Friday, July 30, 2010

AD: New way of Texting

Well hello there! No, this is not a "new project", but a correction of an old one. You may remember a quote from one of my previous entries when I said: 
"In saying that, I still hope that the overall plot of this game leaves a few loose ends, as I want it to lead pretty much directly into the sequel with (the planned) opening sequence for Nearing Dusk tying up many of those loose ends. Those who were following my first work "Vest Trials" will be rather surprised with this series... Not telling why!"*
I guess the secret is spilt and you all now know that both Approaching Dawn and Nearing Dusk are pretty much "Vest Trials". Vest Trials was my first ever Game Maker game which I never finished (I didn't even get through one eighths of it due to my aims of making it immensely large [the first world which I did complete had about 30-45minutes of game time], I was aiming for a total of ~10 hours). So yes, now I have a new spiffy-looking logo which I'm happy about, and I'm actually updating all the current text's looks in the game. I thought I'd share a few pictures:

I wanted to give them a simplistic and smooth look compared to their "messy" appearance beforehand. Not only the text which is changing though, as I'm going through and polishing a lot of the game up, tweaking old graphics, etcetera.

This leads me to the next major(ish) change which is being made - the keys. I'm swapping around some of the keys which are used because I've always thought then I played around: "The spacebar doesn't seem right for jumping" and "The Pause button (P) is too far away". The Pause one in particular gave me difficulty when unpausing the level just to do a jump or something, and with it being so far away I would often miss/mess up. So I've come up with a new controls scheme which will hopefully remedy that. 

From now on the jump key will be "X" (It was "Z" but I felt uncomfortable when jumping, "X" feels a lot more natural), the pause key will be "C" (very close to the jump key, so even if the player accidentally pressing the pause key, the game can easily be unpaused and continued without much hassle), the skip cutscene key will be "Z" (they're relatively close to each other which means the player doesn't have to move their hands as much). This will result in the spacebar, and P not serving any function at all, and the arrow keys will stay as normal. Hopefully this set-up will allow for much better user input efficiency. 

I also really dislike having those 'floating' pictures on the Approaching Dawn page. So I'll hopefully clean that up within a few days and have it looking much more nice than it is now. Same goes for HERO: Stone of Wonder, I'll edit that page providing a lot more information about the game itself.

As for progress towards the third beta, I'm currently analysing what exactly to put in it, as the finishing game will be released after Competition 06's completion, due to the mere time consumption by school work (not only that, but I'll need to focus on my tertiary education for next year). I intend to implement all the story into the game however (including the background story scrolls), and 'most' of the content (the three Quality levels and all the 'bonus' stuff that I've planned will have to wait).

*Quote taken from blog entry here.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

AD: BETA #2 Out Now!

EDIT 26-07-10 FIXED: Download Approaching Dawn BETA

Once again it is BETA time, with the second BETA having a lot more content than the first BETA. I'm very happy with the outcome of this BETA and I hope you guys are too!

This BETA focuses on the Arcade levels and their cutscenes, and the World HUB, along with the menus. I will be reworking some of the menus in the future, with "Dungeon Map" and "Secrets" not yet available in the Pause menu.

This also concludes the first Level section of the game, with the four main Arcade levels being now complete!

There is about 16 minutes of content on here for those who are experienced enough to rush through the game and perfect every level their first try, so for most testers, there will be close to 30 minutes worth of testing here (if you wish to perfect all four Arcade levels).

In the .zip file you should find the executable file and the readme file. I suggest reading the readme file because it contains all the controls/information about the BETA, along with the change-list from BETA one to BETA two.

You will also know when the BETA concludes so that shouldn't be a problem. Below are a few key aspects I need feedback about:

  • Level HUD - should I add more/less to it? Does it need improving?
  • Cutscenes - how are the cutscenes? Any general feedback on this is good.
  • Levels - how are the in terms of difficulty, length and overall feel?
  • Menus - are the menus presented well? Was there any likes/dislikes?
  • World HUD - do I need a World HUD to display more things, like level best times etc.?
  • Level End Screen - does it need fixing? (I might be fixing up the placement for a few things before release of the third BETA)
  • Hidden Door - did you find it?
  • Backgrounds/Graphics - do they fit the overall scheme of the game?
My contact info. is in the readme file, leaving a comment on the blog also helps a ton.


