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Pixel → Tile → World

If an RPG falls in a forest, but the trees suck, does anyone care?

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 13 November 2015 - - - - - - · 2,555 views

My game, Of Stranger Flames, takes place in a fictional French colony settled in a heavily-wooden bit of terrain.

Forested areas appeal to me greatly, so it makes sense to set my game in a forest.

There's just one problem...



I can't draw trees

That is to say, I couldn't previously draw trees. But I've gotten better over time. I've made some new tree art yesterday! It makes my old art look like trash.

For comparison, here's my previous trees:

And *bum bum bum baaaaa!* here's my new trees:

Still not amazingly fantastic, but still alot better than previously. Hurray for relativistic comparisons. Posted Image

So yeah, it makes my old trees look like trash. An artist friend assures me that this is the way it's supposed to be, saying, "Every five minutes I think 'man, my work from 10 minutes ago is junk'". I'm having exactly that same feeling! Except, it takes me over a year to improve instead of five minutes. Posted Image

The trees have also apparently quadrupled in size. Posted Image
This should hopefully make the world feel more raw nature with a few towns nestled inbetween, rather than some cultivated garden. I'll need alot more "forest debris" as well. I have some shrubs and such, but I'll need fallen logs and other things, dirt forest floor, and etc... We'll see if I can eventually pull it off.

Artwork, I guess. =)

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 17 November 2014 - - - - - - · 1,394 views

I haven't posted in awhile (as usual), most of my updates just occur on twitter, where I usually post an average of 6 or so tweets a week (usually two or three tweets on a single day, then silence for a few days, and repeat), so here's a re-posting from twitter of things I've been doing recently.

First, on the coding side, I've implemented a UI for scaling and manipulating decals - which I'll use to add dirt and cracks to walls, tables, and floors, as well as put detail items (tools, paintings, papers, rugs, whatever) on surfaces.

I'm working on that in a small subproject which I'll merge back into

Anyway, on to cool stuff:

Cliffs (click for full size)
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The most significant thing (which you can see if you zoom in), is that I finally figured out how to make grass look better.
By simply having grassy stuff where the grass meets walls (and cliffs and tree trunks), it makes it seem alot more grassy.

For scale, the player is only about a quarter the size of one of those trees. These aren't no wussy backyard shrubs! Posted Image


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Because I'm still working on the editor, none of the art is in-game, so these couches might be too big relative to the player.

Wussy backyard shrubs
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I made these today/yesterday. These stiff brambly plants are wild plants that'd grow naturally around various areas ingame.
The editor can let map makers tweak their stem colors (for example: red-ish, brown, white, grey, green), and they come optionally with berries, flowers, or that drapery flowery thing you currently see on them (wisteria-inspired, I guess!).

Hopefully I'll have enough plant variation that my nature areas will look interesting, and not just an eclectic mix of crazy plants. I need cohesion working with diversity, I guess.


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These are combinable - I made each planterbox so their sides can be built up higher or lower (three sizes for the stones: one layer of brick high, two layers, and three layers. For the wood, it's one or two planks high), and so they can have different plants planted in them, with optional bars over them for plants to grow on. They can also be laid out horizontally or vertically.

Wooden cattle fence
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I've already made a few stone fences in the past, and iron bar fences and wood picket fences, so I figure a more rustic wooden fence for cattle would add a more warm and "lived in" feeling to the world.

Footlockers / furniture chests
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Crates / boxes:
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Boxes likely in a port area or fishing village. The one on the far right says "Parii", since the game takes place in a fictional former French colony.

Apparently murdering babies is off the table - WoA2 contest

Posted by , in GDNet Competition 2014, Design 22 September 2014 - - - - - - · 1,234 views

So the week of awesome contest has just began, with the theme being "The toys are alive!".

My artist friend and myself came up with an idea last night, so I'm about ready to get started coding it. We're making a small tactical game where you play a group of mice defending their wooden-block fortress against the toy army soldiers marching forward to drive them off the land.

