Thursday, September 24, 2015

Slipping, Fixing and Playing

I'm really slipping on these blog posts and progress on BOA, I'm just not feeling it. On the other hand, I have been working on the next version of All Gone Soon 2, simple stuff like re-scripting a few hotspots, changing the default walk speed, contemplating finding another voice actor to voice Giles (a genuine Essex voice might be better, right?).

Recently I've given myself some more time to actually play some games, I've spent quite a chunk this week on In Verbis Virtus, a gimmicky game that uses voice recognition where you say out spells in their made-up language to cast them's so effing cool! XD (though it seems the more spells I learn the more the voice recognition messes up, it's still pretty decent but there's like two spells that are incredibly hard to get right, still fun though- now that's a good game, to be so enjoyable, it transcends the problems). If you're interested you can take a look.

Another game I'm spending a lot of time on is Red Fuse, I've never been a big puzzle gamer, but I've definitely spent quite a chunk of my time blowing shit up; it's oddly satisfying. You dispense bombs that roll around in a cavern platform and try to blow up a bunch of rocks that have gems in them- trying to figure out the physics and using which tools to help move one bomb to the other is where most of the fun comes in really. You can check it out over here.

So I'm not really feeling BOA much these days, I'm still itching on working on a horror themed game, maybe I should just follow my instincts? I could always work on both for now and then kick myself in the ass later.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Back again!

Hey guys! (if there actually are people who read this blog).
I haven't forgotten about BOA, but I did put it to the side for the whole month of August to concentrate my efforts on this month's MAGS competition.

Download link here

A sequel to my January MAGS entry, I tried to be really ambitious with this one (no pun intended). I'm quite proud of what I had managed to churn out, although again it isn't exactly what I originally had in mind, it actually came close to plan B.

And so I will continue on with work and updates on BOA, even though I'm kinda itching to work on a horror game right now, heh.

Not like I dont have a bunch of notes for those...

It's good that I managed to release this game, I managed to break my years hiatus between games *knock wood*.

--Iddie out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just another simple update

I actually completely forgot to add a post on the 28th. I guess you can't really say "completely" since I'm writting it up now, but I'm human, so I get to make contradictory comments sometimes.
My mind has been in quite a weird state for a very long time now and things are just getting more and more pathetic really; that's a different story that I'm going to leave vague and I'm going to stop here about that.

So the game, I'm still working on the intro, the animation I'm working on is a bit choppy atm but it might work well enough, as soon as I complete the bare minimum for that small clip at the begining, I'm going to work in the middle then jump around the sequences so the quality of work would balance out if I ever get a bit lazy, that's usually the way I work, when I do stuff like this; I'm non-linear.

I also sketched the speech portraits of all the main characters I thought up so far, I was thinking of showing it in this post, but now I think I might keep it for the next post or maybe I won't show it till the demo release, who knows? I'm just not feeling it today.

Not like many people actually check this blog...I dunno, whatever.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Full Motion Videos- ish

I was supposed to write up this post last night, but I guess I just got too tired and forgot about it, funny since the whole day I was like, "gotta write up that post", well here it is:

So I'm doing it, an FMV intro,  think this will be the only FMV I'll make for the game (unless I decide to make one for the very ending, probably not, this one already feels tedious to do on my own).

I'm keeping the colouring and general art style simple, it doesn't have to be overly perfect as long as I do it. I even debated forgoing adding the shadows, but I think it just looks a little better this way. The pictures above are pretty self-explainatory; sketch, line, fill colour, shade.

This intro vid is going to be 1:20 minutes long, that's gon' be a lotta frames, maybe I just shouldn't be too bothered if it ends up looking a bit choppy? Stop being too much of a perfectionist and learn to get things done, right?

NB: This is the vilian character named "Mal" (French word for "Bad" subtle eh?). While sometimes I think his hat makes him look like he's cosplaying a girl scout, his whole outfit is actually mostly based on a picture of the Chancellor Sir Thomas More.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ready for my close up (?)

So this is something that I drew up much earlier in the development stage but hadn't touched on since (yeah I'm really behind with production progress, at least I'm still blogging about it *knock wood*).

I was conceptualising the main character's face (mainly whilst looking at pictures of young Jennifer Connelly and Rachel Leigh Cook). I keep debating whether or not I should go for my usual "realistic" style (when it comes to speech portraits) or go for a more anime/manga style that I used to do when I was younger, it would be (if I were to go with the style above) easier to draw for animating if I really do end up choosing to do a couple of FMVs for the game (not too many obviously and probably quite short, so this would raise the question of where to strategically place these FMVs.

