries’) to drive you forward

I think it’s possible to at least get started in all 3 of these before the end of the week

Sprint 13 – Pink Moon Rising – Retrospective

Click pic for image source

PINK MOON RISING

Week of April 9th, 2017

OVERVIEW

It was a big week, y’all – it’s a new release! Of my game! Village Monsters!

Release weeks are always going to feel rad, and this one was no different. I love that rush of excitement I get in the lead-up to the release – I absolutely do my best work when I know people are going to play what I’m making

I’d like to say it’s some due to some sort of motivational thing, but in reality it’s all about, uh, shame – “ugh, people are really going to see this terrible thing I made? Guess I have no choice but to make it less terrible, huh?”

Regardless, you can go experience my shame for yourself if you’d like – if you do, I’d love your feedback!

SHOW & TELL

ORIGINAL HOLIDAY, DO NOT STEAL. TM TM TM.

Feature Friday: Holidays & Events

Welcome to another edition of Feature Friday! Yet again I’m here to take you all on deep dive into one of the many wonderful features and systems you can find in Village Monsters

Today, I’m going to talk about holidays.

Save the date

As you may already know, there’s a full calendar system in Village Monsters –  every day is different than the one before it, whether it’s shop schedules, weather, seasonal items, and all sorts of other stuff.

Of course, a big part – and indeed, perhaps the best parts – of any year are the various events and holidays that pepper the calendar. Village Monsters is no different!

There are many events to discover each month, and they can range from as big as major holidays that overall the entire town, to reoccurring events like fishing tournaments, to very local events like villager birthdays, bowling, and Anime Night.

Indeed, the calendar is so important that there’s an entire tab in your Compendium that keep tracks of the various happenings around town. You’ll definitely want to check this section periodically so you can keep track of what’s coming up – for instance, you don’t want to show up to the fishing tournament with a crummy rod and amateur fishing skills, right?

As with most things, everything here is WIP

It’s a holiday in Cambodia

Each event will bring some new wrinkle to village life – new activities to enjoy, exclusive items to buy and collect, and visitors to talk to.

As you can likely guess, many of the holidays and events in game have analogs in the real world, though each one is sure to have its own unique twist.

For example, the Good Egg Day – which occurs the end of Early Spring – will seem pretty familiar and, ahem, relevant to certain events going on this weekend.

ORIGINAL HOLIDAY, DO NOT STEAL. TM TM TM.

Major holidays won’t just introduce new visitors or activities – in some cases, the entire village, background music, and even the UI will get a themed overhaul. Villagers will of course take part in the festivities as well, and even areas outside the village may have some secrets to find during certain special days.

Above all, I want holidays to feel like a big deal, something that you genuinely look forward to. I think it’s easy (for both designer and player) to fall into a checklist-trap – you wake up to a new a holiday and think, “Ok, new items bought…check. Holiday activities exhausted…check. Now what?”

That stuff is part of it, of course, but I don’t want it to be the only things you think of when a holiday rolls around. I’m hoping that if I can make it seem like the village itself is genuinely excited about holidays then you, the player, will be too.

WERE-RELEASE #3 OUT NOW – “PINK CROW”

Happy full moon, everybody!

A new full moon means a new version of Village Monsters for you to explore. I’m happy to announce that the latest Were-Release (what is this?), code named “Pink Crow“, is now officially released.

Go download it!

As with past releases, things are still very early. However, unlike past releases, Pink Crow is much more indicative of the game I’m making, and I’m really happy with what I was able to get done in the last couple months or so.

The truly massive change log can be found below, but here’s a summary: nearly everything is different and new.

If you’re interested in following games in early development, and want your feedback to shape a game in the making, then please take a look!

“Pink crow”

RELEASED: April 11th, 2017

Download:  Windows | Mac (Soon!) | Linux (Soon!)

What’s New?

Major

  • Player movement has been completely revamped with new actions, better feel, and a new collision system
  • Gamepads are not only support now, but are actively encouraged
  • Many system simulations are active, including time, weather, lighting, and more
  • Lots of really rad music has been added thanks to ETI user permanight
  • A toolbelt has been added to access your various tools, like your net and fishing rod
  • Oh yeah, and there’s fishing now. Equip your rod and go find a body of water
  • New critters to find and catch
  • Lots of new items and objects to pick up, throw, kick, or otherwise look at
  • Hey, there’s a raft now
  • Several new villagers have moved into town. Say hello!
  • The village area has been trashed and completely remade with new buildings, decor, and lamps, and more
  • Nearly every single sprite has been either redone entirely or improved
    • (they’re still bad. sorry)
  • You won’t be teleported randomly around when exploring or exiting / entering buildings
  • Lots of bugs fixed and an equal amount introduced
  • Lots of new UI changes
  • A “draw order” system allowing for smarter layering
  • You can explore areas outside the village – have fun!
  • New secret stuff
  • New weird stuff
  • New ???