Here's the my concept sketch from last night:
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I was originally suggesting we have mother mice laying on a nest with her kits/cubs/whatever, that the toy soldiers murder if you let them reach that point. The artist didn't go for it. Posted Image

So we're going in a more gameplay-first direction, instead of a political-commentary-on-the-bloody-cost-of-toy-wars direction. Posted Image

Shadowing and lighting my RPG's walls

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 02 July 2014 - * * * * * · 1,468 views
art, design, lighting
I was trying to figure out some some shadowing stuff, and so put this image together for my own benefit, and then figured I'd post it here and share it with anyone interested.

Here's how I'm shading and lighting the walls for my game.

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I was considering using Screen or Additive blending for the light, and Multiply or Subtractive for the purple shadowing, but since I have the overlays so low in transparency, it seemed regular alpha blending had the light and shadow coloring showing up better better.

While it technically doesn't make sense for there to be arbitrary lighting on one end of the wall and arbitrary shading on the end, it adds more "life" to the wall, I feel, making it look less flat. And, as an artist friend was saying to me, 'The artistic rules with lighting is basically that you get to make it up, because what with light scattering and light rays bouncing around everywhere, you can pretty much just do whatever looks good and get away with it.' (paraphrased)

With lighting, you can just cheat as long as it doesn't stand out so badly that it draws people's eyes to it. With this wall being in the midst of a scene with many things to look at, the subtle lighting at the ends won't be too noticeable, but will still add to the overall visual aesthetics.

Probably, maybe, hopefully? Posted Image

Update on 'Of Stranger Flames'

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 11 December 2013 - - - - - - · 6,995 views
art, game, development, progress and 1 more...
Haven't posted in awhile. I've been busy doing some minor VBA scripts as well as necessary housework projects, so I haven't been able to make much project on my game.

Anyway, I'm back knee-deep in Of Stranger Flames again. It's so refreshing to be able to speak my native C++ language again!

Editor work:

I just finished getting tag-filtering re-implemented into the editor:

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I'm trying to get the editor done as fast as possible, but we'll see how it all works out. 3 1/2 years working on the editor?! I really need to get it done. Posted Image

Ofcourse, those 3 years have also been spent on artwork, the game concept, and other things, but still... without getting the editor finished, I can't move forward.


Speaking of art (look, a diversion!), here's some I made recently:
(These works are all copyrighted, except where noted below, and I reserve the rights to them Posted Image)

Some plants for forested areas:

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Some stone water holding thing:

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Paintings and other wall-hangers:

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The paintings within the frame are old public domain artwork from the 1700s, from Wikicommons.

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Here, I was trying to make some kind of wall-mounted wood-carved wall-hung something or other.
Is it clear enough that you can tell what it's showing?

Baseboard and fancy crown moulding:

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Carved baseboard (basically just re-using the art from the wood-carved object above).

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This is weird. It's supposed to be a type of really fancy crown-moulding (decorative trimwork that goes at the top of walls where the wall meets the ceiling), but this crown-moulding has painting inside it. I never knew such a thing existed until I saw a photograph of something similar from some fancy building in Europe or Russia.

Can you tell what the picture is supposed to be?


Incase you didn't know, I tweet now. That is to say, I have a twitter account that could ostensibly be used for tweeting, if I'd remember to do it more often. Posted Image

I tend to not want to tweet unless I actually have something to say or am replying to, or retweeting, what someone else said, so I only average about 1.5 tweets a day. I currently have 75 non-spambot followers, which is pretty good, all things considered. I figure, despite not really being all that sociable, that I need to build a 'social media' 'presence'. That's a thing now, you know. Or, at least it was three years ago - I might've been left behind again. Posted Image

So anyway, you should follow me. And you should PM me on GameDev.net with your twitter handle so I can follow you. Posted Image

Mockup room, for motivation

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Design 04 October 2013 - - - - - - · 1,169 views
I've been intermittently busy with real life the past two months or so, but that's wrapped up now.
Slightly discouraged by the lack of progress on Of Stranger Flames.