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

Friday, July 23, 2010

AD: Back on Track

After posting a few screenshots of Approaching Dawn on the Game Maker Community forums under competition six on the "official" competition thread, I was rather nervous at first to see how it was received. Much to my surprise a lot of people complimented the graphics (with some feedback on the graphics side of things), so I've now been... "inspired" to complete this game before the competition of 31st August. This will be a.. difficult feat, but should be achievable if I put a bit of work into it.

This is why you'll most likely see less of me here on the blog. I will post, I'm not going to let this "almost-habit" die out on me, just that school and making Approaching Dawn are of higher priority at the current time.

After posting it on the forums I also received some feedback towards the game's look. It was very well received apart from two comments who offered some feedback. One asked why the "triangle" button was upside down (it was the down button) and another commented on the background of the mountain area (which I agreed about, it was need of fixing for a while now). So that very day I modified both the mountain background sprite and the directional PSP buttons!
Screenshot showing both the changes.
You may ask - "Why make the directional buttons square, that's still not the PSP shape!" But to be frank, I find the PSP directional buttons rather ugly when putting an exact copy of the "shape" so I decided a square, due to the player being able to tell the different between the Triangle button (a circle upright triangle outline) to the Down button (a square upside-down triangle). I also first had the new mountains background using three colours, but figured I'd rest with two as the third didn't make it fit the graphics.

Apart from this I've also been working on a few of the Level End cutscenes when you first complete the level (similar to the cutscene in the first BETA). These cutscenes and the last segment of the fourth level are the last things to be completed (major things) before I (hopefully) release the second BETA on Sunday. If it isn't out by then I'm in very deep trouble!

You may also notice that I have now made a few pages, About Me, HERO: Stone of Wonder, and Approaching Dawn. The pages of games in particular will hold basic information about the game, along with a few screenshots and download links. Hopefully this will allow me to better-organise the blog and improve it vastly.

On a final note I have hit a milestone, with the release of the second BETA Approaching Dawn will be the most complete game that I've created so far. I will be using all my strength to persist with it!


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

CT: Named and Framed

Yes, yes indeed - this is the second of my "CT:" blog posts, and now with a spiffy logo (not that it's spiffy). I'm actually thinking of ditching the name "Hero" altogether, but we'll see what happens.

So yes, this is my game that I'm planning, sort of a small exploration game with no real objectives, has a small story behind it, but I don't want to make it a full-on 30 hour exploration game, I'd rather settle with a 10-20 minute high quality exploration game where you take on the character "Hero" (pronounced: heh-row).

Hero lives by himself on his own little world and that's the whole reason he needs your help! The Stone of Wonder will grant Hero his one wish to not be alone any more. Simple, yes. However the Stone needs to be powered up to work, as at current it is just a bland, grey, stone slab, magic-less, but scattered across the lands of the elements are monoliths which require powering by small elemental energies which are found in the surrounding areas (yes, we must power the monoliths to power the Stone of Wonder). These districts are home to some hazards which will set Hero back on his small quest.

Story is very simplistic at the current time, and will most likely remain that way. I also hope to reflect this on the game's graphics, which are also simple but "pleasing to the eye". There will be no "levels", but there will however be Achievements which the player can earn - with some being required to complete the game.

This is very similar to seiklus (I know, I wanted to make this game reminiscent of seiklus as it was one of the games which inspired me to start using Game Maker and making games for that matter), but hopefully it'll differ in a fair few ways.


NOTE: All sprites of the game "HERO: Stone of Wonder" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

AD: Arcade Frenzy and Major Changes

Well, back at school now so progress has slowed quite a bit. The second BETA is on its way (with only the fourth level requiring to be completed and a few small touches). However I may push the BETA back in date. I know I said I would definitely have it out by the 18th, but due to some unforeseen problems, I want to fix those before the release.

