Wednesday, August 24, 2011

[ND] Vest Trials: Nearing Dusk

Yes, the sequel to Vest Trials: Approaching Dawn is the next project I'm working on! I doubt that wasn't a huge surprise to some, but yes, after the release of AD I felt I needed to get a sequel out to finish off and clean up the story line from the first game.

The past two weeks I've been writing up a game design document for this game, and pretty much all parts of it (except game area design and some other things ;) ;) ) are complete so I figured I could get down and dirty and begin to work once more.

I've actually already begun development of the game, already completing the main game menu (with sub-menus of new game/load game/controls/options/story and quit game) along with the game's introduction cutscene! The main menu is a more polished and I feel much more smoother menu (that I adore), so I'm glad I got that done and out of the way pretty much first.

The introduction cutscene uses 'images' to portray the story, in a similar but not quite the same way as Iji. The images are static (most) except they are accompanied with words below them explaining what's happening from the point of the game's protagonist.

Now, to get down to the heart of it, the gameplay and mechanics compared to AD. Nearing Dusk follows more non-linear exploration, making the game Overworld much bigger (for a reason though). The game won't revolve around levels such like those in AD, but other 'forms' of levels, I might post this later on but I want to keep some details hidden!

More about the Overworld - again it takes place underground, however there are different terrains and I plan on making it a lot less 'blocky' than AD hence the use of slopes. The engine that the game will be using (by engine I mean platformer engine) I'll be making from scratch, hopefully adding some improvements such as ledge-grabbing, swimming etc.

The graphics of ND I'm not quite sure on yet, I may stick to the style that was present in AD and just make them cleaner and smoother, or I might go for higher-quality graphics, but I'll probably stick to the former. Of course I plan on making the main character bigger than the one in AD, and keeping the same screen size (sorry, but I actually like the smaller screen size).

So yeah, more on this coming up soon! ;)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Project!

Well, I've been tossing up ideas during the week prior to VT: AD's release trying to come up with ideas for my next game project. Little did I know that the day after the game's release I had the perfect idea to come up with for my next game.

For the last few days I've been working on the design document and don't plan on spilling anything of any sorts about it until the document is finished and has been finalized. I expect the document to be done by the end of the month maybe start of September. That being said I think the scope of this project might take as long as VT: AD did, except this time I'll have everything I need to do sorted and explained prior to making it.

Currently the document is rather small, but I expect it to grow vastly within the next few weeks, and then after looking over it and being pleased enough with all my ideas, mechanics, work etc. I'll post notice about what exactly the game is on the blog.

I can say however, that this game is likely to be much more graphically demanding than VT: AD, not amount of sprites wise, but the detail that I want to put into the sprites and the animations that will be required. Programming the game's engine is also looking to be fairly complex, so I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty in code!

Pretty small blog post, just putting it out there that work has already begun on the next game (I did originally want to have a break... but I am just too eager to work on this next one!). If any major issues arise in VT: AD, I'll still fix and upload a new version (both lo and hi), just that I'll also be working on a new large-ish scale project!

Andrew

Monday, August 8, 2011

Vest Trials: Approaching Dawn Released!

Warning: Read comments at your own risk, may include spoilers about the game!

Vest Trials: Approaching Dawn is finally complete and is now fully available to play!


"Take control of Dareo as he infiltrates an explores an abandoned Temple in search of its history and use. Traverse through eight main levels and two optional bonus levels in search of what is at the bottom of the giant structure. Beware though, even though there are no aggressive life forms in the Temple, its creators devised areas of incredible difficulty to prevent its secrets from being revealed."

After 471 days after the start of working on this project it's finally complete! From the above links you can download the lo-fi or hi-fi versions of the game!