Today I slapped together, in MS Paint, a mockup up something close to the art style I'm trying to go for with this game using existing art I have made in the past. There's some minor differences in the art styles (and object sizes) of the different pieces that need to become more consistent when I get around to making the game world, but this at least gives me some comfort seeing something visual.
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I really really need to get the world editor finished. Posted Image

Editor work and forest work

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Design 28 June 2013 - - - - - - · 943 views
design, editor, rpg, trees, maps
For a few reasons, I needed to rework a good part of my game editor *again*. This is at least the third time.

Here's the work I did today and yesterday, but I think I'll be able to quickly re-integrate the components from the previous editor. Most of the underlying engine code is the same.

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Last post I mentioned some of the trees I've been working on. Since the world of Of Stranger Flames is predominately covered in forests, the trees need to look even better, and there needs to be alot of foliage and underbrush and things like fallen logs on the forest floor.

Also, even more importantly, different portions of the forest need to have a distinctive look and feel so it doesn't all seem identical.
Here's something I slapped together a few days ago:

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I've had this 'guideline' map for awhile now, just to help solidify the shape of the world. There will be a much better map ingame - this is only for developmental purposes.

However, I layered over some trees to give a feel for the four separate wooded areas and to look at some of the colorschemes I'll use for each area. The upper-left one will probably use more redwood-esque trunks, while the lower-right forest will probably have a mix of light-brown trunks and grey birch-like trunks.

Sometime in the future I'll need to create a few more tree types. Right now all I have is something vaguely looking like a pine tree. More variation would be better. We'll see how it turns out.

I'd like to be a tree

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 25 June 2013 - - - - - - · 1,136 views
2d, art, pixel, rpg
I'd like to be a tree I know I haven't posted in a long while. Still working on Of Stranger Flames, but progress has been sporadic. Still optimistic though!
Here's some of the tree art I've been working on:

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Alas, this is not a screenshot from within the game, but merely layering the tree components (shadow, trunk, leaves) over each other in a image editor. Because the trunks are separated from the leaves, I can mix and match any of the 19 trunk variations with any of the 10 tree tops in 13 different colors of tops. Hopefully that'll give enough variation for some good forests - most of the French colony in Of Stranger Flames takes place in heavily forested areas, so they need to look good and have enough variation. I'll hopefully animate them just a little in the wind, by slightly rotating the tree tops +-10 degrees.

Oh, I have one of those 'tweetering' accounts now, if'n you care to follow me. I average about 5 twits a week, so I'm not too spammy on your feed. Though I should really increase that to at least twice a day... Sometimes my feed gets filled with a single twitter user tweeting seven or eight times in a row. Posted Image That's not something I want to mimic.

Hammering away on code and art

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Indie games, Design 15 January 2013 - - - - - - · 1,089 views
pixel, art, rpg, tile
I've been busy with code, and though I've been making little progress, progress is being made.

Yesterday and today I tossed together some art for my game to give me a break in-between compiles. This week's theme has been rough wooden structures.

(Note: This art, like all the art I reveal on here, is copyrighted by me for use in my own projects, so duhnt ya be steelen' it!)
(Note 2: I reposted this from my broken website, JaminGrey.com | StrangerFlames.com)

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I'm not likely the texturing of the ropes too well, but other than that I'm quite pleased with the result.
There will probably be a gallows in two or three different towns... and depending on your judging decisions as a Guardian, you might get to hang a bandit or two.

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These benches are for exteriors, like town squares or house gardens.

Cross for churches:
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There are a couple churches scattered through the colony, but only one plays any real significance in the plot.
The churches in the game are all Catholic since France was heavily loyal to the Catholic Church during the time period of the game (the game takes place a few years after the reformation, though that doesn't feature in the game).