This also brings me to my next point - Approaching Dawn will not be ready before the deadline of the sixth YoYo Games Competition. I know this is very unfortunate, but due to the sheer importance of school, and not having a longer holidays (the Summer Competition was aimed at those who were actually on their Summer holidays), I cannot physically have it done.

You may be thinking this is the time for me to pull out an excuse, leg it and abandon this project like I did to my others. No, I'm not going to abandon the game - if anything, this deadline "stress" being removed will improve the quality of the game because I can now add in the things I wanted to which didn't make the cut for the Competition!

This means of course, more levels and overall more content! It also allows me to improve the overall quality of the current developed content which I had to rush through to make. (I will throw a Demo up on the YoYo Games site with a Competition06 tag for the sake of having a go and hopefully getting some good feedback.

Now that this has happened, I can now reveal some of the things which I have planned to release and change:

  •  Two more Arcade levels - "Wasteland" and "Core" themed Arcade levels which will not be linked to the four at the current time.
  •  Running "ability" removed - This will instead be replaced with the reward of a Background Story Scroll.
  •  Stone Slab Hint mini-games - To reveal the hint on the Stone Slab you'll have to play a short quick-paced mini-game.
  •  More World HUB areas - This means more exploration which also allows me to add in some new levels and mini-games.
  •  Mini-games - such as top-down "dodge the falling stagmite"; which will reward the player with a Background Story Scroll.

Of course some of these still won't make it into the game, because I do want to get this game done and dusted as soon as possible.

The Storyline and plot will also be re-worked allowing for a full introduction and small cutscenes here and there throughout the game (excluding the level cutscenes). Hopefully this will improve the quality of the entire storyline which is carried over to the second game too.

Finally, I want to rework some of the graphics (of course this won't happen until the near release so long time away!

While I'm at it, I'll throw up some screenshots of the third and fourth Arcade levels!:


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

AD: Secrets too Secret to be Secrets

In the past day or so, I've been working on some "hidden" things which are found within the game. Most of this is actually writing, but with some I had to design some interfaces for some "secret" areas. Of course with the World HUB being somewhat of a linear exploration, there are some secret areas which are well hidden, perhaps too well hidden.

This was when I started brainstorming ideas about how I could put "hints" into the game without it being blatantly obvious, or the hints being of no help at all. I then came up with the idea: "Stone Tablets", with these, being rather large looking stone slabs sticking out of the ground, the player will have to go investigate!
A stone slab which can be examined...

Upon examining the stone slab, the player is shown a simple screen (like one of the ones below) which display the "hint". The hints which are displayed, will all be pictures, exempt of text. Using this players will then have to pretty much "piece things together".
Shh.. That's a secret.

Shh.. So is this.

With this mechanic in place in the game, I want to take full advantage of it, so now I'm thinking of ways to expand it to help in other aspects of the game - like the Persistence Quality level for instance. If I can stretch it this far then the Persistence level will not only be about persistence, but of "piecing things together" as well.

Of course, with some areas being currently non-existent (like the secret areas and the last five areas of the World HUB), this mechanic will only be in place after I develop these areas and that they're able to be explored.

I'm contemplating adding these to the "Secrets" slot in the Pause Menu, due to the player (at current) having to either write it down, remember it, or know it as soon as they see it. However this fix wouldn't be one of my top priorities, as there are still a lot of things to implement into the game.

This leads into my next topic - the foreground plot for the game. Ever since creating the "dream" tutorial to the game, I've been struggling into tying it in to the background plot (which is actually the main plot of the game - it's very close to it). I've decided to scrap this "dream" and all of its cutscenes and rooms that I've completed and overhaul the game's background plot to become its foreground story.

In doing this I've created what I call a "void". The player is thrown into the game, without any knowledge of what has/is happening, and is given one option - to explore. Exploring not only in the World HUB but throughout the entire game to actually piece together the story.

I wanted both Approaching Dawn and its sequel - Nearing Dusk, to be heavily story-orientated, and with this comes the possibility of losing the player in all of this. This is why I want to keep the "secret" background story scrolls very short, and possessing only the vital information that the player can piece together. This is definitely turning into a game that "everyone can play and understand", because if they choose not to obtain any of the background story scrolls in the game, they will be left at the end of the game with a rather large question mark over their head.