Full List

Player & Actions

  • Movement Improvements
    • Tweaked the movement code to give it an overall better feel
    • Fixed bug related to footsteps either triggering too much or not enough
    • Increased speed of sprinting
    • Made sprint a toggle
    • When using a controller, movement speed is based on analog stick pressure
  • MAJOR: Controller Support
    • You can now play the entire game with a gamepad
  • Lantern at night
    • Toggle with “T” for now
    • Added a lantern to help light the way at night
  • Dialog timing changes
    • Dialog should overall be easier to read and also easier to skip through
  • Persistence
    • Player object has been persisted across all rooms
      • Player Authority created to manage creation and tracking of player object
    • Player location will be maintained between room transitions
  • Shadow changes
    • Removed ‘hardcoded’ (and bad) shadow
  • MAJOR: Completely revamped collision system
    • Collision is handled via tile instead of objects
    • Collision is much more performant
    • You can no longer walk over things like water
  • MAJOR: New Action: Roll
    • Rolling moves a bit faster, but is primarily used for shaking and breaking things
    • Roll into trees to make items (and birds) fly out
    • Roll into pots to break them and pick up bits
    • Rolling is on a cooldown
  • MAJOR: New Action: Pickup & Throw
    • Some items can be picked up and thrown
    • You may find secrets and other valuables by throwing everything you can
    • Pots can be thrown to create bits
  • New Action: Kick
    • Walk into some items – like a ball – to kick them around
    • Kicking may be useful in the future. It currently isn’t.
  • MAJOR: Toolbelt
    • A new UI element called the ‘toolbelt’ has been added
    • Use the toolbelt to cycle through tools (like fishing rod, bugcatching net, and lantern)
  • Inventory Grouping
    • Items are now grouped within the inventory

Hobbies & Activities

  • MAJOR: New Hobby: Fishing
    • Players can now fish for, uh, fish!
      • Go to any body of water, select your fishing rod, and press the Use Tool button to fish
      • A new fishing “minigame” has been added
      • You must cast your hook and reel it in strategically to attract fish
      • Watch out for your line tension – if that breaks, you lose the fish
    • A boat has been added with which you can fish from
      • The boat has a very boat-y feel to its movement
      • Added a torch to the boat
    • Fish are added to your inventory
  • Bug Catching changes
    • Holding the “Use Tool” button while the net is equipped will cause the player to enter ‘critter stalking’ mode
    • You’ll move slower while stalking, but bugs will be less skittish
  • New Critter: Sun Fly
    • Added the noctornal sun fly
    • Sun flies glow and act similarly to Sea flies
  • New critter fleeing behavior
    • All fleeing critters now fade into the background as they run
  • New critters: Butterfly Leaders
    • Monarch, Emperor, President, and Caeser butterflies have been added. Catch ’em all
  • S-Fly Spawner
    • Fixed issue preventing flies from spawning by the pond
    • Better ‘annoying buzzing’ behavior (they won’t just congregate around your beard)
  • New Gatherables
    • More than half a dozen new mushrooms types have been added. You’ll have to hunt them all down!

Villagers, Dog, & Other Entities

  • Portrait Changes
    • Added villager names underneath the portrait
  • New Ambient Creatures
    • Owls that fly overhead at night
    • Crows now hang around and will scatter when you try to get close
  • Dog Bug Fixes
    • Fixed returning fetched items from directly up / down
    • Fixed issue with sprite offsets that made the dog changing directions look mega goofy
    • Migrated to new movement system
  • Path tileset
    • A new tileset was created for paths and the entire village and surrounding areas have been pathed
  • New Villager: Lindwyrm
    • He’s a dragon, and he helps runs the Historical Society
  • New Villager: (Post-Punk Pixie Postman)
    • She’s unnamed for now
    • In the future, she’ll handle all postal services in town

Village, Buildings, Decor

  • New External Decor: Streetlamps
    • Streetlamps now exist in the village and help light the way at night
    • There are a couple of varieties
  • Made village lake less ugly
    • Thanks to the magic of auto-tiling
  • Postal Service (?)
    • You’ll find a whole bunch of mailboxes around town
    • They’ll help you identify buildings you aren’t sure of
  • New door behaviors
    • Instead of going into buildings automatically, you need to press the Z key or A button
      • This was done to prevent accidental building transitions
  • New color palettes!
  • MAJOR: New village buildings to explore
    • Mock’s House
    • Historical Society
    • Treasure Chest House
    • Skull House
  • Revamped interiors
    • Less ugly overall
    • Better collisions (meaning that collisions actually exist)
    • No more weather indoors (lol)
  • MAJOR: Music
    • Several tracks of music have been added to the game…
      • Morning track
      • Afternoon track
      • Evening track
      • Night track
      • Music fades in and our at each hour change
      • A nice bell toles during the changing of hours
  • New Items
    • Pots
      • Create bits when smashed
    • Bits
      • Used as currency
      • A new UI element has been added to track bits
      • A pleasant SFX plays when you pick up a bit
  • New detours
    • A gacha machine can be found somewhere. Spend your bits wisely
  • Helpful notes?
    • A number of notes and other signs have been erected around the town and outskirts
  • Pedestals in the historical society
    • Items in your inventory can be placed on pedestals in the historical society
    • In the future, this’ll be how you complete your collections

