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Beals Software

Weekly Update - 7/27/13

Posted by , in Weekly Update 27 July 2013 - - - - - - · 421 views

Hello everyone! We have a short update this week; Mikeyo has been quite busy and was a little under the weather, so he was unable to get a video done and I have a video done, but I can't share it yet (legal reasons), but hopefully I can get it up next week.

Company News
In company news, we are happy to welcome Matt McCullar to the team. Mike and I decided to bring him in to help with a free monthly game that we're starting up soon (not The Lost Chapters, a different, smaller web-based game.) Matt is a talented writer and programmer, so he will do a great job of heading that project as well as a welcome addition on future projects.

Seeking Imagination
The project has had a little bit of a change in direction. Originally we were aiming for a bit of a Zelda-esque game: mild combat, epic boss battles, small set of items, puzzle-centric. However, this doesn't really mix that well with the storyline or what we were actually envisioning.

I would still categorize the game as an action-adventure game, but with some RPG elements. It is going to have:
- World-map combat (similar to Zelda, just a little less mild)
- A small set of stats - attack (melee combat effectiveness), defense (health and physical damage protection), magic (magic damage) and dexterity (ranged combat effectiveness), which you will be able to affect via leveling up, the items you equip and potions
- Lots of items - food, potions, melee weapons, ranged weapons, armor and tools.
- Lots of crafting - cooking, alchemy, blacksmithing, etc.

UI Change
Due to the change in design, we've also switched up the UI. We're using a standard health bar now, instead of hearts, we've added an XP bar, gold display and a place to put the character's avatar. Here's a screenshot of it:
Attached Image
We can't agree on a layout and I know others aren't going to be able to, so there will be three choices: four corners, centered across the top and centered across the bottom.

Local Multiplayer Dropped
I'm not sure if you watched my video from last week, but due to the way that gamepads are handled in either Tao or OpenGL, we're going to have to drop local multiplayer for everything except the OUYA. Basically the issue is that when a second gamepad is connected to the system the IDs get messed up in the library. This results in calls to GetState(PlayerIndex.One) to report the state of controller two and GetState(PlayerIndex.Two) to report the state of controller one. I figured that I could get around this using a hack, but I then ran into the issue that if I disconnected controller two at this point, controller one would still try to report the state as if it was controller two and resulted in major defects. The IsConnected was also not being report corrrectly.

Originally I assumed these issues were related to MonoGame, but I ran into the same issue when trying to use SFML.Net; the only library that seems to report the information correctly is XNA. The general census that I've received is that local multiplayer on non-console systems isn't very important (networked multiplayer was obviously more important), so we have decided to drop it and I will start implementing network-based multiplayer once I have finished the initial pass of the prototype.

That's about all that I can think of at the moment. I've spent most of my day writing down ideas, so my brain is kind of shot at the moment. Thanks for tuning in and we'll see you next week!

Weekly Update - 7/19/13

Posted by , in Weekly Update 19 July 2013 - - - - - - · 460 views

Weekly Update Video

Project Updates
Seeking Imagination
The local multiplayer system is fully in place and cemented in now - up to four players are supported via gamepads and the UI is set up properly to handle it. The previous version had lots and lots of code that updated the UI, but I've now switched that around so that the UI polls the data based on which player it represents...much more effective.

I was also able to get the content loading classes implemented, so we can now start developing maps as well as fleshing out entities and items. This wasn't all that hard, seeing as how I'm using MonoGame, the hardest part being loading the entities since we're using a component-based entity system (though, that really wasn't that hard either.)

Mikeyo is currently about halfway through the second draft of the script and luckily he has only run into one major continuity issue; which he resolved. I just finished reading the script on Wednesday and I was super excited and almost to the point of crying come the end.

In the video Mikeyo touches on the fact that we've changed the crafting system. Originally we were going to use a simple system that revolved around gathering colored orbs that would be used to either craft the item or unlock it. However, we weren't really happy with it as it started out as a different idea and we kind of molded it into the crafting system. So now we are exchanging the orbs for two different categories of items: components (wood, cloth, ore,etc) and magic essences (fire, water, earth and air) which you can then use to craft equipment and enchant them. The components will drop from most of your standard creatures - a peasant would drop cloth, a knight would drop iron (and possibly cloth) or an ogre might drop wood (his club). On the other hand, magical essences will mostly drop from elemental creatures - a fire elemental will drop fire essences, an ice elemental will drop ice essences, etc. I'm going to be focusing on getting that system in place, so hopefully I can show it off in a video next weekend.

Speaking of video - I had started making a video to show off the current state of the prototype (which really isn't much), but it broke...several times. The things I've been testing all week are now not working, so I don't have enough time to fix those and edit the video (which I'm still learning how to do lol.) I'll have one done for next week though.

I was able to edit my streams together to make a "decent" video so you can see me make a fool of myself.

There's a breakdown in the video's description of what went wrong.

The Lost Chapters
I've spent my time working on Seeking Imagination, so I haven't had the chance to do anything with the Lost Chapters yet. I'll be starting the ground work for that shortly.

Project Game Show
We've discussed a new project that we will be starting in the future which Mikeyo touched on in the video so I thought I would mention it here. I just wanted to clarify - we're not starting a gameshow, it's a game based around a "gameshow" - an alien gameshow. It will be a two-player competitive co-op (local or networked) arcade game for PC and OUYA, maybe mobile. We'll have more info on this later though.