In saying that, I still hope that the overall plot of this game leaves a few loose ends, as I want it to lead pretty much directly into the sequel with (the planned) opening sequence for Nearing Dusk tying up many of those loose ends. Those who were following my first work "Vest Trials" will be rather surprised with this series... Not telling why!


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

AD: Progress Report #2:

This is the second instalment of my progress reports, outlining the progress in certain aspects of the game. This report will be relatively larger than the first progress report due to the increase of elements now in development.

Menus - 70%
Main Menu: The Main Menu development is very near complete, with a few more refinements it should be at 100%, done and dusted. (95%)

Options Menu: This has been pretty much finished, it will only need to be edited when new sounds/music are added into the game. The sprites which are in there at current will remain there (unless changed in spare time at the end of development). (95%)

Controls Menu: Unfortunately development on this Menu hasn't gone very far quickly, there are still many elements of this Menu to be completed, but the priority of this Menu being completed at the current time is very low. Regular Keyboard Controls still need to be added into the game. (30%)

Pause Menu: The Pause Menu was relatively small and simple at first, but has now developed into a much larger project. With the "Resume" option now absent (is replaced by a "START" key which prompts the player to press "P" to unpause) and two new options added ("Dungeon Map" and "Secrets"), development on those two new options will take a while to develop (and will be developed on at a later date, due to a higher amount of progress needed to create them). (60%)

Game Areas - 35%
World HUB: The World HUB has been under some serious development, with a lot more details being added and a lot more new areas being created. Development for this aspect has been fairly solid, and will be continually updated with the expansion of tilesets/decorations. (65% - not including Secret Areas)(50% - including secret areas)

Special Areas: There are a few special areas in the World HUB which are required to be made. This however is only necessary at a later date (for instance when the Bonus Levels are added into the game). (5%)

Game Levels - 22%
Arcade Level One: Development on this level has stopped due to it reaching completion. (100%)

Arcade Level Two: Development on this level has stopped due to it reaching completion. (100%)

Arcade Level Three: Development on this level has begun a few days ago, with some good progress being made in level-design but in GFX as well. (15%)

Arcade Level Four: Development for this level is yet to begin. (0%)

Bonus Level One: Development for this level is yet to begin. (0%)

Bonus Level Two: Development for this level is yet to begin. (0%)

Persistence Level: Development for this level is yet to begin. (0%)

Thought Level: Development for this level is yet to begin. (0%)

Speed Level: Development for this level is yet to begin. (0%)

Final Level: Development for this level is yet to begin. (0%)

Game Plot - 50%
Plot: This is the actual design of the game's plot, having all of its ideas and main foreground and background story covered. (95%)

Implemented Plot: This is the level of plot actually implemented into the game to where the player can follow. The main background story (which also acts as most of the game's foreground story) will be implemented at a later date along with most of the other secret areas. (5%)

Engine - 80%
Game Engine Capabilities: This indicates the variety of obstacles etcetera throughout the game. Wit this at 100%, the obstacles, items and player systems are complete and are ready to implement/are implemented into the game. (80%)

You may've notice that throughout this progress report that there is no music. This is the case because music and sounds will be placed in at a later date when they are of more importance.


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

AD: Difficulty in Perfection

With the first BETA releasing a look at the first level, and with the second to fourth levels under development, testers did pose the question of difficulty towards the levels. However, not everything is as it seems!

When designing the levels, due to their 'thought' non-time restrictions, players can take their time throughout the level, which in doing so renders the level very easy. However, as some (those who achieve a specific time of higher) would notice that they would achieve the following screen:
This screen shows (and tells) the player that they've "perfected" the level, reaching the ultimate time goal. Of course the player can continue to retry these levels in hope to beat their "perfected time", but once they've perfected the level once, it remains perfected.

As mentioned before I will also be adding in two "bonus" levels, these, when completed (and found for that matter), will congratulate the player with a fancy new move - either the ability to double jump, or the ability to run.

Simply "finding" these bonus levels isn't the only requirement for obtaining these abilities however, as the player will need to "perfect" specific Arcade levels to enter!