Areas

  • MAJOR: New areas to explore
    • Crossroads
    • Outskirts Forest
      • A whole lotta trees and other vegetation were created for this area
      • Maybe you’ll find other things there – like mushrooms. Or a TV
    • Outskirts Lake
      • Have fun sailing around the lake on the raft
  • MAJOR: Improved area transitions
    • Transitioning between screens and rooms now places the player in the correct place
  • New vegetation
    • Additional trees, stumps, etc. have been created

Simulation & Systems

  • MAJOR: Lighting Engine FX
    • With darkness comes an actual lighting engine around the player, light sources, and other objects
    • Current objects with lighting:
      • Player (via torch)
      • Streetlamps
      • Sun Flies
  • MAJOR: Time Concepts
    • Added the ‘concept’ of week, month, and year
      • Time advances following these rules
      • A week has 7 days, a month has 4 weeks, and a year has 6 months
  • MAJOR: Weather based on weather patterns
    • Weather now is based on specific patterns. New patterns created:
      • Clear
      • “Seattle” (mostly drizzle all day)
      • Snow
    • The start of the new day randomly selects a new weather pattern for that day
  • Calendar UI Element
    • A UI element of the current date and season has been added to the existing clock UI element
    • The tree and colors of this element change throughout the seasons
  • Day changes
    • A friendly rooster greets the morning
    • A friendly coyote greets the night
    • The SFX pleasantly fades in and then back out
    • Fixed a bug that prevented the popup from telling you the actual time of day
  • Ambient Cloud Cover
    • You may now see the occasional cloud shadow pass by
    • Clouds only show up during daylight hours
  • Weather Bug Fixes
    • Weather no longer ocurrs indoors
    • Rain should now behave properly even when it’s heavy
  • Technical Weather Changes
    • The manager for time and weather has been combined for convenience
    • All existing daylight filters have been converted to surface + blending
  • Added moon phases
    • New, Crecent, Gibbous, and Full
  • Weather SFX
    • Added rain sounds when it rains
    • Improved wind sounds
  • Some sorta…weird…glitch…thing?
    • They’ve been seen around the crossroads
    • The east and western roads have been closed until further notice
  • Completely revamped the clock system
    • Went from 8 times of day to just 4: Morning, Day, Evening, Night

Menus & UI

  • Notification Improvements
    • Removed “x1” from showing up inappropriately
  • MAJOR: Changes to Clock UI
    • There is now an indicator to tell you what the current day is
    • All ‘slices’ but the current time of a day are dimmed out
    • The clock now properly reflects reality
  • The Compendium
    • A new menu option allows you to call up the vitally important Compendium
    • Click tabs to navigate between sections

Other

  • MAJOR: Concept of “Authorities”
    • An “authority” is a technical controller that creates or monitors a variety of game factors, like player location and the creation of ‘headless’ objects
  • MAJOR: Concept of Draw Order
    • All objects now have a draw order for proper “layering”
      • Eg., standing in front of a tree displays you in front of it. Going behind the trees displays the tree on top of you.
    • All layers and other draw calls have been optimized for performance
  • Revamped shadow system
    • Shadows are now “dynamically generated” and are overall a lot better to look at (?)

Sprint 13 – Pink Moon Rising – Planning

Click pic for image source

PINK MOON RISING

Week of April 9th, 2017

WARP DOGS’ CORP LOGS

  • The state of our WARP CORP continues to hold steady at ~pretty good~
  • The Extinction-Level-Event (ELE) is holding steady at ~44 weeks away. Neat!

Today’s a big week, y’all – it’s a new release! Of my game! Village Monsters!

It’ll be my first one in 2 months and only my 3rd overall, and unlike those other releases I’m actually not full of shame and regret. Well, to be fair, I am still filled with those things, but it’s for other reasons.

Anyway, things are going pretty pretty good again. I’m back on a good working schedule and have made a ton of progress. Taxes are done and about to be filed…things are looking up for the WARP CORP

SPRINT GOALS

Really just one main goal this week – release a dang game demo.

Beyond that, I’ve got a big ol’ backlog of analysis-related tasks that I’ve kept putting off.