Wooden outdoor stairs:
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Wooden floor:
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Check out my nicely staggered bonds! That's how floors are supposed to be laid... or at least how I've always laid them, every single time (all one of them) that I did so.

Wooden fence:
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I was too lazy to make the north-south fences for this fence set. =)

Wooden posts:
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Just a couple wooden posts with no particular purpose.

I hope everyone is doing well, and that your projects are progressing better than mine is! Posted Image

Layers interacting with the editor

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Design 19 October 2012 - - - - - - · 1,165 views
editor, development, rpg, indie and 2 more...
I've been having loads of difficulty getting the "game" part of the code interacting with the "editor" part of the code, but I've finally hit on a decent solution. Such interface-to-system messaging is a problem I usually have with my not-thought-through architectures, but I'm getting better at it... though I still should probably sit down with a few higher-level architectural software engineering books - it'd do me good.

I got layers and floors properly interacting with the editor again today:

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I still need to add things like "rename/delete/copy layer", and moving around the order of the layers, but as usual, the logic is all there, just my editor->system code is lacking.

A month or two ago, I re-added zooming in and out to the editor:

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And a few weeks ago I re-added tile placement patterns (for placing more than one tile at a time):

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(This Of Stranger Flames post was reposted to Journeys in Grey)
(Both sites are kinda buggy right now - they currently only work well in Chrome)

Some art

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Pixel art, Design 04 July 2012 - - - - - - · 1,419 views
art, 2d, rpg, pixel art
Well, so much for planning ahead! I just unexpectedly spent 20-ish days out of state, without access to the internet. I only got back four days ago.
Naturally, that torpedoed my intentions of getting the level editor working on time (though to be fair, I was already late even before I had to leave).

Getting the editor working is still my near-term goal, however (Followed by using the editor to create the city 'Hahdief', and being able to walk around inside it).

Anyway, to ease back into development (after a very necessary 2-day rest from the exhausting trip), I've made a little bit of art in-between compiles and during programming breaks while resuming work on the editor. Here's the art I made:

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Heavy stone fence:
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(still needs a little work... I'm just noticing multiple flaws in it)

Tapestry / Mural / large-painting / whatever-it-is:
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I deliberately made it rather simple in the perspective and layout of the scene (specifically on the simple 3-layers of the trees), because some older medieval paintings and tapestries were like that, before art advanced enough for people to properly understand things like perspectives and proper use of lighting. Or whatever - I'm as much of an art historian than I am an artist (hint: I'm neither).

I drew the people with pencil, and scanned them, then digitally colored them and added them to the digitally-drawn trees and etc...

The tapestry (or whatever it is - it looks more like a giant painting then a tapestry, but I guess it could pass for a mural)... The tapestry is meant to be in two pieces, probably flanking a large doorway in either the king's castle or a Lord's manor in one of the larger cities.

Garden pottery vases:

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I made these vases today in the past two hours. Cheap developer that I am, I (quite clearly) made four vases and just recolored them a dozen times. Posted Image Development on a budget.

Anyway, it feels good to be back in action working on code and art. Hope all y'all's projects are coming along well!

And I shall walk the streets of Hahdief...

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Design, Story/plot 12 May 2012 - - - - - - · 1,362 views
development, progress, editor and 4 more...
Past week:

I fixed the problems with coloration and blending, and made more progress on the editor.

Here's a screenshot of me just playing around. Until I get multiple layers re-implemented (works in the code, but not hooked to the editor yet), everything looks like junk (Blending isn't useful until you have multiple layers of tiles).

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(Not final appearance of the game! Once blending is in, then everything will be much less square and much more detailed, with blending dirt on to the walls, the pavement blending with the grass, shadowing, and etc...)

The first few days of this week I spent messing around with web hosting and introducing myself to Wordpress, to get a website up for a family member. This was practice for when I get my own websites up and running.