For the first bonus level, the player will require perfection in both the first and second Arcade levels, with the second bonus level requiring perfection in the third and fourth. Of course I'm not going to spoil what ability is behind each level, but I will say is that the abilities found will be required to complete the game. That's right, these bonus levels aren't really "bonus" at all, as the last level will require both of these abilities AND completion of the previous levels (those being the three Quality levels).

In doing so this creates a "higher" difficulty on the four Arcade levels, which will continue the flow of difficulty throughout the rest of the game. Below is a little list of the levels and their difficulties, with 1x being very easy, and 10x being extremely difficult:

Arcade Levels

  • Level One - Regular: 1x
  • Level One - Perfect: 2x
  • Level Two - Regular: 2x
  • Level Two - Perfect: 4x
  • Level Three - Regular: 3x
  • Level Three - Perfect: 5x
  • Level Four - Regular: 4x
  • Level Four - Perfect: 7x
Bonus Levels
  • Bonus One: 5x
  • Bonus Two: 8x
Quality Levels
  • Persistence: 9x
  • Thought: 9x
  • Speed: 9x
Other levels
  • Final Level: 10x
And in saying that it is time I get back to work, progress is going smoothly, with some bugs and rooms to fix up before moving onto the final touches for the second BETA.


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

AD: Release Schedule

Well, because development is further than I anticipated (not only that but the workload is bigger as well), I thought I would add in a Release Schedule in a blog post. This is it. I hope that the dates in this Schedule are incorrect, and that the BETA's are released earlier, but only I can control that, so here it is, the Approaching Dawn Release Schedule!

Title - for example the "Game Name" + "BETA or RELEASE" + "BETA/RELEASE number"
Release Date - this is the expected release date for the BETA/RELEASE, it should be at most this specified date.
Importance - this is in terms of feedback, with it being "very high" meaning that the BETA requires very constructive feedback so that necessary fixes may be made so the game can be at the top of its ability.
Feedback - the feedback line provides the type of feedback expected in the BETA. Things that are not mentioned and do not fit into any category can be given feedback during any stage.

Approaching Dawn BETA one:
Release Date: 30th June 2010 has been released! Check the BETA #1 Release Post for more information.
Importance: High
Feedback: Level(Arcade)/Menu

Approaching Dawn BETA two:
Release Date: 18th July 2010 has been released! Check the BETA #2 Release Post for more information.
Importance: Very High
Feedback: Introduction/Level(Arcade)/Cutscene/Menu

Approaching Dawn BETA three:
Release Date: 1st August 2010
Importance: High
Feedback: Level(Quality)/Level(Bonus)/Cutscene/Menu

Approaching Dawn BETA four:
Release Date: 15th August 2010
Importance: Very High
Feedback: Level(Quality)/Level(Bonus)/Cutscene/World HUB

Approaching Dawn BETA five: (This BETA is for thorough Testers only who will be contacted by myself)
Release Date: 25th August 2010
Importance: FINAL BETA
Feedback: Level(Final)/Level(Quality)/Cutscene/World HUB/Secrets/Story/Map/Menu/Ending

Approaching Dawn RELEASE one: 
Release Date: 27th August 2010
Importance: Release
Feedback: Overall


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

AD: The Discovery Act

With the release of the first BETA, the question is beginning to be asked: Is this suitable for the sixth YoYoGames Competition, as so far it doesn't seem to fit the theme. This is actually very true. The game-play aspects of the game have nothing to do with the theme at all (apart from some small exploration areas in the world HUB). However, the part in which the theme of the competition is truly prominent is the story-side of the game.

Throughout the game, the player is shown the foreground story, this is the story which is considered to be the "main plot". Everything the player needs to know about the game is shown to them.

However, the background story for not only Dareo (the main protagonist), but the world around him are only found and revealed to the player if the player chooses to find them. With the ability to choose comes the discovery aspect, because not only can the player discover some awful truths about the world around Dareo, but the hidden link between the back and foreground stories.