Game Information:
Category: 2D Platformer/Adventure
File Size: 10.7MB (lo-fi); 27.2MB (hi-fi)
Screen Resolution: 480x272
Changes Screen Resolution: No (fullscreen is optional)
GM Version: GameMaker 8.0 Pro

Screenshots:

Credits List:
Created by: Andrew Wickens (Nights of Light)
Music by: Brian Burke (stargenx)
Testers and Advisors:
- Andrew Martini
- Brice Lwo (iluvfuz)
- James Chappell
- Nathan Wood (turboRamble)
- Ninjutsu63
- Peter Zezima
Special Thanks:
- YoYo Games
- Mark Overmars
- Andrew Martini
- Brice Lwo
- Daniel van Blerk
- James Chappell
- Martin Piecyk
- Nathan Wood
- Ninjutsu63
- Peter Zezima
- Rebekah Ash


Differences between lo-fi and hi-fi:
Essentially the lo-fi version of the game doesn't include level tracks and overworld tracks (overall about 11 tracks), which means a lower file size. Save games from both versions will work with each other however!

Additional Information:
Please comment giving constructive feedback, or email/message me on any of the sites I am part of. If you spot a glitch please don't hesitate to let me know!

--

Well I can't believe the day is finally here where I can say; "Hooray I finished my first game!" After a long 15 months it's finally complete. I'm very proud of the result, I know it could be better in some places but I plan on improving on those areas during development of my next game.

A few stats for AD: 20,000 lines of code approximately, close to 500 sprites (total of over 1000 sub-images), 50 backgrounds/tilesets, over 100 rooms and much more. I'm sort of proud about how big the game actually turned out even though in my mind I always thought of it as a very short game.

Anyway I'll be very interested now to see how the game gets received, I don't expect too much publicity, but you never know, I might get surprised.

For now I'll be continuing on writing up the GDD (game design document) for my next game, which will be some uber fun!

So to everyone who had patience waiting for this day, thank you and I hope I haven't let you down. Thanks to everyone who supported me through its development!


Thanks again!
Andrew

Saturday, August 6, 2011

[AD] Music and Sound Update

First things first, I'm not going to say that there will be no music or sounds in Approaching Dawn! I will be using approximately 17 different music tracks throughout the game (ranging from menu music, to level music, to ending credits music), along with around 40 different sounds.

Secondly, I know I missed my release date of August 1st! Sorry to those who have been waiting (which I don't think are many...). I've been sick the past two weeks and that along with uni work beginning to pick up again I really haven't had that much time along with feeling very lethargic.

This post is mainly aimed at the music/sound side of AD, the differing music tracks and sound effects, and my thoughts on the both.

Music
So yeah, as I mentioned in the first paragraph there are 17 different music tracks, these are pretty much divided up into the following categories:
  • Main Menu music (1 track)
  • Overworld music (4 tracks, 3 of which are shared with levels)
  • Level music (10 tracks, 3 shared with overworld tracks)
  • Credits music (1 track)
  • Misc. music (3 tracks - level completion, level perfection, level begin and secret obtained music).
I was a bit worried about having so many different tracks (not only file size but continually changing the music whilst in the game), but decided that in order to compliment the visuals more were needed. Of course in the lo-fi version I plan to make, overworld and level music will be absent from the game. Essentially every 'tileset' has its own music, except for two (I think).

Sounds
Yesterday when I completed my first full play-through of AD start to finish including obtaining all unlockables, I was also noting what sounds needed to be implement in specific parts of the game. I came up with a list of 40 sounds which I think will help add to the visuals and music.

Currently the sounds are what stand between the finished product and the one at current, I'll be using SFXR (I'm very original...) to make the sounds and hopefully implement them before the end of the weekend. This will allow me to send our the beta to those specific testers in order to generate feedback before doing final tweaks and lastly releasing the game.

I want the testing period to be around a week, mainly because any longer is overkill, I've tested the game a lot as it is (I should have really implemented a count to see how many times I've died/completed X level etc., seeing the results would be interesting), and some have other commitments during the week so less time would mean some would be unable to test.

So just a small post just to say it hasn't been abandoned, and definitely won't be now that it's so close to completion.

Andrew