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My goal for the next 5 weeks:

Since development has dragged on for such a long time (year and a half part time, and now almost half a year full-time), I've come up with a timeline and a set of goals to spur on development, marking all the milestones I hope to hit between here and release (which is still quite a ways off).

Anyway, a week ago I gave myself the goal: By June 15th, I will walk the streets of Hahdief. Hahdief, as I've mentioned in a prior post, isn't a really important city plot-wise, but you visit it multiple times during the game (usually travelling past it to get somewhere else, or visiting it for minor plot points).

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"Hahdief, the northern ruling city, is one of the first places you visit. The city itself has no real plot significance, though you return to that general area several times during the course of the game for minor plot reasons."

('Hah' = North(ern), 'dief' = Ruler)

The goal is to get the map editor completed and finalized within 6 weeks (now 5 weeks), and to build and actually be able to walk around within that city (with collision and sound effects and music, but no NPCs or combat yet, and no going inside buildings).

It will be very sweet indeed to finally walk around inside my world, and not just a test map. I chose Hahdief as to first area to make because it's a fairly square city, shouldn't be too complex to make, and I probably have 90% or more of the art it'll need already made. Plus, being one of the first towns you encounter, it would've been in the first 4 or 5 I'd have to make anyway, but also is a fully non-nature city, and I haven't much plants and trees made yet.

I have a list of new features required by the game that I have to implement into the maps themselves, which changes the map format, so I need to get those added ASAP.

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Character concept:

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This is the main character (drawn by one of the artists), how he'll appear in combat. I intend to get all the character concept art properly colored by a skilled artist; initially I was thinking I was going to have to hire some over the 'net, which I may still have to do, but it was suggested to me to just have a friend do so with watercolor... initially hesitant, I recently saw some of the friend's art, and was pretty floored by the quality.
I haven't asked yet - I wont need it done for another few months, and I'm learning not to ask too far ahead of time (*cough* my map makers have been waiting almost two years *cough*) - but when I do ask, and if the artist accepts, then knowing the artist's weakness, I can just pay in Dr Pepper. Posted Image

Just imagine the player facing one of these:

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(I posted this rat as the very first journal post I ever made. A year and a half ago)

If you're interested in more character concept art and haven't already seen them, I posted some a month ago.

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If all goes well, in five weeks I'll have real screenshots to post.

Now I'm off to shower, then I'll pop open a Dr Pepper (edit: Nevermind, I'm all out Posted Image) and crack into those editor features I need to code.

More editor work, interface sketches, and plot

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Design, Story/plot 05 May 2012 - - - - - - · 1,175 views
plot, charactor, concept art and 3 more...
I haven't gotten too much done since I last posted, just chippin' away at the editor piece by piece. I want to have the editor entirely finished by June 15 (6 weeks from now). It's been too long, so I've given myself a set of goals, each 6-weeks apart, to press forward in development.

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Editor work:

I've gotten the placement of tiles working again.

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There seem to be a few problems with coloration and blending (the problems aren't visible in the screenshot above), and I'm not sure when/where they were introduced - it used to work a year and a half ago! - but I'll track those down later.

Here's me just playing around. Final quality of the game will far surpass this, rest assured. (This is without blending, coloration, masks, shading, and multiple layers, and I just grabbed a floor tile for the walls so it all looks like junk... but even junk is nice to see after so long with a broken editor Posted Image)

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Today I added the ability to 'pin' searches in the Tile Explorer, so you can come back to them later.

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I also added a list of "Recent tiles" and "Recent masks" a few days ago (by clicking the 'Show recent' button).

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Interface sketches:

A few weeks ago I did some sketches on the layout of the interface. Here they are:

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I figure the large buttons at the side of the screen would make the game easy to port to iPad and Android (and Win8) tablets, sometime after the initial Windows release.

The release plan is: Windows -> Mac -> Linux -> iPad (not iPhone) -> Android tablets
Who knows? Maybe Xbox Live or something. But it all depends on the initial success of the game on Windows. I don't have a Mac, so with the initial proceeds from Windows I'll buy a Mac and port the game.

