April's been a bit of a mixed month, and I'd say less time overall has been spent on the game itself. Here's a quick run-down of what's happened.
Moved to an actual office!
Some very generous friends over at Pixeldiet were kind enough to let me use their office space for while they're not using it! Now, instead of being hunched over my computer in the apartment, I have an actual workplace to work at, complete with a little dog!!
This has always been important for me, as I know for a fact that working from home is both: A - not super productive, and B - not good for your mental health... Now that I have an office to go to I can only really directly work on the game there, which means my evenings are far more free, and far less stressed than they have been in a LONG time! An added bonus of doing this has also meant that I have a bit more thinking space; and I've used this to start thinking about characters and general aesthetics more. I've also started playing games again, hooray!
Wonderscope Games AB is getting there.... slowly
I'm in the process of forming the actual company. It's going terribly; thanks 100% to banks here in Sweden being pretty much useless when it comes to service. I can easily rant about how it's been going, but suffice to say, I'm pretty pissed off. Fingers crossed Wonderscope Games will exist in the next few weeks.
I wrote a basic conversation system. I wanted to focus on making it easy for someone to open up a text editor and just write simple dialog; and I like what I have so far. It's super basic, and perhaps it'll get its own interface sometime, but for now it works well enough. Here's a basic conversation file:
#Generic conversation 1 #------------------------- title:generic_1 ::generic_convo_1 if weather:sunny emotion:happy Hey! _How are you doing? to:good:I'm good! to:not_bad:Not bad ::good Great! _Anything you want to chat about? to:nothing_really:Nothing really to:how_are_you:How are you? ::nothing_really Cool, _well, _I'll see you around! to:end:Bye! ::how_are_you set howre_you I'm doing good thanks! to:end:Great, see you! ::not_bad Cool, _anything you want to talk about? to:nothing_really:Nothing really
As you can see, it's pretty simple. Each conversation "point" is given an ID using
:: Anything that's just plain text is taken as content for the current point.
to: is used to define a choice given to the player, followed by the ID of the conversation point it will take you to, or
end if that'll end the conversation, and then the actual text that will be shown on the button. You can choose only show conversations if certain criteria are met, like the weather, using the
if condition line and you can set variables on your character which can be used later using the
set line. You may also notice in there that there is the
emotion:happy line which tells the system what animation and behaviour the character should have during that conversation point. Underscores are used to add pauses in the text flow, so it doesn't just run all at the same speed.
I have an idea of how this will work with my localisation system too (yes, I have a system for localisation already built in...) so I think it'll work out alright. The main goal was to make something anyone could sit down with in a text editor and write dialog, without having to get involved with tools or have to learn anything fancy. I would like it to be even less "programmer-y" at some point, but I think this works well enough for now.
Chatting with a villager
I started thinking about character designs, I did a few sketches and then decided to have a play-around with vector art stuff (because it looked fun) to colour some ideas. I'm trying to figure out proportions, and general feel of the residents. As they will all have their own roll to play in the town, I started thinking about how their outfits would look. I'm contemplating whether or not they'll have a different "casual" outfit when they're not in their respective building.
I want the 2D art for the characters to feel like they would fit into a children's book; which is a general theme I've had in my mind a while now and one I'm starting to play with more and more as I work on the project. I'm also leaning towards have in-game 2D art for all the characters, and quite possibly all furniture and placeables too, as I think again, it feels more cosy, and children's book-like.
Anyway, here are the first two ideas I played with:
The Postman and Baker
Residents now have idle behaviour! They will wander around, and will go up to one another and chat. They also interact with nearby items flagged as interactable; thing such as chairs, and doors for entering/exiting buildings.
You have a player character!
I toyed for a long time, trying to figure out if I wanted the player to have a character in the world. Could the player feel as connected to the world without actually controlling a character in it? If I add a player character, then of course I need to add player customisation too. I decided to quickly give it a go, and used one of the old resident models to test it out. It felt great... so now there's a player character in the game! It feels really great to run around, interact with residents, go in and out of buildings, and decorate; despite the workload it's going to add, it's definitely more in line with the feel I want.
I reworked the camera. Not mega exciting, but I needed to get the camera restricted to the playable area; I also needed to get some movement in for it when the player enters a building. Previously, when you'd entered a building, the camera would be locked above you. This felt really weird; sort've creepy "CCTV Spying" kinda weird... so it needed to go. Now there's a little movement as you run around, and it feels much better. I worked in a new, separate camera for conversations, which means that can be customised to feel just right. I also added fade in-out to the camera for when you use a door. This instantly made the game feel more professional; it's amazing how some small things can affect the impression of game so much!
In and Out with camera fading
So that was April! Now the sun is setting, and it's time to play some video games! Thanks for reading!
While playing around with the Baker concept, something broke and I ended up with some pretty cool looking art I think!