As mentioned in one of my first blog posts, the background story isn't revealed to the player unless he/she finds "scrolls" jammed in secret places around the World HUB (the player discovers the back-story, whilst exploring to find it). The order in which you find them however is where the linking aspect comes in. After finding all (there are six written at current) of them, the player can go to their Pause Menu and choose "Secrets". In this small menu, they will be able to read the scrolls that they've found during their explorations in the World HUB.

For those who love a good interesting story, then the back-story is where the action takes place, because the player can possibly determine what lies at the end of the tunnel before even reaching the end.

This was one of the key ideas which I wanted to introduce with this game, the ability to play through a world of unknowing exploration, completing seemingly easy levels which have a purpose to them.

As for the levels however, the four "Arcade" levels are seemingly "retro"-like in game-play. This is true, and it was implemented because I wanted to give it a feeling similar to "well, this is going to be all-too similar". However, once players reach the "Quality" levels, they'll soon realise the purpose of them.

Giving a rather large spoiler, one of the "Quality" levels is called "Persistence", and as its name suggests, it'll test the player's patience and persistence throughout the level. This is tested by making the level rather lengthy and boring, giving the feeling of a person forcing themselves to work to achieve a goal. This is just an example of how the Quality levels test people.

Of course I still need to make the game fun in 90% of its aspects of else I'd have no one playing it, but I'm going to persist with the Persistence Quality layout for now, hoping it'll serve its purpose.

Well, on that note, I best mention how the second level is going. The second level - earth is almost complete, with only a few touches left to be addressed. But I'll let the screenshots speak for themselves:
Can it be.. Falling spikes?!

That could potentially be very painful...

This leaves the third and fourth level to do predominantly in the second BETA, including some new Menu features and the Introduction to the game. At most it will take 2-4 days for these Menu fixes and the Game Introduction, with another 2-6 days for the second, third and fourth level completions with working cutscenes. So the planned date (13th July) seems like it may be pushed back to at most the 15-18th July. With the second BETA however, 90% of menu fixes are done, with only those which appear with the third, fourth and fifth BETA's requiring to be completed.

I also hope to get the four Arcade levels, two Quality levels (persistence unlikely) and the two Bonus levels done before the 1st of August, leaving the persistence and last level for August. In August I also plan to implement the secrets menu into the fifth BETA (this means they'll also be available for those testers).

I'll more likely drag this out in the next Progress Report which will be coming out within the next two weeks, so until then, it's back to work for me!


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

Monday, July 5, 2010

CT: The Bigger Picture

Over the last few days I've been playing seiklus (made by "cly5m"/"tapeworm" - I've beaten it four or so times throughout this period of time, and have still felt the same "new" feel each time I open it. This began to get me thinking a lot about a new game which has been in the back of my mind for a while now.

As you can also see, the blog post before this has "AD:" in its title before the blog title. This stands for Approaching Dawn, and as I develop/release more games, this sub-title will change depending on which game I'm blogging about.

This blog, is for a project titled "Cyghotite" (this is a working title for now) which I'll write up a GDD (Game Design Document) for, and begin working on it ASAP. It'll have the sub-title "CT:" next to it.

Game Engine
The engine for this game is going to be a tad different compared to the one I'm using now in Approaching Dawn, well, for one I'll be re-writing the whole engine, and some specific parts of the engine I'll have no use for, we'll just have to see how it goes.

I haven't quite settled on this yet, but I'm going to go for a similar style like I am doing with Approaching Dawn, this may be changed back to a more simpler style (like one of my previous unfinished works "Bulb: Circuit Problems").

The Game
I'd rather make this game "short" but with extensive use of exploration qualities. Having an entire world where the player explores new areas, finds secrets and decodes the mysteries of the Tribe is what it'll focus on predominantly. However I do want to incorporate an extended storyline and things for those who have reached the first ending. I also want the game to be sort-of RPG-like, with the player needing a heat-resistant Cyghotite to go in the lava areas, requiring a light-producing Cyghotite to go into underground areas, or having to need a water-pressurizing Cyghotite to go deep underwater.