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Plot work:
Act 1, Section 2, Event 7 is the first of three Guardian council meetings that occur during the course of the game.
It takes place shortly after a serious battle between the player (alongside a scattering of guards and rangers, and two other guardians) and the main enemies of the game. As the battle is occurring, the town the player and guardians are trying to defend burns down around them and alot of civilians get murdered before their eyes as they fight, finally driving off the enemy, but with not much left remaining of what they were protecting. (The battle takes place in A1,S2,E5, just two events (maybe 20-30 minutes) before the meeting, so it's still fresh in the player's mind)

This section of plot is still very much a work-in-progress, and is partially unfinished towards the end. You'll notice lots of placeholder names ('MentorGuardian', and 'xxxxxx', for example) and missing area names ("[Military Guard Outpost City before the Citadel]") that I still need to fill in.

There's no real spoilers in this (very minor ones only), as it takes place in the first act of the game.
Apologies for posting it as a screenshot! The forum software isn't keeping the formatting, even when I use the "Paste from Microsoft Word" option, and even when I convert to .rtf format and copy+paste from there. Posted Image Too lazy to manually re-highlight the dialog, stitching some screenshots together was the quickest method.

Act 1, Section 2, Event 7 - A meeting of guardians

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I said I'd post some character concept art and descriptions of the character today, but I'll hold off until next week so the journal entry doesn't get too large (read: So I can hold cool content in reserve for weeks when I don't make much progress or don't have screenshots to show Posted Image).

AdventureFar status - Editor and plot work, excel spreadsheets

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Design, Story/plot 26 April 2012 - - - - - - · 1,594 views
design, editor, plot, excel and 1 more...
Hey, it has been two weeks since my last update - unexpected distractions reared their head.

Primarily, I've spent the past two weeks getting a little work done on the plot, and spent alot of time (primarily just in the past three or four days) on the editor. Pieces of code are starting to fit back into place - I haven't touched the editor in maybe a year and a half, but it's coming back together piece by piece.
It seems to be coming into shape as a real solid tool - which is good, as I've mentioned before I hope to use this same editor/engine for my next three projects (AdventureFar and probably two after it). It's also good, because my supporting map maker needs to be able to use it without hassle when it's time to build maps.

Latested editor screenshot:
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Before other things were distracting me, I spent some time organizing my plot into separate Excel and Word documents.

I've been self-learning some Excel and a little VBA, and made a neat spreadsheet to measure and keep track of how far along the game is coming. It also has space to calculate how long each section takes to play through (though there's nothing yet available to play through) by calculating the average playtime per area for each play-session.

Anyway, I have a 'Master index' Excel document with links and completion amounts to the plot documents. Here's what it looks like:

Master index - Screenshot 1
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If you click the clock icon, it expands giving locations for putting in playtimes of the game testers (whenever I get to that point), and calculates the average playtime for each section:

Master index - Screenshot 2
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It also continues downward, for sidequests:

Master index - Screenshot 3
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Honestly, these Excel spreadsheets didn't take long to make. A day's work maybe (with some adjustments here and there as I get ideas), and that from someone relatively inexperienced with Excel. Excel is much more powerful than I've imagined, and you can get things knocked together very rapidly.

Anyway, I've been working on the plot some since my co-author had to take an extended leave of absence. My desired play-time is about 6 hours of main plot and 2 hours of sidequests per Act, and about two hours of player exploration per act.

(6 + 2 + 2 = 10 hours per act, 4 acts = ~40 hours if new to the game, ~25 hours if running through)

Act 1, Section 2 - Event Index document
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A snippet of 'Act 1, Section 1, Event 3, Scene 2'
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I was previously wanting to release the game by the end of September, but if I can't reach that goal (which seems likely), I'd rather hold onto it until after the Christmas rush of triple-A game releases, maybe releasing it in early February. This will give me more time to polish the game anyway. When I get closer to release, I'm going to need to hire a good pixel artist for the NPC avatars, as the concept art is more for combat enemies (which are in a different art style). I'm waiting before finding a pixel artist, however. It's not a high priority at this point in time.