I really have been slacking off, tomorrow I really should kick myself up to work on that opening theme music; do the fun stuff to keep yourself interested.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A few inspirations

So last night I realised that I still hadn't worked on anything new for the game (B.O.A) since the last blog post. I had planned to compose some intro music and maybe storyboard an intro vid to go with it, draw up some title screen concepts too maybe... but I got really tired and went to bed.

That being said, I'd like to share some of the videos I keep going back to for inspiration (in no particular order):

1) Breath of Fire 3
So goddamn simple (of course after waiting a while in the title screen, the game would load up an in-game graphic cutscene that explains how dragons are -thought to be- extinct).
While conceptualising B.O.A, I did take inspiration from this to include a mural in one of the locations the player will go to, to expand more on the history and mythos (did I use that word correctly?) of the game's universe. So making an 'intro vid' with that mural panning across would make sense if it is somehow related to the main plot. Quick note to self that no one else would really get- the necklace = orphan found instead of ring in org game idea? or rather ev-stone orphan use untuk good is = ev-stone orang jahat dalam boa use?- Had to write that down quickly lest I forget, sometimes ideas just strike like a migraine.

2) Legend of Mana
Like many games of it's time, its intro is basically a gameplay montage. The whole point of doing that is to give a taste of how the game is going to be (Dr. Obvious has his game face on).
This makes sense for a big epic AAA title RPG, but since I'm making a free indie adventure title, I'm not sure that's really needed, maybe however, I could throw in some quotes from the characters; adventure games are nothing if not story driven.

Also, I really like the music here. This intro shows some of the locations you'll visit, so maybe I could incoporate that somehow in my intro as well (maybe a panning view of a castle, cave, temple and/or forest?).

Wild Arms
This freakin' intro won an academy award or something (look it up). Like an experimental film, this intro is less direct on what the game is about and concentrates more on feeding the player's visual pallete. It's more in line of what I'm thinking of doing, though probably not as elaborate; at the moment, I'm the only one working on this game after all.

The Elder Scrolls: Arena
Wait... what?  It's not from a JRPG? I'll be honest the title of my game "Book of Akiva" was heavily influenced by the title of "The Elder Scrolls" and I wanted to have something like this (via a book visual) to show after the player selects "New Game"; a bit of cheeky exposition before the real game starts.

Honorable mentions:
Other intro videos that has nothing that I hadn't talked about above.

 Breath of Fire 4
Can you tell I'm a big fan of the franchise?

Azure Dreams (PS1)
I have always loved this one as a kid, the music is epic, the editing is tight, the visuals are just so damn puuurrrty. There's a Game Boy Colour remake that has a much, MUCH simpler intro, it's kind of "meh" but I'll include it in this list as well, since even that is giving me ideas.

Azure Dreams (GBC)
See above.

...that music is so goddamn cheery...

Summon Night: Swordcraft Story
Summon Night is a franchise I'm not all too familiar with, I picked this game up recently and lost a lot of hours on it (my eyes were so red after the first play through).

The intro though... damn that's effin' short, and I thought the intros to Breath of Fire 3 was short (Then again in Breath of Fire 1, Ryu does a little He-man thing and lightling strikes, that lasts a few seconds before going into the title screen).

Man... how many times did I type "Goddamn" in the blog post?


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Figuring out the speechbox

I don't think 'speechbox' is the actual term, it's probably 'textbox' but AGS has a user-friendly textbox option for speech, however I hadn't figured out how to make it so that it not only used my own custom image for the box, but to have the face portrait within the box. This is my work-around.

Maybe one of these days, I'll look over this blog and make a guide, 'how to' PDF or series of videos for anyone who'd be intersted in a more coherent explination of things.

I'm definitely going to need a proof reader, while I am confident with my spelling and grammar, when it comes to explaining how things work, I'm often quite a mess (as evidenced in the video).


Monday, June 22, 2015

Back up, I'm backed up

No progress on the actual game at all, I did try to write the script for the intro sequence though but I haven't gone past two or so sentences.

Recently I've been occupied by being a chauffuer for my parents and trying to get some editing done for a couple of voice acting jobs I've cinched.

(And yes, admittedly a bit of procastionation, though for the most part, the game had not been in my mind much this week. Good thing I decided to at least try to blog about BOA weekly though, or else I may have forgotten about the game for months, this blog actually helped! Yay!).

That's all folks!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hover, hover!

I certainly have been slacking off with the development of this game, however, at least I managed to make some semblance of progress and that is figuring out how to make the exclamation icon hover above the character's head and follow the player character whilst they are under a hotspot/region.

(NB: Image has been edited to show it works on both hotspots)

Initially I tried to script the function via this complicated string of global scripting, but I found out it was much simpler and less hassle to impliment a much shorter script (how many times can I say 'script' in one sentence?) by a room to room basis. 