That's all for this week, tune in next week for some in-game video. Thanks for stopping by!

Weekly Update - 7/16/13

Posted by , in Weekly Update 16 July 2013 - - - - - - · 426 views

Well, I totally spaced on this weeks update; I wrote the content locally, but I apparently forgot to upload it on Friday. So, I've updated it a little bit and posting it today, but we'll have another update this Friday.

Weekly Update Video

Youtube Video Link

Project Updates
Seeking Imagination
I have made quite a bit of progress with the initial build of the battle arena, mostly in the multiplayer area. I have to say that I have always been for local multiplayer, but I can definitely see why it has mostly been cut out (we're still going to provide it as I believe it is a feature that should be included if possible, but I can understand why not a lot of games support it anymore.) The hardest part so far has been handling the odd scenarios:
1) What if two controllers are plugged in, but only player two wants to play (or two controllers were plugged in and then the first was removed)
2) On PC, what player does the keyboard belong to?
3) Constraining the camera to X number of players (not splitscreen)
4) How to handle a controller being disconnected mid-play
5) Determining where to spawn a new player

It has been harder than I expected, but is definitely worth it! The other issue I have run into is with the shop and crafting system, mainly the fact that I didn't fully design them out so I'm not sure how to implement them. So, I am going to discuss it with Mikeyo on our call and we'll go from there.

Script-wise, Mikeyo has finished the primary story script for SI and has started the second pass (proofreading, continuity checks, etc). Once he has completed that he'll start fleshing out some of the other content.

We have also brought on an artist to provide a cover art piece as well as an artist to do the in-game art. So, we should have something artsy to show off shortly.

Here's another shot showing the current state of the prototype. My son and I were playing around and this is me talking to him to test the trigger system.
Attached Image
There is still tons of script integration to do (even the message screen is a placeholder at the moment), but it's working which is a step in the right direction.

The Lost Chapters
We are starting work on a new series that we will be providing free monthly episodes for, which is currently titled The Lost Chapters. We haven't quite nailed down the gameplay mechanics, but the games will be short (15-20 minutes long) story-driven games. Each episode will be completely separate from the others; the idea is based on short stories in a storybook. I'm not sure at the moment when we'll be able to start development on this or how many episodes there will be, but I've been fleshing out story ideas for several episodes.

That is all for this update. We'll have another update this coming Friday, possibly with a video with yours truly as well. I want to try to release a more technical video, but I'm not sure if time will permit it at the moment or if I can come up with enough content; we'll see.

Thanks for stopping in!

Weekly Update - 7/5/13

Posted by , in Weekly Update 14 July 2013 - - - - - - · 833 views

Hi all, another great week here. Mikeyo spent a lot of time on company stuff - planning an upcoming Facebook contest, getting things going for an upcoming Kickstarter and getting some affiliates set up for us.

Mikeyo talks about it in his weekly update video:

For the Facebook contest, we're still wrapping up the guidelines and prizes, but Mike has already laid out some great prizes. Keep an eye our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/BealsSoftware) in the next week or two for more information.

The Kickstarter is a little ways off, but it is coming. We've talked with a few different artists and have an idea of what we need, I just need to get the prototype for the game finished.

We've joined the affiliates program with Amazon.com, ThinkGeek.com and Stamps.com. You can check those out on our website's shop page: http://www.bealssoftware.com/?module=shop.

Speaking of the website, we just launched a new layout last night. I didn't feel that the old version was laid out very well and it seemed very cramped, so we widened the whole thing as well as using a Twitter list's widget rather than our individual widgets.

I still don't have much for screenshots, but here is the first screenshot of the game:
Attached Image
It doesn't look like much as it is almost all backend stuff (save/load system, component system, game states, etc.) and UI. There will be more to come soon though.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Weekly Update - 6/30/13

Posted by , in Weekly Update 29 June 2013 - - - - - - · 584 views

I'm a little bit late, don't tell Mikeyo.

Mikeyo has been super busy, getting some affiliate programs up and running, checking out some conferences and playing with his new Ouya. He didn't have his professional camera available at the time, but he shot the video below showing it off and talking about a game or two that he has checked out:

He also donned his fedora and shot this week's update video, explaining a little bit about what we've been up to (or rather, what he's been up to) and some info on our current project, Seeking Imagination:

I'm excited as he brought up a really good prototype idea during our conference call this week. Basically it will be a free arena type game that includes all of the mechanics of the game (crafting & combat) and some possible extra things (multiplayer & leaderboards.) This will give us a chance to get some feedback on the gameplay itself while we're developing the editors and content for the full game. If it works out well, we may do something similar with future games.

Mikeyo is hard at work writing the main storyline still. Last I knew he was around page 70, leaving 5 more pages to an event and about 30 pages to go. Once he has that done he can go back through and wrap things up and then we can start building out the lore a bit and adding branches to our tree.

I'm working on ramping back up so that I can get some screenshots flowing and then we can get some gameplay videos done. Tomorrow morning I'll be updating all of my tasks in our PM software and then setting a deadline that I can hit (if I don't I think Mikeyo might fire me lol.)

Until next time, enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great week!