I can handle all the tile art on my own, I think, but AdventureFar will have alot of burned down villages in it, as part of the flow of the plot. This will cause me some art troubles, as my current tiles I made don't have any piles of ashes or smoke smears or burned buildings in it - but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Another issue that was a problem is trees. The nation the game takes place in is heavily forested - and my trees just weren't really looking that great. But I figured out a neat trick in Paint Shop Pro using effects that greatly assist in helping me make great looking trees.

Pine trees - WIP:

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They still need alot of work (these were just proof-of-concepts basically), but I think they'll turn out pretty good in-game. Until I can actually see them in-game next to and working with the other art, I don't want to invest too much work on them that might need to be discarded.

I'll post some more character concepts from one of the artists next week, if I remember. I've also spent some time sketching some in-game interface designs, which I'll also post some examples of.

Before I go, I've fixed a bug or two, and added a few things to my name-indexing tool for writers: Nomen Rationarium.
At a family member's request! First ever support request I've received. Posted Image Well, it's the first ever tool I've made that other people actually find useful. Posted Image

Character concept art, eccentricities, plot, and infrastructure work

Posted by , in AdventureFar, Design, Story/plot 03 April 2012 - - - - - - · 1,743 views
character design, design and 3 more...
I've been doing work to add alot of data-driven functionality to AdventureFar's engine.
I thought of a clean and efficient way to allow each page of a menu to be configurable by files... and to move around and create and edit the menu elements from within the game itself while it is running. Nothing that hasn't been done before by other programs in the past, but I realized how I can leverage some of what I already wrote in ways I hadn't thought of with a bit of extra work (prior to this, I was just going to hard-code the menus, with only minor maneuverability from config files).

Right now I'm still working on it, and there's still alot to be done, but here's some screenshots of the first piece working:

Drag and drop: (completely functional)

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Positioning by percentages from the left or right of the window: (~80% done)

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Editing object properties and changes being reflected in the object: (60-70% done - 4 days more work, maybe)

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Eventually all the menu buttons (and hopefully the in-game GUI) will be work the same way, but I haven't re-implemented those, because I'm still fine-tuning the base class and property editing windows.

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I wrote down on paper a couple side-quests that came to me while, uh, err.... walking around in circles in the kitchen for three or four hours, waving my hands around in jerky movements. Posted Image
Sometimes, when guests are over at the house, or visitors are staying with us for a few days, they catch me at it and get really confused. After I've been walking around for twenty or thirty minutes they suddenly notice it and look up in surprise, asking what I'm doing. One asked if it's autism or something. Posted Image

Pacing really helps me think, and pacing in circles is nice because it doesn't require conscious thought to move if I don't have to maneuver around obstacles, giving me full mental power (all 5 kilowatts of it) to think, daydream, and explore creative ideas at the fullest.
Going for walks outside is nice too, but I have to focus more on what's around me. Plus, I can walk for an hour and a half before I get tired, because it's 'exercise'. I can walk non-stop in the kitchen for 5 or more hours without feeling any physical difference.

But you don't read my blog to find out about my eccentricities - that's just an added bonus. Onto concept art!

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This is the Right-hand man of the young king. He's very loyal to 'his majesty', and an excellent swordsman. You, as a member of the non-government controlled but government-allied organization known as 'guardians' run into him alot during the game. He helps you on a number of missions, as you help bring law and order to otherwise chaotic situations that arise.

He was in the government military (the 'Guards' branch, explained below) with you the player, and eventually rose to prominence as a favorite of the king. You meanwhile, left the military, having been recruited by the Guardians. Since you know each other from your younger days in training, you are on friendly terms with each other and are very open with each other with concerns about the events occurring during the game.