In all honesty, I might not do much in coming weeks, I'll still try my best to at least add a little more to the project every week though; there's a saying where I come from "Sikit, sikit jadi bukit" which roughly translates to "Little by little it becomes a mountain"...just like my weight.

(ha ha...ha...*sobs*)


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Here's a reflection

So I'm here typing up the weekly blog update for 'Book of Akiva' (let's call it BOA from now on), with nothing to update on.

I feel it's still worth blogging something, like putting a mark on the deadline, or for reflections like this, that should help me stay motivated to complete this game.

While I have missed the demo deadline and I haven't added onto the assets since the last blog post, I'm still quite proud of what I have had managed to achieve. I've implemented a GUI (at least part of it) that I only dreamed of doing over a decade ago.

I know I could do better with the art, but I've found a style that is satisfactory enough for me to quickly (loosely speaking) put together and be like "yeah, I'll move on to something else". Maybe one of these days I'll create a project with the intention of pushing my visual art skills to the limit? Who knows?

I have friends who are interested in voice acting for the project, friends who I have leaned onto in the past, in other words, people I know who will deliver.

This month, it's all about completing the demo, then I'll go back to my written schedule.

I wouldn't be surprised if this game took abotu a year to make *knock wood* I'm hoping it would at most be 6 months, but who am I kidding? I just need to keep up the momentum.

Here's to effort and passion,
Here's to ambition,


Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Dingswitch!

So I've managed to figure out and impliment that function I mentioned in the previous blog post, where it's similar to FF9- anytime the character nears an area of interest, an exclamation mark will appear to indicate that the player/ character could interact with something there.

I intially wanted the exclamation mark to hover above the character's head, but this is simpler to code, my old English teacher Mr...(was it Mr Yates or Mr.Grace? anyways one of them) always said "Keep It Simple St--Silly!" and I think this will suffice.

A mumbly, drawn out, "um" filled explanation is in the video above, mostly as a reference made for myself, though the first thirty seconds or so of the video shows the function in action.

The month is almost over and I'm not done with the demo yet, however things are still looking up, I'm still making (slow) progress (but progress nonetheless). Experimenting and doing things with the engine that I would have been too scared (insecure?) to attempt a few years ago.

Yeah I'm proud *knock wood*.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Audio/Visual test and title (Finally!)

So I'm almost done with all of the backgrounds needed for the demo (in fact I've actually added one more initially unplanned background- worth it).

Seems I'm fleshing things out more and more each day, which is great, I find myself constantly asking myself "so what are the character's motivations?", "how can I take advantage of this situation/conversation/puzzle to show their personality?", "What definite characteristics do you want to put forth?", "How will you differenciate them? What do the characters agree on? Why would they stick together, do they need to?"

This is kind of why I usually like doing things as I go along, feeling like things are getting done motivates me to actually look at the details closer; I guess I'm a pragmatist?

 Anyways, here's an animation and sound test:

Part of me feels like I should create the isometric parts of the walkcycle, but another part of me is saying, it looks alright (does the job) and that I really should move on.

This will be my first game that uses the keyboard to move the character (using Khris' keyboard module from the AGS forums), I'll have to figure out how the character will interact with their suroundings, I'm thinking Final Fantasy 9 style- basically in that game when the main character encounters a hidden item a question mark or exclamation mark appears above their heads- I'm thinking when the main character of my game hovers over a hotspot that happens and you either press the 'A' or 'D' keys to interact; I still have to figure out how to do/script that, I'll try my best!

The looping music still has a slight pause before continuing so I still have to edit the sound file a bit more.

NB: The snow is a huge character sprite and was a test for a different game (the bg above was a test for a different game as well, I might never complete that one, seemed like a silly idea then and now).

Today I finally decided on a title for the game! "Book of Akiva". Basically the game is set around the kingdom of "Akiva" and it's kind of a "Tales of" situation, I could start it up like a history book, I could even have an easter egg within the game "The Book of Akiva: a history of the past 300 years" or something; if I ever want to make a sequel y'know?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Expected to move faster

Perhaps catching up on all seven seasons of True Blood wasn't a good idea, at least for the progression of this game (surprisingly, I still haven't decided on a name, gotta get on to that).

Yes, yes, procastionation is the curse that hath befallen all of us at least once in our lives and might I say procastionation and I have quite a history, if it was legal, I'd marry it...though I'm not sure we'd get past the engagement...probably would be catching up on the walking dead...

Jokes aside, I have made minor progress this week, I am still quite reluctant to share much about the game's story (since in the end, it is going to be quite short), but since what I'm working on is going to be the first screen (at least in the demo, still haven't decided for the full game yet), it shouldn't be too much of a problem if I shared a progress pic.

I have actually gotten much further with this background, but I figured this back-up saved image would do.