I want this game to be another heavy story-oriented game. At the present time, the story is about a boy - named "Hero" who lives in the snow-village of Ahn-Ko (pronounced "ah-neh-koh"). The village itself is rather peaceful, with there being no known threats in-game. The player can venture through the village and can explore the surrounding areas. The story kicks-in however when the player examines the large stone-tablet reading out an ancient story about the elemental "Cyghotites" (pronounced "Keh-eye-ho-teh-eye-tes"). Upon reading the story the player (Hero) is able to absorb the Cyghotites and can hardness their elemental ability to open up more areas. This will of course enable the Hero to gather all the sacred Cyghotites which were lost during the dark times of the Tribe millions of years ago.

Development is continuing on Approaching Dawn, although I had a minor set-back (the weekend was very busy along with the end of last week) but hopefully this week can be rather smooth, school-work aside.


Friday, July 2, 2010

AD: BETA #1 Feedback and BETA #2 Improvements

Well, it's been a few days since I released BETA one, and I think that I have most of the feedback I need to continue and fix in the game. Overall, I was pleased with the positive feedback (thanks to those who did test and provide feedback). If you still want to test/provide feedback, then don't hold back, I need all the feedback I can get.

From what I gathered in the feedback comments (those made on here, MSN and email) I've made a list in what needs to be changed in the next BETA to the current game:

Things that have already been fixed:

  • "Best Time" Update on the Congratulations Screen changed, now fits in with the rest of the "flashing", when it updates, a small white flash will appear, will ONLY cover the "Best Time: ### seconds" however, as I felt flashing the whole screen didn't fit in.
  • Decorations and Details added to the Dungeon Areas in World HUB. This was what I wanted to add, I wasn't happy with the Dungeon tile-set, so I tweaked it a bit and added in decorations etc. 
  • Cutscene (both Gem Powering and Door Powering) speed increased by a third.
  • Cutscene (Gem Powering) improved to give the feeling of empowerment, the screen now begins shaking subtly and upon powering even further, the screen begins to shake more violently.
  • Loading Slot in Main Menu now not available if Save File doesn't exist. Pretty small fix, but it was needed.
  • Room details changed (applies to some) - adding little bits of decoration to rooms which needed it.
Things that need to be fixed:
  • Layout of the Congratulations Level End screen, need to increase space in some areas.
  • Saving particle effect, needs to be removed and replaced with a working save mechanism which shows the player when the game has saved (have an idea for this already).
  • Menus requiring the same key to select in all places. This will most likely take the longest, but it should be able to be done. If I can't get the CROSS button (space) to select in all menus, then I will be forced to choose another key (preferably the TRIANGLE button (x)).
  • Level HUD - at current it looks fairly unpolished. Want to fix this with the displaying of the current Level Time, along with the Level.
  • Pause Menu - fixing up the rectangles which the text is placed in. This is half finished at current, and I think look 100% better.

Coming in BETA Two:
There are going to be a fair amount of new things in the second BETA mainly because the majority of time was spent on creating Menus for the first BETA.
  • Second Level - Earth theme
  • Third Level - Fire theme
  • Fourth Level - Aero theme
  • Cutscenes for Second/Third/Fourth Level.
  • Beginning "Dream" cutscene
  • Ending "Dream" cutscene
  • Ability to "skip" cutscenes.
  • Introductory rooms (fitting in with the Beginning and Ending Dreams)
  • Improved Main Menu (background) as with some other small tweaks.
  • Beginning Introduction (before the Main Menu) improved.
  • Dungeon Map being added to the Pause Menu to track where you are in the World HUB
  • Controls Menu improved (for PSP controls)
  • Controls Menu with Keyboard option support
  • Ability to choose which set-up for controls (Keyboard or PSP)
  • "Secrets" option added to the Pause Menu, this will be of use far later in development progress.
  • Adding Warnings on the Pause Screen when quitting/loading a game (for losing all current unsaved data).
  • Exit Slot on the Main Menu.

World HUB:

  • Three new areas to explore (after the Arcade Temple room).
  • HUD when passing in-front of Level Doors displaying Best Time.
  • Decorations added to both the Dungeon and Temple areas.

As you can see, the list is relatively large (compared to the first BETA), but with some of these dot points being relatively quick to do, I plan on having the second BETA out in around two weeks from now.


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.