This favorite of the king is, aside from the king, the most powerful person in the nation, since he speaks with the authority of the king. Even the Head Ranger and Head Guard take orders from him, though the Guardians which you belong to, don't take orders from the government.

None of my characters have names yet... names are very important to me, so it always takes alot of time for me to figure them out. (Hence the entire game still being nameless and simply called 'AdventureFar' as a placeholder). So this character, in the multiple locations he comes up at in the plot, is just referred to KRHM (King's right-hand man).

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There are two main branches of the military in the government. The 'Rangers' and the 'Guards'*. The Guards are the primary military force, securing and upholding the law in cities and towns. Since the nation is land-locked from other nations due to the terrain, they don't really have an army. 'Guards' can be thought of more as policemen.
If 'Guards' are policemen, then the 'Rangers' are the highway patrol. Rangers patrol the main highways and keep them clear of monsters, as well as carry government messages back and forth, and escort merchant caravans or groups of travelers from town to town. They also have small presences in towns and cities as outposts to rest in at the beginning and ends of their patrols.

*Not to be confused with the guardians which you are apart of.

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While the nation goes into deeper and deeper confusion and chaos, and as monster attacks increase and even the Rangers are getting pushed off the highways unless in large numbers, the criminal elements of the nation are thinking up ways to take advantage of the situations to line their pockets with the bloodied gold of the dead and dying. (As a guardian, you'll have plenty of opportunities in the game to choose what punishments to hand out to such criminals (or suspected criminals) who have been captured by yourself or the government)

There are many highway robbers, thieves, and bandits of all sorts - but while organized in the casual way of crime, it's not a cohesive organization. The bandit leader in the picture above is the head of a small group of about twenty ruffians, who have the audacity to hijack a merchant vessel that just arrived at the only major port town of the nation, and attempt to sail it away. Unfortunately for them, the original captain of the ship damages it in such a way that they don't get far from shore and have to dock at a small fishing village only a dozen miles south. Trapped and cornered, the bandits have the crew under the knife, and a hostage situation rapidly develops.

Guess who gets to go 'resolve' it? And guess what you're favorite instrument of negotiation is? Posted Image
In all seriousness, your choices determine the outcome (at least partially) of the situation, and directly effect how many hostages and bandits survive or are killed, as well as the punishment for the bandits.
But you're not alone in this situation, having not only the King's Right Hand Man with you, but also the force of the government, with a handful of Guards and Rangers who came from the nearest fortified city and arrived there before you,

Seeing that the bandits are unarmored and have an assorted collection of knives and swords hoping for a quick getaway and having no intention or desire to go one on with with soldiers, while you and the guards are fully equipped in armor and trained for combat, and the rangers have bows and arrows and leather vests, this shouldn't be too much trouble.

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I've started writing Act 2 of the probably four acts. My brother who was co-writing it had to back out (whether permanently or temporarily, I don't know yet), but I've come up with (while pacing in circles Posted Image) some great scenes for the game that really carry some weight to them, so I'm excited to jump back into it.

As mentioned in a prior post back in January, Act 1 is entirely completed at a macro level, but not at a micro line-for-line level. At a macro level, I expect Act 1 to take 6 hours of gameplay. At the very largest most general level, the entire game is figured out, but that's just a paragraph's framework, not detailed at all, so on it's own it's worthless.

I'm kinda torn about Act 2, because Act 2 begins with a bang and I wanted it to end with a bang which marks a major turning point in the game... but Act 2 looks like it'll burst with the amount of content I'm wanting (in my head, not on paper) to cram in it, so the major turning point must be pushed back into the first half of Act 3... which apparently is what I was planning anyway (?!), looking over my past notes. My subconscious is two months ahead of me. Posted Image

But I'm talking in vagaries, and knowing how annoying that is I'll shut up about the plot and get back to posting pretty pictures next week until I have something more solid to share. Posted Image

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