If you're wondering what my process is, I traditionally draw a sketch of the location, then I either scan or take a picture of the drawing (having clear and percise lines doesn't really matter when doing a low-res background). Then I put it into photoshop where I resize the image appropriately (with a sprite placed in a different layer as a scalling reference). I then build up a series of different layers pertainting to rough outlines, colour blocking, rough shading (I'm not too confident with shading, so for this particular project, and most of my previous ones, I just keep is as simple as possible). Lastly, I clean it all up, add small extra details if I feel like it or have the time and viola! It's complete.

I want to give a shout-out to Matt Frith who made the game 'Foundations', we don't know each other, but I got inspired to paint my clouds like I did above after playing that game (I mean, his is better looking obviously, but I wanted to go for a simpler style, I think it works).

One of these days I might even make a "This is how I half-ass it" tutorial on game-making.

Not much else to add on this blog other than that I have figured out how I want to end the full game, that's about it, I'll keep a lot of things vague for now...then again, it's not like people actually actively check out my blog, but who knows, right?


Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Spontaneous May

In an attempt to release *something*, I had decided to work on a game as I went along (or semi-spontaneous at least). I had written up some simpe day by day goals for myself to abide by, so I could keep everything in check.

...'course I'm actually a little behind, even on this blog. I had planned to blog about it weekly and I'm off a day lol. Other than that, there are a bunch of stuff in my checklist that I haven't tackled yet for one reason or another (mostly procastination, let's be real here).

Regardless, I feel like things are still coming along nicely, I've been conceptualising the story and puzzles as I go along and it feels good. I've decided to extend my one month schedule to approximately 3-4 months (Guys over at 'Extras' really do know their stuff- NB: I know what they said about setting yourself up to make a game within a month, but this isn't my first game).

So far I'm behind on two scenes, two character walkcycles, two puzzles. The main character's walkcycle took longer than it should but at least I'm almost done with it:

Being so early in development, I don't feel comfortable enough yet to reveal much info on this character, just that she is the main character, that has definitely been set in stone.

Welp! That's all for this post, see ya later sweets!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Under the belt

So far this blog has been so very empty. Despite being a blog I started for the games I create (or would) I don't really talk much about the games I...actually created/ completed.

I was never big into blogging and I don't even upkeep my diary that well...I don't even remember where I put that thing, do a lot of people my age still keep personal diaries?

Well to stop myself from going off a tangent, I've decided to type this post up to share and briefly talk about my games, the ambitious games (quite ironically not so ambitious 'cause I usually just go for the easy route...ugh this is why people think I'm a hipter). Let's commence!

1) Jacob: VA's cut:
Released on 24th December 2007

This was the very first game I ever managed to complete and on my own on top of that. I was so excited back then. The story in itself is not very original, heck it was based on another game that I beta-tested (I got permission from the original creator), it was called 'Jacob' (really? 16 year old me, really?). Basically it's about a girl who goes on  trip to introduce her boyfriend (Jacob, ding ding ding!) to her parents, she wakes up alone and confused in a funky looking hotel and goes off looking for Jacob/ looking for a way out (The original game is in the viewpoint of the boyfriend). This game was crap, the art was crap, the story was crappily executed, the voice acting (features my first ever attempt at voice acting) crap but it was my crap, and you know what they say about crap? It makes the flowers grow.

2) A Simple Fix:
Released on June 30th 2011

This was a game that I made for the Adventure Game Studio monthly compettition "MAGS", where competitors create a game in one month (Mr.Obvious is obvious) based on that month's theme chosen by the previous winner. The game itself is about a crow who tries to help an abandoned doll re-connect with her owner. It's simple and pretty decent imo.

3) All Gone Soon:
Released on 2nd February 2015

This was another MAGS entry (for the January 2015 MAGS- there was a small extension given, which explains why I was able to release it on February). I call this one a 'boner project' partly 'cause I felt like I did more of whatever I wanted to and then squished it enough to relate to the theme of the month. I've always wanted to create more games that had same-sex relationships  (not just games really, movies, books, etc). I finally made a game with a homosexual couple so that made me happy (though the sexy dating sim is still under construction), I didn't want it to feel like a forced PSA about discrimination though so I hope people could see that this is a game about a relationship, two people going through a break-up.

Hmm looks like I have a 4 year time period in between games, well hopefully I can change that one of these days (at least for short games that shouldn't take more than 3 months).

I have so many folders in my computer and external hard-drives of so many of my ideas, concept art and what not and I'm not really going anywhere with most of them; I suspect this is normal though, one of these days I might just go through the lot of them and create a bunch of short games or maybe I'll merge them all into this wacky mess of a game, who knows? As long as I stay ambitious (wink, wink), it's all gooooood.